Murders by Mobs Continued—Confession of Dr. Robert D. Foster—Farewell of Orson Pratt to Eastern Saints—Westward by Shipping—The Durfee Murder Case
“Sunday, November 2, 1845.—The first Emigration Company [for the west] organized by appointing captains of tens.
The second quorum of seventies held a festival at the Seventies Hall.
Monday, 3.—Brother Heber C. Kimball and I visited Dr. Willard Richards who was sick.
Evening, council met at Elder John Taylor’s, Brothers Sherwood, Fullmer and Butler made a further report of the country west.
Self-Report of Dr. Robert D. Foster.
Abraham C. Hodge stated that he had some conversation with Robert D. Foster, who told him his feelings on the subject of Mormonism. He said, ‘Hodge, you are going to the west—I wish I was going among you, but it can’t be so. I am the most miserable wretch that the sun shines upon. If I could recall eighteen months of my life I would be willing to sacrifice everything I have upon earth, my wife and child not excepted. I did love Joseph Smith more than any man that ever lived, if I had been present I would have stood between him and death.’ Hodge inquired, ‘Why did you do as you have done? You were accessory to his murder.’ He replied: ‘I know that, and I have not seen one moment’s peace since that time. I know that Mormonism is true, and the thought of meeting (Joseph and Hyrum) at the bar of God is more awful to me than anything else.’
Organization of Westbound Company No. 1.
Tuesday, 4.—Emigrating Company No. 1 met in the Temple, eighteen companies of ten families each were filled up and Parley P. Pratt and Amasa Lyman appointed captains over the first and second hundreds.
At 5 p. m., council met for prayers at the Historian’s Office, (Dr. Richards’).
Joshua Smith Died—Poisoned by Carthage Militia.
Joshua Smith died. He was born in Nobleborough, Kennebeck (now Lincoln) county, Maine, February 13th, 1788. He was the son of Stephen and Miriam, and the eldest of four pair of twins, who lived to be men except one. Joshua was baptized at Kirtland, by John Smith in June, 1836. He was poisoned by the militia while at Carthage where he was summoned to attend court; the militia searched for him and found a knife under his arm and arrested him, and while under arrest they gave him dinner, where no doubt he received the poison, he soon became very thirsty, and vomiting followed until death. He said, he had been poisoned by the militia and at a post mortem examination by Drs. John M. Bernhisel, Lucius P. Sanger and Jesse Brailey the suspicion was confirmed; he was a good man and his name will be registered among those who wear a martyr’s crown.
He was second counselor to Samuel Williams, president of the elders’ quorum, at the time of his death.
Wednesday, 5.—Attended council with the Twelve to direct the arrangement of the seats in the Temple.
Afternoon, in council at the Historian’s Office.
Thursday, 6.—4 p.m., attended council and prayer meeting with the Twelve.
Friday, 7.—4 p.m., attended council with the Twelve.
Saturday, 8.—Revising history in company with Brothers Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards and George A. Smith till 4 p.m. Afterwards the Twelve and others met for council and prayer.
Farewell Message of Orson Pratt
‘To the Saints of the Eastern and Middle States, Greeting:
Dear Brethren: The time is at hand for me to take a long and lasting farewell to these eastern countries, being included with my family, among the tens of thousands of American citizens who have the choice of death or banishment beyond the Rocky Mountains. I have preferred the latter. It is with the greatest of joy that I forsake this republic; and all the saints have abundant reasons to rejoice that they are counted worthy to be cast out as exiles from this wicked nation; for we have received nothing but one continual scene of the most horrid and unrelenting persecutions at their hands for the last sixteen years. If our heavenly Father will preserve us, and deliver us out of the hands of the bloodthirsty Christians of these United States and not suffer any more of us to be martyred to gratify their holy piety, I for one shall be very thankful. Perhaps we may have to suffer much in the land of our exile, but our sufferings will be from another cause—there will be no Christian bandit to afflict us all the day long—no holy pious priests to murder us by scores—no editors to urge on house-burning, devastation and death. If we die in the dens and caves of the Rocky Mountains, we shall die where freedom reigns triumphantly. Liberty in a solitary place, and in a desert, is far more preferable than martyrdom in these pious states.
Perhaps the rich may ask, how they are to dispose of their farms and houses so as to get to Nauvoo this winter and be ready to start early in the spring with the great company?—In reply to this inquiry, we observe that they can do it if they only have a disposition. Many of them might have disposed of their property years ago, but have been holding on to the same, for the purpose of getting a greater price, or for fear of losing their property by the ravages of mobs, if they gathered with the saints; thus they have not been willing to readily comply with the great commandment of God, concerning the gathering, and thus they are deprived of the privilege of sacrificing their property by being driven from the same: but still they can reprieve themselves in some measure, by selling immediately at all hazards, though they should not get one third of its real value.
