41940871

Bill of Damages, 4 June 1839

why we were thus treated but they utterly refused to hold any conversation with us: The next day they held a Court Martial upon us and sentenced me with the rest of the prisoners to be shot: which sentence was to be carried into effect on Friday morning in the public Square as they say an Ensample to the rest of the members: but through the kind providence of God their murderous sentence was not carried into Execution
The Malitia then went to my house and drove my Family out of Doors under sanction of General [John B.] Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

View Full Bio
and carried away all my property Having oppertunity of speaking to General [Moses] Wilson

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

View Full Bio
and on asking him the cause of such strange proceedings told him that I was a Democrat had allways being a supporter of the Constitution he answered “I know that and that is the reason why I want to kill you or have you killed:” We were led into Public Square and after considerable entreaty we were permitted to see our Family’s being attended with a strong guard. I found my Family in Tears expect that they had carried into effect their sentences: they clung to my garments with weeping requesting to hav an private interview with my wife & in an ajoining room but was refused when taking my departure from my Family it was almost to painful for me, my child clung to me and were thrust away at the point of the swords of the soldery— We were then removed 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...

More Info
under the care of general 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
and during our stay in there we had to sleep on the floor with nothing but a fur mantle for our coverings and a stick of wood for our pillow and had to pay for our own board: While we were in 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
General Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

View Full Bio
with his troops arrived in Caldwell

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

More Info
and sent an order for our return—— [p. 6]
<why> we were thus treated but they utterly refused to  hold any conversation with us: The next day they  held a Court Martial upon us and sentenced me  with the rest of the prisoners to be shot: which  sentence was to be carried into effect on Friday  morning in the public Square as they say an  Ensample to the rest of the members<: but through  the kind providence of God their murderous sentence was  not carried into Execution>
The Malitia then went and saluted to my house  and drove my Family out of Doors under sanction of  General [John B.] Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

View Full Bio
and carried away all my property  Having oppertunity of speaking to General [Moses] Wilson

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

View Full Bio
 and on asking him the cause of such strange proceed ings told him that I was a Democrat had allways  being a supporter of the Constitution he answered  “I know that and that is the reason why I want to kill  you or have you killed:[”] They We were led into Public  Square and after considerable entreaty we were per mitted to see our Family’s being attended with  a strong guard. I found my Family in Tears expect  that they had carried into effect their sentences: they  clung to my garments with weeping requesting to hav  an <pr[i]vate> interview with my wife & in an ajoining room but  was refused when taking my departure from my  Family it was almost to painful for me, my child  clung to me and were thrust away at the point  of the swords of the soldery— We were then  removed 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...

More Info
under the care of  general 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
and during our stay in there  we had to sleep on the floor with nothing but  a fur mantle for our coverings and a stick of  wood for our pillow and had to pay for our  own board: While we were in 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
 General Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

View Full Bio
with his troops arrived in Caldwell

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

More Info
 and sent an order for our return—— [p. 6]
PreviousNext
JS’s “Bill of Damages” was drafted as a petition to the federal government for redress following his six-month incarceration in the aftermath of the 1838 Missouri War. The bill includes an account of significant episodes during 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
conflict and a record of JS’s personal losses and sufferings. The narrative portion begins with the siege of De Witt

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River. Permanently settled, by 1826. Laid out, 1836. First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who ...

More Info
and culminated with JS’s escape in Missouri on 16 April 1839 and arrival in 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
, Illinois, six days later. The bill closes with a broadly itemized account of losses sustained and expenses for which remuneration was sought totaling $100,000.
On 20 March 1839, JS wrote from jail in 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, to the Saints instructing them to document “all the facts and suffering and abuses put upon them by the people of this state

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
and also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained.” (JS et al., Liberty MO, to the church and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839.) Following his own counsel, JS created the record of his Missouri losses on 4 June 1839, just a month and a half after his escape from custody. Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

View Full Bio
, JS’s recently appointed clerk, acted as scribe for the document. It became the basis for the “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith, Jr.,” first published in July 1839 in the Times and Seasons. (“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith, Jr.,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:2–9.)
Interestingly, the historical narrative recorded in the “Bill of Damages” bridges the chronological gap between JS’s last 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
journal and his first 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
journal. The last entry in JS’s September–October 1838 journal is 5 October 1838. On that date, JS left 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
, Missouri, with a detachment to reinforce besieged Saints at De Witt

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River. Permanently settled, by 1826. Laid out, 1836. First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who ...

More Info
. JS’s “Bill of Damages” begins with the De Witt siege. The narrative portion of the bill ends with JS’s arrival in 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
, Illinois, on 22 April 1839; the first two entries in JS’s 1839 journal take up his record again at precisely that point. (See JS, Journal, 5 Oct. 1838 and 16 Apr. 1839, in JSP, J1:330, 336.)
The published “Extract,” which was largely based on the “Bill of Damages,” was disseminated to the Saints throughout the nation

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

More Info
via newspaper. The document helped shape the Saints’ memory of the persecution 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
and their pattern for rehearsing it. As part of JS’s effort to gain sympathy in the court of public opinion, the “Extract” contributed to the church’s campaign seeking redress for grievances suffered in Missouri.

Facts