Sidney Rigdon, Testimony, 1 July 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]

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  • Historical Introduction

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<​ Sworn Says​> I arived in , Caldwill county missouri on the fourth of April 1837 <​1838​> and injoiyed peace and quietness in common with the rest of the citizens untill the August following when great excitement was created by the office seekers. attempts were made to prevent the citizens of from voting. Soon after the election, which took place in the early part of August. The citizens of were threatened with violence from those of and other counties adjacent to .
This the August 1838 I may date as the time of the beginning of all the troubles of our people in and in all the counties around and indeed all who were living in the , <​where our people were living.​> We had lived in peace after I lived in the which was from the April previous, untill this time, but from this time till we were all out of the , it was but one scene of violence following another in quick succession. There were at this time settlements in , Carroll, , and , counties, as will is <​as​> some famlies living in other counties, A semultanious movement was made in all the counties, where settlements were made in every part of the , which soon became violent, and threatnings were heard from every quarter publick meeting were held and the most inflamatory speeches made, and resolutions passed which denounced all the citizens of these counties in the most bitter and rancorous manner. These resolutions were published in the papers, and the most extensive cerculation given to them that the presses of the country were capable of giving. The first regular mob that assembled was in Carroll , and their effects were directed against the settlements made in that declaring their determination to drive out of the all the citizens, who were of our religion and that indiscrimenately, without regard to any thing else but their religeon. The only evidence necessary <​to​> dispossess any individu [p. 1]all or family, or all the evidence acquired would be that they were mormons, as we were called, or rather that they were of the mormon religion. this was considered of itself crime enough to cause any individual or family to be driven from their homes, and their property to be made common plunder. Resolutions to this effect were made at publick meetings held for the purpose and made publick through the papers of the in the face of all law, and all authority.
I will here <​now​> give the <​a​> history of the settlement in Carrill county. In the preceding april, as myself and family were on our way to , we put up at a house in Carrill county, on a stream called Turkey creek, to tarry for the night soon after we stopped a youngerly man came riding up who also stopped and tarryed staid the sa through the night. hearing my name mentioned, he introduced himself to <​me​> as said he lived in that county at a little town called on the , and had been at to get some of those who were coming in to that place to form a settlement at , speaking highly of the advantages of the situation, and solicited <​soliciting​> my interference in his behalf to obtain a number of families to commence at that place as he was a large propreter [proprietor] in the town Platt he offered, a liberal share in all the profits which <​might​> arise from the sale of property there, to those who would aid him in getting the place settled. In the morning we proceded on our journey. Some few weeks after my arival the said in company with a man by the name of Came to , on the same business, and after much solicitation on their part it was agreed that a settlement should be made in that place, and in the July following the first famili[e]s removed to that <​there​> place. and the settlement soon increased untill in the [p. [2]] first of the October following it consisted of some seventy families. By this time a regular mob had colected strongly armed, and had obtained <​possession of​> a cannon and stationed themselves a mile or two from the . The citizens being nearly all new commers and had to live in their tents and wagons, and were exerting themselves to the uttermost to get houses for the approaching winter. The mob commenced committing <​their​> depredations on the citizens <​by​> not suffering them to pro cure the materials for building, keeping them shut up in the , not allowing them to go out to get provisions, driving off their cattle, and preventing them <​the owners​> from going in sea[r]ch of them. In this way the citizens were drived driven to the greatests extremities, actually suffering for food and every comfort of life, in consequence of which there was much sickness and many died Females gave birth to children without a house to shelter them, and in consequence of the exposure many suffered great affliction, and many died Hearing of their great sufferings a number of the men of determined on going to see what was doing <​there​> accordingly we started, eluded the vigilence of the mob, <​and​> notwithstanding they had sentinels placed on all the principal roads to prevent any relief from being sent to to the citizens and arived safely in and found the people as above stated. During the time we were there every effort that could be made was made to get the authorities of the country to interfere and scatter the mob. The <​Judge of the​> circuit court was petitioned, but without success, and after that the of the , who returned for answer that the citizens of had got into a difficulty with the surrounding country and they might get out it, for he would nave nothing to do with it or this <​was​> answer that the messenger brought when he returned The messenger was a Mr Caldwell who owned a ferry on , about three miles from and was an old settler in the place [p. [3]]
