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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

mined to enjoy their rights or die; they therefore went forward to vote, but were seized by the opposing party and attacted, and thus a fight commenced. But some of our people knocked down several of the robbers, and thus cleared the ground and maintained their rights, though vastly unequal in numbers. The news of this affair soon spread far and wide, and cuased the people to rally, some for liberty and some to support the robbers in their daring outrages. About one hundred and fifty of those who were on the side of liberty, marched to the spot next day, and went to the residence of the leaders in this outrage, and soon an agreement was signed for peace, But this was of short duration, for the conspirators were stirred up throughout the whole 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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, being alarmed for fear the Mormons, as they called them, should become so formidable as to maintain their rights and liberties, insomuch that they could no more drive and plunder them. About this time, meetings were held by the robbers in Carroll, Saline, and other counties, in which they openly declared their treasonable and murderous intentions of driving the citizens who belonged to our society from their counties, and if possible, from 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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. Resolutions to this effect were published in the journals of Upper 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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, and this without a single remark of disapprobation. Nay more this murderous gang when assembled and painted like Indian warriors, and when openly committing murder, robbery, and house burning, were denominated citizens, white people, &c., in most of the papers of 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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; while our society who stood firm in the cause of liberty and law, were denominated Mormons, in contradistinction to the appelation of citizens, whites &c, as if we had been some savage tribe, or some colored race of foreigners. The robbers soon assembled, to the number of several hundred, under arms, and rendezvoused in Daviess county

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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, being composed of individuals from many of the counties around. Here they commenced firing upon our citizens, and taking prisoners. Our people made no resistence, except to assemble on their own ground for defence. They also made oath before the Circuit Judge, Austin A. King

21 Sept. 1802–22 Apr. 1870. Attorney, judge, politician, farmer. Born at Sullivan Co., Tennessee. Son of Walter King and Nancy Sevier. Married first Nancy Harris Roberts, 13 May 1828, at Jackson, Madison Co., Tennessee. In 1830, moved to Missouri, where he...

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, to the above outrages. Five hundred men were then ordered into service, under the command of Major 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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, and Brigadier Generals [Hiram] Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

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and Alexander Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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. These were soon mustered and marched through 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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, and took their stand in Daviess county

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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, where some of them remained thirty days. The robbers were somewhat awed by these prompt measures, so that they did not proceed farther at that time in Daviess

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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, but they proceeded to De Witt

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River. Permanently settled, by 1826. Laid out, 1836. First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who ...

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, a small town in Carroll county, which was mostly settled by our people. Here they laid siege for several days, and subsisted by plunder and robbery, watching every opportunity to fire upon our citizens. At this time they had one field piece, and were headed by a Presbyterian priest by the name of Sashel Woods

Ca. 1801–26 Apr. 1854. Preacher, trader. Born in Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Warren, 4 May 1824, in Howard Co., Missouri. Became Cumberland Presbyterian priest. Moved to Dorenda Creek, Carroll Co., Missouri, by June 1840. Conveyed merchandise from St. Louis...

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, who, it is said, tended prayer, night and morning, at tha [the] head of the gang. In this siege they say that they killed a number of our people. They also turned one Smith Humphrey

1 Nov. 1805–1 Mar. 1874. Farmer. Born in Rhode Island. Married Eliza Proctor. Lived in York, Upper Canada, by 1831. Baptized into LDS church. Moved to De Witt, Carroll Co., Missouri, by 1838; to Caldwell Co., Missouri, 1838; and to Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois...

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, and his wife and children out of doors when sick, and set fire to their house, and burned it to ashes before their eyes. At length they succeeded in driving every citizen from the place, to the sacrifice of every thing which they could not take with them. [p. 82]
mined to enjoy their rights or die; they  therefore went forward to vote, but  were seized by the opposing party and  attacted, and thus a fight commenced.  But some of our people knocked down  several of the robbers, and thus cleared  the ground and maintained their  rights, though vastly unequal in num bers.114

This brawl occurred at Gallatin, the seat of Daviess County, Monday, 6 August 1838. (See Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, chap. 6.)  


The news of this affair soon  spread far and wide, and cuased the  people to rally, some for liberty and  some to support the robbers in their  daring outrages. About one hundred  and fifty of those who were on the side  of liberty, marched to the spot next  day, and went to the residence of the  leaders in this outrage, and soon an  agreement was signed for peace,115

JS and a company of armed Latter-day Saints confronted Daviess County justice of the peace Adam Black on 8 August 1838 and obtained from him a statement pledging he would uphold the law and would not molest the Mormons if they did not molest him. The next day several Latter-day Saints joined a delegation of men from Millport, Daviess County, in signing a “covenant of peace” at Adam-ondi-Ahman. (JS, Journal, 7–9 Aug. 1838.)  


But  this was of short duration, for the con spirators were stirred up throughout  the whole 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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, being alarmed for  fear the Mormons, as they called them,  should become so formidable as to  maintain their rights and liberties,  insomuch that they could no more  drive and plunder them.116

The Adam Black confrontation was used in particular to spark animosity. (See JS, Journal, 11 and 16–18 Aug., 1 Sept. 1838.)  


