“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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hostilities upon either party. At this  time however, there was another mob  collecting on , at William  Mann’s, who were threatening us; con sequently we remained under arms on  Monday the 29th, which passed away  without molestation from any quarter.  On Tuesday the 30th, that bloody trag edy was acted; the scenes of which, I  shall never forget.
More than three fourths of the day  had passed in tranquility, as smiling  as the preceding one. I think there  was no individual of our company that  was apprized of the sudden and awful  fate that hung over our heads like an  overwhelming torrent, to change the  prospects, the feelings, and circumstan ces of about thirty families. The  banks of , on either side,  teemed with children sporting and  playing, while their mothers were en gaged in domestic employments, and  their fathers, employed in guarding  the mills and other property; while  others were engaged in gathering in  their crops for their winter consump tion. The weather was very pleasant;  the sun shone clear; all was tranquil,  and no one expressed any apprehen sions of the awful crisis that was near  us, even at our doors.
It was about 4 o’clock, while sitting  in my cabin, with my babe in my arms,  and my standing by my side, the  door being open, I cast my eyes on the  oppisite bank of , and saw  a large company of armed men on  horses, directing their course towards  the mills, with all possible speed. As  they advanced through the scattering  trees that stood on the edge of the prai ry, they seemed to form themselves  into a three square position, forming a  van guard in front. At this moment  David Evans, seeing the superiority of  their numbers (there being two hun dred and forty of them, according to  their own account) swung his hat and  cried for peace. This not being heed ed, they continued to advance, and  their leader , fired a gun,  which was followed by a solemn pause  of ten, or twelve seconds, when, all at  once they discharged about one hun dred rifles, aiming at a black smith’s  shop, into which our friends had fled  for safety: and charging up to the  shop, the cracks of which, between  the logs, were sufficiently large to ena ble them to aim directly at the bodies  of those who had there fled for refuge  from the fire of their murderers.—  There were several families, tented in  rear of the shop, whose lives were ex posed, and amidst a shower of bullets,  fled to the woods in different directions.  After standing and gazing on this  bloody scene for a few minutes, and  finding myself in the utmost danger,  the bullets having reached the house  where I was living, I committed my  family to the protection of heaven, and  leaving the house on the opposite side,  I took a path which led up the hill, fol lowing in the trail of three of my  brethren that had fled from the shop.  While ascending the hill, we were dis covered by the mob, who immediately  fired at us and continued so to do, till  we reached the summit. In descend ing the hill, I secreted myself in a  thicket of bushes, where I lay till eight  o’clock in the evening, at which time I  heard a female voice calling my name  in an under tone, telling me that the  mob had gone and there was no dan ger. I immediately left the thicket  and went to the house of Benjamin  Lewis, where I found my family (who  had fled there) in safety, and two of  my friends mortally wounded, one of  whom, died before morning.
Here we passed that awful night in  deep and painful reflections on the  scenes of the preceding evening. Af ter day light appeared, some four or  five men with myself who had escaped  with our lives from the horrid massa cre, repaired as soon as possible, to the  mills, to learn the condition of our  friends whose fate, we had truly antic ipated.
When we arrived at the house of  , we found Mr. [Levi] Merrick’s  body lying in the rear of the house,  ’s in front, literally man gled from head to foot. We were im formed by Miss Rebecca Judd, who  was an eye witness, that he was shot  with his own gun, after he had given  it up, and then was cut to pieces with  an old corn cutter, by a  of , who keeps a ferry  on , and who has since,  repeatedly boasted of this act of sav age barbarity. ’s body we  found in the house; and after viewing [p. 146]
hostilities upon either party. At this time however, there was another mob collecting on , at William Mann’s, who were threatening us; consequently we remained under arms on Monday the 29th, which passed away without molestation from any quarter. On Tuesday the 30th, that bloody tragedy was acted; the scenes of which, I shall never forget.
More than three fourths of the day had passed in tranquility, as smiling as the preceding one. I think there was no individual of our company that was apprized of the sudden and awful fate that hung over our heads like an overwhelming torrent, to change the prospects, the feelings, and circumstances of about thirty families. The banks of , on either side, teemed with children sporting and playing, while their mothers were engaged in domestic employments, and their fathers, employed in guarding the mills and other property; while others were engaged in gathering in their crops for their winter consumption. The weather was very pleasant; the sun shone clear; all was tranquil, and no one expressed any apprehensions of the awful crisis that was near us, even at our doors.
It was about 4 o’clock, while sitting in my cabin, with my babe in my arms, and my standing by my side, the door being open, I cast my eyes on the oppisite bank of , and saw a large company of armed men on horses, directing their course towards the mills, with all possible speed. As they advanced through the scattering trees that stood on the edge of the prairy, they seemed to form themselves into a three square position, forming a van guard in front. At this moment David Evans, seeing the superiority of their numbers (there being two hundred and forty of them, according to their own account) swung his hat and cried for peace. This not being heeded, they continued to advance, and their leader , fired a gun, which was followed by a solemn pause of ten, or twelve seconds, when, all at once they discharged about one hundred rifles, aiming at a black smith’s shop, into which our friends had fled for safety: and charging up to the shop, the cracks of which, between the logs, were sufficiently large to enable them to aim directly at the bodies of those who had there fled for refuge from the fire of their murderers.— There were several families, tented in rear of the shop, whose lives were exposed, and amidst a shower of bullets, fled to the woods in different directions. After standing and gazing on this bloody scene for a few minutes, and finding myself in the utmost danger, the bullets having reached the house where I was living, I committed my family to the protection of heaven, and leaving the house on the opposite side, I took a path which led up the hill, following in the trail of three of my brethren that had fled from the shop. While ascending the hill, we were discovered by the mob, who immediately fired at us and continued so to do, till we reached the summit. In descending the hill, I secreted myself in a thicket of bushes, where I lay till eight o’clock in the evening, at which time I heard a female voice calling my name in an under tone, telling me that the mob had gone and there was no danger. I immediately left the thicket and went to the house of Benjamin Lewis, where I found my family (who had fled there) in safety, and two of my friends mortally wounded, one of whom, died before morning.
Here we passed that awful night in deep and painful reflections on the scenes of the preceding evening. After day light appeared, some four or five men with myself who had escaped with our lives from the horrid massacre, repaired as soon as possible, to the mills, to learn the condition of our friends whose fate, we had truly anticipated.
When we arrived at the house of , we found Mr. Levi Merrick’s body lying in the rear of the house, ’s in front, literally mangled from head to foot. We were imformed by Miss Rebecca Judd, who was an eye witness, that he was shot with his own gun, after he had given it up, and then was cut to pieces with an old corn cutter, by a of , who keeps a ferry on , and who has since, repeatedly boasted of this act of savage barbarity. ’s body we found in the house; and after viewing [p. 146]
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