Mormon Troubles in Missouri

Missouri Historical Review
July, 1910 Vol. IV. No. 4; pages 238-250
by Heman C. Smith

The Latter Day Saints began settling in and around Independence, Missouri, in 1831. Their customs, and their religious and political attitude were not in harmony with the feelings and prejudices of their neighbors. This resulted in bitterness and opposition which in time led to friction and conflict. The Missourians deciding that the Saints were not desirable citizens determined to rid themselves of their presence by taking the law in their own hands and excluding them by force.

A mass meeting was held in Independence in April, 1833, to consult upon a plan to remove or destroy this people. This meeting was attended by about three hundred men, and the company in consequence of drinking too freely broke up in a row among themselves. The animosity still continued however and on July 18, 1833, the following document was put in circulation:

“We the undersigned, citizens of Jackson county, believing that an important crisis is at hand as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled and are still settling in our county, styling themselves Mormons, and intending as we do to rid our society “peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must,” and believing as we do that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee or at least a sufficient one against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient, and of the highest importance, to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, a purpose which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self-preservation.

“It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics or knaves (for one or the other they undoubtedly are) made their first appearance among us, and pretending as they did and now do to hold personal communication and converse face to face with the most High God, to receive communications and relevations direct from heaven; to heal the sick by laying on hands; and, in short, to perform all the wonder-working miracles wrought by the inspired apostles and prophets of old.

”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 arts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding 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 a few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from which they came; lazy, idle, and vicious. This we conceive is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for 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 change; and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen embassadors of the most high, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colors. More than a year since it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves and endeavoring to sow dissensions and raise seditions amongst them. 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. But how specious are appearances. In a late number of the Star, published in Independence by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inciting free negroes and mulattoes from other states to become Mormons, and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society an injury that they know would be to us insupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the county, for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a caste amongst us would corrupt our blacks and instigate them to bloodshed.

They openly blaspheme the most High God and cast contempt on his holy religion by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues by direct inspiration, and by diverse pretenses derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason.

They declare openly that their God hath given them this county of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance, and in fine they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner that we belive it a duty we owe ourselves, to our wives and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up our pleasant places and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosom of our families as fit companions for our wives and daughters the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulattoes that are now invited to settle among us.

Under such a state of things even our beautiful county would cease to be a desirable residence ,and our situation intolerable! We, therefore, agree, that after timely warning and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they can not take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace, as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.

We will meet at the court house at the town of Independence, on Saturday next, the 20th inst., to consult ulterior movements.” (1)

This was signed by several hundred names among whom were the following: Lewis Franklin, Jailer; Samuel C. Owens. County Clerk; Russell Hicks, Deputy Clerk; R. W. Cummins. Indian Agent; Jones H. Flourney, Post Master; S. D. Lucas, Colonel and Judge of the Court; Henry Childs, Attorney at law; N. K. Olmstead, M. D.; John Smith, J. P.; Samuel Weston, J. P.; William Brown, Constable; Abner F. Staples, Captain; Thomas Pitcher, Deputy Constable; Moses G. Wilson. Thomas Wilson, merchants.

It is impossible to ascertain at this late date just the proportion of truth and falsehood of which this document is composed, but one part of it is easily weighed when compared with the article published in the Evening and Morning Star to which reference is made in the foregoing document. The article as copied from the Star reads as follows:

“To prevent any misunderstanding among the churches abroad, respecting free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri, as members of the church, we quote the following clauses from the laws of Missouri:

Section 4. Be it further enacted, that hereafter no free negro or mullato, other than a citizen of some one of the United States, shall come into or settle in this State under any pretext whatever; and upon complaint made to any justice of the peace that such person is in his county, contrary to the provisions of this section, if it shall appear that such person is a free negro or mulatto, and that he hath come into this state after the passage of this act, and such person shall not produce a certificate, attested by the seal of some court of record in some one of the United States, evidencing that he is a citizen of such State, the justice shall command him forthwith to depart from this state; and in case such negro or mulatto shall not depart from the State within thirty days after being commanded so to do as aforesaid, any justice of the peace, upon complaint thereof to him made, may cause such person to be brought before him and may commit him to the common goal of the county in which he may be found, until the next term of the Circuit Court to be held in such County. And the said court shall cause such person to be brought before them and examine into the cause of commitment; and if it shall appear that such person came into the State contrary to the provisions of this act, and continued therein after being commanded to depart as aforesaid, such court may sentence such person to receive ten lashes on his or her bare back, and order him to depart from the State; and if he or she shall not depart, the same proceedings shall be had and punishment inflicted, as often as may be necessary, until such person shall depart the State.

Section 5. Be it further enacted, that if any person shall, after the taking effect of this act, bring into this state any free negro or mulatto, not having in his possession a certificate of citizenship as required by this act (he or she) shall forfeit and pay, for every person so brought, the sum of five hundred dollars, to be recovered by action of debt in the name of the State, to the use of the University, in any court having competent jurisdiction; in which action the defendant may be held to bail of right and without affidavit; and it shall be the duty of the Attorney General or Circuit Attorney of the district in which any person so offending may be found, immediately upon  information given of such offenses, to commence and prosecute an action as aforesaid.”

Slaves are real estate in this and other States, and wisdom would dictate great care among the branches of the Church of Christ, on this subject. So long as we have no special rule in the church, as to people of color, let prudence guide; and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God we say, shun every appearance of evil.

While on the subject of law it may not be amiss to quote some of the Constitution of Missouri. It shows a liberality of opinion of the great men of the West, and will vie with that of any other State. It is good; it is just, and it is the citizens right.

4. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, that no man can be compelled to erect, support, or attend any place of worship, or to maintain any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience; that no person can ever be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious professions or sentiments, if he do not disturb others in their religious worship.

  1. That no person, on account of his religious opinions can be rendered ineligible to any office of trust or profit under this State; that no preference can ever be given by law to any sect or mode of worship; and that no religious corporation can ever be established in this State.” (2)

This mob, for they can be considered in no other light, met as per declaration in this signed document, Saturday, July 20. 1833, and sent a committee consisting of Robert Johnson, James Campbell, Moses Wilson, Joel F. Childs, Richard Bristoe, Abner F. Staples Gan Johnson, Lewis Franklin, Russell Hicks, S. D. Lucas, Thomas Wilson, James M. Hunter, and Richard Simpson, to Edward Partridge, A. S. Gilbert, John Carroll. Isaac Morley, John Whitmer and William W. Phelps leading members of the church demanding the immediate suspension of the Evening and Morning Star and that the people of the church should forthwith remove from the country. The representatives of the church asked for three months in which to consider. This was denied. They then asked for ten days and were informed they could have but fifteen minutes. Not receiving the demanded pledge in the specified time the mob proceeded to raze to the ground the printing office and the dwelling of W. W. Phelps. Mrs. Phelps with her children, including a sick infant, were thrown into the street. The press was broken, the type pied, etc. The mob then proceeded to demolish the storehouse and destroy the goods of Gilbert, Whitney and Company. Upon Mr. Gilbert assuring them that the goods should be packed by the 23rd inst. they ceased the destruction of property and proceeded to do personal violence. They took Edward Partridge, Bishop of the church, and a Mr. Charles Allen and stripped and tarred and feathered them in the presence of the crowd before the courthouse. In a petition for redress subsequently addressed to Governor Daniel Dunklin the Saints stated their case in the following language:

“Now, therefore, for ourselves, as members of the church we declare, with the exception of poverty, which has not yet become a crime, by the laws of the land, that the crimes charged against us (so far as we are acquainted) contained in the documents above written, and those in the proceedings of the mob, as published in the Western Monitor of August 2, are not true. In relation to inviting free people of color to emigrate to this section of country, and other matters relative to our society, see the 109th, 10th and 11th pages of the Evening and Morning Star, and the Extra accompanying the same, dated July 16, which are annexed to this petition. Our situation is a critical one; we are located upon the western limits of the state, and of the United States — where desperadoes can commit outrages, and even murder, and escape, in a few minutes, beyond the reach of process; where the most abandoned of all classes from almost every State may too often pass to the Mexican states or to the more remote regions of the Rocky Mountain to escape the grasp of justice; where numerous tribes of Indians, located by the General government amid the corrupting influence of midday mobs might massacre our defenseless women and children with impunity.

Influenced by the precepts of our beloved Saviour, when we have been smitten on the one cheek we have turned the other also; when we have been sued at the law and our coat been taken, we have given them our cloak also; when they have compelled us to go with them a mile we have gone with them twain. We have bourne the above outrages without murmuring, but we can not patiently bear them any longer; according to the laws of God and man we have bourne enough. Believing with all honorable men, that whenever that fatal hour shall arrive that the poorest citizen’s property, person, or rights and privileges, shall be trampled upon by a lawless mob with impunity, that moment a dagger is plunged into the heart of the constitution, and the Union must tremble! Assuring ourselves that no republican will suffer the liberty of the press, the freedom of speech, and the liberty of conscience to be silenced by a mob, without raising a helping hand, to save his country from disgrace, we solicit assistance to obtain our rights, holding ourselves amenable to the laws of our country whenever we transgress them.

Knowing as we do that the threats of this mob, in most cases have been put into execution; and knowing also, that every officer, civil and military, with a few exceptions, has pledged his life and honor to force us from the county, dead or alive; and believing that civil process can not be served without the aid of the Executive; and not wishing to have the blood of our defenseless women and children to stain the land which has been once stained by the blood of our fathers to purchase our liberty, we appeal to the Governor for aid; asking him by express proclamation or otherwise to raise a sufficient number of troops, who with us may be empowered to defend our rights, that we may sue for damages in the loss of property — for abuse, for defamation, as to ourselves, and if advisable try for treason against the government; that the law of the land may not be defied or nullified, but peace restored to our country. And we will every pray.” (3)

The mob assembled again on the 23rd when under duress William W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, William E. McClellan, Edward Partridge, Lyman Wight, Simeon Carter, Peter Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Harvey Whitlock signed an agreement to leave the county with their families before the first day of January 1834, and to use their influence to induce all their brethren to remove as soon as possible one-half before the first of January, and the other half by the first day of April, 1834.

Without waiting for the fulfillment of this pledge the mob in October, 1833, again commenced perpetrating acts of personal violence and destruction of property. This resulted in a clash at arms near the Blue River west of Independence, about sundown November 4, 1833. Hugh L. Brazelle and Thomas Linville of the mob were left dead on the ground. Several were wounded on each side, one a Mr. Barber of the church party, died the next day.

These events naturally intensified the feeling of hostility and the weeks that followed were filled with deeds of horror resulting in the banishment of the Saints who took refuge in adjoining counties, principally in Clay. Efforts were made by the Saints to be re-instated or re-imbursed. Appeals were made to the Governor and to the courts but no substantial results were realized. Lilburn W. Boggs was at this time Lieut. Governor of Missouri; and for a time the Saints reposed confidence in him and looked to him for protection, but finally became convinced that he was aiding and abetting their enemies under color of using his influence to call out the militia which was composed largely of their persecutors. From the militia they received no relief but on the contrary it was used to render their sufferings more intolerable.

