53992725

Sidney Rigdon, Appeal to the American People, 1840, Second Edition

fully for their sustenance, were bewailing their condition in the open prairie without a morsel to comfort, or a blanket to cover them.
However incredible it may appear to a civilized people, it is a fact, that there were at one time, one hundred and ninety women and children, who crossed a prairie of nine miles, aided by three men only; the rest having been driven away by the violence of the mob. The saints being unarmed and the mob armed, they fell an easy prey to them.
The women and children, after crossing the prairie, travelled a number of miles, in all probability from twelve to fifteen, and then stopped and waited until their husbands and fathers found where they were, and got to them. They there built houses to winter in; but before they had continued long, the mob found where they were, and went and drove them away, and burned their houses.
A company consisting of about two hundred, nearly all of them women and children, got to the Missouri river

One of longest rivers in North America, in excess of 3,000 miles. From headwaters in Montana to confluence with Mississippi River near Saint Louis, Missouri River drains 580,000 square miles (about one-sixth of continental U.S.). Explored by Lewis and Clark...

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, late in the afternoon, and could not get across that night. It commenced raining and freezing most violently; in this deplorable condition, some of them took shelter under some rocks, and the remainder of them, both small and great, had to lie out in the open prairie, with nothing but the heavens to cover them, while the storm beat upon them with great fury. Among the number, was a Mrs. Higbee, wife of John S. Higbee, from Cincinnati

Area settled largely by emigrants from New England and New Jersey, by 1788. Village founded and surveyed adjacent to site of Fort Washington, 1789. First seat of legislature of Northwest Territory, 1790. Incorporated as city, 1819. Developed rapidly as shipping...

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, who was very sick with a fever, and also had an infant at the breast. She was under the necessity of spending this night of storm, exposed to all its violence, having nothing but the earth to sleep on. After spending the night in this distressed situation, early in the morning, another Mrs. Higbee, the wife of Isaac Higbee, was delivered of a babe, without any bed but the earth, or covering but the heavens.
There were many sick, who were thus inhumanly driven from their houses and had to endure all this abuse and suffering and seek homes where they could be found. The result was, that a number being deprived of the comforts of life, and the necessary attendance, died; many children were left orphans; wives, widows; and husbands widowers.
The mob, after thus abusing the people, the hundreth part of which is not told here, took possession of the farms of those whom they had thus driven from their homes, and all their cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, which amounted to many thousands; together with all their household stuff of every kind, amounting to many thousand dollars worth; and have forbid, under pain of death, any of them returning to get any of their property; and if any of them did attempt it and were discovered, they were whipped and otherwise abused: one or two who did attempt it, were nearly killed—they escaped with their lives, and no more!
There were in addition to the flocks and the herds which the mob took from the saints, large fields of corn, to the amount of many hundred acres; I might say thousands, all ready to harvest; which they took as their own. There were also many hundred acres of wheat, which had been sown, that they also took possession of; for which they have made no compensation to this day. After they had plun [p. 11]
fully for their sustenance, were bewailing their condition in the  open prairie without a morsel to comfort, or a blanket to cover  them.
However incredible it may appear to a civilized people, it is a  fact, that there were at one time, one hundred and ninety women  and children, who crossed a prairie of nine miles, aided by three  men only; the rest having been driven away by the violence of  the mob. The saints being unarmed and the mob armed, they  fell an easy prey to them.
The women and children, after crossing the prairie, travelled a num ber of miles, in all probability from twelve to fifteen, and then stopped  and waited until their husbands and fathers found where they were,  and got to them. They there built houses to winter in; but before  they had continued long, the mob found where they were, and went  and drove them away, and burned their houses.
A company consisting of about two hundred, nearly all of them  women and children, got to the Missouri river

One of longest rivers in North America, in excess of 3,000 miles. From headwaters in Montana to confluence with Mississippi River near Saint Louis, Missouri River drains 580,000 square miles (about one-sixth of continental U.S.). Explored by Lewis and Clark...

