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John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1839

John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1839

that it was of no use for me to say any thing more; in fact I felt it was necessary for me to look out for my own safety.

Chapter 21

CHAPTER XXI.
 
Public meeting—Resolutions passed—Volunteers raised—Reflections—Expedition to Davies

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

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—Doings there—New order of consecration—Enthusiastic notions—Plunderings—Piece of ordnance taken.
 
This conversation was on Sunday morning125

14 October 1838.  


after they returned from Dewitt

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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. Smith preached that day pretty much from the same spirit, and requested a general meeting of all the male members on the next day. They accordingly met, and passed resolutions to the following effect. All the members of the church should take hold and help; those who had been backward in carrying on the warfare should now come forward, and their property should be consecrated, so far as might be necessary for the use of the army. If any man undertook to leave the place, and go to the enemy, he should be stopped and brought back, or loose his life.126

According to Reed Peck, Sidney Rigdon declared that dissenters “should be forced to take their arms and march with the band on the morrow to Daviess county and if they refused they should be pitched on their horses with bayonets and placed in front of the battle.” The lives of those who tried to leave “should be the forfeit and their property confiscated for the use of the army.” (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 82–83, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


As soon as this meeting was over, they collected upon the public square, and called for volunteers. About two hundred were raised to go 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 ...

More Info
. Others were raised to guard Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

More Info
. A company, called the Fur Company, was raised, for the purpose of procuring provisions, for pressing teams, and even men sometimes, into the army 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.” ...

More Info
. I now saw plainly that they had become desperate, and their career would soon end; for I knew that their doings would soon bring the people on them, and I dreaded the consequences. I would have been glad to have left the 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.” ...

More Info
with my family, but I could not get away; the decree was passed, and there was no other chance for me and the other dissenters but to pretend to take hold with the rest. I now understood that they meant to fall upon and scatter the mob wherever they could find them collected.
The next day, which was Tuesday, they marched to Adamondiaman 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...

More Info
.127

Reed Peck reported that a company of cavalry left Far West on Monday evening, 15 October 1838, reaching Adam-ondi-Ahman late that night. Peck further noted that two more companies left on foot early Tuesday morning, arriving at the same destination at sunset. Among those enlisted for the latter group were “John Corrill W[illiam] W. Phelps John Cleminson Reed Peck and several other AntiDanites” who “had the honor of being enrolled in one of these companies and under the bayonet resolutions marched to Daviess county.” According to Corrill, however, Phelps did not go to Daviess County until two days later. In all, Latter-day Saint forces from Caldwell County numbered approximately one hundred fifty to three hundred men. (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 83–84, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; Corrill, Brief History, 38; John Smith, Journal, 16 Oct. 1838; Foote, Autobiography, 21 Oct. 1838.)  


The following day it snowed, and there was not much done, except perhaps to lay some plans of operation. The next day a company of about eighty mounted men went to 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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, where they found from ten to twenty men, who fled as they approached the town. They plundered a store and burnt it, and carried off some other property.128

David W. Patten led the attack on Gallatin. Joseph McGee, operator of a tailor shop at Gallatin, reported that one hundred fifty Mormons drove him and sixteen other men out of Gallatin, removed the contents of McGee’s shop and Jacob Stollings’s store for their own purposes, and burned the buildings. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 195; McGee, Story of the Grand River Country, 12.)  


Another company of seventy or eighty went to Millport, and on finding the place pretty much deserted they left it as they found it.129

Lyman Wight led the attack on Millport. Latter-day Saints apparently burned buildings there later. Josiah Morin, who lived nearby, and three observers from Richmond found on 22 October that all Millport houses but two were burned and that one of those spared was looted. (Charles Bleckley, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes [Mo. 5th cir. Ct. 1838] in State of Missouri, “Evidence”; C. R. Morehead et al., Statement, Richmond, MO, 24 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


Another company, of about the same size, went on to Grindstone Fork, and professed themselves to be citizens of Carroll. This they did, I was told, to find out who was against them. They also committed some little thefts.130

