President Smith at Kirtland — First Quorum of Twelve Apostles — the Kirtland Temple Completed — Kirtland Safety Society Bank — in Zion Again — the Saints in Missouri — Apostasy — Zeal and Indiscretion — Military Organization — the War Opens — Depredations on Both Sides — Movements of Atchison, Parks, and Doniphan — Attitude of Boggs — Wight and Gilliam — Death of Patten — Danite Organization — Order Lodge — Haun Mill Tragedy — Mobs and Militia — the Tables Turned — Boggs' Exterminating Order — Lucas and Clark at Far West — Surrender of the Mormon's — Prisoners — Petitions and Memorials — Expulsion — Gathering at Quincy — Opinions.
Meanwhile, although the frontier of Zion was receiving such large accessions, the main body of the church was still at Kirtland, where President Smith remained for some time.
On the 14th of February, 1835, twelve apostles were chosen at Kirtland, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and Heber C. Kimball being of the number; likewise a little later Parley P. Pratt. Thence, the following summer, they took their departure for the east, holding conferences and ordaining and instructing elders in the churches throughout New York and New England, and the organization of the first quorum of seventies was begun. Classes for instruction, and a school of prophets were commenced, and Sidney Rigdon delivered six lectures on faith, of which Joseph Smith was author.1 Preaching on the steps of a
1They were printed and bound in Doctrine and Covenants. See Hyde's Mormonism, 202; Remy's Journey, 504; Pratt's Auobiography, 139. Mather, in Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880, states that the twelve apostles started in May.
at Mentor, Parley P. Pratt was mobbed midst music and rotten eggs.
The temple at Kirtland being finished, was dedicated on the 27th of March, 1836, and on the 3d of April Joseph and Oliver had interviews with the messiah, Moses, Elias, and Elijah, and received from them the several keys of priesthood, which insured to their possessors power unlimited in things temporal and spiritual for the accomplishment of the labors assigned by them for him to perform.2 The building of this structure by a few hundred persons, who, during the period between 1832 and 1836, contributed voluntarily of their money, material, or labor, the women knitting and spinning and making garments for the men who worked on the temple, was regarded with wonder throughout all northern Ohio. It was 60 by 80 feet, occupied a commanding position, and cost $40,000.
During its erection the saints incurred heavy debts for material and labor. They bought farms at high prices, making part payments, and afterward forfeiting them. They engaged in mercantile pursuits,
2'A square mile was laid out in half-acre lots, and a number of farms were bought, the church farm being half a mile down one of the most beautiful valleys which it is possible to conceive in a range of country so uniformly level.' Mather, in Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880. In May 1833 it was revealed that building should begin. Two houses 55 by 65 feet each were ordered, one for the presidency, the other for printing. Hyrum Smith and two others were presented with lots, and directions were sent to the faithful to subscribe money to aid in building a temple at Kirtland. Times and Seasons, vi. 769-70. Before its completion, private assemblies were held at the houses of the faithful, frequently at Smith's. When partly finished, schools were opened in several of the apartments. It was begun in June 1833, and dedicated March 27, 1836. A brief dcscription of the building, arrangement of interior, etc., and a full account of the dedication and ordinary services are given in Tullidge's Women; 76, 80-95, 99-101. Daniel Tyler, in Juvenile Intructor, xiv. 283; Busch, Gesch. der Morm., 74; Kidder's Mormonism, 124-6. Probably but little work was done on it in 1833, for about the front entrances the gilded inscription, 'Built by the church of Jesus Christ, 1834,' still shines bright as ever. Salt Lake Herald, June 6, 1877. See also Smith's account in Times and Seasons, vi. 708-11, 723-6, and Remy's Journey, i. 302-4. For cuts of building, see Young's Hist. of the Seventies, 8; Juvenile Instructor, xiv. 283; Pratt's Autobiog., 140. When nearly finished there was a debt on the building of from $15,000 to $20,000. Kidder's Mormonism, 124-6. Most of the workmen were dependent upon their labor for their daily food, which often consisted of corn meal alone, and that had been donated. Juvenile Instructor, 283. Writing in 1880, Mather says: 'The residences of Smith and Rigdon are almost under the eaves of the temple, and the theological seminary is now occupied by the methodists for a church.' Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880.
buying merchandise in New York and elsewhere in excess of their ability to pay. They built a steam-mill, which proved a source of loss, and started a bank, but were unable to obtain a charter; they issued bills without a charter, however, in consequence of which they could not collect the money loaned, and after a brief struggle, and during a period of great apostasy, the bank failed. It was called the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, of which Rigdon was president and Smith cashier. All this time, writes Corrill, "they suffered pride to arise in their hearts, and became desirous of fine houses and fine clothes, and indulged too much in these things, supposing for a few months that they were very rich." Upon the failure of the bank in 1838, Smith and Rigdon went to Missouri, leaving the business in the hands of others to wind up.3
3'They also suffered jealousies to arise among them, and several persons dissented from the church, and accused the leaders of the church with bad management, selfishness, etc…On the other hand, the leaders of the church accused the dissenters with dishonesty, want of faith and righteousness,…and this strife or opposition arose to a great height, until Smith and Rigdon were obliged to leave Kirtland.' Corrill, in Kidder's Mormonism, 126-7. 'Subsequently they had a revelation,' another says, 'commanding them to establish a bank, which should swallow up all other banks. This was soon got into operation on a pretended capital of four millions of dollars, made up of real estate round about the temple.' John Hyde, Mormonism, 201, says that the bank, a store, and. mill were started in Aug. 1831. Before me is one of their bills, dated Jan. 17, 1837, payable to C. Scott, or bearer. Mather says, Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880: 'Richard Hilliard, a leading merchant of Cleveland, received their bills for a few days, and then took possession of all their available assets. They were also in debt for their farms, and for goods bought in New York. The bubble burst, and many in the vicinity of Kirtland were among the sufferers. Smith and Rigdon fled to Far West, after having been tarred and feathered for their peculiar theories of finance.' 'Chauneey G. Webb (father of Ann Eliza Young) assisted in founding this bank, giving Smith all he possessed outside of his house and simp toward completing the amount necessary for a capital on which to start the new enterprise. With the failure of the bank Webb lost everything.' Young's Wife No. 19, 33, 40-41; see account of formation of bank in Bennett's Mormonism, 135-6. 'Smith had a sort of bank issue on what was then called the wild-cat principle. His circulating medium had no redeeming basis, and was worthless in the hands of the people.' Tucker's Mormonism, 154-5. 'Smith had a revelation from the Lord, to the effect that his bank would be a pattern of all the banks in the United States, that it would speedily break, and that all the rest would follow the example. The bank was closed the same day.' Hall's Mormonism, 19. The bank failed in Nov. 1837. Remy's Journey, i. 504; Busch, Gesch. der Morm., 84. 'By means of great activity and an actual capital of about $5,000, they succeeded in setting afloat from $50,000 to $100,000. the concern was closed up after (cont.)
An endowment meeting, or solemn assembly, held in 1836 in the temple at Kirtland, is thus described by William Harris: "It was given out that those who were in attendance at that meeting should receive an endowment, or blessing, similar to that experienced by the disciples of Christ on the day of pentecost.
