Letter of Introduction from John Howden, 27 October 1838
, Letter of Introduction, , Geauga Co., OH, for , agent of JS and , 27 Oct. 1838. Featured version copied [between 29 May and 30 Oct. 1839] in JS Letterbook 2, p. 41; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 27 October 1838, wrote a letter of introduction attesting to JS’s and ’s honorable character and to ’s satisfactory settlement of debts JS and Rigdon owed to Howden. While living in , Ohio, JS, Rigdon, and other church members had purchased goods on credit from Howden, a merchant in , Ohio, and the debts were left unpaid as the moved to throughout 1838. Because JS and Rigdon abruptly departed in January 1838, some people evidently thought the two men were attempting to defraud Howden and other creditors. JS and Rigdon repaid several creditors and avoided litigation on outstanding debts by appointing Granger, , and others to settle these matters. Granger began acting as an for JS and Rigdon in Ohio in 1837. He traveled to Missouri in 1838 and was in on 8 July when JS dictated a revelation concerning the church’s finances in Ohio. This revelation directed Marks and to move to Missouri; when they did so, the responsibility for settling Ohio debts shifted solely to Granger.
In his role as an agent, settled debts owed to and other creditors. On 19 October, merchants and gave Granger a letter of introduction stating that his efforts “in settling the claims, accounts &c against the former Citizens of ” had “done much credit to himself, and all others that committed to him the cares of adjusting their business with this community.” On 26 October, —a Painesville resident and disaffected member of the church—wrote a letter commending Granger’s “management in the arrangement of the unfinished business” of church members. Kingsbury also stated that Granger’s work in “redeeming their [church members’] pledges and thereby sustaining their integrity” had “entitled him to my highest esteem, and ever grateful recollection.” Howden’s letter of introduction written on 27 October contained similar praise for Granger and by extension for JS and the church. The letter from Howden is representative of the letters from Kingsbury and from Griffith and Seymour. All three letters were written in mid- or late October and were probably solicited by Granger, perhaps in response to direction from JS, to verify the credibility of JS, , and Granger.
On 27 October, the same day produced the letter of introduction, governor ordered the state militia to expel the Saints from the state. Within a matter of days, JS was arrested in , Missouri. It is unlikely that JS received this and the other letters of introduction during his nearly six-month incarceration. probably kept the letters and gave them to JS at a later point, possibly when both men were in in spring 1839. The original letter Howden wrote is severely damaged, with sections on the left side and at the top of the document missing. JS’s scribe, , copied the letter into JS Letterbook 2 sometime between 29 May and 30 October 1839. Because that copy is complete, it is featured here.
See Statement of Account from John Howden, 29 Mar. 1838. Howden operated a dry goods store on Main Street in Painesville in 1836 and 1837. It is not clear whether the store was still functioning in 1838. (See Advertisement, Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 4 Nov. 1836, ; Advertisement, Painesville [OH] Republican, 1 Dec. 1836, ; and Advertisement, Painesville Republican, 2 Feb. 1837, .)
Mulholland copied his own 29 May 1839 letter to Edward Partridge on page 15 of JS Letterbook 2, making that the earliest likely copying date for documents he subsequently copied but that had dates preceding 29 May. The latest that Mulholland could have copied the letter was 3 November 1839, the day he died, though the latest likely copying date is 30 October, after which illness presumably precluded scribal duties. (Emma Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to JS, Washington DC, 6 Dec. 1839, Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines; Obituary for James Mulholland, Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:32.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
This may certify that during the year of Eighteen hundred and thirtyseven I had dealings with Messrs Joseph Smith Jr and together with other members of the society, to the amount of about three thousand dollars, And during the spring of Eighteen Hundred and thirty eight, I have received my pay in full of Col to my satisfaction. And I would here remark that it is due Messrs Smith & & the society generally, to say that they have ever dealt honorable and fair with me, And I have received as good treatment from them as I have received from Any other society in this vicinity: And so far as I have been correctly informed, And made known of their them business transactions generally they have so far as I can judge been honorable and honest, And have made every exertion to arrange & settle their affairs; & I would further state that the closing up of my business with said society has been with their appointed by them for that purpose; And I consider it highly due, from me here to state that he has acted truly And honestly with me in all his business transactions with me, and has accomplished more than I could have reasonably expected. And I have also been made acquainted with his business in this section, And wherever he has been called upon to act, he has done so, And with good management he has accomplished And effected a close of a very large amount [of] business for said society, And as I believe to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.