Importuning The Government

Bruce A. Van Orden, "Importuning The Government" in We'll Sing and We'll Shout: The Life and Times of W. W. Phelps (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2018), 123–134.

Mormon refugees in Clay County continued to suffer almost beyond expression. Since they had been forced to flee with no warning, some took with them only the clothes they had on their backs. Some mothers temporarily lost track of their children in flight. Of course, they could barely scrape enough food together each day to stay nourished.[1] This was no doubt a time of immense suffering for William and Sally Phelps and their six children. The Saints were able to survive only by helping each other while being received by Clay County citizens in a “hospitable manner.”[2]

By November 8, 1833, W. W. Phelps, Sidney Gilbert, and William McLellin completed an official affidavit to Governor Dunklin detailing all illegal atrocities of the previous week and a half.[3] When the affidavit reached Jefferson City, Governor Daniel Dunklin and Attorney General Robert Wells were astounded to learn that matters had gotten so out of hand.

Interchange with Joseph Smith

Meanwhile, Orson Hyde and John Gould hurried back to Kirtland to inform Joseph Smith and other high priests of these terrible events. They left Missouri on November 6 and arrived by November 25.[4] W. W. Phelps, Edward Partridge, and John Corrill also sent reports outlining in detail the barbarity against the Saints by the Missouri mob. Consequently, Ohio Church leaders began meeting daily and importuning the Lord for comfort and instruction. Church leaders in Missouri continued to write reports to and ask questions of Joseph Smith through letters. They sincerely wanted to know how to proceed forward in caring for the flock of Christ during these afflictions.[5]

Thus, on two fronts many men of goodwill went to work to lay the ground­work for the hoped-for Saints’ move back into Jackson County and to seek redress of their grievances. In Missouri, Phelps, the other Zion high priests, and their attorneys in Clay County were in frequent communication with the governor and attorney general, more than 150 miles to the east in Jefferson City. At the same time in Kirtland, Joseph Smith and his associates sought revela­tion from God, sent instructions back to Missouri, and laid plans to help liberate Zion from the Church’s enemies.

On November 21 Attorney General Robert Wells wrote the attorneys for the Mormons. He indicated that he was speaking also in behalf of Governor Dunklin. “If they [the Mormons] desire to be replaced in possession of their property, that is, their houses in Jackson county, an adequate force [authorized militia] will be sent forthwith to effect that object,” he promised. He said that the state militia had already been ordered to hold themselves in readiness. He added, “If the Mormons will organize themselves into regular companies, or a regular company of militia, either volunteers or otherwise, they will, I have no doubt be supplied with public arms.”[6]

In harmony with these sentiments, circuit judge John F. Ryland wrote on November 24 from nearby Lexington that he had been requested by Daniel Dunklin to keep the governor informed “about the outrageous acts of unparal­leled violence that have lately happened in Jackson county . . . and take steps to punish the guilty and screen the innocent.” Ryland reiterated Wells’s promise that a “military force [would] repair to Jackson county, to aid the execution of any order [he would] make on this subject.” With indignation he declared that it would be disgraceful for the officers of the state of Missouri if they “neglect[ed] to take proper means to insure the punishment due [the] ringleaders of the mob in Jackson county.”[7]

In consultation with their attorneys, the Zion high priests responded to these two letters by having Phelps write a petition on December 6 to Governor Dunklin officially requesting military assistance to restore lands, houses, and property.[8] He specifically asked (1) for a militia contingent from the state; (2) for a detachment of the United States Rangers to be stationed at Independence (Fort Leavenworth, in Indian Territory twenty miles northwest, was deemed to be too far away); and (3) that Mormon men be organized into companies of “Jackson Guards” and furnished with arms from the state “to assist in maintaining their rights against the unhallowed power of the mob of Jackson county.” He also petitioned for an official “court of inquiry” to be conducted in Independence under this armed guard. The letter also did not hesitate to point out that the Mormons had been “wounded, scourged, and threatened with death” and “were destitute of the common necessaries of life even in this winter season.”[9] This interchange with Missouri officials laid the legal groundwork for the formation a few months later of the “Camp of Israel,” later known as “Zion’s Camp,” a paramilitary force drawn from Mormon men in the eastern states.[10]

Also in mid-December, Phelps wrote the Ohio brethren in a manner that bared his soul. He cared so dearly for the Saints who had been driven to and fro. “The situation of the saints, as scatered, is dubious, and affords a gloomy prospect.” He reported that they were in Clay, Ray, Lafayette, Van Buren, and other counties and that they “cannot hear from each other oftener than we do from you.” Phelps acknowledged the possibility that in the economy of the Lord it was right that the Saints be temporarily driven from the land of Zion so that “the rebellious might be sent away.” He then pleaded, “If the Lord will, I should like to know what the honest in heart shall do? Our cloth[e]s are worn out—we want the necessaries of life, and shall we lease, buy, or otherwise obtain land where we are, to till that we may raise enough to eat?” And pertaining to the large question at hand, he asked the brethren to “timely give us some advice what is best to do in our tarry till Zion is redeemed!” Phelps indicated that these were the questions of the honest, faithful Church members, who wanted above all to do the will of the Lord.[11]