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, late in the afternoon,  and could not get across that night. It commenced raining and freez ing most violently; in this deplorable condition, some of them took  shelter under some rocks, and the remainder of them, both small and  great, had to lie out in the open prairie, with nothing but the heavens  to cover them, while the storm beat upon them with great fury.  Among the number, was a Mrs. Higbee, wife of John S. Higbee,  from Cincinnati

Area settled largely by emigrants from New England and New Jersey, by 1788. Village founded and surveyed adjacent to site of Fort Washington, 1789. First seat of legislature of Northwest Territory, 1790. Incorporated as city, 1819. Developed rapidly as shipping...

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, who was very sick with a fever, and also had an  infant at the breast. She was under the necessity of spending this  night of storm, exposed to all its violence, having nothing but the  earth to sleep on. After spending the night in this distressed situa tion, early in the morning, another Mrs. Higbee, the wife of Isaac  Higbee, was delivered of a babe, without any bed but the earth, or  covering but the heavens.
There were many sick, who were thus inhumanly driven from their  houses and had to endure all this abuse and suffering and seek homes  where they could be found. The result was, that a number being  deprived of the comforts of life, and the necessary attendance, died;  many children were left orphans; wives, widows; and husbands  widowers.
The mob, after thus abusing the people, the hundreth part of which  is not told here, took possession of the farms of those whom they  had thus driven from their homes, and all their cattle, horses, sheep  and hogs, which amounted to many thousands; together with all  their household stuff of every kind, amounting to many thousand  dollars worth; and have forbid, under pain of death, any of them re turning to get any of their property; and if any of them did attempt  it and were discovered, they were whipped and otherwise abused:  one or two who did attempt it, were nearly killed—they escaped with  their lives, and no more!
There were in addition to the flocks and the herds which the mob  took from the saints, large fields of corn, to the amount of many hun dred acres; I might say thousands, all ready to harvest; which they  took as their own. There were also many hundred acres of wheat,  which had been sown, that they also took possession of; for which  they have made no compensation to this day. After they had plun [p. 11]
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While incarcerated at Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, Missouri, in March 1839, JS addressed a letter to the church “at Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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Illinois and scattered abroad and to Bishop [Edward] Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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in particular,” instructing the Saints to gather up “a knowledge of all the facts and sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of this state

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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” (JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:1, 6]). Among the earliest responses to JS’s call was 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 pamphlet, An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the Barbarities Inflicted on Them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri (Cincinnati: Glezen and Shepard, 1840).
A manuscript draft of this pamphlet, simply titled “To the Publick” was presented to a conference of church members at Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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, Illinois, on 1 November 1839 ([Sidney Rigdon et al.], Petition Draft, ca. Sept. 1838–ca. Oct. 1839, JS Collection, CHL). The conference voted to approve the manuscript and authorized its publication on behalf of the church. The pamphlet, when published, carried the endorsement of JS, 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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, 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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as “Presidents of said Church.”
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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and 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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collaborated on the publication of the text, which was available in print by May 1840. Though no author is named on the title page, 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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was acknowledged as author in an 1840 Times and Seasons newspaper article, and when the pamphlet was advertised in that church periodical in 1841 (“A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:99; Advertisement, Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1841, 1:272). JS and Elias Higbee

23 Oct. 1795–8 June 1843. Clerk, judge, surveyor. Born at Galloway, Gloucester Co., New Jersey. Son of Isaac Higbee and Sophia Somers. Moved to Clermont Co., Ohio, 1803. Married Sarah Elizabeth Ward, 10 Sept. 1818, in Tate Township, Clermont Co. Lived at ...

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held some expectation that funds from the sale of An Appeal would eventually help defray costs of their late-1839 trip to Washington DC

Created as district for seat of U.S. federal government by act of Congress, 1790, and named Washington DC, 1791. Named in honor of George Washington. Headquarters of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of U.S. government relocated to Washington ...

