Letter to Edward Hunter, 21 December 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Dec 21st. 1821 [1841]
Mr ,
Beloved Brother,
Yours of the 27th of October came to hand at a late date, but I am now able to say to you that the power of Attorney is executed & sent up to the Clerks office for the Seal of State. & will be forwarded direct from there, it is now on the way most probably.
Your letter did not arrive till after returnd with the goods. which I receved in Safety. & has started on a mission to the Inhabitants of Jamaica. one of the west India Isles.—
I will accept the goods as you propose on your debt, so far as it goes, and answer the remainder on the payments which you mention as they become due.
I have purchased 90 acres of Timber land in the vicinity of . A little up the . & have made proposals to . but as yet, am waiting for him to rec[e]ive answers from his correspondent in the East. I shall be able to purchase all the woodland you will want, in a little time.
As it respects Steam engines & mills my opinion is we cannot have too many of them. This place has sufferd exceedingly for such mills in our midst & neither one nor two can do the business of this place [p. [1]] another Season. We have no good grain or board mill in this place. & most of our flour & lumber has to be brought 20 miles. which Subjects us to great inconvenience.
The is rapidly advancing. many new buildings have been erected since you left us, & many more would have arisen if Brick & lumber could have been obtained. There is scarce any limits which can be imagined to the mills & machinery & manafatering [manufacturing] of all kinds, which might be put into proffitable operatin in this , and <​even​> if others should raise a mill before you get here, it need be no discouragement either to you or to . for it will be difficult for the mills to keep pace with the growth of the place. & you will do well to bring the Engine, If you can persuade any of the brethren who are manafaters of woolens or cottons to come on and establish their business, do so.
I have not ascertaind definitely as yet, how far the goods will go toward liquidating s Note or Finishing your house. but this I can say I will make the most of it. & benefit you eve[r]y possible way.
Your message is delivrd to Mrs [Margaret] Smith & she will be glad to have returns on her letter of attorney as speedily as circumstances will permit according to the understanding thereof.— [p. [2]]
I am happy to hear of your welfare & the health of your family. & also to info[r]m you that the health of has much improved since last Summer. & considering the very mild state of the weather most of the time, it is excellent.
Myself & family are in health. & our enemies are at peace with us as much as can be expected in this generation, Should any thing new occur which may be for our advantage you will please write & I will do the same.
I remain, Yours in the Gospel of crist
Joseph Smith
P.S. You will endeavor to have the money in your Letter of attorny from Mrs Smith, ready to furnish a fresh supply of goods early in the Spring.
[1/4 page blank] [p. [3]]
< Ill
Dec 25>
West Nantmeal,
Chester County
Pensylvania [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    According to Illinois law each county was responsible for procuring seals for such documents. (An Act to Provide for All Seals That May Be Necessary in the Several Official Departments of the State of Illinois [19 Feb. 1839], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 648, sec. 4.)  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  2. 2

    Potter transported dry goods, boots and shoes, books and stationery, and other items from Pennsylvania. (Ephraim Potter, “Ohio River,” to Edward Hunter, Chester Co., PA, 10 Nov. 1841, Edward Hunter, Collection, 1816–1884, CHL; Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

    Hunter, Edward. Collection, ca. 1798–1965. Photocopy and typescript. CHL.

  3. 3

    Potter may have departed Nauvoo in company with Harrison Sagers, who had been appointed to serve a mission to Jamaica in August 1841 but was still in Nauvoo as of October. (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 31 Aug. and 7 Oct. 1841.)  

    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Minutes, 1840–1844. CHL.

