Here are some reminiscences from William Pilkington, as given in Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon (Provo: BYU Studies, 2018). Young William boarded with and worked for Martin Harris Jr. for a year, near Logan, Utah, and, while there, met a very old man who was also living in the house. Here is a memory of their first serious conversation:
Willie did you ever go to Sunday School? I promptly told him yes Sir! What class were you in? I was in the Book of Mormon class. his eyes sparkled and his whole body seemed to reviberate. he seemed like a changed being. he was very excited, trembling. as I gazed in his eyes, he said Did you ever read the Book of Mormon? Yes Sir! Well if you have read the Book of Mormon, What is the first reading in the Preface of the Book that you find? After a little thinking. I said, the first reading in the Book of Mormon is the Testimony of Three Men testifying to the whole World that they saw an Angel come down from Heaven. that they saw the Gold Plates. from which the Book of Mormon was translated. and the angel told them that the Translation was correct and we bare record that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God. and that there [sic] names will forever go befor the World testifying that the Book of Mormon is True. he then said I know now Willie that you have read that glorious Book. Willie: I am going to ask you one more question? What was those three men’s names? I told him they were Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris.
The elderly gentleman had not yet identified himself.
This little old man, then 92 years of age of whome In my mind I had likened to Rip Van Winckle, whose whole being at this time was wonderful to behold. all lit up with the Spirit of God whoes Eyes, now were sparkling who’s whole being was transformed. stood up before me on that memorable occasion and putting his walking cane in his left hand straightened up and striking his Breast with his right hand. Exclaimed “I Am Martiin Harris.” Can anyone imagane my feelings standing there before one of the Three Witnesses to the Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, a man who had the privilidge of standing before Angels. a man who[se] Eyes beheld the Golden Plates a man who’es Ears heard the voice of God from Heaven declare that the Book was Translated correct. and commanded him to Testifie to all the World. that it was correct I say again; can you imagan, me a mear Boy, not yet 14 years of age until the next month November [his birthday was November 13, 1860] as this was October of the year 1874. (479-481)
I talked to him hundreds of times, and he would always tell me that he wanted me to tell the people what he had told me. . . . In his talks with me he would say: ‘Now, Willie, I am not going to live very long and after I am dead I want you to tell the people what I have told you, for it is all true.’ (481)