Deed to Samuel F. Whitney, 8 July 1838
JS, , , , William Miller, and Phebe Scott Miller, Deed for property in , Geauga Co., OH, to , 8 July 1838. Featured version copied 27 Oct. 1838 in Geauga County Deed Record, vol. 26, pp. 491–492; handwriting of ; signed by JS, , , , William Miller, and Phebe Scott Miller; witnessed by ; certified by ; Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH.The deed appears in Geauga County Deed Record, volume 26. The volume contains 320 leaves as well as front and back flyleaves measuring 15⅝ × 10 inches (40 × 10 cm). At an unknown time, the original leather cover and spine were covered with cream canvas and maroon leather corners. Four false raised bands demarcate five panels on the spine. The volume has a construction similar to other contemporaneous records housed at the Geauga County Archives and Records Center. The bound volume measures 16½ × 10¾ × 3 inches (42 × 27 × 8 cm). The volume contains deeds recorded from 22 May to 20 December 1838. Each deed record is written in ink.This volume was in the possession of the Geauga County, Ohio, Recorder’s Office from its creation until 1996, when it was transferred to the newly organized Geauga County Archives and Records Center.
On 8 July 1838, JS and several others signed a deed in , Missouri, transferring their rights to a tract of land in , Ohio. This 239-acre property, located in the southwest corner of Kirtland Township, was purchased from and Sarah French on 5 October 1836 by JS and , and , and , and William and Phebe Scott Miller. Also on 5 October, the group signed a mortgage agreement to pay the Frenches $1,000 annually for thirteen years, starting in April 1838, with a fourteenth and final payment due in 1851 for a smaller sum, which may have represented a portion of the interest. During fall 1836, JS individually and jointly purchased a substantial amount of land throughout the Kirtland area. The 5 October 1836 transaction with the Frenches and one with and Elizabeth Russell on 10 October 1836 amounted to over 371 acres and were the largest land purchases JS was involved in while residing in Kirtland. In April 1837, JS and Emma Smith signed a deed giving , apparently acting as an for JS, their right to the land jointly purchased from the Frenches.On 5 February, created a deed to sell land to , the younger brother of . Because Marks did not own the land—rather, he only held the rights he had acquired from JS and —this deed was a deed rather than a standard warranty deed. In return for the land, Samuel F. Whitney provided Marks with “thirteen thousand dollars . . . paid in hand in obligations against Joseph Smith Jr” and others. These obligations were likely the promissory notes that JS and the other purchasers gave to and Sarah French in October 1836. Since promissory notes were transferable, Whitney may have purchased them from the Frenches or received them as payment in another transaction. The 5 February 1838 quitclaim deed transferring the land to Samuel F. Whitney only provided him with the property rights that Marks held, not the rights of each of the original purchasers.Under the 8 July quitclaim deed, JS and , and , and William and Phebe Miller—all of the original purchasers other than and —transferred their interest in the land to . William Smith had turned over several pieces of land to before moving to in early 1838 and may have given Marks a quitclaim deed for his portion of the property in exchange for land in Missouri. The 8 July deed indicates that as part of the transaction, Whitney had agreed to pay $3,000, likely to Marks, for the right to the land. The deed identifies the sellers as “Joseph Smith Jr. & Others” and “Joseph Smith Jr. & Firm,” suggesting that JS was considered the leader of the sale.The content of revelations JS dictated on 8 July may have contributed to the of this deed on the same day. One of the revelations regarded the donation of surplus property and may have influenced JS and other newly settled in to discharge their land for the good of the church. Another 8 July revelation, which instructed and to “settle up their businss speedily” and “let the properties of be turned out for debt,” also likely encouraged JS to execute the deed. By signing the deed and confirming the sale of the land to , JS aided Marks in selling Kirtland property and providing funds to settle outstanding debts.After the Smiths and Millers signed the deed on 8 July, judge certified the deed and the release of the wives’ dower rights. The next day , clerk for the Caldwell County court, certified Phelps’s authority by signing and sealing the document. The deed was then taken to , probably by , who had been instructed to return to Kirtland and manage church and business affairs there on behalf of the . In Kirtland the deed was given to , who brought it to , the Geauga County recorder in , Ohio. Cowles copied the deed into a Geauga County record book in October 1838. The original deed has not been located; the version featured here is the Geauga County record of the deed.
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(a“Died in Kirtland,” Deseret News, 26 May 1886, 297; Kirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 14 Oct. 1828, 61.bKirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 29 Oct. 1831, 82; see also Warrant, 21 Oct. 1833.cNewel K. Whitney, Power of Attorney to Samuel F. Whitney, 7 Nov. 1838; Samuel F. Whitney, Kirtland, OH, to Newel K. Whitney, Nauvoo, IL, 13 Jan. 1843, Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU.)
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