Letter to Oliver Granger, 30 August 1841

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Agust 30th 1841
Brother Dear Sir
We was cal[le]d upon a few Days since by a Gentleman from by the Name of Devenport with a Judgement In favor of & of that Place & as I Had no recollection of the Debt I cited him to you beleiving you would understand all a bout it for the Judgement was rendered at
Mr Devenport appeared to be qite a Gentleman & said he would call, on you & If there is any means Possible to Settle it we wish you to do so if the debt is a Just one he will be willing to take any Kind of property in a most any place on the Earth— all things Prosper in this Place Except the Loss we have sustaind in the death of two of our most valuable men Brother & Both have recently Died of what I call a qick Consumption theyr Desease was upon theyr Lungs they wasted a way in one week & Spit up theyr verry vitals— they are gone. theyr Loss is Irreparable but we must be submisive to the will of god & try to Stand in our Lot bothe wow <​now​> & at this End we have not heard from you of Late we would be glad to hear from you often Let us Know how you Prosper in all yours affairs & ours also
I Saw widow <​this morning​> She wished me to say to you She hoped you would remember the widow & fartherless & be shure to deed the House & Lot in to her for it is all She has it is like the widows Mite She is Left qite dest[i]tute we wish you to do so if you have not. we will be responsible for the moneys you have Expended for the Place we have recently received a letter from reqesting Councill I gave him Council when I was there Last March I think that if he had had as mall mutch faith in my Council as he had in [p. [1]] Brother when he came home from he would not have wanted any further information on the Subject the commandments & revelations are before him the Proclamation to the to with the reqest of the & the word of the Lord saying there remained a Stourge Scourge for the People of or for the in hab[i]tants of & C
is qite sick at this time we think he is some better on the mend is qite smart the general health of <​the​> Place <​is​> as good as can be Expectted considering the Long <​spell of​> Dry weather there has been no rain here for three month to wit wet the ground in two Inches the Inglish grain & corn crops are good but the Potatoes are good for nothing the & the Prospers beyond Expectation
My family & Brother Josephs are well at Present there is but a verry few Sick in this Place at this time
this Is an Eventful Period a Day of Darkness & of thick darkness & Mourning & weeping & Lemantation & what Ever the saints find to do Let them do it qickly & above all things Else Let them strive to be Prepard to die—
Please write to us on the receipt of this & Let us Know all the Particulars of all the affairs Brother Joseph sends his Love to you & famaly My Love to all &.C.
yours in the Bonds of the Everlasting Covenant
Joseph Smith [p. [2]]
[page [3] blank] [p. [3]]
<​ Ill. SEP 4​>
Lake Co.
Ohio [p. [4]]


  1. 1

    The judgment was for an attempted collection of assets and was the result of a previous suit brought against JS and Hyrum Smith in Kirtland by Ray Boynton and Harry Hyde. Devenport was apparently acting as agent for a Mr. Mathews of Painesville, Ohio, who was willing to receive land or other assets to cover the amount of the judgment ($953.21). (Transcript of Proceedings, ca. 3 Apr. 1838, Boynton and Hyde v. JS [Geauga Co. C.P. 1838], Final Record Book U, pp. 512–513, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; Reuben McBride, Kirtland, OH, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 3 Jan. 1842, JS Collection, CHL.)  

  2. 2

    Although the debts did not necessarily originate in Chardon, Ohio, the judgments concerning the debts did. Granger resided in Kirtland and likely would have been familiar with judgments in Chardon, which was located immediately east of Kirtland.  

  3. 3

    Don Carlos Smith died on 7 August 1841 and Thompson on 27 August. (“Death of General Don Carlos Smith,” Times and Seasons, 16 Aug. 1841, 2:503; “Death of Col. Robert B. Thompson,” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1841, 2:519.)  

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

  4. 4

    Many Nauvoo residents suffered and died from malaria. However, the description here suggests the two men may have died of pulmonary tuberculosis, a disease that was identified and officially named during the mid-nineteenth century. (Ivie and Heiner, “Deaths in Early Nauvoo,” 163–173; Saleem and Azher, “Next Pandemic,” 21–28.)  

