Committees of the Council of Fifty, 1844–1846

During the , Illinois, period the formed a number of committees, composed of various members of the council, to carry out specified council business. Typically, a committee would be formed and charged in one council meeting and would report on its assignment in one or more subsequent council meetings. In some cases, the minutes reflect that the work of a particular committee was formally approved by the council and that the committee was discharged. In other cases, a committee reported the successful completion of its work but no formal discharge was noted. In still other cases, it is unclear whether a committee that is mentioned was ever truly formed to what extent a committee carried out its assignment.
The following chart provides detail on each council committee mentioned in the Nauvoo Council of Fifty minutes, whether in the bound record or in the loose council records. (Figurative uses of the word committee or committes that are outside of the council, such as the Nauvoo temple committee, are not included.) Committees are listed in chronological order by formation date (or date of first mention, if it is not clear that a particular committee was in fact formed). The first two columns identify each committee and the date the committee was formed. The third column gives the names of the members of the committee, in the order the names are given in the minutes. Chairmen, where known, are indicated by “(c).” The final column provides the date the committee is mentioned in the minutes.
Committee Date Formed Members Dates Mentioned
Committee to draft a constitution for the council 11 Mar. 1844 19 Mar. 1844; 4, 5, 11, 18, and 25 Apr. 1844; 9 Sept. 1845
Committee to draft a petition to Congress 21 Mar. 1844 21 and 26 Mar. 1844
Committee to draft a memorial to the president of the 26 Mar. 1844 26 Mar. 1844
Committee of arrangements for the state convention 13 May 1844 13 May 1844
Committee to confer with about transferring the post office 25 May 1844 25 May 1844
Committee on foreign relations (also called committee of ways and means) 4 Mar. 1845 4, 11, 18, and 22 Mar. 1845; 11 Apr. 1845
Committee to address letters to state governors 4 Mar. 1845 (c) 4 and 11 Mar. 1845
Committee to consider the 4 Mar. 1845 4 and 11 Mar. 1845
Committee to examine southern and western geography 11 Mar. 1845 (c) 11 and 18 Mar. 1845
Committee to report information on a statute on marriage 11 Mar. 1845 11 and 18 Mar. 1845
Committee to prepare papers for missionaries in the 22 Mar. 1845 (c) 22 and 25 Mar. 1845; 11 and 29 Apr. 1845
Committee to investigate the stock of the 22 Mar. 1845 (c) 22 and 25 Mar. 1845; 15 Apr. 1845
Committee to prepare historical documents about the 22 Mar. 1845 22 Mar. 1845
Committee to organize the city of a mile square 25 Mar. 1845 25 Mar. 1845
Committee to assist in outfitting the Western Mission 11 Apr. 1845 11, 15, and 22 Apr. 1845
Committee to examine all writs that may be served on the brethren 15 Apr. 1845 15 Apr. 1845
Committee to examine the legal standing of the 15 Apr. 1845 15 Apr. and 10 May 1845
Committee to plan outfitting and travel for the westward migration 9 Sept. 1845 (c) 9 and 30 Sept. 1845; 4 Oct. 1845
Committee to write “a pointed document of the treatment we have received from the 4 Oct. 1845 4 Oct. 1845
Committee to stay in to transact business for the council 11 Jan. 1846 11 and 18 Jan. 1846
Committee to ascertain facts about emigrating companies 19 Jan. 1846 Captains of emigrating companies 19 Jan. 1846
  1. 1

    Hunter was not a member of the council.  

  2. 2

    Lewis Dana, Cyrus Daniels, Daniel Spencer, John S. Fullmer, Charles Shumway, Albert Carrington, and John W. Farnham, who were all members of the Western Mission, were added to this committee on 11 March 1845.  

  3. 3

    Lewis was added to this committee on 25 March 1845.  

  4. 4

    Sloan was not a member of the council and may not have actively participated in this committee.  

  5. 5

    Hosea Stout, who was not a member of the council, was added to this committee on 23 March 1845 and was later assigned to complete the history on his own. (Stout, Journal, 23 and 26 Mar. 1845.)  

    Stout, Hosea. Journal, Oct. 1844–May 1845. CHL. MS 1910.

  6. 6

    This appears to be a subcommittee of the committee on foreign relations.  

  7. 7

    Many members of the council opined that this committee was unnecessary. In an attempt to end debate, Willard Richards nominated “Ignorance” to serve as the committee—suggesting that the writs would simply be ignored. Richardʼs motion was unanimously approved by the council.  

  8. 8

    Heywood was accepted as a member of the council on 11 January 1846 but was not sworn in until 1848.  

  9. 9

    Backenstos was not a member of the council or the church. Henry Miller, who also was not a member of the council, replaced Backenstos by 24 January 1846. (Young, Journal, 24 Jan. 1846, 112–113.)  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  10. 10

    The company captains met with William Clayton on 25 January 1846 to deliver their reports. (Clayton, Journal, 25 Jan. 1846.)  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.