The citizens were completely beseiged by the mob no man was at liberty to go out nor any to come in. The extremities were now great to which the people were driven <​were very great​> suffering with much sickness without shelter and deprived of all aid <​either​> medical or of any other kind, <​& being​> without food, or the privilege of the getting it, <​&​> Betrayed by every man who made the least pretension to friendship. a notable instance <​of which​> I will here give, as a sample of many others, of a similar kind There was neither bread nor flour to be had in the place— a steam boat landed at the<​re​> place <​&​> application was made to get flour but they captain said, there was none <​on​> aboard. A man then offered his services to get flour for the place, knowing he said where there was a quantity, money was given to him for this purpose— he got on the boat, and went off— and that was the last <​we heard​> of the man or the money This was a man who had been frequently in during the siege, and professed great friendship. In this time of extremity a man who had a short time before moved into bringing with him a fine yoke of cattle started out to hunt his cattle, in order to butcher them to keep the citizens from actual starvation, but before he got but a little distance from the he was fired <​up​>on by the mob, and was narrowly escaped with his life and had to return, or at least such was his report when he returned. Being now completely inclosed on every side we could plainly see many men on the opposite side of the , and it was supposed that they were there to prevent the citizens from crossing the and indeed a small craft crossed from them with three men in it who said that that was their object, for which they had assembled. At this critical moment, with death staring us in the face, in its worst form cut off from all comm[un]ication with the surrounding country, and all our provisions exhausted we were sustained as the children of Israel in the desert, only by different animals. They by quailes— and us by cattle and hogs which came walking into the camp, for such it truly was [p. [4]] as the people were living in tents and wagons not being privileged with building houses, What was to be done in this extremty, why recourse was had to the only means of subsistence left and that was to butcher the cattle and hogs which came into the place, without asking who was the owner or without knowing, and what to me is remarkable is that a sufficient number of animals came into the camp to sustain life during the time, in which the citizens were thus besieged by the mob. This indeed was but rough <​coarse​> living, but such as it was, it sustained life. From this circumstance the cry went out, that the citizens of , were thieves and plunderers, This however is and were stealing cattle and hogs.
During this time the mob of Carrill county the said that all they wanted was that the citizens of should leave Carrill county and go to , and counties. The citizens finding that they must leave , or eventually starve finally agreed to leave, and accordingly preparations were made and was vacated <​avacuated​>. The first evening after we left we put up for the night in a grove of timber. Soon after our arival in the grove, a female who a short time before had given birth to a child in consequence of the exposure died. a grave was dug in the grove and the next morning the body was deposited in it without a coffin, and the company proceeded on their journey; part of them going into and part in to . This was in the <​month of​> October of 1838.
In a short time after the<​ir​> arival into and counties, messengers soon arrived informing the now citizens of and that the mob was marching to with their cannon with them threatning death to the citizens or else <​that​> they should all leave . This caused other efforts to be made to get the authorities to interfere. I wrote to <​two​> memorials one to the , and one to circuit Judge [p. [5]] imploring their assistance, and intervention to protect the citizens of against the threatened violence <​of the mo[b]​> These memorials were accompianed with affidavits which could leave no doubt on the mind of the or , that the citizens before mentioned were in imminent danger. At this time things began to assume an alarming aspect around both <​to​> the citizens of and counties: mobs were forming all around & in the country declaring that they would drive the people out of the . This made the <​our​> appeals to the authorites more <​deeply​> solicitous as the danger increased, and very soon after this the mobs commenced their depredations; which was a general system of plunder: tearing down fences, <​exposing all within the field to distuction [destruction]​> letting cattle horses and hogs in field of grain, and driving off every animal they could find.
Sometime previous to this, in consequence of the threatnings, which were made by mobs or those who were being formed into mobs, and the abuses committed by them on the persons and property of the citizens, an association was formed called the band. This, as far as I was acquainted with it, (not being myself one of the number, neither was Joseph Smith Sen,) was for mutual protection against the bands which were forming, and threatned to be formed, for the professed object of committing violence on the property and persons of the citizens of and counties. They had certain signs and words by which they could know one another either by day or night. They were bound to keep those signs and words secret; so that no other person or persons than themselves could know them. When any of the<​se​> persons were assailed by any lawless band, he would make it known to others who would flee to his relief at the risk of life. In this way they saught to defend each other<​s​> and defend <​both​> their lives and property but they were <​strictly enjoined not​> bound to touch not <​any​> person, only those who were engaged in acts of violince against the persons or property of one of their own number, or one of those whose life and property they had bound themselves [p. [6]] to defend. This organization was in existence when the mobs commenced their most violent attempts upon the citizens of the before mentioned counties, and from this association arose all the horror afterwards <​expressed​> by the mob at some secret clan known as .
