31766

“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

scene. When our men saw that they were ambushed and attacked, they found it too late to retreat, and orders were issued to form along in the brush, and under the cover of trees, which was instantly done, while the enemy, though unseen, were pouring in a deadly fire upon our whole line. We soon returned the fire, and charged upon the enemy, the whole wilderness seemed for a few moments as if wrapped in a blaze of lightning; and overwhelmed with the sharp crack of peals of thunder. The enemy were soon driven from their ambush and completely routed. Having a creek immediately in their rear, many were seen forcing their retreat through the stream, and up to their arms in water. The firing now ceased, and the whole battle ground resounded with the watch word, “God and Liberty.” Our forces which had been thrown into some disorder, were instantly formed, and their pieces reloaded, while here and there over the battle ground, lay the dead and wounded. The enemy had left their horses, saddles, camp and baggage, in the confusion of their flight, which fell into our hands. Their baggage waggon was immediately harnessed to a couple of horses, and the wounded were picked up and laid in it upon blankets, while every man saddled and mounted a horse, and we commenced our retreat to the place where we had left our horses and guard, a distance of more than a mile; here we halted, and laid our wounded upon blankets, on the ground, while we made arrangements in the waggon for them to ride more comfortably.— There were about six of our men badly, wounded, among whom was the brave D, W. Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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, a ball having entered the lower part of his body. It was an awful sight to see them pale and helpless, and hear their groans. We had as yet lost but one man, who was left dead on the ground; his name was Gideon Carter

1798–25 Oct. 1838. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married first Hilah (Hilda) Burwell, 1822. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into ...

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.152

The wounded among the Mormon company included Eli Chase, James Hendricks, Joseph Holbrook, Curtis Hodge, William Seely, Norman Shearer, and Arthur Milliken, in addition to Carter, who died during the fight, and Obanion and Patten, who both later died from their injuries. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 238–240, appendix H.)  


The enemy had one killed and four wounded, as we afterwards learned.153

Among the Ray County troops, Moses Rowland was killed and the injured included a Mr. Clark, Martin Dunnaway, Thomas H. Lloyd, John Lockhart, Edwin Odell, Samuel Tarwater, and Wyatt Cravens, who was captured by Patten’s forces. (History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, 130; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 241, appendix G; Wyatt Cravens, 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.”)  


We ascertained from the prisoners whom we had rescued, and one whom we had taken, that the enemy consisted of one Captain Samuel Bogart

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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and his company, who together with some volunteers from different neighborhoods, mounted about 60 men.154

Both Samuel Bogart and his superior officer, David R. Atchison, acknowledged that Bogart’s force was a combination of regularly enrolled Ray County militia and volunteers. (Samuel 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.”)  


Our party engaged, was from forty to fifty in number at the time of the engagement.155

Although Pratt earlier noted that part of the Latter-day Saint company was left behind with the horses, there may have been more than fifty Latter-day Saint participants in the combat. Charles C. Rich, one of the leaders of the Caldwell County militia, estimated the Latter-day Saint force at “a bout seventy five men.” Historian Alexander Baugh has identified sixty-two possible participants. (Charles C. Rich, Statement, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1856, CHL; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” appendix H.)  


There were three of our fellow citizens prisoners in their camp. Two of these ran away and escaped at the commencement of the firing, and the other was shot through the body in trying to run to our lines, but fortunately he recovered, and is now a witness against them.156

Nathan Pinkham Jr. and Addison Green escaped; William Seely was the wounded prisoner. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 223–224, 239–240.)  


Having now arranged every thing to the best advantage for the wounded, we moved on slowly towards 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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.— When we came within five miles of the city, our express had reached there with the news of the battle, and we were met by a surgeon and others for our relief, and among others the wife of the pale and dying Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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.
Our wounded were now taken into a house,157

This was the home of Stephen Winchester. (Kimball, “History,” 86.)  


and their wounds dressed; and as Mrs. Pattan Phoebe Ann Babcock Patten entered the room and cast her eyes on the pale and ghastly features of her husband

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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, she burst into tears, exclaiming O God! O my husband

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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! how pale you look! He was still able to speak, but he died that evening in the triumphs of faith; having laid down his life as a martyr in the cause of his country and his God. The young Patrick Obanion

Ca. 1820–27 Oct. 1838. Recruited as scout for Mormon militia. Mortally wounded during Battle of Crooked River, near Ray Co., Missouri, 25 Oct. 1838. Died at Sidney Rigdon’s home at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri.

