Daviess County, Missouri 

 

Summary

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.1 County is transected diagonally from northwest to southeast by Grand River, a principal tributary of Missouri River.2 Described as “equally divided between gently rolling prairie and fine timber lands.”3 Small number of Mormons had settled in Daviess Co. by 1837.4 JS led expedition into county to survey possible future settlements for Latter-day Saints, May 1838.5 Significant Mormon settlements in Daviess Co. were Adam-ondi-Ahman, Marrowbone, Honey Creek, and Lick Fork.6 As Mormon population grew, so did antagonism of neighboring Missourians who feared Saints would soon dominate county government.7 On election day, candidate William Peniston denounced right of Saints to vote, and violence erupted on 6 Aug. 1838.8 JS and others soon arrived to help Saints.9 Vigilantes from neighboring counties joined Daviess Co. residents to harass and intimidate Saints.10 Anticipating attack, Saints made preemptive strike, plundering and burning property in Millport, Gallatin, and Grindstone Fork—settlements known to harbor vigilantes.11 Responding to reports of Mormon depredations, Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs ordered state militia to area and issued new order to exterminate Saints or drive them from state, Oct. 1838. Ultimatum was given, essentially compelling all Saints to leave county, early Nov. 1838.12 Many moved to Caldwell Co., where they stayed until moving to Illinois and Iowa Territory, winter–spring 1839.13 Population of Daviess Co. in 1840 about 2,800.14 JS last visited Daviess Co., early Apr. 1839, while a prisoner of state.15

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