27468

Journal, March–September 1838

For the Lord God the eternal Father is our God and Jesus the mediator is our saviour, and in the great I am, is our strength and confidence we have been driven time after time and that without cause and smitten again and again, and that without provocation, untill we have prooved the wordd with kindness, and the wordd proved us, that we have no designs against any man or set of men That we injure no man. That we are peasibl with all men, minding our own buisness, and our buisness only, we have Suffered our rights and our liberties to be taken, from us, we have not avenged ourselves of those wrongs, we have appealed to magistrates, to Sheriffs, to Judges, to govonours and to the President of the United States, all in vain,222

Following their expulsion from Jackson County, the Latter-day Saints sought redress through political and legal channels including writing to United States president Andrew Jackson. (Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” chap. 4.)  


yet we have yealded, peacibly to all these things, we have not complained at the great God, we murmured not, but peacibly left all, and retired into the back Country in the broad and wild Prairie, in the barren & desolate plains, and there commenced anew, we made the desolate places to bud and blosom as the rose, and now the fiend like rase are disposed to give us no rest, Their Father (the Devil) is hourly calling upon them to be up and doing, and they like willing and obedient children need not the second admonition, But in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God we will endure it no longer, if the Great God will arm us with courage, with strength and with power, to resist them in their persecutions. We will not act on the offensive but always on the defensive, our rights and [p. 76]
For the Lord God the eternal Father is our God  and Jesus the mediator is our saviour, and in  the great I am, is our strength and confidence  we have been driven time after time and that with out cause and smitten again and again, and that  without provocation, untill we have prooved the  world <wordd> with kindness, and the world <wordd> proved us, that  we have no designs against any man or set of men  That we injure no man. That we are peasibl with  all men, minding our own buisness, and our  buisness only, we have Suffered our rights and  our liberties to be taken, from us, we have  not avenged ourselves of those wrongs, we have  appealed to magistrates, to Sheriffs, to Judges, to  govonour<s> and to the President of the United Sta tes, all in vain,222

Following their expulsion from Jackson County, the Latter-day Saints sought redress through political and legal channels including writing to United States president Andrew Jackson. (Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” chap. 4.)  


yet we have yealded, peacibly  to all these things, we have not complained at  the great God, we murmur<ed> not, but peacib ly left all, and retired into the back Country  in the broad and wild Prairie, in the barren &  desolate plains, and there commenced an ew, we made the desolate places to bud and  blosom as the rose, and now the fiend like  rase are disposed to give us no rest, Their  Father (the Devil) is hourly calling upon  them to be up and doing, and they like willi ng and obedient children need not the  second admonition, But in the name of  Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God  we will do it endure it no longer, if the  Great God will arm us with courage, with stren gth and with power, to resist them in their  persecutions. We will not act on the offensive  but always on the defensive, our rights and [p. 76]
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Following the climactic events they experienced in the House of the Lord

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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in spring 1836, JS and church members renewed their efforts on three fronts: proselytizing, raising funds to purchase land 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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on which to settle increasing numbers of Latter-day Saints, and building a larger and stronger Latter-day Saint community 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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, Ohio. But in neither Missouri nor Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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did events unfold as expected. Success in gathering converts to Missouri provoked renewed external opposition, again forcing church members in that state to relocate. Meanwhile, conflicts engulfed JS in Kirtland.
Revelations directed Latter-day Saint elders to proselytize throughout the world after being empowered in the House of the Lord

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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. A modest beginning during the remainder of 1836 crescendoed the following year with missionary service throughout the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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and Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

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and the successful launching of a ministry in England. Their mission was not only to preach and make converts but also to gather the descendants of the biblical house of Israel, now scattered throughout the world. Converts were encouraged to move to designated locations 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 Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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. The Mormon quest to establish Zion in Missouri, temporarily abandoned after the Saints’ expulsion from Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, was thereby reinvigorated.
Beginning in April 1836, JS and his associates engaged in an aggressive fund-raising campaign for land purchases 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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.1

Minute Book 1, 2 Apr. 1836; JS, Journal, 2 Apr. 1836.  