Seymour Brunson led the raid on Grindstone Forks. Reed Peck estimated a force of about twenty men, in addition to Brunson and Alexander McRae. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 195; Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 87–88, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


Another company, on foot, went somewhere in the country, and returned with a quantity of plundered property.131

Probably a reference to a contingent led by Jonathan Dunham, estimated to have included fifty men. (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 86–87, 89–90, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


During these two days I laid by the fire with a lame leg. I clearly saw, from the remarks passing through the camp, and from their doings, that destruction to the Mormons was nigh at hand. I was astonished at the weakness and folly of the Mormons, to think they could possibly hold out in such a course. [p. 37]
that it was of no use for me to say any thing more; in fact I felt it was  necessary for me to look out for my own safety.

Chapter 21

CHAPTER XXI.
 
Public meeting—Resolutions passed—Volunteers raised—Reflections—Expedition  to Davies

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

More Info
—Doings there—New order of consecration—Enthusiastic notions— Plunderings—Piece of ordnance taken.
 
This conversation was on Sunday morning125

14 October 1838.  


after they returned from  Dewitt

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 ...

More Info
. Smith preached that day pretty much from the same spirit,  and requested a general meeting of all the male members on the next  day. They accordingly met, and passed resolutions to the following  effect. All the members of the church should take hold and help; those  who had been backward in carrying on the warfare should now come  forward, and their property should be consecrated, so far as might be  necessary for the use of the army. If any man undertook to leave the  place, and go to the enemy, he should be stopped and brought back, or  loose his life.126

According to Reed Peck, Sidney Rigdon declared that dissenters “should be forced to take their arms and march with the band on the morrow to Daviess county and if they refused they should be pitched on their horses with bayonets and placed in front of the battle.” The lives of those who tried to leave “should be the forfeit and their property confiscated for the use of the army.” (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 82–83, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


As soon as this meeting was over, they collected upon  the public square, and called for volunteers. About two hundred were  raised to go to Davies[s] county

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

More Info
. Others were raised to guard Far  West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

More Info
. A company, called the Fur Company, was raised, for the pur pose of procuring provisions, for pressing teams, and even men some times, into the army 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.” ...

More Info
. I now saw plainly that they had  become desperate, and their career would soon end; for I knew that  their doings would soon bring the people on them, and I dreaded the  consequences. I would have been glad to have left the 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.” ...

More Info
with  my family, but I could not get away; the decree was passed, and there  was no other chance for me and the other dissenters but to pretend  to take hold with the rest. I now understood that they meant to fall  upon and scatter the mob wherever they could find them collected.
The next day, which was Tuesday, they marched to Adamondia man [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...

More Info
.127

Reed Peck reported that a company of cavalry left Far West on Monday evening, 15 October 1838, reaching Adam-ondi-Ahman late that night. Peck further noted that two more companies left on foot early Tuesday morning, arriving at the same destination at sunset. Among those enlisted for the latter group were “John Corrill W[illiam] W. Phelps John Cleminson Reed Peck and several other AntiDanites” who “had the honor of being enrolled in one of these companies and under the bayonet resolutions marched to Daviess county.” According to Corrill, however, Phelps did not go to Daviess County until two days later. In all, Latter-day Saint forces from Caldwell County numbered approximately one hundred fifty to three hundred men. (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 83–84, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; Corrill, Brief History, 38; John Smith, Journal, 16 Oct. 1838; Foote, Autobiography, 21 Oct. 1838.)  


The following day it snowed, and there was not much done,  except perhaps to lay some plans of operation. The next day a com pany of about eighty mounted men went to Gallatin

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

More Info
, where they found  from ten to twenty men, who fled as they approached the town.  They plundered a store and burnt it, and carried off some other pro perty.128

David W. Patten led the attack on Gallatin. Joseph McGee, operator of a tailor shop at Gallatin, reported that one hundred fifty Mormons drove him and sixteen other men out of Gallatin, removed the contents of McGee’s shop and Jacob Stollings’s store for their own purposes, and burned the buildings. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 195; McGee, Story of the Grand River Country, 12.)  


