Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

June 6th Floid [Floyd]Co 1832 1832
I would inform you that has arrived here and braught the pleasing news that our Familys were well when he left there which Greately Cheared our hearts and revived our Spirits we thank our hevenly Father for his Goodness uto unto us and <​all of you​> you, arrived on Satterday the Same week he left haveing a prosperous time we are all in good health s leg is gaining and he thinks he Shall be able to to perform his Journy so as to get home <​about​> as Soon as the 20th my Situation is a very unpleasent one although I will endeaver to be Contented the Lord asisting me I have visited a grove which is Just back of the town almost every day where I can be secluded from the eyes of any mortal and there give vent to all the feelings of my heart in meaditation and praiyr I have Called to mind all the past moments of my life and am left to mo[u]rn and Shed tears of sorrow for my folly in Sufering the adversary of my Soul to have so much power over me as he has <​had in times past​> but God is merciful [p. [1]] and has fo[r]given my Sins and I r[e]joice that he Sendeth forth the Comferter unto as many as believe and humbleeth themselves before him I was grieved to hear that had <​lost​> his little Child I think we Can in Some degree simpathise with him but we all must be reconciled to our lots and Say the will <​of the Lord​> be done I was wrote a letter to him <​her ​> which which was very chearing but and being unwell at that time and filled with much anxiety it would have been very consoling to me to have received a few lines from you but as you did not take the trouble I will try to be contented with my lot knowing that God is my friend in him I shall find comfort I have given my life into his hands I am prepared to go at his Call I desire to be with Christ I Count not my life dear to me only to do his will I am not pleased to hear that has come back and disobayed the voice of him who is altogether Lovely for a woman. I am astonished at sister Emaline [Emeline Miller McLellin] yet I cannot belive she is not a worthy Sister I hope She he will <​find​> him true and kind to her but have no reason to expect it his conduct merits the disapprobation of every true follower of Christ [p. [2]] but this is a painful subject I hope you will excuse my warmth of feeling in mentioning this subject and also my inability in convaying my ideas in writing I am happy to find that you are still in the faith of Christ and at s I hope you will Comfort and in their trials and and Jerutia and the rest of the Family tell I remember her and in my prayrs my respects to the rest I Should Like [to] See little and once more take her on my knee and converse with you on the all the subjects which concerns us things I cannot is not prudent for me to write I omit all the important things which could I See you I could make you aquainted with tell that I and will arrange the business of that farm when we come give my respects to all the Brotheren [’s] Family tell them he is Chearfull and patient and a true Brother to me I Subscribe myself your Husband the Lord bless you peace be with [you?] So
Farewell untill I return
Joseph Smith Jr— [p. [3]]
( will come with us)
<​ Ind​><​18¼​>
<​June 6th <​7th​>​>
Geauga Co
Ohio [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    TEXT: Possibly “182” or “18◊◊”.  

  2. 2

    After leaving for Missouri, JS instructed Emma Smith by letter to live with Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney, wife of Newel K. Whitney, in Kirtland, Ohio. JS gave this instruction in part because he feared his family was not safe in Hiram, Ohio, because of the violence he experienced there in late March (which JS believed contributed to the death of Joseph Murdock Smith, his adopted son). But Emma was unable to stay with the Whitneys because Elizabeth Whitney’s aunt Sarah Smith (who resided in the Whitney home) insisted that there was no room in the home for Emma. Emma’s situation was unsettled until JS returned; she stayed at the homes of Reynolds and Thirza Stiles Cahoon, Frederick G. and Rebecca Swain Williams, and JS’s parents. A later JS history recounts that when he returned from Missouri, he found Emma “very disconsolate.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; JS History, vol. A-1, 209; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [8]; JS History, vol. A-1, 205–206, 209.)  

  3. 3

    Harris apparently traversed the more than three hundred miles to Greenville, Indiana, within five days. He may have caught a stagecoach in Chagrin (now Willoughby), Ohio, which was approximately three miles northwest of the Mormon community in Kirtland. From Chagrin, Harris probably traveled southwest to Cleveland and then south again toward Columbus, following the main roads. From Columbus, Harris may have continued south to Cincinnati and then west to Greenville. He evidently arrived on Saturday, 2 June 1832. Since he brought news of the 29 May death of Mary Smith, he must have departed on or after that day. (North America Sheet VIII, Ohio, with parts of Kentucky and Virginia 1844; Map of Ohio, 12 Sept. 1832.)  

