Letter from Joseph Coe, 1 January 1844

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Lake Co Ohio Jan. 1st1844
Mr Joseph Smith
I have for a long time been anxious to receive some communication from you in relation to my interest in the Mummies &c. but having failed hitherto of learning any<​thing​> Satisfactory on the subject I have thot proper to drop you a line as the most ready means of exchanging sentiments on this subject. Permit me here to sketch the history of the purchase &.c. in order to bring the subject fresh to your recollection. When the subject of purchasing that concern came up I was some-what involved, and unable to sustain a heavier burthen any great length of time. but having all confidence in the utility of the collection, and being assured by yourself that the burthen would be but temporary; that the profits arising from the work when translated would be more than adequate to the defraying all the expence which might accrue by the purchase. I therefore managed the business in relation to the purchase with the same confidence that I had previously done business which I thought would result in the good of the church. Previous to closing the contra[c]t with I made arangements with S[imeon] Andrews for to take one third part and yourself & Co. one third leaving one third to be borne by myself. Andrews soon paid his $800 I took $800 out of which paid a large portion of my share; but yours together with the interes[t] remained until the Spring of 1836 if I mistake not. when by an arangement with he agreed to take 1000 dollars and give up my notes; if the raise could be made on short notice [p. [1]] the principles being settled you gave your note for the amount viz: $1000 and took from him my notes the raise was made in season to fulfill the contract and the money paid by the time of this sum. I raised $300 which I borrowed of Abel Nash. Hence by this transaction you paid $700 this sum was $100 besides interest; less than your contract spe[c]ified. I <​The​> next action between us was an agreement to exchange papers, which we did outright. I <​In​> an interview with your after you left, I proposed to him to let me have real estate to ext[i]nguish my claim, which he said he would do, but I suppose the circumstances under which he left rendered it inconvenient. Hence I was unexpectedly involved in a sum that I have hitherto, been unable <​to​> adjust. Now I know that I have acted in relation to the above purchase, in good faith and in good feelings; and if Justice requires me to bear it, or if your circumstances render it impossible for you to releave me, I have no more to say; but I think that neither is the fact, If you have not the means here of relieving me, others of your friends have. If I am not much mistaken, much property has been and is being put to no better use than that of paying me for the Mummies. Cannot you make arangements with your brother for his house and lot, or with for his, or let me have the use of this farm over which you are sole trustee in trust. The latter is in your power to do, and belonging to the Church as it does I presume that body would delight in relieving me from a burthen which I am barng [bearing] solely for their benefit. I have an Idea that you have heretofore received but little for the use of the Church property in this place. Other property too, seems to go lightly but perhaps wisely I do not say as to that. The Bunk [Bank] house and two years rent of Your Brother ’s house and lot was given to settle a claim which [p. [2]] purchased for a Cow.
But to return to the subject of the Mummies, was only an agent acting under some men in the mummies when delivered to him for exhibition wer valued at some 2 or 300 dollars, but they sued him and was allowed the sum which he sold them to me for viz. $2400, It also appeared on the trial that the outgoes while was exibiting them exceeded the income $1550 I suppose the owne[r]s are (if <​it [is]​> not outlawed) liable for the fraud thus practised by their agents but I have hitherto been unable to attend to the collection of it. I take the liberty here to say something in relation to your farm which I have occupied for 2 seasons past. I should be glad to occupy it it for several years to come provided I can dictate the policy in relation to its management. and can convince the saints here that I have a right to what grows on it and that you are also satisfied with what you receive. Many of the saints are inclined to t[ake] (by the grab law) their share of the Church’s property as it passes; alleging for excuse that you do not receive the rent and that they may as well have a share as some others. It will be necessary to take some more eficient measures to Secure this farm from depredations than have been taken for 2 years past. Much of its effe[c]ts goes to waste, or rather is consumed by cattle which are helped into the grain pasture &.c. Permit me to call your attention to the purchasing of small Lots within the limits of this farm, it frequently occurs that they are sol[d] for no more than they are worth for farming purposes. would it not be good policy to purchase such when offered to do away the necessity of fencing or other inconvenience arising from owners of diverse interest.——
I have filled this sheet hastily, with good fellings, believing it will be received with friendly feelings and receive a Speedy and friendly answer.
Yours with respect
Mr. Joseph Smith [p. [3]]
Jany 2)>
Mr Joseph Smith
Hancock Co
Jany 1st. 1844
Answered Jany 18— 1844
Jan 1. 1844
to Joseph Smith [p. [4]]


  1. new scribe logo

    Endorsement in handwriting of William Clayton.  

  2. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Leo Hawkins.