Conflict in the Countryside

The Mormon Settlement at Macedonia, Illinois



Less than a fifteen-minute drive northeast of Carthage, Illinois, a sign announces, “Webster, Population 46.” A boarded-up store, a tiny cafe, and a small white church with a bell tower mark the spot. Situated in a wide bend of Crooked Creek, Webster received its, name in 1847, less than a year after the departure of Latter-day Saint settlers who had founded the town as Ramus in 1840 and who renamed it Macedonia in 1843. In 1845 it was reputed to be the third largest town in Hancock County, and its population peaked at somewhere between five and six hundred before the Macedonian Saints left in the spring of 1846. Macedonia, like other rural Mormon settlements in Hancock County, was a casualty of the Mormon conflict centered in Nauvoo. The renaming of the town for the prominent American statesman Daniel Webster was surely an attempt to forge a new identity and forget the past.1

Historical treatment of the events leading up to the expulsion of the Saints in 1846 has focused on Nauvoo and the Church leadership there. Scholars have argued that the insularity of Nauvoo was a key factor in generating regional hostility towards the Church. Unwilling to integrate politically or economically, the Saints presented a theopolitical monolith that aroused hostility.2

The smaller settlements in Hancock County, however, presumably offered more opportunities for Mormons and their neighbors to deal with one another. Such was the case with Macedonia and its neighbor Fountain Green. Ordinary interaction between residents of these towns, which were only two miles apart, engendered acquaintances, friendships, and even kinship ties that may have mitigated impulses toward aggression.3 Until we understand the ties between rural Mormons and the old settlers, we cannot fully understand the persecution of the Mormons and their expulsion in 1846.

[*** graphic omitted ***]

The Nauvoo Area, Including Ramus and Fountain Green (From Encyclopedia of Mormonism 3:99)

Settlement of the Crooked Creek Area

The triangular Illinois Military Tract, bounded by the Mississippi River on the west and the Illinois River on the east, was set aside as bounty lands for veterans of the War of 1812. Because the federal lands were not available for sale until the mid-1830s, squatting was common and title was uncertain.4 By 1826 when Ute Perkins, a Revolutionary War veteran from Tennessee, settled his family along Crooked Creek, the Indians were not much of a threat. Ute and his wife Sarah were nearly seventy years old, and with their grown children and grandchildren the family was a large clan.5 The Perkins were soon joined by other families from Kentucky; where they farmed became known as Perkins Settlement. Shortly thereafter a group of Catholic families migrated from Hardin County, Kentucky. Among them were Mordecai Lincoln, uncle to the future president, and his son, also named Abraham.6

Settlement of the southern portion of what became Fountain Green township by families from the South was augmented by an influx of Yankees who settled the northern portion. In 1831 Jabez and Sophia Beebe arrived from western New York with two young children; they were joined a year later by Jabez’s sister Eunice, her husband Stephen Ferris, and their six children. Seizing the entrepreneurial opportunities offered by the frontier, Beebe and Ferris founded the town of Fountain Green in 1835. In the mid-1830s they were joined by families from Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley, who brought a wheat-growing tradition into the township. The Pennsylvanians were Scotch-Irish, with names like Geddes, McConnell, and Walker. Thus families from the South, the Northeast, and the mid-Atlantic regions founded the rural farming community in the township on the eastern edge of Hancock County.7

The families created community institutions as the township’s population grew. School lessons were taught in log cabin homes until a proper schoolhouse was built in Fountain Green. New York Yankee Martin Hopkins opened a store after his arrival in 1836, and the next year Stephen Tyler joined him to establish the firm of Hopkins and Tyler. The firm sold supplies to farm families in exchange for produce such as grain or pork, which was hauled overland to Warsaw on the Mississippi and shipped down to St. Louis.8

With the rudiments of a commercial network in place, the settlers hastened to formally establish churches for worship on the frontier. In 1838 Mordecai Lincoln and his son Abraham helped build the small chapel of St. Simon the Apostle, located east of Perkins Settlement. The Catholic congregation of about thirty families, one of three on the western Illinois frontier, was attended by priests assigned by the diocese in St. Louis. Pennsylvanians Thomas Geddes and James McConnell founded a Presbyterian church in Fountain Green in November 1840. The church attracted Scotch-Irish from New York and the upland South who augmented the core of families who had migrated from Pennsylvania.9

Along with the Catholics and Presbyterians, the Latter-day Saints became a part of the religious community along Crooked Creek. Founding settler Ute Perkins and some of his family were baptized in April 1839 by Joel Hills Johnson, who lived in nearby Carthage. Born in Massachusetts in 1802, Johnson was raised on the frontier of western New York. In 1826 Joel married Anna Pixley Johnson, and by 1831 he and Anna had moved to Amherst, Ohio, where he pursued his trade of shingle cutter. There, two Mormon elders preached the gospel to him, and Johnson was baptized in June 1831. Not long afterward he journeyed to New York to preach the gospel to his family, who joined him when he moved to Kirtland.10

When the body of the Saints moved from Kirtland to Missouri in 1838, Joel was entrusted with the care of those too ill to make the journey. He spent the winter of 1838–39 in Springfield, Illinois, presiding over the detachment of the sick. As he recalled in his memoirs, on January 8, 1839, “the Lord showed me by revelation that I must immediately go to Carthage in Hancock County.”11 Johnson rented a vacant storehouse in Carthage for his family, where the couple’s fifth child was born in early March. Johnson commenced preaching in the area and “rooted out much of the prejudice existing in the minds of the people in reference to the difficulties at Far West, Missouri, and gained many warm friends to the Saints in and about the vicinity of Carthage.”12

Among them were members of the Perkins family. Johnson organized the embryonic group of Saints into the Crooked Creek Branch on April 17, 1839.13 In late June, Joseph Smith visited the Perkins home, and the next day he spoke “with considerable liberty to a large congregation.”14 In mid-February 1840, the Johnsons moved from Carthage to the west branch of Crooked Creek, where Joel had purchased a sawmill and piece of land. He reported in the Times and Seasons in March 1840 that he and two other elders had baptized about twenty persons and that the branch numbered about fifty members.15 He recalled in his reminiscences that he “labored during the spring and summer for the support of my family and preached on the Sabbath to the brethren.”16 On July 9, 1840, the branch was enlarged to the status of a stake, organized near Johnson’s sawmill. Johnson was made stake president and Ebenezer Page was chosen as bishop, with Elijah B. Gaylord and William G. Perkins as counselors. Twelve men were selected to sit on the stake high council, casting lots to devise a ranking of seniority.17

One of the stake’s first efforts was to create a town for its members. After investigating the surrounding areas, a high council committee purchased land from Ute Perkins, two of his sons, and William Miller for what became the town of Ramus. The Perkins were to be paid $9 per acre for 285 acres, and town lots were to be sold for $25 each.18 Ramus was surveyed into twenty-four blocks of four lots each by old citizen William Donoho and Mormon William Perkins in August. The street names were traditional for American towns: First through Fourth streets running east to West, and crosswise Oak, Elm, Ash, and Cherry streets. In November tax title to an additional quarter section of land was purchased from Dr. John Charles of Carthage for $300.19

