2476697

Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832

This item is reproduced by permission of Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois.
June 6th Greenville

Located thirteen miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in hilly area with poor soil and good timber. First permanent white settlers arrived in area, early 1800s. Population in 1833 about 200. En route from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio, spring 1832, JS and...

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Floid FloydCo 1832
Dear Wife

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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I would inform you that Brother Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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has arrived here and braught the pleasing news that our Familys were well when he left there which Greately Cheared our hearts and revived our Spirits2

After leaving for Missouri, JS instructed Emma Smith by letter to live with Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney, wife of Newel K. Whitney, in Kirtland, Ohio. JS gave this instruction in part because he feared his family was not safe in Hiram, Ohio, because of the violence he experienced there in late March (which JS believed contributed to the death of Joseph Murdock Smith, his adopted son). But Emma was unable to stay with the Whitneys because Elizabeth Whitney’s aunt Sarah Smith (who resided in the Whitney home) insisted that there was no room in the home for Emma. Emma’s situation was unsettled until JS returned; she stayed at the homes of Reynolds and Thirza Stiles Cahoon, Frederick G. and Rebecca Swain Williams, and JS’s parents. A later JS history recounts that when he returned from Missouri, he found Emma “very disconsolate.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; JS History, vol. A-1, 209; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [8]; JS History, vol. A-1, 205–206, 209.)  


we thank our hevenly Father for his Goodness unto us and all of you , Martin

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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arrived on Satterday the Same week he left Chagrin

Located in northeastern Ohio. Bordered on north by Lake Erie. French fur trading post established, 1750. Area settled, 1797. Organized 1815. Originally called Charlton, by 1750; name changed to Chagrin, by 1815. Population in 1826 about 733. Chagrin village...

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haveing a prosperous time3

Harris apparently traversed the more than three hundred miles to Greenville, Indiana, within five days. He may have caught a stagecoach in Chagrin (now Willoughby), Ohio, which was approximately three miles northwest of the Mormon community in Kirtland. From Chagrin, Harris probably traveled southwest to Cleveland and then south again toward Columbus, following the main roads. From Columbus, Harris may have continued south to Cincinnati and then west to Greenville. He evidently arrived on Saturday, 2 June 1832. Since he brought news of the 29 May death of Mary Smith, he must have departed on or after that day. (North America Sheet VIII, Ohio, with parts of Kentucky and Virginia 1844; Map of Ohio, 12 Sept. 1832.)  


we are all in good health Brother Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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s leg is gaining and he thinks he Shall be able to to perform his Journy so as to get home about the 20th my Situation is a very unpleasent one although I will endeaver to be Contented the Lord asisting me I have visited a grove which is Just back of the town almost every day where I can be secluded from the eyes of any mortal and there give vent to all the feelings of my heart in meaditation and praiyr I have Called to mind all the past moments of my life and am left to mourn and Shed tears of sorrow for my folly in Sufering the adversary of my Soul to have so much power over me as he has had in times past5

In a letter to William W. Phelps written several weeks later, JS recounted, “I often times wandered alone in the lonely places seeking consolation of him who is alone able to console me.” These reflections may have prompted JS to compose “A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Ch[r]ist,” which he wrote later in the summer. Part of this history recounts how JS, “from the age of twelve years to fifteen,” became “excedingly distressed” because of his sins, leading him to “cr[y] unto the Lord for mercy.” The history then recounts that the Lord appeared to JS, telling him “Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; JS History, ca. Summer 1832.)  


but God is merciful6

See Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:10].  


[p. [1]]
June 6th Greenville

Located thirteen miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in hilly area with poor soil and good timber. First permanent white settlers arrived in area, early 1800s. Population in 1833 about 200. En route from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio, spring 1832, JS and...

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Floid [Floyd]Co 18321

TEXT: Possibly “182” or “18◊◊”.  


1832
Dear Wife

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
I would inform you that Brother Martin [Harris]

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
 has arrived here and braught the pleasing  news that our Familys were well when he  left there which Greately Cheared our hearts  and revived our Spirits2

After leaving for Missouri, JS instructed Emma Smith by letter to live with Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney, wife of Newel K. Whitney, in Kirtland, Ohio. JS gave this instruction in part because he feared his family was not safe in Hiram, Ohio, because of the violence he experienced there in late March (which JS believed contributed to the death of Joseph Murdock Smith, his adopted son). But Emma was unable to stay with the Whitneys because Elizabeth Whitney’s aunt Sarah Smith (who resided in the Whitney home) insisted that there was no room in the home for Emma. Emma’s situation was unsettled until JS returned; she stayed at the homes of Reynolds and Thirza Stiles Cahoon, Frederick G. and Rebecca Swain Williams, and JS’s parents. A later JS history recounts that when he returned from Missouri, he found Emma “very disconsolate.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; JS History, vol. A-1, 209; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [8]; JS History, vol. A-1, 205–206, 209.)  


we thank our  hevenly Father for his Goodness uto unto  us and <all of you> you, Martin

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
arrived on Satterday  the Same week he left Chagrin

Located in northeastern Ohio. Bordered on north by Lake Erie. French fur trading post established, 1750. Area settled, 1797. Organized 1815. Originally called Charlton, by 1750; name changed to Chagrin, by 1815. Population in 1826 about 733. Chagrin village...

