[Born in the town of Bath, Grafton County, state of New Hampshire, July 1st, 1812. Son of John Duncan, born in Acworth, Sulivan County, New Hampshire, the son of John Duncan who came from the north of Ireland and settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire.]
My mother’s name, B.T. Duncan, maiden name, Putnam, born in Langdon, N. H., a great granddaughter of General Putnam who fought for and labored for the freedom of this the United States. My forefathers lived in comfortable circumstances and by honorable life and acts received an honorable degree of rank and influence.
I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 20 years in the county of Jackson, state of Missouri, in December. My health being very poor, I left my father’s farm in the town of Barnet, September 21st, 1830, intending to travel to South America for my health. I steered my course for Cincinnati, Ohio, with the intention of going to New Orleans. While on the O. H. Canal I became so debilitated I was obliged to keep my bed for the greater part of the time. On the Ohio River below Louisville, KT., I proposed to give up my design traveling further south than the mouth of the Ohio River, for the only reason that the Lord manifested to me that I should go to the gathering place appointed for the Saints, the distance I did not know, only I knew it was West or up the Missouri River. I was ignorant of the spirit of the Lord until the spirit spoke to me these words while I was in my bed, and I think the boat was under way in the day time. I was not asleep. It appeared as though a man spoke yet I heard no audible voice; it was a quite peaceable yet sure impression in fact I knew that the Lord or an angel spoke to me. This is the message he bore to me:
“Thou shalt prosecute thy journey no farther south than the mouth of the Ohio river. If you do, you shall die.” I looked to see the personage. I saw none. I began to meditate upon what I had heard and the feeling that pervaded my person, and while thinking I cannot say whether it was five minutes or more, the spirit again spake and said further, “If thou wilt go to the place of gathering of my people thou shalt live.” The force of the message rested so heavily upon me that I dare not go farther south and turned my course for St. Louis, Missouri.
My health was yet poor and to travel and not knowing the way, water too low for the steamboats to go up the river, and in a place I never expected to see, every face strange and my errand peculiarly so, my heart sunk within me. Then I called upon the Lord and through the manifestation of the spirit, I was led to two men, one being a Mormon, standing on the wharf. He voluntarily told me that he was a Mormon. Then was the time my soul was filled with joy to think the Lord would make plain the way for me to do his commandments and place means within my reach as he did there. Even that I could get employment to drive a buggy for Brother Philo Dibble, one of the brethren in company with John M. Burke, traveling to join the man the spirit directed me to on the wharf.
I think I arrived in Independence the last of November, found the Saints enjoying themselves tolerably well. After listening to the doctrine of Christ and getting somewhat acquainted with the new-made friends (for they took me in), I joined the Church I think the last of December, baptized by Elder Titus Billings on the sabbath day, confirmed by Bishop Partridge and council. In a short time the Holy Ghost fell upon me and I did speak with new tongues and prophesy, and I thanked the name of my Redeemer.
I lived with Father Morley that winter, raised a crop on the temple lot for him, and in all things gave thanks. Here I will say I think in the month of September the Lord suffered me to behold some of the treasures of the earth and the keeper thereof. About this time the mob began to rage, threaten and throw stones into the window of Father Morley’s, into the room where we slept.
Some time after this the mob commenced greater hostilities, finally whipped some of the brethren and tarred Bishop Partridge. I saw them about to commence as I was brought into the ring for that purpose, but I escaped unhurt. They tarred Chas. Allen also. The next day I believe I saw them throw down the printing office after throwing the type and press out of the window. Directly the mob gathered to drive the Saints and the Saints gathered to defend themselves against a ruthless mob.
It was calculated by us to fight them at or near the temple block, accordingly nearly all of the Saints came there from the brushes west. Previous to this they had a battle, 15 guns against 75 well armed men at the Whitmer settlement west. Killed one mobber, Lawyer Brazil, and one man by the name of Barber who was found on the side of the Saints. He would not have been killed if he had not pursued a man with a loaded gun, having nothing himself but a hickory grub.