(3cont.) flourishing 3 or 4 weeks.' Kidder's Mormonism, 128. The building is now occupied by a private family. Salt Lake S. W. Herald, June 6, 1877. 'In order to pay the debt on the temple, they concluded to try mercantile business, and ran in debt in New York and elsewhere some $30,000 for goods, and shortly after, $50,000 or $60,000 more. In consequence of their ignorance of business and extravagance, the scheme proved a failure.' Kidder's Mormonism, 126, 128; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 76. 'Gilbert and Whitney's store is still used for original purposes.' Salt Lake Herald, June 6, 1877. 'A poorly furnished country store, where commerce looks starvation in the face.' Id., Nov. 17, 1877. 'Smith's store was seized and goods sold in Nov. 1839.' Hyde's Mormonism, 203; Bennett's Mormonism, 135. They also spent some thousands of dollars in building a steam-mill, which never profiled them anything. Kidder's Mormonism, 126. 'The skeleton of a superannuated engine and its contrivances half buried in a heap of ashes—the shed that covered it having recently burned to the ground—marks the spot where stood the ashery and its successor, the Mormon saw-mill, at the foot of Temple hill.' Salt Lake Herald, Nov. 17, 1877. Heber C. Kimball, who went to Nauvoo in 1839, built a pottery at Kirtland, the ruins of which were to be seen in 1877. Ibid. 'After the temple was dedicated, the Kirtland high school was taught in the attic story by H. M. Hawes, prof. of Greek and Latin. There were from 130 to 140 students, divided into three departments—the classic, where only languages were taught; the English, where mathematics, common arithmetic, geography, English grammar, and reading and writing were taught; and the juvenile department. The last two departments were under assistant instructors. The school was begun in Nov. 1836.' Tullidge's Women, 99. 'On the 3d floor are a succession of small rooms containing crippled benches, blackboards, ruined walls, and other paraphernalia, which indicated that at some period of the temple's history this part had been used as a primary school.' Salt Lake S. W. Herald, June 6, 1877. A Hebrew professorship is also mentioned. Remy's Journey, i. 504. 'Immediately after the closing of the bank, and before the news of its failure had time to spread, Smith with some 4 or 5 terriers (understrappers in the priesthood) went to Toronto, Canada, where he preached, whilst his followers circulated the worthless notes of the defunct bank. Brigham Young also succeeded in spreading about $10,000 of the paper through several states.' Hall's Mormonism, 19-20. 'In January 1838 Smith and Rigdon, being at Kirtland together, were both arrested on charges of swindling in connection with their worthless paper bank,' etc. 'The prisoners, however, escaped from the sheriff in the night and made their way on horseback to Missouri.' Tucker's Mormonism, 155-6. Smith and Rigdon ran away on the night of Jan. 12, 1838. Hyde's Mormonism, 203. 'A new year dawned upon the church at Kirtland,' writes Smith, 'in all the bitterness of the spirit of apostate mobocracy, which continued to rage anti grow hotter and hotter, until Elder Rigdon and myself were obliged to flee from its deadly influence, as did the apostles and prophets of old, anti as Jesus said, "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to another;" and on the evening of the 12th of January, about ten o'clock, we left Kirtland on horseback to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us, under the color of legal process to cover their hellish designs and save themselves from the just judgment of the law.'
|When the day
arrived great numbers convened from the different churches in the country.
They spent the day in fasting and prayer, and in washing and perfuming
their bodies; they also washed their feet, and anointed their heads with
what they called holy oil, and pronounced blessings. In the evening they
met for the endowment. The fast was then broken."
Midsummer of 1837 saw Parley P. Pratt in New York city, where he printed the first edition of his Voice of Warning,4 and where he labored with great earnestness, at first under many discouragements, later with signal success. After that he went once more to Missouri. Others were going in the same direction from Kirtland and elsewhere during the entire period between 1831 and 1838. The Messenger and Advocate having been discontinued, the Elder's Journal was started by Joseph Smith in Kirtland in October 1837.
After the émeutes which occurred in Jackson county in the autumn of 1833, as before related, the saints escaped as best they were able to Clay county, where they were kindly received. Some took up their abode in Lafayette and Van Buren counties, and a few in Ray and Clinton counties.5 For their lands, stock, furniture, buildings, and other property destroyed in Jackson county, they received little or no compensation; on the contrary, some who went back for their effects were caught and beaten.6 Nevertheless, there
4It consisted of 4,000 copies. The author states that 'it has since been published and republished in America and Europe, till some 40,000 or 50,000 copies have not been sufficient resupply the demand.' Pratt's Autobiography, 184.
5Most of these fled into Clay co., where they were received with some degree of kindness, and encamped on the banks of the Missouri. Those who went into Van Buren and Lafayette counties were soon expelled, and had to move. Pratt's Persecution, 51; Mackay's Mormons, 78; Times and Seasons, vi. 913. The Missouri River bends to the east as it enters the state, and runs in a generally east direction through the western counties. Jackson co. is immediately south of Clay—the river being the dividing line—and Van Buren lies next south of Jackson. All west of the state line was Indian territory, as I have said. See map, p. 121 this vol.
6The Jackson co. exiles being in a destitute condition, a conference was (cont.)
|were three years of
comparative rest for the people of God, the effect of which soon appeared
in Zion's wilderness.
The men of Missouri were quite proud of what they had done; they were satisfied on the whole with the results, and though their influence was still felt, no further violence was offered till the summer of 1836. Then the spirit of mobocracy again appeared. The Jackson-county boys had served themselves well; why should they not help their neighbors? So they crossed the river, in small squads at first, and began to stir up enmity, often insulting and plundering their victims, until the people of Clay county, fearing actions yet worse, held a meeting, and advised the saints to seek another home.7
For their unrelenting hostility toward the latter-day saints, for the services rendered to their country in defying its laws and encouraging the outrages upon citizens at Independence and elsewhere during the first Mormon troubles in Missouri, Boggs was made governor of that state, Lucas major-general, and Wilson brigadier-general.8 After his election, as before, Boggs did not hesitate to let it be known that
(6cont.) held at P. P. Pratt's house in Clay co. some time during the winter of 1833-4—date not given), at which it was resolved to appeal to Smith, at Kirtland, for aid and counsel; and P. P. Pratt and Lyman Wight, having volunteered their services, were despatched with the message. Starting from Liberty on Feb. 1, 1834, on horseback, but penniless, on a journey of from 1,080 to 1,500 miles through a country but partially settled, they arrives at their destination early in the spring with plenty of money received from friends along their route. Pratt's Autobiog., 114-161; Utah Pioneers, 33d Aniversary, 17; Horne's Migrations, MS., 3; Young's Woman's Experiences, MS., 2.
7'From threats, public meetings were called, resolutions were passed, vengeance and destruction were threatened, and affairs again assumed a fearful attitude.' Cor. Joseph Smith, etc., 5. See also Greene's Facts, 12. 'A meeting of the citizens was held at Liberty on the 29th of June, 1836, in which these matters were taken into consideration. The Mormons were reminded of the circumstances under which they were received, and requested to leave, time being given them to harvest their crops and dispose of their property. Fortunately for all concerned, the saints…agreed to leave on the terms proposed, denying strenuously that they had ever tampered with the slaves, or had any idea of exciting an Indian war.' Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 82-3.
8These officers 'all very readily received their commissions from their accomplice, Gov. Boggs; and thus corruption, rebellion, and conspiracy had spread on every side, being fostered and encouraged by a large majority of the state; and thus treason became general.' Pratt's Persecution, 55-6.
|any reports of
misconduct, however exaggerated, would, if possible, be accepted as
reliable. Such reports were accordingly circulated, and without much
regard to truth. Right or wrong, law or no law, and whether in accord with
the letter or spirit of the constitution or government of the United
States or not, the people of Missouri had determined that they would go
any length before they would allow the saints to obtain political
ascendency in that quarter. It was well understood that war on the
Mormons, war on their civil, political, and religious rights, nay, on
their presence as members of the commonwealth, or if need be on their
lives, was part of the policy of the administration.
Thereupon the Mormons petitioned the legislature to assign them a place of residence, and the thinly populated region afterward known as Caldwell county was designated. Moving there, they bought the claims of most of the inhabitants, and entered several sections of government lands. Almost every member of the society thus became a landholder, some having eighty acres, and some forty. A town was laid out, called Far West, which was made the county seat; they were allowed to organize the government of the county, and to appoint from among their own people the officers.9 Again they found peace for a season, during which their numbers increased, while settlements were made in Daviess county, and elsewhere.10 Those in Daviess county were on terms of amity with their gentile neighbors. Wight was there, and when Smith and Rigdon arrived from the east they laid out a town named Diahman,11 which soon rivalled Gallatin, and gradually the
9John Hyde, Mormonism, 203, says that on their arrival in Missouri, Smith and Rigdon began 'to scatter the saints in order to obtain political ascendency in other counties.'
10Of the officers then appointed, two of the judges, thirteen magistrates, all the military officers, and the county clerk were Mormons. 'These steps were taken, be it carefully observed, by the advice of the state legislature, and the officers were appointed in the manner directed by law.' Greene's Facts, 18. The gentiles murmur because of their being under Mormon rule. Hyde's Mormonism, 203.
11'Smith gave it the name of Adamondiamon, which he said was formerly (cont.)
|people of Daviess,
like the rest, began to war upon the Mormons.12
To add to the ever-thickening troubles of the prophet, a schism broke out in the church about this time, and there were apostates and deserters, some because of disappointed ambition, and some from shame of what they now regarded as a delusion, but all carrying away with them vindictive feelings toward their former associates, whom they did not hesitate to denounce as liars, thieves, counterfeiters, and everything that is vile. Among these were Joseph's old friends Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer, the three witnesses to the book of Mormon; Orson Hyde, Thomas B. Marsh, and W. W. Phelps also seceding.13
(11cont.) given to a certain valley where Adam, previous to his death, called his children together and blessed them.' Corrill's Brief History, in Kidder's Mormonism, 131. 'The earth was divided,' says Mr Richards, 'all the land being together and all the water. Adam dwelt there with his people for some time previous to his death. Adam constructed an altar there, and it was there that he bestowed his final blessings upon his descendants.' The place was also called Adam-On-Diahman, Adam-on-di-ahman, and again Diahman. The second of these names appears to have been the one in use among the saints. After the foundations of the temple at Far West were relaid, between midnight of the 25th and dawn of the 26th of April, 1839, the quorum sang the song which they called Adam-on-di-ahman. Tullidge's Life of Brigham Young.
