JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Chester Co., PA, 26 Jan. 1842; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, and docket.
Bifolium measuring 12⅛ × 7½ inches (31 × 19 cm). The recto of the first leaf was left blank and the letter was inscribed on the verso of the first leaf and the recto of the second leaf. The bifolium was trifolded twice in letter style, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, addressed, and postmarked. Wafer residue appears on the recto and the verso of the second leaf. The document was later refolded for filing. The document has undergone conservation.
The document was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as temple recorder from 1842 to 1846. It was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early docket as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
JS, Journal, 29 June 1842; “Clayton, William,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:718; Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 18, 30–31.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 26 January 1842 JS composed a letter in , Illinois, to in , Pennsylvania, concerning a debt Hunter owed him. The debt had accrued by the previous summer. On 27 October 1841 Hunter asked JS to accept a shipment of goods as payment, and JS agreed to this in two letters, dated 21 December 1841 and 5 January 1842. However, according to the letter featured below, JS subsequently transferred Hunter’s promissory note for $1,100 to Nauvoo businessmen and prominent Latter-day Saints and . The transfer was likely related to business transactions JS made with the Laws two days earlier. On 24 January, JS sold land to them so that they could construct a sawmill and a gristmill. These transactions were apparently complex, as he also signed over to them a note of $500 from “J. Campbell of ,” the payment on which they would forward to JS.
had traveled to to transact business for himself and JS. His most pressing task was to collect money on behalf of a recent Pennsylvanian convert, Margaret Smith, who intended the money to be turned over to JS. JS instructed Hunter to use these funds to redeem the note held by the Laws, thereby paying off Hunter’s debt to JS.
acted as scribe for the letter. The letter was mailed at the post office, which postmarked it on 1 February 1842. By early March, had apparently deposited the $1,100 in a bank in at the request of .
Hancock Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1917, vol. K, pp. 490–492, 24 Jan. 1842, microfilm 954,599, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; William Law and Wilson Law to JS, Receipt, 24 Jan. 1842, Illinois State Historical Society, Circuit Court Case Files [Cases pertaining to Mormon Residents], 1830–1900, CHL.
I write you at this moment To let you know that I have been obliged to transfer your note of of $1100— to Messrs & , on settlement as collateral security. Therefore you will please keep f forward eleven hundred dollars of the money <you> shall get on the Letter of attorny from Mrs [Margaret] Smith. To Messrs Laws for the redemption of your note which I transferred to them,— & I will make the application of the same to the purposed purposes you have desired— & according to my letters to you of the 5th. of Jany. & 21 of december, In which I mentioned particallry [particularly] about the situation of affairs here, and also— about the forwarding of the Letter of Attorny From Mrs Smith according to your request.—
Do not suppose sir that I have made the above transfer to crowd upon you; Far from it, It has been a matter of necesity & will not Injure you. as the mony you get on the power of Attorny, is coming to me,— and if a part is applied to liquidate your note to Law. & the note returns to my hands it will be the same to you as though the transfer had not been made, &c the remainder you will please to retain as according to my last letter.
The is in a prosperous condition, & the Saints are exerting themselves with all their powers to complete the , The hea[l]th of the is good.
I am paying for your house, in goods & also the Land which I bought of . for you. has profferd me other lands in addition, which I shall secure so soon as I [p. ]
An epistle of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dated 13 December 1841 stated, “The building of the Temple of the Lord, in the city of Nauvoo, is occupying the first place in the exertions and prayers of many of the saints at the present time.” (Brigham Young et al., “Baptism for the Dead,” Times and Seasons, 15 Dec. 1841, 3:625.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Malaria was a recurring threat in Nauvoo due to the presence of mosquitoes carrying virulent plasmodium parasites. The Saints faced a severe epidemic in the summer of 1839. (JS, Journal, 8–20 July 1839; Pratt, Autobiography, 324; Heiner et al., “Medical Terms Used by Saints in Nauvoo,” 153.)
Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.
Heiner, Douglas C., Evan L. Ivie, and Teresa Lovell Whitehead. “Medical Terms Used by Saints in Nauvoo and Winter Quarters, 1839–48.” Religious Educator 10, no. 3 (2009): 150–162.