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OLD  NAUVOO



AN UNUSUAL COLLECTION of eight documents, a newspaper and an artifact relating to the earliest citizens and development of Commerce and Nauvoo, Illinois, 1833-49.

 

 

 

COLLECTION  SUMMARY

Extensive background and details appear further below. Click on the summary heading dates to skip directly to individual descriptions.

 

ISAAC GALLAND.  TWO AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENTS SIGNED, 1833-4, from perhaps the single most significant developer, agent, and friend of the early Latter-day Saints as they acquired land to build Nauvoo. To Galland's friend Mark Aldrich, future Carthage conspirator in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Signed mysteriously as "I. Garland."

ALEXANDER WHITE.  DOCUMENT SIGNED, 1836. One of the first occupants of pre-Mormon Commerce sells what would become a central portion of Nauvoo to the Connecticut-based Hotchkiss group whom Joseph Smith and his emigrant Saints would struggle to pay for years to come.

[Joseph SMITH MANUSCRIPT DOCUMENT with secretarial signature, 1841. At a time when the Prophet boasts that he gives free land to widows, "Joseph Smith" agents accept $500 from the widow of a faithful Mormon for her lots in Nauvoo and the Zarahemla settlement.

Davison HIB[B]ARD.  DOCUMENT SIGNED, 1840. Another of the most prominent early settlers of pre-Mormon Commerce leases a field to two Missouri exiles on liberal terms. Includes the two Mormons' own rare signatures as well.

JOHN C[ook]. BENNETT.  AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENT SIGNED as Mayor of Nauvoo, 1841. Money appropriated for the Church's stone school house is in dispute, and the matter is so sensitive that Bennett takes time to copy the lengthy court transcript in his own hand. Amos Davis has provided promised materials . . . or has he not?

[AMOS DAVIS]  ADVERTISEMENTS in the NAUVOO PATRIOT for September 12, 1849. Only half the newspaper, but so rare! The Saints and their money have gone West, and Orrin Porter Rockwell has stolen his wife. But business must continue.

[DAVISON HIBARD ]  TWO PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT RECEIPTS to Hibard from the State of Illinois, 1848. Mr. Hibard's son has been beaten nearly to death by Hosea Stout, and his daughter has run off with "Port" Rockwell. But Hibard will stay: just look at all the Nauvoo real estate he needs to unload!

[Hiram KIMBALL - Artifact]  WOODEN PEG AND BLOCK PIECE from the store or barn of Hiram Kimball. Commerce, Illinois, 1830s? Perhaps the oldest man-made fragment of Nauvoo one can hope to own? With provenance.

Documents above also include a few words in the handwriting of two of the five defendants who were tried for the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

THE COLLECTION:   $8,500 **SOLD**

 

 

 

WHEN THE MORMON EXILES left Missouri in early 1839, many of them found temporary refuge in Quincy, Illinois, and surrounding communities. Governor Thomas Carlin and Senator Richard M. Young encouraged these emigrants, as did Iowa Governor Robert Lucas. "A committee of the brethren was appointed while at Quincy," explains Joseph Fielding Smith, "to seek out lands for a permanent settlement." The ultimate selection of what would become Nauvoo began with a chance encounter . . .

Elder Israel Barlow, in his flight from Missouri, made his way to the northeast near the mouth of the Des Moines River. He was destitute and was kindly received by Dr. Isaac Galland, who owned tracts of land both in Iowa and Illinois. Mr. Galland resided at a place called Commerce, in Hancock County, Illinois, about fifty miles up the Mississippi River from Quincy. . . . Dr. Galland advised the authorities of the Church to locate in Iowa where there was an abundance of room and among friendly people. He expressed his deep indignation at the treatment the saints had received. The doctor stated that the members of the Church were more likely to receive protection from mobs in this new territory, where they would be under the jurisdiction of the United States. . . . However, when the prophet arrived in Quincy in April, he purchased from Hugh White a farm of one hundred and thirty-five acres, for the sum of five thousand dollars; also another from Dr. Isaac Galland lying west of the White purchase, for nine thousand dollars. This property, which was located in the vicinity of Commerce, was secured by long time notes. To these farms the destitute saints commenced to gather . . .

May 10, 1839, President Joseph Smith moved to the White purchase and made his residence in a small log house on the bank of the river, one mile south of Commerce. When the purchase was made of the White and Galland properties, Commerce consisted of one stone house, three frame and two block houses. There were four homes, three of which were long [sic] cabins, farther south on the river, and it was in one of these that the Prophet moved. This property was a wilderness, covered with trees and bushes, and much of it, in the low lands near the river, was so wet that travel by teams was impossible. It was an unhealthful place and the Prophet felt that by draining the land, and by the blessing of the Lord, a settlement could be built there that would be a pleasant habitation. By the inspiration of the Lord he decided there to build a city. The name of the place was changed from Commerce to Nauvoo, the meaning being of Hebrew extraction, meaning "beautiful situation, or place, carrying with it, also, the idea of rest." . . .

Other lands were also purchased and more land adjoining the Galland and White purchases was obtained. Some of this was purchased from Davidson Hibbard, Daniel H. Wells, Hiram Kimball, Horace Hotchkiss and others, which parts were incorporated into the City of Nauvoo. On the Iowa side of the river other settlements were undertaken, one named Zarahemla, one at Montrose and one at Nashville opposite Nauvoo.

In the poverty of the saints all of these lands which were purchased had to be obtained on long time notes, and with but one of these did trouble arise, that was the Hotchkiss purchase. The amount involved in this purchase was for upwards of five hundred acres of land and the sum was fifty-three thousand five hundred dollars, half to be paid in ten years, and the remainder in twenty years. Two notes were given to cover this transaction signed by the Prophet and his counselors, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith. These difficulties were later adjusted to the satisfaction of all. [Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, A Course of Study for the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums. Fourth Series, for the Year 1950. (Salt Lake City): Published by The Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (c. 1949), pp. 12-13.]


As one examines the delightful remnants preserved in the collection now at hand, details from the story above become immediate and tangible. In his new book,
Nauvoo, A Place of Peace, A People of Promise (SLC & Provo, Utah: Deseret Book and BYU Press, 2002), Dr. Glen Leonard supplies further particulars which will bring the following pieces to life. A few additional details are taken without specific credit from the excellent "Biographical Register" section of The Papers of Joseph Smith, Volume 2, Journal, 1832-1842, Edited by Dean C. Jessee (SLC, 1992). Sources cited in this description more than once appear in red in the first complete bibliographic listing, with the key word for subseqent abbreviated citations in bold.

 

 




Isaac GALLAND.  TWO AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENTS SIGNED, "I. Garland," to Mark Aldrich (in Ft. Edwards, later Warsaw, Illinois. Aldrich would be tried for the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1845). Montebello [Hancock County], Illinois, May 25 and July 16, 1833.

Exceptional content and association, providing clear evidence that Isaac Galland sometimes went by another name during the 1830s.

MEDICAL BILL, 18 X 19 cm.  One page; Galland's filing docket written on the verso: "M. Aldrich a/c $27.75." In very good condition.

