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

church, and fell away to the robbers because of fear, and also for the sake of power and gain. These deserters became far more false, hardened and blood-thirsty, than those who had never known the way of righteousness, insomuch that they were filled with all manner of lying and murders, and plundering.160

Pratt’s accusations against former church leaders were apparently hyperbolic, but actions by a number of dissenters did spur Missouri’s punitive response. Thomas B. Marsh, president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and Orson Hyde, a member of the Twelve, swore affidavits against JS and other Latter-day Saints.a According to Pratt, William E. McLellin, formerly a member of the Twelve, served in the militia that marched on Far West later in October.b William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, former members of the church’s Missouri presidency, testified against JS and other Mormon leaders in a November 1838 court of inquiry at Richmond, Missouri.c Sampson Avard, a former leader of the Danites, was a key prosecution witness at the court of inquiry.d  


aThomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde, Affidavit, Richmond, MO, 24 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

bPratt, History of the Late Persecution, 41.

cWilliam W. Phelps, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838; John Whitmer, 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.”

dSampson Avard, 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.”

The Governor

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

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161 who had long sought some opportunity to destroy us, and drive us 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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; now issued an order for General 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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to raise several thousand men, and march against the Mormons, and drive 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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, or exterminate them if necessary, etc.162

For the text of Boggs’s order of 27 October 1838, see “History, of the Persecution,” July 1840, 1:129.  


While General 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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was mustering his forces for this murderous and treasonable enterprize, Major General Samuel D. Lucas

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

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, and Brigadier General Moses Wilson

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

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, the old leaders of the Jackson co.

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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conspiracy, being nearer the scene of action, and wishing to immortalize their names, put themselves at the head of the old 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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robbers, together with the late forces of the robbers who had all the while been embodied against us, and turning 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...

View Full Bio
163

Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, here calls Atchison “brave and humane.”  


out of the command, took the lead of all the assembled forces of the upper country, consisting of three or four thousand men, and with this formidable force, commenced their march directly for the city of 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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, where they arrived, while General 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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and his forces were several days march in the rear.164

On 26 October, after hearing exaggerated reports of Mormon raids in Daviess County, Governor Boggs ordered John B. Clark and seven other generals in the state militia to mobilize a total of thirty-five hundred men. Of these, twelve hundred were to rendezvous at Clark’s headquarters in Fayette, Howard County, on 3 November and the others were to assemble thereafter at Richmond and farther north.a Later the same day, before his instructions could be carried out, Boggs learned of the Crooked River battle and heard reports of other Mormon hostilities, and he issued to Clark the command later known as the “extermination order.” The order directed Clark to “hasten your operations with all possible speed” and proceed to Richmond, prepared to confront the Latter-day Saints if they were involved in aggression as reported. Additionally, David Willock and Alexander Doniphan were each to mobilize five hundred men each and join forces in northern Daviess County to prevent an anticipated Mormon retreat. Boggs’s order placed Clark in overall command of the campaign against the Latter-day Saints.b Before receiving word of the governor’s orders, David R. Atchison and Samuel D. Lucas informed Boggs on 28 October that in response to the recent “outrages” by the Mormons, they had mobilized some two thousand troops and were proceeding toward Far West to “keep them in check.”c Lucas and Atchison rendezvoused with Doniphan and his troops at Log Creek on 30 October. That day, in response to a letter from Boggs, Atchison left his troops and returned to Liberty, Clay County. Lucas was in command of about eighteen hundred men at that time, and the number grew to twenty-five hundred by the morning of 1 November.d When Boggs directed that militia forces be mobilized to combat the Mormons, he was not yet aware of the initiative taken by Atchison and Lucas. He avoided ordering Atchison out, he later explained, because of widespread dissatisfaction with Atchison’s apparently favorable stance toward the Mormons and because Atchison, a state senator, needed to participate in the upcoming term of the Missouri legislature.e Lucas and his forces reached the vicinity of Far West the evening of 30 October. Clark was considerably behind, encamped near Carrollton, Carroll County, on the night of 1 November.f  


aB. M. Lisle, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, [Fayette, MO], 26 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

bLilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, Fayette, MO, 27 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA [also in “History, of the Persecution,” July 1840, 1:129].

