, agent, on behalf of JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , 9 Feb. 1843. Featured version copied [ca. 9 Feb. 1843]; handwriting of ; two pages; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival marking.
Single leaf, measuring 12¼ × 7½ inches (31 × 19 cm). The leaf was unevenly cut along the left side of the recto. It is ruled with at least thirty-six horizontal printed lines, now faded from water damage. The letter was folded and docketed for filing.
The document was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844. In late 1844, following JS’s death, became one of the interim church trustees and was appointed “first bishop” among other bishops. It was presumably during this time that many of the church’s financial and other administrative records passed into his possession. This document, along with many other personal and institutional documents that Whitney kept, was inherited by Newel K. and ’s daughter Mary Jane Whitney, who was married to Isaac Groo. The documents were passed down within the Groo family. Between 1969 and 1974, the Groo family donated their collection of Newel K. Whitney’s papers to the J. Reuben Clark Library (renamed Harold B. Lee Library in 1973) at Brigham Young University.
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.
Andrus and Fuller, Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 24; Wilkinson et al., Brigham Young University, 4:255.
Andrus, Hyrum L., and Chris Fuller, comp. Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers. Provo, UT: Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, 1978.
Wilkinson, Ernest L., Leonard J. Arrington, and Bruce C. Hafen, eds. Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years. Vol. 4. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1976.
On 9 February 1843, wrote a letter on behalf of JS in , Illinois, to Senator of , who was in , about a pending land transaction. Clayton apparently wrote in response to two letters JS had received that same day: one from Young and another from John C. Walsh of Baltimore to Young, which Young enclosed with his letter. Neither of those letters is extant. However, past correspondence among the three men and JS’s response indicate that the primary subject of the letters was a tract of land about two miles southeast of Nauvoo that Walsh had offered to sell to JS through Young, who was a mutual acquaintance. In a 23 December 1842 letter to Young, JS formally agreed to purchase the land for $2,500.
Having received the letters from and Walsh, JS dictated to an immediate response to Young. This letter suggests that the letters from Young and Walsh had indicated the need for immediate action on the proposed land transaction. In this letter, JS reaffirmed his intentions to purchase the land, explaining that he would forward $500 to “Genl. Leach” in , Illinois, according to Young’s instructions. The following day, JS and at least one other individual signed four promissory notes, promising to pay Walsh an additional $2,000 between 1844 and 1847. On 12 February, Clayton noted that he had gone “to prest. Josephs & counted $500 silver & Gold” to be carried to Quincy. Two days later, Clayton “went to Genl. Leach’s and deposited the $500.” Leach presented Clayton with a receipt, which Clayton then forwarded to Young with a letter. The following month, JS received another letter from Young, which included a bond for a quarter section of land from Walsh.
In addition to commenting on Walsh’s property, JS inquired about the status of a November 1842 petition to replace as the city postmaster. During late 1842, the became a controversial subject in Nauvoo. JS complained to that the post office was “exceedingly corrupt” and that letters were regularly “broken open and robbed of their contents.” Problems with the post office persisted into early 1843. wrote in JS’s journal that in an interview with of Henderson County, Illinois, the day after dictating this letter, JS mentioned “theiving & the Post Office” and “suggested that a general meeting be called” to address the issue. JS was therefore anxious to see the office of the postmaster general deal with the problems.
Before sending the letter to , made a copy, noting that it was “a Copy of a letter to the Hon. R. M. Young.” At some point, likely during summer 1843, clerk copied the letter into JS Letterbook 2, which Richards later used in preparing JS’s history. Because the original letter sent to Young is apparently not extant, the retained copy Clayton made is featured here.
JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.
I have this day received your favor of the 17th. Ult, covering one from John C. Walsh and barely State in this that I shall despatch a messenger immediately to to deposit the $500 in the hands of Genl. Leach according to your instructions; but seeing that I had little time to lose I concluded to send this day <by> the first mail to inform you of my intentions. My next in which I shall enclose Gen. Leach’s receipt together with my obligations will be mailed at and may be expected three days after you receive this.
I shall not be able to obtain [’]s name as security, he being at this time several hundred miles North of , and is not expected back untill spring. I can however obtain the signature of Mr. late from Penn. who owns about 20 thousand dollars worth of property in this vicinity and probably as much more in the East which I presume will be entirely satisfactory to Mr. Walsh instead of , ’s name will be on the obligations.
When you receive this you may expect the other three days later. All the difference will be the time required to go from here to & do the business Some time ago a Petition signed by the principal inhabitants of this , praying the Post Master General to remove the present and apoint another in his stead was put into the hands of Esqr. of with a request that he would hand it to you about the time you left for . We have not yet heard anything wether handed it to you or neglected so to do, but we feel extremely anxious to learn something on the subject as the Citizens generally are suffering severely from the impositions & dishonest conduct of [p. ]
“Genl. Leach” was likely Quincy, Illinois, resident Samuel Leech, who was the registrar of the land office at Quincy. Leech had gained military acclaim during the Black Hawk War. (History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois, 66, 76–77, 271, 353; “Jackson and Johnson Convention,” Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 5 Apr. 1832, ; News Item, Sangamo Journal, 4 Mar. 1837, .)
History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois. Chicago: Globe Publishing, 1884.
Miller was helping to secure lumber for the Nauvootemple and the Nauvoo House near Black River Falls in Wisconsin Territory. (George Miller, St. James, MI, to “Dear Brother,” 26 June 1855, in Northern Islander, 16 Aug. 1855, .)
The son of a wealthy landowner, Hunter purchased over five hundred acres in Chester County, Pennsylvania, prior to his conversion to the church. (Hunter, Edward Hunter, 19; Chester Co., PA, Deeds, 1688–1903, vol. U-4, pp. 484–486, 1 Apr. 1842, microfilm 557,205; vol. X-4, pp. 92–95, 8 Oct. 1842, microfilm 557,207, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
Hunter, William E. Edward Hunter: Faithful Steward. [Salt Lake City]: Mrs. William E. Hunter, 1970.