, 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.
been carried out on the part of it would have led to an arrangement for the whole debt which we should have been willing to have entered into on terms mutually favorable— I should here state however that has always assured me that the debt you owe us was of the very best character, & he has repeatedly stated to me that he would not exchange it for the same amt of bank stock— you ought not to complain that we thought so favorably of the debt against you as to prefer it to anything else especially when the rate of interest is so low— I have no doubt that if had met us agreeable to our arrangement with him & your Brother that every thing would have gone on harmoniously & to the entire satisfaction of all parties, & there would have been no occasion for harsh remarks by either party— I have no doubt can give a satisfactory reason why he did <not> meet us as agreed, but I think he was in error in not writing us earlier & letting us know what he could do, so that we could have gone about our business, which we were kept from doing a length of time by waiting his instructions to meet him in — I learn (& have no doubt of it) that he was afflicted with loss of sight to a great extent & which is surely a serious affliction— Still I think he should have written us earlier— recd a letter from you brother in August saying that he was authorized to transfer to him a house & land to apply on the notes signed by Messrs Ivins I suppose. & that he should remain there () untill the 15th Sept— accordingly & a week since went to and on arriving there found that your brother had left for some days since & of course nothing could be done— We were informed & have no doubt of the fact that your left thus early & hastily in consequence of the melancholy news of the death of his at & which of course was a sufficient reason for his leaving, but he ought to have written us & saved us the Journey to meet him but I am willing to be reasonably charitable & admit that his afflictions might have caused him to forget it— You will see that we have uniformly been disappointed & the cause of disappointment in the first named case with has not been fully explained, although as you say on your having an interview with him I hope & trust you will be able to arrange satisfactorily for both parties— In relation to verbal agreement to delay the payment of the interest five years I of course cannot say which of you is right, but I am sure that understood it was only to be delayed two years at the request I [p. ]
Don Carlos Smith died on 7 August 1841. John E. Page, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, was in Philadelphia at the time and was evidently informed of Don Carlos’s death on 1 September 1841; it is likely William Smith heard the news around the same time. After learning of his brother’s untimely death, William Smith left Philadelphia quickly, borrowing money from branch member Stephen Poulterer to make the trip. He arrived in Nauvoo sometime prior to 7 November 1841. (Letter from John E. Page, 1 Sept. 1841; Stephen Poulterer, Philadelphia, to Edward Hunter, Nauvoo, IL, 30 July 1842, Edward Hunter, Collection, CHL; Richards, Journal, 7 Nov. 1841.)
Hunter, Edward. Collection, ca. 1798–1965. Photocopy and typescript. CHL.
Richards, Franklin D. Journals, 1844–1899. Richards Family Collection, 1837–1961. CHL. MS 1215, boxes 1–5.