TO CITIZENS AND CHRISTIANS OF THE UNITED STATES.
Friends and Brethren,–Your attention is earnestly requested to the following pamphlet.
It is no plea for Mormons. It is no defense of their creed, character or conduct. The Mormons are willing, for the present, that you should think evil of them, if it seems to you best. Their acts and purposes are known to God; and must sooner or later be known to men. They claim only the right of not being condemned unheard.
But whatever your opinion may be of them, individually or collectively, they know that you are ignorant of events which concern every free man of these states. They feel that it is their duty, as citizens and men, to expose to you the injustice they have received from the people, authorities, executive, and legislature of Missouri, and therefore they present to your consideration a collection of facts, relative to their late violent expulsion under Governor Boggs’ “exterminating order,” from the properties they had purchased, the fields they had improved, the homes they had built. This pamphlet is not a detailed history of their persecution, but a simple sketch of its leading incidents, as given in a Memorial to the Legislature of Missouri by an appointed committee of their brethren; to which are added statements under oath and explanatory illustrations. The editor of the pamphlet is John P. Greene, the authorized messenger of the Mormons, whose claims to confidence may be estimated from the following letter:–
Quincy, (Illinois,) May 8th, 1839.
To all whom it may concern,
The undersigned, citizens of Quincy, Illinois, take great pleasure in recommending to the favorable notice of the public, the bearer of this, John P. Greene. Mr. Greene is connected with the Church of “Mormons,” or “Latter-day Saints,” and makes a tour to the east for the purpose of raising means to relieve the sufferings of this unfortunate people; stripped as they have been of their all, and now scattered throughout this part of our state. We say to the charitable and benevolent, you need have no fears but your contributions in aid of humanity will be properly applied, if entrusted to the hands of Mr. Greene. He is authorized by his Church to act in the premises, and we most cordially bear testimony to his piety and worth as a citizen.
Very Respectfully yours.
SAMUEL HOLMES, Merchant,
I. N. MORRIS, Attorney at Law and Editor of Argus,
THOMAS CARLIN, Governor State of Illinois,
RICHARD M. YOUNG, U. S. Senator
L. V. RALSTON, M.D.,
SAMUEL LEECH, Receiver of Public Moneys,
HIRAM ROGERS, M. D.,
J. T. HOLMES, Merchant,
NICHOLAS WREN, County Clerk
C. M. WOODS, Clerk. Circuit Court, Adams County, Illinois.
Mr. Greene’s objects are two-fold. First, he wishes to make as widely known as possible to the citizens and Christians of the United States the wrongs, which mobocracy and intolerance have inflicted; and secondly, to collect contributions for the relief of the destitute.
The views of the Mormons may be more fully understood from the two following letters:
To the Editors of the Argus.
GENTLEMEN–Observing in the last week’s Whig, a communication over the names of Messrs. Rigdon and J. and H. Smith, in relation to the letters of Mr. Lyman Wight, which have lately appeared in that paper, and believing that the sentiments therein expressed, are in unison with those entertained by the body, of which we form a part, and feeling desirous to give publicity to the same, we should esteem it a favor if you would give it a place in your columns, and by so doing, you will oblige,
JOHN P. GREENE,
R. B. THOMPSON.
Commerce, May 17th, 1839.
To the Editors of the Quincy Whig.
GENTLEMEN–Some letters in your paper have appeared over the signature of Lyman Wight, in relation to our affairs with Missouri. We consider that it is Mr. Wight’s privilege to express his opinion in relation to political or religious matters, and we profess no authority in the case whatever; but we have thought, and do still think, that it is not doing our cause justice, to make a political question of it in any manner whatever. We have not at any time thought, that there was any political party as such, chargeable with the Missouri barbarities, neither any religious society as such.
They were committed by a mob, composed of all parties, regardless of all differences of opinion, either political or religious.
The determined stand in this state, and by the people of Quincy in particular, made against the lawless outrages of the Missouri mobbers, by all parties in politics and religion, have entitled them equally to our thanks and our profoundest regard; and such, gentlemen, we hope they will always receive from us. Favors of this kind ought to be engraven on the rock to last forever.
We wish to say to the public through your paper, that we disclaim any intention of making a political question of our difficulties with Missouri, believing that we are not justified in so doing. We ask the aid of all parties, both in politics and religion, to have justice done us to obtain redress of our grievances.
We think, gentlemen, in so saying we have the feelings of our people generally, however individuals may differ, and we wish you to consider the letters of Mr. Weight, as the feelings and views of an individual, but not of the society as such. We are satisfied that our people, as a body, disclaim all such sentiments, and feel themselves equally bound to both parties, in this state, as far as kindness is concerned, and good will; and also believe, that all political parties in Missouri are equally guilty. Should this note meet the public eye through the medium of your paper, it will much oblige your humble servants,
JOSEPH SMITH, JR.,
Fellow Citizens and Brethren! Turn not a deaf ear to this cry of the oppressed! The Mormons are outlawed, exiled, robbed; –they ask of your justice and your charity that you befriend them. They have suffered these outrages from mob violence; they bid you beware, lest licentiousness unreproved bring ruin to your own privileges. Law has been trampled down, and liberty of conscience violated, and all rights of citizenship and brotherhood outraged by the house-burnings, field-wastings, insults, whippings, murders, which they have suffered; and in the name of humanity and of heaven, they pray you to utter the indignant condemnation merited by such crimes.
We have no language sufficiently strong for the expression of our indignation and shame at the recent transaction in a sister state–and that state Missouri–a state of which we had long been proud, alike for her men and history, but now so fallen, that we could wish her star stricken out from the bright constellation of the Union. We say we know of no language sufficiently strong for the expression of our shame and abhorrence of her recent conduct. She has written her own character in letters of blood–and stained it by acts of merciless cruelty and brutality that the waters of ages cannot efface. It will be observed that an organized mob aided by many of the civil and military officers of Missouri, with Governor Boggs at their head, have been the prominent actors in this business, incited too, it appears, against the Mormons by political hatred, and by the additional motives of plunder and revenge. They have but too well put in execution their threats of extermination and expulsion, and fully wreaked their vengeance on a body of industrious and enterprising men, who had never wronged, nor wished to wrong them, but on the contrary had ever comported themselves as good and honest citizens, living under the same laws and having the same right with themselves to the sacred immunities of life, liberty, and property.
Proceedings in the town of Quincy for the purpose of affording relief to the people usually denominated “The Latter-day Saints.”
At a meeting of the Democratic Association, held on Saturday evening the 23rd ultimo, Mr. Lindsay introduced a resolution setting forth, that the people called “The Latter-day Saints,” were many of them in a situation requiring the aid of the citizens of Quincy, and recommending that measures be adopted for their relief; which resolution was adopted, and a committee consisting of eight persons appointed by the chair–of which committee J. W. Whitney was chairman. The association then adjourned to meet on Wednesday evening then next, after instructing the committee to procure the Congregational meeting-house as a place of meeting, and to invite as many of the people to attend the meeting as should choose to do so, in whose behalf the meeting was to be held, and also all others, citizens of the town. The committee not being able to obtain the meeting-house, procured the court house for that purpose.
Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 1839 6 o’clock, P.M.
The members of the Democratic Association, and the citizens of Quincy generally, assembled in the court house to take into consideration, the state and condition of the people called “The Latter-day Saints,” and organized the meeting by appointing General Leach chairman, and James D. Morgan secretary.
Mr. Whitney from the committee appointed at a former meeting, submitted the following report.
The select committee, to whom the subject was referred of inquiring into and reporting the situation of the persons who have recently arrived here from Missouri, and whether their circumstances are such, as that they would need the aid of the citizens of Quincy and its vicinity, to be guided by what they might deem the principles of an expanded benevolence, have attended to the duties assigned them and have concluded on the following
The first idea that occurred to your committee was to obtain correctly the facts of the case, for without them the committee could come to no conclusions, as to what it might be proper for us to do. Without them, they could form no basis upon which the committee might recommend to this association what would be proper for us to do, or what measures to adopt. The committee, soon after their appointment, sent invitations to Mr. Rigdon, and several others, to meet the committee and give them a statement of the facts, and to disclose their situation. Those individuals accordingly met the committee and entered into a free conversation and disclosure of the facts of their situation, and after some time spent therein, the committee concluded to adjourn and report to this meeting, but not without first requesting those individuals to draw up and send us, in writing, a condensed statement of the facts relative to the subjects in charge of your committee, which those individuals engaged to do, and which the committee request may be taken as part of their report. That statement is herewith lettered A.
The committee believed that our duties at this time, and on this occasion, are all included within the limits of an expanded benevolence and humanity, and which are guided and directed by that charity which never faileth. From the facts already disclosed, independent of the statement furnished to the committee, we feel it our duty to recommend to this association that they adopt the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the strangers recently arrived here from the State of Missouri, known by the name of “The Latter-day Saints,” are entitled to our sympathy and kindest regard, and that we recommend to the citizens of Quincy to extend to them all the kindness in their power to bestow, as persons who are in affliction.
Resolved, That a numerous committee be raised, composed of some individuals in every quarter of the town and its vicinity, whose duty it shall be to explain to our misguided fellow-citizens, if any such there be, who are disposed to excite prejudices and circulate unfounded rumors; and particularly to explain to them, that these people have no design to lower the wages of the laboring class, but to procure something to save them from starving.
Resolved, That a standing committee be raised, and be composed of individuals who shall immediately inform Mr. Rigdon and others, as many as they may think proper, of their appointment; and who shall be authorized to obtain information from time to time, and should they be of opinion that any individuals, either from destitution or sickness, or if they find them houseless, that they appeal directly and promptly to the citizens of Quincy to furnish them with the means to relieve all such cases.
Resolved, That the committee last aforesaid, be instructed to use their utmost endeavors to obtain employment for all these people who are able and willing to labor, and also to afford them all needful, suitable, and proper encouragement.
Resolved, That we recommend to all the citizens of Quincy, that in all their intercourse with the strangers, that they use and observe a becoming decorum and delicacy, and be particularly careful not to indulge in any conversation or expressions calculated to wound their feelings, or in any way to reflect upon those, who, by every law of humanity, are entitled to our sympathy and commiseration.
All which is submitted. J. W. WHITNEY, Ch’n.
Quincy, February 27, 1839 A.
This gentlemen, is a brief outline of the difficulties that we have labored under, in consequence of the repeated persecutions that have been heaped upon us; and as the governor’s exterminating order has not been rescinded, we, as a people, were obliged to leave the State, and with it, our lands, corn, wheat, pork &c., that we had provided for ourselves and families, together with our fodder, which we had collected for our cattle, horses, etc.,–those of them that we have been able to preserve from the wreck of that desolation which has spread itself over Daviess and Caldwell counties.
In consequence of our brethren’s being obliged to leave the State, and as a sympathy and friendly spirit has been manifested by the citizens of Quincy, numbers of our brethren, glad to obtain an asylum from the hand of persecution, have come to this place.
We cannot but express our feelings of gratitude to the inhabitants of this place for the friendly feelings which have been manifested, and the benevolent hand which has been stretched out to a poor, oppressed, injured, and persecuted people; and as you, gentlemen of the Democratic Association, have felt interested in our welfare, and have desired to be put in possession of a knowledge of our situation, our present wants, and what would be most conducive to our present good, together with what led to those difficulties, we thought that those documents would furnish you with as correct information of our difficulties and what led to them, as any that we are in possession of.
If we should say what our present wants are, it would be beyond all calculations, as we have been robbed of our corn, wheat, horses, cattle, cows, hogs, wearing apparel, houses and homes, and indeed, of all that renders life tolerable. We do not, we cannot expect to be placed in the situation that we once were, nor are we capable, of ourselves, of supplying the many wants of those of our poor brethren who are daily crowding here and looking to us for relief, in consequence of our property as well as theirs being in the hands of a ruthless and desolating mob.