The Prophet Joseph Smith was deeply moved and concerned when he heard about the details of the plight of his Missouri brothers and sisters. “Brethren, when we learn your sufferings it awakens evry sympathy of our hearts,” he wrote to the Missouri Saints; “it weighs us down; we cannot refrain from tears yet we are not able to realize only in part your suffer­ings. And I often hear the brethren saying they wish they were with you that they might bear a part of your sufferings.” Joseph had prayed for knowledge as to why Zion was called upon to suffer, but the Lord had thus far refrained, “perhaps for a wise purpose in Himself.” The Prophet could not yet comprehend it and even felt to murmur, but caught himself so as not to “sepperate us from the Love of Christ.” Yet he dictated, “It is with difficulty that I can restrain my feelings; when I know that you my brethren with whom I have had so many happy hours, sitting as it were in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. and also, haveing the witness which I feel, and even have felt, of the purity of your motives—are cast out, and are as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, exposed to hunger, cold, nakedness peril, sword.” All Joseph Smith could come up with as a reason for God’s allowing this suffering was that more lessons had to be learned by both individuals and the Church as a whole.[12]

On December 16, 1833, about a week after he wrote the above letter, the Prophet obtained a lengthy revelation, now known as D&C 101, pertaining to the redemption of Zion. He received his long-sought answer, which he had been struggling to obtain for weeks. The Lord “suffered the affliction to come upon them [in Zion], wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions.” The revelation explained that the transgressions were “jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires” that “polluted their inheritances.” Yet the Lord was “filled with compassion towards them,” and he would lead his children back to their inheritances “with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion.”[13]

The revelation explained the course the Saints needed to take. They should not let up asking help from government offi­cials, because the Lord himself “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” Thus, the constitutional rights should be claimed. “Let them [the Zion Saints] importune at the feet of the judge,” the revelation stated. “And if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor; and if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president; and if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of his hiding place, and in his fury vex the nation.”[14]

Joseph Smith sent this revelation and other instructions by private dispatch rather than rely on the United States Postal Service. Experience had taught the brethren that enemies could sabotage regularly sent letters. In his journal the Prophet added, “O may God grant {these dispatches} a blessing for Zion as a kind Angel from heaven Amen.”[15]

Joseph Smith also included specific instructions for Phelps. Phelps was to try to set up a new press if possible, perhaps in Liberty, Clay County, but if not there, then somewhere else in Missouri. Joseph even wanted to consult with Phelps face-to-face in Ohio, but the Prophet realized that this might be impossi­ble with the difficulties Phelps was shouldering with his family and the Missouri Saints. Joseph Smith specifically asked “that bro William would collect all the information, and give us a true history of the beginning and rise of Zion, and her calamities.”[16] The Church retains many Missouri documents in its archives today owing to Phelps’s diligence.

Life in Clay County

Throughout the winter of 1833–34, every Latter-day Saint family did the best it could to find housing and food. Some vacant former slave quarters were available near the river. Others built dugouts in the bluffs. Most families gathered close to each other. The men, including many leaders, took odd jobs from wealthy landowners, such as clearing ground and splitting rails. Life was certainly not pleasant for the Phelps family that winter as they worried about legal matters and the welfare of all the Saints.[17]

Some of the displaced Saints opened schools for a little money since schools were scarce in Clay County.[18] This was at least one source of income for the Phelps family. Their oldest daughter, Sabrina, now seventeen years old, taught school in Clay County. Back in Independence, Sabrina had already begun her teaching of Mormon children.[19] Eliza Partridge, also seventeen, went several miles away in Clay County to teach. In her journal she recorded, “It was no uncommon thing in those times for our Mormon girls to go out among the Missourians and teach their children for small remuneration.”[20]

During the winter the Saints accumulated enough funds to obtain better housing. Some constructed their own log houses; others rented houses on farms or moved into the village of Liberty. Some of the Saints, like the Phelpses, grouped together with other families to rent land, where they cleared the forest, built homes, and began planting crops in the spring. The Phelpses lived near Allen’s Landing at the Missouri River. A few Saints cultivated land on the public domain in accordance with Congress’s Pre-emption Act of 1830. And a few others were even able to purchase their own properties in Clay County.[21]

Importuning Courts of Law

In December 1833 and in January and early February 1834, W. W. Phelps occupied himself with obeying revelation to importune the various branches of the government. He prepared for the forthcoming “court of inquiry” that would be held in Indepen­dence to determine the extent of damages the Saints had suffered. Phelps and his brethren informed the governor and other officials that unless protected by a militia force, none of the Mormon witnesses would risk going to Independence to testify at the courthouse. In response, Governor Dunklin promised that a company of the “Liberty Blues,” a legally mustered militia from Clay County, would accompany the Mormon witnesses into Jackson County for the court of inquiry.[22]

During this period, on Wednesday, January 1, 1834, the priesthood brethren held a conference at the home of Parley P. Pratt at the Missouri bottoms in Clay County. They conducted business “relative to the comforting and strengthening [of] the scattered members of the Church.” The conference decided to send Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight to Ohio to further consult with Joseph Smith and the brethren about the restoration of the Saints to their homes in Jackson County.[23] They desired to consult with Joseph Smith about promises of the Missouri governor and attorney general to send state militia forces to accompany an armed Mormon force to restore the Latter-day Saints to their property and protect them in their constitu­tional rights.

