, Promissory Note, , Caldwell Co., MO, to JS, 9 Apr. 1838; handwriting of JS; signature of ; notation of partial payment added in handwriting of JS; two pages; JS Collection (Supplement), CHL.
One leaf measuring 4¼ × 7⅝ inches (11 × 19 cm). The document was folded for filing. Presumably, JS kept the note and it remained in church custody after his death, eventually becoming part of the JS Collection in the Historical Department of the LDS church.
On 9 April 1838, JS wrote a promissory note stating and would repay forty dollars they had jointly borrowed from JS. Young signed the note on behalf of himself and Decker. The language of the note—stating that Young and Decker “have had” the borrowed money—suggests that they borrowed the money sometime before 9 April. According to an early biography of Isaac’s wife, Harriet Wheeler Decker, Isaac had been a prosperous farmer before he impoverished his family in early 1837 in an attempt to ease JS’s and ’s financial difficulties. Decker and some other Saints apparently feared the two church leaders would be forced to repay all notes issued by the recently closed . Lorenzo Young befriended Isaac Decker and helped outfit his family for travel, and in late 1837 their families traveled together to . The Decker and Young families stopped for the winter in Dublin, Indiana, where they were joined by Lorenzo’s brother —one of the —and later by JS, Sidney Rigdon, and others. While the Young and Decker families were wintering in , Lorenzo Young traveled to and Isaac Decker traveled to , perhaps at JS’s direction. Meanwhile, Brigham Young helped arrange a donation of $300 from a local Latter-day Saint, which allowed JS and the others to continue their journey. The Young and Decker families moved on with JS and the rest, with Brigham, Lorenzo, and Isaac later catching up to the company. According to later biographies, soon after Lorenzo Young and Decker arrived in Missouri, JS directed them to settle their families in , where Young bought a farm and Decker rented property. Young and Decker may have traveled from residences in Daviess County to , Caldwell County, to attend the quarterly conference held there 7–8 April. The following day, Young signed the featured promissory note. Three months later, one or both of them made a partial payment on the debt, as noted on the back of the document, but apparently the remainder of the debt was never repaid.
In this context, “use” apparently means usury, or interest. (“Usury,” in American Dictionary.)
An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.