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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

promise protection to every religious society, without distinction.
During this state of things, I do not recollect that either myself, or the people with whom I was associated, had done any thing to deserve such treatment, but felt a desire to live at peace, and on friendly terms, with the citizens of that, and the adjoining counties, as well as with all men; and I can truly say, “for my love they were my enemies,” and “sought to slay me without any cause,” or the least shadow of a pretext.
My family was kept in a continual state of alarm, not knowing, when I went from home, that I should ever return again; or what would befall me from day to day. But notwithstanding these manifestations of enmity, I hoped that the citizens would eventually cease from their abusive and murderous purposes, and would reflect with sorrow upon their conduct in endeavoring to destroy me, whose only crime was in worshiping the God of heaven, and keeping his commandments; and that they would soon desist from harrassing a people, who were as good citizens as the majority of this vast republic— who labored almost night and day, to cultivate the ground; and whose industry, during the time they were in that neighborhood, was proverbial.
In the latter part of September, A. D. 1838, I took a journey, in company with some others, 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. While on my journey, I was met by one of our brethren from Dewitt

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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, in Carroll county, who stated that our people, who had settled in that place, were, and had been for some time, surrounded by a mob, who had threatened their lives, and had shot at them several times; and that he was on his way to 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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, to inform the brethren there, of the facts. I was surprised on receiving this intelligence, although there had, previous to this time, been some manifestations of mobs, but I had hoped that the good sense of the majority of the people, and their respect for the constitution, would have put down any spirit of persecution, which might have been manifested in that neighborhood.
Immediately on receiving this intelligence, I made preparations to go to that place, and endeavor, if possible, to allay the feelings of the citizens, and save the lives of my brethren who were thus exposed to their wrath. I arrived at Dewitt

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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, about the first of October, and found that the accounts of the situation of that place, were correct; for it was with much difficulty, and by travelling unfrequented roads, that I was able to get there; all the principal roads being strongly guarded by the mob, who refused all ingress as well as egress. I found my brethren, (who were only a handfull, in comparison to the mob, by which they were surrounded,) in this situation, and their provisions nearly exhausted, and no prospect of obtaining any more.
We thought it necessary to send immediately 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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, to inform him of the circumstances; hoping, from the Executive

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
, to receive the protection which we needed, and which was guaranteed to us, in common with other citizens. Several Gentlemen of standing and respectability, who lived in the immediate vicinity, (who were not in any wise connected with the church of Latter Day Saints,) who had witnessed the proceedings of our enemies; came forward and made affidavits to the treatment we had received, and concerning our perilous situation; and offered their services to go and present the case 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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themselves. A messenger was accordingly despatched to his Excellency

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
, who made known to him our situation. But instead of receiving any aid whatever, or even sympathy from his Excellency

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
, we were told that “the quarrel was between the Mormons and the mob,” and that “we might fight it out.” In the mean time, we had petitioned the Judges to protect us. They sent out about one hundred of the militia, under the command of Brigadier General [Hiram] Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

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; but almost immediately on their arrival, General Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

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informed us that the greater part of his men under Capt. [Samuel] Bogart

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

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had mutinied, and that he should be obliged to draw them off from the place, for fear they would [j]oin the mob; consequently he could afford us no assistance. [p. 3]
promise protection to every religious  society, without distinction.7

Both Missouri’s constitution and the Constitution of the United States included religious protection clauses. (Missouri Constitution of 1820, art. 13, sec. 4–5; U.S. Constitution, amend. 1.)  


During this state of things, I do not  recollect that either myself, or the peo ple with whom I was associated, had  done any thing to deserve such treat ment, but felt a desire to live at peace,  and on friendly terms, with the citizens  of that, and the adjoining counties, as  well as with all men; and I can truly  say, “for my love they were my ene mies,” and “sought to slay me without  any cause,”8

See Psalm 109:3, 4.  


or the least shadow of a  pretext.
My family was kept in a continual  state of alarm, not knowing, when I  went from home, that I should ever re turn again; or what would befall me  from day to day.9

The bill of damages does not include the remainder of this paragraph.  


But notwithstanding  these manifestations of enmity, I hoped  that the citizens would eventually cease  from their abusive and murderous pur poses, and would reflect with sorrow  upon their conduct in endeavoring to  destroy me, whose only crime was in  worshiping the God of heaven, and  keeping his commandments; and that  they would soon desist from harrassing  a people, who were as good citizens as  the majority of this vast republic— who  labored almost night and day, to culti vate the ground; and whose industry,  during the time they were in tha[t]10

TEXT: In this and other instances where one or two characters are supplied in the transcript, the characters were not set or did not get inked in the original; text is supplied based on the reprint of this article in Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:2–9.  


 neighborhood, was proverbial.11

Tensions between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians stretched back over several years. (See LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, chap. 2; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” chap. 2; and Anderson, “Clarifications of Boggs’s Order,” 30–36.)  


In the latter part of September, A.  D. 1838, I took a journey, in compa ny with some others,12

The bill of damages does not specify that JS journeyed with others.  


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 pur pose of selecting a location for a  Town. While on my journey, I was  met by one of our brethren from 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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, in Carroll county, who stated that  our people, who had settled in that  place, were, and had been for some  time, surrounded by a mob, who had  threatened their lives, and had shot at  them several times;13

The remainder of this paragraph is not found in JS’s bill of damages.  


and that he was  on his way to 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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, to inform the  brethren there, of the facts. I was  surprised on receiving this intelligence,  although there had, previous to this  time, been some manifestations of  mobs, but I had hoped that the good  sense of the ma[j]ority of the people,  and their respect for the constitution,  would have put down any spirit of  persecution, which might have been  manifested in that neighborhood.14

Church leaders purchased 134 of De Witt’s 304 lots in June 1838, and by October there were seventy to eighty Mormon families living there. As early as July, however, the Saints in De Witt were confronted with ultimatums to leave Carroll County. When the Missouri militia disbanded anti-Mormon vigilantes gathered in Daviess County, many regrouped in Carroll County, where they laid siege to the Saints in De Witt. (Murdock, Journal, 23 June 1838; see also LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 101–107; and Baugh, “Call to Arms,” chap. 6.)  


