30482

Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833

of human reason: They declare openly that their God has given them this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance,19

In the summer of 1831, several JS revelations indicated that western Missouri was the land of church members’ “inheritance.” David Whitmer later remembered that “there were among us a few ignorant and simple-minded persons who were continually making boasts to the Jackson county people that they intended to possess the entire county.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:2, 42]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1–5]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:44–56]; “Mormonism,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881, 1.)  


and in fine they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner, that we believe it a duty we owe ourselves to our wives and Children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up pleasant places, and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosoms of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters the degraded free negroes and Mulatoes that are now invited to settle among us.
Under such a state of things even our beautiful Country would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We therefore agree that after timely warning,20

At first, the Missourians were willing to give the Mormons approximately five to eight months to settle their affairs and move from Jackson County. However, persecution continued, and when church leaders openly vowed to pursue legal means to remain on their lands, violence again erupted. In early November 1833, an armed group of Jackson County residents drove the Mormons from the county. (See Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; see also “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124–126.)  


and after receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them,21

Members of the Church of Christ received almost no compensation for their lost property and the abuse they suffered, despite the considerable time and money spent attempting to seek redress through the legal system. In 1839, for example, Edward Partridge wrote, “I have never received any satisfaction” for being tarred and feathered by the mob on 20 July 1833, “although I commenced a suit against some of them for $50,000, damage, and paid my lawyers six hundred dollars to carry it on.” As bishop, in charge of administering inheritances to church members, Partridge also held title to 2,136 acres of land in the county, along with two lots in Independence, but he received no compensation for the loss of his property. (Edward Partridge, Petition for Redress, 15 May 1839, copy, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; see also Partridge v. Lucas et al. [Ray Co. Cir. Ct. 1836], Ray Co., MO, Circuit Court Records, 1821–1882, vol. A, p. 249, microfilm 959,749, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; and Phelps v. Simpson et al. [Ray Co. Cir. Ct. 1836], Ray Co., MO, Circuit Court Records, 1821–1882, vol. A, p. 250, microfilm 959,749, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us; we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.22

This sentence resembles the closing words of the Declaration of Independence, which states, “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”  


We will meet at the Courthouse

Independence became county seat for Jackson Co., 29 Mar. 1827. First courthouse, single-story log structure located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, completed, Aug. 1828. Second courthouse, two-story brick structure located at center...

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of the Town of Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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on Saturday next 20th Inst to consult of ulterior movements.”
There are about 300 signers to this instrument.24

Neither here nor in his history does Whitmer include any names of the signatories of the manifesto. Edward Partridge’s copy of this document, however, does list seventy-eight names. The copy printed in The Evening and the Morning Star adds, “Among the hundreds of names attached to the above document were:— Lewis Franklin, Jailor. Samuel C. Owens, County Clerk. Russel Hicks, Deputy Clerk. R. W. Cummins, Indian Agent. Jones H. Flournoy, P. Master. S. D. Lucas, Col. and Judge of the Court. Henry Childs, Att’y at Law. N. K. Olmstead, M. D. John Smith, J. P. Sam’l. Weston, J. P. William Brown, Const[able] Abner F. Staples, Capt. Thomas Pitcher, Deputy Const. Moses G. Wilson, Thomas Willson, Merchants.” (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; Whitmer, History, 42; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114, italics in original.)  


We leave the event with God
Memorandum of the agreement between the undersigned of the Mormon Society in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri,25

Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, William W. Phelps, Sidney Gilbert, and John Whitmer signed the agreement on behalf of the Church of Christ. (“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115; Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL.)  


and Committee appointed by a public meeting of the Citizens of Said County;26

The members of the committee who signed the memorandum of agreement were Samuel C. Owens, Leonidas Oldham, G. W. Simpson, W. L. Irvin, John Harris, Henry Childs, Harvey H. Younger, Hugh L. Breazeale, Newel K. Olmstead, James C. Sadler, William Bowers, Benjamin Majors, Zacheriah Waller, Harmon Gregg, Aaron Overton, and Russell Hicks. A copy of the agreement published in The Evening and the Morning Star contains minor variations in spelling and lists Samuel Weston rather than Russell Hicks as the last signatory. (Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115.)  


made the 23rd day of July 183328

Various newspapers in the state and nation published the memorandum of agreement over the next couple of months. According to JS’s history, the memorandum appeared in the Western Monitor in Fayette, Missouri, on 2 August 1833; however, no copy of that issue has been located in modern repositories. (JS History, vol. A-1, 330; see also “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3]; “Mormonites in Missouri,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 21 Aug. 1833, [2]; and “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Niles’ Weekly Register [Baltimore], 14 Sept. 1833, 47–48.)  


