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John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1839

John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1839

Chapter 14

CHAPTER XIV.
 
Smith’s charge to the elders—Their return—Gathering continues—Mormons leave Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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and settle in 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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—In debt—Pride—Merchandizing—Banking—Dissentions and its effects—Elders go to England.
 
At the close of the solemn assembly meetings in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Smith told the elders that they were now endowed with power to go forth and build up the Kingdom, that they must now call upon God for themselves, and do that which the Spirit directed them to do, and every man was accountable to God for his own doings, and he charged them to be careful and avoid contention, and not to meddle with other orders of Christians, nor proclaim against their doctrines, but to preach the gospel in its simplicity, and let others alone.
The elders that lived in Upper 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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returned to their homes in Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, in the Spring of 1836, but had not been there long before a portion of the people who had been peaceable during their absence, began now to be uneasy. The church also continued to gather in Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, till the appearance was that they would sooner or later be overrun by the Mormons, and this uneasy portion of the people, either because they hated our religion, or were afraid we would become a majority, or for some other cause, I know not what, (for the Mormons had committed no crime,) continued to stir up excitement, and the Mormons began to prepare for self defence, until the more rational and sensible part of the citizens saw that it was coming to bloodshed, and that something must be done. They accordingly appointed a committee who called upon the Mormons to meet them in conference, which they did, and agreed to leave the county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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. The committee agreed to, and did help them to obtain a place of residence, which was in the territory of 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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, since organised into 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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, and the people in the vicinity consented to it. The Mormons purchased great quantities of land in 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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, made improvements, and their works plainly show that they were industrious, though they laboured under many disadvantages, on account of their poverty and former difficulties. Many of them were obliged to seek labor in the neighboring counties for their bread. The people gave them employment, and many of them also borrowed money, to purchase lands with. Friendship began to be restored between them and their neighbors, the old prejudices were fast dying away, and they were doing well, until the summer of 1838.
And now I return to Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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with my story. After finishing the house of the Lord

Plans for Far West included temple on central block. Latter-day Saints in Caldwell Co. made preparations for construction and commenced excavating for foundation, 3 July 1837. However, while visiting Latter-day Saints in Far West, 6 Nov. 1837, JS gave instructions...

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so far as to have it ready for the solemn assembly, the church found itself something like fifteen or twenty thousand dollars in debt, as near as I can recollect. As the house

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

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had been built by faith, as they termed it, they must now continue their faith and contrive some means to pay the debt. Notwithstanding they were deeply in debt, they had so managed as to keep up their credit, so they concluded to try mercantile business. Accordingly, they ran in debt in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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, and elsewhere, some thirty thousand dollars, for [p. 26]

Chapter 14

CHAPTER XIV.
 
Smith’s charge to the elders—Their return—Gathering continues—Mormons leave  Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

More Info
and settle in 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.” ...

More Info
—In debt—Pride—Merchandizing—Banking— Dissentions and its effects—Elders go to England.
 
At the close of the solemn assembly meetings in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Smith  told the elders that they were now endowed with power to go forth  and build up the Kingdom, that they must now call upon God for  themselves, and do that which the Spirit directed them to do, and  every man was accountable to God for his own doings, and he charged  them to be careful and avoid contention, and not to meddle with  other orders of Christians, nor proclaim against their doctrines, but to  preach the gospel in its simplicity, and let others alone.72

JS’s 1835–1836 journal summarizes this sermon: “I made the following remarks, that the time that we were required to tarry in Kirtland to be endued would be fulfilled in a few days, and then the Elders would go forth and each must stand for himself,” being careful “not to contend with others on the account of their faith or systems of religion but pursue a steady course.” (JS, Journal, 30 Mar. 1836.)  


The elders that lived in Upper 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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returned to their homes in  Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, in the Spring of 1836, but had not been there long be fore a portion of the people who had been peaceable during their ab sence, began now to be uneasy. The church also continued to ga ther in Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

More Info
, till the appearance was that they would sooner  or later be overrun by the Mormons, and this uneasy portion of the  people, either because they hated our religion, or were afraid we  would become a majority, or for some other cause, I know not what,  (for the Mormons had committed no crime,) continued to stir up ex citement,73

A 4 July 1836 letter written by Clay County resident Anderson Wilson described the fears and suspicions aroused by the influx of Mormons. The Mormons “have been flocking in here faster than ever and making great talk what they would do,” Wilson wrote. “A letter from Ohio Shows plainly that they intend to Emigrate here til they outnumber us. Then they would rule the Contry at pleasure.” He continued, “They have got a revelation from Smith that they Shal have the Missouri By money or Blood. . . . We are to Submit to a mormon government or trample under foot the laws of our Contry.” Wilson and other members of the armed group that had formed against the Saints resolved to “fight by each others Side & die like Ishmael in the presence of our brethren.” (Anderson and Emelia Faucett Wilson, Clay Co., MO, to Samuel and Ann [Nancy] Wilson, Turrentine, NC, 4 July 1836, in Stokes, “Wilson Letters,” 504–509.)  


and the Mormons began to prepare for self defence, until  the more rational and sensible part of the citizens saw that it was  coming to bloodshed, and that something must be done. They ac cordingly appointed a committee who called upon the Mormons to  meet them in conference, which they did, and agreed to leave the  county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

