, Letter, Centreville, New Castle Co., DE, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 11 Apr. 1842; handwriting of ; two pages; Helen Vilate Bourne Fleming, Collection, CHL. Included enclosures (not extant); includes address, notation, and docket.
Bifolium measuring 9⅝ × 8¾ inches (24 × 22 cm). The letter was inscribed on the recto of the first leaf. The document was trifolded twice in letter style and addressed. The letter apparently included an enclosure of thirty-four dollars (not extant).
After the letter was received, a notation was written by , who served as JS’s scribe from December 1841 until JS’s death in June 1844 and served as church historian from December 1842 until his own death in March 1854. The letter was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as Nauvoo temple recorder from 1842 to 1846. The letter was in a collection of papers held by Helen Vilate Bourne Fleming, a descendant of and . The collection was passed down to Fleming’s descendant Helen Marian Fleming Petersen. Shortly after Petersen’s death in February 1988, one of her children found this letter and other items in a box in her home. By December 1988 the materials had been donated to the Church Historical Department (now 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.
See the full bibliographic entry for Helen Vilate Bourne Fleming, Collection, 1836–1963, in the CHL catalog.
On 11 April 1842 wrote a brief letter to JS to report on his missionary labors in the eastern and to forward donations for the construction of the in , Illinois. Snow departed Nauvoo two years earlier to begin proselytizing in communities throughout , , and . In July 1841 instructed Snow to “establish the kingdom” in , Massachusetts. Snow arrived in Salem in September and by spring 1842 organized a of sixty-two members. In early April 1842 Snow traveled to to attend a that included members from in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Following the conference, traveled approximately thirty miles southwest to Centreville, Delaware, where he wrote the featured letter. Snow noted that he would soon travel to , where the “prospects were good and the cause advanceing.” He also enclosed banknotes from church members in the East who were donating money toward the construction of the and provided an inventory of the value of each note and the donors’ names.
A January 1841 revelation designated as a gathering place for the Saints and directed the church to construct a and a there; in December 1841 the urged church members to send money and goods to Nauvoo to support the construction of these two edifices. At an April 1841 conference in , instructed church members in the East to “bring forward their donation money for the building of the Lords House at Nauvoo.” Snow, too, spoke on the “importance and necessity of the Saints contributing liberally” to the construction of the temple. Church leaders and missionaries such as Snow frequently acted as in collecting donations. When missionaries and other prominent church members living in the eastern sent letters to Nauvoo, they often enclosed or referred to donations allocated for temple construction; the donations were later recorded in the Book of the Law of the Lord.
The letter bears no postal marks, suggesting that it was hand delivered to JS in , probably by or William Gheen, whom names in the letter. Shortly after it was received, inscribed a list of the enclosed banknotes on the verso of the first leaf. The letter apparently arrived in Nauvoo by 31 May 1842, the day recorded the names of the donors and the donation amounts in the Book of the Law of the Lord.
After returning from Washington DC in March 1840, JS reportedly told Snow that his “services were needed in the eastern part of P[ennsylvani]a.” Snow departed Nauvoo on 28 April 1840. (Erastus Snow, Journal, 4 Mar. 1840, 71; 28 Apr. 1840, 74.)
Then preparing to move to Nauvoo, Hunter was in or near West Nantmeal, Chester County, Pennsylvania, through at least 10 May 1842. He arrived in Nauvoo before 25 June 1842. Gheen’s whereabouts at this time are not clear, but he was in Nauvoo by 9 July 1842. (Hunter, Edward Hunter, 316–317; Edward Hunter to JS, 10 May 1842, International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Pioneer Memorial Museum, Salt Lake City; JS, Journal, 25 June and 9 July 1842.)
Hunter, William E. Edward Hunter: Faithful Steward. [Salt Lake City]: Mrs. William E. Hunter, 1970.
I Just came from the and this afternoon expect to go to Pa. and on Wednesday expect to return to and the last of the week go to Mass where I left my family on the 4th inst. The prospects were good and the cause advanceing when I left. I came away in a hurry haveing but short notice of the conference, and not fully concluding to come untill one day before I started. However I collected in my hurry $.34. thirty four dollars to send up for the which I shall probably send together with this letter by Brother Wm A Gheen, or some one going from shortly. Before a great while I hope to be able to send more from
The will please accept the small amount accompanying this letter and pass it to the credit of of the several donors viz—
According to the minutes of an April 1842 conference held in Philadelphia, the Centreville branch of the church consisted of twenty-eight people. (Philadelphia, PA, Minutes and Records, 6–10 Apr. 1842, 23.)
Philadelphia, PA, Minutes and Records, 1840–1854. CCLA.
Alley was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. Her mother, Mercy Buffman Alley, joined the church in 1832. (Lynn, MA, Marriages, Births, Deaths, and Intentions of Marriage, 1635–1849, Marriages, Births, Deaths, 1796–1842, vol. 6, p. 387, microfilm 877,738, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Hyde, Journal, 1 and 3 Aug. 1832; Samuel Smith, Diary, 3, 12, and 14 Aug. 1832.)
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
Hyde, Orson. Journal, Feb. 1832–Mar. 1833. CHL. MS 1386.
Smith, Samuel. Diary, Feb. 1832–May 1833. CHL. MS 4213.
Likely Anna Gardner Hathaway, wife of Jeremiah Hathaway, who lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts. (Book of the Law of the Lord, 269; Marblehead, MA, Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1653–1842, Marriages, 1653–1816, vol. 2, p. 133, microfilm 864,838, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)