Agreement with Isaac Hale, 6 April 1829

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

This Agreement made and Concluded this 6th day of April Ano Domini one thousand eight hundred and twenty nine Between of the Township of in the County of Susquehanna and State of Pennsy[l]vania of the one part and Joseph Smith Jun. of the County and State aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth that the said hereby Covenants and agrees to sell and convey to the said Joseph Smith Jun. his Heirs Executors Administrators or assigns by a good and sufficient Deed containing a General Warranty all that certain piece or parcel of land with its appurtenances situate lying and being in the Township of in the County of Susquehanna and <​State​> of Pennsy[l]vania and butted bounded and described as follows Viz. Begining at a Post on the North side bank of the Susquehann[a] River thence North half a degree West one hundred & eleven perches to a post thence North eighty nine and a half degrees East twenty perches to a post thence South half a degree East one hundred and nineteen perches to a Sugar tree on the Bank of said River thence down the River to Bank to the place of Begining Containing in the whole thirteen Acres and eighty Rods be the same more or less, In consideration and for the some <​sum​> of two hundred Dollars to be paid in the following Parshal [partial] payme[n]ts Viz. one Hundred & fourteen Dollars to be paid by the first of May 1829, and the remainder the first of May 1830 For the due performance of the covenants and agreements afore said the said parties hereby bind themself themselves their Heirs executors Administrators and assigns each to the other respectfully respectively in the penal sum of four hundred Dollars to be paid by the party delinquent to the party complaining In Witness wher[e] of they have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written
Signed Sealed and)Joseph Smith Jr.Signed
Delivered in presence)Sealed
[p. [1]]
Received on the within Sixty four Dollars April 6th 1829
Received on the within fifty <​Dollars​> April 27th 1829
Received the interest on the within in full up to this date June the 21. 1830
Recd on the within in full August 26th. 1830 [p. [2]]


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    Oliver Cowdery handwriting begins.  

  2. 1

    As a measure of length, a perch is equal to 16½ feet.  

  3. 2

    As a measure of area, a rod is equal to 272¼ square feet. Eighty rods is equal to half an acre. Thus, the total acreage involved in this sale was 13½ acres.  

  4. 3

    The bounds of this property can be restated thus in current terms: beginning at the river’s edge, the property line extends almost due north (compass bearing 359.5°) for 1,831½ feet, thence a 90° turn to a bearing of 89.5° for 330 feet, thence a 90° turn to a bearing of 179.5° for 1,963½ feet, and finally a 111.8° turn to a bearing of 291.3° for 355 feet. If the distances indicated in this document are accurate, then, depending on how the shoreline “winds & turns” for the last 355 feet and on the straightness of property lines generally, JS actually may have obtained something over fourteen acres. (Compare Deed from Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830.)  

  5. 4

    TEXT: “Signed” encircled.  

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    Original signatures of JS, Isaac Hale, Oliver Cowdery, and Samuel Smith.  

  7. 5

    TEXT: “Sealed” encircled.  

  8. 6

    In several early documents, Oliver Cowdery signed his name with “H” or “H P” as middle initials. See, for instance, the signature at the end of his 28 December 1829 letter to JS and the letter noted in the 20 February 1830 issue of the New-York Telescope. What the initials represent is unknown. That early associates were familiar with them, however, is evident by the quip in the Palmyra Reflector that Cowdery “left out his two middle names in the ‘Book of Mormon.’” (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Dec. 1829; C. C. Blatchly, “Caution against the Golden Bible,” New-York Telescope, 20 Feb. 1830, 150; News Item, Reflector (Palmyra, NY), 1 June 1830, 28; see also Letter to Oliver Cowdery, 22 Oct. 1829; and Agreement with Martin Harris, 16 Jan. 1830.)  

    New-York Telescope. New York City. 1824–1831.

    Reflector. Palmyra, NY. 1821–1831.

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    The next three notations are in Oliver Cowdery’s handwriting, except for Isaac Hale’s signatures.  

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    Original signatures of Isaac Hale.  

  11. 7

    This fifty-dollar payment may have been contributed by Joseph Knight Jr. Remembered Knight: “I left my Father [Joseph Knight Sr.], purchased a building spot adjoining my Father’s and began to work for myself, and nearly ready to build a large house[.] Joseph [Smith] had commenced to translate the plates, he told my Father he wanted fifty dollars; my Father could not raise it; he then came to me, the same day I sold my house lot and sent him a one horse wagon. Father and I often went to see him and carry him something to live upon: at last Oliver Cowdery came to write for him, then he got along faster.” In the local economy of the time, based as much on barter as on cash, the wagon may have been used for JS’s fifty-dollar payment to Isaac Hale. (Knight, Autobiographical Sketch, 1.)  

    Knight, Joseph, Jr. Autobiographical Sketch, 1862. CHL. MS 286.

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    Oliver Cowdery handwriting ends; John Whitmer begins.  

  13. 8

    This later notation in John Whitmer’s handwriting was presumably made near the designated date, 26 August 1830, since Whitmer was on hand on 25 August 1830 to sign as one of the witnesses on the deed giving JS title to the property. JS acquired the funds by arranging what amounted to a loan from Harmony businessman George Noble. (Deed from Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830; Transcript of Judgment, 26 Aug. 1830, George H. Noble & Co. v. JS [J.P. Ct. 1830], Susquehanna Co. Historical Society, Montrose, PA.)  

    Transcript of Judgment, 26 Aug. 1830. George H. Noble & Co. v. Joseph Smith (Susquehanna Co. C.P. 1830). Susquehanna County Historical Society, Montrose, PA.