Agreement with George W. Robinson and Sidney Rigdon, 26 August 1842
and , Agreement, with JS as trustee-in-trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, [, Hancock Co., IL], 26 Aug. 1842; handwriting of ; signatures of and ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket.
Bifolium measuring 9½ × 7⅞ inches (24 × 20 cm). First leaf ruled with thirty blue horizontal lines (now faded). A faint embossed oval is located on the upper left corner of the recto of the first leaf. Only the first page of the bifolium was inscribed. The document was horizontally folded twice for filing.
The agreement was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as temple recorder from 1842 to 1846. It was likely filed in JS’s Nauvoo office by Clayton. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The early docket and later inclusion in the JS Collection suggest continuous institutional custody.
JS, Journal, 29 June 1842; “Clayton, William,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:718; Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 18, 30–31.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 26 August 1842, JS formalized an agreement with and , Rigdon’s son-in-law, that documented JS’s payment to Robinson for a promissory note Robinson held against him. The circumstances surrounding the creation of Robinson’s promissory note are unclear. The last extant transaction between JS and Robinson occurred in August 1841, when JS sold him land in , Illinois. While JS and Robinson appear to have had no additional transactions after August 1841, the 1842 agreement featured here may have had something to do with a land purchase that first took place three years earlier.
In fall 1839, had apparently tried to sell a particular section of land to and then, in a separate transaction, to . Robinson later claimed that Granger had failed to fulfill the terms of their initial transaction, thus allowing Robinson to sell the land to Eldredge. When Robinson took the case to the mayor’s court in late 1841, the jury found no cause of action and Mayor ruled that Granger could retain ownership of the land. Robinson appealed the case, but before the appeal was heard he apparently reached an agreement with JS, , and that gave Granger the title for the land. The documentation for the settlement is apparently no longer extant, but an April 1843 letter from Robinson to JS suggests that the terms of the agreement included the three men signing a bond and promising the payment of an unspecified amount to Robinson in exchange for the title to the land. Given the lack of other transactions between the two men in 1842, the $500 JS paid in the 26 August 1842 agreement featured here may be part of the payment to Robinson agreed to in the settlement.
The 26 August 1842 agreement recorded that JS provided with personal property—horses, harnesses, and a wagon—valued at $500 in exchange for the promissory note. The agreement further stipulated that if the note were included with the debts JS had listed in his application for bankruptcy, Robinson and would return the property JS had provided and the note would be returned to them. Through this stipulation, Robinson and Rigdon would be paid at the conclusion of the bankruptcy proceedings, as part of the settlement of JS’s debts, and JS would recover the personal property he had given them.
The agreement was drawn up at a time of tense relations between JS, , and . In one of a series of letters to the editor of the Sangamo Journal, had alleged that JS had proposed marriage to , Sidney Rigdon’s daughter. The accusations and denials regarding such a proposal were deeply upsetting to the Rigdon family. Robinson, and possibly other family members, had sided with Bennett and appeared to believe his accusations against JS. By July, Robinson had withdrawn from the over the conflict, and in late August he may have been attempting to settle his affairs in so he could relocate elsewhere.
drafted the agreement on 26 August 1842, and and likely signed it the same day, presumably in . The agreement was then filed in JS’s Nauvoo office. By early September 1842, Robinson had moved to , Illinois. Despite lingering tension, Rigdon appears to have resolved some of his differences with JS by late August, when he publicly expressed his loyalty to JS and the church.
During a Sunday worship service on 21 August 1842, Rigdon spoke to a congregation of Latter-day Saints and related how his daughter Elizabeth, who was deathly ill, had advised Rigdon to “be faithful in the cause” and warned other family members against denying their faith. Rigdon also “bore testimony to the truth of the work” to the congregation and denied the allegation that he had called JS a fallen prophet. (JS, Journal, 21 Aug. 1842.)
This article of agreement made and entered into this Twenty sixth day of August in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty two between and both of the County of and State of of the first part and Joseph Smith Sole Trustee in Trust for the of the second part Witnesseth, that the said party of the second part hath this day paid over to said the following personal property To Wit one span of Horses, Harness and Large Waggon value $350. and 1 Horse value $150— on payment for of a note which said holds against said Joseph Smith and which is given up to said Smith for and in consideration of the above property Provided, however, that if it shall be ascertained that said Note is invoiced in the schedule of property in hands of the assi[g]nee for Bankrupt Cases then and in that case said parties <of the first part> hereby bind themselves to give up the aforesaid personal property to said party of the second part and they in return shall receive back said note and for the performance of this obligation We hereby bind ourselves our heirs and assigns in the sum of one thousand dollars. Given under our hands this 26th day of August A.D. 1842
Joel Catlin had been appointed the assignee for Hancock County bankruptcy proceedings. In this position, he would have been given control of the assets for those individuals whose bankruptcy petitions were approved. He would then sell these assets to raise the funds to pay the bankrupt individual’s creditors. (See Letter from Calvin A. Warren, ca. 23 June 1842.)