To follow the history of this people through the incidents of Clay, Caldwell, Daviess and adjoining counties would take too much space for the limits of this article. Passing on to 1838 at which time, the main body of the church was in Caldwell county, and had established the town of Far West we note another scene of hostility confronted the church and conflicting accusations of crime, and lawlessness filled upper Missouri with anxiety. Conflict seemed inevitable. L.W. Boggs having in the meantime been elected Governor arrayed himself with the anti-church faction, and gave orders to treat the, Mormons as public enemies. It was at this time he issued his famous exterminating order to General John B. Clark, which reads as follows:

“Headquarters Militia, City of Jefferson, Oct. 27, 1838.

Sir: — Since the order of the morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Rees, Esq., and Wiley E. Williams, Esq., one of my aids information of the most appalling character which changes the whole face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made open war upon the people of this State. Your orders are therefore, to hasten your operations and endeavor to reach Richmond, in Ray county, with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary, for the public good. 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 Wallock, of Marion County, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there to unite with you. Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with five hundred 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 reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond, and there operate against the Mormons. Brigadier General Parks of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred men of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force Will be placed under your command. (4)

1854, from manuscript history of Joseph Smith written by himself.

L.W. BOGGS,
Governor and Commander in Chief.

To General Clark.

General A. W. Doniphan states that orders to the same effect were issued to General D. R. Atchison, who was in command of the militia in the vicinity of Far West, but he revolted and withdrew from the military force, declaring that he would be HO party to the enforcement of such inhuman commands. This left General Samuel D. Lucas in command until the arrival of General Clark. Far West prepared for defense and war was eminent. On October 30, 1838, inspired by the exterminating order of the Governor a detachment of men under the command of Captains Nehemiah Comstock, William 0. Jennings and William Gee fell upon a defenseless settlement of the Saints at Haun ‘s Mills and murdered in cold blood the entire settlement of men, women and children very few escaping. On the same day the troops approached Far West and encamped one mile from the town.

The next day General Lucas induced several of the leading men to come into his camp for the purpose of consultation, but when they arrived they were made prisoners of war without an attempt at consultation. These were Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson. The next day Hyrum Smith and Amasa Lyman were added to the number of prisoners. Though these men with the exception of Colonel Wight were not military men a courtmartial was called and all sentenced to be shot. Lucas issued the following urder to carry the decree into effect:

“Brigadier-General Doniphan; Sir: You will take Joseph Smith and other prisoners into the public square of Far West, and shoot them at nine o ‘clock tomorrow morning.

“SAMUEL D. LUCAS,
“Major-General Commanding.”

And he received the following reply:

To Samuel D. Lucas, Major-General Commanding:

“It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order. My brigade shall march for Liberty tomorrow morning, at eight o’clock; and if you execute those men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God!

A. W. DONIPHAN,
Brigadier-General

This so disconcerted General Lucas that the sentence was not executed. The prisoners were kept by the militia for some time then turned over to the civil courts. After being imprisoned for several months under one pretext or another they were permitted to escape with the connivance of the officers, and no effort made to apprehend them on charges then pending.

The Saints at Far West were disarmed, their property confiscated, and they were banished from the State.

On May 6, 1842, ex-Governor Boggs was assaulted by an unknown would-be assassin in his home at Independence, Missouri, and severely wounded. Mr. Orrin P. Rockwell, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints being in the town, suspicion at once attached to him. It was also suspected that Joseph Smith had sent him there for the purpose.

Based upon the affidavit of L. W. Boggs, Governor Thomas Reynolds made requisition on Governor Garlin, of Illinois, for the surrender of Joseph Smith charged with being accessor before the act. Several attempts were made to get possession of the person of Joseph Smith both by kidnapping and by civil process, all proving abortive. Joseph Smith finally went to Springfield, Illinois, and surrendered. The examination came on in December term of court before the Honorable Nathaniel Pope, after an extended examination the court handed down his decision in the following language:

“The decision of the court is that the prisoner be discharged ; and I wish it entered upon the records in such a way that Mr. Smith be no more troubled about this matter.” (6)

O.P. Rockwell was arrested in Independence, and probably had a preliminary examination, and was held awaiting the action of the Grand Jury. He escaped jail and was again apprehended. The evidence was doubtless presented to the Grand Jury and it failed to find sufficient evidence to indict him for assaulting ex-Governor Boggs, for on the third day of the August term of Circuit Court, 1843, Judge John H. Ryland presiding, the Grand Jury returned the following:

“A true bill State of Missouri against Orrin P. Rockwell, “Indictment, escaping from jail.” Court Record E, p. 166. This case came on for trial the same day. Defendant plead not guilty. Court appointed Honorable A. W. Doniphan to defend prisoner; case continued. Ibid p. 170.

Case called again sixth day of same term, defendant filed petition for change of venue, setting forth that an impartial trial can not be obtained in this circuit on account of prejudice of people.

It was ordered by the court that the case be sent to the County of Clay, 5th Judicial District, and the sheriff was ordered to deliver the body of the defendant to the sheriff or jailor of Clay county on Monday, August 21, 1843. Ibid 196-8.

William Patterson, John McCoy, Thomas Reynolds Ammon E. Crenshaw and R. C. Kennedy were each put under bonds of two hundred dollars to appear at Liberty, Missouri, on the first day of the August term of the 5th Judicial District to testify in this cause in behalf of the state. The records at Liberty disclose the following:

August 31, 1843, the case was called and Orin P. Rockwell by order of the court remanded back to the custody of the sheriff or jailer of Jackson county. Record Book G, No. 4, p. 228.

On November 24, a special term of Circuit Court was ordered to convene on December 11th for the purpose of trying this case. Ibid page 236.

The same page of the record shows that court convened as per order, the Honorable Austin A. King, presiding.

The prisoner plead not guilty in the manner and form charged, a jury was impaneled consisting of Samuel Rungo, Thomas McChives,Johnson Williams, Thomas Gardner, Fielding Buchanan, Richard Neely, James Burnaugh, Richard Brizeford, J. A. Futglin J. E. Whitsell, J. I. Atkins and Benjamin Gragg. After careful investigation the jury returned a verdict of “guilty”, and assessed the punishment at “Five minutes confinement in the County Jail.” Then the august Judge, the Honorable Austin A. King, Judge of the 5th Judicial Circuit, announced the dread sentence assessed by the jury, and so far as the records disclose the curtain fell. The presumption is that he served his sentence.

This is all there is of the often repeated story, reviewed by Mr. William M. Boggs in January number of Historical Review. When it is considered that all the machinery of the courts was in the hands of enemies of the church this whole affair about 0. P. Rockwell attempting to murder ex-Governor Boggs and Joseph Smith being accessory before the fact, partakes of the nature of a huge joke.

HEMAN C. SMITH.

————————————

  1. Evening and Morning Star, Kirkland, Ohio, December, 1833, pp. 227-228.
  2. Evening and Morning Star, Independence, Missouri, July* 1833, pp. 218-219.
  3. Evening and Morning Star, Kirkland, Ohio, December, 1833, p.
  4. Milinial Star, Liverpool, England, Vol. 16, p. 446, July 16,
  5. History of Caldwell and Livingston counties, p. 137.
  6. Times and Seasons, Nauvoo, Illinois, Jan. 2,1843, Vol. 4, p. 60.

Millstone marks Haun’s Mill

On Oct. 30, 1838, more than 200 members of the Livingston County Militia rode into Haun’s Mill, a small Mormon settlement approximately 10 miles south of Breckenridge, MO. Many of the women and children were able to escape by fleeing into the nearby woods, however, the local men were not so lucky.

On Oct. 30, 1838, more than 200 members of the Livingston County Militia rode into Haun’s Mill, a small Mormon settlement approximately 10 miles south of Breckenridge, MO. Many of the women and children were able to escape by fleeing into the nearby woods, however, the local men were not so lucky.

They sought cover in the blacksmith’s shop but the widely spaced logs offered little protection from the barrage of rifle and musket shots. By the end of the attack, 17 men and boys were dead and 12 were wounded. When the survivors returned the following morning, they placed the dead in an unfinished well located near the mill, covered them with dirt and straw, then headed for the Mormon settlement of Far West. The mill stone was intended to mark the well where the victims were buried. In the early 1900s the stone was washed away by the local creek, though it was later found by the townspeople and placed in its current location at the Breckenridge City Park. Consequently, the exact location of the well is no longer known.

from the Caldwell County News published Jan 2, 2013

Daviess County Musters for “Mormon War”

Captain John Comers led the Missouri Mounted Militia, 3rd Division Daviess County, which mustered into duty on Oct. 29, 1838, to engage in the “Mormon War” in Missouri. This unit was discharged on Nov. 3, 1838. Those who served are listed as follows:

Captain John Comers led the Missouri Mounted Militia, 3rd Division Daviess County, which mustered into duty on Oct. 29, 1838, to engage in the “Mormon War” in Missouri. This unit was discharged on Nov. 3, 1838. Those who served are listed as follows:

Pinkerton, John, 1st Sergeant

Banning, Jeremiah, 2nd Sergeant

Pritchard, George, 3.0 Sergeant

Smith, Isaac, 4th Sergeant

Ashby, Loyd, Pvt.

Atkinson, Joseph M. W., Pvt.

Atkinson, William C., Pvt.

Aubry, Henry, Pvt.

Barer, Isaac, Pvt.

Below, J. J., Pvt.

Blakely, Pleasant, Pvt.

Campbell, Jeremiah, Pvt.

Covington, Phillip, Pvt.

Creekmore, E. B., Pvt.

Darnaby, John S., Pvt.

Dryden, J. J., Pvt.

Etherton, John, Pvt.

Girdner, James, Pvt.

Gross, W. B., Pvt.

Gruff, E. T., Pvt.

Hatcher, Richard, Pvt.

Howell, M. R., Pvt.

Job, A. J., .Pvt.

Job, Robert, Pvt.

Job, W. W., Pvt.

Kelly, Jesse, Pvt.

Leaper, Henry, Pvt.

McDow, Samuel, Pvt.

McGonicle, James, Pvt.

McKavery, William, Pvt.

Miller, Allen, Pvt.

Morgan, Evin, Pvt.

Morgan, Henry, Pvt.

Netherton, J. N., Pvt.

Pennington, Francis P., Pvt.

Perman, Gilas, Pvt.

Price, Addison, Pvt.

Renfrow, John, Pvt.

Roberts, Jacob, Pvt.

Splawn, John, Pvt.

Stokes, John, Pvt.

Vanderpool, John, Pvt.

Wilson, James, Pvt.

Yates, George, Pvt.

— researched by David Stark, based on writings from The Jefferson Republican (a newspaper published in Jefferson City, MO., 1827-1844, according to the Missouri Historical Review, Vol. 4 No. 1)

Men that Mustered Out Against the Mormons

The following lists men thought to have mustered in response to the Governor’s call concerning the “Mormon War” which saw approximately 1,500 state militia confront Mormons located in Caldwell and Daviess counties in 1838.

The following lists men thought to have mustered in response to the Governor’s call concerning the “Mormon War” which saw approximately 1,500 state militia confront Mormons located in Caldwell and Daviess counties in 1838.

Captain Edward Smith
Missouri Mounted Militia
3rd Division, Colonel Cornelius
Gillliam’s Command:

Mustered: 19 October 1838.
Discharged: 4 November 1838.

