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“A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” December 1839–October 1840

“A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” December 1839–October 1840

Installment 6, May 1840


Editorial Note
Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:97–99. This sixth installment quotes almost verbatim from [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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], 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 (1840), pages 40–45. Rigdon wrote this account during the summer of 1839 and published it with church support early in 1840.126

Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:103–104.  


Although many of the events reported here can be corroborated from other sources, Rigdon’s chronology is often inaccurate.

A HISTORY, OF THE PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER DAY SAINTS 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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.
 
continued.
 
The first day the saints left 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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,127

[Rigdon], Appeal to the American People, specifies that the De Witt Saints left for Caldwell and Daviess counties “in the afterpart of the day, on the 11th of October, 1838.”  


they traveled 12 miles, and encamped in a grove of timber, near the road.— That evening, a woman, who had, some short time before given birth to a child, in consequence of the exposure occasioned by the operations of the mob, and having to move her, before her strength would admit, died, and was buried in the grove, without a coffin.128

Other eyewitnesses reported deaths that occurred during the evacuation of De Witt. (See Judd, Autobiography of Zadoc Knapp Judd, 9; Tarlton Lewis, Statement, 20 May 1879, p. 1, Historian’s Office, History of Persecutions, 1879–1880, CHL; and Arza Judd Jr., Petition, 6 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL.)  


There were a considerable number sick, both grown persons and children, which was principally owing to their exposure, and to their having been obliged to live in their wagons and tents so long; and in being deprived of suitable food. No sooner had they started than Sashel Woods

Ca. 1801–26 Apr. 1854. Preacher, trader. Born in Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Warren, 4 May 1824, in Howard Co., Missouri. Became Cumberland Presbyterian priest. Moved to Dorenda Creek, Carroll Co., Missouri, by June 1840. Conveyed merchandise from St. Louis...

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, called the mob together, and made a speech to them, saying, that they must hasten to assist their friends in Daviess county

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

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. The land sales (he said) were coming on; and if they could get the Mormons driven out, they could get all the lands entitled to pre-emptions;129

Under federal preemption laws, Mormons were entitled to first rights of purchase on 12 November 1838 for the land they settled in Daviess County. Two weeks after the land first went up for sale it was made available for general purchase.  


and that they must hasten to Daviess

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

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, in order to accomplish their object—that, if they would join, and drive them out, they could get all the lands back again, as well as all the pay they received for them. He assured the mob, that they had nothing to fear from the authorities in so doing; for they had now, full proof, that the authorities would not assist the Mormons, and that they might as well take their property from them as not. His request was complied with, and accordingly the whole banditti started; taking with them, their cannon, for Daviess county

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

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.130

The forces besieging De Witt obtained a cannon from Jackson County. (Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Carroll County, MO, 13; Hiram Parks, Carroll Co., MO, to David R. Atchison, Booneville, MO, 7 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


In the mean time, Cornelius Gilliam

13 Apr. 1798–24 Mar. 1848. Politician, military officer. Born near Mount Pisgah, Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of Epaphroditus Gilliam and Sarah Ann Israel. Moved to Missouri, before 1820. Married Mary Crawford, 1820/1821, in Ray Co. (later in Clay Co...

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, was busily engaged in raising a mob, in Platte, and Clinton counties; to aid Woods

Ca. 1801–26 Apr. 1854. Preacher, trader. Born in Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Warren, 4 May 1824, in Howard Co., Missouri. Became Cumberland Presbyterian priest. Moved to Dorenda Creek, Carroll Co., Missouri, by June 1840. Conveyed merchandise from St. Louis...

View Full Bio
in his effort, to drive peaceable citizens. from their homes, and take their property. After the mob had left Corrill Carroll county, there was ordered out, a part of two brigades of militia, to check their movements. Generals Alexander Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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and Hiram Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

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, were in command of them, as it was part of their brigades that were ordered out. The first knowledge that the people of 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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or Daviess

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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, had of the mob, coming against them, was the arrival of a body of troops under the command of Col. William Dunn, of Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, 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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. As the people of 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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, had no knowledge of any troops, designed to come into the place, their appearance caused some excitement. Both the miltiary and civil officers, immediately met them, and enquired into the cause of their sudden appearance in the place without giving previous notice. Their commander gave for answer, that “they had been ordered out, by General Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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; to repair to Daviess county

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

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, to operate against a mob, which was on its march from Corrill county, to Daviess

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
.”131

It was actually Bridadier General Hiram Parks, not Alexander Doniphan, who ordered Dunn to go to Daviess County. (Hiram Parks, Richmond, MO, to David R. Atchison, 21 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


This was on the first day of the week. We have not the precise date, but it was in October.132

Sunday, 14 October 1838.  


