Affidavits Of Hyrum Smith et al. On Affairs In Missouri, 1831-39; Officially Subscribed To Before The Municipal Court Of Nauvoo The First Day Of July, 1843.
Explanatory Note.[In the month of June, 1843, a desperate effort was made to drag the Prophet Joseph Smith back to the state of Missouri, on a charge of treason against that state; and also alleging that because of his escape from Liberty prison in Clay county, Missouri, he had become a fugitive from justice. A process was issued by Thomas Reynolds, governor of the state of Missouri, and placed in the hands of Joseph H. Reynolds appointed the agent of that state to receive the Prophet from the hands of the Illinois authorities who were to make the arrest. Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois, issued the necessary papers for the arrest, and placed them in the hands of Harmon T. Wilson, who, in company with Reynolds, the Missouri agent, arrested the Prophet near Dixon in Lee county, Illinois, something more than two hundred miles north and east of Nauvoo. The Prophet managed with the assistance of his friends in Illinois, to be returned to Nauvoo, where he succeeded in getting out a writ of habeas corpus before the municipal court of that place, by which he was delivered from the hands of the Missouri agent. In the course of the ex parte hearing the following witnesses were examined, viz., Hyrum Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, George W. Pitkin, Lyman Wight, and Sidney Rigdon. In the course of the examination of these witnesses by affidavit the story of the persecutions of the Latter-day Saints is related at length. It cannot be said that anything new is added to the Missouri period of the Church history by these affidavits, but they are statements made officially before a court of inquiry and therefore have a value of their own on that account, and as this is a documentary history of the Church, these volumes would be incomplete without them. A desire to group all events closely related has induced the Editors to take these affidavits out of the place where they were given, in 1843, and place them in this volume, which is so largely devoted to the Missouri period of the Church history.
The municipal court of Nauvoo sat on the first day of July, 1843, at eight o’clock a. m., William Marks acting as chief justice, Daniel H. Wells, Newel K. Whitney, George W. Harris, Gustavus Hills and Hiram Kimball associate justices and the witnesses were examined in the order in which their affidavits are here published.
1. The Testimony of Hyrum Smith
Hyrum Smith sworn, said that the defendant now in court is his brother, and that his name is not Joseph Smith, Jun., but Joseph Smith, Sen., and has been for more than two years past. 1 I have been acquainted with him ever since he was born, which was thirty-seven years in December last; and I have not been absent from him at any one time not even for the space of six months, since his birth, to my recollection, and have been intimately acquainted with all his sayings, doings, business transactions and movements, as much as any one man could be acquainted with another man’s business, up to the present time, and do know that he has not committed treason against any state in the Union, by any overt act, or by levying war, or by aiding, abetting or assisting an enemy in any state in the Union; and that the said Joseph Smith, Sen., has not committed treason in the state of Missouri, or violated any law or rule of said state; I being personally acquainted with the transactions and doings of said Smith whilst he resided in said state, which was for about six months in the year 1838; I being also a resident in said state during the same period of time; and I do know that said Joseph Smith, Sen., never was subject to military duty in any state, neither was he in the state of Missouri, he being exempt by the amputation or extraction of a bone from his leg, and by having a license to preach the Gospel, or being, in other words, a minister of the Gospel; and I do know that said Smith never bore arms, as a military man, in any capacity whatever, whilst in the state of Missouri, or previous to that time; neither has he given any orders or assumed any command in any capacity whatever. But I do know that whilst he was in the state of Missouri, the people commonly called “Mormons” were threatened with violence and extermination; and on or about the first Monday in August, 1838, at the election in Gallatin, the county seat in Daviess county, the citizens who were commonly called “Mormons” were forbidden to exercise the rights of franchise; and from that circumstance an affray commenced and a fight ensued among the citizens of that place; and from that time a mob commenced gathering in that county, threatening the extermination of the “Mormons.” The said Smith and myself, upon hearing the mobs were collecting together, and that they also murdered two of the citizens of the same place, [Gallatin] and would not suffer them to be buried, the said Smith and myself went over to Daviess county to learn the particulars of the affray; but upon our arrival at Diahman we learned that none was killed, but several were wounded. We tarried all night at Colonel Lyman Wight’s. The next morning, the weather being very warm, and having been very dry, for some time previously, the springs and wells in the region were dried up. On mounting our horses to return, we rode up to Mr. Black’s who was then an acting justice of the peace, to obtain some water for ourselves and horses. Some few of the citizens accompanied us there; and, after obtaining water, Mr. Black was asked by said Joseph Smith, Sen., if he would use his influence to see that the laws were faithfully executed, and to put down mob violence; and he gave us a paper written by his own hand, stating that he would do so. He [Joseph Smith, Sen.] also requested him to call together the most influential men of the county on the next day, that we might have an interview with them. To this he acquiesced, and, accordingly, the next day they assembled at the house of Colonel Wight, and entered into a mutual covenant of peace to put down mob violence and protect each other in the enjoyment of their rights. After this, we all parted with the best of feelings, and each man returned to his own home.
This mutual agreement of peace, however, did not last long; for, but a few days afterwards, the mob began to collect again, until several hundreds rendezvoused at Millport, a few miles distant from Diahman. They immediately commenced making aggressions upon the citizens called “Mormons,” taking away their hogs and cattle and threatening them with extermination or utter extinction, saying that they had a cannon, and there should be no compromise only at its mouth. They frequently took men, women and children prisoners, whipping them and lacerating their bodies with hickory withes, and tying them to trees and depriving them of food until they were compelled to gnaw the bark from the trees to which they were bound, in order to sustain life; treating them in the most cruel manner they could invent or think of, and doing everything they could to excite the indignation of the “Mormon” people to rescue them, in order that they might make that a pretext for an accusation for the breach of the law, and that they might the better excite the prejudice of the populace, and thereby get aid and assistance to carry out their hellish purposes of extermination.
Immediately on the authentication of these facts, messengers were despatched from Far West to Austin A. King, judge of the fifth judicial district of the state of Missouri, and also to Major-General Atchison, commander-in-chief of that division, and Brigadier-General Doniphan, giving them information of the existing facts, and demanding immediate assistance.
General Atchison returned with the messengers, and went immediately to Diahman, and from thence to Millport, and he found that the facts were true as reported to him—that the citizens of that county were assembled together in a hostile attitude, to the number of two or three hundred men, threatening the utter extermination of the “Mormons.” He at once returned to Clay county, and ordered out a sufficient military force to quell the mob.
Immediately after, they were dispersed, and the army returned. The mob commenced collecting again soon after. We again applied for military aid, when General Doniphan came out with a force of sixty armed men to Far West; but they were in such a state of insubordination that he said he could not control them, and it was thought advisable by Col. Hinkle, Mr. Rigdon and others, that they should return home. General Doniphan ordered Colonel Hinkle to call out the militia of Caldwell and defend the town against the mob; for, said he, you have great reason to be alarmed. He said Neil Gillium, from the Platte county, had come down with two hundred armed men, and had taken up their station at Hunter’s Mill, a place distant about seventeen or eighteen miles northwest of the town of Far West, and also that an armed force had collected again at Millport, in Daviess county, consisting of several hundred men; and that another armed force had collected at De Witt, in Carroll county, about fifty miles southeast of Far West, where about seventy families of the “Mormon” people had settled upon the banks of the Missouri river, at a little town called De Witt.
Immediately, whilst he was yet talking, a messenger came in from De Witt, stating that three or four hundred men had assembled together at that place, armed cap-a-pie, and that they had threatened the utter extinction of the citizens of De Witt, if they did not leave the place immediately; and that they had also surrounded the town and cut off all supplies of food, so that many of the inhabitants were suffering from hunger.
General Doniphan seemed to be very much alarmed, and appeared to be willing to do all he could to assist and to relieve the sufferings of the “Mormon” people. He advised that a petition be gotten up at once and sent to the Governor. A petition was accordingly prepared, and a messenger despatched to the governor, and another petition was sent to Judge King.
The “Mormon” people throughout the country were in a great state of alarm and also in great distress. They saw themselves completely surrounded by armed forces on the north, and on the northwest and on the south. Bogart, who was a Methodist preacher and a captain over a militia company of fifty soldiers, but who had added to this number out of the surrounding counties about one hundred more, which made his force about one hundred and fifty strong, was stationed at Crooked creek, sending out his scouting parties, taking men, women and children prisoners, driving off cattle, hogs and horses, entering into every house on Log and Long creeks, rifling their houses of their most precious articles, such as money, bedding and clothing, taking all their old muskets and their rifles, or military implements, threatening the people with instant death, if they did not deliver up all their precious things and enter into a covenant to leave the state or go into the city of Far West by the next morning, saying that they “calculated to drive the people into Far West, and then drive them to hell.” Gillium also was doing the same on the northwest side of Far West; and Sashiel Woods, a Presbyterian minister, was the leader of the mob in Daviess county; and a very noted man of the same society was the leader of the mob in Carroll county. And they were also sending out their scouting parties, robbing and pillaging houses, driving away hogs, horses and cattle, taking men, women and children and carrying them off, threatening their lives, and subjecting them to all manner of abuses that they could invent or think of.
Under this state of alarm, excitement and distress, the messengers returned from the governor and from the other authorities, bringing the startling news that the “Mormons” could have no assistance. They stated that the governor said the “Mormons” had got into a difficulty with the citizens, and they might fight it out, for all he cared. He could not render them any assistance.
The people of De Wit were obliged to leave their homes and go into Far West, but did not do so until after many of them had starved to death for want of proper sustenance, and several died on the road there, and were buried by the wayside, without a coffin or a funeral ceremony; and the distress, sufferings, and privations of the people cannot be expressed.
All the scattered families of the “Mormon” people, with but few exceptions, in all the counties, except Daviess, were driven into Far West.
This only increased their distress, for many thousands who were driven there had no habitations or houses to shelter them, and were huddled together, some in tents and others under blankets, while others had no shelter from the inclemency of the weather. Nearly two months the people had been in this awful state of consternation; many of them had been killed, whilst others had been whipped until they had to swathe up their bowels to prevent them from falling out.
About this time General Parks came out from Richmond, Ray county. He was one of the commissioned officers sent out at the time the mob was first quelled, and went out to Diahman. My brother, Joseph Smith, Sen., and I went out at the same time.
On the evening that General Parks arrived at Diahman, the wife of my brother, the late Don Carlos Smith, came into Colonel Wight’s about 11 o’clock at night, bringing her two children along with her, one about two and a half years old, the other a babe in her arms.
She came on foot, a distance of three miles, and waded Grand river. The water was then waist deep, and the snow three inches deep. She stated that a party of the mob—a gang of ruffians—had turned her out of doors and taken her household goods, and had burnt up her house, and she had escaped by the skin of her teeth. Her husband at that time was in Tennessee, [on a mission] and she was living alone.
This cruel transaction excited the feelings of the people of Diahman, especially of Colonel Wight and he asked General Parks in my hearing how long we had got to suffer such base treatment. General Parks said he did not know how long.
Colonel Wight then asked him what should be done? General Parks told him “he should take a company of men, well armed, and go and disperse the mob wherever he should find any collected together, and take away their arms.” Colonel Wight did so precisely according to the orders of General Parks. And my brother, Joseph Smith, Sen., made no order about it.
And after Col. Wight had dispersed the mob, and put a stop to their burning houses belonging to the “Mormon” people, and turning women and children out of doors, which they had done up to that time to the number of eight or ten houses, which houses were consumed to ashes. After being cut short in their intended designs, the mob started up a new plan. They went to work and moved their families out of the county and set fire to their houses; and not being able to incense the “Mormons” to commit crimes, they had recourse to this stratagem to set their houses on fire, and send runners into all the counties adjacent to declare to the people that the “Mormons” had burnt up their houses and destroyed their fields; and if the people would not believe them, they would tell them to go and see if what they had said was not true.
Many people came to see. They saw the houses burning; and, being filled with prejudice, they could not be made to believe but that the “Mormons” set them on fire; which deed was most diabolical and of the blackest kind; for indeed the “Mormons” did not set them on fire, nor meddle with their houses or their fields.
And the houses that were burnt, had all been previously purchased by the “Mormons” of the people, together with the pre-emption rights and the corn in the fields, and paid for in money, and with wagons and horses, and with other property, about two weeks before; but they had not taken possession of the premises. This wicked transaction was for the purpose of clandestinely exciting the minds of a prejudiced populace and the executive, that they might get an order that they could the more easily carry out their hellish purposes, in expulsion, or extermination, or utter extinction of the “Mormon” people.
After witnessing the distressed situation of the people in Diahman, my brother, Joseph Smith, Sen., and myself returned to the city of Far West, and immediately dispatched a messenger, with written documents, to General Atchison, stating the facts as they did then exist, praying for assistance, if possible, and requesting the editor of the Far West to insert the same in his newspaper. But he utterly refused to do so.
We still believed that we should get assistance from the Governor, and again petitioned him, praying for assistance, setting forth our distressed situation. And in the meantime the presiding judge of the county court issued orders, upon affidavits made to him by the citizens, to the sheriff of the county, to order out the militia of the county to stand in constant readiness, night and day, to prevent the citizens from being massacred, which fearful situation they were in every moment.
Everything was very portentous and alarming. Notwithstanding all this, there was a ray of hope yet existing in the minds of the people that the governor would render us assistance; and whilst the people were waiting anxiously for deliverance—men, women, and children frightened, praying, and weeping, we beheld at a distance, crossing the prairies and approaching the town, a large army in military array, brandishing their glittering swords in the sunshine; and we could not but feel joyful for a moment, thinking that probably the governor had sent an armed force to our relief, notwithstanding the awful forebodings that pervaded our breasts.
But to our great surprise, when the army arrived, they came up and formed a line in double file within one-half mile on the south of the city of Far West and despatched three messengers with a white flag to the city. They were met by Captain Morey, with a few other individuals, whose names I do not now recollect. I was myself standing close by, and could very distinctly hear every word they said.
Being filled with anxiety, I rushed forward to the spot, expecting to hear good news. But, alas! and heart-thrilling to every soul that heard them, they demanded three persons to be brought out of the city before they should massacre the rest.
The names of the persons they demanded were Adam Lightner, John Cleminson, and his wife. Immediately the three persons were brought forth to hold an interview with the officers who had made the demand, and the officers told them they had now a chance to save their lives, for they intended to destroy the people and lay the city in ashes. They replied to the officers, if the people must be destroyed and the city burned to ashes, they would remain in the city and die with them.
The officers immediately returned, and the army retreated and encamped about a mile and a half from the city.
A messenger was at once dispatched with a white flag from the colonel of the militia of Far West, requesting an interview with General Atchison and General Doniphan; but as the messenger approached the camp, he was shot at by Bogart, the Methodist preacher.
The name of the messenger was Charles C. Rich, who is now  Brigadier-General in the Nauvoo Legion. However, he gained permission to see General Doniphan; he also requested an interview with General Atchison.
General Doniphan said that General Atchison had been dismounted a few miles back, by a special order of the Governor. and had been sent back to Liberty, Clay county. He also stated that the reason was, that he (Atchison) was too merciful unto the “Mormons,” and Boggs would not let him have the command, but had given it to General Lucas, who was from Jackson county, and whose heart had become hardened by his former acts of rapine and bloodshed, he being one of the leaders in murdering, driving, and plundering the “Mormon” people in that county, and burning some two or three hundred of their houses, in the years 1833 and 1834.
Mr. Rich requested General Doniphan to spare the people, and not suffer them to be massacred until the next morning, it then being evening. He coolly agreed that he would not, and also said that he had not as yet received the Governor’s order, but expected it every hour, and should not make any further move until he had received it; but he would not make any promises so far as regarded Neil Gillium’s army, it having arrived a few minutes previously and joined the main body of the army, he [Gillium] knowing well at what hour to form a junction with the main body.
Mr. Rich then returned to the city, giving this information. The Colonel [G. M. Hinkle] immediately dispatched a second messenger with a white flag, to request another interview with General Doniphan, in order to touch his sympathy and compassion, and, if it were possible for him to use his best endeavors to preserve the lives of the people.
