, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 30 Jan. 1843; handwriting presumably of ; one page. Included enclosure. The microfilm copy of the text used for transcription is in reel 25 of Wilford C. Wood Collection of Church Historical Materials, CHL.
Single leaf of unknown dimensions. The document has evidence of several different fold patterns. The letter originally included a copy of a deed for property in Madison County, Illinois. Because the verso of the document was not microfilmed, the method of transmission is unknown.
The document’s custodial history is unknown. The Wilford Wood Museum acquired the letter by 1969, when LaMar Berrett began creating a register of the museum’s holdings. The Genealogical Society of Utah (Salt Lake City) made a microfilm copy of the original in 1973. The location of the original document is unknown.
Church History Department, Wilford Wood Museum Memorandum, 26 Jan. 2018, CHL.
Church History Department. Wilford Wood Museum Memorandum, 26 Jan. 2018. CHL.
On 30 January 1843, land agent wrote a letter to JS in , Illinois, and enclosed a copy of a deed for property in Madison County, Illinois. The land was located southeast of , Illinois, in “the west fractional half of Section Seventeen in Township four North range Eight west of the third principal Meridian” and consisted of about 38⅓ acres. In September 1842, David Nevins and John Alstyne of the New York and Boston Illinois Land Company deeded the property to Taylor, who was secretary of the same company. The transfer of property was witnessed on 15 December 1842 in .
From 28 to 30 January 1843, visited as part of a trip to to inspect his property. On 28 January, Taylor met with JS, who showed him the plans for the Nauvoo and took him to the construction site. JS clearly made a positive impression on Taylor. Though he was apparently not a member, Taylor determined to give JS a piece of land as a gift.
In his 30 January letter, formally offered JS the property in Madison County. Addressing him as both “prophet” and “friend,” Taylor also expressed his gratitude and best wishes to JS. Ownership of the property was then transferred to JS in exchange for one dollar, a price that was in keeping with the convention of gifting land to another person. Indeed, noted it as a gift in JS’s journal, writing that “Mr Taylor gave a Fractional Section of land near .” Taylor may have hand delivered the letter, along with the copy of the deed, to JS on 30 January. There is no indication of any letter of reply.
Madison Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1888, vol. 19, pp. 532–533, 30 Sept. 1842, microfilm 484,056, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL. Illinois courts later questioned the viability and legality of similar deeds that Taylor signed for other fractional sections of land in Madison County. The Illinois state supreme court maintained that the descriptions of the tracts of land in Taylor’s deeds were ambiguous and legally problematic. (Job et al. v. Tebbetts, 4 Gilman 98–107 [Ill. Sup. Ct. 1847].)
Gilman / Gilman, Charles. Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. 5 vols. Chicago: Callaghan, 1886–1888.
Permit me with the utmost respect to offer for your acceptance the enclosed Deed of Conveyance of some Land in Madison County near — and which I have been informed is valuable—
The Deed is made to me by the New York and Boston Illinois Land Company ([David] Nevins & [John] Alstyne) and my sincere wishes are that you may live many happy years to enjoy the benefits of said Property— and all the blessings of this life to the discomfiture of your wicked enemies. Allow me also to return my thanks to you for your polite attention to me during my visit to your — and should I settle with my family in there is no place that I should prefer to .
With the best of wishes for you and your family I beg leave to subscribe myself