JS, Letter, , Essex Co., MA, to , , Geauga Co., OH, 19 Aug. 1836; handwriting of JS; one page; Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines. Includes address and dockets.
The leaf is ruled with twenty-nine blue horizontal lines (now faded) and measures 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The top, bottom, and right sides of the recto have the square cut of manufactured paper; the left side is uneven. Notations on the back of the document correspond with two folding patterns. The first pattern was a trifold in letter style, addressed by JS and sealed with an adhesive wafer. At the edge of the address panel is a docket, “Salem Aug. 19./36 | Joseph Smith Jr”, in the handwriting of . The placement of the docket suggests the letter was initially kept folded for storage. The second folding was a trifold with a docket in unknown handwriting: “Joseph Smith Jr | Letter”. Two small holes are 1/4 inch (1 cm) from the top and bottom of the page.
The letter contains no postmark; presumably, the letter was carried by . The docket by suggests the letter was kept for a time in JS’s , Illinois, office. If so, the letter was eventually returned to Smith family possession. donated the letter to ’s collection of letters and autographs in 1891. The state’s collection, which included the extensive compendium of autograph collector Charles Aldrich (1828–1908), was deposited with the newly organized Iowa State Historical Department (now the State Historical Society of Iowa) in 1892. It is unknown when the letter was interfiled with the Aldrich collection.
“Signed on the Dotted Line: The Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection,” –.
“Signed on the Dotted Line: The Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection.” Iowa Historian, Feb.–Mar. 2008, –. Newsletter of the State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City.
JS, , , and traveled to the eastern in summer 1836 to proselytize and obtain financial support for the . While in , Massachusetts, JS wrote a letter to his wife conveying his affection for her and their children and informing her about the progress of the trip.
JS wrote that they had found a particular house in that they had been searching for, but the letter provides no details concerning the reason for locating the house. In the letter, JS expressed uncertainty but also hope that they would gain access to the house at some point. However, they left Salem before doing so, and there is no record that they returned.
left to return to , Ohio, shortly after the letter was written, likely taking the letter with him. JS, , and remained in as late as 22 August and spent some time in during their return trip. They arrived in Kirtland by 13 September 1836.
The exact date of their return is not known, but the three men purchased land in Kirtland from Hiram Dayton on 13 September 1836. JS also bought another tract of land in Kirtland from William Draper Jr. on 14 September 1836. (Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 22, p. 305, 13 Sept. 1836; pp. 428–429, 14 Sept. 1836, microfilm 20,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
, Mss. [Massachusetts], August 19th, 1836.
is about to start for home to start for home before the rest of us, which seems wisdom in God, as our buisness here cannot be determined as soon as we could wish to <have it>, I thaught a line from me by him would notbe acceptible to you, even if it did not contain but little, that you may know that you and the children are much on my mind, with regard to the graat [great] object of our mishion you will be anxtiou [anxious] to know, we have found the house since Brother Burjece left us, very luckily and providentialy, as we had one spell been most discouraged, but the house is ocupied and it will require much care and patience to rent or b[u]y it, we think we shall be able to effect it if not now within the course of a few months, we think we shall be at home about the midle of septtember, I can think of many things concerning our business but can only pray that you may have wisdom to manage the concerns that involve on you and want you should believe me that I am your sincere friend and husband in hast yours &c—
TEXT: After reaching the end of the line at “is about”, JS mistakenly inscribed “to start for home” at the beginning of the same line, in the space created by the paragraph indention. He then canceled the four words and continued the inscription on the next line.
JS’s reluctance to discuss the business concerns on his mind mirrors his decision in an earlier letter to Emma, in which he wrote that he felt it was “not prudent” to write on such matters. In that letter, he told her, “I omit all the important things which could I See you I could make you aquainted with.” (Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832.)