Letter from William Smith, 5 August 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Pennsylvania, Aug. 5. 1841
Brother Joseph I am at present in <​at​> the of the of <​in​> But I expect to leave here for the next week left for last week will arive at your Place Before you Recieve this,— the dept [debt] Requested me to do all I could I have ben trying to do so Brother has Recieved orders on you from to the amount of twenty five Hundred Dollars, the Property that he has given these orders for is well worth the money I Expect to send [page torn] in a fiew days to Recieve this [pr]operty the Property is a tavern Stand attacht to six acres of ground with all the apertainances Some of the People think it worth three thousand Dollars. Now the question is Shall I let have this Property for less than twenty five hundred since that is the price you will have to pay at why I ask this question is I have understood that has said that he would not allow over twenty tow [two] hundred Dols. I got hold of another small piece of land worth five hundred & if will take all at a fare price I shall be anabled to setle the amount of two thousand Dollars soon Pleas write me an answer to the above question— [p. [1]]
write & tell me how you are a getting along & about all the friends. The caus in— these Easter lands is flourishing & we want more labours fifty doors opned for Preaching where theire is But one labour I wish you would send us help— help. help if you here or See anything of Joshuay [Joshua Grant] & tell them to come East amediatly, the Davle [devil] is Raging & the Preasts are a howling & Babalon is a falling with her merchandise to Be◊◊◊ She cant decieve the People with her fals doctrin where Mormonism takes a hold, I wish you to Reserve that lot for me that was talked of last spring & also one neare the the one on the flat across the road from Billries the Tailor I want to sell in order to by me a small farm near that <​will​> neat my family a living while I am traveling to Preach in the wourld, If you will let me have a lot on the hill near the & also the one before mentioned & let me sell one of them I can buy me a small farm in time of need if you cant Reserve two Reserve one the one I spoke to you about if you will let me have two lots you can sell that house & lot of mine in to Pay depts if it will do you eny good, some land in nere my Place will do me more good than Property in , I want you should write me amediatly [p. [2]]
I want to sell one lot to get some money to by me a piece of land that lies Joining my tavern stand in & now is the time to by it before the People rase an the land in that part if you say I may have the Lot write me the Price of the lot when you write so I may know what to ask for it. Plas [Please] tell me what number of lots remain unsold nere the or not far off Send me the number of two or three or more the distance & course from the & price & I will try & sell them for you & get the money for you & Bring to you this I can do from some bretherin that cant leave <​(the East)​> for for two y under two or three years that is if the lots are not to high say from three to four hundred Dollars Each state your lowest Price Send the No of some four or five lots <​state​> the distance from the & the course & &. if <​you​> will do this I can Bring you holm some money this fall, My helth at Present is not good from access of labour I have ben trouble with a Pain in my Bresst for som time & what it will amout to I cant tell give my Respects to & & finaly all
Yours in the Bonds of the Covenent
[p. [3]]
Direct your letter to Monmouth, Co, New Jersey
<​Thornbury Pa​>
<​Aug. 7,​>
Mr. Joseph Smith
Hancock, Co.
From [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    The branch of the church in Chester County was reportedly prospering and consisted of 150 members in 1841. (Philadelphia Branch Record Book, 6 Apr. 1841; see also “Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 1 Nov. 1840, 2:106.)  

    Philadelphia Branch, Record Book, 1840–1854. CCLA.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  2. 2

    Galland had told Hotchkiss to deal with William Smith regarding the Ivins property. As JS’s agent, Galland had authorized the purchase of the Ivins property for $2,500 value in Nauvoo land. A note from the Ivins brothers was eventually given to Hotchkiss as payment on the William White purchase, which was a separate debt from the larger Hotchkiss purchase. (Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 24 July 1841.)  

  3. 3

    TEXT: Based on the size of the hole in the document, as well as the inscription surrounding the hole, one word appears to be missing.  

  4. 4

    According to the repayment schedule established during the initial purchase of Illinois land in August 1839, Hotchkiss and his partners were due annual payments of $3,000 as interest. The principal was to be paid in two installments of $25,000 each, due in twenty years. (Report of Agents, ca. 30 Jan. 1841; Bond from Horace Hotchkiss, 12 Aug. 1839–A.)  

  5. 5

    William Smith was either misstating the interest payment, which was $3,000, or he was referring to the settlement of the William White purchase, a separate debt to Hotchkiss. The debt on the White purchase was $2,500, and a note from the Ivins brothers for $2,500 was eventually given to Hotchkiss to settle the White purchase. In February 1842, the final transfer of the New Egypt property for $3,200 fulfilled “two certain Notes”—one to Hotchkiss and the other to Smith Tuttle and John Gillet for the interest payment on the Hotchkiss purchase. (Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 24 July 1841; Promissory Note to Horace Hotchkiss, 23 Oct. 1840; Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 11 Oct. 1841; Horace Hotchkiss et al., Receipt, Fair Haven, CT, to James Ivins, 28 Feb. 1842, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  6. 6

    Jedediah M. Grant served a mission in primarily Virginia and North Carolina in 1838. After spending time in Far West, Missouri, with his family and then moving to Illinois during the winter of 1839–1840, he returned to North Carolina in June 1840. There he met his brother Joshua, and they traveled and preached “very extensively” in the area. William Smith married Caroline Amanda Grant, sister of Jedediah and Joshua Grant, in 1833 and was likely close with the family. (Jedediah M. Grant, Mount Airy, NC, 15 Dec. 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, 15 Mar. 1841, 2:347–348; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 32.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  7. 7

    See Isaiah 21:9; and Revelation 14:8.  

  8. 8

    According to a later account, a lot near the temple was given to William Smith in 1844, but when he tried to sell it to a “Mr. Ivins” that same year, JS had the transfer nullified. (“History of William Smith,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 26 May 1858, 57–58.)  

    Deseret News. Salt Lake City. 1850–.

  9. 9

    Before departing for his mission to the eastern United States, William Smith resided in Plymouth, Illinois, where he ran a tavern stand. William and his wife, Caroline, had two children: Caroline, born 1836, and Mary Jane, born 1835. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 16, [8]; JS, Journal, 15–17 June 1839; “History of Wm. Smith,” 2, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 36.)  

    Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.

  10. 10

    William Smith’s Kirtland property was located just east of the town square. (“Portion of Kirtland Township, Ohio, 12 January 1838.”.)  

  11. new scribe logo

    Postal notation in unidentified handwriting.  

  12. new scribe logo

    Postage in unidentified handwriting.