Immediately on receiving this intell igence, I made preparations to go to  that place, and endeavor, if possible,  to allay the feelings of the citizens,15

The remainder of this sentence was modified from the bill of damages, which continues as follows: “if not to make arrangements with those individuals of whom we had made purchases and to whom I was responsible and holden for part of the purchase money.”  


 and save the lives of my brethren who  were thus exposed to their wrath.16

JS apparently returned to Far West to raise a relief force. Albert Rockwood recorded that word of the siege at De Witt arrived on 4 October. Soon thereafter, Seymour Brunson and JS led groups of men to De Witt. (Rockwood, Journal, 14 Oct. 1838; see also Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, p. 73, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


I  arrived at Dewitt

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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, about the first  of October,17

For “about the first of October” the bill of damages reads “on the [blank] day.” As JS was still in Far West around ten o’clock on the morning of 5 October, he could not have arrived in De Witt, over fifty miles to the east, before 6 October. In 1845, Thomas Bullock wrote in JS’s history that JS arrived in De Witt on 6 October. (JS, Journal, 5 Oct. 1838; JS History, vol. B-1, 833.)  


and found that the  accounts of the situation of that place,  were correct; for it was with much  difficulty, and by travelling unfrequen ted roads, that I was able to get there;  all the principal roads being strongly  guarded by the mob, who refused all  ingress as well as egress.18

This description of JS’s journey to De Witt is not found in the bill of damages.  


I found my  brethren, (who were only a handfull,  in comparison to the mob, by which  they were surrounded,) in this situa tion, and their provisions nearly ex hausted, and no prospect of obtaining  any more.19

JS’s bill of damages does not note the Mormon settlers’ numerical disadvantage. Brigadier General Hiram Parks estimated two or three hundred militiamen under arms against the Latter-day Saints. He noted that the anti-Mormon forces hoped to number five hundred within a few days but surmised that even with those numbers the Mormons would probably win out if there were a battle. In fact, the number of Saints under arms was about one hundred thirty. Their commander, George M. Hinkle, may have inflated their numbers in representing them to outsiders. (Hiram Parks, “five miles from De Witt,” MO, to David R. Atchison, [Boonville, MO], 7 Oct. 1838, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 173; see also Samuel D. Lucas, Boonville, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 4 Oct. 1838, Mormon War Papers.)  


We thought it necessary to send im mediately 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...

View Full Bio
, to inform  him of the circumstances; hoping, from  the Executive

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
, to receive the protection  which we needed, and which was  guaranteed to us, in common with oth er citizens. Several Gentlemen of  standing and respectability, who lived  in the immediate vicinity, (who were  not in any wise connected with the  church of Latter Day Saints,) who  had witnessed the proceedings of our  enemies; came forward and made affi davits to the treatment we had receiv ed, and concerning our perilous situa tion; and offered their services to go  and present the case 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...

View Full Bio
 themselves.20

The previous sentence does not appear in JS’s bill of damages.  


A messenger was ac cordingly despatched to his Excellen cy

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
, who made known to him our situa tion. But instead of receiving any aid  whatever, or even sympathy from his  Excellency

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
, we were told that “the  quarrel was between the Mormons and  the mob,” and that “we might fight it  out.”21

Longtime Missouri citizen A. L. Caldwell had departed De Witt about 2 or 3 October (prior to JS’s arrival), appealed to Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, and returned with this report on 9 or 10 October. (John Murdock, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 10 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL; JS History, vol. B-1, 834–835.)  


In the mean time, we had peti tioned the Judges to protect us.22

JS’s bill of damages specifies that the Saints petitioned circuit judge Austin A. King. They may also have petitioned the Carroll County judges: William Crockett, Thomas Arnold, and John Standley. (History of Carroll County, Missouri, 387.)  


They  sent out about one hundred of the mili tia, under the command of Brigadier  General [Hiram] Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

View Full Bio
; but almost immediate ly on their arrival, General Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

View Full Bio
in formed us that the greater part of his  men under Capt. [Samuel] Bogart

2 Apr. 1797–11 Mar. 1861. Preacher, military officer, farmer. Born in Carter Co., Tennessee. Son of Cornelius Bogart and Elizabeth Moffett. Served in War of 1812. Married Rachel Hammer, 19 May 1818, in Washington Co., Tennessee. Moved to Illinois and became...

View Full Bio
had mutinied,  and that he should be obliged to draw  them off from the place, for fear they  would [j]oin the mob; consequently he  could afford us no assistance.23

Attempting to defuse the confrontation at De Witt, Major General David R. Atchison ordered Brigadier General Hiram Parks to disperse both Mormon and anti-Mormon vigilantes who had come to De Witt from other counties and to suggest that local Mormons sell out to local anti-Mormons. Atchison also wrote to Governor Boggs suggesting he come personally to De Witt to restore peace there. In a report to Atchison, Parks neglected to mention Bogart’s actions. Bogart later complained to Governor Boggs that Parks had not allowed Bogart and his men to intercept Mormon reinforcements arriving from Caldwell County. (David R. Atchison, Boonville, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, [St. Louis, MO], 9 Oct. 1838; Hiram Parks, “five miles from De Witt,” MO, to David R. Atchison, [Boonville, MO], 7 Oct. 1838; Samuel Bogart, Elk Horn, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 13 Oct. 1838, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


[p. 3]
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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.

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