12They were afraid the Mormons would 'rule the county, and they did not like to live under the laws and administration of Jo Smith.' Ibid.
13The first three were themselves accused of counterfeiting coin, and defaming Smith's character; and others charged Smith with 'being accessory to several murders and many thefts, and of designing to rule that part of the state of Missouri, and eventually the whole republic.' Hyde's Mormonism, 204; Mackay's The Mormons, 86. 'At Independence, Rigdon publicly charged Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer with being connected with a gang of counterfeiters, etc. Cowdery was afterward arraigned before the church, and found guilty of "disgracing the church by being connected with the bogus business, as common report says."' Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor., 158-9. 'Brother Turley could not be surpassed at "bogus." A press was prepared, and the money, composed of zinc, glass, etc., coated with silver, was executed in the best style. Imitations both of gold and silver were in general circulation and very difficult to detect. In fact, fore time, scarcely any other circulating medium was to be found among them.' When leaving Illinois for Council Bluffs, Hall carried in his wagon for some distance on the way a bogus press, which was afterwards sold on credit in Missouri, but the seller never got his money, being afraid to go for it. Hall's Mor., 20-1. Hall, who was a Mormon from 1840 to 1847, mentions this counterfeiting in connection with the Kirtland bank swindle, but does not state when the work was begun. It may have originated in Kirtland, but probably was not carried on to any great extent before the migration to Illinois. These rambling and general charges should be received with every allowance. 'From some (cont.)
At Far West on the 4th of July, 1838, assemble from the surrounding districts thousands of the saints, to lay the corner-stone of a temple of God, and to declare their rights as citizens of the commonwealth to safety and protection, as promised by the constitution. They are hated and despised, though they break not the laws of God; they are hunted down and killed, though they break not the laws of the land. To others their faith is odious, their words are odious, their persons and their actions are altogether detestable. They are not idlers, or drunkards, or thieves, or murderers; they are diligent in business as well as fervent in spirit, yet they are devils; they worship what they choose and in their own way, like the dissenters in Germany, the quakers in Pennsylvania, and the pilgrims from England, yet their spiritual father is Satan. And now, though thus marked for painful oppression by their fellow-citizens, they come together on the birthday of the nation to raise the banner of the nation, and under it to declare their solemn prerogative to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to the maintainance of which they stand ready to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. This they do. They raise the pole of liberty; they unfold the banner of liberty; they register their vows. Is it all in irony? Is it all a mockery? Or is it the displeasure of omnipotence, which is now displayed because of the rank injustice wrought by the sons of belial under this sacred emblem? God knoweth. We know only that out of heaven conics fire, blasting the offering of the saints!14
(13cont.) distant bank,' continued Hall, 'they would buy quantities of its unsigned bank notes, which they took home, and after having them signed by competent artists, placed in circulation. In procuring these bills, no persons met. the package would be left by a window of the bank, with a pane out, and the package taken and its price left by the purchaser.'
14'In a day or two after these transactions, the thunder rolled in awful majesty over the city of Far West, and the arrows of lightning fell from the clouds, and shivered the liberty pole from top to bottom; thus manifesting to many that there was an end to liberty and law in that state, and that our little city strove in vain to maintain the liberties of a country which was ruled by wickedness and rebellion.' Pratt's Persecution, 57.
Rigdon delivered the oration on this occasion; and being an American
citizen, and one of the founders of an American religion, it was perhaps
natural for him to indulge in a little Fourth-of-July oratory; it was
natural, but under the circumstances it was exceedingly impolitic.
"We take God to witness," cries Sidney, "and the holy
angels to witness this day, that we warn all men, in the name of Jesus
Christ, to come on us no more forever. The man or the set of men who
attempt it, do it at the expense of their lives; and that mob that comes
on us to disturb us, there shall be between us and them a war of
extermination, for we will follow them till the last drop of their blood
is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will carry
the war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the
other shall be utterly destroyed."
On the 8th of July there was a revelation on tithing. Early in August a conference was held at Diahman, and a military company, called the Host of Israel, was organized after the manner of the priesthood, including all males of eighteen years and over. There were captains of ten, of fifty, and of a hundred; the organization included the entire military force of the church, as had the Kirtland army previously a part of it.15
At length the storm burst. The state election of 1838 was held in Daviess county at the town of Gallatin on the 6th of August. Soon after the polls were opened, William Peniston, candidate for the legislature, mounted a barrel and began to speak, attacking the Mormons with degrading epithets, calling them horse-thieves and robbers, and swearing they should not vote in that county. Samuel Brown, a Mormon, who stood by, pronounced the charges untrue, and said that for one he should vote. Immediately Brown was struck by one Weldin, whose arm, in attempting to repeat the blow, was caught by
15'Every man obeyed the call.' Lee's Mormonism, 57.
named Durfee. Thereupon eight or ten men, with clubs and stones, fell upon
Durfee, whose friends rallied to his assistance, and the fight became
general, but with indecisive results. The Mormons voted, however, and the
rest of the day passed quietly.
On the next day two or three of Peniston's party, in order it was said to stir up the saints to violence, rode over to Far West, one after another, and reported
|a battle as having
been fought at Gallatin, in which several of the fraternity were killed.
Considerable excitement followed the announcement, and several parties
went to Diahman to learn the truth of the matter. Ascertaining the facts,
and being desirous of preventing further trouble, one of the brethren went
to the magistrate, Adam Black, and proposed bonds on both sides to keep
the peace. the proposition was accepted, Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight
signing for the Mormons, and Black for the gentiles. The Mormons then
returned to Far West; but the people of Daviess county, not approving the
action of the magistrate, disputed Black's right to bind them; whereupon,
to appease them, Black went to the circuit judge and obtained a writ for
the arrest of Smith and Wight on a charge of having forced him, by threats
of violence, to sign the agreement. Brought before Judge King at Gallatin,
Smith and Wight were released on their own recognizances.
Nevertheless the excitement increased. In Daviess and adjacent counties, three hundred gentiles met and armed. The Mormons say that the gentiles made prisoners, and shot and stole cattle, and the gentiles say that the Mormons did the same.16 Finally affairs became so alarming that Major-General Atchison concluded to call out the militia of Ray and Clay counties, under command of generals Doniphan and Parks, the latter being stationed in Daviess county.17 Their purposes in that quarter being thus defeated, the men of Missouri threw themselves on a small settlement of saints at Dewitt, where they were joined by a party with a six-pounder from Jackson county. Setting fire
16In Daviess county the saints killed between 100 and 200 hogs and a number of cattle, took at least forty or fifty stands of honey, and at the same time destroyed several fields of corn. The word was out that the Lord had consecrated through the bishop the spoils unto his host. Harris' Mormonism Portrayed, 30-1.
17'One thousand men were then ordered into service under the command of Major-General Atchison and brigadier-generals Parks and Doniphan. These marched to Daviess co., and remained in service thirty days. But judging from the result, they had no intention of coming in contact with the mob, but only to make a show of defending one neighborhood while the mob was allowed to attack another.' Pratt's Autobiography, 191.
|to the houses, they
drove off the inmates and destroyed their property. General Parks then
moved his troops to Dewitt, but found the mob too many for him. They
openly defied him, would make no compromise, and swore "they would
drive the Mormons from Daviess to Caldwell, and from Caldwell to
hell." General Atchison then went to Dewitt and told the Mormons that
his men were so disaffected18 that
they had better apply for protection to Governor Boggs. This official
returned answer that, as they had brought the war upon themselves, they
must fight their own battles, and not look to him for help. Thereupon they
abandoned the place, and fled to Far West.
In order to intercept the mob General Doniphan entered Daviess county with two hundred men, and thence proceeded to Far West, where he camped for the night. In consultation with the civil and military officers of the place, who, though Mormons, were nevertheless commissioned by the state, Doniphan advised them to arm and march to Daviess county and defend their brethren there. Acting on this advice, all armed, some going to Daviess county and some remaining at Far West.19 The former were met by Parks, who inquired of them all particulars. Shortly afterward some families came in from beyond Grand River, who stated that they had been driven away and their houses burned by a party under C. Gilliam.20 Parks then ordered Colonel Wight, who held a commission under him as commander of the
18'At length the general (Atchison) informed the citizens that his forces were so small, and many of them so much in favor of the insurrectionists, that it was useless to look any longer to theta for protection…After the evacuation of Dewitt, when our citizens were officially notified that they must protect themselves, they assembled in Far West to the number of one thousand men, or thereabout, and resolved to defend their rights to the last.' Pratt's Autobiography, 192-3.