This evening the mob got out a writ for a mock trial, I suppose to get the brethren in their hands, E. Partridge, I. Morley, J. Corrill, W.E. McLellin, A.S. Gilbert. They called on me for a sort of a guard with C. Allen, and one more, I. Kelton; all that seemed willing to venture their lives that was present. As they were searching W.E. McLellin for his side arms (I had taken them previous about 3 minutes) the court being called, all was silent. All at once in came with his sleeves rolled up, crying out, “The d. d. Mormons have killed my brother. We will have satisfaction out of these,” and about one half of the people commenced to make their way to us, but the cry of peace, by the judge and a portion of the mob holding back, they were stopped. The doors were barred to save us all. It appeared that death was to be meted out to us then, but I escaped by throwing down one fellow that was going out of the door, after he pleaded to his companions, “For God’s sake unbar the door and let me out, for I can’t,” said he, “stand and see this murder committed.” I was first out. I reported to those that were praying for us, the situation of things when I left. Here the lord revealed to me that they should all eventually escape unhurt, and so they did, yet the mob declared that they had knocked A.S. Gilbert down and shot at others, yet they all escaped unhurt. They put some in jail and said then that they would burn all the buildings. The reason that there was not a general engagement was because Bro. Morley, Corrill, and Bishop made a treaty with the mob, agreed that the Mormons would give up their guns and leave the county forthwith.
On hearing this, I started for home at Father Morley’s. Our people were gathered one half mile west of temple lot and the mob had advanced to the temple lot. They were in the road when I came home, that is, the main body of the mob. Near Bro. Corrill’s, Lt. Gov. Boggs with 11 other men were opposite Father Morley’s house when I came out of the bushes. When I was discovered I bore questioning from them hoping to go free. Yet when they discovered me they called, I neared up to them, I asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Your gun.” I said, “Ammunition too?” Abner Teeple swore that he would shoot me. I had no fear. I offered my gun to Gov. Boggs. He told me to stand it by the fence. I did so. I got over the fence, went into the house and went to bed about 11 o’clock A.M., for I had lost a good deal of sleep. That night I slept in the woods; the mob was very brave when they had our arms, and we were in a poor situation of defense.
Before giving up our guns while we were gathered on the temple lot, the word came from the spies that the mob was destroying and stealing goods from the store in the town in the care of A.S. Gilbert. Seventy- five men volunteered to go into the town under the command of Elder Lyman Wight; this is the man the mob feared. There was not a gun ordered to be fired. The mob disbursed at our approach. The goods were strewed over the street. We caught the justice of the peace near the store. About this time I was leaving the country, the subagent had the assurance to stop me in the road, perceiving that I had no arms, and he being well armed, and two of them to oppose me. He threatened to shoot me. When he let loose of my bridle, I was off.
I crossed the Missouri River with Bro. Morley’s family and obtained an old stable which we repaired and cleansed out where his family and Titus Billings remained most of the winter. In January 1834 I went to Liberty and worked at hatting business until spring, or near the time the camp came from Kirtland to redeem Zion. In the which time had obtained more good equipment for war and willing in my spirit, the camp being dismissed and returning to Jackson Co. I took up a school in Clay County for 3 months near Ray County Line 5 miles east of the ford of Fishing River. My father came up in the camp to redeem Zion. In August he was taken with fever and ague, I dismissed my school and went to wait on him near Fishing River. I made my home at Father Morley’s, yet in August I was taken with the same complaint, remained not able to do anything until March, I made my home at Calvin Beebe’s during the time of my sickness and the next summer. In March I went and took a school for 6 months at the place I taught the season previous.
At the expiration of my time, I journeyed to Cincinnati in company with Calvin Beebe. Then went as a laboring man on a flat boat to Randolph on the Mississippi River, then shipped on a steam boat for New Orleans; then shipped for Cincinnati, Ohio, whipsawed the balance of the winter in a shipyard with a Brother Bule. In March I started again for Kirtland Ohio, found Calvin Beebe at Wellsville on the Ohio River. He let me have a horse and I rode in company with him near Kirtland. I remained in Kirtland until after the endowment. There I received an ordination of an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Previous to this I think 13 months, I received an ordination of a teacher under the hands of Calvin Beebe near Fishing River). Under the hands of President Beeman of the elders quorum in Kirtland Temple, I received the office of an elder, my washing in the cellar of the temple by Oliver Olmay, received washing of feet by the hands of Elder Luke Johnson. Present at the endowment far west (ate bread and drank wine) I was called upon to step onto the stand. There I pronounced a curse upon Lieutenant Gov. Boggs, the first and last curse up to this date except washing my feet when preaching according to commandments. We had a blessed time there at the endowment.
