41940871

Bill of Damages, 4 June 1839

holding out the inducement that we were to be reinstated to our former priveledges: but instead of being taken to Caldwell

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

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we were taken to 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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where we immured in Prison and bound in— Chains. After we were thus situated we were under the charge of Colonel [Sterling] Price

Ca. Sept. 1809–29 Sept. 1867. Farmer, merchant, military officer. Born near Farmville, Prince Edward Co., Virginia. Son of Pugh Williamson Price and Elizabeth Marshall Williamson. Moved to Missouri, 1831. Married Martha Head, 14 May 1833, in Randolph Co.,...

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of Chariton County

Established 16 Nov. 1820. Village of Chariton named county seat, 1820. Keytesville named county seat, 1833. Population in 1830 about 1,800. Population in 1836 about 3,500. In Aug. 1831, while en route from Independence to Kirtland, JS met ten other elders...

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who suffered us to be abused in every maner which the people thought propper: our situation at this time was truly painful: we were taken before the Court of inquiry but in consequence of the proceeding of the mob and there threats we were not able to get such witnesses as would have been servicable. Even those we had were abused by the states attorney at the Court and were not permitted to be examind by the Court as the laws direct——
We were committed to Liberty Jail and petitioned to Judge Hernham for a writ of Habeas Corpus but owening [owing] to the prejudice of the Jailor all communication was entirely cut off however at lengthe we succeeded in getting a petition conveyed to the Judge but he neglected to pay any attention to it for Fourteen days and kept us in suspence: he then ordered us to appear before him but he utterly refused to hear any of our witnesses which we had been at great trouble in providing— Our Laweys [lawyers] likewise refused to act being afraid of the people: We likewise petitioned to Judge King

21 Sept. 1802–22 Apr. 1870. Attorney, judge, politician, farmer. Born at Sullivan Co., Tennessee. Son of Walter King and Nancy Sevier. Married first Nancy Harris Roberts, 13 May 1828, at Jackson, Madison Co., Tennessee. In 1830, moved to Missouri, where he...

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and to the Judges of the supreme Court but — they utterly refused us
Our vittuals were of the coarsest kind and served up in a manner which was disgusting after bearing up under repeated injuries we were removed to Davies 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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under a strong guard we were then arraigned before the grand Jury who were mostly intoxicated: who indicted me and the the rest of me companions for Treason [p. 7]
holding out the inducement that we were to be  reinstated to our former priveledges: but instead of  being taken to 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
we were taken to 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...

More Info
 w[h]ere we immured in Prison and bound in—  Chains. After we were thus situated we were under  the charge of Colonel [Sterling] Price

Ca. Sept. 1809–29 Sept. 1867. Farmer, merchant, military officer. Born near Farmville, Prince Edward Co., Virginia. Son of Pugh Williamson Price and Elizabeth Marshall Williamson. Moved to Missouri, 1831. Married Martha Head, 14 May 1833, in Randolph Co.,...

View Full Bio
of Chariton County

Established 16 Nov. 1820. Village of Chariton named county seat, 1820. Keytesville named county seat, 1833. Population in 1830 about 1,800. Population in 1836 about 3,500. In Aug. 1831, while en route from Independence to Kirtland, JS met ten other elders...

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 who suffered us to be abused in every maner which  the people thought propper: our situation at this time  was truly painful: we were taken before the  Court of inquiry but in consequence of the proceedi[n]g  of the mob and there threats we were not able to get  such witnesses as would have been servicable. Even  those we had were abused by the states attorney  at the Court and were not permitted to be exam ind by the Court as the laws direct——
We were committed to Liberty Jail and petitio[n]ed  to Judge Hernham for a writ of Habeas Corpus but  on account owening [owing] to the prejudice of the Jailor  all communication was entirely cut off however  at lengthe we succeeded in getting a petition convey ed to the Judge but he neglected <to> paying any  attention to it for Fourteen days and kept us  in suspence: he then ordered us to appear before  him but he utterly refused to hear any of our  witnesses which we had been at great trouble  in providing— Our Laweys [lawyers] likewise refused to  act being afraid of the people: <We likewise  petitioned to Judge King

21 Sept. 1802–22 Apr. 1870. Attorney, judge, politician, farmer. Born at Sullivan Co., Tennessee. Son of Walter King and Nancy Sevier. Married first Nancy Harris Roberts, 13 May 1828, at Jackson, Madison Co., Tennessee. In 1830, moved to Missouri, where he...

View Full Bio
and to the Judges of the supreme Court  but withe the same success— they utterly refused us>
Our vittuals were of the coarsest kind and served  up in a manner which was disgusting after  bearing up under repeated injuries we were  removed to Davies 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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under a strong guard  we were then arraigned before the grand Jury  who were mostly intoxicated: who indicted me  and the the rest of me companions for Treason [p. 7]
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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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, 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...

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, 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...

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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...

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, 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...

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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...

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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...

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, 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 ...

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. 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...

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, 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 ...

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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...

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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