cDavid R. Atchison and Samuel D. Lucas, Richmond, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 28 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

dSamuel D. Lucas, “near Far West,” MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 2 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

eLilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, 6 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

fSamuel D. Lucas, “near Far West,” MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 2 Nov. 1838, copy; John B. Clark, Carroll Co., MO, to David R. Atchison and Samuel D. Lucas, Far West, MO, 1 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

In the mean time the Governor

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

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’s order, and all these military movements, were kept an entire secret from the Mormons, and even the mail was withheld from 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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, thus cutting off all intelligence. We had only heard that companies of armed men were seen in the south part of the county

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

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: and we had sent a white flag and a guard of one hundred and fifty men, to make enquiries.165

Colonel George M. Hinkle of the Caldwell County militia commanded the company of cavalry that carried the white flag. (Corrill, Brief History, 40.)  


But while they were absent on this business, an alarm came into town that the whole 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 south of us was filled with hostile troops, who were murdering, plundering, and taking peaceable citizens prisoners, in their own houses, etc.166

Accounts of two incidents involving the militia patrols in Caldwell County before the confrontation outside Far West were published in the next installment of “History, of the Persecution.”  


On receiving this intelligence, every man flew to arms, for the protection of our city. It was now towards evening, and we had heard nothing of our white flag, and the hundred and fifty men who went south in the morning. While we stood in our armor, gazing to the South in anxious suspense, we discovered an army advancing on horse back, over the hills, at two miles distance from the town.— We at first supposed it might be our little company of a hundred and fifty returning to us, but we soon saw that there were thousands of men, with a long trian of baggage waggons; we then were in hopes that it might be some friendly troops sent for our protection; and then we thought it might be a troop of the robbers coming to destroy us. At all events, there was no time to be lost, for although our force then present did not exceed five hundred men, yet we did not intend that they should enter the town without giving some account of themselves.— We accordingly marched out upon the plains on the south of the city

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 formed in battle array, extending our line of foot something like a half a mile, while a small company of horse was posted on our right wing on a commanding eminence, and another small company in the rear of our main body, intended as a kind of reserve. By this time the sun was near setting, and the advance of the unknown army had come within plain view, at less than one mile distant. On seeing our forces present a small but formidable front, they came to a halt, and formed along the borders of the wilderness. And in a few moments both parties sent out a white flag, which met between the two armies; when our messenger demanded who they were, and what was their intentions? The answer was, that they wanted three persons out of the city before they massacreed the rest.167

Hyrum Smith testified later that the Latter-day Saints’ emissaries were “Captain Morey”—probably George Morey—and “a few other individuals whose names I do not now recollect.” Smith, who claimed to have overheard the discussion, identified the three persons who were given the option of leaving the city as John and Lydia Lightner Cleminson and Adam Lightner. (Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 8, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


This was a very alarming and unexpected answer. But they were soon prevailed upon to suspend hostilities till morning, when we were in hopes of some further and more satisfactory information. The hostile army under the command of Lucas

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

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, then commenced their encampment for the night, and our little army continued to stand to their arms for fear of some treachery. Our company of a hundred and fifty soon returned, informing us that they had been hemmed in through the day, and only escaped from their superior knowledge of the ground. We also sent an express to 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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, and by morning were reinforced by quite a number of troops, with Colonel Lyman Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

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at ther [p. 115]
church, and fell away to the robbers  because of fear, and also for the sake  of power and gain. These deserters  became far more false, hardened and  blood-thirsty, than those who had nev er known the way of righteousness,  insomuch that they were filled with all  manner of lying and murders, and plun dering.160

