Early Days in Missouri
By Judge Joseph Thorp

The Mormons.

Letter 15.

In our last chapter we intimated that we would give a little sketch of the religious sect of fanatics called Mormons. Joseph Smith, who announced to the world that he was a prophet by divine authority, and spoke by authority, not as the Scribes and Pharisees; but as it was revealed to him by the Spirit from the God of Heaven, holding out to his followers that he had a mission to perform that would revolutionize or turn topsy turvy the entire civil and religious systems that were then the customs of the people on the American continent." He sent his emissaries or apostles to the Old World to make proselytes. Strange as it may seem from our standpoint, they made hundreds of converts, some from almost every nationality on the globe, and they were transferred from the land of their fathers to what they were pleased to call New Jerusalem, or the land that the Lord had given to the saints as an inheritance, where they were to build their temple.

It was not long before he had made a great many converts, and got them together at Kirtland, Ohio. This was, if my memory is not at fault, about the year 1831 or 1832. He came to Missouri to hunt a location for Zion; he professed to be guided by inspiration; he moved on westward, not knowing whither he was going but with full assurance of faith that as soon as his vision saw the place he would know that it was the land the Lord had given him as an inheritance for him and his posterity (spiritually speaking). At length his prophetic vision opened on Independence, Jackson county, where he beheld the temple site and place for the New Jerusalem. Jackson county being a beautiful section of country, it was not to be wondered at that the spirit of his vision should cause him to make that the place for the home of the saints; that there they must gather and build the temple and consecrate it to the Lord. With this view, they left Kirtland, Ohio, and flocked to where their prophet said the City of Zion was to be reared and his temporal kingdom established; where his saints were to rule and reign with an iron rod till they drove out their unbelieving neighbors.

They held all their property as common stock, and had what they termed the Lords treasury, which was to be used for the benefit of all. Being at that time a large portion of the lands in Jackson county subject to entry, they bought up a great deal of it, buying mostly in large lots, so that they could make the settlements almost entirely of their own people, so as to be able to protect themselves, and to have as little to do as possible with the unbelievers. Their locations were mostly in the western part of the county on Blue river. They got some real estate in the town of Independence, where they established what they called the Lords Storehouse, where all had to do their trading, so the few that had the store got all the hard earnings of the poor. They put up a printing press and published a paper called the Evening Star, in which they published their revelations, all of them given to suit the times and circumstances which surrounded them, but all of them were sure to be made so as to impress their followers that they had found the Land of Canaan, and they were to drive out the heathens, or Gentiles, as they called them, and possess the land in peace.

Their audacity and impudence in telling the citizens that it was made known to Joseph, their prophet, priest and king, from high heaven, that Jackson county was theirs - given to them by the Lord, and it was foolishness in them to resist and fight against God; that the temple was to be built in Independence and that saints were to be gathered from the four quarters of the globe to worship the God of Israel in the New Jerusalem, as it was under the Jewish dispensation. Their idea was, it appears, that they were to congregate to worship the God of Ancient Israel as did their fathers in the days of the prophets; they commenced preparing to build the temple, and if I recollect, partly dug out the foundation. Their prophet also induced his followers to believe that he would form a temporal kingdom or government, and they would not be subject to the laws of the state, but should make their own laws, have their own civil officers to execute them, Joseph, the prophet, being dictator, aided by revelation and his cabinet or council; and when their edicts were sent forth they were obeyed without a murmur by his followers. Their paper was filled up weekly with revelations, promising great things to the saints who were faithful, and threatening destruction to the citizens if they did not give up their lands and homes peaceably, and leave them in peaceable possession, contending that the Jew and Gentile could not live together in the same locality.

