Sep 28, 2017 - Sale 2455

Sale 2455 - Lot 170

Price Realized: $ 2,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 300 - $ 400
(MORMONS.) McDowell, Reuben R. Letter describing the Illinois militia's efforts to halt the Battle of Nauvoo. Autograph Letter Signed as state legislator for Fulton County, IL, to attorney Hezekiah M. Wead of Lewistown, IL. 3 pages, 10 x 7 3/4 inches, on one folding sheet, with address panel on verso; small seal tear in margin, short closed separation along one fold; inked Springfield postmark and "5" on address panel. Springfield, IL, 5 February 1847

Additional Details

The majority of the Mormons at Nauvoo left for Utah in early 1846. Those who remained faced increasing tensions with local gentiles, culminating in a September 1846 mob attack which left 3 defenders dead--the Battle of Nauvoo. Illinois Governor Ford, hoping to avert a massacre, wrote to a militia leader on 21 August, ordering him to restore order and protect the remaining Mormons from rioters, and authorizing him to "accept the services of men as volunteers from Fulton County . . . who will be paid for their services" (published in Niles' National Register of 12 September 1846). The government of Illinois tried to avoid paying these militiamen, saying the call to arms was illegal. The present letter tries to set matters right: "Much ridicule was thrown out on the grounds that 16 men, 8 of whom were officers, had required 5 wagons & carriages for their transportation to the seat of war. . . . The company expected a reinforcement at Bernadotte & that they had gone to Nauvoo with extraordinary dispatch . . . and if the Governor's call was illegal, they at least acted in good faith." Provenance: sold by Seaport Autographs to collector Milton R. Slater, April 2002.