Trial Report, 8–26 July 1843, as Published in Nauvoo Neighbor [Extradition of JS for Treason]
Trial Report, , Hancock Co., IL, [8–26 July 1843], Extradition of JS for Treason (Nauvoo, IL, Municipal Court 1843); “Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo, Illinois” and “Trial of Joseph Smith,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 12 July 1843, –; 19 July 1843, ; 26 July 1843, –.
- Historical Introduction
“Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo, Illinois,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 12 July 1843, –.
MUNICIPAL COURT OF THE CITY OF , ILLINOIS.
Second day of special term, July 1st., 1843.
Before Aldermen , Acting Chief Justice; and Aldermen , , , , and , Associate Justices; presiding.
|Joseph Smith,)||Messrs. , & , Counsel for Smith.|
Mr. Mason, Counsel for .
This case came before the court upon a return to a writ of habeas corpus, which was issued by this court, on the 30th of June, 1843, upon the petition of Joseph Smith, Senior, as follows:
|State of Illinois,)||Sct. [scilicet]|
|City of .)|
To the Honorable the Municipal Court, of the City of , Hancock County, and State of Illinois:—
Your petitioner, Joseph Smith, Senior, who has been arrested by, and under the name of Joseph Smith, Junior, states on oath, that he is now detained as a prisoner, and in the custody of , in the said city of , and state of , who claims to be the agent of the state of , and that your petitioner was arrested by one , by virtue of what purports to be a warrant issued by His Excellency, , Governor of the state of , in the county of , and state of , and by said , your petitioner was delivered into the custody of said , at and within the county of , aforesaid; that said supposed warrant, so issued by His Excellency, , Governor as aforesaid, and the arrest thereupon, and the imprisonment consequent thereupon, by said , and afterward by said , is illegal, and in violation of law, and without the authority of law, as he is informed and verily be lieves, for the following, besides other reasons, to wit:
1st. The said supposed warrant so issued by the said of the State of , as aforesaid, does not confer any authority to arrest your petitioner, for that it commands the officers therein named, to arrest one Joseph Smith, Junior, whereas, the name of your petitioner is Joseph Smith, Senior, and your petitioner avers that he is not known and reputed by the name of Joseph Smith, Junior.
2nd. The said supposed warrant is defective and void, for that it does not recite that the Joseph Smith, Junior, mentioned therein, has been demanded by the of the State of , of the of the State of .
3rd. Said supposed warrant, is defective and void, for that it does not state that said Joseph Smith, Junior, therein named, has been indicted or that any other legal accusation of any offence has been legally preferred, and is as pending against him in the said State of .
4th. It is defective and void, for that it does not show that any legal foundation was furnished by the of the State of , upon which to issue the same; and your petitioner avers that the same was issued without due authority of law.
5th. Said supposed warrant is in other respects defective and void.
6th. The said , has no authority to detain your petitioner in custody; for that he is not an officer of the State of , nor is he legally authorized by the said of the State of , or otherwise, as the agent of the State of , in the State of , or in any other character and capacity to imprison your petitioner within the said State of .
7th. Your petitioner before the making of the said arrest upon which he is now detained and imprisoned, had been arrested for the same cause, and upon a charge for the same offence, for which he is now arrested and imprisoned, by virtue of a warrant issued by the of the said State of , upon a requisition of the Executive authority of the said State of , and was discharged from said arrest and imprisonment by judgement of the Circuit Court of Warren county, at a court holden in the said county of Warren, in or about the month of June, A. D. 1841, in such manner as not to be liable to the said second arrest for the same cause.
8th. Your petitioner is not a fugitive from justice, and has not fled from the justice of the said State of , and he is not guilty and has not been guilty of treason in or against the said State of .
9th. Your petitioner was not, and has not been within the limits of the said State of , for more than four years next, before the making of said arrest and imprisonment whereby he is now detained, nor for or during four years before any indictment or other legal accusation was preferred against him.
10th. Your petitioner avers that the said supposed warrant, so issued by the said of the said State of , and under color of which your petitioner is now imprisoned, and the document purporting to be an authority to re[c]eive the said Joseph Smith, Junior, are [w]holly defective and insufficient to legally au[t]horize the arrest and imprisonment of your petitioner: Copies of which supposed warrant and the supposed authority from the of the State of are hereunto annexed.
Wherefore, your petitioner prays that a writ of habeas corpus may be awarded, directed to the said , commanding him that he bring your petitioner forthwith and without delay, before this honorable court, together with the causes of his caption and detention, in order that your petitioner may be dealt with according to law; and your petitioner as in duty bound, will ever pray.
JOSEPH SMITH, Sen.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 30th day of June, A. D. 1843, at the City of , Illinois.
Clerk of the Municipal Court, of the City of .
|STATE OF ILLINOIS,)||Sct. [scilicet]|
|City of .)|
The People of the State of to the of said , Greeting:
Whereas application has been made before the Municipal Court of said that the body of one Joseph Smith, Senior, of the said city of , (who is styled in the warrant by which he is held in custody, Joseph Smith Junior,) is in the custody of . These are therefore to command the said to safely have the body of the said Joseph Smith Senior, who is styled Joseph Smith Junior, in his custody detained, as it is said, together with the day and cause of his caption and detention, by whatever name the said Joseph Smith Senior may be known or called, before the Municipal Court of said forthwith, to abide such order as the said Court shall make in their behalf: and further, if the said or other person or persons having said Joseph Smith Senior of said city of in custody, shall refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this writ, you, the of said , or other person authorized to serve the same, are hereby required to arrest the person or persons so refusing or neglecting to comply as aforesaid, and bring him or them, together with the person or persons in his or their custody, forthwith before the Municipal Court aforesaid, to be dealt with according to law; and herein fail not, and bring this writ with you.
Witness, , Clerk of the Municipal Court at , this 30th day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three.
I, , the within named, do hereby return this writ, with the body of Joseph Smith, with the following cause of caption and detention, to wit: The within named Joseph Smith was arrested on a warrant issued by the of the State of , by one , a Constable of , in the State of , on the 23d day of June A. D. 1843, a copy of which warrant is hereunto annexed and marked letter B, and delivered over to my custody as directed by said writ. The person of said Smith was, on said 23d of June, in the county of and State of , by the said delivered over to my custody, and that I received and detained the said Smith in my custody by virtue of a certain warrant of attorney issued by the of the State of , a copy of which is hereto annexed, and marked letter B, directing me to receive the said Smith, and convey him to and deliver him to the sheriff of in the State of , and that the within detention referred to, is the same referred to, and none other.
, June 30th, A. D. 1843.
City of .)
Know ye that I, , Governor of the State of , having full trust and confidence in the integrity and abilities of , do hereby constitute and appoint him as the agent of the said State of , to proceed to the State of , for the purpose of receiving from the proper auhorities of that , one Joseph Smith, Jr., charged with treason by him committed against the State of , and as having fled from justice to the State of , and I do hereby authorise and direct said to convey said Joseph Smith Jr. from the State of , and deliver him to the custody of the sheriff of in the State of .
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused to be affixed the great seal of the State of .
Done at the City of this 13th day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three.
By the Governor,
James L. Minor, Secretary of State.
, Governor of the State of , to all Sheriffs and Constables of any county of the , and to , of the county of , greeting:
Whereas it has been made known to me by the Executive authority of the State of , that one Joseph Smith, Junior, stands charged with the crime of treason, against the State of , and alleged that Joseph Smith Junior has fled from the justice of the said State of , and taken refuge in the State of ,
Now therefore I, , Governor of the State of , pursuant to the Constitution and Laws of the and of this , do hereby command you to arrest and apprehend the said Joseph Smith, Junior, if he be found within the limits of the aforesaid, and cause him to be safely kept and delivered to the custody of , Esq., who has been duly constituted the agent of the said State of to receive the said fugitive from the justice of said , he paying all fees and charges for the arrest and apprehension of said Joseph Smith, Junior, and make due returns to the Executive department of this of the manner in which this writ may be executed.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the great seal of the to be affixed.
Done at the City of , this 17th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, and of the Independence of the the sixty-seventh.
By the Governor,
Thompson Campbell, Secretary of State.
The following witnesses were examined, viz: , , , , , and .
sworn. Said that the defendant now in court is his brother, and that his name is not Joseph Smith Junior, but his name is Joseph Smith Senior, and has been for more than two years past. I have been acquainted with him ever since he was born, which was thirty-seven years in December last, and I have not been absent from him at any one time, not even the space of six months since his birth, to my recollection, and have been intimately acquainted with all his sayings, doings, business transactions and movements, as much as any one man could be acquainted with another man’s busines up to the present time, and do know that he has not committed treason against any State in the , by any overt act, or by levying war, or by aiding and abetting, or assisting an enemy in any State in the , and that the said Joseph Smith Senior has not committed treason in the State of , nor violated any law or rule of said , I being personally acquainted with the transactions and doings of said Smith whilst he resided in said , which was for about six months in the year 1838; I being also a resident in said during the same period of time, and I do know that said Joseph Smith Senior never was subject to military duty in any State, neither was he in the State of , he being exempt by the amputation or extraction of a bone from his leg, and by his having a license to preach the Gospel, or being in other words a minister of the Gospel, and I do know that said Smith never bore arms, as a military man, in any capacity whatever, whilst in the State of , or previous to that time; neither has he given any orders or assumed any command in any capacity whatever; but I do know that whilst he was in the State of , that the People commonly called Mormons, were threatened with violence and extermination, and on or about the first Monday in August 1838, at the election at , the county seat in ; the citizens who were commonly called Mormons were forbidden to exercise the rights of franchise, and from that unhallowed circumstance an affray commenced, and a fight ensued among the citizens of that place, and from that time a mob commenced gathering in that threatening the extermination of the Mormons; the said Smith and myself upon hearing that mobs were collecting together, and that they had also murdered two of the citizens of the same place, and would not suffer them to be buried; the said Smith and myself went over to to learn the particulars of the affray, but upon our arrival at , we learned that none were killed but several were wounded—we tarried all night at Col. ’s, the next morning the weather being very warm and having been very dry for some time previously, the springs and wells in that region were dried up; on mounting our horses to return, we rode up to ’s, who was then an acting Justice of the Peace, to obtain some water for ourselves and horses; some few of the citizens accompanied us there, and after obtaining the refreshment of water, was asked by said Joseph Smith Senior, if he would use his influence to see that the laws were faithfully executed and to put down mob violence, and he gave us a paper, written by his own hand, stating that he would do so. He also requested him to call together the most influential men of the on the next day that we might have an interview with them; to this he acquiesced, and accordingly the next day they assembled at the house of and entered into a mutual covenant of peace, to put down mob violence and to protect each other in the enjoyment of their rights: after this we all parted with the best of feelings and each man returned to his own home. This mutual agreement of peace however did not last long; for but a few days afterwards the mob began to collect again until several hundreds rendezvoused at , a few miles distant from . They immediately commenced making aggressions upon the citizens called Mormons, taking away their hogs and cattle, and threatening them with extermination or utter extinction; saying that they had a cannon and there should be no compromise only at its mouth: frequently taking men, women and children prisoners, whipping them and lacerating their bodies with hickory withes, and tying them to trees and depriving them of food until they were compelled to gnaw the bark from the trees to which they were bound in order to sustain life; treating them in the most cruel manner they could invent or think of, and doing every thing they could to excite the indignation of the Mormon people to rescue them, in order that they might make that a pretext of an accusation for the breach of the law and that they might the better excite the prejudice of the populace and thereby get aid and assistance to carry out their hellish purposes of extermination. Immediately on the authentication of these facts, messengers were despatched from to , Jud[ge] of the fifth judicial district of the State of , and also to , [Com]mander-in-chief of that division, and , giving them information of the existing facts, and demanding immediate assistance. returned with the messengers and went immediately to and from thence to , and he found the facts were true as reported to him;—that the citizens of that were assembled together in a hostile attitude to the amount of two or three hundred men, threatening the utter extermination of the Mormons, he immediately returned to and ordered out a sufficient military force to quell the mob. Immediately after they were dispersed and the army returned; the mob commenced collecting again soon after: we again applied for military aid, when came out with a force of sixty armed men to ; but they were in such a state of insubordination that he said he could not control them, and it was thought advisable by , and others that they should return home; ordered to call out the militia of and defend the against the mob, for said he, you have great reason to be alarmed, for he said from the Platte country had come down with 200 armed men and had taken up their station at Hunter’s mill, a place distant about 17 or 18 miles north west of the town of , and also that an armed force had collected again at , in , consisting of several hundred men, and that another armed force had collected at , in Carroll county, about 50 miles south east of , where about 70 families of the Mormon people had settled upon the bank of the at a little town called . Immediately a messenger, whilst he was yet talking, came in from , stating that three or four hundred men had assembled together at that place armed cap-a-pie, and that they threatened the utter extinction of the citizens of that place if they did not leave the place immediately, and that they had also surrounded the and cut off all supplies of food, so that many of them were suffering with hunger. seemed to be very much alarmed, and appeared to be willing to do all he could to assist, and to relieve the sufferings of the Mormon people; he advised that a petition be immediately got up and sent to the . A petition was accordingly prepared and a messenger despatched immediately to the , and another petition was sent to . The Mormon people throughout the country were in a great state of alarm, and also in great distress; they saw themselves completely surrounded with armed forces on the north and on the north west and on the south, and also , who was a Methodist preacher, and who was then a captain over a militia company of 50 soldiers, but who had added to his number out of the surrounding counties about a hundred more, which made his force about 150 strong, was stationed at , sending out his scouting parties, taking men, women and children prisoners, driving off cattle, hogs and horses, entering into every house on Log and Long Creeks, rifling their houses of their most precious articles, such as money, bedding, and clothing, taking all their old muskets and their rifles or military implements, threatening the people with instant death if they did not deliver up all their precious things, and enter into a covenant to leave the or go into the city of by the next morning, saying that “they calculated to drive the people into , and then drive them to hell.” also was doing the same on the north west side of ; and , a Presbyterian minister, was the leader of the mob in ; and a very noted man of the same society was the leader of the mob in Carroll county; and they were also sending out their scouting parties, robbing and pillaging houses, driving away hogs, horses and cattle, taking men, women and children and carrying them off, threatening their lives and subjecting them to all manner of abuses that they could invent or think of.