Another company of seventy or eighty went to Millport, and  on finding the place pretty much deserted they left it as they found it.129

Lyman Wight led the attack on Millport. Latter-day Saints apparently burned buildings there later. Josiah Morin, who lived nearby, and three observers from Richmond found on 22 October that all Millport houses but two were burned and that one of those spared was looted. (Charles Bleckley, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes [Mo. 5th cir. Ct. 1838] in State of Missouri, “Evidence”; C. R. Morehead et al., Statement, Richmond, MO, 24 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


 Another company, of about the same size, went on to Grindstone Fork,  and professed themselves to be citizens of Carroll. This they did, I  was told, to find out who was against them. They also committed  some little thefts.130

Seymour Brunson led the raid on Grindstone Forks. Reed Peck estimated a force of about twenty men, in addition to Brunson and Alexander McRae. (Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 195; Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 87–88, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


Another company, on foot, went somewhere in the  country, and returned with a quantity of plundered property.131

Probably a reference to a contingent led by Jonathan Dunham, estimated to have included fifty men. (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 86–87, 89–90, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  


During these two days I laid by the fire with a lame leg. I clearly  saw, from the remarks passing through the camp, and from their  doings, that destruction to the Mormons was nigh at hand. I was  astonished at the weakness and folly of the Mormons, to think they  could possibly hold out in such a course. [p. 37]
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John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s history of early Mormonism grew out of the renewed historical effort undertaken by JS and other church leaders in 1838, following the removal of church historian 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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. Whitmer was excommunicated 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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high council 10 March 1838. Shortly thereafter, on 6 April, 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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and John Corrill were appointed “to write and keep the Church history,” apparently taking Whitmer’s place.1

Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. and 6 Apr. 1838.  


As historian, Whitmer had kept historical notes and other records, but he refused to surrender them to the church clerk. On 9 April, JS and 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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, his counselor in the church presidency, sent Whitmer a letter asking him to turn over the notes. At the same time, they claimed to have in hand (even without Whitmer’s account) “all the materials” needed for a new history, which they intended to commence writing within the week.2

JS and Sidney Rigdon, Far West, MO, to John Whitmer, 9 Apr. 1838.  


By the end of the month, JS and Rigdon, with their scribe 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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, began work on the historical narrative that was later serially published as “The History of Joseph Smith” and eventually became the six-volume History of the Church.3

JS, Journal, 27 Apr. and 30 Apr.–4 May 1838. The “History of Joseph Smith,” was published serially in the Times and Seasons from 15 March 1842 to 15 February 1846. (See “Joseph Smith’s Historical Enterprise;” and Jessee, “Writing of Joseph Smith’s History,” 449–450, 462.)  


The nature of 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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’s and John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s work as church historians and the relationship of their work to that of 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

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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are unclear. Perhaps Higbee and Corrill were to gather and compile materials from which JS, Rigdon, and Robinson would compose the narrative history. A year later, in 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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, Higbee did gather affidavits and petitions as part of the Latter-day Saints’ effort to obtain redress 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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losses, but he did not write a formal history. In contrast, Corrill went on to produce a narrative history of the church, though it was not the institutional chronicle expected. Corrill had distanced himself from the church by fall 1838; he published his history through a St. Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as fourth...

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publisher the next year, titling it A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, (Commonly Called Mormons;) Including an Account of Their Doctrine and Discipline; with the Reasons of the Author for Leaving the Church. Although Corrill’s history does not mention anything about being assigned to write a history, his appointment as a church historian in April 1838 seems to have prompted him to begin such an undertaking, and in response to the assignment, he likely began collecting documents and, like 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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before him, taking notes on events as they unfolded.
Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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brought several years of church leadership and experience to his history. He converted to Mormonism 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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within a year of the church’s organization and was quickly appointed as a counselor in the bishopric, which soon moved 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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to oversee the Mormon migration to their “Zion” in 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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.4

Minute Book 2, 3 June 1831.  


