26020

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

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

kind, and served up in a manner which was disgusting. We continued in this situation, bearing up under the injuries and cruelties we suffered as well as we could, until we were removed to Daviess 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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, where we were taken in order to be tried for the crimes with which we had been charged. The grand jury (who were mostly intoxicated,) indibted [indicted] us for treason, etc. etc.—
While there, we got a change of venue to Boone county, and were conducted on our way to that place by a strong guard. The second evening after our departure the guard got intoxicated, we thought it a favorable opportunity to make our escape; knowing that the only object of our enemies was our destruction; and likewise knowing that a number of our brethren had been massacred by them on 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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, amongst whom were two children; and that they sought every opportunity to abuse others who were left in that state; and that they were never brought to an account for their barbarious proceedings, but were wincked at, and encouraged, by those in authority. We thought that it was necessary for us, inasmuch as we loved our lives, and did not wish to die by the hand of murderers and assasins; and inasmuch, as we loved our families and friends, to deliver ourselves from our enemies, and from that land of tyrany and oppression, and again take our stand amongst a people in whose bosoms dwell those feelings of republicanism and liberty which gave rise to our nation:— Feelings which the inhabitants of the state of 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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were strangers to. Accordingly we took the advantage of the situation of our guard and took our departure, and that night we travelled a considerable distance. We continued on our journey both by night and by day, and after suffering much fatigue and hunger, I arrived 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, amidst the congratulations of my friends and the embraces of my family.
I have now resided in this neighborhood for several weeks as it is known to thousands of the citizens of 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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, as well as of the State of 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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, but the authorities of Mo.

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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, knowing that they had no justice in their crusade against me, and the people with whom I was associated, have not yet to my knowledge, taken the first step towards having me arrested.
Amongst those who have been the chief instruments, and leading characters, in the unparallelled persecutions against the church of Latter Day Saints; the following stand conspicuous, viz: Generals Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

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, Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

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, and Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

View Full Bio
, Colonel 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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, and Cornelius Guilliam [Gilliam]

13 Apr. 1798–24 Mar. 1848. Politician, military officer. Born near Mount Pisgah, Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of Epaphroditus Gilliam and Sarah Ann Israel. Moved to Missouri, before 1820. Married Mary Crawford, 1820/1821, in Ray Co. (later in Clay Co...

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. Captain 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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also, whose zeal in the cause of oppression and injustlce, was unequalled, and whose delight has been to rob, murder, and spread devastation amongst the Saints. He stole a valuable horse, saddle and bridle from me; which cost two hundred dollars, and then sold the same to General Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

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. On understanding this I applied to General Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

View Full Bio
for the horse, who assured me, upon the honor of a gentleman, and an officer, that I should have the horse returned to me; but this promise has not been fulfilled.
All the threats, murders, and robberies which these officers have been guilty of, are entirely looked over by 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...

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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...

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; who, to hide his own iniquity, must of course shield and protect those whom he employed, to carry into effect his murderous purposes.
I was in their hands as a prisoner about six months, but notwtihstanding their determination to destroy me, with the rest of my brethren who were with me; and although at three different times (as I was informed) we were sentenced to be shot, without the least shadow of law, (as we were not military men,) and had the time, and place apointed for that purpose; yet, through the mercy of God, in answer to the prayers of the saints, I have been preserved, and delivered out of their hands, and can again enjoy the society of my friends and brethren, whom I love; and to whom I feel united in bonds that are stronger than death: and in a state where I believe the laws are respected, and whose citizens, are humane and charitable.
During the time I was in the hands of my enemies; I must say, that although I felt great anxiety, respecting my family and friends, who were so inhumanly treated and abused; and who had to mourn the loss of their husbands and children, who had been slain; and after having been robbed of [p. 7]
kind, and served up in a manner which  was disgusting. We continued in this  situation, bearing up under the injuries  and cruelties we suffered as well as we  could, until we were removed to Da viess 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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, where we were taken in  order to be tried for the crimes with  which we had been charged.74

JS and his fellow prisoners were moved 6–8 April 1839. (Hyrum Smith, Diary, [12], [21]–[22]; Baugh, “We Took Our Change of Venue,” 61–62.)  


