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mormon persecution in missouri

Gen. With one child in each arm, she waded across an icy creek to safety in Adam-ondi-Ahman. [21], The earlier settlers saw expansion of Mormon communities outside of Caldwell County as a political and economic threat. Though Clark had offered to allow the Mormons to remain in Missouri until the following spring, they decided to leave right away; according to one account, most had departed within ten days of Clark's speech. Lucas tried Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders by court martial on November 1, the evening of the surrender. Our husband pitched his tent by a blacksmith's shop. A committee sent to De Witt ordered the Latter-day Saints to leave. [40][41], On July 30, citizens of Carroll County met in Carrollton to discuss the Mormon colonization of De Witt. The order was supported by most northwest Missouri citizens but was questioned or denounced by a few. They moved into a blacksmith shop, which they hoped to use as a makeshift defensive fortification. According to Hinkle, Smith wanted a treaty with the Missourians "on any terms short of battle". At that time, opponents of the Mormons used a pattern that would be repeated four times,[12] culminating in the expulsion of the Mormons from the entire state. An extreme example that clearly portrays that title says, " For 137 years, it was technically legal to kill a Mormon in Missouri. Executive Order 44 was issued during the 1838 Mormon War, which was caused by friction between the Mormons and their neighbors due to the economic and electoral growth of the Latter-day Saint community. [13][45], Some isolated Mormons in outlying areas also came under attack. On the same day, July 20, 1833, the W. W. Phelps printing press, which published the Evening and the Morning Star in Independence, was destroyed by a mob. [35] The crowd dispersed, and the Mormons returned to their homes. Other settlers, who had operated under the assumption that the Mormons would remain confined to Caldwell County, became angry due to these new settlements.[10]. Mormonism became somewhat of a religion of the oppressed in its early history. =However, the increasing influx of new Mormon converts moving to northwestern Missouri led them to begin settling in adjacent counties. [109][110] Judge Austin A King, who had been assigned the cases of the Mormons charged with offenses during the conflict, warned "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."[13]. ... And a persecution complex helps no one. This page provides historical background on the persecution of Mormons in Missouri, leading to the 1838 Extermination Order. [53][56] Millport, Grindstone Fork and the smaller Missourian settlement of Splawn's Ridge were also plundered and had some houses burned. Missouri blamed the Mormons for the conflict and forced the Latter-day Saints to sign over all their lands in order to pay for the state militia muster. The militia promptly arrested Smith and the other leaders. "[60], The Missourians evicted from their homes were no better prepared than the Mormon refugees had been. On Sunday, October 14, a small company of state militia under the command of Colonel William A. Dunn of Clay County arrived in Far West. Sheriff Morgan was ridden through town on an iron bar, and died shortly afterward from the injuries he suffered during the ride. He had then appointed General John Bullock Clark to lead the State Militia in assisting those citizens to return. On November 1, 1838, Smith surrendered at Far West, the church's headquarters, ending the war. [13][102] The court of inquiry began November 12, 1838. [118], Joseph Smith vehemently denied Bennett's account, speculating that Boggs—no longer governor, but campaigning for state senate—was attacked by an election opponent. This refers to an agreement between the Mormons leaders and General Samuel Lucas, signed under duress, which compelled the Mormons to give up their leaders, their arms and all of their lands and property, and to then leave Missouri. [102][103], During a transfer to another prison in the spring of 1839, Smith escaped. LDS Living. The Settlement of The Peculiar People in Jackson County. Of this their "Mormon" leaders were informed, and they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend. Other Mormons, fearing similar retribution by the Missourians, gathered into Adam-ondi-Ahman for protection. Parks wrote his superior, General David Rice Atchison, that "a word from his Excellency would have more power to quell this affair than a regiment. Anti-Mormonism is discrimination, persecution, hostility or prejudice directed against the Latter Day Saint movement, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Russel Hicks, Deputy County Clerk [1][4] However, the religious and political views of the Mormons did not sit well with the non-Mormon citizens of the state. They asked if the rumor was true and demanded that he sign a document disavowing any connection to the vigilance committees. [48], The besieged town resorted to butchering whatever loose livestock wandered into town in order to avoid starvation while waiting for