Under this state of alarm, excitement and distress, the messengers returned from the and from the other authorities, bringing the fatal news, that the Mormons could have no assistance. They stated that the said that “the Mormons had got into a difficulty with the citizens, and they might fight it out for all what he cared, He could not render them any assistance.”
The people of were obliged to leave their homes and go into ; but did not until after many of them had starved to death for want of proper sustenance, and several died on the road there, and were buried by the way side, without a coffin or a funeral ceremony, and the distress, sufferings, and privations of the people cannot be expressed. All the scattered families of the Mormon people, in all the counties except , were driven into , with but few exceptions.
This only increased their distress, for many thousands who were driven there, had no habitations or houses to shelter them, and were huddled together, some in tents and others under blankets, while others had no shelter from the inclemency of the weather. Nearly two months the people had been in this awful state of consternation, many of them had been killed, whilst others had been whipped untill they had to swathe up their bowels to prevent them from falling out. About this time, came out from , Ray county, who was one of the commissioned officers who was sent out to , and I myself and my brother Joseph Smith Senior, went out at the same time. On the evening that arrived at , my brother, the late ’s came in to ’s about eleven o’clock at night, bringing her two children along with her, one about two years and a half old, the other a babe in her arms. She came in on foot, a distance of three miles, and waded , and the water was then about waist deep, and the snow about 3 inches deep. She stated that a party of the mob, a gang of ruffians, had turned her out of doors, had taken her household goods and had burnt up her house, and she had escaped by the skin of her teeth.— Her at that time was in , and sh[e] was living alone. This cruel transaction excited the feelings of the people in , especially , and he asked , in my hearing, how long we had got to suffer such base violence? said he did not know how long. then asked him what should be done? told him “he should take a company of men, well armed, and go and disperse the mob wherever he should find any collected together, and take away their arms:” did so precisely, according to the orders of . And my brother Joseph Smith Sen. made no words about it.— And after had dispersed the mob and put a stop to their burning houses belonging to the Mormon people and turning women and children out of doors, which they had done up to that time to the amount of 8 or 10 houses which were consumed to ashes—after being cut short in their intended designs, the mob started up a new plan. They went to work and moved their families out of the and set fire to their houses, and not being able to incense the Mormons to commit crimes; they had recourse to this stratagem to set their houses on fire and send runners into all the counties adjacent, to declare to the people that the Mormons had burnt up their houses and destroyed their fields, and if the people would not believe them, they would tell them to go and see if what they had said was not true. Many people came to see, they saw the houses burning, and being filled with prejudice, they could not be made to believe but that the Mormons set them on fire, which deed was most diabolical and of the blackest kind, for indeed the Mormons did not set them on fire, nor meddle with their houses or their fields. And the houses that were burnt, together with the pre-emption rights, and the corn in the fields, had all been previously purchased by the Mormons of the people and paid for in money and with waggons and horses and with other property, about two weeks before; but they had not taken possession of the premises; but this wicked transaction was for the purpose of clandestinely exciting the minds of a prejudiced populace and the Executive, that they might get an order, that they could the more easily carry out their hellish purposes, in expulsion or extermination or utter extinction of the Mormon people. After witnessing the distressed situation of the people in , my brother Joseph Smith Senior and myself returned back to the city of , and immediately despatched a messenger, with written documents, to , stating the facts as they did then exist, praying for assistance if possible, and requesting the editor of the “Far West” to insert the same in his newspaper, but he utterly refused to do so. We still believed that we should get assistance from the , and again petitioned him, praying for assistance, setting forth our distressed situation; and in the mean time the presiding of the County Court issued orders—upon affidavits made to him by the citizens—to the of the , to order out the Militia of the to stand in constant readiness, night and day, to prevent the citizens from being massacred, which fearful situation they were exposed to every moment. Every thing was very portentious and alarming. Notwithstanding all this, there was a ray of hope yet existing in the minds of the people that the would render us assistance; and whilst the people were waiting anxiously for deliverance—men women and children frightened, praying and weeping—we beheld at a distance, crossing the prairies and approaching the , a large army in military array, brandishing their glittering swords in the sunshine, and we could not but feel joyful for a moment, thinking that probably the had sent an armed force to our relief, notwithstanding the awful forebodings that pervaded our breasts. But to our great surprise, when the army arrived they came up and formed a line in double file in one half mile on the east of the city of , and despatched three messengers with a white flag to come to the . They were met by with a few other individuals, whose names I do not now recollect. I was myself standing close by, and could very distinctly hear every word they said. Being filled with anxiety, I rushed forward to the spot, expecting to hear good news—but alas! and heart-thrilling to every soul that heard them—they demanded three persons to be brought out of the before they should massacre the rest. The names of the persons they demanded, were , and his wife. Immediately the three persons were brought forth to hold an interview with the officers who had made the demand, and the officers told them they had now a chance to save their lives, for they calculated to destroy the people and lay the in ashes. They replied to the officers, and said, “If the people must be destroyed, and the burned to ashes, they would remain in the and die with them.” The officers immediately returned, and the army retreated and encamped about a mile and a half from the . A was immediately despatched with a white flag from the of the Militia of , requesting an interview with and ; but as the approached the camp, he was shot at by , the Methodist preacher. The name of the messanger was , who is now Brigadier [General in] the . However, he gained permission to see ; he also requested an interview with . said that had been dismounted by a special order of the a few miles back, and had been sent back to , Clay county. He also stated that the reason was, that he (,) was too merciful unto the Mormons, and would not let him have the command, but had given it to , who was from , and whose heart had become hardened by his former acts of rapine and bloodshed, he being one of the leaders in murdering, driving, plundering and burning some two or three hundred houses belonging to the Mormon people in that in the years 1833 and 1834.
requested to spare the people, and not suffer them to be massacred until the next morning, it then being evening. He coolly agreed that he would not, and also said that “he had not as yet received the ’s order, but expected it every hour, and should not make any further move until he had received it; but he would not make any promises so far as regarded ’s army.” he having arrived a few minutes previously, and joined the main body of the army; he knowing well at what hour to form a junction with the main body. then returned to the , giving this information.— The immediately despatched a second messenger with a white flag, to request another interview with , in order to [t]ouch his sympathy and compassion, and if it were possible, for him to use his best endeavors to preserve the lives of the people. On the return of this messenger, we learned that several persons had been killed by some of the soldiers who were under the command of . One Mr. Carey had his brains knocked out by the britch of a gun, and he lay bleeding several hours, but his family were not permitted to approach him, nor any one else allowed to administer relief to him whilst he lay upon the ground, in the agonies of death. Mr. Carey had just arrived in the country, from the State of , only a few hours previous to the arrival of the army. He had a family, consisting of a wife and several small children. He was buried by , who is now the senior warden of the Nauvoo Lodge. Another man, of the name of , was knocked on the head at the same time, and his skull laid bare the width of a man’s hand, and he lay, to all appearance, in the agonies of death for several hours; but by the permission of , his friends brough him out of the camp, and with good nursing he slowly recovered, and is now living. There was another man, whose name is Powell, who was beat on the head with the britch of a gun until his skull was fractured and his brains run out in two or three places. He is now alive, and resides in this , but has lost the use of his senses. Several persons of his family were also left for dead, but have since recovered. These acts of barbarity were also committed by the soldiers under the command of , previous to having received the ’s order of extermination.
It was on the evening of the 30th of October, according to the best of my recollection, that the army arrived at , the sun about half an hour high. In a few moments afterwards, arrived with his army, and formed a junction. This had been stationed at Hunter’s mills for about two months previous to that time—committing depredations upon the inhabitants—capturing men, women and children, and carrying them off as prisoners, lacerating their bodies with hickory withes. The army of “” were painted like Indians, some of them were more conspicuous than were others, designated by red spots, and he, also, was painted in a similar manner, with red spots marked on his face, and styled himself the “Delaware Chief.” They would whoop and hollow and yell as nearly like Indians as they could, and continued to do so all that night. In the morning early, the of Militia sent a messenger into the camp with a white flag, to have another interview with .— On his return, he informed us that the s order had arrived. said that “the order of the was, to exterminate the Mormons by God, but he would be damned if he obeyed that order, but might do what he pleased.” We immediately learned from that “the ’s order that had arrived was only a copy of the original, and that the original order was in the hands of , who was on his way to , with an additional army of six thousand men.” Immediately after this, there came into the a messenger from , bringing the intelligence of an awful massacre of the people who were residing in that place, and that a force of two or three hundred, detached from the main body of the army, under the superior command [p. ]
of Colonel Ashley, but under the immediate command of Captain , who, the day previous, had promised them peace and protection, but on receiving a copy of the ’s order “to exterminate or to expell” from the hands of Colonel Ashley, he returned upon them the following day and surprised and massacreed the whole population of the , and then came on to the town of and entered into conjunction with the main body of the army. The messenger informed us that he himself with a few others fled into the thickets, which preserved them from the massacre, and on the following morning they returned and collected the dead bodies of the people and cast them into a well; and there were upwards of twenty who were dead or mortally wounded, and there are several of the wounded who are now living in this .— One, of the name of Yocum, has lately had his leg amputated, in consequence of wounds he then received. He had a ball shot through his head, which entered near his eye and came out at the back part of his head, and another ball passed through one of his arms.