It is impossible to give an exact account of the widows, and those that are entirely destitute, as there are so many coming here daily; but, from enquiry, the probable amount will be something near twenty, besides numbers of other who are able-bodied men, both able and willing to work, to obtain a subsistence, yet owing to their peculiar situation, are destitute of means to supply the immediate wants that the necessities of their families call for. We would not propose, gentlemen, what you shall do, but after making these statements, shall leave it to your own judgment and generosity.
to what we think would be the best means to promote our permanent good, we think that to give us employment, rent us farms and allow us the protection and privileges of other citizens, would raise us from a state of dependence, liberate us from the iron grasp of poverty, put us in possession of a competency and deliver us from the ruinous effects of persecution, despotism and tyranny.
Written in behalf of a committee of “The Latter-day Saints.”
E. HIGBEE, Pres.
J. P. GREENE, Clerk
To the Quincy Democratic Association.
Mr. Rigdon then made a statement of the wrongs received by the Mormons, from a portion of the people of Missouri, and of their present suffering condition.
On motion of Mr.Bushnell, the report and resolutions were laid upon the table, till tomorrow evening.
On motion of Mr. Bushnell, the meeting adjourned to meet at this place on tomorrow evening, at seven o’clock.
THURSDAY EVENING, Feb. 28. Met pursuant to adjournment.
The meeting was called to order by the chairman.
On motion of Mr. Morris, a committee of three was appointed to take up a collection; Messrs. J. T. Holmes, Whitney, and Morris, was appointed.
The committee subsequently reported that $48.25 cents had been collected.
On motion, the amount was paid over to the committee on behalf of the Mormons.
On motion of Mr. Holmes, a committee of three, consisting of S. Holmes, Bushnell, and Morris, were appointed to draw up subscription papers and circulate them among the citizens, for the purpose of receiving contributions in clothing and provisions.
On motion, 6 were added to that committee.
On motion of J. T. Holmes, J. D. Morgan was appointed a committee to wait upon the Quincy Greys, for the purpose of receiving subscriptions.
Mr. Morgan subsequently reported that twenty dollars had been subscribed by that company.
The following resolutions were then offered by Mr. J. T. Holmes:
Resolved, That we regard the rights of conscience as natural and inalienable, and the most sacred guaranteed by the constitution of our free government.
Resolved, That we regard the acts of all mobs as flagrant violations of law, and those who compose them, individually responsible, both to the laws of God or man for every depredation committed upon the property, rights, or life of any citizen.
Resolved, That the inhabitants upon the western frontier of the state of Missouri in their late persecutions of the class of people denominated Mormons, have violated the sacred rights of conscience, and every law of justice and humanity.
Resolved, That the Governor of Missouri, in refusing protection to this class of people when pressed upon by an heartless mob, and turning upon them a band of unprincipled militia, with orders encouraging their extermination, has brought a lasting disgrace upon the state over which he presides.
The resolutions were supported in a spirited manner by Messrs. Holmes, Morris and Whitney.
On motion the resolutions were adopted.
On motion the meeting then adjourned.
SAM’L. LEACH, Ch’n. H. D. MORGAN, Secretary.
We, the undersigned petitioners, inhabitants of Caldwell County, Missouri, in consequence of the late calamity that has come upon us, taken in connection with former afflictions, feel it a duty we owe to ourselves and our country, to lay our case before your honorable body for consideration.
It is a well-known fact, that a society of our people commenced settling in Jackson County, Missouri, in the summer of 1831, where they, according to their ability, purchased lands and settled upon them with the intention and expectation of becoming permanent citizens in common with others.
Soon after the settlement began, persecution began, and as the society increased persecution also increased, until the society at last was compelled to leave the county. And although an account of these persecutions has been published to the world, yet we feel that it will not be improper to notice a few of the most prominent items in this memorial.
On the 20th of July 1833, a mob convened at Independence, a committee of which called upon a few of the men of our church there, and stated to them that the store, printing office, and indeed all other mechanic shops must be closed forthwith, and the society leave the county immediately. These propositions were so unexpected, that a certain time was asked for to consider on the subject before an answer should be returned, which was refused, and our men being individually interrogated, each one answered that he could not consent to comply with their propositions. One of the mob replied that he was sorry, for the work of destruction would commence immediately. In a short time, the printing office, which was a two-story brick building, was assailed by the mob and soon thrown down, and with it much valuable property destroyed. Next they went to the store for the same purpose, but Mr. Gilbert, one of the owners, agreeing to close it, they abandoned their design. Their next move was their dragging of Bishop Partridge from his house and family to the public square, where, surrounded by hundreds, they partially stripped him of his clothes, and tarred and feathered him from head to foot. A man by the name of Allan was also tarred at the same time. This was Saturday, and the mob agreed to meet the following Tuesday, to accomplish their purpose of driving or massacring the society. (A) Tuesday came, and the mob came also, bearing with them a red flag in token of blood. Some two or three of the principal men of the society offered their lives, if that would appease the wrath of the mob, so that the rest of the society might dwell in peace upon their lands. The answer was, that unless the society would leave “en masse,” every man should die for himself. Being in a defenseless situation, to save a general massacre, it was agreed that one half of the society should leave the county by the first of the next January, and the remainder by the first of the following April. A treaty was entered into and ratified, and all things went on smoothly for a while. But some time in October (B) the wrath of the mob began again to be kindled, insomuch, that they shot at some of our people, whipped others, and threw down their houses, and committed many other depredations; indeed the society of saints were harassed for some time both day and night–their houses were brickbatted and broken open–women and children insulted, &c. The store house of A. S. Gilbert & Co. was broken open, ransacked, and some of the goods strewed in the streets. These abuses, with many others of a very aggravated nature, so stirred up the indignant feelings of our people, that a party of them, say about 30, met a company of the mob of about double their number, when a battle took place in which some two or three of the mob and one of our people were killed. (C) This raised as it were the whole county in arms, and nothing would satisfy them but an immediate surrender of the arms of our people, and they forthwith to leave the county–Fifty-one guns were given up, which have never been returned or paid for to this day. The next day parties of the mob, from 30 to 70, headed by priests, (D) went from house to house, threatening women and children and death if they were not off before they returned. This so alarmed them, that they fled in different directions; some took shelter in the woods, while others wandered in the prairies till their feet bled. In the mean time the weather being very cold, sufferings in other respects were very great. (E)
The society made their escape to Clay County as fast as they possibly could, where the people received them kindly, and administered to their wants. After the society had left Jackson County, their buildings, amounting to about two hundred, were either burned or otherwise destroyed, and much of their crops, as well as furniture, stock, etc., which, if properly estimated, would make a large sum, for which they have not as yet received any remuneration. (F) The society remained in Clay County nearly three years; when, at the suggestion of the people there, they removed to that section of country known now as Caldwell County. Here the people purchased out most of the former inhabitants, and also entered much of the wild land. Many soon owned a number of eighties, while there was scarcely a man that did not secure to himself at least a forty. Here we were permitted to enjoy peace for a season, but as our society increased in numbers, and settlements were made in Daviess and Carroll Counties, the mob spirit spread itself again. (G) For months previous to our giving up our arms to General Lucas’ army, we heard little else than rumors of mobs, collecting in different places, and threatening our people. It is well known that the people of our church who had located themselves at DeWitt, had to give up to a mob and leave the place, notwithstanding the militia were called out for their protection. From DeWitt the mob went towards Daviess County, and while on their way there they took two of our men prisoners and made them ride upon the cannon, and told them that they would drive the Mormons from Daviess to Caldwell and from Caldwell to hell, and that they would give them no quarter only at the cannon’s mouth. (H) The threats of the mob induced some of our people to go to Daviess to help to protect their brethren who had settled at Adam-ondi-Ahman, on Grand River.
The mob soon fled from Daviess County: and after they were dispersed and the cannon taken, during which time no blood was shed, the people of Caldwell returned to their homes in hopes of enjoying peace and quiet; but in this they were disappointed, for a large mob was soon found to be collecting on the Grindstone, from ten to fifteen miles off, under the command of C. Gillman, a scouting party of which, came within four miles of Far West, and drove off stock belonging to our people, in open day light. About this time word came to Far West that a party of the mob had come into Caldwell County to the south of Far West–that they were taking horses and cattle–burning houses, and ordering the inhabitants to leave their homes immediately–and that they had then actually in their possession three men prisoners. This report reached Far West in the evening and was confirmed about midnight. A company of about sixty men went forth under the command of David W. Patten, to disperse the mob, as they supposed. A battle [Crooked River] was the result, in which Captain Patten and two of his men were killed, and others wounded. Bogart, it appears, had but one killed and others wounded. Notwithstanding the unlawful acts committed by Captain Bogart’s men previous to the battle, it is now asserted and claimed that he was regularly ordered out as a militia captain, to preserve the peace along the line of Ray and Caldwell Counties. That battle was fought four or five days previous to the arrival of General Lucas and his army. About the time of the battle with Captain Bogart, a number of our people who were living near Haun’s Mill, on Shoal Creek, about twenty miles below Far West, together with a number of emigrants who had been stopped there in consequence of the excitement, made an agreement with the mob which was about there, that neither party would molest the other, but dwell in peace. Shortly after this agreement was made, a mob party of from two to three hundred, many of whom are supposed to be from Chariton County, some from Daviess, and also those who had agreed to dwell in peace, came upon our people there, whose number in men was about forty, at a time they little expected any such thing, and without any ceremony, notwithstanding they begged for quarters, shot them down as they would tigers or panthers. Some few made their escape by fleeing. Eighteen were killed, and a number more severely wounded. (I)
This tragedy was conducted in the most brutal and savage manner. An old man, after the massacre was partially over, threw himself into their hands and begged for quarters, when he was instantly shot down; that not killing him, they took an old corn cutter and literally mangled him to pieces. (J) A lad of ten years of age, after being shot down, also begged to be spared, when one of them placed the muzzle of his gun to his head and blew out his brains. The slaughter of these people not satisfying the mob, they then proceeded to mob and plunder the people. The scene that presented itself after the massacre, to the widows and orphans of the killed, is beyond description. It was truly a time of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation. As yet, we have not heard of any being arrested for these murders, notwithstanding there are men boasting about the country, that they did kill on that occasion more than one Mormon, whereas, all our people who were in the battle with Captain Patten against Bogart, that can be found, have been arrested, and are now confined in jail to await their trial for murder.
(K) When General Lucas arrived near Far West, and presented the governor’s order, (L) we were greatly surprised, yet we felt willing to submit to the authorities of the state. We gave up our arms without reluctance; we were then made prisoners, and confined to the limits of the town for about a week, during which time the men from the country were not permitted to go to their families, many of whom were in a suffering condition for the want of food and firewood, the weather being very cold and stormy. Much property was destroyed by the troops in town, during their stay there: such as burning house-logs, rails, corn-cribs, boards etc., the using of corn and hay, the plundering of houses, the killing of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and also the taking of horses not their own, and all this without regard to owners, or asking leave of any one. In the mean time, men were abused, women insulted and abused by the troops, and all this, while we were kept prisoners. Whilst the town was guarded, we were called together by the order of General Lucas, and a guard placed close around us, and in that situation, were compelled to sign a deed of trust for the purpose of making our individual property all holden, as they said, to pay all the debts of every individual belonging to the church, and also to pay for all damages the old inhabitants of Daviess may have sustained in consequence of the late difficulties in that county. (M)
General Clark was now arrived, and the first important move made by him was the collecting of our men together on the square, and selected out about fifty of them, whom he immediately marched into a house, and confined close; this was done without the aid of the sheriff, or any legal process. The next day 46 of those taken, were driven like a parcel of menial slaves, off to Richmond, not knowing why they were taken, or what they were taken for. (N) After being confined in Richmond more than two weeks, about one half were liberated; the rest, after another week’s confinement, were, most of them, required to appear at court, and have since been let to bail. Since General Clark withdrew his troops from Far West, parties of armed men have gone through the county, driving off horses, sheep, and cattle, and also plundering houses. The barbarity of General Lucas’ troops ought not to be passed over in silence. They shot our cattle and hogs, merely for the sake of destroying them, leaving them for the ravens to eat. They took prisoner an aged man by the name of Tanner, and without any reason for it he was struck over the head with a gun, which laid his skull bare. Another man by the name of Carey was also taken prisoner by them, and without any provocation had his brains dashed out with a gun. He was laid in a wagon, and there permitted to remain, for the space of 24 hours, during which time no one was permitted to administer to his comfort or consolation, and after he was removed from that situation he lived but a few hours. (O) The destruction of property, at and about Far West, is very great. Many are stripped bare as it were, and others partially so; indeed, take us as a body, at this time, we are a poor and afflicted people, and if we are compelled to leave the state in the spring, many, yes, a large portion of our society, will have to be removed at the expense of the State, as those who otherwise might have helped them, are now debarred that privilege in consequence of the deed of trust we were compelled to sign, which deed so operates upon our real estate, that it will sell for but little or nothing at this time. (P) We have now made a brief statement of some of the most prominent features of the troubles that have befallen our people since their first settlement in this state, and we believe that these persecutions have come in consequence of our religious faith, and not for any immorality on our part. That instances have been of late, where individuals have trespassed upon the rights of others, and thereby broken the laws of the land, we will not pretend to deny, but yet we do believe that no crime can be substantiated against any of the people who have a standing in our church, of an earlier date than the difficulties in Daviess County. And when it is considered that the rights of this people have been trampled upon from time to time, with impunity, and abuses heaped upon them almost innumerable, it ought, in some degree, to palliate for any infraction of the law, which may have been made on the part of our people.