These threats so exasperated the citizens that there were frequent quarrels between them, and from words they got to blows, till they got to killing each other; and from bad it grew worse, till neighborhoods became arrayed against each other, then they collected en masse on both sides against each other, forming themselves in battle array. In the meantime the citizens took their printing press with all the material and hurled them in the Missouri river; and to add insult to injury, they took the Prophet Joseph, with two or three others, and served them with a coat of tar, and then, to make a finishing touch to their dress, covered them nicely with feathers and paraded them around the public square in Independence. While this was going on, the rank and file of the ungodly Gentiles were busy in maltreating the saints. This treatment only intensified and exasperated the feelings of the saints; they determined to revenge themselves on their enemies; and being assured by their leaders that the Lord would be with them in battle and deliver their enemies into their hands, they gathered themselves together for battle. The two hostile forces were not long in coming together. They met not far from Westport, and engaged in almost a hand-to-hand encounter. The saints put their enemies to flight, with one or two killed on both sides, with several wounded, but not fatally.

With this victory, and a fresh revelation from the Lord that they should destroy their ungodly enemies, the order was given to march on Independence, and on the second day after their victory they formed their forces a short distance west of the town, ready and calculating to march right into town and complete the destruction of the place by putting the citizens to the sword or to flight. The citizens were not idle. The news of their defeat spread on the wings of the wind, as it were, and they came from the east, west, north, and south and met them at their rendezvous in such an overwhelming number that the saints surrendered and agreed to lay down their arms and leave the county as soon as they could pull up and get out. I think the time was set, and it was quite short, for them to arrange - not over two months, and right in the midst of winter. They hastened to make their arrangements to get out of the county, all of them aiming to cross the river into Clay, with a view of scattering out into Ray, Carroll, Clinton, and Daviess counties, but mostly in Clay.

There was a very remarkable and strange occurrence took place the night after most of them had crossed the river. They crossed at Everetts ferry, known them as Independence Landing, camped in the bottom, and built their camp fires for perhaps a mile up and down the river and out in the bottom. It was very cold, but there being plenty of wood they had large fires, and the whole bottom in the vicinity of their camp presented quite a brilliant appearance; and to add to its brilliancy, a while before day the stars (at least it looked like the stars) commenced falling like great snowflakes, all of them vanishing before they reached the ground, and it continued from a half to three-quarters of an hour, while everything was as light as day. The Mormons and citizens were all filled with wonder, and could not tell what all these strange things meant. The saints looked at it as being a sign from heaven that the Lord would in some miraculous manner enable them to overcome the ungodly Gentiles who had so recklessly driven them from their homes and exposed their wives and little ones to the cold and chilling blasts of winter without shelter. They immediately set out to hunt up all the empty houses they could find, or shelter of any kind that would protect them from the cold, chilly winds. Their condition was truly distressing, and most of the citizens of Clay county sympathized with them and gave them all the accommodations they could, and bye and bye they paid them off in the same kind of coin that they did the people of Jackson county.

The Mormons, in the main, were industrious, good workers, and gave general satisfaction to their employers, and could live on less than any people I ever knew. Their women could fix up a good, palatable meal out of that which a Gentiles wife would not know how to commence to get half a dinner or breakfast. They had the knack of economizing in the larder, which was a great help to the men, as they had mostly to earn their bread and butter by days work, with wages about half what they are now. The women were generally well educated and, as a rule, were quite intelligent, far more so than the men. Indeed, a great many of the latter could neither read nor write.

