Volume 3 Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

The Beginning Of Trouble In Caldwell And Daviess Counties.

The Prophet Rests.

Wednesday, August 1.—I tarried at home with my family, also the 2nd and 3rd, to refresh myself after my many late fatigues and arduous duties which I had been called upon to perform.

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Sunday, 5.—I attended meeting. Elder Erastus Snow 1 preached, after which I addressed the congregation, and particularly the Elders, on the principle of wisdom, etc. President Rigdon preached in the afternoon, and several were confirmed, among whom was Frederick G. Williams, who had recently been re-baptized.

Reproof of Canadian Brethren.

Monday, 6.—This morning my council met me at my house, to consider the conduct of certain Canada brethren, who had settled on the forks of Grand river, contrary to counsel. On investigation, it was resolved that they must return to Adam-ondi-Ahman, according to counsel, or they would not be considered one with us.

A Citizens’ Meeting at Far West.

This day the citizens of Caldwell county assembled at Far West, and organized by calling Elias Higbee to the chair, and appointing George W. Robinson secretary. W. W. Phelps having resigned the office of postmaster, it was voted unanimously that Sidney Rigdon be recommended to the Postmaster General, as the person of our choice to fill the place of W. W. Phelps, as postmaster in this city.

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In the afternoon, the citizens of Far West assembled in the school house and organized the meeting by calling Judge Elias Higbee to the chair, and appointing George W. Robinson, secretary. I stated to the meeting, that the time had come when it was necessary that we should have a weekly newspaper, to unite the people, and give the news of the day. It was unanimously agreed that such a paper be established, and that President Sidney Rigdon should be the editor. It was also voted that a petition be circulated to locate the county seat at Far West. I addressed the meeting on the propriety of the measure, and also on the duty of the brethren to come into cities to build and live, and carry on their farms out of the cities, according to the order of God. President Rigdon and Brother Hyrum Smith spoke upon the same subject.

Judge Morin’s Friendly Warning.

Some two weeks previous to this, Judge Morin, who lived at Mill Port, informed John D. Lee 2 and Levi Stewart, that it was determined by the mob to prevent the “Mormons” from voting at the election on the sixth day of August, and thereby elect Colonel William P. Peniston, who led the mob in Clay county. He also advised them to go prepared for an attack, to stand their ground, and have their rights.

The brethren, hoping better things, gave little heed to Judge Morin’s friendly counsel, and repaired to the polls at Gallatin, the shire town of Daviess county, without weapons.

Peniston’s Harangue.

About eleven o’clock a. m., William P. Peniston mounted a barrel, and harangued the electors for the purpose of exciting them against the “Mormons” saying “The Mormon leaders are a set of horse thieves, liars, counterfeiters, and you know they profess to heal the sick, and cast out devils, and you all know that is a lie.” He further said that the members of the Church were dupes, and not too good to take a false oath on any common occasion; that they would steal, and he did not consider property safe where they were; that he was opposed to their settling in Daviess county; and if they suffered the “Mormons” to vote, the people would soon lose their suffrage; “and,” said he, addressing the Saints, “I headed a mob to drive you out of Clay county, and would not prevent your being mobbed now.”

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“Dick” Welding’s Row.

Richard (called Dick) Welding, the mob bully, just drunk enough for the occasion, began a discussion with Brother Samuel Brown, by saying, “The Mormons were not allowed to vote in Clay county no more than the negroes,” and attempted to strike Brown, who gradually retreated, parrying the blow with his umbrella, while Welding continued to press upon him, calling him a liar, etc., and meanwhile trying to repeat the blow on Brown. Perry Durphy sought to suppress the difficulty by holding Welding’s arm, when five or six of the mobbers seized Durphy and commenced beating him with clubs, boards, and crying, “Kill him, kill him, when a general scuffle commenced with fists and clubs, the mobbers being about ten to one of the brethren. Abraham Nelson was knocked down, and had his clothes torn off, and while trying to get up was attacked again, when his brother, Hyrum Nelson, ran in amongst them, and knocked the mobbers down with the butt of his whip. Riley Stewart struck Welding on the head, which brought him to the ground. The mob cried out, “Dick Weldin’s dead; who killed Dick?” And they fell upon Riley, knocked him down, kicked him, crying, “Kill him, kill him; shoot him,” and they would have killed him, had not John L. Butler sprung in amongst them and knocked them down. During about five minutes it was one succession of knock downs, when the mob dispersed to get fire arms.

