Minutes, 12 July 1841, Copy

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Monday July 12th. 1841.
City Council convened by special appointment.
Meeting opened by Prayer. Minutes of last Meeting read.
The produced an address, recommending, that this Council cause Sunday the 18th. Inst. to be set apart, throughout this as a Day of public fasting, Humiliation, & Prayer. <​on account of the Death of ,​> on as a feeble Testimonial of our high regard, & great respect, for his public services & private virtues, as a Statesmen & Citizen.— Upon Motion, the Address was received, & the recommendation unanimously adopted.
presented a Petition to have a publick Highway located, to Commence at the North East Corner of Section 7 in range 6 N, 8 W, & continue West on the Section Line to the .
Colr. [councilor] J. Smith opposed, in as much as it wd. Cause fractional Lots.— It was agreed to, upon discussion, that the proposed Highway be put on a line on either side of the proposed Location, that is to say, on the best Ground North, or South, as the City Surveyor may think proper. It was then Resolved that a Survey be taken forthwith, & the Road be opened hereafter.
The Read a Law relative to the granting of Licences; and reccommended the making of an Ordinance to License sellers of vinous Liquors: subject was discussed, and it was Moved seconded & carried, that any person or persons in the City of be at liberty to sell vinous Liquors in any quantity, subject to the City Laws heretofore made, & now in force.
The Stated that the principal object of the Meeting was relative to an alledged variance between the survey of the City Plot of , & the map <​as​> recorded, some discussion took place upon the Subject, after which the council adjourned, Sine Die.
July 12th. 1841.
, Mayor.
, Recorder. [p. 20]


  1. 1

    The city council had met by special appointment once before, on 21 May 1841, when the council discussed the subject of “Streets leading into the State Road” and decided to improve Parley Street and connect it with the state road. (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 21 May 1841, 19.)  

  2. 2

    Days of public fasting, humiliation, and prayer grew out of Christian providentialism. These outward displays of humility were an effort to unite communities in inviting God’s intervention in the affairs of Americans. Such days of public fasting, humiliation, and prayer were common in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America and were often occasioned by the death of a public figure or the desire to seek divine favor for the welfare of a state or community. In the wake of the death of United States president William Henry Harrison earlier that year, for example, John Tyler called for a day of public fasting and prayer to honor the president. (McBride, Pulpit and Nation, 11–37; “Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Boston Courier, 5 Mar. 1840, [2]; “Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Boston Courier, 15 Mar. 1841, [4]; “State of New Hampshire,” Dover [NH] Gazette and Strafford Advertiser, 16 Mar. 1841, [2]; “Death of the President,” Boston Courier, 8 Apr. 1841, [1]; “Official,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 13 Apr. 1841, [3]; “National Humiliation,” North American and Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 28 Apr. 1841, [2]; “Death of Senator Little,” Times and Seasons, 15 July 1841, 2:481.)  

    McBride, Spencer W. Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017.

    Boston Courier. Boston. 1824–before 1855.

    Dover Gazette and Strafford Advertiser. Dover, NH. 1827–1858.

    Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.

    North American and Daily Advertiser. Philadelphia. 1839–1845.

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

  3. 3

    Details of Little’s death appeared in an editorial published in the Times and Seasons. The Illinois state senator died from injuries suffered while rescuing his children during an accident that occurred while his family was riding in a horse-driven carriage. Nauvoo mayor John C. Bennett had a prior relationship with Little and, in an address on the occasion of his death, stated that “no man was more deservedly popular, or more faithful in the discharge of every public trust confided to his care” than Little. Though sources offer conflicting dates for Little’s death, he likely died between 10 and 12 July; newspapers from the eastern United States took the issue date of the 14 July 1841 Warsaw Signal as the date of Little’s death. (“Death of Senator Little,” Times and Seasons, 15 July 1841, 2:481; News Item, Warsaw [IL] Signal, 14 July 1841, [2]; Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois, 413; “Casualty,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 26 July 1841, [4]; “Casualty,” North American and Daily Advertiser [Philadelphia], 28 July 1841, [2].)  

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

    Warsaw Signal. Warsaw, IL. 1841–1853.

    Gregg, Thomas. History of Hancock County, Illinois, Together with an Outline History of the State, and a Digest of State Laws. Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1880.

    Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.

    North American and Daily Advertiser. Philadelphia. 1839–1845.

  4. 4

    See William Marks, Petition, Nauvoo, IL, 12 July 1841, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.  

  5. 5

    On 15 February 1841 the city council passed “An Ordinance in relation to Temperance,” which, according to one newspaper account, forbade “the sale of ardent spririts, unless under very severe restrictions” in Nauvoo. While the 15 February 1841 ordinance severely limited the sale of whiskey and other distilled or spirituous liquors in Nauvoo, this motion eased any restrictions that ordinance may have had on the selling of wine. (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 15 Feb. 1841, 8; “Temperance among the Mormons,” Warsaw [IL] Signal, 14 July 1841, [2]; see also “The Mormons,” Western World [Warsaw, IL], 24 Feb. 1841, [2]; “The Mormons,” North Western Gazette and Galena [IL] Advertiser, 2 Apr. 1841, [4]; and Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841.)  

    Warsaw Signal. Warsaw, IL. 1841–1853.

    Western World. Warsaw, IL. 1840–1841.

    North Western Gazette and Galena Advertiser. Galena, IL. 1838–1845.

  6. 6

    The Nauvoo City Council had discussed issues surrounding the Nauvoo plat in previous meetings. (See Report of Committee, 5 Feb. 1841; and Minutes, 1 Mar. 1841.)  

  7. 7

    The original minutes provide slightly more information on this discussion: “Col Rigdon spoke, & considered it shd be put to rights, Col Joseph Smith spoke in opposition, at length. Aldmn. Wells spoke in explination, & wished Mr. Sherwood the Marshall to explain. Col Rigdon again spoke. Aldmn Wells explained. Col Joseph Smith explained.” There was no apparent resolution to this discussion. (Nauvoo City Council Rough Minute Book, 12 July 1841, 21.)  

  8. 8

    The Nauvoo City Council did not meet again until 4 September 1841. (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 4 Sept. 1841, 21–22.)