53992723

Sidney Rigdon, JS, et al., Petition Draft (“To the Publick”), circa 1838–1839

Sidney Rigdon, JS, et al., Petition Draft (“To the Publick”), circa 1838–1839

While ascending the hill we were discovered by the mob who immediatly fired at us and continued so to do till we reached the summit In desending the hill I secreted myself in a thicket of bushes where I lay till eight oclock in the evening at which time I heard a female voice calling my name in an under tone, telling me that the mob had gone and there was no danger. I immediately left the thicket and went to the house of Benjamin Lewis where I found my family (who had fled there) in safety and two of my friends mortally wounded one of whom died before morning.
Here we passed that painful night in deep and awful reflections on the scenes of the preceeding evening. After day light appeared some four or five men with myself who had escaped with our lives from the horrid massacre, repaired as soon as possible to the mills to learn the condition of our friends whose fate, we had but too truly anticipated.
When we arrived at the house of Mr. Haunn Jacob Hawn

13 Jan. 1804–27 Jan. 1860. Miller, builder, carpenter. Born in Genesee Co., New York. Son of Henry Hawn. Consistently spelled surname as “Hawn” throughout life, but many contemporary records spelled name as “Haun.” Married Harriet Elizabeth Pierson, 18 Nov...

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we found Mr. Levi Merricks body lying in rear of the house. Mr. Thomas Mc Bride

12 Mar. 1776–30 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Virginia. Son of James McBride and Mary White. Married Catharine John, 28 Sept. 1797, in Berkeley Co., Virginia (later in Jefferson Co., West Virginia). Moved to Lancaster, Fairfield Co., Ohio, 1810. Moved to Amanda...

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’s in front, litterally mangled from head to foot. We were informed by Miss Rebecca Judd who was an eye witness that he was shot with his own gun after he had given it up, and then was cut to pieces with an old corn cutter by a Mr Jacob Rogers

24 May 1811–20 Feb. 1853. Ferryboat owner, farmer. Born in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of William Rogers and Nancy Holcomb. Moved to Carroll Co., Missouri, before 1834. Married Elizabeth Talbert Scott, 5 June 1834, in Carroll Co. Moved to Cravensville...

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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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, who keeps a ferry on Grand river

Flows from current state of Iowa approximately 225 miles southeast through Daviess and Livingston counties in Missouri en route to its mouth at Missouri River near De Witt, Missouri. Adam-ondi-Ahman, Far West, Hawn’s Mill, Whitney’s Mill, Myers settlement...

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and who has since repeatedly boasted of this act of savage barbarity. Mr John York

Ca. 1778–30 Oct. 1838. Married Hannah Hammer, 8 Jan. 1801, in Randolph Co., North Carolina. Moved to Milford, Butler Co., Ohio by 1820. Moved to Henry Co., Indiana, by 1830. Likely baptized into LDS church. Moved to Hawn’s Mill settlement on Shoal Creek, ...

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s body we found in the house and after viewing these corpses we immediately went to the blacksmiths shop where we found nine of our friends, eight of whom were already dead the other Mr Simon Cox of Indiana struggling in the agonies of death and soon expired— We immediately prepared and carried them to a place of interment This last office of kindness due to the relicts of departed friends was not attended with the customery ceremonies nor decency for we were in jeopardy every moment expecting to be fired on by the mob who we supposed [p. [38[d]]]
While ascending the hill we were discovered by  the mob who immediatly fired at us and continued  so to do till we reached the summit of the hill  In desending the hill I secreted myself in a thicket  of bushes where I lay till eight oclock in the evening  at which time I heard a female voice calling my name  in an under tone, telling me that the mob had gone  and there was no danger. I immediately left the  thicket and went to the house of Benjamin Lewis  where I found my family (who had fled there) in safety  and two of my brethren <friends> mortally wounded one  of which whom died before morning.
Here we passed that painful night in deep and  awful reflections on the scenes of the preceeding  evening. After day light appeared some four or five  men with myself who had escaped with our lives  from the horrid massacre, repaired as soon as possible  to the mills to learn the fate condition of our friends  whose fate, we had but too truly anticipated.
When we arrived at the house of Mr. Haunn [Jacob Hawn]

13 Jan. 1804–27 Jan. 1860. Miller, builder, carpenter. Born in Genesee Co., New York. Son of Henry Hawn. Consistently spelled surname as “Hawn” throughout life, but many contemporary records spelled name as “Haun.” Married Harriet Elizabeth Pierson, 18 Nov...

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we found  Mr. [Levi] Merricks body lying in rear of the house. Mr.  [Thomas] Mc Bride

12 Mar. 1776–30 Oct. 1838. Farmer. Born in Virginia. Son of James McBride and Mary White. Married Catharine John, 28 Sept. 1797, in Berkeley Co., Virginia (later in Jefferson Co., West Virginia). Moved to Lancaster, Fairfield Co., Ohio, 1810. Moved to Amanda...