The late order of Governor Boggs, to drive us from this state, or exterminate us, is a thing so novel, unlawful, tyrannical and oppressive, that we have been induced to draw up this memorial and present this statement of our case to your honorable body, praying that a law may be passed, rescinding the order of the governor to drive us from the state, and also giving us the sanction of the Legislature to inherit our lands in peace–we ask an expression of the Legislature, disapproving the conduct of those who compelled us to sign a deed of trust, and also disapproving of any man or set of men, taking our property in consequence of that deed of trust, and appropriating it to the payment of debts not contracted by us, or for the payment of damages sustained in consequence of trespasses committed by others. We have no common stock, our property is individual property, and we feel willing to pay our debts as other individuals do, but we are not willing to be bound for other people’s debts also.
The arms which were taken from us here, which we understand to be about 630, besides swords and pistols, we care not so much about, as we do the pay for them; only we are bound to do military duty, which we are willing to do, and which we think was sufficiently manifested by the raising of a volunteer company last fall, at Far West, when called upon by General Parks, to raise troops for the frontier. The arms given up by us, we consider were worth between twelve and fifteen thousand dollars, but we understand they have been greatly damaged since taken, and at this time, probably would not bring near their former value. And as they were, both here and in Jackson County, taken by the militia, and consequently by the authority of the state, we therefore ask your honorable body to cause an appropriation to be made by law, whereby we may be paid for them, or otherwise have them returned to us and the damages made good. The losses sustained by our people in leaving Jackson County, are so situated that it is impossible to obtain any compensation for them by law, because those who have sustained them are unable to prove those trespasses upon individuals. That the facts do exist,–that the buildings, crops, stock, furniture, rails, timber, etc. of the society, have been destroyed in Jackson County, is not doubted by those who are acquainted in this upper country, and since these trespasses cannot be proved upon individuals, we ask your honorable body to consider this case, and if, in your liberality and wisdom, you can conceive it to be proper to make an appropriation by law to these sufferers, many of whom are still pressed down with poverty in consequence of their losses, would be able to pay their debts, and also in some degree be relieved from poverty and woe, whilst the widows heart would be made to rejoice and the orphans tear measurable dried up, and the prayers of a grateful people ascended on high, with thanksgiving and praise, to the author of our existence, for that beneficent act. (Q) (R)
In laying our case before your honorable body, we say that we are willing, and ever have been to conform to the constitution and laws of the United States, and of this State. We ask in common with others, the protection of the laws. We ask for the privilege guaranteed to all free citizens of the United States and of this State to be extended to us, that we may be permitted to settle and live where we please, and worship God according to the dictates of our conscience without molestation. And while we ask for ourselves this privilege we are willing all others should enjoy the same.
We now lay our case at the feet of your legislature, and ask your honorable body to consider it, and do for us, after mature deliberation, that which your wisdom, patriotism, and philanthropy may dictate. And we, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.
HEBER C. KIMBALL,
GEORGE W. HARRIS,
JOHN M. BURK.
A committee appointed by the citizens of Caldwell County to draft this memorial, and sign it in their behalf.
Far West, Caldwell Co., Mo., Dec. 10, 1838.
JOHN P. GREENE.
On Tuesday , when the mob again assembled, they went to the houses of several of the leading Mormons; and, taking Isaac Morley, David Whitmer, and others, they told them to bid their families farewell, for they would never see them again. Then driving them at the point of the bayonet to the public square, they stripped and tarred and feathered them, amidst menaces and insults. The commanding officer then called twelve of his men, and ordering them to cock their guns and present them at the prisoner’s breasts, and to be ready to fire when he gave the word,–he addressed the prisoners, threatening them with instant death, unless they denied the book of Mormon and confessed it to be a fraud; at the same time adding, that if they did so, they might enjoy the privileges of citizens. David Whitmer, hereupon, lifted up his hands and bore witness that the Book of Mormon was the Word of God. The mob then let them go.
A meeting of the people in Independence was held, and the mob entered into an agreement to drive the Mormons from the county or die. Very inflammatory language was used by Mr. Childs and Mr. Brazill. The latter of whom swore that he would expel them if he had to wade up to his neck in blood. It was the excitement produced by this meeting, and under these threatening circumstances, that the Mormons first placed themselves in an attitude of defence.
It is here to be particularly noted, that Lilburn W. Boggs, then Lieutenant Governor, was acting in concert with the militia officer, who headed this attack upon the Mormons, and assisted in making the treaty by which they pledged themselves to give up their guns and leave the county, on condition that they should be protected from all wrong and insult while so doing.
“Instigated by the press and pulpit, or, what is still worse, by the personal examples of some of the clergy, who actually marched with rifle in hand, at the head of parties of the mob, and afterwards published an excuse, in order to justify the mob in such awful wickedness;–(among other clergymen, who were personally engaged in such conduct, I would identify the Rev. Isaac McCoy, a noted missionary to the Indians.”) P. P. Pratt.
Horrible to relate, several women thus driven from their homes gave birth to children in the woods and on the prairies, destitute of beds or clothing, having escaped in fright. It is stated, on the authority of Solomon Hancock, an eye-witness, that he, with the assistance of two or three others, protected 120 women and children, for the space of 8 or 10 days, who were obliged to keep themselves hid from their pursuers, while they were hourly expecting to be massacred–and who finally escaped into Clay County, by finding a circuitous route to the ferry.
Several persons, who returned for the purpose of securing the remnants of their property, were caught, and cruelly beaten. A Mr. Leonard was so beaten, that from head to foot he was left perfectly raw, and for months was unable to lie upon his back. Another was tied up and whipped in such an inhuman manner, that his bowels gushed, out and he died on the spot. The mob in Jackson County were not satisfied with their injuries. They often crossed the river and insulted, outraged, and plundered their victims–until such commotion was produced, that the inhabitants of Clay County were compelled to hold a meeting and invite the Mormons to seek another home.
After their removal into Caldwell and Daviess counties, the Mormons were allowed to enjoy comparative quiet. The circumstances attending their settlement in Caldwell County were as follows: As it was found that difficulty arose when they were residing in other communities, it seemed better that they should live apart. Petitions were, in consequence, sent into the Legislature, and by them granted, that a county should be set off for their good; and Caldwell County was assigned to them as a place of residence. Here they were allowed to organize the government for the county. Of the officers then appointed, two of the judges, thirteen magistrates, and all the military officers, and the county clerk, were Mormons. These steps were taken, be it carefully observed, by the advice of the State Legislature; and the officers were appointed in the manner directed by law. The county town of Caldwell was Far West.
Early in August, at the State election in Daviess County, at the town of Gallatin, after the polls were opened, Mr. William Peniston, candidate for Representative to the State Legislature, stood upon the head of a barrel, and harangued the people. His speech was made up of attack and threats upon the Mormons, during which, with most degrading epithets, he accused them of being horse-thieves and robbers, and swore that they should not vote in that county. This language, as might naturally be expected, produced some feeling of indignation among the Mormons, who were present. Thereupon, a Mormon, Mr. Samuel Brown, replied to those near him, that the assertions were untrue, and that he intended to exercise his rights as a citizen; he was immediately struck at by R. Weldin, who threatened him for his impertinence, and, as he was attempting to repeat the blow, was caught by the arm by another Mormon, whose name was Durfee. Eight or ten men with clubs and staves fell upon Durfee, knocked him down, and a general engagement ensued, in which clubs, bricks, and dirks, were freely used. Finding the Mormons resolute, a compromise was effected, and their rights of voting being granted, the election proceeded, was concluded in peace, and all returned in quiet to their homes.
Meanwhile the election had been going on in Caldwell County.
The day following the election, two or three successive messengers, who, be it observed, were not Mormons, rode into Far West, (the county town of Caldwell), and spread the report that there had been a battle in Gallatin, and that several of the Mormons had been killed, and their bodies refused their friends for burial, and left upon the ground. This, as afterwards appeared, was a mere deceit, to lure them into violence. The news created much excitement, and 75 or 100 individuals determined to go in small parties and separately, to Adam-ondi-Ahman, and inquire into the truth of the report, where, on arriving, they were informed of the real state of the case. Fearing, however, that farther trouble might grow out of the affair, and desirous, if possible, to prevent it, and individual went to Adam Black, justice of the peace, and proposed that an agreement should be entered into to keep the peace on both sides. Mr. Black acceded to the proposal, and requested that Messrs. Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight should come to his house, and confirm the contract. The paper was drawn up by Mr. Black, and signed by both parties, and the Mormons returned to Far West, the same day, rejoicing in the thought that the difficulty was settled, as they hoped much good from Mr. Black’s influence. The news of this agreement having gone abroad, some citizens of Daviess County were greatly dissatisfied that Mr. Black had taken it upon himself to enter into it without their authority–whereupon, Mr. Black, to appease them, went to Austin A. King, Circuit Judge, and obtained a writ for the apprehension of Smith and Wight, under the charge that they and others, with threats of violence, had compelled him to sign the agreement. They gave themselves up and were brought before Judge King to Gallatin; and although no charge against them was sustained, yet to pacify the mob, who had meantime collected in great numbers, they were put under their own bonds although no security whatever was demanded, (Judge King thus showing that he thought nothing of the accusation), to appear at the next court term. It should be distinctly stated that Joseph Smith, being a resident of Caldwell County, could not have been taken under the writ, but voluntarily submitted himself to the court. After the examination they returned home. Meanwhile Wight was constantly threatened with violence.
The excitement continued to increase, until a mob of about three hundred armed men from Daviess and other counties was collected, who made prisoners of some of the Mormons, shooting and driving away their cattle, and threatening to exterminate or expel them from the county unless they would deny their faith. The conduct of the rioters became so alarming, that it was found necessary for Maj. Gen. Atchison to call out the militia from Ray and Clay counties, under the command of Generals Doniphan and Parks.
In order that it may be fully understood what were the relative states of mind of the Mormons and the people of Daviess County, at this time, reference may be made to a letter from Major George Woodward to his wife, which was seen and read by me, John P. Greene, to whom Mrs. Woodward showed it. It was dated headquarters, Daviess County. He says, that after having been patrolling Daviess County for the last two days, for the purpose of ascertaining where the fault lay, and who were under arms, he had found many of the people of Daviess and other counties armed and apparently hostile to the Mormons; and that having visited the city of Adam-ondi-Ahman, to his great astonishment, instead of block-houses and entrenchments and cannon, as had been reported by the citizens of Daviess County, he had found a poor but industrious people, living in pole houses, and no men under arms, but each engaged about his own business. He continues he is surprised to see such violence of feeling existing against a people who seem so inoffensive.