On the return of this messenger, we learned that several persons had been killed by some of the soldiers who were under the command of General Lucas.
One Mr. Carey had his brains knocked out by the breech of a gun, and he lay bleeding several hours; but his family were not permitted to approach him, nor any one else allowed to administer relief to him whilst he lay upon the ground in the agonies of death.
Mr. Carey had just arrived in the country, from the State of Ohio, only a few hours previous to the arrival of the army. He had a family, consisting of a wife and several small children. He was buried by Lucius N. Scovil, who is now  the senior Warden of the Nauvoo [Masonic] lodge.
Another man, of the name of John Tanner, was knocked on the head at the same time, and his skull laid bare to the width of a man’s hand; and he lay, to all appearances, in the agonies of death for several hours; but by the permission of General Doniphan, his friends brought him out of the camp; and with good nursing, he slowly recovered, and is now living.
There was another man, whose name is Powell, who was beat on the head with the breech of a gun until his skull was fractured, and his brains ran out in two or three places. He is now alive and resides in this [Hancock] county, but has lost the use of his senses. Several persons of his family were also left for dead, but have since recovered.
These acts of barbarity were also committed by the soldiers under the command of General Lucas, previous to having received the Governor’s order of extermination.
It was on the evening of the 30th October, according to the best of my recollections, that the army arrived at Far West, the sun about half-an-hour high. In a few moments afterwards, Cornelius Gillium arrived with his army and formed a junction.
This Gillium had been stationed at Hunter’s Mills for about two months previous to that time, committing depredations upon the inhabitants, capturing men, women, and children carrying them off as prisoners and lacerating their bodies with hickory withes.
The army of Gillium were painted like Indians: some, more conspicuous than others, were designated by red spots; and he also was painted in a similar manner with red spots marked on his face, and styled himself the “DELAWARE CHIEF.” They would whoop and halloo, and yell as nearly like Indians as they could, and continued to do so all that night.
In the morning, early, the Colonel of militia [G. M. Hinkle] sent a messenger into the camp with a white flag, to have another interview with General Doniphan. On his return, he informed us that the governor’s order had arrived.
General Doniphan said that the order of the governor was, to exterminate the Mormons, by God; but he would be damned if he obeyed that order, but General Lucas might do what he pleased.
We immediately learned from General Doniphan, that “the Governor’s order that had arrived was only a copy of the original, and that the original order was in the hands of Major-General Clark, who was on his way to Far West with an additional army of 6,000 men.”
Immediately after this, there came into the city a messenger from Haun’s Mills, bringing the intelligence of an awful massacre of the people who were residing in that place, and that a force of two or three hundred detached from the main body of the army, under the superior command of Colonel Ashley, but under the immediate command of Captain Nehemiah Comstock, who, the day previous, had promised them peace and protection; but on receiving a copy of the Governor’s order “to exterminate or to expel” from the hands of Colonel Ashley, he returned upon them the following day and surprised and massacred nearly the whole population of the place, and then came on to the town of Far West, and entered into conjunction with the main body of the army.
The messenger informed us that he himself, with a few others, fled into the thickets, which preserved them from the massacre; and on the following morning they returned and collected the dead bodies of the people, and cast them into a well; and there were upwards of 20 who were dead or mortally wounded; and there are several of the wounded now  living in this city [Nauvoo].
One, of the name of Yocum, has lately had his leg amputated, in consequence of wounds he then received. He had a ball shot through his head, which entered near his eye and came out at the back part of his head, and another ball passed through one of his arms.
The army, during all the while they had been encamped at Far West, continued to lay waste fields of corn, making hogs, sheep, and cattle common plunder, and shooting them down for sport.
One man shot a cow and took a strip of her skin, the width of his hand, from her head to her tail, and tied it around a tree to slip his halter into to tie his horse with.
The city was surrounded with a strong guard; and no man, woman or child was permitted to go out or to come in, under penalty of death. Many of the citizens were shot at in attempting to go out to obtain sustenance for themselves and families.
There was one field fenced in, consisting of 1,200 acres, mostly covered with corn. It was entirely laid waste by the hands of the army. The next day after the arrival of the army, towards evening, Colonel Hinkle came up from the camp, requesting to see my brother Joseph, Parley P. Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson, stating that the officers of the army wanted a mutual consultation with those men; Hinkle also assured them that these generals—Doniphan, Lucas, Wilson, and Graham—(however, General Graham is an honorable exception; he did all he could to preserve the lives of the people, contrary to the order of the governor);—had pledged their sacred honor that they should not be abused or insulted, but should be guarded back in safety in the morning, or as soon as the consultation was over.
My brother Joseph replied that he did not know what good he could do in any consultation, as he was only a private individual. However, he said he was always willing to do all the good he could, and would obey every law of the land, and then leave the event with God.
They immediately started with Colonel Hinkle to go down into the camp. As they were going down, about half way to the camp, they met General Lucas with a phalanx of men, with a wing to the right and to the left, and a four-pounder [cannon] in the center. They supposed he was coming with this strong force to guard them into the camp in safety; but, to their surprise, when they came up to General Lucas, he ordered his men to surround them, and Hinkle stepped up to the general and said, “These are the prisoners I agreed to deliver up.” General Lucas drew his sword and said, “Gentlemen, you are my prisoners,” and about that time the main army were on their march to meet them.
They came up in two divisions, and opened to the right and left, and my brother and his friends were marched down through their lines, with a strong guard in front, and the cannon in the rear, to the camp, amidst the whoopings, howlings, yellings, and shoutings of the army, which were so horrid and terrific that it frightened the inhabitants of the city.
It is impossible to describe the feelings of horror and distress of the people.
After being thus betrayed, they [the prisoners] were placed under a strong guard of thirty men, armed cap-a-pie, who were relieved every two hours. They were compelled to lie on the cold ground that night, and were told in plain language that they need never to expect their liberties again. So far for their honor pledged! However, this was as much as could be expected from a mob under the garb of military and executive authority in the state of Missouri.
On the next day, the soldiers were permitted to patrol the streets, of Far West to abuse and insult the people at their leisure, and enter into houses and pillage them, and ravish the women, taking away every gun and every other kind of arms or military implements. About twelve o’clock on that day, Colonel Hinkle came to my house with an armed force, opened the door, and called me out of doors and delivered me up as a prisoner unto that force. They surrounded me and commanded me to march into the camp. I told them that I could not go; my family were sick, and I was sick myself, and could not leave home. They said they did not care for that—I must and should go. I asked when they would permit me to return. They made me no answer, but forced me along with the point of the bayonet into the camp, and put me under the same guard with my brother Joseph; and within about half an hour afterwards, Amasa Lyman was also brought and placed under the same guard. There we were compelled to stay all that night and lie on the ground. But some time in the same night, Colonel Hinkle came to me and told me that he had been pleading my case before the court-martial, but he was afraid he would not succeed.
He said there was a court-martial then in session, consisting of thirteen or fourteen officers; Circuit Judge Austin A. King, and Mr. Birch, district attorney; also Sashiel Woods, Presbyterian priest, and about twenty other priests of the different religious denominations in that country. He said they were determined to shoot us on the next morning in the public square in Far West. I made him no reply.
On the next morning, about sunrise, General Doniphan ordered his brigade to take up the line of march and leave the camp. He came to us where we were under guard, to shake hands with us, and bid us farewell. His first salutation was, “By God, you have been sentenced by the court-martial to be shot this morning; but I will be damned if I will have any of the honor of it, or any of the disgrace of it; therefore I have ordered my brigade to take up the line of march and to leave the camp, for I consider it to be cold-blooded murder, and I bid you farewell;” and he went away.
This movement of Colonel Doniphan made considerable excitement in the army, and there was considerable whisperings amongst the officers. We listened very attentively, and frequently heard it mentioned by the guard that “the damned Mormons would not be shot this time.”
In a few moments the guard was relieved by a new set. One of those new guards said that “the damned Mormons would not be shot this time,” for the movement of General Doniphan had frustrated the whole plan, and that the officers had called another court-martial, and had ordered us to be taken to Jackson county, and there to be executed; and in a few moments two large wagons drove up, and we were ordered to get into them; and while we were getting into them, there came up four or five men armed with guns, who drew up and snapped their guns at us, in order to kill us; some flashed in the pan, and others only snapped, but none of their guns went off. They were immediately arrested by several officers, and their guns taken from them, and the drivers drove off.
We requested General Lucas to let us go to our houses and get some clothing. In order to do this, we had to be driven up into the city. It was with much difficulty that we could get his permission to go and see our families and get some clothing; but, after considerable consultation, we were permitted to go under a strong guard of five or six men to each of us, and we were not permitted to speak to any one of our families, under the pain of death. The guard that went with me ordered my wife to get me some clothes immediately, within two minutes; and if she did not do it, I should go off without them.
I was obliged to submit to their tyrannical orders, however painful it was, with my wife and children clinging to my arms and to the skirts of my garments, and was not permitted to utter to them a word of consolation, and in a moment was hurried away from them at the point of the bayonet.
We were hurried back into the wagons and ordered into them, all in about the same space of time. In the meanwhile our father and mother and sisters had forced their way to the wagons to get permission to see us, but were forbidden to speak to us; and they [the guard] immediately drove off for Jackson county. We traveled about twelve miles that evening, and encamped for the night.
The same strong guard was kept around us, and were relieved every two hours, and we were permitted to sleep on the ground. The nights were then cold, with considerable snow on the ground; and for want of covering and clothing, we suffered extremely with the cold. That night was the commencement of a fit of sickness, from which I have not wholly recovered unto this day, in consequence of my exposure to the inclemency of the weather.
Our provision was fresh beef roasted in the fire on a stick, the army having no bread, in consequence of the want of mills to grind the grain.
In the morning, at the dawn of day, we were forced on our journey, and were exhibited to the inhabitants along the road, the same as they exhibit a caravan of elephants and camels. We were examined from head to foot by men, women and children, only I believe they did not make us open our mouths to look at our teeth. This treatment was continued incessantly until we arrived at Independence. in Jackson county.
After our arrival at Independence, we were driven all through the town for inspection, and then we were ordered into an old log house, and there kept under guard as usual, until supper, which was served up to us as we sat upon the floor, or on billets of wood, and we were compelled to stay in that house all that night and the next day.
They continued to exhibit us to the public, by letting the people come in and examine us, and then go away and give place for others, alternately, all that day and the next night. But on the morning of the following day, we were all permitted to go to the tavern to eat and to sleep; but afterward they made us pay our own expenses for board, lodging, and attendance, and for which they made a most exorbitant charge.
We remained in the tavern about two days and two nights, when an officer arrived with authority from General Clark to take us back to Richmond, Ray county, where the general had arrived with his army to await our arrival. But on the morning of our start for Richmond, we were informed, by General Wilson, that it was expected by the soldiers that we would be hung up by the necks on the road, while on the march to that place, and that it was prevented by a demand made for us by General Clark, who had the command in consequence of seniority; and that it was his prerogative to execute us himself; and he should give us up into the hands of the officer, who would take us to General Clark, and he might do with us as he pleased.
During our stay at Independence, the officers informed us that there were eight or ten horses in that place belonging to the Mormon people, which had been stolen by the soldiers, and that we might have two of them to ride upon, if we would cause them to be sent back to the owners after our arrival at Richmond.
We accepted them, and they were ridden to Richmond, and the owners came there and got them.
We started in the morning under our new officer, Colonel Price, of Keytsville, Chariton county, with several other men to guard us.
We arrived there on Friday evening, the 9th day of November, and were thrust into an old log house, with a strong guard placed over us.
After we had been there for the space of half an hour, there came in a man who was said to have some notoriety in the penitentiary, bringing in his hands a quantity of chains and padlocks. He said he was commanded by General Clark to put us in chains.
Immediately the soldiers rose up, and pointing their guns at us, placed their thumb on the cock, and their finger on the trigger; and the state’s prison-keeper went to work, putting a chain around the leg of each man, and fastening it on with a padlock, until we were all chained together—seven of us.
In a few moments General Clark came in. We requested to know of him what was the cause of all this harsh and cruel treatment. He refused to give us any information at that time, but said he would in a few days; so we were compelled to continue in that situation camping on the floor, all chained together, without any chance or means to be made comfortable, having to eat our victuals as it was served up to us, using our fingers and teeth instead of knives and forks.
Whilst we were in this situation, a young man of the name of Jedediah M. Grant, brother-in-law to my brother William Smith, came to see us, and put up at the tavern where General Clark made his quarters. He happened to come in time to see General Clark make choice of his men to shoot us on Monday morning, the 12th day of November. He saw them make choice of their rifles, and load them with two balls in each; and after they had prepared their guns, General Clark saluted them by saying, “Gentlemen, you shall have the honor of shooting the Mormon leaders on Monday morning at eight o’clock!”
But in consequence of the influence of our friend, the inhuman general was intimidated, so that he dared not carry his murderous designs into execution, and sent a messenger immediately to Fort Leavenworth to obtain the military code of laws.
After the messenger’s return the general was employed nearly a whole week examining the laws; so Monday passed away without our being shot. However, it seemed like foolishness to me that so great a man as General Clark pretended to be should have to search the military law to find out whether preachers of the Gospel, who never did military duty, could be subject to court-martial.
However, the general seemed to learn that fact after searching the military code, and came into the old log cabin where we were under guard and in chains, and told us he had concluded to deliver us over to the civil authorities as persons guilty of “treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing.” The poor deluded general did not know the differences between theft, larceny, and stealing.
Accordingly, we were handed over to the pretended civil authorities, and the next morning our chains were taken off, and we were guarded to the court-house, where there was a pretended court in session, Austin A. King being the judge, and Mr. Birch the district attorney—the two extremely and very honorable gentlemen who sat on the court-martial when we were sentenced to be shot!
Witnesses were called up and sworn at the point of the bayonet; and if they would not swear to the things they were told to do, they were threatened with instant death; and I do know positively that the evidence given in by those men whilst under duress was false.
This state of things continued twelve or fourteen days; and after that time, we were ordered by the judge to introduce some rebutting evidence—saying that, if we did not do it, we should be thrust into prison.
I could hardly understand what the judge meant, for I considered we were in prison already, and could not think of anything but the persecutions of the days of Nero, knowing that it was a religious persecution, and the court an inquisition. However, we gave him the names of forty persons who were acquainted with all the persecutions and sufferings of the people.
The judge made out a subpoena and inserted the names of those men, and caused it to be placed in the hands of Bogart, the notorious Methodist minister; and he took fifty armed soldiers and started for Far West. I saw the subpoenas given to him and his company, when they started.
In the course of a few days they returned with almost all those forty men whose names were inserted in the subpoenas, and thrust them into jail, and we were not permitted to bring one of them before the court. But the judge turned upon us with an air of indignation and said, “Gentlemen, you must get your witnesses, or you shall be committed to jail immediately; for we are not going to hold the court open on expense much longer for you anyhow.”
We felt very much distressed and oppressed at that time. Colonel Wight said, “What shall we do? Our witnesses are all thrust into prison, and probably will be; and we have no power to do anything. Of course, we must submit to this tyranny and oppression: we cannot help ourselves.”
Several others made similar expressions in the agony of their souls; but my brother Joseph did not say anything, he being sick at that time with the toothache and pain in his face, in consequence of a severe cold brought on by being exposed to the severity of the weather.
However, it was considered best by General Doniphan and lawyer Rees that we should try to get some witnesses before the pretended court.
Accordingly, I gave the names of about twenty other persons. The Judge inserted them in a subpoena, and caused it to be placed into the hands of Bogart, the Methodist priest; and he again started off with his fifty soldiers to take those men prisoners, as he had done the forty others.
The Judge sat and laughed at the good opportunity of getting the names, that they might the more easily capture them, and so bring them down to be thrust into prison, in order to prevent us from getting the truth before the pretended court, of which he was the chief inquisitor or conspirator. Bogart returned from his second expedition with one witness only, whom he also thrust into prison.
The people at Far West had learned the intrigue, and had left the state, having been made acquainted with the treatment of the former witnesses.
