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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

This, Mr. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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could have proven if he could have introduced his witnesses. For this, he was bound over to appear at the county Court, in the sum of one thousand dollars. Another, by the name of [Andrew] Job, whose mother had gone to the house of Mr. 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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, and swore a feather bed which was in his house was her’s: After she got away, she said she never had a bed since she lived in Daviess county

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

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; but she wanted one of “old 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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’s” beds. Her son came to the court, to swear against Mr. 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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for stealing; and accordingly swore that his mother’s bed was found in his house. The question was asked, how he knew it was his mother’s bed? He said he had slept upon it and he felt the stripes with his feet. His mother’s bed, had a striped tick, and the stripes went two ways, and he felt them with his feet, while lying in the bed. He was then asked if there was not a sheet on the bed under him? He said there was, but still he felt the stripes in the tick, through the sheet, so distinctly that he knew that they went two ways, and that it was his mother’s bed, and that was the way they found out, his mother’s bed was there. Mr. 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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proved, in the mean time, that, that same bed had been in his house for many years. We give these as specimens of men’s swearing. We might multiply them to a great number, but it would swell this narrative beyond the limits allowed it. Let so much suffice.
The court at last closed, on the 29th of November, after a session of two weeks, and three days, and during most of the time we were closely confined in chains. At the close of the court, and some few days before it closed, there were a considerable number of those who had been arrested by Gen. 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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released. Out of that number was Amasa Lyman

30 Mar. 1813–4 Feb. 1877. Boatman, gunsmith, farmer. Born at Lyman, Grafton Co., New Hampshire. Son of Boswell Lyman and Martha Mason. Baptized into LDS church by Lyman E. Johnson, 27 Apr. 1832. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, May–June 1832. Ordained an...

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, Esq. who was one of the seven, who had been carried to 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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, and from thence to 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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. They were either all released, or admitted to bail, except 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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, Caleb Baldwin

2 Sept. 1791–11 June 1849. Born in Nobletown (later Hillsdale), Orange Co., New York. Son of Philemon Baldwin and Esther. Served in War of 1812 in Ohio militia. Married Nancy Kingsbury, 7 Dec. 1814, in Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. Moved to Warrensville (later in University...

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, Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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, Alexander McRay [McRae]

7 Sept. 1807–20 June 1891. Tailor, sheriff, prison warden. Born in Anson Co., North Carolina. Son of John B. McRae and Mary. Moved to South Carolina; to Iredell Co., North Carolina; and back to South Carolina. Enlisted in U.S. Army, Mar. 1829, and served ...

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, Joseph Smith, Jr. and 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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; who were sent to 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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, Clay co. to jail, to stand their trial for treason and murder. The treason, for having whipped the mob out of Daviess co.

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 taking their cannon from them; and the murder, for the man killed in the Bogart

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

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battle. Also 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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, Morris Phelps, Luman Gibbs

14 Mar. 1788–11 Jan 1873. Basket maker. Born in Vermont. Married Philena, 1 Jan. 1810, at Ferrisburgh, Addison Co., Vermont. Served in War of 1812. Baptized into LDS church. Ordained a priest by Oliver Cowdery, 25 Oct. 1831. Tended horses of Latter-day Saint...

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, Darwin Chase

25 Feb. 1816–4 Feb. 1863. Miner, town officer, military officer. Born in Ellisburg, Jefferson Co., New York. Son of Stephen Chase and Orryanna Rowe. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Moved to Jackson Co., Missouri. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri....

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, and Norman Shearer; who were put into Richmond

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

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jail, to stand their trial, for the same crimes. At this time the Legislature had commenced its session, and a Memorial was presented to the senate and house of Representatives, to obtain a committee to investigate the whole affair pertaining to 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, the operations of the mob, and the conduct and operations of the Militia, while 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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.
After much legislation, disputation, and controversy, and angry speechifying; as the papers of 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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, published at the time, abundantly testify, the petition and memorial, were laid on the table, until the July following; thus utterly refusing to grant the memorialists, their request; thereby refusing to investigate the subject; and thus it stands until this day, uninvestigated by any legal authority.
After we were cast into prison, we heard nothing but threatenings, that if any Judge or Jury, or court of any kind, should clear any of us, that we should never get 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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alive. This soon determined our course; and that was, to escape out of their hands as soon as we could; and by any means we could. After we had been some length of time in prison, we demanded a writ of Habeas Corpus of Judge [Joel] Turnham

23 Sept. 1783–24 Aug. 1862. Judge, farmer. Born in Virginia. Married Elizabeth Rice, ca. Feb. 1806, in Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Moved to Jessamine Co., Kentucky, by 1810. Served in War of 1812 in Kentucky militia. Moved to Clay Co., Missouri, by 1822. Clay...

