Minutes, 29 October 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Oct. 29th 1835
This day a High Council was called at ’s for the purpose of trying certain cases.
Names of the counsellors present
After the council had taken their seats according to their respective numbers President opened the council by prayer.
A charge was read against & wife preferred by Elder for abusing their daughter by beating and whipping her. Two counsellors on each side were appointed to speak. (Viz.) and on one side and on the other & . Witnesses on part of the were & his wife Roxana.
testified that said ’s girl came to his house and complained that her father had abused her, and whipped her & that some marks were found upon her arms, body &c. when she had been whipped. This circumstance took place about ten days since, The girl was about fifteen years old, and that she said she would, or had a mind to make away with herself, hang herself, or something of the kind to get rid of her trouble and affliction. The testimony of Roxana Lyons, that was that Mrs. Elliott threatned to take the broomstick and kill her, and also confirmed the testimony of her husband.
Sister Osgood testifies, that some three years since she (sister Osgood) lived at said ’s and that [p. 127] the girl told her that she was sorry that sister Osgood was going to leave her father, for said she I know how I shall fare when you leave I shall run away or destroy myself and went down into the well for the purpose of drowning herself but was prevented by sister Osgood,
Testimony of was that the people of where the circumstances took place, were much excited about the affair, and that it was a topic of public conversation.
The testimony of President Smith was that he was at their house in and talked with the girl, and with her parints, and that he was satisfied that the girl was in the fault, and that the neighbors were trying to create a difficulty.
Testimony of ’s father was that the girl was refractory and stubborn, and would sometimes vary from the truth and had never seen or Sister Elliot abuse her. After the Counsellors had made their observations, the and the were heard. The Presidents then proceeded to give the following decision. That the complaint was not without foundation, yet the charge has not been fully sustained, but he has acted injudiciously and brought a disgrace upon himself, upon his daughter & upon this Church, because he ought to have trained his child in a way, that she should not have required the rod at the age of 15 years.
Council adjourned till candle light.
Council again convened and Hezekiah Fisk was appointed in the room of , who was absent and in the place of . After the council was organized, a charge was [p. 128] preferred against Mary Elliott for abusing said .s daughter as referred to before, and also abusing the rest of her children, by .
Six were appointed to speak on this case. Testimony of Sister Childs was that she lived in the house with Sister Elliot confessed her wrong and promised to do so no more consequently the council forgave her. made his confession and was forgiven, and both he and his wife were restored to fellowship.
Council closed, by prayer by
Clerk. [p. 129]


  1. 1

    The couple may have had as many as eight children living with them, including five from David Elliott’s previous marriages. (“Elliott, David,” born 18 Nov. 1799, submitted by Alvin E. Morris, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family Group Records Collection; Archives Section, 1942–1969, microfilm 1,274,009, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  2. 2

    In addition to the six members of the high council who were appointed to speak (three for each side), several other people served as witnesses, including Lucy Mack Smith. Though there is no indication of what Lucy Mack Smith said during her deposition, it is likely that she testified against David Elliott. JS’s journal recounts that when Lucy began to testify, JS objected on the grounds that her testimony concerned matters that had already been considered and settled in the earlier session. William took offense to his brother’s unilateral action, insisting that he was “invalidating or doubting” their mother’s testimony. The tension escalated. According to JS’s journal, “I told him [William] that he was out of place & asked him to set down.” When William demurred, JS ordered him to sit. Enraged, William told JS that he would not sit down unless JS “knocked him down.” JS also became angry, and it was only after Joseph Smith Sr. intervened that order was restored. (JS, Journal, 29 Oct. 1835.)