But we, on learning that we could not obtain witnesses, whilst privately consulting with each other what we should do, discovered a Mr. Allen standing by the window on the outside of the house. We beckoned to him as though we would have him come in. He immediately came in.
At that time Judge King retorted upon us again, saying, “Gentlemen, are you not going to introduce some witnesses?”—also saying it was the last day he should hold court open for us; and that if we did not rebutt the testimony that had been given against us, he should have to commit us to jail.
I had then got Mr. Allen into the house and before the court (so called). I told the Judge we had one witness, if he would be so good as to put him under oath. He seemed unwilling to do so; but after a few moments consultation, the State’s Attorney arose and said he should object to that witness being sworn, and that he should object to that witness giving in his evidence at all, stating that this was not a court to try the case, but only a court of investigation on the part of the state.
Upon this, General Doniphan arose and said, “He would be——if the witness should not be sworn, and that it was a damned shame that these defendants should be treated in this manner,—that they could not be permitted to get one witness before the court, whilst all their witnesses, even forty at a time, have been taken by force of arms and thrust into that damned ‘bull pen,’ in order to prevent them from giving their testimony.”
After Doniphan sat down, the Judge permitted the witness to be sworn and enter upon his testimony, but as soon as he began to speak, a man by the name of Cook, who was a brother-in-law to priest Bogart, the Methodist, and who was a lieutenant, [in the state militia] and whose duty at that time was to superintend the guard, stepped in before the pretended court, and took him by the nape of his neck and jammed his head down under the pole, or log of wood, that was around the place where the inquisition was sitting to keep the bystanders from intruding upon the majesty of the inquisitors, and jammed him along to the door, and kicked him out of doors. He instantly turned to some soldiers who were standing by him, and said to them, “Go and shoot him, damn him; shoot him, damn him.”
The soldiers ran after the man to shoot him. He fled for his life, and with great difficulty made his escape. The pretended court immediately arose, and we were ordered to be carried to Liberty, Clay County, and there to be thrust into jail. We endeavored to find out for what cause; but all we could learn was, that it was because we were “Mormons.”
The next morning a large wagon drove up to the door, and a blacksmith came into the house with some chains and handcuffs. He said his orders were from the Judge to handcuff us and chain us together. He informed us that the Judge had made out a mittimus and sentenced us to jail for treason. He also said the judge had done this that we might not get bail. He also said the Judge declared his intention to keep us in jail until all the “Mormons” were driven out of the state. He also said that the Judge had further declared that if he let us out before the “Mormons” had left the state, we would not let them leave, and there would be another damned fuss kicked up. I also heard the Judge say, whilst he was sitting in his pretended court, that there was no law for us, nor for the “Mormons” in the state of Missouri; that he had sworn to see them exterminated and to see the Governor’s order executed to the very letter; and that he would do so. However, the blacksmith proceeded and put the irons upon us, and we were ordered into the wagon, and they drove off for Clay county. As we journeyed along on the road, we were exhibited to the inhabitants, and this course was adopted all the way, thus making a public exhibition of us, until we arrived at Liberty, Clay county.
There we were thrust into prison again, and locked up, and were held there in close confinement for the space of six months; and our place of lodging [bed] was the square side of a hewed white oak log, and our food was anything but good and decent. Poison was administered to us three or four times. The effect it had upon our system was, that it vomited us almost to death; and then we would lie some two or three days in a torpid, stupid state, not even caring or wishing for life,—the poison being administered in too large doses, or it would inevitably have proved fatal, had not the power of Jehovah interposed in our behalf, to save us from their wicked purpose.
We were also subjected to the necessity of eating human flesh for the space of five days or go without food, except a little coffee or a little corn-bread. The latter I chose in preference to the former. We none of us partook of the flesh, except Lyman Wight. We also heard the guard which was placed over us making sport of us, saying they had fed us on “Mormon” beef. I have described the appearance of this flesh to several experienced physicians and they have decided that it was human flesh. We learned afterwards, by one of the guard, that it was supposed that that act of savage cannibalism in feeding us with human flesh would be considered a popular deed of notoriety: but the people, on learning that it would not take, tried to keep it secret; but the fact was noised abroad before they took that precaution.
Whilst we were incarcerated in prison we petitioned the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri for [a writ of] habeas corpus twice but were refused both times by Judge Reynolds, who is now  the Governor of that state. We also petitioned one of the county judges for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted in about three weeks afterwards, but were not permitted to have any trial. We were only taken out of jail and kept out for a few hours, and then remanded back again.
In the course of three or four days after that time, Judge Turnham came into the jail in the evening, and said he had permitted Mr. Rigdon to get bail, but said he had to do it in the night, and had also to get away in the night and unknown to any of the citizens, or they would kill him; for they had sworn to kill him, if they could find him. And as to the rest of us, he dared not let us go, for fear of his own life as well as ours. He said it was damned hard to be confined under such circumstances, for he knew we were innocent men; and he said the people also knew it; and that it was only a persecution, and treachery, and the scenes of Jackson county acted over again, for fear that we should become too numerous in that upper country. He said that the plan was concocted from the governor down to the lowest judge and that damned Baptist priest, Riley, who was riding into town every day to watch the people, stirring up the minds of the people against us all he could, exciting them and stirring up their religious prejudices against us, for fear they would let us go. Mr. Rigdon, however, got bail and made his escape into Illinois.
The jailer, Samuel Tillery, Esq., told us also that the whole plan was concocted by the governor down to the lowest judge in that upper country early in the previous spring, and that the plan was more fully carried out at the time that General Atchison went down to Jefferson city with Generals Wilson, Lucas, and Gillium, the self-styled Delaware Chief. This was sometime in the month of September, when the mob were collected at De Witt, in Carroll county. He also told us that the governor was now ashamed enough of the whole transaction, and would be glad to set us at liberty, if he dared do it. “But,” said he, “you need not be concerned, for the governor has laid a plan for your release.” He also said that Squire Birch, the state’s attorney, was appointed to be circuit judge on the circuit passing through Daviess county, and that he (Birch) was instructed to fix the papers, so that we should be sure to be clear from any incumbrance in a very short time.
Some time in April we were taken to Daviess county, as they said, to have a trial. But when we arrived at that place, instead of finding a court or jury, we found another inquisition; and Birch, who was the district attorney, the same man who had been one of the court-martial when we were sentenced to death, was now the circuit judge of that pretended court; and the grand jury that were empannelled were all at the massacre at Haun’s Mills and lively actors in that awful, solemn, disgraceful, cool-blooded murder; and all the pretense they made of excuse was, they had done it because the governor ordered them to do it.
The same men sat as a jury in the day time, and were placed over us as a guard in the night time. They tantalized us and boasted of their great achievements at Haun’s Mills and at other places, telling us how many houses they had burned, and how many sheep, cattle, and hogs they had driven off belonging to the “Mormons,” and how many rapes they had committed, and what squealing and kicking there was among the d——b——s, saying that they lashed one woman upon one of the damned “Mormon” meeting benches, tying her hands and her feet fast, and sixteen of them abused her as much as they had a mind to, and then left her bound and exposed in that distressed condition. These fiends of the lower regions boasted of these acts of barbarity, and tantalized our feelings with them for ten days. We had heard of these acts of cruelty previous to this time, but we were slow to believe that such acts had been perpetrated. The lady who was the subject of this brutality did not recover her health to be able to help herself for more than three months afterwards.
This grand jury constantly celebrated their achievements with grog and glass in hand, like the Indian warriors at their war dances, singing and telling each other of their exploits in murdering the “Mormons,” in plundering their houses and carrying off their property. At the end of every song they would bring in the chorus, “G—d—, G—d—, G—d—, Jesus Christ, G—d—the Presbyterians, G—d—the Baptists, G—d—the Methodists,” reitering one sect after another in the same manner, until they came to the “Mormons.” To them it was, G—d—the G—d—Mormons, we have sent them to hell.” Then they would slap their hands and shout, Hosanna! Hosanna! Glory to God! and fall down on their backs and kick with their feet a few moments. Then they would pretend to have swooned away into a glorious trance, in order to imitate some of the transactions at camp meetings. Then they would pretend to come out of the trance, and would shout and again slap their hands and jump up, while one would take a bottle of whisky and a tumbler, and turn it out full of whisky, and pour down each other’s necks, crying, “Damn it, take it; you must take it!” And if anyone refused to drink the whisky, others would clinch him and hold him, whilst another poured it down his neck; and what did not go down the inside went down the outside. This is a part of the farce acted out by the grand jury of Daviess county, whilst they stood over us as guards for ten nights successively. And all this in the presence of the great Judge Birch, who had previously said, in our hearing, that there was no law for the “Mormons” in the state of Missouri. His brother was there acting as district attorney in that circuit, and, if anything, was a greater ruffian than the judge.
After all their ten days of drunkenness, we were informed that we were indicted for “treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing.” We asked for a change of venue from that county to Marion county; they would not grant it; but they gave us a change of venue from Daviess to Boone county, and a mittimus was made out by Judge Birch, without date, name, or place.
They fitted us out with a two-horse wagon, and horses, and four men, besides the sheriff, to be our guard. There were five of us. We started from Gallatin in the afternoon, the sun about two hours high, and went as far as Diahman that evening and stayed till morning. There we bought two horses of the guard, and paid for one of them in clothing, which we had with us; and for the other we gave our note.
We went down that day as far as Judge Morin’s—a distance of some four or five miles. There we stayed until the next morning, when we started on our journey to Boone county, and traveled on the road about twenty miles distance. There we bought a jug of whisky, with which we treated the company; and while there the sheriff showed us the mittimus before referred to, without date or signature, and said that Judge Birch told him never to carry us to Boone county, and never to show the mittimus; and, said he, I shall take a good drink of grog and go to bed, and you may do as you have a mind to.
Three others of the guard drank pretty freely of whisky, sweetened with honey. They also went to bed, and were soon asleep, and the other guard went along with us, and helped to saddle the horses.
Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the state of Illinois, and in the course of nine or ten days arrived safe at Quincy, Adams county, where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health, they having been driven out of the state previously by the murderous militia, under the exterminating order of the executive of Missouri; and now  the people of that state, a portion of them, would be glad to make the people of this state [Illinois] believe that my brother Joseph had committed treason, for the purpose of keeping up their murderous and hellish persecution; and they seem to be unrelenting and thirsting for the blood of innocence; for I do know most positively that my brother Joseph has not committed treason, nor violated one solitary item of law or rule in the state of Missouri.
But I do know that the “Mormon” people, en masse, were driven out of that state, after being robbed of all they had; and they barely escaped with their lives, as also my brother Joseph, who barely escaped with his life. His family also were robbed of all they had, and barely escaped with the skin of their teeth, and all this in consequence of the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, the same being sanctioned by the legislature of the state.
And I do know, so does this court, and every rational man who is acquainted with the circumstances, and every man who shall hereafter become acquainted with the particulars thereof, will know that Governor Boggs and Generals Clark, Lucas, Wilson, and Gillium, also Austin A. King, have committed treason upon the citizens of Missouri, and did violate the Constitution of the United States, and also the constitution and laws of the state of Missouri, and did exile and expel, at the point of the bayonet, some twelve or fourteen thousand inhabitants from the state, and did murder a large number of men, women and children in cold blood, and in the most horrid and cruel manner possible; and the whole of it was caused by religious bigotry and persecution, because the “Mormons” dared to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and agreeable to His divine will as revealed in the scriptures of eternal truth, and had turned away from following the vain traditions of their fathers, and would not worship according to the dogmas and commandments of those men who preach for hire and divine for money, and teach for doctrine the precepts of men; the Saints expecting that the Constitution of the United States would have protected them therein.
But notwithstanding the “Mormon” people had purchased upwards of two hundred thousand dollars’ worth of land, most of which was entered and paid for at the land office of the United States, in the state of Missouri; and although the President of the United States has been made acquainted with these facts and the particulars of our persecutions and oppressions, by petition to him and to Congress, yet they have not even attempted to restore the “Mormons” to their rights, or given any assurance that we may hereafter expect redress from them. And I do also know most positively and assuredly that my brother Joseph Smith, Sen., has not been in the state of Missouri since the spring of the year 1839. And further this deponent saith not.[Signed] Hyrum Smith.
2. The Testimony of Parley P. Pratt.
Parley P. Pratt, sworn, says that he fully concurs in the testimony of the preceding witness, so far as he is acquainted with the same; and that Joseph Smith has not been known as Joseph Smith, Jun., for the time stated by Hyrum Smith. He was an eye-witness of most of the scenes testified to by said Hyrum Smith, during the persecutions of our people in Missouri. That during the latter part of summer and fall of the year 1838, there were large bodies of the mob assembled in various places for the avowed object of driving, robbing, plundering, killing, and exterminating the “Mormons,” and they actually committed many murders and other depredations, as related by the preceding witness.
The Governor was frequently petitioned, as also the other authorities, for redress and protection. At length, Austin A. King, the judge of the Circuit court of the Fifth Judicial District, ordered out somewhere near a thousand men, for the avowed purpose of quelling the mob and protecting the “Mormons.” These being under arms for several weeks, did in some measure prevent the mob’s proceedings for some time. After which, Judge King 2 withdrew the force, refusing to put the State to further expense for our protection without orders from the Governor.
The mobs then again collected in great numbers, in Carroll, Daviess, and Caldwell counties, and expressed their determination to drive the “Mormons” from the State or kill them. They did actually drive them from De Witt, firing upon some, and taking other prisoners.
They turned a man by the name of Smith Humphrey and family out of doors, when sick, and plundered his house and burned it before his eyes. They also plundered the citizens generally, taking their lands, houses, and property.
Those whose lives were spared, precipitately fled to Far West in the utmost distress and consternation. Some of them actually died on the way, through exposure, suffering and destitution. Other parties of the mob were plundering and burning houses in Daviess county, and another party of the mob were ravaging the south part of Caldwell county in a similar manner.
The Governor was again and again petitioned for redress and protection, but utterly refused to render us any assistance whatever. Under these painful and distressing circumstances, we had the advice of Generals Atchison, Doniphan and Parks to call out the militia of Caldwell and Daviess counties, which was mostly composed of “Mormons” and to make a general defense.
The presiding Judge of Caldwell county, Elias Higbee, gave orders to the sheriff of said county to call out the militia. They were called out under the command of Colonel Hinkle, who held a commission from the Governor, and was the highest military officer in the county. This force effectually dispersed the mob in several places, and a portion of them were so organized in the city of Far West, that they could assemble themselves upon the shortest notice, and were frequently ordered to assemble in the public square of said city, in cases of emergency.
These proceedings against the mob being misrepresented by designing men, both to the Governor and other authorities and people of the State, caused great excitement against the “Mormons.” Many tried to have it understood that the “Mormons” were in open rebellion, and making war upon the State.
With these pretenses, Governor Boggs issued the following:—
Headquarters Of The Militia.
City Of Jefferson, October 27, 1838.
Gen. John B. Clark.
Sir:—Since the order of the morning to you, directing you to come with 400 mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received, by Amos Bees, Esq., of Ray county, and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aides, information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the “Mormons” in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this State.
Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operations with all possible speed. The “Mormons” must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State, if necessary, for the public peace.
Their outrages are beyond all descriptions. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Major-General Willock, of Marion county, to raise 500 men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess [county], and there unite with General Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with 500 men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the “Mormons” to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them, if you find it necessary.
Instead, therefore, of proceeding as at first directed, to reinstate the citizens of Daviess, in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond, and there operate against the “Mormons.”
Brigadier General Parks, of Ray, has been ordered to have 400 of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.
I am very respectfully your ob’t Serv’t,
L. W. Boggs,
In the meantime Major-General Lucas and Brigadier-General Wilson, both of Jackson county, (who had, five years previously, assisted in driving about 1,200 “Mormon” citizens from that county, besides burning 203 houses, and assisted in murdering several, and plundering the rest), raised forces to the amount of several thousand men, and appeared before the city of Far West in battle array.
A few of the militia then paraded in front of the city, which caused the cowardly assailants to come to a halt at about a mile distant, in full view of the town.
