, 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.
The suits which had been commenced against the people for damages <progressed so slow and was attended with so much costs that they> were all dropped but two which were thought <to be> sufficient to try the experiment to asscertain whether or not anything could be obtained by law. About Near $300, <costs> had to be paid to obtain a change of venue the suits were <then> removed to , Court after court passed and the trials were put over— at last <At Last In the summer of 1836> the time <at last> drew near when it was supposed that the <trials> must come on which was very gratifying to those who planted the suits. When the time of court came their lawyers instead of going to trial <as they should have done> made a sort of compromise with the mobbers by dropping one suit without even having the costs paid & that this <too> without the knowledge or consent of their employer the <on the> other suit the defendants agreed to pay a few hundred dollars though not as much as the lawyers fees & costs had been. had their lawyers laboured as hard to have <had> a fair trial as they did to bring about this compromise Had our brns <the> lawyers been true to them <brns> and brought their suits to trial instead of makeing the <a> compromise and laboured faithfully for them as though them meant to earn their $1000. there is no doubt but that on the two suits they <would have> obtained as many thousands of dollars for them as they did hundreds by the compromise [p. ]