    North America Sheet VIII, Ohio, with Parts of Kentucky and Virginia. In Maps of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Vol. 1. London: Chapman and Hall, 1844. Digital image on David Rumsey Map Collection, accessed 7 May 2012, http://www .davidrumsey.com.

    Map of Ohio Compiled from the Latest and Most Authentic Information. Hartford, CT: Willis Thrall, 1832.

  4. 4

    TEXT: Possibly “got” or “gat”.  

  5. 5

    In a letter to William W. Phelps written several weeks later, JS recounted, “I often times wandered alone in the lonely places seeking consolation of him who is alone able to console me.” These reflections may have prompted JS to compose “A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Ch[r]ist,” which he wrote later in the summer. Part of this history recounts how JS, “from the age of twelve years to fifteen,” became “excedingly distressed” because of his sins, leading him to “cr[y] unto the Lord for mercy.” The history then recounts that the Lord appeared to JS, telling him “Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; JS History, ca. Summer 1832.)  

  6. 6

    See Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:10].  

  7. 7

    See John 14:26; 15:26.  

  8. 8

    Mary Smith, the daughter of Hyrum and Jerusha T. Barden Smith, was almost three years old. In his journal, Hyrum Smith wrote, “I was Calt to view a Seine which Brougt unto me Sorrow and mourning Mary was Calt from time to a ternity on the 29th Day of May She Expired in mine arms Such a Day I never Before experience.” (Hyrum Smith Family Bible; Hyrum Smith, Diary and Account Book, 29 May 1832.)  

    Hyrum Smith Family Bible, 1834. In Hyrum Smith, Papers, ca. 1832–1844. BYU.

    Smith, Hyrum. Diary and Account Book, Nov. 1831–Feb. 1835. Hyrum Smith, Papers, ca. 1832–1844. BYU.

  9. 9

    All three children born to JS and Emma Smith to this point had died, as had Joseph Murdock Smith, one of the twins they had adopted.  

  10. 10

    Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney apparently wrote this letter after hearing news of her husband’s broken leg and his need to recuperate before traveling further. This news was relayed to the Saints in Kirtland by Sidney Rigdon, who arrived there 26 May. (Cahoon, Diary, 26 May 1832.)  

    Cahoon, Reynolds. Diaries, 1831–1832. CHL. MS 1115.

  11. 11

    As later recounted in his history, JS suffered from what he believed was deliberate food poisoning, which caused him to vomit so severely that he dislocated his jaw. (JS History, vol. A-1, 215; see also Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 220.)  

  12. 12

    See Acts 20:24.  

  13. 13

    See Song of Solomon 5:16.  

  14. 14

    A January 1832 revelation commanded McLellin to travel and preach. McLellin departed on his mission but soon questioned whether he had been called by God or by man. On 25 February he decided to “cease proclaiming”until he could satisfy his mind on the matter. After working for some time as a shopkeeper, McLellin returned to the community of Mormons in Hiram, where he soon met and courted Emeline Miller, whom he married on 26 April. (Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–A [D&C 75:6–12]; McLellin, Journal, 25 Feb. 1832; William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to “Beloved Relatives,” Carthage, TN, 4 Aug. 1832, photocopy, CHL.)  

    McLellin, William E. Journal, Apr.–June 1836. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 6. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

    McLellin, William E. Letter, Independence, MO, to “Beloved Relatives,” Carthage, TN, 4 Aug. 1832. Photocopy. CHL. MS 617.

  15. 15

    Miller was a niece of John and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs Johnson; her parents moved with the Johnsons from Vermont to Hiram, Ohio, in 1818. JS and Emma Smith apparently knew Miller from their residing with the Johnsons in Hiram in 1831 and 1832. (Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 263–264, 319.)  

    Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.

