JS, Declaration, , Hancock Co., IL, 18 Jan. 1842; sealed by JS; certified by . Featured version copied 31 Jan. 1842 in Hancock County, IL, Plat Books, vol. 1, p. 27; unidentified handwriting; Hancock County Clerk’s Office, Carthage, IL; microfilm at Family History Library. The microfilm copy of the manuscript used for transcription was filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1974 at the Hancock County Courthouse in Carthage, IL.
The declaration was recorded in a volume of unknown physical dimensions. The microfilm certification (included in the film’s images) states that the entire volume was included in the film, with no pages omitted. Pagination terminates with page 95, and most of pages 1–94 are inscribed, with hand-drawn plats typically alternating with written descriptions of the surveyed areas. The binding was apparently later covered in white canvas, with “PLATT BOOK | 1 | HANCOCK COUNTY” stamped in ink on the spine.
Hancock County, IL, Plat Book 1, along with clerk and recorder Roscoe L. McDaniel’s certification of the record, was filmed on 19 February 1974 in the county clerk’s office in , Illinois. At some subsequent point the plat book went missing, and its present location is unknown.
Hancock Co., IL, Plat Books, 1836–1938, vol. 1, microfilm 954,774, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
On 18 January 1842 JS signed a declaration certifying that he had submitted an addition to the plat of , Illinois, “of his own free will and accord.” In September 1839, only a few months after the first began arriving in the area, JS, , , and submitted to a plat for Nauvoo. It did not include all the land the church purchased during summer 1839, as some of the land acquired from land speculators , , and had previously been surveyed and platted as and Commerce City. The costs associated with surveying and recording plats may have contributed to the initial determination that the earlier plats would suffice.
It is unclear why JS decided to resurvey the land and have a new plat—officially titled “Smith’s and ’s Addition to ”—entered with the county recorder’s office. One reason may have been to legally clarify the church’s land holdings in the northwest part of the Nauvoo peninsula. For instance, the portions of the previously platted that the church had purchased were not included in the original Nauvoo plat but were included in the addition. The new plat also corrected the survey of the original plat of Nauvoo. In fact, the addition introduced only fourteen new full or fractional blocks to the Nauvoo plat, while it redefined twenty-one blocks that were surveyed for the original plat.
JS decided by spring 1841 to create the new plat, and the addition was surveyed that June and July by surveyor . Approximately six months later, on 18 January 1842, JS signed the declaration—a requirement when submitting plats to the county for filing. On 29 January it was attested to by JS’s brother , a justice of the peace. The declaration was recorded in the first volume of the Hancock County plat book, at the recorder’s office in , on 31 January 1842. The plat of the addition, also acknowledged by Samuel Smith on 29 January, was recorded in the same volume by Williams on 22 April 1842.
Hancock Co., IL, Plat Books, 1836–1938, vol. 1, pp. 10–11, Commerce Plat, 24 May 1834; pp. 26–27, Commerce City Plat, 28 Apr. 1837; pp. 37–39, Nauvoo Plat, 3 Sept. 1839, microfilm 954,774, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Receipt from Wesley Williams, 5 Sept. 1839.
Illinois law stipulated that surveyors were entitled to twenty-five cents per lot surveyed and platted and that county recorders were entitled to four cents per lot recorded. (An Act Providing for the Recording of Town Plats [27 Feb. 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 678, sec. 10.)
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, Plat Books, 1836–1938, vol. 1, p. 51, “Joseph Smith’s Addition to Nauvoo,” 29 Jan. 1842, microfilm 954,774, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL. When recording the addition in the county plat book in April 1842, Hancock County surveyor John Williams explained, “All the Blocks in the foregoing addition to Nauvoo, not numbered progressively from 1 to 14 inclusive are all or a part of them included in the survey of the town of Nauvoo made by J. W. Brattle, in Sept. 1839. They were included in Smith’s Addition to Nauvoo because they were not laid out strictly conformable to the record of the s[ai]d town of Nauvoo, and also because the number of fractional lots would be smaller in Mr. J. Smith’s Addition to Nauvoo.”
Know all men by These presents that I, Joseph Smith of the County of and State of am seized, possessed of, and lawfully own a certain tract of Land in said Known by the name of “Smith &. ’s Addition to ”— as surveyed and plotted by June 29[th] and July 1st.— 1841. Said plat covering and representing the same piece of ground so far as it extends as is Represented by the plots of the City of , and the Town of , all of which is now inclosed within the general Boundaries & limits of the City of as Specified in the Charter of said . Now Know Ye, that I, Joseph Smith do declare that it is my intention to vacate & by these presents I do Vacate so much of said Town of , and also so much of said City of as is represented & set forth on the plat of “Messrs Smith & s addition to ,[”] as aforesaid to all intents and purposes as though the said Town of & City of as aforesaid had never been surveyed plotted and recorded.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal, at aforesaid this 18 day of January A. D. 1842.— Attest.
Joseph Smith L S
State of Illinois)
I, a Justice of the Peace of the City of , do certify that Joseph Smith, whose signature appears to the foregoing declaration and who is personally known to me to be the person who executed the same did acknowledge that he had executed the above instrument and declaration of his own free will and accord & for the purposes therein specified.
Given under my hand and seal at this 29th, day of January A. D. 1842.