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Very few of the brethren voted. Riley, escaping across the river, had his wounds dressed, and returned home.

John L. Butler’s speech.

John L. Butler called the brethren together and made a speech, saying, “We are American citizens; our fathers fought for their liberty, and we will maintain the same principles.” The authorities of the county finally came to the brethren, and requested them to withdraw, stating that it was a premeditated thing to prevent the “Mormons” from voting.

Gathering of the Mob.

The brethren held a council about one-fourth of a mile out of town, where they saw mob recruits coming in, in small parties, from five and ten, to twenty-five in number cursing and swearing, and armed with clubs, pistols, dirks, and some guns. The brethren not having arms, thought it wisdom to return to their farms, collect their families, and hide them in a thicket of hazel bush, which they did, and stood guard around them through the night, while the women and children lay on the ground in the rain.

Reports of Gallatin Trouble Reach Far West.

Tuesday, 7.—A report came to Far West this morning, by way of those not belonging to the Church, to the effect that at the election at Gallatin, yesterday, two or three of our brethren were killed by the Missourians, and left upon the ground, and not suffered to be interred; that the brethren were prevented from voting, and a majority of the inhabitants of Daviess county were determined to drive the Saints from that county.

The Departure of the Prophet for Gallatin.

On hearing this report, I started for Gallatin, to assist the brethren, accompanied by President Rigdon, Brother Hyrum Smith, and fifteen or twenty others, who were armed for their own protection; and the command of the company was given to George W. Robinson.

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On our way we were joined by the brethren from different parts of the county, some of whom were attacked by the mob, but we all reached Colonel Wight’s that night in safety, where we found some of the brethren who had been mobbed at Gallatin, with others, waiting for our counsel. Here we received the cheering intelligence that none of the brethren were killed, although several were badly wounded.

The Prophet Commends the Brethren for Standing for Their Rights.

From the best information, about one hundred and fifty Missourians warred against from six to twelve of our brethren, who fought like lions. Several Missourians had their skulls cracked. Blessed be the memory of those few brethren who contended so strenuously for their constitutional rights and religious freedom, against such an overwhelming force of desperadoes!

Interview with Adam Black.

Wednesday, 8.—After spending the night in counsel at Colonel Wight’s, I rode out with some of the brethren to view the situation of affairs in that region, and among others, called on Adam Black, justice of the peace, and judge elect for Daviess county, who had some time previous sold his farm to Brother Vinson Knight, and received part pay according to agreement, and afterwards united himself with a band of mobbers to drive the Saints from, and prevent their settling in, Daviess county. On interrogation, he confessed what he had done, and in consequence of this violation of his oath as magistrate, we asked him to give us some satisfaction so that we might know whether he was our friend or enemy, whether or not he would administer the law in justice; and politely requested him to sign an agreement of peace, but being jealous, he would not sign it, but said he would write one himself and sign it, which he did, as follows—

Adam Black’s Agreement.

I, Adam Black, a justice of the Peace of Daviess county, do hereby Sertify to the people, coled Mormin, that he is bound to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United State, and he is not attached to any mob, nor will not attach himself to any such people, and so long as they will not molest me, I will not molest them. This the 8th day of August, 1838.

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Adam Black, J. P. 3

Hoping he would abide his own decision, and support the law, we left him in peace, and returned to Colonel Wight’s at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Interview with Citizens of Mill Port.

In the evening some of the citizens from Mill Port called on us, and we agreed to meet some of the principal men of the county in council, at Adam-ondi-Ahman the next day at twelve o’clock, noon.

