Letter from Edward Partridge, 13–15 June 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

June 13th 1839
Prest, Smith
Your letter in Answer to my note to I recieved by the hand of br Harris,— Respecting the cattle I had promised three or four yoke to Father Myers, I did expect br Shearer would have sent the cattle down immediately or I should not have been quite so willing to have accommodated him with some to moved with. Some of our poor brethren wished me to furnish them teams to move up to with and I promised them that when the teams returned I should, they were very anxious to get up in time to get in a little garden, And were not my plans frustrated I could have accommodated them greatly to their satisfaction, the br[ethre]n that I allude to are the blind brethren, who say that they had as lieve live in tents there as here, it is now too late to think of making gardens and what is best for them brn to do I know not.—
I had promised some money as soon as I could sell a yoke of cattle, I know of nothing else I have that I can raise money with at this time, and they are getting to be dull sale to what they were.
Sister Meeks has been quite sick but she is getting better, she has nothing to eat only what she is helped to, a number of other poor here I think need assistance Wid[ow] Sherman for one but if you think that all the means should be kept up there I have nothing to say only that I do not believe it to be my duty to stay here living on expence where I can earn nothing for myself, nor do anything to benefit others.
As I before stated I have promised some money as soon as I can raise it, I have not at this time two dollars in the world $1- 44 is all I owe for my rent And for making clothes for some of the , And some other things, I am going into the room, br Harris leaves to save rent, what it is best for me <​to do​> I hardly know, hard labor I cannot perform, light labor I can but I know of no chance to earn any thing, at any thing that I can stand it to do— It is quite sickly here five were buried in four days, br More’s Child Sis Louisa P and And son Hiram 18 or 19 years of age the other two were children of the world.
I spoke to br about his siene [seine] he said that he would speak to his brother about it, He said he thought that they would sell it, or they would come up in the fall and fish awhile but to lend it he thought it would not be best as those unaccustomed to fish in the rivers would [p. 68] be apt to tear it to pieces, You percieve that I have not means to get you twine at present therefore I presume that you will not blame me for not doing it.
15th—— Were I well I would go up to with And settle with the Committee & and see what is best to do—probably may come next week.
If could sell one yoke of cattle and let me have the avails of them I should be glad, and I think it best to let two yoke that are up there go to father Myers, As to team to move up some of the poor, do as you think best
I remain yours—
Prest J. Smith Jr
Mr Joseph Smith Jun
, Hancock Co. Ill. [p. 69]


  1. 1

    Probably George W. Harris. The letter from JS to Partridge is not extant. (See Letter to George W. Harris, 24 May 1839; and Letter from Edward Partridge, 27 May 1839.)  

  2. 2

    Probably Jacob Myers Sr., a millwright. In spring 1839, he and his family moved from Caldwell County, Missouri, to Payson, Illinois, approximately fourteen miles southeast of Quincy. (Foote, Autobiography, vol. 2, pp. 114–117.)  

    Foote, Warren. Autobiography, not before 1903. Warren Foote, Papers, 1837–1941. CHL. MS 1123, fd. 1.

  3. 3

    Possibly Daniel Shearer or his brother Joel Shearer. (Daniel Shearer, Affidavit, Quincy, IL, 7 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; Chase, “Events in the Life of Daniel Shearer,” 1–2.)  

    Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 2703.

    Chase, Sherwin. “Events in the Life of Daniel Shearer,” July 1983. Information concerning Daniel Shearer, ca. 1983. CHL. MS 7673.

  4. 4

    The Latter-day Saints in Iowa Territory were primarily living around Montrose, across the Mississippi River from Commerce, Illinois. In July they began to establish a new settlement at “Blefens point,” later called Nashville. (Woodruff, Journal, 20 May 1839; 28 June 1839; 2 July 1839; JS, Journal, 2 July 1839.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  5. 5

    Later records indicate that some individuals living in the Commerce area were blind. (See Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 17 Feb. 1842, 60; and Relief Society Minute Book, 2 Sept. 1843.)  

  6. 6

    “Lieve” is an alternate spelling of “lief,” which is an adverb meaning “gladly; willingly; freely.” (“Lieve,” and “Lief,” in American Dictionary.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

  7. 7

    Possibly the wife of Garland Meeks, a seventy from the Kirtland, Ohio, area. Sister Meeks was also discussed on 14 April 1839 in a meeting about moving indigent Saints from Missouri to Illinois. (List of Priesthood Licenses, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Sept. 1836, 2:383; Woodruff, Journal, 3–4 Apr. 1837; Quorums of the Seventy, “Book of Records,” 6 Feb. 1838, 41; Far West Committee, Minutes, 14 Apr. 1839.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Record of Seventies / First Council of the Seventy. “Book of Records,” 1837–1843. Bk. A. In First Council of the Seventy, Records, 1837–1885. CHL. CR 3 51, box 1, fd. 1.