More Info
.74

At a meeting in Liberty, Clay County, on 29 June 1836, a group of Missouri citizens drew up a set of resolutions asking the Saints to move out of Clay County. The document expressed the “deepest regret” at the present circumstances and argued that the Saints had “nothing to lose by continuing their journey to some more friendly land.” A committee of ten appointed to meet with the Mormons consisted of Andrew Robertson, Michael Arthur, Littleberry Sublet, John Baxter, James M. Hughes, W. J. Moss, John Bird, Peter Rogers, William T. Wood, and J. T. V. Thompson. Hoping to preserve the peace, the Saints agreed to leave the county after they harvested their crops. (“Public Meeting,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1836, 2:353–355; see also “History, of the Persecution,” Feb. 1840, 1:51.)  


The committee agreed to, and did help them to obtain a  place of residence, which was in the territory of 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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, since  organised into 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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, and the people in the vicinity  consented to it.75

Caldwell County was created 29 December 1836 by an act of the Missouri legislature. The committee from Clay County assigned five citizens from each of five townships to help the Latter-day Saints relocate. Earlier, in May 1836, Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, and William W. Phelps began searching for new locations for Latter-day Saint settlement and filed claims for twenty eighty-acre parcels of land in the vicinity of Shoal Creek, northeast of Clay County. They soon afterward began preparations for a settlement there. (An Act to Organize the Counties of Caldwell and Daviess [29 Dec. 1836], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836], 46–47; “Public Meeting,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1836, 2:359–361; Partridge, Journal, May 1836; William W. Phelps et al., Liberty, MO, to Daniel Dunklin, 7 July 1836, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


The Mormons purchased great quantities of land in  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.” ...

More Info
, made improvements, and their works plainly show that they  were industrious, though they laboured under many disadvantages,  on account of their poverty and former difficulties. Many of them  were obliged to seek labor in the neighboring counties for their bread.  The people gave them employment, and many of them also borrowed  money, to purchase lands with. Friendship began to be restored be tween them and their neighbors, the old prejudices were fast dying  away, and they were doing well, until the summer of 1838.
And now I return to Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
with my story. After finishing the  house of the Lord

Plans for Far West included temple on central block. Latter-day Saints in Caldwell Co. made preparations for construction and commenced excavating for foundation, 3 July 1837. However, while visiting Latter-day Saints in Far West, 6 Nov. 1837, JS gave instructions...

More Info
so far as to have it ready for the solemn assembly,  the church found itself something like fifteen or twenty thousand dol lars in debt, as near as I can recollect.76

Earlier Corrill estimated the temple-related debt at thirteen to fourteen thousand dollars. (Corrill, Brief History, 21.)  


As the house

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

More Info
had been built  by faith, as they termed it, they must now continue their faith and  contrive some means to pay the debt. Notwithstanding they were  deeply in debt, they had so managed as to keep up their credit, so  they concluded to try mercantile business. Accordingly, they ran in  debt in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

More Info
, and elsewhere, some thirty thousand dollars, for [p. 26]
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John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, (Commonly Called Mormons;) Including an Account of Their Doctrine and Discipline; with the Reasons of the Author for Leaving the Church, St. Louis, MO: “Printed for the Author,” 1839; two preliminary leaves, 7–50 pp.; includes typeset signature marks. The copy used for transcription is held at CHL; includes handwritten underscoring, notes, and other marks, as well as archival stamps.
This booklet was printed in octavo format on three sheets cut and folded into seven gatherings. The interior gatherings were made from half sheets folded into four leaves, and the initial and final gatherings were made from quarter sheets folded into two leaves, making a total of twenty-four leaves in the booklet. The text block measures 8½ x 5½ x ⅛ inches (22 x 14 x 0.3 cm). Examination of the copies at CHL and BYU, as well as images of a third copy,1

John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints, microfilm (New Haven, CT: Research Publications, 1967).  


indicate that the booklet was originally side stitched. The binding of the copy at CHL has been altered.2

Needle holes along the center folds suggest that the CHL copy of the booklet was once bound with other similar-size works. The first page of the booklet bears the faded and now faint pencil notation “No 2.” on the upper right corner, a possible indication of the booklet’s arrangement in a collection of tracts. The first page of the booklet also bears a handwritten “20” in ink below the title. A photocopy made in 1971 or earlier shows that the CHL copy was not intact at that time. The copy at CHL is currently sewn through a new set of holes in the center folds. (Corrill, Brief History, photocopy, ca. 1971, CHL.)  


It appears to have been in church custody since at least the early 1880s.3

A circa 1881–1884 inventory of printed works at the Church Historian’s Office includes Corrill’s booklet. The copy held at CHL bears the extremely faded inscription “Historian’s Office” and includes purple Historian’s Office stamps, which were in use as early as the late nineteenth century. A circa 1971 photocopy shows a “Historian’s Office Library” adhesive label (since removed) on page 2 of the CHL copy. These archival records and marks indicate continuous church custody since the early 1880s. (“Church Works, Periodicals, and Pamphlets, Alphabetically Arranged,” 22, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL; Corrill, Brief History, photocopy, ca. 1971, CHL.)  


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