JS, , and , Bond for property in , Hancock Co., IL, to , 1 Nov. 1839; printed form with manuscript additions in the handwriting of ; one page; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival markings.
One leaf, measuring 11¾ × 7⅜ inches (30 × 19 cm). The document was folded for filing and has a docket written by in the upper left-hand corner of the verso: “Hotchkiss purchase | Bond of—— | Lot No—— 4— Block 63 | To John L Butler”.
The bond may have been submitted as a freewill offering or tithing to . The document, along with many other personal and institutional documents kept by Whitney, was inherited by his daughter Mary Jane Whitney, who married Isaac Groo. This collection was passed down in the Groo family and donated by members of the family to the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University between 1969 and 1974.
Andrus et al., Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906, 5–6.
Andrus, Hyrum L., and Chris Fuller, comp. Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers. Provo, UT: Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, 1978.
The documents featured here, dated 1 November 1839, typify many of the land transactions with which JS was involved around this time. JS, , and —the members of the —sold a single lot of land near , Illinois, to member . Several months prior, in early summer 1839, church leaders had purchased extensive tracts of land in , Illinois, and across the in , Iowa Territory. The leaders then sold some of the land to church members, including Butler, who were arriving in the area.
The lot purchased was lot 4 on block 63, on the northwest corner of Cutler and Page streets identified in a plat filed two months earlier with the county recorder’s office. This portion of what later became the city of Nauvoo had been purchased from , , and over two months earlier. Butler subsequently lived on the land and is listed as residing there on later tax assessments.
The First Presidency bonded themselves to give Butler a deed for the land if he paid for it on time. The bond featured here specifies that the $350 for the land was due in four installments of $87.50, plus interest, to be paid on 1 November of 1844, 1846, 1848, and 1850. On 1 November 1839, Butler signed four promissory notes, written by , for these payments. The note featured here is for the 1 November 1844 payment. Butler also signed a fifth note to indicate his promise to pay on demand $21, being one year’s interest, due on 1 November 1840.
Like many others between the First Presidency and various individuals, this land transaction was dated 1 November 1839, but the agreement was likely concluded sometime during October, before JS and departed on 29 October 1839 for their trip to . The documents may have been dated the first day of the following month to simplify the payment schedule. At some point, both the bond and promissory notes came into the possession of , one of the in .
The purchase price of $350 was on the lower end of the $200–$800 range prescribed for lots in Nauvoo by the Nauvoo high council only a week and a half before the date of this transaction. This price suggests that the property contained no existing structures. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 21 Oct. 1839, 26; see also “List of Property in the City of Nauvoo,” 1841, Nauvoo block 63, lot 4; and “Alphabetical List of Property in the 2d Ward,” 1843, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.
Illinois law required that all conveyances of real property be recorded by the recorder’s office in the county where the land in question lay within one year of the execution of the bond or other transferring document. However, as with many land transfers during the initial immigration of Saints to Hancock County in summer 1839, this sale of Nauvoo block 63, lot 4, to Butler does not appear to have been filed at the county recorder’s office. (An Act concerning Conveyances of Real Property [31 Jan. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 152–153, sec. 15; see also, for example, relevant Hancock County deed books, Hancock County Recorder’s Office, Carthage, IL.)
The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.
Hancock Co., IL. Deed Records, 1817–1917. Hancock County Clerk’s and Recorder’s Office, Carthage, IL.
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That We Joseph Smith Jr & of the county of and State of are held and firmly bound unto of the county of —— and State of his heirs and assigns in the sum of Seven hundred dollars for the payment of which well and truly to be made we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, firmly by these presents.
NOW THE CONDITION OF THE ABOVE OBLIGATION IS SUCH, that whereas, the said Joseph Smith Jr & have this day sold unto the said a certain lot of ground situated, lying and being in the county of and State of , and described on the plat of the Town of as being Lot No. four in Block No. Sixty three— 63— and received in payment for said lot four notes of hand bearing even date herewith, for the sum of three hundred & fifty— $350— 100/00 dollars, and payable as follows.
The first for $87.100/50 Payable November 1st 1844 & interest
The second for $87.100/50 payable November 1st 1846 & interest
The third for $87.100/50 payable November 1st 1848 & interest
The fourth for $87.100/50 payable November 1st 1850 & interest
Making in all the aforesaid three hundred and fifty dollars it being the full sum & price for said lot
with <The> interest for each and every note to be paid annually. On the first of November
Now if the said his heirs, executors, or administrators shall well and truly pay or cause to be paid, the amount of said note with such interest as may accrue thereon, according to the tenor and effect thereof, when due, We the said Joseph Smith Jr & bind ourselves our heirs, executors and administrators, to make or cause to be made, a good and sufficient Deed for the above described lot Twenty Years from the date hereof—— and then this Bond to become null and void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and virtue.
Given under our hands and seals this first—— day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Thirty nine