“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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resorted to str[a]tagem; and after remov ing their property out of their houses,  which were nothing but log cabins, they  actually set fire to their own houses,  and then reported to the authorities of  the state that the Mormons were burn ing and destroying all before them.
On the retreat of the mob from , I returned to , hoping to  have some respite from our enemies, at  least for a short time; but upon my arri val there, I was informed that a mob  had commenced hostilities on the bor ders of that county, adjoining to and that they had taken some of our  brethren prisoners, burned some houses,  and had committed depredations on the  peaceable inhabitants. A company un der the command of , was  ordered out by to go against them, and stop their  depredations, and drive them out of the  county. Upon the approach of our  people, the mob fired upon them, and  after discharging their pieces, fled with  great precipitation, with the loss of one  killed and several wounded. In the  engagement , (a man be loved by all who had the pleasure of  his acquaintance,) was wounded and  died shortly after. Two others were  likewise killed and several wounded.  Great excitement now prevailed, and  mobs were heard of in every direction  who seemed determined on our destruc tion. They burned the houses in the  country and took off all the cattle they  could find. They destroyed cornfields,  took many prisoners, and threatened  death to all the Mormons. On the 28th  of Oct. a large company of armed sol diery were seen approaching ,  They came up near to the town and  then drew back about a mile and en camped for the night. We were in formed that they were Militia, ordered  out by the for the purpose of  stopping our proceedings; it having  been represented to his , by  wicked and designing men from , that we were the aggressors, and  had committed outrages in  &c. They had not yet got the s orders of extermination, which I  believe did not arrive until the next  day. On the following morning, a flag  was sent, which was met by several of  our people, and it was hoped that mat ters would be satisfactorily arranged  after the officers had heard a true state ment of all the circumstances. To wards evening, I was waited upon by  , who stated that the  officers of the Militia desired to have  an interview with me, and some others,  hoping that the difficulties might be set tled without having occasion to carry  into effect the exterminating orders,  which they had received from the . I immediately complied with the  request, and in company with elders   and , , and  , went into the camp  of the militia. But judge of my sur prise, when instead of being treated  with that respect which is due from  one citizen to another, we were taken,  as prisoners of war, and were treated  with the utmost contempt. The offi cers would not converse with us, and  the soldiers, almost to a man, insulted  us as much as they felt disposed, breath ing out threats against me and my com panions. I cannot begin to tell the  scene which I there witnessed. The  loud cries and yells of more than one  thousand voices, which rent the air and  could be heard for miles; and the hor rid and blasphemous threats and curses  which were poured upon us in torrents,  were enough to appal the stoutest heart.  In the evening we had to lie down on the  cold ground surrounded by a strong  guard, who were only kept back by the  power of God from depriving us of life.  We petitioned the officers to know why  we were thus treated, but they utterly  refused to give us any answer, or to  converse with us. The next day they  held a court martial, and sentenced us  to be shot, on Friday morning, on the  puplic square, as an ensample to the  Mormons. However notwithstanding  their sentence, and determination, they  were not permitted to carry their mur derous sentence into execution.
Having an opportunity of speaking  to , I inquired of him  the cause why I was thus treated, I  told him I was not sensible of having  done any thing worthy of such treat ment; that I had always been a suppor ter of the constitution and of Democra cy. His answer was “I know it, and  that is the reason why I want to kill  you, or have you killled.” The militia  then went into the town and without  any restraint whatever, plunderd the [p. 5]
resorted to stratagem; and after removing their property out of their houses, which were nothing but log cabins, they actually set fire to their own houses, and then reported to the authorities of the state that the Mormons were burning and destroying all before them.
On the retreat of the mob from , I returned to , hoping to have some respite from our enemies, at least for a short time; but upon my arrival there, I was informed that a mob had commenced hostilities on the borders of that county, adjoining to and that they had taken some of our brethren prisoners, burned some houses, and had committed depredations on the peaceable inhabitants. A company under the command of , was ordered out by to go against them, and stop their depredations, and drive them out of the county. Upon the approach of our people, the mob fired upon them, and after discharging their pieces, fled with great precipitation, with the loss of one killed and several wounded. In the engagement , (a man beloved by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance,) was wounded and died shortly after. Two others were likewise killed and several wounded. Great excitement now prevailed, and mobs were heard of in every direction who seemed determined on our destruction. They burned the houses in the country and took off all the cattle they could find. They destroyed cornfields, took many prisoners, and threatened death to all the Mormons. On the 28th of Oct. a large company of armed soldiery were seen approaching , They came up near to the town and then drew back about a mile and encamped for the night. We were informed that they were Militia, ordered out by the for the purpose of stopping our proceedings; it having been represented to his , by wicked and designing men from , that we were the aggressors, and had committed outrages in &c. They had not yet got the s orders of extermination, which I believe did not arrive until the next day. On the following morning, a flag was sent, which was met by several of our people, and it was hoped that matters would be satisfactorily arranged after the officers had heard a true statement of all the circumstances. Towards evening, I was waited upon by , who stated that the officers of the Militia desired to have an interview with me, and some others, hoping that the difficulties might be settled without having occasion to carry into effect the exterminating orders, which they had received from the . I immediately complied with the request, and in company with elders and , , and , went into the camp of the militia. But judge of my surprise, when instead of being treated with that respect which is due from one citizen to another, we were taken, as prisoners of war, and were treated with the utmost contempt. The officers would not converse with us, and the soldiers, almost to a man, insulted us as much as they felt disposed, breathing out threats against me and my companions. I cannot begin to tell the scene which I there witnessed. The loud cries and yells of more than one thousand voices, which rent the air and could be heard for miles; and the horrid and blasphemous threats and curses which were poured upon us in torrents, were enough to appal the stoutest heart. In the evening we had to lie down on the cold ground surrounded by a strong guard, who were only kept back by the power of God from depriving us of life. We petitioned the officers to know why we were thus treated, but they utterly refused to give us any answer, or to converse with us. The next day they held a court martial, and sentenced us to be shot, on Friday morning, on the puplic square, as an ensample to the Mormons. However notwithstanding their sentence, and determination, they were not permitted to carry their murderous sentence into execution.
Having an opportunity of speaking to , I inquired of him the cause why I was thus treated, I told him I was not sensible of having done any thing worthy of such treatment; that I had always been a supporter of the constitution and of Democracy. His answer was “I know it, and that is the reason why I want to kill you, or have you killled.” The militia then went into the town and without any restraint whatever, plunderd the [p. 5]
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