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’s in front, litterally mangled from head  to foot. We were informed by Miss Rebecca Judd who  was an eye witness that he was shot with his own  gun after he had given it up, and then was cut to  pieces with an old corn cutter by a Mr [Jacob] Rogers

24 May 1811–20 Feb. 1853. Ferryboat owner, farmer. Born in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of William Rogers and Nancy Holcomb. Moved to Carroll Co., Missouri, before 1834. Married Elizabeth Talbert Scott, 5 June 1834, in Carroll Co. Moved to Cravensville...

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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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, who keeps a ferry on Grand river

Flows from current state of Iowa approximately 225 miles southeast through Daviess and Livingston counties in Missouri en route to its mouth at Missouri River near De Witt, Missouri. Adam-ondi-Ahman, Far West, Hawn’s Mill, Whitney’s Mill, Myers settlement...

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 and who has since <repeatedly> boasted of this act of savage  barbarity. Mr [John] York

Ca. 1778–30 Oct. 1838. Married Hannah Hammer, 8 Jan. 1801, in Randolph Co., North Carolina. Moved to Milford, Butler Co., Ohio by 1820. Moved to Henry Co., Indiana, by 1830. Likely baptized into LDS church. Moved to Hawn’s Mill settlement on Shoal Creek, ...

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s body we found in the house  and after viewing these corpses we immediately went  to the blacksmiths shop where we found nine  of our friends, eight of whom were already dead the  other Mr [Simon] Cox of Indiana struggling in the ago nies of death and soon expired— We immediately  prepared and carried them to a place of interment  This last office of kindness due to the relicts of departed  friends was not attended with the customery ceremo nies nor decency for we were in jeopardy every moment  expecting to be fired on by the mob who we supposed [p. [38[d]]]
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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 knoledge of all the facts and sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of this state.” (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].) Edward Partridge responded with an account that became the three opening installments of “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” an eleven-part series published in the church’s 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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newspaper, Times and Seasons, between December 1839 and October 1840. “A History, of the Persecution” will receive comprehensive treatment in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers and will eventually be posted to this website.
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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may have intended to tell the entire 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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story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication of “A History, of the Persecution” began and died on 27 May 1840. Prompted by Partridge’s illness and subsequent death, the editors of the Times and Seasons, Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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and 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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, sought elsewhere for source materials to continue the series. It is probable that they composed the fourth installment to provide a brief transition from Partridge’s account, which ends in 1836, and the conflicts in 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 adjoining counties beginning in 1838. The fifth and seventh installments reprinted passages from Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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’s History of the Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri upon the Mormons (Detroit: Dawson and Bates, 1839). In May 1840, the sixth installment drew upon 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 eighty-four page pamphlet, An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and the Barbarities Inflicted on Them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri (Cincinnati: Glezan and Shepard, 1840), a draft of which is presented here. Though no author is named on the title page of the pamphlet, Rigdon was acknowledged as responsible for that publication when it was advertised in the Times and Seasons in 1840 and 1841. Also, much of this draft is in Rigdon’s hand. More of Rigdon’s work was reprinted in the eighth through tenth installments published from July to September 1840. The series concluded with an eleventh installment in the October 1840 issue, featuring General John B. Clark

17 Apr. 1802–29 Oct. 1885. Lawyer, politician. Born at Madison Co., Kentucky. Moved to Howard Co., Missouri, 1818. Practiced law in Fayette, Howard Co., beginning 1824. Clerk of Howard Co. courts, 1824–1834. Appointed brigadier general in Missouri militia...

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’s callous speech to the Saints after their surrender 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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, Missouri, in November 1838.
The manuscript version 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 Appeal to the American People presented here is referred to as the “petition draft” titled “To the Publick”. On 1 November 1839, Rigdon’s recently completed petition draft, endorsed by JS, Rigdon, 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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, was read to a conference of Saints in 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, who then voted to approve its publication in the name of the 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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then collaborated to arrange for publication of the text in late 1839 and early 1840. (Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 103–104.)
Although many of the events reported in 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 draft and pamphlet can be corroborated from other sources, his chronology is often inaccurate. (Consult the annotation in Histories, Volume 2 for corrections to portions published as part of “A History, of the Persecutions.”) However, his account contains the text of several significant documents. Among these are JS’s 5 September 1838 affidavit concerning his 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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and David Lewis

10 Apr. 1814–2 Sept. 1855. Cooper, farmer, photographer. Born in Warren Co. (later in Simpson Co.), Kentucky. Son of Neriah Lewis and Mary Morse. Married Duritha Trail, 23 Nov. 1834. Baptized into LDS church, 24 Mar. 1835. Ordained an elder, 1835. Moved to...

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

Facts