 

 

This larger of the two documents is dated at the top, "May 25th 1833—," made out to "Mark Aldrich Esqr" and totaled to $27.75. It is itemized with eleven separate charges for medicines and "medical attendance" (dated June 1 - October 3) upon Mrs. Aldrich, "Mrs. Wilkinson, I. Shook" and "Mr. Wills"; several entries which do not name specific patients were presumably for Mark Aldrich himself. ("Mrs. Wilkinson," above, was possibly Aldrich's mother-in-law; Mrs. [Margaret Wilkinson] Aldrich's father, Dr. Joseph Wilkinson, had died in 1818, according to Thomas Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois . . . [Chicago, 1880], p. 654).

The doctor wrote his name at the top of the bill as "I. Garland." He later added the following note at the bottom of the page:

"Rec[eive]d payment in full of all accounts by Note
this 28th day of    March 1834             I. Garland"

 

 

::TOGETHER  WITH::

 


ERRAND BEARER'S NOTE, 6½ X 19 cm.  One slip of paper; docketed on verso in another hand. In very good condition.

Directed on the verso in Galland's hand to "Mr. Aldrich, Fort Edwards." The entire note on the front reads as follows:

Mr. Aldrich

D[ea]r sir, I have sent the bearer for corn, what there is left belonging to me you will please let him have
July 16th 1833-

yours respectfully
I. Garland

Mark Aldrich evidently retained this note for his financial records, and docketed it on the verso: "I. Garland, Order." Again, we see the unexpected spelling, confirmed by a second party.

the handwriting of one of the five men tried in 1845
for the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith

 

There are thus two identical "I. Garland" signatures on the medical bill, matched by a third example on the "corn" note (which Aldrich dockets as coming from "I. Garland"). Yet, this was certainly Dr. Isaac Galland of later Nauvoo fame. The handwriting - particularly Galland's unusual capital "G" - is quite distinctive and similar to known examples of later Galland documents and letters. That there could have been both a Dr. I. Garland AND a Dr. I Galland with the same handwriting in sparsely-settled 1830s Hancock County, Illinois, seems all but inconceivable. "In 1833," according to resident Hancock journalist/historian Thomas Gregg, "Dr. Isaac Galland was said to be the only practicing physician in the county, and probably was the first." (Gregg, p. 522).

The medical invoice above, once paid, would have been relinquished to Aldrich in 1834 as receipt for payment in full. That document and the "corn" note which Galland sent to Aldrich in 1833 have recently come from an archive of Aldrich's papers which still remain in private hands.

 

Mark ALDRICH (1801-74) was born in New York State, married Margaret Wilkinson from Maryland in 1829, and moved to St. Louis. The couple relocated that same year to Keokuk, Iowa, where Aldrich managed the local station of the American Fur Company. In 1832, he moved to Fort Edwards, Illinois, where his wife had preceded him in 1831. Dallin Oaks and Marvin Hill provide additional background:

. . . Mark Aldrich . . . was a land speculator and town promoter, one of the four original developers of Warsaw, whose 1834 plat bears his name. Born in New York, Aldrich came in 1832 to Fort Edwards at the site of what would become Warsaw, and a year later erected the second house built outside the fort. He was the first postmaster of Warsaw, serving from 1834 to 1838. In 1836 and again in 1838 he represented Hancock County in the state legislature, being elected as a Whig. In 1836 he was again involved in a land speculation, becoming co-owner of a quarter-section of land that was added to the Warsaw plat.

Aldrich's land development schemes . . . brought him into direct confrontation with Joseph Smith, with consequences that explain much of his animosity toward Smith and the Mormons. [Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy; The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana and Chicago, 1975), p. 53]

At the May 1845 trial of the accused conspirators in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, there was testimony that Aldrich had helped to arouse and organize volunteers to attack the jail where the Smiths were shot. The defendants were all acquitted, their attorney Orville H. Browning arguing to the jury that the gallows would be "a beacon around which to rally a more terrible armed force than you or I have ever seen. . . . the commencement of a more bloody and terrible war than you or I would want to see." (Carthage Conspiracy, p. 182)

Aldrich went to the gold fields in 1850, then on to Arizona where he became the first American mayor of Tucson, held various offices and served three terms in the territorial legislature. He died there in 1874, his wife still living in her own house back in Illinois!

 

 

Isaac GALLAND (1791-1858) was a dozen years older than Aldrich. The two men may have met initially when Aldrich arrived at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1829, to take charge of the American Fur Company's local station where Galland's Indian friends traded. Mutual land speculation interests would have encouraged further contact. The 1833 documents now seen here demonstrate a close and continuing relationship between the two men.

Galland was a colorful character, and no less peripatetic than the younger Aldrich. To obtain some understanding of his complicated life, we can begin most conveniently with an excellent summary by Mormon bibliographer Peter Crawley . . .

In Mormondom, Isaac Galland is usually remembered—probably unjustly—as the promoter who sold the Latter-day Saints land to which he did not hold title. Born in Pennsylvania in 1791, Galland grew up on the Ohio frontier, and at age thirteen studied theology at William and Mary College. About 1810 he and some companions traveled to the southwest in search of gold and ended up spending a year in a Santa Fe jail charged with plotting against the Mexican government. By 1816 he and a second wife had settled in Indiana, where he studied and practiced enough medicine to earn the title "Doctor," which he carried the rest of his life. After 1820 he moved to Illinois, where he reputedly associated with a gang of horse thieves and counterfeiters. In 1829 he and his third wife crossed the Mississippi to what is now Lee county, Iowa, erected a trading post, and built the first school in Iowa. Five years later he began trafficking in land in Hancock County, Illinois, and in the Half-Breed Tract, a 100,000-acre parcel in the southeast corner of Iowa which Congress reserved for half-breed Sac and Fox Indians. As part of this promotion, he published Galland's Iowa Emigrant: Containing a Map, and General Descriptions of Iowa Territory (Chillicothe, 1840). [Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume One 1830-1847 (Provo, Utah, c. 1997), pp. 168-9, describing Galland's defense of the Mormons in a rare 1841 pamphlet]

It is interesting to note that an original edition of Galland's 1840 Iowa guide recently brought nearly $15,000 at auction (The Frank T. Siebert Library of the North American Indian and the American Frontier . . . Sotheby's Sale 7356 [NY, Oct. 28, 1999], item 837). Galland's niece described his wide and varied pursuits, claiming even that he had once ridden the circuit as a Campbellite preacher. She remembered him as quite a linguist in French, Hebrew, and the Sac and Fox dialects. Galland evidently provided free medical care to local Native Americans, with whom he traded and for whom he translated in their dealings with French trappers (Virginia Wilcox Ivins, Yesterdays. Reminiscences of Long Ago . . . [Keokuk, Iowa, 1908], pp. 5-7). Other sources present Galland as a Methodist preacher, an Indiana lawyer, and ultimately a faithful Spiritualist by the end of his life. He wrote or edited several publications, including The Western Adventurer which he conducted at Montrose, Iowa, 1836-8, and, after the Mormon period, the Iowa Advocate and Half-Breed Journal in the same town, 1847 (preface to a reprint of Galland's 1840 Iowa Emigrant, in Annals of Iowa XII:7, Third Series [January 1921]), p. 482.

