26102

Letter to Hyrum Smith, 3–4 March 1831

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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Geauga County Ohio
March 3th 1831
Brother Hyram Hyrum Smith

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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we arived here safe and are all well I have been ingageed in regulating the Churches

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
here as the deciples are numerous1

Figures vary, but there may have been several hundred converts by this time. (See Porter, Study of the Origins, 114–115; and Backman, Heavens Resound, 51.)  


and the devil had made many attempts to over throw them it has been a Serious job but the Lord is with us and we have overcome and have all things regular2

Regarding the church’s situation at Kirtland, JS recalled in his later history that “some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them.” Matthew S. Clapp, who had been a member of Sidney Rigdon’s Mentor, Ohio, congregation, criticized those who converted to Mormonism, claiming that “a scene of the wildest enthusiasm was exhibited. . . . Sometimes, in these exercises, the young men would rise and play before the people, going through all the Indian manoeuvres of knocking down, scalping, ripping open, and taking out the bowels. . . . At other times they are taken with a fit of jabbering that . . . they call speaking foreign languages by divine inspiration.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 93; [Matthew S. Clapp], “Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 15 Feb. 1831, [1]; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43].)  


the work is brakeing forth on the right hand and on the left3

See Isaiah 54:3.  


and there is a great Call for Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
in this place we have recieved a leter from Olover Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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dated 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 January the 29th 1831 these are the words which he has written saying—
My dearly beloved bretheren after a considerable lengthy journy4

According to Parley P. Pratt, Cowdery and his fellow missionaries traveled fifteen hundred miles from New York to Missouri, the last part of which was on foot in early January, “through trackless wilds of snow.” (Pratt, Autobiography, 54–55.)  


I avail myself of the first opertunity of communicating to you a knowledge of our situation that you may be priviledged of writing to us for we have not heard any thing from you since we left you last fall we arived at this place a few days since5

Peter Whitmer Jr. later reported that the missionaries arrived in Independence on 13 December 1830, more than six weeks before Cowdery wrote this letter, but he was likely mistaken about the date. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1].)  


which is about 25 miles from the Shawney indians on the south Side of the Kansas River

Begins at convergence of Smoky Hill and Republican rivers and ends at confluence with Missouri River near Kansas-Missouri border. Mormon missionaries arrived in area to teach American Indian tribes, by Jan 1831. After 1830, Shawnee Indians dwelt on south ...

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at its mouth & delewares on the north6

In the aftermath of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, “Old Northwest” Indian tribes such as the Delaware and Shawnee were resettled by the United States government in the newly created Indian Territory, in what is now eastern Kansas. (See Prucha, Great Father, 243–248.)  


I have had two interviews with the Chief of the delewares who is a very old & venerable looking man7

The leading Delaware chief at this time was Kikthawenund (also named William Anderson). He was a Delaware leader for more than a decade and had negotiated his people’s removal to the new agency in Indian Territory, arriving with his people there only months before Cowdery’s visit. Parley P. Pratt later reconstructed the missionaries’ interviews with the Delaware, including Cowdery’s explanation of the Book of Mormon to the assembled council. (Weslager, Delaware Indian Westward Migration, 209–219; Weslager, Delaware Indians, 360–371; Pratt, Autobiography, 56–60.)  


after laying before him & eighteen or twenty of the Council of that nation the truth he said that he and they were very glad for what I their Brother had told them and they had recived it in their hearts &c—8

Two months later, Cowdery wrote that the blacksmith who did work for the Delaware reported that “the principle chief says he believes evry word of the Book & there are many more in the Nation who believe and we understand there are many among the Shawnees who also believe.” (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831.)  


But how the matter will go with this tribe to me is uncirtain nether Can I at present Conclude mutch about it the wether is is quite Severe and the snow is Considerable deep which makes it at present quite dificcult traveling about9

The winter of 1831 was marked by extraordinary snowfall. (See Atkinson, “Winter of the Deep Snow,” 48–50.)  


I have but a short time to write to you my beloved Bretheren as the mail leves this place in the morning [p. [1]]
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...

More Info
Geauga County Ohio
March 3th 1831
Brother Hyram [Hyrum Smith]

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...

View Full Bio
we arived here safe and are all well I hav[e]  been ingageed in regulating the Churches

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
here  as the deciples are numerous1

Figures vary, but there may have been several hundred converts by this time. (See Porter, Study of the Origins, 114–115; and Backman, Heavens Resound, 51.)  


and the devil had  made many attempts to over throw them it has  been a Serious job but the Lord is with us and  we have overcome and have all things regular2

Regarding the church’s situation at Kirtland, JS recalled in his later history that “some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them.” Matthew S. Clapp, who had been a member of Sidney Rigdon’s Mentor, Ohio, congregation, criticized those who converted to Mormonism, claiming that “a scene of the wildest enthusiasm was exhibited. . . . Sometimes, in these exercises, the young men would rise and play before the people, going through all the Indian manoeuvres of knocking down, scalping, ripping open, and taking out the bowels. . . . At other times they are taken with a fit of jabbering that . . . they call speaking foreign languages by divine inspiration.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 93; [Matthew S. Clapp], “Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 15 Feb. 1831, [1]; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43].)  


 the work is brakeing forth on the <right> hand and on the  left3

See Isaiah 54:3.  


and there is a great Call for Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
in this  place we hav[e] recieved a leter from Olover [Oliver Cowdery]

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
dated  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...

