30482

Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833

as general agents to wind up the business of the society so long as necessity shall require, and said Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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may sell out his goods now on hand, but is to make no new importations. The Star is not again to be published nor a press set up by any of the Society in this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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.29

Missourian Alexander Majors recalled much later that the Star “was very distasteful to the members and leaders of other religious denominations.” (Ingraham, Alexander Majors’ Memoirs, 44.)  


If the Said Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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& W W Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
move their families by the first of January as aforesaid that they themselves will be allowed to go and come in order to transact and wind up their business.
The Committee pledge themselves to use all their influence to prevent any violence being used so long as a compliance with the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned.
The resolutions adopted on Saturday the 20th I have not yet recieved but I think I can by applying to Mr Allen.31

Possibly James Allen, who, in Edward Partridge’s copy of the manifesto, was listed as a witness to the creation of the document. According to a petition that church leaders sent to Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin, about four to five hundred people met at the courthouse in Independence on 20 July 1833 to draft the following resolutions: “1. That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county. 2. That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice. 3. That the editor of the ‘Star’ be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same. 4. That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisitions. 5. That those who fail to comply with these requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them.” This group then resolved to destroy the Mormons’ printing establishment, which they did; they also engaged in other forms of mob violence. (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114; “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3].)  


Nothing in particular has transpired has transpired since you left here save the gifts are breaking forth in a marvellous manner. I want you to remember me to Joseph in a special manner, and enquire of him respecting my clerkship32

“My clerkship” probably refers to John Whitmer’s appointment in 1831 “to Keep the Church Record & History continually.” In what may have been a response to Whitmer’s request here, Cowdery later instructed him on keeping the names of church members “upon the church Record,” especially emphasizing when to record the names of children. (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:3]; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, Missouri, 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 14; see also Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  


you very well know what I mean & also my great desire of doing all things according to the mind of the Lord, We need the prayers of all the disciples of our Redeemer for it is a time of great anxiety to behold the cleansing of this Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
& also the land from wickedness & abominations. We are waiting with inexpressible anxiety to hear the word of the Lord concerning Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
, O that God may speed your journey & bring us intelligence which will be as balm to the wounded bosom, or as a smile of the Redeemer to a soul in distress,33 my heart is full and I say O my God will thou not deliver, yea wilt thou not come down that the mountains may flow down at thy presence &c—34

See Isaiah 64:1.  


I am your unworthy brother in the Lord.
John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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& Joseph Smith Junr &c
35

At this point in the letter, William W. Phelps began writing a lengthy postscript.  


In our present situation I have nothing to write, I wait for the word of the Lord: For his will and not ours will be done, we have many beautiful Hymns sung in tongues: I transcribe a couple sung by Wilber.36

It is not certain whether “Wilber” is the singer’s first or last name. Singing, as well as speaking, in tongues was not uncommon in the early church. Zebedee Coltrin, for instance, noted in his diary that at a midweek prayer meeting in November 1832, he saw “Joseph Smith and heard him Speak with Tongues and Sing in Tongues also.” On another occasion, the full text of a hymn “sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated” was recorded in Revelation Book 2. The first of the two hymns is transcribed in the following lines. Following the text of the first hymn, only the title and page number, set off by dashed lines, of the second hymn are given. (Hicks, Mormonism and Music, 35–38; Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 14 Nov. 1832; Song, 27 Feb. 1833, in Revelation Book 2, p. 48; for other instances of singing in tongues, see Walter Scott, “Mormon Bible—No. V,” Evangelist, 1 June 1841, 134; and “Elizabeth Ann Whitney,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1882, 10:153–154.)  


High in the Heavins the throne of God is set
His Eye extends abroad oer all his works
He knows the inmost thoughts of all his hand hath made
Yea Earth, and the foundations which his power hath laid
All things are swallowed up in him
He comprehends all things, encircles all things round about [p. 55]
as general agents to wind up the business of the society so long as necessity shall  require, and said Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

View Full Bio
may sell out his goods now on hand, but is to make  no new importations. The Star is not again to be published nor a press  set up by any of the Society in this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
.29

Missourian Alexander Majors recalled much later that the Star “was very distasteful to the members and leaders of other religious denominations.” (Ingraham, Alexander Majors’ Memoirs, 44.)  


If the Said Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

View Full Bio
& W W Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
move their families  by the first of January as aforesaid that they themselves will be allowed to go and  come in order to transact and wind up their business.
The Committee pledge themselves to use all their  influence to prevent any violence being used so long as a compliance with  the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned.
The resolutions adopted on Saturday the 20th30

TEXT: “th” is double underlined.  