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, one of the 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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Judges; which with some considerable reluctance, was granted. Great threatenings were made at this time by the mob, that if any of us were liberated we should never get out of the 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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alive. After the investigation one of our number was released from prison by the decision of the Judge; the remainder were committed to jail. He also returned with them until a favorable opportunity offered which through the friendship of the Sheriff, Mr. Samuel Hadley, and the Jailor, Mr. Samuel Tillery, he was let out of the jail secretly, in the night, and being solemnly warned by them to be 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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with as little delay as possible, he made his escape.— Being pursued by a body of armed men, it was through the direction of a kind providence that he escaped out of their hands and safely arrived in Quin

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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[p. 164]
This, Mr. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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could have pro ven if he could have introduced his  witnesses. For this, he was bound o ver to appear at the county Court, in  the sum of one thousand dollars. A nother, by the name of [Andrew] Job, whose  mother had gone to the house of Mr.  [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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, and swore a feather bed which  was in his house was her’s: After  she got away, she said she never had a  bed since she lived in Daviess county

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

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;  but she wanted one of “old 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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’s”  beds. Her son came to the court, to  swear against Mr. 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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for stealing;  and accordingly swore that his moth er’s bed was found in his house. The  question was asked, how he knew it  was his mother’s bed? He said he had  slept upon it and he felt the stripes  with his feet. His mother’s bed, had  a striped tick, and the stripes went two  ways, and he felt them with his feet,  while lying in the bed. He was then  asked if there was not a sheet on the  bed under him? He said there was,  but still he felt the stripes in the tick,  through the sheet, so distinctly that he  knew that they went two ways, and  that it was his mother’s bed, and that  was the way they found out, his moth er’s bed was there.250

Andrew Job testified he found his stepmother’s feather bed and a set of her knives and forks at the home of Wight. Job said he slept on the feather bed at another house in Adam-ondi-Ahman while he was a prisoner of the Mormons. (Andrew Job, 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.”)  


Mr. 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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prov ed, in the mean time, that, that same  bed had been in his house for many  years. We give these as specimens  of men’s swearing. We might multi ply them to a great number, but it  would swell this narrative beyond the  limits allowed it. Let so much suffice.
The court at last closed, on the 29th  of November, after a session of two  weeks, and three days, and during most  of the time we were closely confined  in chains. At the close of the court,  and some few days before it closed,  there were a considerable number of  those who had been arrested by Gen.  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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released. Out of that number  was Amasa Lyman

30 Mar. 1813–4 Feb. 1877. Boatman, gunsmith, farmer. Born at Lyman, Grafton Co., New Hampshire. Son of Boswell Lyman and Martha Mason. Baptized into LDS church by Lyman E. Johnson, 27 Apr. 1832. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, May–June 1832. Ordained an...

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, Esq. who was  one of the seven, who had been carried  to 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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, and from thence to  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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. They were either all released,  or admitted to bail,251

Admitted to bail were Thomas Beck, Samuel Bent, Jonathan Dunham, Daniel Garn, Jacob Gates, George Grant, Clark Hallett, James M. Henderson, Francis Higbee, John S. Higbee, Jesse D. Hunter, George Kimble, Joel S. Miles, Ebenezer Page, Edward Partridge, David Pettegrew, James H. Rollins, Alanson Ripley, Ebenezer Robinson, George W. Robinson, Sidney Turner, Washington Voorhees, and Joseph W. Younger. The men were charged with arson, burglary, robbery, and larceny in Daviess County and were to be tried in that county 28 March 1839. (Document Containing the Correspondence, 150; Madsen, “Joseph Smith and the Missouri Court of Inquiry,” 126–127.)  


except 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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, Caleb Baldwin

2 Sept. 1791–11 June 1849. Born in Nobletown (later Hillsdale), Orange Co., New York. Son of Philemon Baldwin and Esther. Served in War of 1812 in Ohio militia. Married Nancy Kingsbury, 7 Dec. 1814, in Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. Moved to Warrensville (later in University...

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, Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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,  Alexander McRay [McRae]

7 Sept. 1807–20 June 1891. Tailor, sheriff, prison warden. Born in Anson Co., North Carolina. Son of John B. McRae and Mary. Moved to South Carolina; to Iredell Co., North Carolina; and back to South Carolina. Enlisted in U.S. Army, Mar. 1829, and served ...

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, Joseph Smith, Jr.  and 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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; who were sent to  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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, Clay co. to jail, to stand their  trial for treason and murder. The  treason, for having whipped the mob  out of Daviess co.

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 taking their  cannon from them; and the murder,  for the man killed in the Bogart

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

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battle.252

According to the court records, JS, Hyrum Smith, Wight, McRae, and Baldwin were ordered to be tried in Daviess County 7 March 1839 for treason in Daviess County and Rigdon was to be tried in Caldwell County 1 April 1839 for treason in Caldwell County. None of these defendants was to be tried for murder. No record exists of the specific charges on which Judge Austin A. King’s “probable cause” ruling was based. The Latter-day Saint offensive in Daviess County in October 1838 was a major focus of the testimony given at the court of inquiry, and one or more aspects of that campaign must have been the basis for the charge of treason, for which bail could not be posted. There is even less evidence in the record to suggest the specific basis for the charge that Rigdon committed treason in Caldwell County. He did not participate in the raids in Daviess County. (Austin A. King, Ruling, 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.”)  