More Info
Jackson County Missouri Janua ry the 29th 1831 these are the words which he has  written saying—
My dealy dearly beloved bretheren  after a considerable lengthy journy4

According to Parley P. Pratt, Cowdery and his fellow missionaries traveled fifteen hundred miles from New York to Missouri, the last part of which was on foot in early January, “through trackless wilds of snow.” (Pratt, Autobiography, 54–55.)  


I arived avail  myself of the first opertunity of communicating to  you a knowledge of our situation that you may  be priviledged of writing to us for we have not  heard any thing from you since we left you  last fall we arived here at this place a few  days since5

Peter Whitmer Jr. later reported that the missionaries arrived in Independence on 13 December 1830, more than six weeks before Cowdery wrote this letter, but he was likely mistaken about the date. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1].)  


which is about 25 miles from this the  Shawney indians on the south Side of the Kan sas River

Begins at convergence of Smoky Hill and Republican rivers and ends at confluence with Missouri River near Kansas-Missouri border. Mormon missionaries arrived in area to teach American Indian tribes, by Jan 1831. After 1830, Shawnee Indians dwelt on south ...

More Info
at its mouth & delewares on the north6

In the aftermath of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, “Old Northwest” Indian tribes such as the Delaware and Shawnee were resettled by the United States government in the newly created Indian Territory, in what is now eastern Kansas. (See Prucha, Great Father, 243–248.)  


 I have had two interviews with the Chief of that  that the delewares who is <a> very old & venerable  looking man7

The leading Delaware chief at this time was Kikthawenund (also named William Anderson). He was a Delaware leader for more than a decade and had negotiated his people’s removal to the new agency in Indian Territory, arriving with his people there only months before Cowdery’s visit. Parley P. Pratt later reconstructed the missionaries’ interviews with the Delaware, including Cowdery’s explanation of the Book of Mormon to the assembled council. (Weslager, Delaware Indian Westward Migration, 209–219; Weslager, Delaware Indians, 360–371; Pratt, Autobiography, 56–60.)  


after haveing laying before him  & eighteen of or twenty of the Council of that nation  the truth he said that <he he> and they he and thy they  were very glad for what I their Brother had  told them and they had recived it in their  hearts &c—8

Two months later, Cowdery wrote that the blacksmith who did work for the Delaware reported that “the principle chief says he believes evry word of the Book & there are many more in the Nation who believe and we understand there are many among the Shawnees who also believe.” (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831.)  


But how the matter will go with this  tribe to me is uncirtain nether Can I at present  Conclude mutch about it the wether is mtch  is quite Severe and the snow is Considerable  deep which makes it at present quite dific cult traveling about9

The winter of 1831 was marked by extraordinary snowfall. (See Atkinson, “Winter of the Deep Snow,” 48–50.)  


I have but a short time  to write to you my b[e]loved Bretheren as the  mail leves thi[s] place in the morning [p. [1]]
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JS, Letter, Kirtland Township

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...

More Info
, OH, to Hyrum Smith

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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, Harpursville

Also spelled Harpersville. Post village located on banks of Susquehanna River. Population in 1842 about 200. JS wrote letter from Kirtland, Ohio, 3 Mar. 1831, to brother, Hyrum, by way of Harpursville post office.

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, NY, 3–4 Mar. 1831; sent copy; handwriting of JS; three pages; JS Collection, CHL.
Two leaves of different sizes. First leaf measures 12⅞ × 7¾ inches (33 × 20 cm). Second leaf (wrapper) measures 10½–10⅞ × 7⅝–8 inches (27–28 × 19–20 cm). Bears remnant of wax seal used for mailing. Includes address in handwriting of JS and postal markings in handwriting of 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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on wrapper. The original letter passed from Hyrum Smith

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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’s possession to Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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’s shortly after it was written. Following Knight’s death, the letter passed to his second wife, Lydia Goldthwaite Knight

9 June 1812–3 Apr. 1884. Boardinghouse operator, weaver, teacher. Born at Sutton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Jesse G. Goldthwaite and Sally Burt. Married first Calvin Bailey, fall 1828, but deserted by him, 1832. Moved to home of Eleazer Freeman...

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, and remained in her possession until around 1883, when it was given to Susa Young Gates, who retained the document as late as 1905.1

Susa Young Gates, “Unpublished Letter of the Prophet Joseph,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1905, 167; see also Daniel Tyler, St. George, Utah Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, [Salt Lake City, Utah Territory], 3 Mar. 1881, CHL.  


It is unknown when the letter was received in the Historian’s Office.

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