Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 January 1832

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

January [2]8th 1832Bro. Joseph
According to promise I transmit to you the proceedings of the held 23–24. and 27.th. which are as follows.
Minuets [Minutes] of a General Confrence held in the land of ( Jackson County Mo—.) at the dwelling house of bro. <​23​> First month (Jan.). AD. 1832. 3 oclock P.M.
Names of presant who were to the Names of Elders who were not ordained to the H.P.H.
Joshua Fairchild
Daniel Cathcart
Priest
Teacher
Isaac Bebee [Beebe]
appointed moderator and Clerk.——
Prayer by bro. .——
By joint resolution read relative to various subjects. Resolution offered by bro. to take into consideration the circumstances of two brethren present. (Isaac & George Bebee [Beebe]) who desired to preach the Gospel.——
39. Commandment read by the certain remarks made by him and bro. relative to the subject 30. Commandment read and remarks made by bro. concerning the duties of and their duties read by bro. from the Articles and Covenants. remarks by bro. stating the office of a Priest Teacher or Deacon to be as important as that of a . Resolved therefore that there be no person ordained in the in this the land of to the office of Elder Priest Teacher or Deacon without the united voice of the church in writing in which such individual resides.——
The above Resolution adopted by unanimous vote.— Records of the church which came from Geauga Co. Ohio. received and laid on the Table. Presented by their Teacher Isaac Bebee
The brought forward a statement of the lands purchased for for the saints amounting to nearly twelve hundred acres.— After a long discussion upon the expenditures expediency of mechanics immediately moving to this land for the be[n]efit of the church. the following resolution was proposed. Resolved that the be instructed to request the churches in the east to send to this land o[n]e blacksmith, two shoemakers one carpenter and joiner one mason one waggon and plow maker o[n]e tanner and currier one millwright one hatter one chair & cabinet maker, one silver Sm[it]h and one wheel wright. The abo[v]e Resolution adopted by unanimous vote Upon motion of the Confrence adjourned until half past 8. Oclock A.M. Closed.——
Prayer by brother Daniel Cathcart. Clerk of Confrence 9. OClok eve.
[24 January 1832]
Confrence convened according to adjournment names called and prayer by the .——
Minuets of yesterdays proceedings read. The brought forward his account of moneys received from the church and also a statement of the expenditures of the same. The made certain remarks relative to the subject now before the confrence stating that in consequence of not making minuets at the time of paying out moneys last summer while traveling to this land and after arriving he could not account for nearly sixty dollars and after presenting the account bro. arose and said that he was knowing to the s paying at one time more than thirty dollars last summer for passage to this land which was not on the account presented. By unanimous vote the above sum allowed the . The following is a list of the s account.——
Amount of funds paid over to the up to Jan 24. 1832. including moneys of his own $4508.24
Amount of disbursments for lands and other necessaries for the church up to Jan 24. 1832. $3449.90
Total amount of funds now remaining in the s hands at this date Jan 24. 1832. $1058.34
By unanimous vote the above account accepted
Resolved that the lay before each General Con[ference] held by the Elders in this land a regular account of moneys and properties received and expended for the use and benefit of this church The above carried by unanimous vote
The Con. then proceeded to take into consideration the subject of Schools. After deliberate discussion the following Resolution passed by unanimous vote. Resolved that this Confrence appoint Brs, and to superintend Schools in this land. the Churches in this land.— The Records of the Church which came from N.Y. received and laid on the Table. presented by their Priest . Upon motion of bro. bro. appointed by unanimous vote to keep the General Church Record of <​the​> names of the in this land. according to the church Covenants.—— Resolved that the be instructed to establish a house of entertainment i[n] the Town of to accommodate the traveling Elders of this Church and other brethren whose circumstances may require. Also inquirers from a distance &c. to be supported out of the General Church fund a regular return of its expenditures and income to be made to each [p. [1]]
General held in this land said establishment to b[e] put in opportunity operation as soon as circumstances may permit. Carried by unanimous vote. Confrence adjourned until 3. oclock PM. Clerk of Confrence.——
Con. convened according to adjournment 3. oclock P.M. Quotation from the Law. “And it shall come to pass that the of my after that he has received the properties of my Church that it cannot be taken from the Church”. &c. The Confrence therefore Resolve that the of this Church at the time of receiving moneys or other properties for the use and benefit of this Church of any member of the same shall give a receipt to the person at the time covenanting for himself and his heirs that such moneys or properties shall be expended for the use and benefit of this church according to the covenants and Laws of the same. And that whatever amount of such moneys or properties may be in his possession should he be removed from his said office of Bishop by death or otherwise shall be handed over to his successor— By unanimous vote the above resolution passed.——
