, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, ca. 29 June 1842; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9⅜ × 7¾ inches (24 × 20 cm). The recto and verso of the first leaf and the recto of the second leaf are ruled with twenty-seven blue lines (now faded); the verso of the second leaf is unlined. The document was trifolded twice in letter style for transmission. It was later folded for filing. There is discoloration on the verso of the second leaf.
The document was docketed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859, and by an unidentified scribe. It was listed in an inventory that was 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 docket, listing in the circa 1904 inventory, and inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
In late June 1842, wrote from , Illinois, to JS, who was also in Nauvoo, about money LeBaron had loaned . LeBaron had joined the church in in 1836 and shortly thereafter moved to , Ohio. From there he moved with the majority of the Latter-day Saints to and then to , Illinois. He married Clarissa Bostwick in in 1841, and the two settled in Nauvoo.
In January 1840, loaned $1,000 to and received a promissory note for repayment. Granger died unexpectedly in August 1841, which left many matters of church business, including the repayment of LeBaron’s loan, unresolved. Impoverished and desiring to help fund the construction of the and , LeBaron wrote to JS, as of the church, seeking to recover the funds he had loaned the church through Granger. Aware of the cash-poor nature of the Nauvoo economy, LeBaron outlined in his letter several nonmonetary ways JS could repay him the $815 still owed on Granger’s promissory note. He proposed that JS could subtract the amount LeBaron still owed JS for a lot of land in Nauvoo. Since the land would then be paid in full, LeBaron asked JS to give him a deed for it. He further suggested that JS, acting for the church, repay the rest of the outstanding debt by making a donation to the Nauvoo temple in his name, giving him shares of stock in the , and forgiving the small debt he owed at JS’s Nauvoo .
appears to have misdated the letter 23 June and then corrected it to 29 June. The letter, which has no postal notations, was likely intended to be hand delivered to JS by an unidentified carrier. JS received the letter by 2 July, when he created and signed a deed for LeBaron. Three years later, in an 1845 letter to , LeBaron recounted JS’s reaction after he requested the money: “And I shall ever appreciate the kind look & affectionate embrace which I then recieved from Br Joseph, who said ‘you loaned that money with such good feelings you ought not to loose it.’”
Rather than providing each of the different credits had requested, however, JS repaid him primarily in land. On 2 July 1842, JS drew up a deed for two lots in , one of which was the lot LeBaron had arranged to purchase from JS earlier. Though LeBaron had partially paid for his lot, he still owed $142.45, which JS agreed to pay. In JS’s deed, the combined value of the two lots, including what LeBaron had already paid on the first lot, was $900. The individual value of the second lot was not specified, but based on its later value it may have been worth around $600. The $142 debt that JS forgave on the first lot, the $600 probable value of the second lot, and the probable forgiveness of LeBaron’s $7 debt at JS’s Nauvoo suggest that JS repaid LeBaron at least $749 of the $815 still owed on ’s promissory note. JS may also have given LeBaron a small amount of cash. An entry in the daybook for JS’s Nauvoo store indicates that JS withdrew ten dollars to pay an unidentified man on 2 July 1842, the same day that the deed for LeBaron was created.
LeBaron moved to Kirtland, Ohio, as a minor. James Holman, the husband of his half-sister Naomi LeBaron Holman, was made his guardian in 1837. (LeBaron, Short Extract, 5–6; Stockwell, Descendants of Francis LeBaron, 45, 106–107; Genesee Co., NY, Probate Records, 1805–1911, Letters of Guardianship, vol. 2, p. 35, 29 Apr. 1837, microfilm 811,155, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
LeBaron, Alonzo. A Short Extract, Containing a Chapter or Two from the History or Journal of Elder Alonzo Le Baron. Leamington, England: J. W. Brierly, 1851.
Stockwell, Mary LeBaron. Descendants of Francis LeBaron of Plymouth, Mass. Boston: T. R. Marvin & Son, 1904.
In an 1845 letter to Brigham Young, LeBaron reflected that “when the commandment came to build the Temple & Nauvoo House, I had nothing to give for tithing & shares. And greatly desired to have the privilige of doing something towards those buildings. I aplied to Br Joseph to whom I had loaned $1,000, through his agentOliver Granger.” (Alonzo LeBaron, La Harpe, IL, to Brigham Young, [Nauvoo, IL], 21 Mar. 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.)
Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.
In July 1843, LeBaron sold a quarter of one of the lots JS had deeded to him to the Nauvoo House Association for $150, suggesting that the full lot was valued at $600 at that time. (Nauvoo House Association, Stock Book, –.)
Nauvoo House Association. Stock Book, 1841–1845. Nauvoo House Association, Records, 1841–1846. CHL. MS 2375, box 5, fd. 1.
Smith, Joseph. Nauvoo Store Daybook, Jan.–July 1842. CHL.
City of June 23th <29th> 1842
Joseph Smith. Dear Sir
I beg leave to be indulged in communicating my wishes and proposals to you through the medium of my pen in consequence of being buisy at labour and cannot well attend in Person. The subject to which I would call your attention is relating to the maner in which according to my limited understanding I view to be most proper to dispose of the amount due me on the Note. But to begin with, I would inform you that at the time I loaned the money, I withheld not one cent, over which God had made me Steward. My heart was, and is, fully as I trust, engaged for the good of . And I only regret, that it was not more properly aplyed, by him to whom it was entrusted. Since then I have spent much of my time, traveling to preach the Gospel. By this time you can easily comprehend my present condition. Indeed it was with much dificulty that I obtained only eleven Dollars to bear my expences to this place. I would not plead Poverty as an excuse; but I but, I am compelled by duty to myself and Family to make known my situation. [p. ]
Of the money he had loaned to the church, LeBaron wrote in his 1845 letter that Granger had “squandered it away.” (Alonzo LeBaron, La Harpe, IL, to Brigham Young, [Nauvoo, IL], 21 Mar. 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.)
Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.