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“A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” December 1839–October 1840

“A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” December 1839–October 1840

this legal business. Bogard

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

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came into Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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, without any legal authority whatever, and committed all his outrages: but after he had committed them, he sends a messenger to General [David R.] Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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, for authority. Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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sets down and sends him a writing, authorizing him to guard the line, between the counties of Ray

Located in northwestern Missouri. Area settled, 1815. Created from Howard Co., 1820. Initially included all state land north of Missouri River and west of Grand River. Population in 1830 about 2,700; in 1836 about 6,600; and in 1840 about 6,600. Latter-day...

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and Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

More Info
. General Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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’s order to Bogard

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

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, was copied by Samuel Tillary [Tillery] after dark on the evening before the battle was fought, and that was fought before day light the next morning, and the letter had to be carried some thirty or forty miles. Here was another piece of legerdemain. Bogard

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

View Full Bio
was turned into militia, to hide up his wickedness.— We had this account from the mouth of Samuel Tillary; he is Clerk of the Circuit Court in Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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and acts as clerk for General Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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.
Let the reader particularly notice, that this L. W. Boggs

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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, was well acquainted with the operations of the mob, for the space of five years; having been the leader of it, once, himself, at the time it raged in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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; and had been petitioned, again and again, after he was Governor; to stop its ravages: and in every instance refused to do it. He now perfectly knew that the whole difficulty, had originated in consequence of its violence and plunder: yet notwithstanding this, he issued the above order. Boggs

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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, said, that if it had not been for the vote, which the Mormons gave at the late election, he would have exterminated them before.
After the citizens of Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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were made acquainted with the fact, that General Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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, was there, by the Governor

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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’s order, they ceased to take any measures for defence; but submitted immediately.
In the meantime, the army employed itself in destroying the cornfields, potatoes and turnips, and in taking horses, and plundering houses. Houses were searched by them, as closely to find money, as a man would be searched by a set of Arabs, after a shipwreck. Every dollar was carried off, that could be found, while the lives of the owners were threatened, if they offered the least resistance. Cattle, hogs and sheep, were shot down and, left on the ground to rot. Men, women, and children, were insulted and abused, in a brutal manner!
The next day after we were betrayed into camp, Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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, ordered all the persons in the county of Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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, to give up their arms. After the arms were given up, the men were kept under guard; and all property holders, compelled to sign a Deed of trust, signing away all their property, to defray the expenses of the war; and then they were all commanded to leave the State

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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under pain of extermination, between that and corn-planting the next spring.
At the time of giving up the arms, there again followed another scene of brutality. The troops ran from house to house, taking all the arms they could find, from old men, that never thought of going into a field of battle; but there must not be left a single gun in the county

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

More Info
; so the troops ran as before described, like a parcel of ravenous wolves; but their great object, in the pursuit of guns, was, to find plunder. They wanted to get into the houses, to see if there was not something they could carry off. Thus they plundered houses until they got satisfied. To secret their property from their ravages, the people had to go and hide it in the bushes, or any where they could find a place of concealment. The troops found some of the property that had been hid. This produced another savage operation. Those wild creatures, tearing like mad men through the bushes, ran from place to place, searching under hay stacks, tearing up floors, hunting pretendedly after arms; but the abundance of property plundered, testifies that they had another object in view.
While the troops were thus engaged, the officers were busily employed in forming some plan to dispose of those, whom they had betrayed into their camp. Seventeen preachers, and nineteen commissioned officers, met with Generals Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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and [Moses] Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

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, and held a court martial. The prisoners, were never admitted into it at all: they were not allowed to plead, introduce evidence, or any thing else. Finally, the august body came to a decision; and that was, that at eight o’clock the next morning, they should be taken into the public square, in the presence [p. 130]
this legal business. Bogard

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

View Full Bio
came in to Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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, without any legal authori ty whatever, and committed all his out rages: but after he had committed them,  he sends a messenger to General [David R.] At chison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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, for authority. Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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sets  down and sends him a writing, author izing him to guard the line, between the  counties of Ray

Located in northwestern Missouri. Area settled, 1815. Created from Howard Co., 1820. Initially included all state land north of Missouri River and west of Grand River. Population in 1830 about 2,700; in 1836 about 6,600; and in 1840 about 6,600. Latter-day...

