, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 13 July 1842; handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address and dockets.
Single leaf measuring 12¼ × 7⅜ inches (31 × 19 cm). The leaf appears to have been folded for delivery and subsequently folded for filing. Some discoloration of the paper has occurred in the address block on the verso of the page.
, who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844, docketed the document, as did , who worked as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859. The letter was listed in an inventory produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973 it had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets, the circa 1904 inventory, 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 13 July 1842, , a farmer from , Illinois, wrote to JS in , Illinois, seeking the Latter-day Saints’ political support in the upcoming August election. Harper was campaigning as an independent to represent in the House of Representatives. A month earlier, in a letter printed in the 11 June issue of the Wasp, he addressed the citizens of Hancock County and stated his intention to fix the state’s economic difficulties and oppose internal improvements. In that same published letter, Harper, who seemed to particularly have the county’s Latter-day Saint population in mind, also voiced his opposition to the “despotic spirit” he had observed at a recent convention of the Anti-Mormon Party.
The Anti-Mormon political party was organized in , Illinois, in June 1841 to oppose the perceived political threat posed by the Latter-day Saints. In an Anti-Mormon meeting held late that month, spoke in favor of the charter. The next year, in a May 1842 convention, the Anti-Mormon Party nominated a full ticket for the state election in August. In response, JS published a letter dated 2 July encouraging independent candidates who opposed the sentiment governing the Anti-Mormon Party to run for office. JS’s invitation may have encouraged Harper to write his letter of 13 July, featured here, wherein Harper asked for Latter-day Saint political support and reassured JS that, if elected, he would attend to the Saints’ interests. The lack of postal markings indicates that the letter was hand delivered to JS or an associate in . The letter would have taken at least a day to reach Nauvoo from , a township located in southeastern , approximately thirty miles from Nauvoo. There is no record of a reply from JS. The next day, Harper wrote another letter to JS, again seeking political support and attempting to quell rumors that he had supported the Anti-Mormon Party.
At the request of someone who wrote to the newspaper, in mid-July 1842 the Warsaw Signal published the “Peoples’ Independent Ticket,” which listed John Harper as a candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives. (“To the Editor of the Signal,” Warsaw [IL] Signal, 16 July 1842, .)
John Harper, “To the Citizens of Hancock County,” Wasp, 11 June 1842, . Harper was probably referring to a convention held in late May 1842. (“Great Mass Convention of the People of Hancock County,” Warsaw [IL] Signal,  Apr. 1842, ; [Thomas C. Sharp], “The Last Move,” Warsaw Signal, 9 July 1842, ; see also Historical Introduction to Letter to the Citizens of Hancock County, ca. 2 July 1842.)
Letter from John Harper, 14 July 1842; John Harper, Letter to the Editor, Nauvoo Neighbor, 4 Oct. 1843, . The meeting appears to have been the Anti-Mormon Party’s convention, which was scheduled to take place on 28 June 1841. (“Anti-Mormon Meeting,” Warsaw [IL] Signal, 23 June 1841, .)
[Thomas C. Sharp], “The Last Move,” Warsaw (IL) Signal, 9 July 1842, . Although scheduled for 30 May 1842, it appears that this meeting was held on 29 May 1842. A “full ticket” indicates that the party nominated an individual for every available office. (“Great Mass Convention of the People of Hancock County,” Warsaw Signal, 4 May 1842, .)
I have been nearly all over the I find the people very much devided, and seem at a loss to know hoo to vote for;
My friends say, they want me to go through the poles sertin, as I have have been before the people, and my sentime[n]ts mad[e] known, and have neve[r] been turned about by the antimormon party. My friends think that they can unite more votes on me, amongst the old citizens, than any other of the candidates could get, if you think that I could get a support a mong your people, to insure my election, to the house of representative of our next legislature, I will say to you, that your interrests will be as promptly attendid to, as they would be by any one in the : for I shall never be found with an ungreatful heart to my political friends. For I very <verily> believe that you, and all of your people are true patriots; and republicans, and only want equal rights and privilages, with the rest of the people, and be protected by the laws our as other, citizens are.
Please send me a line and let me know what my prospects are in your .
N. B. this is written in extreem hast[e] almos[t] without <pen or ink>. [p. ]
In his public letter, Harper noted that if elected he would “endeavor to represent all of the county and not a portion only.” (John Harper, “To the Citizens of Hancock County,” Wasp, 11 June 1842, .)