Aldrich & Chittenden, Letter, , Adams Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 28 July 1842; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 12⅛ × 7⅝ inches (31 × 19 cm), ruled with thirty-six blue lines (now faded). The letter was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. When the letter was opened, it tore a hole in the second leaf. The recto of the second page contains remnants of the wafer. The letter was later folded for filing.
, who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844, docketed the document. It was also docketed by , who was a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859. The document was listed in inventories that were produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets, circa 1904 inventories, and inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
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.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 28 July 1842, attorney wrote from , Illinois, to JS in , Illinois, on behalf of two men identified only by their surnames—“Aldrich & Chittenden.” The letter advised JS regarding recent efforts to extradite him to , as well as the prospect of a mob attack in Nauvoo. The authors wrote in response to a letter from JS, dated 24 July—which is not known to be extant—wherein JS apparently asked Aldrich and Chittenden for advice. Although the assignation “Aldrich & Chittenden” and the content of the letter suggest that the writers were part of a firm or partnership, extant records fail to confirm the existence of such an entity in or around Quincy during the early 1840s.
Although the identities of the authors are uncertain, circumstantial evidence suggests some possibilities. Aldrich may have been of , Illinois, who with and others had negotiated with JS in 1841 about the potential of a Latter-day Saint settlement in Warsaw. The arrangement failed to materialize, creating financial difficulties for Aldrich. Those difficulties came to a head in March 1842 when he, like many other residents of —including JS and other residents—filed for bankruptcy with the help of Ralston, Warren & Wheat, a law firm in which Warren was a partner. During the summer, notices of Aldrich’s intention to petition for bankruptcy were printed along with notices for JS and other Nauvoo residents. Aside from these direct and indirect connections between JS and Aldrich, Nauvoo citizens nominated Aldrich for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives in June. Chittenden may have been Abram I. Chittenden or, alternatively, one of the five sons of Abram I. and Deborah Fowler Chittenden, who were early settlers of Warsaw. Of these individuals, William Chittenden is the most likely candidate. In February 1842, he married Helen Aldrich, who appears to have been the daughter of Mark Aldrich.
It is unclear what business Aldrich and Chittenden had in in late July 1842. It appears that they, along with , were aware of and perhaps present at a meeting governor held on 26 July with , , and Amanda Barnes Smith, at which these women presented a petition from the seeking protection for JS and residents. On that same occasion, delivered one or more similar petitions, along with a letter from JS.
In the letter featured here, Aldrich and Chittenden predicted that governor ’s request to extradite JS would not succeed. On the issue of mob violence, they indicated that citizens should feel justified in protecting themselves, if necessary. Apparently in response to JS’s request to have visit him, they also informed JS that he would do so as soon as his health allowed.
As indicated by the addressing, this letter was delivered to JS in by his wife . JS likely received the letter on 29 July, when Emma returned home from her short trip to . No response from JS is extant or otherwise known.
Bankruptcy General Records (Act of 1841), 1842–1845. 7 vols. In Records of the U.S. District Courts, Southern District of Illinois, Southern Division (Springfield, IL), 1819–1977. National Archives—Great Lakes Region, Chicago.
See, for example, Bankruptcy Notice for Mark Aldrich, Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 1 July 1842, ; and Bankruptcy Notice for Mark Aldrich, Sangamo Journal, Extra, 29 July 1842, . These petitions were published in compliance with federal legal requirements for those applying for bankruptcy. (An Act to Establish a Uniform System of Bankruptcy [19 Aug. 1841], Public Statutes at Large, 27th Cong., 1st Sess., chap. 9, p. 446, sec. 7.)
Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.
The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845. . . . Edited by Richard Peters. 8 vols. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1846–1867.
Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois, 659; Aldrich Family Genealogy, , microfilm 960,046, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL. Although William Chittenden does not appear to have filed for bankruptcy in 1842, Warren’s law firm published notices for his brothers George and Edward Chittenden. (Bankruptcy Notice for George Chittenden, Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 1 July 1842, ; Bankruptcy Notice for Edward Chittenden, Sangamo Journal, 22 July 1842, .)
Gregg, Thomas. History of Hancock County, Illinois, Together with an Outline History of the State, and a Digest of State Laws. Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1880.
Derr, Jill Mulvay, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds. The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016.
Dear Sir; Your letter of the 24th inst by , came to hand yesterday— It has afforded us an opportunity to treat with curtesy the bearer and his Suite, which we embraced with real Satisfaction to ourselves—
The object of the visit of & her fair Companions would have been accomplished, if it had been even doubly delicate & difficult. They were in earnest, favorably received, attentively heard, and kindly dismissed at their audience with the — One disclosure made by the on this occasion, is conclusive on the exciting subject of a demand by the of — that is this— a has been entered in the Cases of Indictment against yourself & associates in — the effect of which is to place you beyond the power of executive influence on either side the , in those old cases— the murder is the only remaining point of difficulty, & interests every other man, so far as any evidenced as yet disclosed can determine, as much as yourself. A certificate from the of the Circuit Court, showing the attendance of as a Juror during the May term of said Court, will we think set this difficulty at rest also. The here has promised us to write to the of and transmit this evidence to counteract any effect which ’s array of proofs, might be calculated to produce—
Now as to the authority and disposition of , to delegate the power of resistance to and protection [p. ]
Among the definitions for Suite or Suit in Webster’s 1841 dictionary is “a company or number of attendants or followers.” In this case, the “Suite” referred to included Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow, and Amanda Barnes Smith, who had traveled to Quincy to meet with Governor Carlin. (“Suit” and “Suite,” in American Dictionary , 807, 808.)
An American Dictionary of the English Language; First Edition in Octavo, Containing the Whole Vocabulary of the Quarto, with Corrections, Improvements and Several Thousand Additional Words. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. 2nd ed. 2 vols. New Haven: By the author, 1841.
According to Eliza R. Snow, Carlin received them “with cordiality, and as much affability and politeness as his Excellency is master of, assuring us of his protection, by saying that the laws and Constitution of our country shall be his polar star in case of any difficulty.” (Eliza R. Snow, Journal, 29 July 1842.)
A judgment to not prosecute in a criminal case. (See “Judgment of Nolle Prosequi,” in Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 1:551.)
Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of the Several States of the American Union; With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Deacon and Peterson, 1854.
In late 1838, JS was incarcerated in Missouri on charges of treason, burglary, arson, and robbery. He was indicted in early 1839 but escaped custody before he could be tried for these alleged crimes. In June 1841, Thomas King, deputy sheriff of Adams County, arrested JS in response to Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs’s attempt to extradite him to Missouri to stand trial for the earlier charges, but he was discharged soon after. (Transcript of Proceedings, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes [Mo. 5th Jud. Cir. 1838], in State of Missouri, “Evidence,” ; Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839; “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447–449; JS History, vol. C-1, 1205.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Boggs had been shot and wounded in an assassination attempt on 6 May 1842, but he survived. (“A Foul Deed,” Daily Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 12 May 1842, ; “Governor Boggs,” Jeffersonian Republican [Jefferson City, MO], 14 May 1842, .)
Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.
Jeffersonian Republican. Jefferson City, MO. 1831–1844.
No such letter from Carlin to Reynolds is known. Carlin proceeded to grant Reynolds’s request for JS’s extradition. By 28 July, the Sangamo Journal had published four letters from Bennett; in his fourth letter to the editor, he alleged that Orrin Porter Rockwell shot former Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs at JS’s direction. (JS, Journal, 8 Aug. 1842; John C. Bennett, St. Louis, MO, 15 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 22 July 1842, .)