Power of Attorney to Amasa Lyman, 28 February 1843
JS, Power of Attorney, to , [, Hancock Co., IL], 28 Feb. 1843; handwriting of ; signature of JS; witnessed by and ; certified by , 20 Mar. 1843, and by on behalf of John McKinney, 24 Apr. 1843; two pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes seals and dockets.
Single leaf, measuring 9⅝ × 7¾ inches (24 × 20 cm). Both pages are ruled with twenty-nine horizontal lines printed in blue ink. The main body of the document was inscribed in black ink, and the certification was inscribed in blue ink. There are mathematical equations written in the upper left corner of the verso.
On 22 April 1843, the power of attorney was presented to the Henderson County, Illinois, recorder’s office along with a deed from and . The power of attorney was subsequently recorded by 24 April 1843 and was then likely returned to JS or . By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL).
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 28 February 1843, drafted a power of attorney on JS’s behalf appointing to be an over JS’s property in , Illinois. JS first heard the suggestion for a Latter-day Saint settlement in Shokokon from on 10 February, and the approved his plan for a settlement that same day. After a short visit to Shokokon and the surrounding region in mid-February, JS agreed to buy 39 of the 240 town lots from and . JS hoped that Shokokon would become the latest in a number of outlying Latter-day Saint settlements surrounding , Illinois. In comments he gave two weeks after agreeing to purchase a portion of the city, JS described Nauvoo as the hub of a wheel with settlements such as Shokokon, , , and —which provided opportunities to further missionary work and the influence of the —as spokes of the wheel.
When they initially approved the plan to send church members and missionaries to , JS and the apostles proposed sending to the settlement. By the time JS purchased the land, this plan had apparently changed and church leaders had chosen instead. At the time, Lyman’s status in the church’s leadership was ambiguous amid changes in the composition of the Quorum of the Twelve and because JS was considering changes to the . With Lyman lacking a clear leadership position in the church and JS needing an experienced preacher and leader in Shokokon, JS assigned Lyman and his family to move to the settlement. Lyman left for Shokokon on the morning of 23 February, likely the day after JS received the signed deed to the town lots.
Five days later, on 28 February, drafted a power of attorney for JS giving control of JS’s property in and the power to sell or distribute the lots in JS’s name. According to his journal, JS was exceedingly busy on 28 February and was unable to sign the document until the following day. As Lyman had already departed for Shokokon, JS apparently retained the power of attorney in his possession for nearly a month. On 20 March, justice of the peace certified the document, and the next day JS and left for Shokokon. According to Clayton’s journal, JS traveled only part of the way with Clayton before returning to Nauvoo. Clayton continued on and that night arrived at Lyman’s home, where he presumably delivered the power of attorney into Lyman’s hands. In April 1843, Lyman had both the deed to JS’s Shokokon property and the power of attorney recorded by the Henderson County recorder’s office in .
In , sought to carry out JS’s instructions regarding the town. In his autobiography, Lyman stated that he “superintended the surveying of the town site and commenced building.” It is unclear how many Latter-day Saints accompanied or followed Lyman to the community. Earlier in February, JS judged Shokokon to be a “very desirable” site for a settlement, but as winter turned to spring it became clear that this was not the case. The was too shallow near the town for it to serve as an effective port for steamboats, and the marshy wetlands made the climate hazardous. Within six months of settling in Shokokon, Lyman and many of the Latter-day Saint residents became gravely ill. The Saints seem to have abandoned the town by fall 1843.
The previous summer, when Orson Pratt was excommunicated and dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve, JS directed that Lyman be ordained in his place. On 20 January 1843, after Pratt had returned to favor, JS instructed the apostles to reinstate Pratt to his standing in the quorum, explaining that he would make Lyman a counselor in the First Presidency. At the time, JS was apparently considering bringing charges against Sidney Rigdon in a church court, and JS probably intended for Lyman to replace Rigdon. However, JS waited more than two weeks before informing Lyman of his intentions, and shortly after that, JS and Rigdon reconciled. (Woodruff, Journal, 10 Aug.–19 Sept. 1842; Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 63–64; Amasa Lyman, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, 23 Aug. 1856, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL; “Amasa Lyman’s History,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 15 Sept. 1858, 122; Minutes, 20 Jan. 1843; Letter to Justin Butterfield, 16 Jan. 1843; Historical Department, Journal History of the Church, 10 Jan. 1842 , 5; Wilford Woodruff, Salem, MA, to “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” 11 Oct. 1844, in Times and Seasons, 1 Nov. 1844, 5:698; JS, Journal, 4 and 11 Feb. 1843.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
See History of Mercer and Henderson Counties, 888–889. According to JS’s history, Brigham Young stated that Shokokon was located “in a perfect swamp” and that “the place was not fit for a settlement; even the Captains of Steamers could with difficulty be persuaded upon to call there either on account of goods or passengers.” (JS History, vol. E-1, 1731.)
History of Mercer and Henderson Counties: Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, etc. . . . Chicago: H. H. Hill and Co., 1882.
Lydia Coulson, whose family followed Lyman to Shokokon, later wrote that soon after moving there her family “all had the ague and feaver and continued to be sick the hul [whole] summer.” That summer Lyman also “was taken ill, and became helpless,” during which time he was taken to Nauvoo to recover his health. Their experiences mirrored those of earlier settlers to the region. (Coulson, Autobiography, 5; “Amasa Lyman’s History,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 15 Sept. 1858, 122; History of Mercer and Henderson Counties, 893, 1199, 1214.)
Know all men by these presents, that I, Joseph Smith, of the city of , in the state of , have made authorized, nominated and appointed, and by these presence do make, authorize, nominate and appoint of the aforesaid and , my attorney for me and in my name, and to my use to enter into, and take possession of all such Lots, lands, tenements, hereditaments, and real estate, whatsoever in the town of , Henderson County in the state aforesaid even all the Lots deeded to me by Mr McQuinn [Robert McQueen], And also for me, and in my name, to grant, bargain and sell the same Lots, lands, tenements and hereditaments, or any part thereof, granting the same right title, interest, and claim, both in law and equity, as I may have in the same; and in my make <name, make,> execute and deliver good and sufficient deeds, and canveyances for the same. And also to ask for and receive and recover all such sums of of money as may become due for the same, And to <do> all such acts as an attorney is bound to do in selling and deeding lands and faithfully securing the payments for the same and collecting the moneys arising from such sales. and whatever else <is> necessary for the completion of such cantracts and collections.
In witness where of I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 28th day of Feb.’y, 1843.