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, who was shot through the body by the first fire of the enemy’s sentinel, also died about the same time.158

Obanion died two days later. (Rigdon, “Life Story of Sidney Rigdon,” 32.)  


Thus three brave men had fallen; and their blood cries against their enemies for vengeance. The others I believe recovered of their wounds.— Having conveyed the wounded to this place of hospitality, we hastened home to 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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, and delivered the horses and spoils of the enemy to Col. Hinkle

13 Nov. 1801–Nov. 1861. Merchant, physician, publisher, minister, farmer. Born in Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Son of Michael Hinkle and Nancy Higgins. Married first Sarah Ann Starkey. Baptized into LDS church, 1832. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri....

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, the commanding officer of the Regiment. These several defeats of the mob 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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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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, checked, for a time, their ruinous ravages.— They saw that it was impossible to conquer a people who were fighting for their homes, and their wives and children, unless they could come against them with some show of authority, for it was a well known fact, that the Mormons never resisted authority, however abused; therefore their next exertion was to spread lies and falsehoods of the most alarming character; such as the Mormons were in a state of rebellion against the Government, and that they were about to burn Richmond

Area settled, ca. 1814. Officially platted as Ray Co. seat, 1827. Population in 1840 about 500. Seat of Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri; also location of courthouse and jails. JS and about sixty other Mormon men were incarcerated here while awaiting...

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, &c. This flame was greatly assisted by several in high authority who deserted from the [p. 114]
scene. When our men saw that they  were ambushed and attacked, they  found it too late to retreat, and orders  were issued to form along in the brush,  and under the cover of trees, which was  instantly done, while the enemy,  though unseen, were pouring in a dead ly fire upon our whole line. We soon  returned the fire, and charged upon  the enemy, the whole wilderness seem ed for a few moments as if wrapped in  a blaze of lightning; and overwhelmed  with the sharp crack of peals of thun der. The enemy were soon driven  from their ambush and completely  routed. Having a creek immediately  in their rear, many were seen forcing  their retreat through the stream, and  up to their arms in water. The firing  now ceased, and the whole battle  ground resounded with the watch word,  “God and Liberty.” Our forces which  had been thrown into some disorder,  were instantly formed, and their pieces  reloaded, while here and there over the  battle ground, lay the dead and wound ed. The enemy had left their horses,  saddles, camp and baggage, in the con fusion of their flight, which fell into  our hands. Their baggage waggon  was immediately harnessed to a couple  of horses, and the wounded were picked  up and laid in it upon blankets, while  every man saddled and mounted a  horse, and we commenced our retreat  to the place where we had left our  horses and guard, a distance of more  than a mile; here we halted, and laid  our wounded upon blankets, on the  ground, while we made arrangements  in the waggon for them to ride more  comfortably.— There were about six  of our men badly, wounded, among  whom was the brave D, W. Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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, a  ball having entered the lower part of  his body. It was an awful sight to see  them pale and helpless, and hear their  groans. We had as yet lost but one  man, who was left dead on the ground;  his name was Gideon Carter

1798–25 Oct. 1838. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married first Hilah (Hilda) Burwell, 1822. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into ...

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.152

The wounded among the Mormon company included Eli Chase, James Hendricks, Joseph Holbrook, Curtis Hodge, William Seely, Norman Shearer, and Arthur Milliken, in addition to Carter, who died during the fight, and Obanion and Patten, who both later died from their injuries. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 238–240, appendix H.)  


The  enemy had one killed and four wound ed, as we afterwards learned.153

Among the Ray County troops, Moses Rowland was killed and the injured included a Mr. Clark, Martin Dunnaway, Thomas H. Lloyd, John Lockhart, Edwin Odell, Samuel Tarwater, and Wyatt Cravens, who was captured by Patten’s forces. (History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, 130; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 241, appendix G; Wyatt Cravens, 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.”)  


