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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

This 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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has since told me was a mistake, for he was at St. Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as fourth...

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at the time; and, moreover, Gen. Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

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and other officers had full power to act when necessary, without an order from him.122

The petition, addressed to Governor Lilburn W. Boggs and bearing fifty signatures of Latter-day Saints and some of their neighbors, is dated 22 September 1838. It was taken to Jefferson City, but Governor Boggs later reported to the state legislature that he was absent from the capital when the petition was delivered and he therefore did not respond. Longtime Missouri citizen A. L. Caldwell personally delivered a subsequent appeal to Boggs and returned to Carroll County 9 or 10 October with the governor’s reply. As reported by Sidney Rigdon, Boggs said “that the Mormons had got into a scrape, and they might fight it out; for he would have nothing to do with it.” Boggs or Corrill may have conflated the two appeals. (Benjamin Kendrick et al., De Witt, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 22 Sept. 1838, copy; Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to the Missouri House of Representatives, 5 Dec. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; John Murdock, Affidavit, 10 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL; [Rigdon], Appeal to the American People, 39; see also JS, “Extract, from the Private Journal,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:3; and JS History, vol. B-1, 834–835.)  


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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called upon General Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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for more militia, but before they arrived the Mormons concluded to give up the ground and leave the place, and the citizens of Carroll agreed to pay them for their improvements. I never heard of any accusation that the people of Carroll had against the Mormons, but still they were determined they should not settle in that county; so they came 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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, about fifty waggons in number.
I have since understood that the people of Carroll did not mean to pay them, as they had agreed, but I know not whether this be true or not.123

After consulting with both sides, a delegation from Howard County presented an offer of payment to the Mormons on behalf of the Carroll County citizens. The Mormons rejected the offer. (“Mormon War,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 11 Oct. 1838, [2]; Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Carroll County, MO, 13.)  


When they came 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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I discovered that the feelings of many were much exasperated at the treatment they had received 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
, and especially at having been obliged to leave the place. News also followed them that the citizens were coming 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 ...

More Info
to Davies

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

More Info
, with the cannon, for the purpose of driving the Mormons from Davies 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 ...

More Info
. They took two Mormons prisoners on their way, and told them that they meant to drive the Mormons from Davies

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

More Info
to 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 from 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
to h——l.124

The two prisoners were Amasa Lyman and James Dunn. John P. Greene recorded the same declaration, adding the phrase “and that they would give them no quarter only at the cannon’s mouth.” (“Amasa Lyman’s History,” Deseret News, 15 Sept. 1858, 121; Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion, 12.)  


Smith and others appeared much excited in feeling. “They (the church) had been driven from place to place; their property destroyed; their rights as citizens taken from them; abuse upon abuse practised upon them from time to time; they had sought for redress through the medium of the law, but never could get it; 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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refused to protect them in their rights; the executive had been petitioned many times, but never would do any thing for them.” This, in substance, had been their talk for months: “And 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
,” they said “while they were 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
, refused to do any thing for them, but said that they must take care of themselves.” Now they meant to do it, for they found that they must take care of themselves, as they could get help from no other quarter. Moreover, they said, that they had found out that several members of the church had dissented in feeling, and were operating against them by carrying evil reports to their enemies, thereby increasing the excitement, and endangering their lives; and now they were determined to clear them out or spill their blood in the streets; moreover they meant to make clean work now, and expel the mob from Davies

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

More Info
and then from Caldwell county

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
. I asked Smith whether he thought they could hold out in that course and prosper in carrying it into effect. He answered they would, or die in the attempt. I answered that they would have the whole state upon them. Smith replied no; they would not have the whole state on them, but only that party which was governed by a mob spirit, and they were not very numerous: and they, when they found they would have to fight, would not be so fond of gathering together against them. I plainly saw that their feelings were much irritated, and they determined on their course; I therefore said no more. I had highly disapproved of their course for months past, and had taken no part in their warfare. I knew that they were jealous of me as a dissenter, and [p. 36]
This 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
has since told me was a mistake, for he was  at St. Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as fourth...

More Info
at the time; and, moreover, Gen. Atchison

11 Aug. 1807–26 Jan. 1886. Lawyer, judge, agriculturist, politician, farmer. Born at Frogtown, near Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen. About 1830, moved to Liberty, Clay Co., Missouri, where he became a prominent...