Meanwhile, converts flocked to 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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, Missouri, to join the Latter-day Saints who had been expelled from Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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in 1833. The rapid growth of the Mormon population eroded the tolerance of other Clay County residents, who concluded in late June 1836 that the Saints must leave. By then threats of violence and the intimidation of incoming Mormons made the once welcoming community much less so.2

“Public Meeting,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1836, 2:353–355; Stokes, “Wilson Letters,” 504–509.  


Returning to Jackson County was also an unrealistic option.
Attempting to prevent future hostilities—and probably to divert Mormon immigration away from more coveted lands—on 29 December 1836, the 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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legislature created 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.” ...

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, northeast of 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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, exclusively for Mormon settlement.3

An Act to Organize the Counties of Caldwell and Daviess [29 Dec. 1836], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836], 46–47; History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, 103–105; Riggs, “Economic Impact of Fort Leavenworth,” 129.  


That act gave rise to conflicting expectations. Many Missourians believed the Latter-day Saints were thereafter to confine their settlement to Caldwell County.4

“The Mormons in Carroll County,” Missouri Republican, 18 Aug. 1838, [2], daily edition; “Mormonism,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 12 June 1881, 1; Willard Snow, Petition for redress, no date, Library of Congress Collection, National Archives, Washington DC.  


The Saints willingly left Clay County and established headquarters 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, but they made no formal commitment to limit their settlement to one county. Indeed, they anticipated establishing numerous additional stakes of Zion elsewhere in northwestern Missouri. Tension over future Mormon expansion was inherent in the arrangement.
Conflict also increased at church headquarters 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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. In seeking to establish a sacral society directed by prophetic leadership, JS crossed conventional boundaries between religious and secular affairs. For him, God’s commandments made no distinction between the spiritual and the temporal.5

Revelation, Sept. 1830–A, in Doctrine and Covenants 10:9, 1835 ed. [D&C 29:34–35].  


Subjecting oneself to a religious leader’s direction in temporal matters clashed with American ideals of unfettered individual freedom. As the Mormon population of Kirtland continued to grow, JS and his associates conceived expansive plans for that community. A pivotal element was a bank, which could help provide capital for development. Though they were unable to obtain a state charter—an ultimately fatal flaw—they nevertheless established a financial institution in January 1837. The “Kirtland Safety Society” faltered early, due in part to negative publicity, the refusal of many area banks to accept Safety Society notes, and the predatory actions of outsiders who systematically acquired its notes and quickly demanded payment in specie, thus depleting its reserves. The Safety Society suspended such payments in late January, then failed several months later during the recession that gripped the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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.6

Adams, “Chartering the Kirtland Bank,” 467–482; Backman, Heavens Resound, 314–321; “James Thompson’s Statement,” in Naked Truths about Mormonism, Apr. 1888, 3.  


Stresses related to the bank failure, mounting personal debt of Kirtland Mormons, and church indebtedness due to construction of the House of the Lord

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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caused some to question the scope and legitimacy of JS’s prophetic leadership. Some of JS’s closest associates became disaffected. Prominent among the dissenters were JS’s former secretary Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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, several apostles, a number of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy, and the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon plates. Their discontent escalated from dismay with JS’s financial leadership to rejection of his religious leadership.7

Esplin, “Emergence of Brigham Young,” chaps. 5–6.  


Such views eventually spread to nearly one-third of the church’s general leadership and over ten percent of the local church membership in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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. Declaring JS a fallen prophet, Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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and others attempted to establish a church of their own and to take control of the House of the Lord

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
.8

Backman, Heavens Resound, 323–329, 437n68.  


Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, saddled with crushing personal financial losses, privately disparaged JS.9

Minute Book 2, 12 Apr. 1838; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 21 Jan. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 80–83.  


Some dissidents sought to replace JS with David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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as church president.10

Historian’s Office, “History of Brigham Young,” 15.  


Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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clashed with JS over the Safety Society.11

Williams, “Frederick Granger Williams,” 254–256.  


Compounding JS’s problems was the antipathy of numerous non-Mormon residents of 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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and vicinity, some of whom used both the legal system and threats of violence to harass him and other Latter-day Saints.12

Adams, “Grandison Newell’s Obsession” 168–188.  