 

 

WHAT NO HISTORIAN APPEARS TO HAVE DISCUSSED, however, is the intriguing 1830s double identity of Isaac Garland/Galland which is revealed in the two documents now at hand.

The prominent early arrival of "Dr. Isaac Garland" in another Illinois County was recalled without apparent suspicion a century after the fact by historian Lucius H. Zeuch . . .

The First Physician Arrives. Dr. Isaac Garland erected in 1827 the first house on the site of the lower Yellow Banks [now Oquawka] in Henderson County. Afterward the doctor related that it took him nearly a week to lay up the logs of his house, eight rounds high. There were no white men procurable to help him save his teamster, and in the emergency he hired six or eight Indians who were encamped at a point of the woods below. He had to pay them for each log as it rolled into place, also giving a round of drinks each time, repeating the process until the house was completed. [History of Medical Practice in Illinois, Vol. I (Chicago, 1927), pp. 492-3 (emphasis added)]

Zeuch elsewhere supplies an anecdote about Isaac Galland's editorial career in post-Mormon Nauvoo, but seems not to be troubled by the change in name, p. 143. Mr./Dr. Garland/Galland lived a diverse life, not all of it principled, if we can credit some accounts. What was it that kept him moving from place to place, indeed from wife to wife during the frontier years? Governor Ford left some hard words on the subject in his well-known history of Illinois:

I had a good opportunity to know the early settlers of Hancock county. I had attended the circuit courts there as States-attorney, from 1830, when the county was first organized, up to the year 1834; and to my certain knowledge the early settlers, with some honorable exceptions, were, in popular language, hard cases. In the year 1834, one Dr. Galland was a candidate for the legislature, in a district composed of Hancock, Adams, and Pike counties. He resided in the county of Hancock, and as he had in the early part of his life been a notorious horse-thief and counterfeiter, belonging to the Massac gang, and was then no pretender to integrity, it was useless to deny the charge. In all his speeches he freely admitted the fact, but came near receiving a majority of votes in his own county of Hancock. I mention this to show the character of the people for integrity. [Thomas Ford, A History of Illinois . . . (Chicago, 1854), p. 406]

 

Robert Bruce Flanders characterizes Galland as "a man of many complex interests in real estate" whose credentials as a physician may have been questionable: "his real professions seem to have been frontier adventurer, promoter, and confidence man." (Nauvoo, Kingdom on the Mississippi [Urbana and Chicago, 1965], p. 27. Flanders provides a highly detailed account of Galland's land dealings in conjunction with the Mormons). Recalling the earliest legal proceedings in Hancock County (as early as October 1829), Thomas Gregg revealed an undated adventure of our old friend in yet another Illinois county, and in no flattering context:

The first criminal cause on docket is: "The People of the State of Illinois vs. Isaac Galland, Indictment for Perjury, from Schuyler county," which was continued and subsequently dismissed. [Gregg, p. 240 (emphasis added)]

 

 

WHETHER TO ELUDE LEGAL DIFFICULTIES, or for reasons which may forever elude us, our subject presented himself to different people by different names. Clearly, Mark Aldrich knew him in Warsaw as Isaac "Garland." The incoming Mormons would soon meet him as Isaac Galland. There is at least one additional remnant of the old name, however, and it is a bit of a missing link. It occurs on a manuscript IOU written by my own ancestor, Vinson Knight (early Mormon Presiding Bishop and land agent). On May 31, 1839, Knight and "Isaac Galland" borrowed $600 from Samuel P. Hoyt, a prosperous young man in the region who must have known Galland for some time (since Hoyt trusted the men with the money, but was not a Mormon until 1843). It is signed in the familiar handwriting of the other documents examined - as "Isaac Galland."

Like any lender, Hoyt retained this IOU until it might be paid off. On the back, Hoyt docketed it for filing among his records, evidently writing Galland's name as he knew it locally, as follows:

I. Garland
& V. Knight's
      
Note

A photocopy of this 1839 IOU (the original of which is preserved among my family papers) will be provided with the present collection for its relevance to the phenomenon of Galland's variant name.

 

 

When Isaac GARLAND-NOW-GALLAND expanded his loyalties from Mark Aldrich to Joseph Smith and joined the Church, the Lord Himself recognized him by the latter name. Designated in revelation - along with Joseph & Hyrum Smith and Vinson Knight - as one of the first four investors in the intended Nauvoo House, the man, his new reputation and his best name received divine approbation, as we read in the Doctrine and Covenants:

Let my servant Isaac Galland put stock into that house; for I, the Lord, love him for the work he hath done, and will forgive all his sins; therefore, let him be remembered for an interest in that house from generation to generation.

Let my servant Isaac Galland be appointed among you, and be ordained by my servant William Marks, and be blessed of him, to go with my servant Hyrum to accomplish the work that my servant Joseph shall point out to them, and they shall be greatly blessed. [D&C 124:78-9 (Nauvoo, January 19, 1841)]

 

THE MYSTERIOUS MR. WILLS

As we see from the medical bill preserved here, the doctor whom the Lord loved and forgave appears to have preserved the health of TWO men who would later conspire to kill Joseph and Hyrum Smith. We have already seen Dr. Garland/Galland's attendance on Aldrich and his family, above. But there is more! Who was the "Mr. Wills" to whom the good doctor sent "medicines" on that June 1 as itemized on his bill to Aldrich?

 

Besides Aldrich and his four co-defendants at the 1845 trial, there had been four others indicted who were never apprehended, the first of whom was one John Wills. Dallin Oaks and Marvin Hill make this man quite interesting, if mysterious. All nine defendants were charged equally because of conspiracy to commit murder . . .

The second count charged that the gun that discharged "the leaden bullet" that struck Joseph Smith a mortal wound "on the right breast," from which "he instantly died," was "then and there had and held" in the hands of all nine of the defendants. The first count only refers to the gun being in the hands of defendant John Wills, but then uses the same language as the other count in charging all nine defendants with causing the bullet to be shot out of the gun and thus being guilty of the murder.
. . . . .

Very little is known about four of the men who were indicted. Allen, Wills, Voras, and Gallaher were never arrested and never appeared for trial. . . . Wills, Voras, and Gallaher were probably named in the indictment because their wounds, which testimony showed were received at the jail, were irrefutable evidence that they had participated in the mob. They undoubtedly recognized their vulnerability and fled the county. A contemporary witness reported these three as saying that they were the first men at the jail, that one of them shot through the door killing Hyrum, that Joseph wounded all three with his pistol, and that Gallaher shot Joseph as he ran to the window. [Carthage Conspiracy, p. 52]


We learn more about Mr. Wills from no less a figure than John Hay
(Lincoln's private secretary, later Secretary of State under McKinley and Roosevelt; responsible for the Open Door policy in China). Hay lived in Aldrich's town of Warsaw at the time of the trial. He was only seven years old then, but his father, Dr. Charles Hay, "was the surgeon of Colonel Levi Williams's regiment of militia." (Carthage Conspiracy, p. 138, n.29). Col. Williams, of course, was a co-defendant with Aldrich for the murders of the Smiths. B. H. Roberts quoted Hay at length in his Comprehensive History of the Church, and I cannot improve upon a portion of Roberts' comments and selections, which follow . . .