Bro. brought forward certain letters written by bro. one addressed to himself bearing date September 10th 1831. another addressed to bros and . bearing date Portage Co. Ohio 14.th Nov. 1831. after a few remarks a motion was carried to have the said letters read by the . After deliberate discussion it was Resolved that Whare Wharas this Confrence has been made acquainted with certain difficulties existing between the Bishop of this Church () and bro. and Wharas the said has prefered certain charges against the said Bishop () detrimental to his character and standing as a Bishop in the church of Christ. Therefore we the Confrence having no legal right to proceed to a trial of the same in the absence of one of the parties Recommend that the stationed in this land converse with the said Bishop () on this subject and write the said a friendly humiliating letter advising that this difficulty be settled and thereby the wound in the Church be healed. By unanimous vote.—— General Confrence adjourned to tuesday the 3d. of 4 month (April). 1832. Closed. singing. prayer by bro. . Clerk of Confrence.——
In consequence of the ill health and crowd of business our bro. was unable to attend the General Confrence for which cause we thought proper to hold a special one to examine his accounts of &c.— by his request.
Minuets of a Special Confrence held at the dwelling house of bro , Jan. 27. 1832. (evening) appointed moderator and Clerk. Prayer by bro .—
Names of Elders presant.
Brother [br]ought forward the following account of moneys received
Received of $1002.70
Received of agent of the churches at the east and sundry other brethren on the way to this land. $169[2],00 $1692.00
Total amount received. $2694,70
Total amount paid out 2677.83
Sum remaining. 16.87
By unanimous vote the above account accepted
The following is the amount of disbursements
$________
Paid out for Goods for Gilbert & Whitney for Goods and transportation to this place 827.94
Paid for transportation for families and bagage &c from to this place 804.89
Other necessaries for the use and benefit of the Church 1045.00
Total amount paid out 2677,83
After certain remarks from bro. relative to the in this place it was Resolved that a letter be addressed by brs. and on the subject of the in this place to the Agent of the Desiples in the east () requesting a special confrence to act upon the contents of said letter— By unanimous vote.
Singing. prayer by bro. . Closed. Clerk of Confrence——
The following items in I insert to accompany the foregoing documents by request of the . which I copy from his own hand.
“Although the has reported that there is nearly twelve hundred acres of land purchased that you may know have a better understanding we think propper to state that it is mostly woodland & not in a situation to be improved this season even if it should be thought advisable to clear it faster Not than what is wanted for timber. And further we would State that one piece of the land is not as yet paid for the which when added to what has been now paid to the Elders who go east will reduce the amount of funds in the s hands more than 200 dollars— We would further state that provisions are scarce nearly & dear nearly double what they were one year ago.— We have not a large supply on hand probable not more than enough for the brethren here.— The not getting opened as soon as we expected has injured us verry much in the purchase of provisions. According to instructions sent here it was expected to be opened about the middle of Oct. & thinking that purchases might be made with goods & the money saved in the Church we neglected to buy expecting would certainly be here soon. From <​the​> funds in the s hands you will redily perceive that we are not in a situation to buy much more land & procure a stock of provisions <​& cows​> for those who are coming here this spring.—— [p. [2]]
For the foregoing reasons we h[a]ve sent only for mechanics know[i]ng that others are commanded to come & believing that others [w]ill none come without a command not knowing but that they may.——
We do not expect that all the mechanics will be found & sent but we have sent for those most neededneeded.”——
Among the mechanics sent for it is expected that one blacksmith one shoemaker and one mason will come in the from . and brothers <​Kingsberry​> and Stebbens. and a brother from Winchester Indiana who is a tanner.— Advise the brethren by all means to Come by land and this [thus] obey the command of the Lord.— We think that it would be well for the brethren to bring one barrel buck wheat. one and one of Clover seed.—— <​or half a Bbu Clover Seed if possible​>
Ten of our brethren have started to proclaim the Gospel namely. ( & ) ( & ) these four are going on the south side of the to and Bethany Virginia. ( & ) through the more settled parts of & Indiana. ( & ) through the north part of & Indiana . into . Daniel Cathcart & Joshua Fairchild through the north part of this through Indi. to .——
Say to brother that if he can send a carding machine and clothiers tools this spring by water we think that it will be well. even which can be put in operation as soon as circumstances may permit. Also say to of that the says if he can send the leather up to this land as he talk[ed] to me last Oct at in it will be of great worth to the Desiples.——
The brethren are generally well and rejoicing in the Lord. The and all the with all the brethren send love to the eastern Churches.
I remain your brother in the Lord
.
Joseph Smith Jun.
P.S. We expect soon to be ready to print and hope that brother can supply with paper at present you can tear off the bottom of this sheet which will serve him for a bill you see if ten thousand copies is are struck it will take double the amount of the first mentioned Ream[s] and we feel anxious that it may be so for I think there is no fear of sale [rest of page cut off] [p. [3]]
 
