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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

I heard nothing from the leaders, but in the camp it was said that they meant not only to scatter the mob, but also to destroy those places that harbored them; that Gallatin

Founded and laid out, 1837. Unofficial county seat, beginning 1837. Officially named county seat, 1841. Several Latter-day Saints attempted to vote at Gallatin, 6 Aug. 1838, but were attacked by local residents. After Mormon-Missouri conflict erupted, Saints...

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and Millport were of that number; that the time had arrived for the riches of the gentiles to be consecrated to the house of Israel, but they meant to confine themselves to the mob characters in their plunderings. They conjectured that mob after mob, as they termed it, would arise against them, which they would have to subdue, one after another, even till they should reach 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 city...

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, where Lyman Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

View Full Bio
said he meant to winter. Many had the weakness to believe that God would enable them to do it.
As yet they had found no citizens collected in 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 ...

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, save those few in Gallatin

Founded and laid out, 1837. Unofficial county seat, beginning 1837. Officially named county seat, 1841. Several Latter-day Saints attempted to vote at Gallatin, 6 Aug. 1838, but were attacked by local residents. After Mormon-Missouri conflict erupted, Saints...

More Info
; though, when we started from 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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, it was currently reported, and believed by all, that there were five hundred in Millport, and that the next day there would be eight hundred to commence operations.132

Both the Mormons and their opponents pursued depredation in Daviess County rather than armed confrontation. John P. Greene reported that the second night after the Mormon forces from Far West arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman, “the mob under the command of C[ornelius] Gilliam, burned seven Mormon houses west of Grand river, turning the families, women and children, out of doors.” (Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion, 21; see also David R. Atchison, Liberty, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 22 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


On Friday morning I returned 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
, with William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
, who had come out the day before with some provisions.
When they found no citizens gathered together against them, they ought to have been peaceable, and merely stood on the defensive; but they had become too desperate in feeling for that, and resolved to clear 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
from every thing in the shape of what they called mobs, which they did effectually in the course of that and the next week. It appeared to me also that the love of pillage grew upon them very fast, for they plundered every kind of property they could get hold of, and burnt many cabins in 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
, some say eighty, and some say one hundred and fifty.133

Current scholarship estimates that between twenty-five and fifty Daviess County buildings were burned by the Latter-day Saints. Some of the Saints claimed that Missourians burned many of their own homes in Daviess County—homes the Mormons had recently purchased from them. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 215; LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 124; Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 6–7, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


They also went with a company to Livingston

Organized 1837. Population in 1840 about 4,300. Hawn’s Mill Massacre planned by mob in eastern part of county.

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, and took a piece of ordnance, which had been brought there by the company that came from Carroll county.134

David W. Patten led the Mormon expedition that captured the cannon in Livingston County on 21 October. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 206–210; see also Corrill, Brief History,, 36.)  


After this, most of those who belonged 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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returned home.

Chapter 22

CHAPTER XXII.
 
Destructionist and destroying angel—Battle with Bogard

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
—Great excitement and people in arms—Marsh

1 Nov. 1800–Jan. 1866. Farmer, hotel worker, waiter, horse groom, grocer, type foundry worker, teacher. Born at Acton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of James Marsh and Molly Law. Married first Elizabeth Godkin, 1 Nov. 1820, at New York City. Moved to ...

View Full Bio
and Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

View Full Bio
escape—Gen. Atchinson

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 the militia—Battle at Hawn’s mill.
 
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
, meanwhile, was well guarded, for they heard they were to be attacked by Capt. Cornelius 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...

View Full Bio
, with a company from the Platte.135

Responding to reports that Gilliam had assembled men at Grindstone Creek to attack Far West, Caldwell County judge Elias Higbee ordered county sheriff George Pitkin to mobilize the militia. ([Rigdon], Appeal to the American People, 42 [also in “History, of the Persecution,” May 1840, 1:97–98]; George Pitkin, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 1; Sidney Rigdon, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. [7]–[10], photocopy, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


But he did not attempt it. They also heard that a company was coming from Buncum Buncombe, and they organised a company of ten men, that were called the Destructionists, whose commander was called the Destroying Angel. Their business was, to watch the movements of the citizens, and if they gathered in Buncum, and left the place for 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
, these Destructionists were to slip in behind them, and burn the place. So they were to do, it was said, by Richmond

Area settled, ca. 1814. Officially platted as Ray Co. seat, 1827. Population in 1840 about 500. Seat of Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri; also location of courthouse and jails. JS and about sixty other Mormon men were incarcerated here while awaiting...