In this and other duties, Corrill was involved in activities related to church record keeping. In 1832, he was appointed to keep the roster of church members in Jackson County, Missouri, as well as to superintend church schools there.5

Oliver Cowdery, Independence, MO, to JS, Kirtland, OH, 28 Jan. 1832, JS Collection, CHL.  


He also served as clerk for several church meetings.6

See Minute Book 2, 2 Aug. 1831; 13 July 1832; 15 Nov. 1836; 7 Apr., 11 June, and 1 Aug. 1837; and 24 Feb. 1838.  


When the Saints were expelled from Jackson County, the opponents of the Mormons allowed Corrill and Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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to stay behind to “wind up the business of the society.”7

Whitmer, History, 44.  


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, in September 1835, following the 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...

More Info
, JS gave John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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a blessing in which Corrill was appointed to build the temple

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, directed temple to be built short distance west of courthouse on hill just outside of Independence, Missouri. JS directed dedication of temple site by Sidney Rigdon, 3 Aug. 1831. On same date, church claimed site for eventual...

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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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, apparently in anticipation that the Saints would soon return to Jackson County.8

JS to John Corrill, Blessing, 22 Sept. 1835, in Patriarchal Blessings, 1:14.  


JS’s journal entry for 4 October 1835 suggests an amiable relationship between Corrill and JS, recounting a short journey they made together: “When about a mile from home we saw two Dears playing in the field which diverted our minds by giving an impatus to our thoughts upon the subject of the creation of God we conversed upon many topicks and the day passed off in a very agreeable manner and the Lord blessed our souls.”9

JS, Journal, 4 Oct. 1835.  


In early 1836, JS appointed Corrill to oversee the completion of the interior finishing of the temple

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 Kirtland.10

JS, Journal, 15 Jan. 1836. Little is known about Corrill’s involvement in architecture or construction, but Truman Angell called Corrill the “leading mechanic” for the Kirtland temple. The inventory of his personal property at the time of Corrill’s death listed tools, instruments, and architectural books that could have been useful to him in such endeavors. (Angell, Autobiography, 15; “A Bill of the Widows Dowery of John Corrill Dec’d,” 10 Mar. 1843, Adams Co., IL, Estate Records, ca. 1832–1938, box 287, microfilm 933,951, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


After returning to Missouri, Corrill helped to locate and purchase new land and obtain local permissions that led to the creation 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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as an enclave for Latter-day Saint settlement in Missouri, and he then served as the first state legislator elected from Caldwell County.11

Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, p. 11, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; Journal, of the House of Representatives, of the State of Missouri [1838–1839], 2.  


Corrill was released from the Missouri bishopric in 1837 after being appointed to the related office of “Keeper of the Lords’, store house.”12

Minute Book 2, 1 Aug. and 22 May 1837. JS’s revelations assigned supervision of the communal storehouse to the bishop and his counselors. (See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 13:10, 1835 ed. [D&C 42:34]; and Revelation, 20 May 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 23:4, 1835 ed. [D&C 51:13].)  


Long situated near the center of the church hierarchy and then officially appointed as a historian, John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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provided valuable historical details in A Brief History of the Church, particularly concerning the Mormon sojourn 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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. But the booklet also tells the story of Corrill’s spiritual journey into and then out of the church and was, as its title declares, a public explication of his reasons for leaving. In the introduction to his history, Corrill explained his motives for writing. He recounted frequent conversations with his “friends”—possibly colleagues in the Missouri House of Representatives—in which they asked why he ever associated with the Mormons and how he could have subscribed to their irrational “delusions.” Corrill wrote that he intended to use his history to answer these questions “for the satisfaction” of inquirers. His narrative would reveal the “true character” of the church and explain, as he put it, “the reasons of my own conduct.” He was thus explicit that he was writing history in the service of a personal apologia.
As he explained it, Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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understood authority in the church as spread among several governing bodies, each acting as “a check upon each other” such that “authority was reserved to the people.”13

Corrill, Brief History, 25.  