Stake President Johnson promoted the expanding town in a letter to the Times and Seasons in November 1840, declaring that Ramus was “in the midst of a beautiful and fertile country” and that agricultural or town land could be purchased on “very reasonable terms.” Johnson noted that already “quite a number of buildings, mechanical shops &c., have been erected, and many more in Progress.” Saw- and gristmills were situated nearby, and more sites were available on the many streams. For those who preferred to farm, Johnson boasted that the soil was “rich and productive.” The location was also propitious for Saints migrating to Illinois from the East, just fifty miles west of Beardstown on the road from Springfield to Nauvoo. Johnson’s letter must have drawn a positive response, because the following February an addition was made to Ramus of nine full blocks and nine half blocks, with the new streets being named Maple and Sumac.20 Latter-day Saints bought their lands from the bishop of the stake, who in turn paid the Perkins for the property as he received funds from the settlers. The bishop was authorized to take payment in the form of property “of such as had no cash,” but he was not allowed to transfer lots without the notes being paid up.21 By April 1841, the stake clerk reported that the bishop had sold seventy-five lots and had received only $501.48, with $1,885.56 still due to the Church. Notwithstanding the shortage of payments, in June the stake appropriated $500 of its fund to build a schoolhouse. The proposed building was not large enough, and three weeks later a request was made for an addition to the building. In November the final moneys for the building were raised by subscription.22

Reading of this prosperous country town on the Illinois frontier, one wonders about the inhabitants of Ramus/Macedonia. Who lived there, and from where had they come? Why did they go to Macedonia instead of to Nauvoo? How did they make a living? How many of them were local residents converted by Joel Johnson, and how many had emigrated to Crooked Creek from Missouri?

The primary source of information about the residents is a list of branch members dating from before the spring of 1842.23 There are 426 persons on the list—208 men and 218 women. The list apparently includes only Church members of record, that is, baptized members over the age of eight. So with the addition of small children, the branch must have numbered five hundred and possibly nearly six hundred people, as at least one account claims.24

Not surprisingly, the Perkins and Johnson families were the backbone of the branch. Members of the Perkins family were already spread out on the Crooked Creek lands before the Saints entered the county, and Joel Johnson’s mother and seven of his siblings joined him in Ramus.25 Most of Macedonia’s Saints had joined the Church in Ohio and had migrated from Missouri. Other Latter-day Saint settlers were predominantly from New England and New York, with a minority from the southern states. Another group of settlers were Latter-day Saint immigrants from Britain who had spilled over from Nauvoo to settle in Macedonia. They were less apt to farm, and their reminiscences reflect a lonelier existence than that of the larger families enmeshed in kinship networks of political influence, religious status, and economic power.26 When the Mormons came, some local settlers converted. Among them were William Miller and William Wightman, who were selling land in the area as early as the mid-1830s. Many branch members had surnames common to the area: Duff, Eaton, McConnell, Saylors, Shipley, Walker, White, and Yager. These family names reflect conversions among old settlers who were from the South, New England, and Pennsylvania.27

The group of three hundred Latter-day Saints who suddenly settled in Fountain Green Township in 1839 and 1840 doubled in size by 1842. The forty-three inhabitants of the little town of Fountain Green must have felt overwhelmed by the large number of new residents in the township. The religious refugees might have also been seen as an economic boon by the residents of frontier Fountain Green. By 1845, the number of Macedonians had decreased to 380. Of course, the townspeople were only a fraction of the populace of the larger township.28

Macedonia was predominantly an agricultural community, with its town businesses servicing the local farm economy. Many of the residents practiced trades, and Macedonia had its share of millers, blacksmiths, tailors, and shopkeepers. Presumably, many Saints settled there on farms, but because land titles were held through the Church corporation, there is scant record of Mormon land ownership in county records.29 The inventory of Francis Beckstead, who died in the spring of 1842, portrays what may have been a typical farm household. Beckstead owned a modest amount of livestock, with two steers, three heifers, a bull, and several head of sheep. He left behind a horse and mare, complete with saddle and bridle. Typical of the corn-hog agricultural economy, he owned about a dozen hogs. The quantity of corn, oats, potatoes, and wool show a productive year. His wife, Catherine, probably cared for the half-dozen geese, eighteen chickens, and five cows with their new calves. With the spinning wheel, she would have spun wool into yarn, and with the gun, Francis would have hunted wild game to supplement the family diet. Household furniture and farm equipment, including a wagon, harrow, and plow brought the estate’s value to $322. The value of the estate was offset by debts, probably incurred to set up the farm. Beckstead owed $34.50 worth of notes to fellow Saints and $40 to storekeepers in Warsaw. Beckstead’s farm household reflects how most Mormon farmers made a living, which was probably not much different from how their non-Mormon neighbors farmed nearby.30

The town known as Ramus was formally incorporated by action of the Illinois legislature and named Macedonia in March 1843.31 Town government now supplemented the ecclesiastical body of governance. A seven-member board of trustees assumed responsibility for keeping the streets clean, licensing taverns, and keeping the peace. The town was large enough to be divided into four wards. The trustees appointed officers, including a constable, assessor, collector, and treasurer.32 Although the growth of Macedonia was hampered by the Church’s emphasis on gathering to Nauvoo, the town did prosper.33 A visitor to Macedonia in the summer of 1843 praised the thriving agricultural town:

The buildings, (which seemed mostly new) yards, gardens, barns, &c. seemed well constructed, neatly and tastefully arranged. Macedonia is situated in the great bend of crooked creek, surrounded with numerous mills and good farming lands, &c. I was informed the town had been laid out only about three years; that the population is now near 500 and increasing rapidly. . . . Mechanics of most kinds seemed plenty and busily employed. Every house seemed occupied. A beautiful square lay near the centre of town, on which we were informed a house for literary and religious purposes was to be erected.34

Interaction between Macedonia and Fountain Green

Given the close proximity of Macedonia to largely non-Mormon Fountain Green, how often did these two sets of townspeople have occasion to interact personally, and what was the nature of their interaction? The inhabitants of the two towns were tied by some kinship relations, by commercial transactions, and by competing political interests.

Kinship ties were extremely important in a frontier setting, where families were dependent upon one another to raise cabins, plant and harvest the crops, care for children, and nurse the sick. Several family relationships crossed community lines. So many of the Crooked Creek settlers, Mormons and non-Mormons alike, were from western New York that it is not surprising that some family relationships existed. For example, the daughter of Mormons Lucinda and Frasier Eaton from New York was married to early non-Mormon settler Jary White. White and his brothers were active in the Mormon War of September 1846, so in this case family ties did not lead to an avoidance of hostilities.35

A better grasp of the tenor of these family relationships is found in the case of Martha McConnell, a twenty-four-year-old Pennsylvanian migrant to Fountain Green. In a letter to her aunt in Pennsylvania, Martha recounted her visit to Macedonia in 1840 to help sew burial clothing for the young child of her Mormon uncle. Although the family did not mention their religion to her, she wrote “how strange I felt to be surrounded by such people.” She felt threatened:

Not one could I speak my mind to at such a time. I never was more rejoiced than when I saw Alex [her brother] coming for me as I was really afraid of them beginning their Mormon ceremony. I could not have seen them laying hands on the little boy, praying for him when he was at rest, and kept quiet.

