“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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this legal business. came into , without any legal authority whatever, and committed all his outrages: but after he had committed them, he sends a messenger to , for authority. sets down and sends him a writing, authorizing him to guard the line, between the counties of and . ’s order to , was copied by Samuel Tillary [Tillery] after dark on the evening before the battle was fought, and that was fought before day light the next morning, and the letter had to be carried some thirty or forty miles. Here was another piece of legerdemain. was turned into militia, to hide up his wickedness.— We had this account from the mouth of Samuel Tillary; he is Clerk of the Circuit Court in and acts as clerk for .
Let the reader particularly notice, that this , was well acquainted with the operations of the mob, for the space of five years; having been the leader of it, once, himself, at the time it raged in ; and had been petitioned, again and again, after he was Governor; to stop its ravages: and in every instance refused to do it. He now perfectly knew that the whole difficulty, had originated in consequence of its violence and plunder: yet notwithstanding this, he issued the above order. , said, that if it had not been for the vote, which the Mormons gave at the late election, he would have exterminated them before.
After the citizens of were made acquainted with the fact, that , was there, by the ’s order, they ceased to take any measures for defence; but submitted immediately.
In the meantime, the army employed itself in destroying the cornfields, potatoes and turnips, and in taking horses, and plundering houses. Houses were searched by them, as closely to find money, as a man would be searched by a set of Arabs, after a shipwreck. Every dollar was carried off, that could be found, while the lives of the owners were threatened, if they offered the least resistance. Cattle, hogs and sheep, were shot down and, left on the ground to rot. Men, women, and children, were insulted and abused, in a brutal manner!
The next day after we were betrayed into camp, , ordered all the persons in the county of , to give up their arms. After the arms were given up, the men were kept under guard; and all property holders, compelled to sign a Deed of trust, signing away all their property, to defray the expenses of the war; and then they were all commanded to leave the under pain of extermination, between that and corn-planting the next spring.
At the time of giving up the arms, there again followed another scene of brutality. The troops ran from house to house, taking all the arms they could find, from old men, that never thought of going into a field of battle; but there must not be left a single gun in the ; so the troops ran as before described, like a parcel of ravenous wolves; but their great object, in the pursuit of guns, was, to find plunder. They wanted to get into the houses, to see if there was not something they could carry off. Thus they plundered houses until they got satisfied. To secret their property from their ravages, the people had to go and hide it in the bushes, or any where they could find a place of concealment. The troops found some of the property that had been hid. This produced another savage operation. Those wild creatures, tearing like mad men through the bushes, ran from place to place, searching under hay stacks, tearing up floors, hunting pretendedly after arms; but the abundance of property plundered, testifies that they had another object in view.
While the troops were thus engaged, the officers were busily employed in forming some plan to dispose of those, whom they had betrayed into their camp. Seventeen preachers, and nineteen commissioned officers, met with Generals and , and held a court martial. The prisoners, were never admitted into it at all: they were not allowed to plead, introduce evidence, or any thing else. Finally, the august body came to a decision; and that was, that at eight o’clock the next morning, they should be taken into the public square, in the presence [p. 130]
this legal business. came into , without any legal authority whatever, and committed all his outrages: but after he had committed them, he sends a messenger to , for authority. sets down and sends him a writing, authorizing him to guard the line, between the counties of and . ’s order to , was copied by Samuel Tillary Tillery after dark on the evening before the battle was fought, and that was fought before day light the next morning, and the letter had to be carried some thirty or forty miles. Here was another piece of legerdemain. was turned into militia, to hide up his wickedness.— We had this account from the mouth of Samuel Tillary; he is Clerk of the Circuit Court in and acts as clerk for .
Let the reader particularly notice, that this , was well acquainted with the operations of the mob, for the space of five years; having been the leader of it, once, himself, at the time it raged in ; and had been petitioned, again and again, after he was Governor; to stop its ravages: and in every instance refused to do it. He now perfectly knew that the whole difficulty, had originated in consequence of its violence and plunder: yet notwithstanding this, he issued the above order. , said, that if it had not been for the vote, which the Mormons gave at the late election, he would have exterminated them before.
After the citizens of were made acquainted with the fact, that , was there, by the ’s order, they ceased to take any measures for defence; but submitted immediately.
In the meantime, the army employed itself in destroying the cornfields, potatoes and turnips, and in taking horses, and plundering houses. Houses were searched by them, as closely to find money, as a man would be searched by a set of Arabs, after a shipwreck. Every dollar was carried off, that could be found, while the lives of the owners were threatened, if they offered the least resistance. Cattle, hogs and sheep, were shot down and, left on the ground to rot. Men, women, and children, were insulted and abused, in a brutal manner!
The next day after we were betrayed into camp, , ordered all the persons in the county of , to give up their arms. After the arms were given up, the men were kept under guard; and all property holders, compelled to sign a Deed of trust, signing away all their property, to defray the expenses of the war; and then they were all commanded to leave the under pain of extermination, between that and corn-planting the next spring.
At the time of giving up the arms, there again followed another scene of brutality. The troops ran from house to house, taking all the arms they could find, from old men, that never thought of going into a field of battle; but there must not be left a single gun in the ; so the troops ran as before described, like a parcel of ravenous wolves; but their great object, in the pursuit of guns, was, to find plunder. They wanted to get into the houses, to see if there was not something they could carry off. Thus they plundered houses until they got satisfied. To secret their property from their ravages, the people had to go and hide it in the bushes, or any where they could find a place of concealment. The troops found some of the property that had been hid. This produced another savage operation. Those wild creatures, tearing like mad men through the bushes, ran from place to place, searching under hay stacks, tearing up floors, hunting pretendedly after arms; but the abundance of property plundered, testifies that they had another object in view.
While the troops were thus engaged, the officers were busily employed in forming some plan to dispose of those, whom they had betrayed into their camp. Seventeen preachers, and nineteen commissioned officers, met with Generals and , and held a court martial. The prisoners, were never admitted into it at all: they were not allowed to plead, introduce evidence, or any thing else. Finally, the august body came to a decision; and that was, that at eight o’clock the next morning, they should be taken into the public square, in the presence [p. 130]
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