History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1607
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<​July 1​> deed was most diabolical and of the blackest kind, for indeed the Mormons did not set them on fire, nor meddle with their houses or their fields. And the houses that were burnt, together with the pre-emption rights, and the corn in the fields, had all been previously purchased by the Mormons of the people and paid for in money and with waggons and horses and with other property, about two weeks before; but they had not taken possession of the premises; but this wicked transaction was for the purpose of clandestinely exciting the minds of a prejudiced populace and the , that they might get an order, that they could the more easily carry out their hellish purposes, in expulsion or extermination or utter extinction of the Mormon people. After witnessing the distressed situations of the people in , my brother Joseph Smith Senior and myself returned to the city of , and immediately despatched a messenger, with written documents to , stating the facts as they did then exist, praying for assistance if possible, and requesting the Editor of the “Far West” to insert the same in his newspaper, but he utterly refused to do so. We still believed that we should get assistance from the , and again petitioned him, praying for assistance, setting forth our distressed situation; and in the mean time the presiding Judge of the County Court issued orders— upon affidavits made to him by the citizens— to the Sheriff of the County, to order out the Militia of the County to stand in constant readiness, night and day, to prevent the citizens from being massacred, which fearful situation they were in every moment. Every thing was very portentious and alarming[.] Notwithstanding all this, there was a ray of hope yet existing in the minds of the people that the would render us assistance; and whilst the people were waiting anxiously for deliverance— men women and children frightened, praying and weeping— we beheld at a distance, crossing the prairies and approaching the town, a large army in military array, brandishing their glittering swords in the sunshine, and we could not but feel joyful for a moment, thinking that probably the had sent an armed force to our relief, notwithstanding the awful forebodings that pervaded our breasts. But to our great surprise, when the army arrived they came up and formed a line in double file within one half mile on the South of the city of , and despatched three messengers with a white flag to the . They were met by with a few other individuals, whose names I do not now recollect. I was myself standing close by, and could very distinctly hear every word they said. Being filled with anxiety, I rushed forward to the spot, expecting to hear good news— but alas! and heart-thrilling to every soul that heard [HC 3:409] them they demanded three persons to be brought out of the before they should massacre the rest. The names of the persons they demanded, were , and his wife. Immediately the three persons were brought forth to hold an interview with the officers who had made the demand, and the officers told them they had now a chance to save their lives, for they calculated to destroy the people and lay the in ashes. They replied to the officers, and said, “If the people must be destroyed and the burned to ashes, they would remain in the and die with them.” The officers immediately returned, and the army retreated [p. 1607]
July 1 deed was most diabolical and of the blackest kind, for indeed the Mormons did not set them on fire, nor meddle with their houses or their fields. And the houses that were burnt, together with the pre-emption rights, and the corn in the fields, had all been previously purchased by the Mormons of the people and paid for in money and with waggons and horses and with other property, about two weeks before; but they had not taken possession of the premises; but this wicked transaction was for the purpose of clandestinely exciting the minds of a prejudiced populace and the , that they might get an order, that they could the more easily carry out their hellish purposes, in expulsion or extermination or utter extinction of the Mormon people. After witnessing the distressed situations of the people in , my brother Joseph Smith Senior and myself returned to the city of , and immediately despatched a messenger, with written documents to , stating the facts as they did then exist, praying for assistance if possible, and requesting the Editor of the “Far West” to insert the same in his newspaper, but he utterly refused to do so. We still believed that we should get assistance from the , and again petitioned him, praying for assistance, setting forth our distressed situation; and in the mean time the presiding Judge of the County Court issued orders— upon affidavits made to him by the citizens— to the Sheriff of the County, to order out the Militia of the County to stand in constant readiness, night and day, to prevent the citizens from being massacred, which fearful situation they were in every moment. Every thing was very portentious and alarming. Notwithstanding all this, there was a ray of hope yet existing in the minds of the people that the would render us assistance; and whilst the people were waiting anxiously for deliverance— men women and children frightened, praying and weeping— we beheld at a distance, crossing the prairies and approaching the town, a large army in military array, brandishing their glittering swords in the sunshine, and we could not but feel joyful for a moment, thinking that probably the had sent an armed force to our relief, notwithstanding the awful forebodings that pervaded our breasts. But to our great surprise, when the army arrived they came up and formed a line in double file within one half mile on the South of the city of , and despatched three messengers with a white flag to the . They were met by with a few other individuals, whose names I do not now recollect. I was myself standing close by, and could very distinctly hear every word they said. Being filled with anxiety, I rushed forward to the spot, expecting to hear good news— but alas! and heart-thrilling to every soul that heard [HC 3:409] them they demanded three persons to be brought out of the before they should massacre the rest. The names of the persons they demanded, were , and his wife. Immediately the three persons were brought forth to hold an interview with the officers who had made the demand, and the officers told them they had now a chance to save their lives, for they calculated to destroy the people and lay the in ashes. They replied to the officers, and said, “If the people must be destroyed and the burned to ashes, they would remain in the and die with them.” The officers immediately returned, and the army retreated [p. 1607]
Page 1607