Letters, Permits to Travel, and Other Documents

Clark V. Johnson, ed., Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833–1838 Missouri Conflict, (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1992), 729–750.

Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate Extra


Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio, JULY 25, 1836.

To John Thornton, Esq., Peter Rogers, Esq., Andrew Robertson, Esq., James T. V. Thompson, Esq., Col. William T. Wood, Doct Woodson J. Moss, James M. Hughs, Esq., David R. Atchison, Esq. and A. W. Doniphan, Esq.


We have just perused, with feelings of deep interest, an article in the “Far West,” printed at Liberty, Clay County, Mo. containing the proceedings of a public meeting of the citizens of said county, upon the subject of an excitement now prevailing among you occasioned, either from false reports against the church of Latter Day Saints, or from the fact, that said church is dangerous to the welfare of your country, and will, if suffered among you, cause the ties of peace and friendship, so desirable among all men, to be burst asunder, and bring war and desolation upon your now pleasant homes.

Under existing circumstances, while rumor is afloat with her accustomed cunning, and while public opinion is fast setting, like a flood-tide against the members of said church, we cannot but admire the candor with which your preamble and resolutions were clothed, as presented to the meeting of the citizens of Clay county, on the 29th of June last. Though, as you expressed in your report to said meeting-”We do not contend that we have the least right, under the constitution and laws of the country, to expel them by force,”-yet communities may be, at times, unexpectedly thrown into a situation, when wisdom, prudence, and that first item in nature’s law, SELF-DEFENCE, would dictate that the responsible and influential part should step forward and guide the public mind in a course to save difficulty, preserve rights, and spare the innocent blood from staining that soil so dearly purchased with the fortunes and lives of our fathers. And as you have come forward as “mediators,” to prevent the effusion of blood, and save disasters consequent upon civil war, we take this opportunity to present to you, though strangers, and through you, if you wish, to the people of Clay county, our heart-felt gratitude for every kindness rendered our friends in affliction, when driven from their peaceful homes, and to yourselves, al[————————] [in] the present excited state of your community. But, in doing this, justice to ourselves, as communicants of that church to which our friends belong, and duty towards them as acquaintances and former fellow citizens, require us to say something to exonerate them from the foul charges brought against them, to deprive them of their constitutional privileges, and drive them from the face of society:

They have been charged, in consequence of the whims and vain notions of some few uninformed, with claiming that upper country, and that ere long they were to possess it, at all hazards, and in defiance of all consequences.-This is unjust and far from a foundation, in truth. A thing not expected, not looked for, not desired by this society, as a people, and where the idea could have originated is unknown to us-We do not, neither did we ever insinuate a thing of this kind, or hear it from the leading men of the society, now in your country. There is nothing in all our religious faith to warrant it, but on the contrary, the most strict injunctions to live in obedience to the laws, and follow peace with all men. And we doubt not, but a recurrence to the Jackson county difficulties, with our friends, will fully satisfy you, that at least, heretofore, such has been the course followed by them. That instead of fighting for their own rights, they have sacrificed them for a season, to wait the redress guaranteed in the law, and so anxiously looked for at a time distant from this. We have been, & are still, clearly under the conviction, that had our friends been disposed, they might have maintained their possessions in Jackson county. They might have resorted to the same barbarous means with their neighbors, throwing down dwellings, threatening lives, driving innocent women and children from their homes, and thereby have annoyed their enemies equally, at least-But, this to their credit, and which must ever remain upon the pages of time, to their honor, they did not. They had possessions, they had homes, they had sacred rights, and more still, they had helpless harmless innocence, with an approving conscience that they had violated no law of their country or their God, to urge them forward-But, to show to all that they were willing to forego these for the peace of their country, they tamely submitted, and have since been wanderers among strangers, (though hospitable,) without homes. We think these sufficient reasons, to show to your patriotic minds, that our friends, instead of having a wish to expel a community by force of arms, would suffer their rights to be taken from them before shedding blood.

Another charge brought against our friends is that of being dangerous in societies “where slavery is tolerated and practiced.” Without occupying time here, we refer you to the April (1836) No. of the “Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate,” printed at this place, a copy of which we forward to each of you. From the length of time which has transpired since its publication, you can easily see, that it was put forth for no other reason than to correct the public mind generally, without a reference or expectation of an excitement of the nature of the one now in your country. Why we refer you to this publication, particularly, is because many of our friends who are now at the west, were in this place when this paper made its appearance, and from personal observation gave it their decided approbation, and expressed those sentiments to be their own, in the fullest particular.