19'The Mormons in Caldwell were the regular state militia for that county, and were at the time acting under the legal authorities of the county.' Greene's Facts, 20.
20'A noted company of banditti, under the command of Cornelius Gilliam, who had long infested our borders and been notorious for their murders and daring robberies anti who painted themselves as Indian warriors, came pouring in from the west to strengthen the camp of the enemy.' Pratt's Autobiography, 202.
|Mormon militia, to
disperse the party, which was done, and the cannon in their possession
seized, without firing a shot. Spreading into other counties, Gilliam's
men raised everywhere the cry that the Mormons were killing people and
Soon afterward the Mormon militia returned from Daviess county to Far West, where they learned that a large force under Samuel Bogart, a methodist clergyman, was plundering and burning houses south of that point, in Ray county, and had taken three men prisoners, one only of whom was a Mormon. Elias Higbee, county judge, ordered the Mormon militia under Captain Patten21 to retake the prisoners. In passing through a wood Patten came without knowing it upon the encampment of Bogart, whose guard fired without warning, killing one of Patten's men. Patten then attacked, routing Bogart's force, but not preventing the shooting of the Mormon prisoner, though he afterward recovered. In the charge one man was killed, and Patten and one other were mortally wounded. The company captured forty wagons.22
About this time arose the mysterious and much dreaded band that finally took the name of Danites, or sons of Dan, concerning which so much has been said while so little is known, some of the Mormons even denying its existence. But of this there is no question. Says Burton: "The Danite band, a name of fear in the Mississippi Valley, is said by anti-Mormons to consist of men between the ages of seventeen and forty-nine. They were originally termed Daughters of Gideon, Destroying Angels—the gentiles say devils—and, finally, Sons of Dan, or Danites, from one of whom was prophesied he should be a serpent in the path. They were organized about 1837 under D. W.
21Pratt, Persecution, 68, says that the detachment was under the command of Captain Durphey, aided by Patten.
22'The enemy had left their horses, saddles, camp, and baggage in the confusion of their flight, which fell into our hands.' Pratt's Persecutions, 72. 'We delivered the horses and spoils of the enemy to Col. Hinckle, the commanding officer of the regiment.' Id., 74.
called Captain Fearnot, for the purpose of dealing as avengers of blood
with gentiles; in fact, they formed a kind of death society, desperadoes,
thugs, hashshashiyun—in plain English, assassins in the name of the
Lord. The Mormons declare categorically the whole and every particular to
be the calumnious invention of the impostor and arch apostate, Mr John C.
John Hyde, a seceder, states that the Danite band, or the United Brothers of Gideon, was organized on the 4th of July, 1838, and was placed under the command of the apostle David Patten, who for the purpose assumed the name of Captain Fearnot.24
23John Corrill says that some time in June a secret society was formed of a few individuals who should be agreed in all things, and stand by each other, right or wrong, under all circumstances. Next to God was the first presidency; and they bound themselves by the most solemn covenants before the almighty that the presidency should be obeyed. 'Who started this society I know not,' writes Corrill; 'but Doctor Samson Arvard was the most prominent leader and instructor, and was assisted by others. The first presidency did not seem to have much to do with it,…but I thought they stood as wire-workers behind the curtain.' 'Arvard was very forward and indefatigable in accomplishing their purposes, for he devoted his whole talents to it, and spared no pains; and, I thought, was as grand a villain as his wit and ability would admit of…They ran into awful extremes,' seeming to think that they were called upon to execute the judgments of God on all their enemies. 'Dr Arvard received orders from Smith, Rigdon, and company to destroy the paper containing the constitution of the Danite society, as, if it should be discovered, it would be considered treasonable. He did not, however, obey the orders, but after he was made prisoner he handed it to General Clark.' Kidder's Mormonism, 143. The constitution is published in Bennett's Mormonism Exposed, 265. 'The oath by which the Danites were bound in Missouri was altered in a secret council of the inquisition at Nauvoo so as to read: "In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself ever to regard the prophet and first presidency of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as the supreme head of the church on earth and to obey them in all things the same as the supreme God; that I will stand by my brethren in danger or difficulty, and will uphold the presidency, right or wrong; and that I will ever conceal, and never reveal, the secret purposes of this society, called the Daughter of Zion. Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture, in a caldron of boiling oil."' Id., 267. The origin of the name Daughter of Zion may be found in Micah iv. 13.
24Hyde's Mormonism, 104. In Id., 104-5, Hyde writes as follows: 'When the citizens of Carroll and Daviess counties, Mo., began to threaten the Mormons with expulsion in 1838, a death society was organized under the direction of Sidney Rigdon, and with the sanction of Smith. Its first captain was Captain Fearnot, alias David Patten an apostle. Its object was the punishment of the obnoxious. Some time elapsed before finding a suitable name. They desired one that should seem to combine spiritual authority with a suitable stored. Micah iv. 13, furnished the first name. "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion! for I will make thy horn iron, and thy hoofs brass; and thou shall beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth." This furnished them with (cont.)
is the opinion of some that the Danite band, or Destroying Angels as again
they are called, was organized at the recommendation of the governor of
Missouri as a means of self-defense against persecutions in that state.25
Thomas B. Marsh, late president of the twelve apostles, and president of
the church at Far West, but now a dissenter, having "abandoned the
faith of the Mormons from a conviction of their immorality and
impiety," testifies that in October, 1838, they "had a meeting
at Far West, at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of
the Destruction Company, for the purpose of burning and destroying."26
The apostate Bennett gives a number of names by which the same society, or divisions of it, were known, such as Daughter of Zion, Big Fan,27 "inasmuch as it fanned out the chaff from the wheat," Brother of Gideon, Destructive, Flying Angel. The explanation of Joseph, the prophet, was that one Doctor Sampson Arvard, who after being a short time in the church, in order to add to his importance and influence secretly initiated the order of Danites, and held meetings
(24cont.) a pretext; it accurately described their intentions, and they called themselves the Daughters of Zion. Some ridicule was made at these bearded and bloody daughters, and the name did not sit easily. Destroying Angels came next; the Big Fan of the thresher that should thoroughly purge the floor was tried and dropped. Genesis, xlix. 17, furnished the name that they finally assumed. The verse is quite significant: "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." The sons of Dan was the style they adopted; and many have been the times that they have been adders in the path, and many a man has fallen backward, and has been seen no more.'
25See Smucker's Hist. Mor., 108.
26'The members of this order were placed under the most sacred obligations that language could invent…to stand by each other unto death, to sustain, protect, defend, and obey the leaders of the church under any and all circumstances unto death.' To divulge a Danite secret was death. There were signs and tokens, the refusal to respect which was death. 'This signs or token of distress is made by placing the right hand on the right side of the face, with the points of the fingers upwards, shoving the hand upwards until the ear is snug up between the thumb and forefinger.' Lee's Mormonism, 57-8.
27'The society was instituted for the purpose of driving out from the holy land, their earthly paradise, in Missouri, all apostates or dissenters…They make no scruple whatever to commit perjury, when deemed requisite for the welfare of their church…The number of Danites is now, 1842, about 2,000 or 2,500. From the élite of the Danites, or Daughters of Zion, twelve men are selected, who are called Destructives, or Destroying Angels, or Flying Angels.' Mormonism Exposed, 265-9.
