Agreement with Jacob Stollings, 12 April 1839
, Agreement with JS, , Daviess Co., MO, 12 Apr. 1839. Featured version copied [between June and 30 Oct. 1839] in JS Letterbook 2, p. 50; handwriting of ; JS Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for JS Letterbook 2.
On 12 April 1839, merchant of , Missouri, entered into an agreement with JS, stating that Stollings would forgive debts to his store if JS would recover account books stolen from the store. The books were taken in mid-October 1838, during the conflict between Latter-day Saints and anti-Mormons. Earlier in October, Latter-day Saints were expelled from in Carroll County, Missouri, making it clear that civil authorities would not protect church members from extralegal violence. Having forced the Saints from De Witt, anti-Mormon Missourians turned their attention to Latter-day Saints in and other settlements in . In response, church leaders in , Caldwell County, decided to engage in aggressive self-defense rather than rely on unpredictable militia troops for protection. In ’s words, the Saints planned “to scatter the mob” and “to destroy those places that harbored them” in Daviess County, particularly Gallatin, which was the county seat and a vigilante haven.On 18 October 1838, led about eighty Latter-day Saint men to to expel anti-Mormon vigilantes, burn buildings owned by vigilantes and their sympathizers, and confiscate essential goods as wartime appropriations. Latter-day Saint Morris Phelps, a participant in the expedition, stated that the town’s residents scattered when they recognized the Mormons. The Saints targeted ’s grocery store since it was believed to be a “place of rendezvous” for anti-Mormons. The store clerk, Patrick Lynch, later testified that he escaped the building just as the Latter-day Saints approached. From a secluded position, he watched the men secure the building and move goods into the street. The Mormons then apparently burned the store. Oliver Huntington, a Latter-day Saint living at at the time, later recalled that as he watched from a distance, he observed smoke “rising towards Heaven.” When the men returned to Adam-ondi-Ahman, Huntington saw that goods confiscated from the store were deposited in ’s home.Presumably among the goods were a ledger, three daybooks, and “one day book of Groceries.” Lynch later testified that he searched for the ledger, three day books, and promissory notes estimated to be worth $300 in but was unsuccessful, although he did find in ’s home some promissory notes from non-Mormon customers. , likely also searching for the missing items, apparently ransacked the Smith residence in following JS’s arrest.In the November 1838 preliminary hearing, no witnesses placed JS in Gallatin during the expedition on 18 October; several witnesses testified that he remained in to direct the Mormons’ several military operations in . Nevertheless, around 10 April 1839 a Daviess County grand jury indicted JS, as well as other Latter-day Saints, for burning ’s store, stealing items from Lynch, and committing other crimes in the county.On 12 April 1839, met with JS and proposed to forgive the debts that Latter-day Saints had incurred when trading in his store in 1838 if JS would assist in locating the missing account books. After the meeting, Stollings produced a formal statement of the agreement, which he noted “shall be a receipt in full to all intents and purposes,” indicating the agreement would also be considered a receipt if the books were returned within four months. By the time Stollings completed the written agreement, JS and the other prisoners had been temporarily moved to while their guards prepared to transport the men to on a change of venue. Stollings therefore sent the agreement and a cover letter to JS in Adam-ondi-Ahman. The agreement evidently remained in JS’s possession during the prisoners’ escape from Missouri a few days later and their journey to . The agreement was copied into JS Letterbook 2 by sometime between June and 30 October 1839; the original is apparently not extant.
Corrill, Brief History, 35–38; Introduction to Part 3: 4 Nov. 1838–16 Apr. 1839.
Andrew Job, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; George Worthington, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; Ezra Williams, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. , State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes (Mo. 5th Jud. Cir. 1838), in State of Missouri, “Evidence”; Lyman Wight, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, p. 16, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.
Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.
Phelps, Reminiscences, 9–10. Although Phelps did not disclose his participation in the Gallatin expedition, several witnesses at the November 1838 hearing identified him as among the men who were present. (See, for example, Sampson Avard, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; George M. Hinkle, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; and John Cleminson, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. , in State of Missouri, “Evidence.”)
Phelps, Morris. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 271.
Patrick Lynch, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, pp. –, in State of Missouri, “Evidence.”