I started on a mission, preaching the word in company with R. H. Redfield. I did not attempt to preach but once or twice, my ignorance or weakness entirely overcame me. The people were hard and unbelieving. After I arrived at Lodi I concluded to travel in company with Harlow Redfield to the east and see my relatives. We parted, I think, in Vermont. I went to the town of Barnet, Caladonia. Remained there until September.
I had the success to convince my brother of the necessity of obeying the truth. He accompanied me to the west. In October we arrived at St. Louis, in 26 days, went to work on a steam boat running up the river to Warsaw. In December we shipped on the Mississippi. In April we shipped for St. Louis. In the month of May I found myself at Far West. The second season it was settled. Worked at shipsawing until fall, spent the fall, winter and spring clerking for Higbee and Moory in a store.
In the month of May, the first Monday, 18, I married a lady by the name of Rebecca Rose, daughter of Andrew Rose, who lived on Log Creek.
I moved my wife on a farm that my brother Homer and myself had bought in April. Spent the summer on the farm and until the mob drove me into the town of Adam-on-Diammon [Adam-ondi-Ahman]. I was doing business in the church store for Bishop Vinson Knight. Here I will remark at the time or about this time of going into the store I and my brother took an inventory of our property and it amounted to $1500, nearly all of which we consecrated or delivered to the bishop for the Church. A portion of the property that we handed over was 1 wagon, 2 horses, and harness, 30 acres fenced, and heavy crop of corn, house and stable, outhouses, bees, gang of hogs. My brother obtained one horse from the mob that they stole the next winter, which fell in my hands. I obtained the wagon which fell in my brother’s hands which he sold for an outfit to go preach the gospel. The property was nearly all destroyed by the mob. I experienced nearly all the scenes in Adam-on-Diammon [Adam-ondi-Ahman], all that I have seen written is true. I was elected adjutant and acted as such and as a spy during the time of my stay.
I went to Far West with a company and was present there and again gave up my arms to a ruthless mob. I saw Joseph brought in to Far West by the mob. Here the mob again pursued me on hearing that I was in town. By the help of the Lord I escaped their hands again. The mob supposed that I was dead, they received a report about three weeks after the surrender at Far West. Bishop Knight found me. He started for Illinois via Jackson County about four miles from Far West. On the Liberty road we were surrounded by a mob that was ranging through the county for individuals to carry to Richmond.
The spirit of the Lord was manifest in our deliverance. Being well acquainted with me yet they could not remember me. I called them for every mean thing I could think of for intruding upon the rights of a gentlemen on the highway. After riding all night about sunrise, we found ourselves at Porter Rockwell’s. He gave us and animals refreshments and at two o’clock started for Jackson County.
Traveled six miles from the ferry to Little and being acquainted with the innkeeper Wilson, we put up near the mills. We had to tell all kinds of stories to keep from being suspected as Mormons. Traveled five miles, stopped for breakfast. Four men came up much enraged, said they would kill Mormons if they only saw them. They were well armed. Again told all kinds of stories so that we would not be suspected. Pretended that we were speculators. It was a pretty close chance to get out of the states this course but I considered it the only chance. My life was in danger all the time, having taken a very active part in defending my brothers. Brother Knight left me before we got to the Missouri River. I traveled to St. Louis a foot from Mar, Louisiana, crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis, went to Alton found acquaintances from my native land.
I got employment for the winter, $1.00 per day.
The first of April my wife came to me at Alton. I left her in Mo. at her father’s on Log Creek. In May we went to the lower rapids, east side of the river, undertook to farm. My health was poor. In July, Bishop Knight came to me and gave me a chance to go to Iowa at Nashville four miles from Nauvoo.
I built a house that season. Did considerable business for the bishop. Next summer gave my house and lot to the church worth $200.00.
