53991682

Letterbook 2

John Whitmer and William W. Phelps to JS and Oliver Cowdery • 29 July 1833

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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July 29th 1833
Dear Brethren
With respect I address a few lines to you in this time of confusion among us, although the enemy has accomplished his design in demolishing the Printing establishment they cannot demolist the design of our God, for his decrees will stand & his purposes must be accomplished notwithstanding the great rage of Satan, which we can behold in his followers, for it is visible to the natural eye, but enough on this subject, for you will be able to tell more than I can write.
Marvellous to tell in the midst of all the rage of all the rage of persecution God is pouring out his Spirit upon his people so that most all on last thursday at the school received the gift of tongues & spake & prophesied; The next day David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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called his branch

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

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together and most of them received the gift many old things are coming to light that had it not been for this gift would have remained in the dark & brought the wrath of God, upon the inhabitants of Zion. There are but very few that have denied the faith in consequence of this transaction, but my daily prayer is that the Lord will cleanse Zion of all the remaining wickedness that is on this Holy Land, for is their cup not already full. I greatly fear for some of they who call themselves disciples; but they are in the hands of a merciful God & he will do them no injustice. The Mail brings intelligence from Lexington which says that there have been two deaths of the Asiatic Cholera & are ten or fifteen cases.
We suppose that there was one or two cases last week in this Neighborhood but none in town. Our daily cry to God is deliver thy people from the hand of our enemies send thy destroying angels, O God in the behalf of thy people that Zion may be built up according to the plan of our Lord through his servants to us, received this mail.
According to your request we give you the copy of the article of our enemies and also the bond or Covenant

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

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which we have signed.
“We the undersigned citizens of Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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believing that an important crisis is at hand as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled, and are still settling in our County, styling themselves Mormons and intending as we do to rid our society “peacably if we can, forcibly if we must,” and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee or at least a sufficient one against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient & of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, a purpose which we [p. 52]

John Whitmer and William W. Phelps to JS and Oliver Cowdery • 29 July 1833

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
July 29th 1833
Dear Brethren
With respect I address a few lines to you in this time  of confusion among us, although the enemy has accomplished his design of  in demolishing the Printing establishment they cannot demolist the design  of our God, for his decrees will stand & his purposes must be accomplished  notwithstanding the great rage of Satan, which we can behold in his followers,  for it is visible to the natural eye, but enough on this subject, for you will be  able to tell more than I can write.
Marvellous to tell in the midst of all the rage  of all the rage of persecution God is pouring out his Spirit upon his people so  that most all on last thursday at the school received the gift of tongues & spake  & prophesied; The next day David [Whitmer]

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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called his branch

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

View Glossary
together and most of them  received the gift of tongues many old things are coming to light that had it not  been for this gift would have remained in the dark & brought the wrath of God, upon  the inhabitants of Zion. There are but very few that have denied the faith  in consequence of this transaction, but my daily prayer is that the Lord will  cleanse Zion of all the remaining wickedness that is on this Holy Land, for is  their cup not already full. I greatly fear for some of they who call themselves  disciples; but they are in the hands of a merciful God & he will do them no injus tice. The Mail brings intelligence from Lexington which says that  there have been two deaths of the Asiatic Cholera & are ten or fifteen cases.
We suppose that there was one or two cases last week in this Neighborhood  but none in town. Our daily cry to God is deliver thy people from the hand  of our enemies send thy destroying angels, O God in the behalf of thy people  that Zion may be built up according to the plan of our Lord through his servants  to us, received this mail.
According to your request we give you the copy of the article of our enemies and also  the bond or Covenant

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

View Glossary
which we have signed.
“We the undersigned  citizens of Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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believing that an important crisis is at hand as  regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people  that have settled, and are still settling in our County, styling themselves Mormons  and intending as we do to rid our society “peacably if we can, forcibly if  we must,” and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford  us a guarantee or at least a sufficient one against the evils which are now  inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem  it expedient & of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company  for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, a purpose which we [p. 52]
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Letterbook 2, [1839–ca. summer 1843]; handwriting of 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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, 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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, 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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, 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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, 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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, and George Walker; 271 pages, including twenty-six pages of an index; JS Collection, CHL.
This letterbook was inscribed in a large-size, commercially produced ledger book measuring 14¼ × 9½ × 1¾ inches (36 × 24 × 4 cm) with leather-covered boards. It contains 238 leaves. The leaves, which measure 13½ × 8⅞ inches (34 × 23 cm), are vertically ruled with eight single red lines and three interspersed double red lines and horizontally ruled with thirty-nine blue lines and one double red line at the top or bottom of the page depending on how the ledger book was turned. The book was originally used as a financial ledger book for 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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, Smith, and Co., beginning in September 1836; eighty-three pages of financial entries were inscribed. In April 1839, the book was inverted, and what would have been the back of the book for the financial firm became the front of a letterbook. A title is inscribed on the blank leaf before the letterbook that reads “Copies of Letters, &c. &c. 1839 AD.” Following the title page, there are 245 pages of inscribed letters. There is a mix of contemporaneous letters, earlier letters, church records, and church business records. The first fifty-one pages of Letterbook 2 contain letters on the 1838 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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difficulties, and many of them appear to be copies of letters that JS or others received while in jail in Liberty, Missouri, in winter 1838–1839. These pages also feature copies of letters sent to and from church leaders in Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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and Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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, Illinois, in spring and early summer 1839; JS’s journal provides evidence that he was “employed dictating letters and attending to the various business of the Church” during this time, indicating that this volume was an active letterbook, with letters being contemporaneously copied into it. On page 52, following a 27 June 1839 letter and a 12 November 1837 letter, the copies of much earlier letters began to be inscribed; these letters include a letter originally written on 29 July 1833 by John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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with a postscript by 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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to 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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and JS, which is followed by 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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dated 4 June 1834 and a 17 June 1829 letter from Jesse Smith 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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. Copying these documents may have coincided with the writing of JS’s history or with the writing of the history of the difficulties in Missouri per JS’s instructions in March 1839. The active recording of contemporaneous letters continued after these few earlier letters until February 1843.

Facts