Missouri State Genealogy
Source: Facts relative to the expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the state of Missouri under the "exterminating order";
John P. Greene, An Authorized Representative of the Mormons, 1839
(letter) are notes from the from the appendix
Transcribed by C. Horton 2009
A MEMORIAL TO THE LEGISLATURE OF MISSOURI.
To the Honorable legislature of the State of Missouri, in Senate and House of Representatives convened.
We, the undersigned petitioners, inhabitants of Caldwell county, Missouri, in consequence of the late calamity that has come upon us,
taken in connection with former afflictions, feel it a duty we owe to ourselves and our country, to lay our case before your honorable
body for consideration.
It is a well known fact, that a society of our people commenced settling in Jackson county, Missouri, in the summer of 1831, where they, according to their ability, purchased lands and settled upon them with the intention and expectation of becoming permanent citizens in common with others.
Soon after the settlement began, persecution began, and as the society increased persecution also increased, until the society at last was compelled to leave the county. And although an account of these persecutions has been published to the world, yet we feel that it will not be improper to notice a few of the most prominent items in this memorial.
On the 20th of July 1833, a mob convened at Independence, a committee of which called upon a few of the men of our church there, and stated to them that the store, printing office, and indeed all other mechanic shops must be closed forthwith, and the society leave the county immediately. These propositions were so unexpected, that a certain time was asked for to consider on the subject before an answer should be returned, which was refused, and our men be tug individually interrogated, each one answered that he could not consent to comply with their propositions. One of the mob replied that be was sorry, for the work of destruction would commence immediately, in a short time, the printing office, which was a two-story brick building, was assailed by the mob and soon thrown down, and with it much valuable property destroyed. Next they went to the store for the same purpose, but Mr. Gilbert, one of the owners, agreeing to close it, they abandoned their design. Their next move was their dragging of Bishop Patridge from his house and family to the public square, where, surrounded by hundreds, they partially stripped him of his clothes, and tarred and feathered him from head to foot. A man by the name of Allan was also tarred at the same time. This was Saturday, and the mob agreed to meet the following Tuesday, to accomplish their purpose of driving or massacring the society. Tuesday came, and the mob came also, bearing with them a red flag in token of blood. Some two or three of the principal men of the society offered their lives, if that would appease the wrath of the mob, so that the rest of the society might dwell in peace upon their lands. The answer was, that unless the society would leave " en masse," every man should die for himself. Being in a defenseless situation, to save a general massacre, it was agreed that one half of the society should leave the county by the first of the next January, and the remainder by the first of the following April. A treaty was entered into and ratified, and all things went on smoothly for a while. But some time in October (b) the wrath of the mob begin again to be kindled, insomuch, that they shot at some of our people, whipped others, and
(b) A meeting of the people in Independence was held, and the mob entered into an agreement to drive the Mormons from the county or die. The inflammatory language was used by Mr. Childs and Mr. Brazill. The latter of whom swore that he would expel them if he had to •wade up to his neck in blood. It was the excitement produced by this meeting and under these threatening circumstances, that the Mormons first placed themselves in an altitude of defence. [sic]
threw down their houses, and committed many other depredations; indeed the society of saints were harassed for some time both day and night—their houses were brickbatted [sic] and broken open -women and children insulted, &c. The store house of A. S. Gilbert &. Co. was broken open, ransacked, and some of the goods strewed in the streets. These abuses, with many others of a very aggravated nature, so stirred up the indignant feelings of our people, that a party of them, any about 30, met a company of the mob of about double their number, when a battle look place in which some two or three of the mob and one of our people were killed, (c)
(c) It is here to be particularly noted, that Lilburn W. Boggs, then Lieutenant Governor, was acting; in concert with the militia officer, who headed this
attack upon the Mormons, and assisted in making the treaty by which they pledged themselves to give up their guns and leave the county, on condition
that they should be protected from all wrong and insult while so doing.