It is understood that the undersigned members of the said society do give their solemn pledge, each for himself as follows, to wit that Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, William W Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, William E McLellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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, Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, Lyman White Wight

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

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, Simeon Carter

7 June 1794–3 Feb. 1869. Farmer. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Kenyon, 2 Dec. 1818, at Benson. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, by ...

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Peter Whitmer Jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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& John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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& Harvey Whitlock

1809–after 1880. Physician. Born in Massachusetts. Married Minerva Abbott, 21 Nov. 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Ordained an elder, by June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 4 June 1831. Served mission to Jackson Co., Missouri, with David Whitmer, 1831...

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shall remove with their families out of this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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on or before the 1st day of January next, and that they as well as the two herein after named use all their influence to induce all their brethren now here to move as soon as possible, one half say by the first day of January next and all by the first day of April next & to advise, and to try all means in their power to stop any more of their sect from moving to this county

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
, and to those now on the road & who have no notice of this agreement they will use their influence to prevent their settling permanently in this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
, but that they shall only make arrangement for temporary shelter, till a new location is fixed on by the Society. John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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& Aljeron Algernon Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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are allowed to remain [p. 54]
of human reason: They declare openly that <their> God has given them this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
 of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our  lands for an inheritance,19

In the summer of 1831, several JS revelations indicated that western Missouri was the land of church members’ “inheritance.” David Whitmer later remembered that “there were among us a few ignorant and simple-minded persons who were continually making boasts to the Jackson county people that they intended to possess the entire county.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:2, 42]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1–5]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:44–56]; “Mormonism,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881, 1.)  


and in fine they have conducted themselves on many  other occasions in such a manner, that we believe it a duty we owe ourselves  to our wives and Children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from  among us, as we are not prepared to give up pleasant places, and goodly  possessions to them, or to receive into the bosoms of our families, as fit compan ions for our wives and daughters the degraded free negroes and Mulatoes  that are now invited to settle among us.
Under such a state of things even our beautiful Country would  cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We therefore  agree that after timely warning,20

At first, the Missourians were willing to give the Mormons approximately five to eight months to settle their affairs and move from Jackson County. However, persecution continued, and when church leaders openly vowed to pursue legal means to remain on their lands, violence again erupted. In early November 1833, an armed group of Jackson County residents drove the Mormons from the county. (See Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; see also “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124–126.)  


and after receiving an adequate compensa tion for what little property they cannot take with them,21

Members of the Church of Christ received almost no compensation for their lost property and the abuse they suffered, despite the considerable time and money spent attempting to seek redress through the legal system. In 1839, for example, Edward Partridge wrote, “I have never received any satisfaction” for being tarred and feathered by the mob on 20 July 1833, “although I commenced a suit against some of them for $50,000, damage, and paid my lawyers six hundred dollars to carry it on.” As bishop, in charge of administering inheritances to church members, Partridge also held title to 2,136 acres of land in the county, along with two lots in Independence, but he received no compensation for the loss of his property. (Edward Partridge, Petition for Redress, 15 May 1839, copy, Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; see also Partridge v. Lucas et al. [Ray Co. Cir. Ct. 1836], Ray Co., MO, Circuit Court Records, 1821–1882, vol. A, p. 249, microfilm 959,749, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; and Phelps v. Simpson et al. [Ray Co. Cir. Ct. 1836], Ray Co., MO, Circuit Court Records, 1821–1882, vol. A, p. 250, microfilm 959,749, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  


they refuse to leave  us in peace as they found us; we agree to use such means as may be suffi cient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge our to each other our  bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.22

This sentence resembles the closing words of the Declaration of Independence, which states, “For the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”  


We will meet at the Courthouse

Independence became county seat for Jackson Co., 29 Mar. 1827. First courthouse, single-story log structure located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, completed, Aug. 1828. Second courthouse, two-story brick structure located at center...

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of the Town of Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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on Satur day next 20th23

TEXT: “th” is double underlined.  


Inst to consult of ulterior movements.”
There are about 300 signers to this instrument.24

Neither here nor in his history does Whitmer include any names of the signatories of the manifesto. Edward Partridge’s copy of this document, however, does list seventy-eight names. The copy printed in The Evening and the Morning Star adds, “Among the hundreds of names attached to the above document were:— Lewis Franklin, Jailor. Samuel C. Owens, County Clerk. Russel Hicks, Deputy Clerk. R. W. Cummins, Indian Agent. Jones H. Flournoy, P. Master. S. D. Lucas, Col. and Judge of the Court. Henry Childs, Att’y at Law. N. K. Olmstead, M. D. John Smith, J. P. Sam’l. Weston, J. P. William Brown, Const[able] Abner F. Staples, Capt. Thomas Pitcher, Deputy Const. Moses G. Wilson, Thomas Willson, Merchants.” (“We the Undersigned Citizens of Jackson County,” [July 1833], Edward Partridge, Papers, CHL; Whitmer, History, 42; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114, italics in original.)  


