“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
Page 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]
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]
Page 17