A Witness of the Book of Mormon
Christian Whitmer, the eldest son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman Whitmer, was born Jan. 18, 1798, in Pennsylvania. While still fairly young, he moved out of his parents house and settled in Seneca County, New York. In 1825, at the age of 27, he married Anne Schott, and established himself as a shoe maker. Christian was a well respected member of the community. In that same year, he received an Ensign commission in the state militia, and was also elected Fayette, New York, town constable in 1828 and 1829. From what I could tell, he was the only witness who was currently an elected official at the time he saw and handled the gold plates. Other witnesses would later be elected to various public positions at different times.
In the spring of 1829, Christian was introduced to Joseph Smith Jr., along with the rest of the Whitmer Family, through his brother David Whitmer. During Joseph's stay at the Whitmer farm in Fayette, Christian became good friends with Joseph and was allowed to be a scribe during the translation of the plates. By summer, the translation was almost complete. Christian was among the seven called to be a witness of the gold plates. He was allowed to handle and "heft" the plates, turn the leaves, and feel the engravings. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any direct quotes from Christian describing his experience.
Christian was one of the original members of the church, was called on missions, served in several church positions, and accompanied his family and the church to Ohio and Missouri. Unfortunately, Christian had health problems and died as a result of them on November 27, 1835. He was only 37. Christian and his wife didn't have any children of their own, but through his testimony of the Book of Mormon, he left a legacy that has left it's mark on every nation. He was driven by mobs and threatened at gunpoint, but Christian always stayed faithful to the prophet and his testimony, and never left the church.
Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The Whitmers: A Family That Nourished the Church,” Ensign, Aug. 1979, 35
James E. Talmage, "Articles of Faith", p.503
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.1, BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES H. R., vol. 6, p. 210.
LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p.276