Letter from Levick Sturges and Others, 30 January 1842
, , , and , Letter with postscripts by , , Allegheny Co., PA, to the (including JS) and , , Hancock Co., IL, 30 Jan. 1842; handwriting presumably of and handwriting of ; signatures presumably of , , , and and signature of ; three pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, dockets, redactions, and notations.
Bifolium measuring 11⅞ × 7½ inches (30 × 19 cm). The letter begins on the verso of the first leaf, continues on the recto of the second leaf, and concludes at the top of the recto of the first leaf. The document was trifolded twice in letter style, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, and addressed. The recto of the second leaf contains wafer residue, and there is a tear on the verso surrounded by wafer residue. The letter was later refolded for filing.
The document was docketed by , who served as scribe to JS from 1842 to 1844 and as temple recorder from 1842 to 1846. Another docket was inscribed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) from 1853 to 1859. Graphite redactions and a notation in the body of the letter are in the handwriting of Andrew Jenson, who began working in the Church Historian’s Office in 1882 and served as assistant church historian from 1897 to 1941. Another notation, “Copied by A.J.”, was apparently added by a clerk or secretary for Jenson. The document was listed as a letter from 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 and notations as well as its inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and in the JS Collection by 1973 indicate continuous institutional custody.
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 JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 30 January 1842, four members in —, , , and —wrote to the and in , Illinois, notifying them of the recent death of and requesting that apostle remain in the city to preach. Gee was assigned the previous October to serve a mission in Pittsburgh. He arrived on 22 December 1841, only four days before , who was en route to Nauvoo to explain his delay in leaving on a mission to Europe and Palestine. At Gee’s request, Page remained in the city to help proselytize. As reported in the 30 January letter, Page continued preaching in Pittsburgh after Gee died, and because Page’s oratory attracted large audiences, the four church members in Pittsburgh requested that Page be allowed to remain and move his family there as well.
apparently wrote the letter, after which he, , , and signed it. Then added two postscripts. In the first, he expressed his willingness to remain in if he could also relocate his family there, discussed the advantages of establishing a in the city, and reviewed his successful labors there. He also explained his intention to report to in the spring to account for his delay in leaving on his mission. In the second postscript, he asked JS to relay his love to the Saints and his plans to see his family when in Nauvoo.
The letter indicates it was carried to by the “politeness of S. Bennet,” referring to , who had been in five days before and was likely passing through en route to . No letter of response from the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has been located, but the letter likely influenced the decision of the April 1842 special to assign to serve in Pittsburgh.
Dear Bretheren as I am permited to scribe a line on this sheet— I would just say that if it should meet the approbation of you[r] better minds and the mind of the Lord that I should tarry here for the coming year shorter or longer as you may see fit— I am will<ing> to do so provided I can be allowed to bring my family to this with me. this is a kind of a thorough fair for the travling bretheren and a busyness place which If there could be a of the raised up to any considerable extent I think it would be to the temporal as well as the Spiritual advantage of the church
There is a number of gentlemen of wea[l]th and extensive busynes that are constant attendants on my meetings I have sold a good quantity of the Books of Mormon voice of warning Hymn Book Bro. s origin o[f] the Book of Mor—n and Slander Refuted of my own Publication our Books sell fast no mistake and all helps the work— the fact is the day of creaping is over the cause is onward thank God and all that the Priests of baall can do is stand and weep a blat at there own conteptable weakness and Ignorance— as soon as navigation is open up the I shall be at to receive my fate and your decision on my head and give an account of my and my mishion If I have er[r]ed I still have the truth which is this church and its doctrin Where I have er[r]ed I hope to find Mercy. Where I have done right I hope to be Justifyed. To be abused I wont be with out showing proper resentment as I have been by some I have meet with with since I see you— is my Enemy—
Page was apparently planning to travel down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River. According to an early American steamboat directory, ice on the Ohio River usually broke up in February, rendering the river “open for navigation.” In March 1838 the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reported that “the navigation of the Ohio River opens always by the 1st of March, and generally by the middle of February.” (Lloyd, Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, 50–51; Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, 12; see also Roberts, Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River, 48–49.)
Lloyd, James T. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters, Containing the History of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive Power. . . . Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd, 1856.
Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, in Behalf of Their Application to the Legislature of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 1838.
Roberts, W. Milnor. Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River. Philadelphia: Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1857.