JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Chester Co., PA, 21 Dec. ; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal notations, docket, redactions, and archival marking.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The bifolium was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, sealed with an adhesive wafer, and postmarked. The residue of a wafer seal and a tear from opening the letter appear on the recto and verso of the second leaf. The letter was later refolded for filing. The document has undergone some conservation.
The document was docketed by , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early docket as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 21 December 1841 JS wrote from , Illinois, to respond to in , Pennsylvania, concerning property and business matters in Nauvoo and . In late summer or early fall, Hunter had returned from Nauvoo to his native Pennsylvania to settle his own financial affairs, purchase goods for JS, and conduct business on behalf of Margaret Smith, a recent convert from Pennsylvania who had relocated to Nauvoo. While there, Hunter sent a letter to JS dated 27 October 1841. In his response, featured below, JS addressed concerns about a power of attorney Margaret Smith had supplied to Hunter in order to settle her affairs in Pennsylvania, acknowledged the receipt of goods that he had sent to Nauvoo, informed him about land he had purchased on his behalf near Nauvoo, and advised him on the prospect of building mills in Nauvoo.
JS dictated his letter of reply to on 21 December, and the letter was sent by the post office, postmarked 25 December. JS was concerned this letter would not reach , so on 5 January he wrote another letter to Hunter with very similar details. The 21 December letter, featured here, was returned to the church’s custody, so it is likely Hunter received it and at some point returned it to JS or the church. However, it is uncertain when he received it. He wrote to JS on 10 February 1842, but it is unclear whether he was responding to both letters or solely to JS’s 5 January letter at that time.
Yours of the 27th of October came to hand at a late date, but I am now able to say to you that the power of Attorney is executed & sent up to the Clerks office for the Seal of State. & will be forwarded direct from there, it is now on the way most probably.
Your letter did not arrive till after returnd with the goods. which I receved in Safety. & has started on a mission to the Inhabitants of Jamaica. one of the west India Isles.—
I will accept the goods as you propose on your debt, so far as it goes, and answer the remainder on the payments which you mention as they become due.
I have purchased 90 acres of Timber land in the vicinity of . A little up the . & have made proposals to . but as yet, am waiting for him to rec[e]ive answers from his correspondent in the East. I shall be able to purchase all the woodland you will want, in a little time.
As it respects Steam engines & mills my opinion is we cannot have too many of them. This place has sufferd exceedingly for such mills in our midst & neither one nor two can do the business of this place [p. ]
According to Illinois law each county was responsible for procuring seals for such documents. (An Act to Provide for All Seals That May Be Necessary in the Several Official Departments of the State of Illinois [19 Feb. 1839], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 648, sec. 4.)
The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.
Potter may have departed Nauvoo in company with Harrison Sagers, who had been appointed to serve a mission to Jamaica in August 1841 but was still in Nauvoo as of October. (Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 31 Aug. and 7 Oct. 1841.)
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Minutes, 1840–1844. CHL.