I am following Mr. Hay's December No., 1869, Atlantic Monthly account . . . because "Dr. Hay," "surgeon of the regiment," and spoken of as among the "cooler heads" of the Warsaw forces, and who denounced the proposed march to Carthage, and "went at once back to Warsaw," was the father of the late secretary of state, . . . author of the article in question, and hence, doubtless, he received his information from his father who was on the ground and a reliable source of information upon the movement of the Warsaw division of the governor's troops, at least up to the time of his leaving them. [CHC 2:280, n.15]

Although he came from the "anti" side of the conflict, John Hay did not doubt that the defendants in the 1845 trial were guilty of the murders of the Smiths. His specific mention of our ominous Mr. Wills occurs in a context favorable to the Mormon Prophet. "Joe Smith," Hay reported, "died bravely. He stood by the jam of the door and fired four shots, bringing his man down every time. He shot an Irishman named Wills, who was in the affair from his congenital love of a brawl, in the arm; . . ." (CHC 2:285, n.19).

John Taylor wrote that he would "never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum . . ." Presuming himself a dead man as well, the Prophet was distracted but a moment . . .

. . . and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter . . . from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died. I had in my hands a large, strong hickory stick . . . which I had seized as soon a I saw the mob approach; and while Brother Joseph was firing the pistol, I stood close behind him. As soon as he had discharged it he stepped back, and I immediately took his place next to the door . . . The firing of Brother Joseph made our assailants pause for a moment; very soon after, however, they pushed the door some distance open, and protruded and discharged their guns into the room . . .

. . . a terrible scene: streams of fire as thick as my arm passed by me as these men fired, and . . . it looked like certain death. . . .

Every moment the crowd at the door became more dense, as they were unquestionably pressed on by those in the rear ascending the stairs, until the whole entrance at the door was literally crowded with muskets and rifles, which, with the swearing, shouting, and demoniacal expressions of those outside the door and on the stairs, and the firing of the guns, mingled with their horrid oaths and execrations, . . . [HC 7:102-4]

Wills, Voras and Gallaher reportedly boasted "that they were the first men at the jail, that one of them shot through the door killing Hyrum, that Joseph wounded all three with his pistol, and that Gallaher shot Joseph as he ran to the window." (Carthage Conspiracy, p. 52, citing an 1844 statement of Jeremiah Willey in the LDS Church Archives, p. 61, n.26). At the trial, William M. Daniels, a Mormon, testified that he had seen three wounded men shortly afterward . . .

Daniels was acquainted with one of them, a man named Wills, whose "arm was shot all to pieces." This man said in Daniels's presence that "Jo Smith shot him, that he was the first [attacker] shot through the door." A man named Voras had blood on his shoulder but appeared to be only slightly wounded. A third man was wounded in the face. When the call came to go around to the window, the man who was wounded in the shoulder ran around to that side of the jail. There, Daniels said, "I saw him shoot Smith," holding the gun in both hands. Daniels said he had not seen any of the wounded men since that day at the jail." [Carthage Conspiracy, pp. 131-2]

"The mosaic of conspiracy was assembled in sufficient clarity" at the trial, according to Oaks and Hill,

to include Aldrich, Grover, Sharp and Williams in the picture. The mob that killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith had been traced from the militia's bivouac outside Warsaw, north to where they were dismissed at the railroad shanties, east across the prairie to Carthage, and then back to Warsaw, where they took their midnight supper at the Warsaw House. Williams, Aldrich, and Grover commanded various units in this militia. Numerous witnesses agreed that these three and Sharp were present when the disbanding order was read, and that about a hundred of the disbanded militiamen were then persuaded to go to Carthage, rather than to return to their homes in and around Warsaw. Peyton and Walker testified that Aldrich and Williams called for volunteers to go to Carthage. [Carthage Conspiracy, p. 155]

Witness E. W. Gould, a Warsaw merchant, had been a boarder at the Warsaw House (Fleming's tavern) on the momentous day . . .

. . . Gould testified that when Sharp dismounted after his arrival in Warsaw, someone asked him the news; he replied, "Jo and Hyrum Smith are no more." Gould also admitted that he saw two wagonloads of men arrive at the Warsaw House that evening, including a man named Wills who was wounded in the arm or wrist. Between forty and sixty took supper at Fleming's that night.

The final defense witness was thirty-two-year-old Ann Fleming, wife of the proprietor of Fleming's Warsaw House. . . . the reluctant lady was called to the stand.

. . . She remembered that a number of men came there after dark and took supper, but Captain Grover was not among them. She said she didn't hear the men say anything "about what they had been doing at Carthage that day or about the killing of the Smiths." She couldn't recall seeing Sharp or Grover that evening. There was a wounded man sitting by the kitchen fire that night, but Grover had not come and asked permission for him to sit there." [Carthage Conspiracy, pl. 170, citing minutes of the trial]

 


I
T IS REASONABLE TO WONDER if our "Mr. Wills," to whom Isaac Garland sent the medicine in 1833, was the very John Wills who was later indicted for conspiring with Aldrich and others to kill the Smiths, considering several factors:

1) "Wills," an unusual surname in the tiny 1833 town (Ft. Edwards, later Warsaw) whose 1844 militia apparently included the assassin of the same surname;

2) "Mr. Wills" being financially dependent upon Aldrich in 1833, compared to the character of the 1844 assassin of the same last name who displayed a "congenital love of a brawl";

3) The evident support of the assassin Wills by prominent Warsaw citizens immediately following the murders.


Further research may never confirm the certainty of such a correlation, but it is sufficiently enticing and realistic to invite our consideration. From the manuscript secured here, it is already certain that the future Isaac Galland helped a future "Carthage conspirator," Mark Aldrich, and his family during the early days of Hancock County. It may be that Doctor "Garland" unwittingly sustained the health of one of the Smiths' direct murderers as well.

Taken from another perspective, such an association would be a picaresque new addition to the details of Mormon history. So far as I have been able to determine, historians have not shown an early association between defendant Mark Aldrich and the escaped defendant John Wills. Such a tie would further implicate Aldrich, who, far from suffering for his possible involvement in the murders of the Smiths, enjoyed a long and successful life in Hancock County and in the West.

 

Isaac Galland - like other players in the events which spring to life in this collection - survived the Mormon period and sought ways to live without the money of the Saints. After his business break from the Mormons, he maintained a cordial relationship with them but lived in Keokuk, Iowa, 1842-53. The next three years were spent in Petaluma, California, from whence a nostalgic letter to Mrs. Aldrich shows Galland and his wife longing to return and see the Aldrichs reunited "at their own dear home, (where I have injoyed many pleasant hours in by gone days,) when we can face to face, recount the struggles, toils, and sorrows of our exile in this distant land of strangers & of strife . . ." (Isaac Galland to Mrs. Margaret Aldrich, Petaluma, California, November 18, 1855; original letter in private hands). Galland returned to Fort Madison, Iowa, in 1856, where he died in September of 1858, never to see Mark and Margaret Aldrich together again.