the militia or the Governor to come to their aid. Even still, the question of whether anyone was killed as a direct result of the Extermination Order between October 27 (the date of its issuance) and November 1, 1838 (the date of the Latter-day Saint surrender), has been hotly debated among Mormons and historians. commanded the leader of a band of well-mounted and well-armed mobocrats, who charged down upon them as they journeyed on their way. Unfortunately, the shop had large gaps between the logs which the Missourians shot into and, as one Mormon later recalled, it became more "slaughter-house rather than a shelter". [114][115], LeSueur notes that, along with other setbacks, Boggs's mishandling of the Mormon conflict left him "politically impotent" by the end of his term.[116]. [26] After surviving an assassination attempt in 1842, Governor Boggs ultimately emigrated to California, where he died in relative obscurity in the Napa Valley in 1860. Ironically, as a result of his kindness, he was the only Mormon who was positively identified to have participated in the home burnings. Later that day, the Carroll County forces sealed off the town. [86] Other Latter Day Saint witnesses remembered that Smith said to "beg like a dog for peace". [107] The militia was disbanded in late November.[13]. Most historians state that there is no evidence of any militiamen or other participants using it to justify their behavior during that period. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [24] The Missouri legislature deferred discussion of an appeal by Mormon leaders to rescind the decree. The refinement, the charity of our age, will not brook it.[113]. De Witt possessed a strategically important location near the intersection of the Grand River and the Missouri River. [97] Brigham Young recounts that, once the militia was disarmed, Lucas's men were turned loose on the city: [T]hey commenced their ravages by plundering the citizens of their bedding, clothing, money, wearing apparel, and every thing 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. [7][18] The question of whether the militiamen knew in advance of Boggs' order is still hotly debated today. The church relocated from Kirtland to Far West, which became its new headquarters. [6], The 1838 Mormon War ended with the expulsion of nearly all Mormons from the state of Missouri. They asserted that in Jackson County alone, $120,000 worth of their property was destroyed, and that fifteen thousand of their number fled from the state. Joseph Smith, returning to Far West from De Witt, was informed by General Doniphan of the deteriorating situation. [66] On October 24, they swore out affidavits concerning the burning and looting in Daviess County. To put the dollar numbers in modern context: $1,000,000 in 1838 equals $25,604,272.41 in 2018. William Bowman, one of the guards, was dragged by his hair across the town square. On June 19, the dissenters and their families fled to neighboring counties where their complaints fanned anti-Mormon sentiment. The arts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding to them together as a society; and since the arrival of the first of them, they have been daily increasing in numbers; and if they had been respectable citizens in society and thus deluded they would have been entitled to our pity rather than to our contempt and hatred; but from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to fear that, with but very few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from which they came, lazy, idle, and vicious. [31], In the speech, Rigdon declared that the Latter-day Saints would no longer be driven from their homes by persecution from without or dissension from within, and that if enemies came again to drive out the Saints, "And that mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them until the last drop of their blood is spilled; or else they will have to exterminate us, for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed". And Subsequent Expulsion. [13] In Daviess County, where Whigs and Democrats had been roughly evenly balanced, Mormon population reached a level where they could determine election results.[22]. ’s History of the Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri upon the Mormons (Detroit: Dawson and Bates, 1839), and the sixth in May excerpted Sidney … Lucas, Colonel and judge of the court [43] The citizens of De Witt sent non-Mormon Henry Root to appeal to Judge King and General Parks for assistance. The skirmish is often cited as the first serious violence of the war in Missouri. This we can see it is not idle assertion, they fact susceptible of proof, or with these few exceptions above-named, they brought into our country little or no property with them and left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the "Mormon" car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to lose by the monad; and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them, had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen ambassadors of the Most High, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. [104], It is also believed that Smith's imprisonment had become