Letter from Edward Partridge, between 14 and 19 November 1833
, Letter, , Clay Co., MO, to JS, [, Geauga Co., OH], between 14 and 19 Nov. 1833; draft; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL.Single leaf measuring 12⅛ × 7½ inches (31 × 19 cm). The document was folded in fourths. The folds are partially broken or separated, resulting in a loss of parts of the manuscript, including some text. The rough right edge of the recto indicates that the leaf was apparently removed from a blank book.This letter does not include a signature or address and therefore was not the sent copy. It is possible this version of the document was a draft of a letter. Though a version of this letter was eventually sent to JS, the sent copy is no longer extant. At least one other copy of the letter survives and is found in ’s Genealogical Record. The letter featured here, along with other papers belonging to Partridge, was in the possession of the Partridge family until at least the mid-1880s, sometime after which it came into the possession of the Church Historian’s Office.
Whitney, Orson F. “The Aaronic Priesthood.” Contributor, Apr. 1885, 241–250.
Partridge, Edward, Jr. Genealogical Record. 1878. CHL. MS 1271.
By 19 November 1833, most church members had fled , Missouri, to surrounding areas, congregating primarily to the north in , Missouri. After being expelled and while living near , Clay County, wrote the letter featured here to JS, reporting on the condition of the refugees and assessing their prospects for returning to Jackson County. Supposing that had already provided JS with more detailed information about the events in , Partridge refrained from chronicling events that precipitated the expulsion. Although Partridge mentioned other events such as the Leonid meteor shower in his letter, such topics were overshadowed by his concern for the loss of private lands in Missouri and the failed attempts for governmental redress.struggled with the realization that the refugees might never be able to return to their without “the interposition of God.” As of the in , Partridge was responsible to receive funds and supplies from faithful church members and to then assign land to them as a for personal and family use. Not only did church members lose their homes in the expulsion, but Partridge also lost the ability to implement this law of consecration as detailed in JS’s revelations. As a possible solution to this problem, he recommended purchasing lands owned by the citizens of but noted the unlikelihood of this option because it “would take many thousand dollars.” Partridge indicated that many church members desired “to receive a deed of some land,” despite the fact that the antagonism in Jackson County prevented them from occupying lands there. Partridge thought it prudent to grant such requests, even though he likely doubted that they would ever reoccupy the land. He asked JS for “advice upon the subject of the lands & also I want wisdom & light on many subjects.”In his letter, also expressed frustration with government officials. Church leaders in followed the advice Governor had given to seek redress, protection, and reinstatement to their lands through local authorities but had not obtained meaningful results. A peace warrant that was finally obtained after three attempts appeared to be useless, intended lawsuits for damages suffered in July had not yet been filed, and the prospects for government assistance seemed nonexistent. Neither the executive nor the judicial branches of the state government seemed willing to protect the rights of this particular minority. In addition, government militia and violent mobs appeared to be one and the same. Partridge maintained a faint hope for justice through the courts but believed the standard legal process would take so long that arbitration might be the best solution for reacquiring the Mormons’ lands. With these many issues and others on his mind, Partridge asked JS for “a comfort[ing] [w]ord from the Lord through you.”Because of a small tear in the upper right corner of the leaf, which renders a portion of the date illegible, the exact day on which wrote this letter is unknown. However, enough of the date remains to conclude that he wrote it on either 14, 17, or 19 November 1833. The letter was mailed from on 19 November. The language of Partridge’s letter indicates that some time had passed since he had seen the Leonid meteor shower, which occurred during the early morning hours of 13 November, making it unlikely that the letter was written on 14 November. It is also possible that the document featured here is actually an early draft of the letter Partridge eventually sent to JS. It contains various editorial markings and does not bear Partridge’s signature, indicating that he may not have intended to send this copy. The letter also mentions that Partridge wrote in the evening, suggesting the letter could not have been written on November 19, as the mail left sometime that day. Therefore, though it is possible that Partridge began writing this letter as early as 14 November 1833, it is more likely that he drafted it on 17 November, made editorial corrections, copied it, and mailed it to JS no later than 19 November.JS responded to this letter, as well as to others from and , on 10 December 1833. A portion of JS’s response seems to directly answer ’s concerns: JS warned against giving up lands in , stating that “it is better that you should die in the ey[e]s of God, then that you should give up the Land of , the inheritances which you have purchased with your monies.” He then directed church leaders in to seek redress from all levels of government and said that if government officials would not help, then God “will not fail to exicute Judgment upon your enemies and to avenge his own elect.” JS closed his response with a prayer for those who faced tribulation in Missouri and lamented that he had not been there with them.