Letter to Oliver Granger, 26 January 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

City of Jany. 26, 1841
Dear ,
I wrote you a few days ago in answer to a letter recently received from you, expressing my surprise that I had not received the letters you mentioned; Since that time, I have to inform you that I have received two letters giving me an account of the proceeding of the in and some of your business transactions. I am extreemely sorry that the person by whom you sent those letters did not hand them over to me sooner, however, I assure you, I was glad to pe◊◊◊◊ <​read​> them and felt very much satisfied with the perusal. I was likewise very much pleased with the spirit which was manifest by the saints in and for their desire to promote the interests of the Kingdom.
If those letters had been received in their propper time, the we probably might have acted differently at the last , but not having the information we desired, we acted to the best of our understanding, which I hope will prove advantageous to all parties. I hope you will not let any of the proceeding of last Conference disturb your mind, for we understood you were intending to come here last fall, and consequently thought it advisable to appoint some one to preside in . I should be glad if you would co-opperate with and both lay your Shoulders to the work, and if you do so I think you will be a blessing to the Church, and prosperity will Smile upon you.
I should be much pleased [p. [1]] to receive a letter from you as oft as you can make it convenient, and give me all the intelligence in your power. I am yet in the dark respecting the debts I should be much pleased to hear that they were settled.
Since writing the above I received yours of the 9th inst, and I assure you I was very much gratified to hear of your success in redeeming the “” &c I hope Dear Brother that success will attend all your efforts for the prosperity of the cause, so dear to the saints and that you will be abundantly rewarded by that God whose has called us to be co-workers with him and his holy spirit in these last days
Be assured of my continued regard for your welfare and for the prosperity of the in , and I pray that they may prosper in every good word and work and after the afflictions and tribulations of mortality be crowned with everlasting joy in the of our God.
We continue to prosper in this place and expect to have a large increase of inhabitants the next Season, we are making preperation for some large and extensive buildings which we intend to build Erect soon.
With sentiments of respect, I am very respectfully yours Affectionately
Joseph Smith [p. [2]]
P.S With respect to giving advise to the moving to I would say, that I feel desireous that the Eastern brethren should come to , but at the same time, those who had rather move to than to this place are at liberty to do so.
I am pleased you have secured the keys of the and should advise you and you are hereby requested to hold them until I home come, whe I cannot say when I shall pay you a visit but I think not before the debts be settled. So if you are desireous to see me, you will have to exert yourselves to get the debts settled.
Please to write me all the p[ar]ticulars of your transactions and let me know when we shall have the pleasu[re] of Seeing you here
J. S.
accompanied by some one of the brethren (perhaps ) intend to leave this place in a few days for the East, on business for the church, they will call at and will be glad to see you as you may possibly give them such information as may will be necessary for them in their business transactions.
J. S. [p. [3]]
Ja. 29>
Lake Co
Ohio [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    The letter JS wrote to Granger and the one he received from him are apparently not extant. The letter from Granger was evidently written prior to 9 January 1841, the date of a subsequent letter from Granger to which JS later referred in this reply.  

  2. 2

    These two letters are apparently not extant.  

  3. 3

    TEXT: Possibly “peruse”.  

  4. 4

    A 19 October 1840 letter JS and Hyrum Smith wrote to the Kirtland Saints did not express such pleasure. It instead chastised church leaders in Kirtland for not writing to JS and his fellow prisoners when they were in jail at Liberty, Missouri, during winter 1838–1839. The letter also counseled those in Kirtland to “put away from your midst all evil speaking, backbiting & ungerous thoughts and feelings” so that “the blessings of Jehovah” could be poured out on them. (Letter to the Saints in Kirtland, OH, 19 Oct. 1840.)  

  5. 5

    Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840.  

  6. 6

    JS was responsible for several outstanding debts to merchants in both New York City and Buffalo, New York. These debts, most of which originated from promissory notes produced in 1836 and 1837 and some of which had been renegotiated in 1839, were owed to prominent wholesale mercantile institutions such as Halstead, Haines & Co.; Keeler, McNeil & Co.; Leavitt, Lord & Co.; and Hempstead & Keeler. (“Schedule Setting Forth a List of Petitioners,” ca. 15–16 Apr. 1842, CCLA; Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838.)  

    “Schedule Setting Forth a List of Petitioner[’]s Creditors, Their Residence, and the Amount Due to Each,” ca. 15–16 Apr. 1842. CCLA.