The efforts made to get the authorities to interfere at this time was attended with some success. The militia were ordered out under the command of of , Brigadier generals of and of , who marched their troops to , where they found a large mob, and said in my presence he took the following singular method to disperse them— He organized them with his troops as part of the militia called out to suppress and arest the mob, after having thus organized <​them​> they discharged them and all the rest of the troops as having no farther need for their services and all returned home. This however seemed only to give the mob more courage to increase their exertions with redoubled vigor. They boasted, after that, that the authorities would not punish them, and they would do as they pleased. In a very short time their efforts were renewed with a determination not to cease untill they had driven the citizens of and such of the citizens of as they had marked out as victims out of <​from​> the . A man by the name of who resided in , and former<​ly​> sheriff of said organized a band who were painted themselves <​like indians​> and had a place of rendezvous at <​Hunter’s​> mills on a stream, called Grindstone. I think it was in Clinton county, the county west of and between it and the west line of the . From this place they would sally out and commit their depredations. Efforts were again made to get the authorities to put a stop to their renewed attacks outrages, and again , and were called out with such portions of their respective Brigades as they might deem necessary to suppress the mob or rather mobs for by this time there were a number of them. came to , and while there recommendid to the authorities of to have the militia of said called out as a necessary measure of defence. assuring us that said had [p. [7]]a large mob on the Grindstone and his custom object was to make a descent upon , burn the and kill or disperse the inhabitants: and that it was very necessary that an effective force should be ready to oppose him, or he would accomplish his object. The militia was accordingly called out. He also said that there had better be a strong force sent to to guard the citizens there: he recommended that to avoid any difficulties which might arise they had better go in very small parties, without arms so that no legal advantage could be taken of it. them
I will here give a short account of the courts and internal affairs of for the information of those who are not acquainted with them <​same.​>
has three courts <​of law peculiar​> which belong to the <​that​> peculiarly. The Supreme court. Th Circuit court and the county court, The two former, about the same as in many other states of the . The county court, is composed of three Judges elected by the people of the respective counties. This court is in some respects like the court of Probate in , or the Surrogate’s court of but the powers of this court are more extencive than the courts of , or . The judges, or any one of them, of the county court of , has the power of issuing , in all cases where arrests are made within the county where they preside. They have also all the powers of justices of the peace in civil as well as criminal cases, for instane a warrent may be obtained from one of these judges by affidavit and a person arrested under said <​such​> warrant, from another of these judges. a Habeas Corpus may issue and the person arested be ordered before him, and the character of the arest be inquired into; and if <​in​> the opinion of the judge the person ought not to be holden by virtue of said process, he has power to discharge him. They are considered conservortors of the <​peace—​> and act as such. In the internal regulations of the affairs of [p. [8]] , the counties in some respects are nearly as independent of each other as the <​several​> states of this <​the​> . No considerable number of men armed can pass out of one county into or though another county without first obtaining the permission of the judges of the county court, or some one of them, otherwise they are liable to <​be​> arrested by the order of said judges, and if in their judgement they ought not thus to pass, they are ordered back from whence they came; and <​in​> case of refusal are subject to be arrested or <​even​> shot down in case of resistance. The judges <​of the County court​> or any one of them of the county court, have the power to call out the militia of said county when <​upon​> affidavit is to <​being made to​> them for that effect <​purpose​> by any of the citizens of said county; shewing <​it​> just in the judgement of <​such​> judge or judges why said militia should be called out to defend any portion of the citizen of said county. The following is the course of proceedure Affidavit is made to before one or any number of the judges setting forth, that the citizens of said county or any particular portion of them, is either invaded or threatened with invasion by some unlawful assembly whereby their liberties lives or property may be unlawfully taken. When such affidavit is made to any one of the judges or all of them it is the duty of him or them before <​whom​> such affidavit is made, to issue and order to the sheriff of the county, to make requisition upon the commanding officer of the militia of said county to have immediately put under military <​order​> such a portion of the militia under his command as may be necessary for the defence of the citizens of said county In this way the militia of any county may be called out at any time deemed necessary by the county judges independently of any other civil authority of the In case that the militia of the county is insufficient to quell the roiters [rioters] and secure the citizens against the invaders, then recourse can be had to the judge of the circuit court who who has the same power over the militia of his judicial [p. [9]] district as the county judges have over the militia of the county, and in case of insufficiency in the militia of the Judicial district of the circuit judge, recourse can be had to the governor of the and all the militia of the called out, and if this should fail, then the governor can call on the President of the , and all the forces of the nation be put under orders.