He came to believe, however, that JS had grown increasingly authoritarian over time. Like other early converts to Mormonism, Corrill was intellectually and emotionally attached to America’s political culture of republicanism, a civil religion that circumscribed narrowly the role of religious leaders. An August 1838 entry in JS’s journal, as kept by 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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, summarized the growing dissonance between JS and Corrill. After recounting that “Prest. Joseph spent some considerable time this day in conversation with br. John Corril,” the entry noted Corrill’s independent stance:
Br. Corril

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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s. conduct for some time past, has been verry unbecoming indeed especially a man in whoom so much confidence has been placed, He has been diffculted to keep track and walk step, by step, with the great wheal which is propelled by the arm of the great Jehovah, he says he will not yeald his Judgement, to any thing proposed by the Church, or any individuals of the Church, or even the voice of the great (I am,) given through the appointed organ, as revelation, but will always act upon his Judgement let him believe in whatever religion he may, he says he will always say what he pleases, for he says he is a republican, and as such he will do, say, act, and believe, what he pleases.14

JS, Journal, 31 Aug. 1838; compare Oliver Cowdery’s statements in connection with Cowdery’s own 12 April 1838 excommunication, as recorded in Minute Book 2, 12 Apr. 1838; see also JS, Journal, 12 Apr. 1838.  


In fact, as indicated in his own history, Corrill came to disapprove of the church’s course even before this time. He especially resented the emphasis placed on conformity, the organization of an extralegal military society known as the Danites, and actions taken to intimidate dissenters.
The final straw for Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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was JS’s October 1838 mobilization of Latter-day Saints 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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for preemptive strikes against the vigilantes who were preparing to drive the Saints from neighboring 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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. As he recounted in the history, Corrill now wished to separate himself from the church, but the militarization of the Mormon community ruled out both defection and conscientious objection: “there was no other chance for me and the other dissenters but to pretend to take hold with the rest,” he wrote.15

Corrill, Brief History, 37.  


By 4 November 1838, a few days after the Saints surrendered to the state militia, JS learned that Corrill intended to leave the church.16

JS, Independence, MO, to Emma Smith, Far West, MO, 4 Nov. 1838, JS Materials, CCLA.  


A week later Corrill testified against JS and 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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in a court of inquiry.17

John Corrill, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes [Mo. 5th Cir. Ct. 1838], in State of Missouri, “Evidence.”  


Four months after that, when most of the Saints had relocated from 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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to 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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, he and other dissenters were formally excommunicated in absentia 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, 17 March 1839.18

“Extracts of the Minutes of Conferences,” Times and Seasons, 1 Nov. 1839, 1:15.  


In spite of the rift with church leaders, Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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maintained a degree of sympathy for the Latter-day Saints and continued his interaction with them. In December 1838 he presented in 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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state legislature two petitions for redress on behalf of the dispossessed Saints.19

Corrill, Brief History, 44; see also “Letter from the Editor,” Missouri Republican (St. Louis), 24 Dec. 1838, [2]; Journal, of the House of Representatives, of the State of Missouri 19 Dec. 1838, 128; Edward Partridge et al., “Copy of a Memorial to the Legislature of Missouri,” in Greene, Facts Relative to the Expulsion, 10–16.)  


A month later, however, he presented another bill that manifested his attitude toward JS’s prophetic claims and the Mormon community by that time. The proposed law sought to “punish persons who may attempt to prophesy or speak in the name of the Lord,” stating that it was “the best way to prevent the recurrence of the evils heretofore experienced with the Mormons.” The bill was defeated 44–41.20

“Letter from the Editor,” Missouri Republican (St. Louis), 25 Jan. 1839, [2]; see also Journal, of the House of Representatives, of the State of Missouri, 19 Jan. 1839, 254–255.  