    Ivie, Evan L., and Douglas C. Heiner. “Deaths in Early Nauvoo, 1839–46, and Winter Quarters, 1846–48.” Religious Educator 10, no. 3 (2009): 163–173.

    Saleem, Amer, and Mohammed Azher. “The Next Pandemic—Tuberculosis: The Oldest Disease of Mankind Rising One More Time.” British Journal of Medical Practitioners 6, no. 2 (June 2013): 21–28. Available at BJMP.org.

  5. 5

    The last extant communication from Granger was a pay order written in July. (Pay Order from Oliver Granger for Samuel Clark, 5 July 1841.)  

  6. 6

    JS had corresponded with Granger in May about securing Don Carlos Smith’s lot and home in Kirtland and deeding it to Don Carlos’s wife, Agnes Coolbrith Smith. (Letter to Oliver Granger, 4 May 1841.)  

  7. 7

    In March 1841, Hyrum Smith met with Almon Babbitt and William W. Phelps during his trip to the eastern United States with Isaac Galland. He and Galland had been sent as agents for JS, and they asked Babbitt for help in executing some land transactions.a Hyrum Smith also apparently conversed with Babbitt and Phelps about the future of Nauvoo and of Kirtland, which had long been the central gathering place for church members. Apparently there existed some ambiguity concerning the future of Kirtland. As early as 1838, Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that he had heard JS prophesy of a scourge over Kirtland.b A revelation in January 1841 similarly pronounced “a scourge prepared for the inhabitants” of Kirtland, but only after stating that the Lord would “build up Kirtland.” The same revelation declared, “Let all my saints, [come] from afar” and reinforced Nauvoo’s designation as the central stake and gathering place for church members.c In May the First Presidency published a charge instructing church members to discontinue all stakes outside Hancock County, Illinois, and Lee County, Iowa Territory. Members outside those areas were specifically directed to relocate to Hancock County.d Phelps and Babbitt were unsure whether they should maintain their stake of the church in Kirtland or discontinue the stake and move to Nauvoo. Babbitt expressed his desire to follow the First Presidency but felt he deserved clarification regarding the future of the Kirtland stake. Recalling his meeting with Hyrum Smith, Babbitt wrote in October 1841, “I do not want to be rebelous the Lord Knows my heart . . . but I want somthing tangeable to act upon if you want all the bretheren to leave this place Say it in so many words.”e  

    (aLetter from Isaac Galland, 5 Apr. 1841; Letter from Almon Babbitt, 19 Oct. 1841.bWoodruff, Journal, 8 Mar. 1838

    1 Mar. 1807–2 Sept. 1898. Farmer, miller. Born at Farmington, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of Aphek Woodruff and Beulah Thompson. Moved to Richland, Oswego Co., New York, 1832. Baptized into Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Zera Pulsipher,...

    View Full Bio
    .cRevelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:2, 25, 83].dLetter to the Saints Abroad, 24 May 1841.eLetter from Almon Babbitt, 19 Oct. 1841.)
  8. 8

    Sarah Granger Kimball was a daughter of Oliver and Lydia Dibble Granger and had married Hiram Kimball in 1840. (Sarah Granger Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Sept. 1883, 12:51.)  

    Woman’s Exponent. Salt Lake City. 1872–1914.

  9. 9

    In addition to commanding the Saints to build a temple, a revelation received in January 1841 also directed them to build a “boarding house,” called the Nauvoo House, to accommodate travelers. During the general conference of the church in October 1841, JS announced that there would not be another conference until the Saints could meet in the temple, implying that construction was expected to move quickly enough that the building would be sufficiently advanced to use as a meeting place by the time of the next general conference six months later. On 2 October 1841, the First Presidency laid the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, signaling that construction on that building had begun in earnest. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:23, 56, 60]; Minutes and Discourse, 1–5 Oct. 1841.)  

  10. 10

    See Revelation, 23 July 1837 [D&C 112:24].  

  11. new scribe logo

    Postage in unidentified handwriting.  

  12. new scribe logo

    Postmark stamped in brown ink.