In fall 1837, JS moved vigorously to reassert his authority as church president. At a conference in September, he and church leaders loyal to him disciplined dissidents in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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—including three apostles and a number of members of the 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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high council. Meanwhile, problems developed among church leaders 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...

More Info
, where the high council, the bishopric, and apostles Thomas B. 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 ...

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and David W. Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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decried unilateral actions by the Missouri presidency. Concern focused particularly on the management by counselors John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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and 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
of the proceeds from the sale of property in 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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.13

Minute Book 2, 3 and 5–7 Apr. 1837; Thomas B. Marsh, [Far West, MO], to Wilford Woodruff, [Vinalhaven, ME], 1838, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 37–38. Missouri church president David Whitmer spent most of 1836 and 1837 in Kirtland.  


When Marsh traveled to Kirtland in summer 1837, he probably informed JS of these Missouri leadership issues. To underscore the importance of unity and to prepare the way for changes in Missouri leadership if they should be required, JS sent minutes of the September Kirtland conference to Missouri, along with a revelation, additional written counsel, and verbal instructions conveyed by Marsh and JS’s brother Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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, an assistant counselor in the presidency. Soon after, JS and his loyal first counselor, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
, traveled to 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.” ...

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, Missouri, where with Hyrum Smith they met with local church leaders in early November and reached what seemed to be a satisfactory resolution of most of the outstanding issues. At a conference the following day, the local presidency were retained after they made confessions in response to objections raised against them. However, the First Presidency underwent major changes. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
, JS’s second counselor, was removed from office after considerable discussion and replaced with Hyrum Smith. The name of Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
, who earlier was placed next to JS in the presidency, was not even presented for approval on this occasion; thus he was silently displaced.14

Minute Book 2, 6 and 7 Nov. 1837.  


After JS’s return to Kirtland, it became evident that unresolved issues in Missouri required further attention.
An 1831 revelation had signaled that 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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would eventually yield to 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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as the major gathering center for the Latter-day Saints.15

Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 21:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 64:21–22].  


When arrangements were completed in late 1836 for Mormon settlement in 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.” ...

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, renewed large-scale migration of Mormons to Missouri became feasible. JS and the presidency had anticipated moving there earlier in 1836 to direct the resettlement of incoming converts, but the delay in establishing a permanent Missouri location and the entanglements of Kirtland kept them in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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. By late 1837, JS was planning to move as soon as possible.16

[JS], Editorial, Elders’ Journal, Nov. 1837, 28.  


Threatened by dissidents and pursued by creditors, he learned in January 1838 of his impending arrest on a charge of illegal banking—quite likely a ruse devised by his opponents to drive him from Ohio.17

Adams, “Grandison Newell’s Obsession”; Historian’s Office, “History of Luke Johnson,” 6, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL.  


JS and Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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had already been found guilty of such a charge in October 1837, had been fined $1,000 each, and had an appeal pending.18

Firmage and Mangrum, Zion in the Courts, 56–57.  


On 12 January, a new revelation directed that JS and the presidency were to terminate their work in Kirtland “as soon as it is practicable” and move to Missouri.19

Revelation, 12 Jan. 1838–C, in Revelations Collection, CHL; see also JS, Journal, 8 July 1838.  


JS and Rigdon left within a few hours and were joined soon afterward by their families.
While JS was en route 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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, his supporters there were working to root out dissent among local church leadership. Senior apostle Thomas B. 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 members of the 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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high council conducted, in each of five settlements, meetings of church members in which the conduct of the Missouri presidency was reviewed. Marsh indicated that the meetings were conducted according to instructions from JS. The outcome of each meeting was that the leadership of the presidency—consisting of David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

View Full Bio
, 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
, and John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
—was rejected. The Missouri high council and bishopric replaced the presidency with an interim presidency of Marsh and apostle David W. Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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, and soon afterward the high council excommunicated Phelps and John Whitmer.20

Minute Book 2, 510 Feb. and 10 Mar. 1838.  


The reassertion of authority in Missouri under JS and those loyal to him was well under way when JS reached Far West on 14 March 1838.
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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, who was appointed the church’s general clerk and recorder in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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in September 1837, arrived in 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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on 28 March 1838, two weeks after JS, and was immediately pressed into service. Within a day or two of arriving, he began writing what would become the present journal. Robinson made his initial inscriptions in a general church record book that already included a roster of Latter-day Saints living in 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.” ...

