JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to , , Chester Co., PA, 5 Jan. 1842; handwriting of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamp, postal notation, docket, use marks, and notation.
Bifolium measuring 9¾ × 7¾ inches (25 × 20 cm). The letter was inscribed on all four pages, ending partway down the fourth page. The bifolium was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, and postmarked. Wafer residue appears on the verso of the second leaf. The letter was later refolded for filing. The second leaf has undergone 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 letter was used to prepare an excerpt transcribed into the manuscript history of the church, volume C-1 addenda, likely sometime between 24 April and 19 June 1855, at which time use marks were made in graphite. A graphite notation reading “Printed” was added by Andrew Jenson, who began working in the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) in 1882 and served as assistant church historian from 1897 to 1941. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office 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, use marks, and notation 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 5 January 1842 JS composed a letter in , Illinois, to in , Pennsylvania, imparting much of the same business information he had relayed to Hunter in a 21 December 1841 letter, apparently because he feared that Hunter had not received the December letter. Hunter was in conducting business, including settling the financial affairs of Margaret Smith, a recent convert to the church who had moved to Nauvoo. JS explained that the power of attorney Margaret Smith had granted to Hunter had been sent to the county clerk to be properly certified. JS also stated that he had received and accepted goods Hunter had sent and that he had purchased land near Nauvoo for Hunter. In addition, JS described his new general and emphasized that Margaret Smith’s donated money would be needed to supply the store with new merchandise for the spring. He requested Hunter to write him with any further news on settling Smith’s financial affairs.
acted as scribe for the letter. Shortly after its creation, the letter was copied into JS’s letterbook. The letter was mailed from the post office and postmarked 11 January 1842. received the letter by 10 February 1842, when he wrote a response.
that we have been enabled to do as well as we have, for the hearts of many of the poor brethren & sisters will be made glad, with those comforts which are now within their reach. The has been filled to overflowing all day, & I have stood behind the counter dealing out goods as steady as any clerk you ever Saw to oblige those who were compelled to go without their <usual> christmas & New year, dinners. for the want of a little Sugar, Molasses, Rasions &c. &c,— & to please myself also for I love to wait upon the Saints, and be a servant to all hoping that I may be exalted in the due time of the Lord.
It is highly necessary that the be well supplied with merchandise from this time forward, both for the interest of the generally— & the comfort of the brethren individually and as expenses have been incurred already to a great amount in building the , , “” &c &c— a great many of the goods on hand will have to pass away on orders previous contracts, &c. & we shall be obliged to lean upon other resources, <to a great extent> rather than the profits of goods, this winter, to supply a new stock in the spring, & for this reason as well as those before stated, & also, for your gratification in learning of our prosperity. I write you this early. to disire you to have the money you are to get on the power of Attorney, of Mrs Smith ready for disposal in , as soon as the rivers shall open, & I sincerely hope & trust that nothing will prevent your getting the money as you expect, so that it may be ready in depositee at , or or so that you can meet <at > or someone who may go for the goods, at a time which may be appointed hereafter.— &c that we may have an [p. ]
According to an early American steamboat directory, ice on the Ohio River usually broke up in February, rendering the river “open for navigation.” In March 1838 the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reported that “the navigation of the Ohio River opens always by the 1st of March, and generally by the middle of February.” The Missouri River usually opened for navigation between mid-February and early March. (Lloyd, Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, 50–51; Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, 12; Lass, Navigating the Missouri, 89; see also Roberts, Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River, 48–49.)
Lloyd, James T. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters, Containing the History of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive Power. . . . Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd, 1856.
Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, in Behalf of Their Application to the Legislature of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 1838.
Lass, William E. Navigating the Missouri: Steamboating on Nature’s Highway, 1819–1835. Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark, 2008.
Roberts, W. Milnor. Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River. Philadelphia: Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1857.
In December 1841 Whitney had considered making the journey to Philadelphia to procure goods for JS’s general store. (Newel K. Whitney to Samuel F. Whitney, 25 Dec. 1841, copy, Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU.)