The army, during all the while they had been encamped in , continued to lay waste fields of corn, making hogs, sheep and cattle common plunder, and shooting them down for sport. One man shot a cow and took a strip of her skin, the width of [his] hand, from her head to her tail and tied it around a tree, to slip his halter into, to tie his horse to. The was surrounded with a strong guard, and no man woman or child was permitted to go out or come in, under the penalty of death. Many of the citizens were shot in attempting to go out to obtain sustenance for themselves and families. There was one field fenced in, consisting of twelve hundred acres, mostly covered with corn. It was entirely laid waste by the horses of the army, and the next day after the arrival of the army, towards evening, came up from the camp, requesting to see my brother Joseph, , , , and , stating that the officers of the army wanted a mutual consultation with those men, also stating that Generals , , and Graham—(however General Graham is an honorable exception: he did all he could to preserve the lives of the people, contrary to the order of the ,)—he, , assured them that these generals had pledged their sacred honor that they should not be abused or insulted, but should be guarded back in safety in the morning, or so soon as the consultation was over. My brother Joseph replied that he did not know what good he could do in any consultation, as he was only a private individual; however he said that he was always willing to do all the good he could and would obey every law of the land, and then leave the event with God. They immediately started with to go down into the camp. As they were going down about half way to the camp, they met with a phalanx of men, with a wing to the right and to the left, and a four-pounder in the centre. They supposed he was coming with this strong force to guard them into the camp in safety; but to their surprise, when they came up to , he ordered his men to surround them, and stepped up to the and said, “These are the prisoners I agreed to deliver up.” drew his sword and said, gentlemen, you are my prisoners, and about that time the main army were on their march to meet them. They came up in two divisions, and opened to the right and left, and my brother and his friends were marched down through their lines, with a strong guard in front, and the cannon in the rear, to the camp, amidst the whoopings, hollowings, yellings and shoutings of the army, which was so horrid and terrific that it frightened the inhabitants of the . It is impossible to describe the feelings of horror and distress of the people. After being thus betrayed they were placed under a strong guard of thirty men, armed cap-a-pie, which they relieved every two hours. There they were compelled to lay on the cold ground that night, and were told in plain language, that they need never to expect their liberties again. So far for their honors pledged. However, this was as much as could be expected from a mob under the garb of military and executive authority in the State of . On the next day, the soldiers were permitted to patrol the streets, to abuse and insult the people at their leisure, and enter into houses and pillage them, and ravish the women, taking away every gun and every other kind of arms or military implements: and about twelve o’clock on that day came to my house with an armed force, opened the door and called me out of doors and delivered me up as a prisoner unto that force. They surrounded me and commanded me to march into the camp. I told them that I could not go: my family were sick, and I was sick myself, and could not leave home. They said they did not care for that—I must and should go. I asked when they would permit me to return. They made me no answer, but forced me along with the point of the bayonet into the camp, and put me under the same guard with my brother Joseph—and within about half an hour afterwards, was also brought and placed under the same guard.— There we were compelled to stay all that night, and lie on the ground: but along some time in the same night, came to me and told me that he had been pleading my case before the Court Martial, but he was afraid he should not succeed. He said there was a Court Martial then in session, consisting of thirteen or fourteen officers, Circuit Judge , and , District Attorney; also , Presbyterian priest, and about 20 other priests of the different religious denominations in that country. He said they were determined to shoot us on the next morning in the public square in . I made him no reply. On the next morning, about sunrise, ordered his brigade to take up the line of march and leave the camp. He came to us where we were under guard, to shake hands with us, and bid us farewell. His first salutation was, ‘By God you have been sentenced by the court martial to be shot this morning; but I will be damned if I will have any of the honor of it, or any of the disgrace of it; therefore I have ordered my brigade to take up the line of march and to leave the camp, for I consider it to be cold blooded murder, and I bid you farewell,’ and he went away. This movement of , made considerable excitement in the army, and there was considerable whisperings amongst the officers. We listened very attentively, and frequently heard it mentioned by the guard, that the damned Mormons would not be shot this time. In a few moments the guard was relieved with a new set; one of those new guard said that the damned Mormons would not be shot this time, for the movement of had frustrated the whole plan, and that the officers had called another court martial, and had ordered us to be taken to , and there to be executed; and in a few moments two large wagons drove up and we were ordered to get into them, and while we were getting into them, there came up four or five men armed with guns, who drew up and snapped their guns at us, in order to kill us, some flashed in the pan, and others only snapped, but none of their guns went off. They were immediately arrested by several officers and their guns taken from them, and the drivers drove off. We requested of to let us go to our houses and get some clothing; in order to do this, we had to be drove up into the . It was with much difficulty that we could get his permission to go and see our families and get some clothing; but after considerable consultation, we were permitted to go under a strong guard of five or six men to each of us, and we were not permitted to speak to any one of our families, under the pain of death. The guard that went with me ordered my to get me some clothes immediately, within two minutes, and if she did not do it, I should go off without them. I was obliged to submit to their tyrranical orders, however painful it was, with my and children clinging to my arms and to the skirts of my garments, and was not permitted to utter to them a word of consolation, and in a moment was hurried away from them at the point of the bayonet. We were hurried back to the wagons and ordered into them, all in about the same space of time. In the mean while our , and , and sisters, had forced their way to the wagons to get permission to see us; but were forbidden to speak to us; and they immediately drove off for . We travelled about twelve miles that evening, and encamped for the night. The same strong guard was kept around us, and were relieved every two hours, and we were permitted to sleep on the ground, the nights were then cold, with considerable snow on the ground, and for the want of covering and clothing, we suffered extremely with the cold That night was a commencement of a fit of sickness from which I have not wholly recovered unto this day, in consequence of my exposure to the inclemency of the weather. Our provision was fresh beef roasted in the fire on a stick; the army having no bread in consequence of the want of mills to grind the grain. In the morning at the dawn of day, we were forced on our journey, and were exhibited to the inhabitants along the road; the same as they exhibit a carravan of elephants or camels We were examined from head to foot, by men women and children, only I believe they did not make us open our mouths to look at our teeth. This treatment was continued incessantly, until we arrived at , in . After our arrival at , we were driven all through the for inspection, and then we were ordered into an old log house, and there kept under guard as usual, until supper, which was served up to us as we sat upon the floor, or on billetts of wood, and we were compelled to stay in that house all that night and the next day. They continued to exhibit us to the public, by letting the people come in and examine us, and then go away and give place for others, alternately all that day and the next night; but on the morning of the following day we were all permitted to go to the tavern to eat and to sleep; but afterward they made us pay our own expenses, for board, lodging, and attendance, and for which they made a most exorbitant charge. We remained in the tavern about two days and two nights, when an officer arrived with authority from , to take us back to , Ray county, where the had arrived with his army to await our arrival there; but on the morning of our start for , we were informed by , that it was expected by the soldiers that we would be hung up by the necks on the road, while on the march to that place, and that it was prevented by a demand made for us by , who had the command in consequence of seniority, and that it was his prerogative to execute us himself; and he should give us up into the hands of the officer, who would take us to , and he might do with us as he pleased. During our stay at , the officers informed us that there were eight or ten horses in that place belonging to the Mormon people, which had been stolen by the soldiers, and that we might have two of them to ride upon, if we would cause them to be sent back to the owners after our arrival at . We accepted of them, and they were rode to , and the owners came there and got them. We started in the morning under our new officer, , of Keytsville, Chariton county, with sevral other men to guard us over. We arrived there on Friday evening, the 9th day of November, and were thrust into an old log house, with a strong guard placed over us. After we had been there for the space of half an hour, there came in a man who was said to have some notoriety in the penitentiary, bringing in his hands a quantity of chains and padlocks. He said he was commanded by to put us in chains. Immediately the soldiers rose up and pointing their guns at us, placed their thumb on the cock, and their finger on the trigger; and the ’s prison keeper went to work; putting a chain around the leg of each man, and fastening it on with a padlock, until we were all chained together, seven of us.
In a few moments came in , we requested to know of him what was the cause of all this harsh and cruel treatment.— He refused to give us any information at that time: but said he would in a few days; so we were compelled to continue in that situation; camping on the floor, all chained together, without any chance or means to be made comfortable; having to eat our victuals as it was served up to us, using our fingers and teeth instead of knives and forks. Whilst we were in this situation, a young man of the name of , brother-in-law to my brother , came to see us, and put up at the tavern where made his quarters, he happened to come in time to see make choice of his men, to shoot us on Monday morning, the 12th day of November, he saw them make choice of their rifles, and load them with two balls in each, and after they had prepared their guns, saluted them by saying ‘Gentlemen, you shall have the honor of shooting the Mormon leaders on Monday morning at eight o’clock!’ But in consequenc of the influence of our friends, the heathen was intimidated, so that he durst not carry his murderous designs into , and sent a messenger immediately to to obtain the military code of laws. After the messenger’s return, the was employed nearly a whole week, examining the laws; so Monday passed away without our being shot: however, it seemed like foolishness to me for so great a man as pretended to be, should have to search the military law to find out whether preachers of the gospel, who never did military duty, could be subject to court martial. However, the seemed to learn that fact after searching the military code, and came into the old log cabin where we were under guard, and in chains, and told us he had concluded to deliver us over to the civil authorities; as persons guilty of treason, murder, , , theft, and stealing. The poor deluded did not know the difference between theft, larceny, and stealing. Accordingly we were handed over to the pretended civil authorities, and the next morning our chains were taken off, and we were guarded to the court-house, where there was a pretended court in session; being the judge, and , the district attorney;—the two extremely and very honorable gentlemen who sat on the court martial when we were sentenced to be shot. Witnesses were called up and sworn at the point of the bayonet and if they would not swear to the things they were told to do, they were threatened with instant death, and I do know, positively, that the evidence given in by those men whilst under duress, was false. This state of things was continued twelve or fourteen days, and after that time we were ordered by the , to introduce some rebutting evidence, saying, if we did not do it, we would be thrust into prison. I could hardly understand what the meant, for I considered we were in prison already, and could not think of any thing but the persecutions of the days of Nero, knowing that it was a religious persecution, and the court an inquisition: however, we gave him the names of forty persons who were acquainted with all the persecutions and sufferings of the people.— The made out a subpoena, and inserted the names of those men and caused it to be placed in the hands of , the notorious Methodist minister, and he took fifty armed soldiers and started for . I saw the subpoena given to him and his company, when they started. In the course of a few days they returned with most all those forty men, whose names were inserted in the subpoena and thrust them into jail, and we were not permitted to bring one of them before the court, but the turned upon us with an air of indignation and said, gentlemen you must get your witnesses or you shall be committed to jail immediately; for we are not going to hold the court open on expense much longer, for you any how. We felt very much distressed and oppressed at that time. said, what shall we do? Our witnesses are all thrust into prison, and probably will be, and we have no power to do any thing, of course we must submit to this tyrranny and oppression; we cannot help ourselves. Several others made similar expressions in the agony of their souls; but my brother Joseph did not say any thing, he being sick at that time with the tooth ache, and ague in his face, in consequence of a severe cold brought on by being exposed to the severity of the weather. However, it was considered best by and Lawyer , that we should try to get some witnesses before the pretended court. Accordingly, I myself gave the names of about twenty other persons; the inserted them in a subpoena, and caused it to be placed into the hands of the Methodist priest, and he again started off with his fifty soldiers to take those men prisoners, as he had done to the forty others. The sat and laughed at the good opportunity of getting the names, that they might the more easily capture them, and so bring them down to be thrust into prison, in order to prevent us from getting the truth before the pretended court, of which himself was the chief inquisitor or conspirator. returned from his second expedition with one prisoner only, whom he also thrust into prison.