In May moved to Nauvoo. In August moved to Keosqua. Tarried one winter, moved to Montrose in the fall. Lived there two winters and in the fall my wife died and two children, they being the youngest.
Had a very hard spell of sickness myself and my oldest child. My health being very poor in October, I started to travel for my health to the south. Spent the fall and winter pretty much on steamboat, took a pleasure trip to the gulf in February to the Oyster Banks. Again my health being good, I shipped for Nauvoo. Was there at the April Conference before Joseph the Prophet’s death. He gave me a mission in Virginia to preach. Joseph had offered his services for the Presidency of the United States.
I preached considerably that summer, only baptized two ladies and two gentlemen.
I concluded I would go from there to the state of Vermont and see my kinfolks and warn them, as I supposed for the last time. I tarried there from November 1844 until April 1845 in Langdon, N.H. Sullivan. Spent the summer with my brother-in-law by the name of Wilson until September, labored at the carpenter business this season. Left him and my sister Carolin unbelieving as to our doctrine.
September 1845, started for Nauvoo arrived at Nauvoo October. Spent the winter clerking for Daniel C. Davis’s company at Montrose Iowa, Lee County while organizing to emigrate West with the Church. March I traveled to Virginia, Tazwell County, Burkes Garden and married a wife a member of the Church by the name of Lockey Jones, her father’s name was William Jones, mother’s name Sarah, maiden name Hale. Her father was a descendant of the Welsh. We traveled without horses and carriage to Lyandot then went to board a steamer. Went by stream to Reonuk, Iowa landed May 8 twelve miles from Montrose. We traveled with an ox team, one yoke of oxen I let Brother Hyde have one yoke of my own. I had one cow and one horse and one wagon. The company started in June and stopped. Traveled to Council Bluff settled in what was called Davis Camp, on the head of Indian Creek, three miles above Cainsville. I built a log cabin and wintered in it, drove out cattle to the rushes to winter south 35 miles near maggards. I volunteered in the army under Col. Allen, slept in camp two nights. Capt. Davis counseled to return and remain with the camp. This fall my wife gave a timely birth to a child [stillborn].
In the spring, I built another house and enclosed four acres of land planted three to corn. Returned to Montrose in May, 1846, went to work with Joseph Dudley rafting at the mouth of the Des Moines. Took the raft to St. Louis and sold it for the comforts of my family and returned home in October, Indian Creek, Iowa.
In the month of February, I returned to Montrose to assist my brother, Homer, to the Bluffs that we could journey in company together to the West. Brother Hyde returned my oxen in the spring of 1848, as he did not need them. When I started from Bluff, my stock was two of oxen, two cows, two yearlings, two calves. I was obliged to go to Missouri to work for coin. I went on one honey hunt got with eight gallons, this made our sweetening. Carriage tipped over coming down the Garden Mountain. Wagon tipped over in Soap Creek not much harm done and on other accidents.
Traveled in Amasa Lyman’s company to this place Great Salt Lake. Started home 7th of June, left the Horn 7th of July, arrived here Oct. 17th, 1848. It was part of camp duty to take care of the sheep morning and night, boys driving in the day about 100 sheep. We saw many Indians and buffalo. We saved some meat for winter.
I went to work and dug in the bank of the ford of Big Cottonwood. Covered it within connection with my brother for our families for a shelter from rain and the wind. Then we got logs out of the mouth of Little Cotton Canyon and put up a house on Little Cotton and moved both families. We wintered in one room 16 ft. by 18.
Now another set of ideas and another course to pursue. I had learned the geography of the country in school. The next day the steamer left the wharf. When arriving at the mouth of the Ohio River, the boat made landing there at Cairo. In a few minutes after a lower river trade boat from New Orleans landed so I took passage up the Missouri River to St. Louis. The water was too low for steamers to run up the Missouri River. I left my tool trunk and a shirt and started on foot west.
[Chapman Duncan inserted the following note later: Note I. I inquired for the name of the upper landing on the western line of the state of Missouri and negro fireman answered it was Independence. The name seemed to suit me and possesses a sound congenial to my spirit so I checked my trunk to that point to “forwarded” when the river should raise, and then I started out a foot.
