Martin Harris was born on May 18, 1783, in Easton, New York. In 1792 his family moved to the Palmyra, New York, area. They were one of the first families to settle the area. When Martin Harris was 30 years old, his father gave him 320 acres of his farm. Martin prospered, and was active in community affairs.In 1827, Martin Harris hired Joseph Smith Sr. and his sons to work for him on his farm. Joseph Smith Sr. and Hyrum Smith dug the well near the front of the home, and Joseph Smith Jr. worked in the fields with Martin. While they were working together, Martin Harris heard Joseph Smith’s account of the visions he had seen. Martin Harris felt they were true and from God and became devoted to helping Joseph Smith Jr. fulfill his responsibilities.
When Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon to translate it, Martin Harris was one of his first scribes. He also helped support the Mormon Prophet so that he could devote most of his time to translation. When the book was completed, Martin Harris mortgaged a part of his farm to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon in 1829. Martin Harris was also one of the three witnesses who saw The Book of Mormon and bore witness of its divinity and truth. Even though he was persecuted, he never denied the truth of the Book of Mormon and bore testimony of it until his death on July 10, 1875.
The farm Martin Harris owned is now a private residence and is not open for tours, although visitors can walk on part of the grounds and read plaques that have been put up by the Mormon Church. The original home of Martin Harris was a one and a half story white frame house, which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1849. There is now a home where the original house stood that is known as a Lake-Stone building. It was built in 1850, by the same skilled laborers that had worked on the Erie Canal. Most of the stones were taken from the shores of Lake Ontario to be used on the house.