Having given shelter to six or seven families, and had them employed to do a great deal of work, thereby becoming quite intimate, I learned a great deal about their creed, and the more I learned, the greater the astonishment, that men and women, apparently of good common sense, could be made such dupes of as to believe that Joe Smith could heal the sick of all manner of diseases; and some professed to believe that he could raise the dead. There was a case in one of the families to whom I had given shelter. The man had quite a handsome, tidy, nice looking woman for a wife, and she was taken with convulsions or fits. She would commence jerking her arms and head, and would finally be convulsed all over. She would keep on her feet till apparently exhausted, then fall down and lay like she was in a kind of trance; when she would come to herself, she would beg them to send for Brother Joseph; that he, by laying on of hands, could cure her. Finally they got him; he laid his hand on her naked bosom, and she said she felt something run over her like electricity, and as quick, from head to foot, and she was cured, and had no more fits while I knew her. That strengthened her husband's faith in Mormonism, until one day I asked him if he couldn't account for it without Joe being a prophet, or having the power of God given him? He said no. I told him I thought I could; that his wife and Joseph were likely a little too intimate, and it was a kind of ruse to blind his eyes. I told him to watch and see if he didn't learn something that would convince him that I was right. It was not long after this till he denounced Mormonism, fully satisfied that they were a set of imposters. I asked this same man one day how it happened that the women were so much better educated than the men? He told me all of them, both men and women, were of the poorer classes, and in the eastern states the law made provision for educating females, while boys were only provided for until they were able to work, then they were taken from school and put to learning a trade, or on a farm, to make their living as best they could.

At the time they were driven out of Jackson and made the stop in Clay, they were mostly from the eastern states, but they had started out their missionaries, who were cavassing every state in the Union, and they did not confine their labors to the States. Joseph commissioned them to cross the briny ocean and herald the news in foreign lands, of the new revelation, that the Lord, by his prophet, Joseph, was going to reestablish his kingdom, both temporal and spiritual, and build the temple anew at the New Jerusalem, the site for which was to be made known to him by revelation. They had great success in their mission in making proselytes in the old country, and through their influence hundreds were transferred to our shores and took up the line of march for the promised land. Poor, deluded mortals! Many of them couldn't speak our language, and many very poor, I might say ignorant, whose passage across the water had to be paid out of the "Lord's Treasury," or common fund.

Letter 16.

The poor, deluded mortals, with all their experience in Jackson, began to tell the citizens of Clay the same old tale: that this country was theirs by gift of the Lord, and it was folly for them to improve their lands, they would not enjoy the fruits of their labor; that it finally would fall into the hands of the saints. One asked me if I didn't believe that they would finally possess the land and yet build the temple at Independence; if it was the Lord's work, and they were the chosen people of God to build the New Jerusalem? I told him all they had to do was to convince the people that what they said was true, and we would all turn Mormons, stay at home on our own land, and enjoy the benefits of our labor. This kind of talk, with their insolence and impudent behavior, so enraged the citizens that they began to consult about the best course to take to rid themselves of a set of religious fanatics, for they found that their faith was so strong that not only the land was theirs, but the goods and chattels of the ungodly Gentiles was theirs, to be held and used as a common stock; so it was concluded to call a mass meeting of the citizens, in conjunction with some of the leading citizens of Jackson county, to determine upon some course that would be best for all parties concerned. They met (I think in the spring of 1835), and several citizens of Jackson came over, who were still smarting under the treatment they had met with from the saints; and the people of Clay were wrought up to a high fever heat, and when they met, they were not in a very good frame of feeling to do justice to the Mormon citizens.

There were a great many speeches made, and our friends from Jackson were very rabid. Samuel Owens, James Campbell, Wood Noland, and five or six others, whose names I can't call to mind, all had more or less to say. Owens being the chief speaker, spoke with force and energy, and in a way to arouse the passion rather than allay it, although it had been decided by the meeting that inflammatory speeches should not be made, and any one departing from that rule should be called to order and set down; but it was plain to be seen that everything that was done or said was all on one side, and very little mercy manifested for the latter day saints. There was one thing that stood out in bold relief - the saints must go; leave the county - all hands agreed in that. Some were in favor of giving them good time to get out of the county, so as to not cause them to make any sacrifice of what they had; some wanted them to be forced to wind up and leave in a limited time, while the larger portion were for them going in double-quick. They wrangled and jawed, till Col. Doniphan, who had been a listener and thought their proposition rather too stringent, arose and began to shove up his sleeves, (his manner when a little warmed up), and commenced his remarks in a rather excited tone, when the chairman or someone called him to order, saying he was giving too strong vent to his feelings; that it was calculated to raise an excitement in the crowd, whose feelings were then almost ready to boil over. The Colonel pulled his sleeve up a little higher, and told them "that was what he got up for - to give vent to his feelings."

