Sidney Rigdon, Appeal to the American People, 1840, Second Edition

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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cision of the council was that our friends there should place themselves in an attitude of self-defence. Accordingly about twenty eight of our men armed themselves, and were in constant readiness for an attack of any small body of men that might come upon them. The same evening, for some cause best known to themselves, the mob sent one of their number to enter into a treaty with our friends, which was accepted of, on the condition of mutual forbearance on both sides, and that each party, as far as their influence extended, should exert themselves to prevent any further hostilities upon either party. At this time, however, there was another mob collecting on , at William Mann’s, who were threatening us; consequently, we remained under arms on Monday the 29th, which passed away without molestation from any quarter. On Tuesday the 30th that bloody tragedy was acted, the scenes of which I shall never forget.
More than three-fourths of the day had passed in tranquility, as smiling as the preceding one. I think there was no individual of our company that was apprised of the sudden and awful fate that hung over our heads, like an overwhelming torrent, to change the prospects, the feelings and circumstances of about thirty families. The banks of , on either side, teemed with children sporting and playing, while their mothers were engaged in domestic employments, and their father employed in guarding the mills and other property, while others were engaged in gathering in their crops for their winter consumption. The weather was very pleasant—the sun shone clear—all was tranquil, and no one expressed any apprehensions of the awful crisis that was near us, even at our doors.
It was about 4 o’clock, while sitting in my cabin, with my babe in my arms, and my standing by my side, the door being open, I cast my eyes on the opposite bank of , and saw a large company of armed men on horses, directing their course towards the mills with all possible speed. As they advanced through the scattering trees that stood on the edge of the prairie, they seemed to form themselves into a three square position, forming a van guard in front. At this moment, David Evans, seeing the superiority of their numbers, (there being two hundred and forty of them, according to their own account) swung his hat and cried for peace. This not being heeded, they continued to advance, and their leader, , fired a gun, which was followed by a solemn pause of ten or twelve seconds, when all at once, they discharged about one hundred rifles, aiming at a black-smith shop, into which our friends had fled for safety, and charging up to the shop, the cracks of which between the logs were sufficiently large to enable them to aim directly at the bodies of those who had there fled for refuge from the fire of their murderers. There were several families tented in rear of the shop whose lives were exposed, and amidst a shower of bullets, fled to the woods in different directions. After standing and gazing on this bloody scene for a few minutes, and finding myself in the utmost danger, the bullets having reached the house [p. 39]
cision of the council was that our friends there should place themselves in an attitude of self-defence. Accordingly about twenty eight of our men armed themselves, and were in constant readiness for an attack of any small body of men that might come upon them. The same evening, for some cause best known to themselves, the mob sent one of their number to enter into a treaty with our friends, which was accepted of, on the condition of mutual forbearance on both sides, and that each party, as far as their influence extended, should exert themselves to prevent any further hostilities upon either party. At this time, however, there was another mob collecting on , at William Mann’s, who were threatening us; consequently, we remained under arms on Monday the 29th, which passed away without molestation from any quarter. On Tuesday the 30th that bloody tragedy was acted, the scenes of which I shall never forget.
More than three-fourths of the day had passed in tranquility, as smiling as the preceding one. I think there was no individual of our company that was apprised of the sudden and awful fate that hung over our heads, like an overwhelming torrent, to change the prospects, the feelings and circumstances of about thirty families. The banks of , on either side, teemed with children sporting and playing, while their mothers were engaged in domestic employments, and their father employed in guarding the mills and other property, while others were engaged in gathering in their crops for their winter consumption. The weather was very pleasant—the sun shone clear—all was tranquil, and no one expressed any apprehensions of the awful crisis that was near us, even at our doors.
It was about 4 o’clock, while sitting in my cabin, with my babe in my arms, and my standing by my side, the door being open, I cast my eyes on the opposite bank of , and saw a large company of armed men on horses, directing their course towards the mills with all possible speed. As they advanced through the scattering trees that stood on the edge of the prairie, they seemed to form themselves into a three square position, forming a van guard in front. At this moment, David Evans, seeing the superiority of their numbers, (there being two hundred and forty of them, according to their own account) swung his hat and cried for peace. This not being heeded, they continued to advance, and their leader, , fired a gun, which was followed by a solemn pause of ten or twelve seconds, when all at once, they discharged about one hundred rifles, aiming at a black-smith shop, into which our friends had fled for safety, and charging up to the shop, the cracks of which between the logs were sufficiently large to enable them to aim directly at the bodies of those who had there fled for refuge from the fire of their murderers. There were several families tented in rear of the shop whose lives were exposed, and amidst a shower of bullets, fled to the woods in different directions. After standing and gazing on this bloody scene for a few minutes, and finding myself in the utmost danger, the bullets having reached the house [p. 39]
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