organizing his men into companies of tens and fifties, with captains. Then he called the officers together and told them that they were to go forth and spoil the gentiles; but they rejected the proposal, and Arvard was cut off from the church. All the present leaders of the Mormon church deny emphatically the existence of any such band or society as a part of or having anything to do with their organization.28
28'It was intended to enable him,' Smith, 'more effectually to execute his clandestine purposes.' '"Milking the gentiles" is a kind of vernacular term of the Mormons, and signifies the obtaining of money or property from these who are not members of the Mormon church.' Id., 272-8. 'In an examination before Judge King Samuel (Samson?) Arvard testified that the first object of the Danite band was to drive from the county of Caldwell all those who dissented from the Mormon church, in which they succeeded admirably…The prophet Joseph Smith, Jr, together with his two counsellors Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon, were considered the supreme head of the church, and the Danite band felt themselves as much bound to obey them as to obey the supreme God.' John Corrill swore: 'I think the original object of the Danite band was to operate on the dissenters; but afterwards it grew into a system to carry out the designs of the presidency, and if it was necessary, to use physical force to uphold the kingdom of God.' John Cleminson said: 'Whoever opposed the presidency in what they said or desired done should be expelled the county or have their lives taken.' Wm W. Phelps, for a season an apostate, testified: 'If any person spoke against the presidency they would hand him over to the hands of the Brothers of Gideon.' 'The object of the meeting seemed to be to make persons confess and repent of their sins to God and the presidency.' 'Wight asked Smith, Jr, twice if it had come to the point now to resist the laws. Smith replied the time had come when he should resist all law.' Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 92-3. Arvard 'swore false concerning a constitution, as he said, that was introduced among the Danites, and made many other lying statements in connection therewith.' Mem. to Leg., in Greene's Facts, 32-3. Says John Corrill in his Brief History, 'A company, called the Fur Company, was raised for the purpose of procuring provisions, for pressing teams, and even men sometimes, into the army in Caldwell.' Reed Peck testified that small companies were sent out on various plundering expeditions; that he 'saw one of these companies on its return. It was called a fur company. Some had one thing, some another; one had a feather-bed; another some spun yarn, etc. This fur they were to take to the bishop's store, where it was to be deposited, and if they failed to do this it would be considered stealing.' Kidder's Mormonism, 147-8. Affidavit of the city council, Nauvoo: 'We do further testify that there is no such thing as a Danite society in this city, nor any combination other than the Masonic of which we have any knowledge.' Signed by Wilson Law, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and 10 others. Millennial Star, xix. 614. References to authorities speaking of the Danites: Mackay's The Mormons, 89-90, 116; Lee's Mormonism, 57-8, 156-60; Olshausen, Gesch. d. Morm., 48; Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 89; Beadle's Life in Utah, 389-90; Burton's City of the Saints, 359; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 108-9; Young's Wife No 19, 47-8, 268; Busch, Gesch. der Morm., 87; Marshall's Through Am., 215-16; Hyde's Mormonism, 104-5; Bennett's Mormonism Exposed, 263-72; Miller's First Families, 64-5; Hickman's Brigham's Destroying Angel; Hall's Mormonism, 94-5; E. M. Webb, in Utah County Sketches, MS., 49-50, the last named referring to the rules and principles of the order of Enoch.
was being matured the bloody tragedy which occurred on the 30th of October
near Haun's29 mill, on Shoal
creek, about twenty miles below Far West. Besides the Mormons living
there, were a number of emigrants awaiting the cessation of hostilities
before proceeding on their journey. It had been agreed between the Mormons
and Missourians of that locality that they would not molest each other,
but live together in peace. But the men of Caldwell and Daviess counties
would not have it so. Suddenly and without warning, on the day above
mentioned, mounted and to the number of two hundred and forty, they fell
upon the fated settlement. While the men were at their work out of doors,
the women in the house, and the children playing about the yards, the
crack of a hundred rifles was heard, and before the firing ceased,
eighteen of these unoffending people were stretched dead upon the ground,
while many more were wounded. I will not enter upon the sickening details,
which are copious and fully proven; suffice it to say, that never in
savage or other warfare was there perpetrated an act more dastardly and
brutal.30 Indeed, it was openly
avowed by the men of Missouri that it was no worse to shoot a Mormon than
to shoot an Indian, and killing Indians was no worse than killing wild
A somewhat singular turn affairs take at this juncture. It appears that Boggs, governor, and sworn enemy of the saints, does not like the way the war is going on. Here are his own soldiers fighting his own voters, the state forces killing the men who have put
29Spelled also Hahn, Hohn, Hawn.
30'Immediately after this, there came into the city a messenger from Haun's mill, bringing the intelligence of an awful massacre of the people who were residing in that place, and that a force of two or three hundred, detached from the main body of the army, under the superior command of Col. Ashley, but under the immediate command of Capt. Nehemiah Compstock, who, the day previous, had promised them peace and protection, but on receiving a copy of the governor's order to exterminate or to expel, from the hands of Col. Ashley, he returned upon them the following day, and surprised and massacred the whole population, and then came on to the town of Far West, and entered into conjunction with the main body of the army.' Mackay's The Mormons, 88-9.
him in office! This will not do. There is bad blundering somewhere. It is the Mormons only that are to be killed and driven off, and not the free and loyal American Boggs voters. Ho, there! Let the state arms be turned against these damned saints! On what pretext? Any. Say that they are robbing, and burning, and killing right and left, and that they swear they will never stop until they have the country. Easy enough. No doubt they do kill and burn; the men of Missouri are killing them and burning; why should they not retaliate? No doubt there are thieves and bad men among them, who take advantage of the time to practise their vile calling. No doubt there are violent men among them, who swear roundly at those who are hunting them to death, who swear that they will drive them off their lands and kill them if they can. But this does not make insurrectionists and traitors of the whole society. No matter; down with the Mormons! And so Boggs, the governor, seats himself and coolly writes off to his generals to drive out or exterminate the vermin.31
31Several of them write to Boggs: 'There is no crime, from treason down to petit larceny, but these people, or a majority of them, have been guilty of; all, too, under the counsel of Joseph Smith, Jr, the prophet. They have committed treason, murder, arson, burglary, robbery, larceny, and perjury. They have societies formed under the most binding covenants in form, and the most horrid oaths, to circumvent the laws and put them at defiance; and to plunder and burn and murder, and divide the spoils for the use of the church.' Tucker's Mormonism, 164.
And thus Boggs makes answer, Oct. 27th: 'Since the order of the morning to you directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Rees, Esq., and Wiley E. Williams, Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which changes entirely the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made open war upon the people of this state. Your orders are therefore to hasten your operations, and endeavor to reach Richmond in Pray county, with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary, for the public good. Their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may think necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj.-Gen. Wollock of Marion county to raise 500 men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan of Clay, who has been ordered with 500 men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead, therefore, of proceeding as at first directed, to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed (cont.)
it appears that the Missouri state militia, called out in the first
instance to assist the Mormon state militia in quelling a Missouri mob,
finally joins the mob against the Mormon militia. In none of their acts
had the saints placed themselves in an attitude of unlawful opposition to
the state authorities; on the other hand, they were doing all in their
power to defend themselves and support law and order, save in the matter
The first the saints of Caldwell county know of the new tactics is the appearance, within half a mile of Far West,32 of three thousand armed men, under General Lucas, generals Wilson and Doniphan being present, and General Clark with another army being a few days' march distant. General Lucas states that the main business there is to obtain possession of three individuals, whom he names, two of them not Mormons; and for the rest he has only to inform the saints that it is his painful duty either wholly to drive them from the state or to exterminate them.33 Gilliam and his comrades, who as disguised Indians and white men had been fighting the Mormons, now that the state espouses their cause, join Lucas.34 General Atchison was at Richmond, in Ray county, when the governor's exterminating order was issued. "I will have nothing to do with so infamous a proceeding," he said, and immediately resigned.
(31cont.) immediately to Richmond and there operate against the Mormons. Brig.-Gen. Parks of Ray has been ordered to have 400 men of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.'
32'The governor's orders and these military movements were kept an entire secret from the citizens of Caldwell and Daviess…even the mail was withheld from Far West.' Pratt's Autobiography, 200.
33'This letter of the governor's was extremely unguarded, and seems to have been too literally construed…Making all due allowance for the exasperated state of the public mind, these threats of extermination sound a little too savage in Anglo-Saxon ears…But they were impolitic, because they gave plausibility to the idea that the saints were the victims of a cruel and unrelenting religious persecution, and furnished them with one of the surest means of future success.' Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 90-1.
34'About the time that Lucas came out to Far West, Smith assembled the Mormon troops, and said that for every one they lacked in number of those who came out among them, the Lord would send angels, who would fight for them, and they should be victorious.' Kidder's Mormonism, 143.
day following his arrival General Lucas orders George M. Hinckle, colonel
commanding the Mormon militia, to bring before him Joseph Smith, junior,
Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Caleb Baldwin,
and Alexander McRae, which is done, though not without charge of fraud and
treachery on the part of Hinckle. A court-martial is immediately held; the
prisoners are all condemned, and sentenced to be shot next morning at
eight o'clock. "In the name of humanity I protest against any such
cold-blooded murder," says General Doniphan who further threatens to
withdraw his men if such a course is persisted in; whereupon the sentence
is not executed. All the Mormon troops in Far West, however, are required
to give up their arms and consider themselves prisoners of war.35
They are further required to execute a deed of trust pledging all Mormon
property to the payment of the entire cost of the war, and to give a
promise to leave the state before the coming spring.
