The Prophet’s Efforts at Washington to Obtain Redress of Grievances for the Saints—Affidavits on Missouri Affairs.
Saturday, November 30, 1839.—Elders Young and George A. Smith went to Brother Isaac Haight’s at Moravia.
Sunday, December 1, 1839.—The High Council at Nauvoo met at Oliver Granger’s and voted that Hyrum Smith, George W. Harris, and Oliver Granger, be a committee to send a petition to the legislature to define new boundary lines of the city of Nauvoo, and also of Commerce, and do all other needful acts relative to those cities; that Hyrum Smith furnish the maps and plats for the alteration, and that Seymour Brunson circulate the petition for signatures.
Voted that Bishop Edward Partridge publish a piece in the Times and Seasons, informing the brethren in the west, that it is improper to remove from the west for the purpose of locating in Kirtland, Ohio, and that those who do thus remove, will be disfellowshiped by the council.
The Prophet’s Letter to Hyrum Smith—Reporting State of Affairs at Washington.
Washington City, Corner Missouri And 3rd Sts.
December 5th, 1829.
Dear Brother Hyrum, President, and to the Honorable High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—to whom be fellowship, love, and the peace of Almighty God extended, and the prayer of faith forever and ever. Amen.
Your fellow laborers, Joseph Smith, Jun., Elias Higbee, and agents as well as the servants that are sent by you, to perform one of the most arduous and responsible duties, and also to labor in the most honorable cause that ever graced the pages of human existence, respectfully show by these lines, that we have taken up our cross thus far, and that we arrived in this city on the morning of the 28th November, and spent the most of that day in looking up a boarding house, which we succeeded in finding. We found as cheap boarding as can be had in this city.
On Friday morning, 29th, we proceeded to the house of the President. We found a very large and splendid palace, surrounded with a splendid enclosure, decorated with all the fineries and elegancies of this world. We went to the door and requested to see the President, when we were immediately introduced into an upper apartment, where we met the President, and were introduced into his parlor, where we presented him with our letters of introduction. As soon as he had read one of them, he looked upon us with a half frown, and said, “What can I do? I can do nothing for you! If I do anything, I shall come in contact with the whole state of Missouri.”
But we were not to be intimidated; and demanded a hearing, and constitutional rights. Before we left him he promised to reconsider what he had said, and observed that he felt to sympathize with us, on account of our sufferings.
We have spent the remainder of our time in hunting up the Representatives in order to get our case brought before the House; in giving them letters of introduction, etc., and in getting acquainted. A meeting of the delegation of the state of Illinois was appointed today, to consult for bringing our case before Congress. The gentlemen from Illinois are worthy men, and have treated us with the greatest kindness, and are ready to do all that is in their power; but you are aware, brethren, that they with us have all the prejudices, superstition, and bigotry of an ignorant generation to contend with; nevertheless we believe our case will be brought before the House, and we will leave the event with God; He is our Judge, and the Avenger of our wrongs.
For a general thing there is but little solidity and honorable deportment among those who are sent here to represent the people; but a great deal of pomposity and show.
We left President Rigdon and others on the road, and received a letter from them this day. They were, at the date of the letter, on the 20th of November, near Washington, in Pennsylvania, expecting to stop a day or two at his brother’s on account of his ill health. He has occasionally a chill yet, but his illness is not dangerous. We expect him here soon.
We have already commenced forming some very honorable acquaintances, and have thus far been prospered as much as we had anticipated, if not more. We have had a pleasing interview with Judge Young, who proposed to furnish us with expense money. We can draw on him for funds to publish our book, and we want you to raise some more money for us, and deposit it in the Branch Bank in Quincy, to be drawn to the order of Judge Young. Send us the amount of your deposit, taking a receipt of the same. You need not be afraid to do this. We think from the proceeds of the sale of books, we can make it all straight. Do therefore be punctual, as much depends upon it. We cannot accomplish the things for which we were sent without some funds. You very well know, brethren, we were contented to start, trusting in God, with little or nothing. We have met with but one accident since we started. The lock of our trunk was broken off, and Brother Lyman Wight’s petition is missing; but we trust there is a copy of it preserved; if there is, you will please forward it immediately, with the name and affidavit to it.
For God’s sake, brethren, be wide awake, and arm us with all the power possible, for now is the time or never. We want you should get all the influential men you can of that section of country, of Iowa, and of every other quarter, to write letters to the members of Congress, using their influence in our behalf, and to keep their minds constantly upon the subject.
Please to forward this to our wives.
Yours in the bonds of the Everlasting Covenant,
Joseph Smith, Jun.,
P. S.—Congress has been in session for four days, and the House of Representatives is not yet organized, in consequence of some seats being contested in the New Jersey delegation. They have this day succeeded in electing John Q. Adams to the chair pro tem.; but whether they will get their Speaker and Clerk chosen is yet unknown, as there is a great deal of wind blown off on the occasion on each day. There is such an itching disposition to display their oratory on the most trivial occasions, and so much etiquette, bowing and scraping, twisting and turning, to make a display of their witticism, that it seems to us rather a display of folly and show, more than substance and gravity, such as becomes a great nation like ours. (However there are some exceptions).
A warm feeling has been manifested in the discussion of the House today, and it seems as much confusion as though the nation had already began to be vexed. We came with one of the Missouri members from Wheeling to this place, who was drunk but once, and that however was most of the time; there was but one day but what he could navigate, and that day he was keeled over, so he could eat no dinner. The horses ran away with the stage; they ran about three miles; Brother Joseph climbed out of the stage, got the lines, and stopped the horses, and also saved the life of a lady and child. He was highly commended by the whole company for his great exertions and presence of mind through the whole affair. Elias Higbee jumped out of the stage at a favorable moment, just before they stopped, with a view to assist in stopping them, and was but slightly injured. We were not known to the state company until after our arrival.
In our interview with the President, he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we deemed it unnecessary to make many words in preaching the Gospel to him. Suffice it to say he has got our testimony. We watch the post office, but have received no letters from our sections of the country. Write instantly.
Yours with respect,
J. S. Jun.,
Affairs in Iowa.
Tuesday, 3.—High Council of Iowa met at Elijah Fordham’s and voted to come up to the law of tithing, so far as circumstances would permit, for the benefit of the poor, and that Alanson Ripley remove to Iowa; and he was ordained Bishop by the Presidency of the Council.
Elder Daniel Avery was instructed to call the Elders together and organize the Elder’s Quorum.
Saturday, 7.—The President of the High Council of Iowa proposed the following questions—Have the brethren a right to exact the payment of debts which were due them from others, and were consecrated to the Bishop in the state of Missouri? Six counselors spoke. The President decided that all such debts ought not to be called for, and that persons making such demands shall be disfellowshiped by the Church; which was approved by the Council. Also that all those who sold goods in Missouri, and were calling for their pay, should be considered as acting in unrighteousness, and ought to be disfellowshiped; as the property of the Saints had been confiscated by Missouri.
Letter of the Prophet and Elias Higbee to the High Council at Nauvoo—Preliminary Hearing of Grievances.
Washington City, Corner Of Missouri And 3rd Streets.
December 7th, 1839.
To Seymour Brunson and the Honorable High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Your humble servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Elias Higbee, again address you for the purpose of informing you of our proceedings here in relation to our business and prospects of success. We deem it unimportant to say anything in relation to our journey, arrival, and interview with his Excellency, the President of these United States; as they were mentioned in a letter lately addressed to President Hyrum Smith and the High Council. We mentioned in that letter the appointment of a meeting to be held by the Illinois delegation, to consult upon the best measures of getting our business brought before Congress. They met yesterday in one of the committee rooms of the Capitol. All the delegation were present except ex-Governor Reynolds—who is now one of the Representatives in Congress—and on account of whose absence, the meeting was adjourned until today at eleven o’clock; however the subject was partially introduced, and Mr. Robinson took a stand against us, so far as concerned our presenting claims to be liquidated by the United States.
We took a stand against him, asserting our constitutional rights. Brother Joseph maintained the ground in argument against him firmly and respectfully, setting forth the injuries that we have received, and the appeals that we have made to the judiciary of Missouri, and also the governor; their refusals from time to time to do us justice; also the impracticability of doing anything in the judiciary courts of Missouri—which tribunal Mr. Robinson thought was the only proper place for our claims; but he finally said it was his first impression on the subject, not having considered the matter, but would take it into further consideration.
