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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

these corpses we immediately went to the black-smith’s shop where we found nine of our friends, eight of whom were already dead, the other, Mr. [Simon] Cox of Indiana, struggling in the agonies of death and soon expired. We immediately prepared and carried them to a place of interment: This last office of kindness due to the relics of departed friends, was not attended with the customary ceremonies nor decency: for we were in jeopardy, every moment expecting to be fired on by the mob, whom, we supposed were lying in ambush, waiting for the first opportunity to despatch the remaining few, who were providentially preserved from the slaughter of the preceding day. However, we accomplished without molestation this painful task. The place of burying, was a vault in the ground, formerly intended for a well, into which we threw the bodies of our friends promiscuously. Among those slain, I will mention Sardius Smith, son of Warren Smith

1794–30 Oct. 1838. Blacksmith. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy. Born in Massachusetts. Married Amanda Barnes, 9 July 1826, at Black River (later in Lorain), Lorain Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1832. Labored...

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, about nine years old, who, through fear, had crawled under the bellows in the shop, where he remained until the massacre was over, when he was discovered by a Mr. Glaze of Corrill [Carroll] County, who presented his rifle near the boy’s head and literally blowed off the upper part of it. Mr. Stanley of Corrill, told me afterwards that Glaze boasted of this deed all over 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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.
The number killed and mortally wounded in this wanton slaughter, was eighteen or nineteen, whose names, as far as I can recollect, were as follows: Thomas McBride

12 Mar. 1776–30 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Virginia. Son of James McBride and Mary White. Married Catharine John, 28 Sept. 1797, in Berkeley Co., Virginia (later in Jefferson Co., West Virginia). Moved to Lancaster, Fairfield Co., Ohio, 1810. Moved to Amanda...

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, Levi Merrick, Elias Benner, Josiah Fullor [Fuller], Benjamin Lewis, Alexander Campbell, Warren Smith

1794–30 Oct. 1838. Blacksmith. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy. Born in Massachusetts. Married Amanda Barnes, 9 July 1826, at Black River (later in Lorain), Lorain Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1832. Labored...

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, Sardius Smith, George Richards, Mr. William Napier, Mr. Harmar [Austin Hammer], Mr. [Simon] Cox, Mr. Abbot [Hiram Abbott]

?–Dec. 1838. Son of Rufus Abbott. Resided in Ray Co., Missouri, by July 1838. Mortally wounded during attack at Hawn’s Mill settlement on Shoal Creek, Caldwell Co., Missouri, 30 Oct. 1838.

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, Mr. [John] York

Ca. 1778–30 Oct. 1838. Married Hannah Hammer, 8 Jan. 1801, in Randolph Co., North Carolina. Moved to Milford, Butler Co., Ohio by 1820. Moved to Henry Co., Indiana, by 1830. Likely baptized into LDS church. Moved to Hawn’s Mill settlement on Shoal Creek, ...

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, Wm. Merrick a boy 8 or 9 years old and three or four more, whose names I do not recollect, as they were strangers to me. Among the wounded who recovered, were Isaac Laney [Leany], who had six balls shot through him, two through his body, one through each arm, and the other two through his hips. Nathan K. Knight shot through the body; Mr. William Yokum who was severely wounded, besides being shot through the head, Jacob Myers

11 Aug. 1782–17 Oct. 1867. Farmer, millwright. Born at Pence, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Frederick Myers and Elizabeth Wirick. Married Sarah Colman, 5 Jan. 1804, at Jefferson Co., Ohio. Lived in Richland Co., Ohio, 1804–ca. 1836. Baptized into...

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, —— [George] Myers, Tarlton Lewis

18 May 1805–22 Nov. 1890. Farmer, carpenter, colonizer. Born in Pendleton, Pendleton Co., South Carolina. Son of Neriah Lewis and Mary Morse. Moved to Kentucky, 1809. Married Malinda Gimlin, 27 Mar. 1828, likely in Simpson Co., Kentucky. Moved to Macoupin...

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, Mr. Haunn

13 Jan. 1804–27 Jan. 1860. Miller, builder, carpenter. Born in Genesee Co., New York. Son of Henry Hawn. Consistently spelled surname as “Hawn” throughout life, but many contemporary records spelled name as “Haun.” Married Harriet Elizabeth Pierson, 18 Nov...

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, and several others. Miss Mary Stedwell, while fleeing, was shot through the hand and fainting, fell over a log, into which, they shot upwards of twenty balls.
To finish their work of destruction, this band of murderers, composed of men from 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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, Livingston

Organized 1837. Population in 1840 about 4,300. Hawn’s Mill Massacre planned by mob in eastern part of county.