Thus in the name of law and justice the Mormon soldiery, whose chief crime it would seem was that, in common with the rest of the militia, they had assisted
35They were 'confined to the limits of the town for about a week.' During this time much property was destroyed, and women abused. The number of arms taken was 630, besides swords and pistols, worth between $12,000 and $15,000. Mem. to Leg., in Greene's Facts, 15. 'General Lucas demanded the Caldwell militia to give up their arms, which was done to the number of upward of 500, the rest of the troops having fled during the night. After the troops had surrendered, the city of Far West was surrounded by the robbers, and all the men detained as prisoners, none being permitted to pass out of the city, although their families were starving for want of sustenance.' Pratt's Persecution, 84. 'We determined not to resist anything in the shape of authority, however tyrannical or unconstitutional might be the proceedings against us. 'With this request (to surrender ourselves as prisoners we readily complied as soon as we were assured by the pledge of the honor of the principal officers that our lives should be safe…We were marched into camp, surrounded by thousands of savage-looking beings, many of whom were painted like Indian warriors. These all set up a constant yell, like so many blood-hounds let loose on their prey…A hint was given us that the general officers held a secret council…in which we were all sentenced to be shot.' Pratt's Persecution, 80-2. 'If the vision of the infernal regions could suddenly open to the mind, with thousands of malicious fiends, all clamoring, exulting, deriding, blaspheming, mocking, railing, raging, and foaming like a troubled sea, then could some idea be formed of the hell which we had entered.' Pratt's Autobiography, 204. See Young's Woman's Experience, MS.; Horne's Migrations, MS.
|the state in
putting down a mob, were forced at the point of the bayonet to sign an
obligation, binding not only themselves but the civilians within their
settlements to defray the entire expense of the war. This proceeding was
sufficiently peculiar; but, as a climax to their conduct, some of the
officers and men laid hands on the Mormons' property wherever they could
find it, taking no thought of payment.
General Clark36 now comes forward, and entering the town of Far West, collects the saints in the public square, reads them a lecture,37 and selecting fifty of their number, thrusts them into prison. Next day forty-six of the fifty are taken to Richmond,38 and after a fortnight's confinement half are liberated,39
36Pratt says that Clark has been commended by some writers for his heroic merciful, and prudent conduct toward the Mormons, but that the truth is that he openly avowed his approval of all the proceedings of Gen. Lucas, and said that he should not alter his decrees. Autobiography, 227-8.
37It runs as follows: 'Gentlemen, You whose names are not attached to this list of names will now have the privilege of going to your fields to obtain corn for your families, wood, etc. Those that are now taken will go from thence to prison, to be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes, but you are now at liberty, all but such as charges may be hereafter preferred against. It now devolves upon you to fulfil the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I now lay before you. The first of these you have already complied with, which is, that you deliver up your leading men to be tried according to law. Second, that you deliver up your arms; this has been attended to. The third is, that you sign over your property to defray the expenses of the war; this you have also done. Another thing yet remains for you to comply with, that is, that you leave this state forthwith, and whatever your feelings concerning this affair, whatever your innocence, it is nothing to me. Gen. Lucas, who is equal in authority with me, has made this treaty with you. I am determined to see it executed. The orders of the governor to me were, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to continue in the state, and had your leaders not been given up and the treaty complied with before this, you and your families would have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes.'
38Pratt says in his Autobiography, p. 210, that a revelation to Joseph Smith buoyed up their spirits continually during their captivity. 'As we arose and commenced our march on the morning of the 3d of November, Joseph Smith spoke to me and the other prisoners in a low but cheerful and confidential tone; said he, "Be of good cheer, brethren; the word of the Lord came to me last night that our lives should be given us, and that whatever we may suffer during this captivity, not one of our lives should be taken."' 'When we arrived in Richmond as prisoners there were some fifty others, mostly heads of families, who had been marched from Caldwell on foot, distance thirty miles, and were now penned up in a cold, open, unfinished court-house, in which situation they remained for some weeks, while their families were suffering severe privations.' Id., 227.
39A court of inquiry was instituted at Richmond before Judge Austin A. King, lasting from the 11th to 28th of November. Pratt says: 'The judge could not be prevailed on to examine the conduct of the murderers and robbers (cont.)
most of the remainder being set free a week later on giving bail. Lucas40 then retires with his troops, leaving the country to be ravaged by armed squads that burn houses, insult women, and drive off stock ad libitum.41 The faint pretext of justice on the part of the state, attending forced sales and forced settlements, might as well have been dispensed with, as it was but a cloak to cover official iniquity.42
(39cont.) who had desolated our society, nor would he receive testimony except against us…The judge in open court, while addressing a witness, proclaimed that if the members of the church remained on their lands to put in another crop they should be destroyed indiscriminately, and their bones be left to bleach on the plains without a burial…Mr Doniphan, attorney for the defence, and since famed as a general in the Mexican war, finally advised the prisoners to offer no defence; "for," said he, "though a legion of angels from the opening heavens should declare your innocence, the court and populace have decreed your destruction." Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McRay were committed to the jail of Clay co. on charge of treason; and Morris Phelps, Lyman Gibbs, Darwin Chase, Norman Shearer, and myself were committed to the jail of Richmond, Ray co., for the alleged crime of murder, said to be committed in the act of dispersing the bandit Bogart and his gang.' Id., 230-3.
40Ingloriously conspicuous in the Missouri persecutions were generals Clark, Wilson, and Lucas, Colonel Price, Captain Bogart, and Cornelius Gilliam, 'whose zeal in the cause of oppression and injustice,' says Smith, 'was unequalled, and whose delight has been to rob, murder, and spread devastation among the saints…All the threats, murders, and robberies which these officers have been guilty of are entirely ignored by the executive of the state, who to hide his own iniquity must of course shield and protect those whom he employed to carry into effect his murderous purposes.' Times and Seasons, i. 7.
41Pages of evidence, both Mormon and anti-Mormon, might be given, and can indeed at any time be produced, to prove the commission of innumerable wrongs and revolting atrocities on the part of the people of Missouri, while abetted therein by state forces, commanded by state officers, and all under guidance of the state governor.
42There is abundance of testimony from disinterested sources, even from the opposers of Mormonism themselves, to prove the persecution on the part of the people of Missouri unjust and outrageous. I will quote only three from many similar comments that have been made on this subject, and all, be it remembered, emanating from the open and avowed enemies of this religion.
Says Prof. Turner of Illinois college: 'Who began the quarrel? Was it the Mormons? Is it not notorious, on the contrary, that they were hunted like wild beasts, from county to county, before they made any desperate resistance? Did they ever, as a body, refuse obedience to the laws, when called upon to do so, until driven to desperation by repeated threats and assaults from the mob? Did the state ever make one decent effort to defend them as fellow-citizens in their rights, or to redress their wrongs? Let the conduct of its governors, attorneys, and the fate of their final petitions answer. Have any who plundered and openly massacred the Mormons ever been brought to the punishment due to their crimes? Let the boasting murderers of begging and helpless infancy answer. Has the state ever remunerated even those known to be innocent, for the loss of either their property or their arms? Did either the pulpit or the press through the state raise a note of remonstrance or alarm? Let the clergymen who abetted and the editors (cont.)
It did not seem possible to a community convicted of no crime, and living in the nineteenth century, under the flag of the world's foremost republic, that such flagrant wrongs as the Boggs exterminating order, and the enforced treaty under which they were deprived of their property, could be carried into effect. They appealed, therefore, to the legislature,43 demanding justice. But that body was too much with the people and with Boggs to think of justice. To make a show of decency, a committee was appointed and sent to Caldwell and Daviess counties, to look into the matter, but of course did nothing. Another was appointed with like result. Debates continued with more or less show of interest through the month of December. In January, 1839, the Mormons were plainly told that they need expect no redress at the hand of the legislature or other body of Missouri.
