, Letter, , IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 6 July 1842; handwriting presumably of ; four pages; JS Collection (Supplement), CHL. Includes address, dockets, and notation.
Bifolium measuring 12 × 7⅞ inches (30 × 20 cm), with slight variation due to uneven cutting and folding, ruled with thirty-four horizontal blue lines (now faded). The right side of the recto of both leaves was unevenly cut. wrote at the top and bottom of the verso of the second leaf, leaving space for the address block. The letter was trifolded twice in letter style for transmission; it was subsequently folded for filing.
The letter was docketed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859. The notation “copied by A.J.” was apparently added by a clerk or secretary for Andrew Jenson, who served as assistant church historian from 1897 to 1941. Sometime between 1973 and 1984, the document was added to the JS Collection Supplement at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early docket, notation, and inclusion in the JS Collection (Supplement) indicate continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection (Supplement), 1833–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 6 July 1842, , who had moved from Tennessee to in May, wrote to JS in , Illinois, reporting on the state of the in northwestern Tennessee. Brandon had been while living in Henry County, Tennessee, sometime in 1835. The first missionaries began preaching in Henry and neighboring counties in 1834, and helped establish in these counties in 1835. Woodruff also preached at Brandon’s home on a few occasions in 1836. In 1839, Brandon reported on his proselytizing efforts in and around Henry County and noted that he had recently “organized a branch of the church called the charity branch, consisting of 8 members.” While other missionaries came and went, over the next few years Brandon continued to preach and baptize in the region. In early 1842, Daniel Hunt, , and Alfred Young stopped to preach with Brandon while journeying to central Tennessee. Within a few months, members of the Charity branch, including Brandon, began to relocate to Nauvoo and other nearby locales.
In the letter featured here, addressed to JS as the editor of the church newspaper, related his proselytizing success, noted the creation of the Charity , and reported on the state of other branches in and around Henry and counties. The absence of postal markings indicates that he probably hand delivered this letter to JS or an associate in . Brandon apparently intended for the letter to be printed in the Times and Seasons, but it was never published.
Though Brandon wrote in his autobiography that he was baptized on about 25 March 1835, Wilford Woodruff, who baptized him, did not arrive in the region until April. (George Brandon, Autobiographical Sketch, no. 52, in “Record of the Seventeenth Quorum of Seventies,” Seventies Quorum Records, CHL; Woodruff, Journal, 9 Apr. 1835.)
Seventies Quorum Records, 1844–1975. CHL. CR 499.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Patten, Journal, 2 Oct. 1834; David W. Patten and Warren Parrish, Paris, TN, to Oliver Cowdery, 11 Oct. 1834, in Messenger and Advocate, Nov. 1834, 1:24; Berrett, “History of the Southern States Mission,” 62–64, 78–80, 83–99, 109–110, 159–160, 192–194.
Patten, David W. Journal, 1832–1834. CHL. MS 603.
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
Berrett, LaMar C. “History of the Southern States Mission, 1831–1861.” Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1960.
Young, Alfred. Autobiography, no date. Typescript. BYU.
☞ July the 6the 1842 Illinois
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons
Dear Brother in the Bonds of the .
It is with feelings of Gratitude and delight that <I> take my pen to address you in a fiew lines
Dear Brother in as much as I have lately arrived at this place from Tennessee I feel it a duty that I owe God And myself and also my Brethren
To give you a short account of the state and Condition of the and Brethren in the counties of Henry Stewart and Montgomery Tennessee so fare as I have a knowledge of their standing
I will first give a short account of the Charity which Branch was raised up by myself in 182◊ 1839 and was Organised with seven members some of whom lived in Henry County and some in Our most usual place of holding meatings were in a few hundred <yards> of the County line between the afore said Counties and near to where they cornered east
This Branch grew from 7 members to 18 Seventeen of whom were in good standing in April 1842 so fare as we could ascertain One by the name of Eli Casteel was cut off from the church about the first of May last Eight of the Branch landed in On the 30 day of May last some others of the Branch have removed els◊ where til— there is But five members remaining in the Branch 4 of whom are women three of whom have unbelieveing husbands and one of whom was the wife of Eli Casteel who was Cut off from the Branch about first of May 1842 the other member is <a> young lad by the name of Britton Morris. But Two had moved within a few miles of them this spring it is hoped that they will Take care of them by uniting with them &c— [p. ]
TEXT: This drawing of a pointing hand was meant to inform JS where to begin reading. Because of how the document was folded, this portion of the letter would have been hidden from view when it was received. Consequently, Brandon added a note on the fourth page, which would have been visible after folding, directing JS to this point on the first page.
Casteel seems to have been included in the 1840 census for Benton County, though his last name appears to have been misspelled. Legal documents suggest that Casteel was still living in Benton County in the late 1840s. (1840 U.S. Census, Benton Co., TN, 19; Early Tennessee/North Carolina Land Records, Record Group 50, West Tennessee Land Grants, reel 182, bk. 12, p. 182, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville.)
Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.
Early Tennessee/North Carolina Land Records, Record Group 50. Microfilm. Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. Available at Ancestry.com.