Geauga County
Ohio
0.50

Footnotes

  1. 1

    TEXT: “[Hole in paper]8th”.  

  2. 2

    Extant records of general conferences held in 1831 and 1832 indicate that all other general conferences during that time period were held in Ohio. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–A [D&C 75:1–22].)  

  3. 3

    Knight lived twelve miles southwest of Independence, two miles east of the state border. His stewardship was in the northwestern quarter of Section 33 of Township 49 North, Range 33 West, in Jackson County. (Jackson Co., MO, Land and Property Records, 1832–1857, “Record of Original Entries to Lands in Jackson County Missouri,” 20 Dec. 1898, Township 49 North, Range 33 West, p. [16], microfilm 1,019,781, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:84, 109–112.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

  4. 4

    “H.P.H.” refers to the high priesthood (in this instance, the office of high priest). Minutes from a 25–26 October 1831 conference at Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, similarly begin with a list of “those ordained to the Highpriesthood.” All but three of those on this list (William W. Phelps, Newel Knight, and Oliver Cowdery) received the high priesthood at an early June 1831 conference held in Kirtland, Ohio. (Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  

  5. 5

    Cowdery and Whitmer had recently brought Revelation Book 1, a manuscript book of JS’s revelations, to Missouri.  

  6. 6

    Isaac Beebe Sr. is listed in the 1820 census as living in Chardon, Ohio, and Isaac Beebe Jr. and George Beebe are listed in the 1830 federal census as living in Chardon. The Beebes apparently relocated to Missouri in 1831. Which Isaac is referred to here is not clear. (1820 U.S. Census, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH, 101A; 1830 U.S. Census, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH, 253A; “Deaths,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 182.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  7. 7

    This number and the number “30” on the following line apparently refer to corresponding numbers that appear on revelations in Revelation Book 1. In that book, the revelation numbered “39” concerns Partridge’s call to preach. The revelation numbered “30” states that only JS can receive revelation for the church as a whole and gives Cowdery the responsibility to lead the mission to the Lamanites. (Revelation, 9 Dec. 1830, in Revelation Book 1, p. 48 [D&C 36]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–B, in Revelation Book 1, p. 40 [D&C 28].)  

  8. 8

    Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:46–59]. In November 1831, a revelation called for the organization of the various offices in the church into bodies of designated sizes and for the appointment of presidents for each to “set in council with them & to teach them their duty.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:85].)  

  9. 9

    A November 1831 revelation outlined a hierarchy of offices in the church, ascending “from Deacon to Teacher & from Teacher to Priest & from Priest to Elder,” after which came “the high Priest hood which is the greatest of all.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:63–64].)  