A messenger arrived from them and demanded three persons before they massacred the rest and laid the town in ashes. The names of the persons demanded were Adam Lightner, John Clemenson, and his wife. They gave no information who this army were, nor by what authority they came; neither had we at that time any knowledge of the governor’s order, nor any of these movements, the mail having been designedly stopped by our enemies for three weeks previously. We had supposed, on their first appearance, that they were friendly troops sent for our protection; but on receiving this alarming information of their wicked intentions, we were much surprised, and sent a messenger with a white flag to inquire of them who they were, and what they wanted of us, and by whose authority they came.
This flag was fired upon by Captain Bogart, the Methodist priest, who afterwards told me the same with his own mouth. After several attempts, however, we got an interview, by which we learned who they were, and that they pretended to have been sent by the governor to exterminate our people.
Upon learning this fact no resistance was offered to their will or wishes. They demanded the arms of the militia, and forcibly took them away. They requested that Mr. Joseph Smith and other leaders of the Church should come into their camp for consultation, giving them a sacred promise of protection and safe return. Accordingly, Messrs. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, George W. Robinson, and myself started in company with Colonel Hinkle to their camp when we were soon abruptly met by General Lucas with several hundred of his soldiers, in a hostile manner, who immediately surrounded us, and set up the most hideous yells that might have been supposed to have proceeded from the mouths of demons, and marched us as prisoners within their lines.
There we were detained for two days and nights, and had to sleep on the ground, in the cold month of November, in the midst of rain and mud, and were continually surrounded with a strong guard, whose mouths were filled with cursing and bitterness, blackguardism and blasphemy—who offered us every abuse and insult in their power, both night and day; and many individuals of the army cocked their rifles and, taking deadly aim at our heads, swore they would shoot us.
While under these circumstances, our ears were continually shocked with the relation of the horrid deeds they had committed and which they boasted of. They related the circumstance in detail of having, the previous day, disarmed a certain man in his own house, and took him prisoner, and afterwards beat out his brains with his own gun, in presence of their officers. They told of other individuals lying here and there in the brush, whom they had shot down without resistance, and who were lying unburied for the hogs to feed upon.
They also named one or two individual females of our society, whom they had forcibly bound, and twenty or thirty of them, one after another, committed rape upon them. One of these females was a daughter of a respectable family with whom I have been long acquainted, and with whom I have since conversed and learned that it was truly the case. Delicacy at present forbids my mentioning the names. I also heard several of the soldiers acknowledge and boast of having stolen money in one place, clothing and bedding in another, and horses in another, whilst corn, pork, and beef were taken by the whole army to support the men and horses; and in many cases cattle, hogs, and sheep were shot down, and only a small portion of them used—the rest left to waste. Of these crimes, of which the soldiers boasted, the general officers freely conversed and corroborated the same. And even General Doniphan, who professed to be opposed to such proceedings, acknowledged the truth of them, and gave us several particulars in detail.
I believe the name of the man whose brains they knocked out was Carey. Another individual had his money chest broken open and several hundred dollars in specie taken out. He was the same Smith Humphrey whose house the mob burned at De Witt.
After the “Mormons” were all disarmed, General Lucas gave a compulsory order for men, women, and children to leave the state forthwith, without any exceptions, counting it a mercy to spare their lives on these conditions. Whilst these things were proceeding, instead of releasing us from confinement, Hyrum Smith and Amasa Lyman were forcibly added to our number as prisoners; and under a large military escort, commanded by General Wilson before mentioned, we were all marched to Jackson county, a distance of between fifty and sixty miles, leaving our families and our friends at the mob’s mercy, in a destitute condition, to prepare for a journey of more than two hundred miles, at the approach of winter, without our protection, and every moment exposed to robbery, ravishment, and other insults, their personal property robbed and their houses and lands already wrested from them.
We were exhibited like a caravan of wild animals on the way and in the streets of Independence, and were also kept prisoners for a show for several days.
In the meantime, General Clark had been sent by Governor Boggs with an additional force of 6,000 men from the lower country, to join General Lucas in his operations against the “Mormons.” He soon arrived before Far West with his army, and confirmed all Lucas had done, and highly commended them for their virtue, forbearance, and other deeds in bringing about so peaceable and amicable an adjustment of affairs. He kept up the same scene of ravage, plunder, ravishment, and depredation, for the support and enrichment of his army, even burning the houses and fences for fuel.
He also insisted that every man, woman, and child of the “Mormon” society should leave the state, except such as he detained as prisoners, stating that the governor had sent him to exterminate them, but that he would, as a mercy, spare their lives, and gave them until the first of April following to get out of the state.
He also compelled them, at the point of the bayonet, to sign a deed of trust of all their real estate, to defray the expenses of what he called “The Mormon War.”
After arranging all these matters to his satisfaction, he returned to Richmond, thirty miles distant, taking about sixty men, heads of families, with him, and marching them through a severe snowstorm on foot, as prisoners, leaving their families in a perishing condition.
Having established his headquarters at Richmond, Ray county, he sent to General Lucas and demanded us to be given up to him. We were accordingly transported some thirty or forty miles, delivered over to him, and put in close confinement in chains, under a strong guard.
At length we obtained an interview with him, and inquired why we were detained as prisoners. I said to him, “Sir, we have now been prisoners, under the most aggravating circumstances, for two or three weeks, during which time we have received no information as to why we are prisoners, or for what object, and no writ has been served upon us. We are not detained by the civil law; and as ministers of the Gospel in time of peace, who never bear arms, we cannot be considered prisoners of war, especially as there has been no war; and from present appearances, we can hardly be considered prisoners of hope. Why, then, these bonds?”
Said he, “You were taken to be tried.” “Tried by what authority?” said I. “By court-martial,” replied he. “By court-martial?” said I. “Yes,” said he. “How,” said I, “can men who are not military men, but ministers of the Gospel, be tried by court-martial in this country, where every man has a right to be tried by a jury?” He replied, it was according to the treaty with General Lucas, on the part of the state of Missouri, and Colonel Hinkle, the commanding officer of the fortress of Far West, on the part of the “Mormons,” and in accordance with the governor’s order. “And,” said he, “I approve of all that Lucas has done, and am determined to see it fulfilled.” Said I, “Colonel Hinkle was but a colonel of the Caldwell county militia, and commissioned by the governor, and the ‘Mormons’ had no fortress, but were, in common with others, citizens of Missouri; and therefore we recognize no authority in Colonel Hinkle to sell our liberties or make treaties for us.”
Several days afterwards, General Clark again entered our prison, and said he had concluded to deliver us over to the civil authorities. Accordingly, we were soon brought before Austin A. King, judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, where an examination was commenced, and witnesses sworn, at the point of the bayonet, and threatened on pain of death, if they did not swear to that which would suit the court.
During this examination, I heard Judge King ask one of the witnesses, who was a “Mormon,” if he and his friends intended to live on their lands any longer than April, and to plant crops? Witness replied, “Why not?” The judge replied, “If you once think to plant crops or to occupy your lands any longer than the first of April, the citizens will be upon you; they will kill you every one—men, women and children, and leave you to manure the ground without a burial. They have been mercifully withheld from doing this on the present occasion, but will not be restrained for the future.”
On examining a “Mormon” witness, for the purpose of substantiating the charge of treason against Mr. Joseph Smith, he questioned him concerning our religious faith:—1st. Do the Mormons send missionaries to foreign nations? The witness answered in the affirmative. 2nd. Do the Mormons believe in a certain passage in the Book of Daniel (naming the passage) which reads as follows:—”And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him?” (Dan. 7:27.) On being answered in the affirmative, the judge ordered the scribe to put it down as a strong point for treason; but this was too much for even a Missouri lawyer to bear. He remonstrated against such a course of procedure, but in vain. Said he, “Judge, you had better make the Bible treason.”
After an examination of this kind for many days, some were set at liberty, others [were] admitted to bail, and themselves and [those who went their] bail [were] expelled from the state forthwith, with the rest of the “Mormon” citizens, and Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and others, were committed to the Clay county jail for further trial. Two or three others and myself were put into the jail at Ray county for the same purpose.
The “Mormon” people now began to leave the state, agreeably to the exterminating order of Governor Boggs. Ten or twelve thousand left the state during the winter, and fled to the state of Illinois.
A small number of the widows and the poor, together with my family and some of the friends of the other prisoners, still lingered in Far West, when a small band of armed men entered the town and committed many depredations and threatened life; and swore that if my wife and children, and others whom they named, were not out of the state in so many days, they would kill them, as the time now drew near for the completion of the exterminating order of Governor Boggs.
Accordingly, my wife and children and others left the state as best they could, wandered to the state of Illinois, there to get a living among strangers, without a husband, father or protector. Myself and party still remained in prison, after all the other “Mormons” had left the state; and even Mr. Smith and his party had escaped.
In June, by change of venue, we were removed from Ray county to Columbia, Boone county, upwards of one hundred miles towards the state of Illinois; and by our request a special court was called for final trial. But notwithstanding we were removed more than one hundred miles from the scenes of the depredations of the mob, yet such was the fact, that neither our friends nor witnesses dare come into that state to attend our trial, as they had been banished from the state by the governor’s order of extermination, executed to the very letter by the principal officers of the state, civil and military.
On these grounds, and having had all these opportunities to know, I testify that neither Mr. Smith nor any other “Mormon” has the least prospect for justice, or to receive a fair and impartial trial in the state of Missouri.
If tried at all, they must be tried by authorities who have trampled all law under their feet, and who have assisted in committing murder, robbery, treason, arson, rape, burglary and felony, and who have made a law of banishment, contrary to the laws of all nations, and executed this barbarous law with the utmost rigor and severity.
Therefore, Mr. Smith, and the “Mormons” generally, having suffered without regard to law, having been expelled from the state, Missouri has no further claims whatever upon any of them.
I furthermore testify that the authorities of other states who would assist Missouri to wreak further vengeance upon any individual of the persecuted “Mormons,” are either ignorantly or willfully aiding and abetting in all these crimes.
Cross-examined he stated that he was very intimate with Mr. Smith all the time he resided in the state of Missouri, and was with him almost daily; and that he knows positively that Mr. Smith held no office, either civil or military, either real or pretended, in that state; and that he never bore arms or did military duty, not even in self-defense; but that he was a peaceable, law-abiding and faithful citizen, and a preacher of the Gospel, and exhorted all the citizens to be peaceable, long-suffering and slow to act even in self-defense.
He further stated that there was no fortress in Far West, but a temporary fence made of rails, house logs, floor planks, wagons, carts, etc., hastily thrown together, after being told by General Lucas that they were to be massacred the following morning, and the town burnt to ashes, without giving any information by what authority. And he further states that he only escaped himself from that state by walking out of the jail when the door was open to put in food, and came out in obedience to the governor’s order of banishment, and to fulfill the same.
Parley P. Pratt.
3. The Testimony of George W. Pitkin
George W. Pitkin sworn. Says that he concurs with the preceding witnesses, Hyrum Smith and Parley P. Pratt, in all the facts with which he is acquainted; that in the summer of 1838 he was elected Sheriff of the county of Caldwell and State of Missouri. That in the fall of the same year, while the county was threatened and infested with mobs, he received an order from Judge Higbee, the presiding Judge of said county, to call out the Militia, and he executed the same.
The said order was presented by Joseph Smith, Sen., who showed the witness a letter from General Atchison, giving such advice as was necessary for the protection of the citizens of said county. Reports of the mobs destroying property were daily received. Has no knowledge that Joseph Smith was concerned in organizing or commanding said Militia in any capacity whatever.
About this time he received information that about forty or fifty “Yauger rifles” and a quantity of ammunition were being conveyed through Caldwell to Daviess county, for the use of the mob, upon which he deputized William Allred to go with a company of men and intercept them, if possible. He did so, and brought the said arms and ammunition into Far West, which were afterwards delivered up to the order of Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth, Circuit in Missouri.
It was generally understood at that time that said arms had been stolen by Neil Gillum and his company of volunteers, who had been upon a six months’ tour of service in the war between the United States and the Florida Indians. They were supposed to have been taken from the Fort at Tampa Bay, and brought to Richmond, Clay county, and that Captain Pollard or some other person loaned them to the mob.
He further says that whilst in office as Sheriff, he was forcibly and illegally compelled by Lieutenant Cook, the son-in-law or brother-in-law of Bogart, the Methodist priest, to start for Richmond; and when he demanded of him by what authority he acted, he was shown a bowie-knife and a brace of pistols; and when he asked what they wanted of him, he said they would let him know when he got to Richmond. Many of the citizens of Caldwell county were taken in the same manner, without any legal process whatever, and thrust into prison.
George W. Pitkin.
4. The Testimony of Brigham Young
Brigham Young sworn. Says that so far as he was acquainted with the facts stated by the previous witnesses, he concurs with them, and that he accompanied Mr. Joseph Smith, Sen., into the State of Missouri, and arrived at Far West on the 14th day of March, 1838, and was neighbor to Mr. Smith until he was taken by Governor Boggs’ Militia a prisoner of war, as they said, and that he was knowing to his character whilst in the State of Missouri; and that he, Mr. Smith, was in no way connected with the Militia of that state, neither did he bear arms at all, nor give advice, but was a peaceable, law-abiding, good citizen, and a true Republican in every sense of the word.
He was with Mr. Smith a great share of the time, until driven out of Missouri by an armed force, under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs.
He heard the most of Mr. Smith’s public addresses, and never did he hear him give advice or encourage anything contrary to the laws of the State of Missouri; but, to the contrary, always instructing the people to be peaceable, quiet, and law-abiding; and if necessity should compel them to withstand their enemies, by whom they were daily threatened in mobs at various points, that they, the “Mormons,” should attend to their business strictly, and not regard reports; and if the mob did come upon them, to contend with them by the strong arm of the law; and if that should fail, our only relief would be self-defense; and be sure and act only upon the defensive. And there were no operations against the mob by the Militia of Caldwell county, only by the advice of Generals Atchison, Doniphan, and Parks.
At the time that the army came in sight of Far West, he observed their approach, and thought some of the Militia of the state had come to the relief of the citizens; but, to his great surprise, he found that they were come to strengthen the hands of the mobs that were around and which immediately joined the army.
A part of these mobs were painted like Indians; and Gillum, their leader, was also painted in a similar manner, and styled himself the “Delaware Chief;” and afterwards he and the rest of the mob claimed and obtained pay as Militia from the state for all the time they were engaged as a mob, as will be seen by reference to the acts of the Legislature.
That there were “Mormon” citizens wounded and murdered by the army under the command of General Lucas; and he verily believes that several women were ravished to death by the soldiery of Lucas and Clark.
He also stated that he saw Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson delivered up by Colonel Hinkle to General Lucas, but expected that they would have returned to the city that evening or the next morning, according to agreement, and the pledge of the sacred honor of the officers that they should be allowed to do so; but they did not return at all.
The next morning, General Lucas demanded and took away the arms of the Militia of Caldwell county, (which arms have never been returned), assuring them that they should be protected. But as soon as they obtained possession of the arms, they commenced their ravages by plundering the citizens of their bedding, clothing, money, wearing apparel, and everything of value they could lay their hands upon; and also attempting to violate the chastity of the women in sight of their husbands and friends, under the pretence of hunting for prisoners and arms.
The soldiers shot down our oxen, cows, hogs, and fowls at our own doors, taking part away and leaving the rest to rot in the streets. The soldiers also turned their horses into our fields of corn.
Here the witness was shown General Clark’s speech, which is as follows, viz.:—
“Gentlemen,—You, whose names are not attached to this list of names, will now have the privilege of going to your fields, and of providing corn, wood, etc., for your families.
“Those that are now taken will go from this to prison, be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes; but you (except such as charges may hereafter be preferred against,) are at liberty as soon as the troops are removed that now guard the place, which I shall cause to be done immediately.
“It now devolves upon you to fulfill the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I shall now lay before you.
“The first requires that your leading men be given up to be tried according to law. This you have complied with. The second is, that you deliver up your arms. This has also been attended to. The third stipulation is, that you sign over your properties to defray the expenses that have been incurred on your account. This you have also done.