The people at had learned the intrigue and had left the , having been made acquainted with the treatment of the former witnesses. But we, on learning that we could not obtain witnesses; whilst privately consulting with each other what we should do, discovered a Mr. Allen, standing by the window on the outside of the house, we beckoned to him as though we would have him come in, he immediately came in. At that time retorted upon us again, saying, gentlemen are you not going to introduce some witnesses; also, saying it was the last day he should hold the court open for us, and if we did not rebut the testimony that had been given against us, he should have to commit us to jail. I had then got Mr. Allen into the house, and before the court, so called. I told the we had one witness, if he would be so good as to put him under oath; he seemed unwilling to do so; but after a few moments consultation, the ’s arose and said he should object to that witness being sworn, and that he should object to that witness giving in his evidence at all; stating that this was not a court to try the case, but only a court of investigation on the part of the . Upon this, arose, and said ‘he would be God damned if the witness should not be sworn, and that it was a damned shame that these defendants should be treated in this manner; that they could not be permitted to get one witness before the court, whilst all their witnesses, even forty at a time, have been taken by force of arms, and thrust into the ‘bull-pen’ in order to prevent them from giving their testimony.’ After sat down, the permitted the witness to be sworn, and enter upon his testimony. But so soon as he began to speak, a man by the name of Cook, who was a brother-in-law to Priest , the Methodist, and who was a lieutenant, and whose place at that time, was to superintend the guard, stepped in before the pretended court, and took him by the nape of his neck and jammed his head down under the pole or log of wood, that was placed up around the place where the inquisition was sitting, to keep the by-standers from intruding upon the majesty of the inquisitors, and jammed him along to the door, and kicked him out of doors. He instantly turned to some soldiers who were standing by him, and said to them, ‘go and shoot him, damn him, shoot him, damn him.’
The soldiers ran after the man to shoot him, he fled for his life and with great difficulty made his escape. The pretended court immediately arose, and we were ordered to be carried to , Clay county, and there to be thrust into jail. We endeavored to find out for what cause, but all that we could learn was because we were Mormons. The next morning a large wagon drove up to the door, and a blacksmith came into the house with some chains and handcuffs, he said his orders were from the , to handcuff us, and chain us together, he informed us that the had made out a , and sentenced us to jail for treason; he also said the had done this that we might not get bail; he also said the stated his intention to keep us in jail until all the Mormons were driven out of the ; he also said that the had further stated that if he let us out before the Mormons had left the , that we would not let them leave, and there would be another damned fuss kicked up; I also heard the say myself, whilst he was sitting in his pretended court, that there was no law for us, nor the Mormons, in the State of : that he had sworn to see them exterminated, and to see the ’s order executed to the very letter, and that he would do so; however, the blacksmith proceeded and put the irons upon us, and we were ordered into the wagon and they drove off for , and as we journeyed along on the road, we were exhibited to the inhabitants, and this course was adopted all the way, thus making a public exhibition of us, until we arrived at , Clay County. There we were thrust into prison again, and locked up—and were held there in close confinement for the the space of six months, and our place of lodging was the square side of a hewed white oak log—and our food was any thing but good and decent; poison was administered to us three or four times, the effect it had upon our system, was, that it vomited us almost to death, and then we would lay some two or three days in a torpid, stupid state, not even caring or wishing for life. The poison being administered in too large doses, or it would inevitably have proved fatal, had not the power of Jehovah interposed in our behalf, to save us from their wicked purpose. We were also subjected to the necessity of eating human flesh, for the space of five days, or go without food, except a little coffee, or a little corn bread, the latter I chose in preference to the former. We none of us partook of the flesh except ; we also heard the guard which was placed over us making sport of us, saying that they had fed us upon ‘Mormon beef.’ I have described the appearance of this flesh to several experienced physicians, and they have decided that it was human flesh. We learned afterwards, by one of the guard, that it was supposed that that act of savage cannibalism, in feeding us with human flesh, would be considered a popular deed of notoriety; but the people on learning that it would not take, tried to keep it secret; but the fact was noised abroad before they took that precaution. Whilst we were incarcerated in prison, we petitioned the Supreme Court of the State of for , twice, but were refused both times by , who is now the Governor of that . We also petitioned one of the county judges for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted in about three weeks afterwards; but were not permitted to have any trial; we were only taken out of jail and kept out for a few hours and then remanded back again. In the course of three or four days after that time, came into the jail in the evening, and said he had permitted to get bail, but said he had to do it in the night, and had also to get away in the night, and unknown to any of the citizens, or they would kill him; for they had sworn to kill him if they could find him; and as to the rest of us, he dared not let us go, for fear of his own life, as well as ours. He said it was damned hard to be confined under such circumstances, for he knew we were innocent men, and he said the people also knew it; and that it was only a persecution and treachery, and the scenes of acted over again, for fear that we would become too numerous in that upper country. He said the plan was concocted from the down to the lowest judge, and that that damned Baptist priest, Riley, who was riding into every day to watch the people, stirring up the minds of the people against us all he could, exciting them and stirring up their religious prejudices against us, for fear they would let us go. , however, got bail and made his escape to . The jailor, Samuel Tillery, Esq,. told us also, that the whole plan was concocted by the down to the lowest judge in that upper country, early in the previous spring, and that the plan was more fully carried out at the time that went down to , with General , and , the self-styled ‘Deleware Chiff.’ This was some time in the month of September, when the mob were collected at , in Carroll county. He also told us that the was now ashamed enough of the whole transaction and would be glad to set us at liberty if he dared to do it; but said he, you need not be concerned, for the has laid a [pl]an for your release. He also said that , the ’s Attorney, was appointed to [b]e Circuit Judge, on the circuit passing throu[g]h , and that he () was inst[r]ucted to fix the papers, so that we would be su[r]e to be clear from any incumbrance, in a very [s]hort time.
Sometime in April, we were tak[e]n to , as they said, to have a tria[l,] but when we arrived at that place, instead of finding a court or a jury, we found another in[q]uisition, and , who was the district attorn[e]y, the same man who was one of the court [m]artial when we were sentenced to death, was now the circuit judge of that pretended court; [a]nd the grand jury that was empannelled, were [a]ll at the massacre at , and lively actors in that awful, solemn, disgraceful, cool-blooded murder, and all the pretence they made of excuse, was, they had done it because the ordered them to do it. The same jury sat as a jury in the day time, and were placed over us as a guard in the night time; they tauntalized and boasted over us, of their great achievements at , and at other places, telling us how many houses they had burned, and how many sheep, cattle and hogs they had driven off, belonging to the Mormons, and how many rapes they had committed, and what squealing and kicking there was among the damned bitches; saying that they lashed one woman upon one of the damned Mormon meeting benches, tying her hands and her feet fast, and sixteen of them abused her as much as they had a mind to, and then left her bound and exposed in that distressed condition. These fiends of the lower region boasted of these acts of barbarity, and tantalized our feelings with them for ten days. We had heard of these acts of cruelty previous to this time, but we were slow to believe that such acts of cruelty had been perpetrated. The lady who was the subject of their brutality, did not recover her health, to be able to help herself for more than three months afterwards. This grand jury constantly celebrated their achievements with grog and glass in hand, like the Indian warriors at their war dances, singing and telling each other of their exploits, in murdering the Mormons, in plundering their houses and carrying off their property; at the end of every song they would bring in the chorus: ‘God damn God, God damn Jesus Christ, God damn the Presbyterians, God damn the Baptists, God damn the Methodists,’ reiterating one sect after another in the same manner, until they came to the Mormons, to them it was, ‘God damn the God damn Mormons; we have sent them to hell.’ Then they would slap their hands and shout hosanna, hasanna, glory to God, and fall down on their backs, and kick with their feet a few moments; then they would pretend to have swooned away into a glorious trance, in order to imitate some of the transactions at camp meetings. Then they would pretend to come out of their trance, and would shout and again slap their hands and jump up, while one would take a bottle of whiskey and a tumbler, and turn it out full of whiskey, and pour it down each other’s necks, crying ‘damn it take it, you must take it;’ and if any one refused to drink the whiskey, others would clinch him whilst another poured it down his neck, and what did not go down the inside, went down the outside; this is a part of the farce acted ou[t] by the g[r]and jury of , whilst they stood over us as guards, for ten nights successively. And all this in the presence of the great , who had previously said in our hearing, that there was no law for the Mormons in the state of . His brother was then acting as district attorney in that circuit, and if any thing, was a greater cannibal than the . After all these ten days of drunkenness, we were informed that we were indicted for treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft and stealing. We asked for a change of venue from that to Marion county, but they would not grant it; but they gave us a change of venue from to ; and a mittimus was made out by the pretended , without date, name or place. They fitted us out with a two horse wagon, and horses, and four men, besides the sheriff, to be our guard; there were five of us. We started from the sun about two hours high, P. M., and went as far as that evening and staid till morning. There we bought two horses of the guard and paid for one of them in our clothing, which we had with us, and for the other we gave our note. We went down that day as far as ’s, a distance of some four or five miles. There we staid until the morning, when we started on our journey to , and travelled on the road about twenty miles distance. There we bought a jug of whiskey, with which we treated the company, and while there the sheriff showed us the mittimus, before referred to, without date or signature, and said that told him never to carry us to , and never to show the mittimus; and said he, I shall take a good drink of grog and go to bed; and you may do as you have a mind to. Three others of the guard drank pretty freely of whiskey, sweetened with honey; they also went to bed, and were soon asleep, and the other guard went along with us and helped to saddle the horses. Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the State of ; and in the course of nine or ten days arrived safely at , Adams county, where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health; they having been driven out of the previously; by the murderous militia, under the exterminating order of the Executive of ; and now, the people of that , a portion of them, would be glad to make the people of this believe that my brother Joseph has committed treason, for the purpose of keeping up their murderous and hellish persecution, and they seem to be unrelenting, and thirsting for the blood of innocence, for I do know most postively that my brother Joseph has not committed treason, nor violated one solitary item of law or rule, in the State of .
But I do know that the Mormon people, en masse, were driven out of that , after being robbed of all they had, and they barely escaped with their lives: as well as my brother Joseph, who barely escaped with his life, his family also, was robbed of all they had, and barely escaped with the skin of their teeth, and all of this in consequence of the exterminating order of , the same being confirmed by the Legislature of that . And I do know—so does this court, and every rational man who is acquainted with the circumstances, and every man who shall hereafter become acquainted with the particulars thereof—will know, that , and Generals , , and , also , have committed treason upon the citizens of , and did violate the Constitution of the , and also the Constitution and laws of the State of ; and did exile and expel, at the point of the bayonet some twelve or fourteen thousand inhabitants from the , and did murder some three or four hundreds of men, women and children in cold blood, and in the most horrid and cruel manner possible, and the whole of it was caused by religious bigotry and persecution, because the Mormons dared to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and agreeably to His divine will, as revealed in the scriptures of eternal truth, and had turned away from following the vain traditions of their fathers, and would not worship according to the dogmas and commandments of those men who preach for hire and divine for money, and teach for doctrine the precepts of men—expecting that the Constitution of the would have protected them therein. But notwithstanding the Mormon people had purchased upwards of two hundred thousand dollars worth of land, most of which was entered and paid for at the land office of the in the State of —and although the of the has been made acquainted with these facts, and the particulars of our persecutions and oppressions, by petition to him, and to Congress—yet they have not even attempted to restore the Mormons to their rights, or given any assurance that we may hereafter expect redress from them. And I do also know, most positively and assuredly, that my brother, Joseph Smith, Senior, has not been in the State of since the spring of the year 1839. And further this saith not.
. [p. ]
“Trial of Joseph Smith,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 19 July 1843, .