She remarked that Mormons believed in baptism for the dead, and misunderstanding the doctrine, she seemed afraid that they would perform “their Mormon ceremony” on the helpless dead child whose body she would have felt compelled to protect. McConnell’s letter displays a fear of Mormons, even of her Mormon kin. She was suspicious of their doctrine and disapproved of it. For McConnell, kin ties could not bridge the gap opened by religious differences. While there was cooperation among family members and aid in time of need, fear blocked understanding or respect.36

Regarding commercial interaction between the two communities, the records of Hopkins and Tyler, the general store in Fountain Green, are helpful. The residents of Macedonia made frequent purchases at this store, ranging from whiskey and salt by the men to yard goods and buttons by the women. Sometimes Saints paid off their accounts with cash, other times with domestic products such as woven cloth. Andrew H. Perkins, Ute Perkins’s grandson and county commissioner, stopped by occasionally for some tobacco and no doubt to catch up on local doings. The store ledger contains accounts for lawyer Almon W. Babbit, missionary Mathias Cowley, Scotsman James Fife, and even Benjamin F. Johnson, who perhaps was after items he did not stock in his own store in Macedonia. Ute Perkins stopped by four or five times a month, maybe to pass the time with old friends.37

These ledger accounts show that many Saints shopped regularly in Fountain Green and that the proprietors were willing to trust them with long-term credit. Saints were good customers and made a significant contribution to the prosperity of the firm. It is difficult to know if the commercial relationships went beyond mercantile pleasantries to a deeper level of friendship, but clearly a measure of cordiality existed that allowed Mormons to mingle with the store’s Fountain Green customers.38

Beyond family relationships and economic connections, a third arena of interaction between the Saints and their Fountain Green neighbors was politics. In contrast to the apparent cooperation that existed in the commercial sphere at the store, the political interaction produced increasing alienation. Both Fountain Green and Macedonia were situated within the thirty-six-square-mile township designated as the Fountain Green election precinct. There were no other towns in the precinct, but the votes of rural farmers who were not residents of either town would have been included. Voting probably took place in Fountain Green. An analysis of the political behavior of this period shows that non-Mormon local leaders gained positions of prominence in the county-wide effort to eject the Mormons. Precinct-level voting statistics reveal a political split along religious lines in Fountain Green Township.

From the time of the initial settlement of Latter-day Saints in Hancock County, there were opportunities for conflict. An incident in the 1840 election involved a prominent citizen of Fountain Green, Martin Hopkins, coproprietor of the general store. At a mass meeting held at Carthage in March 1840, Hopkins was selected as the Whig candidate for the office of state representative.39 Under pressure from party leaders, by July 22 he had withdrawn his candidacy and was replaced by Dr. John F. Charles of Carthage.40 County historian Thomas Gregg could find no motive for this substitution, other than that “the autocrat of Nauvoo [Joseph Smith] signified that he would not support Mr. Hopkins.”41 One does not have to guess how Hopkins’s townspeople felt about Joseph’s control of the local political scene. To add insult to local injury, in the presidential election that year the Saints in Nauvoo crossed out the name of elector Abraham Lincoln (Whig justice of the peace in Fountain Green—not the Abraham Lincoln) on several hundred ballots and substituted Democrat James H. Ralston, a Mormon sympathizer.42

Hancock County’s “old citizens” banded together to form the Anti-Mormon party in June 1841, determined not to let party differences keep them from countering the Mormon bloc vote.43 Although no native sons were running for office, it is revealing to examine the 1841 election returns for the Fountain Green precinct. The balloting process was not secret and most likely was viva voce, adding to the pressure to vote in a bloc.44 The precinct voted with the Mormons for the congressional slot, but for the Anti-Mormon ticket in the races for school commissioner and county commissioner. Yet as Table 1 shows, the votes were close, probably indicating a voting population split along religious lines. Fountain Green precinct’s Anti-Mormon victory for local offices was gained by a slim margin. Similarly, LaHarpe precinct to the north, home to a sizeable Mormon population, voted with the Mormons on the congressional candidate but against them for the local offices. Carthage, the county seat, with only a small Mormon minority, might have seen a moderately partisan political contest. For all offices that election, the Mormon bloc vote determined the victors.

TABLE 1. Selected Precinct Results
August 1841 Election, Hancock County

Political Race

Fountain Green




County Total


James H. Ralston* D






John T. Stuart W






School Commissioner

Richard Wilton* D






Walter Bagby






County Commissioner

Robert Miller* W






John T. Barnett






*Anti-Mormon Party candidate D=Democrat W=Whig

Source: “Hancock County Elections, Unofficial Returns,” Warsaw Signal, August 4, 1841. Party affiliation from Gregg, History of Hancock County, 276–77. Tables 1 and 2 provide precinct-level voting figures for selected precincts only. The county totals include precincts not displayed here.


An event in Macedonia late in 1841 may have caused the citizens of Fountain Green some concern about their nearby neighbors. At a meeting of the stake high council on November 4, 1841, a dispute arose over the procedures for collecting payment for lots. The dispute degenerated into a heated argument. The next day word was received that four of the disputants had been jailed in a nearby county on charges of stealing.45 In a spontaneous reaction, the Macedonians gathered in a town meeting to take “measures to restrain and find out (if there be any among us) all dishonest persons thieves, roges, etc.”46 Church authorities in Nauvoo acted quickly to expel the accused offenders from the Church. Joseph Smith and the Quorum of the Twelve in Nauvoo issued epistles that condemned stealing and disowned any Saints who were guilty of such crimes. They also repudiated any notion that the Church condoned stealing.47 Three days later, Church leaders journeyed to Macedonia to patch the rift in the stake leadership. Their solution was to dissolve the stake because “some had come so disaffected towards the remainder there seemed no possible chance of a union if no officers not strife for office etc.” Like a pebble dropped in a pond, such internal dissensions spread in widening rings to affect the reputation of Mormons in the county.48

Their reputation was further sullied in the summer of 1842 by John C. Bennett’s accusations of polygamy, which appeared in the Sangamo Journal and were reprinted in the anti-Mormon Warsaw Signal. It is not clear if the townspeople of Fountain Green were aware of the practice of polygamy in nearby Macedonia.49 The Presbyterians and Catholics in Fountain Green would have been shocked and dismayed to discover such behavior in their midst. Bennett’s exposé was crucial in the Anti-Mormon campaign, and Gregg remembers that the letters were “widely read and commented on.”50 The accusations must have galvanized the coalition of Whig and Democrat interests that formed an Anti-Mormon ticket.51 Yet because of Mormon bloc voting, the Anti-Mormon interests were again thwarted in 1842.