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, Ray

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

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, 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 Corrill Counties; led by some of the principal men of that section of the upper country, proceeded to rob the houses, wagons and tents, of bedding and clothing; drove off horses and wagons, leaving widows and orphans destitute of the necessaries of life; and even stripped the clothing from the bodies of the slain!
According to their own account, they fired seven rounds in this awful massacre, making upwards of fifteen hundred shots at a little company of men of about thirty in number!
I certify the above, to be a true statement of facts relative to the above mentioned massacre according to my best recolection.
(Signed) JOSEPH YOUNG

7 Apr. 1797–16 July 1881. Farmer, painter, glazier. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Moved to Auburn, Cayuga Co., New York, before 1830. Joined Methodist church, before Apr. 1832. Baptized into LDS...

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.
JANE A. YOUNG

14 Aug. 1814–15 Jan. 1913. Born in Utica, Oneida Co., New York. Daughter of Calvin Field Bicknell and Chloe Seymour. Moved to Geneseo, Livingston Co., New York, 1817; to Livonia, Livingston Co., by 1830; and back to Geneseo, by 1834. Baptized into LDS church...

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.
A short time previous to the massacre at Shoal creek

Stream that flows eastward for about forty-five miles from east central Clinton Co. through Caldwell Co. to confluence with Grand River in central Livingston Co. Thousands of Saints moved from Clay Co. to sites along Shoal Creek in Caldwell Co., beginning...

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, we made peace with the mob characters living near us, as declaration had been made by the leaders of the band, that all persons who would not take up arms against the society, should, with the Mormons, be driven out 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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; and thus drawing the division line so close that we thought it necessary to ascertain the feelings of our neighbors around us. We met them and an agreement was entered into between us, that we would live in peace, let others do as they would. A large number of our company living at the mill at that time, were immigrants who had just came into the place. On the first day of November 1838, without apprehending any danger whatever from the mob, we were visited by about three hundred mounted men, coming with great speed, and fell upon us with the ferocity of tigers. They were not discovered until within one hundred and fifty yards of us. They immediately commenced firing upon us, without asking us to surrender, or giving us a chance to surrender, or even giving us to understand what they wanted, only as we were taught by the sound of guns, the groans of [p. 147]
these corpses we imm[e]diately went to  the black-smith’s shop where we found  nine of our friends, eight of whom  were already dead, the other, Mr. [Simon] Cox  of Indiana, struggling in the agonies  of death and soon expired. We im mediately prepared and carried them  to a place of interment: This last office  of kindness due to the relics of depart ed friends, was not attended with the  customary ceremoni[e]s nor decency: for  we were in jeopardy, every moment  expecting to be fired on by the mob,  whom, we supposed were lying in am bush, waiting for the first opportunity  to despatch the remaining few, who  were providentially preserved from the  slaughter of the preceding day. How ever, we accomplished without moles tation this painful task. The place of  burying, was a vault in the ground,  formerly intended for a well, into  which we threw the bodies of our  friends promiscuously. Among those  slain, I will mention Sardius Smith,  son of Warren Smith

1794–30 Oct. 1838. Blacksmith. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy. Born in Massachusetts. Married Amanda Barnes, 9 July 1826, at Black River (later in Lorain), Lorain Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1832. Labored...

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, about nine years  old, who, through fear, had crawled  under the bellows in the shop, where  he remained until the massacre was  over, when he was discovered by a Mr.  Glaze of Corrill [Carroll] County, who present ed his rifle near the boy’s head and  literally blowed off the upper part of it.  Mr. Stanley of Corrill, told me after wards that Glaze boasted of this deed  all over 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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.209

At least four men were later identified as having killed Sardius Smith: Ira Glaze, William Reynolds, Stephen Reynolds, and a “Mr. Moppins”—possibly Howard or Jesse Maupin, both of whom have been identified as participants in the massacre. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 417, 419.)  


The number killed and mortally  wounded in this wanton slaughter, was  eighteen or nineteen, whose names, as  far as I can recollect, were as follows:  Thomas McBride

12 Mar. 1776–30 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Virginia. Son of James McBride and Mary White. Married Catharine John, 28 Sept. 1797, in Berkeley Co., Virginia (later in Jefferson Co., West Virginia). Moved to Lancaster, Fairfield Co., Ohio, 1810. Moved to Amanda...

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[,] Levi Merrick, Elias  Benner, Josiah Fullor [Fuller], Benjamin Lew is, Alexander Campbell, Warren Smith

1794–30 Oct. 1838. Blacksmith. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy. Born in Massachusetts. Married Amanda Barnes, 9 July 1826, at Black River (later in Lorain), Lorain Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1832. Labored...

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,  Sardius Smith, George Richards, Mr.  [William] Napier, Mr. Harmar [Austin Hammer], Mr. [Simon] Cox, Mr.  Abbot [Hiram Abbott]

?–Dec. 1838. Son of Rufus Abbott. Resided in Ray Co., Missouri, by July 1838. Mortally wounded during attack at Hawn’s Mill settlement on Shoal Creek, Caldwell Co., Missouri, 30 Oct. 1838.