We leave the result <event> with God
Memorandum of the agreement between the undersigned of the  Mormon Society in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri,25

Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, William W. Phelps, Sidney Gilbert, and John Whitmer signed the agreement on behalf of the Church of Christ. (“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115; Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL.)  


and Committee appointed by  a public meeting of the Citizens of Said County;26

The members of the committee who signed the memorandum of agreement were Samuel C. Owens, Leonidas Oldham, G. W. Simpson, W. L. Irvin, John Harris, Henry Childs, Harvey H. Younger, Hugh L. Breazeale, Newel K. Olmstead, James C. Sadler, William Bowers, Benjamin Majors, Zacheriah Waller, Harmon Gregg, Aaron Overton, and Russell Hicks. A copy of the agreement published in The Evening and the Morning Star contains minor variations in spelling and lists Samuel Weston rather than Russell Hicks as the last signatory. (Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL; “To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115.)  


made the 23rd27

TEXT: “rd” is double underlined.  


day of July 183328

Various newspapers in the state and nation published the memorandum of agreement over the next couple of months. According to JS’s history, the memorandum appeared in the Western Monitor in Fayette, Missouri, on 2 August 1833; however, no copy of that issue has been located in modern repositories. (JS History, vol. A-1, 330; see also “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, [3]; “Mormonites in Missouri,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 21 Aug. 1833, [2]; and “‘Regulating’ the Mormonites,” Niles’ Weekly Register [Baltimore], 14 Sept. 1833, 47–48.)  


It is understood that the undersigned <members> of the said society do give their  solemn pledge, each for himself as follows, to wit that Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, W[illiam] W  Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, William E McLellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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, Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

View Full Bio
, Lyman White [Wight]

9 May 1796–31 Mar. 1858. Farmer. Born at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Levi Wight Jr. and Sarah Corbin. Served in War of 1812. Married Harriet Benton, 5 Jan. 1823, at Henrietta, Monroe Co., New York. Moved to Warrensville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, ...

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, Simeon Carter

7 June 1794–3 Feb. 1869. Farmer. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married Lydia Kenyon, 2 Dec. 1818, at Benson. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, by ...

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 Peter [Whitmer Jr.]

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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& John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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& Harvey Whitlock

1809–after 1880. Physician. Born in Massachusetts. Married Minerva Abbott, 21 Nov. 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 1831. Ordained an elder, by June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 4 June 1831. Served mission to Jackson Co., Missouri, with David Whitmer, 1831...

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shall remove with their families  out of this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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on or before the 1st day of January next, and that they as well  as the two herein after named use all their influence to induce all their brethren  now here to move as soon as possible, one half say by the first day of January  next and all by the first day of April next & to advise, and to try all means  in their power to stop any more of their sect from moving to this county

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, and  to those now on the road & who have no notice of this agreement they will use  their influence to prevent their settling <permanently> in this County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, but that they shall  only make arrangement for temporary shelter, till a new location is fixed on  by the Society. John Corril[l]

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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& Aljeron [Algernon Sidney] Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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are allowed to remain [p. 54]
PreviousNext
In this 29 July 1833 letter, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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and William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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provided details about events unfolding in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, to church leaders in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio. In the July 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, William W. Phelps published an editorial titled “Free People of Color,” which warned free black members of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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about the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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state laws that prohibited free blacks from coming to or settling in the state “under any pretext whatever.” Phelps further stated, “So long as we have no special rule in the church, as to people of color, let prudence guide; and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: Shun every appearance of evil.”1

“Free People of Color,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 109.  


In the same issue of the Star, a letter to all of the branches

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

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of the Church of Christ reiterated the need to shun the appearance of evil and added, “As to slaves we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks, in Africa.”2

“The Elders Stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1833, 111.  


These articles angered many Jackson County citizens who saw Phelps’s words as an invitation for free blacks to come surreptitiously and settle in Missouri, even though Phelps later claimed to have said the opposite. On 16 July 1833, Phelps issued an extra of the Star in which he attempted to mitigate the misunderstanding of his earlier article. He wrote:
We often lament the situation of our sister states in the south, and we fear, lest, as has been the case, the blacks should rise and spill innocent blood: for they are ignorant, and a little may lead them to disturb the peace of society. To be short, we are opposed to have free people of color admitted into the state; and we say, that none will be admitted into the church, for we are determined to obey the laws and constitutions of our country, that we may have that protection which the sons of liberty inherit from the legacy of Washington, through the favorable auspices of a Jefferson, and Jackson.3

The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, 16 July 1833, [1].  