Pratt’s accusations against former church leaders were apparently hyperbolic, but actions by a number of dissenters did spur Missouri’s punitive response. Thomas B. Marsh, president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and Orson Hyde, a member of the Twelve, swore affidavits against JS and other Latter-day Saints.a According to Pratt, William E. McLellin, formerly a member of the Twelve, served in the militia that marched on Far West later in October.b William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, former members of the church’s Missouri presidency, testified against JS and other Mormon leaders in a November 1838 court of inquiry at Richmond, Missouri.c Sampson Avard, a former leader of the Danites, was a key prosecution witness at the court of inquiry.d  


aThomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde, Affidavit, Richmond, MO, 24 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

bPratt, History of the Late Persecution, 41.

cWilliam W. Phelps, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838; John Whitmer, 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.”

dSampson Avard, 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.”

The Governor

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

View Full Bio
161 who had long  sought some opportunity to destroy us,  and drive us 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...

More Info
; now issued  an order for General [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...

View Full Bio
to raise  several thousand men, and march a gainst the Mormons, and drive 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...

More Info
, or exterminate them if necessary,  etc.162

For the text of Boggs’s order of 27 October 1838, see “History, of the Persecution,” July 1840, 1:129.  


While General 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...

View Full Bio
was mus tering his forces for this murderous and  treasonable enterprize, Major General  [Samuel D.] Lucas

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

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, and Brigadier General [Moses] Wilson

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

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,  the old leaders of the Jackson co.

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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con spiracy, being nearer the scene of ac tion, and wishing to immortalize their  names, put themselves at the head of  the old 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...

More Info
robbers, togeth er with the late forces of the robbers  who had all the while been embodied  against us, and turning General [David R.] Atch ison

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...

View Full Bio
163

Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, here calls Atchison “brave and humane.”  


out of the command, took the lead  of all the assembled forces of the up per country, consisting of three or four  thousand men, and with this formidable  force, commenced their march directly  for the city of 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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, where they  arrived, while General 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...

View Full Bio
and his  forces were several days march in the  rear.164

On 26 October, after hearing exaggerated reports of Mormon raids in Daviess County, Governor Boggs ordered John B. Clark and seven other generals in the state militia to mobilize a total of thirty-five hundred men. Of these, twelve hundred were to rendezvous at Clark’s headquarters in Fayette, Howard County, on 3 November and the others were to assemble thereafter at Richmond and farther north.a Later the same day, before his instructions could be carried out, Boggs learned of the Crooked River battle and heard reports of other Mormon hostilities, and he issued to Clark the command later known as the “extermination order.” The order directed Clark to “hasten your operations with all possible speed” and proceed to Richmond, prepared to confront the Latter-day Saints if they were involved in aggression as reported. Additionally, David Willock and Alexander Doniphan were each to mobilize five hundred men each and join forces in northern Daviess County to prevent an anticipated Mormon retreat. Boggs’s order placed Clark in overall command of the campaign against the Latter-day Saints.b Before receiving word of the governor’s orders, David R. Atchison and Samuel D. Lucas informed Boggs on 28 October that in response to the recent “outrages” by the Mormons, they had mobilized some two thousand troops and were proceeding toward Far West to “keep them in check.”c Lucas and Atchison rendezvoused with Doniphan and his troops at Log Creek on 30 October. That day, in response to a letter from Boggs, Atchison left his troops and returned to Liberty, Clay County. Lucas was in command of about eighteen hundred men at that time, and the number grew to twenty-five hundred by the morning of 1 November.d When Boggs directed that militia forces be mobilized to combat the Mormons, he was not yet aware of the initiative taken by Atchison and Lucas. He avoided ordering Atchison out, he later explained, because of widespread dissatisfaction with Atchison’s apparently favorable stance toward the Mormons and because Atchison, a state senator, needed to participate in the upcoming term of the Missouri legislature.e Lucas and his forces reached the vicinity of Far West the evening of 30 October. Clark was considerably behind, encamped near Carrollton, Carroll County, on the night of 1 November.f  


aB. M. Lisle, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, [Fayette, MO], 26 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

bLilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, Fayette, MO, 27 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA [also in “History, of the Persecution,” July 1840, 1:129].

