, Letter, , New York Co., NY, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 12 July 1841; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamps, postal notation, endorsement, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9⅞ × 7⅝ inches (25 × 19 cm). The leaves are ruled with thirty horizontal blue lines (now faded). An embossed logo from the paper mill “Southworth Co., Springfield” is visible in the top left corner of the first page. The letter was written on the recto and verso of the first leaf and the recto of the second leaf, trifolded twice in letter style, and addressed.
, who served in a clerical capacity for JS from 1841 to 1842, added a docket on the verso of the second leaf, noting the receipt of “$. 4.25,00”. A second docket was later added on the same leaf in the hand of , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859. The document was folded for filing. The early dockets suggest that the letter has remained in institutional custody since its receipt in 1841.
On 12 July 1841, wrote a letter from to JS in , Illinois, requesting that JS purchase land for him. In March of that year, Bernhisel had asked JS for help securing property in Nauvoo. JS replied in April that he would “endeavour to obtain a suitable place” for Bernhisel and invited him to send an unspecified amount of money with an of the . This 12 July letter authorized JS to act on Bernhisel’s behalf in purchasing land. Bernhisel, a member of the church who had never met JS, also enclosed a certificate of deposit for $425.
In his March letter, apparently expressed the desire to obtain a very large parcel of land close to the center of , perhaps near the construction site of the . In his response in April, JS informed Bernhisel of the rapidly rising real estate prices in the city and suggested Bernhisel widen his search if he wanted to secure a large tract of land with the amount of money he wanted to spend. JS, who managed the sales of Nauvoo land, had overseen numerous property transactions from 1839 to 1841.
After penning the letter, sent it by mail from . JS received the letter approximately three weeks later, accepted Bernhisel’s money and request, and sent a reply to Bernhisel in the first week of August.
I have received your favor of the 13th of April, informing me that it would be impossible to enter any land except prairie at Congress price, and kindly offering to procure a suitable place for me if I should advise you to do so. Enclosed you will receive a certificate of deposite for four hundred and twenty five dollars on the Greenwich bank in this , and you will have the goodness to purchase as soon as a a favorable opportunity offers (for I presume it will advance rapidly in price) as large a tract of good land, with a sufficient quantity of timber, in a healthful location, and within a convenient distance, say one two or three miles of , as you can for about five hundred dollars, the remaining seventy five I will remit to you on or before the 1st of July of next year. Be pleased to have the deed recorded and retain it in your possession until the balance is paid, for I suppose it will not be necessary to execute a mortgage on the property for so small an amount. Of the value of the improvements I care but little as my object is to procure as large a tract of land as I can with my limited means. When you have made the purchase, you will please to rent it to such a tenant and on such terms as you would if it were your own. You will greatly oblige me by immediately acknowledging the receipt of the enclosed certificate, and writing me when you have effected a purchase. [p. ]