Minutes, 17 August 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

August. 17th 1842 [1840] The met according to adjournment at the office of Joseph Smith jr together with the of the and the High Council of the in
Charge. Unchristian conduct.
Firstly For libelous, slanderous, and infamous reports in the High Council of the Church of Latter Day Saints at , against ’s character; charging said of being guilty of lieing, theft, burglary, and attempt to murder and done in the spirit of malevolence & high toned wickedness.
Secondly, For having told a positive lie.
Thirdly, For affirming to things which he [p. 70] did not know in a Court of Justice thereby perjuring himself in making the following statements, to wit,
1stly. That said ’s garden was on Mr Coleman’s Claim— 2ndly. That he never saw the garden. 3rdly That the damage done by destroying said garden did not amount to five dollars.
4thly That rails delivered were worth from one dollar to one dollar and a quarter and one dollar and a half: and—
5thly That every person in knew that Colemans had not relinquished his claim to the land on which said ’s garden was situated,
Fourthly. For being privy to taking my rails and destroying my garden.
Fifthly. For justifying for so doing & approving of the act or ’ conduct.
Sixthly For embezeling property to prevent the payment of ’ debts.
Seventhly For having made false statements about ’ pill nostrums, saying that they had had the effect in his family last fall and winter set forth by said, to wit: that he never failed of [p. 71] effecting a complete and radical cure; when it is a well known fact that and his family were sick nigh unto death during the fall and winter: thus endeavoring to vindicate the conduct of in palming his deception on community.
Eighthly— For acting an unrighteous and unholy part in the , and because I. opposed his course he sought for evil against me, to slander and defame my character, destroy my influence and drive me from my seat in the Council— that the Council might enter immediately into the law which he publickly declared was the determination of the High Council (of ) and I alone opposed their proceedings and had spoken against the proceedings of the High— Council in public; stating that the council of the was contrary to the proceedings of the High Council (of ) and that Prest was vested with the authority of the First Presidency [p. 72] in the absence of the other to two , which was contended was not so: and I was charged with weakening or deminishing the influence of the (of ) by speaking in publick against the proceedings of that , which was the first charge made against me to drive me from the Council, and was followed by others, such as playing the violin for a negro ball; Suffering my daughter to go to balls; and then followed the slanderous & vile <​charges first mentioned in this​> catalogue of crimes and misdemeanours & when told him it was his duty to take up a labor with me he replied, I was not worthy of his notice, of which I wish to convince him to the contrary.
After the evidences were heard, Presidents , , spoke on the subject— President Joseph Smith jr then spok[e] at some length showing the situation of the contending parties— that there was in reality no cause of difference— that they had better be reconciled without an action [p. 73] or vote of the Councils and hence forth live as brethren and never more mention their former difficulties &c upon which replied that his hand was ready— quickly responded to the same the parties then affectionately gave each other their hands in brotherly fellowship according to the council of J. Smith jr without an action of the
Clerk pro tem. [p. 74]


  1. 1

    It is unclear where Patten’s garden was located. This Mr. Coleman was most likely William Coleman, a voting judge in the Third Precinct in Montrose, who had purchased land in Montrose and the Half-Breed Tract beginning in 1837. Coleman was listed in the 1840 census as living in Township 66 in Lee County, Iowa Territory—the same township where Patten and Fordham lived. (History of Lee County, Iowa, 436; Lee Co., IA, Land Records, 1836–1961, Deeds [South, Keokuk], vol. 1, pp. 129–130, 361–362, 367–368, microfilm 959,238, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; 1840 U.S. Census, Township 66, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 199–200.)  

    The History of Lee County, Iowa, Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, &c., a Biographical Directory of Citizens. . . . Chicago: Western Historical Co., 1879.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

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

  2. 2

    The sickness mentioned here may have been malaria, which Fordham apparently contracted in summer 1839. Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that on 22 July 1839, JS went to Montrose and healed several Saints, including Fordham. Later accounts also depict Fordham as being near death in July before JS healed him. These accounts do not indicate whether Fordham suffered a relapse or from other sicknesses thereafter in 1839. (Woodruff, Journal, 22 July 1839; Kimball, “History,” 110; Mace, Autobiography, 41–42; Historian’s Office, Brigham Young History Drafts, 25–26.)  

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

    Kimball, Heber C. “History of Heber Chase Kimball by His Own Dictation,” ca. 1842–1856. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 2.

    Mace, Wandle. Autobiography, ca. 1890. CHL. MS 1924.

    Historian’s Office. Brigham Young History Drafts, 1856–1858. CHL. CR 100 475, box 1, fd. 5.

  3. 3

    At the April 1840 general conference in Nauvoo, Rogers was accused of and forgiven for “administering medicine, which had a bad effect.” (Minutes and Discourse, 6–8 Apr. 1840.)  

  4. 4

    In December 1839, Lyman Wight—a counselor to John Smith, president of the Iowa stake—advocated that church members in Montrose relieve the distress of the poor by living the law of consecration, a law outlined in an 1831 revelation whereby individuals would consecrate their property to the church and receive an inheritance, or a plot of land, back in return. Bishops would then use surplus property to provide for the poor. After Wight made his statement, the Iowa high council voted to live the law in Montrose. At the time, Hyrum Smith was the only member of the First Presidency in Nauvoo because JS and Sidney Rigdon were in Washington DC. Smith and Oliver Granger objected to this course of action, stating that it was not necessary to live the law because of the general poverty of the Saints, but the Iowa high council refused to rescind its resolution. Finally, in March 1840, JS told the Iowa high council “that it was the will of the Lord” that those in Montrose “should desist from trying to keep” the law and that if they persisted “it would produce a perfect abortion.” (Iowa Stake Record, 6 Dec. 1839, 10; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–36]; Iowa Stake Record, 4 Jan. 1840, 15–16; John Smith, Journal, 1836–1840, 6 and 14–15 Dec. 1839; 3 and 7 Jan. 1840, [48]–[51], [54]–[55]; Minutes and Discourse, 6 Mar. 1840.)  

    Iowa Stake, Record. / Iowa Stake. “Church Record,” 1840–1841. CHL. LR 7817 21.

    Smith, John (1781-1854). Journal, 1833–1841. John Smith, Papers, 1833-1854. CHL. MS 1326, box 1, fd. 1.

  5. 5

    Likely Polly Angerona Patten, who was twenty-two years old at this time. John Patten also had two other daughters: Deborah, who was ten, and Edith, who was eight. (“John Pattens Sen Familey Record,” [1].)  

    “John Pattens Sen Familey Reccord Copeyed from the Orriginal by John Patten Jr,” 16 Feb. 1869. John Patten Sr. and John Patten Jr., Papers, 1827–1900. BYU.

  6. 6

    An October 1839 general conference appointed John Smith to preside over the church in Montrose and William Marks to serve as president of the Nauvoo stake. (Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)