Letter from Emma Smith, 6 December 1839
, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, , 6 Dec. 1839; handwriting of ; two pages; Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines. Includes address, stamped postmark, postal notation, and dockets.Two leaves (including the cover sheet on which the address was written). The sheet on which the letter was written is 10 × 7⅝ inches (25 × 19 cm) and contains thirty-one printed horizontal lines; the cover sheet is 10 × 7½ inches (25 × 19 cm) and does not contain printed lines. The letter was trifolded in letter style, addressed, sealed, and mailed. At a later time, the letter was folded twice horizontally and docketed by an unidentified scribe and JS’s scribe .Based on ’s docket, the letter was in JS’s possession from its reception and remained in Smith family possession after JS’s death. donated the letter to the state of , which put it in a collection of letters and autographs in 1891. The state’s archives, including the extensive collection of autograph collector Charles Aldrich (1828–1908), were deposited with the newly organized Iowa State Historical Department (now the State Historical Society of Iowa) in 1892. It is unknown when or why the letter was interfiled with the Aldrich collection.
Historical Department. Newspaper Clippings, 1831–1993. CHL.
“Signed on the Dotted Line: The Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection.” Iowa Historian: The Newsletter of the State Historical Society of Iowa (Feb.–Mar. 2008): –. Accessed 12 Apr. 2017. A copy of this digital newsletter is archived at publications.iowa.gov/6203/1 /Iowa_Historian_Feb-Mar_2008.pdf.
wrote a letter on 6 December 1839 to her husband, JS, who was then in . One month earlier, JS had written to Emma from , Illinois, updating her on the progress of his journey and inquiring after the well-being of their children. In that letter, he expressed particular concern about their three-year-old son, , who was ill at the time JS departed the , Illinois, area. In response to JS’s letter, Emma updated him about the health of their children, his parents, and several friends in Commerce amid a prolonged malaria epidemic. She also informed JS of the death of his scribe and of ’s appointment to serve in Mulholland’s stead. After apprising JS of the well-being of his family and friends, Emma mentioned an ongoing border dispute between and that brought thousands of armed Missourians within thirty miles of Commerce.expressed concern that her letter would not reach JS before he started home from the capital. Postmarks on the letter indicate it was forwarded to , where JS was presiding at a church . It is unclear when JS received the letter.
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.
Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.
Missouri Whig, and General Advertiser. Palmyra, MO. 1839–1841.
Everett, Derek R. Creating the American West: Boundaries and Borderlands. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.
Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Being the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, December 2, 1839, and in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Independence of the Said United States. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1839.