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. He began writing on the first blank page following the previously inscribed roster. The journal Robinson kept for JS documents critical developments in the struggle of JS and the presidency to maintain leadership of the church and to fulfill ambitious plans for Zion 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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. It records their efforts to found settlements outside their headquarters and gathering center in Caldwell County during spring and summer 1838, as well as the first signs of the deterioration of that effort. The journal is primarily a documentary record. Several key developments are depicted only by documents copied into the record without narrative ligatures.
The journal entries only occasionally provide insights into intentions, perceptions, evaluations, and feelings. When they do so, 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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’s perspective is usually represented. In the journal entries, Robinson refers to JS in the third person and to himself in the first. Thus references to “I” or “myself” in the journal entries usually indicate Robinson rather than JS.
The journal opens with a brief retrospective account, apparently dictated by JS, of his arrival in 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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on 14 March 1838. Then follows a copy of a motto recently composed by JS and signed by JS, 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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, and a half-dozen prominent Latter-day Saints. The motto reflected JS’s experiences with dissent and persecution 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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and signaled his determination to vigorously assert the Latter-day Saints’ right to establish themselves 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 to pursue their goals without harassment. JS’s letter of 29 March 1838, copied on pages 23–26 of the journal, indicates that the motto was already inscribed in the journal by that date.
Following the motto are two sets of questions and answers about the book of Isaiah. A series of transcripts or summaries of eight documents follows. These materials relate to a seven-month series of events that culminated in the 12–13 April 1838 excommunications of Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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and David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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. As indicated by the date on the title page of the journal, 12 April 1838, 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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apparently began transcribing these documents and entries on the same day that Cowdery was excommunicated. Cowdery’s trial seems to have been the motivating factor for transcribing this set of documents and creating an ongoing record with its own identity. These documents include minutes, instructions, and revelations originally written in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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as early as 3 September 1837; minutes of a conference in which Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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joined Thomas B. 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 ...

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and David W. Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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as “Presidents Pro. Tem” of the church 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 terse synopses of the excommunication proceedings. In stark contrast to the frank evaluations of key leaders that JS dictated for his earliest journal, the present journal’s businesslike documentary treatment yields little insight into the interpersonal dynamics of their estrangement or the impact that severing ties to former close associates had on JS. Robinson also copied a letter from a Missouri landholder offering property 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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, Carroll County, to JS as a strategic site for control of commerce in the region. A purchase was eventually consummated, and Latter-day Saints settled there, angering those Missourians who objected to Mormon settlement outside 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.” ...

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.
Following copies of brief personal revelations that JS dictated for apostles David W. Patten

14 Nov. 1799–25 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Vermont. Son of Benoni Patten and Edith Cole. Moved to Theresa, Oneida Co., New York, as a young child. Moved to Dundee, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, as a youth. Married Phoebe Ann Babcock, 1828, in Dundee. Affiliated...

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and Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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in mid-April 1838, 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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recorded JS’s 26 April 1838 revelation mandating the continued growth of 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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, the construction of a temple

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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there, and the establishment of Latter-day Saint settlements in that vicinity. The revelation sanctioned the name for the church that JS and others had recently begun to use: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
After inscribing this substantial body of recapitulations and copied documents, 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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recorded daily journal entries, beginning with an entry for 27 April 1838. By this point, Robinson was serving as a scribe to the First Presidency, and the journal focused not only on JS but also on Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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(Robinson’s father-in-law) and Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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, both counselors in the church presidency. Frequently, but not consistently, the scribe accompanied JS and the presidency on trips away 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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. However, since the record book was large, Robinson likely did not carry it with him on every occasion, and a number of entries may not have been recorded until several days later.
The first day of 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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’s regular journal entries, 27 April, was the same day JS, Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and Robinson started JS’s history. Thus a promising record-keeping routine began to be established, which lasted for six weeks. Entries for the first three weeks document a brief interlude of settled existence in 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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, with JS and his counselors collaborating on the history, studying grammar, and attending meetings, and JS working his garden. However, the presidency was soon on the move again. After receiving word of a sizable migration of Latter-day Saints to 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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, they left Far West for Daviess County

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

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in mid-May to select and survey lands for future arrivals. JS’s labors in the north were punctuated by brief visits home, during one of which Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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gave birth to their son Alexander

2 June 1838–12 Aug. 1909. Photographer, carpenter, postmaster, minister. Born at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Son of JS and Emma Hale. Moved to Commerce (later Nauvoo), Hancock Co., Illinois, 1839. Married Elizabeth Agnes Kendall, 23 June 1861, at Nauvoo...

