Letter from Austin A. King, 10 September 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Sept. 10th 1838.
Gentlemen,
I recd your communication yesterday by Mr Morrison & another today
To the one on yester I can say Mr Morrison has gone to , who I presume will do his duty. in reference to dispersing the armed force on , I hope great forbearance will be used in giving any cause for collission until he can act— In reference, to your last [p. [1]] I have assurance that Umpstead will not be hurt, and that he shall be turned loos, I was assured before I recd yours that Owens was not Shot at nor was there any intention to hurt him or it could have been done— he shall be turned loos unmolested, I advise you to turn those three men loos and let them receive kind treatment, as to the guns they were in the care of Capt [William] Pollard of this vicinity, whether they [p. [2]] went by his authority or permission, I am unable to say,— I am at a loss to give any advice about them, If Capt Pollard or any one for him will go after them under a pledge to return them to this place I will write to you again The guns belong to the Government, & they shall not through any agency of mine be taken from you to be converted & used for illegal purposes.
I am respectfully
[p. [3]]
Mssrs Smith &
.
Mo [p. [4]]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    “Mr Morrison” was perhaps Arthur Morrison, a Latter-day Saint and a Caldwell County judge. (Arthur Morrison, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 1 Nov. 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; see also Corrill, Brief History, 35.)  

    Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 2703.

  2. 2

    Before writing to JS and Sidney Rigdon on 10 September, King wrote to Atchison, advising the commander of the state’s Third Division to call out at least two hundred militiamen to enforce the law and avert any disturbances in Daviess County. (Austin A. King, Richmond, MO, to David R. Atchison, 10 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

  3. 3

    “Umpstead” was possibly Harvey or Moses Olmstead, while “Owens” was probably Ephraim Owen, who later described being accosted by five vigilantes in Daviess County. Umpstead and Owens may have been Mormon scouts gathering intelligence on the vigilantes. (See H. W. Lile et al. to David R. Atchison, 10 Sept. 1838, in Austin A. King, Richmond, MO, to David R. Atchison, 10 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Harvey Olmstead, Affidavit, Hancock Co., IL, 14 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; JS et al., Memorial to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 28 Nov. 1843, in Records of the U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Records, 1816–1982, National Archives, Washington DC; Memorial of Ephraim Owen Jr., H.R. Doc. no. 42, 25th Cong., 3rd Sess. [1838]; and Corrill, Brief History, 35.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

    Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 2703.

    Memorial of Ephraim Owen, Jr. H.R. Doc. no. 42, 25th Cong., 3rd Sess. (1838).

  4. 4

    King was referring to Comer, Miller, and McHaney, who were in the custody of Caldwell County civil authorities. According to Rigdon, testimony in the hearing on 12 September 1838 established that Comer stole the guns with the intention to arm the vigilantes, who were “collecting for the purpose of driving the saints from their homes.” Miller and McHaney were considered Comer’s accomplices. Later that day, Brigadier General Alexander Doniphan arrived in Far West with orders from Atchison to resolve the situation. Deeming the detention of the men illegal, Doniphan sent Comer to Atchison in Ray County and then transported Miller and McHaney to Daviess County, where Doniphan released them on a promise of good behavior. (Sidney Rigdon, JS, et al., Petition Draft [“To the Publick”], 20[a]–[20b]; Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 12 Sept. 1838; Alexander Doniphan, “Camp on Grand River,” MO, to David R. Atchison, 15 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

  5. 5

    See History of Ray County, Mo., 274.  

    History of Ray County, Missouri, Written and Compiled from the Most Authentic Official and Private Sources. . . . St. Louis, MO: Missouri Historical Co., 1881.

  6. 6

    After Alexander Doniphan learned that the Latter-day Saints had distributed the rifles among themselves, on 12 September 1838 he ordered that the weapons be collected. All but three of the forty-five rifles were located and transferred to Atchison’s camp in Ray County. (Alexander Doniphan, “Camp on Grand River,” MO, to David R. Atchison, 15 Sept. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)  

    Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.