I have not yet recieved  but I think I can by applying to Mr Allen.31

Possibly James Allen, who, in Edward Partridge’s copy of the manifesto, was listed as a witness to the creation of the document. According to a petition that church leaders sent to Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin, about four to five hundred people met at the courthouse in Independence on 20 July 1833 to draft the following resolutions: “1. That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county. 2. That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice. 3. That the editor of the ‘Star’ be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same. 4. That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisitions. 5. That those who fail to comply with these requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them.” This group then resolved to destroy the Mormons’ printing establishment, which they did; they also engaged in other forms of mob violence. (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114; “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3].)  


Nothing in particular has transpired has transpired since you left here  save the gifts are breaking forth in a marvellous manner. I want you to remember  me to Joseph in a special manner, and enquire of him respecting my clerkship32

“My clerkship” probably refers to John Whitmer’s appointment in 1831 “to Keep the Church Record & History continually.” In what may have been a response to Whitmer’s request here, Cowdery later instructed him on keeping the names of church members “upon the church Record,” especially emphasizing when to record the names of children. (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:3]; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, Missouri, 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 14; see also Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)  


 you very well know what I mean & also my great desire of doing all things accor ding to the mind of the Lord, We need the prayers of all the disciples of our Redeemer  for it is a time of great anxiety to behold the cleansing of this Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
& also the  land from wickedness & abominations. We are waiting with inexpressible  anxiety to hear the word of the Lord concerning Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
, O that God may speed  your journey & bring us intelligence which will be as balm to the wounded  bosom, or as a smile of the Redeemer to a soul in distress,33 my heart is full  and I say O my God will thou not deliver, yea wilt thou not come down that  the mountains may flow down at thy presence &c—34

See Isaiah 64:1.  


I am your unworthy  brother in the Lord.
John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
 &  Joseph Smith Junr &c
35

At this point in the letter, William W. Phelps began writing a lengthy postscript.  


In our present situation I have nothing to write, I wait  for the word of the Lord: For his will and not ours will be done, we have many  beautiful Hymns sung in tongues: I transcribe a couple sung by Wilber.36

It is not certain whether “Wilber” is the singer’s first or last name. Singing, as well as speaking, in tongues was not uncommon in the early church. Zebedee Coltrin, for instance, noted in his diary that at a midweek prayer meeting in November 1832, he saw “Joseph Smith and heard him Speak with Tongues and Sing in Tongues also.” On another occasion, the full text of a hymn “sang by the gift of Tongues & Translated” was recorded in Revelation Book 2. The first of the two hymns is transcribed in the following lines. Following the text of the first hymn, only the title and page number, set off by dashed lines, of the second hymn are given. (Hicks, Mormonism and Music, 35–38; Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 14 Nov. 1832; Song, 27 Feb. 1833, in Revelation Book 2, p. 48; for other instances of singing in tongues, see Walter Scott, “Mormon Bible—No. V,” Evangelist, 1 June 1841, 134; and “Elizabeth Ann Whitney,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1882, 10:153–154.)  


High in the Heavins the throne of God is set
His Eye extends abroad oer all his works
He knows the inmost thoughts of all his hand hath made
Yea Earth, and the foundations which his power hath laid
All things are swallowed up in him
He comprehends all things, encircles all things round about [p. 55]
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In this 29 July 1833 letter, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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and William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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provided details about events unfolding in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, to church leaders in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio. In the July 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, William W. Phelps published an editorial titled “Free People of Color,” which warned free black members of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
about the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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state laws that prohibited free blacks from coming to or settling in the state “under any pretext whatever.” Phelps further stated, “So long as we have no special rule in the church, as to people of color, let prudence guide; and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: Shun every appearance of evil.”1

“Free People of Color,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 109.  


In the same issue of the Star, a letter to all of the branches

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

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of the Church of Christ reiterated the need to shun the appearance of evil and added, “As to slaves we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks, in Africa.”2

“The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 111.  


These articles angered many Jackson County citizens who saw Phelps’s words as an invitation for free blacks to come surreptitiously and settle in Missouri, even though Phelps later claimed to have said the opposite. On 16 July 1833, Phelps issued an extra of the Star in which he attempted to mitigate the misunderstanding of his earlier article. He wrote:
We often lament the situation of our sister states in the south, and we fear, lest, as has been the case, the blacks should rise and spill innocent blood: for they are ignorant, and a little may lead them to disturb the peace of society. To be short, we are opposed to have free people of color admitted into the state; and we say, that none will be admitted into the church, for we are determined to obey the laws and constitutions of our country, that we may have that protection which the sons of liberty inherit from the legacy of Washington, through the favorable auspices of a Jefferson, and Jackson.3

The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, 16 July 1833, [1].  


