Letter from Edward Partridge, 5 March 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Ill. March 5th 1839
Beloved Brethren
Having an opportunity to send direct to you by br , I feel to write a few lines to you. , , and went to see week before last. brn, , , and myself are of opinion that it is not wisdom to make a trade with the at present, possibly it may be wisdom to effect a trade hereafter. The people receive us kindly here, they have contributed near $100 cash besides other property for the relief of the suffering among our people. Brother Joseph’s lives at , I have not seen her but I sent her word of this opportunity to send to you. ’s lives not far from me, I have been to see her a number of times, her health was very poor when she arrived but she has been getting better, she knows of this opportunity to send. I saw Sister [Harriet Benton] Wight soon after her arrival here, all were well, I understand that she has moved out about two miles with & John Higbee who are fishing this spring.
Sister [Eunice Fitzgerald] McRae is here living with Br Henderson and is well I believe she knows of this opportunity to send. ’s family I have not seen, and do not know that she has got here as yet, She may however be upon the other side of the the ice has run these three days past so that there has been no crossing, the weather is now moderating and the crossing will soon commence again.
This place is full of our people, yet they are scattering off nearly all the while. I expect to start tomorrow for Pittsfield, Pike Co, Ill, about 45 miles, S. E from this place. Br told me this morning that he expected that his [p. 3] Father in law, , and himself would go on a farm about 20 miles N, E from this place. Some of the leading men have given us, (that is our people) an invitation to settle in and about this place, many no doubt will stay here.
Brn, I hope that you will bear patiently the privations that you are called to endure— the Lord will deliver in his own due time. Your letter respecting the trade with was not received here untill after our return from his residence at the head of the shoals or rapids. If were not here we might (after receiving your letter) come to a different conclusion respecting that trade. There are some here that are sanguine that we ought to accept trade with the . and are not here, and have not been here as I know of. and have settled some 20 or 25 miles N of this place for the present. A Br Lee who lived near died on the opposite side of the a few days since, preached his funeral sermon in the Courthouse.
It is a general time of health here, We greatly desire to see you, and to have you enjoy your freedom. The Citizens here are willing that we should enjoy the privileges guaranteed to all civil people without molestation.
I remain your brother in the Lord.
To Joseph Smith Junr and others)
confined in .)
Mo. [p. 4]


  1. 1

    That is, during the week of 17–23 February 1839.  

  2. 2

    Although Higbee initially favored accepting Galland’s offer in February 1839, he changed his mind when Partridge voiced opposition. Rigdon’s reasons for opposing the purchase in February remain unclear. (Quincy Committee, Minutes, ca. 9 Feb. 1839, Far West Committee, Minutes, CHL.)  

    Far West Committee. Minutes, Jan.–Apr. 1839. CHL. MS 2564.

  3. 3

    Latter-day Saint Elizabeth Haven wrote in late February 1839 that the people of Quincy donated between $400 and $500 to assist church members, perhaps in cash and other contributions. “God has opened their hearts to receive us,” she noted. “We are hungry and they feed us, naked and clothe us.” The Quincy Democratic Association held a number of meetings in February 1839 resolving to help the refugee Mormons find employment, shelter, and supplies. (Elizabeth Haven, Quincy, IL, to Elizabeth Howe Bullard, Holliston, MA, 24 Feb. 1839, Barlow Family Collection, CHL; “Proceedings in the Town of Quincy,” Quincy [IL] Argus, 16 Mar. 1839, [1]; “The Mormons, or Latter Day Saints,” Quincy Argus, 16 Mar. 1839, [2]; see also Bennett, “Study of the Mormons in Quincy,” 83–105.)  

    Barlow Family Collection, 1816–1969. CHL.

    Quincy Argus. Quincy, IL. 1836–1841.

    Bennett, Richard E. “‘Quincy the Home of Our Adoption’: A Study of the Mormons in Quincy, Illinois, 1838–1840.” In A City of Refuge: Quincy, Illinois, edited by Susan Easton Black and Richard E. Bennett, 83–105. Salt Lake City: Millennial Press, 2000.

  4. 4

    John Cleveland and his wife, Sarah Kingsley Cleveland, lived on a farm approximately four miles east of Quincy. (Woodruff, Journal, 3 May 1839; Oliver Huntington, “History of Oliver Boardman Huntington,” 47.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Huntington, Oliver B. “History of Oliver Boardman Huntington,” 1845–1846. BYU.