  16. 16

    The following month, JS wrote to William W. Phelps that the Saints who traveled from Portage County, Ohio, to Missouri in the summer of 1832 had departed “under this displeasure of heaven”—in part because they had “receive[d] Wm McLelin into there fellowship & communion on any other conditions, then the filling his mission to the South countries according to the commandment of Jesus Christ.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.)  

  17. 17

    In 1831, Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith moved into a home on a farm owned by Frederick G. Williams. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 12, [6]; Historical Introduction to Revelation, 15 May 1831.)  

  18. 18

    Sophronia Smith Stoddard, who was married to Calvin Stoddard, gave birth to a daughter, Maria, on 12 April 1832. Calvin Stoddard then left on a mission with Jared Carter on 25 April. (Carter, Journal, 59.)  

    Carter, Gideon Hayden. Journal, Apr.–Dec. 1832. CHL. MS 1732.

  19. 19

    Through a land exchange in the winter of 1829–1830, Frederick G. Williams purchased a farm in Kirtland, on which JS’s parents lived. Sometime around April 1832, Philo Dibble apparently sold some of his own property to raise enough money to pay off $400 that Williams owed on the farm. Williams received the deed for the farm in April 1832. As the bishop in Kirtland, responsible for overseeing temporal affairs there, Whitney was in a position to “arrange the business” of the Williams farm, whatever that business may have been. (Cuyahoga Co., OH, Deeds and Mortgages, 1815–1866, vol. N-13, pp. 89–90, 17 Apr. 1832, microfilm 1,994,223, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Palmer, Bench and Bar of Illinois, 2:896; Historical Introduction to Revelation, 15 May 1831; Dibble, Reminiscences, [4]; Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 16, pp. 22–23, 20 Apr. 1832, microfilm 20,236, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Palmer, John M., ed. The Bench and Bar of Illinois. 2 vols. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1899.

    Dibble, Philo. Reminiscences, no date. Typescript. CHL. MS 15447.

  20. 20

    Newel K. and Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney had four or five young children, and Elizabeth’s aunt Sarah Smith was also living in their home at this time. Newel’s parents were living nearby in one of his stores. (Staker, “Thou Art the Man,” 105–106.)  

    Staker, Mark L. “‘Thou Art the Man’: Newel K. Whitney in Ohio.” BYU Studies 42, no. 1 (2003): 75–138.

  21. 21

    TEXT: Signed in large script, with flourish below.  

  22. 22

    TEXT: This postscript is written at the top of the page with the page turned upside down in comparison to the other three pages.  

  23. new scribe logo

    Postmark in unidentified handwriting, likely Greenville postmaster Daniel Pomeroy Porter. (Record of Appointment of Postmasters, vol. 6, p. 135, National Archives, Washington DC;Register of Officers and Agents [1831], 239; Register of All Officers and Agents [1833], 85 (second numbering); Baker, Postal History of Indiana, 946).  

    U.S. Post Office Department. Records of Appointment of Postmasters, Oct. 1789–1832. National Archives Microfilm Publications, microcopy M1131, reel 4. Washington DC: National Archives, 1980.

    A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth Day of September, 1817; Together with the Names, Force, and Condition, of all the Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. Prepared at the Department of State, In Pursuance of a Resolution of Congress, of the 27th of April, 1816. Washington DC: E. De Krafft, 1818.A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the 30th of September, 1829; together with the Names, Force, and Condition, of All the Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. Washington DC: William A. Davis, 1830.A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the 30th of September, 1831; together with the Names, Force, and Condition, of All the Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. Washington DC: William A. Davis, 1831.

    Register of All Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1833; with the Names, Force, and Condition of All Ships and Vessels Belonging to the United States, and When and Where Built. . . . Washington DC: William A. Weaver, 1833.

    Baker, J. David. The Postal History of Indiana. Vol. 2. Louisville, KY: Leonard H. Hartmann, 1976.

  24. 23

    TEXT: Possibly “18/4” or “18/c.”.  

  25. new scribe logo

    Address in handwriting of Newel K. Whitney.  

  26. 24

    TEXT: The lines of addressing and posting, which were written when the letter was folded for mailing, run perpendicular to the lines of the unfolded letter.