  10. 10

    The “Articles and Covenants” of the church merely instructed that “every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and calling of God unto them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains them.” However, at a November 1831 conference in Hiram, Ohio, where two individuals from Nelson, Ohio, wanted to know whether they could preach the gospel, the conference decided that the two should “be ordained according to the voice of the church in which they live.” That decision was similar to the action taken at this Missouri conference. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:60]; Minutes, 9 Nov. 1831.)  

  11. 11

    The Articles and Covenants directed that congregations “send one of their priests or teachers to attend the several conferences held by the elders of the church with a list of the names the several persons uniting themselves to the church since the last conference.” Presenting Ohio records in Zion was in harmony with a November 1831 revelation that stated that the “Saints which are abroad in the Earth should send forth their accounts to the Land of Zion for the Land of Zion shall be a seat & a place to receive & do all these things.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:81–82]; Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 69:5–6].)  

  12. 12

    Partridge purchased these lands in several different transactions, all in his own name. They included a sixty-three-acre plot purchased in December 1831, which the Saints dedicated for the building of a temple. (Jones H. Flournoy and Clara Hickman Flournoy to Edward Partridge, Deed, Jackson Co., MO, 19 Dec. 1831, CHL; Edward Partridge, Petition for Redress, 15 May 1839, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; Land Patents for Edward Partridge, Jackson Co., MO, nos. 14, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1961, 1962, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior.)  

    Flournoy, Jones H., and Clara Hickman Flournoy. Deed to Edward Partridge, Jackson Co., MO, 19 Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 14294.

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

    General Land Office Records. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior. Digital images of the land patents cited herein are available at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/.

  13. 13

    “Pertaining to artisans or mechanics.” As evidenced by the request later in the letter for specific individuals skilled in blacksmithing, shoemaking, and masonry to come to Jackson County, “mechanics” as used here apparently meant craftsmen of various kinds. (“Mechanic,” in American Dictionary [1845], 523.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language; Exhibiting the Origin, Orthography, Pronunciation, and Definitions of Words. Edited by Noah Webster. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1845.

  14. 14

    TEXT: “be[hole in paper]efit”.  

  15. 15

    TEXT: “o[hole in paper]e”.  

  16. 16

    TEXT: “o[hole in paper]e”.  

  17. 17

    TEXT: “Sm[hole in paper]h”.  

  18. 18

    Because the Santa Fe Trail began at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, the town probably already had some craftsmen. This resolution indicates that the elders were committed to building a self-sustaining Mormon community. (See History of Jackson County, Missouri, 170.)  

    The History of Jackson County, Missouri, Containing A History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, Etc. . . . Cape Girardeau, MO: Cape Ramfre Press, 1966.

  19. 19

    TEXT: “abo[hole in paper]e”.  

  20. 20

    The conference report in Minute Book 2 records that John Corrill offered the closing prayer. Corrill offered the opening prayer at the conference held at Sidney Gilbert’s home on 27 January 1832, which may have confused the recorder of the minutes in Minute Book 2. (Minute Book 2, 23 Jan. 1832.)  

  21. 21

    See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:34–36]; and Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:8].  

  22. 22

    Partridge distributed funds to elders who were required by a 6 June 1831 revelation to travel to Zion. An 8 August 1831 revelation instructed Partridge to aid these elders on their return journey as well. (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52]; Revelation, 8 Aug. 1831 [D&C 60:10].)  

  23. 23

    It is unclear how much Partridge had expended on land to this point. He purchased much of the land for $1.25 an acre. This would mean that he had paid approximately $1,500 for the nearly 1,200 acres he had purchased. Records indicate that he had spent at least $875 for nearly 660 acres by the end of 1831. (Land Patents for Edward Partridge, Jackson Co., MO, nos. 14, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1961, 1962, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior; Jones H. Flournoy and Clara Hickman Flournoy to Edward Partridge, Deed, Jackson Co., MO, 19 Dec. 1831, CHL.)  

    General Land Office Records. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior. Digital images of the land patents cited herein are available at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/.

    Flournoy, Jones H., and Clara Hickman Flournoy. Deed to Edward Partridge, Jackson Co., MO, 19 Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 14294.