I was very anxious to start. Now I see all the trouble for me for the first time while I was contemplating–my ill health–an unsettled country where I should find a place to pass the night. I was so weak I knew I couldn’t get out of the settlement that night, but I commenced to worry at the situation.
I was nearly out of the city in deep meditation when these words came to me in the same audible voice as at Louisville which made the same information upon me, “Go back to the steamboat landing and listen.” I went back to the steamboat landing. I saw no way of obtaining information upon any subject, and I did not understand what I was to be informed of or about.
So I started again on my journey, and when I arrived at the same place exactly, again the same sentence was spoken.
I went back the second time to the landing probably a half mile or less. This time I was impressed to near up to two men that were leaning upon dry goods box. I heard one say, “Independence.” That name had a wonderful effect on me. I was very much excited about the remark. They were the very men I wanted to see. John M. Burk asked what I was going up there for. I did not answer the question; I could not in my feelings say one word. His next words were, “We are Mormons.” I was then more excited. I said that I was very glad to see you. He then said there was a company of Mormons fitting out teams to move to Independence. They had come from Kirtland, Ohio. Then he invited me to go to their camp. He said one of the brethren would like for me to drive a buggy. I believe that was the entire conversation. A. S. Gilbert’s brother whose name is in Book Cov. [the Book of Covenants] was the other man. (He said, I believe I am taking the cholera. This was what I went back to learn.) These were all the words spoken by both men and myself.
[The author added the following note at a later date. Note II. I went to their camp with them. One of the brethren I found dying with cholera. His name was Blake. The march started the next day and I started with him. But not feeling right in their company, I only traveled one day and then walked back to camp next. Philo Dibble invited me to drive his carriage as I was weak and not able to walk. My health improved materially on the way.]
Philo Dibble of the camp invited me to drive his buggy if I thought I could stand the trip. I looked very pale in face, I thanked him and accepted.
The company consisted of Thomas B. Matson, John M. Burk, Philo Dibble, William Blaksley. Blaksley and a widow died in that house of cholera. I was no way troubled about the cholera myself. After we had traveled two or three days, Philo Dibble commenced to talk freely about his religion. He dwelt upon faith, the spirit of God, its offices and Joseph Smith, Prophet, all of which was antagonistic to my former teachings. He also said that he was going to Zion and to the border of the Lamanites. I learned from him that he was a member of what he called the Church of Christ at that place. If taken literally I knew his doctrine to be right. He spiritualized nothing, and it was contrary to my former teachings. As yet I had not told him my business at the border of the Lamanites. Arriving at Independence, I stopped the first night with Bishop Partridge. The next night I stopped with Isaac Morely as he proposed to me, so I did his chores for my board.
In November I went up to the border of the Lamanites and heard Lyman Wight preach on Sunday. I accepted his teachings and doctrines to be true, as I understood the scripture literally. I never did believe it right to spiritualize the scriptures. In December I was baptized in Brush Creek, three miles west of Independence of Titus Billings, confirmed by the bishopric, I could not realize any difference in my feeling.
Now I was fully established in the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as promised in Louisville, Kentucky. I knew that I had found his church and the spirit of God rested with me for some days.
[The author inserts the following note: I prophesied concerning my brother Homer who was in New Hampshire that he would come and join the church and be called on a mission and raise up a branch before I, myself, should be called on a mission; all of which was literally fulfilled by his raising up a branch near Plattsburg, N.Y. This strengthened my faith. Now come trials in the church, for the lack of experience, some of the members’ acts were not in conformity to their teachings, and the covenant of the United Order was on him for all of which sins, we were driven from our land and from city to city and from synagogue and synagogue, and only a few remained to receive an inheritance. Book of Covenants. Joseph Smith, the Prophet, organized the United Order 1832 in Jackson county, eliminating the curse or blessing which should follow, so in consequence of the sloth feeling which we read. The penalty which has gone to history.]