TRIAL OF JOSEPH SMITH.
sworn. Says that he fully concurs in the testimony of the preceding , so far as he is acquainted with the same, and that Joseph Smith has not been known as Joseph Smith Junior, for the time stated by . He was an eye-witness of most of the scenes testified to by said , during the persecutions of our people in . That during the latter part of summer and fall of the year 1838, there were large bodies of the mob assembled in various places, for the avowed object of killing, driving, robbing, plundering and exterminating the Mormons, and actually committed many murders and other depredations, as related by the preceding . The was frequently petitioned, as also the other authorities, for redress and protection. At length , the Judge of the Circuit Court of the Fifth Judicial District, ordered out somewhere near a thousand men for the avowed purpose of quelling the mob and protecting the Mormons. These being under arms for several weeks, did, in some measure, prevent the mob’s proceedings for some time, after which, withdrew the force, refusing to put the to further expense, for our protection, without orders from the . The mobs then again collected in great numbers in Carroll, , and counties, and expressed their determination to drive the Mormons from the or kill them. They did actually drive them from , firing upon some, and taking others prisoners. They turned a man by the name of and family out of doors, when sick, and plundered his house and burned it before his eyes. They also plundered the citizens generally, taking their lands, houses and property. Those whose lives were spared, precipitately fled to in the utmost distress and consternation. Some of them actually died on the way, through exposure, suffering and destitution. Other parties of the mob were plundering and burning houses in ; and another party of the mob were ravaging the south part of , in a similar manner. The was again and again petitioned for redress and protection, but utterly refused to render us any assistance whatever. Under these painful and distressing circumstances, we had the advice of Generals , and , to call out the Militia of and counties, which was mostly composed of Mormons, and to make a general defence. The presiding Judge of , , gave orders to the of said to call out the Militia. They were called out under the command of , who held a commission from the , and was the highest military officer in the . This force effectually dispersed the mob in several places, and a portion of them were so organized in the city of , that they could assemble themselves upon the shortest notice, and were frequently ordered to assemble in the public square of said , in cases of emergency. These proceedings against the mob being misrepresented by designing men, both to the and other authorities and people of the , caused great excitement against the Mormons. Many tried to have it understood that the Mormons were in open rebellion, and making war upon the . With these pretences, issued the following exterminating order:
HEAD QUARTERS OF THE MILITIA,)
City of ,)
October 27th, 1838.
Since the order of the morning to you, directing you to come with four hundred mounted men, to be raised within your Division, I have received, by , Esq, and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which changes entirely the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an avowed defiance of the Laws, and of having made war upon the people of the . Your orders are therefore, to hasten your operations and endeavor to reach in , with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated, or driven from the , if necessary for the public peace.
Their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so, to any extent you may think necessary. I have just issued orders to Major General Wollock of Marion county, to raise five hundred men and to march them to the northern part of and there to unite with of —who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore, of proceeding as at first directed, to re instate the citizens of in their houses, you wil[l] proceed immediately to , and there operate ag[a]inst the Mormons. of , has b[e]en ordered to have four hundred of his Brigade in readiness to join you at . The whole force will be plac[e]d under your command.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
In the mean time, , and , both of , (who had, five years previously, assisted in driving about twelve hundred Mormon citizens from that , besides burning two hundred and three houses, and assisting in murdering several, and plundering the rest,) raised forces to the amount of several thousand men, and appeared before the city of in battle array. A few of the Militia then paraded in front of the , which caused the cowardly assailants to come to a halt at about a mile distant, in full view of the . A messenger arrived from them and demanded three persons before they massacred the rest and laid the in ashes. The names of the persons demanded were , and his wife. They gave no information who this army were, nor by what authority they came; neither had we at that time any knowledge of the ’s order, nor any of these movements, the mail having been designedly stopped by our enemies, for three weeks previously. We had supposed on their first appearance, that they were friendly troops, sent for our protection; but on receiving this alarming information of their wicked intentions, we were much surprised, and sent a with a white flag to enquire of them who they were, and what they wanted of us, and by whose authority they came. This flag was fired upon by , the Methodist priest, who afterwards told me the same with his own mouth. After several attempts, however, we got an interview, by which we learned who they were, and that they pretended to have been sent by the to exterminate our people. Upon learning this fact, no resistance was offered to their will or wishes. They demanded the arms of the Militia, and forcibly took them away. They requested that Mr. Joseph Smith and other leaders of the Church should come into their camp for consultation, giving them a sacred promise of protection and safe return. Accordingly Messrs Joseph Smith, , , and myself, started in company with , to their camp. when we were soon abruptly met by with several hundreds of his soldiers, in a hostile manner, who immediately surrounded us, and set up the most hideous yells that might have been supposed to have proceeded from the mouths of demons, and marched us, as prisoners, to their lines. There we were detained for two days and nights, and had to sleep on the ground in the cold month of November, in the midst of rain and mud—were continually surrounded with a strong guard, whose mouths were filled with cursing and bitterness, blackguardism and blasphemy; who offered us every abuse and insult in their power, both by night and day; and many individuals of the army cocked their rifles & taking deadly aim at our heads. swore they would shoot us. While under these circumstances, our ears were continually shocked with the relation of the horrid deeds they had committed, and which they boasted of.— They related the circumstance in detail of having, the previous day, disarmed a certain man in his own house, and took him prisoner, and afterwards beat out his brains with his own gun! in presence of their officers. They told of other individuals laying here and there in the brush, whom they had shot down without resistance, and who were laying, unburied, for the hogs to feed upon. They also named one or two individual females of our society, whom they had forcibly bound, and twenty or thirty, one after another, committed rape upon. One of these females was a daughter of a respectable family, with whom I have been long acquained, and with whom I have since conversed, and learned that it was truly the case. Delicacy at present forbids my mentioning the names. I also heard several of the soldiers acknowledge and boast of having stolen money in one place, clothing and bedding in another, and horses in another, whilst corn, pork, and beef, were taken by the whole army to support the men and horses; and in many cases cattle, hogs and sheep were shot down, and only a small portion of them used, [t]he rest left to waste. Of these crimes, of which the soldiers boasted, the general officers freely conversed, and corroborated the same. And even , who professed to be opposed to such proceedings, acknowledged the truth of them; and gave us several particulars in detail. I believe the name of the man whose brains they knocked out, was Carey; and another individual who had his chest broken open and several hundred dollars in specie taken out. was the same whose house the mob burned at .
After the Mormons were all disarmed, gave them a compulsory order for men, women and children, to leave the forthwith, without any exceptions—counting it a mercy to spare their lives on these conditions. Whilst these things were proceeding, instead of releasing us from confinement, and were forcibly added to our number, as prisoners, and under a large military escort, commanded by , before mentioned, we were all marched to , a distance of between fifty and sixty miles, leaving our families and our friends at their mercy, in a destitute condition, to prepare for a journey of more than two hundred miles, at the approach of winter, without our protection, and every moment exposed to robbery, ravishment, and other insult—their property robbed and their houses and lands already wrested from them.
We were exhibited like a caravan of wild animals on the way and in the streets of , and were also kept prisoners for a show for several days. In the mean time, a had been sent by , with an additional force of six thousand men, from the lower country, to join in his operations against the Mormons. He soon arrived before with his army, and confirmed all had done, and highly commended them for their virtue, forbearance and other deeds in bringing about so peaceable and amicable an adjustment of affairs. He kept up the same scene of ravage, plunder, ravishment and depredation, for the support and enrichment of his army—even burning the houses and fences for fuel. He also insisted that every man, woman and child of the Mormon society should leave the , except such as he detained as prisoners; stating that the had sent him to exterminate them, but that he would, as a mercy, spare their lives, and give them until the first of April following, to get out of the . He also compelled them, at the point of the bayonet, to sign a deed of trust of all their real estate, to defray the expenses of what he called “The Mormon War.” After arranging all these matters to his satisfaction, he returned to , thirty miles distant, taking about sixty heads of families with him, and marching them through a severe snow storm, on foot, as prisoners, leaving their families in a perishing condition.
Having established his head-quarters at , Ray county, he sent to and demanded us to be given up to him. We were accordingly transported some thirty or forty miles, delivered over to him, and put in close confinement, in chains, under a strong guard. A[t] length we obtained an interview with him, an[d] enquired why we were detained as prisoners[.] I said to him, Sir, we have now been prisone[rs] under the most aggravating circumstances [for] two or three weeks, during which time we ha[v]e received no information as to why we are pr[is]oners, or for what object, as no writ has been se[rv]ed upon us. We are not detained by the civi[l la]w. and as ministers of the gospel in times of [p]eace, who never bear arms, we cannot be consid[ere]d prisoners of war, especially as there has [be]en no war. And from present appearances, [w]e can hardly be considered prisoners of hop[e.] Why then these bonds? Said he, You were [t]aken to be tried. Tried by what authority? sa[id] I. By court martial, replied he. By court martial? said I. Yes, said he.— How, says I, can men, who are not military men, but ministers of the gospel, be tried by court martial, in this country where every man has a right to be tried by a jury? He replied it was according to the treaty with , on the part of the State of , and , the commanding officer of the Fortress of , on the part of the Mormons, and in accordance with the ’s order. And, said he, I approve of all that has done, and am determined to see it fulfilled. Said I, was but a Colonel of the militia, and commissioned by the , and the Mormons had no Fortress; but were, in common with others, citizens of , and therefore we recognise no authority in , to sell our liberties or make treaties for us.
Several days afterwards, again entered our prison and said he had concluded to deliver us over to the civil authorities. Accordingly we were soon brought before Judge of the Fifth circuit, where an examination was commenced, and witnesses sworn at the point of the bayonet, and threatened on pain of death if they did not swear to that which would suit the court. During this examination, I heard ask one of the witnesses, who was a Mormon, if he and his friends intended to live on their lands any longer than April, and to plant crops? Witness replied, why not? The replied, If you once think to plant crops or to occupy your lands any longer than the first of April, the citizens will be upon you; they will kill you every one, men, women and children, and leave you to manure the ground without a burial. They have been mercifully withheld from doing this on the present occasion, but will not be restrained for the future. On examining a Mormon witness for the purpose of substantiating the charge of Treason against Mr. Smith. He questioned him concerning our religious faith:
First. Do the Mormons send missionaries to foreign nations? The witness answered in the affirmative.
Secondly. Do the Mormons believe a certain passage in the Book of Daniel? naming the passage, which reads as follows: ‘And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him’ Dan. vii: 27. On being answered in the affirmative, the ordered the scribe to put it down as a strong point for treason; but this was too much for even a lawyer to bear; he remonstrated against such a course of proceedure, but in vain. Said he, you had better make the bible treason. After an examination of this kind, for many days, some were set at liberty, others admitted out on bail, and themselves and bail expelled from the forthwith, with the rest of the Mormon citizens. And Joseph Smith, , , , and others were committed to the jail for further trial. Two or three others, and myself, were put into the jail at , for the same purpose.
The Mormon people now began to leave the , agreeably to the extermina[t]ing order of . Ten or twelve thousand left the during the winter, and fled to the state of . A small number of widows, and the poor, together with my family and some of the friends of the other prisoners, still lingered in , when a small band of armed men entered the and committed many depredations and threatened life; and swore if my and children, and others whom they named were not out of the , in so many days, they would kill them; as the time now drew near for the completion of the exterminating order of . Accordingly, my and children, and others, left the as best they could; wandered to the state of , there to get a living among strangers, without a husband, father, or protector. Myself and party still remained in prison, after all the other Mormons had left the ; and even Mr Smith and his party, had escaped to bring up the rear. In June, by change of venue, we were removed from , to Columbia, , upwards of one hundred miles towards the state of ; and by our reques[t ]a special court was called, for final trial; but notwithstanding we were removed more than one hundred miles from the scenes of their depredations, yet such was the fact, that neither our friends or witnesses dared come into that to attend our trial, as they had been banished from the by the ’s order of extermination; executed to the very letter, b[y] the principal officers of the , civil and military. On these grounds, and having had all these opportunities to know, I testify that neither Mr. Smith, nor any other Mormon has the least prospect for justice, or to receive a fair and impartial trial in the state of . If tried at all, they must be tried by authorities who have trampled all law under their feet, and who have assisted in committing murder, robbery, treason, , rape, and felony; and who have made a law of banishment, contrary to the laws of all nations; and executed this barbarous law with the utmost rigor and severity. Therefore, Mr. Smith, and the Mormons generally, have suffered the end of the law, of which they had no choice, and therefore, the state of has no further claims, whatever, upon any of them.