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and Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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. Gen eral Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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’s order to Bogard

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

View Full Bio
, was  copied by Samuel Tillary [Tillery] after dark  on the evening before the battle was  fought, and that was fought before day  light the next morning, and the letter  had to be carried some thirty or forty  miles. Here was another piece of le gerdemain. Bogard

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

View Full Bio
was turned into  militia, to hide up his wickedness.—  We had this account from the mouth  of Samuel Tillary; he is Clerk of the  Circuit Court in Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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and acts  as clerk for General Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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.187

Rigdon’s chronology is incorrect. The battle was fought about thirty-six hours after Atchison’s orders were copied and sent by express to Bogart, who testified he read the orders to several Mormons the evening of 24 October, hours before the early-morning battle took place.a However, Latter-day Saint accounts of the activities of Bogart’s men before the battle depict them as marauders and do not clearly show whether in any instance they identified themselves as militia under orders.b  


aSamuel Bogart, Elkhorn, MO, to David R. Atchison, [Liberty, MO], 23 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; David R. Atchison, Liberty, MO, to Samuel Bogart, 23 Oct. 1838, in Samuel Bogart, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes [Mo. 5th Cir. Ct. 1838], in State of Missouri, “Evidence.”

bAddison Greene, Affidavit, Quincy, IL, 17 Mar. 1840, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; William Seely, Affidavit, Scott Co., IL, 20 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL; Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 4–5, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.

Let the reader particularly notice,  that this L. W. Boggs

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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, was well ac quainted with the operations of the mob,  for the space of five years; having been  the leader of it, once, himself, at the  time it raged in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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;188

Edward Partridge wrote that as lieutenant governor, Boggs had designated Thomas Pitcher, a colonel in the state militia, as leader of the vigilantes in Jackson County to give “a show of legality” to their operations. (“History, of the Persecution,” Jan. 1840, 1:35.)  


and  had been petitioned, again and again,  after he was Governor; to stop its rav ages: and in every instance refused to  do it.189

Despite a number of requests to do so, Boggs made only one attempt to intervene personally in the conflict: he departed Jefferson City 20 September and traveled toward Daviess County with the intent to mediate between the Latter-day Saints and their opponents.a He abandoned the project after learning on 24 September that the militia under David R. Atchison’s command had dispersed potential combatants.b Mormons and non-Mormons at De Witt made two appeals for Boggs to intervene there before the Saints were forced to leave.c Other appeals or recommendations for Boggs to intervene included two from Atchison in October 1838.d  


a“The Mormon Difficulties,” Niles’ National Register [Washington DC], 6 Oct. 1838, 83.

bB. M. Lisle, Jonesborough, MO, to John B. Clark, 24 Sept. 1838, copy; B. M. Lisle, Jonesborough, MO, to Samuel D. Lucas, 24 Sept. 1838, copy; B. M. Lisle, Booneville, MO, to Lewis Bolton, 25 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

cBenjamin Kendrick et al., De Witt, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 22 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; JS, “Extract, from the Private Journal,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:3; Corrill, Brief History, 35.

dDavid R. Atchison, Booneville, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 9 Oct. 1838, copy; David R. Atchison, Booneville, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 16 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

He now perfectly knew that the  whole difficulty, had originated in con sequence of its violence and plunder:  yet notwithstanding this, he issued the  above order. Boggs

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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, said, that if it  had not been for the vote, which the  Mormons gave at the late election, he  would have exterminated them before.
After the citizens of Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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were  made acquainted with the fact, that  General Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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, was there, by the Gov ernor

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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’s order, they ceased to take any  measures for defence; but submitted  immediately.190

Latter-day Saints built a defensive breastwork at the edge of Far West the night of 30 October, after their emissaries met with Alexander Doniphan. John Corrill reported that when JS was informed of Boggs’s orders the following day, “Smith said if it was the Governor’s order, they would submit, and the Lord would take care of them.” (Corrill, Brief History, 40, 42.)  


