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R. H. Smith letter to John Saltar, Sr.

 Item — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 8995

Scope and Contents

Letter (one folded sheet, 32 x 39 cm folded to 32 x 20 cm) from R.H. Smith in Hancock County, Illinois, to his uncle, John Saltar, Sr., in Pemberton, New Jersey. Smith recounts the experiences of Saltar's son, John Saltar, Jr., in the Battle of Nauvoo. The younger Saltar was part of the anti-Mormon forces who attacked the city. Smith provides some details from the anti-Mormon perspective about the battle, including the number of forces involved and the number of casualties on each side. He also notes that no houses were burned, but some had received damage from the cannon that was used on occasion to "dislodge the enemy." The letter also discusses Saltar Jr.'s decision to abandon his wife, Ellen, following the battle. Dated October 1, 1846.


  • 1846 October 1


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the R. H. Smith letter to John Saltar, Sr. must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Eleanor J. Saltar (b. 1823) was a housewife in Illinois.

Biographical History

John Saltar (1814-1899) was a mill owner, tanner, and court clerk in Illinois and Washington State. He was an early pioneer in La Harpe, Illinois, and participated in the Battle of Nauvoo in 1846.

John Saltar was born on June 23, 1814 in Tacony, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to John Saltar and Margaret Howell. On October 5, 1841 he married Eleanor Gillmore in Hancock County, Illinois, with whom he had one son. He later married Jane Roberts in 1857, and the couple had one daughter together.

Saltar was a soldier in Illinois, joining a local militia to fight Mormons in the Battle of Nauvoo, before working in lumbering and then trading down the Mississippi River. He also constructed a ship in Maine and spent many years on the sea. Then after losing a ship coming around the Horn, he moved from San Francisco to Steilacoom, Washington in around 1860. He served as the clerk of U.S. District Court from 1863-1880, and as the collector and assessor of the U.S. Bureau of Revenue for Idaho and Washington Territories. From 1876-1878 Saltar served as trustee for the territorial Hospital for the Insane.

John Saltar died on February 21, 1899 in Steilacoom, Washington.

Biographical History

John Saltar, Sr. (1781-1858) was a Quaker gentleman in New Jersey. He was the uncle of R. H. Smith.

John Saltar was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1781. He married Margaret Howell on November 20, 1809 in Philadelphia and they had two children together. John disinherited his son, John Saltar, Jr. Saltar died on November 21, 1858 in Pemberton, New Jersey.

Biographical History

R. H. Smith (1806-1882) was a merchant and postmaster in Illinois.

Richard Howell Smith was born on August 17, 1806 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents, Richard Rodean Smith and Anne Howell. Smith was raised in a Quaker household and on December 23, 1839 he married Mary Ann Woolfolk in Hancock County, Illinois. In 1841 Mary and Richard moved to Harrison, Illinois, where he worked as a merchant and a postmaster. Richard Howell Smith died on March 22, 1882 in Harrison, Illinios.


1 folder (0.01 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Purchased from Michael Vinson on March 21, 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; Michael Vinson; March 21, 2017.


LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1, November 2013).

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcript available in collection.

Processing Information

Processed; Jeremy Meservy, student manuscript processor, and Ryan Lee, curator; 2017.

Register of R. H. Smith letter to John Saltar, Sr.
Jeremy Meservy
2017 May 4
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