About this  time, meetings were held by the rob bers in Carroll, Saline, and other coun ties, in which they openly declared  their treasonable and murderous inten tions of driving the citizens who belong ed to our society from their counties,  and if possible, from 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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. Reso lutions to this effect were published in  the journals of Upper 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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, and this  without a single remark of disapproba tion.117

One of the first of such resolutions, as reported in the St. Louis Missouri Republican, called for the formation of “a committee of safety” to “request aid to remove Mormons, abolitionists and other disorderly persons, out of the limits of Carroll county.” The editor of the Missouri Republican condemned the actions advocated against the Mormons in Carroll County as “an infraction of all laws and rights, as a stain on the American character, and as deserving the reprehension of the press every where.” (“Report of the Committee,” Missouri Republican, 18 Aug. 1832, [2]; see also, for example, E. M. Ryland, Lexington, MO, to Amos Rees and Wiley C. Williams, 25 Oct. 1838, Missouri Republican, 2 Nov. 1838, [2].)  


Nay more this murderous gang  when assembled and painted like Indian  warriors, and when openly committing  murder, robbery, and house burning,  were denominated citizens, white peo ple, &c., in most of the papers of 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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; while our society who stood firm  in the cause of liberty and law, were  denominated Mormons, in contradis tinction to the appelation of citizens,  whites &c, as if we had been some  savage tribe, or some colored race of  foreigners. The robbers soon assem bled, to the number of several hundred,  under arms, and rendezvoused in Da viess county

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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, being composed of indi viduals from many of the counties  around. Here they commenced firing  upon our citizens, and taking prisoners.118

Latter-day Saints named Umpstead and Owens were taken as prisoners. John Corrill indicated that vigilantes shot at a man and a boy and took the boy prisoner. (Austin A. King, Richmond, MO, to JS and Sidney Rigdon, Far West, MO, 10 Sept. 1838, JS Collection, CHL; Corrill, Brief History, 35.)  


 Our people made no resistence, except  to assemble on their own ground for  defence.119

Upon receiving reports of an impending attack on Adam-ondi-Ahman, armed Latter-day Saints left Far West 8 and 9 September to help defend the settlement. (JS, Journal, 9 Sept. 1838.)  


They also made oath before  the Circuit Judge, A[ustin] A. King

21 Sept. 1802–22 Apr. 1870. Attorney, judge, politician, farmer. Born at Sullivan Co., Tennessee. Son of Walter King and Nancy Sevier. Married first Nancy Harris Roberts, 13 May 1828, at Jackson, Madison Co., Tennessee. In 1830, moved to Missouri, where he...

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, to the  above outrages.120

A 10 September 1838 letter from King documents his having received two letters from JS and Sidney Rigdon about the situation, but there is no extant record of sworn complaints. (Austin A. King, Richmond, MO, to JS and Sidney Rigdon, Far West, MO, 10 Sept. 1838, JS Collection, CHL.)  


Five hundred121

For “Five hundred,” Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, has “One thousand.”  


men  were then ordered into service, under  the command of Major 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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,  and Brigadier Generals [Hiram] Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

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and  [Alexander] Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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. These were soon mustered  and marched through 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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, and  took their stand in Daviess county

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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,  where some of them remained thirty  days.122

At King’s urging, Atchison mobilized four hundred troops, half from Ray County and half from Clay County. After a court of inquiry was held and vigilante and Mormon forces disbanded, Parks remained with a hundred men to maintain the peace. (Austin A. King, Richmond, MO, to David R. Atchison, 10 Sept. 1838, copy; [David R. Atchison], Richmond, MO, to [Lilburn W. Boggs], 12 Sept. 1838, copy; David R. Atchison, Grand River, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 17 Sept. 1838, copy; David R. Atchison, Liberty, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 23 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


The robbers were somewhat  awed by these prompt measures, so  that they did not proceed farther at  that time in Daviess

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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, but they proceeded  to De Witt

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River. Permanently settled, by 1826. Laid out, 1836. First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who ...

More Info
, a small town in Carroll  county, which was mostly settled by  our people. Here they laid siege for  several days, and subsisted by plunder  and robbery, watching every opportu nity to fire upon our citizens. At this  time they had one field piece, and were  headed by a Presbyterian priest by the  name of Sashel Woods

Ca. 1801–26 Apr. 1854. Preacher, trader. Born in Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Warren, 4 May 1824, in Howard Co., Missouri. Became Cumberland Presbyterian priest. Moved to Dorenda Creek, Carroll Co., Missouri, by June 1840. Conveyed merchandise from St. Louis...

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, who, it is said,  tended prayer, night and morning, at  tha [the] head of the gang.123

Parks reported to Atchison that William Austin was in command of the anti-Mormon forces. The titular leader was reportedly Congreave Jackson, a Howard County resident, with Ebenezer Price of Clay County as colonel, Singleton Vaughn of Saline County as lieutenant colonel, and Sashel Woods of Howard County as major. (Hiram Parks, Carroll Co., MO, to David R. Atchison, Booneville, MO, 7 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Carroll County, MO, 13; see also Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 168.)  


In this siege  they say that they killed a number of  our people.124

Although several individuals were injured in the exchange of gunfire, no one is known to have been killed during the siege of De Witt. (See Baugh, “Call to Arms,” chap. 6.)  


They also turned one  Smith Humphrey

1 Nov. 1805–1 Mar. 1874. Farmer. Born in Rhode Island. Married Eliza Proctor. Lived in York, Upper Canada, by 1831. Baptized into LDS church. Moved to De Witt, Carroll Co., Missouri, by 1838; to Caldwell Co., Missouri, 1838; and to Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois...

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, and his wife and  children out of doors when sick, and set  fire to their house, and burned it to  ashes before their eyes.125

It was Humphrey’s wife who was ill. (Smith Humphrey, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 8 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839—1843, CHL.)  


At length  they succeeded in driving every citi zen from the place, to the sacrifice of  every thing which they could not take  with them. [p. 82]
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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].  


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