The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was founded in this area, and Martin Harris was a leading figure in its early history. He helped publish the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris was born 18 May 1783 in Easttown, Saratoga County New York. ln 1792 his father Nathan Harris, brought the family here and became one of the first settlers of the Palmyra area. ln 1813, at the age of 30, Martin was given 320 acres of his father's farm. He prospered and was active in community affairs.
ln 1827 he hired Joseph Smith Sr. and his sons to work on the farm. The elder Smith and his son Hyrum dug the well at the front of the house. Another son, Joseph Jr. worked with Martin Harris in the fields for $.50 a day. During this time Martin heard the story of Joseph's visions and believed them to be of divine origin.
When Joseph Smith Jr. translated the record that became the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris was one of his first scribes and helped pay expenses. Harris mortgaged part of his farm to pay for the book's publication in 1829. After the translation was finished, he was one of three witnesses who were visited by an angel and who testified of the divinity of the book and its message. He bore a strong testimony of that visitation to his dying day 10 July 1875.