The Lord requires a sacrifice, and he that is not willing, will fail of the blessing. Brethren now is the time for you to be up and doing, for unless you can get to Nauvoo this winter, it will be entirely needless for you to go in the spring, for you could not arrive in time to leave with the saints.
Mutual Helpfulness of Rich and Poor.
We would say to the poor in the east, that it will be of no use for them to go to Nauvoo, unless they have means sufficient to purchase horses, wagons, tents, etc., for it will be in vain for them to think of starting for the Rocky Mountains without these things; and the church at Nauvoo will have as much as they can possibly do to provide these things for the poor of that place. If they should have any means left after having provided for their own poor, they would of course be willing to help the poor abroad; the rich in the branches abroad should help the poor to horses, wagons, etc.; and those who cannot possibly obtain these things, must raise means to pay their passage by sea around Cape Horn to the western coast of North America. Indeed our expenses by sea from here to the place of our destination would be but a trifle more, than our expenses from here to Nauvoo. Hence all the poor that can raise funds sufficient to go to Nauvoo, can with a little exertion, obtain sufficient to go by Cape Horn.
Company via Sea Provided.
Those who go by sea, can carry with them many articles which it would be impossible to carry over the mountains. Elder Samuel Brannan has been counseled to go by sea. He will sail about the middle of January. Those who wish to accompany him are requested to give him their names as early as possible. If one hundred and fifty or two hundred passengers can be obtained, he can venture to charter a vessel for them, and thus their fare will be scarcely nothing. The voyage can be performed in four or five months.
Brethren awake!—be determined to get out from this evil nation next spring. We do not want the saints to be left in the United States after that time. Let every branch in the east, west, north, and south, be determined to flee out of Babylon, either by land or by sea, as soon as then. Judgment is at the door; and it will be easier to go now, than to wait until it comes.
Those who go by sea, should go as soon as possible, as it will be almost impossible to double Cape Horn in our summer months; as the seasons there are directly the opposite of ours. Their coldest months are in July, and August, their warmest months in January and February. There is too much ice in our summer months to admit a safe passage round the Cape.
Elder Samual Brannan Appointed to Head Sea-bound Company.
Elder Samuel Brannan is hereby appointed to preside over, and take charge of the company that go by sea; and all who go with will be required to give strict heed to his instruction and counsel. He will point out to you the necessary articles to be taken, whether for food or for raiment, together with farming utensils, mechanical instruments, and all kinds of garden seeds, seeds of various kinds of fruits, etc., etc. Several have already given their names to go with him, and I think he will soon raise a company as large as can conveniently go in one vessel.
Brethren, if you all want to go, charter half a dozen or a dozen vessels, and fill each with passengers, and the fare among so many will be but a trifle. The most of those, however, who can get teams this winter, had better go by land.
Do not he fainthearted nor slothful, but be courageous and diligent, prayerful and faithful, and you can accomplish anything that you undertake. What great and good work cannot the saints do, if they take hold of it with energy and ambition?
We can do almost anything, for our Father in heaven will strengthen us, if we strengthen ourselves. He will work according to our faith. If we say we cannot go, God will not help us; but if we say, in the name of the Lord we will go! and set ourselves about it, he will help us. The saints must do greater things than these, before many years pass away, and now is the time to try your faith and ambition, and thus by experience be prepared for greater achievements.
Warning Against Apostate Prowling Wolves.
Brother Snow and myself are called upon to leave you, to visit our families and friends in the west. After our departure apostates will prowl around the branches here in the east, seeking to devour. They will present themselves before you as very pious and holy beings, mourning over the corruptions of the church while the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb will be represented as devils incarnate. But dear brethren, our works you have seen, and our diligence and anxiety for your salvation, you are not ignorant of. We have labored with all patience and diligence with you. We have prayed with you, and taught and instructed, and counseled you according as the Lord has given us wisdom—And I hereby testify unto you in the name of the Lord God of Joseph, that, if after all the instruction you have received, you suffer yourselves to be influenced and led away by apostates, such as [Sidney] Rigdon, [George J.] Adams, William Smith, and others who have been legally cut off from the church—your sins shall be upon your own heads—our garments are clean. Remember these words, and let nothing move you. Let no apostates be in the least welcome under your roof. Be ashamed and blush at the very idea of attending one of their wicked meetings. Despise their principles, and all their apostate doings, as you would the very gates of hell. Touch not—taste not, and handle not any of their accursed doctrines; for they shall utterly perish, and all that follow them. The day shall come when they shall weep and howl for vexation of spirit, for their miseries shall come upon them; and all shall know and discern between the righteous and the wicked—between saints and apostates.