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.
Settling in sparsely settled Daviess County

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

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offered incoming Latter-day Saints, many of whom were poor, a place to live while neither buying nor renting. As squatters on United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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government land, heads of households could apply for preemption rights (first right of purchase) on up to 160 acres of land that they occupied, pending completion of official government land surveys. Applicants were not required—or even allowed—to pay the government for the land until after the surveys were completed. Then, to acquire title to the property, they were to pay the relatively low price of $1.25 per acre prior to an announced date, after which their property would otherwise be offered for sale to the general public, along with the unclaimed land in the surveyed area. The selection and private surveying of Daviess County land by JS and his colleagues provided the basis for orderly and relatively compact settlement coordinated by church officials.21

Walker, “Mormon Land Rights.”  


Settling in 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.” ...

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, by contrast, involved more conventional purchases. Government surveys were already completed for that county, and government land was already being sold.
The pattern of record keeping became more varied after the presidency and their scribe traveled to Daviess County

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

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in early June. 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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’s daily entries lapsed as the Mormons laid out a city plot for a Latter-day Saint settlement at 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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, began building homes, and organized a stake. They persisted in creating the new settlement despite their 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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neighbors’ earlier attempt to frighten the area’s first Mormon settlers into leaving Daviess County.22

Gentry, “Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri,” 153–156; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 106.  


Meanwhile, tensions continued between JS and the majority who supported him on the one hand and prominent excommunicants who remained in 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.” ...

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after being expelled from the church on the other. JS and Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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came to feel that peace and harmony among the Latter-day Saints—essential if they were to succeed in establishing Zion 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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—was impossible as long as these individuals remained among them. After Rigdon denounced these former leaders in a sermon in mid-June,23

Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 23–25, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; Corrill, Brief History, 30.  


they were threatened with violence, and several of them left the county. Active in compelling their departure was a new volunteer paramilitary organization of Mormon men called the Danites, of which 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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was an officer. The Danites sought to rid the church of dissent, to ensure the fulfillment of church leaders’ directives, and later to help combat external threats against the Saints.
Although 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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’s journal keeping for JS lapsed for most of June and July, he did note significant developments in three early July entries consisting primarily of copied correspondence and revelations. He wrote an entry for 4 July, when Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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’s oration at the Mormons’ celebration of Independence Day 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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signaled their intentions to expand beyond the confines of 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.” ...

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and warned that they would not countenance persecution.24

Oration Delivered by Mr. S. Rigdon, 12.  


The entry for 6 July is a copy of a letter received that day from Heber C. Kimball

14 June 1801–22 June 1868. Blacksmith, potter. Born at Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vermont. Son of Solomon Farnham Kimball and Anna Spaulding. Married Vilate Murray, 22 Nov. 1822, at Mendon, Monroe Co., New York. Member of Baptist church at Mendon, 1831. Baptized...

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and Orson 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, ...

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, en route to Far West after completion of their mission to the British Isles. It is followed by Robinson’s transcription of a letter from JS’s brother 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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reporting the circumstances of members of the extended Smith family moving together from 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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to Far West. At least six of the eight revelations recorded at that point in the journal were read to a church congregation at Far West on 8 July. Three dated 12 January 1838, the day that JS left Kirtland for Far West, focused on the church presidency, reinforcing their authority, establishing stringent requirements for any attempts to discipline them, and directing them to leave Kirtland and move to 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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as soon as possible. Five more revelations, all dated 8 July, provided directions for the reorganization of the Quorum of Twelve and a proselytizing mission that they were to undertake in Europe, called for tithing to be instituted in the church, and gave instructions for several church leaders and former leaders. Between the January revelations and the July revelations, Robinson recorded a brief synopsis, from a millenarian perspective, of contemporary developments affecting the church in Missouri, including consequences of the expulsion of dissidents in June and the influx of numerous Latter-day Saint settlers to northwestern Missouri.
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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did not resume regular journal entries until 26 July. From that point, his journal keeping was relatively consistent through 10 September, when the journal ends. These entries show that expansion beyond 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.” ...