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, Mr. [John] York

Ca. 1778–30 Oct. 1838. Married Hannah Hammer, 8 Jan. 1801, in Randolph Co., North Carolina. Moved to Milford, Butler Co., Ohio by 1820. Moved to Henry Co., Indiana, by 1830. Likely baptized into LDS church. Moved to Hawn’s Mill settlement on Shoal Creek, ...

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, Wm. Merrick210

Actually Charles Merrick.  


a  boy 8 or 9 years old and three or four  more, whose names I do not recollect,  as they were strangers to me.211

Alexander Baugh has identified John Byers and John Lee in addition to those Young listed by name. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” appendix J.)  


Among  the wounded who recovered, were  Isaac Laney [Leany], who had six balls shot  through him, two through his body,  one through each arm, and the other  two through his hips. Nathan K.  Knight shot through the body; Mr.  [William] Yokum who was severely wounded,  besides being shot through the head,  Jacob Myers

11 Aug. 1782–17 Oct. 1867. Farmer, millwright. Born at Pence, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Frederick Myers and Elizabeth Wirick. Married Sarah Colman, 5 Jan. 1804, at Jefferson Co., Ohio. Lived in Richland Co., Ohio, 1804–ca. 1836. Baptized into...

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, —— [George] Myers, Tarlton  Lewis

18 May 1805–22 Nov. 1890. Farmer, carpenter, colonizer. Born in Pendleton, Pendleton Co., South Carolina. Son of Neriah Lewis and Mary Morse. Moved to Kentucky, 1809. Married Malinda Gimlin, 27 Mar. 1828, likely in Simpson Co., Kentucky. Moved to Macoupin...

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, Mr. Haunn

13 Jan. 1804–27 Jan. 1860. Miller, builder, carpenter. Born in Genesee Co., New York. Son of Henry Hawn. Consistently spelled surname as “Hawn” throughout life, but many contemporary records spelled name as “Haun.” Married Harriet Elizabeth Pierson, 18 Nov...

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, and several oth ers. Miss Mary Stedwell, while flee ing, was shot through the hand and  fainting, fell over a log, into which,  they shot upwards of twenty balls.
To finish their work of destruction,  this band of murderers, composed of  men from 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
, Livingston

Organized 1837. Population in 1840 about 4,300. Hawn’s Mill Massacre planned by mob in eastern part of county.

More Info
, Ray

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

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,  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 Corrill Counties; led by  some of the principal men of that sec tion of the upper country, proceeded  to rob the houses, wagons and tents, of  bedding and clothing; drove off horses  and wagons, leaving widows and or phans destitute of the necessaries of  life; and even strip[p]ed the clothing  from the bodies of the slain!
According to their own account,  they fired seven rounds in this awful  massacre, making upwards of fifteen  hundred shots at a little company of  men of about thirty in number!
I certify the above, to be a true  statement of facts relative to the above  mentioned massacre according to my  best recolection.
(Signed) JOSEPH YOUNG

7 Apr. 1797–16 July 1881. Farmer, painter, glazier. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Moved to Auburn, Cayuga Co., New York, before 1830. Joined Methodist church, before Apr. 1832. Baptized into LDS...

View Full Bio
.
JANE A. YOUNG

14 Aug. 1814–15 Jan. 1913. Born in Utica, Oneida Co., New York. Daughter of Calvin Field Bicknell and Chloe Seymour. Moved to Geneseo, Livingston Co., New York, 1817; to Livonia, Livingston Co., by 1830; and back to Geneseo, by 1834. Baptized into LDS church...

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.
212

The remainder of this installment was based on the David Lewis statement. (See Editorial Note.)  


A short time previous to the massa cre at Shoal creek

Stream that flows eastward for about forty-five miles from east central Clinton Co. through Caldwell Co. to confluence with Grand River in central Livingston Co. Thousands of Saints moved from Clay Co. to sites along Shoal Creek in Caldwell Co., beginning...

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, we made peace  with the mob characters living near  us, as declaration had been made by  the leaders of the band, that all per sons who would not take up arms  against the society, should, with the  Mormons, be driven out 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...

More Info
;  and thus drawing the division line so  close that we thought it necessary to  ascertain the feelings of our neigh bors around us. We met them and  an agreement was entered into be tween us, that we would live in peace,  let others do as they would. A large  number of our company living at the  mill at that time, were immigrants who  had just came into the place. On the  first day of November 1838, without  apprehending any danger whatever  from the mob, we were visited by  about three hundred mounted men,  coming with great speed, and fell upon  us with the ferocity of tigers. They  were not discovered until within one  hundred and fifty yards of us. They  immediately commenced firing upon  us, without asking us to surrender, or  giving us a chance to surrender, or  even giving us to understand what  they wanted, only as we were taught  by the sound of guns, the groans of [p. 147]
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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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