Gen. Atchison stationed Gen. Parks, with his detachment, to remain in Daviess County 30 days, to keep the peace, as he found it was impossible for the militia to control the mob. Meanwhile, the Mormons in Caldwell County were relieved from all apprehension, being satisfied that the troops would not be removed until the difficulties were settled. In these hopes, however, they were sadly disappointed. The mob finding themselves prevented from perpetrating farther outrages in Daviess County, collected at DeWitt, (where the Mormons had a small settlement,) with increased force, a reinforcement from Jackson County, with a six pounder, having joined them. Here they proceeded to burn houses, shoot cattle, destroy property, threaten lives, and even fire at Mormons. Gen. Parks, hearing of their new attack, moved at once with his troops to DeWitt. The mob, however, had now become so strong that they put him at defiance, and declared that they were a mob–that they would make no compromise except on the condition of the Mormons quitting the state, and that otherwise they would exterminate them. The leaders of this mob were Major Ashby, a member of the legislature, and Sashiel Woods, a Presbyterian clergyman. Meanwhile, Gen. Atchison, hearing of the situation of the Mormons, (who were now hemmed in by the mob between the Missouri and Grand rivers, near their junction,) went down to De Wit; and, by his advice, they sent a petition to Gov. Boggs, requesting his protection, who returned for answer, that he could give them no assistance, but that they must fight their own battle for themselves. The Mormons were therefore compelled, at great loss of property, to evacuate the place, and fly to Far West, in Caldwell County.
At this time, General Doniphan, with 200 men, on his way to Daviess County, to intercept the mob, came to Far West, where he and his men encamped for the night. He held consultation with the civil and military officers of Caldwell County, who, be it remembered, although Mormons, were still commissioned by the state, and advised them to collect under arms and march to Daviess County, to defend the Mormons there from the depredations of the mob. He also stated that Gen. Parks, with his men, were on the way for Daviess County. In consequence of this advice, some of them did arm and march, while others remained under arms in Caldwell County.
And here we wish particularly to call attention to the fact, that the Mormons in Caldwell were the regular state militia for that county, and were at this time acting under the legal authorities of the county. To prove that they were distinctly regarded by the executive as the state militia, we relate the fact, that, sometime in September last, Gen. Parks being ordered to collect a body of troops out of his brigade, which should be ready to march to the frontier in case of aggression from Indians, called for a company of 60 men from Caldwell County; whereupon, 300 volunteers, (all Mormons,) presented themselves, from whom he selected his company of minute-men.
The Mormons (the state militia acting under the authorities of the county,) marched into Daviess County and encamped for the night, where they were met the next morning by Gen. Parks. Nothing of importance occurred during the day; Gen. P. making all possible inquiries to learn the true situation of affairs. The night following, a party of the mob under the command of C. Gilliam, burned seven Mormon houses west of Grand river, turning the families, women and children, out of doors. The appearance in the camp the next morning of these poor people who had been obliged to wade the river and march through snow during the night, excited much indignation. They were carried before Gen. Parks, who, having examined them, called upon Col. Wight and ordered him to sent out his troops (the militia, although Mormons,) and disperse the mob. This was done. The mob were met and scattered without a gun’s being fired, and their cannon taken. The mob left many houses burning, which they had set on fire before they had fled. These houses belonged to the Mormons, they having purchased the pre-emption rights from the people of Daviess County. The mob fled into other counties, spreading the report that the Mormons were massacring the people of Daviess County, and burning their property. The troops (the Mormon state militia,) now marched back to Caldwell, hoping that as the mob had dispersed, there would be peace. But in this they were disappointed. On the very evening of their arrival, they learned that a large mob had collected to the south of Far West, in Ray County, under the command of Samuel Bogart, a Methodist clergyman. The report was, that they were plundering and burning houses, taking the arms of Mormons, &c. About 12 o’clock an express came in bringing intelligence that Bogart had made three men prisoners, one of whom only was a Mormon; upon which alarm two or three hundred men collected upon the public square at Fort West [Battle of Crooked River]. Elias Higbee, the first judge of the county now commanded the militia officers to go out and re-take the prisoners; and Capt. David W. Patten, with about 60 men (all Mormons) obeyed the order. As they were passing through a thin piece of woods, and had, without knowing it, approached near Bogart’s encampment, the guard stationed there by the mob fired without giving any warning, killing one of Capt. Patten’s men. The mob was routed; but before they fled they placed the Mormon prisoner in their front and shot him. He was wounded severely, though he afterward recovered. The Mormon troops here took about 40 horses, deserted by the mob. One of the Mormons, who had been killed during the battle, and buried on the field, was afterwards dug up by the ruffians, and literally hacked to pieces with a sword. The remains were collected and buried, after they had gone, by his friends.
The following is a short history of my travels to the state of Missouri, and of a bloody tragedy acted at Haun’s Mill, or Shoal creek, October 30th, 1838.
On the 6th day of July last, I started with my family from Kirtland, Ohio, for the state of Missouri, the county of Caldwell, in the upper part of the state, being the place of my destination. On the 13th of Oct. I crossed the Mississippi at Louisiana, at which place I heard vague reports of the disturbances in the upper country, but nothing that could be relied upon. I continued my course westward till I crossed Grand River, at a place called Compton’s Ferry; at which place I heard, for the first time, that if I proceeded any farther on my journey, I would be in danger of being stopped by a body of armed men. I was not willing, however, while treading my native soil, and breathing republican air, to abandon my object; which was to locate myself and family in a fine healthy country, where we could enjoy the society of our friends and connections. Consequently, I prosecuted my journey till I came to Whitney’s mills, situated on Shoal creek, in the eastern part of Caldwell County. After crossing the creek and going about three miles, we met a part of the mob, about 40 in number, armed with rifles, and mounted on horses, who informed us that we could go no farther west– threatening us with instant death if we proceeded any farther. I asked them the reason for this prohibition, to which they replied, that we were Mormons, and that every one who adhered to our religious faith would have to leave the state in ten days or renounce their religion. Accordingly, they drove us back to the mills above mentioned.
Here we tarried three days; and, on Friday, the 26th, we re-crossed the creek, and following up its banks, we succeeded in eluding the mob for the time being, and gained the residence of a friend in Myers’ settlement. On Sunday, 28th Oct., we arrived, about 12 o’clock, at Haun’s mills, where we found a number of our friends collected together, who were holding a council, and deliberating upon the best course for them to pursue, to defend themselves against the mob, who were collecting in the neighborhood, under the command of Col. Jennings, of Livingston, and threatening them with house-burning and killing. The decision of the council was, that our friends there should place themselves in an attitude of self-defence.
Accordingly, about 28 of our men armed themselves, and were in constant readiness for an attack of any small body of men that might come upon them. The same evening, for some reason, best known to themselves, the mob sent one of their number to enter into a treaty with our friends, which was accepted, on the condition of mutual forbearance on both sides, and that each party, as far as their influence extended, should exert themselves to prevent any farther hostilities upon either party.
At this time, however, there was another mob collecting on Grand river, at William Mann’s, who were threatening us, consequently we remained under arms on Monday, the 29th, which passed away without molestation from any quarter. On Tuesday, the 30th, that bloody tragedy was acted; the scenes of which I shall never forget. More than three-fourths of the day had passed in tranquility, as smiling as the preceding one. I think there was no individual of our company that was apprised of the sudden and awful fate that hung over our heads like an overwhelming torrent, which was to change the prospects, the feelings, and circumstances, of about 30 families. The banks of Shoal creek, on either side, teemed with children, sporting and playing, while their mothers were engaged in domestic employments, and their father employed in guarding the mills, and other property, while others were engaged in gathering in their crops for their winter consumption. The weather was very pleasant–the sun shone clear –all was tranquil; and no one expressed any apprehension of the awful crisis that was near us–even at our doors.
It was about 4 o’clock, while sitting in my cabin with my babe in my arms, and my wife standing by my side, the door being open, I cast my eyes on the opposite bank of Shoal creek, and saw a large company of armed men, on horses, directing their course towards the mills with all possible speed. As they advanced through the scattering trees that stood on the edge of the prairie, they seemed to form themselves into a three-square position, forming a van-guard in front. At this moment, David Evans, seeing the superiority of their numbers, (their being 240 of them, according to their own account,) swung his hat, and cried for peace. This not being heeded, they continued to advance, and their leader, Mr. Comstock, fired a gun, which was followed by a solemn pause of ten or twelve seconds, when, all at once, they discharged about 100 rifles, aiming at a blacksmith shop into which our friends had fled for safety; and charging up to the shop, the cracks of which between the logs were sufficiently large to enable them to aim directly at the bodies of those who had there fled for refuge from the fire of their murderers. There were several families tented in rear of the shop, whose lives were exposed, and amidst a shower of bullets fled to the woods in different directions.
After standing and gazing on this bloody scene for a few minutes, and finding myself in the uttermost danger, the bullets having reached the house where I was living, I committed my family to the protection of Heaven, and leaving the house on the opposite side, I took a path which led up the hill, following in the trail of three of my brethren that had fled from the shop. While ascending the hill we were discovered by the mob, who immediately fired at us, and continued so to do till we reached the summit. In descending the hill I secreted myself in a thicket of bushes, where I lay till eight o’clock in the evening, at which time I heard a female voice calling my name in an undertone, telling me that the mob had gone, and there was no danger. I immediately left the thicket, and went to the house of Benjamin Lewis, where I found my family, (who had fled there,) in safety, and two of my friends, mortally wounded, one of whom died before morning.
Here we passed the painful night in deep and awful reflections on the scenes of the preceding evening. After day-light appeared, some four or five men, with myself, who had escaped with our lives from the horrid massacre, repaired as soon as possible to the mills, to learn the condition of our friends, whose fate we had but too truly anticipated.
When we arrived at the house of Mr. Haun, we found Mr. Merrick’s body lying in rear of the house;–Mr. McBrides in front, literally mangled from head to foot. We were informed by Miss Rebecca Judd, who was an eye witness, that he was shot with his own gun, after he had given it up, and then cut to pieces with a corn cutter, by a Mr. Rogers, of Daviess County, who keeps a ferry on Grand river, and who has since repeatedly boasted of this act of savage barbarity. Mr. York’s body was found in the house, and after viewing these corpses, we immediately went to the blacksmith shop, where we found nine of our friends, eight of whom were already dead; the other, Mr. Cox, of Indiana, struggling in the agonies of death, who expired. We immediately prepared and carried them to the place of interment. This last office of kindness due to the relics of departed friends, was not attended with the customary ceremonies, nor decency, for we were in jeopardy, every moment expecting to be fired upon by the mob, who, we supposed, were lying in ambush, waiting for the first opportunity to dispatch the remaining few who were providentially preserved from the slaughter of the preceding day. However, we accomplished, without molestation, this painful task. The place of burying was a vault in the ground, formerly intended for a well, into which we threw the bodies of our friends promiscuously.
Among those slain I will mention Sardius Smith, son of Warren Smith, about 9 years old, who, through fear, had crawled under the bellows in the shop, where he remained till the massacre was over, when he was discovered by a Mr. Glaze of Carroll County, who presented his rifle near the boy’s head and literally blew off the upper part of it. Mr. Stanley of Carroll told me afterward that Glaze boasted of this fiendlike murder and heroic deed all over the country.
The number killed and mortally wounded in this wanton slaughter was 18 or 19, whose names, as far as I recollect, were as follows: Thomas McBride, Levi Merrick, Elias Benner, Josiah Fuller, Benjamin Lewis, Alexander Campbell, Warren Smith, Sardius Smith, George Richards, Mr. Napier, Mr. Harmer, Mr. Cox, Mr. Abbott, Mr. York, Wm. Merrick, (a boy 8 or 9 years old,) and three or four others, whose names I do not recollect, as they were strangers to me.
Among the wounded who recovered were Isaac Laney, Nathan K. Knight, Mr. Yokum, two brothers by the name of Myers, Tarlton Lewis, Mr. Honn, and several others. Miss Mary Stedwell while fleeing was shot through the hand, and fainting, fell over a log, into which they shot upwards of twenty balls.