I wish I could give his speech, but if I recollect, he advocated the right of citizen and individual liberty, with individual responsibility, and was opposed to Judge Lynch and mob violence; was in favor of law and order; the law was made for the punishment of evil doers, and protect the law abiding, and should be strictly enforced. If I have not given the basis of his remarks, and the Colonel sees this, let him correct me. The meeting adjourned quite late - near sundown - after appointing three men, Judge Cameron and two others (I can't recall to mind just now who they were), to confer with the Mormons and try to find a place for them to locate out of our county. The people of Jackson were gathered at Independence awaiting the return of their committee to the conference, and they were bound to return, and could not be prevailed on to stay, although it was generally believed that if they went, it being in the night, the Mormons would lay in ambush and attack them with a force sufficient to kill the whole outfit; yet they went, taking their lives in their hands, as it were, and got safe to the ferry, little thinking what would be their fate before they reached the other shore. There was rather an over load for the boat to take all of them, but they feared to leave any on this side, lest the Mormons might come upon them before the boat return for them, and so they all got aboard. Everett, the ferryman, assuring them that there was no danger. They hadn't got more than half way over before they found that the water was coming into the boat so fast that there was no help - they were bound to sink. Owens and one of two others couldn't swim. Campbell, being a good swimmer, (having often swam the Missouri river), began to fix and instruct the others how to manage their horses, to let them have their own way and not attempt to use the bridle, and they would take them to the shore. They had kept the oars going while the boat was filling with water and had gained till they thought they were almost to the other shore. Campbell, feeling no uneasiness for himself, got them all started, encouraging and telling them how to do, and after watching them till they were some distance and all appeared to be getting along finely, he left the boat, after standing on it until the water was nearly waist deep. The ferrymen, all good swimmers, left every man to himself; strange to say, the two best swimmers were drowned - Campbell and Everett, the owner of the ferry. The latter got in 20 or 30 steps of the shore, when his wife asked him how he was making it; he answered all right, but in a moment or two they heard him no more. It was thought that Campbell and him must have taken the cramp, for it was no trouble for either of them to swim the river. Their bodies were recovered two or three days afterwards, some distance down the river, lodged on a rock heap. The men who couldn't swim made their way to shore. Owens' life was prolonged only to be taken by the Spaniards in the battle of Chihuahua, under Colonel Doniphan.

The commissioners appointed at the meeting arranged with the leader of the saints so as to get them out of the county and locate them in Caldwell county, which at that time, say 1835, was sparsely settled, where one of their prominent men, by name of Whitmer, with a few of the rank and file had settled and selected a site for a town and gave it the name of Far West. Joseph, the prophet, gathered up a few of his leading men and repaired to the place; they were Rigdon, Hiram Smith, Lyman Wight, Colonel Hinkle, Taylor, Murdock, and the noted Parley Pratt. They bought land all over the county, and some in Ray, Daviess and Clinton. A new revelation was given to the prophet Joe, that they had found the promised spot where the temple was to be built and one of the greatest cities in the world reared. Their missionaries had been quite successful in making proselytes, and they came from every quarter, many from Europe, and the result was that the county was soon settled up with a motley crew, who had espoused the faith of the latter day saints. They were in general quite industrious working people, and soon a great change was made in the appearance of the county; huts of every description, from a log cabin to a board shanty, with fields and gardens, were seen in every direction, mostly along the strips of timber which were found along the creeks and branches. Far West spread over a great deal of ground, with very shabby buildings for a city. The best I saw was the one in which the Mormons surrendered to General Doniphan, in 1838. It was a double log house, the residence of Elder Rigdon, where they had the "endowment room."

Letter 17.