The first demonstration of mob violence that I know of was in the evening after we had gone to bed, a stone was thrown into the window. It hit the back of the bedstead very near to my head. Shortly after, Bishop Partridge, Chas. Allen, Harvey Allen, and myself were taken by the mob into town. They tarred Bishop Partridge and Allen’s brother; Olmstead and myself passed out through the mob unobserved, as they were gazing intently on the usual proceedings. About the next day William McLellin was served with a writ on a trumped up charge for Bishop Partridge, his council, W. W. Phelps, A. S. Gilbert, and myself. It being evening, candles were lit up. McLellin and the rest of the brethren took seats in the dock or inside the banisters. Court called for trial. At this time, Wilson with quite a mob came into the courthouse swearing terrible oaths that they would kill every Mormon present.
[Note IV. Because he had heard his brother had been killed that day in trouble with the Mormons at the Whitmer Settlement, a mob having gone there to drive them away but were prevented on account of seeing so many Mormons present there. (According to the mob there were a hundred, where in fact there were only a sixteen and eight of them were unarmed.)]
I stepped out into the crowd. I was prepared for the contest and calculated to kill my life, having a very large knife concealed in the excitement. I seemed to be unobserved. The judge was calling for order. He would say, “Order gentlemen, in the name of the U.S. Order.” The crowd with Wilson kept trying to get through the crowd to the railing. At this time a man came to the door saying, “For God’s sake take the bar down from the door and let me out, for I cannot see this blood shed.” This attracted my attention. When he took down the bar from the door and the door commenced to open, I was about ten feet from the door. I stepped quickly and took the man by the coat collar. He seemed to be very light in my hands. I threw him some feet and sprang from where I stood out of the door and was carried in the air long enough to wonder when I could come to the ground. I was placed easily upon the ground, my face to the west. I jumped toward the east. It was nearly dark. I was carried several rods from the doors to the road. A light in the tithing store was my guide across the square. I went to Bishop Partridges house and found a company of brethren there in prayer. “What is the news?” I said, “I guess I am left only to tell the tale.” Some said, “Let us pray.” We all fell on our knees. The spirit rested upon me, and I prophesied that no one should be hurt.
[Later C. Duncan adds this note: Note V. I prophesied in the name of the Lord that not a hair of their heads should be hurt, and all should be home with their families in the morning.]
The judge ordered the brethren to be placed in jail for their safety. Then the mob swore that they would burn down the jail. Before morning the jailor liberated them. A.S. Gilbert, I understand, was discovered when returning home by the mob and they thought they left him in the road for dead. He said that he was told that they knocked him down, but that he couldn’t tell in the morning where they had hit him, as he couldn’t feel any sore place about him.
There had been a fight at the Whitmer settlement this day. The mob commenced to throw down a house when sixteen of the brethren with eight guns came down the road and past through the cornfield. Shooting commenced on both sides. Bro. Philo Dibble received three buckshot at his navel. He was healed by the laying on of hands. His health was restored to him. One man by name of Barber, not a Mormon, in the Saint’s company was killed.
Brazzer, a lawyer, the leader of the mob side, was shot in the arm. Wilson’s nephew was shot in the foot. The mob retreated and said that they saw hundreds of Mormons advancing. The mob retreated. Wilson that evening in town, heard that his brother was killed, which was the cause of this wrath in the courtroom.
[Note VI. Soon the people of the county gathered in a mob and anarchy reigned in the country. The Saints that were able to bear arms came from the border of the Lamanites and the other settlements down to the temple lot at Bishop Partridge’s house. All the Saints when gathered numbered about seventy five men. The Saints set out guards so as not to be taken by surprise. I saw a man go up the stairs, burst open the door. Others followed and threw down the printing press with type papers out of the window. Then they took a long tree and put it into a window, crossed the corner of the house into another window, and sprung the tree to throw out the corner of the house. It was a two story building made of brick. I did not stay to see it fall. Afterwards I gathered up a lot of printed revelations, the first I had seen and doubled them up in a book form. I guess the first one formed I have lost. I read it very attentively.]