I have given this expose of <​the​> internal regulations of <​the affairs of​> in order that the court may clearly understand what I have before said on this subject and what I may here after say on it
It was in view of this order <​of things,​> that , who is a lawyer of some celebrity in , gave the recommendation he did at when passing into with his troops for the defence of the citizens of said county. It was in consequence of this, that he said, that those of which went into should go in small parties, and unarmed, in which condition they were not subject to any arrest, from any authority whatever.
In obedience to these recommendations the militia of was called out: affidavit having been made to to one of the judges of the setting forth the danger which <​it​> was expected believed the citizens were in; from a large marauding party assembled under the command of one , on a stre[a]m called Grindstone when affidavit was made to this effect, the issued his order to the of the , and the to the commanding officer, who was <​Colonel​> and thus for the first were the militia of the county <​of ​> put under military orders.
however instead of going into , soon after he left , returned back to with all his troops, giving as his reason, the mutinous character of his troops; which he said would join the mob, he believed, instead of acting against them, and that he had not power to restrain them. [p. [10]]
In a day or two afterwards, also of , also came to and said that he had sent on a number of troops to to act in concert with . He also made the same complaint concerning his troops, that had, doubting greatly, whether they would render any service to those in who were threatened with violence by the mobs assembling; but on hearing that , instead of going to , had returned to , followed his example and ordered his troops back to , and thus were the citizens of and those of , who were marked out as victims by the mob, left to defend themselves, the best way they could.
What I have hear stated in relation to Generals & were conversations had between myself and them, about which I cannot be mistaken; unless my memory has betrayed me.
The militia of the county of were now all under requisition, armed and equipped according to law. The mob, after all the authorities of the had been re-called, commenced but <​except​> the force of , commenced the work of distruction in earnest; shewing a determination to accomplish their object. , where I resided, which was the shire town of , was placed under the charge of a Captain by the <​name of​> , who made my house his head quarters, other portions of the troops were distributed in different places in the , whereever danger was apprehended. In consequence of making my house his head quarters. I was put in possession of all that was going on, as all intellegence in relation to the operations of the mob was communicated to him. Intelligence was received daily of depredations being committed, against not only the property of the citizens, but their persons; many of whom in <​when​> attending to their business, would be surprisd and taken by marauding parties, tied up and whipped in a most desperate manner. Such outrages were common [p. [11]] during the progress of these extraordinary scenes <​&​> all kinds of depredations were committed: men driving their teames to and from mills where they got their grinding done, would be surprised and taken, their persons abused, and their teames [w]agons, and loading, all taken as booty by the plunderers. Fields were thrown open and all within exposed to the distruction of such animals as chose to enter. Cattle, horses hogs and, sheep, were, driven off and a general system of plunder and distruction of all kinds of property carried on to the great anoyance of the citizens of , and that portion of the citizens of marked as victims by the mob. One after noon a messenger arived at calling for help, saying that a banditti had crossed the South line of and were engaged in threatning the citizens with death if they did <​not​> leave their homes and go out of the within a very short time. the time not precisely recollected; but I think it was the next day by ten oClock, but of this I am not certain. He said they were setting fire to the Prairies, in view of burning houses <​&​> desolating farms, that they had set fire to a wagon loaded with goods and they were all consumed, that they had also set fire to a house and when he left it was burning down. Such was the situation of affairs at at that time that could not spare any of his forces, as an attack was hourly expected at The messenger went off and I heard no more about it till some time, in the night following, I <​when I​> was awakened from sleep by the voice of some man apparently giving command to a military body, being some what unwell, I did not get up. Some time after I got up, in the morning, the of the stopped at the door, and said that had had a battle with the mob last night and at and that several were killed and a number wounded; that was among the number of the <​was among the number of the​> wounded, and his wound supposed to be mortal <​supposed to be mortal​> After I had taken breakfast [p. [12]] another gentleman called telling <​giving​> me the same account and asked me if I would not take my horse and ride out with him and see what was done. I agreed to do so and we started: and after going some