, Letter, , Lake Co., OH, to JS and , , Hancock Co., IL, 3 Jan. 1842; handwriting of ; four pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes address, postal notations, and dockets.
Bifolium measuring 12½ × 7⅞ inches (32 × 20 cm). All four pages are inscribed in black and blue ink. filled the recto and verso of each leaf, leaving space for the address on the verso of the second leaf. The fourth page of the letter also included writing to the right and left of the address block that was added after the letter was trifolded twice in letter style. It appears that McBride erased this text with a knife and then rewrote the content vertically across the text on the recto of the first leaf. Following this alteration, the letter was addressed, sealed with a red adhesive wafer, and postmarked. There is wafer residue on the fourth page. The letter appears to have torn when it was opened, resulting in some loss of text on the left side of the first and fourth pages and the right side of the second and third pages. It was later refolded for filing.
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 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 3 January 1842 member wrote a letter from , Ohio, to JS in , Illinois, reporting on the state of JS’s and the church’s outstanding financial obligations. McBride was given power of attorney after church members at a held in Nauvoo the previous October voted that he “go, settle, and if possible close a business concern left in an uncertain condition by deceased.”
In 1838, as the majority of church members migrated from to , JS empowered several men to act as the church’s financial to settle debts that had accrued between 1835 and 1837 from building the and supplying mercantile businesses in and around Kirtland. In 1839 a general conference of the church appointed presiding officer over the church in Kirtland; in conjunction with this appointment, the authorized Granger to act as a church agent to settle outstanding debts on behalf of JS and other church leaders.
While settled many church debts over the following years, he failed to convey information about these settlements to JS with the expected regularity and detail. This meant that JS, as the church’s president and trustee, often had an incomplete picture of the church’s outstanding financial debts, which sometimes resulted in confusion. In October 1840, under the mistaken assumption that Granger planned to return to in the fall, a church conference voted to replace him with as the presiding officer in ; JS also empowered Babbitt to act as the church’s financial agent in Kirtland. After learning that Granger intended to remain in Kirtland and was still performing his duties, JS sent him a letter explaining the leadership change and urging him to work together with Babbitt. Granger’s communications regarding the settlement of earlier debts continued to be sparse, however, leaving JS in a difficult position in terms of responding to creditors and ascertaining the church’s financial position. In May 1841, after learning that Granger’s health was in decline, JS requested an update on his progress in settling church debts. JS received no further correspondence from Granger. Less than four months later, Granger died in Kirtland.
In October 1841 a church conference voted to withdraw fellowship from and to appoint , who was apparently in attendance, as the church’s agent in . At the time, McBride was a counselor in the Kirtland . JS granted him power of attorney later that month, and McBride likely left for Kirtland shortly afterward. Given the uncertainty about ’s success in settling church debts, it is likely that JS asked McBride to assess the church’s financial situation in Kirtland and write to him as soon as possible.
On 3 January 1842 wrote the featured letter to JS outlining some of the church’s outstanding debts and seeking JS’s counsel on how best to settle them. Specifically, McBride described the money owed for his transactions as an agent in ; McBride’s own efforts to collect a promissory note from a “Br More,” likely Henry Moore, and to pay taxes on church land; and the status of two legal s that creditors held against the church farm in . McBride also informed JS that Latter-day Saint Abel Owen and his family were stranded in Kirtland and living in a “suffering condition.” McBride added three postscripts, one of which was directed to and concerned the liquidation of a debt that More apparently owed Smith. It is possible that one or more of the postscripts were added on 4 January, the day the letter was mailed. JS likely received the letter in a couple of weeks later. Though there is no extant response from JS, McBride continued to resolve church debts as an agent of the church in subsequent years.
See Reuben McBride to William Marks, 4 June 1843, copy, CHL; JS, Journal, 15 Sept. 1843; and Reuben McBride to JS, Bill, 6 May 1845, Illinois State Historical Society, Circuit Court Case Files [Cases pertaining to Mormon Residents], 1830–1900, CHL.
McBride, Reuben. Letter to William Marks, 4 June 1843. Copy. CHL.