Now the mob gathered at Independence a half mile or more from the temple lot. They came down to the temple lot in a force, stopped opposite Isaac Morley’s house in the road. I was in the house asleep probably nine o’clock, a.m. I had been on guard a good deal. They sent a little child to wake me. I had no knowledge where Lyman Wight and co. gathered to, but I found them preparing for an attack, Lyman Wight in command not long after I had got in company, Bishop and council and others had entered into stipulations to leave the county and down our arms. I intended to keep my gun. I thought I might as well go and take the rest of my sleep. As I came opposite the house in the pau pau bushes into the road, here was Gov. Boggs and his twelve apostles as they called themselves. They demanded my gun. I went through Stuebin’s exercise and scientifically presented my gun. I asked for powder, (I suppose very abruptly), Abner Teeple, one of the apostles, got very mad and swore a hateful of oaths that he had come out to shoot the damn Mormons and said he would shoot me and brought down his gun on me. The governor said, “Mr. Teeple, the Mormons have agreed to leave the county, It is not time to shoot now. Put up your gun.” He kept on swearing. I was commanded to stand my gun at the fence. So I did and went into the house and finished my sleep.
My summer’s labor was now lost, and I busied myself helping to carry out the stipulation to leave the country. I went to the ferry to see about ferrying over to Clay County. On my way back the Indian subagent and another man gathered my horse by his bridle on either side and asked me some questions. I guess that I was as abrupt as he was, and could have drawn in the holster, and I thought if they crowded me too hard that I could go away with both of them.
Now commenced the general move out of the county. While we were near the Missouri River, it was the night that the stars fell (or meteors).
The next day, we laid our arms. The second evening we all went into Independence. The church store kept on the public square we found had been sacked and the goods scattered all around. Only one man was seen–a justice of the peace, who talked awhile with Lyman Wight. Now we returned to Bishop Partridge’s and retired for the night. I stood guard the next morning, on account of the rumor that the company was under arms. The brethren fled and sent the bishop and his councilors to negotiate with the enemy who swore they would kill us or we must leave the company. There were 300 of them and 75 of us. The negotiations ended and the brethren agreed to leave the county. When this news reached us, I felt we were disbanded, and started back to the house. In stopping out of the timber I found myself face to face with the Governor (Boggs) and his mob who were between me and the house.
The people of Clay Co. so disliked the name of a Mormon, Jo Smith, the Prophet, that they concluded to invite the Mormons, to move to Caldwell Co. They thought many of them would not be settled, it was such a poor county.]
My brother and myself purchased John Iobe’s farm. We raised 27 acres on that place. I owned another place of ten acres, making about 40 acres of corn.
On their way back from the Gallatin election, the mob shot a good many balls through the door of my house, but did not injure my wife or father. They moved to Adam-ondi-Ahman. The mob burned all of my buildings and destroyed all my bees. I never saved one hog out of eighty head.
My horse was out of place that day, so I could not find him. I was not present, I think in September, when trouble commenced. Some arrests were made. The mob (three hundred) gathered to Millport, eight miles from Adam-ondi-Ahman.
There were about fifty or sixty Mormons. It was concluded best that I should take a man with me and spy out their numbers and location. I started very early and got within one mile of their forces. The spirit gave me an appearance that I was going to be taken by their picket guard. I told my friend, but we could not see anyone. I told him to let me catch their eye. In about fifteen rods, the guard closed before and behind us and passed the time of day. They did not know anything that we were Mormons. I told them of whom I purchased a farm, and I let them draw a conclusion from the truths I told. They told me there were 300 men in their camp and that they were on picket duty and that they had a cannon that they made Amasa Lyman ride the cannon. Several more Mormons they had insisted on going down to the store. They finally concluded to let us go. They discovered the mistake in letting us pass the picket. They called us back and swore a hateful of oath that we should not go into camp. This was a very welcome conclusion to me as I had learned all that I was expected to learn. I thanked them kindly for their advice, (that was to return). When we got back to [Adam-ondi-ahman] Ondi- Ahman after sunrise next morning.
The Mormons went down to Millport through the mob. Three hundred men buried their cannon and left. They started after burying their cannon in the road, and got corn and scattered over it. An old sow, in rooting after the corn, bared the end of the cannon. So the brethren, as they called it, raised the dead. We placed the cannon on as high as elevation as was and went to firing it. By this time Joseph the Prophet had come out. After the shooting he made a very mild speech.