The  grand jury (who were mostly intoxica ted,) indibted [indicted] us for treason, etc. etc.—75

The hearing before the grand jury was held 9–11 April at Gallatin, Daviess County, Missouri. JS was indicted for treason, riot, arson, larceny, and receiving stolen goods. (See the indictments issued during the April 1839 term of the Daviess County, Missouri, Circuit Court in the following cases: State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason, photocopy, Max H. Parkin, Collected Missouri Court Documents, CHL; State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Riot; State of Missouri v. Caleb Baldwin et al. for Arson; State of Missouri v. Jacob Gates et al. for Arson, Historical Department, Nineteenth-Century Legal Documents Collection, CHL; State of Missouri v. James Worthington et al. for Larceny, Daviess Co., MO, Courthouse, Gallatin, MO; and State of Missouri v. JS for Receiving Stolen Goods, photocopy, Max H. Parkin, Collected Missouri Court Documents, CHL; see also Baugh, “We Took Our Change of Venue,” 63–65.)  


While there, we got a change of ve nue to Boon[e] county,76

Defense counsel initially sought a change of venue based on a newly enacted statute that allowed such a request to be supported by affidavits from the requesting parties. Judge Thomas Burch denied this request. A second motion to change venue was then made based on another Missouri statute that precluded an interested party from serving as a judge in the case. Because Judge Burch served as prosecuting attorney at the 12–19 November court of inquiry at Richmond, this statute specifically required disqualification. Burch granted this motion and the case was transferred to Boone County. (An Act to Amend an Act concerning Criminal Proceedings [13 Feb. 1839], Laws of the State of Missouri [1838–1839], 98; Daviess Co., MO, Circuit Court Record, Apr. 1839, vol. A, pp. 66–70, Daviess Co., Courthouse, Gallatin, MO; Snow, Journal, 1838–1841, 47–49.)  


and were conduct ed on our way to that place by a strong  guard.77

William Morgan, sheriff of Daviess County, summoned William Bowman, Wilson McKinney, John Brassfield, and John Pogue as his guard to escort the prisoners. (William Morgan, Certificate, 1 July 1839; “Preamble,” William Morgan, Papers, CHL.)  


The second evening after our  departure the guard got intoxicated[,]  we thought it a favorable opportunity  to make our escape; knowing that the  only object of our enemies was our de struction;78

The next several lines are additions not found in JS’s bill of damages, which resumes at “Accordingly we took the advantage.”  


and likewise knowing that a  number of our brethren had been mas sacred by them on 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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,  amongst whom were two children;79

On 30 October, Livingston County colonel Thomas Jennings led two to three hundred men in an attack on the small Latter-day Saint settlement of Hawn’s Mill. The attackers shot at men, women, and children. Seventeen were killed, including Charles Merrick (age nine) and Sardius Smith (age ten). At least fourteen were wounded. (See Baugh, “Call to Arms,” chap. 9; and “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Aug. 1840, 1:145–150.)  


and  that they sought every opportunity to  abuse others who were left in that  state; and that they were never brought  to an account for their barbarious pro ceedings, but were wincked at, and en couraged, by those in authority. We  thought that it was necessary for us,  inasmuch as we loved our lives, and  did not wish to die by the hand of mur derers and assasins; and inasmuch, as  we loved our families and friends, to  deliver ourselves from our enemies,  and from that land of tyrany and op pression, and again take our stand  amongst a people in whose bosoms dwell  those feelings of republicanism and lib erty which gave rise to our nation:—  Feelings which the inhabitants of the  state of 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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were strangers to. Ac cordingly we took the advantage of the  situation of our guard and took our de parture,80

JS and his fellow prisoners escaped 16 April 1839 while at Yellow Creek in Chariton County. The prisoners departed Gallatin on 12 April, four days earlier, but did not leave the confines of Daviess County—the county in which they had been charged—until 15 April. Hyrum Smith later testified that Daviess County sheriff William Morgan informed the prisoners that Judge Burch had privately instructed him not to escort the prisoners as far as Boone County. One of the guards sold two horses to the prisoners for their escape, and he later collected payment in Nauvoo. (JS, Journal, 16 Apr. 1839; Lyman Wight, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 32, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; Baugh, “We Took Our Change of Venue,” 65–71; Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 25–26, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; JS to John Brassfield, Promissory note, 16 Apr. 1839, JS Collection, CHL.)  