(42cont.) who encouraged the mob answer.' Correspondence Joseph Smith, 2. On the 16th of March, 1839, the editor of the Quincy Argus wrote as follows: 'We have no language sufficiently strong for the expression of our indignation and shame at the recent transaction in a sister state, and that state Missouri, a state of which we had long been proud, alike for her men and history, but now so fallen that we could wish her star stricken out from the bright constellation of the Union. We say we know of no language sufficiently strong for the expression of our shame and abhorrence of her recent conduct. She has written her own character in letters of blood, and stained it by acts of merciless cruelty and brutality that the waters of ages cannot efface. it will be observed that an organized mob, aided by many of the civil and military officers of Missouri, with Gov. Boggs at their head, have been the prominent actors in this business, incited, too, it appears, against the Mormons by political hatred, and by the additional motives of plunder and revenge. They have but too well put in execution their threats of extermination and expulsion, and fully wreaked their vengeance on a body of industrious and enterprising men who had never wronged nor wished to wrong them, but on the contrary had ever comported themselves as good and honest citizens, living under the same laws, and having the same right with themselves to the sacred immunities of life, liberty, and property.' 'By enlightened people the Mormons were regarded as the victims of misguided vengeance in Missouri. The ruffianly violence they encountered at the hands of lawless mobs, in several instances eventuating in deliberate murder, finds no extenuation in any alleged provocation. The due process of law might have afforded adequate redress for the criminalities of which they should be found guilty on legal trial. Such was the view of the subject rightly taken by the people of Illinois and of the world, though it may have been wrongfully applied in favor of the cause of the persecuted.' Tucker's Mormonism, 166.
43A memorial was sent to the legislature of Missouri, dated Far West, Dec. 10, 1838, setting forth these facts, and praying that the governor's novel, unlawful, tyrannical, and oppressive order be rescinded. It was signed by Edward Partridge, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Theodore Turley, Brigham Young, Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, John Murdock, John M. Burk.
was no help for them; they must leave the state or be killed; of this they
were assured on all sides, publicly and privately.
And now begins another painful march—painful in the thought of it, painful in the telling of it. It is midwinter; whither can they go, and how? They have homes, but they may not enjoy them; land which they have bought, houses which they have built, and barns and cattle and food, but hereabout they are hunted to death. Is it Russia or Tartary or Hindostan, that people are thus forced to fly for opinion's sake? True, the people of the United States do not like such opinions; they do not like a religious sect that votes solid, or a class of men whom they look upon as fools and fanatics talking about taking the country, claimed as theirs by divine right; but in any event this was no way to settle the difficulty. Here are men who have been stripped in a moment of the results of years of toil—all that they have in the world gone; here are women weighed down with work and care, some whose husbands are in prison, and who are thus left to bear the heavy burden of this infliction alone; here are little children, some comfortably clad, others obliged to encounter the wind and frozen ground with bare heads and bleeding feet.
Whither can they go? There is a small following of the prophet at Quincy, Illinois; some propose to go there, some start for other places. But what if they are not welcome at Quincy, and what can they do with such a multitude? There is no help for it, however, no other spot where the outcasts can hope for refuge at the moment. Some have horses and cattle and wagons; some have none. Some have tents and bedding; some have none. But the start is made, and the march is slowly to the eastward. In the months of February and March44
44'On the 20th of April, 1839, the last of the society departed from Far West. Thus had a whole people, variously estimated at from ten to fifteen (cont.)
|over one hundred
and thirty families are on the west bank of the Mississippi unable to
cross the river, which is full of floating ice. There they wait and
suffer; they scour the country for food and clothing for the destitute;
many sicken and die.
Finally they reach Quincy, and are kindly received. Not only the saints but others are there who have human hearts and human sympathies.
Indeed, upon the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri the people of Illinois took a stand in their favor. The citizens of Quincy, in particular, offered their warmest sympathy and aid, on the ground of humanity. A select committee, appointed to ascertain the facts in the case, reported, on the 27th of February, 1839, "that the
(44cont.) thousand souls, been driven from houses and lands and reduced to poverty, and had removed to another state, daring one short winter and part of a spring. The sacrifice of property was immense.' Pratt's Autobiography, 245.
arrived here from the state of Missouri, known by the name of latter-day
saints, are entitled to our sympathy and kindest regard." The
working-men of the town should be informed "that these people have no
design to lower the wages of the laboring class, but to procure something
to save them from starving." Finally it was resolved: "That we
recommend to all the citizens of Quincy, in all their intercourse with the
strangers, that they use and observe a becoming decorum and delicacy, and
be particularly careful not to indulge in any conversation or expressions
calculated to wound their feelings, or in any way to reflect upon those
who, by every law of humanity, are entitled to our sympathy and
How in regard to neighboring states? In case the people of Illinois soon tire of them, what will they then do? From Commerce, Isaac Galland writes to Robert Lucas, governor of Iowa, asking about it. The answer is such as one would expect from the average American citizen—neither better nor worse. It is such, however, as to condemn throughout all time the conduct of the people of Missouri.46
45Pratt's Persecution of the Saints, 185.
46'On my return to this city,' writes Lucas from the executive office at Burlington, Iowa, 'after a few weeks' absence in the interior of the territory, I received your letter of the 25th ult. [Feb. 1839], in which you give a short account of the sufferings of the people called Mormons, and ask whether they could be permitted to purchase lands and settle upon them in the territory of Iowa, and there worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, secure from oppression, etc. In answer to your inquiry, I would say that I know of no authority that can constitutionally deprive them of this right. They are citizens of the United States, and are all entitled to all the rights and privileges of other citizens. The 2d section of the 4th article of the constitution of the United States (which all are solemnly bound to support) declares that "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states;" this privilege extends in full force to the territories of the United States. The first amendment to the constitution of the United States declares that "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The ordinances of congress of the 13th July, 1787, for the government of the territory north-west of the river Ohio, secures to the citizens of said territory and the citizens of the states thereafter to be formed therein, certain privileges which were by the late act of congress organizing the territory of Iowa extended to the citizens of this territory. The first fundamental article in that ordinance, which is (cont.)
During these trying times the prophet was moving about among his people, doing everything in his power to protect and encourage thorn. Late in September he was in the southern part of Caldwell county, whence in October he passed into Carroll county, where he soon found himself hemmed in by an enraged populace. He appealed to the people, he applied to the governor, but all to no purpose. Afterward he went to Daviess county, and then back to Far West, where he was arrested and incarcerated with the others. Shortly afterward the prisoners, now
(46cont.) declared to be forever unalterable except by common consent, reads as follows, to wit: No person demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in said territory. These principles I trust will ever be adhered to in the territory of Iowa. They make no distinction between religious sects. They extend equal privileges and protection to all; each must rest upon its own merits and will prosper in proportion to the purity of its principles, and the fruit of holiness and piety produced thereby. With regard to the peculiar people mentioned in your letter, I know but little. They had a community in the northern part of Ohio for several years, and I have no recollection of ever having heard in that state of any complaint against them of violating the laws of the country. Their religious opinions I conceive have nothing to do with our political transactions. They are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to the same political rights and legal protection that other citizens are entitled to. The foregoing are briefly my views on the subject of your inquiries.'
In a memorial sent to Washington in the autumn of 1839, it was claimed by the Mormons that their property destroyed in Jackson co. was worth $120,000; that 12,000 souls were banished; that they purchased and improved lands in Clay co., and in three years were obliged to leave there with heavy loss; that they then purchased and improved lands in Daviess and Carroll counties; that for the most part these counties were wild and uncultivated; that they had converted them into large and well improved farms, well stocked, which were rapidly advancing in cultivation and wealth; and that they were finally compelled to fly from these counties. In a petition presented by Sidney Rigdon to the state of Pennsylvania, it is stated that 'Lilburn Boggs, governor of the state, used his executive influence to have us all massacred or driven into exile; and all this because we were not lawless and disobedient. For if the laws had given them a sufficient guaranty against the evils complained of…then would they bare had recourse to the laws. If we had been transgressors of laws, our houses would not have been rifled, our women ravished, our farms desolated, and our goods and chattels destroyed, our men killed, our wives and children driven into the prairies, and made to suffer all the indignities that the most brutal barbarity could inflict; but would only have had to suffer that which the laws would inflict, which were founded in justice, framed in righteousness, and administered in humanity… Why, then, all this cruelty? Answer: because the people had violated no law; and they could not be restrained by law, nor prevented from exercising the rights according to the laws, enjoyed, and had a right to be protected in, in any state of file Union.' Mr Corrill remarks: 'My opinion is, that if the Mormons had been let alone by the citizens, they would have divided and subdivided, so as to have completely destroyed themselves and their power as a people in a short time.'
|consisting of the
prophet Joseph Smith, with Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Parley P. Pratt,
Lyman Wight, Amass Lyman, and George W. Robinson, were removed to
Independence; why they did not know, but because it was the hot-bed of
mobocracy, they said, and peradventure they might luckily be shot or
hanged. A few days later they were taken to Richmond and put in irons, and
later to Liberty jail in Clay county, where they were kept confined for
four months. Habeas corpus was tried, and many petitions were forwarded to
the authorities on their behalf, but all to no purpose. At length they
obtained a hearing in the courts, with a change of venue to Boone county
where they were still to be incarcerated. Rigdon had been previously
released on habeas corpus, and one night, when the guard was asleep, Smith
and the others escaped and made their way to Quincy.
