JS and , Deed for property in , IL, to , , Frederick Granger Williams Smith, and , 17 Mar. 1842; printed form with manuscript additions in the handwriting of ; signatures of JS and ; witnessed by and ; certified by and ; two pages. Includes dockets, notations, and archival markings. The microfilm copy of the text used for transcription is in Wilford C. Wood Collection of Church Historical Materials, CHL.
Single leaf of unknown dimensions; similar deed forms from the period measure 12⅜ × 7⅝ inches (31 × 19 cm). The deed was folded twice for filing.
The document was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as temple recorder from 1842 to 1846. Notations were inscribed by , who served as recorder from 1839 to 1847. A docket and notation were written by an unidentified scribe; the notation in graphite reads: “church farm.” Wilford C. Wood, an artifact collector, acquired the deed sometime before 1969. An alphanumeric code (“4-N-b-2”) inscribed in graphite on the upper right corner of the recto of the deed indicates that it was part of the Wilford Wood Museum collection when Lamar Barrett created a register for the collection during the summers of 1969 and 1970. In 1973 the manuscript was microfilmed by Elva Bridges, then working for the Genealogical Society of Utah; the microfilm is held in the Church History Library. In 2001 the Wood Museum was unable to locate the original document.
See, for example, Wilford Woodruff and Phebe Carter Woodruff to John Horlick, Deed, Hancock Co., IL, 24 Apr. 1843; William Horner and Nancy Adair Horner to John Topham, Deed, Hancock Co., IL, 1 May 1843, Hiram Kimball, Collection, CHL.
JS, Journal, 29 June 1842; “Clayton, William,” in Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:718; Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 18, 30–31.
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.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
Church History Department, Wilford Wood Museum Memorandum, 26 Jan. 2018, CHL.
Church History Department. Wilford Wood Museum Memorandum, 26 Jan. 2018. CHL.
On 17 March 1842 JS and deeded approximately 237 acres of land in , Illinois, to their children, , , Frederick Granger Williams Smith, and . The deed represents one of sixty-five extant land deeds and bonds JS executed—either as an individual or as trustee-in-trust for the —between December 1841 and April 1842.
During the first decade of the church’s existence, most of the land the church acquired was purchased in the names of individual church leaders. This arrangement began to change after the church elected JS as trustee-in-trust for the church on 30 January 1841. On 31 August 1841 the —recently charged by JS with managing the “business of the church”—advised JS to have the land individual church members held deeded to him as trustee. The also approved of JS deeding some church land “to his Wife, Children, and friends for their support, and that he continue to deed and make over certain portions of Church property which now exist or which may be obtained by exchange, as in his wisdom he shall judge expedient.”
JS and began deeding property to their four young children in late 1841. On 21 December 1841 they deeded to their children four acres of land located southwest of the site. On 31 December 1841 they deeded the children another 237 acres of land located just south of the community of Hamilton, Illinois. All four of JS and Emma’s children were minors at this time. The oldest child, their adopted daughter, , was ten years old; the other three children—sons , Frederick, and —were respectively nine, four, and three years old.
The featured deed was produced on 17 March 1842. The approximately 237 acres of specified land was the same land described in the 31 December 1841 deed, likely indicating that the 31 December deed was voided and the 17 March deed was prepared to correct an error in the previous deed. JS and signed the March deed in the presence of and . On 9 April 1842 recorder certified the deed and copied it into the deed record kept by the county clerk, whose office was located in , Illinois. Aside from Robison’s certification and other dockets and notations, the two versions are nearly identical.
Several months after the deed was recorded in the county deed book, disaffected church member wrote a letter to the , Illinois, newspaper Sangamo Journal in which he referenced this and several other land deeds JS executed. In the letter—the third published in the newspaper since late June 1842—Bennett alleged that JS had fraudulently transferred land before filing for bankruptcy in mid-April 1842.
“Gen. Bennett’s Third Letter,” Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 15 July 1842, . Bennett’s letter apparently came to the attention of United States attorney Justin Butterfield, who later urged the court to deny JS’s application for bankruptcy. (Justin Butterfield to Charles B. Penrose, 2 Aug. 1842, 427, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, CHL; see also Historical Introduction to Application for Bankruptcy, ca. 14–16 Apr. 1842.)
Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.
Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury / National Archives Reference Service Report, 23 Sept. 1964. “Record Group 206, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, and Record Group 46, Records of the United States Senate: Records Relating to the Mormons in Illinois, 1839–1848 (Records Dated 1840–1852), Including Memorials of Mormons to Congress, 1840–1844, Some of Which Relate to Outrages Committed against the Mormons in Missouri, 1831–1839.” Microfilm. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1964. Copy in Records Related to Church Interaction with Federal Government, 1840–1852, CHL.
THIS INDENTURE MADE, AND ENTERED INTO, This Seventeenth day of March in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-Two— between Joseph Smith—— and —— his wife, of the county of —— and State of , of the one part, and , & of the county of and State aforesaid, of the other part Witnesseth, that the said Joseph Smith—— and his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of Two Thousand—— dollars, to them in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell, convey, and confirm unto the said , , & ——his <their> heirs and assigns forever, all that <those> tract<s> or parcel<s> of land, situate and being in the county of in the State of Illinois, viz: The East half of the South East quarter of Section No Thirty one in Township No five North of the base line of Range No eight, West of the fourth principal meridian containing eighty acres more or less.
The West half of the North West quarter of Section No five in Township No four North of the base line of Range No eight West of the fourth principal Meridian Containing Seventy four acres and 84/100 of an Acre more or less.
The East half of the North East quarter of Section No six in Township No four North of the base line of Range No eight West of the fourth principal meridian containing eighty Two acres and 56/100 of an acre more or less. Making in all Two hundred and thirty seven acres and forty hundredths of an acre more or less.—
Together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in anywise appertaining.
TO HAVE and TO HOLD the above described premises unto the said , & his <their> heirs and assigns forever. And the said Joseph Smith—— and — his wife, their heirs and assigns, the aforesaid premises, unto the said —Julia M. Smith, , — and ——his <their> heirs and assigns, against the claim or claims of all and every person whomsoever, do and will warrant and forever defend by these presents.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the said Joseph Smith—— and —— his wife of the first part, have hereunto set their hands and seals, the day and year above written.
Signed, sealed and delivered)
in presence of)
<The words “his” were erased and the words “their” inserted in the above instances previous to the signing of this instrument—>
STATE OF ILLINOIS,)
I, —— a justice of the Peace, of said county <of City of >, do certify, that Joseph Smith—— and ———— his wife, whose signatures appear to the foregoing deed, and who are personally known to me to be the persons described in, and who executed the same, did severally acknowledge that they had executed the said conveyance, for the uses and purposes therein mentioned. And the said —— having been by me made acquainted with the contents of the said Deed, and examined separate and apart from her said husband, acknowledged that she had executed the same, and relinquished her dower to the premises therein conveyed, voluntarily, freely, and without compulsion of her said husband.
Given under my hand and seal, this Seventeenth day of March in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty Two——