and that night we travelled a  cons[i]derable distance. We continued  on our journey both by night and by  day, and after suffering much fatigue  and hunger, I arrived 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,  amidst the congratulations of my friends  and the embraces of my family.81

JS arrived at Quincy, Illinois, 22 April. (JS, Journal, 16 and 22–23 Apr. 1839.)  


I have now resided in this neighbor hood for several weeks as it is known  to thousands of the citizens of 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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,  as well as of the State of 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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, but  the authorities of Mo.

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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, knowing that  they had no justice in their crusade  against me, and the people with whom  I was associated, have not yet to my  knowledge, taken the first step towards  having me arrested.82

The remainder of the text is not based on JS’s bill of damages, which here terminates with a paragraph listing JS’s claims against Missouri for losses sustained in Jackson, Daviess, and Caldwell counties for “Lands: Houses Horses: Harness Cattle Hogs & Books & store Goods Expences while in Bonds: of moneys paid out expences of moving out of the State & damages sustained by False imprisonment threatnings: intimidation Exposure &c &c &c &c &c.” JS calculated the total value lost at $100,000.  


Amongst those who have been the  chief instruments, and leading charac ters, in the unparallelled persecutions  against the church of Latter Day  Saints; the following stand conspicu ous, viz: Generals Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

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, Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

View Full Bio
, and  Lucas

19 July 1799–23 Feb. 1868. Store owner, recorder of deeds. Born at Washington Co., Kentucky. Son of Samuel Lucas Sr. Married Theresa Bartlett Allen, ca. Nov. 1823, in Harrison Co., Kentucky. Member of Presbyterian church. Lived at Independence, Jackson Co...

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, Colonel 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
, and Cornelius  Guilliam [Gilliam]

13 Apr. 1798–24 Mar. 1848. Politician, military officer. Born near Mount Pisgah, Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of Epaphroditus Gilliam and Sarah Ann Israel. Moved to Missouri, before 1820. Married Mary Crawford, 1820/1821, in Ray Co. (later in Clay Co...

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.83

Gilliam led one of the vigilante groups that harassed and plundered the Saints. (LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 128–129, 192; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 300–302.)  


Captain 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
also, whose  zeal in the cause of oppression and in justlce, was unequalled, and whose de light has been to rob, murder, and  spread devastation amongst the Saints.  He stole a valuable horse, saddle and  bridle from me; which cost two hun dred dollars, and then sold the same to  General Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

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. On understanding  this I applied to General Wilson

1795–ca. 1868. Farmer, merchant, land developer, postmaster. Born in Virginia. Moved to Greene Co., Tennessee, by Dec. 1818. Married first Margaret Guin, 23 Dec. 1829, in Greene Co. Moved to Pike Co., Illinois, by Apr. 1832. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832...

View Full Bio
for the  horse, who assured me, upon the hon or of a gentleman, and an officer, that  I should have the horse returned to me;  but this promise has not been fulfilled.
All the threats, murders, and rob beries which these officers have been  guilty of, are entirely looked over by  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
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...

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; who, to hide  his own iniquity, must of course shield  and protect those whom he employed,  to carry into effect his murderous pur poses.
I was in their hands as a prisoner a bout six months, but notwtihstanding  their determination to destroy me,  with the rest of my brethren who were  with me; and although at three differ ent times (as I was informed) we were  sentenced to be shot, without the least  shadow of law, (as we were not milita ry men,) and had the time, and place  apointed for that purpose;84

