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Journal, September–October 1838

19 September 1838 • Wednesday

Wednesday 19th— At home in the morning for break fast, about 8 oclock.— also in for dinner  about 1 oclock and in the evening before bed time.

20 September 1838 • Thursday

Thursday 20th— At home from morning  untill about 10 oclock went out on  horseback & returned at about sunset  or rather before it— at home all evening

21 September 1838 • Friday

Friday 21rst— Saw him at home at breakfast

22 September 1838 • Saturday

Saturday 22nd— At home early in the morn[in]g  & at breakifast about 1/2 past 7 oclock  saw him ride out a horseback about 9 oclock.

23 September 1838 • Sunday

Sunday 23rd— At home & at meeting all the day  also saw him <at home> evening about 9 oclock.

24 September 1838 • Monday

Monday 24th— At home at breakfast  and before, Saw him ride out on horseback  about 1/2 past 8 oclock morn[in]g.
 Returned home about 5 oclock ev[en]ing

25 September 1838 • Tuesday

Tuesday 25th— At home for breakfast  about 8 oclock saw him go out a horseback  saw him again between 11 & 12 oclock  at which he was untill about 1/2 past 5 even[in]g  Saw him at home in evening about 1/2 past 6.

26 September 1838 • Wednesday

Wednesday 26th— At home morning early  also at breakfast between 7 & 8 oclock.  Saw him ride out on between 10 & eleven oclock  and saw him at home again 9 oclock evening

27 September 1838 • Thursday

Thursday 27th— At home before & at breakfast 8 oclk  saw him again at 4 oclock in the even[i]ng & between  5 and 6 oclock in the City.4

As JS resided within the boundaries platted for Far West, James Mulholland apparently meant that he had seen JS in or around the public square in the center of town.  

 
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This enigmatic document covers the period from early September to early October 1838, a month of mounting difficulties for JS and the Latter-day Saints living in northwestern Missouri. JS apparently hired James Mulholland as a clerk in late August or early September, at which time Mulholland copied a revelation1

Revelation, 23 July 1837, in JS, Journal, 23 July 1837 [D&C 112].  

 
into the preceding journal, which covers March to September 1838. At the beginning of the present journal Mulholland noted that he “Commenced to write” for JS on 3 September 1838, which may refer to the date he began various clerking responsibilities or to the date of his first journal entry. Because the datelines of the first two entries, 3 and 4 September, appear to have been inscribed at the same time, Mulholland evidently began keeping the journal on the evening of 4 September or sometime on 5 September. Meanwhile, George W. Robinson was making the final week of entries for the preceding journal.
On 4 September, JS received legal counsel from Missouri attorney and militia general David R. Atchison regarding efforts then under way to prosecute JS and Lyman Wight for allegedly threatening Daviess County justice of the peace Adam Black. After Latter-day Saints who had come to vote in Gallatin on 6 August were attacked, JS had led more than one hundred men to Black’s home, demanding that he sign a statement promising to uphold the law and protect the Mormons in their civil rights. An affidavit made by Daviess County citizen William Peniston—which accused JS and Wight of unlawfully leading a group of armed Mormons in Daviess County and threatening Black’s life—resulted in the issuance of arrest warrants against the two Mormon leaders. Moreover, Black and Peniston ignited a wildfire of rumors about what JS and his vigilantes had done and intended to do in Daviess County. The rumors spread throughout northwestern Missouri, portending further legal trouble and retribution.2

LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 65–80; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 103, 107–119.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

LeSueur, Stephen C. The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987.

Baugh, Alexander L. “A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1996. Also available as A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2000).