When the saints get this message, I shall probably be on my way to the west. Should they wish to forward me letters or assistance, they can direct the same to Nauvoo. I hereby tender my thanks to the saints for such assistance as they have rendered me. I have received in the neighborhood of twenty dollars in fulfillment of my dream. Those who have responded to the same, have the warmest gratitude of my heart. I have just returned from a tour of about eight hundred miles, all at my own expense. And I assure you dear brethren, that it is a difficult matter for the servants of God to spend all their time in the ministry unless the saints uphold their hands. I should have probably visited more branches of the church in the east if I had been in the possession of sufficient funds to have paid my traveling expenses. I have no fault to find. The saints in the east have done well in the main; for they have responded to the call of our brethren in the west, in relation to tithing, tabernacle, etc.; and they shall in no wise lose their reward. We love the saints, both in the east and in the west, and it grieves our hearts that circumstances should force any of you to tarry in the states after next spring. If it were in our power, our hearts would leap for joy at the prospect of taking you all with us; and thus would the fulness of the gospel be fully brought from among the Gentiles.
Brethren and sisters, remember the Book of Mormon, the Book of Covenants, and the instructions, teachings, and counsels, which the faithful servants have given you from time to time. Be strictly virtuous, pure, upright, and honest in all things; and comply faithfully with the instructions upon these points, as pointed out in my message. You can now see the consequences attending those who have violated those virtuous principles. They have apostatized, and become the bitterest enemies of the servants of God: thus fulfilling the words of Jesus—’He that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if anyone commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the spirit, but shall deny the faith.’ 1
It is a fearful thing to violate the commandments of God, and depart from the strict laws which he has given concerning these matters. There is a right way, and there are many wrong ways; and blessed is that person who findeth the right way, and walketh therein even unto the end, for they shall be crowned with great glory, and of the increase of their kingdom, there shall be no end. Such shall be honored among the sons and daughters of God, while the corrupt, the whoremongers, and the vile seducer, shall be abased, where there is wailing, and wretchedness indescribable.
Who then, for a moment’s gratification, will sacrifice an eternal kingdom, where pure virtue, and love, and affection shall beam forth like the rays of the morning from every joyful countenance?
Apostrophy to Virtue.
O Virtue! How amiable thou art! Strength and beauty, and excellency, and dignity, and honor, and immortality, are thine offspring—Gentle peace, pure affection, unbounded love, and omnipotent power, shall reign triumphantly in thy habitations forevermore!
Commends the Saints to the Lord.
And now I must say to the saints in the eastern countries farewell. Farewell till we meet on distant lands. May our kind Father hasten that time. Yea, O Lord God, remember these my brethren and sisters, and save them. Behold O Lord, they have received thy servants, and the message thou gavest them to declare. They have fed us and clothed us; they have given their tithes for the building of thy Temple, and now, O Father, reject not their offerings, neither cast away thy people who are called by thy name. Forgive their sins, and pity them even as a Father pitieth his own children. Behold O Lord, the desire of this thy people to go forth from among the Gentiles, who have sorely persecuted them all the day long. But thy people are poor. Wilt thou not help them? Wilt thou not deliver them out of the hands of all their enemies who hate them? And when thou shalt visit this nation in sore judgment, according to that which thou hast spoken, destroy not thy people who are poor, with the wicked; but hide them with thine own hand, and shield them from judgment.
Hear the prayer of thy servant kind Father, in behalf of his brethren, over whom he has presided, and whom he is now about to leave. For I ask thee for all these things, in the name of thy Son. Amen.
And again, with my heart full of blessings I say farewell.[Signed] Orson Pratt.
City of New York, Nov. 8, 1845.’
Sunday, 9.—No public meeting; the floor of the first story in the Temple having been taken up to put in new timbers, the sleepers which were put in at the commencement of the Temple having become rotten.
The brethren belonging to the different Emigrating Companies assembled in and around the Temple, and received instruction concerning emigration.
Eleven a.m., I addressed the saints.
Noon, I met with the captains of companies.
Two p.m., I met with Emigrating Company No. 1
Suggested Purchase of Copyright of “Mother Smith’s History.”
Monday, 10.—I spent the day with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards and George A. Smith revising Church History; several of the Twelve and others called in the afternoon; we consulted on the subject of purchasing the copyright of Mother Smith’s History; and concluded to settle with Brother Howard Coray 2 for his labor in compiling the same.
Tuesday, 11.—Forenoon, Elders Willard Richards and George A. Smith revising history.
Afternoon, Elder Kimball and I joined them, and assisted in revising history.
Four p.m., the Twelve met, Elder Parley P. Pratt read an epistle to the churches which he had been instructed to write.
After council, accompanied by Brothers Heber C. Kimball and Levi Richards, I visited and administered to the sick.