  24. 24

    A June 1831 revelation assigned Cowdery and Phelps the task of publishing schoolbooks. Some leaders in Kirtland objected to the appointment of Corrill to superintend schools, believing that his work as an assistant to Partridge required his full attention. (Revelation, 14 June 1831 [D&C 55:4]; Charges against Missouri Conference Preferred to JS, ca. Mar. 1832.)  

  25. 25

    About sixty church members from Colesville, New York, relocated together to Kaw Township after a sojourn in Thompson, Ohio, arriving in late July 1831. They settled on an eighty-acre tract of land in the northwest corner of Section 33 of Township 49 North, Range 33 West. (Knight, Reminiscences, 9; Jackson Co., MO, Land and Property Records, 1832–1857, “Record of Original Entries to Lands in Jackson County Missouri,” 20 Dec. 1898, Township 49 North, Range 33 West, p. [16], microfilm, 1,019,781, U. S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:110n12.)  

    Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 3470.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  26. 26

    That is, the Articles and Covenants. These stated that a “regular list of all the names of the members of the whole church” were to be kept in a book “by one of the elders whomesoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time.” That list was called “the general church record of names.” Although a March 1831 revelation gave John Whitmer the responsibility to “keep the Church Record & History continually,” Corrill was here appointed to keep the record for Zion—an assignment to which some Ohio leaders objected. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:82–83]; Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47:3]; Charges against Missouri Conference Preferred to JS, ca. Mar. 1832.)  

  27. 27

    TEXT: “i[hole in paper]”.  

  28. 28

    There is no extant record that a “house of entertainment” was ever built or begun. By 1838, Smallwood Noland, who was not a member of the church, was operating a log hotel and tavern in Independence that Parley P. Pratt called a “respectable hotel.” Whether that hotel was in operation in January 1832 is unclear. (Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:49–50; Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 46.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Pratt, Parley P. History of the Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri Upon the Mormons, In Which Ten Thousand American Citizens were Robbed, Plundered, and Driven From the State, and Many Others Imprisoned, Martyred, &c. For Their Religion, and All This by Military Force, by Order of the Executive. By P. P. Pratt, Minister of the Gospel. Written During Eight Months Imprisonment in that State. Detroit: Dawson and Bates, 1839.

  29. 29

    TEXT: “b[hole in paper]”.  

  30. 30

    A February 1831 revelation stated, “& it shall come to pass that the Bishop of my church after that he has received the properties of my church that it cannot be taken from you he shall appoint every man a Steward over his own property or that which he hath received.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:32].)  

  31. 31

    That is, the February 1831 “Laws of the Church of Christ,” which outlined the principles of consecration. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–38].)  

  32. 32

    After this time, upon receiving a donation Partridge prepared an agreement of consecration, which functioned as the “receipt” requested. This agreement stated that Partridge, having received the donation, bound himself to “cause the same to be expended” for the purposes stated on the agreement of consecration. The agreement also declared that if Partridge was “removed from the office of bishop of said church, by death or otherwise,” he and his heirs were legally bound to transmit all such donated property to the new bishop. (See, for example, James Lee and Edward Partridge, Agreement of Consecration, ca. 1832–1833, incorporated as part of Edward Partridge, Jackson Co., MO, to “Honored Father” et al., 22 Oct. 1834, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL.)  

  33. 33

    Corrill and Morley were appointed “assistants” to Partridge in June 1831. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  

  34. 34

    These charges apparently stemmed from encounters between Partridge and JS in Missouri during the summer of 1831. A September 1831 letter from Ezra Booth reminded Partridge of an argument Partridge had with JS over the selection of land to purchase in Missouri. This argument, Booth recounted, culminated in Partridge telling JS, “I wish you not to tell us any more, that you know these by the spirit when you do not.” Rigdon likely had this incident in mind when he charged Partridge with “having insulted the Lord’s prophet in particular & assumed authority over him in open violation of the Laws of God.” Rigdon also questioned how Partridge reimbursed him for expenses incurred in the trip to Missouri. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1]; Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1832.)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  35. 35

    “Abating pride.” (“Humiliating,” in American Dictionary [1828].)  

