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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

what to do for their safety, they knew not. To resist large bodies of the mob, in their scattered situation, appeared useless; and to gather together into one body, immediately, was impracticable, for they had not in any one place, houses to dwell in, or food for themselves and stock. A consultation was held, near Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, by some of the principal men of the church, to see what was best to be done; it was concluded to obtain peace warrants, if possible, against some of the principal leaders, of the mob; and also to advise their brethren to gather together, into four or five bodies, in their different neighborhoods, and defend themselves, as well as they could, whenever the mob should come upon them. They then went to a magistrate, and applied for a warrant, but he refused to grant one. The Governor

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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’s letter, directing them to proceed in that way, was then read to him, upon which he replied that he cared nothing about it. At that very time the streets were filled with mobbers, passing and repassing, threatening the saints, in different directions, with destruction. And to be deprived of the benefit of law, at such a critical time, was well calculated to make the saints feel solemn, and mourn over the depravity of man. But they had not much time for reflection; for they had many things to do to prepare for the night, which was just at hand, in the which they expected the mob would be upon them. Up to this time, the persons of women and children were considered safe, they seldom being abused; therefore the men run together for the night, leaving their families at home.
At Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
the men met half a mile west of the Court house

Independence became county seat for Jackson Co., 29 Mar. 1827. First courthouse, single-story log structure located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, completed, Aug. 1828. Second courthouse, two-story brick structure located at center...

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.— Night came on and a party of the mob, who had staid in the village, were heard brick-batting the houses; spies were sent to discover their movements, who returned with information that they were tearing down a brick-house, belonging to Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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and Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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, and also breaking open their store

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed A. Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney’s Ohio business partner, to establish store in Independence. Gilbert first purchased vacated log courthouse, located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, to...

More Info
. Upon hearing that news, those who were collected together, formed themselves into two small companies, and marched up to the public square, where they found a number of men in the act of stoning the store

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed A. Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney’s Ohio business partner, to establish store in Independence. Gilbert first purchased vacated log courthouse, located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, to...

More Info
of Gilbert and Whitney, (which was broken open, and some of the goods thrown into the street) they all fled but one Richard McCarty

Ca. 1805–after 1840. Served as trustee for incorporation of Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, May 1832. Member of mob that vandalized Gilbert, Whitney & Co. store, 1 Nov. 1833, at Independence. Lived in Jackson Co., 1840.

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, who was taken and found to be well lined with whiskey. Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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and one or two more went with him to Esq. Westons [Samuel Weston’s]

24 Oct. 1783–14 Dec. 1846. Blacksmith, joiner, carpenter. Born in Belfast, Ireland. Moved to Ulverston, Lancashire, England, by 1812. Married Margaret Cleminson Gibson, 28 June 1812, in Ulverston. Joined British navy, 1812; captured by Americans and defected...

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, and demanded a warrant for him, but he refused to give them one; consequently McCarty

Ca. 1805–after 1840. Served as trustee for incorporation of Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, May 1832. Member of mob that vandalized Gilbert, Whitney & Co. store, 1 Nov. 1833, at Independence. Lived in Jackson Co., 1840.

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was liberated. Next morning it was ascertained that the windows were broken in, where there were none but women and children; one house in particular, which had window shutters, and they were shut, had a rail thrust through into the room where women and children were alone. Seeing that neither sex nor age were safe, the families were all moved out of the village that day. The same night another party of the mob collected about ten or twelve miles from Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, near a body of the saints; two of their company went to discover the situation of the brethren; they came near the guard, when 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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discovering them, advanced and went up to them: when one of them struck him over the head with a rifle, which cut a large gash in his head, and nearly knocked him down; but he recovered himself, called to his men who were near, they took the spies and disarmed them of two rifles and three pistols, kept them in custody until morning, then gave them their arms and let them go without injuring them. The rest of their company were heard at a distance, but they dispersed without doing any harm.
to be continued. [p. 20]
what to do for their safety, they  knew not. To resist large bodies of  the mob, in their scattered situation,  appeared useless; and to gather togeth er into one body, immediately, was  impracticable, for they had not in any  one place, houses to dwell in, or food  for themselves and stock. A consulta tion was held, near Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
, by  some of the principal men of the  church, to see what was best to be  done; it was concluded to obtain peace  warrants, if possible, against some of  the principal leaders, of the mob;27