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(Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:103–104).
By July 1840, 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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and John E. Page

25 Feb. 1799–14 Oct. 1867. Born at Trenton, Oneida Co., New York. Son of Ebenezer Page and Rachel Hill. Married first Betsey Thompson, 1831, in Huron Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS church by Emer Harris, 18 Aug. 1833, at Brownhelm, Lorain Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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had been authorized to produce a second, revised edition to be published by Shepard & Stearns in Cincinnati

Area settled largely by emigrants from New England and New Jersey, by 1788. Village founded and surveyed adjacent to site of Fort Washington, 1789. First seat of legislature of Northwest Territory, 1790. Incorporated as city, 1819. Developed rapidly as shipping...

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. Page related some of the circumstances surrounding its publication and circulation in a letter sent to JS, “. . . at Dayton [Ohio] we parted for a few days . . . Elder Hyde went to Cincinnati where in my absince he published a second Edition of the ‘Apeal to the American people’ (2000 copies)[.] when I arrived the work was about completed[.] after disposing of as many of them as posible and suplying the market about cincinnati and the adjacient country he left me with some fourteen or fifteen hundred on hand, to dispose of” (John E. Page, Philadelphia, PA, to JS et al., Nauvoo, IL, 1 Sept. 1841, JS Collection, CHL). Funds from this printing were to be for the express purpose of subsidizing Hyde and Page’s imminent mission to Jerusalem

Capital city of ancient Judea. Holy city of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Population in 1835 about 11,000; in 1840 about 13,000; and in 1850 about 15,000. Described in 1836 as “greatly reduced from its ancient size and importance.” Occupied and governed ...

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in Palestine.
The second edition was essentially a lightly edited reprint of the first, with a four-page “Publisher’s Preface” added. In the preface, 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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and Page

25 Feb. 1799–14 Oct. 1867. Born at Trenton, Oneida Co., New York. Son of Ebenezer Page and Rachel Hill. Married first Betsey Thompson, 1831, in Huron Co., Ohio. Baptized into LDS church by Emer Harris, 18 Aug. 1833, at Brownhelm, Lorain Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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noted the purpose of the publication, explained the severe hardships imposed by 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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persecutions upon Page’s own family, provided a detailed account of a vision experienced by Hyde, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospects of the mission. The preface also contained a copy of an official letter of appointment and commendation for Hyde and Page from an April 1840 church conference at Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, signed by JS, and a letter of reference from Thomas Carlin

18 July 1789–14 Feb. 1852. Ferry owner, farmer, sheriff, politician. Born in Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of Thomas Carlin and Elizabeth Evans. Baptist. Moved to Missouri, by 1803. Moved to Illinois, by 1812. Served in War of 1812. Married Rebecca Hewitt, 13...

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, governor of Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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.
Although many of the events reported in both editions of 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 pamphlet can be corroborated from other sources, his chronology of events is often inaccurate. However, Rigdon’s account does contain the texts of several significant documents. Among these are JS’s September 1838 affidavit concerning the 7 August 1838 visit to 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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and those of Joseph

7 Apr. 1797–16 July 1881. Farmer, painter, glazier. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Moved to Auburn, Cayuga Co., New York, before 1830. Joined Methodist church, before Apr. 1832. Baptized into LDS...

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and Jane Young

14 Aug. 1814–15 Jan. 1913. Born in Utica, Oneida Co., New York. Daughter of Calvin Field Bicknell and Chloe Seymour. Moved to Geneseo, Livingston Co., New York, 1817; to Livonia, Livingston Co., by 1830; and back to Geneseo, by 1834. Baptized into LDS church...

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regarding the Hawn’s Mill massacre. Consequently, though in many respects Rigdon’s document from a historical perspective is more advocacy than history, it offers access to some important material not readily found elsewhere.

Facts