Letter to Edward Hunter, 5 January 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

January 5[th] 1842
Mr .
Beloved Brother,
I wrote you on the 21 ultimo, in reply to yours of the 27[th] of october, but lest by any means the letter should fail to reach you I will recapitulate very briefly some important items therein contained,
The power of Attorney was duly executed by Mrs [Margaret] Smith. & forwareded to the clerks office for seal of state. to be sent. from thence direct to you.
The Goods are accepted and <​will be​> applied according to you[r] request,
I have purchased 90 acres of woodland, a little up the ; have made proposals to . but am yet waiting his answer, from his eastern correspondent.
Steam Engines & mills of any description will do well here, the more of such things you can bring, the better.— for particulars on the foregoing I would refer you to my letter of the 21. ult which I hope you have received ere this—
I am happy that it is my privilige to say to you that the large . which I had commenced when you were here, is now completed, and the doors are opened this day. for the sale of goods for the first time. The foundations of the building is somewhat spacio[u]s, (as you will doubtless recollect,) for a country store, The principal part of [p. [1]] the below, which is nearly 10 feet high is devoted to exclusively to Shelves. <​&​> drawers, Except 1 door opening back into the space, on the left of which is are the cellar & chamber Stairs. & on the Right the Counting Room;— from the space at the top of the chamber stairs, opens a door into the Large front room, of the same size with the one below.— the walls lined with counters. coverd with reserve goods.— in front of the stairs opens the door to my Private Office, or where I keep the sacred writings. with a window to the south. overlooking the below. & the opposite shore for a great distance, <​which​> together with the passage of boats in the season thereof, constitutes a peculiarly interesting situation, in prospect & no less interesting from its retirement from the bustle & confusion of the neighborhood & city. and altogether is a place the Lord is pleased to bless.—
The painting of the has been ex[e]cuted by some of our English bethen [brethren].— & the counters, drawers— & pillars present a very respectble representation of Oak. Mahagony & Marble— for a back woods establishment,—
The Lord has blessed our exertions in a wonderful manner, and although some individuals have succeded in detain[in]g goods. to a considerable amount for the time being, yet we have been enabled to s[e]cure goods in the Sufficient to fill all the shelves. <​& soon as they were completed​> & have some in reserve, both in loft. & cellar. Our assortment, is tolerably good— very good considering the different purchases made by different individuals,— at different times, and under circumstances which controuled their choice to some extent, but, I rejoice [p. [2]] that we have been enabled to do as well as we have, for the hearts of many of the poor brethren & sisters will be made glad, with those comforts which are now within their reach. The has been filled to overflowing all day, & I have stood behind the counter dealing out goods as steady as any clerk you ever Saw to oblige those who were compelled to go without their <​usual​> christmas & New year, dinners. for the want of a little Sugar, Molasses, Rasions &c. &c,— & to please myself also for I love to wait upon the Saints, and be a servant to all hoping that I may be exalted in the due time of the Lord.
It is highly necessary that the be well supplied with merchandise from this time forward, both for the interest of the generally— & the comfort of the brethren individually and as expenses have been incurred already to a great amount in building the , , “ &c &c— a great many of the goods on hand will have to pass away on orders previous contracts, &c. & we shall be obliged to lean upon other resources, <​to a great extent​> rather than the profits of goods, this winter, to supply a new stock in the spring, & for this reason as well as those before stated, & also, for your gratification in learning of our prosperity. I write you this early. to disire you to have the money you are to get on the power of Attorney, of Mrs Smith ready for disposal in , as soon as the rivers shall open, & I sincerely hope & trust that nothing will prevent your getting the money as you expect, so that it may be ready in depositee at , or or so that you can meet <​at ​> or someone who may go for the goods, at a time which may be appointed hereafter.— &c that we may have an [p. [3]] early supply, of a spring selection, as you are aware that the first opening of a new assortment would be much to the advantage of the establishment, and I wish you to give me the earliest information possible, of any thing new, in relation to this, matter, With Sentiments of high consideration I remain your Brother in Christ,
Joseph Smith
pr. , Scribe
<​ Ills. JAN 11​>
West Nantmeal
Chester County
Pensylvania [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    Letter to Edward Hunter, 21 Dec. 1841; Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.  