William W. Phelps, who was disaffected from the church, claimed he heard JS and other church leaders making plans in Adam-ondi-Ahman “to take the goods out of the Store at Gallatin, bring them to Diahmon & burn the store.”a Although several individuals said they saw the building burning, none could definitively state that a Latter-day Saint had lit the fire.b Morris Phelps later claimed that Sampson Avard, a Latter-day Saint who participated in the expedition to Gallatin, had “in his rage hurled a pine brand into it [the store] which melted it to ashes.” However, Phelps then backtracked: “Others have said that the mob burnt it in order to have a pretext or cause of action against the Mormons. But the particulars of these things remain yet to be determined. Allowing this to be the Mormons;— The reader will bear in mind the many extream which they have been driven to by loss of property, by the sufferings of their Women and children; their houses frequently burnt their women and children turned into the snow.” Phelps conceded that “many had become much enraged and perhaps carried some things beyond the bounds of wisdom as other men frequently do when driven to desperation.”c(aWilliam W. Phelps, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. , in State of Missouri, “Evidence.” bWilliam Morgan, Affidavit, Daviess Co., MO, 21 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Sampson Avard, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; Patrick Lynch, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; Joseph McGee, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; George W. Worthington, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. , in State of Missouri, “Evidence.” cPhelps, Reminiscences, 10, 11.)
Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.
Phelps, Morris. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 271.
Oliver Huntington, “History of Oliver Boardman Huntington,” 21–22. Latter-day Saint dissident Reed Peck testified at the November 1838 hearing that just before the October expedition to Gallatin, JS gave a speech “in refference to stealing,” stating that “in a general way he did not approve of it” but that under certain circumstances it was necessary, such as when the “Saviour & his disciples stole corn in passing thro’ the corn fields for the reason that they could not otherwise procure anything to eat.” William W. Phelps testified that JS gave the speech because “when they went out to war it was necessary to take spoils to live on.” Jeremiah Myers, a Latter-day Saint who participated in the expedition, explained that the goods removed from Stollings’s store were “considered consecrated property & that they were to be dealt out by the bishop to those who stood in need.” (Reed Peck, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; William W. Phelps, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. ; Jeremiah Myers, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. , in State of Missouri, “Evidence”; see also Matthew 12:1–8; Mark 2:23–28; and Luke 6:1–5.)
Huntington, Oliver B. “History of Oliver Boardman Huntington,” 1845–1846. BYU.
Patrick Lynch, Testimony, Richmond, MO, Nov. 1838, p. , in State of Missouri, “Evidence.”
Emma Smith et al., Complaint against Jacob Stollings, 1839, Statements against William E. McLellin et al., CHL.
Statements against William E. McLellin and Others, ca. 1838–1839. CHL.
See Robert Wilson, Gallatin, MO, to James L. Minor, Jefferson City, MO, 18 Mar. 1841, in Document Containing the Correspondence, 156–159. Sampson Avard testified before the grand jury regarding both indictments. Lynch, Allen Rathburn, George Worthington, and John Stokes likewise testified concerning the larceny indictment. No record of their testimonies is extant. The grand jury indicted several Latter-day Saint men for breaking into and removing property from Stollings’s store, but JS was not named as a defendant in that indictment. (Indictment, [Honey Creek Township, MO], ca. 10 Apr. 1839, State of Missouri v. Gates et al. for Arson [Daviess Co. Cir. Ct. 1839], microfilm 959,084, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Indictment, [Honey Creek Township, MO], ca. 10 Apr. 1839, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Larceny [Daviess Co. Cir. Ct. 1839], Daviess County Courthouse, Gallatin, MO; Indictment, [Honey Creek Township, MO], ca. 10 Apr. 1839, State of Missouri v. Baldwin et al. for Burglary [Daviess Co. Cir. Ct. 1839], Historical Department, Nineteenth-Century Legal Documents Collection, CHL.)
Document Containing the Correspondence, Orders, &c., in Relation to the Disturbances with the Mormons; and the Evidence Given before the Hon. Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, at the Court-House in Richmond, in a Criminal Court of Inquiry, Begun November 12, 1838, on the Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and Others, for High Treason and Other Crimes against the State. Fayette, MO: Boon’s Lick Democrat, 1841.
Historical Department. Nineteenth-Century Legal Documents Collection, ca. 1825–1890. CHL. CR 100 339.
During the April 1839 circuit court hearing, Judge Thomas Burch approved the prisoners’ request for the trial to be moved to a different circuit court, on the grounds that Burch had served as the prosecuting attorney in the November 1838 hearing and was therefore biased. (Historical Introduction to Promissory Note to John Brassfield, 16 Apr. 1839.)
Hyrum Smith, Diary, 12 Apr. 1839.
Smith, Hyrum. Diary, Mar.–Apr. 1839, Oct. 1840. CHL. MS 2945.
See Historical Introduction to Promissory Note to John Brassfield, 16 Apr. 1839.
Mulholland copied a document dated June 1839 onto page 48 of the letterbook, making June the earliest Mulholland likely copied documents on subsequent pages.