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haveing  a prosperous time3

Harris apparently traversed the more than three hundred miles to Greenville, Indiana, within five days. He may have caught a stagecoach in Chagrin (now Willoughby), Ohio, which was approximately three miles northwest of the Mormon community in Kirtland. From Chagrin, Harris probably traveled southwest to Cleveland and then south again toward Columbus, following the main roads. From Columbus, Harris may have continued south to Cincinnati and then west to Greenville. He evidently arrived on Saturday, 2 June 1832. Since he brought news of the 29 May death of Mary Smith, he must have departed on or after that day. (North America Sheet VIII, Ohio, with parts of Kentucky and Virginia 1844; Map of Ohio, 12 Sept. 1832.)  


we are all in good health  Brother [Newel K.] Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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s leg is gaining and he thinks  he Shall be able to to perform his  Journy so as to get4

TEXT: Possibly “got” or “gat”.  


home <about> as Soon as the  20th my Situation is a very unpleasent one  although I will endeaver to be Contented the  Lord asisting me I have visited a grove  which is Just back of the town almost  every day where I can be secluded from the  eyes of any mortal and there give vent to all  the feelings of my heart in meaditation and  praiyr I have Called to mind all the past  moments of my life and am left to mo[u]rn and  Shed tears of sorrow for my folly in Sufering  the adversary of my Soul to have so much  power over me as he has <had in times past>5

In a letter to William W. Phelps written several weeks later, JS recounted, “I often times wandered alone in the lonely places seeking consolation of him who is alone able to console me.” These reflections may have prompted JS to compose “A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr. an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Ch[r]ist,” which he wrote later in the summer. Part of this history recounts how JS, “from the age of twelve years to fifteen,” became “excedingly distressed” because of his sins, leading him to “cr[y] unto the Lord for mercy.” The history then recounts that the Lord appeared to JS, telling him “Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; JS History, ca. Summer 1832.)  


but God is merciful6

See Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:10].  


[p. [1]]
Next
After spending two weeks transacting church business in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Jackson County, Missouri, JS left for Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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by stagecoach on 6 May 1832 with Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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and Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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. Near New Albany, Indiana, Whitney broke his ankle and leg in an accident with the stage. While Rigdon traveled on to Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, JS stayed with Whitney at “Mr Porter’s public house” in Greenville

Located thirteen miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in hilly area with poor soil and good timber. First permanent white settlers arrived in area, early 1800s. Population in 1833 about 200. En route from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio, spring 1832, JS and...

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, Indiana—about a dozen miles west of New Albany—while Whitney recuperated.1

JS History, vol. A-1, 214. Mr. Porter’s brother was the doctor who took care of Whitney’s leg. Three Porter men (all apparently brothers) were in Greenville at this time: Daniel, James, and Julius. One source states that Daniel was a tavern keeper and postmaster and that James was a doctor. This same source explains that, at some point (no date is given), Julius succeeded his brother as tavern keeper and postmaster. Another source says that Daniel was a physician, not a tavern keeper. According to William Newnham Blaney, who visited Porter’s public house during the winter of 1822–1823, the tavern “was without exception the most clean and comfortable I had ever been in since I crossed the Alleghenies.” (1840 U.S. Census, Greenville, Floyd Co., IN, 299; History of the Ohio Falls Cities, 2:295–296; Wilson, “Pioneer Towns of Martin County,” 296; “Clan C,” 621.)  


JS described the delay in Greenville as “very unpleasent,” and a later JS history indicates that he experienced loneliness and homesickness, as well as physical illness.2

JS History, vol. A-1, 215.  


On 2 June, Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
arrived in Greenville

Located thirteen miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in hilly area with poor soil and good timber. First permanent white settlers arrived in area, early 1800s. Population in 1833 about 200. En route from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio, spring 1832, JS and...

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from Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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—probably after hearing about JS and Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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’s situation from Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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.3

Rigdon arrived in Kirtland on 26 May. (Cahoon, Diary, 26 May 1832.)  


Harris informed JS and Whitney that their immediate families were well; he may have also brought a letter from Whitney’s wife, Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney

26 Dec. 1800–15 Feb. 1882. Born at Derby, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Gibson Smith and Polly Bradley. Moved to Ohio, 1819. Married Newel K. Whitney, 20 Oct. 1822, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Shortly after, joined reformed Baptist (later Disciples...

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, which JS references in his letter. On 6 June 1832, JS penned a letter—likely at Porter’s public house—to his wife Emma

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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. The letter is one of the few surviving pieces of correspondence written entirely in JS’s own handwriting. JS expressed his melancholy and concern for Emma and his daughter, Julia

30 Apr. 1831–12 Sept. 1880. Born in Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. Daughter of John Murdock and Julia Clapp. After death of mother, adopted by JS and Emma Smith at age of nine days. Lived in Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co....

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, and offered condolences for his brother Hyrum

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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and sister-in-law Jerusha

15 Feb. 1805–13 Oct. 1837. Born in Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Seth Barden and Sarah. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., New York, by 1820. Married Hyrum Smith, 2 Nov. 1826, in Manchester, Ontario Co., New York. Moved to Palmyra, Wayne Co...

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, who had just lost their three-year-old daughter.4

JS departed with Whitney a few days after writing the letter, and by the end of the month they were back in Kirtland. In 1842, Rigdon recalled that JS and Whitney reached Kirtland “about 4 weeks after I arrived,” which was 26 May 1832. (JS History, vol. A-1, 215–216; Sidney Rigdon, Statement, ca. 1842, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1856, CHL; Cahoon, Diary, 26 May 1832.)  


After being folded and sealed, the letter was addressed to Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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by Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

View Full Bio
. The folds in the letter and the posting show that it was mailed, probably by JS or Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
, at the post office in Greenville

Located thirteen miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, in hilly area with poor soil and good timber. First permanent white settlers arrived in area, early 1800s. Population in 1833 about 200. En route from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio, spring 1832, JS and...

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.5

Indiana Gazetteer, 79.  


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