 

 

 




ALEXANDER WHITE
.
 DOCUMENT SIGNED, a manuscript bond to Horace R. HOTCHKISS and John GILLETT to the amount of $10,000 to guarantee execution of sufficient deed for property in and adjacent to Commerce, Illinois, for which Hotchkiss and Gillett have agreed to pay White $5,500 over time, plus $950 on demand. Hancock County, Illinois, 16 June 1836.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


25
X 20 cm.  2 pp. on one leaf. **TOGETHER WITH** A separate, matching leaf with recording notes plus statement SIGNED by Justice of the Peace Ch[arle]s ROBISON attesting to the signature of Alexander White, "personally known to me as the individual discribed in and who executed the foregoing bond . . ." In very good condition.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The property, eighty acres, is described in detail (beginning with a land-section plat summary) ". . . upon which a part of the town of Commerce is located with the exception of the following Lots as laid down on the plat of said town . . ." Glen Leonard explains that settlers arrived in this area in the 1820s and soon began to petition Illinois legislators to create a county. "Among these petitioners," interestingly enough,

was Captain James White. He had moved to the peninsula to tend to a flourishing keelboating business he had started while homesteading in the Half Breed Tract near Montrose, Iowa. With him came an extended family: his two sons, Alexander and Hugh, a son-in-law, Isaac Campbell, and their wives and children. The men unloaded the deep-river steamers, moved the cargo through the rapids, and loaded cargoes onto the smaller steamers navigating the upper Mississippi. . . . In 1824, according to family tradition, White paid the Indians two hundred sacks of corn to secure title to his quarter section. Five years later, he built a handsome limestone dwelling using local stone and lumber. The two-and-a-half-story structure soon became a center for the social and political life of the emerging village. [p.48]

 

The early bond document preserved here secured a portion of this White Family land to new owners, and transferred important parts of the White Family business as well:

. . . and also the ferry previlege held by the said White under and by virtue of a license obtained by said White from the Hon. the County Commissioners Court of Hancock County Illinois together with one ferry flat owned by said White . . .

 

As it turns out, the buyers of this property would become even more interesting to Church history than the seller. Joseph Fielding Smith, above, hints at the difficulties which the Church experienced in attempting to pay for this and similar portions acquired by these men. Leonard summarizes some of these complicated transactions:

The original land purchases by the Latter-day Saints were negotiated with Isaac Galland and with an Eastern land syndicate. Galland was a developer of Keokuk, Iowa, and agent for thousands of acres in Iowa's Half Breed Tract. At Commerce, where he lived and served as postmaster, he owned the 47.17 acres of James White's tract, including the stone house, as well as the Alexander White home and adjacent lots.

A second speculative town had been created in April 1837 north and west of Commerce. It was carved out of a five-hundred-acre parcel purchased over the previous two years by absentee landlords Horace R. Hotchkiss, John Gillet, and Smith Tuttle. . . . Hotchkiss and his associates promoted Commerce City with advertising handbills promising public parks and gardens, a town hall, hotel, and commercial warehouses . . . [p. 53; emphasis added]

But this was only a city on paper. The financial panic of 1837 (which destroyed the Mormon Bank in Ohio) slowed efforts to promote Commerce, Illinois. A modern map of the Hotchkiss lands (Leonard, p. 56) shows the north-central portion of future Nauvoo, extending north to the river, which would provide housing and business for thousands of eventual Latter-day Saints in the area. The Eastern landowners were more than eager to offer attractive terms.

In mid-August [1839] . . . church leaders made a large purchase from the Hotchkiss partnership with no down payment and nothing due on the principal for five years. In this acquisition, the church committed to pay $50,000 plus interest and fees for upwards of 500 acres on the Commerce peninsula. Located north of the first Mormon acquisitions, the parcel included the speculators' Commerce City and part of Commerce, both towns including valuable riverfront property where steamboat captains stopped to buy supplies and firewood from Amos Davis. The agreement, with interest and fees, payable in installments over twenty years, obligated the buyers for $114,500. [Leonard, p. 58]

So far as could be arranged, Isaac Galland assisted incoming Mormons to trade their land in Missouri (from which they had been driven, but for which they still held title) - or in the East - for these Hotchkiss lots. This was a slow process, of course, and by 1841, $6,000 in interest was owed. By mid-summer, it became apparent that Galland had not paid whatever had been understood he would remit to Hotchkiss & Co. Galland may even have diverted church funds to his own use.


H
OTCHKISS WROTE to "Rev. Joseph Smith" from Fair Haven, Connecticut, on July 24, 1841, asking if Smith felt that such treatment was "a proper return for the confidence we have bestowed, and for the indulgence we have extended?" Joseph Smith's reply was a masterpiece of genteel conciliation (August 25, 1841, History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 406-7). Smith reserved judgment on Galland until the latter should return to Nauvoo. Galland gave only "polite postponements," according to Leonard, and "the church leader revoked Galland's agency. In February 1842, the two men finally conferred in Nauvoo and apparently reached an understanding. An undated note among Smith's papers records an $8,778 debt owed to the church by Galland. The two remained friends." (p. 166).

 

 

[JOSEPH SMITH] MANUSCRIPT DOCUMENT signed "Joseph Smith" in receipt for $500 received from a widow for real estate. City of Nauvoo, April 29, 1841.

15½ X 19½ cm. One half-page. Filing docket on verso signed by D. Greenleaf. Moderate wear; weak center fold strengthened nearly invisibly on verso with archival tissue.

A SECRETARIAL SIGNATURE; not written by Joseph Smith himself. The receipt reads in its entirety as follows:

City of Nauvoo April 29. 1841

$500" -

Received of Widow Hilman Five hundred dollars, for which I agree to give her a bond for a deed for the Lot on which she now resides in Nauvoo, and also for Two Lots in Zarahemla, Iowa Territory

Joseph Smith


The bond which Smith promises to give to the lady would have been something similar to the one seen above (from Alexander White to the Hotchkiss group). As a resident struggled to make payments on his or her land over a period of years, such a bond would provide comfort and assurance that even if the deed might be contested at some point, there would still be security in hand.

The buyer in this instance may have been Sarah King HILLMAN, widow of Mayhew Hillman (1793-1839) who died during the first, unhealthy autumn in Commerce; see his numerous entries in Church historical sources. Sarah (born August 24, 1797) would have been forty-three years old at this time. She had at least two sons reaching early adulthood, Silas (born 1820, built a house in Nauvoo) and Ira (born 1827), as well as two younger daughters, Mandana and Sariah. They were members of the Nauvoo First Ward, later moving to western Iowa for a time.


Two aspects of this receipt are interesting and significant. It was issued over the name of Joseph Smith, but not personally signed or written by him. There are reasons for this . . .

