, Letter, , New Haven Co., CT, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, ca. 15 Sept. 1841; handwriting presumably of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, docket, and notation.
Bifolium measuring 12¾ × 7¾ inches (33 × 20 cm); each leaf is ruled with thirty-seven horizontal blue lines. The top right corner of the first page is embossed with a logo from a paper mill: “I. Donagle New Haven”. The letter was written on all four pages, trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, sealed with an adhesive wafer, and stamped for postage. The second leaf was torn, likely when the letter was opened. An additional notation was added in unidentified handwriting. The additional notation appears to have been contemporaneous. The letter was later folded for filing and inscribed with a docket.
A docket by , who served in a clerical capacity for JS from 1841 to 1842, indicates the document was retained by the office of JS in 1841. The letter is listed in a Church Historian’s Office inventory from circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The docket, inventory, and inclusion in the JS Collection suggest continuous institutional custody of the letter since its receipt.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
In September 1841, wrote a letter to JS about the ’s payment on a debt owed to him and his business partners. Tuttle, , and were partners in a land syndicate in that sold on credit to JS and the church significant amounts of property in the area of Illinois in 1839. Paying the interest due on this debt was among JS’s most pressing financial concerns in 1841, and he had written a letter to Hotchkiss in August 1841 expressing frustration at what he considered Hotchkiss’s unreasonable demands for an interest payment at that time. Because of his business relationship with Hotchkiss, Tuttle wrote to JS to clarify some of the misunderstandings between JS and Hotchkiss.
These misunderstandings resulted in part from the actions of and , whom JS had appointed as church and sent on a mission in spring 1841 to make payments on the land debts. Hyrum Smith and Galland planned to exchange lands in and for lands owned by church members in and and then transfer to the deeds to those eastern lands as payment. In March the two men met with Hotchkiss, who agreed to accept the land deeds as payment. Working with , Galland evidently secured some properties in early April. The properties, however, were never transferred to Hotchkiss’s ownership, prompting a letter of inquiry from Hotchkiss to JS on 24 July. JS’s response called into question Hotchkiss’s motives for seeking immediate payment and criticized him for not having patience with the Saints in the midst of difficult circumstances. In the letter featured here, defended Hotchkiss and outlined the failure of church agents to follow through on transferring the lands.
apparently wrote this letter on or shortly before 15 September, the date he mailed the letter through the , Connecticut, post office. JS received the letter sometime before 5 October and responded with a letter on 9 October.
Dr Sir. My friend recd. a letter from you a few days since dated 25 Aug. in relation to the property he sold you & in which you probably know that & had some interest & which must be my apology for writing you— You Knowing as I do ’ feelings toward you I was surprized to hear you accuse him of wishing to crush you in the germ— You have not a firmer friend in this part of the Country than — I will state what has taken place in relation to the interest due us, I will endeavor to do it in such a manner as to be understood although not briliant in style— As you state your brother & called on us about the last of March in relation to the amt due us & proposed giving us lands in & for a part or the whole of our claim as they could arrange for them The proposition to me was sudden (as I stated to them) and I did not like to agree to it without consulting (now a resident of your ) on the subject, but agreed to take lands for two yrs interest as proposed that would yield us six per cent Interest— On leaving us it was agreed that should carry out the arrangement as your brother was then going home (to )— said he wished to go to on business (I think the Indian Agency) & on his return to in a few days he would write us & we were to meet him there & carry out the arrangement— We waited some time but hearing nothing from wrote him both at & but got no reply & we remained in this state of suspense untill (I think) 26th July, about 4 months when we received a letter from from stating that he was then on his way to & that your brother at N. J. would transfer a house & some land to him to apply on his individual note for $2500 which was signed by & , but did not even allude to the arrangement we had made in the Spring in relation to our interest, although I think he stated that he had recd one of s letters.— under these circumstances we felt disappointed & neglected & could not account for the course pursued & under the impressions caused by this disappointment wrote you— You will see therefore that we have never had an opportunity to receive any lands. & I have no doubt that if the first arrangement had [p. ]
Gillet was particularly opposed to any proposals that included payment in the form of real estate. (See John Gillet, Lake Fork, IL, to Smith Tuttle, Fair Haven, CT, 30 May 1841, Gillett Family Papers, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL.)
Gillett Family Papers, 1736–1904. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.
It is unclear why Galland visited Washington DC or whether he even made the trip. If he did, he likely did so in early May or early June 1841. At least one letter was sent to him in Washington DC on or before 15 May 1841. The letter appears to have remained at the post office for several weeks before being either retrieved or discarded between 2 and 15 June 1841. Galland may have traveled to Washington DC to meet with politicians regarding government payments to the Sac and Fox tribes for their lands in Iowa Territory. Galland had a vested interest because he had purchased land in Iowa’s Half-Breed Tract, land that was set aside by the United States Congress for descendants of American Indian mothers and white fathers. He sold a portion of this land to the Saints. (“List of Letters,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 17 May 1841, ; “List of Letters Remaining in the Post Office,” Daily National Intelligencer, 2 June 1841, ; “List of Letters,” Daily National Intelligencer, 15 June 1841, ; “By Authority,” Mississippian [Jackson, MS], 7 May 1841, ; “Gov. Doty’s Treaty,” Daily Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 5 Oct. 1841, ; “Treaty with the Sacs and Fox Indians,” Cleveland Daily Herald, 15 Oct. 1841, ; “Sacs and Fox Indians,” Cleveland Daily Herald, 5 Nov. 1841, ; “Keokuk,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:24; Cook, “Isaac Galland,” 271–274.)
Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.
Mississippian. Jackson, MS. 1841–1842.
Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.
Cleveland Herald. Cleveland. 1843–1853.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.