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—an integral part of Mormon plans—came at a price. Mormon immigrants from Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

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were assigned to settle in Daviess County

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

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during summer 1838, and on 6 July, “Kirtland Camp,” the largest single group of Saints to leave 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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for 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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, began their laborious trek.25

Tyler, “Daily Journal,” 6 July 1838.  


Their arrival made it evident to the Mormons’ neighbors in Daviess County that within a few months the Mormons would outnumber other citizens. Meanwhile, in late July, Carroll County residents pressed the Saints to leave 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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. Further growth of Mormon numbers and influence was unthinkable for many residents of northwestern Missouri.
On election day, 6 August, William Peniston

Ca. 1811–10 Nov. 1850. Sheriff, military colonel, clerk, hotelier. Born at Jessamine Co., Kentucky. Son of Robert Peniston and Nancy Nuttle. Moved to Ray Co., Missouri, ca. 1831. A founder of Millport, in what became Daviess Co., Missouri, where family built...

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, a candidate for the state legislature, mounted a whiskey barrel at the village square at 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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, Daviess County, to persuade a crowd of men to prevent the Latter-day Saints from voting. A brawl ensued, and 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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, JS heard from an otherwise credible non-Mormon source that the corpses of Latter-day Saint casualties were being withheld from church members in Daviess County

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

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, a report later proved false.26

Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, chap. 6.  


JS accompanied a body of armed men to Daviess County to recover the bodies for burial but learned at 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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that, despite multiple injuries, there were no fatalities on either side. There they also heard a rumor that local justice of the peace Adam Black

11 Sept. 1801–14 July 1890. Farmer, sheriff, justice of the peace, judge. Born at Henderson Co., Kentucky. Son of William Black and Jane Wilson. Moved near Booneville, Copper Co., Missouri Territory, and then to Ray Co., Missouri Territory, 1819. Elected ...

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was raising a mob to avenge blows the Mormons had landed in the Gallatin fracas. JS and his associates, now including prominent Adam-ondi-Ahman resident 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, ...

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, visited the home of Black, who a year earlier had warned Latter-day Saints to leave the county. The Mormons found no mob but obtained a signed commitment from Black that the rights of Latter-day Saints would be protected. The following day, a delegation of prominent Daviess County citizens met with JS, Wight, and other Latter-day Saints at Adam-ondi-Ahman, where both sides exchanged pledges to avoid injuring the other and to settle any disputes through legal channels.27

Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 103–111.  


In violation of these commitments, Black

11 Sept. 1801–14 July 1890. Farmer, sheriff, justice of the peace, judge. Born at Henderson Co., Kentucky. Son of William Black and Jane Wilson. Moved near Booneville, Copper Co., Missouri Territory, and then to Ray Co., Missouri Territory, 1819. Elected ...

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and Peniston

Ca. 1811–10 Nov. 1850. Sheriff, military colonel, clerk, hotelier. Born at Jessamine Co., Kentucky. Son of Robert Peniston and Nancy Nuttle. Moved to Ray Co., Missouri, ca. 1831. A founder of Millport, in what became Daviess Co., Missouri, where family built...

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used an embellished account of the encounter at Black’s home to mobilize both legal and vigilante action against the Mormons. Peniston traveled with others to 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...

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, Ray County, to recruit volunteers to help protect the old settlers of Daviess County

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

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. While there, Peniston showed local citizens an affidavit from Black claiming that the Mormon party that visited his house had threatened him with immediate death if he refused to sign their agreement.28

“Public Meeting,” Missouri Republican, 8 Sept. 1838, [1], “for the country” edition.  


