Trustees Land Book A, 11 September 1839–30 April 1842
JS as trustee-in-trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Land Book A, , Hancock Co., Il., 11 Sept. 1839–1 Nov. 1843; handwriting of , , and , with insertions by , , , , , and unidentified scribes; 102 pages; CHL.
After significant persecution and Governor ’s order that the be expelled from the state of during winter 1838–1839, the Saints gathered in and . In April 1839, JS and his fellow prisoners in Missouri were allowed to escape and rejoin their families. In spring and summer 1839, JS and other church leaders purchased over six hundred acres of land in and around , Hancock County, Illinois, for the Saints. Some of these purchases were made by the and others were made by land . By that fall, church leaders had plotted out the new town of on the land they had purchased. Church property was consolidated first under the First Presidency, with land agents transferring the purchased land to the First Presidency to hold for the church. This practice was revised in February 1841—after the church was incorporated in Nauvoo and the office of trustee-in-trust for the church was created, JS held these lands as trustee on behalf of the church.
To manage the city properties, in September 1839, JS’s scribes repurposed an 1836 ledger, used by the mercantile firm of , to record the sale of lands. Over the next several years, the record book was used to create a daybook of JS’s financial transactions as trustee-in-trust and to create multiple indices of city lots that had been sold or transferred. The daybook portion of this record book appears to have been used a short time and abandoned or only used sporadically after October 1839. The land index was first organized by the major land purchases that church leaders made, using the name of the individual from whom the land was purchased. Thus, the index was divided into sections for property purchased from , , and . Within those sections, the property was organized by location based on the numerical block order in the town plat. The initial index, inscribed by , primarily recorded names associated with specific lots and often the purchase price for the lot. This initial index comprises pages 12–34 of the record book. Additionally, in October 1840, , who was serving as an agent for JS, made an inventory of town lots that were being rented or were available for purchase, comprising pages 36–44. The pages that compose both the initial index and Sherwood’s inventory are significantly damaged, with considerable amounts of text missing from the margins of the pages, including block and lot numbers. In some places these numbers can be reconstructed from contextual information, and these have been supplied within the transcript.
By late 1840 or 1841, created a second, more detailed index of city lots with substantial insertions and emendations inscribed by , , , , and . Thompson organized this index, comprising pages 83–139, in a similar style to the original index, but Thompson’s index contains considerably more information, including purchase date and conditions of the sale for each lot. In many instances, these entries apparently did not document an official transfer but rather an intention or promise to sell the lot to the named individual. This index was in use from 1839 to 1843, with at least one entry each for 1846 and 1847. These two later entries aside, it appears that by mid-1843, JS’s clerks ceased using this volume and began using a newer land index that they had recorded in a new record book they titled Trustees Land Book B.