Missouri law empowered a justice of the peace “to cause to be kept all laws made for the preservation and good of the peace” and to use “peace warrants” to arrest “all persons who shall break the peace, and commit them to gaol [jail] or bail them as the case may require; and also, to cause to come before them all persons who shall threaten to break the peace.” If the accused failed to provide “sufficient security for the peace or for their good behaviour,” they were committed to prison until it was determined that they would thereafter keep the peace. (An Act Prescribing the Powers and Duties of Justices of the Peace and the Manner of Their Appointment [4 Jan. 1825], Laws of the State of Missouri [1825], vol. 1, p. 469, sec. 1.)  


and  also to advise their brethren to gather  together, into four or five bodies, in  their different neighborhoods, and de fend themselves, as well as they could,  whenever the mob should come upon  them. They then went to a magis trate, and applied for a warrant, but  he refused to grant one. The Gover nor

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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’s letter, directing them to proceed  in that way, was then read to him,28

Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin had advised the Saints to seek resolution of their grievances in the courts.  


up on which he replied that he cared  nothing about it. At that very time  the streets were filled with mobbers,  passing and repassing, threatening the  saints, in different directions, with des truction. And to be deprived of the  benefit of law, at such a critical time,  was well calculated to make the saints  feel solemn, and mourn over the de pravity of man. But they had not  much time for reflection; for they had  many things to do to prepare for the  night, which was just at hand, in the  which they expected the mob would be  upon them. Up to this time, the per sons of women and children were con sidered safe, they seldom being abused;  therefore the men run together for the  night, leaving their families at home.
At Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

More Info
the men met half  a mile west of the Court house

Independence became county seat for Jackson Co., 29 Mar. 1827. First courthouse, single-story log structure located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, completed, Aug. 1828. Second courthouse, two-story brick structure located at center...

More Info
.—  Night came on and a party of the mob,  who had staid in the village, were  heard brick-batting the houses; spies  were sent to discover their movements,  who returned with information that  they were tearing down a brick-house,  belonging to Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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and Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

View Full Bio
, and  also breaking open their store

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed A. Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney’s Ohio business partner, to establish store in Independence. Gilbert first purchased vacated log courthouse, located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, to...

More Info
. Upon  hearing that news, those who were col lected together, formed themselves in to two small29

The word “small” does not appear in the Partridge manuscript.  


companies, and marched  up to the public square, where they  found a number of men in the act of  stoning the store

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed A. Sidney Gilbert, Newel K. Whitney’s Ohio business partner, to establish store in Independence. Gilbert first purchased vacated log courthouse, located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, to...

More Info
of Gilbert and Whit ney, (which was broken open, and  some of the goods thrown into the  street) they all fled but one Richard  McCarty

Ca. 1805–after 1840. Served as trustee for incorporation of Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, May 1832. Member of mob that vandalized Gilbert, Whitney & Co. store, 1 Nov. 1833, at Independence. Lived in Jackson Co., 1840.

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, who was taken and found to  be well lined with whiskey. Gil bert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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and one or two more went with  him to Esq. Westons [Samuel Weston’s]

24 Oct. 1783–14 Dec. 1846. Blacksmith, joiner, carpenter. Born in Belfast, Ireland. Moved to Ulverston, Lancashire, England, by 1812. Married Margaret Cleminson Gibson, 28 June 1812, in Ulverston. Joined British navy, 1812; captured by Americans and defected...

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,30

Weston was serving as justice of the peace in Independence.  


and demanded  a warrant for him, but he refused to  give them one; consequently McCarty

Ca. 1805–after 1840. Served as trustee for incorporation of Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, May 1832. Member of mob that vandalized Gilbert, Whitney & Co. store, 1 Nov. 1833, at Independence. Lived in Jackson Co., 1840.

View Full Bio
 was liberated. Next morning it was  ascertained that the windows were  broken in, where there were none but  women and children; one house in par ticular, which had window shutters, and  they were shut, had a rail thrust  through into the room where women  and children were alone. Seeing that  neither sex nor age were safe, the  families were all moved out of the vil lage that day. The same night an other party of the mob collected about  ten or twelve miles from Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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,  near a body of the saints;31

The Colesville settlement in Kaw Township. (See Pratt, Autobiography, 103–104.)  


two of their  company went to discover the situation  of the brethren; they came near the  guard, when P[arley] 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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discovering  them, advanced and went up to them:  when one of them struck him over the  head with a rifle, which cut a large  gash in his head, and nearly knocked  him down; but he recovered himself,  called to his men who were near, they  took the spies and disarmed them of  two rifles and three pistols, kept them  in custody until morning, then gave  them their arms and let them go with out injuring them. The rest of their  company were heard at a distance,  but they dispersed without doing any  harm.
to be continued. [p. 20]
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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