  5. 5

    The prisoners’ family members were invited to send letters with Rogers. Mary Fielding Smith was living at the home of a “Father Dixon,” likely Charles Dixon, roughly a half mile from the residence of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. Mary Fielding Smith noted on 11 April 1839 that she had been ill for the past “4 or 5 months,” during which she had been “intirely unable to take care of household affairs.” Despite several attempts, she was unable to communicate with Rogers before he left for Missouri. Other family members had more success in sending letters with Rogers. (Letter from Don Carlos Smith and William Smith, 6 Mar. 1839; Mary Fielding Smith, [Quincy, IL], to Hyrum Smith, 11 Apr. 1839, Mary Fielding Smith, Collection, CHL; see also Letter from Emma Smith, 7 Mar. 1839.)  

    Smith, Mary Fielding. Collection, ca. 1832–1848. CHL. MS 2779.

  6. 6

    The Higbee family owned and operated a seine, a type of fishing net. (Letter from Edward Partridge, 13–15 June 1839; Higbee, Journal and Reminiscences, [12]; “British Channel Fisheries,” Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, Mar. 1834, 125.)  

    Higbee, John S. Journal and Reminiscences, 1845–1849. John S. Higbee, Reminiscences and Diaries, 1845–1866. CHL. MS 1742, fd. 1.

    “British Channel Fisheries.” Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, Mar. 1834, 125–127.

  7. 7

    Partridge likely intended to visit several Latter-day Saint families that had settled in Pike County, Illinois, after migrating from Missouri in early 1839. (See Burgess, Autobiography, 5–6; Silas S. Smith, Autobiographical Sketch, 1; Osborn, Reminiscences and Journal, 14–15; and Berrett, Sacred Places, 3:229–230.)  

    Burgess, Harrison. Autobiography, ca. 1883. Photocopy. CHL. MS 893. Also available as “Sketch of a Well-Spent Life,” in Labors in the Vineyard, Faith-Promoting Series 12 (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1884), 65–74.

    Smith, Silas S. Autobiographical Sketch, ca. 1900. CHL.

    Osborn, David. Reminiscences and Journal, 1860–1893. CHL. MS 1653.

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

  8. 8

    That is, Rigdon.  

  9. 9

    See Letter from Elias Higbee, 16 Apr. 1839.  

  10. 10

    Although it is unknown whom Partridge was referring to, in February 1839 Wandle Mace expressed full support of the purchase. (Quincy Committee, Minutes, ca. 9 Feb. 1839, Far West Committee, Minutes, CHL.)  

    Far West Committee. Minutes, Jan.–Apr. 1839. CHL. MS 2564.

  11. 11

    Whitney was appointed as a bishop in 1831. While en route from Ohio to Missouri in late 1838, Whitney and his family heard of the Saints’ troubles in Missouri and temporarily stopped in Carrollton, Illinois. (Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–A [D&C 72:7–8]; Historical Introduction to Letter to Newel K. Whitney, 24 May 1839.)  

  12. 12

    Knight was called as a bishop in Missouri in June 1838. As of February 1839, he was still in Missouri. (Minutes, 28 June 1838; Vinson Knight, Spencerburg, MO, to William Cooper, Perrysburg, NY, 3 Feb. 1839, Vinson Knight, Letters, CHL.)  

    Knight, Vinson. Letters, 1839 and 1842. Typescript. CHL.

  13. 13

    Morley was appointed as a counselor to Bishop Partridge in 1831. During the winter of 1838–1839, Morley moved his family to Hancock County, Illinois. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Cox, “Brief History of Patriarch Isaac Morley,” 4.)  

    Cox, Cordelia Morley. “A Brief History of Patriarch Isaac Morley and Family Written by Mrs. Cordelia Morley Cox, Especially for Isaac Morley, Jr.,” June 1907. CHL. MS 6105.

  14. 14

    Billings was appointed as a counselor to Bishop Partridge in 1837. Fearing possible arrest for his participation in the skirmish at Crooked River, near Ray County, Missouri, on 25 October 1838, Billings fled Caldwell County before the state militia occupied Far West on 1 November 1838, relocating to Lima, Illinois. (Minute Book 2, 1 Aug. 1837; Lorenzo D. Young, Statement, ca. 1894, CHL; Billings and Shaw, “Titus Billings,” 20.)  

    Young, Lorenzo D. Statement, ca. 1894. CHL.

    Billings, Melvin, and Randy Shaw. Titus Billings. Provo, UT: By the author, 1990.

  15. 15

    The identity of Brother Lee is unknown. The Quincy Whig noted that Rigdon preached at the funeral service of an unnamed Latter-day Saint on 27 February 1839. (Editorial, Quincy [IL] Whig, 2 Mar. 1839, [2].)  

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.