In the meantime, the army employ ed itself in destroying the cornfields,  potatoes and turnips, and in taking  horses, and plundering houses. Hous es were searched by them, as closely  to find money, as a man would be  searched by a set of Arabs, after a  shipwreck. Every dollar was carried  off, that could be found, while the lives  of the owners were threatened, if they  offered the least resistance. Cattle,  hogs and sheep, were shot down and,  left on the ground to rot. Men, wo men, and children, were insulted and  abused, in a brutal manner!191

Prior to the surrender of the Latter-day Saints at Far West, depredations by scouting parties from the main body of the militia and by raiders under the leadership of Cornelius Gilliam targeted Saints in outlying areas near Far West. (Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 4–5, 10, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


The next day after we were betray ed into camp,192

JS wrote a few days later that George M. Hinkle “decoyed us unawares.” Hinkle maintained that JS was fully informed of the alternatives: the leaders were to be retained as prisoners or returned to Far West for battle against the Missouri militia. (JS, Independence, MO, to Emma Smith, Far West, MO, 4 Nov. 1838, JS, Materials, CCLA; George M. Hinkle, Buffalo, Iowa Territory, to William W. Phelps, Nauvoo, IL, 14 Aug. 1844, The Ensign, Aug. 1844, 30–32.)  


Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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, ordered all the  persons in the county of Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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, to  give up their arms. After the arms  were given up, the men were kept un der guard; and all property holders,  compelled to sign a Deed of trust,  signing away all their property, to de fray the expenses of the war; and then  they were all commanded to leave the  State

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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under pain of extermination, be tween that and corn-planting the next  spring.193

Samuel D. Lucas’s report to Boggs named similar demands but said Lucas had stipulated that those not taken into military custody “should leave the state and be protected out by the militia, but to be permitted to remain until further orders from the commander in chief.” Several days later John B. Clark told the Latter-day Saints they should not expect to remain long enough to plant crops. (Samuel D. Lucas, Independence, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 5 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; “History, of the Persecution,” Oct. 1840, 1:177.)  


At the time of giving up the arms,  there again followed another scene of  brutality. The troops ran from house  to house, taking all the arms they  could find, from old men, that never  thought of going into a field of battle;  but there must not be left a single gun  in the county

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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; so the troops ran as be fore described, like a parcel of raven ous wolves; but their great object, in  the pursuit of guns, was, to find plunder.  They wanted to get into the houses, to  see if there was not something they  could carry off. Thus they plundered  houses until they got satisfied.194

For one example of plundering by members of the militia at this time, see Jedidiah Owen, Affidavit, Lee Co., IA, 6 Jan. 1840, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; see also JS, “Extract, from the Private Journal,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:4–5.  


To se cret their property from their ravages,  the people had to go and hide it in the  bushes, or any where they could find  a place of concealment. The troops  found some of the property that had  been hid. This produced another sav age operation. Those wild creatures,  tearing like mad men through the bush es, ran from place to place, searching  under hay stacks, tearing up floors,  hunting pretendedly after arms; but  the abundance of property plundered,  testifies that they had another object in  view.
While the troops were thus engaged,  the officers were busily employed in  forming some plan to dispose of those,  whom they had betrayed into their  camp. Seventeen preachers, and nine teen commissioned officers, met with  Generals Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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and [Moses] Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

View Full Bio
, and held  a court martial. The prisoners, were  never admitted into it at all: they were  not allowed to plead, introduce evi dence, or any thing else. Finally,  the august body came to a decision;  and that was, that at eight o’clock the  next morning, they should be taken  into the public square, in the presence [p. 130]
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While incarcerated at Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, Missouri, in March 1839, JS addressed a letter to the Saints, and to “Bishop [Edward] Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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in particular,” in which he called for the Saints to gather up “a knoledge of all the facts and sufferings and abuses put upon them” in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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that they might publish the records “to all the world” and “present them to the heads of the government.”1

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:1, 6]. An edited and slightly shortened version of the letter was published in two parts in the Times and Seasons, May and July 1840. The instruction to record the Saints’ Missouri history was part of the July installment. (“Copy of a Letter, Written by J. Smith Jr. and Others, While in Prison,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:99–104; “An Extract of a Letter Written to Bishop Partridge, and the Saints in General,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:131–134.)  