As noted, Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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apparently began writing his narrative, or at least drafting notes, while still serving as an officially appointed church historian 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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. This is evident early in his narrative, when he reported the removal of the Zion (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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) presidency in February 1838. Corrill related that they had been replaced by 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 ...

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and two assistants, who “served as presidents, pro tempore, until Smith and Rigden

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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arrived, and even until now.”21

Corrill, Brief History, 28.  


That Corrill’s account has Marsh as president “even until now” indicates Corrill wrote this passage before late October 1838, when Marsh left Far West and prepared a statement against JS and the Saints.22

Marsh abandoned his office by 24 October, the date of a statement he swore in Richmond, Missouri, against JS and the Mormons. Marsh may have left Far West by 20 October. Corrill later covered Marsh’s departure in chapter 22 of his history. (Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde, Affidavit, Richmond, MO, 24 Oct. 1838, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Rockwood, Journal, 21 Oct. 1838; Corrill, Brief History, 39.)  


Corrill clearly finished writing his work after 19 December 1838, the last date covered in his narrative. He concluded by noting that some Saints awaited the results of their petitions to the government and hoped to remain in Missouri, which suggests he finished drafting his work before 26 January, when the Latter-day Saints as a body resolved to evacuate the state.23

“Proceedings of Meeting No 1 Jany 26th 1839,” Far West Committee, Minutes, CHL. However, since it appears Corrill did not return to Far West after traveling to Jefferson City for the legislative session, word of the Saints’ decision to evacuate may not have reached him until later. By mid-February the Saints were packing and leaving en masse, and by the end of April they had resettled in Illinois. (See Gentry, “Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri,” chap. 14, esp. pp. 422–425.)  


Corrill probably had drafted most or all of his narrative as of 11 February 1839, the day he secured a copyright for his work with the clerk of the Missouri district of the federal copyright office.24

The copyright application included a printed copy of the preliminary title page. Although some formatting changes were made to the title page before final printing, the title itself remained the same, indicating that by the time Corrill applied for copyright, his manuscript had progressed to the point that he could provide a title that described in detail the structure of the book. (See Corrill, Brief History, [4].)  


John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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arranged for Thomas Watson & Son of St. Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as fourth...

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to print his work.25

The title page of the printed work does not list the printer, but a letter dated 21 April 1839, which discusses details of printing the work, is addressed to Thomas Watson & Son. Thomas Watson and his son John H. Watson owned the Missouri Argus newspaper in St. Louis from September 1837 to November 1839. (John Corrill, Springfield, IL, to Thomas and [John H.] Watson, St. Louis, MO, 21 Apr. 1839, John Fletcher Darby, Papers, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis; Abel Rathbone Corbin, “To the Patrons of the Missouri Argus,” Missouri Argus [St. Louis], 27 Sept. 1837, [1]; Thomas and John H. Watson, “To the Patrons of the Missouri Argus,” Missouri Argus, 22 Nov. 1839, [2].)  


The manuscript that was apparently used to print the history is extant but incomplete.26

The manuscript came into the possession of John Fletcher Darby, who served during the same term as Corrill in the Missouri legislature. Darby was mayor of St. Louis for four terms and later represented Missouri as a member of Congress. (Journal, of the Senate, of the State of Missouri, 3; Darby, Personal Recollections, 181, 202, 277, 450.)  


It includes the title page, copyright notice, and preface but is missing twenty-one pages, including the nineteen manuscript pages that constitute chapters 1–6.27

Of the ninety-two pages of Corrill’s manuscript, pages 1–19, 24, and 36 are missing. Corrill wrote only on the recto side of each leaf, leaving the versos blank.  


