53991682

Letterbook 2

building below, which is nearly 10 feet high, is devoted exclusively to shelves & drawers, except 1 door opening back into the space, on the left of which are the cellar and chamber stairs, and on the Right the counting room; from the space at the top of the chamber stairs, opens a door into the large front room of the Same size with the one below. the walls lined with Counters covered with reserve goods. In front of the stairs opens the door to my private office, or where I keep the sacred writings. with a window to the south overlooking the River

Principal U.S. river running southward from Itasca Lake, Minnesota, to Gulf of Mexico. Covered 3,160-mile course, 1839 (now about 2,350 miles). Drains about 1,100,000 square miles. Steamboat travel on Mississippi very important in 1830s and 1840s for shipping...

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below, & the opposite shore for a great distance, which, together with the passage of boats in the season thereof, constitute a peculiarly interesting situation . in prospect and no less interesting from its retiremet from the bustle & confusion of the Neighborhood & city

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, & altogether is a place the Lord is pleasd to bless.
The painting of the Store

Completed 1841. Opened for business, 5 Jan. 1842. Owned by JS, but managed mostly by others, after 1842. First floor housed JS’s general store and counting room, where tithing was received and recorded. On second floor, one of two small rooms served as JS...

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has been executed by some of our English brethren, and the counters, drawers, & pillars, present a very respectable representation of ash, Mohogany, & marble, for a back woods establishment.
The Lord has blessed our exertions in a wonderful manner, and although some individuals have succeeded in detaining goods to a considerable amount, for the time being, yet we have been enabled to secure goods in the building. sufficient to fill all the shelves as soon as they were completed, & have some in reserve both in loft and cellar. our assortment is tolerably good, very good. considering the different purchases, made by different individuals, at different times, and under circumstances which contractd their choice to some extent, but I rejoice that we have been enabled to do as well as we have, for the hearts of many of the poor brethren and Sisters will be made glad, with those comforts which are now within their reach. The store

Completed 1841. Opened for business, 5 Jan. 1842. Owned by JS, but managed mostly by others, after 1842. First floor housed JS’s general store and counting room, where tithing was received and recorded. On second floor, one of two small rooms served as JS...

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has been filld to overflowing all day. and I have stood behind the counter all day myself deeling out goods as steady [p. 223]
building below, which is nearly 10 feet high, is devoted  exclusively to shelves & drawers, except 1 door opening  back into the space, on the left of which are the cellar  and chamber stairs, and on the Right the counting room;  from the space at the top of the chamber stairs, opens a  door into the large front room of the Same size  with the one below. the walls lined with Counters  covered with reserve goods. In front of the stairs  opens the door to my private office, or where I  keep the sacred writings. with a window to the south  overlooking the River

Principal U.S. river running southward from Itasca Lake, Minnesota, to Gulf of Mexico. Covered 3,160-mile course, 1839 (now about 2,350 miles). Drains about 1,100,000 square miles. Steamboat travel on Mississippi very important in 1830s and 1840s for shipping...

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below, & the opposite shore for  a great distance, which, together with the passage  of boats in the season thereof, constitute a peculiarly  interesting situation in this Season thereof. in prospect  and no less interesting from its retiremet from the bustle  & confusion of the Neighborhood & city

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, & altogether  is a place the Lord is pleasd to bless.
The painting of the Store

Completed 1841. Opened for business, 5 Jan. 1842. Owned by JS, but managed mostly by others, after 1842. First floor housed JS’s general store and counting room, where tithing was received and recorded. On second floor, one of two small rooms served as JS...

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has been executed by  some of our English brethren, and the counters, drawers,  & pillars, p[r]esent a very respe[c]table representation of  ash, Mohogany, & marble, for a back woods  establishment.
The Lord has blessed our exertions in a wonderful  manner, and although some individuals have succeeded  in detaining goods to a considerable amount, for the time  being, yet we have been enabled to secure goods in the  building. sufficient to fill all the shelves as soon as they  were completed, & have some in reserve both in loft and  cellar. our assortment is tolerably good, very good.  considering the differ[en]t purchases, made by diff[er]ent  individuals, at different times, and under circumstances  which contractd their choice to some extent, but I  rejoice that we have been enabled to do as well as  we have, for the hearts of many of the poor brethren and  Sisters will be made glad, with those comforts which are  now within their reach. The store

Completed 1841. Opened for business, 5 Jan. 1842. Owned by JS, but managed mostly by others, after 1842. First floor housed JS’s general store and counting room, where tithing was received and recorded. On second floor, one of two small rooms served as JS...

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has been filld to  overflowing all day. and I have stood behind the  counter all day myself deeling out goods as steady [p. 223]
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On 27 November 1832, while residing at 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 wrote a lengthy letter to William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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at 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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, Missouri. JS’s missive emphasized the importance of record keeping and history writing in the young church. JS began by noting that he wished “to communicate some things which . . . are laying great with weight upon my mind.” He then observed, “Firstly, it is the duty of the lord[’s] clerk whom he has appointed to keep a hystory and a general church reccord of all things that transpire in Zion . . . and also there manner of life and the faith and works.” (Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.)
This emphasis on record keeping was not widespread at the time. Scholar Dean C. Jessee has observed, “So primitive were some aspects of record keeping in nineteenth-century America that much of the early Latter-day Saint experience was a pioneering effort. . . . Although Mormon record keeping was inaugurated by [an] 1830 revelation, details for carrying out that commandment were largely hammered out on the anvil of experience in the years that followed.” (Dean C. Jessee, “The Reliability of Joseph Smith’s History,” Journal of Mormon History 3 [1976]: 27.) During a brief span in the early 1830s, JS and those working under his direction commenced the systematic collecting and recording of critical documents pertaining to church governance and administration. From that time to the end of JS’s life, correspondence-copying, revelation-recording, minute-taking, journal-keeping, and history-writing activities remained imperative commitments.
Items of correspondence were first recorded in what was subsequently designated Letterbook 1. Created from circa November 1832 to circa August 1835, it consisted of ninety-three pages preserving a record of early church-related communications dated 14 June 1829 through 4 August 1835. A second letterbook, featured here, was apparently begun in 1839 and continued to circa summer 1843. It became a repository primarily for letters, but also other items dated from 17 June 1829 through 9 February 1843. Items were copied into that volume, later designated Letterbook 2, by JS-appointed scribes including James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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, Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