Wednesday, 12.—Council met in the afternoon for prayer. A conference was held at New York City:
New York Conference.
‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met pursuant to appointment on the evening of the 12th of November at the American Hall. Many of the brethren were present from Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
On motion, Elder Orson Pratt was called to the chair, and G. T. Newell, secretary.
After prayer and a dedication of the assembly to God by the president, and a song of Zion by the whole assembly, the president arose and laid before the conference the present condition of the saints, and the necessity of all removing to the west. He exhorted them to a union of action for the benefit of the poor, that they might not be left behind. That as long as the church remained among the Gentiles, the fulness of the gospel could not be [said to have been] taken from them, and the Book of Mormon be fulfilled.
Elder Brannan then arose and presented the following Preamble and Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted by the whole assembly without a dissenting voice.
Elder Brannan’s Resolutions
‘Whereas, we as a people have sought to obey the great commandment of the dispensation of the fulness of times, by gathering ourselves together; and as often as we have done so, we have been sorely persecuted by the Protestant Christian Churches, our houses burned, and we disinherited of our possessions, and driven forth upon the charity of a cold-hearted world, to seek protection and sustenance for ourselves and families.
And Whereas:—Inasmuch as the people and authorities of the United States have sanctioned such proceedings, without manifesting any disposition to sustain us in our constitutional rights, but have rejected our many petitions to judges, governors, and presidents for the last twelve years, having hardened their hearts like Pharaoh of old, against the cries of the fatherless and the widow—That we now cease our cries, wipe away our tears, and prepare ourselves to ‘enter into our chambers and shut our doors about us for a little season until the indignation be overpast.’ Therefore,
‘Resolved, That we hail with joy the Proclamation of our brethren from the City of Joseph [i.e. Nauvoo] to make preparations for our immediate departure, and give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father that the day of our deliverance is so near at hand.
‘Resolved, That we look upon the Proclamation sent forth and published in the Warsaw Signal by our former brother, William Smith, as being actuated by purely selfish motives alone, for his own personal emolument and aggrandizement, at the sacrifice of the lives of his best friends, and the defamation of the character of the whole church; unchristianlike, even if true, because it brings persecution and affliction upon the innocent.
‘Resolved, That we most heartily sanction the proceedings of the council and church at Nauvoo, in his excommunication; and that suffering innocence in this city by his hands, has demanded it long since. And in it we believe that prayers of the fatherless and widow have been answered. And further
‘Resolved, That we caution all the honest in heart among the saints, where he has not visited in the east and elsewhere, that have not had an opportunity of proving his Apostleship as we have, to beware how they receive him into their houses, or bid him Godspeed, lest they bring condemnation upon themselves ignorantly.
‘Resolved, That during the mission and ministry of our brethren, the Twelve, among us, since the absence of William Smith, their conduct has been of the most exemplary character, both in practice and precept; which we are sorry we are not able to say of our former Brother William Smith. And
‘Resolved, That we advise him if he wishes to keep himself from trouble, shame, and disgrace—that if he has any feeling for the character of his family, and his martyred brethren, that he stay where he is, or go where he is not known. For we, the church in New York, have no desire to see him, unless he repent speedily, and go about making restitution for lifting his hand against the church and kingdom of God to destroy it.
‘Resolved, That the church in this city move, one and all, west of the Rocky Mountains between this and next season, either by land or water; and that we most earnestly pray all our brethren in the eastern country to join with us in this determination, and carry it out effectually, to the delivery of the people of God from the daughters of Babylon, and not one left behind.
‘Resolved, That there are no apologies required of those who do not go, but old age, sickness, infirmities, and poverty; ‘For he that will not forsake father and mother, houses and lands, wives and children for me, and my name’s sake, is not worthy of me’.’
Elder Brannan laid before the congregation his instructions from the authorities of the church directing him to go by water, and called upon all who wanted to accompany him, to come forward at the close of the meeting and put down their names. The conference was then dismissed by a benediction from the president.[Signed] Orson Pratt, President.
G. T. Newell, Secretary.’
Action in Illinios.
Wednesday, 12 (continued).—Brother Rice’s farmhouse on Camp Creek was burned by about thirty men of the mob who swore they were Governor Ford’s troops, which was probably false, John M. Finch and Rollison were with them.
Thursday, 13.—Forenoon, I rode out to the prairie with Dr. Richards, my brothers John and Joseph, E. T. Benson and G. D. Grant, and dined at Brother Chamberlain’s.
4 p.m., attended council with the Twelve. It was decided that Mother Lucy Smith should be furnished with food, clothing, and wood for the winter.
We prayed as usual.
Brigham Young’s Marksmanship.