I think the next day, he said to these present: Hyrum Smith, Bishop Vincent Knight, myself and two or three others, “Get me a spade and I will show you the altar that Adam offered sacrifice on.” I believe this was the only time Joseph was in Ondi-Ahman. We went about forty rods north of my house. He placed the spade with care, placed his foot on it. When he took out the shovelful of dirt, it barred the stone. The dirt was two inches deep on the stone I reckon. About four feet or more was disclosed. He did not dig to the bottom of the three layers of good masonry well put up wall. The stone looked more dressed like stone nice joints, ten inches thick, 18 inches long or more. We came back down the slope, perhaps 15 rods on the level. The prophet stopped and remarked this place where we stood was the place where Adam, gathered his posterity and blessed them, and predicted that should come to pass to later generations. The next day he returned to Far West. In a short time I, Lyman Wight, Bishop Knight with them. Shortly I received word to bring all of the brethren and be prepared to defend Far West. I arrived in Far West early in the morning–distance 25 miles–October.
We went directly to the breast work. Sometime in the day after we arrived, Joseph went to the enemies camp in company with Lyman Wight and others. They took them to Jackson County. (Read history). Joseph remained in their camp all night. After Joseph arrived in their camp, he sent up word to deliver our arms, and a large portion of their army came to receive our arms. Bishop McRay and myself were the last to throw out arms on the pile. He went through the six cuts and threw his sword over and over endwise then mine went also. Now they set out a guard. Inside the guard was known as the bull pen. Missouri officers slept–some of them at I. M. Burk’s tavern. I concluded that I would sleep with them. The officers sprang out of bed, some of them on hearing of some shooting. They concluded some old hunters were discharging their guns and laid down.
The next morning old man Hanley’s son told me to get out of sight as his father was sure to kill me on sight. Just then Joseph the Prophet was brought up in a wagon with the balance near to us at the tavern. I went up to the wagon and took him by the hand. We went across the square, I left him as he went into his house and shut the door. I returned half way back on the square. There were some brethren standing. They said, “Run. There comes old man Hanley with his gun. You know he will kill you.” He was close to us. I told them I could now run. I said to them, “don’t talk so loud for he will hear you.” Then I started directly towards him, passed close to him. I do believe he did not see me for I looked him directly in the eye. He went to those standing whom I left and asked them if they had seen Duncan. They answered yes, “You keep round the corner if you want to see him.” So he went on the run.
I went direct forward and passed the guard out of the bull pen. In about three days Bishop Knight learning of me, sent word where I could find him. He said when I went to him that he had prepared two horses and complete outfit (saddle, bridle, and money) and did not know what it was until he sent me word to come to him. The horse I rode into Far West was stolen. The question was which way to the most safety. My theory was to go into Jackson County. They said then you direct the move. I answered them we would go through unhurt. We started out, passed through Far West about sundown for Liberty, Clay County about three miles Far West. Gelam’s pass surrounded us. They were scouring the county to drive the brethren to Richmond, Ray County. It was said he had fifty or seventy-five men. I always considered that a miracle. After I had made my speech and cursed them in the name of Jesus Christ, I commanded them to open the rank and let us out, and so they did.
We passed on about five miles and called for breakfast, saddles off horses and commenced eating corn. Here came a squad of men whooping and swearing hats full of oaths–damn Mormons. I said to the Bishop, “Stand behind the trough and be shelling corn. Be careful, don’t let them catch your eye.” Saying, “I will face them.” I went out about 4 or 5 rods from where he was and met them. My conversation completely puzzled them, and I did not deny that we were Mormons. After some time they withdrew said, “We believe you are damn Mormons but we can’t prove it. If we were sure you were Mormons, we would massacre you right here.” This was a hard squad to pass. We stopped at Arrow Rock for the night. Here we found one of the Colonels of the Militia that was in command at Far West. He tried to entertain us with some Mormon literature that he had stolen at the printing office in Far West. Though they shortly said to him, “If you will excuse us we will retire as we are very tired.” We passed on to the bishop where we separated. I going on, intending to go to St. Louis. I was overtaken by a man and team and got a chance to ride to St. Louis.