  4. 4

    According to Hunter’s 27 October 1841 letter, his debt totaled $1,100. (Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

  5. 5

    JS purchased this land from Chauncey Robison. (Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

  6. 6

    McFall was a member of the Nauvoo City Council and an adjutant general in the Nauvoo Legion. JS sought to purchase forty acres of land from McFall on Hunter’s behalf and was trying to negotiate the sale of the land at a less expensive rate, perhaps leading to McFall’s need to speak with his business partner. (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 23 Oct. 1841, 25; Report of Nauvoo Legion General Court Martial, 30 Nov. 1841; Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

  7. 7

    In his letter of 27 October 1841, Hunter sought JS’s opinion on the prospect of Henry Buckwalter’s erecting a steam-powered flour mill and his own building a steam sawmill in Nauvoo. (Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

  8. 8

    The 15 December 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons included a plea for businessmen to erect mills in the city. (“Steam Mills,” Times and Seasons, 15 Dec. 1841, 3:630.)  

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

  9. 9

    JS seems to be referring to the flour and lumber mills in Warsaw, Illinois. On 13 May 1840 the Warsaw newspaper Western World noted that Warsaw had “two steam saw mills” and “one steam merchant flouring mill of the first order.” On 13 December 1841 JS learned that the mills in Warsaw had raised their prices. (“Our Town and Country,” Western World [Warsaw, IL], 13 May 1840, [2]; JS, Journal, 13 Dec. 1841.)  

    Western World. Warsaw, IL. 1840–1841.

  10. 10

    Growth in Nauvoo’s population led to a scarcity of building supplies. In 1841 the church established a lumber operation in Wisconsin Territory to provide lumber for the temple, Nauvoo House, and other construction projects. The 15 January 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons announced negotiations between a skilled brickmaker and William and Wilson Law and suggested that “emigrants need not fear of being retarded in their operations of building &c. for want of materials.” (Rowley, “Mormon Experience in the Wisconsin Pineries,” 119–148; Editorial, Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1842, 3:664.)  

    Rowley, Dennis. “The Mormon Experience in the Wisconsin Pineries, 1841–1845.” BYU Studies 32, nos. 1 and 2 (1992): 119–148.

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

  11. 11

    On 15 December 1840 JS similarly wrote to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, then in England, to encourage those who could establish cotton factories, foundries, potteries, and other businesses to migrate to Nauvoo. (Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.)  

  12. 12

    Hunter and Foster entered into a land deal on 18 September 1841. On 25 September, Foster deeded Hunter the southwest quarter of Section 3 in Township 6 North, Range 8 West, and four Nauvoo city lots: lot 2 in block 82, lot 1 in block 83, and lots 1 and 2 in block 91. The details of payment are not known. (Chauncey Robison, Recorder’s Certificate, 25 Sept. 1841, Edward Hunter, Collection, 1816–1884, CHL.)  

    Hunter, Edward. Collection, ca. 1798–1965. Photocopy and typescript. CHL.

  13. 13

    See Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.  

  14. 14

    On 12 November 1841 Margaret Smith stated in a letter to Hunter that she felt “very anxious to know how they act with you about paying in the money at the present time and whither there is or will be difficulty.” Smith had supplied Hunter with a power of attorney so he could settle her affairs with John Guest, her cousin. Guest had refused to acknowledge this power of attorney because it lacked proper certification and a seal but indicated that if Hunter could supply one that had been properly certified he would “trye to pay part of it as soon as he could collect it.” On 15 December 1841 JS arranged for a new power of attorney to be properly certified and sent to Hunter. (Margaret Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to Edward Hunter, Chester Co., PA, 12 Nov. 1841; Edward Hunter to Margaret Smith, Bond, 25 Sept. 1841; Margaret Smith to Edward Hunter, Power of Attorney, 15 Dec. 1841, Edward Hunter, Collection, 1816–1884, CHL; Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

    Hunter, Edward. Collection, ca. 1798–1965. Photocopy and typescript. CHL.

  15. 15

    Hunter was married to Ann Standley Hunter. They did not have any living children at this time. (Hunter, Edward Hunter, 314, 329.)  

    Hunter, William E. Edward Hunter: Faithful Steward. [Salt Lake City]: Mrs. William E. Hunter, 1970.

  16. new scribe logo

    Postmark in unidentified handwriting.  

  17. new scribe logo

    Postage in unidentified handwriting.