Dr. Richards and I visited Stephen Markham who was cutting and sawing wagon spokes, at his place in the woods. We helped him to cut and saw a while and then took his rifle and shot at a mark, with my second shot I cut the pin that fastened the two-inch paper mark to a tree.
I wrote a lengthy communication to Noah Rogers giving him the general items of church news since he left on his mission to the Pacific Islands.
Friday, 14.—Evening, the Twelve met at Dr. Richards’. James H. Flanigan reports:
A Missionary’s Report
‘Nauvoo, Illinois, Nov. 14, 1845.
Having just returned from a mission eastward, appointed by the spring conference of 1843; according to order established by the Church of Christ, that elders should report their stewardship; I thought, although I was among the least, yet I would not be among the last in confessing my ignorance, and stating unequivocally, that I am but an unprofitable servant.
During my mission, which was in the fall and spring of ’43 and ’44, in the states of New Jersey and Maryland, in company with my fellow laborer, S. H. Rogers, we endeavored, according to our ability, and the trust reposed in us, to help rear up the standard of Latter-day glory, and to facilitate the great and momentous work of God in these last days.
I will also say, that although we were weak, yet we were made strong by the hand of the mighty God of Jacob! And although we were little, yet we confounded the great; and although our wisdom consisted in the simplicity of Christ’s gospel, yet the wisdom of man was confounded before our eyes.
Many honorable men were enamored of the truth, and many honorable men instructed in the plan of salvation. We baptized thirty-five or forty for the remission of their sins, and organized one branch of twenty-five or thirty members in Maryland; and thus the words of God were fulfilled, that ‘the weak should confound the wisdom of the mighty, and the poor among men rejoice, the meek increase their joy in the Lord, those who erred learn doctrine,’ etc., etc. Thus was the mission, and thus it ended.
May God bless his people, redeem and save Israel, and hasten his work in its time.
James H. Flanigan.’
Saturday, 15.—Elders Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and I visited through the city.
Evening, the Twelve met for prayer.
Death of Edmund Durfee—Shot by a Mob of House-Burners
A considerable party of the mob set fire to a stack of straw near Solomon Hancock’s barn and concealed themselves. Hancock and others went out to put out the fire which was the only way to save the building, when they were fired upon by the burners, and Elder Edmund Durfee killed on the spot, many balls flew around the rest of the brethren, but none of the rest were hurt. 3
Elder Edmund Durfee was born in Rhode Island, October 3, 1788. He was baptized by Elder Simeon Carter in Ruggles township, Ashland county, Ohio, May, 1831. (He had been a Methodist). He was ordained an elder by Simeon Carter and Solomon Hancock; and accompanied Elder Brackenbury on a mission to Chautauqua county, New York, in December, 1831.
Case of Poison by Mob.
Elder Joseph B. Brackenbury died at Pomfret from the effects of poison secretly administered to him by opposers, who afterwards boasted that Mormon elders had not faith enough to stand poison. The night after his burial there was a heavy snowstorm, about half past eleven o’clock Joel H. Johnson dreamed that some persons were digging up Brother Brackenbury’s body, and was so exercised about it that he called up some of the brethren and went to the spot, about one mile distant, and found a party of doctors at work, who had nearly cleared the grave of earth; the men fled with utmost precipitation. David Johnson took after the largest one who was caught and bound over in one thousand dollar bonds for his appearance at court, but was never tried.
Durfee’s Biographical Note
In the spring of 1832, Elder Durfee with nine others went up to Jackson county to put in grain, and build houses, and returned the same season.
He took another mission to the state of New York in the fall. In May, 1833, he moved to Kirtland. He was one of the twenty-four elders who laid the corner stones of the Temple in Kirtland, and moved to Caldwell county, Missouri, in 1837, and settled on Log Creek. In 1838 he was expelled from the state of Missouri with the saints, and settled in Yelrome, Hancock county, Illinois. After his death the mob boasted that they fired at Durfee on a bet of a gallon of whiskey that they could kill him the first shot, and they won.
Sunday, 16.—Meeting in the grove at 10 a.m.
Elders Orson Hyde, Heber C. Kimball and I preached.
I received the following:
Backenstos’ Note to the Twelve
‘To the Twelve:
On last night Elder Edmund Durfee was basely murdered by the mob in the Green Plains precinct, what shall be done to avenge his blood? the troops afford us no protection.
November 16th, 1845.
J. B. Backenstos.’
Edmund Durfee’s body was brought into the city to be buried.
I learned that Elder Theodore Turley has been arrested at Alton on a charge of bogus-making.
Afternoon, council of the Twelve assembled.
Orson Hyde in behalf of the council wrote the following letter:—
Hyde’s Letter to Major Warren Reporting Durfee’s Murder
‘Nauvoo, Nov. 17, 1845.
