, Letter, , Jackson Co., MO, to JS, , Kirtland Township, OH, 28 Jan. 1832; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes postal markings and redactions.
Bifolium measuring 15⅝ × 10¼ inches (40 × 26 cm). The letter was tri-folded twice in letter style for mailing, addressed, and sealed. The front and back of the second leaf, which was used as the wrapper for mailing the letter, bear residue from morsels of an adhesive wafer that were removed. The bottom half of the front of the second leaf originally contained a printing bill for , but it was excised from the document and is no longer extant. Half the address block and postmarks are now missing from the wrapper because of the excision of the bill. The inscriptions “Bad” and “◊◊” appear at the top of the back of the second leaf in unidentified handwriting. A mark in red pencil follows ’s signature. The letter was later folded in half and tri-folded for filing purposes. All folds are partially broken, and there is a slight loss of inscription from the separations and holes in the filing folds. The letter has undergone conservation.
The custodial history of this document is uncertain. The letter was initially sent to JS and is listed in the 1973 register of the JS Collection—which suggests continuous institutional custody.
Johnson, Register of the Joseph Smith Collection, 11.
Johnson, Jeffery O. Register of the Joseph Smith Collection in the Church Archives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973.
This 28 January 1832 letter from provided JS with important information about the welfare of the Mormon community in . Cowdery and were directed in a November 1831 revelation to travel to , Jackson County, Missouri, carrying copies of JS’s revelations, which the church planned to publish. They were also instructed to take with them money donated by church members to aid in purchasing land in the Independence area. Departing on 20 November 1831, Cowdery and Whitmer arrived in Independence on 5 January 1832. On 23–24 January, they held a two-day in the home of in , Missouri; they supplemented it with a special conference on 27 January at ’s residence in Independence. As clerk of the conferences, Cowdery kept the minutes and shortly thereafter copied them into this 28 January letter to JS.
The minutes highlight the continued development of in northwestern and the role of leaders such as and in that development. As , Partridge was responsible for overseeing the purchase of land in Jackson County in concert with Gilbert, who was an agent to the church in . Partridge also had the task of providing Saints with their “,” and Gilbert was directed by revelation to operate a in to generate revenues with which to purchase more land and to provision the church members who settled it. The minutes contain accountings from both Partridge and Gilbert of the moneys expended by them and a report from Partridge on land purchases. The minutes also record discussions concerning plans for schools for the Saints, the need for more skilled craftsmen to come to Missouri, and other subjects. In addition to the minutes, ’s letter includes a transcript of a note from Partridge to JS, a few words of general correspondence from Cowdery himself, and a list of projected costs of printing the revelations, which was to be conveyed to .
’s letter was written to JS, who was living in , Ohio, but it was sent to in , Ohio, even though there was a post office in Hiram. Cowdery had directed previous correspondence from to Whitney, who served as the postmaster of Kirtland, in part because he believed Whitney’s position allowed Whitney franking privileges, which gave him “the benefits of free postage.” JS may have obtained the letter when he made a short visit to Kirtland from 29 February to 4 March 1832, or someone from Kirtland could have brought the letter to JS in Hiram before then. Regardless of the method of delivery, it is clear the letter reached Kirtland because in March, several leaders issued charges of misconduct against the Missouri conference based on their reading of Cowdery’s minutes. Also, the list of printing costs intended for Harris was cut from the letter, as Cowdery suggested, and presumably given to him.
Register of Officers and Agents , 49 (second numbering).
A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth Day of September, 1817; Together with the Names, Force, and Condition, of all the Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. Prepared at the Department of State, In Pursuance of a Resolution of Congress, of the 27th of April, 1816. Washington DC: E. De Krafft, 1818.A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the 30th of September, 1829; together with the Names, Force, and Condition, of All the Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. Washington DC: William A. Davis, 1830.A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the 30th of September, 1831; together with the Names, Force, and Condition, of All the Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. Washington DC: William A. Davis, 1831.
Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831. According to the statute governing franking, postmasters could use the privilege for both incoming and outgoing correspondence that was business related and weighed no more than half an ounce. It is unclear, however, whether Whitney ever invoked his franking privilege for letters to or from Cowdery. (An Act to Reduce into One the Several Acts Establishing and Regulating the Post-Office Department [3 Mar. 1825], in Post-Office Laws, Instructions and Forms, 15–16, sec. 27.)