The population of Far West was considerable at the time they commenced improving, a large proportion being women and children, living in tents, half-face camps, and board shanties. But notwithstanding all their experience in Clay and Jackson they still persisted in their old ways. They had new revelations, one after another, made to suit the time and circumstances, so as to confirm the dupes in the faith; and as they were very hard run, having to pay tithes on all they had to help them in their straits, it was revealed to Joseph that the country belonged to them and the "fullness thereof," and consequently anything that belonged to the unbelieving Gentiles, they had a right to take wherever they found it, having full authority from the high priests. The more reckless of them organized themselves into bands, and made it a business to go through the country and take with impunity whatever they found that belonged to the citizens and they wanted; and being largely in the majority, they controlled the county in local affairs. Most, or quite all the civil officers were of their people, and the citizens were at their mercy, an ingredient they possessed very little of; and as like begets like, the Gentiles (the more reckless part) set about rataliating, and formed squads to resist organized bans of Mormons in taking their property. Both sides being made up of men who had very little scruples about what they did, they soon came in contact with each other, and killed and murdered without remorse of conscience, and the consequence was that many a foul deed was done by both saints and sinners. They would kill each others' stock, burn huts and shanties, taking off the household goods, such as bedding and clothing, which they could use to advantage, and let the balance be consumed.

While all this was going on at Far West, and more or less all over the county, Sidney Rigdon made a speech at one of their meetings, in which he said "they were a wheel within a wheel; a government within a government," and they had their own laws, which were made by the twelve councilmen, or apostles, and they would obey no other. While the laws of the state might be enforced around them among the Gentiles, it was not to be tolerated inside the circle - assuring them that they had a right to take from the heathens whatever they found and wanted, as the land and the fullness thereof was theirs. With such assurance from their leaders it is not to be thought strange that their superstitious and ignorant followers would do all manner of deviltry, and believe that they were doing God's service.

About this time, 1837 or 1838, a man by the name of Hinkle, with some others, had got a foot-hold by buying some lots in DeWitt, a little town on the Missouri river in Carroll county, with a view of building up a town, it being a point on the river that was suited to ship their goods and chattels to, which were intended for Far West, and the Mormon emigrants who came by land made it in their way to Far West, and it soon became a place of considerable note, where, in a very short time, there were several hundred men, women and children. Not having houses to accommodate them all, they pitched their tents, and it became a village of canvas.

They gathered in so fast, and their reputation being known, the few citizens of Carroll began to be uneasy for their peace and safety. They called a meeting to consult and see if they could devise some plan to rid their county of a set of fanatics, who had become so notorious by their conduct in Clay and Jackson counties that there was no hope of their remaining among them in peace. After consulting together, there was only one settled conclusion, and that was - the saints must go! If they would not go peaceably, they must be forced, no matter what the consequences. Some of the hot-headed citizens were in favor of marching right on them and driving them out forwith. The Mormons increased daily, by emigrants coming in, and the excitement among the citizens rose to such high pitch that it was hard for those of cooler heads to restrain the others from attacking the Mormon camp. The citizens had formed their camp but a little way from the enemy. Many of the citizens of Ray and Clay went to the assistance of their friends in Carroll, and in a few days they had an organized force of four or five hundred men, with officers chosen to command them, who had them under drill for several days. If I am not mistaken, Congreve Jackson of Howard county had command; W. E. Price of Clay was colonel, and Singleton Vaughn major - all of them men of good grit.

They appointed a committee to confer with the leaders of the Mormons. They waited on Col. Hinkle, who had command of the saints, and at the first conference he refused to agree to any terms toward leaving the county, but threatened vengeance to any one that attempted to molest them; that he would fight till he died before he would agree to the terms, which was to immediately load up their wagons and be ready and off in twenty-four hours. The committee reasoned with them, telling them that the citizens were in camp not more than a mile off, ready to march, and they would certainly move the next day if they did not come to some understanding, and to save the shedding of blood, they had better go.