Judge Young of the Senate made some remarks in our favor, saying he would get the opinion of some of the prominent members of the Senate, who were also lawyers, and would report to us the next meeting. We met this day according to appointment, and very friendly feelings were manifested on the occasion. Our business was taken up, and Judge Young stated that he had asked the opinion of Judge White of Tennessee, of Mr. Wright, and several other members whose names we do not recollect, but were prominent members of the Senate. They all declined giving an opinion at present, as it was a matter that they had not considered sufficiently to decide upon at this time. The meeting, then, after some deliberations, decided in our favor, which decision was that a Memorial and Petition be drawn up in a concise manner, (our Representatives promising so to do), and Judge Young present them to the Senate, that they might thereby refer it to the proper committee, with all the accompanying documents, and order the same to be printed.
We want you to assist us now; and also to forward us your certificates, that you hold for your lands in Missouri: your claims to preemption rights, and affidavits to prove that soldiers were quartered on us and in our houses without our consent, or any special act of law for that purpose; contrary to the Constitution of the United States. We think Brother Ripley and others will recollect the circumstances and facts relative to this matter. You will also recollect the circumstances of Brother Joseph and others being refused the privilege of habeas corpus by the authorities of Missouri.
These facts must be authenticated by affidavits. Let any particular transaction of the outrages in Missouri that can be sworn to by the sufferers, or those who were eye-witnesses to the facts, be sent, specifying the particulars. Have the evidence bona fide to the point.
The House of Representatives is not organized. Much feeling and confusion have prevailed in the House for a few days past. The House succeeded in electing John Q. Adams chairman pro tem. on the 5th instant. They have not yet elected their Speaker or Clerk. The Senate can do nothing of consequence until the House is organized; neither can the President’s message until then be received. We design taking a paper and forwarding it to you.
Your brethren in the bonds of the everlasting covenant,
Joseph Smith, Jun.,
Brigham Young in New York.
Brother Isaac Haight took Elders Young and George A. Smith to Brother Joseph Murdock’s, Hamilton, Madison county, New York, where Elder Young preached on Sunday, 8th, and spent the week in preaching, and visiting the brethren. Elder George A. Smith was confined to his room, sick.
This day, the High Council of Nauvoo issued an Epistle to the Saints west of Kirtland not to return thither. (See Times and Seasons, page 29). 1
Elders Hiram Clark, Alexander Wright, and Samuel Mulliner arrived in Preston from America. Their licenses were mislaid on their journey, and they had some difficulty in making themselves known.
Some time this month, Brother Hyrum Smith wrote a long Epistle “To the Saints scattered abroad, Greeting,” setting forth his sufferings, etc., in the State of Missouri, and published the same in the Times and Seasons, on page 20 and onward. 2
Sunday, 15.—President Young preached at Brother Gifford’s, in Waterville.
The High Council at Nauvoo voted that Bishop Knight provide for the families of Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, and Orrin Porter Rockwell, during their absence at Washington.
Elder James Mullholland, my scribe, having died, it was voted that debts contracted for building his house be settled. Also approved of Brothers Annis, Bozier, and Edmunds building a water mill adjoining the city.
Monday 16.—President Young returned to Hamilton.
Wednesday, 18.—Elders Woodruff, John Taylor, and Theodore Turley sailed from New York for England.
Friday, 20.—President Young went to Eaton, to see his cousins Fitch, Salmon, and Phinehas Brigham.
For particulars of our proceedings while at Washington, see my letters and Judge Higbee’s to friends at Commerce, or Nauvoo, as the place is now frequently called.
Saturday, 21.—I arrived in Philadelphia, direct from Washington City, by the railroad, where I spent several days preaching and visiting from house to house, among the brethren and others.
Letter of Hyrum Smith to Parley P. Pratt—On Printing the Book of Mormon in New York.
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois,
December 22nd, 1839.
Dear Brother Parley:—In consequence of the absence of my brother Joseph, your letter has come into my hands, to which I intend to reply, and give such instructions, and advise you respecting the matters and things of which you write, as I feel led by the Spirit of the Lord [to give].
I was truly glad to hear of the prosperity of the churches in and about the vicinity of New York. Truly these things are pleasing to the Saints, and I presume to none more so than yourself, who was the instrument in the hands of God in planting the standard of truth in those regions, around which so many are now rallying.
You express a desire to have the Book of Mormon, etc., printed in New York, etc., etc., and have taken some steps towards accomplishing that object. As respects this matter I would say, that it is one of great importance, and should be properly considered. Not only is the city of New York destitute of this book, but there is truly a famine throughout the Union, and another large edition is certainly required. But at the same time I cannot give any encouragement for the publication of the same, other than at this place, or where it can come out under the immediate inspection of Joseph and his Counselors, so that no one may be chargeable with any mistakes that may occur. I want the books we print here should be a standard to all nations in which they may be printed, and to all tongues into which the same may be translated.
Again, as this place is appointed a Stake and a place of gathering for the Saints, I think that every facility should be rendered it, in order that the Saints may be able to accomplish the great works which have to be performed in this generation. I should therefore strongly advise, yea, urge you and all the Elders of Israel, when they meet with those who have means, and a disposition to forward this work, to send them to this place, where they may receive counsel from time to time.
If when Brothers Joseph and Rigdon return, we should deem it prudent to avail ourselves of the facilities offered in New York for re-printing the Book of Mormon, it is probable that a delegation will be sent to accomplish that object. In the meantime you will be at liberty to go to Europe, for thereunto are you sent.
The above observations will apply to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, Hymn Book, etc., which publications I long to see flowing through the land like a stream, imparting knowledge, intelligence, and joy to all who shall drink at the stream. As to publishing the Book of Mormon in Europe and other nations, I should entirely acquiesce to your proposition. I do not know of any more suitable persons for attending to that business than the Twelve. If it should be deemed wisdom to have the same published in England or elsewhere soon, you will be further advised on the subject, and full powers given you immediately on the return of Joseph, who is at present in the city of Washington, in company with Elder Rigdon and Judge Higbee, endeavoring to get the subject of our late persecutions brought before the councils of the nation.
The families of the Twelve are generally well, but not altogether so comfortably situated as I could wish, owing to the poverty of the Church. I think it would be well for those who have means to spare, to forward the same to their families.
My love to all the brethren. I am your affectionate brother in the bonds of the covenant,
Addressed to Elder P. P. Pratt, New York City.
Monday, 23.—President Young went to Waterville with Brother Gifford. About this time Brothers Rockwell and Higbee arrived at Philadelphia with my carriage from Washington, where they had been some time, leaving Elder Rigdon there sick, and Dr. Robert E. Foster to take care of him.
Wednesday, 25.—Elders Wright and Mulliner left Preston for Scotland, and soon commenced preaching and baptising in Paisley and vicinity.
President Young went six miles north of Rome [New York] to see Brother Blakesly; returned on the 27th to Waterville, and on the 28th went to Hamilton.
Saturday, 28.—Heber John, son of Willard and Jennetta Richards, died at Preston, England, aged five months and nine days. He had been sick nine days with the smallpox, and was buried in Elswick Chapel yard.
Sunday, 29.—The High Council of Nauvoo voted to print ten thousand copies of the hymn-books, and an edition of the Book of Mormon, under the inspection of the First Presidency at Nauvoo, so soon as means can be obtained.
The Prophet in New Jersey.
Monday, 30.—About this time I left Philadelphia with Brother Orson Pratt, and visited a branch of the Church in Monmouth county, New Jersey, where I spent several days, and returned to Philadelphia.
The High Council of Nauvoo voted that a committee be appointed to transact the business relating to the request of the brethren at Washington as follows—Alanson Ripley, in Iowa; Seymour Brunson and Charles C. Rich, at Quincy; Zenas H. Gurley, at Macomb; and that President Hyrum Smith, and Bishops Edward Partridge and Vinson Knight give the committee their instructions.
Wednesday, January 1, 1840.—George A. Smith (who had partially recovered from his illness) and Elder Brigham Young left Hamilton. The brethren helped them on their way, and gave them considerable clothing.
Thursday, 2.—Brother James Gifford brought them to Utica.
As more positive and official testimony was wanted by the authorities at Washington, many of the brethren made affidavits concerning their sufferings in, and expulsion from, Missouri, a few of which I will insert in my history:
Affidavit of Simeon Carter on his Sufferings in Missouri.
I, Simeon Carter, certify that I have been a resident of the state of Missouri for six years and upwards, and that I have suffered many things by a lawless mob; both myself and my family have been driven from place to place, and suffered the loss of much property, and finally were expelled from the state. I further certify, that I belong to the Church of the Latter-day Saints, commonly called “Mormons.” And I certify that in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-eight, both I and my people suffered much, by the people of the state of Missouri. And I further certify, that in this same year, in the month of November, between the first and sixth, we were surrounded by a soldiery of the state of Missouri, in the city of Far West, in Caldwell county, both myself and many of my “Mormon” brethren, and were compelled by the soldiery—which were armed with all the implements of war to shed blood—under a public declaration for our entire extermination, to sign away our all, our property, personal and real estate, and to leave the state of Missouri immediately.