Post-Office Laws, Instructions and Forms, Published for the Regulation of the Post-Office. Washington DC: Way and Gideon, 1828.
For the foregoing reasons we h[a]ve sent only for mechanics know[i]ng that others are commanded to come & believing that others [w]ill none come without a command not knowing but that they may.——
We do not expect that all the mechanics will be found & sent but we have sent for those most needed” needed.”——
Among the mechanics sent for it is expected that one blacksmith one shoemaker and one mason will come in the from . and brothers <Kingsberry> and Stebbens. and a brother from Winchester Indiana who is a tanner.— Advise the brethren by all means to Come by land and this [thus] obey the command of the Lord.— We think that it would be well for the brethren to bring one barrel buck wheat. one and one of Clover seed.—— <or half a Bbu Clover Seed if possible>
Ten of our brethren have started to proclaim the Gospel namely. ( & ) ( & ) these four are going on the south side of the to and Bethany Virginia. ( & ) through the more settled parts of & Indiana. ( & ) through the north part of & Indiana . into . & Joshua Fairchild through the north part of this through Indi. to .——
Say to brother that if he can send a carding machine and clothiers tools this spring by water we think that it will be well. even which can be put in operation as soon as circumstances may permit. Also say to of that the says if he can send the leather up to this land as he talk[ed] to me last Oct at in it will be of great worth to the Desiples.——
The brethren are generally well and rejoicing in the Lord. The and all the with all the brethren send love to the eastern Churches.
I remain your brother in the Lord
Joseph Smith Jun.
P.S. We expect soon to be ready to print and hope that brother can supply with paper at present you can tear off the bottom of this sheet which will serve him for a bill you see if ten thousand copies is are struck it will take double the amount of the first mentioned Ream[s] and we feel anxious that it may be so for I think there is no fear of sale [rest of page cut off] [p. ]
An August 1831 revelation stated that “in as much as there is lands obtained [in Missouri] let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land to labour for the saints of God.” This same revelation instructed those wanting to migrate to Missouri to obtain approval from the “Elders of the Church.” In addition, another August 1831 revelation stated that JS would have “power . . . to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of Zion & those of my Desiples that shall tarry.” However, as Partridge anticipated, some moved to the state without gaining such approval. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:54, 56]; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:41]; see, for example, Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; and Whitmer, History, 30.)
Buckwheat and clover had several uses. According to an 1820 farmer’s almanac, both were important as “vegetable manure.” Turning under a field of either buckwheat or clover greatly enriched the soil; red clover was especially effective in improving wheat yields. Buckwheat could also “mak[e] an agreeable bread” and could be used to feed pigs and other livestock. Clover also provided nourishing hay for horses. (Nicholson, Farmer’s Assistant, 38, 62–64.)
Nicholson, John. The Farmer’s Assistant; Being a Digest of All That Relates to Agriculture and the Conducting of Rural Affairs. . . . 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1820.
Several of these individuals—Murdock, Wight, Pratt, Hancock, Whitlock, and Coltrin—were told in a June 1831 revelation to travel to Missouri, preaching along the way. Some did not arrive until fall 1831 and apparently decided to stay for a time before returning. An August 1831 revelation indicated that one reason that these individuals, as well as others, were commanded to go to Missouri was so that “the testimony might go forth from Zion yea from the mouth of the City of the heritage of God.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52]; see, for example, Murdock, Journal, Aug.–Sept. 1831; and Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:13].)
Murdock, John. Journal, ca. 1830–1859. John Murdock, Journal and Autobiography, ca. 1830–1867. CHL. MS 1194, fd. 2.
Beginning in the early industrial era, water-powered carding machines became essential in cloth production, as they “took over the arduous task of preparing wool for hand spinning.” A clothier, according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, is “a man whose occupation is to full”—meaning to cleanse and thicken—“and dress cloth.” (Ulrich, Age of Homespun, 38; “Clothier,” in American Dictionary .)
Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth. New York: Knopf, 2001.
An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.