high council, Minutes, [, Hancock Co., IL], 8 Mar. 1840. Featured version copied 7 Feb. 1842 in Nauvoo High Council Minutes, fair copy, pp. 49–50; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minutes, 27 Oct. 1839.
JS and the met on 8 March 1840 at ’s residence in , Illinois, to discuss various aspects of business. JS had only recently returned from , arriving in Commerce by 29 February 1840. On 6 March, he attended a high council meeting in , Iowa Territory. At that meeting, he emphasized to the high council that the attempt to gain redress for the Saints’ expulsion from was “the only thing that ought to interest the saints at present.” As these minutes of the 8 March high council meeting indicate, however, other business—especially related to land purchases—still needed consideration.
One item discussed in the meeting involved a financial dispute between and former church member . Whitmer claimed Partridge owed him money on an existing mortgage on land Partridge held in , Missouri. Because Whitmer continued to demand payment on the mortgage, which church leaders did not believe was legitimate, JS and Partridge brought the matter before the high council. The high council also considered items related to other land debts, including a $1,000 payment church leaders owed for approximately ninety acres of land in that they had purchased from him and in August 1839. In January 1840, stated that he did not believe church leaders would be able to raise the money by the time it was due, necessitating the high council’s involvement. The high council additionally continued its efforts to establish a ferry across the and also considered the case of , who had published an unauthorized church hymnal in .
As clerk of the meeting, took the minutes, which he copied into the high council record book on 7 February 1842.
March 8th 1840. The of of the of Illinois met at ’s.
1st<Ran>Alexander informed the Council that he wished to be exhonerated from the office of Clerk for this Council in consequence of the weakness of his eyes.
2nd On motion it was voted that he be exhonerated as he requested.
3 On motion of , was appointed Clerk pro. tempore of the High Council in the place of resi[gne]d
4th A charge was prefered against by Joseph Smith jr, for unchristianlike conduct which was refered to , and , who were to labor within him and report the same to the council.
5 A letter to , from of Missouri, containing proposals concerning a mortgague on certain lands, held by , in Missouri, was presented to the council by Joseph Smith jr for their advice whereupon it was voted that he ( should not accept of said proposals. [p. 49]
Granger purchased property in lots 1 and 2 of block 13 and lots 2 and 3 of block 14 in Commerce sometime in 1840. He and his wife, Lydia Dibble Granger, deeded this land to JS on 25 April 1840. Granger’s residence may have been on this land. (Hancock Co., IL, Deed Book Records, 1817–1917, vol. H, pp. 409–410, 25 Apr. 1840, microfilm 954,598, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
Alexander, who was baptized in August 1836 in Tennessee, had been appointed as clerk of the high council sometime before this meeting. It is unknown exactly when he received this assignment because the minutes of the meeting in which he was appointed were lost. (Woodruff, Journal, 23 July 1836, 20 Aug. 1836; Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 30.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.
As members of the churchpresidency in Missouri, Whitmer and William W. Phelps—without consulting the Missouri bishopric or the Missouri high council—had purchased the town plot for Far West using funds donated by church members “for the benefit of Poorbleedingzion.” After being called before the high council, Phelps and Whitmer agreed to transfer the Far West town plot to Partridge in April 1837. However, both Phelps and Whitmer had pledged to pay $1,000 each toward the construction of a temple at Far West, and they planned to use the proceeds of the sale of lots in Far West to fulfill that commitment. With the land now transferred to Partridge, proceeds from sales would not go to Phelps and Whitmer personally, meaning that they would not have the $2,000 necessary to cover the already pledged temple donation. Recognizing this, the high council in Missouri resolved in April 1837 to consider Phelps and Whitmer “exempt from paying” the temple subscription. Nevertheless, the two got Partridge to agree to pay the $2,000 they had pledged for the temple and made the agreement enforceable through a mortgage. Phelps and Whitmer insisted Partridge make this payment for them, and the problems over the $2,000 pledge contributed to their excommunication from the church in 1838. In April 1838, the high council in Missouri instructed Partridge not to pay the mortgage. Phelps assigned his portion of the mortgage to Whitmer in August 1838. (Letter to Wilford Woodruff, ca. 18 June 1838, underlining in original; Minute Book 2, 5–7 Apr. 1837 and 10 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 21 Apr. 1838; see also [John Whitmer], Far West, MO, to Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1840, copy, John Whitmer Family Papers, 1837–1912, CHL.)
Partridge communicated this decision to Whitmer, after which Whitmer informed Partridge that he would sue him for the mortgage. ([John Whitmer], Far West, MO, to Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1840, copy, John Whitmer Family Papers, 1837–1912, CHL.)