26020

“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.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 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,”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 return 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 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.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 company 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 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;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 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.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 intelligence, 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 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.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 situation, and their provisions nearly exhausted, 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 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...

View Full Bio
themselves.20

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


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.”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 petitioned 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 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...

View Full Bio
had mutinied, and that he should be obliged to draw them off from the place, for fear they would join 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]
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 ...

More Info
, 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 ...

More Info
, 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...

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; 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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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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