three or four miles met a company coming into . We turned and came <​went​> back with them. This mob proved to be that headed by the Revd. a methodist preacher, and the battle called the Bogard battle. After this battle there was a short season of quiet, the mobs disappeared, and the militia returned to , though they were not discharged, but remained under orders untill it should be known how the matter would turn. In the space of a few days, it was said that a large body of armed men were entering the south part of . The county court order<​ed​> the military to go and inquire what was their object, in thus comming into the without permission. The military started as commanded, and little or no information was received at about their movements, untill late the next after noon, when a large army was de<​s​>cried making their way towards . being an elevated situation, the army was discovered while a number of miles from the place. Their object was entirely unknown to the citizens as far as I had any knowledge on the subject, and every man I heard speak of their object expressed as great ignorance of their object as myself. They reached a small stream on the east side of the , which was studded with timber on its banks and for perhaps from half <​to​> a mile to a mile on the east <​south​> side of the stream, at <​an​> hour by by sun <​an hour before sun down​>; there the main body of the army <​army​> halted, and soon after a part of them <​a detachment​> under the command of marched toward the in line of battle This army body was preceded, and probably three fourths of a mile in advance of them, by a man carrying a white flag, who approached within a few rods of the eastern boundery of the , who demanded three persons who were in the , to be sent to their camp after which the whole [p. [13]] he said would be masacred. When the persons who were inquired for were informed, they refused to go determined to share the common fate of the citizens, one of those persons did not belong to the church of “Latter day Saints” his name is a merchant in the place. The white flag returned to the camp. To the force of was the small ban army of <​force of militia under​> opposed. who also marched in line of battle to the eastern line of the . The whole force of did not exceed three hundred men. That of perhaps three times that number. I was no way connected with the militia being over age, neither was Joseph Smith Sen. The I went in to the line formed by though unarmed, and stood among the rest to await the result, and had a full view of both armies <​forces​> and stood there. The armies were within rifle shot of each other, about the setting of the sun ordered his army to return to the camp at the creeke. They wheeled and marched off. After they had retired, It was consulted what was best to do,— by what authority the army was there no one could tell as far as I knew— It was agreed to build through the night a sort of fortification, and if we must fight, sell our lives as dear as we could accordingly all hands went to work railes, house loggs, and wagons were all put in requisition, and the east line of the as well secured as could be done by the men and means, and the short time allowed, expecting an attack in the morning. the morning at length came and that <​day​> passed away and still nothing done; but plundering the cornfields, shooting cattle and hogs, stealing horses and robbing houses, and carrying off potatoes turnips <​and​> all such things as the could army of could get, for such in the event they proved to be, <​for​> <​The main​> a body <​being​> commanded, by a Deacon in the presbeterian Church. The next day came and then it was ascertained that they were there by order of the . A demand [p. [14]] was made for Joseph Smith Sen , , and myself, to go into their camp with this request <​demand​> we instantly complied and accordingly started to their camp when we came in sight of their camp the whole army was on parade marching toward the . we approached and met them, and was <​were​> informed by that we were prisoners of war, a scene then followed that would defy any mortal to discribe. a howling was set up, that would put any thing I ever heard before or since at defiance. I thought at the time It had no parallel except it might be in the perdition of ungodly men. They had a cannon. I could distinctly hear the snaping guns as the locks were sprung which appeared from the sound to be in every part of the army came riding up where we were, and swore by his maker that he would hew the first man down that cocked a gun. one or two other officers on horse back also rode up ordering those who had cocked their guns to uncock them or they would be hewed down with their swords, we were conducted into their camp and made to lay on the ground through the night This was late in October. We were kept here for two days and two nights It commenced raining and snowing untill we were completely drenched and being compeld to lay on the ground which had become very wet and the water was runing round us and under us. What consultation the officers and others had in relation to the disposition which was to be made of us. I am intirely indebted to the report made to me by as none of us were ever called put on any trial. gave an account of which the <​foll[owin]g ​> is the substance as far as my memory serves me, “That they held a court martial and