    Far West Committee. Minutes, Jan.–Apr. 1839. CHL. MS 2564.

  8. 8

    Probably Delcena Johnson Sherman, the widow of church leader Lyman Sherman. Her husband died in Far West, Missouri, around February 1839, and she apparently moved to Quincy by March 1839. (Kimball, “History,” 98; Johnson, “A Life Review,” 49–51.)  

    Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.

    Johnson, Benjamin Franklin. “A Life Review,” after 1893. Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, 1852–1911. CHL. MS 1289 box 1, fd. 1.

  9. 9

    Partridge may have been weakened by malaria, which was raging in the Quincy area. Or, as Orson F. Whitney related in 1884, Partridge may have been weak or ill because of his imprisonment in Richmond, Missouri, in winter 1838–1839. In a prayer Partridge wrote in January 1839, he described the jail where he and several other Saints were held for several weeks: “The cold northern blast penetrated freely; our fires were small, and our allowance for wood, and for food, scanty; they gave us, not even, a blanket to lie upon; our beds were the cold floor.” (Orson F. Whitney, “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor, Oct. 1884, 9; Edward Partridge, Prayer, Jan. 1839, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL.)  

    Contributor. Salt Lake City. 1879–1896.

    Partridge, Edward. Papers, 1818–1839. CHL. MS 892.

  10. 10

    A few men with the surname of Moore were members of the church in Nauvoo, Illinois, by 1842: Andrew Moore, Harvey Moore, and William Moore. Of these three, Andrew Moore is the only one known to have lived in Quincy in 1839, but his extant reminiscences do not mention the death of a child in 1839. Alternatively, it is possible Partridge was referring to James Moses, whose son John died in Quincy in 1839. (Nauvoo, IL, Tax List, district 3, 1842, pp. 187, 211, 222, 227, microfilm 7,706, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Moore, Reminiscences, 28–29; Huntington, Cemetery Records, [1].)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Moore, Andrew. Reminiscences, 1846. CHL.

    Huntington, William D. Cemetery Records, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 22047.

  11. 11

    David Pettegrew fled from Far West on 19 January 1839 and eventually settled in Quincy, where his family joined him around 15 April. He recorded in his autobiography that his son Hiram, age eighteen, became sick soon thereafter and died on 10 June 1839. (Pettegrew, “History,” 34; Obituary for Hiram Pettegrew, Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 1:63.)  

    Pettegrew, David. “An History of David Pettegrew,” not after 1858. Pettigrew Collection, 1837–1858, 1881–1892, 1908–1930. CHL.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  12. 12

    That is, children whose parents were not church members. (See Luke 16:8.)  

  13. 13

    In a letter to JS on 5 March 1839, Partridge noted that Isaac Higbee Sr. and his son John Higbee moved two miles from Quincy to fish for the spring. At the time of Partridge’s 13 June letter, it appears that two of Isaac Sr.’s sons—Isaac Jr. and John—were engaged in the fishing endeavor. (Letter from Edward Partridge, 5 Mar. 1839; Higbee, Journal and Reminiscences, [14]–[15].)  

    Higbee, John S. Journal and Reminiscences, 1845–1849. John S. Higbee, Reminiscences and Diaries, 1845–1866. CHL. MS 1742, fd. 1.

  14. 14

    The committee Partridge mentioned may be the committee assigned to oversee the sale of land in Jackson County, Missouri. (See Minutes, 24 Apr. 1839; and Far West Committee, Minutes, 17 Mar. 1839.)  

    Far West Committee. Minutes, Jan.–Apr. 1839. CHL. MS 2564.

  15. 15

    No records indicate whether Partridge made the proposed visit to Commerce, but he and his family apparently moved there in early July 1839. (Partridge, History, ca. 1839.)  

    Partridge, Edward. History, ca. 1839. In History of Joseph Smith (Coray copy), ca. 1841. CHL. MS 22506.

  16. 16

    Markham was appointed as a church agent on 27 May 1839. (See Authorization for Stephen Markham, 27 May 1839.)