I certify that I had at that time one hundred and sixty-two acres of land, the same which I held the certificate for. I further certify that I was obliged to give up my duplicates to help me to a small sum to carry me out of the state. I further certify not.
Territory of Iowa, Lee County.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, a justice of the peace for said county, this and day of January, 1840.
D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Letter of Hyrum Smith to the Prophet and Judge Higbee.
Nauvoo. Hancock County, Illinois,
January 3rd, 1840.
To President Joseph Smith, Jun., and Judge Higbee :
Dear Brethren:—It is with feelings of no ordinary kind, that I write you at this time, in answer to the letters with which we were favored. Your letters were truly interesting, and were read with great interest by the brethren here, as well as myself.
We were truly glad to hear of your safe arrival in the city of Washington, your interview with His Excellency the President, and the steps you have since taken for the furtherance of the object you have undertaken to accomplish, and for which you have left the endearments of home, and the society of your friends. The mission on which you are engaged is certainly an important one, and one which every Saint of God, as well as everyone whose breast beats high with those patriotic feelings which purchased our national freedom, must take a deep interest in. And although there may be many who do not value your labors—their sectarian prejudices being greater than their love for truth and the Constitution of our country; yet there are many who will undoubtedly appreciate your services, and will feel it a pleasure to assist you all that they possibly can. Conscious of the righteousness of your cause—having the prayer of the Saints. (amongst whom are many who have shared with you the trials, persecutions, and imprisonments which have been heaped upon the Saints in Missouri), and having the approval of heaven, I would say, go on, dear brethren, in the name of the Lord; and while you are pleading the cause of the widow and the fatherless, may He who has promised to be a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow, bless you in your undertakings, and arm you with sufficient strength for the herculean task in which you are engaged. Your exertions will be seconded by the brethren in this region, who are disposed to do all they possibly can.
I had just got ready to start for Springfield when I received your letter. I no sooner read it than I abandoned the idea of going there. I then made exertion to obtain funds for you in this place; but not being able to get any, and hearing that there were brethren in Quincy lately from New York, I started off the following day and succeeded in obtaining from Brother Herringshaw three hundred dollars, which I deposited with Messrs. Holmes & Co., merchants in Quincy, subject to the order of Judge Young. The reason why I deposited it with them was in consequence of the banks not doing any business and refusing to take deposits, etc. I hope that we shall be able to raise you some more soon. Brother William Law has promised to let us have one hundred dollars as soon as he gets a remittance from the east, which he expects daily.
We have not been able to get much on the city lots since you left; not more than enough to pay some wages for surveying, and a few debts. Brother Lyman Wight returned the subscription paper a few days ago, stating that he had not collected anything since you left. In consequence of my health, which has been poor, and the coldness of the weather, I have not been able to attend to it myself. I hardly think we shall be able to raise the one thousand dollars for Mr. William White by the time he will expect it. Elder Granger is yet in Commerce, not being able to move in consequence of the low stage of water in the Ohio river.
I received a letter lately from Parley P. Pratt, stating that he was in the City of New York, and had published another edition of his book, and wanted permission to print an edition of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, with a periodical similar to the Times and Seasons, stating that there were men who had means, that would assist in these things. He likewise wanted to get the privilege for the Twelve to print the Book of Mormon in Europe. I wrote in reply, that if there were any of the brethren disposed to aid, and had means to spare for such purposes, to send them to this place, so that not only this place might be benefitted, but that the books might come out under your immediate inspection. I am afraid some have been induced to tarry and assist Parley in these undertakings; and had made arrangements with Elder Granger to assist in liquidating the New York debts.
I want a letter from you, Brother Joseph, as soon as possible, giving me all the instructions you think necessary. I feel the burden in your absence is great. Father expresses a great desire to go to Kirtland, along with Brother Granger, who has promised to pay his and mother’s expenses; would you think it advisable for them to go or not?
The High Council met a few days ago, and took your second letter into consideration, and passed some resolutions on the subject; appointed committees to get certificates for land, and to get all other information they could. Some have gone to Quincy, and others to different places. We shall forward from time to time the information you desire.
You will receive enclosed in this a number of duplicates for land from Bishop Partridge and others. The Mississippi is frozen up. The weather is very cold, and a great quantity of snow is on the ground, and has been for some time. Your family is in tolerable good health, excepting one or two having the chills occasionally.
Bishop Knight desires me to inform you, that Brothers Granger and Haws have driven into Commerce a large number of hogs. They are now engaged in slaughtering them. I think there will be a good deal of trade carried on in this line another year.
You may expect to hear from us soon again. I sent you a copy of the deposit I made in Holmes & Co., which I hope you will receive safe.
I am very affectionately,
P. S.—We have concluded not to send any duplicates in this letter. The packages of duplicates will be directed to Judge Higbee, thinking they will come more safe to his address.
Friday, 3.—Elders Brigham Young and George A. Smith went from Utica to Albany, on the railway, and put up at the Railroad House.
Affidavit of William F. Cahoon—Missouri Wrongs.
I hereby certify that in the year 1838 I was residing in Daviess county, Missouri, and while from home I was taken prisoner in Far West by the militia, and kept under guard for six or eight days, in which time I was forced to sign a deed of trust, after which I was permitted to return home to my family in Daviess county, and found them surrounded by an armed force, with the rest of my neighbors, who were much frightened. The order from the militia was to leave the county within ten days, in which time my house was broken open, and many goods taken out by the militia. We were not permitted to go from place to place without a pass from the general, and on leaving the county, I received a pass as follows:
“I permit William F. Cahoon to pass from Daviess to Caldwell county, and there remain during the winter, and thence to pass out of the state of Missouri.
“Signed November 10th, 1838.
“Reeves, a Brigadier-General.”
During this time both myself and my family suffered much on account of cold and hunger because we were not permitted to go outside of the guard to obtain wood and provision; and according to orders of the militia, in the spring following, I took my family and left the state with the loss of much property.
William F. Cahoon.
Territory of Iowa, Lee county, subscribed and sworn before
D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Letter of C. Adams to the Prophet—Cause of the Saints before the Illinois Legislature.
Springfield, 4th January, 1840.
Respected Sir.—I had the gratification of the receipt of yours of the 16th of December, which gave me pleasure to learn that your prospects were, at that early period, in a measure flattering. I also saw yours of the 19th December to Mr. Weber. We are now consulting and feeling the pulsations relative to your case being brought before the legislature, now in session, by a series of resolutions, instructing our senators, and requesting our representatives to urge relief in your case.
What will be done, remains yet uncertain; still it is my strongest impression, it will be found prudent to get the matter before our legislature, for their action thereon. I am happy to learn that all our delegation are friendly to your intended application for relief in some shape; and it strikes me that the views of the President at this period may be the best, and perhaps the only way that relief could at this time be obtained; and in that event, be no injury to a future application to be restored to all your rights, when prejudice shall in a measure have subsided and the true state of the matter be more readily received, even by those whose prejudices may have closed the avenues to reason and justice in a matter identified with the odium so commonly attached to the sound of “Mormons.” This odium will naturally wear off when they have time to learn that “Mormons” are neither anthropophagi or cannibals.
Your friends are generally well.
I am, etc.,
To Joseph Smith, Jun.
Law Suits to be Abandoned
Saturday, 4.—The High Council at Montrose voted to utterly discard the practice of suing brethren at the law, and that such as do it, shall be disfellowshiped by this branch of the Church; that Abraham O. Smoot ordain Daniel Avery President of the Elders’ Quorum; and that the sixth instant be devoted to taking affidavits concerning Missouri.
Elder Young found the brethren in Albany; went to Troy, and Lansingburg, where he heard Elder Phinehas Richards preach.
Sunday, 5.—Elder Young preached at Lansingburg, and returned to Troy and held a meeting with the brethren.
Monday, 6.—Elder Young returned to Albany.
Extract from Elder Orson Pratt’s Letter to his wife—Reporting Movements of the Brethren in the Eastern States.
January 6th, 1840.
