, on behalf of JS and Nauvoo high council, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Peoria Co., IL, 2 Nov. 1839. Featured version copied [between 29 Mar. 1840 and 10 Oct. 1841] in Nauvoo High Council Minutes, fair copy, pp. 29–30; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information see the source note for Minutes, 27 Oct. 1839.
Under the direction of JS and the , , a member of the council, wrote a letter to on 2 November 1839 informing Thompson of an available lot of land in the planned town of Nauvoo, Illinois. The town was to be developed from land in the , Illinois, area that was purchased from business partners , , and , as well as from , , and . On 30 August 1839, the first official plat of Nauvoo was submitted to the county recorder’s office. This plat divided the town into blocks of four acres, which in turn were quartered into four one-acre lots. On 21 October 1839, the high council decided that “for the 3 ensuing months” the “standard price” on the lots would be $500, with no lots selling for less than $200 or for more than $800. The high council also assigned Sherwood to apportion the Nauvoo lots subject to the approval of JS and and to enter into contracts for their sale.
Having received this assignment from the high council—and with the approval of JS, who departed on 29 October 1839 for — sent this letter to . It is unclear how Thompson, a member living in , Illinois, responded to Sherwood’s proposal or whether Thompson received the letter at all. On 8 December 1839, the high council provided with a power of attorney to collect money from “William Thompson, William Johnson or any other person or persons” for payment on “town lots, or a lot in the town of ,” but it is unclear whether Rich collected money from Thompson. No land records for Thompson have been found that correspond to the land this letter describes, which would have been located somewhere southeast of ’s two-story home on the southern end of the Nauvoo peninsula by the . Thompson was still living in Peoria County, Illinois, in April 1840, and it is not clear whether he ever lived on the lot in Nauvoo.
The original letter to is not extant. apparently retained a copy of the letter and transcribed it into the records of the high council sometime between 29 March 1840 and 10 October 1841. It is unclear why Sherwood deemed the letter important enough to copy it into the high council record; there are no other similar letters in the record for this period. However, because Sherwood was assigned by JS and the high council to send the letter, his recording of it may have been his way of indicating that he had completed the assignment.
An 1840 delinquent tax list for Hancock County, Illinois, indicates that Thompson owned property in Nauvoo, but this property was Nauvoo block 155, lot 3, in the White Purchase, whereas Rigdon’s home was located in the Galland Purchase. (“Hancock County Tax List,” Western World [Warsaw, IL], 17 Mar. 1841, .)
A 17 April 1840 article in the Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer described Thompson as “a Mormon of this county,” indicating he was still living in Peoria County. The 1840 United States Census lists no William Thompson in Nauvoo or Commerce, but three are listed in Peoria County. The Nauvoo trustee’s land books do not show Thompson owning any land in Nauvoo. (“The Mormons for Harrison,” Peoria [IL] Register and North-Western Gazetteer, 17 Apr. 1840, ; 1840 U.S. Census, Lafayette, Charleston, and Benton Precincts, Peoria Co., IL, 40, 50, 58.)
Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer. Peoria, IL. 1837–1843.
Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.
At a 29 March 1840 meeting of the high council, Sherwood was told to compile the minutes of the meetings held prior to that date. Hosea Stout began recording minutes on 10 October 1841. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 30–31, 53–54.)
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.
Nov. 2nd 1839— Mr — Dear Sir— by the directions of Joseph Smith Junr I write to inform you that a town lot is selected & reserved for you— supposed to be the one of your choice— being situated on the a few rods below — and is a fine and full lot of 11 by 12 rods square— the pieces of Town are regulated by the — and the one Selected for you is of the first sort and comes at $800.— The council expect to erect for the public & business buildings as soon as funds shall be recd from the [p. 29]