Letter to John and Sarah Kingsley Cleveland, 24 May 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Ill, 24th May 1839
Dear & ,
We write you in order to redeem our pledge which we would have done before now, but that we have been in the midst of the bustle of business of various kinds ever since our arrival here, we however beg to assure you And your family that we have not forgotten you, but remember you all, as well as the great kindness and friendship which we have experienced at your hands. We have selected a lot for you just across the street from our own beside ’, And in the orchard according to the desire of And also one on the adapted to s trade. The various business attendant on settling a new place goes on here at present briskly while all around and concerning us goes on quietly and smoothly as far as we have knowledge. It would give us great pleasure to have you all here along with us, which we hope to enjoy in a short time.
I have also remembered Rufus Cleveland to the Surveyor, And am happy to <​be​> able to say that the land in far exceeds my expectations, both as to richness of soil, and beauty of locations more so than any part of which I have seen. We desire to have And his brother come up here as soon as convenient and see our situation, when they can judge for themselves, And we shall be happy to see them And give them all information in our power. and family Arrived here Yesterday, his health rather improves. We all join in wishing our sincere respects to each And every of you, And remain your very sincere friends.
Joseph Smith Jr
&
Ill. [p. 12]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    See JS, Journal, 20–24 May 1839.  

  2. 2

    No maps or other records of the Commerce area mention any orchards in the vicinity. The “orchard” referred to here perhaps consisted of a small garden or a few trees.  

  3. 3

    It is unclear what trade is referred to here. Cleveland worked as a farmer and wagon maker but may also have engaged in other mercantile activities. (See Cleveland and Cleveland, Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families, 1:754; 1850 U.S. Census, Eden, Schuyler Co., IL, 361[B]; and Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois, 579–580.)  

    Cleveland, Edmund Janes and Horace Gillette Cleveland, comps. The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families. 3 vols. Hartford, CT: By the authors, 1899.

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    Gregg, Thomas. History of Hancock County, Illinois, Together with an Outline History of the State, and a Digest of State Laws. Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1880.

  4. 4

    Rufus Cleveland was John Cleveland’s brother. The identity of the surveyor mentioned here is unknown. The letter may be referring to a county surveyor or to Alanson Ripley, who surveyed land in Commerce for the church. (Cleveland and Cleveland, Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families, 1:310, 757; Alanson Ripley, Statements, ca. Jan. 1845, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, 1839–1860, CHL.)  

    Cleveland, Edmund Janes and Horace Gillette Cleveland, comps. The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families. 3 vols. Hartford, CT: By the authors, 1899.

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

  5. 5

    Three days earlier, on 21 May 1839, JS and a small number of other Saints inspected Iowa Territory lands that Isaac Galland was selling. (Woodruff, Journal, 21 May 1839; JS History, vol. C-1, 930–932; see also Lee Co., IA, Land Records, 1836–1961, vol. 1, pp. 507–510, 29 May 1839, microfilm 959,238; and vol. 2, pp. 3–6, 13–16, 26 June 1839, microfilm 959,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

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

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  6. 6

    Although Joseph Smith Sr. appears to have enjoyed better health in May 1839, he was ill on the journey from Far West, Missouri, and remained sick for much of 1839. It is unclear which members of the extended Smith family were living in Commerce by this time. The party traveling with JS’s parents from Far West included Sophronia Smith McCleary, husband William McCleary, and her child from her first marriage, Maria Stoddard; Katharine Smith Salisbury, husband Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury, and children Lucy, Solomon, and Alvin; Don Carlos Smith, wife Agnes Coolbrith Smith, and daughters Agnes and Sophronia; and Lucy Smith. On their arrival in Illinois, this group apparently stayed in Archibald Williams’s home in Quincy. Soon thereafter, the families of Samuel and Don Carlos Smith traveled roughly sixty miles northeast to reside for a time on the property of church member George Miller near Macomb, Illinois. (George Miller, St. James, MI, to “Dear Brother,” 22 June 1855, in Northern Islander [St. James, MI], 9 Aug. 1855, [1]; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 16, [9]–[12], bk. 17, [5]; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 36.)  

    Northern Islander. St. James, MI. 1850–1856.

  7. 7

    Several contemporary sources refer to John Cleveland as a judge. However, according to extant records, he never held that position in Illinois, where he lived the majority of his life. The appellation is perhaps connected to his father, Gardner Cleveland, who may have served as a judge in New York. (See Letter from Emma Smith, 7 Mar. 1839; Dimick Huntington, Statement, ca. 1854–1856, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, 1839–1860, CHL; Oliver Huntington, “History of Oliver Boardman Huntington,” 44–45; and Cleveland and Cleveland, Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families, 1:310, 754.)  

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

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

    Cleveland, Edmund Janes and Horace Gillette Cleveland, comps. The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families. 3 vols. Hartford, CT: By the authors, 1899.