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

Installment 2, January 1840


Editorial Note
Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:33–36. This is the second installment of the series. The first three installments were based on a manuscript in the hand of 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
.

A HISTORY, OF THE PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER DAY SAINTS 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
.
 
continued.
 
Saturday, Nov. 2d [1833], it was concluded to try again for a peace warrant: accordingly application was made to a magistrate by the name of Silvers, who resided some distance from town, and who had not as yet openly joined the mob, but he refused to grant a warrant, saying that if he did he feared that his life would be in dander [danger].— The next day four men were started to the circuit judge

2 Nov. 1797–10 Sept. 1873. Teacher, farmer, lawyer, judge. Born in King and Queen Co., Virginia. Son of Joseph Ryland and Rosamiah Molly. Moved to Richmond, Madison Co., Kentucky, 1809. Attended Forest Hill Academy in Washington Co. (later in Marion Co.),...

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, forty miles distance, after considerable delay by the judge, they obtained warrants against a number of individuals. When the warrants arrived, it was too late to do any thing with them, for the whole 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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was getting up in arms, and the saints had as much as they could do to take care of themselves. But to return—Saturday night came on, and a party of the mob went to a settlement, of the saints living on big Blue-river

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
about six miles west of town; they first tore the roof from a house, and injured the furniture within; they then divided their company into two parties, one went to pulling the roof from another dwelling house, whilst the other party went to another and broke it open; they found the owner David Bennett in bed, whom they took and beat unmercifully; one of the company drew a pistol, and swore that he would blow out his brains, but the ball laid bare his skull without fracturing it—thus narrowly he escaped with his life. A party of the saints were collected near by, who hearing the disturbance went to the place. The mob began to fire upon them, and they returned the compliment, a few guns were discharged from both parties, but the fire was not general; at length a young man of the mob was shot in the thigh, and soon after the mob dispersed for that night.
Sunday, Nov. 3d. Many threatnings were heard from the mobbers; they were greatly enraged, and were exerting themselves to strengthen their party; for as yet some of the inhabitants manifested friendship for the brethren; such told them, that they expected, they would all be massacreed, for the enemy were about to get a six pounder, and come out openly against them the next day.
Monday, Nov. 4th. A large mob collected at [Moses] Wilson

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

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’s store, about a mile west of big Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
, they came to the Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
took the ferry boat, and threatened some lives; but for some unknown cause, perhaps to take some more whiskey, they left the Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
and returned to Wilson

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

View Full Bio
’s store again.— Whilst they were at the Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
threatening the saints, word was sent to a body of the brethren, about five or six miles distant to the southwest, that a large mob was collected, and they expected that they should need help; whereupon, nineteen brethren started to go and assist them, but before they reached Wilson

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

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’s store, they learned that the mob had returned there, upon hearing this, they proceeded no farther, but returned back. The mob, by some means feared that they were on the road west of them; when from fifty to seventy of the mob took their rifles, mounted their horses, and went in pursuit of them: after travelling about two miles they came in sight of them, when they all fled into the cornfields and woods; some went immediately to the body, and informed their brethren, of what they had seen. About thirty of the saints, (mostly those who had lived in the settlement, where the mob then was, some of whom had had their houses unroofed, but a short time before,) took their arms, and started as soon as possible, to meet the mob.— Meantime the mob turned their horses into cornfields, of the saints, and then hunted for them who had fled; they went to Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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s a lame brother, who had not left his home, and pointed their guns at him, and threatened his life, provided he did not tell them [p. 33]

Installment 2, January 1840


Editorial Note
Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:33–36. This is the second installment of the series. The first three installments were based on a manuscript in the hand of 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
.32

Partridge, History, manuscript, Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous Papers, CHL.  



A HISTORY, OF THE  PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH  OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LAT TER DAY SAINTS 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
.
 
continued.
 
Saturday, Nov. 2d [1833], it was concluded  to try again for a peace warrant: ac cordingly application was made to a  magistrate by the name of Silvers,33

William Silvers, a justice of the peace for Blue Township since 1827. (History of Jackson County, Missouri, 126–127, 183, 256.)  


 who resided some distance from town,  and who had not as yet openly joined  the mob, but he refused to grant a  warrant, saying that if he did he fear ed that his life would be in dander [danger].—34

Correction based on Partridge manuscript.  


 The next day four men were started  to the circuit judge

2 Nov. 1797–10 Sept. 1873. Teacher, farmer, lawyer, judge. Born in King and Queen Co., Virginia. Son of Joseph Ryland and Rosamiah Molly. Moved to Richmond, Madison Co., Kentucky, 1809. Attended Forest Hill Academy in Washington Co. (later in Marion Co.),...

