JS and , Deed for property in , Susquehanna Co., PA, to , 28 June 1833; handwriting of ; signatures of JS and ; witnessed by and Urania Lucretia Conant Morley; certification in handwriting of ; additional certifications in handwriting of Daniel Kerr and ; recorder’s entry in handwriting of Secku Meylert; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket and seals.
Bifolium measuring 12⅜ × 8 inches (31 × 20 cm). The document was folded in sixths for filing. A docket on the recto of the second leaf in unidentified handwriting reads: “Deed | Joseph Smith | to | ”. A wax remnant, likely where a seal was attached, follows JS’s signature; a similar wax remnant follows ’s signature. A handwritten seal follows ’s certification. Accompanying ’s certification is an embossed seal that contains an image of the rising sun over mountains or clouds and a sheaf of wheat encircled with the words “COMMON PLEAS OF THE ”. Accompanying the recorder’s entry is an embossed seal that features an image of a yoke with “” encircled by the partially legible words “RECORDER’S SEAL SU[SQ]UE[HANNA COUNTY]”. Several pinholes appear in the corners where the document was pinned after being folded.
This document was originally created for JS and ; it was then likely sent to , after which it was returned to JS to be certified by a justice of the peace in , Ohio, before it was again sent to . The deed remained with the McKune family until it was sold to Mormon collector Wilford C. Wood in the mid-twentieth century, soon after which he donated it to the LDS church, perhaps as early as 1948.
[Wilford C. Wood], Note Regarding McKune Family; Mrs. Hilton M. Le Couver, Binghamton, NY, to Wilford C. Wood, 28 Apr. 1947; Wilford C. Wood, Woods Cross, UT, to George Albert Smith et al., Salt Lake City, 17 Dec. 1948, microfilm, Wilford C. Wood, Collection of Church Historical Materials, CHL.
Wilford C. Wood Collection of Church Historical Materials. Microfilm. CHL. MS 8617.
Wood, Wilford C. Collection of Church Historical Materials. Microfilm. CHL. MS 8617.
This deed transferred ownership of JS and ’s thirteen-and-a-half-acre farm in , Pennsylvania, to JS originally moved to the Harmony farm in November or December 1827 and later purchased it from his father-in-law, , on 6 April 1829. JS agreed to pay $114 of the $200 purchase price by 1 May 1829 and the remaining balance by 1 May 1830. He made a down payment of $64 on the day the agreement was signed and another payment of $50 three weeks later, thereby meeting the first payment deadline. However, JS missed the second payment deadline, which apparently resulted in the addition of an interest penalty of an undisclosed amount to the final sale. On 25 August 1830, JS paid the remaining balance in full and Isaac Hale signed the deed to the property over to JS. and the justice of the peace, , notarized the deed on 25 August 1830, and signed over her dowry rights on 26 August 1830.
JS moved to , New York, in late summer 1830, and by late January 1831 he and had moved to , Ohio. According to local tax records, Allen Treadwell apparently rented their property in , but by June 1833 JS and Emma sold their Harmony property for $300 to , whose father owned the property directly east of JS’s farm. On 28 June 1833, JS and Emma Smith had this deed drawn up. It was notarized on 3 July 1833 by , the justice of the peace in Kirtland, and by a second witness, Urania Lucretia Conant Morley, and then was apparently sent to . On 17 December 1834, however, it was certified again in by Daniel Kerr, an associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas, to adhere to a Pennsylvania law that required the deed to be acknowledged by the grantor or a witness to the deed before “one of the judges of the supreme court or before one of the justices of the court of common pleas of the county,” which Alpheus Russell was not. On 29 December 1834, , the clerk of the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, recorded and certified the deed and stamped it with the county’s embossed seal. Soon thereafter the deed was sent back to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. There, Secku Meylert, the deputy of county recorder Christopher L. Ward, copied it into the county “Deed Book No 9” and stamped the deed with the county embossment seal. The county charged McKune $1.81 for taxes and fees associated with the filing.
See Agreement with Isaac Hale, 6 Apr. 1829; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 5; and Knight, Reminiscences, 3; see also Susquehanna Co., PA, Tax Assessment Records, 1813–1865, Harmony Township, PA, Tax Record for 1828, p. ; Tax Record for 1829, p. ; Tax Record for 1830, p. ; Tax Record for 1831, p. , microfilm 1,927,832, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.
Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 3470.
