The Cooper's Shop

(Photos taken by Bruce Satterfield)

This is a reconstruction of the Smith Family cooper's shop.  A cooper's shop was where barrels were made.  The following etching found at the Smith Family Farm illustrates the cooper's trade.



The gold plates which had first been placed in a locked wooden box, and later hid under the the fireplace hearth in the Smith home, were next hid in the loft of the cooper's shop.  Lucy Mack Smith wrote:  "In a short time Joseph received another intimation of the approach of a mob, also of the necessity of removing the Record and breast-plate from the place wherein they were secreted, consequently he took them out of the box in which they were placed, and wrapping them in clothes, carried them across the road to a cooper's shop and laid them in a quantity of flax which was stowed in the shop loft. After which he nailed up the box again, then tore up the floor of the shop and put it under the same.

"As soon as night came, the mob came also and commenced ransacking the place. They rummaged round the house and all over the premises, but did not come into the house. After making satisfactory search, they went away.

"The next morning we found the floor of the cooper's shop torn up and the box which was laid under it shivered in pieces.

"In a few days afterwards we learned the cause of this last move--why their curiosity led them in the direction of the cooper's shop. A young woman by the name of Chase, sister to Willard Chase, found a green glass through which she could see many very wonderful things, and among her great discoveries she said that she saw the precise place where "Joe Smith kept his gold Bible hid," and obedient to her directions, the mob gathered their forces and laid siege to the cooper's shop.

"Notwithstanding their disappointment in not finding the plates in the shop, their confidence was not in the least shaken in Miss Chase, for they still went from place to place by her direction, determined to get, if possible, the much desired object of their search." (History of Joseph Smith, p.113)

The following is a picture of the loft.