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Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, 10 August 1833

The day before he wrote this letter, 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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had arrived 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, with firsthand news of hostility against church members 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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and of an agreement to leave 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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that church leaders there had signed under duress. Cowdery and 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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apparently went into hiding during the hostility. McLellin later remembered that, when a mob could not find them, a bounty of eighty dollars was offered for their retrieval.1

William E. McLellin, Editorial, Ensign of Liberty, Jan. 1848, 60–62; Schaefer, William E. McLellin’s Lost Manuscript, 166.  


Cowdery left 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, likely between 23 and 25 July 1833, to report the events to JS and other church leaders in Kirtland.2

For more information on Cowdery’s departure from Missouri, see the Historical Introduction to Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.  


As stated in this letter, Cowdery was delayed for three days during his journey from Independence to Kirtland, where he arrived on 9 August 1833, completing his hurried trip in approximately two weeks.
In this letter, 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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recommended that members 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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“look out another place to locate on,” and he praised his associates for “the agreement to remove” the church out of the county. Conversely, Cowdery also chastised some members of the church in 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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. “This great tribulation,” he wrote, “would not have come upon Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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had it not been for rebelion.” Here, Cowdery likely referred to the far-reaching “rebellion” of Missouri church leaders against JS and the 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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leadership in 1832 and early 1833.
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 demonstrates particular concern for the loss of the printing office

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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that 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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had operated. He directed Phelps to send him an account of the circumstances that prevented publication of The Evening and the Morning Star and a list of the newspaper’s subscribers so that Cowdery could print an extra edition of the Star 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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and mail it to regular readers. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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referred to these requests in a letter he wrote to 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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church leaders two months later: “Oliver has writen to you for the names and residence of the subscriber[s] for the Star and if you have not sent them we wish you to send them immediately that there may be no delay in the papers going to subscribers as soon as they can be printed.”3

Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, p. 58.  


Because of continued turmoil 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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, Phelps was unable to send a list of the subscribers until 3 December 1833.4

Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, Missouri, 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 14–17.  


The list did, however, arrive in time for the mailing of the first issue of the renewed periodical published in Kirtland in December.5

A notice printed in The Evening and the Morning Star indicated that Cowdery had received W. W. Phelps & Co.’s mail book with the list of newspaper subscribers. Cowdery forwarded the December issue of the paper to those whose names were current in that book. (Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 128.)  


In February 1834, Cowdery finally published an extra that contained “a circular recently received from our friends in the West, which corroborates many items heretofore laid before the public,” and also an account of the “wicked and wanton manner, in which the printing office of W. W. Phelps & Co.

The corporate name of the church’s printing establishment in Independence, Missouri. The company included church printer William W. Phelps and likely John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, who were appointed by the Literary Firm to assist Phelps in reviewing and...

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the type, and books then publishing, the dwelling-house of said Phelps, and some furniture, were destroyed.”6

“From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1]; Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1].  


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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rushed to complete this letter in order to post it on 10 August. In a postscript, JS added his own words of counsel, expressed sorrow and concern, and advised the recipients to be willing to “forsake all for Christ[’s] sake.” After this letter arrived in 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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, 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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made a copy of it, including the postscript from JS. It is unknown when Partridge made his copy, though it was probably made soon after the original letter, which has not been located, was received in September 1833.

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