In 1841, the Prophet had delegated to the Twelve the business of settling the Saints in the new gathering place. Now, he asked them to handle the land exchanges. This was one solution to the overdue payments owed Horace R. Hotchkiss and his partners for the land in northern Nauvoo. In a general epistle to the Saints living away from Nauvoo, the Twelve urged contributions towards the debt directly or by swapping land. Ignoring the interest that had accrued, they acknowledged as the church's obligation a debt of $53,500.

Even with this delegation of duty, Joseph Smith, as the church's chief financial officer, was not far removed from the land business. From time to time, he offered explanations to justify church activities. In one such public comment in 1843, he said that when immigrants bought from private landowners, they denied church leaders needed resources. Yes, Smith admitted, he was speculating on church land—selling at a profit—but the process supported church purposes. Widows received building lots at no cost. Income from sales helped meet loan payments on the tracts. [Leonard, pp. 166-7]

Joseph's precise words on the subject, as originally recorded by Willard Richards, were as follows:

suppose I sell you land for $10 per acre & I gave 3.4.5.pr acre. then you are speculating says one. yes, I will tell you how. I buy others lands & give them to the widow & the fatherless.— [address to new emigrants, at the temple, Thursday, 13 April 1843, in Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith . . . (Provo, Utah, 1980), p. 192, also cited by Leonard, above]

 

The recieipt now at hand, displaying Sarah Hillman's five hundred dollars received in Joseph's name, suggests that at least some widows and their fatherless children might be excepted from the general charity.

 

 

DAVISON HIBARD.   DOCUMENT SIGNED, a lease agreement for eight acres of tillable ground to Jeremiah MACKLEY and Stephen CHASE for a period of two years. Also Signed by Mackley and Chase. Hancock County, Illinois, 26 November 1840.

30½ X 19½ cm. One page, verso blank but for faint pencil notes and figuring. Prominent damp or faded ink stain at lower left, moderate discolorations elsewhere.

A sharecropping arrangement. Mackley and Chase are to . . .

cultivate the said premisis in a complete and agricultral manner and fence the same on the North and west with a good and sufficient fence and deliver to the party of the first part in good order & in proper season one tenth part of all the produce raised on the said premises the first year and one eighth part the second year ending 1842

Hibard retains the option to sell his property out from under the renters "by paying a resonable compensation for the labour done."

 

"When I made the purchase of White and Galland," Joseph Smith recalled,

there were one stone house, three frame houses, and two block houses, which constituted the whole city of Commerce. Between Commerce and Mr. Davidson Hibbard's, there was one stone house and three log houses, including the one that I live in, and these were all the houses in this vicinity, and the place was literally a wilderness. The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty a footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams. [HC 3:375]

We may well imagine that Stephen Chase and Jeremiah Mackley had a tall job ahead of them on the late fall day of 1840 when they signed the piece of paper now seen here! They were used to hardship by now. CHASE (1799-1847) had served as a missionary in Missouri in 1834, then served in the Iowa Stake High Council before moving to the Nauvoo Fourth Ward. MACKLEY had also preached in Missouri, evidently, and may have met Chase there. On February 12, 1839, we see Mackley's family applying to the Church for assistance (HC 3:261). "Those who did not own farmland," notes Leonard,

often hired out as laborers during the labor-intensive seasons of plowing, planting, and harvest. Newly arrived young immigrants or part-time craftsmen were among those most anxious for work to help support their families. . . .

Latter-day Saints purchased or rented farms and farmland on both sides of the Mississippi . . . Land closer to Nauvoo sold at a premium of as much as twenty times the amount a similar parcel might bring farther away.
. . . . .
Fencing for protection from livestock was a necessary imposition on farmers. Livestock ran free, so crops were protected with fences built with scarce prairie timber or from plentiful sod. Many of the farm fences were the common worm fence, built by stacking rails in a zig-zag pattern. A man could enclose thirty acres this way with a week's hard work. The ditch and sod fence took more labor but cost less for materials. Some even surrounded fields with rough picket slab fences. [pp. 133, 135 ]

The sudden arrival of throngs of new citizens was a windfall to the old settlers of Commerce. How convenient to put these eight acres to use, have them fenced for free, and to receive produce to boot! And all of this while retaining the option to sell the land to any buyer, at will. Such advantages were not to be taken lightly, and it would hardly hurt to accept baptism into the unusual new faith. Davison HIBARD (1786-1852; spelled in various ways, but written thus by himself and his acquaintances in several documents in this collection) was soon a regent of the hopeful University of the City of Nauvoo (Leonard, p. 110) and sooner still a thoroughgoing participant in the financial projects of the burgeoning community, as we shall see below . . .

 

 

JOHN C[ook]. BENNETT.  AUTOGRAPH DOCUMENT SIGNED as Mayor.  Nauvoo, Illinois, December 4, 1841.

At head: "Transcript from the Mayor's Docket, City of Nauvoo, Ill."

At the end: "A true copy. John C. Bennett, Mayor. Nauvoo, Ill. Dec. 4th. AD. 1841."


31 X 19 cm. 1¼ pages on one leaf, plus filing docket (in Bennett's hand) and subsequent note in another hand and ink, as follows:

Filed December 6th 1841
                J C Davis Clerk

This may well be Jacob Cunningham DAVIS, future Illinois State senator and one of the five defendants tried in 1845 for the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. According to Dallin Oaks and Marvin Hill, Jacob Cunningham Davis "had been appointed circuit court clerk by Judge Stephen A. Douglas in 1842 . . .". A comparison with the defendant's signature illustrated by Oaks & Hill neither compels nor excludes the possibility that the filing note on this Bennett document may be by the same man (Carthage Conspiracy, pp. 55, 97). A long-time collector of early LDS and anti-Mormon signatures, however, advises me that this appears to be the very man.


A few minor stains, but in very good, pleasing condition. Bennett's signature is traversed by a horizontal fold, but that fold is very strong and clean, with no damage or distortion to the signature.





John Cook BENNETT (1804-67; Assistant President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mayor of Nauvoo, Major General of the Nauvoo Legion; medical doctor, accused adulterer, abortionist and "Saintly Scoundrel,") would shortly write The History of the Saints; Or, An Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism (Boston, 1842). One of the most influential anti-Mormon books ever published, Bennett's book would contain damaging accusations which included Mormon prostitution and polygamy (spiritual wifery) and murder by the Danite band. Bennett's shocking "revelations" may have helped directly to fuel the fires of mobocracy which, within two years, would culminate in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The effects of his writing would damage the Church for generations.

The engraved portrait above, with facsimile signature of Bennett, appeared in his History described above. It is not included in this collection.



THIS DOCUMENT arose from a dispute over money "for building the stone school-house for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Nauvoo, Ill. . . ." Since this was a copied extract from the Nauvoo mayor's court, one might have expected it to be written by a court clerk. The subject, however, was possibly a delicate one, and the amount of money significant. Had Church funds been mismanaged? For whatever reason, this entire contemporary court copy is in John C. Bennett's distinctive hand. Penned in attractive blue ink, this paper offers an extraordinary amount of holograph writing by the most famous "villain" apostate of the Nauvoo period.