Illinois State Historical Society. Circuit Court Case Files, 1830–1900. Microfilm. CHL. MS 16278.
better than any boddy else he dose not rail out much he feels uneasy he says he can do nothing in the situation he is in now in the , whether he means to come there and setle with you or not I do not know he preaches once in a while he has one or two appointments out rount then they say he is a going quit All parties in would be glad to see you here in the Spring there would be no danger excepting debts Perkins & Osborn has the greatest Demands against you says he would not trouble you but you will know better than I could advise you I s[h]ould be very glad indeed my self, Br More would not except [accept] the order you gave me he says you had his Hous and lot which rented for $40, and that there was a years rent due he is not calcu[l]ating to go to He has nearly as quite denied the faith I had a note against him in favor of he would do nothing about it I sued him he then prefered a charge against me before the here Now I want to no [know] if a brother refuses to pay a note of hand if I have got to be brought before the authorities of the Church for Collecting it or must I take him before the authorities here in the C[hurc]h I had very hard work to get the money to pay the tax I asure you I run allmost night and Day for one week, I got the money by the way of Br Christopher Dixon I had the Land bid off for Br Dixon it was bid Down to 2 acres So he has 2 acres for securities security I thought that would be [page torn] best way it only made ten cents mor that was for [page torn] a certificate the amount of the tax was $33–91 tin [ten] cts ad[page torn] makes $34.01 he wants the money in the spring I shall have to depend on you for it for I know of no way to get it here the Books I sent By br Woodard he never sold one he said money was so scarce he come as far as Mt Vernon his horse ran away and broke his Waggon all to pieces but did not Damage the Books he had to leave them it is 100 miles from here has got a quantity of Hymn Books he got in , so there is not much prospect of selling manny at presant here has sold out his Store of Goods he claims the rent of the Store as it Stood in on your Lot when it was prisid it now stands a little south of s h[o]use on the oposite side of the Road
there has been 2 s livyed on your farm here one in favor of &c in the hands of Mathews of he says he will take it in land or he must have it secured the man who had something to do with it was at I think his name was Devenport[.] Mathews says he will not throw of[f] any thing the Judgment Stands against you and Amount $953,21
the other was levied by Perkins & osborn in favor of Some of the criditors[.] thinks the demands he has might be paid in Lands at 50 cents on the Dollar [p. ]
This likely refers to Henry Moore. In December 1840, in exchange for a financial order owed to JS, Moore agreed to pay JS $150 and granted him control of a house and lot he owned in Nauvoo as security. It appears that Moore had not fully satisfied the debt by January 1842 and that JS empowered Reuben McBride to collect the remaining balance. If the featured letter is referring to Moore, he apparently refused to pay JS any additional money, since JS had collected rent on Moore’s Nauvoo property. (JS to Henry Moore, Agreement, 23 Dec. 1840, JS Collection [Supplement], CHL.)
This was likely a tax due Lake County on land the church owned in Kirtland. Taxes were usually assessed and due at the end of the year, so McBride may have struggled to pay taxes that were due in December 1841.
This likely refers to church member Christopher Dixon, who lived in Kirtland during this period. (Lake Co., OH, Treasurer’s Tax Duplicates, 1840–1871, Tax Duplicates, 1843, p. 199, microfilm 973,857, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
This likely refers to a new edition of the church hymnbook that became available in Nauvoo in April 1841. (Emma Smith, comp., A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [Nauvoo, IL: E. Robinson, 1841]; “Books,” Times and Seasons, 15 Mar. 1841, 2:355.)
A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Edited by Emma Smith. Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams, 1835.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
JS, individually or as part of the firm Rigdon, Smith & Co., reportedly operated a mercantile store in Kirtland. The building was apparently located across from JS’s Kirtland residence on Chillicothe Road. (Deed, 3 June 1841, in Lake Co., OH, Land Registry Records, bk. A, p. 513, CHL.)
Lake County, Ohio. Land Registry Records, 1840–1842. CHL.
An execution of this type was “the act of carrying into effect the final judgment of a court.” (“Execution,” in Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 1:538.)
Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of the Several States of the American Union; With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Deacon and Peterson, 1854.