Joseph Young, an eyewitness to the 1838 attack on Haun’s Mill, gave his testimony of that event as a sworn affidavit on June 4, 1839. The original manuscript of that affidavit is presented here in unedited, annotated form.
In March 1839, while imprisoned in Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to the Saints in Quincy, Illinois, counseling them to gather “a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of this State; And also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal injuries, as well as real property; And also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions, as far as they can get hold of them and find them out” (D&C 123:1–3). The Saints responded to these directions by producing nearly eight hundred redress petitions and sworn affidavits. Perhaps the most widely published petition was Joseph Young’s. Young, older brother of Brigham Young, was an eyewitness to the October 30, 1838, attack at the Mormon settlement of Haun’s Mill. His statement, sworn before Adams County Circuit Court Judge C. M. Woods on June 4, 1839, provides a descriptive narrative of the tragic events of that fateful afternoon. Joseph Young’s account was not only the first account of the Haun’s Mill Massacre to appear in the press, but his narrative continued to be published in other works as the principal testimony describing the tragedy.