Petition, circa 11 September 1838 [State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Riot]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To His Excellency . Governor of the State of
Your petitioner William Dryden an acting Justice of the peace within and for would respectfully represent. that the Counties of and are settled by in part a denomination of people called Mormons. These Mormons to the number of about fifteen hundred men have associated themselves together, and have resisted and do resist with force and arms legal process against persons belonging to their denomination. Your petitioner further states that on the 29th day of August last past, appeared before me and made oath, that , and others, had been guilty of a
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follows, to wit, that on or about the 8th day of August 1838 in , there came an armed force to his s house in said among whom the said and and others persons named in said affidavit were a part, and then and there with deadly weapons made an assault upon him the said , and then and there threatened him (who was then an acting Justice of the peace within and for [p. [1]] aforesaid) with instant death if he did not sign a certain instrument of writing binding himself as a Justice of the peace of said County of not to molest the people called Mormons, and threatened the lives of himself the said & others, and said they intended to make every citizen of said sign such obligation &c.
Your petitioner farther [further] states that he immediately issued a writ pursuant to law, for the arrest of the said , & others, commanding
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after the arrest, to bring the Bodies of the persons therein named forthwith before your petitioner, to answer the complaint, and farther to be dealt with according to law. There being no Constable within the Township of which I am Justice, he having been driven from the by and through fear of the Mormons, and your petitioner believing that said writ would not be executed, unless a special Deputy was made for that purpose. Your petitioner then and there appointed Nathaniel H. Blakely a special Deputy, to serve said writ, and said appointment was endorsed on said writ, and signed by myself officially, and then and there delivered to the said Blakely. Your petitioner farther states that the said Blakely took said writ and summoned a Guard consisting of ten men, who went in search of the persons named in said writ for the purpose of executing the said writ, but the said Constable returned that the persons named in said writ, were [p. [2]] not found in said by reason of himself and Guard having been driven by force from the Town in said in which the offenders were supposed then to be. The said affidavit, writ, and return are herewith respectfully submitted to your Excellency.
Your petitioner further believes and represents, that the Mormons are so numerous, and so well armed within the limits of the Counties of and , that the power of the County is wholy unable to execute any Civil or Criminal process within the limits of either of said Counties against a mormon or mormons as they each and every one of act in concert and out number the other Citizens. They also declare that they are independent, and your petitioner verily believes, that the said mormons hold in utter contempt the institutions of the in which they live.
Your petitioner further represents that some time about the 8th Sept Inst. that three individuals were arrested by the said mormons in and held in Custody, and your petitioner represents, that he believes they are still in confinement without any warrant of law. Your petitioner further represents that he verily believes, that no Civil officer of the could cause to be executed any legal process within either of said Counties of or .
Your petitioner would therefore respectfully pray your Excellency to furnish the Civil officers [p. [3]] within and for the Counties of & , a sufficient number of troops to enable them to execute the law of the land and bring the offenders aforesaid to Justice. To this end your petitioner will ever pray &c.
15th September 1838)
William Dryden
Justice of the Peace
Executive Dept City of
Sept 15th 1838
The Adjutant Genl
You will issue an order directed to Commanding the 3rd Division of the Militia of the , and direct him to cause a sufficient force of the Troops under his Command to aid the civil officers within the County of in executing such writs or process as may be legally within the province of their respective duties. And especially to furnish the officers charged with the service of the writ mentioned in the foregoing petition of William Dryden Justice of the peace of with a force sufficient to enable him to execute said process and bring the offenders to Justice.
Commander in Chief [p. [4]]