TABLE 2. Selected Precinct Results
August 1842 Election, Hancock County

Political Race

Fountain Green




County Total


William Roosevelt* D






Jacob C. Davis D







Wesley Williams* W






Edson Whitney* W






Thomas H. Owen D






William Smith D







Stephen Tyler* D






William Backenstos D







John J. Brent* W






John T. Barnett






*Anti-Mormon Party candidate D=Democrat W=Whig

Source: “Official Returns,” Warsaw Signal, August 13, 1842.


Just as in 1841, the Mormons had their way in every race, giving Democratic candidates the victory they sought. The vote in Fountain Green precinct was nearly evenly split, with the Anti-Mormon candidates having a slight edge. The only exception was a larger lead for local son Stephen Tyler, owner of the general store the Saints patronized. Given the growing size of Macedonia, the vote shows significant support for the Anti-Mormon ticket. Probably nearly all voters in the precinct who were not Mormon voted the Whig/Democrat coalition against the Saints. By contrast, LaHarpe precinct voted with the Mormons, except, again, in the case of Tyler. The voting in Carthage was more clearly Anti-Mormon; only in the race for sheriff did they vote with the Mormons for William Backenstos. The large number of Nauvoo voters were responsible for the massive defeat of Tyler by Democrat Backenstos. The unmistakable conclusion from electoral analysis was the invincible power of Mormon bloc voting, anchored by the lopsided races in Nauvoo.52

The next election, in 1843, was complicated by events in June, when Joseph Smith was arrested in Dixon on extradition charges related to the attempted murder of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri. Joseph Smith promised Whig lawyer Cyrus Walker of Macomb his vote in return for freeing him from the grasp of the deputies; Walker believed President Smith had promised him the coveted Mormon vote. With the Whig party thus brought into the arena, both Walker and Democratic candidate Joseph P. Hoge visited Nauvoo to campaign. The day before the election Hyrum Smith urged the Saints to vote for Democrat Hoge. Without specifically repudiating Walker, Joseph Smith told the crowd that Hyrum had a testimony of Hoge and that he had never known Hyrum to have received a false revelation. The Saints caught on, and Hoge carried the county by over 1,300 votes.53 These events overshadowed the local race for county commissioner. Andrew H. Perkins from Macedonia was the Mormon candidate, and he received 1,641 votes, compared to 530 for Carthage tavern keeper Artois Hamilton.54

Historians have marked Joseph Smith’s escape and the subsequent election maneuvering as a turning point in relations between Mormons and old citizens.55 Citizens of the county were outraged by what they saw as the manipulation of the Mormon vote. With virtually no opportunity to wield political power within the two-party system, citizens revived the Anti-Mormon party in Carthage in early September. Not surprisingly, Democrat Stephen H. Tyler was on the newly formed correspondence committee representing Fountain Green. So was Whig Thomas Geddes, cofounder of the Presbyterian church in Fountain Green and commander of the 87th Illinois Militia.56 Local interests had been thwarted by the force of the larger Mormon voting population. The men of prominence in Fountain Green must have felt frustrated about being blocked from political advancement by the Mormon voting population, a situation that may have exacerbated their distrust of their Mormon neighbors in nearby Macedonia.

The Campaign to Expel the Latter-day Saints

By the time tensions escalated in Nauvoo in June 1844, the two communities along Crooked Creek were completely polarized. The events of that June are common historical knowledge: the publication of the Expositor in Nauvoo by dissenters from the Church on June 7, its immediate destruction at the order of Mayor Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo City Council, and the arrest of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on charges of riot.57 Old citizens of Hancock County immediately met in Carthage on June 13 to draft resolutions in response to the destruction of the press. Three men from Fountain Green were active in carrying out the purposes of the meeting, among them Stephen H. Tyler. The group designated places of encampment “to arm and equip ourselves.” Fountain Green was not among them, but nearby LaHarpe and Carthage were. Probably Fountain Green was thought to be too close to the large Latter-day Saint population in Macedonia.58

Ironically, the Latter-day Saints were responding to the Expositor incident in a similar manner. Delegates were appointed to travel to each precinct “to lay a true statement of facts” before the public.59 The Macedonia companies of the Nauvoo Legion were called in to defend Nauvoo. Benjamin F. Johnson remembered that “to avoid attack [the men] traveled all night across the prairie through mud, rain and darkness, terrible to those who were there.” Because of the heavy rains, they had to make their way across twenty miles of prairie “half a leg deep in water.”60 Many of the men did not have shoes, but some were armed.

According to a report given to Joseph Smith by commanding officer Uriah Yager, the company miraculously passed through an attack by a mob five miles out of Macedonia. As Joseph retold it, “The company from Macedonia opened fire about ten feet apart and marched past them within rifle shot, while the mob fired several guns at them, the balls whizzing past their heads.” When they arrived safely at daybreak, Joseph directed the Legion’s quartermaster to issue shoes to those who had walked barefoot. He was “glad to see them, and to hear that you were all alive in the midst of the ragings of an infatuated and blood thirsty mob.” He advised them to retreat to Nauvoo if attacked by a superior force, “but never give up your arms, but die first.” The men from Macedonia rested a few days before they were sent home to keep up a guard there.61

In nearby Fountain Green, Martha McConnell Walker described in a letter written June 18 how the local populace wanted the governor to give orders to arrest Joseph Smith:

And if he don’t give them leave they are determined to take the law into their own hands and bring them justice or clear them out which would be better. And now the drums are beating on every side, guns firing and Alan [her husband] and brother A have just left this day with provisions ammunition and all for Carthage. They are to try which, them or the Mormons are the strongest.

Martha was left alone, “sitting here with my babe in my lap, and not a creature only a Mormon family nearer than a mile.” She planned to leave soon for her parents’ home in town, where some men were on guard, because “I think we are not safe as the Mormons in Ramus [Macedonia] have refused to go and may do some mischief.”62

Seventeen hundred men were encamped around Carthage, members of militia companies from all around the county and a few neighboring counties.63 The men from Fountain Green were commanded by Thomas Geddes, who later recalled the events leading up to the murder of the Prophet and his brother:

While the Smiths were in jail, I went to the jail in company with Gov. Ford, and there we conversed with them for some time, the burden of Smith’s talk being that they were only acting in self-defense, and only wanted to be let alone. After leaving the jail, and while returning from it, the Governor and I had still further conversation about the subject matter. After some time the Governor exclaimed, “O, it’s all nonsense; you will have to drive these Mormons out yet!” I then said, “If we undertake that, Governor, when the proper time comes, will you interfere?” “No, I will not,” said he; then, after a pause, adding, “until you are through.”64

This statement by Geddes is as close as the historical record comes to revealing Governor Ford’s motives. In a fatal move, Ford disbanded the militia at about five o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday. Geddes’s men then headed east across the prairie toward Fountain Green. The governor struck out for Nauvoo with a small guard company to admonish the Saints to surrender their arms.65 The Carthage Grays were left to guard the jail, but it was understood that “they were guards that did not guard.”66 The mob from the Warsaw Militia who attacked the jail had no trouble in shooting Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Fearing Mormon retaliation for the murders, residents of Carthage hastily left town.67

When the Saints in Macedonia learned of the death of the prophets one witness remembered, “The people wept aloud. One could hear their sobs and crying from every quarter. They felt as though the hosts of hell were let loose to do their murderers work of extermination.”68 While the Saints in Macedonia mourned, the residents of Fountain Green prepared to defend themselves from expected Mormon revenge. Martha Walker’s interrupted letter picks up again July 1 with a reaction to the deaths of the Mormon leaders:

You will hear of the death of the prophet and his brother before this reaches you. Much as I thought before that he ought to be killed, when it was done I felt that it was wrong, at least, the time and manner it was done appeared barbarous. Our men were discharged that evening but were not home till they were killed. They were shot at five o’clock. . . . The word come to the Green. None went to bed that night. There they lay on the floor on their guns. Our men loaded theirs and set them in reach. You may guess there was two eyes unclosed that night.