sentenced us to be shot at eight o Clock the next morning after the court martial was holden in the publick square, in the presence of our familis, that this court martial was composed [p. [15]] of seventeen preachers and some of the principal officers of the army presided; arose and said that neither himself nor his brigade should have any hand in the shooting that it was nothing short of cold blooded murder and left the court martial and ordered his brigade to prepare and march off of the ground.” This was probably the reason why they did not carry the discinon [decision] of the court martial into effect. It was finally agreed that we should be carried into accordingly on the third day after our arest the army was all paraded we were put into wagons and taken into the , Our families having heard that we were to be brought to that morning to be shot. When we arrived a scene ensued such as might be expected under the circumstances. I was permitted to go alone with my family into the houses. there I found my family so completely plundered of all kinds of food that they had nothing <​to​> eat but parched corn which they ground on <​with​> a handmill. and thus were they sustaining life. I soon pacafied my family and allayed their feelings by assuring them that the ruffians dare<​d​> not kill me. I gave them strong assurences that they dare<​d​> not do it, and that I would return to them again. After this interview I took my leave of them, and returned to the wagon got in and we were all started off for . Before we reached the a man came riding along the line apparently in great haste. I did not know his business. When we got to the came to me and told me that he wanted us to hurry as had arived from with a message from Genl ordering him to return with us to as he was there with a large army, he said he would not comply with the demand but did not know but might send an [p. [16]] army to take us by force, we were hurried over the as fast as possible with as many of army as could be sent over at one time and sent hastily on. and thus we were taken to the shire town of , and put into an old house and a strong gaurd placed <​over us.​> in a day or tow [two] they relaxed their severity we were taken to the best tavern in and there boarded, and treated with kindness. we were permitted to go and come at our pleasure without any guard. After some days Col arived from ’s army with a demand to have us taken to Ray county. It was difficult to get a guard to go with us indeed we solicited them to send one with us, and finally got a few men to go and we started After we had crossed the on our way to , we met a number of very ruff <​rough​> looking fellows and as ruff <​rough​> acting as they were looking they threatned our lives We solict solicited our guard to send to for a stronger force to guard us to Richmond <​there​> as we considered our lives in danger. met us with a strong force and conducted us to where we were put in close confinement.
One thing here I will mention which I forgot. While we were at I was introduced to a lawyer of some note in the country. In speaking on the subject of our arrest and being torn from our families, said he presumed it was another scrape. He said the mormons had been d[r]iven from that and that without any offence on their part. He said he knew all about it. they were diven off because the people feared thier political influence, and what was said against the mormons was only to justify the mob in the eyes of the world for the course they had taken He said this was another scrape of the same kind [p. [17]]
This , by his own confession was one of the principle leaders in the mob.
After this digression I will resume— The same day that we arived in came into the place where we were, with a number of armed men who immediately on entering the room cocked their guns another followed with chaines in his hands and we were ordered to be chained all together. a strong guard was placed in and around the house, and thus we were secured. The next day came in and we were introduced to him. the awkward manner in which he entered and his apparent imbarassment was such as to force a smile from me; He was then asked for what he had thus cast us into prison to this question he could not or did <​not​> give a direct answer. He said he would let us know in a few days, and after a few more awkward and uncouth movements he withdrew. After he went out I asked some of the guard what was the matter with , that made him appear so ridiculous. they said he was near sighted I replied that I was mistaken if he were not as near as near witted and <​as​> he was near sited sighted.
We were now left with our guards without knowing for what we were <​had been​> arrested as no civil process had issued against us. For what followed untill came in again to tell us that we were to be delivered into the hands of the civil authorities I am entirely indebted to what I heard the guards say
I heard them say that had promised them before leaving Coles county that they should have the priviledge of shooting Joseph Smith Sen and myself, and that was engaged in searching the military law to find authority for so doing, but he found it difficult as we were not military men and did not belong to the militia but he had sent to fr the military <​code of​> [p. [18]] law and he expected after he got the law<​s​> to find law to justify him in shooting us.
