History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith, p. 67-68
At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much, as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well-disposed child, we did not suspect that any one had aught against him. He was out one evening on an errand, and, on returning home, as he was passing through the dooryard, a gun was fired across his pathway with the evident intention of shooting him. He sprang to the door much frightened. We immediately went in search of the assassin, but could find no trace of him that evening. The next morning we found his tracks under a wagon where he lay when he fired, and the following day we found the balls which were discharged from the gun, lodged in the head and neck of a cow that was standing opposite the wagon in a dark corner. We have not as yet discovered the man who made this attempt at murder, neither can we discover the cause thereof.