Her words convey the suspense and terror of the situation. Once held politically hostage, residents now feared that their lives were in danger from Mormon neighbors two miles away in Macedonia. Martha assured her aunt they were prepared to defend themselves with “a cannon in the Green and ammunition plenty.”69

Because of intervention by state authorities and by Latter-day Saint leaders, hostilities were avoided. In the aftermath of the murders, Martha felt “calm and resigned to the will of an all-wise Providence. He will order all for the best.”70 Fountain Green recovered enough to celebrate July Fourth with a double wedding of two daughters of Jabez Beebe.71 Several weeks after the assassination, Governor Thomas Ford cautioned county residents that although Mormons in Lima and Macedonia had been warned to leave, they had “a right to remain and enjoy their property.”72

The August 1844 elections were somber, given the events and uncertainties of the summer. The county vote, true to the earlier election pattern, reflected the predominant Mormon population and the bloc voting practices of the Saints. With the election of George Coulson, who joined Mormon Andrew Perkins, two of the three county commissioners were Mormon. The third, John Barnett, was a resident of Nauvoo and sympathetic to the Mormons.73 Precinct results show that Fountain Green was still fairly evenly split between the Mormon and the Anti-Mormon vote. Just over one hundred persons voted for the Anti-Mormon candidate for county commissioner, and Coulson got eighty of the Fountain Green precinct votes. The spread was similar in the other races; the old settlers retained an edge over the Macedonia voters.74

The rationale behind local voting behavior is partially explained in a statement signed by county Democrats, among them eleven men from Fountain Green. Addressed to fellow Democrats in Illinois, its purpose was to refute the popular notion that only Whigs were opposing Mormons in the county. They declared that “party considerations have had nothing to do with the actions of the old citizens” and that the opposition to the Mormons was simply “in the necessary defence of their own constitutional rights, and without which opposition and defence, the people of Hancock would be unworthy [of] the name of American citizens.”75 Patriotism and adherence to constitutional ideals, and not partisan politics, were the stated motivation of Democratic opposition to Mormonism in the county.

The earlier resistance to Mormons by Fountain Green Township residents was led by community leaders from New York and Pennsylvania. The Democrat document, the first public statement by old settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee, suggests a north/south coalition of interests in the township in the campaign to remove the Mormons. Most of the Fountain Green signers were former Southerners who owned farms adjacent to Macedonia. Of all local residents, they probably felt most keenly that their property was threatened by the nearby Mormons.76 We can only speculate that loyalty to the Mormons as neighbors and relatives had kept them from actively participating earlier in the anti-Mormon effort.

At the May 1845 trial of the accused murderers of Joseph Smith, public attention focused on the courtroom, not on hostilities outside. The foreman of the jury was Jabez Beebe, cofounder of Fountain Green and early settler.77 The Mormons won the August 1845 elections handily, with nearly two thousand voters in Nauvoo alone. Anti-Mormons had apparently given up on the electoral process; they did not even try to oppose the Mormon slate.78 Then when Sheriff Deming died of fever in September, Mormons elected Jacob Backenstos to replace him.79

Stung again by the bloc voting, anti-Mormon forces in the county turned to illegal means to reclaim the county from the Mormons. This time, in a vigilante campaign against outlying Mormon settlements, they succeeded in accomplishing their aims. The conflict in the countryside became the turning point in the struggle to oust the Mormons. The attack started near Green Plains, southeast of Warsaw, the anti-Mormon stronghold. While the local citizens held an anti-Mormon meeting at the schoolhouse, they heard shots outside. They presumed the shots to be an attack on them, and in retaliation they set fire to the cabins of Mormons at Morley’s Settlement nearby. Before they were finished, the whole village—over one hundred houses—lay in ashes. Although the inhabitants of the cabins had received prior warning, the destruction was still devastating. The anti-Mormons had found a winning strategy, because the rural Mormon towns were vulnerable to attack in a way that Nauvoo was not.80

Frightened by the burning of Morley’s Settlement, the residents of Macedonia prepared to defend themselves. Thomas Callister, a British convert who arrived in Macedonia in spring 1842, kept a day-by-day account of events in September 1845. His eyewitness reports reflect their fears. News of the “wolf hunt” arrived in Macedonia on September 5, and on the next day the brethren met “to consult what was best to be done for the mob was burning houses in the other branches turning sick women and child out to doors in a most shameful manner.” They decided to post a guard at night. When word came the next day to organize their company of the Nauvoo Legion, Callister was chosen for first guard duty. He was out on guard at night on September 10 when “news came that the mob was rageing and burning houses in all directions.”81 In a September 11 letter to all the outlying settlements, Latter-day Saint leader Brigham Young advised them to “give them the cold lead, or obey the sheriffs counsel” if they were disturbed by mobs. He directed them to evacuate if necessary but planned “to sustain you where you are.”82 On September 13, Callister secretly attended a mob meeting in nearby McDonough County, realizing that “they were all very hard agins our people.” He returned to guard duty, and at 10 p.m. on September 14 “all the men meet at Bp [Bishop] Perkins and continued to stay to gather all night and be ready in the case of an atack [sic].”83

The shooting of anti-Mormon Franklin Worrell of the Carthage Grays by Sheriff Backenstos on September 16 intensified the hostility against the Mormons.84 The Warsaw Signal announced the murder of Worrell with a blazing headline, “Call to arms!” The story warned that “there is no longer peace for Hancock. Blood will and must flow if necessary to rid the county of the cursed authors of our troubles.”85 The men of Fountain Green rallied to editor Thomas Sharp’s call to arms. On September 20, Callister infiltrated a gathering at Fountain Green: “I whent and fount about 50 men Arnold . . . Maclery . . . swerying he would drive the Mormons out with some difficulty I got home unhurt.”86 Saying there was “some little stir about our borders and the mob are training today at Fountain Green,” on September 22, Bishop William G. Perkins hastily penned a request to Brigham Young for fifty to one hundred troops to arrive by evening. By midnight the next night, the posse arrived from Nauvoo, fewer than half the amount requested.87 To defuse the situation, Governor Ford appointed John J. Hardin to take military control of the area at the end of September. The vigilantes dispersed.88

There had been some anxious moments and saber rattling, but no one attacked Macedonia. Perhaps the town was seen as too formidable in size for their smaller Fountain Green force. Or maybe cooler heads prevailed at Fountain Green, those who may have realized that the communal ties made the violence pointless.