Rigeway, Thomas, 1st Sergeant
Smith, Abner, 2nd Sergeant
Green, Isaac, 3rd Sergeant
Nichols, John, 4th Sergeant
Patter, John, 1st Corporal
Brown, John, 2nd Corporal
Gilliam, R., 3rd Corporal
Garrison, George, 4” Corporal
Anderson, George W., Pvt.
Anderson, Isaac, Pvt.
Barnes, Benjamin, Pvt.
Barnes, Jerome H., Pvt.
Bowman, William, Pvt.
Brown, James, Pvt.
Buckeridge, James, Pvt.
Bush, George, Pvt.
Cameron, John, Pvt.
Casteel, Alexander, Pvt.
Casteel, David, Pvt.
Cope, Wiley, Pvt.
Crawford, Lewis, Pvt.
Crawford, Vincent, Pvt.
Crawford, William, Pvt.
Curl, James, P
Daley, William, Pvt.
Duncan, Robert, Pvt
Edmonson, John, Pvt.
Estes, Byrd, Pvt.
Estes, Henry, Pvt.
Estes, Jackson, Pvt.
Ferrill, Daniel, Pvt.
Fisher, Peter, Pvt.
Frost, Elijah, Pvt.
Garr, Adam, Pvt.
Gilliam, Andrew J., Pvt.
Gilliam, Robert P., Pvt.
Glenn, James B., Pvt.
Glenn, Silas L, Pvt.
Griffith, Joel, Pvt.
Groomer, David, Pvt.
Groomer, W.T., Pvt.
Guinn, David, Pvt.
Guinn, Henry, Pvt.
Inyst, James, Pvt.
Jackson, Joseph, Pvt.
Legit, John, Pvt.
Lill, Samuel, Pvt.
Livingston, Thomas, Pvt.
McCracken, John, Pvt.
McCully, Thomas, Pvt.
Miller, Moses W., Pvt.
Odell, Irvine, Pvt.
Poteet, Thomas, Pvt.
Quinn, Alexander, Pvt.
Quinn, Thornton, Pvt.
Shaw, George, Pvt.
Smith, Anderson J., Pvt.
Smith, Ezekiel W., Pvt.
Smith, Hiram, Pvt.
Smith, Vincent, Pvt.
Smith, William C., Pvt.
Swain, Peyton T., Pvt.
Taylor, Benjamin, Pvt.
Taylor, Warren, Pvt.
Theatheron, Solomon, Pvt.
Vassar, Samuel H., Pvt.
Weist, Samuel, Pvt.
Whitson, William, Pvt.
Willis, Merit, Pvt.
Wirst, William, Pvt.

Mormon War Disrupts Hardin Mill on Honey Creek

Remains of one of Daviess County’s early grain mills is still evident today (May, 2005) to those walking along Honey Creek, located mostly south of Gallatin. Rock debris forming a dam, wooden planks for a water run, and the remains of a log “road” to the dam site are evidence of the Hardin Mill, a business that scarcely got started before the interruption of the Mormon War.

Remains of one of Daviess County’s early grain mills is still evident today (May, 2005) to those walking along Honey Creek, located mostly south of Gallatin. Rock debris forming a dam, wooden planks for a water run, and the remains of a log “road” to the dam site are evidence of the Hardin Mill, a business that scarcely got started before the interruption of the Mormon War.

In Gallatin township of Ray County in 1830 the family of Christopher Stone moved to what later became Monroe Township of Daviess County. Christopher and his wife were about 65 years old at that time and had four sons, James, Hardin, Robert and William. They had John Stokes and John Edwards as sons-in-law. Jane Stone may have also been a daughter. She married Wesley Perman in 1840.

Hardin is reported to have been the first resident of Monroe Township and the first service by the Rev. Ellington was at Hardin’s cabin in 1833. Hardin married Judith Mann in the spring of 1832. James married Elizabeth McHaney in 1829 and William married Elizabeth McCrary in 1841. Johnathan Stone’s son Wiley was the first child born in Monroe Township. Wiley’s daughter, N.S. married Gab Cox.

Most of the Stone family built cabins “settled” near the fork of Honey Creek. Stokes north of Honey Creek and Edwards north of Mill Port.
The Stone family lived off the land for seven years before purchasing any. Hardin was the first to buy Gout land in the area when in February 1838, he purchased 160 acres in the south half of Section 8/58/27. I believe he started a mill that year on Marrowbone Creek at the northwest corner of that land. William purchased 40 acres west of the Mill location in April of 1839.

Late in 1837 to October 1838, 23 Mormon families reported to have moved into what was called the
Honey Creek settlement scattered around the Hardin Stone cabin. One of those settlers was Jabez Durfee who had worked on the Arthur Mill in Clay County and may have helped Hardin construct his mill during the summer of 1838. If so, this Mill would have been the first water mill constructed in Daviess County since the mill on Grindstone was believed to have been built in 1839.

After the Mormons departed in late 1838 there may have been less need for a mill at this location; however, court records note the Hardin Stone Mill in 1842 and 1851, but the location was confused. We don’t know if the mill was just for sawing logs or was a general purpose mill or much else about it. In the 1850 Census, Christopher Stone was living with his son William and the record shows him as 85 years old, born in South Carolina about 1765. Christopher’s son James was reported to have moved to Awbrey Grove at the time that Thomas Awbrey moved there in 1834.Current records show no person with the last name Stone are in our local yellow book. William Stone and wife are buried in the McCrary Cemetery and Jonathan’s family are with markers in the Lile Cemetery.

Doniphan Defies Orders to Shoot Mormons

The man who refused orders to shoot Mormon leaders during Missouri’s "Mormon War" figures prominently in several military endeavors — and led as many as 10 Daviess Countians in battle against Mexico in 1846. He was also the legislator who introduced the bill to carve Daviess and Caldwell counties out of Ray County. Meet Alexander Doniphan, one of the men who made a difference while living in Northwest Missouri.

The man who refused orders to shoot Mormon leaders during Missouri’s "Mormon War" figures prominently in several military endeavors — and led as many as 10 Daviess Countians in battle against Mexico in 1846. He was also the legislator who introduced the bill to carve Daviess and Caldwell counties out of Ray County. Meet Alexander Doniphan, one of the men who made a difference while living in Northwest Missouri.

Alexander William Doniphan was born on July 9, 1808, in Mason County, Ky. His father, Joseph Doniphan, was the first school teacher in Kentucky. Alexander’s mother was Anne Smith from Virginia. Joseph died in 1813 leaving wife and children of which Alexander was the youngest. Alexander was raised by his older brother, George, at Augusta, Ky.

Alexander was educated by Irishman Richard Keene and later went to a local Methodist Colege to the age of 19. He was licensed to practice law in Kentucky and Ohio in 1829 and moved to Missouri in March, 1830, and then to Liberty, Mo, in 1833.

Doniphan became a criminal defense lawyer and assisted at nearly all important criminal cases in Northwest Missouri in those early years. Clay County citizens sent Doniphan, a Whig, to the state legislature in 1836, 1840 and 1854. On Nov. 29, 1836, Rep. Doniphan introduced a bill to the Missouri House of Representatives to create two new counties, Caldwell and Daviess out of the northern part of Ray County. The proposal became law on Dec. 26, 1836.

In October, 1838, Brigadier Gen. Doniphan was ordered by the Missouri Governor to help drive the Mormons from Missouri. He proceeded to Far West in Caldwell County, arriving with his command on Oct. 31. The total state forces were about 3,000 men, including five divisions. They faced Mormon militia of about 1,100 men commanded by Col. George Hinkel. Gen. Doniphan refused orders from Major General Samuel D. Lucas to shoot the Mormon leaders held on Nov. 2, 1838.

In Daviess County General Robert Wilson captured Adam-ondi-Ahman without a fight on Nov. 8. The 63 Mormon leaders were held until Nov. 28 when all but 10 were released. Of these two were later released; the remaining eight escaped to Illinois. General Doniphan was in charge of the legal defense of the Mormon leaders.

When Mexico declared war on the United States in 1846, General Doniphan assisted in getting men to enlist. The men in this newly formed unit, the 1st Mounted Missouri Volunteers (856 men), elected Doniphan as unit commander. The unit drilled at Fort Leavenworth with their personal weapons and animals and were clad in buckskins. The unit started west on June 29, 1846, under the command of General Kearney.

Col. Doniphan was placed as Accounting Governor of the New Mexico Territory. In November, 1846, Col. Doniphan was ordered to subdue the Navajos and a treaty was soon signed. In December, Mexican General Ponce de Leon, in charge of 1,300 troops, ordered Col. Doniphan to surrender his men. Doniphan gave no quarter in the Mexican charge and a battle about 35 miles north of El Paso lasted for about 30 minutes. The Mexicans lost 71 killed with 151 wounded. Col. Doniphan captured all the Mexicans’ supplies and baggage and had only eight men wounded, none killed. Col. Doniphan went on to take El Paso on Dec. 27, 1846.

On Jan. 18, 1847, Col. Doniphan, helped by an artillery battalion which arrived from Santa Fe, started south toward Chihuahua with 1,200 men including armed teamsters. On Feb. 28, 1847, the united charged Governor Trias at Sacramento. The Mexican force of 4,000 men were behind earthworks on an elevated position. The battle lasted 3-1/2 hours. A total of 304 Mexicans were killed and 500 captured. Doniphan had 12 men shot of which four died. The city of Chihuahua (population 40,000) surrendered to Col. Doniphan on March 2, 1847.

The unit went on to take Durango, Saltillo and Monterey. Near Matamoras the unit was divided; 700 men were sent by ship to New Orleans and the remainder journeyed by land with the horses. The men got their first pay in June at New Orleans, marking the end of their enlistment. The troops returned to St. Louis to celebrate the Fourth of July — after traveling 4,000 miles with the loss of less than 100 men, mostly by disease.

Daviess County furnished 10 men in this fighting unit. These were Major S.P. Cox, Capt. Benjamin Salmon, Capt. Merridith Morris, Capt. John W. Sheets, Thomas J. Larthen, Jack Edwards, Nathaniel Blakeley, Jno B. Comer, Mr. Stokes and Mr. English. Both Stokes and Capt. Salmon died while in service.

Alexander Doniphan performed many other services to Missouri before his death on Aug. 8, 1887. He and his wife, Anne Smith from Virginia, are buried side by side at Liberty, Mo.

Researched from a biography written by Rollin J. Britton of Gallatin, dated Feb. 20, 1914.

What’s the Mormon War?

Few Missourians can relate details of what is commonly called the “Mormon War.” Historians mark it as a dark chapter in state annals, when the person of Missouri’s highest official rank ordered the extermination of a group of citizens based on their religious belief.

Few Missourians can relate details of what is commonly called the “Mormon War.” Historians mark it as a dark chapter in state annals, when the person of Missouri’s highest official rank ordered the extermination of a group of citizens based on their religious belief.

Mormon troubles in Missouri can be chronicled in three general time periods: Mormons small in numbers (1831-32 while in Jackson County), Mormons disorganized (1833-35 while in Clay County), and Mormons isolated (while in Caldwell/Daviess counties 1837-38). The last confrontation between non-Mormons and Mormons climaxed at Far West in Caldwell County and ended with Mormon surrender at a “fort” near Adam-Ondi-Ahman in Daviess County.

Caldwell and Daviess Counties were created out of Ray County as a legislative act of compromise. The idea was to isolate Mormons from other Missourians while providing some sense of compensation to Mormons squeezed out of their holdings in Jackson and Clay counties. By coincidence, the financial collapse of the Mormon Church at Kirkland, Ohio, prompted a migration of Mormons westward at this same time.

