, Letter, La Porte, LaPorte Co., IN, to JS, , Hancock Co., IL, 7 Nov. 1841; handwriting of ; three pages; BYU. Includes addressing and docket.
Bifolium measuring 12½ × 7½ inches (32 × 19 cm). The pages are ruled with thirty-five horizontal blue lines. The letter was written on the first three pages and then addressed and trifolded twice in letter style. A red adhesive wafer is still adhered to the first page, and the last page was torn, likely when the letter was opened. The bottom three inches of the second leaf are missing, having been torn along the fold.
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. The Church Historical Department received a photocopy of this document in 1982 from a private collector. The original is currently housed in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, which has no available provenance information for this item.
On 7 November 1841, wrote a letter to JS from La Porte, Indiana, reporting on his mission to the eastern . Likely at the August 1841 of the , Martin had been appointed to serve a mission to the eastern states. Within days of receiving this assignment, Martin left his home in , Iowa Territory, traveling northeast through and then through northern , where he stopped to write this letter.
As he traveled, visited the thriving of the in Knox and Stark counties in , where he experienced some proselytizing success. Prior to Martin’s preaching, local Congregationalist minister Samuel G. Wright had urged “some man competent to manage public discussions” to combat the growing influence of Latter-day Saints in the region. As the letter featured here indicates, Martin encountered challenges to his missionary efforts in the regions around , where local ministers and newspapers vocally opposed Latter-day Saint efforts.
While preaching in Will County, Illinois, learned that a week after his departure, the had published an epistle instructing all missionaries then “in the vineyard” to immediately write to the Twelve, detailing “their situations, designs, and all things relating to their ministry.” The epistle directed all missionaries to return quickly to , Illinois, where the would give them further instructions regarding their proselytizing duties. Sometime around 25 September, Martin wrote to , the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, for further instructions regarding the mission that he, Martin, had only recently undertaken. With Young’s approval, Martin continued his journey east.
While ’s letters to solicited direction regarding his mission, his letter to JS offered a report of his mission thus far. The contents of the letter also suggest that Martin may have been concerned about his family’s health in . At the time of his departure, sickness had been rampant throughout the settlement. Martin presumably sent the letter to from La Porte, Indiana. The lack of postal markings on the envelope suggests that Martin may have sent the letter via an unnamed courier. Extant records do not indicate any reply from JS.
The minutes of the conference do not mention Martin’s mission assignment, though the timing of the assignment suggests it was issued at the conference. (Iowa Stake, Record, 7–9 Aug. 1841, 101–104; Moses Martin, Will Co., IL, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 25 Sept. 1841, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.)
Samuel G. Wright, Henderson, IL, to Milton Badger, New York City, NY, 16 Mar. 1841; Samuel G. Wright, Henderson, IL, to Milton Badger, New York City, NY, 18 June 1841, American Home Missionary Society Incoming Correspondence, reel 18, CHL.
American Home Missionary Society Incoming Correspondence, 1816–1898. Microfilm. CHL.
Moses Martin, Will Co., IL, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 25 Sept. 1841, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; see also Moses Martin, Will Co., IL, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 29 Sept. 1841, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.
Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.
See Clayton, Diary, 1 July 1841; 8 and 17 Aug. 1841; 11 Sept. 1841.
Clayton, William. Diary, Vol. 1, 1840–1842. BYU.
and hoist the sails of delusion and cruse around at a distance under the winds of falshood But now and then I get achance to Bring to Bare on them the Long thirty toos of truth which makes the stivers slivers fly in a wonderful maner which gives employ to all those Captains and shipcarpenters and deck hands with a large assortment of the lumber of newspaper lies ◊asmit storys for the purpos of patching up there craft the (reffuge of lies) and after all this great work of patching and repairing it takes all hands hard at the pump of Carnalising to keep the wait of truth from sinking them. you may not think this vary interesting But you must Bare with a little of my foly But enough on this subgect fore the preascent I am now on my way to new london County Connetticut by order of the and I hope that you will ever remember to pray for me and for my success in the redeemers caus and I <want> to ask one faveor at your hand as I know that whomesoever you Bles god will Bless I want the first time that you go to that you should go and see and Bless my Children and all so prenounse the Blessing of heavan on thar Parents this one Blessing that I earnestly Beg at your hand and I shant shall not say that is all that I shall ask for I am derterumin to stick to you for all the Blessings that my heart desires as close as Elisha did to Eliga for what would you think if I should want to Be a special witness like some of them that has fallen and if this can be [p. ]
“Long thirty-twos” were cannons with relatively long barrels, capable of firing balls weighing up to thirty-two pounds. During the 1800s, they were the most prominently used cannons on land and at sea. (Rogers, Artillery through the Ages, 80; Tucker, Arming the Fleet, 14–15, 149–150.)
Rogers, H. C. B. Artillery through the Ages. London: Seeley Service, 1971.
Tucker, Spencer. Arming the Fleet: U.S. Navy Ordnance in the Muzzle-Loading Era. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989.
Martin’s wife, Julia Priscilla Smith Martin, was JS’s cousin, the daughter of Asahel Smith. (Marcellus Cowdery, John Smith, and Clarissa Lyman Smith, Kirtland, OH, to George A. Smith, Shinnston, VA, 26 Sept. 1837, George Albert Smith, Papers, CHL; Elias Smith, Nashville, Iowa Territory, to Jesse Smith, Stockholm, NY, 31 Aug. 1841, CHL.)
Smith, George Albert. Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322.
Smith, Elias. Letter, Nashville, Iowa Territory, to Jesse Smith, Stockholm, NY, 31 Aug. 1841. MS 15819. CHL.
A list of members in the Nashvillebranch from circa 1840 includes the name of only one child, Ester Martin, with the entries for Moses and Julia Priscilla Smith Martin. Martin’s use of the plural “Children” implies that a second child was likely born in or around 1841. (Iowa Stake, Record, 35.)