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, forty miles distance,  after considerable delay by the judge,35

The Partridge manuscript does not specify that the judge was the source of delay.  


 they obtained warrants against a num ber of individuals.36

Joshua Lewis and Hiram Page, apparently accompanied by Parley P. Pratt and “a Mr. Marsh,” traveled to Lexington, Lafayette County, where they presented to John F. Ryland, justice of the Sixth Judicial District Court of Missouri, an affidavit “against some of the Ring Leaders of the mob in Jackson County.” Ryland reported that in response he issued a writ on 6 November 1833 and told the company of Mormons to deliver it to the sheriff of Jackson County. Pratt’s autobiography erroneously indicates that Ryland refused to give them a warrant and “advised us to fight and kill the outlaws whenever they came upon us.” (John F. Ryland, “Near Lexington,” MO, to Amos Rees, 24 Nov. 1833, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; Bay, Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar of Missouri, 272–273; Pratt, Autobiography, 104–105; see also Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1].)  


When the war rants arrived, it was too late to do  any thing with them, for the whole  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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was getting up in arms, and  the saints had as much as they could  do to take care of themselves. But to  return—Saturday night came on, and  a party of the mob went to a settlement,  of the saints living on big Blue-river

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
 about six miles west of town; they  first tore the roof from a house, and  injured the furniture within; they then  divided their company into two parties,  one went to pulling the roof from an other dwelling house, whilst the other  party went to another and broke it  open; they found the owner D[avid] Ben nett in bed, whom they took and beat  unmercifully; one of the company  drew a pistol, and swore that he would  blow out his brains, but the ball laid  bare his skull without fracturing it— thus narrowly he escaped with his life.37

Five years later, David Bennett attested that he was “shot and beat so that I have not got over it yet.” (David Bennett, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 18 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; see also Orrin Porter Rockwell, Affidavit, Washington DC, 3 Feb. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL.)  


 A party of the saints were collected  near by, who hearing the disturbance  went to the place. The mob began  to fire upon them, and they returned  the compliment, a few guns were dis charged from both parties, but the fire  was not general; at length a young  man of the mob was shot in the thigh,  and soon after the mob dispersed for  that night.
Sunday, Nov. 3d. Many threatnings  were heard from the mobbers; they  were greatly enraged, and were exert ing themselves to strengthen their par ty; for as yet some of the inhabitants  manifested friendship for the brethren;  such told them, that they expected,  they would all be massacreed, for the  enemy were about to get a six pounder,38

That is, a cannon.  


 and come out openly against them the  next day.
Monday, Nov. 4th. A large mob  collected at [Moses] Wilson

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

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’s store, about a  mile west of big Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
,39

Jackson County resident John McCoy wrote later that Wilson’s store “was, during 1833, the rendezvous for the anti-Mormons, where they were wont to meet to discuss the situation and form plans, and to organize raids upon the Mormon settlements.” ([John McCoy], Letter to the editor, Kansas City [MO] Daily Journal, 18 Jan. 1885, 8.)  


they came to  the Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
took the ferry boat, and  threatened some lives; but for some  unknown cause, perhaps to take some  more whiskey,40

“Perhaps to take some more whiskey” does not appear in the Partridge manuscript.  


they left the Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
and  returned to Wilson

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

View Full Bio
’s store again.—  Whilst they were at the Blue

River rises in Indian Territory and flows northward into Missouri River in Jackson Co., Missouri. Mormon settlement established near river, Dec. 1831. Branch of LDS church established in area on opposite side of river from Kaw Township, by 1833; branch had...

More Info
threaten ing the saints, word was sent to a body  of the brethren, about five or six miles  distant to the southwest,41

The Colesville settlement.  


that a large  mob was collected, and they expected  that they should need help; whereupon,  nineteen brethren started to go and  assist them,42

According to Levi Jackman, this party was led by David Whitmer. (Jackman, “Short Sketch,” 5.)  


but before they reached  Wilson

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

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’s store, they learned that the  mob had returned there, upon hearing  this, they proceeded no farther, but  returned back. The mob, by some  means feared43

The Partridge manuscript has “learned.”  


that they were on the  road west of them; when from fifty to  seventy of the mob took their rifles,  mounted their horses, and went in pur suit of them: after travelling about two  miles they came in sight of them, when  they all fled into the cornfields and  woods; some went immediately to the  body,44

That is, to the Colesville settlement. (See Jackman, “Short Sketch,” 5.)  


and informed their brethren, of  what they had seen. About thirty  of the saints, (mostly those who had  lived in the settlement, where the mob  then was,45

The Whitmer settlement in Kaw Township.  


some of whom had had their  houses unroofed, but a short time be fore,) took their arms, and started as  soon as possible, to meet the mob.—  Meantime the mob turned their horses  into cornfields, of the saints, and then  hunted for them who had fled; they  went to C[hristian] Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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s a lame brother,  who had not left his home, and point ed their guns at him, and threatened  his life, provided he did not tell them [p. 33]
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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