JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Lake Co., OH, 26 Jan. 1841; handwriting of ; three pages; Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA. Includes postal and archival markings.
Bifolium measuring 12¾ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm) when folded. The letter was written on the first three pages of the bifolium and then trifolded in letter style, sealed, addressed, and stamped for mailing. The last page is torn where the letter was opened, and remnants of a red adhesive wafer are present. The letter has undergone conservation for various tears near the folds and where the letter was torn when opened. The document also may have been damaged by water.
The early custodial history of the letter is unknown. The Huntington Library purchased the document in November 1964 from Maxwell Hunley of Beverly Hills, California.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery to Maxwell Hunley Rare Books, Receipt, 10 Nov. 1964, Maxwell Hunley Rare Books, Records, 1952–1967, Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California Los Angeles; see also the archival notations on the folder housing the featured document at Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.
Maxwell Hunley Rare Books, Records, 1952–1967. Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California Los Angeles.
On 26 January 1841, JS wrote a letter to encouraging him to cooperate with in leading the at , Ohio. Granger, who was working to resolve outstanding debts of JS and the church, was appointed as the presiding officer over the Kirtland Saints in May 1839. However, a general of the church held in October 1840 assigned Babbitt to that position. Babbitt had only recently been cleared of charges that included speaking against JS and other church leaders, but JS had been under the impression that Granger would soon return to the , Illinois, area, necessitating the appointment of another presiding officer in Kirtland. JS expressed concern that the news of the leadership change would upset Granger and assured him of his confidence that the two men could work together in leading the Kirtland church.
JS also addressed ’s assignment of extricating JS and other church leaders from debts they owed to merchants in . JS applauded Granger’s apparent success in paying off a mortgage that the firm of Mead, Stafford & Co. held against the and informed Granger that , and possibly , would be traveling to the eastern to help with the church’s business transactions. JS also asked to be kept informed of Granger’s progress in paying off the remainder of the debts.
With serving as scribe, JS began writing the letter after receiving one from as well as additional correspondence discussing the state of the church in and Granger’s attempts to pay off the debts. After receiving another letter from Granger, dated 9 January 1841, JS continued composing this letter. The letter includes two initialed postscripts by JS, and a postmark indicates he mailed the letter from on 29 January 1841. If the letter took the same amount of time to get to Kirtland as Granger’s correspondence took to get to Nauvoo, Granger would have received the letter sometime around mid-February 1841.
to receive a letter from you as oft as you can make it convenient, and give me all the intelligence in your power. I am yet in the dark respecting the debts I should be much pleased to hear that they were settled.
Since writing the above I received yours of the 9th inst, and I assure you I was very much gratified to hear of your success in redeeming the “” &c I hope Dear Brother that success will attend all your efforts for the prosperity of the cause, so dear to the saints and that you will be abundantly rewarded by that God whose has called us to be co-workers with him and his holy spirit in these last days
Be assured of my continued regard for your welfare and for the prosperity of the in , and I pray that they may prosper in every good word and work and after the afflictions and tribulations of mortality be crowned with everlasting joy in the of our God.
We continue to prosper in this place and expect to have a large increase of inhabitants the next Season, we are making preperation for some large and extensive buildings which we intend to build Erect soon.
With sentiments of respect, I am very respectfully yours Affectionately
JS was responsible for several outstanding debts to merchants in both New York City and Buffalo, New York. These debts, most of which originated from promissory notes produced in 1836 and 1837 and some of which had been renegotiated in 1839, were owed to prominent wholesale mercantile institutions such as Halstead, Haines & Co.; Keeler, McNeil & Co.; Leavitt, Lord & Co.; and Hempstead & Keeler. (“Schedule Setting Forth a List of Petitioners,” ca. 15–16 Apr. 1842, CCLA; Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838.)
“Schedule Setting Forth a List of Petitioner[’]s Creditors, Their Residence, and the Amount Due to Each,” ca. 15–16 Apr. 1842. CCLA.
To provide collateral for payments on debts that JS and others owed, the KirtlandHouse of the Lord was placed under mortgage in July 1837 to Mead, Stafford & Co. Three promissory notes were due in July 1838, 1839, and 1840 to reclaim the temple; this letter indicates that Granger successfully paid the notes. In February 1841, Granger and his wife, Lydia Dibble Granger, conveyed ten acres of land in Palermo, New York, to Zalmon and Robert Mead for $300, which may have served as a partial payment on the debt. (Oswego Co., NY, Deeds, 1792–1902, vol. 33, pp. 115–116, 22 Feb. 1841, microfilm 1,011,773, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
A week before this letter was written, a JS revelation mandated the construction of two large buildings in Nauvoo—a temple and a boardinghouse called the “Nauvoo House.” The Nauvoo House was envisioned to be “a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place for the weary traveller.” According to a letter JS wrote to the Twelve Apostles, the temple would “be considerably larger and on a more magnificent scale than the one in Kirtland” and would “undoubtedly attract the attentio[n] of the great men of the earth.” JS also told the Twelve he was hoping “Cotton Factories, Founderies, Potteries &c &c” would be established in Nauvoo. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:55, 60]; Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.)