JS, Letter, , Hancock Co., IL, to Amos Keeler, , New York Co., NY, 16 Mar. 1841; handwriting of ; one page; Simon Gratz Autograph Collection, 1343–1928, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
Single leaf measuring 7⅝ × 12⅛ inches (19 × 31 cm). The leaf was probably originally one half of a bifolium. The letter was written on the recto and then trifolded twice in letter style. The letter was subsequently folded for filing and docketed. At one point the verso apparently had a series of adhesive dots, which left green residue on the paper. The leaf also contains some acidic bleed-through from an image of JS and Hyrum Smith that has been stored in the same folder.
The autograph collector Simon Gratz acquired this document at an unknown time. Gratz’s entire collection was deeded to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1917, and the transfer was finalized shortly after his death in 1928.
See the full bibliographic entry for Simon Gratz Autograph Collection, 1343–1928, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
On 16 March 1841, JS wrote to Amos Keeler regarding Keeler’s request for payment on a debt. Keeler was an owner of Keeler, McNeil & Co., “wholesale dealers in fancy and staple dry goods” based in . In 1836 the company had sold goods on credit to , JS, and , likely for a dry-goods store in , Ohio, operated by JS and Rigdon. The original invoice from October 1836 included an itemized list of various goods and showed a total debt of $2,959.46. Keeler wrote JS on 2 February 1841 requesting payment of this outstanding debt. In response, JS dictated the letter featured here to his scribe in , Illinois.
JS was actively seeking to reconcile with his creditors from his time in . The execution of this work lay primarily in the hands of his , most notably . Granger had been sent to pay some of the ’s debts in the eastern in 1838 and remained in periodic contact with JS regarding this activity. Just two months before dictating this letter, JS wrote to Granger in Kirtland to solicit more information regarding the settlement of outstanding debts. Having received no additional information, JS had to answer creditors such as Keeler without a knowledge of the particulars of each debt.
Yours of the 2nd Ul[t]imo was duly received but having been mislaid I have not been able to answer it until the present. It would have afforded me much pleasure could I have assisted you in your present circumstances, but having no means excepting those which I put into the hands of Mr of to apply on what debts were owing in &c I am not able [to] promise you any assistance.
From a communication I lately received from I was informed that he had effected a settlement with the merchants in , and I hopen that your firm was one of the number.
I suppose you are aware of the great loss of property I sustained while in , and my imprisonment &c for which I have not received any remuneration, and in consequence I wa[s] reduced to poverty & from which I have not been able to extricate myself
Although Granger’s letters from late 1840 or early 1841 have not been located, JS mentioned their delayed receipt in a January 1841 letter to Granger, emphasizing his desire to know more concerning the debts in New York: “I am yet in the dark respecting the New York debts I should be much pleased to hear that they were settled.” (Letter to Oliver Granger, 26 Jan. 1841.)