The extra apparently did nothing to calm the church’s opponents.
By 18 July 1833, non-Mormon residents of Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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circulated a document enumerating their grievances against members of the Church of Christ and stating their determination to eliminate them from the county by purchasing their properties or by “such means as may be sufficient to remove them.” Signed by some three hundred residents of Jackson County, the document, known later among members of the church as the “manifesto,” also called for a meeting to be held on 20 July to further discuss the perceived problems with the Mormons and how to remove the church members from the county. At the meeting, the assembled Missourians adopted resolutions listing specific actions to be taken against the Mormons and appointed a committee to present their agreed-upon demands to a group of church leaders. The committee presented their ultimatum that same day and gave church leaders only fifteen minutes to reply. The Mormons refused to comply, after which the committee returned to the courthouse

Independence became county seat for Jackson Co., 29 Mar. 1827. First courthouse, single-story log structure located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, completed, Aug. 1828. Second courthouse, two-story brick structure located at center...

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, where those who had gathered voted to demolish the Mormons’ print shop

JS revelations, dated 20 July and 1 Aug. 1831, directed establishment of LDS church’s first printing office in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated by Bishop Edward Partridge, 29 May 1832. Located on Lot 76, on Liberty Street just south of courthouse square....

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. After destroying the shop, they tarred and feathered Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and Charles Allen

26 Dec. 1806–after 1870. Farmer, auctioneer. Born in Somerset Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Charles Allen and Mary. Married first Eliza Tibbits, ca. 1832. Baptized into LDS church. Moved to Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri. Tarred and feathered during mob ...

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and gave notice that they would return on 23 July.4

“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114; Corrill, Brief History, 19; Whitmer, History, 42–44; [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:17–18.  


Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and other church leaders reported that on 23 July, “the mob again assembled to the number of about 500 . . . [and] proceeded to take some of the leading elders by force declaring it to be their intention to whip them from fifty to five hundred lashes apiece.” John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

View Full Bio
, Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, and Isaac Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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“offered themselves as a ransom [to the mob] for the church, willing to be scourged or die, if that will appease their anger toward the church,” but the mob declared that all church members must leave or die.5

“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114.  


The confrontation on 23 July 1833 led to the creation of another document, known as the “memorandum of the agreement.” In the agreement Mormon leaders pledged that most of the leaders of the church and half of the members would leave the county by the first of January 1834 and the remainder would leave by the first of April 1834.
Probably in the day or two after the 23 July agreement, Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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left Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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to inform JS and other church leaders in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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of these developments. After arriving at Walnut Farm in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, probably a two-day journey, Cowdery wrote back to Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Missouri, requesting an update on events there and copies of the manifesto and memorandum of agreement. When Cowdery mailed the letter from Walnut Farm is unknown, but given normal mail conveyance time in that era, at least two days would have been required to transport the letter to Independence.6

Cowdery likely left Independence after the creation of the memorandum of agreement on 23 July but before 25 July. He likely did not leave before 23 July because had he been any appreciable distance from Independence on or shortly after 23 July, he probably would not have known of the memorandum’s creation. Further, a reminiscent account by William E. McLellin places Cowdery in Jackson County on 22 July. Cowdery likely left before 25 July because in the letter featured here, John Whitmer told Cowdery that on 25 July many “at the school received the gift of tongues”—something Cowdery would already have known about if he had been present at or near the school of the prophets at the time. (Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL; Schaefer, William E. McLellin’s Lost Manuscript, 166.)  


The Missouri church leaders therefore probably received Cowdery’s letter no earlier than 27 July 1833.
The letter featured here, which includes copies of the manifesto and of the Mormons’ agreement to leave the county, indicates that the church leaders in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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had received Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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’s letter and was written in response to his request. In the 29 July letter, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
, the principal author, provided an update on recent developments in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
while William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
added a note on both the anxiety and faithfulness of the Missouri church members. Phelps also included the text of two hymns that had recently been sung in Missouri. Though the body of the letter was largely directed to Cowdery, the postscript from Phelps appears to have been directed to JS. It is not known how or when this letter reached Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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. James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838/1839, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived...

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copied it into JS’s letterbook in late 1839. JS’s 18 August letter to Whitmer, Phelps, and the other church leaders in Jackson County demonstrates familiarity with the contents of this letter, although JS’s letter also references information that Cowdery reported to JS in person.7

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