Sir: Intelligence reached us last evening of the murder of Mr. Edmund Durfee in the south part of the county by the mob who fired a quantity of straw to decoy him out, and while he was engaged in raking the straw so that the fire might not communicate with the buildings, six shots were made at him, one of which took effect in his breast and he died immediately.
His remains are brought to this city for interment.
Mr. Durfee was one of the most quiet and inoffensive citizens in these United States and from our acquaintance with him, and from the nature of his business in securing his crops we are persuaded that his murder was wholly unprovoked.
The burning of the house of Mr. Rice has created little excitement in the city, but on this occasion, we look to you to take such steps and adopt such measures as you, in your wisdom, shall deem expedient, and that you will make your views public as early as consistent.
Shall we send a sufficient number of men into the south part of the county to protect themselves while gathering their crops? or will you send your men for that purpose, or at least, a sufficient number of them? Be so good as to inform us so soon as convenient.
Affidavits will probably soon reach you of the above transactions.
Very Respectfully, in behalf of the Council,[Signed] Orson Hyde.
An Epistle to the Saints
On Collection of Historical Items.
‘All those who have letters, or documents of any kind in their possession, which in any way relate to the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are requested to leave them with the historian before tomorrow evening.
All elders who have been out on special missions within two years, and have not reported themselves in writing, are requested to do so before tomorrow evening.
Every individual who may be in possession of any fact, circumstance, incident, event, or transaction which they wish recorded in the General History of the Church will report it in writing before tomorrow evening.
The historian wants all books, maps, charts, papers, documents of every kind, name, and nature, and all information that may relate to, or have a bearing in any wise upon the History of the Church, before him, in his office within twenty-four hours.
Important items of history have frequently been presented at too late an hour to gain an insertion. Therefore I would say, that the history is written up to the year 1843, and the documents now wanting, are for the years 43-4 and 5. But if any of the brethren have any items of valuable history of any date, they may hand them in, and they will be filed away for future use.
Payment of Debts.
The injunction of the Apostle ‘owe no man anything’ is excellent, and ought to be remembered by every one, and practiced, so far as circumstances will admit; this is a part of the religion of the celestial kingdom; I have endeavored to live up to it, and I am determined to live to it more perfectly if possible, therefore, I request every individual who has any account for or against me, to call and settle the same before next Sabbath; if they owe me I will not kill them, and if I owe them I will try and pay them, for I hope soon to start on a mission towards some Island in the Pacific ocean, and if I should go away in debt to God or man I should expect to be shipwrecked before I got there. And now, brethren, if you want to save me from such a dreadful calamity, don’t fail to call and settle with me, for I expect that I owe some little accounts which have escaped my recollection and my mind cannot rest so as to prosecute my business in peace until these things are settled. Remember the time before next Sabbath and set me free for after that I have much business that will require my attention.
May the God of Israel bless all the saints, help them to do right, prosper them in their business, and save them in his kingdom is the prayer of your brother,[Signed] Willard Richards.
City of Joseph [Nauvoo], Sunday Morning, November 16th, 1845.’
Monday, 17.—I met in council at 4 p.m. with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Joseph Young and Bishop George Miller.
In obedience to the call of the historian many elders furnished reports of their missions: I insert the following:
James C. Snow’s Mission to the East;
‘May 17th, 1844, I left Yelrome, Hancock county, Illinois, for Rush county, Indiana, on a special mission.
On the 27th I commenced to lay before the people the views and policy of President Joseph Smith relative to the government and laws of the United States, presenting him as a candidate for the ensuing presidential election; at first, I met with opposition until the people became better acquainted with his principles; prejudice then gave way, and hundreds in Rush and other counties were turned in favor of President Smith and the saints.
Twenty were baptized into the church. When the news arrived of his death the people were disappointed and the shock was universally felt. Some of the most influential men immediately predicted the downfall of the nation because they looked lamely on and sang lulla-by-baby.
James C. Snow.
City of Joseph [Nauvoo], November 17th, 1845.’
Tuesday, 18.—The Twelve met in council at Dr. Richards’.
Another Judicial Farce—Durfee’s—to be Enacted.
Mr. Brayman, attorney for the state, wrote a letter to the council desiring witnesses against the murderers of Durfee to be sent to Carthage, also affidavits forwarded in relation to the burning of Rice’s house, and advising us of the arrest of George Backman, Moss and Snyder, who were charged with the murder of Elder Edmund Durfee, Sen.
The council replied immediately and requested the witnesses to start in the morning for Carthage to perform their part in another judicial farce.
I received the following:
Solomon Hancock’s Letter On Durfee’s Murder
‘Carthage, November 18th, 1845.
President Brigham Young:
I am convinced that Major Warren and Mr. Brayman are doing all they can to ferret out and convict the guilty who have recently been engaged in lawless transactions. They have stationed troops at my house to protect it from the incendiary and things generally appear to be working out right.
