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

what time they had, thought it best to agree to leave the 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
, upon the terms agreed upon, viz: that those elders should go themselves, and also use their influence, with the society, to have one half of them leave the 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
by the first of January, and the other half by the first of April, 1834; hoping that before either of those dates would expire, providence would kindly open the way for them, to still live there in peace. The mob party agreed to not molest the saints, during the time agreed upon for them to stay. The agreement was written, and signed by the parties;17

John Whitmer copied this document into his history. (See Whitmer, History, 39–42.)  


the whole mob was then assembled in the court house

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

More Info
, and had it read, and explained to them by their leaders; they all appeared satisfied, and agreed to abide by it. The saints were not pleased with the idea of leaving the 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
; and few of them, at first, believed that they would have to leave it, thinking that the government would protect them, in their constitutional rights. Threats of destruction were soon thrown out, by some of the mobbers, should they, -[the saints]- make any effort to get assistance from any quarter: but notwithstanding their threats, a petition was carefully circulated, and obtained the signature of many of the saints; and was carried to the Governor

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

View Full Bio
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
, before it become at all public. The petition set forth, in a concise manner, their persecutions; and solicited the aid of the Governor

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

View Full Bio
in protecting them, in their rights, that they might sue, and obtain damages, for loss of property, abuse, defamation, &c.18

Partridge himself gathered signatures for the petition, and William W. Phelps carried it to Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin. The petitioners claimed that nearly all local civil and military officers were committed to expelling the Saints from Jackson County and that it would be futile to try to serve “civil process” without the governor’s help. They requested Dunklin to raise troops to help them sue for redress and perhaps even to help prosecute the perpetrators of anti-Mormon violence for “treason against the government.” (Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous Papers, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114–115.)  


The Governor

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

View Full Bio
, in his answer, expressed a willingness to help them, but said he had no authority to do it, untill the law could not be executed without force.19

In his reply to the petition of the Latter-day Saints, Daniel Dunklin stated that the rule of law was foundational for society and that no persons had “a right to take the redress of their grievances . . . into their own hands.” To ensure respect for the rule of law, he advised the Latter-day Saints to take legal action to protect themselves, as an “experiment” to see “whether the laws can be peaceably executed or not.” If that failed, his duty would be “to take such steps as will enforce a ‘faithful execution’” of the law. (Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO, to Edward Partridge et al., 19 Oct. 1833, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


He advised them to try the law, against those who should threaten their lives; and if the law was resisted, give him authentic information of the fact, and then he would see that it was enforced.20

The Partridge manuscript here continues with three sentences describing attempts by the Latter-day Saints to obtain “peace warrants” against the Jackson County aggressors. Although these sentences were not included at this point in the printed history, the same description was rewritten in the manuscript several paragraphs later, and the second occurrence was included in the printed version, at the beginning of the January 1840 installment. The first occurrence in the manuscript was marked with vertical lines on either side, possibly indicating the intent to delete or move it.  


He also advised them to sue for their damages. They accordingly employed four counsellors, at $1,000 to commence and carry their suits, more or less, through to final judgement.21

On 30 October 1833 the Latter-day Saints employed Alexander Doniphan, David R. Atchison, Amos Rees, and William T. Wood to represent them in filing civil lawsuits seeking damages for losses they suffered in July at Independence. The Partridge manuscript clarifies that the legal counselors were paid $250 each. They filed a series of civil lawsuits in Jackson County beginning in February 1834. Missouri attorney general Robert W. Wells joined the legal team in October 1834. (William W. Phelps et al. to William T. Wood et al., 30 Oct. 1833, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; see also William T. Wood et al., Independence, MO, to William W. Phelps et al., 28 Oct. 1833; William W. Phelps, Liberty, MO, to Robert W. Wells, Jefferson City, MO, 5 Jan. 1835, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


About that time a few families moved into Van Buren county

Located south of Jackson Co. on western border of state. Area settled by pioneers, 1830. Created from southern Jackson Co; boundaries established, 16 Jan. 1833. Organized 1835. County seat, Harrisonville. Population in 1840 about 4,700. Features fertile prairie...