Apparently in response to this assignment, Edward Partridge wrote a history that became the first three installments of “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” an eleven-part series published in the church’s Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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newspaper, Times and Seasons, between December 1839 and October 1840. This series gave the first extended account of the Missouri period to be printed in the Latter-day Saint press. The editors of the Times and Seasons, Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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and Don Carlos Smith

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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, announced in its first issue that the newspaper would “commence publishing the history of the disturbances in Missouri, in regular series,”2

“A Word to the Saints,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:12. After the first copies of the first number were printed in July, publication of the Times and Seasons halted for several months because both editors fell ill amidst a malaria outbreak in the Commerce, Illinois, area. The first number was reissued under the date November 1839.  


and the first installment appeared in the second issue.
“A History, of the Persecution” begins with Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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’s account of the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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conflicts in the early 1830s. Partridge was a bishop of the church in Missouri, first in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, then in Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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following the Latter-day Saints’ expulsion from Jackson, and finally in Caldwell County

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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after the Saints relocated from Clay. By the time he wrote this account of the Mormons’ experiences in Missouri, the Saints had been exiled from the state and had relocated to Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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. Partridge lived first at Pittsfield, then at Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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. In July 1839 he settled in the Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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area, where he served again as a bishop in the new Mormon community being established there.3

Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous papers, CHL. This collection of Partridge papers includes other autobiographical writings about Missouri events.  


Partridge’s narrative is based on firsthand observations and may also have relied on other records he kept. The manuscript version of the history begins, “In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions,” indicating that Partridge wrote it for publication purposes.4

Partridge, History, manuscript, Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous Papers, CHL. Significant differences between the first three installments of “History, of the Persecution” and the Partridge manuscript are described in footnotes herein.  


He may have intended to tell the entire Missouri story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication of the “History of the Persecution” began, and he died 27 May 1840.
The fourth installment of “History, of the Persecution” provides a brief transition from Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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’s account, which ends in 1836 as the Saints were settling in what became Caldwell County

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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, to the conflicts in Caldwell and adjoining counties beginning in 1838. Though the source or author of this portion is not known, it may have been written by editors Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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and Don Carlos Smith

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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. Perhaps prompted by Partridge’s illness, the editors sought elsewhere for source materials to continue the series. In April 1840, the fifth installment reprinted passages from Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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’s History of the Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri upon the Mormons (Detroit: Dawson and Bates, 1839), and the sixth in May excerpted Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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’s An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the Barbarities Inflicted on Them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri (Cincinnati: Glezan and Shepard, 1840).5

No manuscript is known to exist for Pratt’s published pamphlet. Rigdon is not named as the author on the title page of Appeal to the American People, but he is credited as such in the “History, of the Persecution” series and in advertisements for the pamphlet in the Times and Seasons. A manuscript version of Rigdon’s Appeal to the American People, titled “To the Publick” and inscribed by George W. Robinson, is found in the JS Collection at the Church History Library. Many textual differences exist between the manuscript and Appeal to the American People, and the editors of the Times and Seasons clearly used the published pamphlet, not the manuscript, as their source. (“History, of the Persecution,” May 1840, 1:99; Advertisement, Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1841, 2:272.)  


In June the editors again excerpted Pratt’s History of the Late Persecution, and in the three articles published from July to September they reprinted more of Rigdon’s work. The series concluded in the October 1840 issue with a reprint of the speech that John B. Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

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, a major general of the Missouri state militia, made to the Latter-day Saints at Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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, Caldwell County, on 5 November 1838.
The “History, of the Persecution” is representative of the many histories and individual petitions written at the time to document the Saints’ experiences in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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. Its excerpts from Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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’s History of the Late Persecution and Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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’s Appeal to the American People provide a useful sampling of two published histories of the period and demonstrate that documenting these events was a widespread effort.6

Earlier published accounts of the Jackson County conflicts from Latter-day Saints include the broadside “The Mormons,” So Called, dated 12 December 1833, and its reprint in The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1]–[2]; a series titled “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” published in The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833–Mar. 1834 and May–June 1834; John P. Greene’s pamphlet Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order” (Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839); and John Taylor’s eight-page work, A Short Account of the Murders, Roberies, Burnings, Thefts, and Other Outrages Committed by the Mob and Militia of the State of Missouri, Upon the Latter Day Saints (Springfield, IL: By the author, 1839).  


Publication in the church’s periodical lent credibility to the series and ensured that it was the source from which many new Mormon converts learned the details of the church’s history in Missouri. What they read was not the work of neutral historians detached from the events described. When Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, Pratt, and Rigdon wrote their histories, the persecutions and injustices against them were still fresh in their memories. All three authors suffered personally during the Missouri hardships, and as they and other Saints undertook to write about their experiences, their primary focus was to fulfill JS’s directive—to obtain redress by making known the “nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practiced upon this people.”7

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:5].  


Facts