cDavid R. Atchison and Samuel D. Lucas, Richmond, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 28 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

dSamuel D. Lucas, “near Far West,” MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 2 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

eLilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, 6 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

fSamuel D. Lucas, “near Far West,” MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 2 Nov. 1838, copy; John B. Clark, Carroll Co., MO, to David R. Atchison and Samuel D. Lucas, Far West, MO, 1 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.

In the mean time the Governor

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

View Full Bio
’s  order, and all these military movements,  were kept an entire secret from the  Mormons, and even the mail was with held from 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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, thus cutting off  all intelligence. We had only heard  that companies of armed men were seen  in the south part of the county

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

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: and  we had sent a white flag and a guard  of one hundred and fifty men, to make  enquiries.165

Colonel George M. Hinkle of the Caldwell County militia commanded the company of cavalry that carried the white flag. (Corrill, Brief History, 40.)  


But while they were absent  on this business, an alarm came into  town that the whole county

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

More Info
to the south  of us was filled with hostile troops, who  were murdering, plundering, and tak ing peaceable citizens prisoners, in their  own houses, etc.166

Accounts of two incidents involving the militia patrols in Caldwell County before the confrontation outside Far West were published in the next installment of “History, of the Persecution.”  


On receiving this  intelligence, every man flew to arms,  for the protection of our city. It was  now towards evening, and we had  heard nothing of our white flag, and the  hundred and fifty men who went south  in the morning. While we stood in  our armor, gazing to the South in anx ious suspense, we discovered an army  advancing on horse back, over the hills,  at two miles distance from the town.—  We at first supposed it might be our lit tle company of a hundred and fifty re turning to us, but we soon saw that  there were thousands of men, with a  long trian of baggage waggons; we  then were in hopes that it might be  some friendly troops sent for our pro tection; and then we thought it might  be a troop of the robbers coming to  destroy us. At all events, there was  no time to be lost, for although our force  then present did not exceed five hun dred men, yet we did not intend that  they should enter the town without  giving some account of themselve[s].—  We accordingly marched out upon the  plains on the south of the city

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 for med in battle array, extending our line  of foot something like a half a mile,  while a small company of horse was post ed on our right wing on a commanding  eminence, and another small company  in the rear of our main body, intended  as a kind of reserve. By this time the  sun was near setting, and the advance  of the unknown army had come within  plain view, at less than one mile dis tant. On seeing our forces present a  small but formidable front, they came  to a halt, and formed along the borders  of the wilderness. And in a few mo ments both parties sent out a white flag,  which met between the two armies;  when our messenger demanded who  they were, and what was their inten tions? The answer was, that they  wanted three persons out of the city be fore they massacreed the rest.167

Hyrum Smith testified later that the Latter-day Saints’ emissaries were “Captain Morey”—probably George Morey—and “a few other individuals whose names I do not now recollect.” Smith, who claimed to have overheard the discussion, identified the three persons who were given the option of leaving the city as John and Lydia Lightner Cleminson and Adam Lightner. (Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 8, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


This  was a very alarming and unexpected  answer. But they were soon prevail ed upon to suspend hostilities till morn ing, when we were in hopes of some  further and more satisfactory informa tion. The hostile army under the com mand of Lucas

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

View Full Bio
, then commenced their  encampment for the night, and our lit tle army continued to stand to their  arms for fear of some treachery. Our  company of a hundred and fifty soon  returned, informing us that they had  been hemmed in through the day, and  only escaped from their superior knowl edge of the ground. We also sent an  express to 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 ...

More Info
, and by mor ning were reinforced by quite a number  of troops, with Colonel [Lyman] Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

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at ther [p. 115]
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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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