Another charge of great magnitude is brought against our friends in the west-of “keeping up a constant communication with the Indian tribes on our frontier, with declaring, even from the pulpit, that the Indians are a part of God’s chosen people, and are destined, by heaven, to inherit this land, in common with themselves.” We know of nothing, under the present aspect of our Indian relations, calculated to rouse the fears of the people of the Upper Missouri, more than a combination or influence of this nature; and we cannot look upon it other than one of the most subtle purposes of those whose feelings are embittered against our friends, to turn the eye of suspicion upon them from every man who is acquainted with the barbarous cruelty of rude savages. Since a rumor was afloat that the Western Indians were showing signs of war, we have received frequent private letters from our friends, who have not only expressed fears for their own safety, in case the Indians should break out, but a decided determination to be among the first to repel any invasion, and defend the frontier from all hostilities. We mention the last fact, because it was wholly uncalled for on our part, and came previous to any excitement on the part of the people of Clay county, against our friends, and must definitively show, that this charge is also untrue.

Another charge against our friends, and one that is urged as a reason why they must immediately leave the county of Clay, is, that they are making or are like to, the same “their permanent home, the center and general rendezvous of their people.” We have never understood such to be the purpose, wish or design of this society; but on the contrary, have ever supposed, that those who resided in Clay county, only designed it as a temporary residence, until the law and authority of our country should put them in the quiet possession of their homes in Jackson county. And such as had not possessions there, could purchase to the entire satisfaction and interest of the people of Jackson county.

Having partially mentioned the leading objections urged against our friends, we would here add, that it has not been done with a view on our part, to dissuade you from acting in strict conformity with your preamble and resolutions, offered to the people of Clay county, on the 29th ult. but from a sense of duty to a people embarrassed, persecuted and afflicted. For you are aware, gentlemen, that in times of excitement, virtues are transformed into vices, acts, which in other cases, and under other circumstances, would be considered upright and honorable, interpreted contrary from their real intent, and made objectional and criminal; and from whom could we look for forbearance and compassion with confidence and assurance, more than from those whose bosoms are warmed with those pure principles of patriotism with which you have been guided in the present instance, to secure the peace of your county, and save a persecuted people from further violence, and destruction?

It is said that our friends are poor; that they have but little or nothing to bind their feelings or wishes to Clay county, and that in consequence, have a less claim upon that county. We do not deny the fact, that our friends are poor; but their persecutions have helped to render them so. While other men were peacefully following their avocations, and extending their interest, they have been deprived of the right of citizenship, prevented from enjoying their own, charged with violating the sacred principles of our constitution and laws; made to feel the keenest aspersions of the tongue of slander, waded through all but death, and, are now suffering under calumnies calculated to excite the indignation and hatred of every people among whom they may dwell, thereby exposing them to destruction and inevitable ruin!

If a people, a community, or a society, can accumulate wealth, increase in worldly fortune, improve in science and arts, rise to eminence in the eyes of the public, surmount these difficulties, so much as to bid defiance to poverty and wretchedness, it must be a new creation, a race of beings super-human. But in all their poverty and want, we have yet to learn, for the first time, that our friends are not industrious, and temperate, and wherein they have not always been the last to retaliate or resent an injury, and the first to overlook and forgive. We do not urge that there are not exceptions to be found: all communities, all societies and associations, are cumbered with disorderly and less virtuous members-members who violate in a greater or less degree the principles of the same. But this can be no just criterion by which to judge a whole society. And further still, where a people are laboring under constant fear of being dispossessed, very little inducement is held out to excite them to be industrious.

We think, gentlemen, that we have pursued this subject far enough, and we here express to you, as we have in a letter accompanying this, to our friends, our decided disapprobation to the idea of shedding blood, if any other course can be followed to avoid it; in which case, and which alone, we have urged upon our friends to desist, only in extreme cases of self-defence; and in this case not to give the offence or provoke their fellow men to acts of violence,-which we have no doubt they will observe, as they ever have. For you may rest assured, gentlemen, that we would be the last to advise our friends to shed the blood of men, or commit one act to endanger the public peace.

We have no doubt but our friends will leave your county, sooner or later,-they have not only signified the same to us, but we have advised them so to do, as fast as they can without incurring too much loss. It may be said that they have but little to lose if they lose the whole. But if they have but little, that little is their all, and the imperious demands of the helpless, urge them to make a prudent disposal of the same. And we are highly pleased with a proposition in your preamble, suffering them to remain peaceably till a disposition can be made of their land, &c. which it suffered, our fears are at once hushed, and we have every reason to believe, that during the remaining part of the residence of our friends in your county, the same feelings of friendship and kindness will continue to exist, that have heretofore, and that when they leave you, you will have no reflection of sorrow to cast, that they have been sojourners among you.

To what distance or place they will remove, we are unable to say: in this they must be dictated with judgment and prudence. They may explore the Territory of Wisconsin-they may remove there, or they may stop on the other side-of this we are unable to say; but be they where they will, we have this gratifying reflection, that they have never been the first, in an unjust manner, to violate the laws, injure their fellow men, or disturb the tranquility and peace under which any part of our country has heretofore reposed. And we cannot but believe, that ere long the public mind must undergo a change, when it will appear to the satisfaction of all that this people have been illy treated and abused without cause, and when, as justice would demand, those who have been the instigators of their sufferings will be regarded as their true characters demand.

Though our religious principles are before the world, ready for the investigation of all men, yet we are aware that the sole foundation of all the persecution against our friends, has arisen in consequence of the calumnies and misconstructions without foundation in truth, or righteousness, in common with all other religious societies, at their first commencement; and should Providence order that we rise not as others before us, to respectability and esteem, but be trodden down by the ruthless hand of extermination, posterity will do us the justice, when our persecutors are equally low in the dust, with ourselves, to hand down to succeeding generations, the virtuous acts and forbearance of a people, who sacrificed their reputation for their religion, and their earthly fortunes and happiness, to preserve peace, and save this land from being further drenched in blood.

We have no doubt but your very seasonable mediation, in the time of so great an excitement, will accomplish your most sanguine desire, in preventing further disorder; and we hope, gentlemen, that while you reflect upon the fact, that the citizens of Clay county are urgent for our friends to leave you, that you will also bear in mind, that by their complying with your request to leave, is surrendering some of the dearest rights and first, among those inherent principles, guaranteed in the constitution of our country; and that human nature can be driven to a certain extent, when it will yield no farther. Therefore, while our friends suffer so much, and forego so many sacred rights, we sincerely hope, and we have every reason to expect it, that a suitable forbearance may be shown by the people of Clay, which if done, the cloud that has been obscuring your horizon, will disperse, and you be left to enjoy peace, harmony and prosperity.

With sentiments of esteem and profound respect, we are, gentlemen, your obedient servants.






Letter to Sterling Price [1]


Far West 8th Septr. 1838

Col. Price

Dear Sir

As a duty which I owe to the Church of Latter Day Saints, commonly called Mormons, and also to the public generally; I take the liberty of addressing this communication to you, and through you to the publick, in order that the publick mind may be disabused in relation to the affray which took place on the 6th of August last in Davie’s County at the Election: together with the cause of the great excitement which has grown out of it.

I think Sir, that when the whole surface of this matter comes to be laid before you, You will agree with me, that it is one of those strange political, manouveres which occasionally occur (though I am happy to say but rarely) in times of high political feeling. As proof of the great excitement which prevailed in Davies County at and immediately preceding the day of Election, Judge Morin, our Senator elect, when conversing with myself on the affairs of the election declared that such was the excited state of publick feeling, that if he should lose his election; he did not know but that he would have to leave his present place of residence. I merely mention this to let you see how exceedingly high political feeling ran.

So great being the desires of the political parties to effect their object, as well as th[e] Candidates to obtain their election, You may well suppose that there would be great exertions made to enlist the Mormons, as they called them, in their favour: each Candidate in his turn using all the means in his pow[er] to obtain this object, Calculating with certainty that the ones who obtained their suffrage would be elected, as they comprised about one third of the Voters in the County. Proposals were made to Mr. Wight at one time or other by all the Candidates to obtain his influence, believing that such was his influence among the members of the Church to which he belongs that they woul[d] be easily persuaded by him to vote for the Candidates for whom he himself would vote. And among the rest, Col. Penningston made application for his share of Mr. Wights influence. The Col. was a Candidate for the house of Representatives and in order more fully to obtain his object he proposed to Mr. Wight if he would give him all the aid he could his influence; he in turn would give him all the aid he could to have him elected Assessor. Mr. Wight knew that Mr. Penningston previous to this time had been a great enemy to himself as well as to the Society to which he belongs, and took the liberty of enquiring concerning his former prejudices against the society, And as he had previously engaged in a mob to drive the Mormons out of the County; Mr. Wight desired to know what they might expect from him in time to come. Mr. P. said that he never designed to drive them out of the County that if he could not scare them so as to cause them to leave, he intended to let them alone. He further stated that he had been deceived by false reports and that he was now convinced that the Mormons were not such a peopl[e] as they had been represented to be, but were good citizens, with many other sayings which were favorable to the society.

But Sir, all this flattery and expression of good will could not prevail against Mr. Wights inflexable democracy. He was a Democrat and there was no compromise which could be made, which would cause hi[m] to sacrifice his political creed, nor could the promise of office have the least effect with him. If he could not get office without supporting men whose political creed sentiments he considered incorrect, he would not have it atall, and gave Mr. P. to understand positively that he need not expect to receive any assistance from him, but on the contrary, he would use his influence against him. Mr. P. was the whig Candidate.

Perhaps it would not be amiss to let you know something of Mr. Wights political feelings as a democrat. He is one of the Old School. Uncompromising in his political creed. As an instance of his inflexibility. Mr. Awberry of Davie’s County who was a candidate for sheriff had been Mr. Wights personal friend, as also a friend to the society to which he belongs, and had lifted his voice against a Mob which had been raised in that county against the Latter Day Saints, at the time they first began to settle in that county: But notwithstanding the personal friendship which existed between them, and the former kindness of Mr. Awberry, Mr. Wight would not vote for him because he was of a different political creed from himself. He was willing to perform any office of kindness to Mr. A. but he would not do it at the expence of his political faith, He was willing to do anything in accordance to it, but nothing against it. This determined and unchangeable course of Mr. W. brought the indignation of his political opponents on his head. Fearing that his influence would be fatal to their election, plans were accordingly laid to put a final end to his influence if possible and prohibit those of the society from voting at the election. Threats were issued to this effect in order, no doubt, to intimidate them, so that they would not go to the election Previous to this time, Mr. Wight and the persons now engaged in issuing these threats were on terms of friendship, and the friendship was only broken by Mr. Wights determination to maintain his own political creed at all hazards, and support those and those only, who were of the same political faith with himself.

Threats of personal violence were made concerning Mr. Wight. Mr. Bowman had sworn that he would cut his throat. These things were going on sometime before the election. I was at the house of Mr. Wight several times during this political campaign, though I did not suppose that it would terminate in any thing serious, But in this I have been disappointed.

Before the day of election came, feelings, if we may judge from sayings, ran high, and threatnings were made, but to what extent I am not able to say, but sufficiently to create considerable animoSity. The whole of this difficulty originated about the election; for before the electioneering campaign commenced, as far as I have know[led]ge there were no difficulties existing whatever, And the difficulties existing were purely political in their character. Religion had nothing to do with it on either side. It was fears entertained about the final issue of the election. Mr. Penningston and his friends became convinced that they had nothing to hope from the Mormons, as they called them, but all to fear and they supposed the dye was cast with Mr. P. if the Mormons voted. These are facts, Sir, I think that cannot be contradicted in truth. So Stood the affairs up until the day of election arrived.

I wish you, Dear Sir, particularly to mark, that during all this time there was nothing thought about raising the Indians, about enlisting the Negroes or about abolitionism. These were all creatures of a more modern date

Letter from Sidney Rigdon to Felix Grundy [2]


Quincy Ill. Febr 23 1839

Hon. Felix Grundy

Dear Sir:

I take the liberty of addressing on a subject of great importance of which you have no doubt heard as the publick papers generally have been giving publicity to it: I mean the affairs of the Mormons so called in Missouri I am one of that number who has been driven by violence from my home after being held in prison for near four months and all my property distroyed. My object in writing to you is to assertain if recourse can be had to the federal and whether or no we can enter suit in the court not only against individuals inhabitants of Missouri but against the state also for the unconstitutional acts of the executive of said state as well as the refusal of the legislature to prohibit the execution of the executive order which was to drive us from the state and confiscate our property for no other cause than because we refused to tamely to submit to be desolated by a banditta of lawless marauders led on by a few persecuting priests I will be able to lay before the court the most satisfactory evidence of the violence and lawless outrages of the people of Upper Missouri as also the abusive tyring of the governer and the legislative acquiesenc in those those tyranical and unconstitutional measures which has been the ruin of many hundred families as well as the death of many persons not even children excepted who have been inhumanly butchered

I wish to know Sir if suits can be entered in the federal to recover damages for the distruction of property and the driving of families from their homes. As also whether criminal prosecutions can be entered against the murderers who without cause indiscriminately murdered men women and children and eludes justice by driving from the state all those who are acquainted with their iniquity so as to be witnesses against them and so many of of the authorities of the state identified with these barbarities that it is impossable to have law executed

All these things I can prove most clearly to the fullest satisfacction of any court.

I also wish to know if the persons who are now in prison in missouri cannot be taken out of their hands and taken to the federal court for trial or else released by that court As it is openly declared in missouri that if any court or jury will clear them that not only the persons cleared but the court or jury doing it shall be instantly murdered.

There are in addition to all this a multitude of persons holden under heavey bonds among whom is myself to appear before the courts in Missouri whose sittings commences in March who have been driven out of the state and dare not return knowing that they will be instantly put to death if they attempt to return.

Your council in all these matters is solicited with as little delay as possable you will observe Sir that we are out of the state and dare not return.

Should you council to enter suits in the federal court please such instruction as you may think as to the manner of proceeding I will comply and will repair immediately on the receipt of a letter from you to the city of Washington and proceed forthwith to commence opperations. I have the honor to be Sir yours respectfully

Sidney Rigdon

Letter from Anson Call to Sidney Rigdon


Feb 24th 1839 [3]

[Mis]ter S. Rigdon I under stand that the [Broth]eren are requested to make out a bill [of] damageres and loses that we have sustaned by the Missori mob and grievances when [I] [th]ink of the sufferanges of many many of [our] Brotheren I think at times I ought to [-] silant but I will give a short history [A]t the commencement of the Mormon difficulty I lived in Clinton Co. I was left Clinton and removed to in Davis Co. here I remained un till we ware all driven out [I] then went to Ray Co. to harvest a field of Corn that I rased there I was taken by a mob of ten men I was searched they found I had know weapons they then drew their knives and swor they would kill me for i was a mormon they beat me with with there flat hand and then struck me in the fase with their knives time affter time I made my ascape from them a bout dark they per sude me but in vane I then re turned to Clinton Co. to attend to my bisness there I found a family in my House he said there was no law for the mormons and bat me severely with a club I was glad to git a way a live and and leave my farm and other proprty

I will give a statement of my damages two Preemption rights one for my Father and one for my self and secured 800 acres of timbered land and all pade for worth 300 hundred dollars each$600.00
Property left on farm and damage of moving from Clinton150.00
Corn lost in Ray Co. fifteen acres150.00
pade 560 dollars for land in Caldwell Co. not sold no value recd560.00
pade 220 dollars for land in Ray Co. no value recd220.00
200 hundred dollars totl gods stolen200.00
Notes and accounts lost440.00
Seven months lost time self and [Family] 
Moving from Missorei to Illenois [—] 
 Total [—]
Missouri Marine Co. 
Sidney RigdonAnson [Call]

[Not sworn.]

Endorsement of Joseph Smith


At a public Meeting of the branch of the Church of latter day Saints, held in the City of Quincy: Illinois, on the 20th Day of October 1839, the expression of the Church was called for, concerning the standing and Fellowship of Joseph Smith Junior, in said Church, there are present about One Hundred Members composed of the High Council, High Priests, Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, and lay Members, who gave their unanimous Voice, that he be considered the presiding Elder, over said Church, and have ever considered him as such since the rise of the Church, uncriminated of any Crime whereby he might be amenable to the Laws of the Land, and as such they recommend him, to all whom this may Come.

Reynolds CahoonJames Sloan
Presiding Elder of the MeetingClerk

Endorsement of Joseph Smith


To all persons whom this may concern-Or to whom it may appear-This is to certify that we the Subscribers hereof who are a Council in and for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints-chosen & appointed by the Said Church to transact certain church business relative to the concerns of the said church as aforesaid do hereby Reccommend Joseph Smith Jun the bearer hereof to be a true & trusty man who we consider worthy of our best Confidence & trust as a man of integrity truth and Sobriety-and think him Entitled to general Esteem from all with whom he is acquainted-We feel it to be our priviledge & pleasure to intrust to his care the care and management & transacting for us the said Church any and all business & matters that may be needed to be done and performed with his Excellency the President as also the Congress of the United States of America in representing to them him his Excellency & then the Congress the abuse wrongs-Sufferings & Exitement from our homes & from the State of Missouri by the people thereof

Commerce Hancock Co Ill-Oct 27th 1839

Geo. W. Harris 
Samuel Bent 
Henry G SherwodDavid Dort
David FullmerSeymour Brunson
Alpheus CutlerLevi Jackman
Wm Huntington 
Thomas Grover 
Newel Knight 
Don C. Smith 

We the undersigned do cordially Join in the above sentiment

Edward PartridgeBishops
Alanson Ripleyof said
Vinson KnightChurch
Newel K. Whitney 

Letter from Edward Partridge to Elias Higbee and Joseph Smith, Jr.


Commerce Ill. Jany. 3d 1840

Dear brethren

The following is a list of land patents held by me for land in Jackson county Mo. which being heavy we think best not to send, but to send you the list of them so that you can go to the recorder’s office of land patents and get him to certify that such patents are recorded in his office

This we conceive to be the cheapest and safest way their weight is about eight ounces

Certificate No. 3172 dated March 8th 1834-Recorded in Volume 6 page 180-Exd

Certificate No. 1871-Dated Decr. 5th 1833-Recorded in Vol. 6 page 446-Exd

Certificate No. 1872-Dated Decr. 5th 1833-Recorded [in] Vol. 6 page 447-Exd

Certificate No. 1873-Dated Decr. 5th 1833-Recorded in Vol. 6 page 448-Exd.

Certificate No. 14-Dated March 8th 1834-Recorded in Vol. 6 page 471-Exd.

Certificate No. 1961-dated Decr. 5th 1833-Recorded in Vol. 7 page 37-Exd

Certificate No. 1962-dated Decr. 5th 1833-Recorded in Vol. 7 page 38-Exd

Certificate No. 2317-dated January 20th 1834 Recorded in Vol. 7. page 387-Exd

Certificate No. 26-Dated March 8th 1834-Recorded in [V]ol. 8. page 483 Exd.

Certificate No. 27-Dated March 8th 1834-Recorded [in] Vol. 8. page 484-Exd.

Certificate No. 34-Dated Sept. 12th 1835 Recorded Vol. probably 6 or 8 the figure is so obscured that it is difficult to tell what it is. Page 491 Exd.

Certificate No. 3172-dated Nov. 4th 1835-Recorded in Vol. 9 page 272-Exd

What the Exd. means I do not know but it is on the patents and I do not know but that it may be of use

I remain yours in the bonds of the everlasting Covenant

J. Smith Jun.Edward Partridge

Elias Higbee

Letter from Robert Lucas [4] to A. Riply


Coppy of Gov Lucas’s letter dated Jan 4th 1840.

Sir you informed me that a Committee of Mormons are about to apply to Congress of the United States for an investigation on the cause of their expulsion from the State of Missouri and to ask of the General Government remuneration for the losses sustained by them in consequence of such expulsion and ask of me to state my opinion of the character and general conduct of these people while they resided in the State of Ohio: and also the conduct and general report of those who have settled in the territory of Iowa since their expulsion from the State of Mo.-

In compliance with your request I will state that I have had but little personal acquaintance with them. I know that there was a community of them in the north part of the State of Ohio and while I resided in the state they were generally considered an industrious inofensive people And I have no reccollection of ever having heard in that State of their being Charged with violating the laws of the Country.

Since their expulsion from Missouri a portion of them about one hundred families have Settled in Lee County Iowa Territory, and are generally considered industrious, inofensive and worthy citizens. very respectfully yours

A. RiplyRobert Lucas

Gov. of Iowa Ter.

Letter from Citizens of Pittsfield to Richard M. Young [5]


Pittsfield Jan 18th 1840

To the Hon R M Young

Sir We have been informed that A certain portion of our Citizens known as Mormons or latter day Saints are at this time petitioning Congress for a redress of the Grievances which they have sustained at the hands of our neighbors the Missourians. you no doubt have seen the newspaper Statements concerning them which are in some cases contradictory from our knowledge of many of them from a residence of twelve months among us we are enabled to State that their conduct has been unimpeachable. they are industrioustions and inoffencive Citizens, as any society that we have among us, and we hope that they may remain among us as long as they demean themselves as they have done. It is but seldom that we find a body of men among whom there are not some who are a disgrace to their society but among the mormons of this County we have known of no disorderly conduct. We therefore take the liberty of requesting you to use your influence to procure for them whatsoever redress you may think they deserve. from the affidavits which they have transmitted to you or other members of our Congress, there can be but little doubt that they have been maltreated and we consider our duty as persons desiring the preservation of equal rights and religious toleration to ask their protection your obedient servants

D.H. Gilmer

James C Clark

Daniel B Bush

J Paullin

List of Land Holdings


Washington City January 20th 1840

We the Undersigned do hereby Certify that we hold at this time Land Duplicates belonging to our brethren purchased of the U S in the State of Missouri and frwarded to us by our brethren to present as testimony to show that we still are in possession lawfully of the same but compelled by the Exterminating order of Gov Lilbourn Boggs of Missouri to leave the same in the hands of the mob the following is a true list of the Numbers of the duplicates now in our possession at this time and which will be presented to Committe if requird as testimony

No 8482 Held by George W Harris

No 9779 Held by Squire Bosworth

No 680 “ “ “

No 9780 “ “ “

No 9987 “ “ “

No 8421 “ “ “

No 9986 “ “ “

No 10606 “ “ “

No 9782 “ “ “

No 10106 “ “ “

No 8420 “ “ “

No 10723 Held by James Goff No 11834 Held by John Rowley

No 10394 Held by Edward Partridge

No 10031 “ “ “

No 11221 “ “ “

No 9415 “ “ “

No 9157 “ “ “

No 8675 “ “ “

No 9269 Held by Chandler Holbrook

No 9156 Held by Charles W Hubbard

No 10813 “ “ Wilson Vanderliss

No 8976 “ “ Gad Yale

No 10161 “ “ Samuel Miles

No 9374 “ “ John Fausett

No 10663 “ “ Samuel Rolfe

No 10992 “ “ Samuel Miles

The within is a list of the land duplicates in our hand as being a part of the many belonging to the people that was driven from Missouri by Gov Bogg Exterminating Order

Joseph Smith Jr.

Sidney Rigdon

Elias Higbee

The undersignd also have in ther possession vouchers setting forth thier Claims, from the individuals who have suffered being Notes Book accounts and instruments truly setting foth thier lawful claim the[y] will be presentd to the Committe if required at any time.

Joseph Smith Jr

Sidney Rigdon

Elias Higbee

[Not sworn.]

Letter from Isaac Higbee to Willard Richards


To the Nauvoo historian Willard Richards sir

I understand that you wish to have the facts in relation to the loss of property and suffering of the saints in Missouri I will therefore give you a few items in relation to some of my suffering and losses in Missouri for you to dispose of as you may think proper I imbraced the gospel at Cincinnati about the first of June 1832 I removed with my family to Jackson county Missouri in April 1833 I entered 80 acres of land in Missouri which I since gave to the church laid out money to improve the land by making a farm and building a good house raised a crop and got things around me comfortable

In October 1833 we ware driven out of the county by mob violence and our house burned and property destroyed on the 9th of November we crossed the Missouri River into Clay county and that night in a tent in the woods my wife was delivered of a boy son several familyes of us had to live in camps all winter not being able to find houses on the first of september 1836 we removed to Caldwell County where I again bought land built a house and made a farm oct. the 24th I was in the crooked river battle. The 31st day of october 1838 when the army of Missouri came against us to execute the governors exterminating order I with some of my bretheren not willing to fall into the hands of a ruthless mob made our escape to Quincy Illinois to prevent being insulted and mobed by them we passed through a part of the country not inhabited and suffered much with cold and hunger. My real loss of property only would be about one thousand dollars But the damages Sustained besides my trouble sickness and death in my family in consequence of exposure & etc would be more than five thousand dollars

Isaac Higbee

Letter to Willard Richards [6]


Doct Richerds sir I understand of you are Calculating to record the losses of individual property lost in the state of Missouri that it may be had in rememberance herafter-If it is the case you may record mine I consider I have lost at three different-once among those who first went to that state for when money was called for to purchass in jackson when all things was considered common stock I layed down three hundread dollars at one time at an other sixteen that there might be money to purchess lands in jackson and lands was bought for the saints and I should have had an inheritance if the mob had not drove the saints I done it for good and lost my money at an other time I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out my hand full of silver money and gave it to Joseph the prophet all I had save fifty cents I reserved to myself Joseph told I should be rewarded in Zion which I should have bin as sure as the Lord lives if the mob had not have drove us I then would not impose so much upon the man of God as to ask him for any thing and at many other times I have gave money in small peaces believeing I should be rewarded when the inheritances was should be got off to the saints all of this loss has bin caused (save fifty dollars I had payed back to me) by Missouri mob which makes about three hundread dollars

The next loss was in Coldwell County I purched forty acors of land with in three miles of the temple ground in the City of farwest I payed fifty one dollars for it built a shop and house of logs had cleared two lots out and fenced them as good a lot of hogs as I wanted say forty and in the best place I could be for any trad a streem of water with the best of a water mill-seet and for small macheenry a laythe for turning and it was so nere the lawn I have thought I would not take a thousand dollars for it-the next was a lot of land in farwest Citty ten acors I payed a horse I gave one hundread dollars for and a harness new [twelve] and mad the runing geers to a two horse wagon

also I made one payment on a City lot on one of the greate streets closs to the temple I had in my power to have payed for the whole lot and not to have felt it als[o] I had an acor I in the vilag of Independance I gave the Bishop to pay the Lawyer to plead Joseph Smiths and the others cause which he never did all of this property I have left in Missouri which I will asure you I prised (with the timber I had for my house all hewed and sash made chaires table bedstids work bench turning laythe plank and shingle corn destroyed) at not less than fifteen hundread makeing twenty five hundread in Coldwell and not less than a thousand in Jackson And the hardships the hardships of my famelys deprivations for the want of some of this property to make them comfortable is more than the property it self and yet doct I feel as ever to do the works of Christ as I shall be directed by the twelve as much so as when the Prophet was a live you may think I prise my property high but I think I have not high enough but I will be satisfied at this

Account[7] of William Bowman[8]


this is to certify that James B Turner wrote apiece of writeing about the mormons that was stuck up in millport last Summer but the precise time I cant Recollect & I will State to the people how the conversation Took place betwen me and Turner

my self and Turner was setting in the Grocerry at millport. Says I to Turner what is to be done about these mormons comeing in to this county so fast for days I the are Settling over on honey creek the other Side of Grand River verry fast. I further observd that there ought to be some means Taken to prevent them forom comeing over on this Side of Grand River

then Turner spoke up and Said there ought then he named to me lets go out and Talk Some about it and after we Got out Turner stated to me that he was verry anxious that there should some corse be taken to prevent them from Taking the county for be cause said he I doant want to Raise my family among a Set of mormons

and he further stated that his feelings was to of went with us boys To of seed the mormons but my Reason was what I told you some Time Back

then I ast him if it would not be best to stick up a notice Requesting the mormons not to come over on this side of the River in the bounds of Daviess County

Turners Reply was I think it would then says I to Turner will you wright the notice Turners Reply was yes for I can change my hand so much that people cant Tell who wrote it then I cald John Brassfield and he come to us then Turner said Get me some pen ink & paper I went and done so

then my self Turner and brassfield went round the house on the west side and we all squatted down together and Turner again named about changeing his hand for some people would make Remarks if the knew who doneit[.] then he proceded To wright the notice and after he had Got To Gether it wrote he Red it ove[r] to my self and Brassfield as near in these words as I Recollect


is here by Given by Request of aportion of the citizens on the north side of Grand River any mormon that comes on this side of Grand River will be [start] and drove back no mormon that settle on this Side of Grand River if the do the may abide by the concequence Turner red the notice Over to me and Brassfield in these words as near as I can Recollect and as we Turnd the corner of the house gowing in Turner says dam them I think this will scare them[.] I stuck the notice up but did not Read it that day but the next day or the following I next day or the day following I did and there was a mis take and in the place of it being put mormon it was put morgans to which John Brassfield will Testify at any day that Turner acknoledge to him next day that it ought to of been mormons in the place of morgans these words I am willing to Testify at any Time to the best of my Recollection

the above is the coppy of Bowmans certificate To which he is willing to sware at any Time

Account of John Brassfield[9]


this is to certify that I have herd Bowmans certificate Red over concerning the chat that took place betwen my self Turner & bowman When Turner wrote the notice Turner acknowledged to me next day that it ought to of been mormons in the place of morgans and from this Time Bowman cald me up to them I Tistify to the same of Bowmans to the Best of my Recollectioun and also I was setting squatted down by Turner when he wrote the notice

and he red it over to me & Bowman I p[re]sumd that James B Turner cannot deny these facts and if Requested I am willing to Testify the same in any place to the Best of my Recolection

the above is a coppy of Brassfieolds certificate to Which if cald on he will Testify any day

Account of William Bowman


This is to certify the conversation that took place between me and James B Turner before the mob party went to see the mormons Last Summer

me and Turner was coming a long the road Last one day Just below whare Turner now Lives

I ast Turner if he was not gowing with us to find the mormons and his Reply was no for says he I in tend to Run for clerk here next year and if I do it will Effect something in my Election against me[.] & for that Reason I shal not Gow but I am Just as anxious to have the mormons drove out of this county as you or any other man for I doant want to Raise my fam ily among Such people this is the place Turner had Refferance to in that other place When he that his cause was what I told you some Time back these words I am willing to state before any man on any place in this county, when Requested

Account of Adam Black [10]


This is to certify some Time Last Summer in conversation with James B Turner concerning these people cald mormons I Said to him that we concluded to gow and See these people and Request them to Leave this county peacibley and I would like for you to gow a long with us and his Reply was about to this amt he would Like to gow but he was a new Commer here and I daoant think it would be proper for me to do So

As I Exspect to Run for clerk it mite make some thing against my Election but I am opposed to them as much as any now he observd that he was opposed to Raising his family among then and I Replide to him he was Excusible says I for I doant want no man to Gow that doant feel willing

Given under my hand this the 27 July 1838

the above is a coppy of Adam Black Esq certificate.

Nathan Baldwin’s Permit to Travel


I Permit Nathan B. Waldwin to remove from Daviess to Caldwell County there to remain dering the winter or to pass out of the State

Nov. 12th 1838R Wilson Brig Gen

By F G Cocknee aid

Alvin Hor’s Permit to Travel


I permit Alvin Hor to remove from Daviss to Caldwell County there to remain during the winter

Nov 9th 1838R Wilson Brig Gen


David Lewis’s Permit to Travel


November 13 1838 this is to certify that David Lewis a Mormon is permitted to travel and pass through the State of Missouri in an Eastward direction unmolested during good behavior

Nehemiah Cumstock

Captain of the Militia

Eliphaz Marsh’s Permit to Travel


I permit Eliphaz Marsh to remove from Daviess to Caldwell County there to remain during the winter or to pass out of the state

Nov 9th 1838R Wilson Brig Gen



[1] Col. Sterling Price was one of the principle mobbers. He guarded the prisoners from Jackson County to Richmond and was responsible for the conduct of the guard during the prisoners’ trial before Austin A. King during November 1838 (HC 3:205, 208, 327, 372). This letter is incomplete, but identifies the political fervor existing in Caldwell County as the initial cause of the violence that erupted in 1838.

[2] This letter was written while Rigdon was in Liberty Jail where he and others had been confined since the end of November 1838 (HC 3:212, 264). Felix Grundy was Attorney General for President Martin Van Buren, 1838–40 (Crutchfield 43).

[3] In this letter, one edge of the paper is torn. Brackets indicate a conjectural reading where it was torn.

[4] Robert Lucas was Governor of the Territory of Iowa from 1838 to 1841 (Tuttle 674–76).

[5] Richard M. Young served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1837 until 1843 (Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois 603–04.)

[6] This letter is presumably written by Levi Hancock, for the following is written at the bottom: “The Losses of Levi W. Hancock in the State of Missouri.”

[7] The following four accounts, found together in the National Archives, are written by three men concerning conversations they had had with James B. Turner. Turner, along with 41 others, appeared in court before Judge Austin A. King in November 1838. Turner was a witness against the heads of the Church who were imprisoned in Richmond (HC 3:209–10). Also found with these accounts is a two-line fragment of a fifth account, author unknown, which has not been included here.

[8] William Bowman was a member of the guard overseeing Joseph Smith and other Church leaders during their trial before Judge Austin A. King in April 1839 (HC 3:309). Bowman had earlier sworn that he would “never eat or drink” until he had murdered Smith (HC 3:306).

[9] John Brassfield guarded Joseph Smith and others when they were arrested and tried before Judge King (HC 3:309)

[10] Adam Black, justice of the peace and judge elect for Daviess Co. (HC 3:59), was a mob leader (HC 3:71).