Minutes of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Presidency: President [John] Taylor drew attention to the subject of negroes receiving the priesthood, which matter was canvassed at the last meeting of the Council and by his directions the following statements were read:
. . .
A blessing under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sen., upon Elijah Abel, who was born in Frederick County, Maryland, July 25, 1808.
Brother Abel, in the name of Jesus, I lay my hands upon they [thy] head to bless thee, and thou shalt be blessed even forever. I seal upon thee a father's blessing, because thou art an orphan, for thy father hath never done his duty toward thee, but the Lord hath had his eye upon thee, and brought thee through straits, and thou hast come to be reckoned with the saints of the Most High. Thou hast been ordained an Elder and annointed to secure thee against the power of the destroyer. Thou shalt see His power in laying waste the nations, and the wicked slaying the wicked, while blood shall run down the streets like water, and thy heart shall weep over their calamities. Angels shall visit thee, and thou shalt receive comfort. They shall call thee blessed, and deliver thee from thine enemies. They shall break thy bands and keep thee from affliction. They [Thy] name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Thou shalt travel in the East, and visit foreign countries, speak in
all the various tongues, and thou shalt be able to teach different languages. Thou shall see all kingdoms, and confound the wisdom of this generation. Thy life shall be preserved to a good old age. Thou must seek first the kingdom of heaven and all blessings shall be added thereto. Thou shalt be made equal to thy brethren, and thy soul be white in eternity and thy robes glittering: thou shalt receive these blessings because of the covenants of thy fathers. Thou shalt save thy thousands, do much good, and receive all the power that thou needest to accomplish thy mission. These and all the blessings which thou canst desire in righteousness, I seal upon thee, in the name of Jesus. Amen. W.A. Cowdery, Assistant Recorder. (From page 88, Joseph Smith's Patriarchal Blessing Record)
Brother Joseph F. Smith said he thought Brother [Zebedee] Coltrin's memory was incorrect as to Brother Abel being dropped from the quorum of Seventies, to which he belonged, as Brother Abel has in his possession, (which also he had shown Brother J.F.S. [Joseph F. Smith]) his certificate as a Seventy, given to him in 1841, and signed by Elder Joseph Young, Sen., and A.P. Rockwood, and still later one given in this city. Brother Abel's account of the persons who washed and annointed him in the Kirtland Temple also disagreed with the statement of Brother Coltrin, whilst he stated that Brother Coltrin ordained him a Seventy. Brother Abel also states that the Prophet Joseph [Smith] told him he was entitled to the priesthood, (Brother Abel is understood to be an octeroon [octoroon]).
President [John] Taylor said it seemed that in his case it was probably like many other things done in the early days of the Church, such as baptism for the dead; at first, persons were baptized without records being taken and as the Lord gave further light and revelation things were done with greater order; but what had been done through lack of knowledge, that was not altogether correct in detail, was allowed to remain. He thought that probably it was so in Brother Abel's case; that he, having been ordained before the word of the Lord was fully understood, it was allowed to remain.
The matter [was] then dropped, with the understanding that Brother Joseph Young, Sen. be spoken to on the subject.
[Adam S. Bennion Papers, typed copy, in possession of LDS church; Marquardt, H. Michael, Mormon Central: Excerpts From Minutes of the Council of the Twelve and of the First Presidency, 1879-1947 http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/chorg2.htm]