But the September hostilities sent a clear message to both sides. Estimates vary, but anywhere from 150 to 200 Latter-day Saint homes had been burned, and several men had been killed.89 Both sides realized that decisive action was required. Citizens from several nearby counties converged in Carthage on October 1 to demand Mormon removal. Brigham Young, warned by Stephen A. Douglas and John J. Hardin that the Mormons could no longer be protected because of the popular feeling against them, pledged that the Saints would leave.90 Latter-day Saint committees were appointed in the outlying settlements to prepare for removal. Most of Macedonia’s Saints left to join the main exodus from Nauvoo in early spring 1846.91

By April 1846, Macedonia, a once thriving agricultural town, was described in the Hancock Eagle as “The Deserted Village”: “It owes its existence to that trait in the Mormon character, which enables them to concentrate their energies and form communities of their own. In a locality of this kind, they mingle but little with the world, and gain an humble subsistence by cultivating small tracts of land. Such were the people of Macedonia.”92

In a certain sense, the Hancock Eagle was right. Although just a few miles from Fountain Green, the small town of Macedonia was insulated from the wider Hancock County community in much the same way that Nauvoo was. However, social integration did make a difference. The inhabitants of the two towns were related to each other, they traded at the same store, and they participated together in the functions of local government. They fought their battles on political turf, at the ballot box, and in county-wide organizations. At a turning point in 1843, when the citizens of Fountain Green began to feel that Mormon political control menaced republican ideals, community leaders became active in organizing for the intimidation and removal of the Mormons from the county. Yet, in spite of their fears and animosities, they confined their efforts to legitimate political processes and stopped short of the violence that occurred in other rural areas in the county.

In early 1846, Macedonian Saints moved en masse with the general Latter-day Saint exodus across Iowa. They retained their branch organization while in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, but migrations to Utah dispersed the Macedonian camp. In an ironic sequel, George Washington Johnson, who had left Macedonia when he was a young man of twenty-three, was called by Brigham Young in the summer of 1859 to pioneer on Uintah Springs in Sanpete County, Utah. Perhaps in hopes of re-creating the verdant Illinois town of distant memory, Johnson named his new settlement Fountain Green.93

About the author(s)

Susan Sessions Rugh is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago in American history. The author wishes to thank Kathleen N. Conzen, professor at the University of Chicago, and Christopher P. Thale, fellow student, for their comments, and Eugene H. Perkins for sharing family records.


1. The origin of the name Macedonia is uncertain, but Macedon, New York, was partitioned from Palmyra, Joseph Smith’s home, in 1823. See John H. French, ed., Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State (Syracuse, N.Y.: R. P. Smith, 1860), 692. Originally named Ramus (Latin for branch), the town was incorporated in March 1843 as Macedonia. See Laws of the State of Illinois, 13th General Assembly, 1842–1843 (Springfield: 1843), 304–7; and Illinois Journal of the Senate, February 16, 1843, 369, 450, 454–55.

2. For a history of the conflict centered on Nauvoo, see Robert Bruce Flanders, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965), and Annette P. Hampshire, Mormonism in Conflict: The Nauvoo Years, Studies in Religion and Society, vol. 11 (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985). Two recent works place the conflict in a wider context of American history: Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge: The Mormon Flight from American Pluralism (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), and Kenneth H. Winn, Exiles in a Land of Liberty: Mormons in America, 1830–1846 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).

3. For a history of the satellite settlements, see Donald Q. Cannon, “Spokes on the Wheel: Early Latter-day Saint Settlements in Hancock County, Illinois,” Ensign 16 (February 1986): 62–68. See John Mack Faragher, Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986) for the conflict-free history of a rural community in nearby Sangamon County. The historiographical literature on conflict in a frontier setting is extensive. Of special interest to the student of Illinois history is Don Harrison Doyle, The Social Order of a Frontier Community: Jacksonville, Illinois, 1825–1870 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978).

4. Theodore L. Carlson, The Illinois Military Tract: A Study of Land Occupation, Utilization and Tenure, Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences, vol. 32, no. 2 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1951), 2, 61.

5. Information about the Perkins family was obtained from genealogical records in possession of Eugene Perkins, Provo, Utah; and from Lucinda Call Perkins and Elizabeth Belcher Bartholomew, “History of the Perkins Family, 1720–1930,” Church Library, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

6. Richard D. Mudd, The Mudd Family of the United States (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Bros., 1951), 694–95, 1042–43, 1063.

7. Thomas Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois (Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1880), 232, 819–22; and Charles J. Scofield, History of Hancock County, vol. 2 of Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, ed. Newton Bateman, Paul Selby, and J. Seymour Currey (Chicago: Munsell, 1921), 1407–8. A detailed history of the settlement can be found in Susan S. Rugh, “Creating a Farm Community: Fountain Green Township, 1825–1840,” Western Illinois Regional Studies 13 (Fall 1990): 5–20.

8. Robert M. Cochran and others, History of Hancock County, Illinois (Carthage, Ill.: Board of Supervisors, Hancock County, 1968), 302; and Gregg, History of Hancock County, 821.

9. Vertical file, “Catholics,” Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, Illinois. See also Thomas Cleary, “The Organization of the Catholic Church in Central Illinois,” 105–24, and “A Note on the Catholic Church Organization in Central Illinois,” 185–90, both in Mid-America, new ser., 6 (1935). Information about the Presbyterian church can be found in Gregg, History of Hancock County, 821, and Fountain Green Presbyterian Church, Session Records, Fountain Green, Illinois (copy in possession of the author).

10. “Life of Joel H. Johnson,” Utah Humanities Research Foundation Papers, University of Utah Library, Salt Lake City, 1; “Excerpts from a Journal or Sketch of the Life of Joel Hills Johnson,” 7:1–7, David Martin Collection of Nauvooiana, Western Illinois University Archives, Macomb, Illinois; Frank C. Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers, 1913), 970.

11. “Life of Joel H. Johnson,” 2.

12. “Excerpts,” 6.

13. “Life of Joel H. Johnson,” 2.

14. Joseph Smith Jr., The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 7 vols., 2d ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 3:378; hereafter cited as HC.

15. Times and Seasons 1 (March 1840): 77.

16. “Life of Joel H. Johnson,” 2.

17. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, 1839–1850, Archives Division, Church Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City (hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives), July 9, 15, 23, 31, 1840, 8–10. A stake in those days could be a branch that had a president, a bishop, and a high council (see William G. Hartley’s article in this issue).

18. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, July 15, 1840, 9. On the committee were Frasier Eaton, Robert Gibson, William G. Perkins, Thomas Carico, Elijah B. Gaylord, and William Wightman. Carico, Perkins, Eaton, and Wightman were residents of the area before the Mormons arrived. By way of comparison, lots in Carthage sold for $30 each in 1834 (see J. M. Peck, A Gazetteer of Illinois [Jacksonville, 1834], 204).

19. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, November 15, 1840, 14; and HC 5:477.

20. Times and Seasons 2 (November 15, 1840): 222–23; and Hancock County Plat Book, 45–46. The lots in Ramus were the same size as those in Nauvoo; the streets were similarly three rods wide. The center block was reserved for public buildings (Flanders, Nauvoo, 138).

21. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, July 29, 1840, 13.

22. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, May 15, June 12, July 31, 1841, 17–18. For the subscription, see Macedonia, Illinois, Minutes in the Joseph Ellis Johnson Papers, University of Utah Library, Salt Lake City. I thank Jean Bickmore White for calling this source to my attention.

23. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, 65–71 (n.d.). The dating of the list is uncertain, but it includes the name of Francis Beckstead, who died in April 1842 (see Hancock County, Will Book A, 1833–43, 382).

24. An indication of the omission of small children is derived from the fact that children born to the Perkins (for whom genealogical information is available) after 1836 are not on the list. Because ages are not listed, it is impossible to calculate the number of children under eight. A rough guess suggests that at least an additional seventy-five children are not listed (genealogical records of Perkins family supplied by Eugene H. Perkins, copies in possession of the author). The six hundred figure is from Scofield, History of Hancock County 2:1077. Compared to the county as a whole (using the 1840 Federal Census), the gender ratio differs significantly. The county population was 47 percent female, while that of Macedonia was 52 percent.

25. There were twenty-four persons with the surname Perkins, and nineteen persons with the surname Johnson. Together these two families made up 10 percent of the branch population. If one includes in-laws to the Johnsons and the Perkins, the total belonging to these two families rises significantly. Two of Joel’s brothers, Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Ellis, served as town trustees. His sisters also lived in Macedonia. Julia married Almon W. Babbitt, a Latter-day Saint lawyer who was elected to the Illinois legislature in 1843; Almera became a plural wife of Joseph Smith; and Mary Johnson and her husband George Wilson also lived in Macedonia. An adopted sister, orphan Mary Hale, later became the plural wife of Benjamin. Delcena Johnson Sherman was widowed with six children, and the Church built her a house in town. Information about the Johnson family comes from “Life of Joel H. Johnson.”

26. The assessment of regional origin is based on a sample of Macedonians’ life sketches found in Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson, 1908), and Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. For the experiences of two British immigrants, see Thomas Callister, Autobiographical Notes, and Robert Crookston, “Autobiography of Robert Crookston Senior,” LDS Church Archives. Cailister, a tailor from the Isle of Mann, disliked farming and was very lonely in Macedonia. Crookston arrived from Scotland with his parents and escaped destitution by mining coal from a bed he discovered east of town.

27. See original entries, Land Office Records (Quincy), Illinois State Archives, Springfield, Illinois, and the 1840 Federal Census.

28. Fifty-two Mormon household heads on the branch list can be located in the 1840 census; their households totalled three hundred persons. Unfortunately, the manuscript copy of the 1845 Illinois State Census for Hancock County has not survived. The 1845 census figures are cited in Thomas Gregg’s newspaper, Hamilton Representative, July 17, 1858. If Gregg’s figures are accurate, in 1845 LaHarpe numbered 327 and Carthage 281 persons.

29. Only a handful of Mormon names can be located in the county deed records. Among them are John Quayle and Mathias Cowley, who jointly owned a parcel on Section 31; Franklin Taylor on Section 30; and the aforementioned Miller, Perkins, and Wightman parcels of land (Hancock County Deeds, Book K, 170, and Book O, 456). This analysis does not include town records.

30. Hancock County, Will Book A (1833–1843), 382.

31. Laws of the State of Illinois, 304–7; and Journal of the Senate (February 16, 1843), 369, 450, 454–55.

32. Macedonia, Illinois, Minutes, Joseph Ellis Johnson Papers.

33. Flanders, Nauvoo, 139.

34. Nauvoo Neighbor, September 20, 1843, 3.

35. Gregg, History of Hancock County, 838–39.

36. Martha McConnell to Martha Walker [ca. November 1840], Hancock County Historical Soctety Newsletter 1 (May 1972); and Patficia Jewell Ballowe and others, The 1850 Census of Illinois, Hancock County (Richland, Wash., 1977), 130.

37. Scattered throughout the store’s ledgers and day books, these accounts are representative samplings of the Latter-day Saint dealings at the store: For these specific accounts, see Ledger [B] (1843–45), 25–28, 53, 274, and Daybook B (183840), 259, Records of C. C. Tyler, Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, Illinois (microfilm copy at Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois). Perkins maintained friendships after becoming a Latter-day Saint, but when he died early in the spring of 1844, a primary social tie between Macedonia and Fountain Green snapped. Ute Perkins’s will was probated on April 19, 1844 (Hancock County, Probate Record C [1844–45], 2–21).

38. C. C. Tyler, Ledger [B], 331.

39. Gregg, History of Hancock County, 272, 449.

40. Western World (Warsaw), July 22, 1840. This was the same Dr. Charles who sold his land for the expansion of Macedonia in November (see above). He was instrumental in shepherding the Nauvoo Charter through the legislature the following winter (see Thomas Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra [New York: John B. Alden, 1890], 168).

41. Gregg, Prophet of Palmyra, 16–68.

42. Flanders, Nauvoo, 223; and Gregg, History of Hancock County, 272, 449.

43. Warsaw Signal, June 9, 1841.

44. See Charles M. Thompson, “Elections and Election Machinery in Illinois, 1818–1848,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 7 (January 1915): 379.

45. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, November 4, 1841, 20–22. The accused were Alanson Brown, Joseph Holbrook, John Telford, James B. T. Page, and William H. Edwards (Times and Seasons 3 [December 1, 1841]: 616). Brown had been accused of stealing a year earlier (probably in Nauvoo) but was acquitted by the High Council because of insufficient evidence (Times and Seasons 2 [December 15, 1840]: 256, and [August 2, 1841]: 497). Holbrook, an officer of the Nauvoo Legion, was court-martialed and stricken from the rolls (Times and Seasons 3 [December 1, 1841]: 618).

46. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, November 12, 1841, 22–23. The crowd was so large that the minutes had to be read at the door.

47. Times and Seasons 3 (December 1, 1841): 616–18.

48. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, November 12 and December 4, 1841; and HC 4:455–54, 462–63, 467–68. The leaders from Nauvoo also directed local officers to transfer title to the Macedonia lands to Joseph Smith as Trustee-in-Trust for the Church (HC 4:477, and Hancock County Deed Book K, 19). John Lawson became the branch’s presiding elder (HC 4:468).