“Another article yet remains for you to comply with, and that is, that you leave the State forthwith. And whatever may be your feelings concerning this, or whatever your innocence is, it is nothing to me.
“General Lucas (whose military rank is equal with mine,) has made this treaty with you. I approve of it. I should have done the same, had I been here, and am therefore determined to see it executed.
“The character of this state has suffered almost beyond redemption, from the character, conduct, and influence that you have exerted; and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character by every proper means.
“The order of the Governor to me was, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to remain in the state. And had not your leaders been given up and the terms of the treaty complied with before this time, your families would have been destroyed and your houses in ashes.
“There is a discretionary power vested in my hands, which, considering your circumstances, I shall exercise for a season. You are indebted to me for this clemency.
“I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting in crops; for the moment you do this, the citizens will be upon you. And if I am called here again, in case of non-compliance with the treaty made, do not think that I shall act as I have done now.
“You need not expect any mercy, but extermination; for I am determined the Governor’s order shall be executed.
“As for your leaders, do not think—do not imagine for a moment—do not let it enter into your minds that they will be delivered and restored to you again; for their fate is fixed—the DIE is cast—their doom is sealed.
“I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so many apparently intelligent men found in the situation that you are; and oh! if I could invoke that great Spirit of the unknown God to rest upon and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound—that you no longer do homage to a man! I would advise you to scatter abroad, and never again organize yourselves with Bishops, Priests, etc., lest you excite the jealousies of the people and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you.
“You have always been the aggressors. You have brought upon yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule. And my advice is, that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin.”
When asked by the Court if it was correct, and after reading it, he [Brigham Young] replied:—
Yes, as far as it goes; for, continued he, I was present when that speech was delivered, and when fifty-seven of our brethren were betrayed into the hands of our enemies, as prisoners, which was done at the instigation of our open and avowed enemies, such as William E. M’Lellin and others, and the treachery of Colonel Hinkle. In addition to the speech referred to, General Clark said that we must not be seen as many as five together. If you are, said he, the citizens will be upon you and destroy you, but flee immediately out of the state. There was no alternative for them but to flee; that they need not expect any redress, for there was none for them.
With respect to the treaty, the witness further says that there never was any treaty proposed or entered into on the part of the “Mormons,” or even thought of. As to the leaders being given up, there was no such contract entered into or thought of by the “Mormons,” or any one called a “Mormon,” except by Colonel Hinkle. And with respect to the trial of the prisoners at Richmond, I do not consider that tribunal a legal court, but an inquisition, for the following reasons: That Mr. Smith was not allowed any evidence whatever on his part; for the conduct of the Court, as well as the Judge’s own words, affirmed that there was no law for “Mormons” in the state of Missouri. He also knew that when Mr. Smith left the state of Missouri, he did not flee from justice, for the plain reason that the officers and the people manifested by their works and their words that there was no law nor justice for the people called “Mormons.” And further, he knows that Mr. Smith has ever been a strong advocate for the laws and constitutions of his country, and that there was no act of his life while in the state of Missouri, according to his knowledge, that could be implied or construed in any way whatever to prove him a fugitive from justice, or that he has been guilty of “murder, treason, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing,”—the crimes he was charged with by General Clark, when he delivered him over to the civil authorities; and he supposes that the learned General did not know but that there was a difference between “larceny, theft, and stealing.”
The witness also says that they compelled the brethren to sign away their property by executing a Deed of Trust at the point of the bayonet; and that Judge Cameron stood and saw the “Mormons” sign away their property; and then he and others would run and kick up their heels, and said they were glad of it, and “we have nothing to trouble us now.” This Judge also said, “G——d——them, see how well they feel now.” General Clark also said he had authority to make what treaties he pleased, and the Governor would sanction it.
The witness also stated that he never transgressed any of the laws of Missouri, and he never knew a Latter-day Saint break a law while there. He also said that if they would search the records of Clay, Caldwell, or Daviess counties, they could not find one record of crime against a Latter-day Saint, or even in Jackson county, so far as witness knew.
5. The Testimony of Lyman Wight.
Lyman Wight sworn, saith that he has been acquainted with Joseph Smith, Sen., for the last twelve years, and that he removed to the state of Missouri in the year 1831, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized agreeable to the law of the land. No particular difficulty took place until after some hundreds had assembled in that land who believed in the Book of Mormon and revelations which were given through said Joseph Smith, Sen. After nearly two years of peace had elapsed, a strong prejudice among the various sects arose, declaring that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and ought to die; and I heard hundreds say they had never known the man; but, if they could come across him, they would kill him as soon as they would a rattlesnake. Frequently heard them say of those who believed in the doctrine he promulgated, that, if they did not renounce it, they would exterminate or drive them from the county in which they lived. On inquiring of them if they had any prejudice against us, they said “No: but Joe Smith ought to die; and if ever he comes to this county we will kill him, G—d—him.”
Matters went on thus until some time in the summer of 1833, when mobs assembled in considerable bodies, frequently visiting private houses, threatening the inmates with death and destruction instantly, if they did not renounce Joe Smith as a prophet, and the Book of Mormon. Sometime towards the last of the summer of 1833, they commenced their operations of mobocracy. On account of their priests, by uniting in their prejudices against Joseph Smith, Sen., as I believe, gangs of them thirty to sixty, visited the house of George Bebee, called him out of his house at the hour of midnight, with many guns and pistols pointed at his breast, beat him most inhumanly with clubs and whips; and the same night or night afterwards, this gang unroofed thirteen houses in what was called the Whitmer Branch of the Church in Jackson county. These scenes of mobocracy continued to exist with unabated fury.
Mobs went from house to house, thrusting poles and rails in at the windows and doors of the houses of the Saints, tearing down a number of houses, turning hogs and horses into corn fields, and burning fences. Some time in the month of October they broke into the store of A. S. Gilbert & Co., and I marched up with thirty or forty men to witness the scene, and found a man by the name of McCarty, brickbatting the store door with all fury, the silks, calicos, and other fine goods entwined about his feet, reaching within the door of the store-house. McCarty was arrested and taken before Squire Weston; and although seven persons testified against him, he was acquitted without delay. The next day the witnesses were taken before the same man for false imprisonment, and by the testimony of this one burglar were found guilty and committed to jail.
This so exasperated my feelings that I went with 200 men to inquire into the affair, when I was promptly met by the colonel of the militia, who stated to me that the whole had been a religious farce, and had grown out of a prejudice they had imbibed against said Joseph Smith—a man with whom they were not acquainted. I here agreed that the Church would give up their arms, provided the said Colonel Pitcher would take the arms from the mob. To this the colonel cheerfully agreed, and pledged his honor with that of Lieutenant-Governor Boggs, Samuel C. Owen, and others. This treaty entered into, we returned home, resting assured on their honor that we should not be further molested. But this solemn contract was violated in every sense of the word.
The arms of the mob were never taken away, and the majority of the militia, to my certain knowledge, were engaged the next day with the mob, (Colonel Pitcher and Boggs not excepted), going from house to house in gangs from sixty to seventy in number, threatening the lives of women and children, if they did not leave forthwith. In this diabolical scene men were chased from their houses and homes without any preparation for themselves or families. I was chased by one of these gangs across an open prairie five miles, without being overtaken, and lay three weeks in the woods, and was three days and three nights without food.
In the meantime my wife and three small children, in a skiff, passed down Big Blue river, a distance of fourteen miles, and crossed over the Missouri river, and there borrowed a rag carpet of one of her friends and made a tent of the same, which was the only shield from the inclemency of the weather during the three weeks of my expulsion from home. Having found my family in this situation, and making some inquiry, I was informed I had been hunted throughout Jackson, Lafayette, and Clay counties, and also the Indian Territory. Having made the inquiry of my family why it was they had so much against me, the answer was, “He believes in Joe Smith and the Book of Mormon, G—d—him; and we believe Joe Smith to be a——rascal!”
Here, on the banks of the Missouri river, were eight families, exiled from plenteous homes, without one particle of provisions or any other means under the heavens to get any, only by hunting in the forest.
I here built a camp, twelve feet square, against a sycamore log, in which my wife bore me a fine son on the 27th of December. The camp having neither chimney nor floor, nor covering sufficient to shield them from the inclemency of the weather, rendered it intolerable.
In this doleful condition I left my family for the express purpose of making an appeal to the American people to know something of the toleration of such vile and inhuman conduct, and traveled one thousand and three hundred miles through the interior of the United States, and was frequently answered, “that such conduct was not justifiable in a Republican government; yet we feel to say that we fear that Joe Smith is a very bad man, and circumstances alter cases. We would not wish to prejudice a man, but in some circumstances the voice of the people ought to rule.”
The most of these expressions were from professors of religion; and in the aforesaid persecution, I saw one hundred and ninety women and children driven thirty miles across the prairie, with three decrepit men only in their company, in the month of November, the ground thinly crusted with sleet; and I could easily follow on their trail by the blood that flowed from their lacerated feet on the stubble of the burnt prairie!
This company, not knowing the situation of the country or the extent of Jackson county, built quite a number of cabins, that proved to be in the borders of Jackson county. The mob, infuriated at this, rushed on them in the month of January, 1834, burned these scanty cabins, and scattered the inhabitants to the four winds; from which cause many were taken suddenly ill, and of this illness died. In the meantime, they burned two hundred and three houses and one grist mill, these being the only residences of the Saints in Jackson county.
The most part of one thousand and two hundred Saints who resided in Jackson county, made their escape to Clay county. I would here remark that among one of the companies that went to Clay county was a woman named Sarah Ann Higbee, who had been sick of chills and fever for many months, and another of the name of Keziah Higbee, who, under the most delicate circumstances, lay on the banks of the river, without shelter, during one of the most stormy nights I ever witnessed, while torrents of rain poured down during the whole night, and streams of the smallest size were magnified into rivers. The former was carried across the river, apparently a lifeless corpse. The latter was delivered of a fine son on the banks, within twenty minutes after being carried across the river, under the open canopy of heaven; and from which cause I have every reason to believe she died a premature death.
The only consolation they received from the mob, under these circumstances, was, “G—d—you, do you believe in Joe Smith now?” During this whole time, the said Joseph Smith, Sen., lived in Ohio, in the town of Kirtland, according to the best of my knowledge and belief, a distance of eleven hundred miles from Jackson county, and I think that the Church in Missouri had but little correspondence with him during that time.
We now found ourselves mostly in Clay county—some in negro cabins, some in gentlemen’s kitchens, some in old cabins that had been out of use for years, and others in the open air, without anything to shelter them from the dreary storms of a cold and severe winter.
Thus, like men of servitude, we went to work to obtain a scanty living among the inhabitants of Clay county. Every advantage which could be taken of a people under these circumstances was not neglected by the people of Clay county. A great degree of friendship prevailed between the Saints and the people, under these circumstances, for the space of two years, when the Saints commenced purchasing some small possessions for themselves. This, together with the immigration, created a jealousy on the part of the old citizens that we were to be their servants no longer.
This raised an apparent indignation, and the first thing expressed in this excitement was, “You believe too much in Joe Smith.” Consequently, they commenced catching the Saints in the streets, whipping some of them until their bowels gushed out, and leaving others for dead in the streets.
This so exasperated the Saints that they mutually agreed with the citizens of Clay county that they would purchase an entire new county north of Ray and cornering on Clay. There being not more than forty or fifty inhabitants in this new county, they frankly sold out their possessions to the Saints, who immediately set in to enter the entire county from the general government.
The county having been settled, the governor issued an order for the organization of the county and of a regiment of militia; and an election being called for a colonel of said regiment, I was elected unanimously, receiving 236 votes in August, 1837; we then organized with subaltern officers, according to the statutes of the state, and received legal and lawful commissions from Governor Boggs for the same.
I think, some time in the latter part of the winter, said Joseph Smith moved to the district of country the Saints had purchased, and he settled down like other citizens of a new county, and was appointed the first Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holding no office in the county, either civil or military. I declare that I never knew said Joseph Smith to dictate, by his influence or otherwise, any of the officers, either civil or military; he himself being exempt from military duty from the amputation, from his leg, of a part of a bone, on account of a fever sore.
I removed from Caldwell to Daviess county, purchased a pre-emption right, for which I gave seven hundred and fifty dollars, gained another by the side thereof, put in a large crop, and became acquainted with the citizens of Daviess, who appeared very friendly.
In the month of June or July there was a town laid off, partly on my pre-emption and partly on lands belonging to government. The immigration commenced flowing to this newly laid off town very rapidly. This excited a prejudice in the minds of some of the old citizens, who were an ignorant set, and not very far advanced before the aborigines of the country in civilization or cultivated minds. They feared that this rapid tide of immigration should deprive them of office, of which they were dear lovers. This was more plainly exhibited at the August election in the year 1838. The old settlers then swore that not one “Mormon” should vote at that election; accordingly they commenced operations by fist and skull. This terminated in the loss of some teeth, some flesh, and some blood. The combat being very strongly contested on both sides, many Mormons were deprived of their votes, and I was followed to the polls by three ruffians with stones in their hands, swearing they would kill me if I voted.
A false rumor was immediately sent to Far West, such as that two or three “Mormons” were killed and were not suffered to be buried. The next day a considerable number of the Saints came out to my house. Said Joseph Smith came with them. He inquired of me concerning the difficulty. The answer was, political difficulties. He then asked if there was anything serious. The answer was, No, I think not. We then all mounted our horses and rode on to the prairie, a short distance from my house, to a cool spring near the house of Esquire Black, where the greater number stopped for refreshments, whilst a few waited on Esquire Black. He was interrogated to know whether he justified the course of conduct at the late election, or not. He said he did not, and was willing to give his protest in writing; which he did, and also desired that there should be a public meeting called; which, I think, was done on the next day.
Said Joseph Smith was not addressed on the subject, but I was, who, in behalf of the Saints, entered into an agreement with the other citizens of the county that we would live in peace, enjoying those blessings fought for by our forefathers. But while some of their leading men were entering into this contract, others were raising mobs; and in a short time the mob increased to two hundred and five, rank and file, and they encamped within six miles of Adam-ondi-Ahman.
In the meantime, Joseph Smith and those who came with him from Far West returned to their homes in peace, suspecting nothing. But I, seeing the rage of the mob and their full determination to drive the Church from Daviess county, sent to General Atchison (major-general of the division in which we lived). He immediately sent Brigadier-General Doniphan with between two and three hundred men. General Doniphan moved his troops near the mob force, and came up and conversed with me on the subject. After conversing some time on the subject, Major Hughes came and informed General Doniphan that his men were mutinying, and the mob were determined to fall on the Saints in Adam-ondi-Ahman. Having a colonel’s commission under Doniphan I was commanded to call out my troops forthwith, and, to use Doniphan’s own language, “kill every G—d——mobocrat you can find in the county, or make them prisoners; and if they come upon you give them hell.” He then returned to his troops and gave them an address, stating the interview he had with me; and he also said to the mob, that if they were so disposed, they could go on with their measures; that he considered that Colonel Wight, with the militia under his command all sufficient to quell every G—d——mobocrat in the county; and if they did not feel disposed so to do, to go home or G—d——them, he would kill every one of them. The mob then dispersed.
During these movements, neither Joseph Smith nor any of those of Far West were at Adam-ondi-Ahman, only those who were settlers and legal citizens of the place.
The mob again assembled and went to De Witt, Carroll county, there being a small branch of the Church at that place. But of the transactions at this place I have no personal knowledge. They succeeded in driving the Church twice from that place, some to the east and some to the west. This increased their ardor, and, with redoubled forces from several counties of the state, they returned to Daviess county to renew the attack. Many wanton attacks and violations of the rights of citizens took place at this time from the hands of this hellish band.
Believing forbearance no longer to be a virtue I again sent to the Major General for military aid, who ordered out Brigadier-General Parks. Parks came part of the way, but fearing his men would mutiny and join the mob, he came on ahead and conversed with me a considerable time.