Deed from Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830. It is unclear how JS obtained the final eighty-six dollars that he paid Hale for the property. He may have earned the money by farming, or he may have acquired the money from sales of copies of the Book of Mormon. It is also possible that he borrowed the money from a local resident or member of the fledgling church. Also on 26 August 1830, JS arranged payment for a debt he owed to a local merchant, George H. Noble. Through Jesse Lane, the same justice of the peace who certified Elizabeth Hale’s agreement of her husband’s sale of the land to JS on 26 August, JS placed a lien on his property to extend the deadline for the debt that he owed Noble. On the same day, knowing that JS could not pay him the $190.95 owed him, Noble filed an “amicable” agreement, which required JS to use his land as collateral to guarantee that he would eventually pay his debt to Noble. Since all of this business was transacted on the same day, it is possible that Hale originally owed Noble eighty-six dollars and that JS assumed that debt to cover the final payment he owed Hale for the farm. JS settled his debts with Noble by 3 June 1831. (Transcript of Judgment, 26 Aug. 1830, George H. Noble & Co. v. JS [Susquehanna Co. C.P., 1830]; George H. Noble & Co. to Levi Westfall, Power of Attorney, 3 June 1831; Susquehanna Co., PA, Court of Common Pleas, Docket Book, vol. 6, p. 455, 29 Nov. 1830, Susquehanna County Prothonotary Office, Susquehanna County Courthouse, Montrose, PA.)
Transcript of Judgment, 26 Aug. 1830. George H. Noble & Co. v. Joseph Smith (Susquehanna Co. C.P. 1830). Susquehanna County Historical Society, Montrose, PA.
Susquehanna County, PA, Court of Common Pleas. Docket Book. Vol. 6. Susquehanna County Prothonotary Office, Susquehanna County Courthouse, Montrose, PA.
The 1833 tax record states that Allen Treadwell had paid the tax for the property the previous year, and the 1832 record indicates that Treadwell paid taxes on the same size of property in 1832 that JS had paid in 1831. Allen Treadwell may have been a relative of Samuel Treadwell, who owned a large piece of property to the west of the Hale farm. (Susquehanna Co., PA, Tax Assessment Records, 1813–1865, Harmony Township, PA, Tax Record for 1831, p. ; Tax Record for 1832, p. ; Tax Record for 1833, p. , microfilm 1,927,832, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
This Indenture made the Twenty Eighth day of Aug June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three— Between Joseph Smith Junr. and his wife, of the Township of County of Geauga & State of Ohio of the first part, and of the second part of the Township of County of Susquehanna and State of Pennsylvania— Witnesseth, that the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred Dollars to them in hand paid by the said party of the second part, at and before the ensealing and delivery hereof, the receipt and payment whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted bargained sold, aliened, enfeoffed, released, conveyed and confirmed and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, release, convey and confirm unto the said party of the second part, and to his heirs and assigns all that certain piece or parcel of Land situate and lying in the Township of and County of Susquehanna and State of Pa— and being a part of a Lot of land in the warrantee name of George Ruper, and a part of the farm on which the said now resides, Butted and bounded as follows Beginning at a post on the North bank of the susquehannah <River> Thence North half a degree West one hundred and Eleven perches to a post, Thence North eighty nine and a half degrees East twenty perches to a Post. thence South half a degree East one hundred and nineteen Perches to a sugar Maple tree on the bank of said River, thence down the said River as it winds & turns to the place of Beginning, Containing in the whole thirteen acres & Eighty Perches be the same more or less— Bounded on the East by Lands owned by Joseph Mc,Kune & on the North and west by Lands of Together, with all and singular the houses, out-houses, [p. ]
The land JS was selling to McKune. JS’s farm was originally part of a 381¾-acre parcel warranted to George Ruper on 4 April 1785. (Warrantee Township Map, Oakland Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, 28 Jan. 1976, Land Office Map Collection, Records of the Land Office, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA.)
Warrantee Township Map, Oakland Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, 28 Jan. 1976. Land Office Map Collection, 1860–. Records of the Land Office. Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA. Digital image on Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-17 Records of the Land Office, Warrantee Township Maps (series #17.522). Accessed 10 Sept. 2013. http:// www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-522WarranteeTwpMaps/r017Map- 309SusquehannaOaklandWeb.pdf.
Archeological surveys suggest that the house was a small frame structure, measuring twenty-five by twenty feet, and included a six-foot-deep rocked cellar. (Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc., “Archeological Field Investigations . . . Joseph Smith, Jr. House Site,” 13, 38.)
Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc. “Archeological Field Investigations and Addenda 1 and 2; Joseph Smith, Jr. House Site, Town of Oakland, (Formerly Harmony), Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania; HAA #3072, #3367 and #3402, Collection #1367.” Archaeological report submitted to Crawford and Stearns, Syracuse, NY, on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 2005. Copy in editors’ possession.