“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 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]
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]
Page 148