Lyman Wight founded Adam-Ondi-Ahman in 1837, which quickly grew to a population of 500. Although Gallatin was the county seat of Daviess County, it was merely a frontier town of a few hundred with few buildings. Within months, Far West swelled to several thousand inhabitants with hundreds of buildings. All indicated similar growth would occur at Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Thus, not only did the Mormons’ highly structured and vastly different social and economic community intimidate non-Mormons, but their explosion of growth did as well.

On July 4, 1838, Sidney Rigdon delivered an address openly stating a Mormon consensus that they would no longer tolerate anti-Mormon actions from outsiders. Outcasts from the faithful plied on this speech and probably exaggerated accounts of Mormon tyranny and aggressiveness. By election day, Aug. 6, a drunken brawl erupted at Gallatin. Two days later, 150 Mormons compelled County Justice of the Peace Adam Black to sign a document guaranteeing Mormon civil rights in Daviess County.

This brawl spawned raids initiated by both belligerent sides throughout this region. In retaliation, the Mormons organized to pillage and burn Millport on Oct. 18. Some accounts claim Gallatin was burned also, though others argue that the Mormons did not cross south of the Grand River. Regardless, the action at Millport was viewed by many as open rebellion against the state. Non-Mormons in Daviess County were quick to call for assistance. On Oct. 25, some 60 Mormons led by David W. Patten fought against non-Mormons at Crooked River in Ray County.

On Oct. 26, 1838, Gov. Lilburn Boggs called to muster the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 12th Missouri Divisios of Militia — some 2,200 to 3,000 men — to “exterminate” the Mormon menace from the state. On Oct. 30 some 200 non-Mormons attacked at Haun’s Mill in Caldwell County, killing 17 Mormons. On Nov. 1 the militia converged on Far West, which surrendered.

The following account is taken from an LDS Church History 1836-1844, Vol. 2 (published by RLDS Board of Publications 1897):

“General Clark ordered Brig Gen. Robert Wilson to Adam-Ondi-Ahman Nov. 8, 1838. Militia stretched out to confront Mormons in Daviess County south of the Mormon fort. No shots were fired, and surrender occurred at the fort site. Gen. Wilson immediately put guards around Adam-Ondi-Ahman and instituted a court of inquiry with Adam Black on the bench and a soldier acting as prosecuting attorney.”

The church account states that all Mormons brought before the inquiry were acquitted. Gen. Wilson ordered all Mormon families out within 10 days but offered permission to winter in Caldwell County, then to leave the state under the extermination order. Orders to execute Mormon leaders were not carried out.

Mormons moved on. Some went to Lamoni, Iowa, some eventually to Nauvoo, IL. Public fervor waned as the legal process stretched out. A trial was set for six Mormon leaders for April 8, 1839, in Daviess County. A change of venue was granted to Boone County. While transferring prisoners there, Daviess County Sheriff William Morgan and four deputies more or less allowed the Mormons to escape without any repercussions from an increasingly disinterested public.

Reprinted from the Gallatin North Missourian, June 9, 1993.

Mormon “Thicket Fort” Avoids Oblivion

The stone remains of a Mormon “thicket fort” marking their 1838 confrontation against Missouri militia narrowly averted absolute oblivion in June, 1993. Dirtwork for a new water structure on the Frank Smith farm northwest of Gallatin commenced before the historical site became known.

The stone remains of a Mormon “thicket fort” marking their 1838 confrontation against Missouri militia narrowly averted absolute oblivion in June, 1993. Dirtwork for a new water structure on the Frank Smith farm northwest of Gallatin commenced before the historical site became known.

Trees and brush were already scraped off the hill on the south bank of the Grand River, southwest across from Adam-ondi-Ahman. By chance, however, the hazelnut thicket described in old Mormon history books was left undisturbed.

Land had been cleared on its north side and brush piled to its south, but the small circular ring of sunken rock still was recognizable as an ungroomed marker to Missouri’s notorious Mormon War episode. Luckily, impounded water will not cover the old fort so that it could — at least for a while longer — continue its fortotten vigil.

The historical site was never properly mapped. Considerable damage to the fort site and three stone ledge “firing walls” occurred over the years, especially during the 1950s when the Mormon fort was dug up without the landowner’s knowledge or permission. Some gun parts were reportedly found at that time. Foundation rocks were dislodged and pushed toward the fort’s center and left. Authentic records describing the fort are sketchy.

Local historian David Stark knows the area well. As a boy growing up on a farm nearby, David often hunted the thicket and knew about the significance of the stones. The “fort” was never an imposing structure. Most significantly, the 8×12 structure had a stone floor. Firearms, some no doubt obtained illegally by the Mormons, were buried under this floor, thus making an arsenal central to the defense of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Some stones once cut for positioning are still in evidence.

This site was probably selected for convenience. In the fall of 1838, the McDonald ford across the Grand River was less than a mile away. Tall prairie grass usually dominated most hilltops, thus probably allowing for a clear view for advancing Missouri militia. Rocks for building defense structures no doubt were plentiful.

One of the first references to the site can be found in the RLDS Church History Vol. 2, page 169, which relates the aftermath and fears following an election day brawl in Gallatin. That account relates that “the brethren, not having arms, thought it wisdom to return to their farms, collect their families, and hide them in a thicket of hazel brush, which they did, and stood sentry around them through the night, while the women and children lay on the ground in the rain.”

The hazelbrush site is believed to be the same spot where the fort was later built.

Speculation today has the fort as originally built on a stone foundation below ground level. Logs were probably mounted on top, probably no more than kneeling level. The fort had no roof and seems very small today.

The defense structure was hastily made during a brief 3-week period after Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs issued his infamous Extermination Order in an attempt to rid this state of the Mormons.

As a boy growing up on a nearby farm, David Stark saw the cut stone still evenly placed comprising the fort’s floor. The floor was completely bare at that time with no brush or weeds sprouting between stone cracks. This could have indicated that a cavity existed under the floor, but Mr. Stark, like so many others, was not aware of the site’s significance nor was he keenly interested in such details at that time.

Today Mr. Stark can still retrace the location of a stone wall leading northwest from the fort to a privy located along the creek where an earthen dam will soon impound water. Two firing walls were constructed across the creek leading to the crest of a hill west. The firing walls were irregularly parallel, about 75 to 80 yards apart. These breaklines, still evident in Smith’s hay field, soon may be overtaken by spreading fescue.

In 1951 when Mr. Stark first recalls, the firing wall still stood three rocks high. He speculates that their location was of convenience, using rock easily positioned by horse or mule teams in the haste to erect a defense. A third firing wall was erected slightly behind the fort, leading eastward. It was marked by a hedge row fence until the recent dirtwork.

Today, anyone happening into the rock hole might speculate that it once was a hand-dug well rather than a fortress. But regardless of its appearance, the rocks moved in disarray and left untouched for decades still mark the place where the Mormon War officially ended in the Daviess County surrender on Nov. 8, 1838.

Written by Darryl Wilkinson, Gallatin North Missourian, June 9, 1993.

The “Mormon War” in Missouri

The "Bible Belt" is no homogenous label for the Grand River region in northwest Missouri. Religious convictions sustained by the Amish community set Jamesport apart. Those of the Mormon faith point to Far West near Hamilton and Adam-ondi-Ahman near Gallatin as historic shrines. Even the formation of Caldwell and Daviess counties in 1836 has a direct link to religion. And what transpired here along during our frontier days is among the most unusual chapters in Missouri history.

The "Bible Belt" is no homogenous label for the Grand River region in northwest Missouri. Religious convictions sustained by the Amish community set Jamesport apart. Those of the Mormon faith point to Far West near Hamilton and Adam-ondi-Ahman near Gallatin as historic shrines. Even the formation of Caldwell and Daviess counties in 1836 has a direct link to religion. And what transpired here along during our frontier days is among the most unusual chapters in Missouri history.

Stephen C. LeSueur expertly examines the clashes between gentile and Mormon in his book, “The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri” (University of Missouri Press, Columbia 1987). A copy can be found in the Daviess County Library in Gallatin. The Mormon War literallty changed the course of Missouri history.Caldwell and Daviess counties were carved out of the frontier specifically for Mormon settlers experiencing problems in Ray and other organized counties. But problems only multiplied when Mormons settled in large numbers during a relatively short period of time in this region. LeSueur offers a concise chronology of events in an appendix in his book. Visitors to this region may be surprised to learn that:

— Mormon settlers arrived to this region in great numbers, swelling the population to over 2,000 in just months

— after an August election scuffle in Gallatin when Missourians feared majority rule by Mormons, Daviess Countians openly talked of organizing against Mormons

— Mormon “Danites” worked to arouse Mormon unity and were feared by Missourians

–misunderstandings, escalating hostilities and irreconcilable differences spawned vigilante groups, destruction and bloodshed

— a “battle” at Crooked River and a massacre at Haun’s Mill Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs issues his “Extermination Order,” responding to reports of civil and (alleged) Indian disturbances; Gov. Boggs orders 2,800 state militia to stand ready to march into Caldwell and Daviess counties

— following their departure from Missouri, the Mormons sought redress through over 700 petitions to the federal government; Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee argued the Mormons’ case personally to President Martin Van Buren but to no avail since Supreme Court rulings indicated a federal action would infringe upon states’ rights

The eventual costs of the Mormon War, for both Mormons and Missourian, amounted to over $1 million.

Author LeSueur concludes, in part, the following: “Missourians viewed the Mormons’ theocratic rule in Caldwell County, the secret teachings and oaths of the Danite band, the unwillingness of Mormon leaders to submit to local authorities, and the military operations of their soldiers as evidence of Mormon intentions to overthrow the government in western Missouri and supplant it with one of their own. Consequently, following the surrender, Missouri officials arrested Mormon leaders on charges of treason.

“Conversely, the Mormons believed the disturbances represented a conspiracy by Missourians to drive them from the state and steal their land. As evidence, they advanced the unsubstantiated claim that Daviess settlers had burned their own homes and then blamed the Mormons to inflame public prejudice against them.”

Today, viewing the beautiful and serene countryside at Far West and at Adam-ondi-Ahman, it is hard to believe such strife once occurred here.

Selected information from “The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri,” by Stephen C. LeSueur (University of Missouri Press, Columbia 1987)

“Mormon War” Drove Mormons Away from Missouri

The Mormon sites of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Far West, and Haun’s Mill marks some of the darkest chapters in Missouri history. These chapters reveal the religious strength of the founders of the Mormon faith — in a story which culminated in Missouri with the “Mormon War” of 1838.

The Mormon sites of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Far West, and Haun’s Mill marks some of the darkest chapters in Missouri history. These chapters reveal the religious strength of the founders of the Mormon faith — in a story which culminated in Missouri with the “Mormon War” of 1838.

During the 1820s Joseph Smith Jr. translated cerain tablets, formerly unknown, to form the basis of the Book of Mormon. Followers of the prophet, as he chose to be called, increased in numbers until the organization’s main objective became the formation of a new colony.

After successive brief stays at Palmyra, NY, and Kirtland, OH, Smith led his followers to Independence, MO, where they built a temple. But the relgious beliefs of the Mormons clashed with neighboring settlers until violence erupted. As animosities between Mormons and non-Mormons continued to increase, the Missouri legislature eased the situation by allowing the Mormons to organize Caldwell and Daviess Counties.

By 1837, there were 490 Latter-Day Saints living in Caldwell County and Far West and it became the county seat.