To finish their work of destruction this band of murderers composed of men from Daviess, Livingston, Ray, Carroll and Chariton counties, led by some of the principal men of that section of the upper country, (among whom I am informed were Mr. Ashby from Chariton, member of the state legislature, Col. Jennings of Livingston County, Thomas O. Bryon, Clerk of Livingston co., Mr. Whitney, Dr. Randall, and many others,) proceeded to rob the houses, wagons and tents, of bedding and clothing, drove off horses and wagons, leaving widows and orphans destitute of the necessaries of life, and even stripped the clothing from the bodies of the slain!
According to their own account, they fired seven rounds in this awful butchery, making upwards of sixteen hundred shots at a little company of men, about thirty in number.
I hereby certify the above to be a true statement of facts according to the best of my knowledge.
STATE OF ILLINOIS,
COUNTY OF ADAMS
I hereby certify that Joseph Young this day came before me and made oath in due form of law that the statements contained in the foregoing sheets are true according to the best of his knowledge and belief. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Seal of the Circuit Court at Quincy this fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine.
C. M. WOODS,
Clerk Circuit Court Adams Co. Ill.
A younger brother of the boy here killed, aged eight, was shot through the hip. The little fellow himself states, that seeing his father and brother both killed, he thought they would shoot him again if he stirred, and so feigned himself dead, and lay perfectly still, till he heard his mother call him after dark.
It must be constantly recollected, that the Mormons in Caldwell County considered themselves, as they really were, the regular state militia, acting under the command of county officers and by the advice of Generals Doniphan and Parks, for the purpose of putting down a mob. They had never opposed or thought of opposing the authorities of the state, or of any county. They had in every instance agreed to keep the peace against lawless violence, as citizens, not as Mormons. They were naturally surprised when the state executive, by whom their officers were commissioned, sent other militia officers to command their surrender. It was not against the state, but for the state, not against Law, but to maintain Law, that they had armed. “The Mormon War,” of which so much has been said, was then simply and truly an attempt to put down the very mob, against whom the militia of other counties has been called out; and Gov. Boggs might with equal justice have arrested any other militia officers as these officers of the Mormon militia. This two-fold relation of the Mormons,–first, of militia to preserve order under state authority, and second, of friends to those whom they were called to defend, must be carefully born in mind. And now let a few facts be detailed of the surrender to Gen. Lucas.
The first knowledge the Mormons of Far West and Caldwell received that the other militia of the state were called out against them, was the appearance of 3000 armed men within half a mile of their town. Ignorant of whom these people might be and of what their purposes were, the Mormons sent out a flag of truce to inquire the cause of their appearance. The answer returned was, that they wanted three individuals named, who were then in Far West, two of which were not members of the church, and that for the Mormons themselves they intended to exterminate them, or drive them from the state. It was still, however, not stated who they were, nor was any authority shown under which they were acting. In this state of ignorance and uncertainty the Mormons passed the night and the following day, naturally supposing that this was another mob, and keeping up a guard therefore against surprisal. These suspicions were confirmed by the facts, that the party under Gilliam had been seen to join them, and that various Mormons had been taken prisoners, and especially by the cruel murder of Mr. Carey. The next day after the arrival of these troops, Joseph Smith Jr., Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt, Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae, were by the deceit and stratagem of Col. George M. Hinkle, himself commander of the Mormons, betrayed and made prisoners. It was at this time that the Mormons first received information of the governor’s order, and immediately held consultation to know what should be done. They determined at once and without hesitation to follow the rule, they had always as good citizens observed, of obeying the authorities of the state, and resolved to surrender, although but a few hours previous, supposing the men thus collected to be a mob, they had sworn to stand by each other till death, and never yield to lawless force. As soon as it was known that these troops were a body lawfully acting under the executive order, there was but one desire, and that was to give themselves up. Meanwhile a court martial was held in Gen. Lucas’ camp, for the trial of the prisoners already alluded to, who were all condemned to be shot the next morning at 8 o’clock. The execution of this sentence was prevented by the remonstrance of Gen. Doniphan against such cold blooded murder, and by his threats of withdrawing with his troops. Gen. Atchison, it should be stated, had in great indignation withdrawn from the army while at Richmond, as soon as the Gov’s. exterminating order had been received.
Hinkle’s treachery will be easily understood. Fearing himself a conflict, he had entered into treaty with the officers of the troops, and had promised to deliver up the leading Mormons. This he did as stated in Lyman Wight’s memorial, by fraudulently putting them in the enemies power, under pretence of holding a conference. The treaty which he entered into, was not fully understood in the other particulars. But the Mormons had but one course, and that was to surrender; this they did on the following morning. They were marched into a hollow square under Major Bronson, Hinkle having withdrawn himself, and there grounding their arms, they yielded themselves prisoners of war.
Copy of a Military Order by the Governor of Missouri.
HEAD QUARTERS, MILITIA, }City of Jefferson, Oct. 27, 1838.
Sir:–Since the order of the morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Rees, Esq. and Wiley E. Williams Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which changes the whole face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made open war upon the people of this state. Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operations and endeavor to reach Richmond, in Ray County, with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary, for the public good. Their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may think necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj. Gen. Wallock, of Marion County, to raise 500 men and march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with 500 men to proceed to the same point, for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the North. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead, therefore, of proceeding, as at first directed, to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond, and there operate against the Mormons. Brig. Gen. Parks, of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred men of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.
L. W. BOGGS, Gov. And Command-in-chief.
To Gen. Clark.
The following address, was delivered at Far West, by Maj. Gen. Clark, to the Mormons, after they had surrendered their arms, and themselves prisoners of war:
“Gentlemen–You whose names are not attached to this list of names, will now have the privilege of going to your fields to obtain corn for your families, wood, &c. Those that are now taken, will go from thence to prison–be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes–but you are now at liberty, all but such as charges may be hereafter preferred against. It now devolves upon you to fulfil the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I now lay before you. The first of these you have already complied with, which is, that you deliver up your leading men to be tried according to law. Second, that you deliver up your arms–this has been attended to. The third is, that you sign over your properties to defray the expenses of the war–this you have also done. Another thing remains for you to comply with, that is that you leave the state forthwith, and whatever your feelings concerning this affair–whatever your innocence, it is nothing to me. Gen. Lucas, who is equal in authority with me, has made this treaty with you. I am determined to see it executed. The orders of the governor to me, were, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to continue in the state, and had your leader not been given up and the treaty complied with before this, you and your families would have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes.
There is a discretionary power vested in my hands which I shall try to exercise for a season.–I did not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season or of putting in crops; for the moment you do, the citizens will be upon you. I am determined to see the governor’s message fulfilled, but shall not come upon you immediately–do not think that I shall act as I have done any more–but if I have to come again, because the treaty which you have made here shall be broken, you need not expect any mercy, but extermination–for I am determined the governor’s order shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not once think–do not imagine for a moment–do not let it enter your mind, that they will be delivered, or that you will see their faces again, for their fate is fixed, their die is cast–their doom is sealed.
I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so great a number of apparently intelligent men found in the situation that you are;–and, oh! that I could invoke the spirit of the unknown God to rest upon you, and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound. I would advise you to scatter abroad and never again organize with Bishops, Presidents, &c., lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you. You have always been the aggressors–you have brought upon yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule –and my advice is that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin.
Copy of Mittimus sent by Judge King with Joseph Smith Jr. and others, to the keeper of Liberty Jail, in Clay County, Missouri.
STATE OF MISSOURI,
To the keeper of the Jail of Clay County, greeting.
Whereas Joseph Smith Jr., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae and Caleb Baldwin, as also Sidney Rigdon, have been brought before me, Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit in the state of Missouri, and charged with the offense of treason against the state of Missouri, and the said defendants on their examination before me being held to answer further to said charge, the said Joseph Smith Jun., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae and Caleb Baldwin, to answer in the county of Daviess, and the said Sidney Rigdon, to answer further in the county of Caldwell for said charge of treason, and there being no Jail in said Counties, these are, therefore, to command that you receive the said Joseph Smith Jun., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, Caleb Baldwin and Sidney Rigdon, into your custody in the Jail of said county of Clay, there to remain until they be delivered therefrom by due course of law. Given under my hand and seal the 29th day of November, 1838.
AUSTIN A. KING,
State of Missouri, ss.
County of Clay.
I, Samuel Hadley, Sheriff of Clay County, do hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the mittimus to me directed in the cases therein named.
SAMUEL HADLEY, Jailer,
By Samuel Tillery, Dep’y Jailer,
Clay County, Missouri.
Copy of Caleb Baldwin’s Petition,
STATE OF MISSOURI, ss.
Liberty, Clay Co., March 15, 1839.
To the honorable Judge Tompkins, or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri.
Your petitioner Caleb Baldwin, begs leave to represent to your honor, that sometime in the month of Nov. he was taken prisoner in Far West by Gen. Clark, and marched to Richmond under a strong guard without any charges being preferred against him, and brought before the honorable Austin A. King, and underwent a partial examination exparte in its nature, under the high hand of oppression, and was not allowed the privilege of being examined before the Court then sitting, neither had he the privilege of introducing any testimony before said Court.
Your petitioner would further state, that the said Austin A. King while acting in his official capacity as a committing magistrate, did tell your petitioner that there was no law for him your petitioner, and that he could not stay in the state. Yet your petitioner was held by a strong guard by the said Austin A. King, and after a long examination the said King committed your petitioner to the Jail of Clay County, together with the others of your petitioners, where he has been restrained of his liberty near four months, for the crime of treason against the state, without the least shadow of testimony against him to that amount, or any testimony that was sufficient to have held a man in confinement a single moment. And your petitioner can show before your Honor that he has never committed treason against the state of Missouri, nor any other crime, but has always held himself in readiness to submit to every shadow of law. And now Sir, these are charges too heavy to be borne with submission. And the family of your petitioner has been driven out of the state since his confinement, without any means for their support. And how Sir, in the name of the great God I adjure you, to grant me the state writ of Habeas Corpus, directed to some proper officer, and bring your petitioner before your Honor that he may be discharged according to law. And your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray.
State of Missouri,
Liberty, Clay Co., March 15th, 1839.
Personally came before me Caleb Baldwin, and made oath that the foregoing matters and facts contained in the above are true, to the best of his knowledge.
March 15th, 1839
Sworn to before me Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for Clay County in the state of Missouri, this 15th day of March 1839.
Abraham Shafer, J. P.
Copy of Lyman Wight’s Petition.
To the Honorable Judges of the Supreme Court for the state of Missouri.
I petition to you, gentlemen, or either of you, for a writ of Habeas Corpus to bring me before your honors, there to investigate and lay before you the situation and circumstances of your petitioner, who is now falsely imprisoned in the Clay County Jail, Mo. Your petitioner begs leave of your honors here to set forth some of the most prominent points which have led to this false imprisonment. Your petitioner deposeth and saith, that he was a lawful citizen of Daviess County, and that some time in the month of August last, whilst peaceably at work on his farm, he was threatened day by day by the citizens of Daviess County that if he did not deny his religion they would either exterminate him or drive him from the county.
Your petitioner verily believed that it was the threats of some few foul perpetrators until some time in the month of August, when they not only met from that county, but from other counties, with an armed force of rising 300 rank and file, and before the militia could be raised under General’s Atchison and Doniphan, they had marched within two and a half miles of your petitioners house, who was assisted by a small number of the same Church to which he belonged. Gen’s. Atchison and Doniphan succeeded in dispersing this lawless band–but no sooner was this done than they commenced gathering in Carroll County, where they succeeded in driving from seventy to a hundred families, commonly called Mormons, from that county.
The first news your petitioner got of this extraordinary transaction was by the way of the militia under Col. Dunn, who informed your petitioner that this same band, about 400 strong, well armed and prepared for war, with a field piece, a six pounder, was then within fourteen miles of your petitioners house; the advice from the general officers and judges was, that the people called Mormons should stand in their own defense until the militia could be called out to quell this lawless band, who had threatened to exterminate the Mormons, or drive them from Daviess County. This advice was adhered to by the Mormons; they met the enemy, and without the firing of a gun, or the shedding of blood, took the cannon from them.
