, 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.
Whilst the mob was at the Blue threatening the people <Saints> the<y> brn. sent <word> to a body of the Saints <brn.> about 5 or 6 miles off <to the> S. W. that the <a large> mob was there and <that they> expected to need help, whereupon 19 brn. started to go and assist them but before they reached s store they learned that the mob had returned there so they turned themselves about and started for home again.
The mob by some means learned that they were on the road west of them when <they> from 50 to 70 of them took their rifles, and mounted their horses and went in pursuit of them. After traveling about two miles they came in sight of them when they <all> fled into the woods Some went immediately home and informed their brn. of what they had seen, as soon as possible about 30 of the brn <who had lived in the settlement where the mob then was & some of whom had had their houses unroofed> took their arms and started <as soon as possible> to meet the mob. The mob meantime <they> went to ’s <a lame bro. who had not left his home> pointed their guns at him and threatened his life provided he did not tell them where the brn. had fled to. they also threatened women and children they turned their horses into the brns. cornfields and hunted [5 words illegible] for them In this manner they spent their time for about an hour when <about sundown> the thirty saints <brn> marched up and as soon as they came near the mob fired upon them and they fired back again immediately, soon the mob retreated and <left the ground they were followed a short distance but not far <by the Brn. who then stopped>> were followed a short distance Two of the mob <and a number of horses> were killed and a number more <some four or five <5 or 6>> wounded they were so scared <frightened> that they left their dead on the ground ov <over> night the saints had a num <4 or 5> wounded— one <Barber> mortally who died the next day— was shot in the bowels by the first gun fired
The same day at , , , and some others were taken for an assault and battery and false imprisonment by whom they had taken the friday night previous: And although they could not get a warrant for him for breaking the yet he had obtained one for them for catching him at it They were prisoners in the court house in open court when news of the battle reached town it was stated that the Mormons had killed 20 of the mob <and had gone to s & shot his son> In a moment as it were [p. ]