Letter from Zenas Gurley, 4 May 1842
, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 4 May 1842; handwriting of ; one page; BYU. Includes address, docket, and notations.Single leaf measuring 12⅜ × 7⅝ inches (31 × 19 cm). The right and left sides of the leaf were unevenly cut. The letter was folded, addressed, and sealed with a red adhesive wafer. It was subsequently refolded for filing purposes. Some discoloration of the paper has occurred.The document was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844. It also includes notations from and an unidentified scribe. The Clayton docket and the Whitney notations indicate early institutional custody. The subsequent custodial history is unknown. The document was eventually acquired by the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
On 4 May 1842, , a member living in , Illinois, wrote to JS in , Illinois, concerning the state of the church in , where Gurley had recently been preaching. Gurley, a native of , was in in 1837 or 1838. He relocated to with the Saints in 1839 and eventually settled in . In March 1841, the Times and Seasons reported Gurley’s successful preaching in La Harpe, where a was organized in April 1841. In a held a few days before the branch’s creation, Gurley was among those called to travel to collect funds to build the Nauvoo .According to this 4 May 1842 letter, he left for in January 1842, perhaps to fulfill his calling to collect funds. Shortly after returning home, wrote to JS. Addressing JS as a general in the , Gurley explained in his letter that his pending absence from militia duty was due to sickness in his family. He also reported on his recent travels in Wisconsin Territory, where he had organized a branch. Given the letter’s lack of postal markings, it was apparently hand delivered to . No reply from JS is extant or otherwise known.
The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 8 vols. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1896–1976.
Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.
Shepard, William. “James Blakeslee, the Old Soldier of Mormonism.” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 17 (1997): 113–132.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Macedonia Branch, Record / “A Record of the Chur[c]h of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Macedonia (Also Called Ramus),” 1839–1850. CHL. LR 11808 21.