, Letter, , New York Co., NY, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 7 Jan. 1842; handwriting presumably of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal stamps, postal notations, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 10 × 8¼ inches (25 × 21 cm). The letter was inscribed 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, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, and postmarked. A remnant of the wafer obscures one word on the recto of the second leaf.
The document was docketed 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. Another docket was inscribed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) from 1853 to 1859. The document was listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 7 January 1842 member wrote a letter to JS concerning a trip Latson had recently taken to to purchase goods—presumably for JS’s mercantile in , Illinois. Latson joined the sometime before spring 1841 and was reportedly a “preacher” at the church’s branch then meeting in Lower Manhattan. In May 1841 members of the attended a wedding and preached at least one sermon in Latson’s Manhattan home. Latson was an established merchant and had been partial owner and master of a steamboat, which may explain why he was involved in acquiring goods for JS during this period.
In his letter to JS, reported that he was unable to obtain goods in and had returned to but that he would procure goods there and return to by late February or early March 1842. He also described a chance encounter he had with Supreme Court justice John Catron on his journey home, informing JS that Catron was interested in nominating Latson to lead a government mission to “civilize” the Osage Indians, most of whom lived west of . The letter was mailed from New York City on 12 January 1842. Latson requested that JS write back with further direction.
As correspondence mailed from to took approximately three weeks for delivery, ’s letter probably arrived in Nauvoo in early February. A docket in the handwriting of indicates that JS received it in Nauvoo. No reply is known to exist.
1840 U.S. Census, New York 13th Ward, New York City, NY, 267; Longworth’s American Almanac , 424; Longworth’s American Almanac , 369; The Fanny, 8 Federal Cases 992 (S.D.N.Y. 1841) (case no. 4,637); “Arrest for Violating a Statute,” New-York Tribune (New York City), 16 Apr. 1841, . Edward Hunter, a church member from Pennsylvania, was also involved in purchasing goods for JS’s store around this same period. (Letter to Edward Hunter, 5 Jan. 1842.)
Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.
Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, for the Sixty-Sixth Year of American Independence. . . . New York: Thomas Longworth, 1841.
Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, for the Sixty-Seventh Year of American Independence. . . . New York: T. Longworth and Son, 1842.
The Federal Cases Comprising Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Federal Reporter. Arranged Alphabetically by the Titles of the Cases, and Numbered Consecutively. Vol. 8. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1895.
not succeding in Obtain[in]g the goods at , the particulars of which I presume were commu[ni]cated to you by Br. Miller I thought it wisdom for me to return home, and obtain what goods I could & return— I have acted in pursuance of the above plan, and have every prospect of geting two to three thousands dollars worth at any rate, thoug[h] every thing is very dul hear & money hard, I found my Famley in good health, &c at one time we had some talk about the notes if you will write me the particulars, and what you want me to do in this or any other mat[t]er I will attend to it with the graest [greatest] of pleasure, as to my news in relation to the purchase of goods they were fuly & freely communcatd to Br miller, to whome I would refur you if you should not approve of my coming home at the time I did or if I can in any way do any thing which would be benificial to yourself or the pleas State it in your leter, and I will do as you Shall direct [p. ]
Likely George Miller, who was appointed bishop in Nauvoo as well as trustee and president of the Nauvoo House Association in early 1841. Miller later recalled that part of his responsibility during this period involved “feeding and paying the wages of the laborers engaged on the Temple and Nauvoo House.” (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:21–22]; An Act to Incorporate the Nauvoo House Association [23 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], p. 131, sec. 2; George Miller, St. James, MI, to “Dear Brother,” 26 June 1855, in Northern Islander, 16 Aug. 1855, .)
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly, at Their Session, Began and Held at Springfield, on the Seventh of December, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty. Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841.
During this period, New York City and the rest of the United States were mired in an economic depression that began in 1839. (See Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 504–505; Wallis, “Depression of 1839 to 1843,” 31–32.)
Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. The Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Wallis, John Joseph. “The Depression of 1839 to 1843: States, Debts, and Banks.” Unpublished paper. Copy in editors’ possession.