Letter from John Harper, 13 July 1842
, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to JS, [, Hancock Co., IL], 13 July 1842; handwriting of ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address and dockets.Single leaf measuring 12¼ × 7⅜ inches (31 × 19 cm). The leaf appears to have been folded for delivery and subsequently folded for filing. Some discoloration of the paper has occurred in the address block on the verso of the page., who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844, docketed the document, as did , who worked 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. By 1973 it had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets, the circa 1904 inventory, and inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
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.
Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
On 13 July 1842, , a farmer from , Illinois, wrote to JS in , Illinois, seeking the Latter-day Saints’ political support in the upcoming August election. Harper was campaigning as an independent to represent in the House of Representatives. A month earlier, in a letter printed in the 11 June issue of the Wasp, he addressed the citizens of Hancock County and stated his intention to fix the state’s economic difficulties and oppose internal improvements. In that same published letter, Harper, who seemed to particularly have the county’s Latter-day Saint population in mind, also voiced his opposition to the “despotic spirit” he had observed at a recent convention of the Anti-Mormon Party.The Anti-Mormon political party was organized in , Illinois, in June 1841 to oppose the perceived political threat posed by the Latter-day Saints. In an Anti-Mormon meeting held late that month, spoke in favor of the charter. The next year, in a May 1842 convention, the Anti-Mormon Party nominated a full ticket for the state election in August. In response, JS published a letter dated 2 July encouraging independent candidates who opposed the sentiment governing the Anti-Mormon Party to run for office. JS’s invitation may have encouraged Harper to write his letter of 13 July, featured here, wherein Harper asked for Latter-day Saint political support and reassured JS that, if elected, he would attend to the Saints’ interests. The lack of postal markings indicates that the letter was hand delivered to JS or an associate in . The letter would have taken at least a day to reach Nauvoo from , a township located in southeastern , approximately thirty miles from Nauvoo. There is no record of a reply from JS. The next day, Harper wrote another letter to JS, again seeking political support and attempting to quell rumors that he had supported the Anti-Mormon Party.