Agreement with Ovid Pinney and Stephen Phillips, 14 March 1837
, agent, on behalf of JS and , Agreement, with Ovid Pinney and Stephen Phillips, possibly Beaver Co., PA, 14 Mar. 1837; handwriting of A. B. Hull; signatures of , Ovid Pinney, and Stephen Phillips; witnessed by A. B. Hull and James McConnel; two pages; JS Office Papers, CHL. Includes docket.
Single bifolium, measuring 12¼ × 7½ inches (31 × 19 cm) when folded. The bifolium is ruled with thirty-eight horizontal, blue lines, nearly faded. After inscription, the agreement was ordered so the docket and second page were the exterior folio leaves. The document was then folded in a parallel fold twice and was docketed. Marked soiling is present on the page containing the docket.
The provenance of this document is unknown; however, given the pattern of extant Kirtland-era documents in possession of the Church History Library, this document was probably bundled and stored with other loose Kirtland financial material and was likely in continuous institutional custody.
On 14 March 1837, , acting as an agent for officers JS and , signed the agreement featured here with businessmen Ovid Pinney and Stephen Phillips and their agents A. B. Hull and James McConnel. The agreement outlined Pinney and Phillips’s commitment to circulate the notes of the society in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
This agreement was one of several contracts the officers and managers of the Kirtland Safety Society made with their appointed agents between January and March 1837 to expand the reach of the institution and find financial support outside of the , Ohio, area. On 8 March, a week earlier, J. W. Briggs, a merchant from , Ohio, signed an agreement to act as an agent for the society in Painesville. Unlike the January agreement with David Cartter and the agreement featured here, both of which involved tens of thousands of dollars in Kirtland Safety Society notes, Briggs was given only one thousand dollars.
Compared to the earlier agreements, the arrangement with Pinney, Phillips, and their agents gave them significant autonomy, more time to circulate the society’s notes, and a larger amount of capital from which to base their loans. The Kirtland Safety Society committed to provide $40,000 in the society’s notes to Pinney and Phillips over the next four years. The independence given to Pinney and Phillips suggests a different role than agents had previously played in the circulation of the society’s notes. Additionally, they were required to mark the Kirtland Safety Society notes given to them with their names and to deposit money with the society to redeem those notes.
The arrangement appears to have been at least partially successful: several extant notes bear the names of Pinney and his agent Hull, suggesting that the notes held by the businessmen were put into circulation for a time, thereby extending the society’s access to western Pennsylvania and eastern . No further records of transactions between Pinney and Phillips and the Kirtland Safety Society exist. The closure of the society by August 1837 ended this arrangement long before the four-year period outlined in the contract was over.
Both Ovid Pinney and Stephen Phillips are described as capitalists in a history of Beaver County. After moving to Pennsylvania, Pinney had purchased land and tried to create a new town in Beaver County. He was also involved in efforts to establish the Conneaut Railroad, intended to connect Pennsylvania and Ohio, beginning in 1835. Phillips, a carpenter who was a partner in a steamboat-building firm, helped found the town of Freedom, Pennsylvania, in 1832. (Patterson, “Beaver County,” 359–360.)
Patterson, James. “Beaver County.” In An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Civil Political, and Military, from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, including Historical Descriptions of Each County in the State, Their Towns, and Industrial Resources, by William H. Egle, 340–360. Harrisburg, PA: De Witt C. Goodrich, 1876.
Article of an Agreement Made and entered into this Fourteenth day of March in the Year of our Lord one Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven between Joseph Smith Jr. Cashier of the or Kirkland Safety Society Anti Banking and President of the same—— by their Agent of the Town of County of Geauga—— and State of ohio of the first party And Ovid Pinney & Stephen Phillips of the Township of New Seweekly [New Sewickley] County of Beaver and State of Pennsylvania of the Second part
That the partys of the first part for and in consideration hereafter mentioned hath and doth agree that they will furnish of the Bills of the Kirkland Safety Soeciety Bank or Anti Banking the Sum of—— Forty Thousand Dollars to the Second party and let them have the same and put them in circulation for four Years from this date— Ten Thousand Dollars they are to have on Signing this agreement—— Ten Thousand Dollars as soon as they can get the first in circulation or within two months or at any time when Calld. for, <and Twenty Thousand Dollars also when called for> The two last Sums are to be called for at the Banking House in . And the party of the first part do further agree that they will alwais redeem the same money at their office in the Township of County of— Geauga— and State of ohio Whenever offered and pay Current Money for the same and that we <they> will at all times take our <their> own notes as paymen[t] for any debts that Pinney & Phillips are bound to us <them> for the payment off. And we do further agree with the Second party that all money marked for them when redeemed at our office we will let them have it again for circulation.
The second party doth agree with the first party that they will take their Bills and try to put them in circulation and at the expiration of the four Years we bind ourselves to pay to the Said party of the first [p. ]