 

ON MONDAY, October 28, 1839, "The High Council voted . . . that Samuel Dent, Davison Hibbard [discussed above], and David Dort [1793-1841] be trustees for building the stone schoolhouse in contemplation; and that Alpheus Cutler [1784-1864, stonemason & builder] and Jabez Durphy [1791-1867, carpenter on Nauvoo Temple] be the architects and building committee for said house." (HC 4:18 [emphasis added]).

Contemplation, indeed, may be as far as the project ever went, at least in constructing a school. I find no record of completion as such. Even at the height of Nauvoo's prosperity, children of leading citizens would still attend school in private homes and various buildings commandeered for the purpose (Leonard, p. 196). If by chance this stone school building may have been diverted to some other use, such a snag would not have been the first disappointment in the project.

In the document here, we see that, like so many other endeavors in the City of Joseph, it all came down to money. The text summarizes how the Nauvoo Mayor's Court handled a lawsuit between the men named above who were responsible for proposed building. Jabez Durphy of the architect/building committee had sued Davison Hibard, one of the trustees. A labored perusal of Bennett's transcript reminds us that financial matters were no more pristine or simple in 1840s Nauvoo than in our present day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bennett took a personal interest in the curriculum of Nauvoo's young people (Leonard, p. 196), so we can imagine his pain as he reviewed the complicated circumstances which had arisen from a noble project. The reader will notice that the initial IOU in question was signed by the trustees to a member of the architectural/building committee, one year after the school house organization was approved by the High Council . . .

Transcript from the Mayor's Docket, City of Nauvoo, Ill.

Jabez Durphy,
vs
Davison Hibard.} In suit on note.

Action of debt on promissory note drawn by Samuel Bent, David Dort, & Davison Hibard, payable to plaintiff, on order, for $60.20, (sixty-dollars, and twenty cents,) dated October 25th AD., 1840, due on the 1st of January, 1841.

Summons issued November 24th, 1841, to Marshal D. B. Huntington, returnable on the 30th Inst., at 10 o'clock, A.M. Nov. 30, 1841. Marshal returned summons duly served by reading on the 29th inst. — case continued by consent of parties to December 1. (to-morrow,) at 10 o'clock, A.M.

December 1, 1841, defendant appeared and produced a claim of which the following is a copy —

"196.07 — Nauvoo. July 13 - 1840. — To the trustees for building the stone school-house for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Nauvoo, Ill., viz: Messrs Samuel Bent, David Dort, & Davison Hibard, Gent., please to pay to Mr. Amos Davis, on his order, the sum of one hundred and ninety-six dollars, and seven cents — it being for goods that we have rec'd of him to apply towards the building of said school house, and by your paying the above amount — taking a receipt therefor and charging it to our Act. - Concerning said house you will oblige - Yours, &c.- Alpheus Cutler and Jabez Durfee."

On the back of said order the following endorsement appears:

"I assign one hundred dollars of the within obligation to D. Hibbard, this 13th day of July, 1841, for value received. A. Davis."

"We the trustees of the within school house accept the within order - July 25th, 1840."

"Protested this 12th July, 1841. Samuel Bent, D. Hibard."

Not allowed.

The defendant pleaded a want of consideration, and introduced D. Fulmer, H. Stout, & A. Coules as witnesses.

The proofs and allegations being heard, it is considered that the plaintiff recover judgment for $60.20 debt, and $3.31 interest, and, also, for costs of suit, taxed at 1.56¼.

A true copy,

John C. Bennett, Mayor.

Nauvoo, Ill., Dec. 4th. AD. 1841.

 

 

While the particulars of this misunderstanding may elude us, the general situation seems clear. In a cash-poor economy, IOU notes were used much like currency. If the debtor failed to pay his note upon timely demand, it could ruin the lender. In the mean-time, if the lender owed money to a third party (in this case, Amos Davis) and had no cash on hand, he might direct his debtor to pay that third party directly. If a dispute arose between any of these parties, a lawsuit could ensue.

 

Amos DAVIS (1813-72) joins our cast of characters in this collection as another of the original old-time settlers of the Commerce area . . .

. . . Amos Davis, a Vermont native, . . . arrived at Commerce in the fall of 1836. Not quite twenty-two at the time, Davis married Elvira Hibbard, daughter of Davison Hibbard, one of the original land patentees. The couple purchased two lots from Hiram Kimball in Commerce. Amos may have worked in Kimball's store, but by 1838 he owned his own mercantile business, operated a tavern, and held the franchise for the Commerce-to-Montrose ferry. A surviving store ledger for May 1839 lists ninety-five active credit accounts, many of them farmers homesteading parcels on the peninsula and to the east. The Panic of 1837 may have dampened land business in Commerce, but Davis served a growing regional clientele and carried on a brisk trade with steamer captains, to whom he sold cord-wood, grain, and local meat and dairy products. [Leonard, p. 53]

Such a man might be a likely supplier of building materials for the intended school house. As we see above, he was the son-in-law of our friend (and now school-house trustee) Davison Hibard. Amos Davis and Elivra Maria Hibbard (born 1815) had married on the first day of 1837. It turned out not to be a union made in heaven, when no less colorful a figure than Orrin Porter Rockwell set his eyes on Elvira.

IN JUNE 1844 IT WAS DAVIS, as a Nauvoo Legion captain, who ordered to have the boat readied to conduct Joseph Smith from the west bank of the Mississippi to the Illinois side, and to his death. After the martyrdom, things went downhill for Davis. Harold Schindler tells the tale . . .

Since Joseph's death Rockwell's attitude had undergone a striking change; no longer reticent, he was now aggressive, even belligerent . . . Prior to his arrest in 1843 on charges of assault on Governor Boggs, Rockwell had taken up residence in a tavern operated by Amos Davis, a Nauvoo Legion captain. It was this officer's wife of whom Rockwell had become enamored. How long the affair had been blooming is not a matter of record, but he did acknowledge the lady publicly early in December of 1845. . . .
. . . . .
. . . Davis did not depart from Nauvoo, a display of courage which placed him in a delicate and dangerous position, for one morning there appeared at his door the person of Mrs. Davis — in company with Rockwell. The humiliated tavernkeeper watched incredulously as his wife casually gathered together her belongings; Rockwell stood to one side and conspicuously inspected the trigger mechanism on his pistol. Scarcely had the couple closed the door on the hapless husband than word of the incident flashed through the streets of the city. By nightfall every gossip in town had told the story in detail several times. [Harold Schindler, Orrin Porter Rockwell; Man of God, Son of Thunder (Salt Lake City, 1983), pp. 142-4; for the reference to Davis ordering the boat for Joseph Smith to cross the Mississippi back to Illinois, see p. 120.]

An anonymous letter from Nauvoo to anti-Mormon Tom Sharp suggested that there were numerous taverns and brothels in Nauvoo by 1847, and it alluded without name to "the famous spiritual of O. P. Rockwell--to wit: Mrs. *****." (Warsaw Signal for March 6, 1847, p.3, signed, "Silenus"). But Davis survived it all. "The most prominent of several merchants on the hill" after the Mormons left, according to Glen Leonard,

was Amos Davis. He had found early success in Commerce before the Saints arrived, made friends and enjoyed prosperity in Mormon Nauvoo, and then adapted to the needs of another group of customers in the new Nauvoo. "We have more goods and traders than business," a resident opined in 1848. "Money is scarce and business dull. We hope it will be better after harvest. The Post Office is moved to Davis' Store and the business seems coming on to the Hill." [pp. 626-7, citing an 1848 letter in the LDS Church Archives]

 

 

[AMOS DAVISADVERTISEMENTS in the NAUVOO PATRIOT (newspaper, Nauvoo, Illinois) for September 12, 1849.