I am well and hearty. After mailing the last letter to you in Pennsylvania, I went to Philadelphia on Saturday, the 21st of December; there I found President Joseph Smith, Jun.; he had just arrived from Washington City, where he had been about three weeks. Four or five days after, Judge Higbee, with Porter Rockwell, came to Philadelphia; they are well. I wrote to Parley P. Pratt to come and see President Smith; he did so, and probably will go to Washington with him in a few days. I stayed with Brother Smith, in Philadelphia, about eight days; we then took the railroad and went some 35 or 40 miles, to a large branch of the Church in Monmouth county, New Jersey, which numbers ninety members; there I left him [President Smith] on New Year’s day, and came to New York, where I am at present.
Elder Benjamin Winchester had, when I left Philadelphia, baptized forty-five in that city, and several more had given in their names for baptism, and scores believing. I preached in Chester county, Pennsylvania, about two weeks, and I think I may safely say there are hundreds believing. The work is prospering throughout all this region.
Elders Taylor, Woodruff, and Turley sailed for Liverpool, December 18th, while I was in Pennsylvania. None of the rest of the Twelve have yet arrived. Parley P. Pratt has another book printed, larger than the Voice of Warning, entitled “The Millennium and other Poems,” and a piece on the “Eternal Duration of Matter.” 3
Letter from John B. Weber to the Prophet—On Supplementing the Latter’s Effort to Obtain Redreses from Congress.
Springfield, January 6, 1840.
Gentlemen:—Your letter of the 19th ult. came to hand ten days after date, immediately after which I called upon many of the prominent members of the Democratic party, with a view to unite them in their influence in your behalf; all of whom expressed a willingness to aid in bringing about justice. But I regret to inform you that but few have exhibited that energy in the matter which might reasonably be expected from all lovers of liberty and advocates of equal rights.
Your energetic friends were first of the opinion that an effort ought to be made by our legislature to memoralize our representatives in Congress, to use all honorable means to accomplish your desires; but after holding a consultation it was believed that such a course would create a party strife here, and consequently operate against you in Congress. Therefore it was agreed that as many as had friends in Congress should write to them immediately, desiring their aid in your behalf.
If convenient you will please write again. Any information respecting your mission will be thankfully received, and made known to your people here.
Very respectfully yours,
John B. Weber.
To the Rev. Joseph Smith and his Associates.
Affidavit of John M. Burk—Missouri Outrages.
I hereby certify that General John Clark and his Aid, on their arrival at Far West in Caldwell county, Missouri, came to my tavern stand, and without my leave, pitched their marquees in my yard and did take my wood and hay to furnish the same, and did bring their horses in also, and without my leave, took hay for them, and did take possession of my house, and used it for a council house, and did place a strong guard around it, so as to hinder any person from going in or out, and I myself was not permitted to go in and out; for all this I have received no remuneration, and was not even permitted to pass out of town to water travelers’ horses without a permit. The above took place in the first part of November, 1838.
I also certify that Caleb Baldwin, Lyman Wight, Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Mr. Alexander McRae, in Clay county, Missouri, did apply for a writ of habeas corpus and did not get it.
John M. Burk.
Sworn before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of John Lowry—Ditto.
I certify that I saw General John Clark and his Aid, on their arrival at Far West, Caldwell county, Missouri, in the yard of John M. Burk, and gave orders to their waiters to pitch their marquees in his yard, and to take of his wood for fire.
I also saw Captain Samuel Bogart, with his men, come near my dwelling, and did pitch their camp, and took my house logs without my leave, and did burn them. I also saw him with the horse of Joseph Smith, Jun., in his possession.
Sworn before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of Jedediah Owen—Ditto.
To whom it may concern—This is to certify, that on the day following on which the troops arrived at Far West, that two men of said troops came to my house, broke open my trunk, and took therefrom both money and clothing, and also a number of papers, among which were deeds and notes, and also a number of cooking utensils, and in consequence of the cruel and inhuman treatment which I and others have received from those troops, we are reduced to a state of almost absolute starvation; and Daniel Avery and myself were appointed as a committee to go out and beg corn and meal, or anything we might obtain, that would render assistance or relieve us in our suffering condition.
Sworn before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of T. Alvord—Ditto.
I removed my family from the state of Michigan to Clay county, Missouri, in the year 1835, where I lived in peace with the people, on my own land, eighteen months or more, when the people began to be excited in consequence of the emigration of our people to that county. The excitement became so great that I was obliged to sell my place at half price, and removed to the county of Caldwell, where I purchased me a farm, and settled my family, and made a good improvement, and was in a good situation to support my family, and there lived in peace with the people until the summer and fall of 1838, when the mob began to rise, and we were obliged to fly to arms in self defense; but notwithstanding our exertion, they murdered and massacred many of our people. We applied to the governor for assistance, and his reply to us was, “If you have got into a scrape with the mob, you must fight it out yourselves, for I cannot help you.” The mob still increased, until I was obliged to remove my family to Far West, and there remained, surrounded with mobs of murderers, until General Clark arrived with his army, with the governor’s exterminating order. Then we were all taken prisoners; our arms taken away; they then treated with all the cruelty they were masters of, and took possession of whatever they pleased, burnt timber, and laid waste town and country.
I heard General Clark say that he would execute the Governor’s order; “but [said he] notwithstanding, I will vary so much as to give some lenity for the removal of this people, and you must leave the state immediately, for you need not expect to raise another crop here.” Those who were not taken to prison, were permitted to return to their homes to make preparations to leave the state. Finding I had no safety for myself and family in Missouri, I fled to Illinois for safety.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Tuesday, January 7.—Elder Young took stage for Richmond, Massachusetts.
Affidavit of William Hawk—Missouri Affairs.
Montrose, Lee County, Iowa, January 7, 1840.
I hereby certify, that some time in the month of October, 1838, an armed force collected in the county of Carroll, near De Witt, and in open daylight, drove a man by the name of Humphrey out of his house, and set fire to it, and burnt it to ashes, and then sent an express ordering all the “Mormons” to leave the place as soon as the next day. The next day they sent another express ordering them to leave in six hours, or they would be massacred upon the ground. They also fired their guns at different persons traveling the road near the town. The “Mormons” were at length compelled to leave their possessions, and all removed to Caldwell, consisting of seventy and perhaps one hundred families, many of whom were in want of the sustenance of life, sick, and some died upon the way.
About two weeks after this, another armed force invaded Far West, took my gun, and compelled me to sign away my property, both real and personal, and leave the state forthwith.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn. J. P.
Affidavit of Timothy B. Clark—Ditto.
Montrose, Lee County, Iowa Territory, January 7, 1840.
This is to certify that I was at work on my farm on the last of October. 1838, when an armed company under General Lucas, came and took myself and my three sons prisoners, and threw down my fences, and opened my gates, and left them open, and left my crops to be destroyed, and while I was a prisoner, they declared that they had made clean work in destroying the crops as they passed through the country, and they took from me two yoke of oxen, and three horses and two wagons, and compelled me and my sons to drive them loaded with produce of my own farm, to supply their army.
I had in possession at the time, four hundred and eighty acres of land, and rising of a hundred acres improved, with a small orchard and nursery, the necessary buildings of a farm, etc.; and in consequence of my imprisonment my fences remained down, and most of my crops were destroyed; and further this deponent saith not.
Timothy B. Clark.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of Urban V. Stewart—Ditto.
Montrose, Lee County, Iowa Territory, January 7, 1840.
This is to certify that about the middle of October, I was driven, by the threats of the Daviess county armed force, to leave my possessions, consisting of preemption right to a quarter section of land with thirty acres under improvement, and a good house. I went to Di-Ahman and remained until about the 1st of November, when I was driven from there by an armed force under General Wilson. I then went to Far West. While at Ondi-Ahman the armed force took from me one cow and calf, and a yoke of oxen, one horse and five sheep; they also took from me fifteen hogs. While at Far West, they took two cows belonging to me, and I saw the soldiery killing the live stock of the inhabitants without leave or remuneration, and burning building timbers, fences, etc.
Urban V. Stewart.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of John Smith—Ditto.
Lee County, Iowa Territory.
This day personally appeared before me, D. W. Kilbourn, an acting Justice of the Peace in and for said county, John Smith, and after having been duly sworn, desposeth and saith, “That in the months of October and November, 1838, I resided in the town of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Daviess county, Missouri, and whilst being peaceably engaged in the ordinary vocations of life, that in the early part of November my house was entered by a body of armed men painted after the manner or customs of the Indians of North America, and proceeded to search my house for fire arms, stating that they understood the Mormons knew how to hide their guns, and in their search of a bed in which lay an aged, sick female, they threw [her] to and fro in a very rough manner, without regard to humanity or decency. Finding no arms, they went off without further violence.