Thursday, 9.—The Committee assembled at Adam-ondi-Ahman at twelve, according to previous appointment, viz., on the part of Mill Port citizens, Joseph Morin, senator elect: John Williams, representative elect; James B. Turner, clerk of the circuit court, and others: on the part of the Saints, Lyman Wight, Vinson Knight, John Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and others. At this meeting both parties entered into a covenant of peace, to preserve each other’s rights, and stand in each other’s defense; that if men did wrong, neither party would uphold them or endeavor to screen them from justice, but deliver up all offenders to be dealt with according to law and justice. The assembly dispersed on these friendly terms, myself and friends returning to Far West, where we arrived about midnight and found all quiet.

Friday, 10.—Being somewhat fatigued I spent the day with my family, transacting but little business.

Treaties of Peace of Little Avail.

The spirit of mobocracy continued to stalk abroad, notwithstanding all our treaties of peace, as will be seen by the following affidavit—

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Peniston’s Affidavit.

State Of Missouri,

Ray County.

Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, William P. Peniston, and makes oath that he has good reason to believe, and that he verily does believe, that there is now collected and embodied in the County of Daviess, a large body of armed men, whose movements and conduct are of a highly insurrectionary and unlawful character; that they consist of about five hundred men, and that they, or a part of them, to the number of one hundred and twenty, have committed violence against Adam Black, by surrounding his house, and taking him in a violent manner, and subjecting him to great indignities, by forcing him, under threats of immediate death, to sign a paper writing of a very disgraceful character, and by threatening to do the same to all the old settlers and citizens of Daviess county; and that they have, as a collected and armed body, threatened to put to instant death this affiant on sight; and that he verily believes they will accomplish that act without they are prevented; and also that they have threatened the same to Wm. Bowman and others; and this affiant states that he verily believes all the above facts to be true, and that the body of men now assembled do intend to commit great violence to many of the citizens of Daviess county, and that they have already done so to Adam Black; and this affiant verily believes, from information of others, that Joseph Smith, Jun., and Lyman Wight are the leaders of this body of armed men, and the names of others thus combined are not certainly known to this affiant; and he further states the fact to be that it is his opinion, and he verily believes, that it is the object of this body of armed men, to take vengeance for some injuries, or imaginary injuries, done to some of their friends, and to intimidate and drive from the county all the old citizens, and possess themselves of their lands, or to force such as do not leave, to come into their measures and submit to their dictation.

William P. Peniston.

Sworn to and subscribed before me the undersigned judge, as aforesaid, this 10th day of August, 1838.

Austin A. King.

Reflections of the Prophet.

The above was also sworn to by William Bowman, Wilson McKinney, and John Netherton. So it is that when men’s hearts become hardened and corrupt, they will more readily swear to lies than speak the truth.

At this time some of the brethren had removed with their families from the vicinity of Gallatin, to Diahman and Far West, for safety.

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Saturday, 11.—This morning I left Far West, with my council and Elder Almon W. Babbitt, to visit the brethren on the Forks of Grand river, who had come from Canada with Elder Babbitt, and settled at that place contrary to counsel.

Inquiry at Far West concerning Gallatin Affair.

In the afternoon, after my departure, a committee from Ray county arrived at Far West, to inquire into the proceedings of our society in going armed into Daviess county, complaint having been entered in Ray county by Adam Black, William P. Peniston, and others. The committee from Ray county requested an interview with a committee of Caldwell, and a general meeting was called at the city hall, at six in the evening, when it was stated that they were assembled to take into consideration the doings of the citizens of Ray county, wherein they have accused the “Mormons” of this place of breaking the peace, in defending their rights and those of their brethren in the county of Daviess. The meeting was organized by appointing Bishop Edward Partridge, chairman; and Geo. W. Robinson, clerk. The meeting adopted the following—


“Resolved 1st. That a committee of seven be appointed to confer with the committee from Ray county.

“Resolved 2nd. That this committee, with their secretary, be authorized to answer such questions as may be offered by the committee from Ray county, and as are named in the document presented to this meeting, purporting to be the preamble and resolutions of the citizens of Ray county.

