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“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839

“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839

Extract,
from the private journal of
JOSEPH SMITH JR.
 
On the fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight, I with my family, arrived in 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 Missouri, after a journey of more than one thousand miles, in the winter season, and being about eight weeks on our Journey; during which we suffered great affliction, and met with considerable persecution on the road.1

JS’s bill of damages notes that expenditures for the journey amounted to “about two hundred dollars.” JS later recounted that tavern keepers in Paris, Illinois, had combined to deny the Latter-day Saints lodging, which JS and others secured for their families only after threatening the use of force. (JS, Journal, 29 Dec. 1842; see also JS, Journal, 29 Mar. 1838.)  


However, the prospect of meeting my friends in the west, and anticipating the pleasure of dwelling in peace, and enjoying the blessings thereof, buoyed me up under the difficulties and trials which I had then to endure.2

The previous sentence does not appear in JS’s bill of damages. On the conditions attending JS’s departure from Ohio, see Historical Introduction to Journal, Mar.–Sept. 1838.  


However, I had not been there long before I was given to understand that plots were laid, by wicked and designing men, for my destruction, who sought every opportunity to take my life; and that a company on the Grindstone forks of Grand river

Flows from current state of Iowa approximately 225 miles southeast through Daviess and Livingston counties in Missouri en route to its mouth at Missouri River near De Witt, Missouri. Adam-ondi-Ahman, Far West, Hawn’s Mill, Whitney’s Mill, Myers settlement...

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, in the county of Daviess

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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, had offered the sum of one thousand dollars for my scalp: persons of whom I had no knowledge whatever, and who, I suppose, were entire strangers to me; and in order to accomplish their wicked design, I was frequently waylaid &c.; consequently, my life was continually in jeopardy.
I could hardly have given credit to such statements, had they not been corroborated by testimony, the most strong and convincing; as shortly after my arrival 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...

More Info
, while watering my horse in Shoal Creek

Stream that flows eastward for about forty-five miles from east central Clinton Co. through Caldwell Co. to confluence with Grand River in central Livingston Co. Thousands of Saints moved from Clay Co. to sites along Shoal Creek in Caldwell Co., beginning...

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, I distinctly heard three or four guns snap, which were undoubtedly intended for my destruction; however, I was mercifully preserved from those who sought to destroy me, by their lurking in the woods and hiding places, for this purpose3

In the bill of damages, this sentence ends at “intended for my destruction.”  


My enemies were not confined alone, to the ignorant and obscure, but men in office, and holding situations under 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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of the 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
,4 proclaimed themselves my enemies, and gave encouragement to others to destroy me; amongst whom, was Judge Austin A. 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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, of the fifth Judicial circuit,5

Missouri’s fifth judicial circuit covered the western counties north of the Missouri River. (History of Ray County, Mo., 260–261.)  


who has frequently been heard to say, that I ought to be beheaded on account of my religion. Expressions such as these, from individuals holding such important offices as 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
’s, could not fail to produce, and encourage persecution against me, and the people with whom I was connected. And in consequence of the prejudice which existed in the mind of this Judge

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
, which he did not endeavor to keep secret, but made it as public as he could, the people took every advantage they possibly could, in abusing me, and threatening my life;6

JS’s bill of damages notes here that he was subjected to “vexatious law suits.”  


regardless of the laws, which [p. 2]
Extract,
from the private journal of
JOSEPH SMITH JR.
 
On the fourteenth day of March, in  the year of our Lord one thousand  eight hundred and thirty eight, I with  my family, arrived in 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
, Cald well county Missouri, after a journey  of more than one thousand miles, in  the winter season, and being about  eight weeks on our Journey; during  which we suffered great affliction, and  met with considerable persecution on  the road.1

JS’s bill of damages notes that expenditures for the journey amounted to “about two hundred dollars.” JS later recounted that tavern keepers in Paris, Illinois, had combined to deny the Latter-day Saints lodging, which JS and others secured for their families only after threatening the use of force. (JS, Journal, 29 Dec. 1842; see also JS, Journal, 29 Mar. 1838.)  


However, the prospect of  meeting my friends in the west, and  anticipating the pleasure of dwelling  in peace, and enjoying the blessings  thereof, buoyed me up under the diffi culties and trials which I had then to  endure.2

The previous sentence does not appear in JS’s bill of damages. On the conditions attending JS’s departure from Ohio, see Historical Introduction to Journal, Mar.–Sept. 1838.  


However, I had not been  there long before I was given to un derstand that plots were laid, by wick ed and designing men, for my destruc tion, who sought every opportunity to  take my life; and that a company on  the Grindstone forks of Grand river

Flows from current state of Iowa approximately 225 miles southeast through Daviess and Livingston counties in Missouri en route to its mouth at Missouri River near De Witt, Missouri. Adam-ondi-Ahman, Far West, Hawn’s Mill, Whitney’s Mill, Myers settlement...

More Info
,  in the county of Daviess

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 ...

More Info
, had offered  the sum of one thousand dollars for  my scalp: persons of whom I had no  knowledge whatever, and who, I sup pose, were entire strangers to me; and  in order to accomplish their wicked  design, I was frequently waylaid &c.;  consequently, my life was continually  in jeopardy.
I could hardly have given credit to  such statements, had they not been  corroborated by testimony, the most  strong and convincing; as shortly af ter my arrival 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...

More Info
, while wat ering my horse in Shoal Creek

Stream that flows eastward for about forty-five miles from east central Clinton Co. through Caldwell Co. to confluence with Grand River in central Livingston Co. Thousands of Saints moved from Clay Co. to sites along Shoal Creek in Caldwell Co., beginning...

More Info
, I dis tinctly heard three or four guns snap,  which were undoubtedly intended for  my destruction; however, I was mer cifully preserved from those who  sought to destroy me, by their lurking  in the woods and hiding places, for  this purpose3

In the bill of damages, this sentence ends at “intended for my destruction.”  


My enemies were not confined alone,  to the ignorant and obscure, but men  in office, and holding situations under  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...

View Full Bio
of the 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
,4 proclaimed  themselves my enemies, and gave en couragement to others to destroy me;  amongst whom, was Judge [Austin A.] 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
, of  the fifth Judicial circuit,5

Missouri’s fifth judicial circuit covered the western counties north of the Missouri River. (History of Ray County, Mo., 260–261.)  


who has fre quently been heard to say, that I  ought to be beheaded on account of my  religion[.] Expressions such as these,  from individuals holding such impor tant offices as 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
’s, could not  fail to produce, and encourage perse cution against me, and the people with  whom I was connected. And in con sequence of the prejudice which existed  in the mind of this Judge

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
, which he  did not endeavor to keep secret, but  made it as public as he could, the peo ple took every advantage they possibly  could, in abusing me, and threatening  my life;6

JS’s bill of damages notes here that he was subjected to “vexatious law suits.”  


regardless of the laws, which [p. 2]
Next
JS, “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” in Times and Seasons (Commerce, IL), July 1839, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 2–9; edited by Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith; includes typeset signature. The copy used for transcription is currently part of a bound volume held at CHL.
The eight-page article is the second item in the first number of the Times and Seasons. This issue comprises eight leaves, making sixteen pages that measure 8⅝ x 5¼ inches (22 x 13 cm). The text on each page is set in two columns. It is unknown how long this copy of this issue of the Times and Seasons has been in church custody.

Facts