The night previous to his arrival, the wife of Don Carlos Smith was driven from her house by this ruthless mob, and came into Adam-ondi-Ahman—a distance of three miles, carrying her two children on her hips, one of which was then rising of two years old, the other six or eight months old, the snow being over shoemouth deep, and she having to wade Grand river, which was at this time waist deep. The mob burnt the house and everything they had in it. General Parks passing the ruins thereof seemed fired with indignation at their hellish conduct and said he had hitherto thought it imprudent to call upon the militia under my command, in consequence of popular opinion; but he now considered it no more than justice that I should have command of my own troops, and said to me, “I therefore command you forthwith to raise your companies immediately, and take such course as you may deem best in order to disperse the mob from this county.”
I then called out sixty men, and placed them under the command of Captain David W. Patten, and I also took about the same number. Captain Patten was ordered to Gallatin, where a party of the mob was located, and I went to Millport where another party was located. Captain Patten and I formed the troops under our command and General Parks addressed them as follows:
“Gentlemen, I deplore your situation. I regret that transactions of this nature should have transpired in our once happy state. Your condition is certainly not an enviable one, surrounded by mobs on one side and popular opinion and prejudice on the other. Gladly would I fly to your relief with my troops, but I fear it would be worse for you. Most of them have relations living in this county, and will not fight against them.
“One of my principal captains (namely Samuel Bogart) and his men have already mutinied and have refused to obey my command.
“I can only say to you, gentlemen, follow the command of Colonel Wight, whom I have commanded to disperse all mobs found in Daviess county, or to make them prisoners and bring them before the civil authorities forthwith.
“I wish to be distinctly understood that Colonel Wight is vested with power and authority from me to disperse from your midst all who may be found on the side of mobocracy in the county of Daviess.
“I deeply regret, gentlemen, (knowing as I do, the vigilance and perseverance of Colonel Wight in the cause of freedom and rights of man) that I could not even be a soldier under his command in quelling the hellish outrages I have witnessed.
“In conclusion, gentlemen, be vigilant, and persevere, and allay every excitement of mobocracy. I have visited your place frequently, find you to be an industrious and thriving people, willing to abide the laws of the land; and I deeply regret that you could not live in peace and enjoy the privileges of freedom. I shall now, gentlemen, return and dismiss my troops, and put Captain Bogart under arrest, leave the sole charge with Colonel Wight, whom I deem sufficiently qualified to perform according to law, in all military operations necessary.”
Captain Patten then went to Gallatin. When coming in sight of Gallatin, he discovered about one hundred of the mob holding some of the Saints in bondage, and tantalizing others in the most scandalous manner. At the sight of Captain Patten and company the mob took fright and such was their hurry to get away, some cut their bridle reins, and some pulled the bridles from their horses’ heads and went off with all speed.
I went to Millport, and on my way discovered the inhabitants had become enraged at the orders of Generals Doniphan and Parks, and that they had sworn vengeance, not only against the Church, but also against the two generals, together with General Atchison; and to carry out their plans, they entered into one of the most diabolical schemes ever entered into by man, and these hellish schemes were ingeniously carried out.
Namely, by loading their families and goods in covered wagons, setting fire to their houses, moving into the midst of the mob, and crying out, “The Mormons have driven us and burnt our houses.” In this situation I found the country between my house and Millport, and also found Millport evacuated and burnt.
Runners were immediately sent to the governor with the news that the “Mormons” were killing and burning everything before them, and that great fears were entertained that they would reach Jefferson City before the runners could bring the news.
This was not known by the Church of Latter-day Saints until two thousand two hundred of the militia had arrived within half a mile of Far West; and they then supposed the militia to be a mob.
I was sent for from Adam-ondi-Ahman to Far West; reached there, the sun about one hour high, in the morning of the 29th of October 1835; called upon Joseph Smith, and inquired the cause of the great uproar. He declared he did not know, but feared the mob had increased their numbers, and were endeavoring to destroy us.
I inquired of him if he had had any conversation with any one concerning the matter. He said he had not, as he was only a private citizen of the county—that he did not interfere with any such matters.
He told me there had been an order, either from General Atchison or Doniphan, to the sheriff to call out the militia in order to quell the riots, and to go to him; he could give me any information on this subject. On inquiring for the sheriff, I found him not. That between three and four p. m. George M. Hinkle, colonel of the militia in that place, called on me, in company with Joseph Smith, and said Hinkle said he had been in the camp in order to learn the intention of the same. He said they greatly desired to see Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and George, W. Robinson.
Joseph Smith first inquired why they should desire to see him, as he held no office, either civil or military. I next inquired why it was they should desire to see a man out of his own county.
Colonel Hinkle here observed, There is no time for controversy. If you go not into the camp immediately, they are determined to come upon Far West before the setting of the sun; and said they did not consider us as military leaders, but religious leaders. He said that if the aforesaid persons went into the camp, they would be liberated that night or very early next morning; that there should be no harm done.
We consulted together and agreed to go down. On going about half the distance from the camp, I observed it would be well for Generals Lucas, Doniphan and others, to meet us, and not have us go in so large a crowd of soldiers. Accordingly, the generals moved onwards, followed by fifty artillerymen, with a four-pounder. The whole twenty-two hundred moved in steady pace on the right and left, keeping about even with the former.
General Lucas approached the aforesaid designated persons with a vile, base and treacherous look in his countenance. I shook hands with him and saluted him thus: “We understand, general, you wish to confer with us a few moments. Will not tomorrow morning do as well.”
At this moment George M. Hinkle spake and said, “Here, general are the prisoners I agreed to deliver to you.” General Lucas then brandished his sword with a most hideous look and said, “You are my prisoners, and there is no time for talking at the present. You will march into the camp.”
At this moment I believe that there were five hundred guns cocked, and not less than twenty caps bursted; and more hideous yells were never heard, even if the description of the yells of the damned in hell is true, as given by the modern sects of the day.
The aforesaid designated persons were then introduced into the midst of twenty-two hundred mob militia. They then called out a guard of ninety men, placing thirty around the prisoners, who were on duty two hours and off four. The prisoners were placed on the ground, with nothing to cover them but the heavens, and they were over-shadowed by clouds that moistened them before morning.
Sidney Rigdon, who was of a delicate constitution, received a slight shock of apoplectic fits, which excited great laughter and much ridicule in the guard and mob militia. Thus the prisoners spent a doleful night in the midst of a prejudiced and diabolical community.
Next day Hyrum Smith and Amasa Lyman were dragged from their families and brought prisoners into the camp, they alleging no other reason for taking Hyrum Smith than that he was a brother to Joe Smith the Prophet, and one of his counselors as President of the Church.
The prisoners spent this day as comfortably as could be expected under the existing circumstances. Night came on, and under the dark shadows of the night, General Wilson, subaltern of General Lucas, took me on one side and said; “We do not wish to hurt you nor kill you, neither shall you be, by G——; but we have one thing against you, and that is, you are too friendly to Joe Smith, and we believe him to be a G——d——rascal, and, Wight, you know all about his character.” I said, “I do, sir.” “Will you swear all you know concerning him?” said Wilson. “I will, sir” was the answer I gave. “Give us the outlines,” said Wilson. I then told Wilson I believed said Joseph Smith to be the most philanthropic man he ever saw, and possessed of the most pure and republican principles—a friend to mankind, a maker of peace; “and sir, had it not been that I had given heed to his counsel, I would have given you hell before this time, with all your mob forces.”
He then observed, “Wight, I fear your life is in danger, for there is no end to the prejudice against Joe Smith.” “Kill and be damned sir,” was my answer. He answered and said “There is to be a court-martial held this night; and will you attend, sir.” “I will not, unless compelled by force,” was my reply.
He returned about eleven o’clock that night, and took me aside and said’ “I regret to tell you your die is cast; your doom is fixed; you are sentenced to be shot tomorrow morning on the public square in Far West, at eight o’clock.” I answered, “Shoot, and be damned.”
“We were in hopes,” said he, “you would come out against Joe Smith; but as you have not, you will have to share the same fate with him.” I answered “You may thank Joe Smith that you are not in hell this night; for, had it not been for him, I would have put you there.” Somewhere about this time General Doniphan came up, and said to me, “Colonel the decision is a d——hard one, and I have washed my hands against such cool and deliberate murder.” He further told me that General Graham and several others (names not recollected) were with him in the decision and opposed it with all their power; and he should move his soldiers away by daylight in the morning, that they should not witness a heartless murder. “Colonel, I wish you well.”
I then returned to my fellow-prisoners, to spend another night on the cold, damp earth, and the canopy of heaven to cover us. The night again proved a damp one.
At the removal of General Doniphan’s part of the army, the camp was thrown into the utmost confusion and consternation. General Lucas, fearing the consequence of such hasty and inconsiderate measures, revoked the decree of shooting the prisoners, and determined to take them to Jackson county. Consequently, he delivered the prisoners over to General Wilson, ordering him to see them safe to Independence, Jackson county.
About the hour the prisoners were to have been shot on the public square in Far West, they were exhibited in a wagon in the town, all of them having families there but myself; and it would have broken the heart of any person possessing an ordinary share of humanity to have seen the separation. The aged father and mother of Joseph Smith were not permitted to see his face, but to reach their hands through the cover of the wagon, and thus take leave of him. When passing his own house, he was taken out of the wagon and permitted to go into the house, but not without a strong guard, and not permitted to speak with his family but in the presence of his guard; and his eldest son, Joseph, about six or eight years old, hanging to the tail of his coat, crying, “Father, is the mob going to kill you?” The guard said to him, “You d—little brat, go back; you will see your father no more.”
The prisoners then set out for Jackson county, accompanied by Generals Lucas and Wilson, and about three hundred troops for a guard. We remained in Jackson county three or four days and nights, during most of which time the prisoners were treated in a gentlemanly manner and boarded at a hotel, for which they had afterwards, when confined in Liberty jail, to pay the most extravagant price, or have their property, if any they had, attached for the same.
At this time General Clark had arrived at Richmond, and, by orders from the Governor, took on himself the command of the whole of the militia, notwithstanding General Atchison’s commission was the oldest; but he was supposed to be too friendly to the “Mormons,” and therefore dismounted; and General Clark sanctioned the measures of General Lucas, however cruel, and said he should have done the same, had he been there himself.
Accordingly, he remanded the prisoners from Jackson county, and they were taken and escorted by a strong guard to Richmond; threatened several times on the way with violence and death. They were met five miles before they reached Richmond by about one hundred armed men; and when they arrived in town, they were thrust into an old cabin under a strong guard. I was informed by one of the guards that, two nights previous to their arrival, General Clark held a court-martial, and the prisoners were again sentenced to be shot; but he being a little doubtful of his authority, sent immediately to Fort Leavenworth for the military law and a decision from the United States’ officers, where he was duly informed that any such proceedings would be a cool-blooded and heartless murder. On the arrival of the prisoners at Richmond, Joseph Smith and myself sent for General Clark, to be informed by him what crimes were alleged against us. He came in and said he would see us again in a few minutes. Shortly he returned and said he would inform us of the crimes alleged against us by the state of Missouri.
“Gentlemen, you are charged with treason, murder, arson, burglary, larceny, theft, and stealing, and various other charges too tedious to mention at this time;” and he immediately left the room. In about twenty minutes, there came in a strong guard, together with the keeper of the penitentiary of the state, who brought with him three common trace chains, noozed together by putting the small end through the ring, and commenced chaining us up, one by one, and fastening us with padlocks about two feet apart.
In this uncomfortable situation the prisoners remained fifteen days, and in this situation General Clark delivered us to the professed civil authorities of the state, without any legal process being served on us at all during the whole time we were kept in chains, with nothing but ex parte evidence, and that given either by the vilest apostates or by the mob who had committed murder in the state of Missouri. Notwithstanding all this ex parte evidence, Judge King did inform our lawyer, ten days previous to the termination of the trial, whom he should commit and whom he should not; and I heard Judge King say on his bench, in the presence of hundreds of witnesses, that there was no law for the “Mormons,” and they need not expect any. Said he, “If the Governor’s exterminating order had been directed to me, I would have seen it fulfilled to the very letter ere this time.”
After a tedious trial of fifteen days, with no other witnesses but ex parte ones, the witnesses for the prisoners were either kicked out of doors or put on trial themselves. The prisoners were now committed to Liberty jail, under the care and direction of Samuel Tillery, jailer. Here we were received with a shout of indignation and scorn by the prejudiced populace.
Prisoners were here thrust into jail without a regular mittimus, the jailer having to send for one some days after. The mercies of the jailer were intolerable, feeding us with a scanty allowance on the dregs of coffee and tea from his own table, and fetching the provisions in a basket, without being cleaned, on which the chickens had roosted the night before. Five days he fed the prisoners on human flesh, and from extreme hunger I was compelled to eat it. In this situation we were kept until about the month of April, when we were remanded to Daviess county for trial before the grand jury. We were kept under the most loathsome and despotic guard they could produce in that county of lawless mobs. After six or eight days, the grand jury (most of whom, by-the-bye, were so drunk that they had to be carried out and into their rooms as though they were lifeless,) formed a fictitious indictment, which was sanctioned by Judge Birch, who was the State’s Attorney under Judge King at our ex parte trial, and who at that time stated that the “Mormons” ought to be hung without judge or jury. He, the said judge, made out a mittimus, without day or date, ordering the Sheriff to take us to Columbia. The Sheriff selected four men to guard five of us.
We then took a circuitous route, crossing prairies sixteen miles without houses; and after traveling three days, the Sheriff and I were together by ourselves five miles from any of the rest of the company for sixteen miles at a stretch. The Sheriff here observed to me that he wished to God he was at home, and your friends and you also. The Sheriff then showed me the mittimus, and he found it had neither day nor date to it, and said the inhabitants of Daviess county would be surprised that the prisoners had not left them sooner; and, said he, “By G——, I shall not go much further.”
We were then near Yellow Creek, and there were no houses nearer than sixteen miles one way, and eleven another way, except right on the creek. Here a part of the guard took a spree, while the balance helped us to mount our horses, which we purchased of them, and for which they were paid. Here we took a change of venue, and went to Quincy without difficulty, where we found our families, who had been driven out of the State under the exterminating order of Governor Boggs. I never knew of Joseph Smith’s holding any office, civil or military, or using any undue influence in religious matters during the whole time of which I have been speaking.
6. The Testimony of Sidney Rigdon
Sidney Rigdon sworn, says I arrived in Far West, Caldwell county, Missouri, on the 4th of April, 1838, and enjoyed peace and quietness, in common with the rest of the citizens, until the August following, when great excitement was created by the office-seekers. Attempts were made to prevent the citizens of Daviess from voting. Soon after the election, which took place in the early part of August, the citizens of Caldwell were threatened with violence from those of Daviess county and other counties adjacent to Caldwell.
This, the August of 1838, I may date as the time of the beginning of all the troubles of our people in Caldwell county and in all the counties in the state where our people were living. We had lived in peace from the April previous until this time; but from this time till we were all out of the state, it was one scene of violence following another in quick succession.
There were at this time settlements in Clay, Ray, Carroll, Caldwell, and Daviess counties, as well as some families living in other counties. A simultaneous movement was made in all the counties and in every part of the state, where settlements were made, this soon became violent; and threatenings were heard from every quarter. Public meetings were held, and the most inflammatory speeches made, and resolutions passed, which denounced all the “Mormons” in the most bitter and rancorous manner. These resolutions were published in the papers, and the most extensive circulation given to them that the press of the country was capable of giving.
The first regular mob that assembled was in Daviess county, and their efforts were directed against the settlements made in that county, declaring their determination to drive out of the county all the citizens who were of our religion, and that indiscriminately, without regard to anything else but their religion.
The only evidence necessary to dispossess any individual or family, or all the evidence required, would be that they were “Mormons,” as we were called, or rather that they were of the “Mormon” religion. This was considered of itself crime enough to cause any individual or family to be driven from their homes, and their property made common plunder. Resolutions to this effect were made at public meetings held for the purpose, and made public through the papers of the state, in the face of all law and all authority.
