, History, Manuscript, ca. 1839; handwriting of ; nineteen pages (several additional leaves missing); CHL.
While incarcerated at , Missouri, in March 1839, JS addressed a letter to the Saints and to “ in particular” in which he called for the Saints to gather up “a knoledge of all the facts and sufferings and abuses put upon them” in that they might publish the records “to all the world” and “present them to the heads of the government.” (JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:1, 6].) Apparently in response to this assignment, Edward Partridge wrote a history that became the first three installments of “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” an eleven-part series published in the church’s newspaper, Times and Seasons, between December 1839 and October 1840.
may have intended to tell the entire story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication began and died 27 May 1840. Partridge’s manuscript, which he did not title, is provided here. The full text of “A History, of the Persecution,” which necessarily relied on other sources following Partridge’s demise, receives comprehensive treatment in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers and is available on this website.
’s history begins with his account of the conflicts in the early 1830s. Partridge was a bishop of the church in Missouri, first in and then in following the Saints’ expulsion from Jackson County. He also served as bishop in after the Saints relocated there from Clay County in 1836. By the time he drafted his account of the Mormon experiences in Missouri, the Saints had been exiled from the state and had relocated to .
’s narrative is based on firsthand observations and may also have relied on other records he kept. It begins, “In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions,” indicating that Partridge wrote it for publication purposes. However, there are occasionally significant differences between the manuscript version and “A History, of the Persecution” as published.
The early custodial history of the manuscript is somewhat uncertain. However, the manuscript was presumably among materials in the possession of church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith, who held that office from 1921 to 1970 and who had worked in the Church Historian’s Office many years prior. The manuscript became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became church president in 1970, and, with other records (including Revelation Book 1 and two drafts of JS’s history), was transferred from the First Presidency’s office to the Church History Library in 2005.
In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day-Saints in the State of we feel it our duty to commence <them>it <it> at the beginning, notwithstanding many of our readers <we> are <aware are> well acquainted with the outrages committed in <(an account of them They having been published in the Evening & Morning star)> and might perhaps rather see the paper filled with other matter <than <to have> those former troubles presented before them again.> yet there are a great many others, who are altogether unacquainted with those early troubles <persecutions> who would feel that we had not done our duty were we to pass by those former troubles <them> and commence <confine> our h[is]tory to more recent transactions. Thus much by way of introduction.
In the winter of A.D. 1830–31 five elders <of the church of Jesus Christ 4 <of which were> from the State of State & 1 <was> from > traveled on foot, wading through a deep snow <which is not common in that country> through the praries from to Missouri where they made a permanent stand. <They> occasionally preaching <preached> about the country as the way opened before them. <A few believed the gospel preached and had been baptized when> About the middle of the July following July a number more elders’ arrived at , and soon <shortly> after a small branch of the church also arrived
At that time there appeared to be but little objection to the church our people’s settleing there, although the preaching had stir[r]ed up some few to show their quils <appear> like a hedge hogs when they show their quils <an enemy is near>. The church in continued to increase continually untill they were <it was> driven from the . As the church increased the hostile spirit of the people increased <also> in about the same proportionOur <The> enemies circulated <from time to time> all manner of <false> stories against us <our people> <hoping> thereby hoping to stir <up> the indignation of others. They also <in the spring of 1832> brick batted or stoned some of our people’s <the> houses <of the Saints> breaking in windows and &c. if not only disturbing but endangering the lives of the inmates. In the course of that season a county meeting was called <at > to adopt measures to drive the Saints from the <but> the meeting broke up <without coming to any agreement about the Saints> having had too much [p. ]