Pay Order from Robert Snodgrass, 18 September 1838
Robert Snodgrass, Pay Order, to and JS, [, Caldwell Co., MO], 18 Sept. 1838; handwriting probably of Robert Snodgrass; one page; JS Collection, CHL.
Single leaf measuring 2⅛–2¼ × 7⅝ inches (6 × 19 cm). The top and right edges of the recto have the square cut of manufactured paper, whereas the left and bottom edges were unevenly hand cut. The document was trifolded, likely for transmission.
Little is known about the pay order’s custodial history. The document was presumably filed with JS’s financial papers in , Missouri, and has remained in continuous institutional custody. In 1973 the Historical Department of the LDS church cataloged the pay order in the JS Collection.
Johnson, Register of the Joseph Smith Collection, 10.
Johnson, Jeffery O. Register of the Joseph Smith Collection in the Church Archives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973.
On 18 September 1838, Robert Snodgrass wrote a pay order near , Missouri, requesting that JS and pay the unspecified holder of the note $28.93 on behalf of Snodgrass. Snodgrass purchased land in , Missouri, in 1836. By 1838 he had moved to , Missouri, where he purchased land and built a mill approximately three miles from Far West. This mill was one of the closest to Far West, and the Saints depended on it to grind their grain.
A pay order, such as the one Snodgrass produced, authorized the bearer of the order (the person receiving payment) to be paid by the individual named in the order rather than by the creator of the order. The amount would then be charged against the creator’s account, with the creator later reimbursing the person making the payment, or would be credited against any debt the individual providing payment owed the creator. No extant documents indicate whether Snodgrass repaid JS and , but Snodgrass may have done so by deducting the amount from an account that JS or Partridge had at Snodgrass’s mill. The order Snodgrass created is the only extant pay order in the records from , although such requests for payment may have been relatively common, especially among individuals who did business with the church.
Bushman, Index of the First Plat Book of Clay County, Missouri, 14. Snodgrass joined the church in 1834 in Indiana. (John Gregg, Sugar Creek, IN, to Oliver Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 12 Aug. 1834, in The Evening and the Morning Star, Sept. 1834, 192.)
Bushman, Katherine Gentry, comp. Index of the First Plat Book of Clay County, Missouri, 1819–1875. Stanton: VA: By author, 1967.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
“Bearer,” in Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 1:124. Bouvier stated, “If a bill note be made payable to bearer, it will pass by delivery only, without endorsement; and whoever fairly acquires a right to it, may maintain an action against the drawer or acceptor.”
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: T. and J. W. Johnson, 1839.
this Spt 18th 1838
Mr. and Joseph Smith please to let the Beared Bearer have twenty Eight Dollars Ninety three Cents you will oblige your friend Robert Snodgrass [p. ]