As there appears to be a disposition to act in support of law I think we ought to aid in getting witnesses so that the truth may be proven.
I have learned that Calvin Beebe, Lester Herrick and Nelson Herrick were in Lima on Saturday night, and know something of the intentions of the mob upon my property. I believe their evidence is necessary. They should come to Carthage in time for the examination. Please send all who know anything about the recent lawless outrages.
Yours Respectfully, etc.
James Arlington Bennett’s Request
Tuesday, 18 (continued).—I received a letter from James Arlington Bennett urging me to appoint him military commander-in-chief in the church, the spirit of the letter shows a thirst for personal aggrandizement unbecoming a servant of God.
Nauvoo, November 19th, 1845
Murder and Arson
Edmund Durfee Shot—Two Houses Burned
‘As may be seen by the affidavits below, it falls to our painful lot to chronicle two more outrages upon the lives and rights of the Latter-day Saints, since they have been using all diligence to secure their crops, build wagons, and leave next spring.
Mr. Durfee was one of the most industrious, inoffensive and good men that could be found, and having his house burnt in September last, moved to Nauvoo and went on Saturday last for a load of grain, was shot dead in cold blood, at midnight while striving with others to save property from the flames by an armed mob!
As to the destruction of the houses and property, and the treatment on that occasion—let the affidavit speak for itself.
We have nearly two thousand five hundred wagons commenced for our Pacific journey next spring, but such outrages certainly are not calculated to aid us in getting ready. We have borne the Missouri persecution; we have mourned the loss of the Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith; we feel the destruction of one or two hundred houses the present season, and our hearts are pained at the murder of Edmund Durfee, because he was a good man; but, we, as in all cases of the saints, leave the disposition of these matters in the care of a wise God, and the perpetrators, to the mercy of (as they say), a country of laws, and be those laws honored or disgraced we cannot be charged with revenge; and we do beseech the people and the authorities not to impute crime to us, to raise excitement, when we see our accusers wiping the blood of innocent men, women, and children, from their garments, as though this was the realm of Nero.
If thieves and robbers escape to Nauvoo, our rule is to deliver them up to the law of the land, and that is all that we can do.
We believe there is virtue and humanity among high-minded men, that know what honor is, and we appeal to them to lend a helping hand, while we are outfitting for our intended removal in the spring. Give us peace, for you that hold the balances of power can! And when we have settled on the other side of America you will know of a truth that we were friends and not enemies to life, law, and liberty! That we were good men, engaged in a good cause, and will receive the meed of praise we deserve for universal benevolence, and everlasting friendship to goodness.
The jealousy of the present generation is so great against the saints, that we have deemed it our duty to give this and the accompanying affidavits, that the world may know the continued ravages, and bloody outrages of a midnight mob; and for another important reason, that as Major Warren has pledged himself to use every exertion in his power to allay excitement, prevent the destruction of property, and stop the shedding of blood, we cannot feel anything better than that he will exhibit his honor and clemency in our behalf, that we may prepare for our exodus in peace henceforth.’
Affidavits in the Durfee Murder Case
‘State of Illinois
Personally appeared before me, Aaron Johnson a justice of the peace within and foresaid county, James H. Woodland, and after being duly sworn, deposeth and saith, that on the night of the 15th of November, 1845, in the south part of said county, near Solomon Hancock’s house, about midnight, a stack of straw was discovered on fire and that several persons turned out to suppress the flames; they raked away the straw to prevent it from catching and firing the barn; while thus engaged, a whistle was heard east and one west; and presently a gun was fired at them, and they continued to fire till six guns were discharged at them; the ball of the fourth one entered the body of Edmund Durfee, just above his heart and he died instantly, and further deponent saith not.[Signed] James H. Woodland.
Sworn to and subscribed this 17th day of November, 1845.[Signed] Aaron Johnson, J. P. (LS)’
State of Illinois
Hancock County ss
Personally appeared before me, Isaac Higbee, a justice of the peace within said county, Joseph Swymler, who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith, that on the night of the 13th day of November, 1845, at about half past twelve o’clock, a company of men about thirty in number, made their appearance at the residence of Samuel Hicks in said county, near the head of Camp Creek, and called for Samuel Hicks, who got up out of bed and went to the door and asked what was wanted, they said they were the governor’s troops right from Carthage, and had a writ for William Rice, who they said was there, and was told that he was not there. They laid hold of Hicks and forced him away without anything on but his shirt, Hicks and his wife and child all being sick with the ague, part of the company remained; they then called deponent and his brother up who were there, and ordered them to carry out the goods of the said Hicks and while his brother was in the chamber, they set fire to the stairs, which prevented him from getting all their goods, and when the fire had got to burning through the roof, they came back with Hicks who had suffered much with cold and ague, and after giving many insults and threats they went away. Deponent recognized in the company Joseph Agnew, John M. Finch, and a young man by the name of Moss, and further deponent saith not.[Signed] Joseph Swymler.
Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 17th day of November, 1845.[Signed] Isaac Higbee, J. P.’
Thursday, 20.—Council of the Twelve met in the afternoon.
I wrote a letter to Elder Wilford Woodruff, Liverpool, England, in reply to his communications.
Friday, 21.—The Twelve met and prayed.
Course of Major Warren Reported—Backenstos
Sheriff Backenstos came into council about 7 p.m., and said that he had watched Major Warren very closely for the last four days, thought he had turned Jack-Mormon, that he had been very busy and energetic in arresting the murderers of Durfee and the burners of Rice’s house, that he had several of them under guard at Carthage and was in pursuit of more and had chased one of them into Missouri and forced him back at the point of the pistol without any requisition from the governor. He admitted to Backenstos that Durfee would not have been murdered had the troops not been in the county; notwithstanding Governor Ford’s late letter to the contrary.
Major Warren has made several very sharp speeches to the anti-Mormons and told them if they did not help to bring those murderers to justice he would withdraw his troops from the county, and leave them in the hands of Backenstos; he had also intimated that if he could not bring them to justice without, he would establish martial law for a little season, try them by court martial, and have them shot. Stephens of Green Plains issued his warrant for the apprehension of the murderers, and came to Carthage on the day of examination and claimed his privilege of trying his own writs. Warren knowing him to be a mobocrat, caused Mr. Bartlett to issue new writs and took the prisoners out of Stephens’ hands.
The sheriff also stated, that the clerk of the commissioners’ court had had an injunction served on him, and had refused to issue the orders granted by the last commissioners’ court for the payment of the sheriff’s posse in quieting the rioters and house-burners.
Dr. Richards sick.
Echo from Jackson Co. Explusion.
Saturday, 22.—The Twelve met with thirty-eight of the brethren who were expelled from Jackson county, Missouri, in 1833. Several of them spoke, some of them saying they thought they were neglected and cast off poor.
I made a few remarks, and showed that many had been slothful and had not preached nor magnified their callings in the church.
The plasterers finished the attic story of the Temple.
Sunday, 23.—Eleven a.m., seventies met in the Concert Hall.
Progress of Organzing Companies for the West.
I met with the captains of Emigrating Companies and gave them appropriate counsel.
Families organized, 3285.
Wagons on hand, 1508.
Wagons commenced, 1892.
Afternoon, the Council of the Twelve met. Several letters were read. Many threats by our enemies were afloat.
Monday, 24.—Ten a.m., Brother Heber C. Kimball and I called at the Historian’s Office and read history with Dr. Richards and George A. Smith.
The council wrote Elder Theodore Turley who is now in jail awaiting his examination.
We have learned that the persons who murdered Edmund Durfee as also those who burned Rice’s and Hick’s houses were discharged by the magistrate without examination. Our brethren went according to Major Warren and Mr. Brayman’s request as witnesses thereby fulfilling their part towards magnifying and making the laws honorable, but returned unheard, and the farce closed sooner than he had anticipated, without even a grand jury on the case.
Afternoon, council met for prayers.
Wednesday, 26.—At the Historian’s Office with Elder George A. Smith and revised fifty pages history.
Elder Heber C. Kimball accompanied me to the Temple and examined the rooms. We were also engaged borrowing means to aid the Trustees, that they may go on with the work.
The presidents of the different quorums of seventies met and made some arrangements to furnish two rooms in the Temple. Elder Jedediah M. Grant gave a brief narration of his faith and standing.
The painters finished painting the attic of the Temple.
Thursday, 27.—At the Trustees’ Office, arranging business.
Afternoon, Erastus H. Derby called upon Dr. Richards and informed him that Silas Haight, a deputy United States marshal of Iowa and another suspicious fellow were loitering about the streets, and endeavoring to see some of the Twelve to serve writs on them.
Friday, 28.—I went to the Trustees’ Office, attending to church business. Elders Willard Richards and George A. Smith read and revised history to the end of 1843.
Saturday, 29.—I met with the Twelve, Bishops Whitney and Miller and a few others in the Temple and laid the carpet on the main floor of the attic story, and also on several of the small rooms ready for the First Quorum [of the Seventy] to meet in.”
2. The work of compilation for Mother Lucy Smith was really done by his wife, Sister M. J. Coray, who was also her amanuensis throughout. The work was finally published under the direction of President Joseph F. Smith in Salt Lake City, Utah, October, 1901. It was revised by Elders George A. Smith and Elias Smith, close relatives of the author. See title page, etc.