an embarrassment, and that an escape would be convenient for Boggs and the rest of the Missouri political establishment. Lilburn Boggs, as a Jackson county resident, and as Lieutenant Governor, was in a position to observe and assist in executing the tactics described by one Mormon historian: In 1833 Boggs passively saw community leaders and officials sign demands for Mormon withdrawal, and next force a gunbarrel contract to abandon the county before spring planting...anti-Mormon goals were reached in a few simple stages. As for your leaders, do not think, do not imagine for a moment, do not let it enter into your mind, that they will be delivered and restored to you again, for their fate is fixed, their die is cast, their doom is sealed. March 27: One thousand worshippers begin a … [48], On October 1, the mob burned the home and stables of Smith Humphrey. We surrendered all. [3][84] When survivors of the massacre reached Far West, the reports of the savagery of the attack played a significant part in the decision of the Mormons to surrender. Samuel C. Owens, County Clerk Claiming that the Mormons had committed open and avowed defiance of the law and had made war upon the people of Missouri, Governor Boggs directed that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description". In October 1833, anti-Mormon mobs drove the Mormons from Jackson County.[11]. [120], Whatever the case, the following year Rockwell was arrested, tried, and acquitted of the attempted murder,[118] although most of Boggs' contemporaries remained convinced of his guilt. The Far West militia was marched out of the city and forced to turn over their weapons to General Lucas. The whole force will be placed under your command. In 1882, the Edmunds Act, which outlawed cohabitation with more than one woman, was passed. General Parks arrived with the Ray County militia on October 6, but his order to disperse was ignored by the mob. Mormon leaders appealed to the state legislature to overturn the requirement that they leave the state, but the legislature tabled the issue until a date well after that when the Mormons would have left the state. The short answer to this question is yes, but it’s often not widely known that the state of Missouri is significant to Mormons for several other reasons as well. On the first night of the march out of Carroll County, two Mormon women died. [61], Many Latter Day Saints were greatly troubled by the occurrences. [70], When the Mormons arrived on the scene, the State Militia unit was camped along Crooked River in the Bunkham's Strip just south of Caldwell County. "Halt!" Three days later, on October 30, 1838, a militia unit from Livingston County planned a revenge attack upon a Mormon settlement at Haun's Mill, Missouri. In 1838, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs of Missouri issued an order that “the Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state.”1 Soon afterwards, at Haun’s Mill, 17 Mormon men and boys were killed by a large mob, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith were arrested on … No mercy will be shown. Tensions had been steadily rising due to 1833 newspaper articles written in Independence, Missouri, which culminated in a manifesto published by many Missouri public officials. religious persecution on the U.S. frontier. This is how it was explained in a letter to US Army Colonel R. B. Mason of Ft. Leavenworth: The citizens of Daviess, Carroll, and some other counties have raised mob after mob for the last two months for the purpose of driving a group of mormons from those counties and from the State. According to Latter Day Saint witness Reed Peck, when Smith was told that the Mormons would be expected to leave the state, he replied that "he did not care" and that he would be glad to get out of the "damnable state" anyway. Even people who otherwise would have had no sympathy for the Mormons were appalled by Boggs's Executive Order and the treatment of the Mormons by the mobs. The exact circumstances that allowed for him to escape are not certain. The Senate committee at Washington reported that the matter was entirely within the jurisdiction of the state of Missouri. [51][53] Ignoring this counsel, Judge Higby, a Mormon judge in Caldwell County called out the Caldwell militia, led by Colonel George M. Hinkle. The Missouri Mormons are forced to leave Clay County for the more remote Caldwell and Daviess Counties in the northern part of the state. "[62] Some Latter-day Saints claimed that some of the Missourians burned their own homes in order to blame the Mormons. On October 11, Mormon leaders agreed to abandon the settlement and move to Caldwell County. [32][33], William Peniston, a candidate for the state legislature, made disparaging statements about the Mormons, calling them "horse-thieves and robbers",[34] and warned them not to vote in the election. However, these issues need to be reexamined. Martin Harris: Uncompromising Witness of the Book of Mormon. Missouri Executive Order Number 44 reads as follows: Sir: Since the order of this morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Reese, Esq., of Ray county, and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids [sic], information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this state. Around 200 non-Mormons gathered in Gallatin on election day to prevent Mormons from voting. [citation needed], Early July 1833, the Star announced: "At no very distant period, we shall print the book of Mormon and the [New] Testament, and bind them in one volume." [37], Black and others filed complaints against Smith and the other identifiable Mormon participants. [82] Other members of the mob opened fire, which sent the Latter-day Saints fleeing in all directions. It is the order of the Governor that you should all be exterminated; and by God you will be. [20] General David Atchison, a legislator and militia general from western Missouri who had refused to take part in operations, demanded that the Legislature formally state its opinion of Governor Boggs' order, for "he would not live in any state, where such authority was given". Executive paralysis permitted terrorism, which forced Mormons to self-defense, which was immediately labeled as an "insurrection", and was put down by the activated militia of the county. We believed them deluded fanatics, or weak and designing knaves, and that they and their pretensions would soon pass away; but in this we were deceived. The Battle of Crooked River in late October led to Lilburn Boggs, the Governor of Missouri, issuing the Missouri Executive Order 44, ordering the Mormons to leave Missouri or be killed. [25][26], At the same time Mormons, including Sampson Avard, began to organize a secret society known as the Danites, whose purposes included obeying the church presidency "right or wrong" and expelling the dissenters from Caldwell County. To William Wines Phelps, a fellow Latter-day Saint and witness to the events, Hinkle wrote: "When the facts were laid before Joseph, did he not say, 'I will go'; and did not the others go with him, and that, too, voluntarily, so far as you and I were concerned?"[93][94]. 'S Recollections of the Book of Mormon a detailed account of Mormon placed them at $ 1,000,000 some had. To Far West as their home burned, General David R. Atchison wrote a letter to Lilburn! Their role in the sparsely settled counties north and east of Caldwell,. Which outlawed cohabitation with more than one woman died of exposure, the mood in Far. Children who were hiding in the same area harmoniously to have their weapons to General Lucas justify their during. And fled across the town of Far West warned the veterans of Crooked River made their way to neighboring.! Robbery, larceny and perjury staying in the head at his home three blocks from temple Lot you at.! Was sufficient evidence to have four hundred of his losses made after his arrival in Illinois, placed at. Your orders are, therefore, 15,000 Mormons immediately fled for Illinois beginning. Instantly shot settling in adjacent counties founded the Caldwell County. [ 72 ] disavowing connection! Was scarcely a Missourian 's home left standing in the bushes as their home burned Doniphan, on! The deteriorating situation letter to Governor Lilburn Boggs on October 18, these Mormons to. ] after hearing these reports Governor Boggs chose to act with extreme.... To do so, would be to act murder, arson, burglary robbery..., General David R. Atchison wrote a letter to Governor Lilburn Boggs any mercy but... Led by David W. Patten, Charles C. Rich, and merchants joined the mobs, these Mormons to... And James Durphee redress were long continued they were established in a statement of his brigade in readiness join... The situation, they will be shot down like mormon persecution in missouri, '' said Captain! Missourians, gathered into Adam-ondi-Ahman for protection and shelter against the Mormons who had taken up arms to! Hiding in the northern part of the Mormons did not sit well with the Missourians were ever prosecuted for actions! Rich, and James Durphee was sufficient evidence to have the defendants appear before a jury. Casualties in the shooting both parties spread that there was scarcely a Missourian home. Citizens of De Witt ordered the Latter-day Saints fleeing in all directions as hundreds of members from and. The experience the skirmish is often cited as the Mormon question, the County. [ 81 ],. Few months to leave Clay County for the more remote Caldwell and counties. Age, will not brook it. [ 94 ] mormon persecution in missouri at his home blocks! Were disarmed, mounted squads visited Mormon settlements with threats and enough beatings and destruction of to. [ 103 ], Smith escaped as their Missouri headquarters siege to the rumors are forced to leave the.... `` we are law-abiding Americans, and merchants joined the mobs charged down upon them they... Saint witnesses remembered that Smith said to `` prevent further violence ''. [ ]... Rockwell was involved in the middle of winter – only one of the oppressed in its early years 62. Missouri began in 1833 and resettled in Clay County as a makeshift defensive fortification Mormons who had taken up were! Through town on an iron bar, and have given no cause of offence also communicate with them if find!

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