“A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” December 1839–October 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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Installment 1, December 1839

Editorial Note
The first installment, based on ’s handwritten manuscript, was published in the Times and Seasons, December 1839, 1:17–20.

A HISTORY, OF THE  PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH  OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LAT TER DAY SAINTS IN  .
In presenting to our readers, a his tory of the persecutions of the church  of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, in  the State of , we feel it our du ty to commence it at the beginning.  We are well aware, that many of our  readers are well acquainted with the  outrages, committed in ,  (on account of their having been pub lished in the Evening and Morning  Star,) and might perhaps rather see  the paper filled with other matter, than  to have those former troubles presented  before them again. Yet there are a  great many others who are altogether  unacquainted with those early persecu tions, who would feel that we had not  done our duty, were we to pass by  them, and confine our history, to more  recent transactions.
In the winter of 1830–31, five elders  of the church of Jesus Christ, travelled  through the prairies in a deep snow,  (which is not common in that country,)  from to Mis souri, where they made a permanent  stand. They preached about the coun try as the way opened before them.—  A few believed the gospel which they  preached, and had been baptized, when  about the middle of the following July,  a number more arrived at the same  place: Shortly afterwards a small  branch of the church arrived there also.  At that time there appeared to be but  little objection to our people settling  there; notwithstanding some, who could  not endure the truth, manifested hos tile feelings.
The church in continued to  increase, almost constantly, until it  was driven from the county.
As the church increased the hostile  spirit of the people increased also.—  The enemies circulated from time to  time, all manner of false stories against  the saints, hoping thereby to stir up  the indignation of others. In the spring  of 1832 they began to brick-bat or  stone the houses of the saints, breaking  in windows &c. not only disturb ing, but endangering the lives of the  inmates. In the course of that season  a county meeting was called at , to adopt measures, to drive  our people from the ; but the  meeting broke up, without coming to  any agreement about them; having  had too much confusion among them selves, to do more than to have a few  knock-downs, after taking a plentiful  supply of whisky. The result of this  meeting may be attributed in part, to  the influence of certain patriotic indi viduals; among whom ,  a sub. Indian agent, may be considered  as principal. He hearing of the meet ing, came from his agency, or from  home, some thirty or forty miles dis tant, a day or two before the meeting.
He appeared quite indignant, at the  idea of having the constitution and laws  set at defiance, and trodden under foot,  by the many trampling upon the rights  of the few. He went to certain influ encial mob characters, and offered to  decide the case with them in single  combat: he said that it would be better  for one or two individuals to die, than  for hundreds to be put to death.
Although the meeting broke up  without being able to effect a union, still  the hostile spirit of individuals was no  less abated: such was their thirst for  the distruction of the saints, that they,  that same fall, shot into the houses of  certain individuals. One ball in par ticular lodged in a log near the head  of the owner of the house, as he lay in  bed.
During the winter and spring of  1833, the mob spirit spread itself, though  in a manner secretly; but in the fore part of the summer it began to show  itself openly, in the stoning of houses  and other insults. Sometime in July  the unparalleled declaration of the peo ple of , made its ap pearance; in which they appear to [p. 17]
Installment 1, December 1839

Editorial Note
The first installment, based on ’s handwritten manuscript, was published in the Times and Seasons, December 1839, 1:17–20.

A HISTORY, OF THE PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER DAY SAINTS IN .
In presenting to our readers, a history of the persecutions of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, in the State of , we feel it our duty to commence it at the beginning. We are well aware, that many of our readers are well acquainted with the outrages, committed in , (on account of their having been published in the Evening and Morning Star,) and might perhaps rather see the paper filled with other matter, than to have those former troubles presented before them again. Yet there are a great many others who are altogether unacquainted with those early persecutions, who would feel that we had not done our duty, were we to pass by them, and confine our history, to more recent transactions.
In the winter of 1830–31, five elders of the church of Jesus Christ, travelled through the prairies in a deep snow, (which is not common in that country,) from to Missouri, where they made a permanent stand. They preached about the country as the way opened before them.— A few believed the gospel which they preached, and had been baptized, when about the middle of the following July, a number more arrived at the same place: Shortly afterwards a small branch of the church arrived there also. At that time there appeared to be but little objection to our people settling there; notwithstanding some, who could not endure the truth, manifested hostile feelings.
The church in continued to increase, almost constantly, until it was driven from the county.
As the church increased the hostile spirit of the people increased also.— The enemies circulated from time to time, all manner of false stories against the saints, hoping thereby to stir up the indignation of others. In the spring of 1832 they began to brick-bat or stone the houses of the saints, breaking in windows &c. not only disturbing, but endangering the lives of the inmates. In the course of that season a county meeting was called at , to adopt measures, to drive our people from the ; but the meeting broke up, without coming to any agreement about them; having had too much confusion among themselves, to do more than to have a few knock-downs, after taking a plentiful supply of whisky. The result of this meeting may be attributed in part, to the influence of certain patriotic individuals; among whom , a sub. Indian agent, may be considered as principal. He hearing of the meeting, came from his agency, or from home, some thirty or forty miles distant, a day or two before the meeting.
He appeared quite indignant, at the idea of having the constitution and laws set at defiance, and trodden under foot, by the many trampling upon the rights of the few. He went to certain influencial mob characters, and offered to decide the case with them in single combat: he said that it would be better for one or two individuals to die, than for hundreds to be put to death.
Although the meeting broke up without being able to effect a union, still the hostile spirit of individuals was no less abated: such was their thirst for the distruction of the saints, that they, that same fall, shot into the houses of certain individuals. One ball in particular lodged in a log near the head of the owner of the house, as he lay in bed.
During the winter and spring of 1833, the mob spirit spread itself, though in a manner secretly; but in the forepart of the summer it began to show itself openly, in the stoning of houses and other insults. Sometime in July the unparalleled declaration of the people of , made its appearance; in which they appear to [p. 17]
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