 Also Parl[e]y 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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, Morris Phelps,  Luman Gibbs

14 Mar. 1788–11 Jan 1873. Basket maker. Born in Vermont. Married Philena, 1 Jan. 1810, at Ferrisburgh, Addison Co., Vermont. Served in War of 1812. Baptized into LDS church. Ordained a priest by Oliver Cowdery, 25 Oct. 1831. Tended horses of Latter-day Saint...

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, Darwin Chase

25 Feb. 1816–4 Feb. 1863. Miner, town officer, military officer. Born in Ellisburg, Jefferson Co., New York. Son of Stephen Chase and Orryanna Rowe. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Moved to Jackson Co., Missouri. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri....

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, and Nor man Shearer; who were put into Rich mond

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

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jail, to stand their trial, for the  same crimes.253

These five were to be tried in Ray County 11 March 1839 for the murder of Moses Rowland in that county. Rowland was killed in the battle at Crooked River. (Austin A. King, Ruling, 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.”)  


At this time the Legis lature had commenced its session, and  a Memorial was presented to the sen ate and house of Representatives, to  obtain a committee to investigate the  whole affair pertaining to the Gover nor

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, the operations of the mob,  and the conduct and operations of the  Militia, while 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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.
After much legislation, disputation,  and controversy, and angry speechify ing; as the papers of 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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, pub lished at the time, abundantly testify,  the petition and memorial, were laid  on the table, until the July following;  thus utterly refusing to grant the me morialists, their request; thereby re fusing to investigate the subject; and  thus it stands until this day, uninvesti gated by any legal authority.254

After Governor Lilburn W. Boggs delivered brief remarks about the compaign against the Mormons in his 20 November 1838 address to the Missouri legislature, the Missouri House of Representatives adopted a resolution on 22 November to refer Boggs’s remarks about the Mormon conflict to a select committee made up of House and Senate members to investigate the “causes of said disturbances and the conduct of military operations in suppressing them.”a There is no indication whether any memorial prompted the resolution. On 19 December John Corrill, representative from Caldwell County, introduced in the House two memorials from Latter-day Saints: In the first, the Saints in Daviess County asked to be released from their agreement to leave the state; in the second, Caldwell County Saints outlined the injustices against them and asked for the restoration of their property and the reversal of Boggs’s order for their expulsion from the state. Corrill read both memorials and moved to refer them to the joint committee assigned to investigate the recent “Mormon difficulties.”b The joint committee reported 17 December 1838, recommending that in view of the impending trials of Latter-day Saints for crimes allegedly committed in the conflict, it was not expedient to pursue the inquiry further at that time or to publish the documents gathered thus far. It also recommended that a new joint committee be empowered to conduct on-site investigations after the adjournment of the current session of the legislature.c A resolution to establish the new committee was tabled in the House on 4 February 1839, and an 8 February resolution in the House calling for a new joint committee to investigate starting in May was defeated.d  


aJournal, of the House of Representatives, of the State of Missouri, 22 Nov. 1838, 24; “Letters from the Editor,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 28 Nov. 1838, [2].

bJournal, of the House of Representatives, of the State of Missouri, 19 Dec. 1838, 128; “Letter from the Editor,” Missouri Republican, 24 Dec. 1838, [2]; Edward Partridge et al., “Copy of a Memorial to the Legislature of Missouri,” in Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion, 10–16; see also Corrill, Brief History, 44.

cJournal, of the Senate, of the State of Missouri, 18 Dec. 1838, 123–125.

d“Letter from the Editor,” Missouri Republican, 8 Feb. 1839, [3]; Journal, of the House of Representatives, of the State of Missouri, 8 Feb. 1839, 405–406.)

After we were cast into prison, we  heard nothing but threatenings, that if  any Judge or Jury, or court of any  kind, should clear any of us, that we  should never get 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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alive.  This soon determined our course; and  that was, to escape out of their hands  as soon as we could; and by any means  we could. After we had been some  length of time in prison, we demanded  a writ of Habeas Corpus of Judge [Joel] Turn ham

23 Sept. 1783–24 Aug. 1862. Judge, farmer. Born in Virginia. Married Elizabeth Rice, ca. Feb. 1806, in Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Moved to Jessamine Co., Kentucky, by 1810. Served in War of 1812 in Kentucky militia. Moved to Clay Co., Missouri, by 1822. Clay...

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, one of the 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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Judges; which  with some considerable reluctance, was  granted. Great threatenings were made  at this time by the mob, that if any of  us were liberated we should never get  out of the 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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alive. After the in vestigation one of our number was re leased from prison by the decision of  the Judge; the remainder were com mitted to jail.255

Sidney Rigdon was released from jail after Turnham found there was insufficient evidence against him in the record of the November 1838 court of inquiry at Richmond. (Burnett, Recollections and Opinions, 53–55.)  


He also returned with  them until a favorable opportunity of fered which through the friendship of  the Sheriff, Mr. Samuel Hadley, and  the Jailor, Mr. Samuel Tillery, he was  let out of the jail secretly, in the night,  and being solemnly warned by them  to be 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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with as little de lay as possible, he made his escape.—  Being pursued by a body of armed  men, it was through the direction of a  kind providence that he escaped out of  their hands and safely arrived in Quin

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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[p. 164]
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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].  


Facts