It was at Far West that the prophet declared a revelation which fixed the name of the church and directed the “prophet” to perform certain tasks. It also was throught such a revelation that the prophet established Adam-Ondi-Ahman.

Longtime Gallatin resident T.C. Barlow was recognized as the foremost local historian knowledgable of this era. Among filed information addressed to him is an eyewitness account about the establishemnt of Adam-Ondi-Ahman and the sacred altar symbolizing the place where Adam offered a sacrifice after he was cast out of the garden.

The name Adam-Ondi-Ahman comes from the revelation of Smith and means “Adam’s Consecrated Land” in reformed (Radict Arabic) Egyptian. The name also means “From God through Adam” in the Mormon faith.

Caldwell and Daviess Counties would have developed into a populous Mormon sanctuary had turmoil not erupted. Hatred bordering on violence between Mormons and Missourians climaxed during a general election on Aug. 6, 1838.

Haun’s Mill in Caldwell County is of particular historic importance as the site where 14 Mormons were killed and seven anti-Mormons were wounded. Had the Mormons found the tranquil sanctuary they sought, perhaps northern Missouri would have developed into the Mormon center of activity, rather than Salt Lake City, Utah. The Mormons, however, left for the only hospitable shore in sight, the east side of the Mississippi River above Quincy, IL. Their numbers, for a time, made the town of Nauvoo, IL, larger than Chicago.

For eight years, the Mormons prospered until the prophet and some of his followers were jailed at Carthage, IL, where Smith was shot from one of the barred windows.

Under new leadership of Brigham Young, the Mormons made their famous exodus across the plains to form the new seat of government and religion in Utah. Only two groups chose not to make the journey. At Lamoni, Iowa, one group eventually established Graceland College, while the other group remained in Independence.

Meanwhile, a Dr. Craven picked up the pieces at the former Mormon settlement in Daviess County and soon a general post office and Cravensville became the postal outlet for the western portion of the area. However, Cravensville declined as Gallatin became the county seat, while Far West and Haun’s Mil simply were deserted and forgotten.

Written by Darryl Wilkinson, Gallatin, for publication in the Aug. 17, 1979, edition of the St. Joseph Gazette.

1979 — Mormons Searching for Missouri “Roots”

Brigham Young University conducted excavation work at the Mormon historical site of Adam-Ondi-Ahman near Jameson, MO, during the summer of 1979.

Brigham Young University conducted excavation work at the Mormon historical site of Adam-Ondi-Ahman near Jameson, MO, during the summer of 1979.

University personnel including archeologists, historians and graduate students spent over 8 weeks conducting a historical survey and minor excavations.

“We plan to take an inventory of what remains of historical importance at 18 separate sites across the country,” said Dr. Ray Matheny of BYU’s Department of Anthropology. “In Missouri this includes Adam-Ondi-Ahman as well as Far West near Kingston and Haun’s Mill near Breckenridge.

“We will try to correlate archeological work with historical references to determine the physical location of the town that developed at Adam-Ondi-Ahman later known as Cravensville.

“There were some 200 cabins here in 1838, and we’re using electronic equipment to map cultural features,” Matheny said. “This information will be put in archives and also will be used to plan the financing of major excavations should the work be continued.”

Infrared photography as well as an electrical resistance machine capable of charting anomalies at a depth of 18 feet were also in use.

A cartography who uses microwave and infrared power transmitting euqipment to manipulate data through computers, produces results which either can be used for 3-dimensional mapping or color mapping showing only the information desired.

The old town site actually lay to the north of the historical marker identifying the Mormon shrine, and the grounds are at the crest of a bluff overlooking the Grand River. Most of the work was done at the site of the old Lyman Wight cabin, erected in 1837. Historically, Wight bought the land off a man named Black.

Lyman Wight was the only Mormon living here when Joseph Smith Jr. and his followers sought sanctuary from troubles with anti-Mormons at Independence, MO. Wight later moved on with the Mormons after violence erupted between the Mormons and the anti-Mormons, but his cabin was in use for approximately 100 years.

“We’ve come across some fine artifacts even though our excavations have been relatively minor,” said Methany. “We have square nails and recently uncovered an 1859 penny among other items. Oddly enough, privies are the main places we like to find. The Mormons often rock lined beneath their privies, helping to contain broken dishes and other discarded items.” The work thus far has turned up three cabin sites and depressions believed to be old wells in the bottom ground northwest of Tower Hill.

While part of the group remains on the site, others scour local records for historical information. Dr. Lamar Berrett of BYU is the overall director of the 10-member university venture.

Dr. Leland Gentry, who holds a doctorate in history and philosophy of religion, is visiting with local historians seeing legitimate information about Adam-Ondi-Ahman.

“In talking with various local people during the past weeks, we’ve come to realize that many people have misconceptions about the historical significance of Adam-Ondi-Ahman and the role it plays in the Mormon faith,” said Gentry.

“There are only two things about Adam-Ondi-Ahman that are significant as it relates to the Mormon faith. First, Mormons believe that three years before Adam’s death, he gathered his posterity, which numbered in the thousands, at the valley of the Grand River in order to give his blessing and, second, Adam will return at a future time and that various keys of authority will be delivered up to Adam to be delivered to Jesus Christ,” Gentry explained.

He notes that the Mormon Church owns 1,415 acres in Daviess County which is all the church wants in order to preseve the historical significance of the area according to their faith.

Written by Darryl Wilkinson, Gallatin, for publication in the Aug. 17, 1979, edition of the St. Joseph Gazette. Also from the Gallatin North Missourian, Aug. 1, 1979.

A Fort Erected at Awbrey Grove

In 1838 a grove south of the Gilman Prairie filled with early settlers and armed men. The unsettled period was from Sept. 15 to Nov. 8, 1838. Daviess County records, written in January 1838, called this place Awbrey Grove. Displaced families and defenders from neighboring counties were camped here to defend Daviess County from the Mormon Caldwell County Military units formed March 10, 1838, and people at Adam-Ondi-Ahman were collecting the necessary comforts to make it through the coming winter.

In 1838 a grove south of the Gilman Prairie filled with early settlers and armed men. The unsettled period was from Sept. 15 to Nov. 8, 1838. Daviess County records, written in January 1838, called this place Awbrey Grove. Displaced families and defenders from neighboring counties were camped here to defend Daviess County from the Mormon Caldwell County Military units formed March 10, 1838, and people at Adam-Ondi-Ahman were collecting the necessary comforts to make it through the coming winter.

The collecting increased when the 250 peope at Adam-Ondi-Ahman were joined by 250 people of the Mormon poor train, which arrived on Oct. 4th. Needs increased again after the cold and big snow storm of Oct. 16-17. Many of the fearful non-Mormons moved east to Awbrey Grove when the collecting continued. As Gallatin and Millport were burned on Oct. 18-19 as well as cabins elsewhere, even more families moved east into Awbrey Grove to camp and build shelters for the winter. Supplies from Livingston, Carroll, Ray, Clay and Saline counties and also from elsewhere came with forces prepared for defense.

After Oct. 6, Col. W.W. Austin was commanding the volunteers. Dr. Austin was from Carroll County. Col. Thompson was in charge of state forces at Millport after Oct. 2, but reported that his men were going over in large numbers to join Dr. Austin.

Dr. Austin and his forces were ordered to disperse from Millport on Sept. 12 by the governor’s aide, James M. Hughes, and also by Gen. Doniphan’s aide, Benjamin Holliday. The Millport-Awbrey Grove force of non-Mormon volunteers were not under state orders. On Sept. 15, this group was estimated at 200 to 300 men.

Minnie McClung Peniston writes a report in 1937, identifying a fort which was constructed during this period of time on her father’s farm located about a mile west-southwest of Awbrey Grove. It was on the west bank of a part of East Brushy Creek in Jamesport Township. It was near the south part of the section line, between Section 29 and Section 30, at a spring called Redwine Spring. Near this place, she said, her father later constructed a fishing pond. The fort was intended to defend the displaced families and the volunteer forces in the area.

When the Mormons were removed from the region during early November, the fort served no useful purpose. Many of the temporary residents left for their homes or to rebuild their homes. The exact location of the fort has been lost.

Prepared by David Stark

The “Massacre at Mountain Meadows”

Daviess County Pioneer, Judge John Lee, no doubt served as a sacrifice to the public clamor for appeasement for the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Judge Lee sensed this, and naturally his confessions are marked by extreme bitterness. Most other published reports defended the guilty and contain such a confused picture that they are deemed unreliable.

Daviess County Pioneer, Judge John Lee, no doubt served as a sacrifice to the public clamor for appeasement for the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Judge Lee sensed this, and naturally his confessions are marked by extreme bitterness. Most other published reports defended the guilty and contain such a confused picture that they are deemed unreliable.

The following account makes use only of official U.S. Government reports made prior to May 1, 1860, to President James Buchanan.

The first official investigative report was done by Capt. R.P. Campbell on July 6, 1859, or nearly two years after the incident took place in September, 1857. Capt. Campbell was ordered to investigate by the War Department on April 17, 1859.

At Mountain Meadlows, Utah Territory, on May 6, 1859, Capt. Campbell “found human skulls, bones and hair scattered about, and scraps of clothing of men, women and children.” Capt. Campbell states:

“These were the remains of a party of peaceful inhabitants of the United States, consisting of about 150, who were removing with their effects from… Arkansas to …California. These emigrants were here met by Mormons (assisted by such of the wretched Indians of the neighborhood as they could force or presuade to join them), and massacred, with the exception of such infant children that the Mormons thought too young to remember or tell of the affair.

“The Mormons had their faces painted so as to disguise themselves as Indians. The Mormons were led on by John D. Lee, then a high dignitary in the self-styled Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Isacc Haight, now a dignitary in the same.”

After “12 to 15 of them were killed” by surprise attack, Judge Lee “told them that if they would surrender themselves and give their property to the Indians, that the Mormons would conduct them safely back to Cedar City. They were taken about a mile and a half from the spring, where they, their wives, and their children, were ruthlessly killed.

“The infants were taken to Cedar City, where they were either sold or given away to such of the Mormons as desired them… The property of the emmigrants was taken to Cedar City, where it was put up at public auction and sold.”

Assistant Surgeon Charles Brewer, who was with Capt. Campbell, stated “Some of the remains above referred to were found upon the surface of the ground, with a little earth partially covering them, and at the place where the men were massacred; some lightly burned, but the majority were scattered about upon the plain. many of the skulls bore marks of violence, being pieced with bullet holes or shattered by heavy blows or cleft with some sharp-edged instrument. The bones were bleached and own by long exposure to the elements, and bore the impress of teeth of wolves and other wild animals.”

The Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Jacob Forney, reported to Washington on September 29, 1859, that the number massacred on September 9, 1857, were “115 to 120.” He also reported that he recovered 16 surviving children in July, 1858, and one in April, 1859. He states that the children had been in the hands of “different Mormon families in Cedar City, Harmony, and Santa Clara, etc., where they were collected to Santa Clara and placed in respectable families…”

Forney states that “three men got out of the valley” but were overtaken and killed. One got over 50 miles before being overtaken.” The “saved” children were started back for Leavenworth City June 29 except for two boys, one six and one seven, kept to give testimony. Forney also states that the Mormons were “influenced chiefly by a determination to acquire wealth by robbery.”