This band becoming enraged, divided into small squads and fell upon individual Mormons, turned them out of doors, and burned their houses; and, as many of these marauders were from different counties, they burned many of the other citizens houses, supposing them to belong to the Mormons. Your petitioner declares and says, that through the whole transaction he was not away from home, his wife being very much out of health.
This scene being exaggerated by the many false representations called forth a large body of militia; your petitioner, on the 29th day of October, went to the Far West, Caldwell County, where, on his arrival, he found a large body of militia encamped near that place; he was informed by George M. Hinkle that the officers desired to see him; your petitioner replied, he could not be detained for his wife was sick. Hinkle replied, I should not be detained long. Accordingly I went–met General’s Lucas, Doniphan, and Wilson, when Hinkle observed, “here is the prisoners I agreed to deliver you.” Gen. Lucas then drew his sword and ordered us into the camp; from thence your petitioner was moved to Jackson County under a strong guard, and from thence to Ray County where he was put in irons; here for the first time he was made acquainted with the charges against him, and then delivered over to Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Court, who sat in the capacity of Conservator of the Peace: he put your petitioner on trial with some fifty or sixty others under a strong armed force, thence calling on renegade Mormons for testimony; and when their testimony was found insufficient to prove to the court that they had not fully and fairly denied the faith, and become willfully malicious against the prisoners, they were put on trial themselves.
This, together with the exterminating order of the governor, so intimidated the witnesses that some have since acknowledged that they swore for the time being to save their lives. Your petitioner was kept two weeks in irons; in the meantime there was an armed force continually harassing the Mormons in Caldwell and Daviess counties, taking prisoners, promising protection to those who would swear against the present prisoners and those that would not should be put on trial. After a scare of this kind for fifteen days, your petitioner was informed that he could produce his testimony; no sooner were their names given than they were driven by an armed force to the extremity of leaving the state, or hiding up, so that they could not be found, and this to save their lives, as their arms were taken from them, and they threatened with extermination if they did not leave the state; therefore your petitioner was obliged to submit to the evidence, false and exparte as it was in its nature, and abide the decision of the Judge, who pronounced your petitioner to be guilty of Treason, ordered him to be conveyed to the above named Jail, where he has laid in close confinement for near four months.
Your petitioner begs leave to state a few facts to your honors concerning his family in the meanwhile. On the 3rd day of November his wife was put to bed with a son, whilst Cornelius C. Gilliam, with 100 painted men, surrounded the house, screeching and howling in the attitude of the Delaware Indians, he (Gilliam) calling himself after the Delaware Chief, and it was with the utmost difficulty that the militia could keep them out of the house. In this situation your petitioners’ family remained, threatened day by day to leave the county or be exterminated;–accordingly when her babe was eight days old, she was informed she could stay no longer; that she must not only leave the county, but the state–that she need not flatter herself that she would ever see her husband again, for if they could not find law to kill him, they would kill him without law. She was stripped of her beds and bedding, and of her household furniture, then placed in an open wagon with six helpless children to make the best shift she could to get out of the state. The last news your petitioner received from her she was on the bank of the Mississippi river in a tent, depending on the charity of the people for her support; this being the fifth time that your petitioner and family have been unlawfully driven from their house and home since they arrived in the state of Missouri, which was on the sixth day of Sept. 1831.
Your petitioner further states, that there is a slight probability of there being a Court in Daviess County at the next Term, as there is no place to hold it, therefore your petitioner begs leave to say to your honors that his health is fast declining, and as the life of your petitioner and family depends upon his liberty, he will therefore earnestly pray your honors to receive his petition and forthwith issue a writ of Habeas Corpus, directed to the Sheriff of Clay county, Mo., commanding him to bring the body of your petitioner before your honors, so that his case may be heard and fairly investigated. And your petitioner pledges himself to prove the above named items, together with many more, too numerous to mention in this petition. As your petitioner considers himself innocent of any crime, he will therefore the more earnestly pray your honors to receive his petition and grant him the writ, &c.
State of Missouri,
Personally appeared before me, Abraham Shafer, Lyman Wight, and maketh oath and saith, that the facts stated in the foregoing petition are true, as far as stated from his own knowledge, and as far as stated from the information of others he believes to be true. Given under my hand this 15th day of March, A. D. 1839.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for Clay County, in the state of Missouri, this 15th day of March 1839.
ABRAHAM SHAFER, J. P.
Copy of Joseph Smith, Jr’s Petition.
To the honorable Judge Tompkins, or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court for the State of Missouri.
Your petitioners, Alanson Ripley, Heber C. Kimball, Joseph B. Noble, William Huntington, and Joseph Smith, junior, beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor, that Joseph Smith, junior, is now unlawfully confined and restrained of his liberty, in Liberty jail, Clay County, (Missouri,) that he has been restrained of his liberty near five months. Your petitioners claim that the whole transaction which has been the cause of his confinement is unlawful from the first to the last. He was taken from his home by a fraud being practiced upon him by a man by the name of George M. Hinkle, and one or two others, thereby, your petitioners respectfully show, that he was forced, contrary to his wishes, and without knowing the cause, into the camp which was commanded by General Lucas, of Jackson County, and from thence to Ray County, sleeping on the ground, and suffering many insults and injuries, and deprivations, which were calculated in their nature to break down the spirits and constitution of the most robust and hardy of mankind.
He was put in chains immediately on his being landed at Richmond, and there underwent a long and tedious exparte examination; not only was it exparte, but your petitioners solemnly declare that it was a mock examination; that there was not the least shadow of honor, or justice, or law, administered toward him, but sheer prejudice, and the spirit of persecution and malice, and prepossession against him on account of his religion; that the whole examination was an inquisitory examination. Your petitioners show that the said Joseph Smith, junior, was deprived of the privileges of being examined before the court, as the law directs; that the witnesses on the part of the state were taken by force of arms, threatened with extermination or immediate death, and were brought without subpoena or warrant, under this awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the mob, or his persecutors; and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the gun, and that some of them have acknowledged since, which your petitioners do testify, and are able to prove, that they did swear false, and that they did it in order to save their lives. And your petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing or criminality against said Joseph Smith, Junior, is false. We are personally acquainted with the circumstances, and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them, therefore we know that their testimony was false, and if he could have had a fair and impartial and lawful examination before that court, and could have been allowed the privilege of introducing his witnesses, he could have disproved every thing that was against him; but the court suffered them to be intimidated–some of them in the presence of the court, and they were driven also, and hunted, and some of them entirely driven out of the state.
And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; that the spirit of the court was tyrannical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment during the examination was calculated to convince your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, prescribing him in the liberty of conscience, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States, and the state of Missouri; that a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the court, purporting to be the religious sentiment of the said Joseph Smith, junior, which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it was false, and can prove also, that it was false; because the witnesses testified that these sentiments were promulgated on certain days, and in the presence of large congregations; and your petitioners can prove by those congregations, that the said Joseph Smith, junior, did not promulge such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion, as was testified of, and admitted before the Honorable Austin A. King; and, at the same time, those things had no bearing on the case, that the said Joseph Smith, junior, was pretended to be charged with; and, after the examination, the said prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the state of Missouri; whereas, the said Joseph Smith, junior, did not levy war against the state of Missouri, neither did he commit any covert acts; neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the state of Missouri during the time that he is charged with having done so; and, farther, your petitioners have yet to learn that the state has an enemy; neither is the proof evident, nor the presumption great, in its most indignant form, upon the face of the testimony on the part of the state, exparte as it is in its nature, that the said prisoner has committed the slightest degree of treason, or any other act of transgression against the laws of the state of Missouri; and yet said prisoner has been committed to Liberty jail, Clay County, (Mo.,) for treason.
He has continually offered bail to any amount that could be required, notwithstanding your petitioners allege that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also allege that the commitment was an illegal commitment, for the law requires that a copy of the testimony should be put in the hands of the jailer, which was not done. Your petitioners allege that the prisoner has been denied the privilege of the law in a writ of Habeas Corpus, by the judges of this county. Whether they have prejudged the case of the prisoner, or whether they are not willing to administer law and justice to the prisoner, or that they are intimidated by the high office of Judge King, who only acted in the case of the prisoners as a committing magistrate, a conservator of the peace, or by the threats of a lawless mob, your petitioners are not able to say but it is a fact that they do not come forward boldly and administer the law to the relief of the prisoner; and, farther, your petitioners allege that immediately after the prisoner was taken, his family was frightened and driven out of their house, and that, too, by the witnesses on the part of the state, and plundered of their goods; that the prisoner was robbed of a very fine horse, saddle, and bridle, and other property of considerable amount; that they, (the witnesses,) in connection with the mob, have finally succeeded, by vile threatening and foul abuse, in driving the family of the prisoner out of the state, with little or no means, and without a protector, and their very subsistence depends on the liberty of the prisoner. And your petitioners allege that he is not guilty of any crime whereby he should be restrained of his liberty, from a personal knowledge, having been with him, and being personally acquainted with the whole of the difficulties between the Mormons and their persecutors; and, that he has never acted, at any time only in his own defense, and that, too, on his own ground, property, and possessions; that the prisoner has never commanded any military company, nor held any military authority, neither any other office, real or pretended, in the state of Missouri, except that of a religious teacher; that he never has born arms in the military rank, and in all such cases has acted as a private character, and as an individual.
How, then, your petitioners would ask, can it be possible, that the prisoner has committed treason. The prisoner has had nothing to do in Daviess County, only on his own business as an individual. The testimony of Doctor Avard concerning a council held at James Sloan’s, was false. Your petitioners do solemnly declare, that there was no such council; that your petitioners were with the prisoner, and there was no such vote nor conversation as Doctor Avard swore to; that Doctor Avard also swore false concerning a constitution, as he said, was introduced among the Danites; that the prisoner had nothing to do with burning in Daviess County; that the prisoner made public proclamation against such things; that the prisoner did oppose Doctor Avard and George M. Hinkle against vile measures with the mob, but was threatened by them if he did not let them alone; that the prisoner did not have anything to do with what is called Bogart’s battle, for he knew nothing of it until it was over–that he was at home, in the bosom of his own family during the time of that whole transaction; and, in fine, your petitioners allege that he is held in confinement without cause, and under an unlawful and tyrannical oppression, and that his health, and constitution, and life, depends on being liberated from his confinement.
Your petitioners aver that they can disprove every item of testimony that has any tendency of criminality against the prisoner, for they know it themselves, and can bring many others also to prove the same. Therefore, your petitioners pray your honor to grant to him the state’s writ of habeas corpus, directed to the jailer of Clay County, (Missouri) commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of the prisoner, so that his case may be heard before your honor, and the situation of the prisoner be considered and adjusted according to law and justice, as it shall be presented before your honor, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.
And, further, your petitioners testify that the said Joseph Smith, Junior, did make a public proclamation in Far West, in favor of the militia of the state of Missouri, and of its laws, and, also, of the constitution of the United States; that he has ever been a warm friend to his country, and did use all his influence for peace; that he is a peaceable and quiet citizen, and is not worthy of death, of stripes, bonds, or imprisonment.
The above-mentioned speech was delivered on the day before the surrender of Far West.
HEBER C. KIMBALL,
JOSEPH B. NOBLE,
JOSEPH SMITH, jun.,
State of Missouri, ss.
County of Clay,
This day personally appeared before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for the aforesaid county–Alanson Ripley, Heber C. Kimball, William Huntington, Joseph B. Noble, and Joseph Smith, Jun., who, being duly sworn, doth depose and say that the matters and things set forth in the foregoing petition, upon their own knowledge, are true in substance and in fact, and so far as set forth upon the information of others, they believe to be true.
HEBER C. KIMBALL,
JOSEPH B. NOBLE,
JOSEPH SMITH, jun.
Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 15th day of March, 1839.
ABRAHAM SHAFER, J. P.
We, the undersigned, being many of us personally acquainted with the said Joseph Smith, jun., and the circumstances connected with his imprisonment, do concur in the petition and testimony of the above-named individuals, as most of the transactions therein mentioned we know from personal knowledge, to be correctly set forth, and from information of others, believe the remainder to be true.