I furthermore testify that the authorities of other states, who would assist , to wreak further vengeance upon any individua[l] of the persecuted Mormons, are either ignorantly or wilfully aiding and abetting in all these crimes.
Cross examined. He states that he was very intimate with Mr. Smith all the time he resided in the state of , and was with him almost daily, and that he knows positively that Mr. Smith held no office, either civil or military, either real or pretended, in that ; and that he never bore arms, or did military duty, not even in self defence; but that he was a peaceable, law-abiding, and faithful citizen, and a preacher of the gospel, and exhorted al[l] the citizens to be peaceable, long suffering and slow to act, even in self defence. He further stated that there was no fortress in , but a temporary fence, made of rails, house logs, floor planks, wagons, carts, &c., hastily thrown together, after being told by that they were to be massacred the fo[l]lowing morning, and the burnt to ashes, without giving any information by what authority. And he further states that he only escaped himself from that by walking out of the jail when the door was open to put in food, and came out in obedience to the ’s order of banishment, and to fulfil the same.
. [p. ]
“Trial of Joseph Smith,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 26 July 1843, –.
TRIAL OF JOSEPH SMITH.
sworn. says that he concurs with the preceding witnesses and , in all the facts with which he is acquainted, that in the summer of 1838 he was elected Sheriff of the county of and State of . That in the fall of the same year while the was threatened and infested with mobs, he received an order from the presiding Judge of said , to call out the Militia and he executed the same. The said order was presented by Joseph Smith, Sen. who showed the a letter from giving such advice as was necessary for the protection of the citizens of said ; reports of the mobs destroying property were daily received. Has no knowledge that Joseph Smith was concerned in organizing or commanding said Militia in any capacity whatever. About this time he received information that about forty or fifty “Yauger [Jäger]-Rifles” and a quantity of amunition were being conveyed through to for the use of the mob: Upon which he deputized to go with a company of men and to intercept them if possible, he did so and brought the said arms and amunition into which were afterwards delivered up to the order of , judge of the fifth circuit in .
It was generally understood at that time that said arms had been stolen by , and his company of volunteers, who had been upon a six months tour of service in the war between the and the Florida Indians, they were supposed to have been taken from the Fort at “Tampa Bay, “and brought to Clay County and that Captain Pollard or some other person loaned them to the mob—He further says that whilst in office as sherriff he was forcibly and illegally compelled by Lieutenant Cook, the son in law or brother in law of , the Methodist Priest—to start for and when he demanded of him by what authority he acted he was shown a Bowie knife and a brace of Pistols—And when he asked what they wanted of him he said they would let him know when he got to . Many of the citizens of were taken in the same manner without any legal process whatever and thrust into prison.
sworn. Says that, so far as he was acquainted with the facts stated by the previous witnesses, he concurs with them, and that he accompanied Mr. Joseph Smith into the State of , and arrived at on the 14th day of March, 1838, and was neighbor to Mr. Smith until he was taken by ’ militia, a prisoner of war, as they said, and that he was knowing to his character whilst he was in the State of ; and that he, Mr. Smith, was in no way connected with the militia of that : neither did he bear arms at all, nor give advice, but was a peaceable, law-abiding, good citizen, and a true republican in every sense of the word. He was with Mr. Smith a great share of the time, until driven out of by an armed force, under the exterminating order of . He heard the most of Mr. Smiths’ public addresses, and never did he hear him give advice or encourage anything contrary to the laws of the State of ; but to the contrary, always instructing the people to be peaceable, quiet, and law-abiding, and if necessity should compel them to withstand their enemies, by whom they were daily threatened in mobs at various points, that they, the Mormons, should attend to their business strictly, and not regard reports; and if the mob did come upon them, to contend with them by the strong arm of the law; and if that should fail, our only relief would be self defence: and be sure and act only upon the defensive. And there were no operations against the mob by the militia of only by the advice of Generals , , and .
At the time that the army came in sight of , he observed their approach, and thought some of the militia of the had come to the relief of the citizens; but to his great surprise, he found that they were come to strengthen the hands of the mobs that were around us, and which immediately joined the army. A part of these mobs were painted like Indians, and “,” their leader, was also painted in a similar manner, and styled himself the “Delaware Chief,” and afterwards he, and the rest of the mob, claimed and obtained pay, as militia, from the , for all the time they were engaged as mob, as will be seen by reference to the acts of the Legislature. That there were Mormon citizens wounded and murdered by the army under the command of , and he verily believes that several women were ravished to death by the soldiery of and . He also stated that he saw Joseph Smith, , , , and , delivered up by to , but expected they would have returned to the that evening or the next morning, according to agreement, and the pledge of the sacred honor of the officers that they should be allowed to do so: but they did not return at all. The next morning, demanded and took away the arms of the Militia of , (which arms have never been returned,) assuring them that they should be protected; but so soon as they obtained possession of the arms, they commenced their ravages by plundering the citizens of their bedding, clothing, money, wearing apparel, and everything of value they could lay their hands upon; and also attempting to violate the chastity of the women in sight of their husbands and friends—under the pretence of hunting for prisoners and arms. The soldiers shot down our oxen, cows, hogs and fowls, at our own doors, taking part away, and leaving the rest to rot in the streets. The soldiers also turned their horses into our fields of corn.
Here the was shewn ’s speech, which is as follows, viz:
“Gentlemen,—You whose names are not attached to this list of names, will now have the privilege of going to your fields, and of providing corn, wood, &c., for your families. Those that are now taken will go from this to prison, be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes; but you, (except such as charges may hereafter be preferred against,) are at liberty as soon as the troops are removed that now guard the place, which I shall cause to be done immediately. It now devolves upon you to fulfil the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I shall now lay before you. The first requires that your leading men be given up to be tried according to law; this you have complied with. The second is, that you deliver up your arms; this has also been attended to. The third stipulation is, that you sign over your properties to defray the expenses that have been incurred on your account; this you have also done. Another article yet remains for you to comply with,—and that is, that you leave the forth-with. And whatever may be your feelings concerning this, or whatever your innocence is, it is nothing to me. (whose military rank is equal with mine,) has made this treaty with you; I approve of it. I should have done the same had I been here, and am therefore determined to see it executed. The character of this has suffered almost beyond redemption, from the character, conduct and influence that you have exerted; and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character by every proper means.— The order of the to me was, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to remain in the . And had not your leaders been given up, and the terms of the treaty complied with before this time, your families would have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes. There is a discretionary power vested in my hands, which, considering your circumstances, I shall exercise for a season. You are indebted to me for this clemency. I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting in crops; for the moment you do this the citizens will be upon you; and if I am called here again in case of non-compliance with the treaty made, do not think that I shall act as I have done now. You need not expect any mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the ’s order shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not think, do not imagine for a moment, do not let it enter into your minds that they will be delivered and restored to you again, for their fate is fixed, the die is cast, their doom is sealed. I am sorry, Gentlemen, to see so many apparently intelligent men found in the situation that you are; and Oh! if I co[uld in]voke that Great Spirit of the unknown [God to ]rest upon and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound—that you no longer do homage to a man. I would advise you to scatter abroad, and never again organize yourselves with Bishops, Priests, &c., lest you excite the jealousies of the people and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you. You have always been the aggressors—you have brought upon yourselves these difficulties, by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule. And my advice is, that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin.”
and was asked by the Court if it was correct? and after reading it, he replied—
Yes, as far as it goes—for, continued he, I was present when that speech was delivered, and when fifty-seven of our brethren were betrayed into the hands of our enemies as prisoners, which was done at the instigation of our open and avowed enemies: such as and others, and the treachery of . In addition to the speech referred to, said that, we must not be seen as many as five together. If you are, said he, the citizens will be upon you, and destroy you; but to flee immediately out of the . There was no alternative for them but to flee: that they need not expect any redress, for there was none for them. With respect to the treaty, the further says, that there never was any treaty proposed or entered into on the part of the Mormons, or even thought of. As to the leaders being given up, there was no such contract entered into or thought of by the Mormons, or any one called a Mormon, except by . And with respect to the trial of the prisoners at : I do not consider that tribunal a legal court, but an [i]nquisition—for the following reasons: That Mr. Smith was not allowed any evidence whatever on his part, for the conduct of the court, as well as the ’s own words affirmed, that there was no law for Mormons in the State of . And he also knew that when Mr. Smith left the State of , he did not flee from justice, for the plain reason that the officers and the people manifested by their works and their words, that there was no law, nor justice for the people called Mormons. And further he knows that Mr. Smith has ever been a strong advocate for the laws and constitutions of his country—and that there was no act of his life while in the State of , according to his knowledge, that could be implied or construed in any way whatever, to prove him a fujitive from justice; or that he has been guilty of “murder, treason, , , theft, and stealing,” the crimes he was charged with by , when he delivered him over to the civil authorities; and he supposes that the learned did not know but there was a difference between “larceny, theft and stealing.”
The also says that they compelled the brethren to give away their property by executing a Deed of Trust, at the point of the bayonet, and that Judge Cameron stood and saw the Mormons sign away their property, and then he and others would run and kick up their heels, and said they were glad of it, and “we have nothing to trouble us now.” This judge also said, God damn them, see how well they feel now. also said he had authority to make what treaties he pleased; and the would sanction it.
The also stated that he never transgressed any of the laws of ; and he never knew a Latter Day Saint break a law while there. He also said that if they would search the records of , , or counties, they could not find one record of crime against a Latter Day Saint, or even in , so far as knew.
sworn. Saith that he has been acquainted with Joseph Smith Senior for the last twelve years, and that he removed to the State of in the year 1831, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized, agreeably to the law of the land. No particular difficulty took place until after some hundreds had assembled in that land who believed in the Book of Mormon, and Revelations which were given through said Joseph Smith Senior. After nearly two years of peace had elapsed, a strong prejudice among the various sects arose, declaring that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and ought to die: and I heard hundreds say they had never known the man, but if they could come across him, they would kill him as soon as they would a rattlesnake. Frequently heard them say of those who believed in the doctrine he promulgated, that if they did not renounce it, they would exterminate or drive them from the in which they lived. On enquiring of them if they had any prejudice against us, they said No, but Joe Smith ought to die, and if he ever comes to this country, we will kill him, God damn him.