  7. 7

    To provide collateral for payments on debts that JS and others owed, the Kirtland House of the Lord was placed under mortgage in July 1837 to Mead, Stafford & Co. Three promissory notes were due in July 1838, 1839, and 1840 to reclaim the temple; this letter indicates that Granger successfully paid the notes. In February 1841, Granger and his wife, Lydia Dibble Granger, conveyed ten acres of land in Palermo, New York, to Zalmon and Robert Mead for $300, which may have served as a partial payment on the debt. (Oswego Co., NY, Deeds, 1792–1902, vol. 33, pp. 115–116, 22 Feb. 1841, microfilm 1,011,773, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  8. 8

    A week before this letter was written, a JS revelation mandated the construction of two large buildings in Nauvoo—a temple and a boardinghouse called the “Nauvoo House.” The Nauvoo House was envisioned to be “a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place for the weary traveller.” According to a letter JS wrote to the Twelve Apostles, the temple would “be considerably larger and on a more magnificent scale than the one in Kirtland” and would “undoubtedly attract the attentio[n] of the great men of the earth.” JS also told the Twelve he was hoping “Cotton Factories, Founderies, Potteries &c &c” would be established in Nauvoo. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:55, 60]; Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840.)  

  9. 9

    At the October 1840 general conference, JS provided “his opinion, that the brethren from the east”—apparently meaning both Saints migrating from England and those living in the eastern United States and Canada—“might gather” at Kirtland. He also communicated to the Saints in Kirtland that those “eastern bretheren who desire to locate in Kirtland” were permitted to do so and that he hoped the Kirtland Saints would “use all their endeavors to promote the welfare of the brethren who may think proper to take up their residence in that place.” However, a proclamation from the First Presidency published in the 15 January 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons instructed the Saints to gather to Nauvoo, stating that “This is the word of the Lord, and in accordance with the great work of the last days.” Part of a company of emigrants from England led by Theodore Turley had stopped in Kirtland for the winter on the advice of Hiram Kellogg. (Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840; Letter to the Saints in Kirtland, OH, 19 Oct. 1840; Proclamation, 15 Jan. 1841, emphasis in original; Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 Dec. 1840; Clayton, Diary, 24 and 29 Oct. 1840.)  

    Clayton, William. Diary, Vol. 1, 1840–1842. BYU.

  10. 10

    Church members in Kirtland had apparently locked other Saints out of the House of the Lord during some meetings. In an October 1840 letter, JS and Hyrum Smith informed the Kirtland Saints that Babbitt would “hold the keys of the House of the Lord,” probably because of his presiding role, and requested that the keys “be put into his hands” so that he could “hold them for the benefit of the Church.” (Letter to Oliver Granger, between ca. 22 and ca. 28 July 1840; Letter to the Saints in Kirtland, OH, 19 Oct. 1840.)  

  11. 11

    The possibility of JS being imprisoned in New York for outstanding debts may explain why he would have been reluctant to travel to Kirtland—located not far from the southwestern boundary of the state of New York—until those debts were settled. (See Letter from Jacob W. Jenks, 31 Dec. 1839.)  

  12. 12

    TEXT: “p[page torn]ticulars”.  

  13. 13

    TEXT: “pleasu[page torn]”.  

  14. 14

    A 19 January 1841 revelation instructed Galland and Hyrum Smith to be ordained “to accomplish the work that my servant Joseph shall point out unto them.” The nature of that work was specified in a power of attorney JS gave to Galland and Hyrum Smith in February 1841. That document explained that they would focus their efforts on eliminating JS’s debts, selling property he owned, making land exchanges, and paying taxes. A February 1841 letter of recommendation also stated that the two were to visit church branches, exchange land, sell stock in the Nauvoo House, and solicit donations for building the Nauvoo temple. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:79]; JS to Isaac Galland and Hyrum Smith, Power of Attorney, 1 Feb. 1841, Hancock Co., IL, Bonds and Mortgages, 1840–1904, vol. 1, p. 96, microfilm 954,776, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; JS, Letter of Recommendation for Hyrum Smith and Isaac Galland, 15 Feb. 1841, JS Collection, CHL.)  

  15. 15

    TEXT: Postmark stamped in brown ink. “Ja. 29” written in blue ink within circular postmark.  

  16. 16

    TEXT: Postage in unidentified handwriting.