David Whitmer Timeline

January 7, 1805

Born to Peter Whitmer, Sr., and Mary Musselman Whitmer near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the fourth of nine children.

Peter Whitmer Home


The Whitmer family moves to Fayette, New York, where they work a large farm.

March 12, 1825

Elected sergeant in a newly organized militia called the Seneca Grenadiers.

December, 1828

Makes a business trip to Palmyra, New York, where he meets Oliver Cowdery and from him first learns of Joseph Smith and the golden plates.

May, 1829

Arrives in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and first meets Joseph Smith.

June, 1829

Joseph Smith moves to Fayette, New York with David’s aid, to continue the translation at the home of David Whitmer’s father, Peter Whitmer.

Doctrine & Covenants 14 is received and directed to David indicating that he will be “called to assist” and to “stand as a witness of the things of which you shall both hear and see.”

David is baptized by Joseph Smith.

Doctrine & Covenants 17 is received authorizing Oliver, David, and Martin to “have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim.”

The Three Witnesses see the golden plates and testify of the book’s truth.

Joseph Smith finishes translating the Book of Mormon at the Whitmer home.

April, 1830

The Church is formally organized in Fayette, New York, with David as one of the six original members.

David is ordained an Elder.

January 9, 1831

Marries Julia Ann Jolly.


Moves to Kirtland, Ohio with other members of the Church.

October 5, 1831

Ordained High Priest by Oliver Cowdery.


David moves with his extended family to Jackson County, Missouri.

October - December, 1833

Church members are driven from Jackson County, Missouri.

July 7, 1834

Joseph Smith ordains David to be the president of the church in Missouri and his own successor.

February, 1835

David, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris comply with a revelation that was given to them by selecting the twelve men that would be ordained to the first Quorum of Twelve Apostles in this dispensation.

April, 1838

Numerous Church authorities are excommunicated for apostasy including David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery.

June 17, 1838

Sidney Rigdon preaches the “Salt Sermon” in which he declares that dissenters from the faith (understood to include Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer), were “as salt that had lost its savor” and that it was the duty of the faithful to cast them out “to be trodden beneath the feet of men.”

David and the entire Whitmer family move to nearby Richmond, Missouri.

David opens a livery stable, which he operates until his death in 1888.

September 7, 1847 - 1848

David Whitmer exercises his claim to be Smith’s successor and the Church of Christ (Whitmerite) is formed in Kirtland, Ohio. However, David never joins the body of the new church and it dissolves relatively quickly.

March, 1850

Oliver Cowdery travels to meet with David Whitmer in Richmond, Missouri to persuade him to move west and rejoin the Saints in Utah. Cowdery, however, succumbs to tuberculosis and dies on March 3, 1850, in David’s home.

1867 -1868

David is elected to fill an unexpired term as mayor.

January 28, 1876

David Whitmer resurrects the Church of Christ (Whitmerite) by ordaining his nephew, John C. Whitmer, an elder and giving him the title “First Elder”.

March 24, 1881

David publishes “A Proclamation” reaffirming his testimony of the Book of Mormon.

"An Address to All Believers in Christ"

April 1887

David publishes “An Address To Believers in the Book of Mormon” and “An Address to All Believers in Christ”, further stating his religious views.

January 25, 1888

David Whitmer passes away and is buried in Richmond, Missouri.