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Edward Partridge, History, Manuscript, circa 1839

The suits which had been commenced against the  Jackson Co. people for damages <progressed so slow and was attended with so much costs that they> were all dropped but two  which were thought <to be> sufficient to try the experiment to  asscertain whether or not anything could be obtained by  law. About Near $300, <costs> had to be paid to obtain a change of venue  the suits were <then> removed to Ray Co., Court after court passed and  the trials were put over— at last <At Last In the summer of 1836> the time <at last> drew near when it  was supposed that the <trials> must come on which was very gratifying  to those who planted the suits. When the time of court came their  lawyers instead of going to trial <as they should have done> made a sort of compromise with  the mobbers by dropping one suit without even having the costs  paid & that this <too> without the knowledge or consent of their employer the  <on the> other suit the defendants agreed to pay a few hundred dollars though  not as much as the lawyers fees & costs had been. had their lawyers  laboured as hard to have <had> a fair trial as they did to bring about  this compromise Had our brns <the> lawyers been true to them <brns> and brought  their suits to trial instead of makeing the <a> compromise and laboured  faithfully for them as though them meant to earn their $1000. there is  no doubt but that on the two suits they <would have> obtained as many thousands  of dollars for them as they did hundreds by the compromise [p. [19]]
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While incarcerated at Liberty, Missouri, in March 1839, JS addressed a letter to the Saints and to “Bishop [Edward] Partridge 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 that they might publish the records “to all the world” and “present them to the heads of the government.” (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].) 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 newspaper, Times and Seasons, between December 1839 and October 1840.
Partridge may have intended to tell the entire Missouri story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication began and died 27 May 1840. Partridge’s manuscript, which he did not title, is provided here. The full text of “A History, of the Persecution,” which necessarily relied on other sources following Partridge’s demise, will receive comprehensive treatment in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers and will eventually be posted to this website.
Partridge’s history begins with his account of the Missouri conflicts in the early 1830s. Partridge was a bishop of the church in Missouri, first in Jackson County and then in Clay County following the Saints’ expulsion from Jackson County. He also served as bishop in Caldwell County after the Saints relocated there from Clay County in 1836. By the time he drafted his account of the Mormon experiences in Missouri, the Saints had been exiled from the state and had relocated to Illinois.
Partridge’s narrative is based on firsthand observations and may also have relied on other records he kept. It begins, “In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions,” indicating that Partridge wrote it for publication purposes. However, there are occasionally significant differences between the manuscript version and “A History, of the Persecution” as published.
The early custodial history of the Partridge manuscript is somewhat uncertain. However, the manuscript was presumably among materials in the possession of church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith, who held that office from 1921 to 1970 and who had worked in the Church Historian’s Office many years prior. The manuscript became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became church president in 1970, and, with other records (including Revelation Book 1 and two Howard Coray drafts of JS’s history), was transferred from the First Presidency’s office to the Church History Library in 2005.

Facts