Matters went on thus until some time in the summer of 1833, when mobs assemble in considerable bodies, frequently visiting private houses, threatening them with death and destruction instantly, if they did not renounce Joe Smith as a prophet, and the Book of Mormon. Some time towards the last of the summer of 1833, they commenced their operations of mobocracy. On account of their priests, by mating in their prejudices against Joseph Smith Senior, as I believe, gangs of from thirty to sixty, visiting the house of George Bebee, calling him out of his house at the hour of midnight, with many guns and pistols pointed at his breast, beating him most inhumanly with clubs and [whip]s; and the same night or night afterwards, this gang unroofed thirteen houses in what was called the Whitmer Branch of the Church in . These scenes of mobocracy continued to exist with unabated fury. Mobs went from house to house, thrusting poles and rails in at the windows and doors of the houses of the Saints, tearing down a number of houses, turning hogs, horses, &c., into cornfields, burning fences, &c. Some time in the month of October, they broke into the of S. Gilbert & Co., and I marched up with thirty or forty men to witness the scene and found a man by the name of , brickbatting the store door with all fury, the silks, calicoes, and other fine goods, entwined about his feet, reaching within the door of the store-house. was arrested and taken before , by seven testimonies, and then acquitted without delay. The next day the witnesses were taken before the same man for false imprisonment, and by the testimony of this one , were found guilty, and committed to jail. This so exasperated my feelings that I went with two hundred men to enquire into the affair, when I was promptly met by the of the militia, who stated to me that the whole had been a religious farce, and had grown out of a prejudice they had imbibed against said Joseph Smith, a man with whom they were not acquainted. I here agreed that the church would give up their arms, provided the said would take the arms from the mob. To this the cheerfully agreed, and pledged his honor with that of , Owen [Samuel C. Owens], and others. This treaty entered into, we returned home, resting assured on their honor, that we would not be farther molested. But this solemn contract was violated in every sense of the word. The arms of the mob were never taken away, and the majority of the militia, to my certain knowledge, were engaged the next day with the mob, ( and not excepted,) going from house to house in gangs of from sixty to seventy in number, threatening the lives of women and children, if they did not leave forthwith. In this diabolical scene, men were chased from their houses and homes, without any preparations for themselves or families. I was chased by one of these gangs across an open prairie five mile without being overtaken, and lay three weeks in the woods, and was three days and three nights without food. In the mean time, my wife and three small children, in a skiff passed down a distance of fourteen miles and crossed over the , and there borrowed a rag carpet of one of her friends and made a tent of the same, which was the only shield from the inclemency of the weather during the three weeks of my expulsion from home. Having found my family in this situation, and making some enquiry, I was informed I had been hunted through , and counties, and also the Indian territory. Having made the enquiry of my family, why it was they had so much against me, the answer was, “He believes in Joe Smith and the Book of Mormon, God damn him, and we believe Joe Smith to be a damned rascal!!” Here on the bank of the were eight families, exiled from plenteous homes, without one particle of provisions, or any other means under the heavens to get any only by hunting in the forest. I here built a camp twelve feet square, against a sycamore log, in which my wife bore me a fine son on the 27th of December. The camp having neither chimney nor floor, nor covering sufficient to shield them from the inclemency of the weather, rendered it intolerable. In this doleful condition, I left my family for the express purpose of making an appeal to the American people to know something of the toleration of such vile and inhuman conduct, and travelled one thousand and three hundred miles through the interior of the , and was frequently answered “That such conduct was not justifiable in a republican government; yet we feel to say that we fear that Joe Smith is a very bad man, and circumstances alter cases. We would not wish to prejudge a man, but in some circumstances, the voice of the people ought to rule.” The most of these expressions were from professors of religion; and in the aforesaid persecution, I saw one hundred and ninety women and children driven thirty miles across the prairie, with three decrepit men only in their company, in the month of Nov., the ground thinly crusted with sleet, and I could easily follow on their trail by the blood that flowed from their lacerated feet!! on the stubble of the burnt prairie. This company not knowing the situation of the country, nor the extent of , built quite a number of cabins, that proved to be in the borders of . The mob, infuriated at this, rushed on them in the month of January 1834, burned these scanty cabins, and scattered the inhabitants to the four winds, from which cause many were taken suddenly ill, and of this illness died. In the mean time, they burned two hundred and three houses and one grist mill, these being the only residences of the Saints in .
The most part of one thousand and two hundred Saints, who resided in , made their escape to . I would here remark that among one of the companies that went to , was a woman named Sarah Ann Higbee who had been sick of chills and fever for many months; and another of the name of Keziah Higbee, who was under the most delicate circumstances, lay on the bank of the , without shelter, during one of the most stormy nights I ever witnessed, while torrents of rain poured down during the whole night, and streams of the smallest minutia were magnified into rivers. The former was carried across the , apparently a lifeless corpse.— The latter was delivered of a fine son, on the bank, within twenty minutes after being carried across the , under the open canopy of heaven, and from which cause, I have every reason to believe, she died a premature death. The only consolation they received, under these circumstances, was “God damn you, do you believe in Joe Smith now?” During this whole time, the said Joseph Smith, Senior, lived in , in the town of , according to the best of my knowledge and belief, a distance of eleven hundred miles from , and thinks that the church had but little correspondence with him during that time. We now mostly found ourselves in —some in negro cabins—some in gentlemen’s kitchens—some in old cabins that had been out of use for years—and others in the open air, without anything to shelter them from the dreary storms of a cold and stormy winter.
Thus like men of servitude we went to work to obtain a scanty living among the inhabitants of . Every advantage which could be taken of a people under these circumstances was not neglected by the people of . A great degree of friendship prevailed between the Saints and this people under these circumstances for the space of two years; when the Saints commenced purchasing some small possessions for themselves; this together with the emigration created a jealousy on the part of the old citizens—that we were to be their servants no longer. This raised an apparent indignation and the first thing expressed in this excitement was: “you believe too much in Joe Smith,”—consequently they commenced catching the Saints in the streets, whipping some of them until their bowels gushed out, and leaving others for dead in the streets. This so exasperated the Saints that they mutually agreed with the citizens of that they would purchase an entire new north of and cornering on . There being not more than 40 or 50 inhabitants in this new , who frankly sold out their possessions to the Saints, who immediately set in to enter the entire from the General Government. The having been settled, the issued an order for the organization of the into a regiment of militia, and an election being called for a Colonel of said regiment—I was elected unanimously, receiving 236 votes, in August 1837. Then organized with subaltern officers according to the statutes of the , and received legal and lawful commissions from for the same.
I think, sometime in the latter part of the winter said Joseph Smith moved to the district of country the Saints had purchased, and he settled down like other citizens of a new county, and was appointed the first Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, holding no office in the either civil or military. I declare that I never knew said Joseph Smith to dictate by his influence or otherwise any of the officers either civil or military, he himself being exempt from military duty from the amputation from his leg of a part of the bone on account of a fever sore.
I removed from to , purchased a pre-emption right, for which I gave 750 dollars, gained another by the side thereof, put in a large crop and became acquainted with the citizens of , who appeared very friendly. In the month of June or July there was a town laid off, partly on my pre-emption, and partly on lands belonging to Government—the emigration commenced flowing to this newly laid off town very rapidly. This excited a prejudice in the minds of some of the old citizens who were an ignorant set, and not very far advanced before the aborigenees of the country in civilization or cultivated minds, fearing lest this rapid tide of emigration should deprive them of office of which they were dear lovers. This was more plainly exhibited at the Aug. election in the year 1838. The old settlers then swore that not one Mormon should vote at that election; accordingly they commenced operations by fist and skull; this terminated in the loss of some teeth, some flesh, and some blood. The combat being very strongly contested on both sides—many Mormons were deprived of their votes; and I was followed to the polls by three ruffians with stones in their hands, swearing they would kill me if I voted.
A false rumor was immediately sent to , such as two or three Mormons were killed and were not suffered to be buried. The next day a considerable number of the Saints came out to my house—said Joseph Smith came with them—he enquired of me concerning the difficulty—the answer was political difficulties—he then asked if there was any thing serious—the answer was, no, I think not—we then all mounted our horses and rode up into the Prairie a short distance from my house to a cool spring near the house of where the greater number stopped for refreshment, whilst a few waited on —he was interrogated to know whether he justified the course of conduct at the late election or not—he said he did not, and was willing to give his protest in writing, which he did, and also desired that there should be a public meeting called which I think was done on the next day. Said Joseph Smith was not addressed on the subject but I was, who, in behalf of the Saints, entered into an agreement with the other citizens of the that we would live in peace, enjoying those blessings fought for by our forefathers, but while some of their leading men were entering into this contract, others were raising mobs, and in a short time the mob increased to 205 rank and file, and they encamped within six miles of . In the mean time Joseph Smith and those who came with him from returned to their homes in peace suspecting nothing—but [I] seeing the rage of the mob and their full determination to drive the Chu[r]ch from , sent to (Major General of the Division in which we lived,) he immediately sent , with between 200 and 300 men. moved his troops near the mob force, and came up and conversed with me on the subject—after conversing some time on the subject, Major Hughes came and informed that his men were mutinizing, and the mob were determined to fall on the Saints in . I having a Col’s. commission under , was commanded to call out my troops forthwith, and to use s own language “kill every G——d d——n mobocrat or make them prisoners, and if they come upon you give them hell”—he then returned his troops and gave them an address, stating the interview he had with me, and he also said to the mob, that if they were so disposed they could go on with their measures—that he considered that with the militia under his command all-sufficient to quell every G——d d——n mobocrat in the , and if they did not feel disposed so to do, to go home or G——d d——n them he would kill every one of them.— The mob then dispersed. During these movements Joseph Smith nor any of those of or any other place were not at only those who were settlers and legal citizens of the place. The mob again assembled and went to , Carroll county, there being a small branch of the Church at that place, but of the transactions at this place I have no personal knowledge. They succeeded in driving the Church from that place, some to the east and some to the west, &c. This increased their ardor, and with redoubled forces from several counties of the , they returned to to renew the attack, many unwanton attacks and violations of the rights of citizens took place at this time from the hands of this hellish band. I believing forbearance no longer to be a virtue, again sent to the for military aid, who ordered out . came part of the way, but fearing his men would mutinize and join the mob, he came on ahead and conversed with me a considerable time. The night previous to his arrival the of was driven from her house by this ruthless mob, and came into , a distance of three miles, carrying two children on her hips, one of which was then rising of two years old, the other six or eight months old—the snow being over shoe-mouth deep, and she having to wade which was at this time waist deep, and the mob burnt the house and every thing they had in it—and , passing the ruins thereof, seemed fired with indignation at their hellish conduct, and said he had hitherto thought it imprudent to call upon the militia under my command in consequence of popular opinion, but he now considered it no more than justice that I should have command of my own troops, and said to me, “I therefore command you forthwith to raise your companies immediately and take such course as you may deem best in order to disperse the mob from this .” I then called out sixty men and placed them under the command of Captain , and I also took about the same number— was ordered to , where a party of the mob were located, and I to , where another party was located. I and formed the troops under our command, and addressed them as follows:—
“Gentlemen, I deplore your situation—I regret that transactions of this nature should have transpired in our once happy —your condition is certainly not an enviable one—surrounded by mobs on one side, and popular opinion and prejudice against you on the other—gladly would I fly to your relief with my troops, but I fear it would be worse for you—most of them have relations living in this , and will not fight against them. One of my principal Captains, namely and his men have already mutinized and have refused to obey my command. I can only say to you, gentlemen, follow the command of , whom I have commanded to disperse all mobs found in , or to make them prisoners and bring them before the civil authorities forthwith. I wish to be distinctly understood that is vested with power and authority from me to disperse from your midst all who may be found on the side of mobocracy in the county of . I deeply regret gentlemen (knowing as I do the vigilance and perseverence of in the cause of freedom and rights of man) that I could not even be a soldier under his command in quelling the hellish outrages I have witnessed. In conclusion, gentlemen, be vigilant and persevere and allay every excitement of mobocracy. I have visited your place frequently—find you to be an industrious and thriving people, willing to abide the laws of the land.— And I deeply regret that you could not live in peace and enjoy the privileges of freedom. I shall now, gentlemen, return and dismiss my troops and put under an arrest—leave the sole charge with , who [p. ]
I deem sufficiently qualified to perform according to law in all military operations necessary.”
then went to , when coming in sight of , he discovered about 100 of the mob holding some of the Saints in bondage, and tantalizing others in the most scandalous manner—at the sight of and company the mob took fright and such was their hurry to get away, some cut their bridle reins, and some pulled the bridles from their horses heads and went off with all speed, nothing to prevent the speed of their horses.
