Letter from William Perkins, 29 October 1838
, Letter, , Geauga Co., OH, to JS, , Caldwell Co., MO, 29 Oct. 1838; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes enclosures.Single leaf measuring 6⅛ × 8 inches (16 × 20 cm), with nineteen printed lines per page. The top edge was apparently hand cut, whereas the other edges have the square cut of manufactured paper. The leaf was folded for transmission or filing. Docketing by on one of the enclosures indicates the letter and the enclosure—a statement of account for JS and other church members—was added to JS’s office papers in , Illinois, as early as 1842, suggesting continuous institutional custody thereafter.
Clayton, William. Diary, Vol. 1, 1840–1842. BYU.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
On 29 October 1838, of the law firm Perkins & Osborn wrote a letter to JS to introduce account statements listing unpaid legal fees and other debts. Perkins and his law partner, , began providing legal advice to JS and other church members, as well as defending them in several lawsuits, in 1837. Perkins and Osborn continued to act as JS’s attorneys after his January 1838 move to .In this letter to JS, mentioned that he was aware of the conflict between the and other residents; that he had been in contact with and , both of whom acted as for JS and the church to pay debts in , Ohio; and that he had prepared an account statement at Granger’s request. Perkins also asked that his fees be paid, and he explained how he calculated the charges for representing JS, , , , , and in the lawsuits that Samuel Rounds brought against the men in 1837 for issuing notes from the unincorporated . The cases against Whitney, Williams, Kingsbury, and Parrish were dismissed before coming to trial, whereas JS and Rigdon were tried in absentia in October 1837, found guilty, and fined $1,000 each. Because the legal representation and fees varied by case, Perkins noted that he charged each individual based on the proportion of time he spent on a case. By 1838 Kingsbury had become disaffected from the church and Parrish had been excommunicated; both remained in , Ohio. As a result, Perkins did not include their fees in JS’s account statement.’s letter to JS was accompanied by several enclosures. One enclosure was the account statement listing the debts of JS and other church members to the law firm Perkins & Osborn. This account statement also includes information on several outstanding promissory notes that merchants asked Perkins & Osborn to collect payment on. Perkins’s letter also mentions enclosures, apparently not extant, intended for and .It is unknown how the letter was transmitted or when JS received it. Neither the letter nor the account statement bears addressing or other postal markings, but a wrapper, now missing, may have. JS was taken into state custody on 31 October 1838 in , Missouri, and remained imprisoned until April 1839. While JS was imprisoned, apparently kept the letter and account statement. The filing docket indicates that JS eventually received the documents, perhaps when Granger and JS were both in in spring 1839.