I will now give a history of the settlement in Carroll county. In the preceding April, as myself and family were on our way to Far West, we put up at a house in Carroll county, on a stream called Turkey Creek, to tarry for the night. Soon after we stopped, a young man came riding up, who also stopped and stayed through the night. Hearing my name mentioned, he introduced himself to me as Henry Root; said he lived in that county at a little town called De Witt, on the Missouri river, and had been at Far West to get some of those who were coming into that place to form a settlement at De Witt. Speaking highly of the advantages of the situation, and soliciting my interference in his behalf to obtain a number of families to commence at that place, as he was a large proprietor in the town plat, he offered a liberal share in all the profits which might arise from the sale of property there to those who would aid him in getting the place settled. In the morning we proceeded on our journey.
Some few weeks after my arrival, the said Henry Root, in company with a man by the name of David Thomas, came to Far West on the same business; and after much solicitation on their part, it was agreed that a settlement should be made in that place; and in the July following the first families removed there, and the settlement soon increased, until in the October following it consisted of some seventy families. By this time a regular mob had collected, strongly armed, and had obtained possession of a cannon, and stationed themselves a mile or two from the town. The citizens, being nearly all new comers, had to live in their tents and wagons, and were exerting themselves to the uttermost to get houses for the approaching winter. The mob commenced committing their depredations on the citizens, by not suffering them to procure the materials for building, keeping them shut up in the town, not allowing them to go out to get provisions, driving off their cattle, and preventing the owners from going in search of them. In this way the citizens were driven to the greatest extremities, actually suffering for food and every comfort of life; in consequence of which, there was much sickness, and many died. Females gave birth to children, without a house to shelter them; and in consequence of the exposure, many suffered great afflictions, and many died.
Hearing of their great sufferings, a number of the men of Far West determined on going to see what was doing there. Accordingly we started, eluded the vigilance of the mob, and, notwithstanding they had sentinels placed on all the principal roads, to prevent relief from being sent to the citizens, we safely arrived in De Witt, and found the people as above stated.
During the time we were there, every effort that could be was made to get the authorities of the county to interfere and scatter the mob. The judge of the circuit court was petitioned, but without success; and after that, the governor of the state, who returned for answer that the citizens of De Witt had got into a difficulty with the surrounding country, and they might get out of it, for he would have nothing to do with it; or this was the answer the messenger brought, when he returned.
The messenger was a Mr. Caldwell, who owned a ferry on Grand river, about three miles from De Witt, and was an old settler in the place.
The citizens were completely besieged by the mob: no man was at liberty to go out, nor any to come in. The extremities to which the people were driven were very great, suffering with much sickness, without shelter, and deprived of all aid, either medical or any other kind, and being without food or the privilege of getting it, and betrayed by every man who made the least pretension to friendship; a notable instance of which I will here give as a sample of many others of a similar kind.
There was neither bread nor flour to be had in the place. A steamboat landed there, and application was made to get flour; but the captain said there was none on board.
A man then offered his services to get flour for the place, knowing, he said, where there was a quantity. Money was given to him for that purpose. He got on the boat and went off, and that was the last we heard of the man or the money. This was a man who had been frequently in De Witt during the siege, and professed great friendship.
In this time of extremity, a man who had a short time before moved into De Witt, bringing with him a fine yoke of cattle, started out to hunt his cattle, in order to butcher them, to keep the citizens from actual starvation; but before he got far from the town, he was fired upon by the mob, and narrowly escaped with his life, and had to return; or, at least, such was his report when he returned.
Being now completely enclosed on every side, we could plainly see they were there to prevent the citizens from crossing; and, indeed, a small craft crossed from them, and three men in it, who said that that was the object for which they had assembled.
At this critical moment, with death staring us in the face, in its worst form, cut off from all communication with the surrounding country, and all our provisions exhausted, we were sustained as the children of Israel in the desert, only by different animals,—they by quails, and we by cattle and hogs which came into camp; for such it truly was, as the people were living in tents and wagons, not being privileged with building houses.
What was to be done in this extremity? Why, recourse was had to the only means of subsistence left, and that was to butcher the cattle and hogs which came into the place, without asking who was the owner, or without knowing; and what to me is remarkable is, that a sufficient number of animals came into the camp to sustain life during the time in which the citizens were beseiged by the mob. This indeed, was but coarse living; but such as it was, it sustained life.
From this circumstance the cry went out that the citizens of De Witt were thieves and plunderers, and were stealing cattle and hogs. During this time, the mob of Carroll county said that all they wanted was that the citizens of De Witt should leave Carroll county and go to Caldwell and Daviess counties.
The citizens, finding that they must leave De Witt or eventually starve, finally agreed to leave; and accordingly preparations were made, and De Witt was vacated.
The first evening after we left, we put up for the night in a grove of timber. Soon after our arrival in the grove, a female who a short time before had given birth to a child, in consequence of exposure, died.
A grave was dug in the grove, and the next morning the body was deposited in it without a coffin, and the company proceeded on their journey, part of them going to Daviess county, and part into Caldwell. This was in the month of October, 1838.
In a short time after their arrival in Daviess and Caldwell counties, messengers arrived, informing the new citizens of Caldwell and Daviess that the mob, with their cannon, was marching to Daviess county, threatening death to the citizens, or else that they should all leave Daviess county. This caused other efforts to be made to get the authorities to interfere. I wrote two memorials, one to the governor and one to Austin A. King, circuit judge, imploring their assistance and intervention to protect the citizens of Daviess against the threatened violence of the mob.
These memorials were accompanied with affidavits, which could leave no doubt on the mind of the governor or judge that the citizens before mentioned were in imminent danger.
At this time things began to assume an alarming aspect both to the citizens of Daviess and Caldwell counties. Mobs were forming all around the country, declaring that they would drive the people out of the state.
This made our appeals to the authorities more deeply solicitous as the danger increased, and very soon after this the mobs commenced their depredations, which was a general system of plunder, tearing down fences, exposing all within the field to destruction, and driving off every animal they could find.
Some time previous to this, in consequence of the threatenings which were made by mobs, or those who were being formed into mobs, and the abuses committed by them on the persons and property of the citizens, an association was formed, called the Danite Band.
This, as far as I was acquainted with it, (not being myself one of the number, neither was Joseph Smith, Sen.,) was for mutual protection against the bands that were forming and threatened to be formed for the professed object of committing violence on the property and persons of the citizens of Daviess and Caldwell counties. They had certain signs and words by which they could know one another, either by day or night. They were bound to keep these signs and words secret, so that no other person or persons than themselves could know them. When any of these persons were assailed by any lawless band, he would make it known to others, who would flee to his relief at the risk of life.
In this way they sought to defend each other’s lives and property; but they were strictly enjoined not to touch any person, only those who were engaged in acts of violence against the persons or property of one of their own number, or one of those whose life and property they had bound themselves to defend.
This organization was in existence when the mobs commenced their most violent attempts upon the citizens of the before-mentioned counties; and from this association arose all the horror afterwards expressed by the mob at some secret clan known as Danites.
The efforts made to get the authorities to interfere at this time was attended with some success. The militia was ordered out under the command of Major-General Atchison of Clay county, Brigadier-Generals Doniphan of Clay, and Parks of Ray county, who marched their troops to Daviess county, where they found a large mob; and General Atchison said, in my presence, that he took the following singular method to disperse them.
He organized them with his troops as part of the militia called out to suppress and arrest the mob. After having thus organized them, he discharged them and all the rest of the troops, as having no further need for their services, and all returned home.
This, however, only seemed to give the mob more courage to increase their exertion with redoubled vigor. They boasted, after that, that the authorities would not punish them, and they would do as they pleased.
In a very short time their efforts were renewed with a determination not to cease until they had driven the citizens of Caldwell, and such of the citizens of Daviess as they had marked out as victims, from the state.
A man by the name of Cornelius Gillum, who resided in Clay county, and formerly sheriff of said county, organized a band, who painted themselves like Indians, and had a place of rendezvous at Hunter’s Mills, on a stream called Grindstone. I think it was in Clinton county, the county west of Caldwell, and between it and the west line of the state.
From this place they would sally out and commit their depredations. Efforts were again made to get the authorities to put a stop to these renewed outrages, and again General Doniphan and General Parks were called out with such portions of their respective brigades as they might deem necessary to suppress the mob, or rather mobs, for by this time there were a number of them.
General Doniphan came to Far West; and, while there, recommended to the authorities of Caldwell to have the militia of said county called out as a necessary measure of defense, assuring us that Gillum had a large mob on Grindstone Creek, and his object was to make a descent upon Far West, burn the town and hill or disperse the inhabitants; bad that it was very necessary that an effective force should be ready to oppose him, or he would accomplish his object.
The militia were accordingly called out. He also said that there had better be a strong force sent to Daviess county to guard the citizens there. He recommended that, to avoid any difficulties which might arise, they had better go in very small parties without arms, so that no legal advantage could be taken of them. I will here give a short account of the courts and internal affairs of Missouri, for the information of those who are not acquainted with the same.
Missouri has three courts of law peculiar to that state—the supreme court, the circuit court, and the county court; the two former about the same as in many other states of the Union. The county court is composed of three judges, elected by the people of the respective counties. This court is in some respects like the court of probate in Illinois, or the surrogate’s court of New York; but the powers of this court are more extensive than the courts of Illinois or New York.
The judges (or any one of them of the county court of Missouri) have the power of issuing habeas corpus in all cases where arrests are made within the county where they preside. They have also all power of justices of the peace in civil as well as criminal cases. For instance, a warrant may be obtained from one of these judges by affidavit, and a person arrested under such warrant.
From another of these judges, a habeas corpus may issue, and the person arrested be ordered before him, and the character of the arrest be inquired into; and if, in the opinion of the judge, the person ought not to be holden by virtue of said process, he has power to discharge him. They are considered conservators of the peace, and act as such.
In the internal regulations of the affairs of Missouri, the counties in some respects are nearly as independent of each other as the several states of the Union. No considerable number of men armed can pass out of one county into or through another county, without first obtaining the permission of the judges of the county court, or some one of them; otherwise they are liable to be arrested by the order of said judges; and if in their judgment they ought not thus to pass, they are ordered back from whence they came; and, in case of refusal, are subject to be arrested or even shot down in case of resistance.
The judges of the county court (or any one of them) have the power to call out the militia of said county, upon affidavit being made to them for that purpose by any of the citizens of said county, showing it just, in the judgment of such judge or judges, why said militia should be called out to defend any portion of the citizens of said county.
The following is the course of procedure: Affidavit is made before one or any number of the judges, setting forth that the county (or any particular portion of it) is either invaded or threatened with invasion by some unlawful assembly, whereby the liberties, lives, or property of the citizens may be unlawfully taken.
When such affidavit is made to any one of the judges, or all of them, it is the duty of him or them before whom such affidavit is made to issue an order to the sheriff of the county, to make requisition upon the commanding officer of the militia of said county to have immediately put under military order such portion of the militia under his command as may be necessary for the defense of the citizens of said county.
In this way the militia of any county may be called out at any time deemed necessary by the county judges, independently of any other civil authority of the state.
In case that the militia of the county is insufficient to quell the rioters and secure the citizens against the invaders, then recourse can be bad to the judge of the circuit court, who has the same power over the militia of his judicial district as the county judges have over the militia of the county. And in case of insufficiency in the militia of the judicial district of the circuit judge, recourse can be had to the Governor of the state, and all the militia of the state called out; and if this should fail, then the Governor can call on the President of the United States.
I have given this explanation of the internal regulation of the affairs of Missouri, in order that the court may clearly understand what I have before said on this subject, and what I may hereafter say on it.
It was in view of this order of things that General Doniphan, who is a lawyer of some celebrity in Missouri, gave the recommendation he did at Far West, when passing into Daviess county with his troops, for the defense of the citizens of said county.
It was in consequence of this that he said that those of Caldwell county who went into Daviess county should go in small parties and unarmed; in which condition they were not subject to any arrest from any authority whatever.
In obedience to these recommendations the militia of Caldwell county was called out, affidavits having been made to one of the judges of the county, setting forth the danger which it was believed the citizens were in from a large marauding party assembled under the command of one Cornelius Gillum, on a stream called Grindstone.
When affidavit was made to this effect, the judge issued his order to the sheriff of the county, and the sheriff to the commanding officer, who was Colonel George M. Hinkle; and thus were the militia of the county of Caldwell put under orders.
General Doniphan, however, instead of going into Daviess county, soon after he left Far West returned to Clay county with all his troops, giving as his reason the mutinous character of his troops, who he believed would join the mob, instead of acting against them, and that he had not power to restrain them.
In a day or two afterwards, General Parks, of Ray county, also came to Far West, and said that he had sent on a number of troops to Daviess county, to act in concert with General Doniphan. He also made the same complaint concerning the troops that Doniphan had, doubting greatly whether they would render any service to those in Daviess, who were threatened with violence by the mobs assembling; but on hearing that Doniphan, instead of going to Daviess county, had returned to Clay, followed his example and ordered his troops back to Ray county; and thus were the citizens of Caldwell county and those of Daviess county, who were marked out as victims by the mob, left to defend themselves the best way they could.
What I have here stated in relation to Generals Doniphan and Parks, was learned in conversations had between myself and them, about which I cannot be mistaken, unless my memory has betrayed me.
The militia of the county of Caldwell were now all under requisition, armed and equipped according to law. The mob, after all the authority of the state had been recalled except from the force of Caldwell county, commenced the work of destruction in earnest, showing a determination to accomplish their object.
Far West, where I resided, which was the shire town of Caldwell county, was placed under the charge of a captain by the name of John Killian, who made my house his headquarters. Other portions of the troops were distributed in different portions of the county, wherever danger was apprehended. In consequence of Captain Killian making any house his headquarters, I was put in possession of all that was going on, as all intelligence in relation to the operations of the mob was communicated to him. Intelligence was received daily of depredations being committed not only against the property of the citizens, but their persons; many of whom, when attending to their business, would be surprised and taken by marauding parties, tied up, and whipped in a most desperate manner.
Such outrages were common during the progress of these extraordinary scenes, and all kinds of depredations were committed. Men driving their teams to and from the mills where they got their grinding done, would be surprised and taken, their persons abused, and their teams, wagons and loading all taken as booty by the plunderers. Fields were thrown open, and all within exposed to the destruction of such animals as chose to enter. Cattle, horses, hogs and sheep were driven off, and a general system of plunder and destruction of all kinds of property carried on, to the great annoyance of the citizens of Caldwell and that portion of the citizens of Daviess marked as victims by the mob.
One afternoon a messenger arrived at Far West calling for help, saying that a banditti had crossed the south line of Caldwell and were engaged in threatening the citizens with death, if they did not leave their homes and go out of the state within a very short time—the time not precisely recollected; but I think it was the next day by ten o’clock, but of this I am not certain. He said they were setting fire to the prairies, in view of burning houses and desolating farms; that they had set fire to a wagon loaded with goods, and they were all consumed; that they had also set fire to a house, and when he left it was burning down.
Such was the situation of affairs at Far West at that time, that Captain Killian could not spare any of his forces, as an attack was hourly expected at Far West.
The messenger went off, and I heard no more about it till some time the night following, when I was awakened from sleep by the voice of some man apparently giving command to a military body. Being somewhat unwell, I did not get up. Some time after I got up in the morning the sheriff of the county stopped at the door and said that David W. Patten had had a battle with the mob last night at Crooked River, and that several were killed and a number wounded; that Patten was among the number of the wounded, and his wound supposed to be mortal. After I had taken breakfast, another gentleman called, giving me the same account, and asking me if I would not take my horse and ride out with him and see what was done. I agreed to do so, and we started, and after going three or four miles, met a company coming into Far West. We turned and went back with them.
The mob proved to be that headed by the Reverend Samuel Bogart, a Methodist preacher; and the battle was called the Bogart Battle. After this battle there was a short season of quiet; the mobs disappeared, and the militia returned to Far West, though they were not discharged, but remained under orders until it should be known how the matter would turn.
In the space of a few days, it was said that a large body of armed men were entering the south part of Caldwell county. The county court ordered the militia to go and inquire what was their object in thus coming into the county without permission.