“Shortly after this above described outrage, there was a number of armed men, say about twenty, rode into my yard and inquired for horses which they said they had lost, and stated, under confirmation of an oath, that they would have the heads of twenty ‘Mormons,’ if they did not find their horses. These last were painted in like manner as the first. These transactions took place when the citizens of the village and its vicinity were engaged in a peaceable manner in the ordinary pursuits of life.”
This deponent further saith, “That the mob took possessson of a store of dry goods belonging to the Church of Latter-day Saints, over which they placed a guard. I went into the store to get some articles to distribute to the suffering poor, and the officer who had the charge of the store ordered me out peremptorily, stating it was too cold to wait on me, that I must come the next morning; and returning the next morning, I found the store almost entirely stripped of its contents. Thereupon we as a Church were ordered to depart the county and state, under the pains and penalty of death or a total extermination of our society. Having no alternative, (having my wagon stolen), I was compelled to abandon my property, except a few movables which I got off with in the best way that I could, and on receiving a permit or pass which is hereto appended. I then proceeded to depart the state.
” ‘I permit John Smith to remove from Daviess to Caldwell county, there remain during the winter, or remove out of the state unmolested.
” ‘Daviess county, November 9th, 1838.
“R. Wilson, Brigadier-General. By F. G. Cochnu.’
“I accordingly left the state in the month of February following in a destitute condition.”
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of Samuel Smith—Ditto.
Montrose, Lee County, Iowa, January 7, 1840.
I do hereby certify, that I, Samuel Smith, made an improvement and obtained a preemption right upon one hundred and sixty acres of land in Daviess county, Missouri, in 1837. On the first of November, 1838, I was compelled to leave the county, by order of General Wilson, in ten days. They took without my consent, two horses, which have never been returned, nor remunerated for; also destroyed my crop of corn, drove off four head of cattle.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Affidavit of Daniel Avery—Ditto.
Lee County, Iowa Territory, March 5th, 1840. 4
I, Daniel Avery, do hereby certify that the following scenes transpired in the state of Missouri to my personal knowledge—First, in the year 1838, some time in the fall, I was called on by the martial law of the state of Missouri, to aid and assist to rescue women and children from the hands of a mob, from the waters of Grand river, whose husbands and fathers had been driven off. We found the house invested by the mob, some of whom were in the house threatening the lives of the women and children, if they did not leave their property and effects immediately and follow their husbands and fathers. One family lost a child while in this situation, for the want of care; the women being compelled, by these monsters, to provide and cook them food. This company of the mob was commanded by James Weldin.
I also saw about seventy families driven from De Witt by a mob commanded by Sashiel Wood. I helped to bury one woman the first night, who had been confined in childbed a night or two before, and could not endure the sufferings.
The next scene I saw I was peaceably traveling the road; a man by the name of Patrick O’Banion was shot dead at my feet. We advanced a little further, when two men were killed and several wounded. I afterwards learned that this gang of mobbers was commanded by Samuel Bogart.
In consequence of being pursued out of the state, by this lawless mob, I was not an eye witness to the many thousand wicked acts committed by the Governor’s exterminating militia.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Wednesday, March 11.
Affidavit of James Powell—Ditto.
Illinois, Adams County, March 11, 1840.
I, James Powell, do certify, that I was a citizen of the state of Missouri in 1838. I solemnly declare that while I was peaceably traveling to one of my nearest neighbors, I was assaulted by a company of men, to the number of five—Autherston Wrathey, John Gardner, Philomen Ellis, Jesse Clark, and Ariel Sanders. First they threw a stone and hit me between the shoulders, which very much disabled me; they then shot at me, but did not hit me. One of them then struck me with his gun, and broke my skull about six inches—a part of my brain ran out. I have had fourteen pieces of bone taken out of my skull. My system is so reduced that I have not done a day’s work since.
I know no reason why they should have done [this act], as I did not belong to the Mormon Church, neither had I ever heard one preach. In this situation I was forced to leave the state forthwith. I was carried three days without having my head dressed. When I arrived at Huntsville, Doctor Head offered me assistance. I refer to him for further testimony.
Attest, John Smith.
We certify that the foregoing affidavit of James Powell’s is true and correct, as we stood by and saw it with our eyes. We also heard them say they would kill the Mormons, if they did not clear out. We carried the wounded man in our wagon, till he was out of reach of the mob.
Sworn to before William Oglesby, J. P.
Affidavit of John Smith—Ditto.
Illinois, Columbus, Adams County, March 11, 1840.
I, John Smith, certify that I was a resident in the state of Missouri in 1838, when I was driven from my house, and a pre-emption right, and forbid to stay in the state, [the mob] threatening me if I did not go forthwith. I took my family and pursued my journey one hundred miles. In consequence of cold, snow, water and ice at the inclement season in which I was driven, I fell sick, and for four weeks I was unable to travel; during which time I was threatened daily; yet I was so sick it was considered by many that I could not live, and was compelled to start when I was not able to sit up through the day. I landed in Illinois; the long and fatiguing journey, lying out in the cold, open air, proved too much for my companion; it threw her into a violent fever, with which she died. Many others in the company took sick and died with the same hard fare.
Sworn to before William Oglesby, J. P.
Affidavit of Smith Humphrey—Ditto.
Illinois, Adams County, March 16, 1840.
I, Smith Humphrey, certify that I was a citizen of Missouri in eighteen hundred and thirty-eight; and some time in the month of October, of the same year, I was fallen upon by a mob commanded by Hyrum Standley. He took my goods out of my house; and said Standley set fire to my house, and burnt it before my eyes, and ordered me to leave the place forthwith. I removed from De Witt to Caldwell county, where I was again assailed by Governor Bogg’s exterminating militia. They took me prisoner, and robbed my wagon of four hundred dollars in cash, and one thousand dollars’ worth of goods, and drove me out of the state.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk of Circuit Court.
Affidavit of Henry Root—Ditto.
Quincy, Illinois, 16th March, 1840.
This is to certify that I, Henry Root, am, and was a citizen of DeWitt, Carroll county, Missouri, at the time of the persecutions (known by the name of the “Mormon War”) commenced and terminated between the citizens of said state of Missouri and the Mormons; that in the fall of 1838, in the month of September, a mob (under no regular authority) headed by William W. Austin, Sen., consisting of from one hundred to one hundred and fifty men, came into De Witt and ordered the Mormons to leave that place within ten days from that time; that if they did not leave, they would be driven from there by force.
The Mormons did not leave; the appointed time came, and the mob came, armed and equipped for war. The Mormon citizens petitioned to the governor of the state, but no relief came. They sent to the general of the brigade [in that locality], who ordered the militia to repair to De Witt to disperse the mob. On the arrival of the militia, Brigadier-General Parks told me the Mormons had better leave their property and go off, as his men were prejudiced against them, and he could do them no good, nor relieve them. With that the Mormons left.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk of Circuit Court, Adams county, Illinois.
Affidavit of Joseph Clark—Ditto.
Quincy, Illinois, March 16, 1840.
I, Joseph Clark, certify that I was a citizen of the state of Missouri in 1838; and when peaceably traveling the highway, I was shot at twice by Governor Boggs’ exterminating militia, commanded by Major-General John B. Clark.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk of Circuit Court, Adams County Illinois.
Affidavit of Thomas D. Casper—Ditto.
Quincy, Illinois, March 16th, 1840.
This is to certify that I, Thomas D. Casper, was a resident of the state of Missouri in the year 1838. I was not a member of the Church of Mormons or Latter-day Saints; but witnessed the following acts of distress: As I was on business, I inquired for Perry Moppin, and learned that he, with Samuel Snowden, Esq., had gone after Mr. Wilson, a Mormon, and had threatened and sworn to take his life if he did not tell his name; and they swore they had the tool to take his life if he had not told them his name.
Further they agreed that the Mormons should leave the country of Missouri except they would deny the faith, or their religion. And I heard Anthony McCustian say that he would head a mob in any case, to prevent the lawyers from attending to any case of their (the Mormons’) grievances; and he was a postmaster. And I saw two men that said they had been at Haun’s mill at the murder; and one by the name of White, and the other Moppin stated that he had slain three Mormons. And I, Thomas D. Casper, witnessed other things too tedious to mention; and solemnly swear, before God and men, that what is here written is a true statement of facts relative to the suffering of the Mormons in the state of Missouri.
Thomas D. Casper.
Affidavit of Jesse W. Johnston—Ditto.
Quincy, Illinois, March 16, 1840.
I, Jesse W. Johnston, certify that the following circumstances took place in the State of Missouri, while I was a resident of that state, viz.: I was taken prisoner by Governor Boggs’ exterminating militia. I saw one man killed belonging to the Mormon Church, and was forced by them to take corn out of the fields of the Mormon Church without leave. This was in the fall of 1838.
