Statement of Account from John Howden, 29 March 1838
, Statement of Account, [, Geauga Co., OH], for JS and , 29 Mar. 1838; one page (possibly missing second page); handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions and docket.One leaf measuring 13 × 7⅞ to 8 inches (33 x 20 cm). The document includes a watermark: “L & Co”. The bottom of the leaf appears to be machine cut, whereas the top and sides appear to be hand cut. Residue from a red adhesive wafer on the verso has no corresponding residue on the recto of the document, suggesting the wafer was not used to seal the document but to attach another leaf that is no longer extant. The document includes filing folds and a corresponding docket in unidentified handwriting: “John Houtans | Bills”. Redactions were made in ink and graphite in unidentified handwriting. The document shows signs of moderate wear, and five strips of tape were applied to the verso to mend tears.may have given this statement to or another church agent in 1838. At some point, Latter-day Saint Francis Clark acquired the statement. This document and Clark’s other papers apparently remained in his and then his descendants’ custody until his great-granddaughter sold them. The papers were eventually purchased by Scallawagiana Books of Salt Lake City and then sold to Peter Crawley, a rare book and document collector. Crawley sold the papers to the Historical Department of the LDS church in 1982.
On 29 March 1838, merchant of , Ohio, prepared this statement of debts that JS and owed him, including debts they apparently assumed on behalf of other Latter-day Saints. This statement was not the first that Howden produced for JS and Rigdon; on 1 January 1838, Howden wrote a statement identifying two debts: one that JS owed and one for which Rigdon had signed as a surety for and . JS’s debt appears to have been paid by 29 March 1838, but Rigdon’s remained unpaid.The majority of the entries listed in this statement reference promissory notes that JS and other Latter-day Saints at , Ohio, gave to in 1837—probably for goods purchased from his store or for money borrowed from him. The first two items listed in the statement are promissory notes that JS, , , , and signed on 13 April 1837. Howden endorsed these notes and transferred them to other individuals, who in fall 1837 began lawsuits because the debts remained unpaid. Other entries listed in the statement are debts for goods, horses, and property. The extant statement may be incomplete. The individual debts are not totaled at the end of the page, and the verso contains wafer residue, perhaps to attach a second leaf. Because a second page of the statement may be missing, it is impossible to know the overall status of JS’s and Rigdon’s accounts.It appears that included several of the unpaid promissory notes in this 29 March statement in an effort to settle the debts before the matters were tried in court. Lawsuits on four of the notes—the two 13 April 1837 promissory notes that JS and were involved in, one from , and the one that Rigdon had signed as a surety for and —were brought before the Court of Common Pleas on 3 April 1838, a few days after this statement was compiled. In the trials against Coltrin and Hedlock, Howden informed the judge that the debts had been settled by mutual agreement outside of court before 3 April. In contrast, the debts for the 13 April 1837 promissory notes were not settled before being brought to trial—possibly because the debts involved Howden as well as those to whom he had transferred the notes.probably sent the statement to , where one of the church agents, likely , took responsibility for repaying the debts on behalf of JS and . Granger or another agent may have written to JS about the statement, but it is not known whether JS received or reviewed it. The statement bears no address or postal information, suggesting that if JS received it in , it was likely delivered by a Latter-day Saint courier. By October 1838, Howden considered all debts owed him by JS, Rigdon, and other Latter-day Saints to be paid, and he credited Granger for the timely resolution of his and other merchants’ debts.