The militia started as commanded, and little or no information was received at Far West about their movements until late the next afternoon, when a large army was descried making their way towards Far West. Far West being an elevated situation, the army was discovered while a number of miles from the place.
Their object was entirely unknown to the citizens as far as I had any knowledge on the subject; and every man I heard speak of their object expressed as great ignorance as myself. They reached a small stream on the south side of the town, which was studded with timber on its banks, and for perhaps from half a mile to a mile on the south side of the stream, an hour before sundown.
There the main body halted; and soon after a detachment under the command of Brigadier-General Doniphan, marched towards the town in line of battle. This body was preceded probably three-fourths of a mile in advance of them by a man carrying a white flag, who approached within a few rods of the eastern boundary of the town and demanded three persons who were in the town, to be sent to their camp; after which, the whole town, he said, would be massacred. When the persons who were inquired for were informed, they refused to go, determined to share the common fate of the citizens. One of those persons did nor belong to the Church of Latter-day Saints. His name is Adam Lightner, a merchant in that city.
The white flag returned to the camp. To the force of General Doniphan was opposed the small force of Caldwell militia, under Colonel Hinkle, who also marched in line of battle to the southern line of the town. The whole force of Colonel Hinkle did not exceed three hundred men; that of Doniphan perhaps three times that number. I was in no way connected with the militia, being over age, neither was Joseph Smith, Sen.
I went into the line formed by Colonel Hinkle, though unarmed, and stood among the rest to await the result, and had a full view of both forces. The armies were within rifle shot of each other.
About the setting of the sun, Doniphan ordered his army to return to the camp at the creek. They wheeled and marched off. After they had retired a consultation was held as to what was best to do. By what authority the army was there, no one could tell, as far as I knew. It was agreed to build, through the night, a sort of fortification, and, if we must fight, sell our lives as dearly as we could. Accordingly: all hands went to work; rails, house-logs and wagons were all put in requisition: and the south line of the town as well secured as could be done by the men and means, and the short time allowed; we expected an attack in the morning.
The morning at length came, and that day passed away, and still nothing was done but plundering the cornfields, shooting cattle and hogs, stealing horses and robbing houses, and carrying off potatoes, turnips, and all such things as the army of General Lucas could get, for such they proved to be; for the main body was commanded by Samuel D. Lucas, a deacon in the Presbyterian church. The next day came, and then it was ascertained that they were there by order of the governor.
A demand was made for Joseph Smith, Sen., Lyman Wight, George W. Robinson, Parley P. Pratt and myself to go into their camp. With this command we instantly complied, and accordingly started.
When we came in sight of their camp, the whole army was on parade marching towards the town. We approached and met them, and were informed by Lucas that we were prisoners of war. A scene followed that would defy any mortal to describe; a howling was set up that would put anything I ever heard before or since at defiance. I thought at the time it had no parallel except it might be the perdition of ungodly men. They had a cannon.
I could distinctly hear the guns as the locks were sprung, which appeared, from the sound, to be in every part of the army. General Doniphan came riding up where we were, and swore by his Maker that he would hew the first man down that cocked a gun. One or two other officers on horseback also rode up, ordering those who had cocked their guns to uncock them, or they would be hewed down with their swords. We ware conducted into their camp and made to lie on the ground through the night.
This was late in October. We were kept here for two days and two nights. It commenced raining and snowing until we were completely drenched; and being compelled to lie on the ground, which had become very wet, the water was running around us and under us. What consultation the officers and others had in relation to the disposition that was to be made of us, I am entirely indebted to the report made to me by General Doniphan, as none of us was put on any trial.
General Doniphan gave an account, of which the following is the substance, as far as my memory serves me: That they held a court-martial and sentenced us to be shot at eight o’clock the next morning, after the court-martial was holden, in the public square in the presence of our families; that this court-martial was composed of seventeen preachers and some of the principal officers of the army. Samuel D. Lucas presided. Doniphan arose and said that neither himself nor his brigade should have any hand in the shooting, that it was nothing short of cold-blooded murder; and left the court-martial and ordered his brigade to prepare and march off the ground.
This was probably the reason why they did not carry the decision of the court-martial into effect. It was finally agreed that we should be carried into Jackson county. Accordingly, on the third day after our arrest, the army was all paraded; we were put into wagons and taken into the town, our families having heard that we were to be brought to town that morning to be shot. When we arrived a scene ensued such as might be expected under the circumstances.
I was permitted to go alone with my family into the house. There I found my family so completely plundered of all kinds of food, that they had nothing to eat but parched corn, which they ground with a handmill and thus were they sustaining life.
I soon pacified my family and allayed their feelings by assuring them that the ruffians dared not kill me. I gave them strong assurances that they dared not do it, and that I would return to them again. After this interview I took my leave of them and returned to the wagons, got in, and we were all started off to Jackson county.
Before we reached the Missouri river, a man came riding along the line apparently in great haste. I did not know his business. When we got to the river, Lucas came to me and told me that he wanted us to hurry, as Jacob Stolling had arrived from Far West with a message from General John C. Clark, ordering him to return with us to Far West, as he was there with a large army. He said he would not comply with the demand, but did not know but Clark might send an army to take us by force. We were hurried over the river as fast as possible, with as many of Lucas’ army as could be sent over at one time, and sent hastily on, and thus we were taken to Independence, the shire town of Jackson county, and put into an old house, and a strong guard placed over us.
In a day or two they relaxed their severity. We were taken to the best tavern in town, and there boarded and treated with kindness. We were permitted to go and come at our pleasure without any guard. After some days Colonel Sterling G. Price arrived from Clark’s army with a demand to have us taken to Richmond, Ray county. It was difficult to get a guard to go with us. Indeed, we solicited them to send one with us, and finally got a few men to go, and we started. After we had crossed the Missouri, on our way to Richmond, we met a number of very rough-looking fellows, and as rough-acting as they were looking. They threatened our lives. We solicited our guard to send to Richmond for a stronger force to guard us there, as we considered our lives in danger. Sterling G. Price met us with a strong force, and conducted us to Richmond, where we were put in close confinement.
One thing I will here mention, which I forgot. While we were at Independence, I was introduced to Burrell Hicks, a lawyer of some note in the country. In speaking on the subject of our arrest and being torn from our families, he said he presumed it was another Jackson county scrape. He said the Mormons had been driven from that county and that without any offense on their part. He said he knew all about it; they were driven off because the people feared their political influence. And what was said about the Mormons was only to justify the mob in the eyes of the world for the course they had taken. He said this was another scrape of the same kind.
This Burrell Hicks, by his own confession, was one of the principal leaders in the Jackson county mob.
After this digression, I will resume. The same day that we arrived at Richmond, Price came into the place where we were, with a number of armed men, who immediately on entering the room cocked their guns; another followed with chains in his hands, and we were ordered to be chained together. A strong guard was placed in and around the house, and thus we were secured. The next day General Clark came in, and we were introduced to him. The awkward manner in which he entered and his apparent embarrassment were such as to force a smile from me.
He was then asked for what he had thus cast us into prison? To this question he could not or did not give a direct answer. He said he would let us know in a few days; and after a few more awkward and uncouth movements he withdrew. After he went out, I asked some of the guard what was the matter with General Clark, that made him appear so ridiculous? They said he was near-sighted. I replied that I was mistaken if he were not as near-witted as he was near-sighted.
We were now left with our guards, without knowing for what we had been arrested, as no civil process had issued against us. For what followed until General Clark came in again to tell us that we were to be delivered into the hands of the civil authorities, I am entirely indebted to what I heard the guards say. I heard them say that General Clark had promised them before leaving Coles county, that they should have the privilege of shooting Joseph Smith, Jun., and myself; and that General Clark was engaged in searching the military law to find authority for so doing, but found it difficult, as we were not military men and did not belong to the militia; but he had sent to Fort Leavenworth for the military code of law, to find law to justify him in shooting us.
I must here again digress to relate a circumstance which I forgot in its place. I had heard that Clark had given a military order to some persons who had applied to him for it, to go to my house and take such goods as they claimed. The goods claimed were goods sold by the sheriff of Caldwell county on an execution, which I had purchased at the sale.
The man against whom the execution was issued availed himself of that time of trouble to go and take the goods wherever he could find them.
I asked General Clark if he had given any such authority. He said that an application had been made to him for such an order, but he said, “Your lady wrote me a letter requesting me not to do it, telling me that the goods had been purchased at the sheriff’s sale; and I would not grant the order.”
I did not, at the time, suppose that Clark in this had barefacedly lied; but the sequel proved he had; for, some time afterwards, behold there comes a man to Richmond with the order, and showed it to me, signed by Clark. The man said he had been at our house and taken all the goods he could find. So much for a lawyer, a Methodist, and a very pious man at that time in religion, and a major-general of Missouri.
During the time that Clark was examining the military law, there was something took place which may be proper to relate in this place. I heard a plan laying among a number of those who belonged to Clark’s army, and some of them officers of high rank, to go to Far West and commit violence on the persons of Joseph Smith, Sen’s wife and my wife and daughter.
This gave me some uneasiness. I got an opportunity to send my family word of their design and to make such arrangements as they could to guard against their vile purpose. The time at last arrived, and the party started for Far West. I waited with painful anxiety for their return. After a number of days, they returned. I listened to all they said, to find out, if possible, what they had done. One night—I think the very night after their return—I heard them relating to some of those who had not been with them the events of their adventure. Inquiry was made about their success in the particular object of their visit to Far West. The substance of what they said in answer was that they had passed and repassed both houses, and saw the females; but there were so many men about the town, that they dare not venture, for fear of being detected; and their numbers were not sufficient to accomplish anything, if they made the attempt; and they came off without trying.
No civil process of any kind had been issued against us. We were then held in duress, without knowing what for or what charges were to be preferred against us. At last, after long suspense, General Clark came into the prison, presenting himself about as awkwardly as at the first, and informed us that we would be put into the hands of the civil authorities. He said he did not know precisely what crimes would be charged against us, but they would be within the range of treason, murder, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing. Here, again, another smile was forced, and I could not refrain from smiling at the expense of this would-be great man, in whom, he said, “the faith of Missouri was pledged.” After long and awful suspense, the notable Austin A. King, judge of the circuit court, took the seat, and we were ordered before him for trial; Thomas Birch, Esq., prosecuting attorney. All things being arranged, the trial opened. No papers were read to us, no charges of any kind preferred, nor did we know against what we had to plead. Our crimes had yet to be found out.
At the commencement we requested that we might be tried separately; but this was refused, and we were all put on our trial together. Witnesses appeared, and the swearing commenced. It was so plainly manifested by the judge that he wanted the witnesses to prove us guilty of treason, that no person could avoid seeing it. The same feelings were also visible in the state’s attorney. Judge King made an observation something to this effect, as he was giving directions to the scribe who was employed to write down the testimony, that he wanted all the testimony directed to certain points. Being taken sick at an early stage of the trial, I had not the opportunity of hearing but a small part of the testimony when it was delivered before the court.
During the progress of the trial, after the adjournment of the court in the evening, our lawyers would come into the prison, and there the matters would be talked over.
The propriety of our sending for witnesses was also discussed. Our attorneys said that they would recommend us not to introduce any evidence at that trial. Doniphan said it would avail us nothing, for the judge would put us in prison, if a cohort of angels were to come and swear we were innocent. And besides that, he said that if we were to give the court the names of our witnesses, there was a band there ready to go, and they would go and drive them out of the country, or arrest them and have them cast into prison, or else kill them, to prevent them from swearing. It was finally concluded to let the matter be so for the present.
During the progress of the trial, and while I was lying sick in prison, I had an opportunity of hearing a great deal said by those who would come in. The subject was the all-absorbing one. I heard them say that we must be put to death—that the character of the state required it; the state must justify herself in the course she had taken, and nothing but punishing us with death could save the credit of the state; and it must therefore be done.
I heard a party of them, one night, telling about some female whose person they had violated; and this language was used by one of them: “The d—b—, how she yelled! ” Who this person was, I did not know; but before I got out of prison I heard that a widow, whose husband had died some few months before, with consumption, had been brutally violated by a gang of them, and died in their hands, leaving three little children, in whose presence the scene of brutality took place.
After I got out of prison and had arrived in Quincy, Illinois, I met a strange man in the street who inquired of me respecting a circumstance of this kind, saying that he had heard of it, and was on his way going to Missouri to get the children if he could find them. He said the woman thus murdered was his sister, or his wife’s sister, I am not positive which. The man was in great agitation. What success he had, I know not.
The trial at last ended, and Lyman Wight, Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, Caleb Baldwin, Alexander McRae, and myself were sent to jail in the village of Liberty, Clay county, Missouri.
We were kept there from three to four months; after which time we were brought out on habeas corpus before one of the county judges. During the hearing under the habeas corpus, I had, for the first time, an opportunity of hearing the evidence, as it was all written and read before the court.
It appeared from the evidence that they attempted to prove us guilty of treason in consequence of the militia of Caldwell county being under arms at the time that General Lucas’ army came to Far West. This calling out of the militia was what they founded the charge of treason upon, an account of which I have given above. The charge of murder was founded on the fact that a man of their number, they said, had been killed in the Bogart battle.
The other charges were founded on things which took place in Daviess county. As I was not in Daviess county at that time, I cannot testify anything about them.
A few words about this written testimony:
I do not now recollect one single point about which testimony was given, with which I was acquainted, but was misrepresented, nor one solitary witness whose testimony was there written, that did not swear falsely; and in many instances I cannot see how it could avoid being intentional on the part of those who testified, for all of them did swear to things that I am satisfied they knew to be false at the time, and it would be hard to persuade me to the contrary.
There were things there said so utterly without foundation in truth—so much so, that the persons swearing must at the time of swearing have known it. The best construction I can ever put upon it is that they swore things to be true which they did not know to be so; and this, to me, is wilful perjury.
This trial lasted for a long time, the result of which was that I was ordered to be discharged from prison, and the rest remanded back. But I was told by those who professed to be my friends that it would not do for me to go out of jail at that time, as the mob were watching and would most certainly take my life; and when I got out, that I must leave the state, for the mob, availing themselves of the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, would, if I were found in the state, surely take my life; that I had no way to escape them but to flee with all speed from the state. It was some ten days after this before I dared leave the jail. At last, the evening came in which I was to leave the jail. Every preparation was made that could be made for my escape. There was a carriage ready to take me in and carry me off with all speed. A pilot was ready—one who was well acquainted with the country—to pilot me through the country, so that I might not go on any of the public roads. My wife came to the jail to accompany me, of whose society I had been deprived for four months. Just at dark, the sheriff and jailer came to the jail with our supper. I sat down and ate. There were a number watching. After I had supped, I whispered to the jailer to blow out all the candles but one, and step away from the door with that one. All this was done. The sheriff then took me by the arm, and an apparent scuffle ensued,—so much so, that those who were watching did not know who it was the sheriff was scuffling with. The sheriff kept pushing me towards the door, and I apparently resisting until we reached the door, which was quickly opened, and we both reached the street. He took me by the hand and bade me farewell, telling me to make my escape, which I did with all possible speed. The night was dark. After I had gone probably one hundred rods, I heard some person coming after me. I drew a pistol and cocked it, determined not to be taken alive. When the person approaching me spoke, I knew his voice, and he speedily came to me. In a few moments I heard a horse coming. I again sprung my pistol cock. Again a voice saluted my ears that I was acquainted with. The man came speedily up and said he had come to pilot me through the country. I now recollected I had left my wife in jail. I mentioned it to them, and one of them returned, and the other and myself pursued our journey as swiftly as we could. After I had gone about three miles, my wife overtook me in a carriage, into which I got and rode all night. It was an open carriage, and in the month of February, 1839. We got to the house of an acquaintance just as day appeared. There I put up until the next morning, when I started again and reached a place called Tenney’s Grove; and, to my great surprise, I here found my family, sad was again united with them, after an absence of four months, under the most painful circumstances. From thence I made my way to Illinois, where I now am. My wife, after I left her, went directly to Far West and got the family under way, and all unexpectedly met at Tenney’s Grove.