As noted previously, Alexander Doniphan intervened to prevent JS’s execution shortly after he was taken prisoner. JS’s brother Hyrum Smith later testified that Jedediah M. Grant, a Latter-day Saint, overheard a conversation between General Clark and militiamen at Richmond that indicated Clark’s intention to have JS and fellow prisoners executed on 12 November. According to Smith, Clark abandoned that plan after learning that military law made no provision for a court-martial for civilians. (Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 17, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


yet, through  the mercy of God, in answer to the  prayers of the saints, I have been pre served, and delivered out of their hands,  and can again enjoy the society of my  friends and brethren, whom I love; and  to whom I feel united in bonds that  are stronger than death: and in a state  where I believe the laws are respected,  and whose citizens, are humane and  charitable.
During the time I was in the hands  of my enemies; I must say, that al though I felt great anxiety, respecting  my family and friends, who were so  inhumanly treated and abused; and  who had to mourn the loss of their hus bands and children, who had been  slain; and after having been robbed of [p. 7]
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The historical account contained in “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.” was composed in the aftermath of the 1838 armed conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians, a struggle that culminated in the incarceration of JS and the expulsion of the Saints from 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...

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. On 20 March 1839, from the 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, JS wrote to the Saints instructing them to document “all the facts and suffering and abuses put upon them by the people of this state and also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained.”1

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:1–2]. In a letter to the church written three months earlier, JS had reflected on some of the causes leading to the expulsion. (JS, Liberty, MO, to “the church,” Caldwell Co., MO, 16 Dec. 1838, JS Collection, CHL.)  


A month later, on 16 April, JS escaped from the custody of Missouri lawmen, and on 22 April he was reunited with the Mormon exiles 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. Within days he arranged extensive land purchases for Mormon settlement at nearby Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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, Illinois, and across the Mississippi River

Principal U.S. river running southward from Itasca Lake, Minnesota, to Gulf of Mexico. Covered 3,160-mile course, 1839 (now about 2,350 miles). Drains about 1,100,000 square miles. Steamboat travel on Mississippi very important in 1830s and 1840s for shipping...

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in Iowa Territory

Area originally part of Louisiana Purchase, 1803. First permanent white settlements established, ca. 1833. Organized as territory, 1838, containing all of present-day Iowa, much of present-day Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota. Population in ...

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. JS himself was among the initial Latter-day Saints to relocate to Commerce in May 1839. On 4 June 1839, during a visit to Quincy, JS created a record of his own Missouri losses, titled “Bill of Damages against the state of Missouri.”2

JS, “Bill of Damages against the State of Missouri[:] An Account of the Sufferings and Losses Sustained Therein,” Quincy, IL, 4 June 1839, JS Collection, CHL; see also JS, Journal, 27 May–8 June 1839.  


Written in the handwriting of JS’s recently appointed clerk, 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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, the bill of damages was created as a petition to the federal government for redress, and it became the basis of “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” published in July 1839. The reference to a “private journal” in the title notwithstanding, the article was not in fact based on a journal source; JS’s bill of damages is the only known manuscript source. The manuscript is much more than a simple bill of damages, however, and the historical narrative it contains bridges the chronological gap between JS’s last Missouri 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.3

The last entry in JS’s September–October 1838 journal is 5 October 1838. On that day, JS left Far West, Missouri, with a detachment of Mormon men to reinforce the besieged Saints in De Witt, Missouri; after an introductory overview, JS’s “Bill of Damages” begins with the De Witt conflict. The bill ends with JS’s escape from his captors on 16 April 1839 and his arrival in Quincy, Illinois, on 22 April 1839; the first two entries in JS’s 1839 journal resume JS’s journal keeping precisely at this point.  


After an introduction stating that JS encountered enmity from the moment of his arrival 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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in March 1838, “Extract, from the Private Journal” covers most of the significant episodes in the Missouri conflict. The first specific historical event is the siege of the Mormon settlement 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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in Carroll County. The article then narrates the subsequent conflict around Adam-ondi-Ahman

Town located in northwest Missouri. JS revelations designated area as place where Adam blessed his posterity after leaving Garden of Eden and where Adam will return prior to Second Coming. While seeking new areas in Daviess Co. for settlement, JS and others...

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in Daviess County, the battle at Crooked River

Located in northwest Missouri. Rises in Clinton Co. and flows about sixty miles southeast through Caldwell and Ray counties; drains into Missouri River. Saints settled mainly on northwestern and southeastern sections of river, by 1835; main settlement also...