The manuscript is almost entirely in Corrill’s handwriting, although some of the chapter summaries (added after Corrill drafted the narrative) were written in a different hand, possibly that of the printer.28

Up through chapter 14, the existing manuscript was written with chapter headings and space for chapter summaries, while chapters 15–27 (with the exception of chapter 26) were written without chapter breaks or space for summaries. In this later part of the manuscript, the pages were cut at the point where a new chapter was to begin, and a chapter heading and summary were pasted to the manuscript on a separate slip of paper. Text lost in the cutting was recopied on the slip of paper. Because the earlier portion of the text was created in anticipation of chapter headings, it is possible that the earlier portion of the manuscript is a later copy made after chapter breaks were introduced in the later portion of the manuscript.  


In a 21 April 1839 letter addressed to Thomas Watson & Son, Corrill requested help in correcting his punctuation and capitalization.29

J. Corrill to T. and [J. H.] Watson, 21 Apr. 1839.  


It is uncertain whether the printer or the author made the more substantive changes evident in the printed version. Corrill may have approved all significant changes, but it appears he did not have the opportunity to proofread the text after typesettting, as we would have presumably corrected obvious misspellings, such as “Uorley” to “Morley.” Corrill’s 21 April letter requested that the publisher include a sample he sent them of JS’s “new translation” or inspired revision of the Bible. Printing had apparently already begun by this time, since the addition seems to have caused misnumbering of pages.30

The printers planned Corrill’s history to be a forty-eight-page booklet, printed on three sheets. Leaving the front matter to be printed last, they began numbering chapter 1 with page 7, presumably reserving an eight-page gathering for front matter, two pages of which would contain an unnumbered advertisement or half title. Appending Matthew 24 added text the publishers had not planned space for, a situation which would normally have forced them to add an extra gathering at the back of the book. Rather than doing so, they shortened the front matter from eight pages to four. As a result, page 7 at the start of chapter 1 became a misnumbering. In the end, the body of the history ran three and a half pages beyond its allotted forty pages.  


Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s history opens with three chapters describing his introduction to the church. Through study of the Bible, he satisfied himself as to the need for a restoration of original Christianity, and he eventually came to accept as valid JS’s prophetic role in carrying out that restoration. Chapters 4–8 summarize the origin and contents of the Book of Mormon and then outline important and sometimes distinctive Mormon doctrines such as the restoration of priesthood, baptism by immersion, spiritual gifts, and the “gathering.” Corrill presented this early Latter-day Saint doctrine in a thoughtful way that justified his original conclusion that Mormonism was biblical and rational. In chapter 9, Corrill begins recounting church history to which he had been an eyewitness. He related the eagerness of the Saints to gather in 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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and the dilemma their rapidly growing presence posed for 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. He also described the growth of the church 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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, the organization of the 1834 expedition to Missouri, the interior detail 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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, the preparation of church officers to receive a special “endowment” of heavenly power, and the downward spiral of the church’s financial situation in Kirtland.
Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s “brief history of the church” focuses particularly on the events of summer and fall 1838. In chapter 16, following his discussion of the “Salt Sermon” delivered by 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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on 17 June 1838, Corrill sounded his first note of alarm. A “mob spirit,” he noted, arose among some church members who threatened violence against dissenters. Subsequent chapters narrate the expulsion of dissenters, the organization of the Danite society, the fray between Latter-day Saints and other Missourians at the 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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election, the beginning of anti-Mormon activity in Daviess County, the expulsion of the Saints from 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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, the preemptive strike against opponents in Daviess County, the massacre of Saints living at Hawn’s Mill, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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’s order to exterminate the Mormons, the militia siege 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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, and the arrest and imprisonment of JS and other church leaders. Corrill concluded his final chapter with “a few remarks to the church,” explaining his disillusionment with the church’s claim to revelatory leadership and calling on the Latter-day Saints to exercise “common sense” and, as he puts it, “that sound reason with which God has endowed you.” Whereas the beginning of Corrill’s narrative explained to his new friends how he came to associate with the Saints and believe their doctrines, the conclusion of his narrative explained to his former coreligionists his reasons for leaving them.
Following Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s concluding remarks is a final section headed “To the Reader,” which presents the text of Matthew 24 from JS’s “new translation” of the Bible. Corrill sent a handwritten copy of this text in his 21 April 1839 letter requesting that the publisher add it. The copy Corrill sent was taken from a broadside that was apparently published in the mid-1830s.31

The broadside, which is undated and carries no indication of the publisher, is believed to have been printed and circulated in Kirtland. (Extract from the New Translation of the Bible [Kirtland, OH]: [ca. 1835?]; see also Durham, “History of Joseph Smith’s Revision of the Bible,” 85–96; and Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:60–61.)  


