, 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.
words had the administering of the laws in their own hands and could they have found the law broken <even in a single instance> who does not know that they would <have> put the law <it> in force, and thereby substantiated their charges, <against the saints,> which they never did, in preference to taking unlawful measures against them. The following strange <remarkable> sentence is near the close of their famous declaration “We, therefore, agree, that after timely warning, & receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace, as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them: and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.” The 20th of July was the day set for the people to come together and commence their work of destruction— Accordingly they met to the number of 3 or 400 They chose a committee a committee of 13 of the mob was sent<dema> requested an interview with some of the principal elders of the church— 6 were soon called together who met the mob committee. They demanded of our people to have the and indeed all other mechanic’s shops <together with & ’s ()> closed forthwith and the society to agree to leave the immediately. Our elders <asked> 3 months for consideration which being refused they asked for 10 days when they were informed that 15 minutes was <were> the most that could be granted, being driven to the necessity of giving an immediate answer they said that they could not agree <consent> to their proposals <demands> upon which one of the mob observed, as he left the room, that he was sorry for <now> the work of destruction would commence immediately In a short time hundreds of the mob gathered around the (which was a two story brick building) which they soon threw down— <The press was thrown from the loft &> The press, book work, paper, type, aparatus &.c. scattered around.— After destroying the printing establishment they proceeded to s for the same purpose [p. ]