, Letter, , St. Louis Co., MO, to and JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 4 Sept. 1842; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Office Papers, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, and docket.
Bifolium measuring 12 × 7½ inches (30 × 19 cm) when folded. Embossed in the upper left corner of the first page is a paper mill insignia that reads “F.B. Howell | Lockport” in a rectangular border. Each page is ruled with thirty-four horizontal printed lines, now faded to gray. The document was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer.
The document was docketed by , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865. It was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office (now CHL) circa 1904. The document’s early docket and the circa 1904 inventory indicate continuous institutional custody since at least 1865.
Francis Barber Howell began operating a paper mill in Lockport, Ohio, around 1830. (Bidwell, American Paper Mills, 290.)
Bidwell, John. American Paper Mills, 1690–1832: A Directory of the Paper Trade with Notes on Products, Watermarks, Distribution Methods, and Manufacturing Techniques. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2013.
“Index to Papers in the Historian’s Office,” ca. 1904, 7, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
On 4 September 1842, member wrote a letter from to and JS in , Illinois, informing them that officials in , , and planned to apprehend JS in the ongoing effort to extradite him and to Missouri. Although Miller addressed the letter to Clayton, his postscript indicated that the letter was intended for JS. JS was in hiding, and Miller presumably thought Clayton knew JS’s whereabouts. Sending the letter to Clayton may also have helped ensure it was not intercepted and reached JS safely.
had stopped in on what appears to be a second trip to , Missouri, to meet with Governor . In July 1842, Miller and had fulfilled a church assignment to meet in person with Reynolds to request that he cease all efforts to requisition JS. News of the government’s determination to requisition JS may have been the reason Miller made this additional trip to meet with Reynolds. On the same day that he wrote this letter to JS, however, he made his request of Reynolds by letter. It is unclear why Miller made his second appeal to Reynolds by letter instead of continuing his trip to the capital to meet in person.
reported to JS that the sheriff of , Illinois, had boarded the same steamboat that he had in , Iowa Territory. Miller speculated that the sheriff and a man accompanying him had been in in order to enlist the help of the territory’s governor, , in apprehending JS and . Furthermore, Miller expressed his concern that , , , and had not arrived in when expected, leading him to worry about the state of affairs in the city. The traveling party was headed east on a mission to the northeastern , where they intended to counter the negative claims was making about JS and the church in letters published in newspapers and on his public lecture tour. In addition, Miller relayed general information of other plans to apprehend JS as told to him by a fellow church member, , and a friend living in , Uriah Raplee. Lastly, he informed JS that the majority of St. Louis residents appeared to disregard the negative information that Bennett was spreading about JS and the church.
mailed the letter on 5 September. Unbeknownst to him, the day before he wrote this letter an and two other men arrived in to apprehend JS, causing JS to hide first in ’s home and then in ’s. apparently received the letter and passed it on to JS by 8 September, when JS referenced some of the information in a letter he wrote to .
In his letter to Reynolds, Miller insisted that JS could not have been an accessory before the fact to the attempted assassination of Lilburn W. Boggs because JS had not been in Missouri during the previous three years and was engaged in military drills with the Nauvoo Legion on the day of the attempted assassination. Miller further argued that such an act was contrary to his opinion of JS’s character. (George Miller, St. Louis, MO, to Thomas Reynolds, Jefferson City, MO, 4 Sept. 1842, Records of Governor Thomas Reynolds, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City.)
Records of Governor Thomas Reynolds, 1840–1844. MSA.
In 1841 Chambers was appointed governor of Iowa Territory by President William Henry Harrison. Chambers’s predecessor in office, Robert Lucas, had been sympathetic to the plight of JS and the Saints after their expulsion from Missouri. Apparently, sometime after Reynolds sent Chambers a requisition dated 20 August 1842, Chambers issued a warrant for JS’s arrest. He later indicated, however, that the warrant was never served. (Parish, Autobiography of John Chambers, 38; Robert Lucas, Burlington, Iowa Territory, to Martin Van Buren, Washington DC, 22 Apr. 1839, microfilm, Martin Van Buren, Correspondence, 1839–1844, CHL; State of Missouri, Office of the Secretary of State, Commissions Division, Register of Civil Proceedings, vol. A, p. 175; John Chambers, Burlington, Iowa Territory, to John Cowan, [Bald Bluff, IL], 10 Mar. 1843, JS Office Papers, CHL.)
Chambers, John. Autobiography of John Chambers. Edited by John Carl Parish. Iowa City, IA: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1908.
Van Buren, Martin. Correspondence, 1839–1844. Photocopies. CHL. MS 12809. Original at Library of Congress, Washington DC.
JS Office Papers / Joseph Smith Office Papers, ca. 1835–1845. CHL. MS 21600.
According to a St. Louis directory published in 1842, Raplee was associated with the St. Louis Exchange at the corner of Second and Prune streets. (Saint Louis Directory, for the Year 1842, 112.)
The Saint Louis Directory, for the Year 1842; Containing the Names of the Inhabitants, and the Numbers of Their Places of Business and Dwellings; with a Sketch of the City of Saint Louis. . . . St. Louis: Chambers & Knapp, 1842.
to the plough, not to look back; and not withstanding my anxiety I <in regard> to matters at home, I shall prosecute my journey on the first boat which will likely go down to morrow. Every thing is dull but vice, that seems to be on the gaining hand. I have not heard any thing said in regard to our people since I have been here except in my conversation with Mr. Raplie who is an acquaintance of mine, and quite friendly. The people here from what I have ilicited from Mr. Raplie is <are> about as elsewhere, a majority not believing stories,—
I think long the time since I have seen you and shall husband every moment of time <it> well until my return.
May the Lord bless & preserve you all is an[d] shall be my prayer until I see you again.
Present me to Mrs. [Mary Fry] Miller & my children, and all other friends.
It is unknown how many children George and Mary Fry Miller had at this time. In 1831, when their family moved to western Illinois, they had two sons and a daughter. According to the 1842 Nauvoo census, Miller had two sons living in his home: John and Joshua. (Bennett, “George Miller,” 3; Platt, Nauvoo, 77.)
Bennett, Richard E. “‘A Samaritan Had Passed By’: George Miller—Mormon Bishop, Trailblazer, and Brigham Young Antagonist.” Illinois Historical Journal 82 (Spring 1989): 2–16.
Platt, Lyman De. Nauvoo: Early Mormon Records Series, 1839–1846. Vol. 1. Highland, UT, 1980.