We  ascertained from the prisoners whom  we had rescued, and one whom we had  taken, that the enemy consisted of one  Captain [Samuel] Bogart

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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and his company, who  together with some volunteers from dif ferent neighborhoods, mounted about  60 men.154

Both Samuel Bogart and his superior officer, David R. Atchison, acknowledged that Bogart’s force was a combination of regularly enrolled Ray County militia and volunteers. (Samuel 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.”)  


Our party engaged, was  from forty to fifty in number at the  time of the engagement.155

Although Pratt earlier noted that part of the Latter-day Saint company was left behind with the horses, there may have been more than fifty Latter-day Saint participants in the combat. Charles C. Rich, one of the leaders of the Caldwell County militia, estimated the Latter-day Saint force at “a bout seventy five men.” Historian Alexander Baugh has identified sixty-two possible participants. (Charles C. Rich, Statement, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1856, CHL; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” appendix H.)  


There were  three of our fellow citizens prisoners in  their camp. Two of these ran away  and escaped at the commencement of  the firing, and the other was shot  through the body in trying to run to  our lines, but fortunately he recovered,  and is now a witness against them.156

Nathan Pinkham Jr. and Addison Green escaped; William Seely was the wounded prisoner. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 223–224, 239–240.)  


Having now arranged every thing to  the best advantage for the wounded, we  moved on slowly towards 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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.—  When we came within five miles of the  city, our express had reached there  with the news of the battle, and we  were met by a surgeon and others for  our relief, and among others the wife  of the pale and dying Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

View Full Bio
.
Our wounded were now taken into a  house,157

This was the home of Stephen Winchester. (Kimball, “History,” 86.)  


and their wounds dressed; and  as Mrs. Pattan [Phoebe Ann Babcock Patten] entered the room and  cast her eyes on the pale and ghastly  features of her husband

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

View Full Bio
, she burst into  tears, exclaiming O God! O my hus band

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

View Full Bio
! how pale you look! He was  still able to speak, but he died that ev ening in the triumphs of faith; having  laid down his life as a martyr in the  cause of his country and his God. The  young [Patrick] Obanion

Ca. 1820–27 Oct. 1838. Recruited as scout for Mormon militia. Mortally wounded during Battle of Crooked River, near Ray Co., Missouri, 25 Oct. 1838. Died at Sidney Rigdon’s home at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri.

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, who was shot through  the body by the first fire of the ene my’s sentinel, also died about the same  time.158

Obanion died two days later. (Rigdon, “Life Story of Sidney Rigdon,” 32.)  


Thus three brave men had fal len; and their blood cries against their  enemies for vengeance. The others I  believe recovered of their wounds.—  Having conveyed the wounded to this  place of hospitality, we hastened home  to 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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, and delivered the horses  and spoils of the enemy to Col. Hink le

13 Nov. 1801–Nov. 1861. Merchant, physician, publisher, minister, farmer. Born in Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Son of Michael Hinkle and Nancy Higgins. Married first Sarah Ann Starkey. Baptized into LDS church, 1832. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri....

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, the commanding officer of the Regi ment. These several defeats of the  mob 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 ...

More Info
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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, checked,  for a time, their ruinous ravages.—  They saw that it was impossible to con quer a people who were fighting for  their homes, and their wives and chil dren, unless they could come against  them with some show of authority, for  it was a well known fact, that the Mor mons never resisted authori[t]y,159

TEXT: Original has “authori:y”.  


however  abused; therefore their next exertion  was to spread lies and falsehoods of the  most alarming character; such as the  Mormons were in a state of rebellion  against the Government, and that they  were about to burn Richmond

Area settled, ca. 1814. Officially platted as Ray Co. seat, 1827. Population in 1840 about 500. Seat of Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri; also location of courthouse and jails. JS and about sixty other Mormon men were incarcerated here while awaiting...

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, &c. This  flame was greatly assisted by several  in high authority who deserted from the [p. 114]
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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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