View Full Bio
and other  officers had full power to act when necessary, without an order  from him.122

The petition, addressed to Governor Lilburn W. Boggs and bearing fifty signatures of Latter-day Saints and some of their neighbors, is dated 22 September 1838. It was taken to Jefferson City, but Governor Boggs later reported to the state legislature that he was absent from the capital when the petition was delivered and he therefore did not respond. Longtime Missouri citizen A. L. Caldwell personally delivered a subsequent appeal to Boggs and returned to Carroll County 9 or 10 October with the governor’s reply. As reported by Sidney Rigdon, Boggs said “that the Mormons had got into a scrape, and they might fight it out; for he would have nothing to do with it.” Boggs or Corrill may have conflated the two appeals. (Benjamin Kendrick et al., De Witt, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 22 Sept. 1838, copy; Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to the Missouri House of Representatives, 5 Dec. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; John Murdock, Affidavit, 10 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL; [Rigdon], Appeal to the American People, 39; see also JS, “Extract, from the Private Journal,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:3; and JS History, vol. B-1, 834–835.)  


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
called upon General Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

View Full Bio
for more militia,  but before they arrived the Mormons concluded to give up the  ground and leave the place, and the citizens of Carroll agreed to  pay them for their improvements. I never heard of any accusa tion that the people of Carroll had against the Mormons, but still  they were determined they should not settle in that county; so  they came 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...

More Info
, about fifty waggons in number.
I have since understood that the people of Carroll did not mean  to pay them, as they had agreed, but I know not whether this be  true or not.123

After consulting with both sides, a delegation from Howard County presented an offer of payment to the Mormons on behalf of the Carroll County citizens. The Mormons rejected the offer. (“Mormon War,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 11 Oct. 1838, [2]; Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Carroll County, MO, 13.)  


When they came 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 ...

More Info
I discovered that the  feelings of many were much exasperated at the treatment they had  received 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
, and especially at having been obliged to leave the  place. News also followed them that the citizens were coming 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 ...

More Info
to Davies

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

More Info
, with the cannon, for the purpose of driving the  Mormons from Davies 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 ...

More Info
. They took two Mormons prisoners  on their way, and told them that they meant to drive the Mormons  from Davies

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

More Info
to 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
, and from 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
to h——l.124

The two prisoners were Amasa Lyman and James Dunn. John P. Greene recorded the same declaration, adding the phrase “and that they would give them no quarter only at the cannon’s mouth.” (“Amasa Lyman’s History,” Deseret News, 15 Sept. 1858, 121; Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion, 12.)  


Smith and  others appeared much excited in feeling. “They (the church) had  been driven from place to place; their property destroyed; their rights  as citizens taken from them; abuse upon abuse practised upon them  from time to time; they had sought for redress through the medium of  the law, but never could get it; 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...

More Info
refused to pro tect them in their rights; the executive had been petitioned many  times, but never would do any thing for them.” This, in substance,  had been their talk for months: “And 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
,” they said “while  they were 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
, refused to do any thing for them, but said that  they must take care of themselves.” Now they meant to do it, for  they found that they must take care of themselves, as they could  get help from no other quarter. Moreover, they said, that they had  found out that several members of the church had dissented in feeling,  and were operating against them by carrying evil reports to their  enemies, thereby increasing the excitement, and endangering their  lives; and now they were determined to clear them out or spill their  blood in the streets; moreover they meant to make clean work now,  and expel the mob from Davies

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

More Info
and then from Caldwell county

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
. I  asked Smith whether he thought they could hold out in that course and  prosper in carrying it into effect. He answered they would, or die  in the attempt. I answered that they would have the whole state upon  them. Smith replied no; they would not have the whole state on  them, but only that party which was governed by a mob spirit, and  they were not very numerous: and they, when they found they would  have to fight, would not be so fond of gathering together against them.  I plainly saw that their feelings were much irritated, and they determi ned on their course; I therefore said no more. I had highly disappro ved of their course for months past, and had taken no part in their  warfare. I knew that they were jealous of me as a dissenter, and [p. 36]
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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.)  


Facts