  2. 2

    In his 27 October 1841 letter, Hunter explained to JS that the first power of attorney he was given “could not be recorded in consequence of not being sanctioned by the Judge or Governor of the state of Illinois.” This second power of attorney was filed on 15 December 1841. (Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841; Margaret Smith to Edward Hunter, Power of Attorney, 15 Dec. 1841, Edward Hunter, Collection, 1816–1884, CHL.)  

    Hunter, Edward. Collection, ca. 1798–1965. Photocopy and typescript. CHL.

  3. 3

    This land was apparently purchased from Chauncey Robison. (Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

  4. 4

    McFall was a member of the Nauvoo City Council and an adjutant general in the Nauvoo Legion. JS sought to purchase forty acres of land from McFall on Hunter’s behalf and was trying to negotiate the sale of the land at a less expensive rate, perhaps leading to McFall’s need to speak with his business partner. (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 23 Oct. 1841, 25; Report of Nauvoo Legion General Court-Martial, 30 Nov. 1841; Letter from Edward Hunter, 27 Oct. 1841.)  

  5. 5

    JS’s general store was located on the southeast corner of Water and Granger streets. Hunter was in Nauvoo on 13 and 14 September 1841. (JS, Journal, 14 Dec. 1841; see also Historical Introduction to Floor Plan for JS’s Store, between Feb. and Dec. 1841; and JS History, vol. C-1 Addenda, 18.)  

  6. 6

    See Floor Plan for JS’s Store, between Feb. and Dec. 1841.  

  7. 7

    The counting room referred to a “room appropriated by merchants, traders, and manufacturers, to the business of keeping their books, accounts, letters, and papers.” (“Counting-room,” in American Dictionary [1841], 406.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language; First Edition in Octavo, Containing the Whole Vocabulary of the Quarto, with Corrections, Improvements and Several Thousand Additional Words. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. 2nd ed. 2 vols. New Haven: By the author, 1841.

  8. 8

    According to Willard Richards, boats were not able to ascend the river from Keokuk, Iowa Territory, until February because of “extremely cold & freezing” weather. In 1843 they did not ascend the river until April. (JS, Journal, 4 Mar. and 12 Apr. 1843.)  

  9. 9

    While the initial goods for the store were detained in New Orleans, thirteen wagons carrying supplies from St. Louis via Warsaw, Illinois, arrived on 22 December 1841. (JS, Journal, 22 Dec. 1841.)  

  10. 10

    JS’s journal states that “the store was filled continually through the day and Joseph was behind the counter continually waiting upon purchasers.” (JS, Journal, 1 and 5 Jan. 1842.)  

  11. 11

    See Mark 9:35; 10:44; and Revelation, 9 May 1831 [D&C 50:26].  

  12. 12

    A January 1841 revelation commanded the Saints to build the temple in Nauvoo as well as the Nauvoo House, a boardinghouse that would also serve as a home for JS and his family. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:23–24, 31, 56].)  

  13. 13

    According to an early American steamboat directory, ice on the Ohio River usually broke up in February, rendering the river “open for navigation.” In March 1838 the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reported that “the navigation of the Ohio River opens always by the 1st of March, and generally by the middle of February.” The Missouri River usually opened for navigation between mid-February and early March. (Lloyd, Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, 50–51; Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, 12; Lass, Navigating the Missouri, 89; see also Roberts, Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River, 48–49.)  

    Lloyd, James T. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters, Containing the History of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive Power. . . . Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd, 1856.

    Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, in Behalf of Their Application to the Legislature of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 1838.

    Lass, William E. Navigating the Missouri: Steamboating on Nature’s Highway, 1819–1835. Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark, 2008.

    Roberts, W. Milnor. Practical Views on the Proposed Improvement of the Ohio River. Philadelphia: Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1857.

  14. 14

    In December 1841 Whitney had considered making the journey to Philadelphia to procure goods for JS’s general store. (Newel K. Whitney to Samuel F. Whitney, 25 Dec. 1841, copy, Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU.)  

    Whitney, Newel K. Papers, 1825–1906. BYU.

  15. 15

    This insertion is written below the word “Philadelphia” on the prior line; the ditto mark presumably refers to that word.  

  16. new scribe logo

    Circular postmark stamped in red ink.  

  17. new scribe logo

    Postage in unidentified handwriting.