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M. D. Canfield letter

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 3952

Scope and Contents note

Myron Davenport Canfield’s manuscript letter to his Uncle Ezra Canfield (living in Ellicotville, Cattarugus Co., New York). Kirtland, Ohio, December 12, 1836.

2 pages, each 7.5 by 12.5 inches.

The second half of the letter is devoted to Kirtland area land prices and speculation, based on the experience of the writer and of his father, probably Samuel Canfield:… instead of finding him in the woods one mile from the Temple where Clarissa and I found him last year I find him on a good road a level farm with good buildings. A nice house well finished and furnished four miles south and east from the temple. He sold his farms in parcels some for ten some for fifteen some for twenty as some for fifty and some for one hundred dollars an acre. After selling the farm . . . he bought another . . . for which he paid nine hundred and fifty dollars and sold it for twenty one hundred the place on which he is now he pays four thousand dollars for and is thought to be the best purchase that has been made in town lately. . . my Father appears to have a sufficiency if not an aboundance of the good things of this world about him . . . To Clarissa I would say I have rambled over the ground where my parents lived when she was with me in Kirtland the land was still there with all its romantic scenery, but little alteration except the erection of a few more huts and a road leading to the village through the gulf that lay in front of their cabin. . . .

Although not mentioned here, one of the purchasers of Samuel Canfield’s land, at $20 per acre, was Joseph Smith. Young Canfield seems to view his own land, further distant in Trumbull County, as primarily an investment. The description of houses and cabins strung out along the road is consistent with other accounts of the frenetic settlement and land speculation in Kirtland at this time. For excellent background to this letter, see Robert Kent Fielding, The Growth of the Mormon Church in Kirtland, Ohio (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univ. Doctoral Dissertation, 1957), Chapter 8.


  • 1836


Language of Materials note

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from M. D. Canfield letter must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Myron Davenport Canfield was born August 4, 1805 in Champlain, New York to Sabrina Davenport and Samuel Canfield. He married Mary Crocker in 1830 in Champlain, Clinton, New York. Myron died of typhoid fever on January 6, 1870 in Van Buren, Wayne, Michigan. He was a blacksmith, and resided at one point in Kirtland, Ohio in 1836.


1 folder (0.10 linear ft.)


Myron Davenport Canfield’s letter to his Uncle Ezra Canfield, dated 12 December 1836.

Custodial History note

Purchased from Rick Grunder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Purchased; Rick Grunder; 1990.

Appraisal note

LDS cultural, social, and religous history (Collection development policy of 19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts, August 2007).

Related Archival Materials note

BX 8677.71 .F461 Fielding, R. Kent (Robert Kent), 1920- the growth of the Mormon Church in Kirtland, Ohio.

Processing Information note

Processed; H. Christine Broomhead; 25 May 2007.

Register of M. D. Canfield letter
Benjamin Sipes
2011 June 15
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States