49. Warsaw Signal, July 9 and 23, 1842. For the Bennett affair, see Gregg, History of Hancock County, 284–87; and Hampshire, Mormonism in Conflict, 137–43. The practice of polygamy in Macedonia was probably fairly common by mid-1843 (see HC 5:391–93; 6:59). Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Joel’s brother and a shopkeeper in Macedonia, was a close friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith and persuaded his sister Almera Johnson to become a plural wife of the Prophet in the spring of 1843. Not long afterward, Benjamin also took a plural wife. Joseph’s uncle, Father John Smith, performed many of these polygamous marriages (see Justus Morse, Affidavit; Benjamin Franklin Johnson, “A Life Review,” 90–93; and Crookston, “Autobiography of Robert Crookston Senior”; all are in the LDS Church Archives).

50. Hampshire, Mormonism in Conflict, 126; and Gregg, Prophet of Palmyra, 225.

51. Warsaw Signal, April 13, 1842.

52. The surrounding counties, Adams, McDonough, and Madison, all voted Whig (Warsaw Signal, August 6, 1842).

53. Hill, Quest for Refuge, 129–32; and Gregg, History of Hancock County, 449.

54. Gregg, History of Hancock County, 449.

55. Hill, Quest for Refuge, 129; and Hampshire, Mormonism in Confiict, 123–24.

56. HC 6:8. Correspondence committees covertly circulated information about anti-Mormon activities in Hancock County. Their formation echoed patriot resistance to the resident British enemy during the American Revolutionary War.

57. Warsaw Signal, June 12, 1844; Dallin H. Oaks, “The Suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor,Utah Law Review 9 (1965): 862–903; and Flanders, Nauvoo, 308.

58. Warsaw Signal, June 13, 1844.

59. HC 6:483; and Warsaw Signal, June 19, 1844.

60. Johnson, “A Life Review,” 98; Crookston, “Autobiography,” 8–9. I am convinced the wet weather played a part in the hysteria of the summer. Crops were failing, bridges were out, and roads were under water. As Bathsheba W. Smith of Nauvoo wrote on June 15, 1844: “The roads have been so bad, the bridges are most all washed away that it is all most inpossable [sic] to go to or come from Messedonia [Macedonia] here” (Women’s Voices: An Untold History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900, ed. Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Derr [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982], 129). Wesley Williams of Carthage wrote to his son in Kentucky about mills being damaged and bridges swept away by floods. The prospects of corn crop were “gloomy,” but he hoped the wheat crop would survive. “We had last night one of the most gloomy storms I ever witnessed. There was all night a continuous stream of electricity and continual roaring of thunder. Scarcily a single moment of cessation attended with heavy falls of rain mixed with hail” (Wesley Williams to John W. Williams, Carthage, June 5, 1844, typescript copy, Archives, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill.).

61. HC 6:515, 485, 486. Joseph Smith must have been referring to mobs in the county as a whole, not this small band who deliberately shot over the heads of the Latter-day Saints, who fired first.

62. Martha McConnell Walker to Martha Walker, June 18, 1844, Hancock County Historical Society Newsletter 1 (August 1972).

63. Eudocia Baldwin Marsh, “Mormons in Hancock County: A Reminiscence,” ed. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 64 (Spring 1971): 46.

64. Gregg, History of Hancock County, 372.

65. Thomas Ford, “Message of the Governor of Illinois in Relation to the Disturbances in Hancock County,” Reports Made to the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of illinois (Springfield, 1845), 78.

66. Recollection by William Hamilton, son of tavernkeeper Artois Hamilton, who observed the attack on the jail, in Orville F. Berry, “The Mormon Settlement in Illinois,” Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society, no. 11 (1906): 99.

67. Marsh, “Mormons in Hancock County,” 53.

68. Crookston, “Autobiography,” 10.

69. Martha McConnell Walker to Martha Walker, June 18, 1844.

70. Martha McConnell Walker to Martha Walker, June 18, 1844.

71. Warsaw signal, July 31, 1844.

72. Warsaw Signal Extra, August 7, 1844.

73. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1975), 46; and Gregg, History of Hancock County, 450.

74. Warsaw Signal, August 21, 1844.

75. “To the Democrats office State of Illinois,” Warsaw Signal, May 14, 1845.

76. Warsaw Signal, May 14, 1845.

77. Oaks and Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, 107, 111.

78. Warsaw Signal, August 13, 1845.

79. Gregg, History of Hancock County, 450. Violence spoiled the summer. For an account of hostilities between the Mormons and other settlers in the county during the summer of 1845, see Marshall Hamilton, “From Assassination to Expulsion” in this issue. For two versions of the shooting of a prominent anti-Mormon by Sheriff Miner Deming, see Kenneth W. Godfrey, “Crime and Punishment in Mormon Nauvoo,” also in this issue. The Mormons in Nauvoo and Macedonia entered bail for Deming after his arrest (Warsaw Signal, June 25, July 2, 1845).

80. Gregg, Prophet of Palmyra, 327–28; Warsaw Signal, September 3, 1845. Hon. George Edmunds, an old settler, later recalled, “I have never had a doubt that these matters were instigated of the purpose of forcing the Mormon population to consent to leave this county and go west” (Berry, “The Mormon Settlement in Illinois,” 89). A key element in the Warsaw Signal’s anti-Mormon campaign was accusing Latter-day Saints of stealing, which was evidenced by publication of lists of property (typically livestock, grain, bee stands) reported missing from widespread areas of the county (see Warsaw Signal, October 30, November 17 and 20, December 18 and 25, 1844). Only once was an incident in the Fountain Green area listed (see Warsaw Signal, December 25, 1844). Similar allegations of theft can be found in the letters of Milton Kimball and William M. King in the American Home Missionary Society, Correspondence (Illinois, 1840–45), Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, microfilm copy at Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois. These accusations bear further research in the county court records.

81. Callister, Autobiographical Notes, September 13, 1845.

82. Journal History of the Church, September 16, 1845, 2, and September 17, 1845, 1.

83. Callister, Autobiographical Notes.

84. Hill, Quest for Refuge, 175.

85. Warsaw Signal, September 17, 1845.

86. Callister, Autobiographical Notes. I cannot find anyone by the name of Arnold McCleary in the public records. He was probably referring to prominent Fountain Green citizen Matthew McClaughry.

87. Joumal History of the Church, September 22, 1834, 1–2.

88. Hill, Quest for Refuge, 177.

89. Ford estimated 150–175 houses were burned (Reports, 1844, 1–2); Flanders estimated 200 (Nauvoo, 328).

90. Brigham Young to General John H. Hardin, October 1, 1845, John H. Hardin Collection, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago, Illinois; “To the Anti-Mormon Citizens of Hancock and the Surrounding Counties,” Camp Carthage, October 4, 1845, Mormon Broadsides Collection, Chicago Historical Society. For the warning to Brigham Young, see Hill, Quest for Refuge, 176.

91. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, April 5, 1846, 50.

92. Hancock Eagle (Nauvoo), April 17, 1846.

93. Macedonia Branch Minute Book, 50, 88. (The record was kept until April 1850). Fountain Green Ward Manuscript History, LDS Church Archives, and Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review (Independence, Mo.: Zion’s Printing and Publishing, 1947), 220.

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