, Letter, Thornbury Township, Chester Co., PA, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 5 Aug. 1841; handwriting of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal notation, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 12½ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm). The letter was written on all four pages and then trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. The letter was later folded for filing.
A docket in the handwriting of , who served in a clerical capacity for JS from 1841 to 1842, appears on the verso of the second leaf. A later docket was added by , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865. The letter has presumably remained in institutional custody since its receipt in 1841, when Fullmer docketed and filed it.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
On 5 August 1841, wrote this letter from , Pennsylvania, to his brother JS in , Illinois, to inquire about land transactions for himself and the . William was serving a proselytizing mission in the eastern at this time and was reasonably close to properties in , New Jersey, that JS hoped could be acquired and then transferred to to help eliminate the debt owed to him.
In early 1841, JS authorized and as for the church and sent them to the eastern to facilitate payment on the debt. Galland and Smith promised to give church members in the East land in in exchange for their properties, and deeds to those eastern properties would then be given to Hotchkiss as payment toward the outstanding debt still owed on the lands purchased in western in 1839. Galland had committed to execute the transactions, Hotchkiss expected Galland to deliver deeds to the lands, and JS was still under the impression that this strategy would work. At the time this letter was written, however, the plan was already unraveling.
Both of the primary agents eventually abandoned their mission. returned to at the end of April 1841. After resuming the mission in June, this time in the company of , Hyrum returned once again to Nauvoo sometime before mid-August, without meeting with . informed that he too was returning to Nauvoo, though he had not met with Hotchkiss either. Hyrum commissioned William Smith to continue the efforts to settle the debt. William was apparently instructed to transfer church-owned property obtained from brothers and —including over one hundred acres of pine lands and a tavern stand near , New Jersey—to Hotchkiss. In the letter featured here, William sought JS’s counsel concerning the value of the property. Although Galland apparently authorized the transfer of the property for $2,500, William Smith understood that Hotchkiss would not agree to value the property at more than $2,200, which would be deducted from the interest payment of $3,000 owed to him.
The letter was mailed on 7 August from Thornbury Township in southwest . Dockets on the letter indicate that JS received it and that it was filed in his office. Although no direct response has been identified, the Ivins property was eventually transferred to .
William Smith, Armstrong Co., PA, to Don Carlos Smith, Nauvoo, IL, 8–17 May 1841, in Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:445. New Egypt, New Jersey, was within 100 miles east of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Hotchkiss resided in Fair Haven, Connecticut, approximately 150 miles northeast of New Egypt.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
A tavern stand was usually a small building for entertaining and lodging visitors and often served liquor in small quantities. James Ivins and Charles Ivins were brothers who had joined the church in New Jersey. (“Tavern,” in American Dictionary; “Report of the Committee of Distribution,” Hazard’s Register of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia], 2 Nov. 1833, 280.)
An American Dictionary of the English Language; Exhibiting the Origin, Orthography, Pronunciation, and Definitions of Words. Edited by Noah Webster. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1845.
Hazard’s Register of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia. 1828–1835.
I want to sell one lot to get some money to by me a piece of land that lies Joining my tavern stand in & now is the time to by it before the People rase an the land in that part if you say I may have the Lot write me the Price of the lot when you write so I may know what to ask for it. Plas [Please] tell me what number of lots remain unsold nere the or not far off Send me the number of two or three or more the distance & course from the & price & I will try & sell them for you & get the money for you & Bring to you this I can do from some bretherin that cant leave <(the East)> for for two y under two or three years that is if the lots are not to high say from three to four hundred Dollars Each state your lowest Price Send the No of some four or five lots <state> the distance from the & the course & &. if <you> will do this I can Bring you holm some money this fall, My helth at Present is not good from access of labour I have ben trouble with a Pain in my Bresst for som time & what it will amout to I cant tell give my Respects to & & finaly all