Minutes, 8 March 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

March 8th 1840. The of of the of Illinois met at ’s.
1st <​Ran​> Alexander informed the Council that he wished to be exhonerated from the office of Clerk for this Council in consequence of the weakness of his eyes.
2nd On motion it was voted that he be exhonerated as he requested.
3 On motion of , was appointed Clerk pro. tempore of the High Council in the place of resi[gne]d
4th A charge was prefered against by Joseph Smith jr, for unchristianlike conduct which was refered to , and , who were to labor within him and report the same to the council.
5 A letter to , from of Missouri, containing proposals concerning a mortgague on certain lands, held by , in Missouri, was presented to the council by Joseph Smith jr for their advice whereupon it was voted that he ( should not accept of said proposals. [p. 49]
6th Voted that be appointed to negotiate a loan of one thousand dollars, to be paid to on certain lands.—
7th Voted that the purchase the horses, waggon, and harness belonging to — and that the horses are purchased for the use of the Ferry Boat and that the waggon and harness be for the use of Joseph Smith jr— and that be assisted to pay a debt of $25. to if he cannot other wise pay it himself and that $30. be canselled which he owes to President Joseph Smith jr Adjourned. Clerk pro tem.
Recorded on the 7th of February 1842 by Clerk [p. [50]]


  1. 1

    Granger purchased property in lots 1 and 2 of block 13 and lots 2 and 3 of block 14 in Commerce sometime in 1840. He and his wife, Lydia Dibble Granger, deeded this land to JS on 25 April 1840. Granger’s residence may have been on this land. (Hancock Co., IL, Deed Book Records, 1817–1917, vol. H, pp. 409–410, 25 Apr. 1840, microfilm 954,598, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  2. 2

    Alexander, who was baptized in August 1836 in Tennessee, had been appointed as clerk of the high council sometime before this meeting. It is unknown exactly when he received this assignment because the minutes of the meeting in which he was appointed were lost. (Woodruff, Journal, 23 July 1836, 20 Aug. 1836; Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 30.)  

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

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.

  3. 3

    Just two days before, JS told the high council in Montrose that “no person ought to be brought to account before the constituted authorities of the Church for any offence whatever” until Congress made a decision on the Saints’ petition for redress. Despite this instruction, JS may have brought forward the charge against Rogers because Rogers’s case had been pending since October 1839, when a general conference of the church referred it to the high council. (Minutes and Discourse, 6 Mar. 1840; Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

  4. 4

    As members of the church presidency in Missouri, Whitmer and William W. Phelps—without consulting the Missouri bishopric or the Missouri high council—had purchased the town plot for Far West using funds donated by church members “for the benefit of Poor bleeding zion.” After being called before the high council, Phelps and Whitmer agreed to transfer the Far West town plot to Partridge in April 1837. However, both Phelps and Whitmer had pledged to pay $1,000 each toward the construction of a temple at Far West, and they planned to use the proceeds of the sale of lots in Far West to fulfill that commitment. With the land now transferred to Partridge, proceeds from sales would not go to Phelps and Whitmer personally, meaning that they would not have the $2,000 necessary to cover the already pledged temple donation. Recognizing this, the high council in Missouri resolved in April 1837 to consider Phelps and Whitmer “exempt from paying” the temple subscription. Nevertheless, the two got Partridge to agree to pay the $2,000 they had pledged for the temple and made the agreement enforceable through a mortgage. Phelps and Whitmer insisted Partridge make this payment for them, and the problems over the $2,000 pledge contributed to their excommunication from the church in 1838. In April 1838, the high council in Missouri instructed Partridge not to pay the mortgage. Phelps assigned his portion of the mortgage to Whitmer in August 1838. (Letter to Wilford Woodruff, ca. 18 June 1838, underlining in original; Minute Book 2, 5–7 Apr. 1837 and 10 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 21 Apr. 1838; see also [John Whitmer], Far West, MO, to Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1840, copy, John Whitmer Family Papers, 1837–1912, CHL.)  

    John Whitmer Family Papers, 1837–1912. CHL.

  5. 5

    Partridge communicated this decision to Whitmer, after which Whitmer informed Partridge that he would sue him for the mortgage. ([John Whitmer], Far West, MO, to Edward Partridge, 20 Mar. 1840, copy, John Whitmer Family Papers, 1837–1912, CHL.)  

    John Whitmer Family Papers, 1837–1912. CHL.

  6. 6

    TEXT: Double underlined.  

  7. 7

    Horses were used on horse ferries, or team boats, which began operating in the United States in the 1810s. Albert Koch, a German paleontologist traveling in the United States in the mid-1840s, described a horse ferry on the Ohio River: the ferry was “set into motion by two horses, of which one on either side in a little house turned a wheel which was connected to a waterwheel. A single man managed the whole thing.” (Greene, Horses at Work, 69–70; Koch, Journey through a Part of the United States of North America in the Years 1844 to 1846, 114.)  

    Greene, Ann Norton. Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

    Koch, Albert C. Journey through a Part of the United States of North America in the Years 1844 to 1846. Translated by Ernst A. Stadler. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972.

  8. 8

    TEXT: Double underlined.  

  9. 9

    TEXT: Double underlined.  

  10. 10

    Harris apparently had owed money that he could not pay to a Brother Annis and a Brother Fuller. In January 1840, Annis and Fuller brought a charge against Harris before the high council, but the charge was dropped when the high council ordered the money repaid and directed Harris to repay JS. The thirty dollars Harris owed JS may have been to repay JS for covering this earlier debt. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 12 Jan. 1840, 43.)  

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.