Monday, August 4, 2014

Newel K Whitney papers at BYU (Morning One)

Newel K Whitney was a successful Kirtland business man together with his partner, Algernon Sidney Gilbert, that came to Mormonism with the flock of Sidney Rigdon. Emma and Joseph Smith Sr lived with the Whitney's in the "East Room" during the Kirtland stay. As the "Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers" (compiled by Hyrum L. Andrus, Chris Fuller, Elizabeth E. McKenzie, Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU, Revised Draft -- February 1991), puts it in their introduction
Bishop Whitney was directly involved in several important activities of || of the early Church. He and his partner, Algernon Sidney Gilbert, provided the nucleus of capital, goods and expertise for the organization of the United Firm,a mercantile corporation organized under the law of consecration and stewardship, with two branches---one in Missouri (Zion) called "Gilbert, Whitney & Company," and one in Kirtland called "Newel K. Whitney & Company". Gilbert directed the Missouri branch and Bishop Whitney the Kirtland branch. (pp.5-6)
As indicated in the History, II, pp.362f, Whitney gave a three sumptuous feast in Kirtland for the blind & lame etc, to uplift the poor and promote social justice and union. He went on a mission in 1832 with Joseph Smith Jr and attended the School of the prophets in 1833 in the room over the kitchen in the house where Joseph Smith Jr lived, of which Whitney was the owner.

In Nauvoo, the Whitneys belonged to the top echelon as well, he placing the cornerstone for the new temple in April 1841, she being second counselor on the female Relief Society. Their daughter was given in plural marriage to Joseph Smith Jr.

Looks like Box 1-3 are available digitally online, such as this bill for caps,  the later boxes have to be taken from the microfilms.

Box 4 from the Nauvoo Legion (folders 1-3) contains a list of members of the cavalry, an enumeration of the musicians (feifers, buglers, clarnet, cymbals, tambourine, triangle, officers);

The poll books for the officer election for companies within the Nauvoo Legion (Box 4, Folders 2-3), from February and March 1841 are interesting, as the March 6th 1841 to elect the Third Lieutenant of Second Company, First Cohort, was held in Joseph Smith's store; others were held at other people's houses, e.g. Isaacs <illegible> or Morris fish, or at Mr Niswanger's Grocery store, or at the School House.

Whitney had a list of Kirtland town lots by plot number and block number listed, as sold by himself and Johnson (Box 4, 11), giving dollar amounts between $25 and $87.5, with an estimated median of the $55. (column is labeled Price D+C)

The economic records are dominated by promissory notes (Box 4, folders 12-13, 15-16; and land records (Box 4, folders 11, 14) as well as bonds concerning these (Box 4, folders 17-28 [sic!]).
The example transliteration of such a Bond, the one executed for Lot #1, Block #151, by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, to Seymour Bruson, October 1st, 1839 (Box 4, Folder 26) runs as follows (caps as in text; italics means handwriting, remainder is formulary):
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That Mr Joseph Smith Jr, Sidney Rigdon & Hyrum Smith of the county of Hancock and State of Illinois are held and firmly bound unto Seymour Brunson of the county of Hancock and State of Illinois heirs and assigns in the sum of twelve hundred dollars for the payment of which well and truly to be made we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, firmly by these presents.
 NOW THE CONDITION OF THE ABOVE OBLIGATION IS SUCH that whereas the said Joseph Smith Junior & Sidney Rigdon & Hyrum Smith have this day sold unto the said Seymour Brunson certain lot of ground situated, lying and being in the county of Hancock and State of Illinois, and described on the plat of the Town of Nauvoo as being Lot No one in Block No. one hundred and fifty one and received payment for said lot of three notes of hand bearing even date herewith for the sum of six hundred dollars, and payable as follows with interest // The First for thirty six dollars and fifty cents payable on demand // The second for five hundred and sixty three dollars and fifty cents on the first day of October A.D. 1844 // The second [sic!] for three hundred dollars on the first day of October A.D. 1844. The [overwritten with small The] interest for each and every note to be paid annually. Now if the said Seymour Brunson, his heirs, executors, or administrators shall well and truly pay or cause to be paid, the amount of said notes with such interest as may accrue thereon, according to the tenor and effect thereof, when due, are the said Joseph Smith Junior, Sidney Rigdon & Hyrum Smith bind ourselves and our [???] heirs, executors and administrators, to make or cause to be made, a good and sufficient Deed for the above described lot and then this Bond to become null and void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and virtue. Given under our hands and seals this First day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine, SIGNATURES.
The SIGNATURES consist of three initial letter line squibbles (hardly surprising the number they issued) and weird cloud-shaped seals that contain the letters LS [i.e. Latter Saints?], to wit
J S_ Jr [LS] // S_ R__ [LS] // H_ S__ [LS]
Some, such as Lot 2 Block #154, from John Adams to Joseph Smith Jr, from February 26th 1842, is much shorter with crossings out, since the sum was received immediately (Box 4, folder 26).

Notice that some of the notes discussed are actually located in Box 5, folder 1, among the promissory notes, such as Seymour Brunson's note of $300 from October 1st of 1839, whose text reads (all handwritten, signature of Brunson differs):
$300.00 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, October 1-1839 // On the first day of October --- one thousand eight hundred and forty nine [RCK: ten years!] I promise to pay Messrs Joseph Smith Junior[,] Sidney Rigdon & Hyrum Smith, or order the sum of three hundred dollars with interest. The interest to be paid on the First day of October in each and every year. --- value received --- Witness present Robert Thompson -- Seymour Brunson
The witnessing of Robert Thompson is particularly difficult to read on this example, but Thompson witnessed so many slips that we have clearer signatures in the interactions with Alva Keller, Box 5, folder 2, for example. That slip of $100 (together with two for $37.50 each) from January 9th 1840, also was paid down towards on February 26th, 1840 $161, received by Robert B. Thompson for JS&Comp.

A slip in the same box (Box 5, folder 1) contains on the box a note of the interest received on January 27th of 1840, forty dollars. Thus, these slips were living documents that were modified as the progress of the relationship continued.

Equally there are prepared slips for promissory notes of certain amounts that have not been signed yet, or pages with multiple slips on them, almost like a hand-written checkbook except that the slips are already dated (Box 5, folder 1 and 5).

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