    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.

  36. 36

    There is no extant record of a conference being held in Missouri on 3 April 1832.  

  37. 37

    According to his father, Gilbert was an “invalid” in a “low state of health” in 1832. His ailment is unknown. (Eli Gilbert, Huntington, CT, 24 Sept. 1834, Letter to the editor, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:9.)  

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

  38. 38

    TEXT: “[Hole in paper]ought”.  

  39. 39

    According to a later reminiscence of Emily Dow Partridge Young, Edward Partridge’s family and Isaac Morley’s family traveled to Missouri with “a company of Saints under the direction of W. W. Phelps and A. S. Gilbert.” (Young, “What I Remember,” 4–5.)  

    Young, Emily Dow Partridge. “What I Remember,” 1884. Typescript. CHL. MS 5718.

  40. 40

    The store was probably not in operation at this time. Gilbert apparently obtained a merchant’s license in the name of “Gilbert & Whitney” from Jackson County sometime prior to 6 February 1832. On 20 February 1832, “Gilbert & Whitney” paid $371 for the former log courthouse in Independence. (Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, 1827–1909, vol. B, pp. 32–33, 20 Feb. 1832, microfilm 1,017,978, U. S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Eakin and Eakin, Jackson County Missouri Court Minutes Book 1, 127, 143–144; Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:47–48, 58.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Eakin, Joanne C., and O. B. Eakin, comp. Jackson County Missouri Court Minutes Book 1, 1827–1833, with Index; and Jackson County Missouri Death Register, 1883–1891. Independence, MO: By the author, 1988.

  41. 41

    An August 1831 revelation designated Whitney as “an agent unto the Desiples” in Kirtland. A December 1831 revelation, dictated two weeks after Cowdery and Whitmer departed for Missouri, designated Whitney as bishop for the Kirtland area. (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:45]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–A [D&C 72:7–8].)  

  42. 42

    A July 1831 article in the Missouri Intelligencer indicates that both corn and wheat crops were “very light,” in part because of “excessive rains” and high water. The lack of production in fall 1831 probably increased the price of grain. (“The Crops,” Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser [Columbia], 30 July 1831, [1]; “Wheat,” Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser, 13 Aug. 1831, [3]; News Item, Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser, 13 Oct. 1832, [4].)  

    Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser. Franklin, MO, 1819–1827; Fayette, MO, 1827–1830; Columbia, MO, 1830–1835.

  43. 43

    Emily M. Coburn, who came to Missouri in 1831, later recalled that “teams were constantly on the road to St. Louis, Missouri, not only for farming machinery, but for other necessaries, such as mercantile goods, all of such as were needful, both in groceries and dry goods.” (Austin, Life among the Mormons, 66.)  

    Austin, Emily M. Mormonism; or, Life among the Mormons: Being an Autobiographical Sketch, Including an Experience of Fourteen Years of Mormon Life. Madison, WI: M. J. Cantwell, 1882.

  44. 44

    Weather was a substantial cause of Gilbert’s delay in reaching Missouri. Accompanied by his nephew James Rollins, Gilbert departed Kirtland for Missouri sometime in mid-October and arrived about 1 January 1832. Rollins later recalled, “We were delayed when we got to Arrow Rock, [Missouri,] one hundred miles below Independence, on account of the great flow of ice. The steamer turned back, and we remained there with W. W. Phelps for at least 5 weeks.” Emily Dow Partridge Young, who was with the group, recalled that they had to stay in a log cabin in Arrow Rock for two or three weeks until the weather improved. (Rollins, Reminiscences, 2; Young, “What I Remember,” 5.)  

    Rollins, James H. Reminiscences, 1896, 1898. Typescript. CHL. MS 2393.

    Young, Emily Dow Partridge. “What I Remember,” 1884. Typescript. CHL. MS 5718.

  45. 45

    TEXT: “h[hole in paper]ve”.  

  46. 46

    TEXT: “know[hole in paper]ng”.  

  47. 47

    TEXT: “[Hole in paper]ill”.  