I must here again digress to relate a circumstance which I forgot in its place. I had heard that had given a military an order to some persons who had applied to him for it to go to our house and take such goods as they claimed. the goods claimed, were goods sold by the Sheriff of on an part of which I had purchased at the sale. The man aganst whom the execution was issued availed himself of that time of trouble to go and take his <​the​> goods wherever he could find them.— I asked if he had given any such authority? “He said that an application had been made to him for such an order, but he said my your lady wrote me a letter requesting me not to do it telling <​me​> that the goods had been purchased at <​the​> sheriff’s sale, and I would not grant the order.” I did not, at the time, suppose that , in this, had barefacedly lied, but the sequel proved he had, for some time afterwards behold there comes the <​a​> man to with the order and shewed it to me sighined [signed] John by . The mans said he had been at our house and taken all the goods he could find. So much for a lawyer, a methodist, and very pious <​man​> at that <​time​> in religion and a major general in the militia of .
During the time that was examining the miltary laws, there were some things took place which may be proper to relate in this place. I heard a plan laying laying among a number of those who belonged to s army and some of them officers of high rank, to go to , and commit violence on the person of Joseph Smith, Sen’s and my wife and daughters. This gave me some uneasiness. I got at an oppertunity to send my family word of their disign and to be prepared f make such arangements as they could to guard against their vile purpose The time at last arri[v]ed and the [p. [19]] and the party started for . I waited with painfull anxiety for their return. After a number of days they returned I listened to all they said to find out if possible what they had <​done.​> one night I think the very night after their return I heard them relating to one some of those who had not been with them the events of their adventure inquiry was made about their success in the particular object of their visit to . The substance of what the said in answer was, that they had passed and repassed both houses and saw the females, but there were so many men about the that they dare not venture for fear of being detected and their numbers were not sufficient if r◊◊ to accomplish any thing if they had made the attempt, and they came off without trying.
No civil process of any kind had been issued against us we were there held in duress without knowing what for, or what charges were to be prefered against us. At last after long suspence who comes into the prison but presenting himself about as awkwardly as at first, and informed us that we were to be put into the hands of the civil authorities he said he did not know precisely what crimes would be charged against us, but they would be within the range, of Treason, murder, , , theft, and stealing, here again another smile was forced, and I could <​not​> refrain, at the expence of this would be great <​man​> in whom, he said, the faith of the state of was pledged. After long and awfull suspence. The notable , judge of the circuit court, took his seat and we were ordered before him for trial. Esq Prosecuting attorney, all things being aranged the trial opened. No papers were read, to us, no charges of any kind were prefered, nor did we know against what we had to plead, our crimes had yet to be found out
At the commencement we requested that we might be tried seperately but this was refused, and we all <​were​> all put on trial together. Witnesses appeared and the swearing [p. [20]] commenced It was, so plainly manifested by the that he wanted the witnesses to prove us guilty of treason that no person could avoid seeing it. The same feelings were also visible in the ’s . made an observation something to this effect as he was giving direction<​s​> to the scribe who was employed to write down the testimony, that he wanted all the testimony directed to certain points; being taken sick at an early stage of the trial, I had not the oppertunity of hearing <​but​> a small part of the testimony, when it was deliverd before the court. During the progress of the trial after the adjournment of the court in the evening our lawyers would come into the prison and there the matter would be talked over. The prop[r]iety of our sending for witnesses was also discused Our attorney’s said, that they would recommend to us not to introduce any evidence at that trial. said it would avail us nothing, for the would put us into prison, if a cohort of angels were to come and swear that we were inocent, and beside that he said that if we were to give to the court the names of our witnesses there was a band there ready to go, and they would go and drive them out of the country or arrest them and have them cast into prison, to prevent them from swearing or else kill them. It was finally concluded to let the matter be so for the present. During the progress of the trial and while I was laying sick in prison I had an oppertunity of hearing a great deal said by those of them who would come in. The subject was the all absorbing one. I heard them say that we must be put to death— that the character of the required <​it​> The must justify herself in the course she had taken and nothing but punishing us with death could save the credit of the and it must therefore be done. I heard a party of them one night telling about some female whose person they had violated, and this language was used by one of them “The damned bitch how <​she​> yelled.” Who this person was I did not know, but before I got out of prison I heard that a widow whose husband had died some few months [p. [21]] before with consumption had been brutally violated by a gang of them and died in their hands leaving three little children in whose presence the scene of brutalty took place, after I got out of prison and had arived in Illinois, I met a strange man in the street who was inquiring and inquired of me respecting a circumstance of this kind, saying he had heard of it and was on his way going to to get the children if he could find them. He said the woman thus murdered was his sister or his wife’s sister I am <​not​> positive which, the man was in great agitation. What success the man <​he​> had I know not
The trial at last ended, and Joseph Smith Sen and myslf were sent to in the villiage <​of​> Clay county missouri.