The extra apparently did nothing to calm the church’s opponents.
By 18 July 1833, non-Mormon residents of Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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circulated a document enumerating their grievances against members of the Church of Christ and stating their determination to eliminate them from the county by purchasing their properties or by “such means as may be sufficient to remove them.” Signed by some three hundred residents of Jackson County, the document, known later among members of the church as the “manifesto,” also called for a meeting to be held on 20 July to further discuss the perceived problems with the Mormons and how to remove the church members from the county. At the meeting, the assembled Missourians adopted resolutions listing specific actions to be taken against the Mormons and appointed a committee to present their agreed-upon demands to a group of church leaders. The committee presented their ultimatum that same day and gave church leaders only fifteen minutes to reply. The Mormons refused to comply, after which the committee returned to the courthouse

Independence became county seat for Jackson Co., 29 Mar. 1827. First courthouse, single-story log structure located on lot 59 at intersection of Lynn and Lexington Streets, completed, Aug. 1828. Second courthouse, two-story brick structure located at center...

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, where those who had gathered voted to demolish the Mormons’ print shop

JS revelations, dated 20 July and 1 Aug. 1831, directed establishment of LDS church’s first printing office in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated by Bishop Edward Partridge, 29 May 1832. Located on Lot 76, on Liberty Street just south of courthouse square....

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. After destroying the shop, they tarred and feathered Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and Charles Allen

26 Dec. 1806–after 1870. Farmer, auctioneer. Born in Somerset Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Charles Allen and Mary. Married first Eliza Tibbits, ca. 1832. Baptized into LDS church. Moved to Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri. Tarred and feathered during mob ...

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and gave notice that they would return on 23 July.4

“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114; Corrill, Brief History, 19; Whitmer, History, 42–44; [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:17–18.  


Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and other church leaders reported that on 23 July, “the mob again assembled to the number of about 500 . . . [and] proceeded to take some of the leading elders by force declaring it to be their intention to whip them from fifty to five hundred lashes apiece.” John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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, Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, and Isaac Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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“offered themselves as a ransom [to the mob] for the church, willing to be scourged or die, if that will appease their anger toward the church,” but the mob declared that all church members must leave or die.5

“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114.  


The confrontation on 23 July 1833 led to the creation of another document, known as the “memorandum of the agreement.” In the agreement Mormon leaders pledged that most of the leaders of the church and half of the members would leave the county by the first of January 1834 and the remainder would leave by the first of April 1834.
Probably in the day or two after the 23 July agreement, Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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left Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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to inform JS and other church leaders in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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of these developments. After arriving at Walnut Farm in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, probably a two-day journey, Cowdery wrote back to Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, Missouri, requesting an update on events there and copies of the manifesto and memorandum of agreement. When Cowdery mailed the letter from Walnut Farm is unknown, but given normal mail conveyance time in that era, at least two days would have been required to transport the letter to Independence.6

Cowdery likely left Independence after the creation of the memorandum of agreement on 23 July but before 25 July. He likely did not leave before 23 July because had he been any appreciable distance from Independence on or shortly after 23 July, he probably would not have known of the memorandum’s creation. Further, a reminiscent account by William E. McLellin places Cowdery in Jackson County on 22 July. Cowdery likely left before 25 July because in the letter featured here, John Whitmer told Cowdery that on 25 July many “at the school received the gift of tongues”—something Cowdery would already have known about if he had been present at or near the school of the prophets at the time. (Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833, CHL; Schaefer, William E. McLellin’s Lost Manuscript, 166.)  


The Missouri church leaders therefore probably received Cowdery’s letter no earlier than 27 July 1833.
The letter featured here, which includes copies of the manifesto and of the Mormons’ agreement to leave the county, indicates that the church leaders in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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had received Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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’s letter and was written in response to his request. In the 29 July letter, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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, the principal author, provided an update on recent developments in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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while William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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added a note on both the anxiety and faithfulness of the Missouri church members. Phelps also included the text of two hymns that had recently been sung in Missouri. Though the body of the letter was largely directed to Cowdery, the postscript from Phelps appears to have been directed to JS. It is not known how or when this letter reached Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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. James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838/1839, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived...

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copied it into JS’s letterbook in late 1839. JS’s 18 August letter to Whitmer, Phelps, and the other church leaders in Jackson County demonstrates familiarity with the contents of this letter, although JS’s letter also references information that Cowdery reported to JS in person.7

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