Just at this stage of the conference, information was brought to Col. Hinkle that Lyman Wight was on his way from Far West with a company of fifty men to aid him. That strengthened his nerves, so he did nothing, waiting for Wight to arrive. The committee gave them till the next morning to answer. Wight arrived during the night, and learning the true condition of things - that if they persisted, and got into a conflict with the citizens, exasperated as they were, nothing short of being completely routed would be the result, and many a poor fellow would bite the dust and receive his passport to the unknown, and all they had destroyed, so they finally concluded that "prudence was the better part of valor," and let the committee know that they would comply with the terms and be off in 24 hours.

They were slow in making the decision, and the morning had wore away till the citizens became restless. The committee not having returned, they had formed their lines ready to march, when they arrived and brought the news that they had agreed to leave between that time and next morning for Far West, and by the time named the whole caravan moved off to Far West, where a similar fate awaited them.

This being the third county they had been driven from, it might be thought, with their experience, that they would change their course and choose one that would not be calculated to aggravate and provoke the citizens into a frenzy and drive them into mob violence. But it was not so. Being driven from DeWitt, with considerable loss, it added several hundred to the population of Caldwell county, which caused their wants to be still greater, and lawless bands continued to prowl over the country, stealing, robbing, murdering and house-burning, till it was past endurance. A compay was formed, mostly from Carroll and Ray counties, under command of Captain Boregard, and started out, intending to avenge some of the wrongs received by their friends. They camped the first night on Crooked river, in the southwest part of the county, about 10 or 15 miles from Far West. The Mormons kept themselves well posted, having squads of vigilantes all through the county, besides a well organized company called the Danite Band, or United Brothers of Gideon, who were well drilled and constantly on the alert, under command of Daniel Patton (not our Daniel) as captain. He was known as "Captain Fearnaught." This company being well informed of the location of Captain Boregard's camp, marched upon it between midnight and daybreak. The first that was known of their approach was the cry of the sentinel, "Who comes there?" and then the sound of the rifle of the guard and his retreat to camp; then came the Danites pellmell down the bluff in full charge, almost right into the camp. The alarm and rush was so sudden, the camp was in such a confused condition that they made no formidable resistance, while their enemy was right in among them, cutting right and left, causing a perfect stampede, every man for himself; a few jumped down the bank of the creek and stopped long enough to fire a few shots back, and then retreated for dear life, each making the most of his way for home; the Danites having put their enemy to flight with the loss of their commander, "Captain Fearnaught," and some wounded. I do not recollect the casualties on the part of the citizens, only that there were several wounded. Among them were ----- Cravens, wounded in the hip, severely but not fatally; and Samuel Tarwater, wounded in the jaw, which proved a distressing wound, yet he recovered, with a disfigured face, and is still living as a witness to the Boregard battle.

The Danites, flushed with their victory, returned to Far West to recruit their forces, while the entire Mormon population prepared for a general conflict, knowing the citizens would rally to avenge the outrages the Mormons had committed. These outrages had become so exasperating that the people were determined on their expulsion from the state. They called on Governor Boggs for assistance, and he responded by issuing a proclamation ordering General D. R. Atchison to call out the militia of his division to stop the Mormons from committing their outrages, and enforce the law. The militia of Clay responded to the call by raising two companies - one commanded by Captain G. W. Withers, the other (which was called the old men's company) by Robert Adkins or William Young, I can't remember which - all ready to march in double-quick time, and under command of General A. W. Doniphan.

Letter 18.

