, 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.
but he agreeing to shut his and pack <box> his goods forthwith they concluded to let him alone. They they then proceeded to take certain individuals for the purpose of abusing them: They succeeded in taking and both of whom they tarred and feathered upon the public <at> square with hundreds of the mob surrounding them many of whom insulted them. This scene closed the work of the mob for that day. They adjourned to meet the next teusday the 23d inst.
Teusday morning the mob came together, large companies <of the mob> came into bearing red flags threatning the Mormons with <death &> destruction <to the Mormons.> some of A consultation was had <held> between some of the leading men of both parties, nothing appeared satisfactory to the mob party but for the other party to leave the or be put to death. It Seeing the determination of the mob It was proposed by some of our elders that if it would satisfy the mob by so as to let the rest of the society live where they were in peace they would suffer <themselves to be taken and put to death> the mob to take them and kill them, but being <they were> answered that that would not do, but that every one should die for themselves. At this time to make resistance or even defend themselves was thought to be wrongmany <most if not all> of our people in thought that they would be doing wrong to <resist the mob> even <by> defend themselves consequently they thought that they must quietly submit to whatever yoke was put upon them even to the laying down of their lives. With these views, the few elders who were assembled to consult upon the subject <which were but 6 or 7> after much consultation thought it better <best> to agree to leave the upon the terms agreed upon Viz. <that those elders would go themselves and also use their influence> that one half of the society should leave the by the first of the <following> following<next> January and the other half by the 1st of the following April following that <and the mob agreed not to molest the church during that time>, hoping that before either of those dates <would> expired that some kind providence would open the way for them to still live there in peace The agreement was put into writing and signed by the parties, all of whic[h] appeared very satisfactory to the <whole> mob who had it all <read &> explained to them in the [p. ]