|Type:||Unmarked Location||Involved:||Dogberry, Obadiah|
|Location:||W Main St and Stafford St, Palmyra, NY||Cause:||Freethought / Atheism / Secular Humanism|
Rochester freethinker Abner Cole, who wrote and published under the pseudonym Obadiah Dogberry, lived briefly in Palmyra where he edited a weekly newspaper, the Palmyra Reflector. The Reflector was printed by E. B. Grandin, the same printer who was also assembling the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The self-styled Mormon prophet Joseph Smith had engaged the printer to put up the book, which he claimed to have translated from ancient golden plates by the power of God. While working on his paper, Dogberry was able to read advance proofs of the Book of Mormon as they lay about the small printer's shop drying. He found the future scripture ridiculous. To Joseph Smith's great displeasure, Dogberry's paper published a lengthy critique of the Book of Mormon, complete with long quotations, some of which appeared before Smith released finished copies of the Book of Mormon. For samples see here and here. Dogberry's was the first lay critique of Smith's "Golden Bible" and many of its objections are upheld by contemporary scholars.
Shown here are two views of West Main and Stafford Streets in Palmyra. Historical records show that Dogberry's house stood at this intersection; exactly which corner it occupied is unknown. After Dogberry sold the house it was moved to another location. Consequently, this is the intersection where Dogberry lived though none of the structures now there is his former home.