I think it was the second or third night after the Boregard battle, we camped on the hill above the battle ground, where we expected recruits from the lower counties. The colonel had pitched his tent in the square, on suitable ground to form a line of battle, with special orders if an alarm was raised, to form on his right, and had guards posted at short intervals all round the camp, with a picket guard on the road leading to Far West, some half a mile or more from the camp, to give the alarm if the Mormons attempted to make an attack. "Boregard" was the watch-word. With these precautions, all hands bunked for a night's rest. All went well till they were calling the guards, a little after sun rise, to prepare to march, when some one on the outskirts saw the dust rising some distance from camp on the main road leading to Far West, and cried out, "The Mormons are coming!" The colonel jumped from his marquee and ordered the men to "form on his right." He kept wheeling around and the men kept running around to get on his right, till there was a mass of confusion. The colonel swore a little, and threatened to use his sword if they did not form a line. Some one told him to stand still - that they couldn't form on his right when he kept turning around. The colonel squared himself and had his line formed in double-quick. By this time the men who were making the dust had got close by, and it was found to be a squad of men that had been sent out by the commissary to get some beef cattle. We were very well satisfied that it turned out as it did, for I am not sure that if it had been the Mormons they would have made a perfect stampede of the whole posse of us.

News had arrived in camp that the troops who were coming from below were on the road leading from Richmond to Far West, with orders to meet them at a certain point. We were in the saddle in quick time and on the march, with an advance guard and reconnoitering parties on the right and left, with orders to bring in all the stragglers they found that couldn't give a good account of themselves. The Mormons learning that the militia were marching on Far West with a large force, were panic-stricken, and every fellow was seeking a place of safety or joining their comrades at Far West to help defend the place, so a good many of them had left their huts and tried to keep out of the way, but our reconnoitering parties picked up a good many of them and brought them into our lines, and some were killed - how many, I presume no one knows. One thing we all knew, there was a great deal of shooting done with our advance guard, and one poor fellow was knocked in the head with the butt of a gun after he had surrendered, by a man who said he was the fellow that had burnt his house, and before he had time to think, the man dealt the blow that sent him to his long home; he died during the night.

The Mormons had collected their forces and started out to give us battle outside of town, and we, leaving the direct road to meet the troops on the Richmond road, missed each other; and after forming our camp about a half-mile from town, and before we had dismounted, we saw the Mormons under full run, aiming to beat us to town. Colonel Doniphan ordered us to charge and try to cut them off from town. I happened to be only the third man, the Colonel, Captain Withers, and John Hayden being in front of me. We all filed in after our leader, down the hill, across Goose Creek, in full speed, except a few who had to stop to fix a girth, or pick up a blanket, saddle-bags or provision sack. The Mormons beat us, and had formed their line between us and town. We climbed the hill, formed our line right in front and not more than a hundred yards from them, awaiting orders, and expecting every moment to see the smoke and hear the report of their guns, but we were relieved of suspense by seeing a white flag hoisted in front of their lines. Colonel Doniphan ordered the old men's company up between the two lines and held a parley with them for a few minutes, then ordered us back to where we had formed our camp. We had not more than pitched our tents and commenced preparing for supper, when orders came from Governor Boggs to send a portion of the troops to Adam on Diamond, a place on the road where it crossed Grand river, northeast of Far West about 20 miles, to prevent the prophet and his cuncilors from escaping in that direction. This created quite a stir in camp. The officers held a council, and it was decided that to divide the troops and send Colonel Doniphan with his force away, which was the order, it would leave the force at camp too weak to resist the Mormons if they should make an attack, and they concluded to attack the town or make them surrender up Joe Smith, Hiram Smith, Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon, and Parley Pratt, and about dusk we were ordered to move on the town.

We all thought it was fight this time. We formed our lines ready for the worst, and they held a parley with the leaders and let them say whether they would fight or surrender. They were undecided and wanted till morning to decide. Colonel Doniphan agreed that if they would give up five leaders that were named in the order from the Governor as hostages till morning he would wait, and if they decided to defend the town, they should be given up. They agreed to give them up on those terms; they were about as badly scared set as I ever saw, except old Wight, who stood like a lion and said fight, without a sign of fear about him; but the Prophet Joe shook from head to foot, and his knees smote together as bad as Belshazzar's, who saw the handwriting on the wall, and implored his friends to beg for him, for he looked on it as death to be taken to our camp and have men put to guard him who had been so badly treated by his dupes. We marched them to camp, and the colonel put the old men's company to guard them, with special orders to keep them safe.

Morning came and they accepted the terms offered by Colonel Doniphan, which were to surrender up their arms, and give up their leaders to be tried for their crimes, and the remainder of them, men, women and children, were to leave the state in a short time. This was in October, 1838. Winter was coming on, and they had to hurry up to escape being caught by the cold and chilling blasts. Many were without means to go with, and those who had a little home had to let it go for whatever it would bring, and the very best they could do was at a great sacrifice, with a great deal of suffering, and no mercy shown them by the citizens. They complied with their agreement under all these adverse circumstances. Most of them went to Nauvoo, Illinois, some to Kirtland, Ohio, and some sought shelter wherever they could find it outside the state.

This being the fourth time they had been driven, they were badly scattered; and notwithstanding all their difficulties and drawbacks, strange to say, they added largely to their membership, their missionaries having traversed the States and Europe and made proselytes by the hundreds, and they were all making their way to Zion - Joe Smith's New Jerusalem - the locality of which was hard to find, and they have finally settled down at Salt Lake, where they have had a few years' repose.

Their leaders were sent to Richmond to have a preliminary trial before Judge King, and he sent them to Gallatin, Daviess county, to await the sitting of the grand jury, and from some cause not remembered by the writer, they were transferred to Liberty to await the action of the grand jury in Daviess county. The grand jury found indictments against Joe and Hiram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt, Lyman Wight, and several others, for different offenses, such as murder, house-burning, resisting legal process, robbery, and nearly all the crimes known to law. When court convened in Daviess county they applied for a change of venue, being afraid that they would get justice if they were tried there. Their plea was granted, and they were sent to Boone county and tried before Judge David Todd, (I believe), Colonel Doniphan defended them, and they were acquitted - that is, those who were brought to trial - for my recollection is that some of them took advantage of the jailor when he brought them their meals, and knocked them down and got away, and there was very little effort to recapture them. Parley Pratt was one who escaped, and only prolonged his life for a few years to die a tragic death near Ft. Gibson, for seducing a man's wife. It was said he had six wives, but not being satisfied with them, he must destroy the peace of a happy family to get the seventh, which caused his death. Served him right.

After they had all got out of the clutches of the law, they made their way to Nauvoo, and built a considerable town, with quite a large tabernacle, where Joseph the Prophet still professed to receive new revelations, until their outrages became so great that the citizens determined on taking some course to rid themselves of them, and they had Joe and Hiram Smith and John Taylor arrested, charged with some crime which I don't now recollect, and lodged in the Carthage jail, where Joe and Hiram Smith met their tragic death at the hands of the enraged citizens, and Taylor was badly wounded. Their prophet and leader being killed, they still kept their zeal, and selected Brigham Young to go before them as their leader. They were finally expelled from Nauvoo and took up their line of march westward and found a resting place at Salt Lake, where they have a large city with a magnificent tabernacle.

I will close this chapter on Mormonism by giving the statistics of the church, as reported by Apostle Cannon at their conference, and published in the New York Sun of October 10, 1883. He says: "The church shows a membership in Utah of 127,294; number of families, 23,000; births in the past six months, 1,200 males and 1,100 females; number of children under 8 years old, 37,000; number of marriages in the past six months, 339; new members, 23,040; deaths, 781. The church organization embraces 12 apostles, 58 patriarchs, 3,885 sureties, 3,153 high priests, 11,000 elders, 1,500 bishops, and 4,400 deacons. Arizona reports a membership of 2,264. Idaho is not reported, but has double that of Arizona. Eight-one missionaries have been appointed to go on missions to Europe and the United States."

So you see Mormonism still lives and practices polygamy in open violation of the laws of the United States, one of the most demoralizing crimes known to law. You can see from the report of births in six months, that they adhere strictly to the command given to our foreparents to "multiply and replenish the earth." Adieu to the Latter Day Saints.

Copyright c. 2007. All rights reserved. The Primitive Baptist Library.

This page maintained by: Robert Webb - (bwebb9@juno.com)