“Resolved 3rd. That whereas the document referred to has no date or signature, our committee judge of the fact, and act accordingly.

“Resolved 4th. That our committee report their proceedings to this meeting as soon as possible.

“Edward Partridge, Chairman,

“Geo. W. Robinson, Clerk.”

Sunday, 12.—I continued with the brethren at the Forks of Grand river, offering such counsel as their situation required.

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Monday, 13.—I returned with my council to Far West. We were chased ten or twelve miles, by some evil designing men but we eluded their pursuit. When within about eight miles of home, we met some brethren who had come to inform us that a writ had been issued by Judge King, for my arrest, and that of Lyman Wight, for attempting to defend our rights against the mob. 4

Tuesday and Wednesday, 14 and 15.—I spent principally at home, engaged in domestic affairs.

Thursday, 16.—I spent principally at home.

The Prophet’s Interview with the Sheriff of Daviess County.

The sheriff of Daviess county, accompanied by Judge Morin, called and notified me that he had a writ to take me to Daviess county, for trial, for visiting that county on the seventh instant.

It had been currently reported that I would not be apprehended by legal process, and that I would not submit to the laws of the land; but I told the sheriff that I intended always to submit to the laws of our country, but I wished to be tried in my own county, as the citizens of Daviess county were highly exasperated at me, and that the laws of the country gave me this privilege. Upon hearing this, the sheriff declined serving the writ, and said he would go to Richmond, and see Judge King on the subject. I told him I would remain at home until his return.

The sheriff returned from Richmond, and found me at home (where I had remained during his absence), and informed me very gravely, that I was out of his jurisdiction, and that he could not act in Caldwell county, and retired.

Organization of Agriculture Companies.

August 20.—Nothing peculiar transpired at Far West, from the sixteenth to this day, when the inhabitants of the different parts of the county met to organize themselves into Agricultural Companies. I was present and took part in their deliberations. One company was formed called the “Western Agricultural Company,” which voted to enclose one field for grain containing twelve sections, seven thousand six hundred and eighty acres of land. Another company was also organized, called the “Eastern Agricultural Company,” the extent of the field not decided.

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Tuesday, 21.—Another company was formed, called the “Southern Agricultural Company,” the field to be as large as the first mentioned.

Wednesday, 22.—I spent part of the day in counseling with several brethren upon different subjects.

The brethren continued to gather to Zion daily.

Some time this month the Saints were warned by the mob to leave De Witt, Carroll county.

Thursday, 23.—This day I spent transacting a variety of business about the city.

Friday, 24.—I was at home. Also on the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th.

Affidavit of Adam Black.

State Of Missouri,

County Of Daviess.

Before me, William Dryden, one of the justices of the peace of said county, personally came Adam Black, who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith: that on or about the 8th day of August, 1838, in the county of Daviess, there came an armed force of men, said to be one hundred and fifty-four, to the best of his information, and surrounded his house and family, and threatened him with instant death if he did not sign a certain instrument of writing, binding himself, as a justice of the peace for said county of Daviess, not to molest the people called Mormons; and threatened the lives of himself and other individuals, and did say they intended to make every citizen sign such obligation, and further said they intended to have satisfaction for abuse they had received on the Monday previous, and that they could not submit to the laws: and further saith, that from the best information and his own personal knowledge, that Andrew [Alanson] Ripley, George A. Smith, Ephraim Owens, Harvey Humstead, Hiram Nelson, A. Brown, John L. Butler, Cornelius [P.] Lott, John Wood, H. Redfield, Riley Stewart, James Whitaker, Andrew Thor, Amos Tubbs, Dr. Gourze, and Abram Nelson was guilty of aiding and abetting in committing and perpetrating the above offense.

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Adam Black.

Sworn to and subscribed this the 28th of August, 1838.

W. Dryden.

Justice of the Peace of the County aforesaid.

Comment on Adam Black.

This document, with that of the 8th of August, of said Black, shows him in his true light—a detestable, unprincipled mobocrat and perjured man.