Alexander Wilson, U.S. Attorney for the Territory of Utah, reported on March 4, 1859, that “a more cold-blooded butchery I have never heard of.” He reported that 119 were killed and 17 children stolen along with property “from the State of Arkansas and were well-provided with stock, wagons, etc., to make permanent settlements in their proposed new home.”

In a sworn statement on July 27, 1859, before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, James Lynch states: “This ill-fated train consisted of 18 wagons and stock, 820 head of cattle, household goods to a large amount besides money, estimated at $80,000 or $90,000 — the greater part of which, it is believed, now makes rich the harems of this John D. Lee.”

Superintendent Forney reported to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington on September 22, 1859. “The following are the names of the persons the most guilty: Isaac T. Haight, Cedar City; Bishop Smith, Cedar City; John D. Lee, Harmony; John M. Higby, Cedar City; Bishop Davis and David Tullis, Santa Clara; Ira Hatch, Santa Clara.”

Judge Lee also throws blame on William H. Dame, Phihlip Klingensmith and Brigham Young.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, 1994

Another’s View of Adam-Ondi-Ahman

How many people in Northwest Missouri realize they live less than 100 miles from the Garden of Eden? Or that here Cain slew Abel, and their father, Adam, offered sacrifices on a hilltop altar?

How many people in Northwest Missouri realize they live less than 100 miles from the Garden of Eden? Or that here Cain slew Abel, and their father, Adam, offered sacrifices on a hilltop altar?

I had seen the road signs pointing the way to Adam-ondi-Ahman (meaning Adam’s Consecrated Land) for several years before finally making a visit. The remote spot is reached from Highway 6 by going north on Highway 13 two miles east of Gallatin. Then at the sign a left turn takes you across a railroad track on a winding gravel road into the hills.

At the time of my initial visit not much was to be seen when you reached the summit of the bluff overlooking Grand River except a scenic view of the river bottom. A covered signboard proclaimed the spot to be the site of a Mormon village plated and inhabited in 1838. According to the plaque, here was the spot which Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church proclaimed to be the place where Adam and Eve came after being banished from the Garden of Eden, which he located in Jackson County, Missouri.

Noticing a well-traveled path which led over the brink of the hill, we followed it down a steep incline into a narrow valley where we discovered almost obliterated signs of a wagon road winding among the trees. Remnants of stone foundations and a few rotting log cabins had once stood. Not understanding the historical significance of our find, my husband and I returned to our car quite unimpressed.

A more recent visit to the same spot proved to be a very different experience. White fences bordered the clearly marked smooth gravel road. Large signboards pointed the way to Adam-ondi-Ahman Valley, Tower Hill, and Spring Hill. Taking the road to Tower Hill, the spot we had visited earlier, we found a graveled parking lot and neat picnic area with restrooms.

The area has been cleared and landscaped by missionary families who come from their homes in Utah, Washington and other states during the summer months to work on the farms and help beautify the land held sacred by the Mormons. Approximately 1,500 acres are now owned by the church, much of it under cultivation. A few families stay all year to care for the grounds and conduct logging operations in the timbered areas which are being developed into park-like grounds.

Another road led to an RLDS Church and a large building used as a meeting place and research center for genealogy records. To establish the sequence of events which led to the Mormons westward trek to their permanent home in Salt Lake City, and to relate the roll which Adam-ondi-Ahman played in this journey, it is necessary to go back to the origin of the church.

Joseph Smith was born in New York in 1805. As a young man he professed to have been visited three times by angels in his home near Palmyra. They led him to the hiding place of three golden plates which were inscribed front and back with strange writings. Not fully understanding the miraculous encounter he left them in their hiding place in a hilltop grove.

Some four years later he dug up the plates and proceeded to decipher and record the messages on them. This was the origin of the Book of Mormon which Joseph used in conjunction with the Holy Bible in his preaching career. He was a charismatic young man and soon had a following of several hundred people.

In the doctrine he taught, his followers were assured an exalted place in the society of mankind during the final days of time on earth. Consequently the name “Latter-day Saints” came about. He admonished them to be peace-loving, except in defense of home and family, to refrain from profanity and strong drink, and to follow his direction without question.

Each family was to work independently to provide for their own necessities, but any surplus was to be contributed to a common storehouse for the use of the poor, widows and orphans.

It was but a matter of time until the Saints different life-style alienated them from their neighbors. Soon Brother Smith received a revelation that his followers were to sell their property, pack their wagons and seek a place where they were to build the “City of Zion”. Their arduous journey took them to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831 where in a matter of a few months the population of their city swelled to 5,000. For the next five years the people were busy building homes, businesses and building a temple. Joseph Smith’s philosophy seemed to be spreading like wildfire.

Some of the wagon trains had stopped but briefly in Kirtland, continuing their journey to Jackson county, Missouri.

Another revelation by Prophet Smith had decreed that Independence was to be the “center place” of the church where a great temple was to be built on the spot which was once the Garden of Eden. The dimensions of the church which God supposedly had revealed to him were minutely detailed down to the number of seats and inches between them.

By 1836 relations with their neighbors were again strained and a mob was ready to run the Saints out of town. An influential friend brought their plight to the attention of the Missouri State Legislature. Since Ray County was large and sparsely populated, it was divided to form Caldwell and Daviess Counties to the north, and Joseph Smith’s followers were given the option of moving to these counties to avoid bloodshed in Independence.

So once again the Saints were on the move, this time setting in a spot east of Kingston which they gave the name of “Far West”. Here again a city was laid out around a temple square, and new settlers arrived daily until the population was soon 4,000. A few wagons (31) moved 12 miles east to Hawn’s Mill on Shoal Creek.

A later arrival of 150 wagons from Kirtland was guided northward into Daviess County to Adam-ondi-Ahman. There the group was joined by 200 wagons from Canada. Joseph Smith made several trips there from his home in Far West to help with the lay-out of the town during the summer of 1838. A clearing on a spot called Spring Hill was marked off for the temple site. He declared another revelation that this was to be the spot where the church officials could gather when informed that the end of the world was near. At this time Adam would return to earth and dwell among them.

At the top of another high hill, which he named Tower Hill, the remnants of a triple-tiered stone altar was found. This altar was described in the journals of several of the settlers as well as one kept by the prophet. It was 36 feet long, with much of the base of square-hewn stones still intact. Other stones were strewn about as if they had tumbled from its higher elevations.

There is no evidence of the altar at the spot today. What happened to it? An elderly man who lived nearby stated that it was carried away by tourists, stone by stone. The bigger stones were thought to have been shipped out mysteriously in five wooden crates in 1922, their destination unknown.

Cabins went up at the rate of three or four a day during the late summer of 1838 and the population of Adam-ondi-Aham swelled to over 1,000. The Saints were determined to exercise their right to vote in an election in Gallatin in August of that year.

Some Gallatin men were just as determined that they would not and tried to block them from the polls. In the ensuing fight two men were alleged to have been killed, though it was later learned they were just wounded.

When Gov. Lilburn Boggs was informed of the incident, he called out the militia to be in readiness to move against the Mormons, and in October gave an infamous “exterminating order” that they should be driven from the state.

The militia, consisting of 240 men gathered from surrounding counties and headed by Col. Wm. Jennings of Chillicothe, converged on Hawn’s Mill settlement on October 30th. As the men ran for the blacksmith shop where they attempted to make a stand, the women and children ran for nearby brush to hide. In the shooting that followed 19 of the Saints were killed and many of their cabins ransacked and burned. The next day the survivors packed their wagons and headed for Nauvoo, Illinois, where they made their last attempt to build a City of Zion before their departure for Utah.

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested in Far West and its residents ordered to leave. After being convicted of treason by a judge at Richmond, they spent four months in an unheated jail in Liberty. After their release they joined the rest of the Saints in Nauvoo which soon became the largest city in Illinois.

Joseph Smith, who by another divine revelation at Nauvoo, had condoned polygamy for himself and his male followers, was killed in 1844 by an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois. The Saints, once again forced from their homes, fled across the ice on the Mississippi River and gathered supplies for the long journey, led by Brigham Young, to a permanent home in Utah.

The abandoned Adam-ondi-Ahman succumbed to the elements, existing as a city for less than six months. It is still a beautiful spot where, while standing on a hilltop, one feels quite close to God, but to think of Adam and Eve spending a Missouri winter in this spot gives one the shivers. Visitors have the privilege of drawing their own conclusions.

Written by Peggy Wickizer, printed in the Dec. 10, 1983, edition of the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune; historical data from “The Refiner’s Fire”

Election Brawl Turns History

Etched clearly in early Daviess County history is the name of John Lowe Butler in connection with the Mormon War in Missouri. In June, 1994, his descendents converged on Gallatin on a history trip arranged by Butler’s biographer, Brigham Young University history professor William Hartley.

Etched clearly in early Daviess County history is the name of John Lowe Butler in connection with the Mormon War in Missouri. In June, 1994, his descendents converged on Gallatin on a history trip arranged by Butler’s biographer, Brigham Young University history professor William Hartley.

On Aug. 6, 1838, during an election brawl in Gallatin, John Lowe Butler picked up heart-of-oak staves and whacked a few non-Mormons to end a fight which had erupted on the southwest corner of where the courthouse now stands. That brawl turned an otherwise insignificant election into one of historical importance. The election brawl marked the beginning of what resulted in Mormons being forced from Missouri and their leaders jailed.

With old animosities long gone, a bus tour of John Lowe Butler descendants arrived in Gallatin to dine at McDonald Tea Room and view the site of that old election day skirmish. The stop in Gallatin was one on a 13-day Butler Family Heritage tour running from Nashville, TN to Omaha, NE.

While here, Butler family members presented a copy of a new biography of John Lowe Butler to the Daviess County Library.

The biography, “My Best for the Kingdom: History and Autobiography of John Lowe Butler, A Mormon Frontiersman,” is based on Butler’s 100-page autobiography which he penned in 1860. History Professor William Hartley of Brigham Young University wrote the biography, published last December by Aspen Books in Salt Lake City.

To tell John Butler’s life accurately, Hartley has written new history not previously known or understood about the Mormon War in Missouri. Four chapters deal with the Butlers in Missouri, who lived at Mirible Settlement and then at Marrowbone southeast of Winston. John Butler was part of the Mormon militia and a Danite, roles that the book deals with in some detail.

Last month the book received the prestigious Mormon History Association Best Biography Award. Two years ago Professor Hartley received a “Best Article” award from the Mormon History Association for his history article that explained, for the first time, details about the Mormons’ winter exodus from Missouri in 1838-39.

Among the 30 Butler descendants taking the tour is a namesake young man, John Lowe Butler IV. The group includes relatives from Connecticut, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, California, Oregon and Utah.

Reprinted from the Gallatin North Missourian

The Execution of Judge John Doyle Lee

The following account offers insight about the beginnings of Daviess County and, in particular, the role one pioneer played. Judge John Doyle Lee eventually was convicted of murder and executed in Utah Territory after the Mountain Meadow massacre. He was known as “Judge Lee” due to his appointment as magistrate in Washington County, Utah, by Brigham Young.

The following account offers insight about the beginnings of Daviess County and, in particular, the role one pioneer played. Judge John Doyle Lee eventually was convicted of murder and executed in Utah Territory after the Mountain Meadow massacre. He was known as “Judge Lee” due to his appointment as magistrate in Washington County, Utah, by Brigham Young.

