, Letter, , New Haven Co., CT, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL; handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The letter was written on the first page only and then trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. There are two tears on the last page. One of the tears likely occurred when the letter was opened. The letter was later folded for filing.
On the verso of the second leaf, a contemporary docket was added by , who served as JS’s scribe from December 1841 until JS’s death in June 1844 and served as church historian from December 1842 until his own death in March 1854. A second docket was later added on the same leaf by , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865: “ | to | Joseph Smith | recd. 23 Augt. | ansd. 25th.”. The letter has presumably remained in institutional custody since its receipt in 1841, when Richards docketed and filed it.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
, a land speculator in , wrote a letter to JS in , Illinois, on 24 July 1841, expressing concern over the ’s lack of payment on lands purchased from him and his partners, and . In 1839, Hotchkiss and his partners sold several large tracts of land in the Nauvoo area to JS, , and . In accordance with the contracted repayment schedule, Hotchkiss and his partners were expecting an annual interest payment of $3,000 in or around August 1841.
In February 1841, JS commissioned and to act as on his behalf to settle the debt with . After arriving in the eastern by the end of March, the two men worked to exchange lands in for lands from the Saints in the East; they intended then to deed those eastern lands to Hotchkiss as payment. Hotchkiss had verbally agreed to this arrangement and was expecting the delivery of these deeds. After procuring some property and transacting other church business in the northeastern United States, Hyrum Smith returned to Nauvoo at the end of April 1841. Galland was to continue procuring properties in the East and then meet Hotchkiss and his partners to turn over the land deeds as payment on the outstanding debt. As of 13 May, however, no such meeting had taken place, and Hotchkiss addressed a letter to Hyrum Smith in Nauvoo expressing his surprise at the delay and urging Hyrum to make immediate arrangements for payment.
Although it is unclear when received the letter, he and left from , Illinois, on another assignment to the eastern in early June, with the apparent purpose of continuing efforts to secure properties for . Evidently aware of this assignment, Hotchkiss requested that Hyrum visit , Connecticut, to transfer the agreed-upon properties. Due to illness, however, Hyrum returned home prematurely after visiting the in and and making a short stop in , Massachusetts.
Extant records reveal that and succeeded in obtaining some real estate meant to be transferred to . Though it is unclear exactly what happened with the acquired properties, Galland apparently sold some of them to other buyers in the East. In late July, Galland wrote to Hotchkiss to inform him that he intended to return immediately to and that would see to the intended land transfer. Although frustrated, Hotchkiss agreed to call on William Smith in hopes of receiving payment on the Nauvoo lands.
mailed this 24 July 1841 letter from the , Connecticut, post office on 26 July. JS received it nearly a month later on 23 August and wrote a response two days later.
The reason for Hyrum’s premature return is unclear, but he reportedly returned to Nauvoo in “good health.” (News Item, Times and Seasons, 1 May 1841, 2:403; Philadelphia Branch Record Book, 6 Apr. 1841; Letter from Smith Tuttle, ca. 15 Sept. 1841; Clayton, Diary, 2 May 1841.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Philadelphia Branch, Record Book, 1840–1854. CCLA.
George A. Smith, Journal, 21 June 1841; Letter from John M. Bernhisel, 12 July 1841; Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 25 Aug. 1841; Snow, Journal, 1841–1847, 3. While details of his visit to Salem are scarce, Hyrum may have made the visit hoping to find a solution to the church’s debts. During this assignment, Hyrum carried with him a copy of JS’s 6 August 1836 revelation, which alluded to “much treasure” in Salem, and may have been hoping to realize the revelation’s promise that God would give the Saints “power to pay” their debts. Following his short visit to Salem, Hyrum stopped in Philadelphia, where he assigned Erastus Snow and Benjamin Winchester “to establish the kingdom in that city.” He gave a copy of the 6 August revelation to Erastus Snow and Benjamin Winchester, stating his belief that “the due time of the Lord had come” for its fulfillment. (Revelation, 6 Aug. 1836 [D&C 111]; Snow, Journal, 1841–1847, 3–4.)
Smith, George A. Journal, 22 Feb. 1841–10 Mar. 1845. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 2, fd. 4.
Extant deeds reveal that lands were first transferred to Almon Babbitt, who was acting as an agent for JS, and then to Galland. In a letter to Edward Hunter, Galland mentioned he had sold some of the properties. Since the deeds for those lands were never given to Hotchkiss, Galland seems to have sold them for personal gain. (Isaac Galland, Philadelphia, to Edward Hunter, [West Nantmeal Township, PA], 27 July 1841, Edward Hunter, Collection, CHL; Chester Co., PA, Deeds, 1688–1903, vol. U-4, pp. 82–83, 185–188, 271–275, microfilm 557,205, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Peirce, Robert and Hannah Harvey Peirce, 63.)
Hunter, Edward. Collection, ca. 1798–1965. Photocopy and typescript. CHL.
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
Peirce, Earl Harvey. Robert and Hannah Harvey Peirce, 1847 Pioneers: Including Some of Their Ancestors and Descendants. Provo, UT: By the author, 1990.
D. Sir— I have this moment recd. a letter from dated yesterday at in which he states his intention of leaving for the west— It certainly was my expectation that I should again see him before his departure and be able to make some arrangement with him respecting the interest due to myself and — In this I am disappointed and considering that a proposition for effecting this object eminated from your brother and the to which no allusion has since been made by them or any body else I and think we have much reason to be dissatisfied at this silence and apparent neglect— Now all the transactions relating to have by me and my friends been entered into in the most perfect good faith and will continue to be conducted upon the most honorable principles— Permit me to ask whether this is a proper return for the confidence we have bestowed and for the indulgence whe have extended?— If you have not already requested your brother to call on me when he arrives east will you write him immediately and say that it is my urgent wish?
Relative to the Ivins Note the has written me and refered to Mr at New Egypt on whom I shall call next week.