H. G. SHERWOOD,
Copy of Alexander McRea’s petition.
To the Honorable Judge Tompkins, of the Supreme Court for the State of Missouri.
Your petitioner, Alexander McRae, would beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor, that he has been confined and restrained of his liberty near five months, part of the time in chains; that your petitioner alleges his confinement to be unlawful and unjust, for the following reasons: In the first place, your petitioner is confined on the charge of treason against the state, which crime, according to the constitution of the state, as well as of the United States, can consist only in levying war and committing overt acts, or in adhering to the enemies of the same, which your petitioner declares he has never done, for he has yet to learn that the state has an enemy; that your petitioner on the examination was not allowed the privileges of the law in being examined before the court; that he was threatened and intimidated and was not allowed the liberty of speech and the rights of conscience; that the examination on the part of the court was tyrannical and overbearing towards your petitioner, such as was not lawful and warrantable in a free government; that the witnesses of your petitioner were intimidated by an armed force that had been for a length of time harassing and driving the Mormons from their homes and possessions, and this fact was known by the court, and yet the court employed this same armed force as a pretended guard to guard your petitioner, and suffered them to practice many abuses upon the witnesses of your petitioner, and participated largely himself in the same spirit of persecution; therefore, the witnesses of your petitioner were driven out of the place and some of them out of the state.
Your petitioner solemnly declares that he never witnessed a more partial, and unjust, and unlawful transaction than was practiced upon your petitioner; that the whole transaction was nothing more nor less than a spirit of persecution against your petitioner. Your petitioner heard the court say that there was no law for the Mormons, and that they could not stay in the state. Your petitioner declares that there is no evidence against him whereby he should be restrained of his liberty; that the family of your petitioner have been robbed of their property and driven out of the state since your petitioner has been confined, and that they are now destitute of the necessaries of life, and that they consist of a weakly woman and two small children, the oldest only three years of age, and that your petitioner’s health is declining in consequence of his confinement.–Your petitioner therefore prays your honor to grant to him the state writ of habeas corpus, directed to the Jailor of Clay County, (Mo.) commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of your petitioner, so that his case may be heard, and that your honor dispose of the case of your petitioner as you may deem just and proper, and as in duty bound he will ever pray, etc.
State of Missouri,
Personally appeared before me, Alexander McRae, and maketh oath and saith that the facts stated in the foregoing petition are true as far as stated from his own knowledge, and as far as stated from the information of others he believes to be true. Given under my hand this 15th day of March, A.D. 1839.
Sworn and subscribed to before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for Clay County, in the State of Missouri, this 15th day of March, 1839.
ABRAHAM SHAFER, J. P.
Copy of Hyrum Smith’s Petition. To the honorable Judge Tompkins, or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court for the State of Missouri.
Your petitioner, Hyrum Smith, would beg leave respectfully to represent to your Honor, that he has been confined and restrained of his liberty near five months, some part of the time in chains, that some time in the month of last October there was an armed force under the command of Gen. Lucas, who encamped in the vicinity of Far West in Caldwell County, when and where your humble petitioner was taken from his own house, and from the bosom of his family, and was driven by force of arms into the camp of Gen. Lucas, from thence was under a strong guard carried to Jackson County, and thence to Richmond, Ray County, where without the issuing any precept or warrant by any judicial officer, or without any specific charge alleged against him your humble petitioner, and there he was brought before Austin A. King Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of the state, when after a lengthy examination exparte in its nature, for he does aver, that he had ample testimony to have disproved all the testimony that was brought him, but was prevented from so doing by the great excitement which all that time displayed itself in Ray County, and that too in such a manner as to intimidate the witnesses, which prevented them from giving in their testimony. Many of them were threatened with violence, and were pursued and driven out of the county, and some even out of the state; under such circumstances Judge King committed your petitioner for treason against the state, and removed him or caused him to be removed to the Jail of Clay County, Mo., and where he has been kept in close confinement up to this date. Your petitioner positively declares, that he knew nothing personally of the difficulties in Daviess County; all he knew of them was by report.
Your petitioner declares that about the middle of October, he learned by a small company of Militia under the command of Gen. Doniphan of Clay County, that a large armed force having a cannon with them, were coming to Daviess County to exterminate the people called Mormons from the county, your petitioner having much property there, he went by himself to take care of it and to secure it from being destroyed; and after he had preserved his property he returned to his home in Far West, in Caldwell County. Your petitioner also declares, that the burning of houses and plundering in Daviess County, he had no hand in, and knew nothing of it, only by report. Your petitioner also states that he had no knowledge of any Council at any time in Daviess County, as stated in testimony. Your petitioner also states, that he has made no speech neither in public nor private nor any thing in any wise whereby the most wicked and prejudiced person on the earth could interpret it into treason, in Daviess County or in any other.
Your petitioner also states, that he never has aided in a civil nor in a military capacity; he never has borne arms nor done military service at any time, in all his lifetime up to this date, but has been lawfully exempt from all such service; the family of your petitioner has been robbed of all their substance for their support, both of food, raiment and household furniture, and have been driven from the state with constant threatenings of death, if they did not leave the state, by a lawless banditti that was let loose upon the Mormon people without restraint, whilst your petitioner is restrained of his liberty, without scarcely the least shadow of testimony of evil against him, whilst his family has been driven from their home, and even from the state, and all their property and effects for support taken from them by a mob, or this lawless banditti before mentioned, which facts are notorious to the most part of the people in this part or region of country. Your petitioner states that his health is fast declining in consequence of his confinement.
Your petitioner states that one term of the court has passed by since your petitioner has been deprived of his liberty, yet no charge has been preferred against him. Your petitioner thinks the proceedings are unlawful in this whole transaction with your petitioner, therefore, your petitioner prays your Honor to grant to him a state’s writ of Habeas Corpus, directed to the Jailer or Sheriff of Clay County, Mo., commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of your petitioner, so that this case may be heard before your Honor, and the situation of your petitioner may be considered and adjusted according to law and justice, as it shall be presented before your Honor, and as we are in duty bound will ever pray.
15th March, 1839
STATE OF MISSOURI, Clay County.
Personally appeared before me Hyrum Smith and maketh oath and saith, that the facts stated in this foregoing petition are true as far as stated from his own knowledge, of others he believes to be true, given under my hand this 15th day of March A. D. 1839. HYRUM SMITH. Sworn to before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace for Clay County, Missouri, this 15th day of March, 1839.
ABRAHAM SHAFER, J. P.
STATE OF MISSOURI. ss.
County of Clay,
This day personally appeared before me, Abraham Shafer, a Justice of the Peace within and for the county of Clay aforesaid, Alanson Ripley, Heber C. Kimball, William Huntington, Joseph B. Noble and Hyrum Smith, who being duly sworn do depose and say, that the matters and things set forth in the foregoing petition, upon their own knowledge are true in substance and in fact, and so far as set forth upon the information of others they believe to be true.
JOSEPH B. NOBLE.
Sworn and subscribed to, this 15th day of March, 1839, before me.
ABRAHAM SHAFER, J.P.
Messrs. Editors: At the request of my friends, or at least those in whom I have confided as friends, I have written an account of my troubles and losses in the state of Missouri. I went to Missouri to procure land for myself and children. I entered two hundred acres of land and settled on it with the intention of living in peace with all men; and we lived in peace and harmony until the fourth of November, when a worthless mob came and scattered all our joys. It was Sunday, late in the afternoon, they came to one of my buildings (which was evacuated, but part of my goods were in it,) and burned it with its contents to the ground, except a few articles which they carried off. They then came to my son-in-law’s, where he was at home with his wife and child, and ordered him from his own house and home.
They next came to my house to order me from my own house and land. My son-in-law started to come to my house to see what they intended to do to me and my family–the ruffians ordered him back–he would not go back, but told them he had disturbed no one, had violated no law, and always reverenced and supported the government of the United States–he therefore contended that he had a right to go where he pleased. One of them spoke and said, “you are a d–d liar,” and got down from his horse and struck him with a rock. My son-in-law then went up to him and threw him down, a second one then broke a club over him, and the third one presented a gun and fired at him, but we do not know whether the ball hit him or not, as he was so shamefully bruised with a gun which they broke over him that the doctors could not tell whether the ball had entered his scull or not. When they were murdering him in this awful manner, oh! it makes my heart lament to think of it, his wife with uplifted hands and streaming eyes begged of them to spare his life, but they took no notice of her lamentations, and regarded her as a mere reptile beneath their feet, and continued to beat him over the head with a gun until they burst the brains from his scull.
After thus inhumanly mangling him they mounted their horses and bawled out at us to begone by early breakfast time the next morning or they would kill every one of us. When his wife had recovered and come to herself, in the agony of her soul she exclaimed, oh my father, my companion is killed,–yes, replied these ruffians, with horrible oaths, your companion is killed, and we will kill more of your companions. These barbarous villains then rode off laughing at our distress. After some ten or fifteen minutes we raised him up and gave him some water, which caused him to revive a little; we then took him to the house and laid him down and began to make preparations for starting. It was then dark, and in getting ready to start we all happened to be out of the house except my little grand-daughter, who on seeing her father in this miserable condition, left her seat and sat down by him, and wept as if she participated in his misery; she was only three years old. It was about one hour in the night when we got ready to start–although the moon shone bright it was a dreary night to us.
I was at the stable when the mob came in sight; two of my daughters came to me, and although most distracted, prevailed on me not to go near them or say a word or we should all be murdered. In this wretched condition we moved off, leaving our houses, homes, and property to be filched and destroyed by a lawless set of demons in human form. We went four miles from home that night, carrying my son-in-law, whose misery was past description. In the morning we went back for our cows and other property, but the mob who had augmented and collected on the spot refused to let us have our cows, but said if we would come back and say nothing we might have part of our household goods, but the rest of our property they intended to keep to pay the destruction of property in Daviess so they kept the whole and divided it among themselves. When the news came back that we could get nothing, it was distressing to us all, for we left in such a confused state that we took nothing for ourselves or horses. We took neither bread nor meat, or even a fowl, or any necessary article of the kind, although we had plenty that we had left. The mob then burned my three houses, my stable and crib, which contained about 100 bushels of corn, the rest was in the field. There were many of them I did not know, but six of them that I did know I will mention, viz: Benjamin Clark, Jesse Clark, Atherton Wethers, Peliman Ellis, John Gardner, of Chariton County, and John Hase, of Elk township.
Thus I, an old man, almost three-score years old, and a cripple, with a set of helpless women and my son-in-law, spent that night and the next day until noon alone in the wilderness. At that time my other son-in-law, with his wife and three small children came to us as we were crossing the creek in Macon County. A melancholy sight it was for them to behold their father, mother, and sisters, driven from home wandering in the desert, and the still more heartrending sight was to see their kinsman thus brutally slaughtered, weltering in his own blood and destitute of any place to lay his mangled body, except on the ground in the howling wilderness.
Messrs. Editors: The undersigned, residents of Adams County, Illinois, in presenting the above, think it our duty to say, that the said Mr. Wimmer has lived close by us for about two months, and we can consider him in no other way than an honest and industrious citizen. He wishes us to say that he is willing to testify to the above, yea, and even more than is stated; his family also say the same. Now Messrs. Editor, there are two questions which naturally present themselves to us; the first is, why were these people thus barbarously treated and driven from their homes? All the answer we can give is, it was pretended that they were Mormons. The truth of the case appears to be this, two of the family, both females, believe in most of the doctrines held by the Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, but they did not assemble with the Mormons, either in a religious, defensive or warlike capacity. The second question is, upon what pretext do these wretches seize to shield them from justice? (That they were in every sense of the word a mob is apparent, as they had no officers and were not organized in any way except this, the men who were most inhuman and desperate should be their leaders.) The answer is, Executive order, yes, Executive order–the more than savage order of extermination, as given by Governor Boggs. That Boggs did give such orders is apparent from the address of Maj. Gen. Clark, at Far West. The General says, “the orders of the governor to me were, that you (Mormons) should be exterminated and not allowed to remain in the state,” etc. Now, that under this brutal order all manner of misconduct and barbarity has been condescended to, is a point that we think requires no proof, except what is before the public. The conclusion is, then, that the Executive is responsible, and ought to be held accountable for the great loss of property and lives.
