41940871

Bill of Damages, 4 June 1839

what would befall me from day to day, particularly when I went from home: on the Latter part of Septer 1838 I went to the lower part of the County of 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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for the purpose of selecting a location for a Town when on my Journey I was ment met by one of our Friends with a message from Duet in Carrol County stateing that our Brethren who had settled in that place were & had for some time been surrounded by a mob who had threatned their lives and had shot several times at them: Immediately on hearing theis strange Intelligence I made preparations to start in order if possible to allay the feelings of opposition if not to make arrangements with those individuals of whom we had made purchases and to whom I was responsible and holding for part of the purchase money: I arrived there on the [blank] day Septen and found the account which I heard were correct: Our people were surrounded by a mob their provisions nearly exhausted messages were immediately sent 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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requesting protection but instead of lending any assistance to the oppressed he stated that the Quarrel was between the Mormons and the mob and that they must fight it out: Being now almost entirely destitute of provisions and having suffered great distress and some of the Brethren having died in consequence of their privations & sufferings and I had then the pain of beholding some of my Fellow creatures perish in a strange land from the cruelty of a mobs— seeing no prospect of relief the Brethren agreed to leave that place and seek a shelter elsewere; after having their houses burnt down their cattle driven away and much of their property destroyed—— [p. 2]
what would befall me from day to day, particularly  when I went from home: on the Latter part of Septer  1838 I went to the lower part of the County of 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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 for the purpose of selecting a location for a Town  when on my Journey I was ment [met] by one of our  Friends with a message from Duet in Carrol County  stateing that our Brethren who had settled in that  place were & had for some time been surrounded by  a mob who had threatned their lives and had shot  several times at them: Immediately on hearing  theis strange Intelligence I made preparations to  start in order if possible to all[a]y the feelings of oppos itions if not to make arrangements with those  individuals of whom we had made purchases  and to whom I was responsible and holding for  part of the purchase money: I arrived there on the  [blank] day <Septen> and found the account which I heard  <were> correct: Our people were surrounded by a mob  their provisions nearly exhausted messages  were immediately sent 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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requesting  protection but instead of lending any assistance to  the oppressed he stated that the Quarrel was between  the Mormons and the mob and that they must fight  it out: Being now almost entirely destitute of provi sions and having suffered great distress and some  of the Brethren having died in consequence of their  privations & sufferings and I had then the pain of  beholding some of my Fellow creatures perish in a  strange land from the cruelty of of a mobs— seeing  no prospect of relief the Brethren agreed to leave  that place and seek a shelter elsewere; after having  their houses burnt down their cattle driven away  and much of their property destroyed—— [p. 2]
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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.

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