While Lucy was preoccupied with religion and salvation, her husband was embarking on an ill-fated economic venture. Learning that ginseng root, which grew wild in Vermont, was highly valued in China, Joseph, who had experienced a series of financial setbacks, invested heavily in the herb. Having obtained a substantial quantity, he was offered three thousand dollars for it by a Mr. Stevens from Royalton, but he declined. When Joseph went to New York to arrange for shipment, Mr. Stevens followed him to find out which ship Joseph’s cargo was on. Having some ginseng himself, he sent his son to represent himself and Joseph in selling the product. Young Stevens sold the ginseng at a good profit, but misrepresented the returns and gave Joseph Smith, Sr., only a chest of tea. When Stevens’ dishonesty was discovered, he fled to Canada with the money, leaving Joseph and Lucy with an eighteen-hundred-dollar debt. Lucy recalled, “This farm, which was worth about fifteen hundred dollars, my husband sold for eight hundred dollars in order to make a speedy payment.” To this Lucy added the one thousand dollars she had received for a wedding present. They were out of debt, but penniless.