I went to , and on my way discovered that the inhabitants had become enraged at the orders of the Generals and , and that they had sworn vengeance, not only against the Church but also against the two Generals, together with , and to carry out their plans they entered into one of the most diabolical schemes ever entered into by man, and these hellish schemes were injuriously carried out: Frstly, by loading their families and goods in covered waggons, setting fire to their houses , moving into the midst of the mob and crying out the Mormons have driven us and burnt our houses. In this situation I found the country between my house and , and also found evacuated and burnt. Rumors were immediately sent to the , with the news that the Mormons were killing and burning every thing before them, and that great fears were entertained that they would reach before the runners could bring the news. This was not known by the Church of Latter Day Saints, until 2200 of the militia had arriven within half a mile of , and they then supposed the militia to be a mob. I was sent for from to —reached there the sun about one hour high in the morning of the 29th of October, 1838, called upon Joseph Smith, enquired the cause of the great uproar, he declared he did not know, but feared the mob had increased their numbers, and was endeavoring to destroy us—I enquired of him if he had had any conversation with any one concerning the matter—he said he had not, as he was only a private citizen of the —that he did not interfere with any such matters. I think that he told me there had been an order from General or , one to the to call out the militia in order to quell the riots, and to go to him he could give me any information on this subject, on enquiring for him I found him not. That between 3 and 4 o’clock, P. M., Colonel of the militia in that place called on me in company with Joseph Smith, and said said he had been in the camp in order to learn the intention of the same, he said they greatly desired to see Joseph Smith, , , , and ; Joseph Smith first enquired why they should desire to see him as he held no office either civil or military. I next enquired why it was they should desire to see a man out of his own county. here observed there is no time for controversy, if you are not into the camp immediately they are determined to come upon before the setting of the sun, and said they did not consider us as military bodies, but religious bodies. He said that if the aforesaid persons went into the camp they would be liberated that night or very early next morning, that there should be no harm done.— We consulted together and agreed to go down —on going about half the distance from the camp, I observed it would be well for Generals , , and others, to meet us and not have us go in so large a crowd of soldiers—accordingly the Generals moved onwards, followed by 50 Artillery men with a four pounder. The whole 2200 moved in steady pace on the right and left keeping about even with the former.— approached the aforesaid designated persons with a vile, base, and treacherous look in his countenance—I shook hands with him and saluted him thus: “we understand you wish to confer with us a few moments, will not to-morrow morning do as well.” At this moment spake and said, here are the prisoners I agreed to deliver to you. then brandished his sword with a most hideous look, and said you are my prisoners, and there is no time for talking at the present, you will march into the camp. At this moment I believe that there was 500 guns cocked and not less than 20 caps bursted, and more hideous yells were never heard, even if the description of the yells of the damned in hell is true as given by the modern sects of the day. The aforesaid designated persons were there introduced into the midst of 2200 mob militia. They then called out a guard of 90 men, placing 30 around the prisoners who were on duty 2 hours and 4 off—prisoners were placed on the ground with nothing to cover but the heavens, and they were overshadowed by clouds that moistened them before morning.— was of a delicate constitution, received a slight shock of Apoplectic fits which excited great laughter and much ridicule in the guard and mob militia. Thus the prisoners spent a doleful night in the midst of a prejudiced and diabolical community. Next day and were dragged from their families and brought prisoners into the camp—they alleging no other reason for taking than that he was brother to Joe Smith the Prophet, and one of his counsellors as President of the Church. The prisoners spent this day as comfortably as could be expected under the existing circumstances. Night came on and under the dark shadows of the night, , subaltern of , took me one side, and said we do not wish to hurt you nor kill you, neither shall you be, by G——d—but we have one thing against you, and that is you are too friendly to Joe Smith, and we believe him to be a G——d d——d rascal! and you know all about his character—I said, I do sir—will you swear all you know concerning him said —I will sir, was the answer I gave—give us the outlines said —I then told said I believed said Joseph Smith to be the most philanthropic man he ever saw and possessed of the most pure and republican principles, a friend to mankind, a maker of peace and sir, had it not been that I had given heed to his counsel I would have given you hell before this time with all your mob forces, he then observed: , I fear your life is in danger for there is no end to the prejudice against Joe Smith—kill and be d——d sir, was my answer. He answered and said there is to be a court martial held this night, and will you attend sir? I will not, unless compelled by force, was my reply. He returned about 11 o’clock that night and took me aside, and said I regret to tell you your die is cast, your doom is fixed, you are sentenced to be shot to-morrow morning on the public square, in , at 8 o’clock. I answered, shoot, and be d——d.
We were in hopes said he, you would come out against Joe Smith, but as you have not, you will have to share the same fate with him. I answered, you may thank Joe Smith that you are not in hell this night; for had it not been for him, I would have put you there. Somewhere about this time came up and said to me; , the decision is a damned hard one, and I have washed my hands against such cool and deliberate murder. He further told me, that General Graham and several others, (names not recollected,) were with him in the decision, and opposed it with all their power; that he should move his soldiers away by day light, in the morning; that they should not witness such a heartless murder, , I wish you well. I then returned to my fellow prisoners, to spend another night on the cold damp earth, and the canopy of heaven to cover us. The night again proved a damp one. At the removal of ’s part of the army, the camp was thrown into the utmost confusion and consternation. , fearing the consequence of such hasty and inconsiderate measures, revoked the decree of shooting the prisoners, and determined to take them to . Consequently, he delivered the prisoners over to , ordering him to see them safe to , . About the hour the prisoners were to have been shot on the public square in , they were exhibited in a wagon in the , all of them having families there, but myself; and it would have broken the heart of any person possessing an ordinary share of humanity, to have seen the separation. The aged and of Joseph Smith were not permitted to see his face, but to reach their hands through the curtains of the wagon, and thus take leave of him. When passing his own house, he was taken out of the wagon and permitted to go into the house, but not without a strong guard, and not permitted to speak with his family but in the presence of his guard and his eldest son, , about six or eight years old, hanging to the tail of his coat, crying father, is the mob going to kill you? The guard said to him, ‘you damed little brat, go back. you will see your father no more.’ The prisoners then set out for , accompanied by Generals and , and about three hundred troops for a guard. We remained in two or three days and nights, during most of which time, the prisoners were treated in a gentlemanly manner, and boarded at a hotel, for which they had afterwards, when confined in , to pay the most extravagant price, or have their property, if any they had, attached for the same.— At this time had arrived at , and by orders from the , took on himself the command of the whole of the militia, notwithstanding ’s commission was the oldest, but he was supposed to be too friendly to the Mormons: and therefore dismounted, and sanctioned the measures of , however cruel they might have been; and said, he should have done the same had he been there himself. Accordingly he remanded the prisoners from , and they were taken and escorted by a strong guard to ; threatened several times on the way with violence and death. They were met five miles before they reached , by about one hundred armed men, and when they arrived in town they were thrust into an old cabin under a strong guard. I was informed by one of the guards, that two nights previous to their arrival, had a court martial, and the prisoners were again sentenced to be shot; but he being a little doubtful of his authority, sent immediately to for the military law, and a decision from the ’s officers, where he was duly informed, that any such proceeding would be a cool blooded and heartless murder. On the arrival of the prisoners at , Joseph Smith and myself sent for ; to be informed by him what crimes were alledged against us. He came in and said he would see us again in a few minutes; shortly he returned and said he would inform us of the crimes alledged against us by the state of .
“Gentlemen, you are charged with treason, murder, , , , theft, and stealing, and various other charges too tedious to mention, at this time;” and he left the room. In about twenty minutes, there came in a strong guard, together with the keeper of the penitentiary of the , who brought with him two common trace chains, noozed together by putting the small end through the ring; and commenced chaining us up one by one, and fastening with padlocks, about two feet apart. In this unhallowed situation, the prisoners remained fifteen days, and in this situation, delivered us to the professed civil authorities of the , without any legal process being served on us at all, during the whole time we were kept in chains, with nothing but evidence, and that either by the vilest apostates, or by the mob who had committed murder in the state of . Notwithstanding all this ex-parte evidence, did inform our lawyer, ten days previous to the termination of the trial, who he should commit and who he should not; and I heard say on his bench, in the presence of hundreds of witnesses, that there was no law for Mormons, and they need not expect any. Said he, if the ’s exterminating order had been directed to me, I would have seen it fulfiled to the very letter ere this time.
After a tedious trial of fifteen days, with no other witnesses but ex-parte ones, the witnesses, for prisoners were either kicked out of doors or put on trial for themselves. The prisoners were now committed to , under the care and direction of Samuel Tillery, jailor.— Here we were received with a shout of indignation and scorn, by the prejudiced populace. Prisoners were here thrust into jail without a regular ; the jailor having to send for one some days after. The mercies of the jailor were intolerable, feeding us with a scanty allowance, on the dregs of coffee and tea, from his own table, and fetching the provisions in a basket, on which the chickens had roosted the night before, without being cleaned; five days he fed the prisoners on human flesh, and from extreme hunger I was compelled to eat it. In this situation we were kept until about the month of April, when we were remanded to for trial before the grand jury.— We were kept under the most loathsome and despotic guards they could produce in that of lawless mobs. After six or eight days the grand jury, (most of whom by the by, were so drunk that they had to be carried out and into their rooms as though they were lifeless,) formed a fictitious indictment, which was sanctioned by , who was the ’s Attorney under at our ex-parte trial, and who at that time stated that the Mormons ought to be hung without judge or jury, he the said judge, made out a without day or date, ordering the sheriff to take us to Columbia. The sheriff selected four men to guard five of us. We then took a circuitous route, crossing prairies sixteen miles without houses, and after travelling three days the sheriff and I were together, by ourselves five miles from any of the rest of the company, for sixteen miles at a stretch. Th[e] sheriff here observed to me, that he wished to God he was at home, and your friends and you also. The sheriff then showed me the mittimus, and he found it had neither day or date to it; and said the inhabitants of would be surprised that the prisoners had not left them sooner; and said he, by God, I shall not go much further. We were then near Yellow creek, and there were no houses nearer one way than sixteen miles and eleven another way; except right on the creek. Here a part of the guard took a spree while the balance helped us to mount our horses, which we purchased of them and for which they were paid. Here we took a change of venue and went to without difficulty, where we found our families who had been driven out of the under the exterminating order of . I never knew of Joseph Smith’s holding any office, civil or military, or using any undue influence in religious matters during the whole routine of which I have been speaking.
, sworn. Says, I arrived in , Caldwell county, Missouri, on the 4th of April, 1839, and enjoyed peace and quietness in common with the rest of the citizens, until 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 countties in the , where our people were living. We had lived in peace from the April previous until 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 well as some families living in other counties. A simultaneous 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. Public meetings 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 circulation given to them, that the presses of the country were capable of giving.
The first regular mob that assembled was in Carroll county, and their efforts were directed against the settlements made in that county, declaring their determination to drive out of the county all the citizens who were of our religion, and that indiscriminately, without regard to any thing else but their religion. The only evidence necessary to dispossess any individual or family, or all the evidence required, 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 made common plunder. Resolutions to this effect were made at public meetings held for the purpose, and made public through the papers of the in the face of all law, and all authority.
I will now give a history of the settlement in Carroll county. In the preceding April, as myself and family were on our way to , we put up at a house in Carroll 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 staid 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 into that place, to form a settlement at ; speaking highly of the advantages of the situation, and soliciting my interference in his behalf, to obtain a number of families to commence at that place, as he was a large proprietor in the town plat. 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 proceeded on our journey.
Some few weeks after my arrival, the said , in company with a man by the name of , came to on the same bnsiness; 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 families removed there, and the settlement soon increased, until in the October following, it consisted of some seventy families. By this time a regular mob had collected, strongly armed; and had obtained possession of a cannon, and stationed a mile or two from the . The citizens being nearly all new comers, 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 procure 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 the owners from going in search of them. In this way the citizens were driven to the greatest extremities, actually suffering for food and every comfort of