The evening following which was Monday, Gen. Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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arrived in Far West

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

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. In consequence of these hostile movements on the part of the mob, the people of 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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had assembled together, to take such measures as the emergency of the case might require.
After the arrival of Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

View Full Bio
, the authorities made enquiry of him, concerning the matter, and the operations of the mob. He stated that the mob had gone from Corrill county, with their cannon, for the express purpose of driving the saints from 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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; and that he was going to operate against them; but he said that his troops were so mutinous, that there was but little reliance to be placed in them. He advised the authorities of Caldwell co.

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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to send out two or three hundred men 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
, to defend the people against the violence intended by the mob; until such time, as effectual measures could be taken by the authorities, to put a stop to their operatoins: And he also told them, that Gilliam

13 Apr. 1798–24 Mar. 1848. Politician, military officer. Born near Mount Pisgah, Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of Epaphroditus Gilliam and Sarah Ann Israel. Moved to Missouri, before 1820. Married Mary Crawford, 1820/1821, in Ray Co. (later in Clay Co...

View Full Bio
, was collecting a mob, in Platt, and other places, for the purpose of attacking [p. 97]

Installment 6, May 1840


Editorial Note
Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:97–99. This sixth installment quotes almost verbatim from [Sidney Rigdon

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

View Full Bio
], 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 (1840), pages 40–45. Rigdon wrote this account during the summer of 1839 and published it with church support early in 1840.126

Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:103–104.  


Although many of the events reported here can be corroborated from other sources, Rigdon’s chronology is often inaccurate.

A HISTORY, OF THE  PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH  OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LAT TER DAY SAINTS IN  MISSOURI

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
.
 
continued.
 
The first day the saints left 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
,127

[Rigdon], Appeal to the American People, specifies that the De Witt Saints left for Caldwell and Daviess counties “in the afterpart of the day, on the 11th of October, 1838.”  


 they traveled 12 miles, and encamped  in a grove of timber, near the road.—  That evening, a woman, who had,  some short time before given birth to a  child, in consequence of the exposure  occasioned by the operations of the  mob, and having to move her, before  her strength would admit, died, and  was buried in the grove, without a cof fin.128

Other eyewitnesses reported deaths that occurred during the evacuation of De Witt. (See Judd, Autobiography of Zadoc Knapp Judd, 9; Tarlton Lewis, Statement, 20 May 1879, p. 1, Historian’s Office, History of Persecutions, 1879–1880, CHL; and Arza Judd Jr., Petition, 6 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL.)  


There were a considerable num ber sick, both grown persons and chil dren, which was principally owing to  their exposure, and to their having been  obliged to live in their wagons and  tents so long; and in being deprived of  suitable food. No sooner had they  started than Sashel Woods

Ca. 1801–26 Apr. 1854. Preacher, trader. Born in Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Warren, 4 May 1824, in Howard Co., Missouri. Became Cumberland Presbyterian priest. Moved to Dorenda Creek, Carroll Co., Missouri, by June 1840. Conveyed merchandise from St. Louis...

View Full Bio
, called the  mob together, and made a speech to  them, saying, that they must hasten to  assist their friends in Daviess county

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

More Info
.  The land sales (he said) were coming  on; and if they could get the Mormons  driven out, they could get all the lands  entitled to pre-emptions;129

Under federal preemption laws, Mormons were entitled to first rights of purchase on 12 November 1838 for the land they settled in Daviess County. Two weeks after the land first went up for sale it was made available for general purchase.  


and that they  must hasten to Daviess

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
, in order to ac complish their object—that, if they  would join, and drive them out, they  could get all the lands back again, as  well as all the pay they received for  them. He assured the mob, that they  had nothing to fear from the authori ties in so doing; for they had now, full  proof, that the authorities would not  assist the Mormons, and that they  might as well take their property from  them as not. His request was com plied with, and accordingly the whole  banditti started; taking with them, their  cannon, for Daviess county

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

More Info
.130

The forces besieging De Witt obtained a cannon from Jackson County. (Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Carroll County, MO, 13; Hiram Parks, Carroll Co., MO, to David R. Atchison, Booneville, MO, 7 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


In the  mean time, Cornelius Gilliam

13 Apr. 1798–24 Mar. 1848. Politician, military officer. Born near Mount Pisgah, Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of Epaphroditus Gilliam and Sarah Ann Israel. Moved to Missouri, before 1820. Married Mary Crawford, 1820/1821, in Ray Co. (later in Clay Co...

View Full Bio
, was  busily engaged in raising a mob, in  Platt[e], and Clinton counties; to aid  Woods

Ca. 1801–26 Apr. 1854. Preacher, trader. Born in Kentucky. Married Elizabeth Warren, 4 May 1824, in Howard Co., Missouri. Became Cumberland Presbyterian priest. Moved to Dorenda Creek, Carroll Co., Missouri, by June 1840. Conveyed merchandise from St. Louis...

View Full Bio
in his effort, to drive peacea ble citizens. from their homes, and take  their property. After the mob had  left Corrill [Carroll] county, there was ordered  out, a part of two brigades of militia,  to check their movements. Generals  [Alexander] Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

View Full Bio
and [Hiram] Parks

Ca. 1807–after 1880. Farmer, military officer, sheriff, real estate agent, hatter. Born in Tennessee. Married first Nancy McGhee, 22 Apr. 1828, in Knox Co., Tennessee. Resided in Knoxville, Knox Co., 1830. Moved to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, by 1835. Ray...

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, were in command  of them, as it was part of their brig ades that were ordered out. The first  knowledge that the people of 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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 or Daviess

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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, had of the mob, coming  against them, was the arrival of a body  of troops under the command of Col.  [William] Dunn, of Clay county

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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, 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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.  As the people of 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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, had no  knowledge of any troops, designed to  come into the place, their appearance  caused some excitement. Both the  miltiary and civil officers, immediately  met them, and enquired into the cause  of their sudden appearance in the  place without giving previous notice.  Their commander gave for answer,  that “they had been ordered out, by  General Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

View Full Bio
; to repair to Daviess  county

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

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, to operate against a mob, which  was on its march from Corrill county,  to Daviess

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
.”131

It was actually Bridadier General Hiram Parks, not Alexander Doniphan, who ordered Dunn to go to Daviess County. (Hiram Parks, Richmond, MO, to David R. Atchison, 21 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  


This was on the first day  of the week. We have not the precise  date, but it was in October.132

Sunday, 14 October 1838.  


The eve ning following which was Monday,  Gen. Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

View Full Bio
arrived in Far West

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

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.  In consequence of these hostile move ments on the part of the mob, the peo ple of 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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had assembled together,  to take such measures as the emergen cy of the case might require.
After the arrival of Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

View Full Bio
, the  authorities made enquiry of him, con cerning the matter, and the operations  of the mob. He stated that the mob  had gone from Corrill county, with their  cannon, for the express purpose of dri ving the saints from 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
;  and that he was going to operate against  them; but he said that his troops were  so mutinous, that there was but little  reliance to be placed in them. He ad vised the authorities of Caldwell co.

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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to  send out two or three hundred men 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
, to defend the people  against the violence intended by the  mob; until such time, as effectual mea sures could be taken by the authorities,  to put a stop to their operatoins: And  he also told them, that Gilliam

13 Apr. 1798–24 Mar. 1848. Politician, military officer. Born near Mount Pisgah, Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Son of Epaphroditus Gilliam and Sarah Ann Israel. Moved to Missouri, before 1820. Married Mary Crawford, 1820/1821, in Ray Co. (later in Clay Co...

View Full Bio
, was  collecting a mob, in Platt, and other  places, for the purpose of attacking [p. 97]
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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 Saints, 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,” in which he called for the Saints to gather up “a knoledge of all the facts and sufferings and abuses put upon them” 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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that they might publish the records “to all the world” and “present them to the heads of the government.”1

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]. An edited and slightly shortened version of the letter was published in two parts in the Times and Seasons, May and July 1840. The instruction to record the Saints’ Missouri history was part of the July installment. (“Copy of a Letter, Written by J. Smith Jr. and Others, While in Prison,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:99–104; “An Extract of a Letter Written to Bishop Partridge, and the Saints in General,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:131–134.)  


Apparently in response to this assignment, Edward Partridge wrote a history that became the first three 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. This series gave the first extended account of the Missouri period to be printed in the Latter-day Saint press. 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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, announced in its first issue that the newspaper would “commence publishing the history of the disturbances in Missouri, in regular series,”2

“A Word to the Saints,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:12. After the first copies of the first number were printed in July, publication of the Times and Seasons halted for several months because both editors fell ill amidst a malaria outbreak in the Commerce, Illinois, area. The first number was reissued under the date November 1839.  


and the first installment appeared in the second issue.
“A History, of the Persecution” begins with 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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’s account of the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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conflicts in the early 1830s. Partridge was a bishop of the church in Missouri, first 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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, then in Clay County

Settled ca. 1800. Organized from Ray Co., 1822. Original size diminished when land was taken to create several surrounding counties. Liberty designated county seat, 1822. Population in 1830 about 5,000; in 1836 about 8,500; and in 1840 about 8,300. Refuge...

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following the Latter-day Saints’ expulsion from Jackson, and finally in Caldwell County

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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after the Saints relocated from Clay. By the time he wrote this account of the Mormons’ experiences in Missouri, the Saints had been exiled from the state and had relocated 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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. Partridge lived first at Pittsfield, then 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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. In July 1839 he settled in the 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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area, where he served again as a bishop in the new Mormon community being established there.3

Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous papers, CHL. This collection of Partridge papers includes other autobiographical writings about Missouri events.  


Partridge’s narrative is based on firsthand observations and may also have relied on other records he kept. The manuscript version of the history begins, “In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions,” indicating that Partridge wrote it for publication purposes.4

Partridge, History, manuscript, Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous Papers, CHL. Significant differences between the first three installments of “History, of the Persecution” and the Partridge manuscript are described in footnotes herein.  


He may have intended to tell the entire Missouri story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication of the “History of the Persecution” began, and he died 27 May 1840.
The fourth installment of “History, of the Persecution” provides a brief transition from 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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’s account, which ends in 1836 as the Saints were settling in what became 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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, to the conflicts in Caldwell and adjoining counties beginning in 1838. Though the source or author of this portion is not known, it may have been written by editors 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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. Perhaps prompted by Partridge’s illness, the editors sought elsewhere for source materials to continue the series. In April 1840, the fifth installment 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), and the sixth in May excerpted 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 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: Glezan and Shepard, 1840).5

No manuscript is known to exist for Pratt’s published pamphlet. Rigdon is not named as the author on the title page of Appeal to the American People, but he is credited as such in the “History, of the Persecution” series and in advertisements for the pamphlet in the Times and Seasons. A manuscript version of Rigdon’s Appeal to the American People, titled “To the Publick” and inscribed by George W. Robinson, is found in the JS Collection at the Church History Library. Many textual differences exist between the manuscript and Appeal to the American People, and the editors of the Times and Seasons clearly used the published pamphlet, not the manuscript, as their source. (“History, of the Persecution,” May 1840, 1:99; Advertisement, Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1841, 2:272.)  


In June the editors again excerpted Pratt’s History of the Late Persecution, and in the three articles published from July to September they reprinted more of Rigdon’s work. The series concluded in the October 1840 issue with a reprint of the speech that 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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, a major general of the Missouri state militia, made to the Latter-day Saints 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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, Caldwell County, on 5 November 1838.
The “History, of the Persecution” is representative of the many histories and individual petitions written at the time to document the Saints’ experiences 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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. Its excerpts from 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 and Rigdon

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

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’s Appeal to the American People provide a useful sampling of two published histories of the period and demonstrate that documenting these events was a widespread effort.6

Earlier published accounts of the Jackson County conflicts from Latter-day Saints include the broadside “The Mormons,” So Called, dated 12 December 1833, and its reprint in The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1]–[2]; a series titled “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” published in The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833–Mar. 1834 and May–June 1834; John P. Greene’s pamphlet Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order” (Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839); and John Taylor’s eight-page work, A Short Account of the Murders, Roberies, Burnings, Thefts, and Other Outrages Committed by the Mob and Militia of the State of Missouri, Upon the Latter Day Saints (Springfield, IL: By the author, 1839).  


Publication in the church’s periodical lent credibility to the series and ensured that it was the source from which many new Mormon converts learned the details of the church’s history in Missouri. What they read was not the work of neutral historians detached from the events described. When 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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, Pratt, and Rigdon wrote their histories, the persecutions and injustices against them were still fresh in their memories. All three authors suffered personally during the Missouri hardships, and as they and other Saints undertook to write about their experiences, their primary focus was to fulfill JS’s directive—to obtain redress by making known the “nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practiced upon this people.”7

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:5].  


Facts