De Witt, Missouri 

 

Summary

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River.1 Permanently settled, by 1826.2 Laid out, 1836.3 First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who later interested church leaders in its strategic location.4 Although about seventy miles from Far West, it provided port at confluence of Grand and Missouri rivers for importing goods needed by Latter-day Saints in northern Missouri and for exporting their farm products.5 Missouri high council commissioned George Hinkle and John Murdock to purchase almost half of town lots, 23 June 1838.6 Saints from Ohio and other areas began moving into area, summer 1838.7 Branch of LDS church organized in town shortly after.8 Latter-day Saint population by Oct. 1830 about 430.9 Saints faced sustained opposition upon arrival.10 Vigilantes besieged Saints in De Witt in attempt to expel them from area, beginning 1 Oct. 1838.11 JS and other Far West Saints came to De Witt to offer assistance, 5–6 Oct. 1838.12 After governor declined their appeal for aid, about four hundred Saints abandoned homes and property, 11 Oct. 1838.13 Missouri River, which flowed near De Witt in 1830s, now lies more than a mile east of town.14