This raised as it were the whole county in arms, and nothing would satisfy them but an immediate surrender of the arms of our people, and they forth with to leave the county -Fifty-one guns were given up, which have never been returned or paid for to this day. The next day parties of the mob, from 30 to 70, headed by priests, (d) went from house to house, threatening women and children with death if they
(d) Instigated by the press and pulpit, or, what is still worse, by the personal examples of some of the clergy, who actually marched with rifle in hand, at the head of the parties of the mobs, and afterwards published an excuse, in to justify the mob in such awful wickedness; among other clergy men who were personally engaged in such conduct, I would identify the Rev. Isaac McCoy, a noted missionary to the Indians.
were not off before they returned. This so alarmed them, that they fled in different directions; some took shelter in the woods, while others wandered in the prairies till their feet bled. In the mean time the weather being very cold, their sufferings in other respects were very great, (e) The society made their escape to Clay county as fast as they
(e) .... finally escaped into Clay county, by finding a circuitous route to the ferry.
possibly could, where the people received them kindly, and administered to their wants. Alter the society had left Jackson county, their buildings, amounting to about two hundred, were either burned or otherwise destroyed, and mach of their crops, as well as furniture, stock, etc., which, if properly estimated, would make a large sum, for which they have not as yet received any remuneration, (f) the society remained it.
(f) Several persons, who returned for the purpose of securing the remnants of their property, were caught, and qruelly beaten. A Mr. Leonard was so beaten, that from head to fool he was left perfectly raw, and for months was enable to lie upon his back. Another was tied up and whipped in such an inhuman manner, that his bowels gushed, out and he died on the spot. The
mob in Jackson county were not satisfied with their injuries. They often crossed the river and insulted, outraged, and plundered their victims -until such commotion was produced, that the inhabitants of Clay county were compelled to hold a meeting and invite the Mormons to seek another home.
Clay county nearly three year; when, at the suggestion of the people there, they removed to that section of country known now as Caldwell county.
Here the people purchased out most of the former inhabitants, and also entered much of the wild land. Many soon owned a number of eighties, while there was scarcely a man that did not secure to himself at least a forty. Here we wore permitted to enjoy peace for a season, but as our society increased in numbers, and settlements were made in Davies and Carrol counties, the mob spirit spread itself again, For months previous to our giving up our arms to Gen. Lucas' army, we heard little else than rumors of mobs, collecting in different places, and threatening our people. It is well known that the people of our church who had located themselves at
De Wit, had to give up to a mob and leave the place, notwithstanding the militia were called out for their protection. From De Wit the mob went towards Davies county, and while on their way there they took two of our men prisoners and made them ride upon the cannon, and told them that they would drive the Mormons from Davies to Caldwell and from Caldwell to hell, and that they would give them no quarter only at the cannon's mouth. (h)
(h) At this time, General Doniphon, with 200 men, on his way to Daviss county, to intercept the mob, came to Far West, where he and his men encamped for the night. lie held consultation with the civil and military officer if Caldwell county, who, be it remembered although Mormons were still commissioned by the State and advised them to collect under arms and march to Davies county, to defend the Mormons there from the depredations of the mob. He also slated that Gen. Parks, with his men, were on the way for Davies county. In consequence of this advice, some of Men did arm and march, while others remained underarms in Caldwell county. And here we wish particularly to call attention to the fact, that the Mormons in Caldwell were the regular State militia for that county and were at this time acting under the legal authorities of the county. To prove that they were distinctly regarded by the executive as the State militia, we relate the fact, that, sometime in September last. Gen. Parks being ordered to collect a body of troops out of his brigade, which should he ready to march to the frontier in case of aggression from Indians, called for a company of 60 men from Caldwell county; whereupon, 300 volunteers, (all Mormons) presented themselves, from whom he selected his company of minute-men. The Mormons (the State militia acting under the authorities of the county, marched into Davies county and encamped for the night, where they were met the next morning by Gen. Parks. Nothing of importance occurred during the day; Gen. P. making all possible inquiries to learn the true situation of affairs. The night following, a party of the mob under the command of C. Gilliam, burned seven Mormon houses west of Grand river, turning the families, women and children, out of doors. The appearance in the camp the next morning of these poor people who had been obliged to wade the river and march through snow during the night, excited much indignation. They were carried before Gen. Parks, who, having examined them, called upon Col, Wight and ordered him to send out his troops (the militia, although