We were kept there from three to four months after which time we were bought out on before one of the judges. During the hearing under the Habeas Corpus I had for the first time an oppertunity of hearing the evidence as it was all written and read before the court It appeared from the evidence, that they attempted to prove us guilty of treason in consequence of the militia of being under arms at the time army came to . This calling out of the militia was what the<​y​> founded they charge of treason upon. a discription an account of which I have given above. The charge of murder was founded on the fact that a man of their number they said was killed in the Bogard battle. The other charges were founded on things which took place in . As <​I​> was not in at the time I cannot testify any thing about them.
This trial lasted for a length of time the number days I have forgott
A few words about this written testimony I do not now recollect of one single point about which testimony was given with which I was acquainted, but was misrepresinted nor one solitary witness whose testimony was there written that did not [p. [22]] swear falsely, and in many instances I cannot see how it could avoid being intentional on the part of those who testified for all <​of​> them did swear things that I am satisfied they knew to be false at the time, and it would be hard to persuade <​me​> to the contrary. There were things there said so utterly without foundation in truth, so much so, that the persons swearing must, at the time of swearing, have known it. The best construction I can ever put on <​it​> is that they swore things to be true which they did not know to be so, and this, to me, is wilfull purjery.
This trial lasted for a long time, the result of which was that I was ordered to be discharged from prison, and the rest remanded back; but I was told by those who professed to be my friends that it would not do for me to go out of jail at that time as the mob were watching and would most certainly take my life, and when I got out that I must leave the , for the mob availing themselves of the exterminating order <​of​> , would, if I were found in the surely take my life, that I had no way to escape them but felee flee with all speed from the . It was some ten days after this before I dare leave the , at last the evening came, in which I was to leave the Every preperation was made that could be made for my escape there was a carriage ready to take me in and carry me off with all speed a pilot was ready one who was well acquainted with the country to pilot me through the country so that I might not go on any of the publick roads, my wife came to the to accompany me of whose society I had been deprived fr four months, just at dark the sheriff and jailor came to the with our supper I sat down and eat. there were a number watching after I had supped I whispered to the jailor to blow out all the candles, but one and step away from the door with that one. All this was done the sheriff then took me by the arm and an apparent scuffle ensued, so much so that those who were watching, did not know who it was the sheriff was scuffling with. The sheriff kept pushing me toward the [p. [23]] door and I apparently resisting till we reached the door which was quickly opened and we both reached the street he took me by the hand and bade me farewell telling <​me​> to make my escape which I did with all possible speed. The night was dark— after I had gone probably one hundred rods I heard some person coming after me in haste the thought struck me in a moment that the mob was after me I drew a pistol and cocked it determined not to be taken alive— when the person approaching me spoke I knew his voice and he speedily came to me— in a few minutes I heard a horse coming I again sprung my pistle cock— again a voice saluted my ears that I was acquainted with. the man came speedily up said he had come to pilot me through the country. I now recollected I had left my wife in the jail I mentioned it to them <​&​> one of them returned and the other and myself pursued our journey as swiftly as we could. After I had gone about three miles my wife overtook me in a carriage into which I got, and we rode all night— it was an open carriage and in the month <​of​> February ’39 <​1839​> we got to the house of an acquaintance just as day appeared. there I put up till the next evening and <​when I​> started <​again​> and reached a place called Tenney’s Grove, and to my great surprise I here found my family and was again united with them after an absence of four month under the most painfull circumstances, from thence I made my way to where I now am. My wife after I left her went directly to and got the family under way, and all unexpectedly met at Tenneys Grove.
 
’s Testimony July 1, 1843
F.
 
Filed July 1st. 1843.— [p. [24]]

Footnotes

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    Insertion in handwriting of Willard Richards.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertions in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Insertion in handwriting of George Walker.  

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    Docket in unidentified handwriting.  

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    Notation in unidentified handwriting.