JS, Oath, , Hancock Co., IL, 11 Feb. 1843; handwriting of ; signature of JS; certified by ; one page; JS Collection, CHL.
Single leaf, measuring 4⅝ × 7⅝ inches (12 × 19 cm). The leaf consists of blue paper ruled with twelve horizontal lines printed in blue ink with header space. The leaf was torn on the left side of the recto and hand cut along the bottom edge. It was later folded in half.
may have originally kept the document in his role as city clerk and recorder, which he held from February 1841 to August 1843. Thereafter, this document was presumably kept among Nauvoo city records. In 1845 the city of Nauvoo was disincorporated. Many if not most of the city records were likely included in the various collections of city records listed in an inventory produced by the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) in 1846, when they were packed up along with church records and taken to the Salt Lake Valley. The city records are also listed in inventories of church records created in 1855, 1878, and circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s likely inclusion with the city records listed in early church inventories and its inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous church custody since 1845.
“An Act to Repeal the Nauvoo Charter,” 14th General Assembly, 1844–1845, Senate Bill no. 35 (House Bill no. 42), Illinois General Assembly, Enrolled Acts of the General Assembly, 1818–2012, Illinois State Archives, Springfield.
Illinois General Assembly. Bills, Resolutions, and Related General Assembly Records, 1st–98th Bienniums, 1819–2015. Illinois State Archives, Springfield.
“Inventory. Historian’s Office. 4th April 1855,” –; “Index of Records and Journals in the Historian’s Office 1878,” ; “Index to Papers in the Historians Office,” ca. 1904, 7, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 11 February 1843, JS took an oath of office as part of his inauguration as mayor of , Illinois. Because JS was originally appointed mayor during a special election of the city council in May 1842 following ’s resignation from the office, the election on 6 February 1843 marked the first time JS ran for mayor in a general city election. This election was held in accordance with provisions in Nauvoo’s charter. By designation of the Nauvoo City Council, ’s office served as the polling location. Running unopposed, JS received all of the votes cast and was reelected as mayor.
The city council assembled at ten o’clock the morning of 11 February and swore in JS and the newly elected councilors. JS arrived late, having been in a meeting with . If he followed ’s precedent, he took his oath shortly after arriving at the city council meeting and before delivering his inaugural address. The language of the oath reflects the stipulation in Nauvoo’s charter that the mayor and aldermen swear to support the and constitutions and to “well and truly perform the duties of their offices to the best of their skill and abilities.” It also matches the wording of the oath that JS took in May 1842 and the one administered to Bennett in 1841.
JS was sworn in before the city recorder, , who recorded the oath on a loose leaf of paper. Sloan may have prepared the oath ahead of time. Changes in the ink suggest that the date and Sloan’s signature were added after the initial inscription of the document, presumably during or shortly after the inaugural ceremony. As city recorder, Sloan certified the copy of the oath.
JS met with Rigdon to resolve differences that had pervaded their relationship for several months. Arriving at the meeting, he informed the city council that “he had been doing a good deed” in conversing with Rigdon and that “good feelings [had] prevaild.” (JS, Journal, 11 Feb. 1843.)
I Joseph Smith do solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God, that I will Support the Constitution of the , and of the State of , and that I will well and truly perform the duties of Mayor of the City of , to the best of my skill and abilities.
Sworn to before me the day and year above written.
<, City Recorder, and Clerk of the Municipal Court, of the City of , Ills..—> [p. ]