S. J. COMFORT,
D. A. MILLER.
The gross injustice of the deed of trust by which the Mormons signed over their property “to defray the expenses of the war,” as Gen. Clark says, or “to pay the debts of every individual belonging to the church,” as Bishop Partridge expresses it, can be fully understood at a glance. It was an enormous and wholesale robbery. Let us consider the circumstances. A mob attacks the Mormons in Daviess County, disperses their families, kills their cattle, burns their houses, murders them, and when the Mormon militia, called out legally, like other militia, to restore peace, attacks this mob, the cry is raised of a Mormon war; and this legal militia, armed against the mob, is forced to surrender to militia supported by the mob. And, then it is demanded that they should pay for the ruin, and attendant expenses, which the confusion of this mob had caused, when it was the Mormons themselves who had been plundered, and in every way persecuted. The state was, in all common justice, bound to make them restitution for the losses they had suffered; and, instead, by force they wrung from them their all.
But again–with what plausibility could it be demanded, that the property of every Mormon should be given up in order that the debts of every other Mormon should be paid? They held no common property except the fund in the hands of the Bishop for the support of the poor. No man was in any way bound for another’s debt. Each was independent in his possessions. Here, again, was an indiscriminate, illegal plunder of the poor people of the state.
But we cannot estimate the full injustice done until we consider the forced sales of property after their surrender. Be it remembered, that they were ordered to leave the state within a certain time, under threat of extermination, and that this was the winter season; be it remembered, too, that after they had given up their arms, they were wholly defenseless against attack, and were thus daily subject to every insult and outrage which abandoned villains could inflict. Let one picture to himself their condition, when thus threatened and abused, and we shall see at once how glad they were to escape at any cost or sacrifice. Caldwell County, its age considered, was the best cultivated in the state, and presented, in every way, the most promising appearance. The owners of this whole county were, with but the few exceptions of individuals who were not Mormons, forcibly dispossessed of the improvements they themselves had made. They were compelled to sell their property for what they could get, or, rather, let us say, for what their persecutors were willing to give them.
Some facts relative to the removal of the Mormons and their present condition should be stated. The Mormons were so perfectly aware of the flagrant wrong of Governor Boggs’ exterminating order, and of the treaty by which they were subsequently deprived of their property, that they sent in a memorial to the legislature, demanding justice at their hands. A committee was appointed to examine into their case, and visit Caldwell and Daviess counties. This was in December. The committee, however, did nothing, and another was appointed who were equally negligent of their duty. Meanwhile the Mormon question was constantly agitated in the house. These debates may be seen by a reference to the Missouri Republican. It was in January that the Mormons became satisfied, that they could expect no justice at the hands of the Missouri Legislature; and it may be well here to make it known that the further consideration of their memorial was laid upon the table until July, thus securing their expulsion from the state under the exterminating order and Clark’s treaty. There was but one course now open for the Mormons, and that was to make their escape with the utmost expedition. This they effected as best they could; and it will be easy to conceive, what were the sufferings of these helpless people, oftentimes women and children, whose natural protectors were in prison or had fled away, in the midst of the cold of winter. Many were stripped of clothing and bedding. Many sold all their household stuff to pay the immediate expenses of their journey. Many without cattle, horses, or wagons, had no means of conveyance. In this situation it was thought proper to make some general effort for the removal of the helpless families–a contribution was raised from among the Mormons who had means, and a committee appointed for its expenditure. It was through this charity among themselves that the destitute were enabled to remove to the state of Illinois; where at Quincy they were kindly received and provided for, to the lasting honor of the citizens of that place. The condition of these outcast strangers was wretched indeed. Their numbers were so great that many could find no shelter.
In the months of February and March there were at one time 130 families and upwards upon the west back of the Mississippi, unable to cross on account of the running ice, many of them entirely destitute of food and only scantily supplied from the east side of the river, by those who with great difficulty succeeded in conveying them provision. Their only shelter was the bed clothing from which they could make tents, and many had not even this. In this miserable situation many women gave birth to children. The Mormons who were already in Quincy, formed a committee among themselves, to aid to the best of their power the committee of Far West in giving assistance to their suffering brethren. They received them as they came, sent forward all who had means and strength into the interior, provided the poor and sick with lodgings, fuel, food and clothing. This committee were necessarily obliged to incur debts to a large amount in this work of charity, for which they are now personally liable, and for which surely the benevolent minded will not allow them to suffer. Contributions should be raised and forwarded to these abused brethren. The citizens of Quincy have generously done what was in their power. Who will not be ready to help the distressed? There are many there now and in the vicinity who are dependant upon charity, and their brother Mormons, scattered abroad and spoiled, are not in the condition to give them the aid which, at another time, they would according to the principles of their church readily afford. Hundreds of others equally destitute have sought a home in Iowa.
Commerce, Ill., April 12, 1839.
Messrs. Editors:–Enclosed I send you a communication from Governor Lucas of Iowa Territory.–If you think the publication thereof will in any way promote the cause of justice, by vindicating the slandered reputation of the people called “Mormons,” from the ridiculous falsehoods which the malice, cupidity, and envy of their murderers in Missouri have endeavoured to heap upon them, you are respectfully solicited to publish it in the “Argus.” The testimony of Governor Lucas, as to the good moral character of these people, I think will have its deserved influence upon the people of Illinois, in encouraging our citizens in their humane and benevolent exertions to relieve this distressed people, who are now wandering in our neighborhoods without comfortable food, raiment, or a shelter from the pelting storm.
I am, gentlemen, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant.,
Executive Office, Iowa,
Burlington, March, 1839.
Dear Sir:–On my return to this city, after a few weeks absence in the interior of the territory, I received your letter of the 25th ult., in which you give a short account of the sufferings of the people called Mormons, and ask “whether they could be permitted to purchase lands and settle upon them in the territory of Iowa, and there worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, secure from oppression,” &c.
In answer to your inquiry, I would say that I know of no authority that can constitutionally deprive them of this right. They are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to all the rights and privileges of other citizens. The 2nd section of the 4th article of the Constitution of the United States (which all are solemnly bound to support,) declare that “the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states;” this privilege extends in full force to the territories of the United States. The first amendment to this constitution of the U.S. declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The Ordinance of Congress of the 13th July, 1787, for the government of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, secures to the citizens of said territory and the citizens of the states thereafter to be formed therein, certain privileges which were, by the late act of Congress organizing the territory of Iowa, extended to the citizens of this territory. The first fundamental article in that ordinance, which is declared to be forever unalterable, except by common consent, reads as follows, to wit: “No person demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in said territory.” These principles I trust will ever be adhered to in the territory of Iowa. They make no distinction between religious sects. They extend equal privileges and protection to all; each must rest upon its own merits and will prosper in proportion to the purity of its principles, and the fruit of holiness and piety produced thereby.
With regard to the peculiar people mentioned in your letter, I know but little. They had a community in the northern part of Ohio for several years, and I have no recollection of ever having heard in that state of any complaint against them for violating the laws of the country. Their religious opinions I conceive have nothing to do with our political transactions. They are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to the same political rights and legal protection that other citizens are entitled to.
The foregoing are briefly my views on the subject of your inquiries.
With sincere respect,
I am your obedient servant, ROBERT LUCAS.
Isaac Galland, Esq., of Commerce, Illinois.
At a meeting of the citizens held in the chapel of the Cincinnati College, on the evening of June 17th, for the purpose of affording John P. Greene, the representative of the Mormon people, an opportunity to set forth the claims of that sect to the sympathies and charities of the American people, relative to their recent persecutions and sufferings in the state of Missouri, William Greene was called to the chair, and N. Allen appointed secretary.
After Mr. Greene had made his statement, the meeting was addressed by the Hon. Thomas Morris, who offered the following resolutions, which were then unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That we have heard with sensations of the deepest regret the tale of wrong and suffering, inflicted on the people called Mormons, while resident citizens of Missouri, by an armed mob of the people of that state, who, it appears to us, acted under the advice and orders of Governor Boggs, and whose conduct we believe to be an outrage upon every principle of justice, and all law, human and divine; alike disgraceful to the actors, and to the state which neglects to bring them to condign punishment.
Resolved, That we will cheerfully aid, by our means, the widows and fatherless, made so by the hand of ruthless violence, in this most unprincipled and disgraceful transaction, and we assure the surviving sufferers of our sincere sympathy in their distress, and will extend to them as far as in our power, that support which they so much need to alleviate their present wants, and to restore them to their just rights.
Resolved, That the story of wrongs done the Mormon people, which we have just heard, almost surpasses human credulity; and we believe they ought to be spread before the American people and the world, in the best authentic form that can be obtained.
Resolved, That a committee of four persons, (of whom the chairman of this meeting shall be one,) be appointed to collect all the facts in their power, and present them to a future meeting in the form of a preamble and resolutions.
Resolved, that all those who may think proper to contribute, may do so by handing over the same to the chairman of this meeting, who will keep a list of names, and the amount donated by each, and report the same to the next meeting.
Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the City newspapers.
The meeting then adjourned to Monday evening next, to meet at the Cincinnati College.
WILLIAM GREENE, Chairman.
N. Allen, Secretary.
An adjourned meeting was held in the College Chapel, last evening, according to previous notion; William Greene, Esq., in the chair.
Mr. J. P. Greene addressed the meeting, going over much the same ground as at his previous address. He told some additional facts, however, in relation to the conduct of the executive of Missouri, and showed some of the reverend clergy in that section in a light by no means enviable.
The chairman then submitted the preamble and resolutions below, on the passage of which an exciting debate took place. J. C. Vaughan, Esq., and Dr. McDowell opposing, and Rev. Mr. Channing and Dr. Weston in favor of their passage; the debate was short but spirited, and want of room only prevents us from giving a sketch of it. The preamble and resolutions were passed, and are as follows: The committee appointed at a meeting of the citizens of Cincinnati, to consider the sufferings of the people called Mormons, beg leave to report the following preamble and resolutions:
Whereas, It is our duty as men and Christians, to befriend the oppressed every where–a duty which becomes more urgent, when the injured have equal claims with ourselves to the protection of institutions, by which our own rights are guarded; and whereas, freedom of conscience is a sacred trust, which all men should solemnly respect; and this freedom is infringed whenever prejudice, bigotry, intolerance or popular caprice are allowed to persecute men for opinions, which the few or the many may judge absurd or noxious; and whereas, civil liberty is an inheritance, won by long struggle, and bequeathed to us, which we are in gratitude and in honor bound to transmit unimpaired; and this liberty is violated whenever the rights of any individual, however humble or hated, are trampled upon with impunity, and whenever mobs are permitted to attack the object of their dislike, under any pretext whatever of defending the property, reputation or morals of communities; and whereas the people called Mormons are our fellow citizens, and have a just title to all civil and religious privileges, till proven guilty and subject to penalty before legal tribunals; and whereas, Missouri mobs have cruelly persecuted these people, plundered their stores, stolen their cattle, wasted their fields, burnt their houses, driven them from their homes, abused their women, murdered their men, and a Missouri executive has unconstitutionally, and against all law, exiled them under threats of extermination, thus authorizing outrage and robbery, and a Missouri Legislature has slighted the appeal for justice and refused restitution for the wrongs of 10,000 injured citizens; Therefore,
Resolved, That we are compelled as citizens, Christians, and men, to express our indignation at this precedent given for religious persecution, lawless violence, and mob rule.
Resolved, That we commend the conduct of the citizens of Quincy, Illinois, in their generous defense and aid of the Mormons, and trust that their example will be followed by the expression of just censure of these social crimes through public meetings and the press.
Resolved, That we approve of the attempt of John P. Greene, to make known, the history of his people’s wrongs to the whole nation, through addresses and publications.
Resolved, That we consider the destitute, the aged, the widows, the orphans, among the Mormons, proper objects of charity, and that we will now take up a contribution for their relief.
WILLIAM GREENE, Chairman
N. Allen, Secretary.