Thursday, 30.—This day Governor Boggs issued the following order to General Atchison—

Proclamation of Governor Boggs.

Headquarters Of Militia, Adjutant General’s Office,

August 30th, 1838.

General David R. Atchison, 3rd Division, Missouri Militia.

Sir—Indications of Indian disturbances on our immediate frontier, and the recent civil disturbances in the counties of Caldwell, Daviess, and Carroll, render it necessary, as a precautionary measure, that an effective force of the militia be held in readiness to meet either contingency. The Commander-in-Chief therefore orders that you cause to be raised immediately, within the limits of your division, to be held in readiness, and subject to further orders, four hundred mounted men, armed and equipped as infantry or riflemen, and formed into companies according to law, under officers already in commission. The Commander-in-Chief suggests the propriety of your causing the above to be carried into effect, in a manner calculated to produce as little excitement as possible, and report your proceedings to him through the Adjutant General.

By order of the Commander-in-Chief,

B. M. Lisle, Adjutant-General.

A similar letter was also addressed to Major Generals John B. Clark, Samuel D. Lucas, David Willock, Lewis Bolton, Henry W. Crawther, and Thomas D. Grant.

Conduct of John Corrill Reproved.

I spent considerable time to day in conversation with Brother John Corrill, in consequence of some expressions made by him, in presence of several brethren who had not been long in the place. Brother Corrill’s conduct for some time had been very unbecoming, especially in a man in whom so much confidence had been placed. He said he would not yield his judgment to anything proposed by the Church, or any individuals of the Church, or even the Great I Am, given through the appointed organ, as revelation, but would always act upon his own judgment, let him believe in whatever religion he might. He stated he would always say what he pleased, for he was a Republican, and as such would do, say, act, and believe what he pleased.

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Mark such republicanism as this! A man to oppose his own judgment to the judgment of God, and at the same time to profess to believe in that same God, who has said, “The foolishness of God is wiser than man; and the weakness of God is stronger, than man.”

President Rigdon also made some observations to Brother Corrill, which he afterwards acknowledged were correct, and that he understood things different after the interview from what he did before.

Chapter 6 Notes

1. Erastus Snow was the son of Levi and Lucina Snow. His ancestors were among the early settlers of the Massachusetts colony. He was born on the 9th of November, 1818, and converted to the Gospel in the Spring of 1832, through the ministry of Elders Orson Pratt and Luke S. Johnson. Though converted to the Gospel by these Elders he was baptized by his elder brother, William, on the 3rd of February, 1833, and soon afterwards was ordained a teacher and commenced his work in the ministry. Previous to his arrival at Far West he had been active in the ministry for several years, preaching extensively in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. He was a member of the second quorum of Seventies, and had already given evidence of his sterling integrity and untiring efforts as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ which so characterized all the subsequent years of his long life.

2. John D. Lee was born on the 6th of September, 1812, in the town of Kaskaskia, Randolph County, Illinois; and was the son of Ralph Lee, of Virginia, and the daughter of John Doyle, of Nashville, Tennessee.

3. The original orthography and composition of this note are preserved in the above copy.

4. The warrant was issued on the misrepresentations of what the Prophet and Lyman Wight did on their visit to Adam Black on the 8th of August.

5. D&C 119.

6. D&C 120.

7. D&C 117.

8. D&C 118. This date, the 8th of July, 1838, is remakable for the many revelations given. In addition to the foregoing which are printed in the Doctrine and Covenants, in the sections indicated in the foot notes, the following was also received, which is not published in the Doctrine and Covenants nor elsewhere. It is found on file in Package 16 at the Historian’s Office: Revelation given July 8, 1838, making known the duty of William W. Phelps and Frederick G. Williams.

“Verily, thus saith the Lord, in consequence of their transgressions their former standing has been taken away from them, and now, if they will be saved, let them be ordained as Elders in my Church to preach my Gospel and travel abroad from land to land and from place to place, to gather mine elect unto me, saith the Lord, and let this be their labors from henceforth. Amen.