Jesse W. Johnston.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Adams County, Illinois.
Affidavit of Owen Cole—Ditto.
Quincy, Illinois, March 17, 1840.
This is to certify that I, Owen Cole, was a resident of Caldwell county, state of Missouri, and while residing at my dwelling house, the militia under Governor Boggs, and by his orders, plundered my house, and shot me through my thigh. My damage sustained by the militia, by being driven from the state, besides my wound, was five hundred dollars. The militia men were quartered on the lands of the people called Mormons, contrary to the laws and Constitution of the state. I hereby certify this to be a true statement.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk Circuit Court.
Affidavit of Ezekiel Maginn—Ditto.
Quincy, Illinois, March 17, 1840.
I, Ezekiel Maginn, certify that I was a citizen of the state of Missouri in the year 1838, and was an eye witness to the following facts—First, I saw the militia, called for by Governor Boggs’ exterminating order, enter the house of Lyman Wight, and take from it a bed and bedding, pillows, and dishes, personally known to me to be his property.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk Circuit Court, Adams County.
Affidavit of Addison Green—Ditto.
Quincy, March 17, 1840.
I, Addison Green, do certify that in the month of October, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, when I was peaceably walking the highroad in Ray county, state of Missouri, I was molested and taken prisoner by ten armed men, who took from me one double-barrel fowling piece and equipage, threatening to blow out my brains and swore that if I was a Mormon they would hang me without further ceremony. They had previously been to my lodging and taken my horse, saddle, and bridle. All was then taken into the woods about one mile to Bogart’s camp.
I was kept a prisoner until the next morning, when I was let go; but have not obtained any part of my property, which was worth about one hundred and fifty dollars.
Sworn to before John H. Holton, notary public.
Affidavit of John P. Greene—Ditto.
I, John P. Greene, was in company with several of my neighbors walking the road in peace, when one of our company, a young man, by name of O’Banion, was shot down at my side, being shot by a company of mobbers; and soon after this we were fired upon again, and two more were killed and several others wounded. This was about the 25th day of October, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, in the state of Missouri. And I do hereby certify the above to be true according to the best of my knowledge.
John P. Greene
Sworn to before John H. Holton, notary public.
Affidavit of Asahel A. Lathrop—Ditto.
This is to certify that I, Asahel A. Lathrop, was a citizen of the state of Missouri, at the time the difficulty originated between the people called Mormons and the [other] inhabitants of the aforesaid state, and herein give a statement of the transactions that came under my observation, according to the best of my recollection.
I settled in Missouri in the summer of 1838, in Caldwell county, where I purchased land and erected buildings. The said land I now have a deed of; and in the fall I purchased a claim on what is called the East Fork of Grand River, together with a large stock of cattle and horses, sheep and hogs; it being some sixty miles from the aforesaid county where I first located; and moved on to the latter place, supposing that I was at peace with all men; but I found by sad experience that I was surrounded by enemies; for in the fall of 1838, whilst at home with my family, I was notified by a man by the name of James Welden, that the people of Livingston county, had met at the house of one Doctor William P. Thompson, then living in the attached part of said county, for the purpose of entering into measures respecting the people called Mormons; and the same Welden was a member of the same, and also the aforesaid William P. Thompson was a justice of the peace; and they all jointly agreed to drive every Mormon from the state; and notified me that I must leave immediately, or I would be in danger of losing my life.
All this time some of my family were sick; but after listening to the entreaties of my wife to flee for safety, I committed them into the hands of God and left them, it being on Monday morning; and in a short time after I left, there came some ten or fifteen men to my house, and took possession of the same, and compelled my wife to cook for them, and also made free to take such things as they saw fit; and whilst in this situation, my child died, which I have no reason to doubt was for the want of care; which, owing to the abuse she received, and being deprived of rendering that care she would, had she been otherwise situated. My boy was buried by the mob, my wife not being able to pay the last respects to her child.
I went from my home into Daviess county and applied to Austin A. King and General Atchison for advice, as they were acting officers in the state of Missouri. There were men called out to go and liberate my family, which I had been absent from some ten or fifteen days; and on my return I found the remainder of my family confined to their beds, not being able the one to assist the other, and my house guarded by an armed force.
I was compelled to remove my family in this situation, on a bed to a place of safety. This, together with all the trouble, and for the want of care, was the cause of the death of the residue of my family, as I have no doubt; which consisted of a wife and two more children; as they died a few days after their arrival at my friend’s. Such was my situation, that I was obliged to assist in making their coffins.
I will give the names of some of the men that have driven me from my house and abused my family; those that I found at my house on my return were Samuel Law, Calvin Hatfield, Stanley Hatfield, Andy Hatfield; and those that were leading men were James Welden, Doctor William P. Thompson, a justice of the peace, and William Cochran, and many others, the names I do not recollect.
I have also seen men abused in various ways; and that whilst they were considered prisoners; such as the mob cocking their guns and swearing that they would shoot, with their guns to their face, and the officers of the militia, so called, standing by without uttering a word; and in these councils they have said if a Missourian should kill a Mormon he should draw a pension, same as a soldier of the Revolution.
I was also compelled to give up my gun, and the terms were, I was to leave the aforesaid state of Missouri, or be exterminated. My property is yet remaining in said state, whilst I am deprived of the control of the same.
Written this 17th day of March, 1840.
Asahel A. Lathrop.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilburn, J. P., Lee county, Iowa Territory.
Affidavit of Burr Riggs.
I, Burr Riggs, of the town of Quincy, and state of Illinois, do hereby certify that in the year 1836, when moving to the state of Missouri, with my family and others, we were met in Ray county, in said state, by a mob of one hundred and fourteen armed men, who commanded us not to proceed any further, but to return, or they would take our lives; and the leader stepped forward at the same time, and cocked his piece. We turned round with our team; and the mob followed us about six miles and left us.
Some time after this I moved to Caldwell county, in said state, and purchased about two hundred acres of land, and a village lot, on which I erected a dwelling house, staked, and commenced improving my land, and had, at the time I was driven away, about forty acres of corn, vegetables, etc.; and in the year 1838, in the month of November, was compelled to leave my house and possessions in consequence of Governor Boggs’ exterminating order, without means sufficient to bear my expense out of the state.
Given under my hand at Quincy, Illinois, 17th March, 1840.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Adams county, Illinois.
Affidavit of Simons P. Curtis.
I, Simons P. Curtis, a resident of Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, certify that in the year 1838, I was a citizen of Caldwell county, Missouri, residing in the city of Far West. Also that I went in search of a lost steer; and passing by Captain Bogart’s camp, while he was guarding the city, I saw the hide and feet of said steer, which I knew to be mine; the flesh of which I suppose they applied to their own use.
I also certify that Wiley E. Williams, one of the Governor’s aids, who was gunkeeper, caused me to pay thirty-seven and a half cents to him. I also paid twenty-five cents to a justice of the peace to qualify me to testify that the gun was mine. The said Wiley E. Williams is said to be the one that carried the story to Governor Boggs, which story was the cause of the exterminating order being issued, as stated by the Governor in said order.
Simons P. Curtis.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk Circuit Court, Adams County, Illinois.
Affidavit of Elisha H. Groves.
I, Elisha H. Groves, of the town of Quincy, and state of Illinois, upon oath say, that I was a resident of Daviess county, in the state of Missouri, and that on the 16th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1838, Judge Vinson Smith and others came to my house and ordered myself and family, Levi Taylor, David Osborn and others, to leave our possessions which we had bought of Government and paid our money for the same, saying we must within three days leave the county or they would take our lives, for there was no law to save us after that time. In consequence of those proceedings, together with Governor Boggs’ exterminating order, we were compelled to leave the state of Missouri. Furthermore this deponent saith not.
Given under my hand at Quincy, the 17th day of March, A. D. 1840.
Elisha H. Groves.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk Circuit Court.
Affidavit of Jacob Foutz.
Quincy, Illinois, March 17, A. D. 1840.
This is to certify that I was a citizen, resident of Caldwell county, Missouri, at the time Governor Boggs’ exterminating order was issued; and that I was quartered on by the mob militia, without my leave or consent at different times, and at one time by William Mann, Hiram Cumstock, and brother, who professed to be the captain; also Robert White; and that I was at the murder at Haun’s mill, and was wounded; and that I was driven from the state, to my inconvenience, and deprived of my freedom, as well as to my loss of at least four hundred dollars.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk Circuit Court.
Affidavit of Frederick G. Williams.
