Letter from Clark Leal, 19 May 1842
, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 19 May 1842; handwriting of ; one page; Helen Vilate Bourne Fleming, Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal notations, and docket.Bifolium measuring 9⅞ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The document was trifolded twice in letter style for transmission and sealed with a red adhesive wafer, a remnant of which remains on the verso of the second leaf. The document was also trifolded for filing., who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844, docketed the document. The letter came into the possession of , the daughter of and ; Whitney retained this letter and other papers. The letter was passed down in Whitney’s family and came into the possession of her granddaughter Helen Vilate Bourne Fleming. The letter and other papers were passed down to Fleming’s daughter Helen Marian Fleming Petersen. Shortly after Petersen’s death in February 1988, one of her children found this letter and other items in a box in her home. By December 1988, the materials had been donated to the Church Historical Department (now CHL).
On 19 May 1842, wrote from , Illinois, to JS in , Illinois, regarding a recent conversation they had had about land. In their discussion, Leal, a resident of Fountain Green, was apparently acting as an for , a investor. Leal had visited Nauvoo two days earlier, on 17 May, and met with JS. The following day, JS and accompanied Leal on a trip to view a section of land southeast of Nauvoo, near Sugar Creek. Apparently satisfied with the land in question, JS agreed to pay for first right of refusal in purchasing the land from Sheldon. As an agent, Leal presumably held a power of attorney in order to facilitate transactions and grant first claim to the land. But in Leal’s 19 May letter he clarified that he lacked the authority to permit JS to make improvements on the land and stipulated that JS should not undertake any improvements until Sheldon granted permission. Although JS had arranged to purchase the land, he never did so. In 1844, Leal inquired whether JS was still interested in purchasing the land but indicated there might be problems with the land’s title.The original sent copy of the letter, featured here, bears a docket by , indicating that it was received in .
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