The Land Question at Adam-ondi-Ahman

Creating a county “expressly for the Mormons”; was proposed as a solution to the so-called Mormon problem in Missouri in the 1830s. In fact, two counties, Caldwell for the Mormons and Daviess for the non-Mormons, were created.

This study sustains the long-standing Mormon contention that their preemption lands in Daviess County were illegally taken. Whether in all instances such were simple acts of stealth and fraud or were consummated with the view in mind of preventing future Mormon settlement in the county may never be completely known. What can be said with relative certainty is that much of what occurred was motivated by dishonesty and greed. When Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued his infamous Extermination Order, illegal non-Mormon doings were justified under the vivid color of law. Preemption rights, particularly those belonging to the Latter-day Saints, were effectively denied. When it came time for the Saints to enter their legitimate claims, circumstances had rendered such claims moot and nugatory. With the eviction of the Mormons from Daviess County in general and from Adam-ondi-Ahman in particular, all hope for a speedy and immediate restitution vanished. Mormon entitlements in Missouri were dead.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 26:2
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