“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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the dying, and the screams of the  women and children, being only about  forty in number, and wholly unpre pared to engage in any contest what ever. We were forced to take shel ter under cover of an old log buil ding, used as a black-smith’s shop,  which was neither chinked or mudded.
When men ran out and called for  peace they were shot down; when they  held up their hats and handkerchiefs  and crying for mercy, they were shot  down; when they attempted to run,  they were cut down by the fire of  guns; and when they stood still, they  were shot down by putting their guns  through the cracks of the building.—  After pleading for mercy, and having  none shown us, and seeing they were  determined to slaughter us en masse,  and many of our brethren slain around  us, leaving our numbers but few, and  seeing it was but death for us, we con cluded to sell our lives as dear as pos sible, and soon commenced firing at  the mob who were firing from all di rections at us. But few of the mob  were injured in consequence of their  shielding themselves by trees and logs;  women and children were equally bru tally treated with the men, and found  no place from the sympathies of these  murderers. One woman by the name  of Mary Steadwell was shot through  the hand while holding it up in the at titude of defence. As she ran from  the mob, others pierced her clothes;  after running as far as she could, she  threw herself behind a log, whilst a  volley of balls poured after her, filling  the log where she lay, twelve or four teen of which were taken out and pre served for future generations to wit ness. Many other women had balls  shot through their clothes, while flee ing into the woods with their children  in their arms; others were brutally in sulted and abused: One small boy  was killed, having his brains blown  out; and during the affray, two other  boys, belonging to ,  (who was also killed at the time,) hid  themselves under the bellows; and  when those murderers came into the  shop, after killing all within except  two men, (one wounded and the other  not,) who lay concealed from their  view by being covered with blood and  dead bodies of the slain. The elder  of the boys, crying for mercy from  his hiding place, was immediately put  to death by putting the muzzle of a gun  to the lad’s ear and blowing off the top  of his head. One of these savages  who participated in this transaction,  accosted his comrade, (while commit ting this horrid deed,) thus—“It is a  damned pity to kill boys;” but was  hushed by having the thought put into  his head in reply, that “little sproughts  soon became large trees” and if these  boys were suffered to live, they, like  their father, would be Mormons—a  crime punishible with death even be fore committed,—a faith now extant  in , where it is supposed to  have its birth, and it is hoped will  have its burial. The other lad was  supposed to have been killed, but they  did not quite accomplish their object  the younger receiving a wound in his  hip which carried off his hip bone.—  While the mob were in the shop, if  they perceived life remaining in any  of the wounded, while struggling in  the agonies of death, they were imme diately dispatched, at the same time  plundering the pockets of the dead strip ping off their boots, shoes, and cloth ing. After the mob had learned that  two men escaped with their lives they  would declare publicly, that if they got  into another such affair they would in spect more closely by sticking their  knives in their toes. This Massacre  took place about sun an hour high, on  Tuesday, and continued until seven teen were killed and fifteen wounded,  the remaining few escaping.
Among those who attempted to es cape, was a man by the name of , a soldier and Patriot of the  revolution and a Justice of the Peace.  While making the best use of his tot tering limbs and worn out frame for  his escape, he was met in his retreat  by a young man from  by the name of , who  immediately demanded the old man’s  gun, which was delivered up, and was  then shot down by said . This  not killing the old man, he lifted his  hands in the attitude of suplication and  begged for mercy, at the same time  appealing to his silvery locks as add ing still more force, and credit to his  cries and tales of suffering, while in  the defence of his and the [p. 148]
the dying, and the screams of the women and children, being only about forty in number, and wholly unprepared to engage in any contest whatever. We were forced to take shelter under cover of an old log building, used as a black-smith’s shop, which was neither chinked or mudded.
When men ran out and called for peace they were shot down; when they held up their hats and handkerchiefs and crying for mercy, they were shot down; when they attempted to run, they were cut down by the fire of guns; and when they stood still, they were shot down by putting their guns through the cracks of the building.— After pleading for mercy, and having none shown us, and seeing they were determined to slaughter us en masse, and many of our brethren slain around us, leaving our numbers but few, and seeing it was but death for us, we concluded to sell our lives as dear as possible, and soon commenced firing at the mob who were firing from all directions at us. But few of the mob were injured in consequence of their shielding themselves by trees and logs; women and children were equally brutally treated with the men, and found no place from the sympathies of these murderers. One woman by the name of Mary Steadwell was shot through the hand while holding it up in the attitude of defence. As she ran from the mob, others pierced her clothes; after running as far as she could, she threw herself behind a log, whilst a volley of balls poured after her, filling the log where she lay, twelve or fourteen of which were taken out and preserved for future generations to witness. Many other women had balls shot through their clothes, while fleeing into the woods with their children in their arms; others were brutally insulted and abused: One small boy was killed, having his brains blown out; and during the affray, two other boys, belonging to , (who was also killed at the time,) hid themselves under the bellows; and when those murderers came into the shop, after killing all within except two men, (one wounded and the other not,) who lay concealed from their view by being covered with blood and dead bodies of the slain. The elder of the boys, crying for mercy from his hiding place, was immediately put to death by putting the muzzle of a gun to the lad’s ear and blowing off the top of his head. One of these savages who participated in this transaction, accosted his comrade, (while committing this horrid deed,) thus—“It is a damned pity to kill boys;” but was hushed by having the thought put into his head in reply, that “little sproughts soon became large trees” and if these boys were suffered to live, they, like their father, would be Mormons—a crime punishible with death even before committed,—a faith now extant in , where it is supposed to have its birth, and it is hoped will have its burial. The other lad was supposed to have been killed, but they did not quite accomplish their object the younger receiving a wound in his hip which carried off his hip bone.— While the mob were in the shop, if they perceived life remaining in any of the wounded, while struggling in the agonies of death, they were immediately dispatched, at the same time plundering the pockets of the dead stripping off their boots, shoes, and clothing. After the mob had learned that two men escaped with their lives they would declare publicly, that if they got into another such affair they would inspect more closely by sticking their knives in their toes. This Massacre took place about sun an hour high, on Tuesday, and continued until seventeen were killed and fifteen wounded, the remaining few escaping.
Among those who attempted to escape, was a man by the name of , a soldier and Patriot of the revolution and a Justice of the Peace. While making the best use of his tottering limbs and worn out frame for his escape, he was met in his retreat by a young man from by the name of , who immediately demanded the old man’s gun, which was delivered up, and was then shot down by said . This not killing the old man, he lifted his hands in the attitude of suplication and begged for mercy, at the same time appealing to his silvery locks as adding still more force, and credit to his cries and tales of suffering, while in the defence of his and the [p. 148]
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