  48. 48

    An August 1831 revelation stated that “in as much as there is lands obtained [in Missouri] let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land to labour for the saints of God.” This same revelation instructed those wanting to migrate to Missouri to obtain approval from the “Elders of the Church.” In addition, another August 1831 revelation stated that JS would have “power . . . to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of Zion & those of my Desiples that shall tarry.” However, as Partridge anticipated, some moved to the state without gaining such approval. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:54, 56]; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:41]; see, for example, Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; and Whitmer, History, 30.)  

  49. 49

    In an August 1831 revelation, Elliott and Babbitt were told it was “wisdom” that they should “Journey this fall to the land of Zion.” (Revelation, 31 Aug. 1831.)  

  50. 50

    The commandment to travel to Zion by land rather than by water was given in an August 1831 revelation, while JS and others were journeying home to Ohio. (Revelation, 12 Aug. 1831 [D&C 61:18].)  

  51. 51

    Buckwheat and clover had several uses. According to an 1820 farmer’s almanac, both were important as “vegetable manure.” Turning under a field of either buckwheat or clover greatly enriched the soil; red clover was especially effective in improving wheat yields. Buckwheat could also “mak[e] an agreeable bread” and could be used to feed pigs and other livestock. Clover also provided nourishing hay for horses. (Nicholson, Farmer’s Assistant, 38, 62–64.)  

    Nicholson, John. The Farmer’s Assistant; Being a Digest of All That Relates to Agriculture and the Conducting of Rural Affairs. . . . 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1820.

  52. 52

    That is, bushel.  

  53. new scribe logo

    Insertion in the handwriting of Sidney Gilbert.  

  54. 53

    Several of these individuals—Murdock, Wight, Pratt, Hancock, Whitlock, and Coltrin—were told in a June 1831 revelation to travel to Missouri, preaching along the way. Some did not arrive until fall 1831 and apparently decided to stay for a time before returning. An August 1831 revelation indicated that one reason that these individuals, as well as others, were commanded to go to Missouri was so that “the testimony might go forth from Zion yea from the mouth of the City of the heritage of God.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52]; see, for example, Murdock, Journal, Aug.–Sept. 1831; and Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:13].)  

    Murdock, John. Journal, ca. 1830–1859. John Murdock, Journal and Autobiography, ca. 1830–1867. CHL. MS 1194, fd. 2.

  55. 54

    Beginning in the early industrial era, water-powered carding machines became essential in cloth production, as they “took over the arduous task of preparing wool for hand spinning.” A clothier, according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, is “a man whose occupation is to full”—meaning to cleanse and thicken—“and dress cloth.” (Ulrich, Age of Homespun, 38; “Clothier,” in American Dictionary [1828].)  

    Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth. New York: Knopf, 2001.

    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.

  56. 55

    Ashley was apparently a tanner by trade.  

  57. 56

    A revelation in August 1831 instructed Harris to “be an example unto the church in laying his money before the bishop of the Church” to provide funding for land purchases for the storehouse and for the “house of the Printing.” A revelation in November 1831 appointed Harris—as well as JS, Cowdery, Whitmer, Rigdon, and Phelps—as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:35–37]; Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:3].)  

  58. 57

    A conference of elders held in November 1831 “voted that there be ten thousand copies struck” of the Book of Commandments, a compilation of JS’s revelations. (Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831.)  

  59. 58

    TEXT: This part of the page is damaged due to the removal of an adhesive wafer.  

  60. 59

    TEXT: “[page cut]wel”  

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    Postmark in unidentified handwriting.  

  62. 60

    This indicates that postage on the letter was fifty cents, which agrees with the rates of postage established by Congress in 1825 and 1827: “Double letters, or those composed of two pieces of paper,” were charged double the usual rate of twenty-five cents—the cost of a letter traveling over four hundred miles. (Force, National Calendar, 140, italics in original.)  

    Force, Peter. The National Calendar for MDCCCXXIX. Vol. VII. Washington DC: By the author, 1829.Force, Peter. The National Calendar for MDCCCXXX. Vol. VIII. Washington DC: By the author, 1830.