Mormons,) and disperse the mob. This was done. The mob were met and scattered without a gun's being fired, and their cannon taken. The mob left many houses burning, which they had set on fire before they had tied. These houses belonged to the Mormons, they having purchased the pre-emption rights from the people of Davies county. The mob fled into other counties, spreading the report that the Mormons were massacring the people of Davies county, and horning their property. The troops (the Mormon State militia,) now marched back to Caldwell, hoping that as the mob had dispersed, there would be peace. But in this they were disappointed. On the very evening of their arrival, they learned that a large mob had collected to the south of Far West, in Ray county, under the command of Samuel Bogart, a Methodist clergyman. The report was, that they were plundering and burning houses, taking the arms of .Mormons,
&c. About 12 o'clock an express came in bringing intelligence that Bogart had made three men prisoners, one of whom only was a Mormon; upon which alarm two or three hundred men collected upon the public square at Fort West. Elias Higbee, the first judge of the county now commanded the militia officers to go out and re-take the prisoners ; and Capt. David W. Patten, with about 60 men (all Mormons) obeyed the order. As they were passing through a thin piece of woods, and had, without knowing it, approached near Bogart's encampment, the guard stationed there by the
mob fired without giving any warning, killing one of Capt. Patten's men. The mob were routed; but before they fled they placed the Mormon prisoner in their front and shot him. He was wounded severely, though he afterwards recovered. The Mormon troops here took about 40 horses, deserted by the mob. One of the Mormons, who had been killed during the battle, and buried on the field, was afterwards dug up by the ruffians, and literally hacked to pieces with a sword. The remains were collected and buried, after they had gone, by his friends.
The threats of the mob induced some of our people to go to Davies to help to protect their brethren who had settled at Diahman, on Grand river. The mob soon fled from Davies county: and after they were dispersed and the cannon taken, during which time no blood was shed, thee people of Caldwell returned to their homes in hopes of enjoying peace arid quiet; but in this they were disappointed, for a large mob was soon found to be collecting on the Grindstone, from ten to fifteen miles off, under the command of C. Gillman, a scouting party of which, came within four miles of Far West, and drove off stock belonging to our people, in open day light. About this time word came to Far West that a party of the mob had come into Caldwell county to the south of Far West - that they were taking horses and cattle - burning houses, and ordering the inhabitants to leave their homes immediately - and that they had been actually in their possession three men prisoners. This report reached Far West in the evening and was confirmed about midnight. A company of about sixty men went forth under thee command of David W. Patten, to disperse the mob, as they supposed. A battle was the result, in which Captain Patten and two of his men were killed, and others wounded. Bogart, it appears, had but one killed and others wounded. Notwithstanding thee unlawful acts committed by Captain Bogart's men previous to the battle, it is now asserted and claimed that he was regularly ordered out as a militia captain, to preserve the peace along the line of Ray and Caldwell counties. Thru battle was fought four or five days previous to the arrival of Gen. Lucas and his army. About the time of the battle with Captain Bogart, a number of our people who were living near Haun's mill, on Shoal Creek, about twenty miles from Far West, together with a number of emigrants who had been stopped there in consequence of the excitement, made an agreement with the mob which was about there, that neither party would molest the other, but dwell in peace. Shortly after this agreement was made, a mob party of from two to three hundred, many of whom are supposed to be from Chariton county, some from Davies, and also those who had agreed to dwell in peace, came upon our people there, whose number in men was about forty, at a time they little expected any such thing,
and without any ceremony, notwithstanding they begged for quarters, shot them down as they would tigers or panthers. Some few made their escape by fleeing. Eighteen were killed, and a number more severely wounded; This tragedy was conducted in the most brutal and savage manner. An old man, after the massacre was partially over, threw himself into their hands and begged for quarters, when he was instantly shot down; that not killing him, they took an old corn cutter and literally mangled him to pieces, a lad of ten years of age, after being shot down, also begged to be spared, when one of them placed the muzzle of his gun to his head and blew out his brains. The slaughter of these people not satisfying the mob, they then proceeded to mob and plunder the people. The scene that presented itself alter the massacre, to the widows and orphans of the killed, is beyond description. It was truly a time of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation. As yet, we have not heard of any being arrested for these murders, notwithstanding there are men boasting about the country, that they did kill on that occasion more than one Mormon, whereas, all our people who were in the battle with Capt. Patten against Bogart, that can be found, have been arrested, and are now confined in jail to await their trial for murder.
When Gen. Lucas arrived near Far West, and presented the governor's order, we were greatly surprised, yet we felt willing lo submit to the authorities of the State.
We gave up our arms without reluctance; we were then made prisoners, and confined to the limits of the town for about a week, during which time the men from the
country were not permitted to go to their families, many of whom were in a suffering condition for the want of food and faire -wood, the weather
being very cold and stormy. Much property was destroyed by the troops in town, during their stay there: such as burning house-logs, rails, corn-cribs, boards, &c, the using of corn and buy, the plundering of houses, the killing of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and also the taking of horses not their own. and all this without regard to owners. or asking leave of any one. In the mean time, men wore abused, women insulted and abused by the troops, and all this, while we were kept prisoners. Whilst the town was guarded, we were called together by the order of Gen. Lucas, and a guard placed close around us, and in that situation, were compelled to sign a deed of trust for the purpose of making our individual property all holden[sic], as they said, to pay all the debts of every individual belonging to the church, and also to pay for all damages the old inhabitants of Davies may have sustained in consequence of the late difficulties in that county, Gen. Clark was now arrived, and the first important move made by him was the collecting of our men together on the square, and selected out about fifty of thorn, whom he immediately marched into a house, and confined close; this was done without the aid of the Sheriff, or any legal process. The next day 46 of those taken, were driven like a parcel of menial slaves, off to Richmond, not knowing why they were
taken, or what they were taken for. After being confined in Richmond more than two weeks, about one half were liberated; the rest, after another week's confinement, were, most of them, required to appear at court, and have since been let to bail. Since Gen. Clark withdrew his troops from Far West, parties of armed men have gone through the county, driving off horses, sheep, and cattle, and also plundering houses. The barbarity of Gen. Lucas' troops ought not to be passed over in silence. They shot our cattle and hogs merely for the sake of destroying them, leaving them for the ravens to eat. They took prisoner an aged man by the name of Tanner, and without any reason for it he was struck over the head with a gun, which laid his skull bare.
Another man by the name or Carey was also taken prisoner by them, and without any provocation had his brains dashed out with a gun. He was laid in a wagon, and there permitted to remain, for the space of 24 hours, during which time no one was permitted to administer to him comfort or consolation, and after he was
removed from that situation he lived but a few hours, the destruction of property, at and about Far West, is very great. Many are stripped bare as it were, and others partially so; indeed, take us as a body, at this lime, we are a poor and afflicted people, and if we are compelled to leave the Slate in the spring; many, yes, a large portion
of our society, will have to be removed at the expense of the State, as those who otherwise might have helped them, are now debarred that privilege in consequence of the deed of trust we were compelled to sign, which deed so operates upon our real estate, that it it will sell for but little or nothing at this time, we have now made a brief statement of some of the most prominent features of the troubles that have befallen our people since their first settlement in this State, and we believe that these persecutions have come in consequence of our religious faith, and not for any immorality on our part. That instances have been of late, where individuals have trespassed upon the rights of others, and thereby broken the laws of the land, we will not pretend to deny, but yet we do believe that no crime can be substantiated against any of the people who have a standing in our church, of an earlier date than the difficulties in Davies county. And when it is considered that the rights of this people have been trampled upon from time to time, with impunity, and abuses heaped upon them almost innumerable, it ought, in some degree, to palliate for any infraction of the law, which may have been made on the part of our people.
The late order of Gov. Boggs, to drive us from this State, or exterminate us, is a thing so novel, unlawful, tyrannical and oppressive, that we have been induced to draw up this memorial and present this statement of our case to your honorable body, praying that a law may be passed, rescinding the order of the Governor to drive us from
the Sate, and also giving us the sanction of the Legislature to inherit our lands in peace - we ask an expression of the Legislature, disapproving the conduct of those who compelled us to sign a deed of trust, and also disapproving of any man or set of men, taking our property in consequence of that deed of trust, and appropriating it to the payment of debts not contracted by us, or for the payment of damages sustained in consequence of trespasses committed by others. We have no common stock, our property is individual property, and we feel willing to pay our debts as other individuals do, but we are not willing to be bound for other people's debts also.
The arms which were taken from us here, which we understand to be about 630, besides swords and pistols, we care not so much about, as we do the pay for them; only we are bound to do military duty, which we are willing to do, and which we think was sufficiently manifested by the raising of a volunteer company last fall, at Far West, when called upon by Gen. Parks, to raise troops for the frontier.
The arms given up by us, we consider were worth between twelve and fifteen thousand dollars, but we understand they have been greatly damaged since taken, and at this lime, probably would not bring near their former value. And as they were, both here and in Jackson county, taken by the militia, and consequently by the authority of the State, we therefore ask your honourable[sic] body to cause an appropriation to be made by law, whereby we may be paid for them, or otherwise have them returned to us and the damages made good. The losses sustained by our people in leaving Jackson county, are so situated that it is impossible to obtain any compensation for them by law, because those who have sustained them are unable to prove those trespasses upon individuals. That the facts do exist, -that the buildings, crops, stock, furniture, rails, timber, &c. of the society, have been destroyed in Jackson county, is not doubted by those who are acquainted in this upper country, and since these trespasses cannot be proved upon individuals, we ask your honourable [sic] body to consider this case, and if, in your liberality and wisdom, you can conceive it to lie proper to make an appropriation by law to these sufferers, many of whom are still pressed down with poverty in consequence of their losses, would be able to pay their debts, and also in some degree be relieved from poverty and woe, whilst the widows heart would be made to rejoice and the orphans tear measurably dried up, and the prayers of a grateful people ascend on high, with thanksgiving and praise, to the author of our existence, for that beneficent act.
In laying our case before your honourable[sic] body, we say that we are willing, and ever have been to conform to the constitution and laws of the United States, and of this State. We ask in common with others, the protection of the laws. We ask for the privilege guaranteed to all free citizens of the United States and of this State to be extended tons, that we may be permitted to settle and live where we please, and worship God according to the dictates of our conscience without molestation. And while we ask for ourselves this privilege we are willing all others should enjoy the same.
We now lay our case at the feet of your legislature, and ask your honorable body to consider it, and do for us, after mature deliberation, that which your wisdom, patriotism, and philanthropy may dictate. And we, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.
HEBEN C. KIMBALL,
GEORGE W. HARRIS,
JOHN M. BURK.
A committee appointed by the citizens of Caldwell county to draft this memorial, and sign it in their behalf.
Far West, Caldwell co., Mo., Dec. 10, 1838.
Missouri State Genealogy Trails
Genealogy Trails History Group is a Volunteer Organization Dedicated to providing FREE access to Historical and Genealogical Data.
© 2006 - 2009 by Genealogy Trails - All Rights Reserved - With full rights reserved for original submitters.