More Info
,22

Van Buren County was created in 1833 from Jackson and Lafayette counties but was attached to Jackson County for administrative purposes until 1835, when Van Buren County was formally organized. (History of Jackson County, Missouri, 117–118.)  


the county south of Jackson

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
; but the hostile spirit of the inhabitants, which was manifested by their threatnings; induced them to move back again to Jackson

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
.
The saints, as yet, had made no resistance,23

The rest of this sentence does not appear in the Partridge manuscript.  


but seeing, as they thought, the only feasible door for moving away shut against them, they began to look around, to see what could be done.— They took the subject of self defence into consideration, and they found that they would be justified by the laws of both God and man, in defending themselves, their families, and houses, against all such as should molest them unlawfully. They therefore concluded, that from that time forward, they would defend themselves, as well as they could, against mobbers; hoping that that, when it should be understood, would dampen the hostile spirit of those who were, at that time, continually threatening them. But it had a contra effect. That, together with the petitioning of the Governor

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

View Full Bio
, and the employing of counsel, caused the mob to rage again. They began by stoning houses, breaking in windows and doors, and committing other outrages;24

“Breaking in windows and doors, and committing other outrages” does not appear in the Partridge manuscript, which dates the recommencement of aggression against the Saints to October 1833.  


but nothing, very serious, was done till the last of October. On Thursday night the 31st, a mob of forty or fifty, collected and proceeded armed to a branch of the church,25

The Whitmer settlement in Kaw Township. (“From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124; see also Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:101–102.)  


who lived eight or ten miles, south west of Independence

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

More Info
; there they unroofed ten houses, and partly threw down the bodies of some of them; they caught three or four of the men, and notwithstanding the cries, and entreaties of their wives and children, they whiped, and beat them in a barbarous manner.26

Orrin Porter Rockwell identified George Beebe and Hiram Page as those injured most seriously. (Orrin Porter Rockwell, Affidavit, Washington DC, 3 Feb. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL.)  


Others evaded a beating by flight. They were taken by surprise by the mob, consequently were not collected together, or in a situation to defend themselves against so large a body; therefore they made no resistance. The mob, after threatening to visit them again in a rougher manner, dispersed. The news of this outrage soon spread through the different settlements of the saints, and produced feelings more easily felt than described; for they very well knew by the threatnings of the mob, and their breaking the treaty, or agreement, which was made but a few days before, as it were, that there was trouble ahead. They were in a scattered situation, their settlements extending east and west ten or twelve miles, and [p. 19]
what time they had, thought it best to  agree to leave the 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
, upon the  terms agreed upon, viz: that those el ders should go themselves, and also use  their influence, with the society, to  have one half of them leave the 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
 by the first of January, and the other  half by the first of April, 1834; hoping  that before either of those dates would  expire, providence would kindly open  the way for them, to still live there in  peace. The mob party agreed to not  molest the saints, during the time  agreed upon for them to stay. The  agreement was written, and signed by  the parties;17

John Whitmer copied this document into his history. (See Whitmer, History, 39–42.)  


the whole mob was then  assembled in the court house

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

More Info
, and had  it read, and explained to them by their  leaders; they all appeared satisfied,  and agreed to abide by it. The saints  were not pleased with the idea of leav ing the 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
; and few of them, at  first, believed that they would have to  leave it, thinking that the government  would protect them, in their constitu tional rights. Threats of destruction  were soon thrown out, by some of the  mobbers, should they, -[the saints]-  make any effort to get assistance from  any quarter: but notwithstanding their  threats, a petition was carefully circu lated, and obtained the signature of  many of the saints; and was carried  to the Governor

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

View Full Bio
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
, before it  become at all public. The petition set  forth, in a concise manner, their per secutions; and solicited the aid of the  Governor

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

View Full Bio
in protecting them, in their  rights, that they might sue, and obtain  damages, for loss of property, abuse,  defamation, &c.18

Partridge himself gathered signatures for the petition, and William W. Phelps carried it to Missouri governor Daniel Dunklin. The petitioners claimed that nearly all local civil and military officers were committed to expelling the Saints from Jackson County and that it would be futile to try to serve “civil process” without the governor’s help. They requested Dunklin to raise troops to help them sue for redress and perhaps even to help prosecute the perpetrators of anti-Mormon violence for “treason against the government.” (Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous Papers, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114–115.)  


The Governor

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

View Full Bio
, in  his answer, expressed a willingness to  help them, but said he had no author ity to do it, untill the law could not be  executed without force.19

In his reply to the petition of the Latter-day Saints, Daniel Dunklin stated that the rule of law was foundational for society and that no persons had “a right to take the redress of their grievances . . . into their own hands.” To ensure respect for the rule of law, he advised the Latter-day Saints to take legal action to protect themselves, as an “experiment” to see “whether the laws can be peaceably executed or not.” If that failed, his duty would be “to take such steps as will enforce a ‘faithful execution’” of the law. (Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO, to Edward Partridge et al., 19 Oct. 1833, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


He advised  them to try the law, against those who  should threaten their lives; and if the  law was resisted, give him authentic  information of the fact, and then he  would see that it was enforced.20

The Partridge manuscript here continues with three sentences describing attempts by the Latter-day Saints to obtain “peace warrants” against the Jackson County aggressors. Although these sentences were not included at this point in the printed history, the same description was rewritten in the manuscript several paragraphs later, and the second occurrence was included in the printed version, at the beginning of the January 1840 installment. The first occurrence in the manuscript was marked with vertical lines on either side, possibly indicating the intent to delete or move it.  