Upon hearing of Mormonism from missionaries, Judge John Lee traveled with his wife, Agathe, from Fayette County, Ill., to Missouri to investigate the new sect firsthand, and remained there a convert.

Many poor people came to share in the kingdom who had little to contribute. Judge Lee was soon zealous in the new church. As a member of the Mormon military organization, he took part in several skirmishes with the Missourians. He became a fanatical mystic about his religion although he warned others not to do so.

Judge Lee may have been related to others of the Lee name settling near Shoal Creek in old Ray County from 1834. The first settler was Henry Lee, who later stayed in Daviess County and had the first ferry license at Adam-Ondi-Ahman for 22 days starting July 9, 1839.

Judge Lee was an early settler in Daviess County at our first Mormon settlement, three miles south of Gallatin. Other Mormons remembered were Henry Belt, Danite Leader John Lowe Butler, Perry Durfey and Roswell Stevens. The Dayley family was also recalled in the 1882 history book.

Mormon records recall that other early (spring 1837) Mormons in Daviess County and were James Bingham, John Freeman, Elisha Grove, Charles McGee, Samual Brown, Levi Taylor, Lyman Wight and Clauncey Webb, also the Swartwouts and Woodland families and Riley Stewart. McGee and Brown stayed in Daviess County after 1840, so their membership is questioned.

Canadians Abraham and Hyram Nelson were reported to have operated the Honey Creek Ferry on Grand River but county court records do not show that they were licensed to do so.

Judge Lee’s nature is variously described. He was termed a “tough rough-hewn frontiersman” and also as a “neurotic” addicted to superstition, having an irrational fear of the unknown, mysterious parts of life. With little education, everything is mysterious with ominous significance.

Lee recalls that upon leaving Missouri, he was a minister of the gospel with no money, “illiterate and inexperienced” and “could hardly quote a passage of scripture” at age 27. This was not unusual since Brigham (Bricham) Young couldn’t spell his first name at age 33.

Judge Lee said that some Mormons were “wild, ignorant fanatics,” but those who “behaved ourselves” were treated well by the Missourians.

Lee recalled that a man named McBride who had been a good friend to him and to other Mormons did not escape in the destruction of Daviess County. “Every article of movable property was taken by the troops: he was utterly ruined.”

There is no indication that Judge Lee owned any land in Daviess County. He was a squatter like nearly all settlers at that time (although it was a violation of state law). Lee surely had some taxable property to put him on the voting records of Ray County in 1836.

Sidney Rigdon’s plan to form a Mormon military unit was first started on March 10, 1838. The “Host of Israel” (or armies of Israel) was to be by “the law of the priesthood” and make all Mormon men over the age of 18 be included regardless of county residence.

A secret part of the army was formed in Daviess County, which never had a state military unit. At Adam-Ondi-Ahman, July 22, 1838, Lee was sworn in and had two meetings each month at that location.

Judge Lee states that he was “placed under the most sacred obligations that language could invent.”

He was “sworn to stand by and sustain each other” and to “sustain, protect, defend, and obey the leaders of the church, under any and all circumstances unto death; and to disobey the orders of the leaders of the church, or divulge the name of a Danite to an outsider, or to make public any of the secrets of the order of Danites was to be punished with death.”

Lee’s third meeting, Aug. 4 at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, was two days before the Gallatin election. The plan was for leader John Butler and a few other Danites to disrupt the election. Butler was charged in Daviess County with an unprovoked assault on Richard Weldon.

Lee said that he “was lying on the grass near the polling place at Gallatin when…close at hand was a pile of oak hearts remaining from a shingle making operation, handy clubs three inches square and four feet long. Riley Stewart snatched one and leaped in to defend his fellow Saints, fetching Richard Weldon a clout that fell him almost atop Lee,” who states that “Immediately, the fight became general.”

Judge Lee recounts being present when “the Danites took prisoner a Gentile named Tarwater, but after talking with him let him go, telling him he was free to return home.”

As the man turned and ran happily toward freedom, a Saint who was particularly revered by Lee “stepped up to a tree, laid his gun up by the side of the tree, took deliberate aim, and shot Tarwater.” Lee reported this as an example of war humor.

In Ray County records, a Samuel Tarwater was wounded about Oct. 25 in Ray County at the Battle of Crooked River. All Mormons involved in that battle were charged with murder if they could be identified.

Many of those departed north toward Iowa from Far West about Oct. 31 to avoid charges. Brigham Young left for Iowa about that time leaving his family in Missouri the way others did.

Judge Lee says that he was not in the “Destruction Company” of the Danites that did the burning and looting in Daviess County, but knew many who were part of that unit. It soon was called the “Fur Company” since most members soon had good horses, warm fur coats, and lots of trade goods. Many of these men left for Iowa (Wisconsin Territory) in late October.

Judge Lee reported that the work in Daviess County was planned at Far West about Oct. 15 but action was delayed by an 8-inch snow. He says that during Oct. 18-19, the young men found stealing and burning to be a game and a lark and something new that they found to be enjoyable. Not until Oct. 20 did the Daviess County citizens begin to react and start to be active in retaliation.

Lee believed himself “invulnerable, fighting God’s war” and part of “a formidable guerilla force… bullet proof, that no Gentile ball could ever harm me… I thought that a Danite could chase a thousand Gentiles, and two could put ten thousand to flight.”

When Captain Patton was killed, Lee was shocked. He reasoned if Fearnot “could be killed, who could claim immunity from the missiles of death.” It was like a mantle of gloom spreading over the entire community.

In the book Life and Confession (p. 70), John D. Lee says that Joseph Smith declared on this occasion that it was a civil war, and that by the rules of war each party was justified in spoiling his enemy.

“This,” says Lee, “opened the doors to the evil disposed, and men of former quiet became perfect demons in their efforts to spoil and waste away the enemies of the church.”

Lee said that he helped range over the country, and “the men I was with took a large amount of loose property, but I was not with them when they burned any houses or murdered any men.

“We took what property we could find, especially provisions, fat cattle and arms and ammunition… The Mormons brought in every article that could be used, and much that was of no use or value was hauled to Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Men stole simply for the love of stealing.”

Lee states that he came up from Far West with General Robert Wilson of the Missouri militia on Nov. 8, 1838, because his wife and baby were there and to be taken back to Far West.

Written and prepared by David Stark, Gallatin

Judge Doyle Lee: Life After Leaving Missouri

In my study of John Lee, a Daviess County, Mo., pioneer, I am reminded again and again of Huck Finn, and what he could have been like in later life. John, like Huck, was a Mississippi river “rat,” orphaned and unschooled. John Lee’s adventures in Missouri in 1836-38 may have changed him greatly.

In my study of John Lee, a Daviess County, Mo., pioneer, I am reminded again and again of Huck Finn, and what he could have been like in later life. John, like Huck, was a Mississippi river “rat,” orphaned and unschooled. John Lee’s adventures in Missouri in 1836-38 may have changed him greatly.

In 1839, Judge Lee was off on trips as a missionary. “He reports a number of prophetic dreams and visions assisted him in his conversion of others.” In Illinois, Joseph Smith Jr. selected a company of 50 men to be his personal body guards and Lee was number seven selected for that work. Lee was given a special white uniform to use in the Nauvoo (Naveh) Hebrew Legion. Lee marched closest to Junior when the Legion was on parade.

Judge Lee made his living by force collecting tithes from reluctant givers and keeping a commission on that work. Smith had changed the equal share policy in Missouri July 8, 1838, to 10 percent of all crops, increases, sales, etc. was payable to the church as an extra legal tax. Records were kept in secret on all members activities, business and who paid and how much. Late or disputed payments were given to Lee to collect. Lee also worked as a night guard at Smith’s house and watched church members to develop intelligence reports for Junior.

Lee was among the first half dozen to be allowed to take a second wife. Young became a bigamist in June of 1842 but church approval by revelation wasn’t until July 12, 1843. Lee took three more wives in 1845, but number three was sold to Brigham Young in April of that year. This was Emmeline Lee, whose sister remained married to Lee. Thus Lee and Brigham Young were brothers-in-law. Young took one of Smith’s wives in April 1841 after Young’s first wife died. Young later married five other wives of Joseph Smith Jr.

Judge Lee was married by Young, at Council Bluffs, to three the same night in 1847. The three were his two sisters-in-law and his mother-in-law. When Lee died he had 19 wives and 64 children. Fifty-four were alive in 1901 when the last count was made.

In Naveh, Lee lived well and had enough unspent ($5,000) to build one of the nicest houses in Naveh even though his wives and children caused some substantial expense. There was no indication that Lee was involved in the fraud of stealing in Illinois that helped to start the Mormon War at Naveh.

Judge Lee “rose rapidly in favor with the Mormon leaders, holding important municipal and ecclesiastical offices. In 1839 and 1841, he served as a missionary. In 1843, Lee became a Mormon mason and like others in the spring of 1844 served as a campaigner for Joseph Smith’s efforts to become president of the United States.

When Smith was murdered, Lee returned to Naveh where he soon transferred his loyalty to Brigham Young and served him until both died in 1877.

Smith was murdered on June 27, 1844, and those responsible were not tried. This caused allŠtime dislike for the United States government which still persists among the Mormons. The Old Testament policy of blood atonement (Heb. 9:22, Lev. 17:11 and Gen. 9:6) came into effect at Naveh and this was in effect, requiring Danite enforcement actions for unrepentant sinners. This job sometimes came to Judge Lee for results, and is why execution by firing squad was continued in effect in Utah. Lee became Young’s “adopted son” at Naveh. I suppose that this was another secret order.

During the Mexican War, Young got 500 plus Mormons signed up for six months service and Young got all the initial clothing allowances, $24,000, and the pay checks for the first three months, “$50,000. Lee was the one to go to Santa Fe to get the pay checks for Young’s use. The Mormon army went on to the southern route to California without pay or uniforms.

Young also collected most of the soldiers’ final pay after their services ended near L.A. Lee was in the secret “The Living Constitution of the Kingdom,” formed in 1844 as a shadow government which persisted into the 1870s. Lee was also a member of the “Council of Fifty,” from 1844.

In Utah Territory, John Lee settled in what became southwest Utah, in Iron County. He was selected by Young as Probate Judge of Washington County in 1858.

In 1857, during the Mormon Revolt, John D. Lee had a mill at Cedar Creek that supplied the ill-ated wagon train. Lee was captain of militia at Cedar City and president of the civil government at Harmony. Lee also became a member of the Territorial Legislature after 1857 and was an “Indian Farmer” in his area. In Indian Farmer was supposed to use U.S. funds to help the Indians learn to farm and supply their needs. It seems that the Mormons used the funds to get equipment for their own farming operations at U.S. Government expense.

The plan for the Mountain Meadows Massacre, according to Judge Lee, was devised Aug. 28 at Washington City, Utah, by Legion General George A. Smith and passed down to command to Captain Lee to perform. Lee was promised that if he did this work, for the benefit of the church, he would receive the “Crown of Celestial Glory,” whatever that was.

At Lee’s execution March 23, 1877, there were five executioners. Lee gave a long speech while the grave was being prepared saying that he hadn’t done anything wrong. On being shot, he fell dead on his rough pine board coffin, on which he had sat while the grave was being dug.

On April 20, 1961, the First Presidency of the Church, authorized that Judge John D. Lee be reinstated to membership and former blessings. The proper ordinances were performed in Salt Lake City at the temple on May 8 and 9, 1961, reversing the excommunication done by his adopted father and brother, Brigham Young.

