, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 3 June 1841; handwriting of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes dockets.
Bifolium measuring 9⅞ × 7⅞ inches (25 × 20 cm) ruled with thirty horizontal blue lines that are now faded. The letter was written on the recto and verso of the first leaf and the recto of the second leaf. The document was trifolded twice in letter style, addressed, and sealed with a red wafer. The first leaf was torn, likely when the letter was opened.
The document was docketed by , who served in a clerical capacity for JS from 1841 to 1842. A later docket was added by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office from 1853 to 1859. The letter was listed in an inventory produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. The dockets and inventory suggest continuous institutional custody of this letter from the time it was received.
“Letters to and from the Prophet,” ca. 1904, 1, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
wrote a letter to his brother JS on 3 June 1841 before departing , Illinois, on a business trip to . As indicated in his letter, Don Carlos hoped JS could help him with several business transactions, including exchanging property in for property in , settling debts in Ohio, and selling land in Illinois. Although the brothers both lived in Nauvoo, Don Carlos explained in this letter that he had written instead of visiting because JS was busy and unavailable.
At the time this letter was written, was working as an editor of the Times and Seasons and was “strugling in poverty to sustain the press.” He also had outstanding financial obligations in and hoped he could settle these debts with the aid of JS’s , who was in the area. Both JS and Don Carlos had written to Granger concerning these matters, yet neither appears to have received a response. With this letter, Don Carlos attempted to deal directly with JS in order to move the business forward. Unfortunately, Don Carlos passed away on 7 August. JS apparently received the letter and, near the end of August, attempted again to contact Granger and commission him to have Don Carlos’s property in Kirtland deeded to , Don Carlos’s widow.
Don Carlos was going to Cincinnati with Ebenezer Robinson to “settle with Mr. Shepherd, and also to lay in a stock of paper and other printing material,” as Robinson later recalled. Don Carlos and Robinson had been coeditors of the Times and Seasons and had also printed a new edition of the Book of Mormon in 1840. (Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” Return [Davis City, IA], June 1890, 287.)
The Return. Davis City, IA, 1889–1891; Richmond, MO, 1892–1893; Davis City, 1895–1896; Denver, 1898; Independence, MO, 1899–1900.
I have made a purchase of 160 acres of land as good as ever laid out of doors; it is situated Just two miles from the on a beautiful undulating prairie and is the west half of the south half of section 3rd. I wish you would sell it for me the first opportunity, perhaps you may have an opportunity the while I am gone. can give all necessary information as he owns the other half Quarter of the same Section. The price is $7.00 per acre or one thousand dollars for the Quarter, one half down the balance in one, two, & three years. If you will sell this for me, Brother Joseph, you will confer a lasting favor on one that will stand by (the “Rackhayorno hay”) you through time & in eternity. The Quarter is an excellent purchase for some body, and whoever gets it will get a fortune. It is wholly unconnected with ’s as far as the contract is concerned. I have Paid one hundred dollars down on the land, and have some lenity on the balance. [p. ]
A hayrack is a feeder for livestock and a traditional feature in equestrian stables. The amount of hay in the rack fluctuated with times of famine or plenty. An 1811 guide for farriers illuminates Don Carlos Smith’s metaphoric use: “The way to get a horse into condition, is not by continually filling his rack with hay . . . but by observing regularity in giving him his food.” In other words, hay should be dispensed in frequent intervals and appropriate amounts, in the same way Don Carlos hoped money would be dispensed for himself and JS; Don Carlos pledged his loyalty despite fluctuations and uncertainty. (Wilson, Gentleman’s Modern System of Farriery, 23.)
Wilson, Yorick. The Gentleman’s Modern System of Farriery; or, Stable Directory; a Concise Treatise on the Various Diseases of Horses, Their Symptoms, and Most Humane Methods of Cure. Trenton, NJ: James Oram, 1811.