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with militia from Ray County

Located in northwestern Missouri. Area settled, 1815. Created from Howard Co., 1820. Initially included all state land north of Missouri River and west of Grand River. Population in 1830 about 2,700; in 1836 about 6,600; and in 1840 about 6,600. Latter-day...

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, and the siege 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...

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in Caldwell County. Also recounted are JS’s capture, imprisonment, and indictment, as well as the exodus of the Latter-day Saints to 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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. The narrative draws to a close with JS’s escape and his flight from Missouri. Where the bill of damages ends with a list of losses and sufferings for which remuneration is sought, the “Extract” concludes with an address to the American people at large, appealing to the principles of liberty and justice.
“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.” was published in the first issue of the church newspaper Times and Seasons. The prospectus published at the end of the issue declared that the newspaper would provide “a history of the unparallelled persecution, which we, as a people, received 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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”; the lead article in the issue, an “Address” from the editors, similarly announced that the newspaper’s mission included publication of “a detailed history of the persecution and suffering” experienced in Missouri.4

“Prospectus of the Times and Seasons,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:16; Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith, “Address,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:1.  


“Extract, from the Private Journal” directly follows, taking up half of the issue’s sixteen pages. Times and Seasons editors Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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and Don Carlos Smith

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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printed only about two hundred copies of the July 1839 issue before a malaria epidemic left them debilitated.5

“To the Patrons of the Times and Seasons,” Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:15–16; Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” The Return, May 1890, 257–258.  


Months later they published a reprint of the first issue, including JS’s “Extract,” under a November 1839 date.6

It appears that there were three printings of the first issue of the Times and Seasons: the first in July; the second in November, from the same typesetting; and a third sometime thereafter, from a new setting of the text. The third printing, perhaps issued to satisfy increasing demand for the newspaper, retained the November 1839 date. Although minor spelling and punctuation changes appear in the later printings of the “Extract,” no changes were made to the wording. (See Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:94–95.)  


JS’s account of Missouri sufferings constituted part of a new genre of Mormon historical writing, and in the next issue, the Times and Seasons began publishing an eleven-part series on the Saints’ Missouri persecutions.7

See “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839–Oct. 1840.  


JS’s bill of damages was revised for publication as the “Extract” sometime between 4 June 1839, when the bill of damages was composed, and 12 July, when Wilford Woodruff

1 Mar. 1807–2 Sept. 1898. Farmer, miller. Born at Farmington, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of Aphek Woodruff and Beulah Thompson. Moved to Richland, Oswego Co., New York, 1832. Baptized into LDS church by Zera Pulsipher, 31 Dec. 1833, near Richland. Ordained...

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recorded “looking over the proof sheet of the first number of the Times & seasons.”8

Woodruff, Journal, 12 July 1839.  


JS returned to Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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from 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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on 5 June and remained in the area until 12 July, except for a 15–26 June journey through western 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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. Therefore, JS’s narrative of 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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persecutions was likely revised in Commerce between 5 and 14 June or between 27 June and 12 July.9

JS’s journal records that he was “dictating History” 10–14 June and 3–5 July 1839, which may have included the historical narrative in the “bill of damages” along with his ongoing work on a complete history of the church. (JS, Journal, 10–14 June and 3–5 July 1839.)  


The first issue of the Times and Seasons was probably published within a few days of 12 July, the day Wilford Woodruff helped check the proof sheet.
The first two-thirds of the “Extract” was based closely on “Bill of Damages,” with only minor editorial changes. The changes softened some of the manuscript’s more strident rhetoric, omitted particulars regarding JS’s personal losses, and added details to emphasize the suffering of the Saints. Significant differences between the two documents are explained in footnotes herein. The final section of the article, which did not come from the bill of damages, may have been dictated or written by JS, perhaps with help from clerical assistants 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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, James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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, and George W. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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. The published “Extract” was disseminated to Saints throughout the nation via the newspaper, and the document shaped their 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. JS clearly intended to reach not only the Latter-day Saints subscribing to the church newspaper but also the greater American public. As part of JS’s effort to gain sympathy in the court of public opinion, this document became part of the broadening agenda of gaining redress for grievances suffered in Missouri.

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