He  also advised them to sue for their dam ages. They accordingly employed  four counsellors, at $1,000 to com mence and carry their suits, more or  less, through to final judgement.21

On 30 October 1833 the Latter-day Saints employed Alexander Doniphan, David R. Atchison, Amos Rees, and William T. Wood to represent them in filing civil lawsuits seeking damages for losses they suffered in July at Independence. The Partridge manuscript clarifies that the legal counselors were paid $250 each. They filed a series of civil lawsuits in Jackson County beginning in February 1834. Missouri attorney general Robert W. Wells joined the legal team in October 1834. (William W. Phelps et al. to William T. Wood et al., 30 Oct. 1833, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; see also William T. Wood et al., Independence, MO, to William W. Phelps et al., 28 Oct. 1833; William W. Phelps, Liberty, MO, to Robert W. Wells, Jefferson City, MO, 5 Jan. 1835, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


About that time a few families moved  into Van Buren county

Located south of Jackson Co. on western border of state. Area settled by pioneers, 1830. Created from southern Jackson Co; boundaries established, 16 Jan. 1833. Organized 1835. County seat, Harrisonville. Population in 1840 about 4,700. Features fertile prairie...

More Info
,22

Van Buren County was created in 1833 from Jackson and Lafayette counties but was attached to Jackson County for administrative purposes until 1835, when Van Buren County was formally organized. (History of Jackson County, Missouri, 117–118.)  


the county  south of Jackson

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
; but the hostile spirit  of the inhabitants, which was manifest ed by their threatnings; induced them  to move back again to Jackson

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
.
The saints, as yet, had made no re sistance,23

The rest of this sentence does not appear in the Partridge manuscript.  


but seeing, as they thought,  the only feasible door for moving away  shut against them, they began to look  around, to see what could be done.—  They took the subject of self defence  into consideration, and they found that  they would be justified by the laws of  both God and man, in defending them selves, their families, and houses,  against all such as should molest them  unlawfully. They therefore concluded,  that from that time forward, they  would defend themselves, as well as  they could, against mobbers; hoping  that that, when it should be understood,  would dampen the hostile spirit of  those who were, at that time, continu ally threatening them. But it had a  contra effect. That, together with the  petitioning of the Governor

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

View Full Bio
, and the  employing of counsel, caused the mob  to rage again. They began by stoning  houses, breaking in windows and doors,  and committing other outrages;24

“Breaking in windows and doors, and committing other outrages” does not appear in the Partridge manuscript, which dates the recommencement of aggression against the Saints to October 1833.  


but noth ing, very serious, was done till the last  of October. On Thursday night the  31st, a mob of forty or fifty, collected  and proceeded armed to a branch of  the church,25

The Whitmer settlement in Kaw Township. (“From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124; see also Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:101–102.)  


who lived eight or ten  miles, south west of Independence

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

More Info
;  there they unroofed ten houses, and  partly threw down the bodies of some  of them; they caught three or four of  the men, and notwithstanding the cries,  and entreaties of their wives and chil dren, they whiped, and beat them in  a barbarous manner.26

Orrin Porter Rockwell identified George Beebe and Hiram Page as those injured most seriously. (Orrin Porter Rockwell, Affidavit, Washington DC, 3 Feb. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL.)  


Others evaded  a beating by flight. They were taken  by surprise by the mob, consequently  were not collected together, or in a  situation to defend themselves against  so large a body; therefore they made  no resistance. The mob, after threat ening to visit them again in a rougher  manner, dispersed. The news of this  outrage soon spread through the differ ent settlements of the saints, and pro duced feelings more easily felt than de scribed; for they very well knew by  the threatnings of the mob, and their  breaking the treaty, or agreement,  which was made but a few days be fore, as it were, that there was trouble  ahead. They were in a scattered sit uation, their settlements extending east  and west ten or twelve miles, and [p. 19]
PreviousNext
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...

More Info
, 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...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
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...

More Info
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....

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

View Full Bio
’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...

More Info
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...

More Info
, 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...

More Info
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.” ...

More Info
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...

More Info
. 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...

More Info
. 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...

More Info
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...

View Full Bio
’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.” ...

More Info
, 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....

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
. 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....

View Full Bio
’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...

View Full Bio
’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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

More Info
, 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...

More Info
. 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....

View Full Bio
’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...

View Full Bio
’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...

View Full Bio
, Pratt, and Rigdon wrote their histories, the persecutions and injustices against them were still fresh in their memories. All three authors suffered personally during the Missouri hardships, and as they and other Saints undertook to write about their experiences, their primary focus was to fulfill JS’s directive—to obtain redress by making known the “nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practiced upon this people.”7

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:5].  


Facts