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, Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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, Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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, William Clayton

17 July 1814–4 Dec. 1879. Bookkeeper, clerk. Born at Charock Moss, Penwortham, Lancashire, England. Son of Thomas Clayton and Ann Critchley. Married Ruth Moon, 9 Oct. 1836, at Penwortham. Baptized into LDS church by Heber C. Kimball, 21 Oct. 1837, in River...

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, John Fullmer

21 July 1807–8 Oct. 1883. Farmer, newsman, postmaster, teacher, merchant. Born at Huntington, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Fullmer and Susannah Zerfass. Moved to Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee, spring 1832. Married Mary Ann Price, 24 May 1837...

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, and George Walker. Letterbook 2 contains over 150 items of correspondence and other documents, arranged primarily in chronological order. An index created at the time outlines the contents of the 246 pages of letters and other documents. Previously, the volume had been used as a business ledger for the Rigdon, Smith and Company store in Chester

Surveyed 1796 and 1801. Area settled, 1801–1802. Initially called Wooster. Name changed to Chester and officially incorporated as township, 1816. Population in 1830 about 550. Population in 1840 about 960. JS purchased land for store in Chester, 1836–1837...

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, Ohio.
A title page designates the volume as “Copies of Letters, &c. &c. 1839, AD.” The first entry in the letterbook, labeled “Speech of General Clarke, To the Saints at Far West. 6th. Novr 1838,” contains the text of General John B. Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

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’s oration on that occasion. Among its varied contents, the volume includes copies of a letter from JS 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...

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in June 1834; four letters written by Emma to JS from 1837 and 1839; three letters from Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, 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 Elias Higbee

23 Oct. 1795–8 June 1843. Clerk, judge, surveyor. Born at Galloway, Gloucester Co., New Jersey. Son of Isaac Higbee and Sophia Somers. Moved to Clermont Co., Ohio, 1803. Married Sarah Elizabeth Ward, 10 Sept. 1818, in Tate Township, Clermont Co. Lived at ...

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, respectively, written in March and April 1839 to JS and other prisoners confined in the jail in Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, Missouri; two letters sent by JS and Elias Higbee while in Washington DC

Created as district for seat of U.S. federal government by act of Congress, 1790, and named Washington DC, 1791. Named in honor of George Washington. Headquarters of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of U.S. government relocated to Washington ...

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in December 1839 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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and others in Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois; a letter sent from England by Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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in May 1840 to JS in Nauvoo; a poignant exchange of letters between William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, who had been cut off from the church, and JS in summer 1840; and an exchange in June and July 1842 between JS and Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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governor Thomas Carlin

18 July 1789–14 Feb. 1852. Ferry owner, farmer, sheriff, politician. Born in Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of Thomas Carlin and Elizabeth Evans. Baptist. Moved to Missouri, by 1803. Moved to Illinois, by 1812. Served in War of 1812. Married Rebecca Hewitt, 13...

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. The ledger also preserves nine sets of minutes from various meetings, five petitions concerning the Saints’ treatment in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, an 1840 memorial ascribed to JS, and an 1841 inventory of the contents of the Nauvoo House

JS revelation, dated 19 Jan. 1841, instructed Saints to build boarding house for travelers and immigrants. Construction of planned three-story building to be funded by fifty-dollar shares. Cornerstone laid, 2 Oct. 1841, but building never completed beyond...

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cornerstone, among other miscellaneous documents.
The last document copied into Letterbook 2 appears on manuscript pages 244–245, a letter from JS to Richard M. Young

20 Feb. 1798–28 Nov. 1861. Attorney, judge, politician. Born in Fayette Co., Kentucky. Moved to Jonesboro, Union Co., Illinois. Admitted to Illinois bar, 1817, in Jonesboro. Served as state representative from Union Co., 1820–1822. Married Matilda M. James...

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, U.S. senator from Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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, dated 9 February 1843. Though there are a substantial number of blank pages preceding the index beginning on manuscript page 369, it is not known why the copying of documents into Letterbook 2 ceased. However, the following circumstances regarding JS’s clerks may have been factors: James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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died in December 1839, Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

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died in August 1841, and Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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served a mission to Pennsylvania

Area first settled by Swedish immigrants, 1628. William Penn received grant for territory from King Charles II, 1681, and established British settlement, 1682. Philadelphia was center of government for original thirteen U.S. colonies from time of Revolutionary...

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during 1842–1843. Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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and William Clayton

17 July 1814–4 Dec. 1879. Bookkeeper, clerk. Born at Charock Moss, Penwortham, Lancashire, England. Son of Thomas Clayton and Ann Critchley. Married Ruth Moon, 9 Oct. 1836, at Penwortham. Baptized into LDS church by Heber C. Kimball, 21 Oct. 1837, in River...

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began extensive work on Joseph Smith’s history in early 1843 while continuing to perform other clerical and secretarial duties. Documents dated after 9 February 1843 that might have been expected to be copied into the letterbook were, in many instances, recorded in JS’s history. In any event, the record closed with the 9 February 1843 letter, and there is no evidence that a third letterbook was either contemplated or begun.

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