Folio, back leaf only. Some tears and minor staining. Publication date above inferred from dates listed in the advertisements.

RARE. Two different advertisements by Amos Davis appear on page [3], then are repeated on the back page as well . . .

 

 

 

"From a financial perspective," we may read, in conclusion,

a more successful buyer and seller of goods [than Joseph Smith] was Nauvoo's first merchant. The youthful Vermonter, Amos Davis, was in business near the upper landing for two years before the Saints arrived, and he kept selling for a decade after the Saints left the city. His account books reveal a prosperous business. The twenty-three-year-old merchant became an immediate friend to the Saints; he and his wife joined the church at the April 1840 conference. As his business grew, Davis moved from his riverfront store in Commerce to a new brick building on Mulholland Street a block east of the temple. He completed an even larger, three-story store and warehouse immediately south of the temple early in 1846. Davis was a trusted citizen, active in Nauvoo's civic life. In that way, at least, he magnified the expectation of community betterment. [Leonard, pp. 145, 147]

Now, to come full circle, we find Davis' father-in-law thriving after the Mormon exodus as well. (I wonder what the relationship was like between Davis and Hibard. Entries in the History of the Church seem to suggest disagreements between them, and then there was the matter of Elvira). Two more documents . . .

 

 

[DAVISON HIBARD ] TWO PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT RECEIPTS to Davison Hibard from the State of Illinois, Hancock County Collector's Office. February, 1848.

10 X 19½ and 17 X 19 cm. One page each. Moderate staining or wear.

Pre-printed forms with simple typographic ornamental borders along the left-hand sides of each. Accomplished in manuscript; one signed by M. Couchman, Collector, and the other by D. Elliott as Couchman's deputy. The smaller form, dated February 8, 1848, itemizes five different lots totaling $144 in value. Hibard has paid $1.08 tax on these for the years 1846 and 1847, combined.

 

The larger form itemizes more valuable lots or groups of real estate, evidently totaling $3,736.00. Also dated 1848, the month and day are difficult to decipher. Hibard has paid $32.34 in taxes on these properties, for the year 1847 . . .


CLEARLY, HIBARD SURVIVED THE MORMON ERA with substantial real worth, at least on paper. His daughter had run off with Porter Rockwell, however, and his son was nearly killed in a Saintly assault by Hosea Stout without benefit of hearing or trial:

Friday January 9th 1846. Met the guard as usual. We rode below Hibbard on the river as before and wattered our Horses and regulated the guard for the day as was our custom . . .
. . . . .
When we came to the Temple some what a considerable number of the guard were assembled and among them was William Hibbard son of the old man Hibbard. He was evidently come as a spy. When I saw him I told Scott that we must "bounce a stone off of his head." to which he agreed we prepared accordingly & I got an opportunity & hit him on the back of his head which came very near taking his life. But few knew any thing about what was the matter he left the ground out of his senses when he came to himself he could not tell what had happened to him &c [On the Mormon Frontier; The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861, Edited by Juanita Brooks (SLC, 1964), I:103]

Times were hard as the Mormons left, and we may wonder how long it took Mr. Hibard to sell so many properties! "Friends of the Saints who had benefited from the boomtown atmosphere noted the difference as Nauvoo's population began to leave in earnest. In mid-March [1846], with removal entering its busiest stage, merchants Hiram and Phineas KIMBALL informed Brigham Young, 'Business is very dull and Nauvoo appears to be almost forsaken and looks as desolate as a sheep pasture.'" (Leonard, p. 595 [emphsis added]).

 

 

 

[HIRAM KIMBALL - ArtifactWOODEN PEG AND BLOCK PIECE from the store or barn of Hiram Kimball. The original building (from which this crude architectural element was saved) collapsed years ago, and was bulldozed into the foundation and burned. This may thus be one of the oldest man-made fragments of Nauvoo which one can hope to obtain. Commerce, Illinois, 1830s?

Joint fragment 25 X X 4 cm. at the greatest dimensions, pierced by a round peg 11 cm. long X 2¾ cm. in diameter. With 4 square-cut nails apparently of a somewhat later period. Quite worn and decayed.

 

 

 

Literature:

Historic Sites and Structures of Hancock County (Carthage, Illinois, 1979), p. 216: description and photograph of the building, thought originally to have been the George Y. Cutler store, site of the first post office in Hancock County, 1830.

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle, Old Mormon Nauvoo and Southeastern Iowa . . . ([Santa Ana, California]: Fieldbrook Productions, Inc., 1991; second edition), p. 72: photograph and brief article. "Traditionally identified as the Hiram Kimball Store. . . . The foundation is located about ten yards from the river bank. The above photograph has been often identified as the original store, more likely it was a barn on the Kimball property."



Hiram S. KIMBALL (1806-63, cousin of Heber C. Kimball) saw them come, and went with them when they left: the only principal figure in this collection to emigrate to Utah with his fellow Latter-day Saints. He moved from Vermont to Commerce in 1835 and began acquiring hundreds of acres there for himself and his family. He welcomed the Saints in 1839 and sold Heber C. Kimball and Parley P. Pratt adjoining five-acre lots in the woods, where new and old citizens joined to raise the apostles' first log homes (Leonard 52-3, 128). He
was baptized in 1843, participated in civic and business affairs, and finally followed the Saints to Utah in 1852. In a bizarre twist of fate, Kimball lost his life quite dramatically. Set apart to serve a mission to Hawaii in 1863, he traveled to San Pedro, California. On April 27, he and fellow Elder Thomas Atkinson boarded a small steamer, the "Ada Hancock" which would take them five miles out to deep water where their ship was anchored, waiting to depart for the Sandwich Islands. During this short jaunt, the steamer's boiler exploded, killing forty of the passengers, including both Kimball and Atkinson.

 

::WITH::

Signed statement of provenance from the late Nauvoo antiquarian/historian David C. MARTIN (publisher of Mormon Miscellaneous; owned first-edition Books of Commandments, a shoe-box full of Kirtland banknotes and a documented Whitmer Family seerstone), who recovered this fragment from the site when the falling building was demolished. I obtained this artifact directly from Mr. Martin, and have preserved it carefully with Martin's signed statement for nearly twenty years.While Martin believed this to have been the famous early store and post office, Dr. Richard Holzapfel suggests that it was more likely a barn (see above).

 

::ALSO ACCOMPANYING THIS COLLECTION:: is a SIGNED LETTER OF PROVENANCE from the owner of all papers in the collection. I have known this gentleman for a number of years, and his father before him (who was an Illinois antiquarian book collector and bookseller near Nauvoo for some seventy years). They acquired this material from various sources nearly a quarter of a century ago.

 

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