I do certify that I was a resident of Caldwell county, in the State of Missouri, in the year of our Lord 1838, and owned land to a considerable amount, building lots, etc., in the village of Far West; and in consequence of mobocracy, together with Governor Boggs’ exterminating order, was compelled to leave the state under great sacrifice of real and personal property, which has reduced and left myself and family in a state of poverty, with a delicate state of health, in an advanced stage of life. Furthermore this deponent saith not.
Given under my hand at Quincy, Illinois, March 17, 1840.
Frederick G. Williams.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods, Clerk Adams county, Illinois.
Statement of James Sloan.
James Sloan made affidavit at Quincy, that the officers of the militia under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs in Missouri in 1838, took possession, carried off and destroyed a store of goods, of several hundred dollars’ value, belonging to the people called “Mormons,” in Daviess county; that his life was threatened, his property taken, and be was obliged to flee the state with his family, greatly to his disadvantage.
Affidavit of David Shumaker.
Quincy, Illinois, Adams County, March 18, 1840.
I, Jacob Shumaker, do certify that I went back to the state of Missouri about the first of October last, with the calculation to live with my family, but finding it impossible, as the mob, say to the amount of twenty or thirty of them, surrounded my house, and whilst they were quarreling about me, what they should do, and in what way they should dispose of me, I crept out of the back window and made my escape; and leaving my family to their most scandalous abuses; my wife and oldest daughter barely escaping from their unholy designs.
I was thus a second time obliged to leave the state, or remain at the risk of my life. The former alternative I chose. My loss sustained by the above-mentioned abuses was not less than three hundred dollars. A lot of land containing forty acres, for which I paid four dollars per acre, situated in Caldwell county, was unjustly and unlawfully taken from me, and is still retained by some person or persons to me unknown. I hereby certify that the above is a true statement.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods.
Affidavit of Levi Richards.
I, Levi Richards, a resident of Quincy, Adams county Illinois, practitioner of medicine, certify that in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, I was a citizen of Far West, Caldwell county, Missouri, and that in the fall of said year, I saw the city invaded by a numerous armed soldiery, who compelled its inhabitants to surrender, give up their firearms, and submit to their dictation. They then set a strong guard around the city, thereby preventing egress or ingress, without special permission. Then they collected the citizens together upon the public square, formed around them a strong guard of soldiers, and then at the mouths of their rifles, compelled them to sign what was termed a deed of trust, thereby depriving them of all their property and civil rights.
This occupied several days of most inclement weather, when they were brought to the same order by General Clark, and I judge some forty or fifty were made special prisoners by him. At this time he delivered his speech to the “Mormons,” which has been published, and which is substantially correct. I was compelled by a company of men armed with rifles, to leave my house, and go to captain Bogart’s camp, (he commanded, as I understood, a part of the guard which surrounded the city,) upon an indirect charge or insinuation; was detained a prisoner two days, examined, and liberated. I then asked the clerk of the company, who had been my keeper, the following questions, which he readily answered:
Were those men who massacred the “Mormons” at Haun’s mill, out under the Governor’s order, or were they mobbers?
Are Captain Cornelius Gilliam and his company out by legal authority, or are they mobbers?
Where are those mobbers now?
A. They have joined the army.
This company [Gilliam’s] at the surrender of Far West were painted like Indians. The army wore a badge of red (blood). I saw a large amount of lumber and timber destroyed, and used for fuel by the soldiers. The destruction of cattle, hogs, etc., seemed to be their sport, as their camp and the fields testified when they withdrew. An excellent gun was taken from me, which I have never seen or heard of since. A gun that was left in my care was taken at the same time, which I afterwards found with Wiley E. Williams of Richmond, (reputed one of the Governor’s aids,) to obtain which I had to prove property, affirm before a magistrate and pay said Williams fifty cents.
I was called to extract lead, dress the wounds, etc., for several persons (Saints) who were shot in the above siege, two of whom died. Immediately previous to the above transactions, and for a long time before, the citizens of Caldwell, and particularly Far West, were called upon to watch for mobs by day and guard against them by night, till it became a burden almost intolerable.
Sworn to before C. M. Woods. Clerk Circuit Court, Adams county, Illinois
Affidavit of Gibson Gates.
I, Gibson Gates, do hereby certify that I was residing in Jackson county, Missouri, in the fall of the year, 1833, and had been for the space of about one year. I was at a meeting one day for worship, when a man by the name of Masters came to us, stating that he was sent by the mob to inform us that if we would forsake our religion, they were willing to be our brethren and fight for us; “but if not,” said he, “our young men are ready, and we can scarce constrain them from falling upon you and cutting you to pieces.”
Soon after this there came a large company of men, armed, to my place, and with much threatening and profane words, ordered me to be gone by the next day, or they would kill me and my family; in consequence of which threatening, we quit our house in the month of November, leaving most of our effects; suffering very much with cold, fatigue and hunger, we took [set out] on the prairie, and went southward twenty miles or more, where we stayed a few weeks. But still being threatened by the mob, we removed to Clay county, where we lived in peace until the fall of 1838, when a mob arose against the people of the Church of Latter-day Saints, when we were again obliged to leave our home, and seek safety in another place for a few weeks. When we returned our house had been broken open, and the lock of a trunk broken open, and the most valuable contents thereof taken away; the most of our bedding and furniture was either stolen or destroyed; and we were then ordered to leave the state.
Sworn to before David W. Kilbourn, J P.
Affidavit of David Pettigrew.
This is to certify, that I, David Pettigrew, was a citizen of Jackson county, Missouri, and owned a good farm, lying on the Blue river, six miles west of Independence, and lived in peace with the inhabitants until the summer and fall of 1833, when the inhabitants began to threaten us with destruction. I was at work in my field, and a man by the name of Allen, and others with him, came along and cried out, “Mr. Pettigrew, you are at work as though you were determined to stay here, but we are determined that you shall leave the county immediately.” I replied that I was a free born citizen of the United States, and had done harm to no man. “I therefore claim protection by the law of the land,” and that the law and the Constitution of the land would not suffer them to commit so horrid a crime. They then replied that “the old law and Constitution is worn out, and we are about to make a new one.”
I was at a meeting where we had met for prayer, and a man by the name of Masters came and desired an interview with us; he then stated that he was sent by the mob to inform us, that if we would forsake our “Mormon” and Prophet religion, and become of their religion, they, the mob, would be our brothers, and would fight for us; “but if you will not, we are ready and will drive you from the county.”
A few days after this, a large mob came to my house, commanded by General Moses Wilson, Hugh Braziel and Lewis Franklin, and broke down my door, and burst into my house, armed with guns, clubs and knives; some of them were painted red and black. This was in the night, and my family was much frightened. They threatened me with immediate death if I did not leave the place. After much abuse they left us for the night, but in a few days they returned and drove me and my family into the street, not suffering us to take anything with us. I saw that we must go or die; we went south to Van Buren county, in company with eighty or ninety others. In a short time after, I returned to my farm and found my house plundered, my grain and crop, stock, and all my farm and farming tools laid waste and destroyed; and shortly after my house was burned to ashes.
I called on Esquire Western, of Independence, and inquired of him if he could inform me what all this mobbing and riot meant, informing him of the destruction and plundering of my house; to which he gave me no satisfaction, but insulted me and treated me roughly. Governor Boggs lived in the county, and I have seen him passing through among us in our great distress, and gave no attention to our distresses. He was then Lieutenant-Governor of the state. On my return to my family in Van Buren county, I was much abused by a man by the name of Brady; he said he would kill me if I ever attempted to go to my farm, or if he saw me passing that way again. I returned to my family, and in a few days after, a company of men came where we lived and said they would spill my blood if I did not leave the place immediately. The leaders of this company were John Cornet, Thomas Langley, and Hezekiah Warden; they lived in Jackson county.
This was in the cold winter, and our sufferings were great. I fled across the Missouri river to Clay county, where I lived three years; in which time I often heard Judge Cameron and others say, that “you Mormons cannot get your rights in any of the courts of the upper country;” and I had not the privilege of voting as a free citizen.
I moved to Caldwell county, bought land and opened a good farm, and lived in peace until the summer and fall of 1838, when mobs arose in the counties round about, and I with the rest was obliged to take up arms in self defense; for the cry was, that mob law should prevail, if we stood against them, until the army came and took us all prisoners of war. I with the rest was obliged to sign a deed of trust at the point of the sword, I with sixty others was selected out and marched to Richmond, in Ray county, by the command of General Clark, where they kept us a number of weeks, pretending to try us as treasoners and murderers. At length I obtained my liberty, and returned to my family in Caldwell county: and I found that there was no safety there, for there was no law, but all a scene of robbing, and plundering, and stealing. They were about to take me again, and I was obliged to leave my family and flee to Illinois. In about two months my family arrived, having suffered much abuse and loss of health and property. Soon after the arrival of my family my son, a young man, died; and I attribute his death to the cruel barbarity of the mob of Missouri, he being a prisoner among them, and having suffered much because of them.