A few months after Judge Lee’s execution, several Mormon leaders were fed arsenic trioxide when a meeting was held in Lee’s home district. Brigham Young had gotten enough to kill him. Because of Young’s unexpected death, he was unable to pass the control of the church on to his children.

Since John Taylor took over, nearly a million dollars of church property had to be returned by the family in longŠdisputed court cases. You might say that Judge John Lee got revenge in some degree for being the only sacrifice to appease public clamor to punish those (over 500 people) who committed the butchery known nationwide as the Massacre of Mountain Meadows.

So ends the story of the Latter-Day Saint and latter days of pioneer (Huck Finn), Judge John Doyle Lee.

Historical articles by David Stark featuring Daviess County pioneer John Doyle Lee were based on research from the following list sources:

The Story of Mormons by W.A. Linn (1963), p.580; Blood Alonement Reference Bible, from Hewbrews, Leviticus, Genesis; Kingdom of the Saints by R.B. West, Jr., pp.284-287; History of Caldwell County, pp.126-129 and p.94; The Latter-day Saints in the Modern Day World, pp.80-83;

The Kingdom or Nothing by Samuel W. Taylor, pp.46-51; The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Juanita Brooks (1970 Fourth Edition); Who’s Who sketch of Lee’s life, pp.114-115; History of Daviess County (1882) pp.198-211; The Mormon Experience in Missouri 1830-1839, Part I and II, Missouri Historical Review;

The Lion of the Lord by S.P. Hirshson (1969); 40 Census of Daviess County, MO; Among the Mormons by Mulder & Mortensen (1969); The History of the Chruch of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, Vol. 2
1836-1844 (Lamoni 1897) by Joseph Smith and Herman C. Smith; Nauvoo Kingdom of Mississippi by R.B. Flanders; Mormonism Unveiled (1877) by John Doyle Lee;

History of Missouri for background of the times, p.14; The 1838 Mormon was in Missouri by S.Z. LaSueur (Columbia 1987), pp. 138, 110, 172, 121, 256, 90; Ensign to the Nations 1846-1972 by R.R. Rich.

In addition, Mr. Stark also used records of the Daviess County court, April 1837 to May, 1869.

About the Mormon Struggle

The Grand River area of Northwest Missouri is among those regions tagged with the homogenous “Bible Belt” label. A closer look reveals surprising diversity. Just 38 miles west of at Bethany on Highway 136 is a Basilica, a significant Catholic Abbey Church at Conception built in 1891. Go east from Gallatin on Highway 6 to find the largest Amish settlement in Missouri at Jamesport. But the religious faithful with the most obvious historical ties to this region are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

The Grand River area of Northwest Missouri is among those regions tagged with the homogenous “Bible Belt” label. A closer look reveals surprising diversity. Just 38 miles west of at Bethany on Highway 136 is a Basilica, a significant Catholic Abbey Church at Conception built in 1891. Go east from Gallatin on Highway 6 to find the largest Amish settlement in Missouri at Jamesport. But the religious faithful with the most obvious historical ties to this region are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

Each year thousands of Mormons visit Mormon historic shrines at Far West near Hamilton and Adam-Ondi-Ahman near Jameson, tracing the path which eventually led to Salt Lake City and other settlements in Utah. The Mormons invite you to visit their nationally-known visitors’ center in Independence.

Daviess and Caldwell counties owe their formation to the Mormons who lived in Missouri in 1838. And what transpired in those days in what was then the Missouri frontier is among the most unusual chapters in Missouri history. This is the site of the “Mormon War.”

Today there is no evidence of strife. Gazing upon picturesque Adam-Ondi-Ahman or the immaculately groomed memoral at Far West makes one wonder if the term “war” is a misnomer. Yet, consider the following:

— Mormon numbers quickly swelled to over 2,000 in just months, causing fears about majority rule— Daviess Countians talked openly of organizing against Mormons after an election scuffle in Gallatin

— Misunderstandings, escalating hostilities, and irreconcilable differences spawned vigilante groups, destruction and bloodshed

— Missouri Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs issued his infamous “Extermination Order,”  ordering 2,800 state troops to stand ready to march into Caldwell and Daviess counties

— 20 Mormons were killed and about that same number wounded in military engagements; one Mormon was killed and perhaps another 10 injured in beatings by Missourians and a number of Saints died as a result of suffering and exposure while Missourians suffered one dead and about a dozen wounded in conflict

— Following their departure from Missouri, the Mormons sought redress through over 700 petitions to the federal government; Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee argued the Mormons’ case personally to President Martin Van Buren but to no avail since Supreme Court rulings indicated a federal action would infringe upon states’ rights.

The eventual costs of the Mormon War, for both Mormons and Missourians, amounted to over $1 million. The Missouri Legislature appropreated about $200,000 to pay the expenses of the conflict. The Mormons calculated their   losses, in both property and suffering, to several million dollars.

The Mormon War literally changed the course of Missouri history with the migration of the Saints first to Illinois and eventually to Salt Lake. Some historians suggest the following conclusions:

Missourians viewed the Mormons’ theocratic rule in Caldwell County, the secret teachings and oaths of the Danite band, the unwillingness of Mormon leaders to submit to local authorities, and the military operations of their soldiers as evidence of Mormon intentions to overthrow the government in western Missouri and supplant it with one of their own. Consequently, following surrender, Missouri officials arrested Mormon leaders on charges of treason.

Conversely, the Mormons believed the disturbances represented a conspiracy by Missourians to drive them from the state and steal their land. As evidence they advanced the unsubstantiated claim that Daviess settlers had burned their own homes and then blamed the Mormons to inflame prejudice against them.

Mormon shrine… Adam-Ondi-Ahman

There is a historical site called Adam-Ondi-Ahman five miles north of Gallatin and it is sacred ground to members of the Mormon church and its followers. The religious shrine attracts thousands of visitors each year.

There is a historical site called Adam-Ondi-Ahman five miles north of Gallatin and it is sacred ground to members of the Mormon church and its followers. The religious shrine attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Such a site could hardly be located in a more lovely setting. It is rugged but beautiful as well, located on the north side of the Grand River, which takes a sharp full turn against high limestone bluffs on the south to head east into wooded slopes.

The significance of this site is, according to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, that this is where Adam offered sacrifices to God after he and Eve had been driven from the Garden of Eden. The faithful believe that Eden was centered in what is today Independence, Mo.
Just as Gallatin was becoming a town, Lyman Wright, a Mormon high priest, settled on Grand River where he operated a ferry boat and established a community nearby. This was the beginning of a powerful Mormon influence in the region that, while never factually oppressive or domineering, eventually led to great turmoil and loss of life.

This was largely due to mistrust and misunderstanding between the ruggedly-independent settlers and the tightly-knit Mormons who saw their mission as not only the saving of souls, but the setting up of God’s Kingdom on Earth. In their sincere zeal, the saints were over-zealous as viewed by the suspicious nature of the settlers.

A stake of Zion was soon organized and a town sprang up near Adam-Ondi-Ahman with at least 40 families permanently located there. It had a temple site, a city square, storehouses, schools, etc.

In August of 1838 an election was held in Gallatin at which time efforts were made to prevent the Mormons from exercising their right to vote.

In retrospect the tensions that arose developed because of the Mormon’s rapid migration into the area, a perception by the settlers that the Mormons “came on too strong” and that their presence was a threat to their existence. This conflict between two groups of sincere, hard-working and God-fearing people is a sad chapter in the county’s history.

The Mormon Church today is respected in Daviess County and everyone is aware of the importance of proper development of the site. The church has purchased nearly 3,000 acres of land around Adam-Ondi-Ahman, greatly improved and cleared the land, established a nursery, and constructed a fine road form Highway 13 into the site.

There one will find historical markers, rest rooms, and a number of lovely scenic vistas over the valley. It has been said the church will one day build a temple there because of the belief that in the final days of restitution the Ancient of Days will come there in all power and glory, preparatory to the reign of Christ on earth.

Tower Hill is of importance to Mormons, based on testimony given by Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. This was once the site of three separate altars, one spaced behind the other, each higher than the one before it. These represented the three orders of the priesthood. According to the Prophet Smith, this is where Adam offered sacrifices to God after he and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden. Tourists apparently have long since taken all that remained of the “altar of prayer.”

Early Mormon history tells that Joseph Smith, at the time he came into the area to stake out the town of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, invited dignitaries who accompanied him to a place in the brush and trees which he found without confusion or hesitancy. Smith was acting on a revelation which he said occurred at Kirkland, Ohio, long before the Saints moved northward from Jackson
County (Mo.) to Daviess and Caldwell counties.

The site, just south of Jameson, is well worth a visit and you are welcome there. Watch for signs on Highway 13.

Judge Black during “The Mormon War”

Judge Adam Black is noted in Daviess County history as the justice of the peace during the period of the Mormon struggle which erupted here in 1838.

Judge Adam Black is noted in Daviess County history as the justice of the peace during the period of the Mormon struggle which erupted here in 1838.

Adam Black was born in Henderson County, KY, on Sept. 11, 1801, into a large family from Virginia. The family moved to Missouri in 1819, stopping for a short time at Boonville before moving into Ray County soon after it was formed from the western part of Howard County. Until 1822 when Clay County was formed, Ray County included all of Northwest Missouri.

In November, 1824, Black was elected sheriff of Ray County which included eight of today’s counties. As sheriff, he conducted the first census of Ray County. He held that office until February, 1827, when he became county assessor for one year. A relative, William Black, was a judge of the Ray County Court 1825-27.

In September, 1825, Adam Black married Mary W. Morgan, daughter of Ira and Abigail Morgan. The Blacks parented seven sons and two daughters. The 1830 census shows Adam Black in Ray County with three children and a wife in her twenties.

In 1833, Adam picked out another spot to settle in the Grand River valley of Ray County. This was just south of present day Jameson. When the first election took place in Daviess County, Adam Black was one of the election judges at Millport in Grand River Township (which included the northeast part of Daviess County, including all land east of the river). In that election, Black was made township justice of the peace. He became a judge of the county court in 1838, serving four years.

In 1837 Black was commissioned to lay off the road districts in Grand River Township, and in 1841 he built the first county bridge across Muddy Creek on one of those roads. The 1840 census shows Adam Black with wife and seven children in Daviess County.

When Gentry County was formed in 1844, Black moved up the valley and served on the first grand jury of that county. He served as justice of the peace and also for four years as judge of the Gentry County Court.

In February, 1849, Black married Margaret Groom in Gentry County. There is no further mention of this marriage. In October, 1857, he married Sallie Kelley, daughter of Edward Kelley. To this union came two sons and one daughter.

In March, 1861, Judge Black was appointed by the governor to a commission to organize Worth County. Because of the Civil War, Black left that county court job and moved to Jackson Township in Livingston County. He was elected to the Livingston County Court as a district judge in 1872 and served three years.

From 1861 to 1890, Judge Black resided in Poosey land in Jackson Township. His farm was near the old Lilly Grove Church. He is buried just east of there in Hutchinson-Black Cemetery. His grave is in the Poosey State Forest, north of Indian Creek Community Lake.

In his old age, Adam Black continued his interest in political matters and his views were conservative reflecting his family ties to Virginia and states’ rights. In spite of service as County judge in Daviess County, Gentry County, Worth County and Livingston County as well as his service as sheriff of a vast Ray County, Black considered himself as a farmer.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin