Frank Kirkman's Mountain Meadows Massacre Site



The Danites in Mormon History

Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker;

Danites Pages Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 links Page 5  

BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1

Parley Pratt
They are significant contemporary records of the inner history of the LDS community at Far West during this period and for that reason alone are worthy of publication. [Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.11]
But besides their detail for the events during the final months of 1838, revealing, as it were, a closeness that puts the reader in the eye of the storm, these letters also offer a new solution to the old debate over the existence and function of Danites in Mormon society.
The existence of groups of armed Mormons called "Danites" during 1838 in Missouri has both plagued faithful Mormons and seemingly provided almost unlimited historical license to their critics ever since.
The presence of the word Danites in early sources dealing with the so-called "Mormon War" in Missouri and the fact that some in the LDS community, apparently reacting to the clamor about Danites, crossed out or attempted
to delete references to Danites, including the Rockwood material in the Church archives, have unfortunately further suggested the worst interpretation to critics of the Church as well as to well-meaning defenders of the faith.
Historiographically, the further removed from 1838 the source is, and the more critical the author was of the Church, the greater the detail the account contains of illegal activity by the Danites. Thus, accounts written by apostates or other enemies of the Church appearing by 1840 tend to suggest that the Danites were a secretive, militaristic, extralegal organization.
And generally, accounts by faithful Mormons after 1840 tend to be very defensive. The main difficulty with most of the critical evidence is that it comes from individuals who were clearly prejudiced against Joseph Smith.
In fact, the most negative accounts can be traced to two main sources : the highly questionable testimony of Sampson Avard at the November 1838 court of inquiry, or individuals who had or did come to question the whole concept of the kingdom of God in early Mormon thought. [Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.12]
The conceptual framework of Stephen LeSueur's recent book, The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, is based on the assumption that Joseph Smith knew about and even led marauding Danite bands on their offensive raids on non-Mormon Missouri farms and villages in 1838.

LeSueur consistently maintains an interpretation of the Danites that places the major blame on Mormon leaders for their problems in northern Missouri. Thus he concludes that the court of inquiry in November 1838 correctly bound Joseph Smith over for trial based on the evidence presented against him, particularly by Avard. On this matter, LeSueur follows directly an old interpretation.19

The only other major interpretation was advanced by Leland Gentry, first in his 1965 dissertation and later in an article in BYU Studies.20 Basically Gentry argues that the Danites were real but that they went through three stages of development:
  (1) in June at Far West and in July at Adam-ondi-Ahman, groups were organized to specifically aid in the expulsion of dissenters from the Mormon communities;
  (2) from June to mid-October 1838, Danites provided protection for Mormons against mob violence, primarily a defensive movement; and

during October 1838, during the "Mormon War," the Danites began to steal from non-Mormons, a stage and activity justified and led by Sampson Avard.

The value of Gentry's thesis has been that it admits that Danites existed and even that Joseph Smith could have known about the first two stages, but it disassociates the Prophet from the most militant and illegal manifestations.
The irony, argues Gentry, is that Avard, in providing the testimony against Joseph Smith in November 1838 as a witness for the state , successfully shifted all blame for his own activity onto the Prophet. While Gentry's work is cited by LeSueur, at no time does he address Gentry's arguments. While Gentry apparently did not know of the Rockwood texts, LeSueur cites them but misunderstands what Rockwood is saying.21
Rockwood's own narrative suggests that both Mormons and non-Mormons have fundamentally failed to grasp what the Danites were, and this misunderstanding is perpetuated in the continued use of the term only for meanings critics of the Church early attached to it. While space limitations prevent a detailed analysis here, several points are revealing.22 Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.12
Rockwood's record for 22 October 1838 suggests several important points for our understanding of the Danites. First, the origin of the "Armies of Israel" predates 1838; in fact, it goes back to Zion's Camp in 1834 (see D&C 105:30-32). Here militia operations in or by the Church were tied to divine injunctions to redeem Zion, a central part in Joseph Smith's mission of establishing the latter-day kingdom of God in Missouri (see D&C 107:72-73). And it has been clearly established that "Zion's Camp" was a defensive operation, depending solely on the promises of the governor of Missouri.23 Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.13
Second, Rockwood's account of the organization of Danites involves the whole Mormon community, and he describes its structure in the biblical terms of companies of tens, fifties, and hundreds (see Ex. 18:13-26). He clearly says the various groupings provided all kinds of community service, not just bearing arms. Some groups of Danites were to build houses; others were to gather food or care for the sick, while still others were to help gather the scattered Saints into the community. There can be no doubt that Rockwood is describing the total activities of a covenant community that viewed itself in the same terms as ancient Israel. Working in groups, these Danites served the interests of the whole. The consecration of labor and property involved the whole community. It was hardly a secret organization working under the cover of darkness; in fact, Rockwood is more explicit about Danite activity in the letters he sends than in the accounts he copies into his own journal. This would hardly be a proper course to take if the whole thing were to be kept in absolute secrecy. Rockwood thus presents a view fundamentally different from Avard's, a view that allows for an interpretation of these developments in a much broader perspective, both historically and doctrinally.
Finally, Rockwood reveals that the name Dan came not from the warrior tribe of Dan (Gen. 49: 16-17; Deut. 33:22; I Chr. 12:35) or from the militant references to the "Daughters of Zion" (Isa. 3:16), as critical sources alleged or misunderstood, but rather, and more consistently, from the book of Daniel, "because the Prophet Daniel has Said the Saints Shall take the Kingdom and possess it for ever" (Dan. 2:44). To the student of Mormon history, this brings the whole notion into clear focus. Early Mormons consistently used the book of Daniel in their own self-understanding of the mission of the Church (see especially D&C 65:2). The "stone cut out without hands" was to fill the whole earth. It was, in their minds, the kingdom of God, and it was a direct outgrowth of their millennial expectations. It was not to be established by bloodshed or lawbreaking (see D&C 58: 19-22; 98:4--7; 105:5). The righteous were to be gathered out of the world, and, as Rockwood notes, it was the growing concentration of Mormons that really bothered their Missouri neighbors. General Clark's counsel to those who remained at Far West was to not gather again.
Throughout Rockwood's letters, Mormon millennial expectations are obvious, but nowhere is there the cutthroat secrecy that Avard later persuaded Judge Austin King and other non-Mormons there was. The illegal activities Avard testified to are also missing in the other known contemporary Mormon references to Danites. John Smith's diary speaks of the Danite activity in Adam-ondi-Ahman in very matter-of-fact terms; and the reference in the "Scriptory Book" of Joseph Smith kept by George Robinson also confirms the essentials suggested by Rockwood:
Some time past the bretheren or Saints have come up day after day to consecrate, and to bring their offerings into the store house of the lord, to prove him now herewith and se[e] if he will not pour us out a blessings that there will not be room enough to contain it. They have come up hither Thus far, according to the order <Rev?> of the Danites, we have a company of Danites in these times, to put right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of verry great evils which hath hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings & persuasyons, This company or a part of them exibited on the fourth day of July [illegible word] They come up to consecrate by companies of tens, commanded by their captain over ten.24 Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.14
All of this is not to suggest that the Mormon militia obeyed all the laws or that a segment of them were not misled by Avard. But as Richard L. Anderson has recently shown, even the burning of Gallatin and the raid on Millport were defensive in nature and came only after years of patient suffering.25 Therefore, to argue that these were simply the more public side of the very dark Danite activities is not historically accurate. It might be suggested that either Sidney Rigdon's speeches or private counsel could have encouraged Avard's activities, but it is unfair to continue to use the term Danite to cover only an aberration.
Rockwood's record would lead us to conclude that the original intention of the Danites was to more fully organize modern Israel into an integrated community with each person contributing to the benefit of the whole. It is unfortunate that the term has only been used to identify the activities of the more radical fringe, probably those led in that direction by Avard.
Avard's testimony seems to have laid the foundation for all subsequent interpretations. Even General Clark admitted Avard was the key to his investigation of the Mormons.26 Surely the accounts of such individuals as Reed Peck, John Corrill, John Whitmer, William Swartzell, John Hunt, Ebenezer Robinson, and even John D. Lee were framed less by what was happening in the Mormon community than by the interpretative framework Avard managed to provide for anyone who needed a rationale for rejecting either the leadership of Joseph Smith or the centralizing tendencies of a covenant community intent on establishing Zion.27
Students of Mormon history must also consider the various contemporary histories by individuals who remained faithful to the Church. Their lack of references to Danites not only suggest that perhaps they equated the community with the title, but that it had become a negative label, hence they denied knowing the term in the context of Avard's use of it. In the 1880s John Taylor recalled, "I have heard a good deal about Danites, but I have never heard of them among the Latter-day Saints. If there was such an organization, I never was made acquainted with it."28 Other sources, usually autobiographical recollections such as those of Mosiah Hancock, William Huntington, or Luman Shurtliff, are best understood in the context of Rockwood's use of the term Danite.
If what we argue here has merit, and we think the Rockwood letters suggest this, then the Danites in early Mormon history must be reevaluated. When Parley P. Pratt wrote to his family just at the end of the court of inquiry, he could, in honesty, tell them that "they accuse us of things that never entered into our hearts." And Joseph Smith, writing from Liberty Jail in December 1838, added:
We have learned also since we have been in prison that many false and pernicious things which were calculated to lead the saints far astray and to do great injury have been taught by Dr. Avard as coming from the Presidency . . . which the presidency never knew of being taught in the church by any body untill after they were made prisoners . . . the presidency were ignorant as well as innocent of these things.29 Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.15
We might even consider the impact the Missouri organization had, not only on the host of dime-novels of nineteenth-century America,30 but on the organization Brigham Young gave to the "Camp of Israel" at Winter Quarters in 1847 (D&C 136:2-11) and his continued stress on consecration and community building in the Great Basin.

One explanation for the lack of contemporary historical source dealing with Mormonism in Missouri in the period 1838-39 is that in times of crisis the struggle for survival interrupts the record-keeping process. Rockwood was one of those who did write during those difficult months. The Rockwood journal published here, covering the period between 6 October 1838 and 30 January 1839, is a series of journal entries sent in installments as letters to family members and friends in the area of Holliston, Massachusetts, where Rockwood had lived before he left for Missouri.

The text below is taken from three manuscripts: two housed in the LDS Church Archives in Salt Lake City and the third at the Yale University Library at New Haven, Connecticut. The Yale manuscript written in Rockwood's own hand, appears to be a copy recorded by him in a handmade notebook retained for his personal record. The manuscripts at the LDS Church Archives are a parallel version of Rockwood's journal-letters copied by Phineas Richards in Holliston, Massachusetts, from material he had evidently received from Rockwood and desired to pass on to his wife at West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. While the Yale and LDS manuscripts essentially cover the same time period, each contains textual differences not found in the other. In some instances, the text Rockwood sent to Richards is more explicit than the one he copied in his own notebook. But in two instances long additions are made in the notebook that do not appear in the Richards manuscripts
That the journal material sent by Rockwood was received and read in Massachusetts is seen in correspondence from that locality involving the Richards family. This correspondence also reveals the context in which the Richards copy was made and substantiates his having copied it. In a letter postmarked St. Louis, Missouri, on 1 January 1839, Franklin D. Richards, the seventeen-year-old son of Phineas Richards, reviewed his own experience in western Missouri for his parents in West Stockbridge. Among other things, Franklin told his parents details of the massacre at Haun's Mill, where his brother George had been killed. But for further information about events at Far West he referred them to the Church in Holliston, where, he said, Albert Rockwood "says he kept a daily journal of the whole transaction and sent it to them."31
Other references to the Rockwood journals are found in letters of Phineas Richards at Holliston to his wife, Wealthy, in West Stockbridge. After writing about the Haun's Mill Massacre and quoting Rockwood in a letter of 7 January 1839, Phineas adds, "I can not now write many of the particulars respecting the war, Brother Rockwood has kept a journal of all this transaction, and as soon as possible I shall transcribe the same and send or fetch it to Richmond for your benefit."32 Writing to his wife again on 21 January, Phineas introduces an extensive summary of news about "the troubles at the west" by giving his source:
Brother Rockwood keeps a journal of the proceedings there and when he gets a sheet filled he sends it out of the reach of their enemies to mail them and so they come regular. [T]hrough their hardest conflict letters did not pass and repass in mail, evil minded men detained them. Now he says they are more regular in going and comeing.33
The differences between the Rockwood manuscript at Yale and the Phineas Richards manuscripts at the LDS Church Archives indicate that Rockwood tailored different versions of his journal to different audiences. His method is seen from instructions he gave his father: "I have kept a Journal of what has been in this vicinity & sent it to Sister Bose [Vose] of Boston up to this date and requested her to let you have the reading of it which you have probably had before this. I shall now continue to you the Journal & request you to let her have the reading of it."
Manuscript 1 , located in the LDS Church Archives, contains entries from 6 October to 19 November 1838. It is written by Phineas Richards on unlined white paper, folded and sewed to make a twenty-four page booklet 16.5 cm. x 20 cm. The first seven pages and four lines are written in a dark bluish-green ink; the remainder is in dark brown ink. Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.17
Manuscript 2 , also housed in the LDS Church Archives, contains entries from 19 November to 2 December 1838, followed by a copy of a letter and poem written by Parley P. Pratt from Richmond, Missouri, dated 9 December 1838. It is written by Phineas Richards on white lined paper, folded and sewed to make a sixteen-page booklet 16.5 cm. x 20 cm. The writing is in brown ink, but the Pratt letter and poem are in a lighter shade. The last 5 3/4 pages of the booklet are blank. Someone other than the writer has numbered the pages, continuing the second manuscript in sequence after the first.
Manuscript 3 is located in the Albert P. Rockwood Papers, Coe Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. This manuscript, in the handwriting of Albert P. Rockwood, is written on off-white, unlined paper in dark brown ink, folded and sewed to make thirty six pages measuring 24.5 cm. x 19.5 cm. The pages have mostly become unsewn. This manuscript covers the entire period of the other two, but with substantial differences in the text, including word changes, additions, and omissions. Where Manuscript 2 ends with the Parley P. Pratt letter and poem following the entry of 2 December 1838, Manuscript 3 continues with material dated in January 1839. The Yale manuscript is written on twenty-one unnumbered pages; the remainder of the notebook is blank.34


The featured text in this publication is Manuscripts 1 and 2, with substantive departures from Manuscript 3 given in the notes. However, two segments of Manuscript 3 become the featured text where that manuscript contains extensive new material. These lengthy insertions are enclosed in braces { }. The narrative is transcribed as written and punctuated in the manuscripts, so far as possible within the limits of modern printing. An exception: dates of the entries are made uniform and have been set apart from the rest of the text. Redundant repetitions of a few words are not preserved. Additions to the text for clarifications are enclosed in brackets [ ]. Insertions in the text appear in angle brackets < > at the point of insertion. Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.18
What follows is an important primary source for Mormon history in Missouri. It is one of the few contemporary accounts of the last months of the Church in that state in 1838-39. In general it reveals the thoughts and commitments of a recent convert as well as the observations of a recently arrived emigrant in northern Missouri. It is clear that along with recording what he personally witnessed, Rockwood reported rumor and gossip that filtered into Far West during the fast-paced weeks of October and November 1838. His love for his people, his loyalty to his religion, and his indignation over the contemporary events that caused his people to suffer remain alive in his letters.
Manuscript 1
6 October 1838, Saturday.
Sister Vose35
Agreeable to my engagement to you I now proceed to give you a short journal of what is passing in this vicinity.36 When I was at st. Louis (sept 6) on my way to this place I learned by the public papers, that a mob was gathering to drive the Mormons out of Davies County, and seeing the excitement that prevailed it seemed not wisdom to be publicly known as a Mormon as I had on all my journey. I passed up the river without being publicly known and land-ed at De Witt which is 60 miles from Far West. while there a man came along notifying the Missourians to go to Davis County to drive the Mormons out of Adam-ondi-aman[.] [I] saw some of them making preperations &c.
About this time the Sherriff of Caldwell County took 40 stands of armes that were on the road to arm the mob. The Missourians gathered from all the upper Counties to join the mob to the number of several hundreds, they continued to incamp in various places for several miles round Adam-ondi-aman for about 2 weeks, taking some prisoners, robing and insulting in various ways many of the Brethren, and driving many from their homes that were scattered about the county, but thos[e] at the City of Adam-on-diaman were not molested only threatened[.] they were constantly under arms and on the watch[.] the Brethren went from this plase by hundreds to their relief. Far West was in a state of constant alarm for several days[.] the common was almost constantly covered with armed men, who were determined to maintain t[he]ir rights even at the expence of life. [p. 1]
The armies of Isreal37 are already acknowledged to be terible by the Missourians38 Three or four hundred of the Missourians militia were called out to disperse the Mob which was done by the help of the brethren without coming to an engagement the Mob have now retired from Davis County with shame and disgrace. Great verry great fear rests on the Missourians in Davis county[.] they are now selling their property verry low to the Brethren. in many cases they sell their real Estate with their houses and crops on the ground for less than the crop is worth[.] Davis County is now considered in the possession of the Brethren. The real estate of the Brethren has risen while that of the Missourians has fallen 3/4 in three months, thus the Lord is preparing the way for his Children. Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.19
One of the causes of the above was they Missourians refusing some of the Brethren the right of suffriage at an Election.39 The Missourians comenced beating the Brethren when they manfully defended themselves and sent an express to far west and in 12 hours the armies of Isreal were at the place of contention demanding peace which was restored for a few days only when the Mob began to gather.
Brother Joseph Smith Jr & Lyman White40 <were> at the head of the armey of Isreal that went up to the relief of the Brethren in Davies County. This armey that went up were without author<ity> [p. 2] by the laws of the land, and are therefore considered as breakers of the peace, Brother Joseph & B. White have been bound over for the sum of $500 each for their appearance at the higher Court but it is thought nothing more will be done with them but that remains yet to be Proved.41
Far West, is 25 miles from Adam-on-diahman. During the campain there was a station every few miles of men and horses between the two Cities to convey the news. This City was guarded at evry entrance, It was no uncommon thing to hear the trump of the Lord sound to call the armies of Isreal to armes. You would have laughed42 to have seen the fear that rested on the Missourians, on one occasion the malitia that were raised by <order of> the authority of the state in Clay County had occasion to pass through Far West, on their journey to suppress the mob at Adam-ondi-ahman. They sent their wise men to ask if they could be permitted to ride through our streets, the answer to them was that any peaceable citizen could freely pass, On the strength of this answer they mustered <up> courage enough to pass through[.] their number was 93[.] most of them looked rather sower. I supose it was because the law of the state obliges them to turn out and to suppress a mob against the Mormons. During the campaign an express came from the commander of the Malitia that he feared that most of his men would desert him and join the mob, but the mob was dispersed with out an [p.3] engagement, so they had not the chance to desert that many wish[ed] for.
During the campaign at Adam-ondi-ahman the Missourians sent Petitions & Depositions to the Governour43 representing that the Mormons were the worst of people that among other things they were murdering Robing &c.
And the honourable governour believed that the Mormons were all in the fault and the Missourians right[.] nor did he satisfactorily learn to the contrary untill he had actually raised 3000 troops and march[ed] with them to within 60 miles <of> F. West when to his astonishment he learned that the Mormons were not the agressors, but the defenders on the Laws of Missouri, but the very people that had been sending there depositians & petitions were the Murderers and Robbers & the all manner of evil people people that they had been representing the Mormons to be. He then left us to continue about our own buisness and returned home, instead of searching out and bringing to justice the vilinous Mobacrats. The Govennour arrived a few days after the[y] was dispersed. I suppose that the time and other expences of this campaign has cost the City of Far West more than $3,000[.] the Brethren in Davies County have suffered much more loss than in Caldwell County.
Among other things the Brethren have been represented to be enemies to our Country44 and the Laws of Missouri but [p. 4] the test of this is come bringing shame on our accusers. For about this time the Governour issued his Proclimation for a large amount of Malitia to be raised and held in readiness to march against the Indians at a moments warning. Caldwell County was called upon to furnish 63 men. the Malitia were all warned to meet at Far West to beet for volunteers and a deficiency was to be filled by draft, they acordingly assembled and one beet was made when, ab[o]ut twice the required sum was immediately raised by volunteers. Proving to the state that we are ready to suppress foreign invasion as well as internal Mobs. It was with difficulty some of the Mob Counties could raise men to an[s]wer the Pr[o]climation.
Permanent arrangements are now making for constant imployment for both Male & Female by the operation of Church firms which are about being extensively established[.] the members leas[e] all their real Estate (save their City lots) to the firm to which they belong for a term of years, from 10 to 99 without any consideration or interest.45 Personal Estate is put in on nearly the same condition[.] Evry member that join[s] is to put in all he has over & above his needs and wants for his present stewerdship, in all cases each person is morally bound to pay his honest debts before leaving. The calculation is for the Brethren to dwell in the City & cultivate the [p.5] land in the vicinity in fields many miles in extent or from city to City. The Brethren own most of Caldwell County. most of it is or probably will be leased to the firms.
City Lots are owned by the Bishop of the Church46 untill sold for private stewardship. All kinds of necessary articles will soon be manufactured by these firms. that we be under no necesity of purchasing of our Enemies. The firms furnish Constant imploy for all who join them and pay $1.00 per day for a mans work.
Any surpluss that may remain after paying the demands of the firm is to be divided according to the needs and wants (Not according to the property invested) to each family, Annually or oftener if needed. The firms have put in verry large lots of wheet this fall but the season for sowing is nearly over, and the Brethren, will soon go to building up the City[.] many houses will be built this fall. The operations of these firms enables a man to get a comfortable house in a verry few days47 when he gets about it. 1st by his working for the firm 70 or 80 days then the firm turn out stone cutters, Teams, Carpenters Maysons &c. to complete the House and nearly evry thing (save the land,) is paid for by the a mans own labor day for day.
Arrangements will soon be made that a person can get [p.6] every necessary to Eat, Drink, Live in or & to wear, at the store house of the firms, and the best part of it all is that they want no better pay than labor. Arrangements are making that no person shall have the excuse for not laboring, nothing to do, nor shall the idler eat the bread of industry. It is a time of union & peace in the Church. But Rob, Mob, & Plunder [are] in the vicinity.

Crops are verry good, it is said there is corn enough in Caldwell Co. to last the inhabitance and the Emigration 2 years but preperations are making for 10 fold larger crops next year. This is truly a delightsome County[.] the air & warter is verry good.48

I will now give you a plan of the City. The publick square in the center contains 10 acres, the 4 main streets are each 8 rods wide, the others are 6 rod wide. The squares contain 4 acres each, and are calculated for 4 Buildings,49 (streets [are] mark[ed] 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th North st also East, south, and West)

The City is situated on a high roling Praary the timber is on Shoal & Goose crick which are from 2 to 4 miles and nearly surrounds the City. This plan is the first square mile of the City[.] it is continued out on the sam plan. The House of the Lord is to stand in the center of the Public square[.] the corner stone was laid [p.7] on the 4th of July last. Most of the lots in the first square mile are sold. City lots can be bought 2d handed but it is thought not advisable to purchase only of the Bishop. Plenty of lots [are] yet for sale in [the] 2d mile which brings the nighest lots 1/2 mile to the square. Those that wish to purchase lots in F[ar]. W[est]. would do well to purchase soon for if the war which is now blackning on all sides should abate the lots would sell verry fast.50 Lotts cost 30 to 60 Dol[lars] (work on the Lords House pay[s] for lots.) this is the pay the Bishop desires of those that can-not pay the money.51

14 October 1838, Sunday.
soon after the Mob was dispersed in Davis county they began to assemble at De Witt in Carrilton Co. an express came from that Place here a week last Thursday52 night r[e]questing assistance & Council[.] Friday morn Capt. Brunson53 started with 42 men all mounted and well armed, he was hailed by the Mob that were encamped near De Witt but they passed on and arived in safety at De Witt[.] On Friday afternoon another company started under Brother Joseph.
The attack54 was made on De Witt by taking Elder Humphreys55 family and burning his house[.] he lived about 1 1/2 mile[s] from the landing which is headquarters, several scattering shots were made at the Brethren during 3 or 4 of the first days, no damage save making holes in their Clothing. [p.8] One heavy charge was receivd from the Mob when the brethren returned the fire and killed 4 Missorians, The Campaign lasted about a week when a treaty <of peace> was made with the Mob and the Brethren have left the place. De Witt was not an appointed stake of Zion, but was designed as a Port of Landing on [the] Missouri river[.] it contained about 10 or 12 families of the Brethren when I Passed through on my way to this place.
The engagement at Davis has probably cost them more in time and damage than $2000.56 It is geting verry unsafe for the Mormon[s] to traven [travel] in small companies in Carrilton Ray & Seline Countise[.] A camp that are on the way to this place have been stoped near Grand River by a Mob nearly a week. The Missourian women partake of the same spirit of the Mobacrats, their husbands[.] they have been seen & heard by the sisters of the Church to threaten their lives by brandishing their knives and hatchets &c.
Emigration to the stakes of Zion is verry great[.] almost every day witnesseth from 1 to 30 teams with furniture & families[.] Teniment room verry scirce in this place, many families have to live in their tents & waggon The houses are mostly made of logs and generally contain as many famalies and rooms and in many cases more[.] The houses are mere shanties[.] they cost from 30 to 80 days work [of] 1 man besides from ten to fifty Dollars in Cash[.]57 not more than 20 or 30 houses have been built since the first of Sept. the Brethren have been more than 1/2 of the time in dispersing Mobs which are almost continually about us, They have [p.9] not yet dared to come on us at Far West but actak [attack] the weaker parts
During the campaign at De Witt the Brethren called upon the Governour for protection but instead of turning out with his 3,000 Troops as he did when he suposed the Mormons were in fault only a few days before, He says to them settle your own difficulties
The Governour was one of the leading characters in driving the Brethren from Jackson Co in 1838 [1833]58
Some of the officers of malitia did harm to themselves in trying to get the malitia to disperse the Mob but they found <them> Mob at heart and <they> were ordered home.59
15 October 1838, Monday.
The Brethren have all returned from De Witt[.] the Mob is now assembling again in Davies Co[.] they have sworn in their wrath that evry Mormon shall leave the County. Adam-ondi-ahman & Seth are 1 stake of Zion and will not be so easily surrendered. Seth is 12 miles from this place.60 A meeting was called this day to make arrangements for the defence of the Brethren in Davies Co. Oaur lives Honours & Fortunes are pledged to defend the constitution of the U.S.A. and our individual rights and our Holy Religion. the strong bands of union appear to be wreathed around the heart of evry man & woman, come life or come death come what will[.] here we stand or here we die is the will of the Lord. [P.10] Here the Hoary headed sire and the stripling youth gird on their armor and for the field prepare. Death appears to have lost its terrour among the armies of Isreal.
19 October 1838, Friday.
About 300 of the Brethren are gone to Davies Co. to the relief of the Brethren[.] No Battle as yet, the Brethren are gathering into the Cities in haste. Brother Joseph says things here are all right
Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.22
A meeting was called this day[.] the Brethren here consecrated Beef, Corn, Wood, & finally they do freely impart to those that have need. Finally here is a time and place that tries men['s] souls. the wicked have no place in Zion. Much property has been consecrated in the last 2 months.61 The Mob have cannon in Davies Co. which the Brethren have are determined to take. They have taken ab[o]ut 40 stands of armes.
N .B. I was bitten by a Dog 2 weeks ago Last Thursday and have not walked much since.
21 October 1838, Sunday.
Proclimation was made this day that Orson Hyde offrd had apostatized[.] he left the place last night and left a letter for one of the Brethren which let out the secret.62
22 October 1838, Monday.63
Beloved parent64 Far West is the head quarters of the Mormon war. the armies of Isreal that were established by revelation65 from God are seen from my door evry day with their Captains of 10.s 50.s & 100. A portion of each Day is set apart for drill. after which [p. 11] they go to their several stations (VIZ.) 2 Companies of 10.s are to provide the famalies with meal[,] 2 provide wood[,] 2 or 3 Build cabbins[,] 1 Company of 10.s collect & prepare armes, 1 company provide me[a]t, 1 Company are spies, one Company are for express, 1 for guard[,] 2 Companies are to gather in the famalies that are scattered over the counties in the vicinity[,] 1 company is to see to & provide for the sick, and the famalies of those that are off on duty[,] Others are employed in gathering provisions into the city &c &c.

Those companies are called Danites66 because the Prophet Daniel has said they shall take the kingdom and possess it for-ever67

23 October 1838, Tuesday.
Last night about 7 o'clock the cavelry that went from this place to Adam-ondi-ahman came in under the tune of Yanke Doudle, their number was about 130[.] these are the horsmen of Isreall, President Rigdon68 gave them a short address suited to the occation when all the people said Amen.
The Mob have been dispersed by the Brethren nor have they had any assistance from the Malitia neither do we desire any (at least not without it is better than what we have had)
The Missourians have nearly al[l] left Davies Co[.] fear rest[s] down upon them and they flee when no man pursueth. [p.12]
News came in this morning that the Bretheren had taken the cannon, they found it buried in the ground[.]69 the Brethren are fast returning from the Northern Campaign with hearts overflowing with joy[.] not a drop of blood has been spilt nor a gun fired as I have heard of, the Mob dispersed by 100ds on the approach of the Danites.70
The word of the Lord was [received] several months since for the saints to gather into the cities but they have been slow to obey untill the judgments were upon them71 and now they are gathering by flight and haste, leaving all and are glad to get off at that[.] the City of Far West is literally crowded and the Brethren are gathering from all quarters. This day while Jessee72 & Elisabeth73 were in school the trustees came to them and requested them to give up the house for families[.] it was no sooner done, than 6 famalies drove up with their goods and took possession. Here is no place for Idlers[.] evry man is at work. women take turns in cooking for the soldiers. when a soldiers duty is done for the day on parade he retires to the corn-field74 or wherever his duty may be. The main cloud75 is not quite so black now as it was sunday & Monday.
24 October 1838, Wednesday.
Last night the Mail came and brought papers but not a single letter to any person[.] it is supposed they were stoped by some evil minded person or persons. it is nothing unexpected to us that it is stoped, hereafter letters from you to us may be verry irregular. [p.13] But from us to you they may be more regular as we can send them out of the City before we mail them. I wish you all to be verry particular in acknowledging letters that are sent that we may know what you have receivd.
Provisions are low, here Corn is 20 Cts per bushel, Beans 1.00 Wheat 87 1/2 Cts [blank] .31 Apples .75 Butter 12 1/2 per lb Honey .7 Beef 2 to 4 Cts Wood $2.00 per cord Pork 3 to 4 Cts per lb. soap is the hardest necessary to be got, Bar soap is worth 18 3.4 per lb. soft soap is from 7 to 10 Cts per lb which is about $1.00 per gallon, salt is 12 1/2 Cts per qt. saluratus 25 per lb Milk nothing but is geting rather skirse.76 Pumpkins are verry plenty by going a few miles, good squashes are plenty of the 1st quality. verry little of domestic fruit is raised within 20 miles.
Medical herbs are reather scirce bring on Lobelia, Babary Rasbury, slipery Elm, Composition, bitters, & Hot drops, Peneroyal77 is plenty, Bring a good stock of Rasbury.
Clothing is twice as high hear as at the East,78 shoes also. 3 Months since 1 per cent would insure goods from St. Louis to this place but now thought is thought worth 25 per cent. Indeed perilous times have verily come, and it is at the Risk of our lives that we go to the landing for our goods.
The word of the Lord is now for the saints to gather to Zion in haste,79 it has been not to flee in haste or by flight but to have all things prepared before them. And now we <all> say to you and all of the Chirch to make speed and haste to Zion (se[e] doctrin & Covenant Page 128 Section 15)80 [p. 14]
25 October 1838, Thursday.
Last night about 12 O.Clock the drumms beat to armes. it was caused by the arival of the news, that the Mob had taken 2 of our spies[.]81 70 horsmen started for the encampment of the Mob, about 8 miles, arived at 3 OClock within 2 miles. left their horses, went on foot. they were fired upon by the Mob[.]82 one man was wounded the first fire, about 70 of the Mob fired the second time from behind the river bank, 4 of the brethren [were] wounded at this shot, (among was David Patting83 1 of 12) a rush was now made by the Brethren on the Mob[.] a short but terible conflict ensued, in 2 minutes the Mob were making their way up the oposit bank, several of the Mob were left dead between the banks, [we] took 1 prisnor84 the rest escaped to the woods leaving about 70 horses with sadels & bridles, some Armes Blankets Tents Waggons &c. which were taken as the spoil of our enemyes. Several of the Brethren of the were slightly wounded and 5 dangerously, 3 of which if saved, must be by a miracle.85
Last night about 12 O.Clock the drumms beat to armes. it was caused by the arival of the news, that the Mob had taken 2 of our spies[.]81 70 horsmen started for the encampment of the Mob, about 8 miles, arived at 3 OClock within 2 miles. left their horses, went on foot. they were fired upon by the Mob[.]82 one man was wounded the first fire, about 70 of the Mob fired the second time from behind the river bank, 4 of the brethren [were] wounded at this shot, (among was David Patting83 1 of 12) a rush was now made by the Brethren on the Mob[.] a short but terible conflict ensued, in 2 minutes the Mob were making their way up the oposit bank, several of the Mob were left dead between the banks, [we] took 1 prisnor84 the rest escaped to the woods leaving about 70 horses with sadels & bridles, some Armes Blankets Tents Waggons &c. which were taken as the spoil of our enemyes. Several of the Brethren of the were slightly wounded and 5 dangerously, 3 of which if saved, must be by a miracle.85
Last night the Mob burnt a number of houses in a bout 4 miles of here.86 The spies were found in the camp of [the] Mob as prisners and set at liberty, one slightly wounded in [the] shoulder.87 the other was Elder Greens son.88
27 October 1838, Saturday.
This is a solemn day to us 2 of the wounded Brethren Buried David Patten & a young man of 18[.]89 Brother Gideon Carter90 has been missing since the battle. Untill last Night when he was found near the battle ground shot through the head. The Mob have sloped a No. of famalies 27 miles from here among them is Brother Joseph Youngs91 and many others. in fact it is a common thing, by Mob, [p.15]
28 October 1838, Sunday.
I will now give a discription of the battle on the 25[.] The number of the Brethren engaged in the Battle [was] 55[.]92 one division of 15 [was] not in the engagement. The Mob No. [was] about 80. a Methodist Minister93 and about 10 men fled,94 which left about 70 in the engagement[.] The Mob had advantage by the lay of [the] land and rivers bank. The Brethren were wounded as follows, (VIZ.) 3 in the Bowels, 1 in the neck, 1 in the shoulder, 1 Through the hips, 1 through both thighs, 1 in the arm, all by musket shot.
Befor the Brethren jumped down the bank, 1 Br. had his arm broke by a <cut of> sword down the bank. Brother Gideon Carter was shot in the head and died on the spot.95 the best information obtain'd is <between> 20 and 30 of the Mob died on the ground.96
A more severe battle perhaps never was fought when we consider the smallness of the number, and the shortness of the time which was about 1 1/2 minutes
Now Father, come to Zion and fight for the religion of Jesus[.] many a hoary head is97 engaged here, the Prophet goes out to the battle as in days of old. he has the sword that Nephi took from Laban.98 is not this marvellous? well when you come to Zion you will see <& learn> many marvellous things, which will strengthen your faith, and which is for the edification of all the saints. The Prophet has unsheathed his sword and in the name of Jesus declares that it shall not be sheathed again untill he can go unto any County or state in safety and in peace.
Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.25
29 October 1838, Monday.

The war cloud is blackning around us. [p.16]

30 October 1838, Tuesday.

This P.M. 3. O'Clock an express came in stating that an army99 more than a mile in length was approaching. which soon made its appearance. They marched over goos river & formed a line of battle within 1 mile of us. They armies of Isreal were soon in battle array to receive them. Seeing we wer ready to give them battle they withdrew & incamped in the woods near by for the night, a flag of truce came in saying they pitied our deplorable condition and requested 2 famalies to be delivered to them &c.--That was all the favor they asked of us, immediate distruction is threatened us. the famalies that were asked for chose rather to share the fate of the Saints in the City. About 4 fires can be seen in our enemies Camp. the family100 went up to see them this evening

31 October 1838, Wednesday.

A strong gard was posted around the City last night & a fortification built on the south side, the men were nearly all e[m]ployed in guarding & fortyfying the City[.] little or no sleep in City last night, Women were e[m]ployed in looking & picking the most valuable articles supposing a terible battle would take place in the morning and perhaps evry house fired. About 8 O Clock our enemy salied forth in line of Battle, but seeing our fortifications and probably knowing that we had been reinforced by about 100 men during the night again retreated (we have at this time about 500 men.) (And our enemies about 1700) during the day our enemies receivd a reinforcement of about 1500 men. Our spies come in evry few hours and bring news of the depridations of the Mob in evry [p.17] quarter for many miles round. About 4, O'Clock this P.M. our enemies again salied forth forth for battle they came within gun shot, then withdrew, then sallied forth again, the work of death appeared to be before us, An armey of 2200 horse & more than a 1000 foot was now brought before our City which had less than 600 men to defend it, we knew their determination was to exterminate us, & all made up our minds to defend our City untill the last man should fall to the ground, Our determination was known to our Enemies, as there were some that turned traitors.101 Our Enemies <feard> the distruction that was nigh at hand & sent a flag of truce to this effect. That they would delay102 the City for the Night. if we would surrender Joseph Smith Jr., Sidney Rigdon, P.P. Pratt,103 & George W. Robinson104 as hostages untill to morrow morning at 8 OClock. when they are all to be returned.105 You may now imagine to yourself the solemnity that now rests upon us, we have the promise that but little blood will be shed at this time, but God only knows how we are to be delivered, this promise was made last Tuesday The Governour has long since refused us any aid, but he has now come out openly against us, and given leave for all to go against the Mormons that wish, the Mob take great liberty from this,106

1 November 1838, Thursday.

Last night a treaty in part was made, we have all given up our armes & surren[d]ered ourselves as pris[on]ors, our enemies now guard our City that no man pass in or out. 400 <men> remained for this purpose [p.18]

2 November 1838, Friday.

several of the leading members of this Church have been taken to Jackson Co gaol [jail].107 News came in that a Mob had fallen on the Brethren at Hauns Mill about 18 miles from <here> they killed 15 on the ground 3 more have died of their wounds & several more are severely wounded, there was about 30 of the Brethren at this place[.] those of the Brethren that were not killed or wounded have made their escape as they could being hunted by the Missourians like wild beasts[.] Among the killed was Brother Phinehas Richards son108 that was about 15 years of age, Br. Joseph Young was at the place with his family, he made his escape amidst a shower of Bullets and arived in this City the day the Massacree took place (Tuesday P.M.)109 none of the Mob were kill[ed] as we can learn. the Mob consisted of about 300[.] the Br were taken on surprise

3 November 1838, Saturday.

It is truly a solem time in Caldwell & Davis Countys, more than 50 of the Brethren have been prisners in our enemies camp[.] where they are now we know not, save a few of them, one man was bruised and brought into the City and has since died of the wound. 2 have been killed & the last we knew of them they were un buried nor would the Mob suffer them to be buried, a few have been set at liberty, but the most of them are yet among the missing. the Lord only [p.19]

4 November 1838, Sunday.

Gen Clark110 has this day arrived with 1600 men as malitia 600 more are within eight miles. More than 6000 men have been in Far West in one week. [On] Orders from the govennour to exterminate the Mormons, the Brethren are hunted as wild game and shot down, severeal have been shot in site of the City, womin are ravished and their houses rifled, one woman has been killed within less than 2 miles of this City, we are here as captives strictly guarded by the Malitia[.] no person is allowed to go out of the City.

5 November 1838, Monday.

The captives sons of Zion were paraded this day and the names of 51 that were present were called and they ordered to the front as prisners to receive their trial for some thing they know not what, they are kept under close guard this night, not permited to go to their houses without a gard of 3 soldiers. The Governor and all our enemies are determined that we shall not gather togather, but shall be scattered or exterminated (at least from the state.,)

6 November 1838, Tuesday.

The Brethren that were ordered out yesterday, take up their march for Richmond, verry few know what they are accused of. we are completely in the hands of our enemies. they are our Judges, Jurors, & Executioners. God only can deliver and we that are firm have only to wait and see the salvation of God. These troubles make a sifting in the Church[.] many have denied the faith, but they are those that were week before [p. 20] in most cases[.] some however have denied111 that have long been in good standing. Among those is Thomas B. Marsh112 he is one of the 12 and Jared Carter113 is on the main.

The Brethren at Adam-ondi-ahman are in like condition with us[.] the Malitia guard them to keep off the Mob. They have agreed to guard them 10 day[s] in which time they all cal[c]ulate to leave the Co. they are scattering verry fast. mostly to Caldwell Co. Davis Co. contains about 300 famalies of the Brethren.

10 November 1838, Saturday.

The armey that approached our City on the 30 were all Mob under colour of Malitia voluntarily collected from the upper Counties, and placed themselves under Malitia officers. this army murdered, plundered, & distroyed.

A few of this army was rais[ed] by draft and officered like respectable men and it was probab[l]y through their means inf[l]uance that evry body & evry thing pertaining to the Mormons were not distroyed[.] The other Malitia that have visited us have a more respectable appearence. General Clark came last Sunday with about 3000 men but has now retired.

10,500 men have been called into the field by the governour, with orders to exterminate the Mormons. but the Officers [k]new the order to exterminate was unlawful therefore they have taken the responsibility to make treaties.

The Governour has also ordered 19,500 men to stand ready at a moment114 against a little hand ful of Mormons. [p.21]

Br. Joseph and the rest of the prisners that were taken to Jackson Co were treated with great politeness & Hospitality[.]115 instead of being killed & buried on the Temple Lot (as their enemies said they should) they Preached on the Temple lot which is the fulfilment of a prophesy spoken several months since.

11 November 1838, Sunday.

The Brethren have returned from Jackson Co. by order of Gen. Clark as it was not lawful to take them to that Co. for trial. they are now at richmond 40 miles from Far West. about 60 of the Brethren are at Richmond waiting their trial, we are not able to learn what they are accused of, some of them are in Irons.116

Some thing like 30 of the Brethren have been killed and about 100 are missing but we are in hopes that they are not killed[.] we had a heavey fall of snow on the 17 & 18 of Octr also on the 7 & 8 of Novr. also several small fluries of since. It has been verry cold for a month past the ground is and has been frosen, several inches for a number of weeks. It has been colder for a month past than the winter months will average at the East. My family are well. I have not done a days work for 44 days[.] we have enough for comfort. we must learn to bear affliction for it is of the Lord. as a people of our afflictions are great[.] those that remain firm have no desire to raturn to Babylon.117

19 November 1838, Monday.

Broth[er] Joseph Smith is indited for high treason and 7 others with him. [p. 221 among the number is P.P. Pratt[.] they are confined in chains[.] the court has been in session one week and as yet have found nothing to condem the Prophet. Christ told his disciples they should be brought before rulers for his name sake, and if the Prophet should be condemned to die it would be no more than was done to Christ & his Apostles.


19 November 1838, Monday.

Brother Nurse,118 & Church in Holliston,

I last Saturday closed a sheet containing a Journal of what is passing in this vicinity & directeted it to Father Haven119 if there has ben no interuption in the Mail that has reached you before this will, this is a continuation of the journal & I wish you to shew or read it to the Brethren

I direct my journal to different individuals hoping that each will make it their buisness to let others of the Brethren know what is going on

Yesterday was a pleasant day yet it did not thaw enough to cause the icicles to drop from the south caves of [our] house. Our crops are mostly in the field, Potatoes not dug are frose solid, verry little work has been done here for 8 weeks we have all been mostly employed in keeping the Mobs from burning our houses.

As our religion is different from all others, we recieve different treatment from the world and this very thing confirms us in the faith once delivered to the saints and now delivered to us. Notwithstanding our great trials & tribulations, God is working all things to his honour & glory. Therefore be not shaken at what I wrote in my last, but do even as we. Lift up your heads & rejoice knowing these things will precede the coming of our Saviour, [p.24] [Brethren] pray for us for we have to wrestle not only against [page torn]ad but against principalities, & powers, against the [rulers o]f the darkness of this world, against gross wickedness in high places.120

We are captives we have sold ourselves for nought yet we pray to be redeemed without money. (Isaiah 52-3) we hasten that we <may> be loosed and that we should not die in the pit, and that our bread should not fail (Isaiah 51-14)121 The Br[rethren] have nearly all left Davies Co. Our Enemies have ordered us to leave Caldwell Co. immediately but we are slow to obey and look unto God for deliverance.

We came by order of the Lord & shall go from here at his command[.] it is our gathering that excites the indignation of our enemies & they are determined to prevent it but it is of the Lord and who can hinder? Yet we may be scattered and driven, but God is able to redeem us even from Babylon (Micah 4-10)

We are captives in a defenceless condition, suffering the insult, of our Enemies daily, by their comeing among us & taking what or who they please & that too without any precept, or authority[.] our only defence is the helmet of salvation & the sword of the spirit, for whi[c]h we are imbasinders [ambassadors] in bonds

Brethren we are not in darkness that these tribulations should overtake us as a thief in the night, but we are the Children of light & of the day, Therefore let us not sleep as do others but let us wa<c>th [watch] and pray. [p.25]122

25 November 1838, Sunday

We are here nearly secluded from what is passing in the world around us[.] our mail comes to us now and we should be verry glad to have you send some of your eastern papers after you have read them. I have seen a Boston paper in which was a slip like this, (the citizens [of] Davis Co called on the citizen[s] of Ray, for arms to defend themselves against the Mormons. it was answered by their turning out 40 guns[.] while these were on the way the Mormons took them and brought them to Far West.)123 But the fact was the Mob in Ray Co. went to the U.S. armory and took the 40 guns which they easily had access to as they were left so they could be stolen, probably by design. and while in the act of conveying them to the Mob in Davis Co. the Sherriff of Caldwell Co. took them and brought them to Far West, & after a court of enquiry returned them to the armoury from whence they were taken.124

I have seen & heard of other slips but I have seldom seen or heard of one but what was so colloured so as to give a wrong impression. Our houses are rifled & our sheep & hogs, & horses and [are] drove of[f] before our eyes by the Missourians who come in in small companies well armed. here is no law for poor Mormons.

At Hauns Mill the battle that I spoke of in my last, is a massacre instead of a battle as the Bretheren were in [p. 26] mostly in an unarmed condition, pages of history do not record such scenes of cruelty among civilized people save among Pirats, their cruelty has been renewed by driving the defenceless women & Children from their homes, on the vast wild prairie where they wandered through the snow for 2 days many of the Children were bear foot nor had they any food during this time. More than 100 famalies have been stoped near the Missourie River by the Mob. they are determined to stop the gathering. My pen fails to describe the percicutions and afflictions that the unbelieving Missourians are permitted to inflict upon us.--

The half can not be told[.] the blood of innocence cries from the ground. Perhaps I have written more than some of you can bear. So let me turn from the scene and ask the little Church125 in whose tribulations I have shared while with you and is still twined around my heart, are you prepared for such scenes as we have to pass[?]

Are you willing to leave your splended houses and take the Log Hut or the less convenient Tent[?] Are you willing to leave the present luxuries, & take our coarse but healthy fare of Corn bread & Beef? will you divide the last loaf with a Brother that is needy. Can you be willing to be driven from Co[unty]. to Co. with not where to lay your head? Are you ready literally to spend & be spent in the cause of Christ. Are you ready to lay down your [p. 27] lives as many <of the Brethren> have done within these last few weeks

Finally are you ready to be made perfect through suffering even as Christ[?] If you are ready for all this you are fit subjects of Zion. You need not think to come here & be wafted into the Celestial Kingdom on flowery beds of ease. But remember that after much tribulation cometh the blessing[.] You know but little about the refiners fire in Zion, therefore prepare for the worst & hope for the best. Our troubles are blowing the chaff of the Church to the four winds. And our prayer is she may be made clean evry whit. News came in this morning126 that 22 of the Prisoners at Richmond were set at liberty, no cause of action to require a defence by them. The Brethren that are & have been confined have been charged with evry crime from high treason down to petty Larceny.

(A few of the Brethren & Sisters met to day for prayers. A part of a Revelation was read which was given a year a go last July and sent to the Elders in England. concerning the judgments which were to be poured out upon the Nations like a whirlwind commencing at the house of the Lord, after that upon those who profess to know his name, but know it not127

The Pestilence was in our midst last summer, & now the sword, and if the men should be employed for months to come as they have been for 2 months past famine will stare us in the face.128

{Dear Sister, I must write a few lines to you in this for in imagination I am often with you in conversation & the rest of the little band of persecuted Saints in Holiston, we are seperated far apart but I feel it will be but for a short time before I shall greet my Friends in Zion, You will learn from this & other letters which we have sent to Mass. of the trials & afflictions which we have passed thro in this place they are grevious

Dear Sister to the Flesh but in our spirits we do rejoice, amidst tribulation, knowing assuredly that if we are faithful, it will be for our salvation.--

The scenes which we have passed thro of late is a bright evidence that the work in which we have enlisted is of the Lord, for these things must all be before the comeing of Christ, Pestilence, Sword, Blood, Famine, & Fire commenced at the Lords House among the Saints, & will shortly be upon those who profess to know & love him & love him & know him not.--

Yes like a whirlwind from Heaven, then gather to Zion, do not be slow to hear his voice.--The saints will soon have to come at the peril of their lives[.]

We all feel anxious for the Church at Holiston, that they should dispose of their property & assist each other to Zion without delay, as soon as the roads are passable in the Spring.--

Yesterday was appointed by Father Smith as a day of Fasting & Prayer.--I attended meeting it was a verry interesting & solemn day to us, we felt it was a day to humble ourselves in the dust before God, Our prophet & Presidency are taken from us. Many of our Brethren are taken from their Wives & children & are in bondage, while many wives & children mourn over the Departure of Husbands & Fathers that have sealed their testimony for Jesus with their blood.--In meeting 1 Lady sung in Tongues & another arose & interpreted.--

The Patriarch whished us to be humble and united at a throne of Grace[.] he also remarked that the sword was unsheathed & could not be sheathed again until sin was swept from the face of the Earth & Christ come to reign with his saints, Our Prophet & Brethren are now brought before the Govenor & Rulers of this state & no doubt they will soon be brought before Kings & Nobles for their Testimony of Jesus, many of the Brethren could not endure the trials which we have had to pass thro, they have turned aside & will probably walk no more with us in Zion

The stakes of Zion is the shore for the net which is cast forth into the world, & gather of every kind & these trials will purge the Church & cast much of the bad away but not all for Christ says that the Tares shall grow with the wheat until the harvest.--Be faithful to warn sinners, while you remain in New England for the time is short for them to hear the Gospel sound.--

The warning voice has gone forth and after the testimony of my servants saith the Lord Cometh the Testimony of thunder-ings, Lightnings, Earthquakes, Wars, Bloodshed & Famine, the testimony of Judgements have now commenced129 & like a whirlpool will sweep our inhabitants off the U. States.--

The Patriarch observed last fast day that the time would soon come when a man should be considered of more value than a talent of gold for God would assuredly make the earth empty & waste by Judgements & but very few would be left.--We often speak of the anxiety that we have that the Saints in Holiston should make all possiable exertion to come to Missouria & assist those who cannot assist themselves.--

Do not delay to make speed, we all sometimes want to pluck you out of Babylon.--Do not let the Scourges of Zion weaken your faith[.] these things will all work out for the purifying of the church from dross & the ultimate Glory of God, do not wait to think think to wait till Zion is built up before you come, but come & help build it, for verily thus saith the Lord it is my will it should be built up by the gathering of my saints--If we hope to reign with Christ on earth with Abraham, Isac, & Jacob, Jeremiah, Daniel & others, who have come up out of much tribulation we must also be willing to come up thro tribulation that our garments may be washed in the blood of the Lamb.}130 [Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.31]

A. P. Rockwood [p.28]

2 December 1838, Sunday.131

To the Church. I Albert P. again resume my pen to continue this journal. Last Tuesday132 6 of the Brethren were set at liberty & on Wednesday 6 more no cause of action being found. The Brethren that were chained found favor and had their irons taken off last Sunday & were permitted to board at the Tavern, instead of having the gaol fare.

The other Brethren are feebly guarded, & frequently they have no guard at all (these other Br. have not been in the gaol for want of room but have been kept in the Court House under a strong guard)133 We conclude they have not found them as guilty as they were in hopes for, And would be glad to have them run away to get clear of them, But the Brethren know their innocence and will not leave untill they are discharged.

All the Mormons in Caldwell & Davies Co. have been taken captive unless we would deny the faith. Those that deny the f[a]ith have gone clear.
More than 100 of [the] Br have been taken into close custerday[.] all but 24 have been discharged without making a defence. These 24 have been called upon to defend themselves against the charges aledged. But none of them saw fit to make any defence at all, they were therefore recommitted or bound over for their appearance at the higher Court. There they will defend themselves if necessary

The Br. supposed it would <be> of little use to make a defence at this Court & knew it would jeapardize the lives of the witnesses.134 [P. 29]

Most of the Brethren that were let to Bail have obtained it and returned to their families. Joseph Smith Jn Hiram Smith Sidney Rigdon P.P. Pratt Lyman Wight and a few others were not let to Bail and are now in gaol to wait their trial at the higher Court in March next.135

I observed in my last that something like an 100 of the Br. were among the missing, probably some of them are killed, but it is hoped that most of them are in the field lifting up their voises in the Congregations of the wicked,136 we know not where137 they are among the Gentiles or Lamanites, But verry few of them have been heard of.138

Parley P. Pratt's Letter 139

Richmond, Ray County Decr 9

Dear Sister

You will doubtless have read much of the troubles long ere this reaches you. Respecting the things where of you wrote unto me be assured that such things are not named among us here[.] Brother Joseph is in full fellowship & the Church has more confidence in him if possible than ever before--Our troubles are sufficient to unite us <firmer> in the bonds of union. The whole state of Missouri has risen up to destroy us from the face of the Earth or drive [p.30] us from the State by orders from the Gov. From 30 to an 100 saints have been slain & about a dozen of us are now in chains (VIZ) Joseph Smith Hyrum Smith Lyman White [Wight] S Rigdon myself and others We have all been sentenced to be shot without Judge or Jewry [jury] & the day set But God did not suffer it. We have been confined about 6 weeks, they design to hang or imprison us if they can. But what will be our fate God only Knows. The apostates have sworn to murder & Treason & almost evry thing against us which never entered our hearts to say or do but we are in the hands of God.


Much property has been plundered, provision distroyed Chastity of women violated houses burned, woman & Children fired <up>on & some slain. About 14 thousand men have been in motion against us.


The dissenters are the worst to plunder & rob Murder & swear falsely. I give a list of some noted apostates (VIZ.)

Oliver Cowdery,140

David Whitmer,141

John Corrill,142

George M. Hynkle,143

W. A. Cowdary144 & famaly Doct. Avard145 and a vast many others have gone to rise no more. Iniquity abound & the love of many wax cold--

But he that indureth to the end the same shall be saved, for my part, I feel more firm than ever in the faith of Jesus I fear not what man can do, I only fear him who is able to deal with soul & body. If I live I am [p.31] determined to live unto Christ, and to die is to leave a world of sorrow & go to rest in the paradice of God, with a shure and a certain hope of standing in the flesh upon the Earth with my redeemer in the latter day.

My dear sister if such news as this will streangthen you, you will be strong but all the prosperity which Earth can afford will never sanctify a Church of Saints , neither would any thing but suffering prepare them for fit companions for those who wandered in sheepskins & Goat Skins being destitute, afflicted, to[r]mented, or of those who had trials of cruel mocking, scourges, stripes & imprisonments, or of those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, or, who were slain for the witness & testimony of Jesus who loved not their lives unto death. If judgment has begun at the house of God, what will the world do: for peace in [is] now taken from the Earth. and the saints hardly escape.

How long before the Lord will avenge the Blood of his saints on them that dwell on the Earth I know not. But he said to the souls under the Alter that they should rest for a little season till their fellow servants who were to be slain as they were should be fulfild: If this is all that vengence is waiting for it need wait no longer for the [p.32] Blood of Latter Day Saints is now mingled with the Blood of Former Day Saints. in cries to heaven for vengence upon an Ungodly World--

As it respects the glories of the Kingdom of God in things whereof you write unto me it is not wisdom for me to write it [at] present, suffice to say that all things which are written by the Prophets must be fulfilled[.] they that have ears to hear let them hear

P. P. Pratt


As down a lone Dungeon with darkness orespread

In silence and sorrow I made my lone bead [bed]
Far far from the scenes of confusion retired
While hope from this bosom had almost expired.

From all that is lovely constrained for to part

From the friends of my bosom so dear to my heart
While Jesus146 exulting, and friends far away
In half broken slumbers all pensive I lay. [p.33]

A light as from Heaven on suden appeared.

And a voice as of Angels stole soft on my ear

A theme full of Glory, inspired their tongue

Of Zion's Redemption most sweetly they sung. [p.34]


{Quincy, Illinois 1839147

Dear Beloved Father

while Babylons bells are tolling & people flocking to hear what they think is the gospel I will inform you of our situation.--

We left Far West Jany 10th in company with another Family & arrived at the Missippa River after a Journey of 12 days the distance of 200 miles[.] we had snow & rain every day but 2[.] we had heavy loads, were obliged to walk from 2 to 8 miles a day thro mud & water, camped out on the wet ground 3 nights before we arrived at the River, A few days before we got to the river it grew cold[.] the river froze over & we were obliged to camp close to the river 3 days & nights before we could cross in the boat, 6 waggons were with us at the time.--

The Saints are leaving Far West daily[.] A Carrage left here this morning for the Prophets Family, most of the Church cross the River & come to this place, The People here recieve us Quite Friendly & think us an abused people.148 We have meetings among the Brethren but last night we heard that the Prophets advise for the Brethren to scatter, hold no meetings in this place & be wise servants that the wrath of the enemy be not kindled against us, we are a poor, afflicted & persecuted people, driven to & fro, & when you come, you will have to share with us in our afflictions, I advise you to fetch considerable tin ware, such as the tin plates & dishes[.] The Saints have yet no continual abiding place but like the saints of old must wander about seeking shelter where we can find it.

30 January 1839, Wednesday.

We are commanded to bridle our tongues & be wise in these last days especially in this reigon of excitement.--It is thought by some we shall not gather again in large bodies at present, still we do not know[.] our leader is gone, we have none to tell us what to do by direct revelation,

We want our Prophet & we feel we shall have him before long but our enemies triumph over us believing we have lost our Prophet unto death.--

Peraphs [Perhaps] it would be interesting to you & the Church at Holiston to read a copy of the speech of Genrl Clark to the Brethren in Far West after they were taken Prisoners.149 He called them upon the public square surrounded them by a company of his armed men & holding in his hands a paper which contained the names of those whom he intended to prison, he proudly delivered the following message--["]

Gentlemen you whose names are not attached to this list of names you now have the privilige of going to your fields to obtain Corn & wood for your Families, those that are taken, will be taken from hence to prison, be tried, & receive the due demerits of their crimes, but you are now at liberty, all such as charges will hereafter be prefered against--

It now devolves on you to fulfill the treaty that you have entered into the leading items of which I will now lay before you, first of these you have already complied with, which is this that you deliver up your leading men to be tried according to Law, the second is you deliver up your Arms, this has been complied with[.] third is you sign over your property to defray the cost of the war[.] this you have also done150--

Another thing remains to be complied with, that is you leave the state forthwith, and whatever your feelings concerning this are,--whatever your innocence it is nothing to me,-- Genrl Lucas who is in eaqual rank with myself has made this treaty with you, & I am determined to see it executed.

The order of the Govonor to me was, that you should be exterminated & not allowed to stay in the State, had not your Leaders been given up & the treaty complied with, before this you & Your Families would have been destroyed & your houses in ashes, There is a discriminating power resting in my hands which I shall try to exercise in season[.]

I do not say you shall go now but you need not think of staying another season or putting in another Crop, for the moment you do this the citizens will be upon you, I am determined to see the Govonors orders fulfilled, I shall come upon you immediatly, do not think I shall act as I have done any more, but if I have to come again because the treaty which you have made is not fulfilled you need not expect any mercy but extermination for I am determined the Govonors message shall be executed--

As for your leaders, do not for a moment think, do not imagine, let it not enter your minds, that you will ever see their faces again.--Their doom is fixed, their dye is cast, their fate is certain.--I am sorry Gentlemen so many apparently inteligent men [are] in a situation in which you are placed.--Oh! that I could invoke the spirit of the unknown God to enlighten your minds & deliver you from those bonds of superstition & liberate you from the chains of fanaticism with which you are bound, that you may no longer worship a man, you have always been the agressors, & brought upon yourselves these troubles by disaffection & not being subject to rule, I advise you to scatter and become as other Citizens lest by recurrences of difficulties you bring upon yourselves inevitable ruin"--}[Dean C. Jessee and David J. Whittaker; BYU Studies Vol. 28, No. 1, pg.34].

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Read how the Mormon Killers got paid by the US Government for caring for the orphan children after they had killed their parents.