More Info
, or any other place that should turn out men to injure them. I believe they never attempted to burn either place, though [p. 38]
I heard nothing from the leaders, but in the camp it was said that  they meant not only to scatter the mob, but also to destroy those  places that harbored them; that Gallatin

Founded and laid out, 1837. Unofficial county seat, beginning 1837. Officially named county seat, 1841. Several Latter-day Saints attempted to vote at Gallatin, 6 Aug. 1838, but were attacked by local residents. After Mormon-Missouri conflict erupted, Saints...

More Info
and Millport were of that  number; that the time had arrived for the riches of the gentiles to be  consecrated to the house of Israel, but they meant to confine them selves to the mob characters in their plunderings. They conjectured  that mob after mob, as they termed it, would arise against them, which  they would have to subdue, one after another, even till they should  reach 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 city...

More Info
, where [Lyman] Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

View Full Bio
said he meant to winter. Many had  the weakness to believe that God would enable them to do it.
As yet they had found no citizens collected in 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
, save those  few in Gallatin

Founded and laid out, 1837. Unofficial county seat, beginning 1837. Officially named county seat, 1841. Several Latter-day Saints attempted to vote at Gallatin, 6 Aug. 1838, but were attacked by local residents. After Mormon-Missouri conflict erupted, Saints...

More Info
; though, when we started from 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
, it was cur rently reported, and believed by all, that there were five hundred in  Millport, and that the next day there would be eight hundred to  commence operations.132

Both the Mormons and their opponents pursued depredation in Daviess County rather than armed confrontation. John P. Greene reported that the second night after the Mormon forces from Far West arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman, “the mob under the command of C[ornelius] Gilliam, burned seven Mormon houses west of Grand river, turning the families, women and children, out of doors.” (Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion, 21; see also David R. Atchison, Liberty, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 22 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


On Friday morning I returned 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
, with W[illiam] W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
, who had come out the day before  with some provisions.
When they found no citizens gathered together against them,  they ought to have been peaceable, and merely stood on the defen sive; but they had become too desperate in feeling for that, and  resolved to clear 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
from every thing in the shape of  what they called mobs, which they did effectually in the course  of that and the next week. It appeared to me also that the love  of pillage grew upon them very fast, for they plundered every  kind of property they could get hold of, and burnt many cabins in  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
, some say eighty, and some say one hundred and fifty.133

Current scholarship estimates that between twenty-five and fifty Daviess County buildings were burned by the Latter-day Saints. Some of the Saints claimed that Missourians burned many of their own homes in Daviess County—homes the Mormons had recently purchased from them. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 215; LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 124; Hyrum Smith, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. 6–7, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


They also went with a company to Livingston

Organized 1837. Population in 1840 about 4,300. Hawn’s Mill Massacre planned by mob in eastern part of county.

More Info
, and took a piece  of ordnance, which had been brought there by the company that  came from Carroll county.134

David W. Patten led the Mormon expedition that captured the cannon in Livingston County on 21 October. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 206–210; see also Corrill, Brief History,, 36.)  


After this, most of those who belonged  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
returned home.

Chapter 22

CHAPTER XXII.
 
Destructionist and destroying angel—Battle with Bogard

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
—Great excitement and peo ple in arms—Marsh

1 Nov. 1800–Jan. 1866. Farmer, hotel worker, waiter, horse groom, grocer, type foundry worker, teacher. Born at Acton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of James Marsh and Molly Law. Married first Elizabeth Godkin, 1 Nov. 1820, at New York City. Moved to ...

View Full Bio
and Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

View Full Bio
escape—Gen. Atchinson

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 the militia—Battle at  Hawn’s mill.
 
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
, meanwhile, was well guarded, for they heard they were  to be attacked by Capt. [Cornelius] 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...

View Full Bio
, with a company from the Platte.135

Responding to reports that Gilliam had assembled men at Grindstone Creek to attack Far West, Caldwell County judge Elias Higbee ordered county sheriff George Pitkin to mobilize the militia. ([Rigdon], Appeal to the American People, 42 [also in “History, of the Persecution,” May 1840, 1:97–98]; George Pitkin, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 1; Sidney Rigdon, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, pp. [7]–[10], photocopy, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.)  


 But he did not attempt it. They also heard that a company was  coming from Buncum [Buncombe], and they organised a company of ten men,  that were called the Destructionists, whose commander was called  the Destroying Angel. Their business was, to watch the move ments of the citizens, and if they gathered in Buncum, and left the  place for 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
, these Destructionists were to slip in behind  them, and burn the place. So they were to do, it was said, by  Richmond

Area settled, ca. 1814. Officially platted as Ray Co. seat, 1827. Population in 1840 about 500. Seat of Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri; also location of courthouse and jails. JS and about sixty other Mormon men were incarcerated here while awaiting...

More Info
, or any other place that should turn out men to injure  them. I believe they never attempted to burn either place, though [p. 38]
PreviousNext
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