Having mentioned JS’s revision of the Bible early in his history, Corrill decided to “indulge the reader with a small specimen or sample of the new translation.” In his letter to the printer, Corrill explained that adding the passage would “make the book more saleable especially among the Mormormoms [Mormons], for many are greedy after that Chapter.”32

J. Corrill to T. and [J. H.] Watson, 21 Apr. 1839.  


The 5 July 1839 issue of the St. Louis Missouri Argus, on whose press Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s history was printed, included a notification that the booklet would “be ready for delivery in a few weeks.”33

“A New Verdict,” Missouri Argus, (St. Louis), 5 July 1839, [2].  


Thus it probably went on sale in July or August 1839. Corrill’s 21 April 1839 letter to the printer also indicated his intention to purchase “1/4 or 1/2” of the print run.34

J. Corrill to T. and [J. H.] Watson, 21 Apr. 1839.  


Corrill had approximately three hundred copies of the history in his possession at the time he died; if this figure represents a fourth to a half of the print run, then the entire print run must have included at least six to twelve hundred copies.35

“A Bill of the Widows Dowery of John Corrill Dec’d,” 10 Mar. 1843, Adams Co., IL, Estate Records, ca. 1832–1938, box 287, microfilm 933,951, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  


It was apparently his intention to personally market the book to the Mormons. Leaving 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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, Corrill moved to Springfield

Settled by 1819. Incorporated as town, 1832. Became state capital, 1837. Incorporated as city, 1840. Sangamon Co. seat. Population in 1840 about 2,600. Stake of LDS church organized in Springfield, Nov. 1840; discontinued May 1841; branch organized, Jan. ...

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and then 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, where he maintained contact with the Latter-day Saints located about fifty miles upriver in Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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(soon Nauvoo).36

Corrill moved to Quincy by January 1840. There he submitted a petition to the United States Senate and House of Representatives similar to those written by hundreds of Latter-day Saints at that time, seeking redress from the federal government for the losses and hardships to which they had been subjected in Missouri. On his own behalf and that of the Saints with whom he was no longer numbered, he requested a congressional investigation and asked that Congress “restore . . . all their rights of Citizenship, remunerate their losses and properly chastise the guilty.” Corrill visited Nauvoo in March 1841 representing some of the Saints’ creditors. He met with JS and attempted to collect on outstanding debts but later counseled those he represented that the dispossessed Saints were still poor and that JS was hostile toward attempts to collect debts incurred in Missouri. (John Corrill, Affidavit, Quincy, IL, 9 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, CHL; John Corrill, Quincy, IL, to Edward M. Samuel and Michael Arthur, Liberty, MO, 21 Mar. 1841, enclosed in Edward M. Samuel and Michael Arthur, Liberty, MO, to Thomas Reynolds, Jefferson City, MO, 5 Apr. 1841, Thomas Reynolds, Office of the Governor, MSA.)  


Despite Corrill’s departure from the church, the Saints apparently saw his history as useful, and some no doubt purchased copies. Even after Corrill’s death on 26 September 1842, The Prophet, a Latter-day Saint newspaper published in New York

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

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, repeatedly advertised that it had copies of his history available for purchase.37

Adams Co., IL, Probate Letters of Administration, 1826–1849, vol. C, 162, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL. The weekly paper advertised the book in all but one issue from 15 June 1844 until its final issue, 24 May 1845.  


Facts