Letter from John Corrill, 17 November 1833

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

November 17, 1833.
Dear brethren—I will give you a few particulars of our proceedings, and also of the rioters, as I have been able to collect them. Some forty or fifty of them in one night, demolished or unroofed ten houses of ours, above Blue. They came out again in the night and two of their number were taken, and that stopped their career that night. Again they fell upon the society at the Blue, and commenced firing upon them, which was returned by the society, and one of their men was shot through the thigh. Again they came out against the society above the Blue, a battle ensued in which some two or three of their men were killed, and a number wounded and shortly died, and others were wounded but are like to recover.
was shot through the bowels and his case is considered doubtful; another by the name of [Andrew] Barber was wounded and has since died; five or six more were wounded but not mortally. Another party had fallen upon the brethren in and did considerable damage. We went against them, and took one man while in the act of breaking open the . We had him before the magistrate but he refused to do any thing with him at that time. He then sued myself, and others for an assault; we were prisoners in the court house for trial when the news came of the battle above Blue. The house being full they rushed upon us to kill us, but through the mercy of God we were preserved and not hurt: we saw plainly that the whole county were enraged, and preparing for a general massacre the next day. We then thought it wisdom to stop the shedding of more blood; and by agreeing to leave immediately we saved many lives; in this we feel justified. But we are literally in a scattered, miserable condition, not knowing what we shall be called to pass through next. The brethren, generally bare it patiently and feel cheerful, trusting in God, and but few deny the faith—I will write more particulars hereafter, Yours, &c. [p. 120]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    See Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833; see also [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:19.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  2. 2

    Parley P. Pratt wrote that on Friday, 1 November 1833, he and a small contingent of church members living at the Colesville settlement, approximately twelve miles southwest of Independence, captured two spies for the mob, one of whom hit Pratt over the head with his gun. Pratt remembered that capturing these two men “probably prevented a general attack of the mob that night.” (Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 32–35; Pratt, Autobiography, 103–104; see also [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:20.)  

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  3. 3

    See Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833.  

  4. 4

    Orson Hyde wrote that before the militia could engage, a part of the mob “went above Big Blue, but were met by a party of the Mormons who were well armed, and they poured a deadly fire upon them; two or three of the Mob fell dead, and a number mortally wounded.” Edward Partridge stated that two non-Mormons were killed in this battle. (See “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 118; [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:34; and Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1]–[2].)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  5. 5

    Several accounts mention casualties suffered by church members during this conflict. According to a later account by Daniel Stanton and Charles Hulett, on “the first of Nov in year 1833 a youn[g] Man By the Name of Barber[,] a member of the Church[,] was shot in the Bowels at Whitmer settlemen[t] and died the Night following[.] he was shot By Robert Patten” of the mob. Stanton and Hulett remembered that four more church members were wounded: Jacob Whitmer, Philo Dibble, Lanson Cleavland, and William Whiting. In a later account Partridge wrote that “two of the mob, and a number of horses were killed, and some five or six wounded. . . . The saints had four or five wounded, one by the name of Barber mortally, who died the next day. P. Dibble was wounded, in the bowels by the first gun fired.” Dibble later wrote that the doctors who examined him “pronounced [him] mortally wou[n]ded,” though he later recovered. Orson Hyde reported that Hugh L. Breazeale, an attorney, was also killed in the fight. JS understood from a letter sent to him by Phelps that Thomas Linville, another member of the mob, was also killed. (Daniel Stanton and Charles Hulett, Statement, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, 1839–1860, CHL; Corrill, Brief History, 20; [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:34; Philo Dibble, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 13 May 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845, CHL; “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 118; Letter to Edward Partridge, 5 Dec. 1833.)  

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

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

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  6. 6

    See Historical Introduction to Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833.  

  7. 7

    When word of the battle near the Big Blue settlement reached the courtroom on Monday, 4 November 1833, the court clerk, Samuel C. Owens, recommended that the prisoners ask to go to jail to save their lives. ([Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:34; History of Jackson County, Missouri, 256.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  8. 8

    See “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 125.  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  9. 9

    See Letter from William W. Phelps, 6–7 Nov. 1833; [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Jan. 1840, 1:36; and Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, [1]–[2].  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  10. 10

    See “From Missouri,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1834, 124–126.  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.