Peniston filed a complaint with Austin A. King

21 Sept. 1802–22 Apr. 1870. Attorney, judge, politician, farmer. Born at Sullivan Co., Tennessee. Son of Walter King and Nancy Sevier. Married first Nancy Harris Roberts, 13 May 1828, at Jackson, Madison Co., Tennessee. In 1830, moved to Missouri, where he...

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, judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court 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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. King’s jurisdiction included both 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 Daviess counties, as well as Ray

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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, Clay

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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, Carroll, Clinton, and 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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counties. King issued a warrant for the arrest of JS and 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, ...

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.29

William Peniston, Affidavit, Ray Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1838, private possession, copy in CHL; State of Missouri, Warrant for JS and Lyman Wight, Ray Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1838, private possession, copy in CHL.  


Then Black, Peniston, and their allies fanned out to recruit volunteers from additional counties. After Black’s visit to Livingston County, Missouri newspapers spread claims that Mormons had threatened additional Daviess County settlers, destroyed crops, and perhaps even murdered Peniston and other prominent residents.30

See, for example, “The Mormons,” Missouri Argus, 6 Sept. 1838, [1].  


Some counties, such as Ray and Chariton

Established 16 Nov. 1820. Village of Chariton named county seat, 1820. Keytesville named county seat, 1833. Population in 1830 about 1,800. Population in 1836 about 3,500. In Aug. 1831, while en route from Independence to Kirtland, JS met ten other elders...

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, responded by sending investigative committees.31

JS, Journal, 11 Aug. 1838; “The Mormon Difficulties,” Niles’ National Register, 13 Oct. 1838, 103.  


When JS and Wight were not arrested as anticipated, Peniston and other members of a Daviess County “Committee of Vigilance” again agitated throughout northwestern Missouri for volunteers to gather to Daviess County—this time to drive the Latter-day Saints out of the county.32

“Mormons Once More,” Hannibal Commercial Advertiser, 25 Sept. 1838, [1].  


Black

11 Sept. 1801–14 July 1890. Farmer, sheriff, justice of the peace, judge. Born at Henderson Co., Kentucky. Son of William Black and Jane Wilson. Moved near Booneville, Copper Co., Missouri Territory, and then to Ray Co., Missouri Territory, 1819. Elected ...

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’s assertion that JS and other Latter-day Saints had threatened his life, coupled with a new claim that JS and 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, ...

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were resisting arrest, confirmed Missourians’ fears that the Latter-day Saints considered themselves above the law. Many Missourians concluded that they should take the law into their own hands.33

LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 70.  


The vigilantes called for men from other counties to come armed to Daviess County

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

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on 7 September in preparation for an 8 September offensive against the Mormons.
In hopes of heading off confrontation and to counter the notion that they would not be subject to the law, JS and 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, ...

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submitted to arrest and attended a preliminary hearing on a charge of riot. On 7 September 1838, when JS appeared at the hearing, he was greeted by the anti-Mormons who had gathered in Daviess County

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

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. Judge King

21 Sept. 1802–22 Apr. 1870. Attorney, judge, politician, farmer. Born at Sullivan Co., Tennessee. Son of Walter King and Nancy Sevier. Married first Nancy Harris Roberts, 13 May 1828, at Jackson, Madison Co., Tennessee. In 1830, moved to Missouri, where he...

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heard testimony and bound JS and Wight over for trial, but the anti-Mormon vigilantes were not pacified.34

LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 77–83.  


The assault originally scheduled to begin on 8 September was merely postponed for two days while the vigilantes arranged with sympathizers in 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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to deliver a stockpile of rifles on 9 September. As the present journal was coming to a close, Mormon companies of 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.” ...

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militia headed for Daviess County to protect the Latter-day Saints residing there. Another Mormon militia unit intercepted the shipment of weapons from Ray County, foiling plans for the offensive. After the vigilantes’ plan was thwarted, they confined their efforts for a time to terrorizing outlying Mormon homes; in response, Latter-day Saint militia 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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entered Daviess County. In mid-September, state militia intervened. Mormon and non-Mormon groups from outside Daviess County were sent home, and crisis, for the moment, was averted.35

David R. Atchison, Grand River, MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, 17 Sept. 1838, Mormon War Papers, MSA; LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 87–89, 96–97.  


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