At the 4 September meeting, Atchison, in addition to urging JS and Wight to submit to a preliminary hearing, may have counseled JS to keep a daily record that could be used in a court of law to document his whereabouts. Whether or not JS was so counseled, this or something similar appears to be the purpose of the present “Memorandum.” Except for a five-day gap spanning 9 to 13 September, Mulholland recorded an entry for each day of this monthlong journal. The terse entries document little more than JS’s comings and goings from his home, noting the time of day when Mulholland saw him. Mulholland enjoyed a vantage point from within JS’s home, where Mulholland lived, apparently as one of the many boarders that JS kept over the years.3

Emma Smith, Sally Hinkle, Caroline Clarke, and James Mulholland, Statement, ca. Mar. 1839, in JS History, vol. C-1, 906.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). CHL. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

This journal may be the result of an assignment to Mulholland to document JS’s presence in Caldwell County and witness JS’s time at home. For the period of overlap with JS’s preceding journal, it complements George W. Robinson’s record of JS’s activity when not at home.
The preceding journal recorded by Robinson demonstrates that even after the 6 August skirmish at Gallatin, JS continued to vigorously and openly prepare to settle additional Latter-day Saints in Daviess County despite mounting opposition to the growing Mormon presence there. Meanwhile, the failure to arrest JS and Wight based on Black’s and Peniston’s accusations led to the marshaling of volunteers from surrounding counties to take the pair by force if necessary. JS and Wight signaled their willingness to submit to the legal process by appearing soon afterward before Judge Austin A. King, but their appearance failed to quell the anti-Mormon vigilantism already in motion.
The present journal reports on four additional weeks of JS’s activities in Far West, but this journal’s skeletal entries give little hint of the gathering storm that soon engulfed the Mormons and their neighbors. With northwestern Missouri in an uproar, General Atchison called out militia, who successfully averted armed conflict in Daviess County in September. But by mid-October an extensive network of vigilantes in northwestern Missouri began to eliminate substantial Mormon settlement outside Caldwell County.4

Anderson, “Clarifications of Boggs’s Order,” 37–41.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Anderson, Richard Lloyd. “Clarifications of Boggs’s ‘Order’ and Joseph Smith’s Constitutionalism.” In Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Missouri, edited by Arnold K. Garr and Clark V. Johnson, 27–83. Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, 1994.

Some of the anti-Mormon forces that had been disbanded in Daviess County through militia intervention regrouped in Carroll County, where, after issuing an ultimatum to the De Witt Mormons to evacuate by 1 October, they and local anti-Mormons laid siege to the village. A militia force sent there to preserve peace proved unreliable for that purpose because many of its members sympathized with anti-Mormons. Learning of the plight of the De Witt Saints, JS mobilized two small companies of men that left Far West on 5 October to offer relief. JS led the second group, consisting of about twenty men, which arrived in De Witt the following day.5

Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 154–155, 163–173.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Baugh, Alexander L. “A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1996. Also available as A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2000).

Mulholland’s entry for 5 October reported: “did not see him [JS] all the afternoon, understood that he went from home.” Mulholland then added a dateline under which to write an entry for the following day—suggesting that he expected JS to return by then. However, a round-trip journey from Far West to De Witt and back would inevitably have taken more than one day, suggesting that Mulholland was not privy to JS’s thoughts and plans. The journal entry for 6 October remained blank, concluding Mulholland’s record.
After Governor Lilburn W. Boggs rejected an appeal for aid, JS assisted in evacuating the De Witt settlers to Far West, arriving there by 14 October.6

JS, “Bill of Damages against the State of Missouri on Account of the Sufferings and Losses Sustained Therein,” Quincy, IL, 4 June 1839, JS Collection, CHL; see also Perkins, “Prelude to Expulsion,” 276; and Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 163–181.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL.

Perkins, Keith W. “De Witt—Prelude to Expulsion.” In Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Missouri, edited by Arnold K. Garr and Clark V. Johnson, 261–280. Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, 1994.

Baugh, Alexander L. “A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1996. Also available as A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2000).

Any attempt by Mulholland to observe and record JS’s movements in the following weeks would have been largely futile, given JS’s extended absences from home as events spiraled out of control.

Facts