My father was a soldier, and served in the Revolutionary War, under the great Washington, but I have not had protection on my own lands; and I have not been permitted to see my farm in Jackson county, Missouri, in seven years. Soldiers were stationed or quartered in different parts of Far West; and they treated us roughly, threatening to shoot us, and making use of anything they pleased, such as burning house, timber, and rails, and garden fences, and stealing and plundering what they pleased.
When I was at Richmond, a prisoner before Judge King, we sent for many witnesses; and when they came, they were taken and cast into Prison with us, and we were not permitted to have any witnesses. The day I came out of prison, they compelled me to sign a writing which was not true or remain in prison.
Sworn to before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P.
Comment of the Prophet on the Foregoing Affidavits.
Thus I have given a few of the multitude of affidavits which might be given to substantiate the facts of our persecutions and deaths in Missouri. When the brethren left Missouri, they were poor, having been plundered of everything valued by mobs. Much of the plundering was done under the eye of the government officers, according to the foregoing affidavits; and all by the sanction of the state of Missouri, as the acts of her legislature testify. 5 The Saints, being so numerous, were obliged to scatter over the state of Illinois and different states to get bread and clothing—so that but few accounts against Missouri could be collected without unreasonable exertions. About 491 individuals gave in their claims against Missouri, which I presented to Congress—amounting to about $1,381,044.00; leaving a multitude more of similar bills hereafter to be presented, which, if not settled immediately, will ere long amount to a handsome sum, increasing by compound interest.
To the Saints scattered abroad, in the region westward from Kirtland, Ohio:
Beloved Brethren:—Feeling that it is our duty, as the servants of God, to instruct the Saints from time to time, in those things which to us appear to be wise and proper—therefore we freely give you a few words of advice at this time.
We have hear it rumored abroad, that some at least, and probably many, are making their calculations to remove back to Kirtland next season.
Now brethren, this being the case, we advise you to abandon such an idea; yea, we warn you, in the name of the Lord, not to remove back there, unless you are counseled to do so by the First Presidency, and the High Council of Nauvoo. We do not wish by this to take your agency from you; but we feel to be plain, and pointed in our advice for we wish to do our duty, that your sins may not be found in our skirts. All persons are entitled to their agency, for God has so ordained it. He has constituted mankind moral agents, and given them power to choose good or evil; to seek after that which is good, by pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life, which brings peace of mind, and joy in the Holy Ghost here, and a fulness of joy and happiness at His right hand hereafter; or to pursue an evil course, going on in sin and rebellion against God, thereby bringing condemnation to their souls in this world, and an eternal loss in the world to come. Since the God of heaven has left these things optional with every individual, we do not wish to deprive them of it. We only wish to act the part of a faithful watchman, agreeably to the word of the Lord to Ezekiel the prophet (Ezekiel 33:2-5), and leave it for others to do as seemeth them good.
Now for persons to do things, merely because they are advised to do them, and yet murmur all the time they are doing them, is of no use at all; they might as well not do them. There are those who profess to be Saints who are too apt to murmur, and find fault, when any advice is given, which comes in opposition to their feelings, even when they, themselves, ask for counsel; much more so when counsel is given unasked for, which does not agree with their notion of things; but brethren, we hope for better things from the most of you; we trust that you desire counsel, from time to time, and that you will cheerfully conform to it, whenever your receive it from a proper source.
It is very probable, that it may be considered wisdom for some of us, [i.e. at Nauvoo], and perhaps others, to move back to Kirtland, to attend to important business there: but notwithstanding that, after what we have written, should any be so unwise to move back there, without being first counseled so to do, their conduct will be highly disapprobated.
Done by order and vote of the First Presidency and High Council for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Nauvoo, December 8, 1839.
H.G. Sherwood, Clerk
Times and Seasons, Vol. 1, p. 29.
2. This communication of Hyrum Smith’s adds nothing to his very elaborate statement of the wrongs suffered by himself and the Saints in Missouri already published in Volume 3, pp. 403-424, except his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon; and as he was one of the Eight Witnesses to the fact of the existence of the Nephite plates from which the record was translated, the paragraphs relating to that testimony are give here:
“Having given my testimony to the world of the truth of the Book of Mormon, the renewal of the everlasting covenant, and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven, in the last days; and having been brought into great afflictions and distresses for the same, I thought that it might be strengthening to my beloved brethren, to give them a short account of my sufferings, for the truth’s sake, and the state of my mind and feelings, while under circumstances of the most trying and afflicting nature. * * * * I had been abused and thrust into a dungeon, and confined for months on account of my faith, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. However I thank God that I felt a determination to die, rather than deny then things which my eyes have seen, which my hands had handled, and which I had borne testimony to, [all in plain allusion to his testimony to the existence of the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated] wherever my lot had been cast; and I can assure my beloved brethren that I was enabled to bear as strong a testimony, when nothing but death presented itself, as I ever did I my life. My confidence in God, was likewise unshaken. I knew that He who suffered me, along with my brethren, to be thus tried, that He could and that He would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies; and in His own due time He did so, for which I desire to bless and praise His holy name.”—Times and Seasons, Vol. 1, pp. 20 and 23.
3. This treatise on the “Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter,” was written by Elder Pratt while in Columbia prison, Missouri. He explains that it “was more calculated to comfort and console myself and friends when death stared me in the face, than as an argumentative or philosophical production.” This article has for some time been out of print, yet it has much that is instructive in it. The author states as a basic principle in his treatise the following: “Matter and spirit are the two great principles of all existence. Everything animate and inanimate is composed of one or the other, or both of these eternal principles. I say eternal, because the elements are as durable as the quickening power which exists in them. Matter and spirit are of equal duration; both are self-existent,—they never began to exist, and they never can be annihilated. * * * * Matter as well as spirit is eternal, uncreated, self existing. However infinite the variety of its changes, forms and shapes;—however vast and varying the parts it has to act in the great theater of the universe;—whatever sphere its several parts may be destined to fill in the boundless organization of infinite wisdom, yet it is there, durable at the throne of Jehovah. And eternity is inscribed in indelible characters on every particle. Revolution may succeed revolution;—vegetation may bloom and flourish, generation upon generation may pass away and others still succeed—empires may fall to ruin, and moulder to the dust and be forgotten—the marble monuments of antiquity may crumble to atoms and mingle in the common ruin—the mightiest works of art, with all their glory, may sink in oblivion and be remembered no more—worlds may startle from their orbits, and hurling from their spheres, run lawless on each other in conceivable confusion—element may war with element in awful majesty, while thunders roll from sky to sky, and arrows of lightning break the mountains asunder—scatter the rocks like hailstones—set worlds on fire, and melt the elements with fervent heat, and yet not one grain can he lost—not one particle can be annihilated. All these revolutions and convulsions of nature will only serve to refine, purify, and finally restore and renew the elements upon which they act. And like the sunshine after a storm, or like gold seven times tried in the fire, they will shine forth with additional luster as they roll in their eternal spheres, in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.” On this theory of the indestructibility of matter the author proceeds to consider the reality of the resurrection from the dead and the future life of man in a sentient, tangible existence. “The resurrection of the body is a complete restoration and reorganization of the physical system of man; * * * * the elements of which his body is composed are eternal in their duration; * * * * they form the tabernacle—the everlasting habitation of that spirit which animated them in this life; * * * * the spirits and bodies of men are of equal importance and destined to form an eternal and inseparable union with each other.”
4. This affidavit, it will be observed, was given some time after the others of this group, and appears in the Ms. of the Prophet’s History under date of March the 5th, but it is brought forward here, with all those that follow in this chapter, that it may appear in connection with the others of its kind.
5. That is to say, the legislature had appropriated two hundred thousand dollars to meet the expenses of the mob-militia in unlawfully dispossessing the Saints of their lands and other property, and then expelling them from the state. While on the other hand, it refused to give any consideration worthy of the name to the petition of the Saints for redress of their grievances; and so far was the legislature from giving the Saints any assurance of re-instatement in the rightful possession of their lands and other property and maintaining them in peaceful possession of them, that it finally refused even to investigate the justice of their claims. Under these circumstances the Prophet is undoubtedly justified in using the language of the text. (See Vol. 3, chaps. 15, 16.)