"I was in their hands as a prisoner," says Smith, "about six months; but notwithstanding their determination to destroy me, with the rest of my brethren who were with me, and although at three different times we were sentenced to be shot without the least shadow of law, and had the time and place appointed for that purpose, yet through the mercy of God, in answer to the prayers of the saints, I have been preserved, and delivered out of their hands."47
47In 1839 Carlin was governor of Illinois, and on him the governor of Missouri made a formal demand for the surrender to the authorities of Smith and Rigdon, but little attention was paid to it. One of the most complete documents extant covering this period is, Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, from the State of Missouri under the Exterminating Order. By John P. Greene, an authorized representative of the Mormons (Cincinnati, 1839). The work consists of 43 8vo pages, and was written for the purpose of showing to what wrongs the Mormons had been subjected at the hands of the people and politicians of Missouri, and also to obtain contributions for the destitute. The contents are largely documentary, and if we allow for some intensity of feeling, bear the impress of truth.
Pointing in the same direction but less pretentious and less important is Correspondence between Joseph Smith, the prophet, and Col. John Wentworth, editor of the 'Chicago Democrat,' and member of congress from Illinois; General James Arlington Bennett, of Arlington House, Long Island; and the Honorable John C. Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina, in which is given a sketch of the life of Joseph Smith, Rise and Progress of the Church of Latter-day Saints, and their persecution by the state of Missouri; with the peculiar views of Joseph Smith in relation to Political and Religious matters generally; to which is added a concise account of the present state and prospects of the city of (cont.)
their enormous losses, and the extreme indigence of many, the saints were
not all as destitute of credit as they were of ready means, if we may
judge by their business transacted during the year 1839. Bishop Knight
bought for the church part of the town of Keokuk, Iowa, situated on the
west bank of the Mississippi, forty miles above Quincy, Illinois. He also
purchased the whole of another town-site called Nashville, six miles above
Keokuk. Four miles above Nashville was a settlement called Montrose, part
of which Knight bought, together with thirty thousand acres of land.48
Opposite Montrose, on the east bank of the Mississippi where was a good landing, stood a village
(47cont.) Nauvoo. (New York, 1844). With a title-page from which so much information is to be derived, we must not expect too much from the book itself. A portion of this correspondence was published in the Times and Seasons.
Late Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ten thousand American citizens robbed, plundered, and banished; others imprisoned, and others martyred for their Religion. With a sketch of their Rise, Progress, and Doctrine. By P. P. Pratt, Minister of the Gospel. Written in prison (New York, 1840). This is a 16mo vol. of 215 pages, most of which is devoted to the Missouri persecutions, with but little other history, except what is thrown in incidentally. All appendix of 37 pages is made up mostly from Greene's Facts. Pratt gives a graphic account of his life in prison, and of the means whereby, with the coöperation of his wife, he rescued from jail the manuscript of this book, which was written there. After mentioning them, he says: 'Thus, kind reader, was this little book providentially, and I may say miraculously, preserved, and by this means you have it to read.' The first edition was published at Detroit, Michigan, the book consisting then of 84 pages.
Full reference for the persecutions of the Mormons in 1831-39. Memorial to Legislature Mass. in 1844, against such conduct, in Times and Seasons, i. 17-20, 33-6, 49-56, 65-6, 81-6, 94, 97-104, 113-16, 128-34, 145-50, 161-7, 177; v. 514-19; Pratt's Persecution of the Saints, 21-215; Utah Tracts, no. 4, 56-64; Pratt's Autobiography, 190-237, 311-22, 336-40; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 86; Deseret News, Dec. 27, 1851, Nov. 29 and Dec. 27, 1851, June 30, 1869; Mackay's The Mormons, 106-14; Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor., 160-6; Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 133-76; Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 87-8, 90; White's Ten Years in Or., 144; Taylder's Mormon's Own Book, xliii.-xlvi.; Gunnison's Mormons, 104-14; Millennial Star, xxv., 535-6, 550-2, 599-600, 614-16, 631; Burnett's Rec., 56; Beadle's Life in Utah, 60; Lee's Mormonism, 55-96; Tullidge's Women, 116-74; Richards' Narrative, MS., 6-9; Young's Wife No. 19, 43-53; Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1869; Stenhouse, Les Mormons, 154-71; Liberty Tribune; Margaret Smoot's Eperiences of a Mormon Wife, MS., 2-3: Farnham's Travels Rocky Mts., 6; Bertrand's Mem. Mor., 51; Busch, Gesch. der Mor., 85-7, 90-7; Juvenile Instructor, xv. 78; Kidder's Mormonism, 133-5; Iowa Frontier Guardian, March 21, 1849; Rabbison's Growth of Towns, MS, 2-5.
48'Since their expulsion from Missouri a portion of them, about one hundred families, have settled in Lee county, Iowa Territory, and are generally considered industrious, inoffensive, and worthy citizens.' Letter from Robert Lucas, governor of Iowa, to A. Ripley, dated Jan. 4, 1840.
where were some twenty houses. This was purchased by the saints, with the
lands surrounding, and a town laid out which was named Nauvoo, "from
the Hebrew, which signifies fair, very beautiful, and it actually fills
the definition of the word; for nature has not formed a parallel on the
banks of the Mississippi from New Orleans to Galena." The post-office
there was first called Commerce, after the Mormons had purchased the
village, but the name was changed to that of Nauvoo in May, 1840.49
The place was started by a company from New York, but it was so sickly
that when the agent for the Mormons came they were glad to sell. The
Mormons drained it and made the place comparatively healthy.
On his escape from prison, Smith visited Commerce among other places, and seeing at once the advantages of its site, determined to establish there the headquarters of the church. For so great had his power now become, so extensive his following, that he might choose any spot whereon to call into existence a city, had but to point his finger and say the word to transform a wilderness into a garden. During the winter of 1840 the church leaders applied to the legislature of Illinois for several charters, one for the city of Nauvoo, one for agricultural and manufacturing purposes, one for a university, and one for a military body called the Nauvoo Legion. The privileges asked were very extensive, but were readily granted; for the two great political parties were pretty equal in numbers in Illinois at this time, and the leaders of the party in office, perceiving what a political power these people were, determined to secure them.
49'Nauvoo was one of the names of one of the numerous petty chiefs in British India.' Ferris' The Mor., 97. 'Nauvoo is a Hebrew word, and signifies a beautiful habitation for man, carrying with it the idea of rest; it is not, however, considered by the Mormons their final home, but a resting place only; for they only intend to remain there until they have gathered force sufficient to enable them to conquer Independence in Jackson co., Missouri, which is one of the most fertile, pleasant, and desirable countries on the face of the earth, possessing a soil unsurpassed in any region. Independence they consider their Zion, and there they intend to rear their great temple, the corner-stone of which is already laid. There is to be the great gathering (cont.)
were now saints everywhere, all over the United States, particularly
throughout the western portion; there were isolated believers, and small
clusters, and small and great congregations. There were also many
travelling preachers, men full of the holy ghost, or believing themselves
so, who travelled without purse or scrip, whom no buffetings, insults,
hunger, or blows could daunt, who feared nothing that man could do,
heaven's door being always open to them. See now the effects of these
persecutions in Missouri. Twelve thousand were driven from their homes and
set moving by Boggs and his generals; three fourths of them found new
homes at Quincy, Nauvoo, and elsewhere; but three thousand, who, but for
the persecutions, would have remained at home and tilled their lands, were
preaching and proselyting, making new converts and establishing new
churches wherever they went. One of their number, William Smith, was a
member of the Illinois legislature. In the very midst of the war they were
preaching in Jackson county, among their old enemies and spoilers,
striving with all their souls to win back their Zion, their New Jerusalem.
From New York, February 19, 1840, Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, Orson
Pratt, and Parley P. Pratt indited a letter to the saints at Commerce,
speaking of the wonderful progress of the faith, and of their own intended
departure for England.50
Thus, despite persecution, the saints increased in number year by year. Before the end of 1840 there were fifteen thousand souls at Nauvoo, men, women, and children, not all of them exiles from Missouri, but from every quarter, old believers and new converts from different parts of the United States, from Canada, and from Europe; hither came they to the city of their God, to the mountain of his holiness.
(49cont.) place for all the saints, and in that delightful country they expect to find. their Eden, and build the New Jerusalem.' Bennett's Mormonism Exp., 192-3.
50See J. D. Hunter's letter of Dec. 26, 1839, from Jackson county, Ill., in Times and Seasons, i. 59.
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