Also during this same period, both W. W. Phelps and Edward Partridge sought to try the efficacy of the civil courts. In the circuit clerk’s office in Independence on December 22, 1833, attorneys for Phelps and Partridge filed separate civil complaints against approximately fifty defendants. Phelps’s suit was against Samuel D. Lucas, James Campbell, Samuel Weston, Benjamin Majors, and others for trespass and the destruction of his printing office and dwelling house. Phelps claimed damages of three thousand dollars for the destruction of his house and printing office, two thousand dollars for the loss of five thousand pounds of type and for the furniture and office apparatus, and four hundred dollars for the loss of the press. The complaint also charged the defendants with removing the press, type, and furniture and appropriating them to their own use. For total damages, Phelps asked fifty thousand dollars.[24] Phelps and Partridge simply had to wait for these civil suits to come to trial.

As opportunity to go into Jackson County drew nearer in February, Church leaders became increasingly nervous that they and other witnesses would not be sufficiently protected. On February 19, 1834, Phelps, Partridge, Corrill, and Whitmer (John) wrote circuit judge Ryland, who would soon be presiding over court in Jackson County as part of his circuit. They pleaded that the magistrate avail himself “of every means in [his] power to execute the law and make it honorable.” They also requested that Mormon witnesses be provided a guard, knowing that otherwise their lives would be in jeopardy.[25]

Various government agencies cooperated in the next few days to provide a military escort of the Clay County militia, the Liberty Blues. The Blues would protect the state attorney general, the circuit attorney, attorneys for the Mormons, and about a dozen Mormon witnesses as they went into Jackson County for the court of inquiry. Phelps was among the Mormon contingent that also later reported the whole affair in behalf of the Missouri Saints to Joseph Smith.[26]

At noon on Sunday, February 23, 1834, fifty armed soldiers accompanied about twenty-five Mormons across the Missouri River by ferry. A small group of the militia went into Independence to obtain quarters for the night, but they soon returned with the distressing news that a large fighting force, much larger than the fifty Liberty Blues, was waiting to defend those accused by Mormons in Independence. Captain David Atchison, both the commander of the militia and an attorney for the Mormons, sent for more reinforce­ments and ammunition from Liberty. Even though the weather was cold and snowy, the group decided for safety reasons to camp about two miles from Independence and about a mile from the river. Phelps reported, “The night passed off in warlike style, with the sentinels marching silently at a proper distance from the watch fires.”[27]

Early Monday morning the group marched “strongly guarded by the troops, to the seat of war, and quartered in the blockhouse,” which actually was a tavern owned by an anti-Mormon.[28] Evidently, the previous night Attorney General Wells and circuit attorney Amos Reese had tried to speak reasonably with Jackson County leaders about enforcing the law, but to no avail. So, at breakfast that morning, Wells and the others informed the Mormon contingent led by Partridge, Phelps, and Corrill “that all hopes of criminal prosecu­tions were at an end.” Phelps further explained to Joseph Smith: “The bold front of the mob; bound even unto death (as I have heard), was not to be penetrated by civil law, or awed by executive influence.”[29] This turned out to be the only effort ever made by officers of the state of Missouri to bring to justice these violators of the law. The attorney general and the circuit judge could see that the legal processes couldn’t and wouldn’t work. A major reason was that the grand jury in Jackson comprised perpetrators of the “recent outrages.”[30]

Later that day, Judge Ryland ordered Captain Atchison to dismiss the militia. Phelps reported the incident:

We were marched out of town to the tune of Yankee Doodle, in quick time, and soon returned to our camp without the loss of any lives. This order was issued by the court, apparently, on account of the speedy gathering of the old mob, or citizens of Jackson county, and their assuming such a boisterous and mobocratic appearance. Much credit is due to Captain Atchison for his gallantry and hospi­tality, and I think I can say of the officers and company that their conduct as soldiers and men is highly reputa­ble; so much the more so, knowing as I do, the fatal results of the trial had the militia come or not come.

Phelps also reported that a mob in Van Buren County, to the south of Independence, had commenced whipping the Saints living there and beating them with clubs. Furthermore, the Jackson County vigilan­tes started burning abandoned Mormons houses and haystacks in their own county.[31]

These developments did not break Phelps’s commitment to the kingdom of God. Indeed, he claimed, these depredations served “to strengthen the faith and fortify the hearts of the saints.” He wrote to the Prophet: “Our Savior laid down his life for our sakes, and shall we, who profess to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God . . . , fear to do as much for Jesus as he did for us?”[32]

Potential Help from Ohio

Meanwhile, back on the Ohio front, the Prophet Joseph Smith continued to reflect on the distress in Missouri and to plead unto heaven for the welfare of his Zion brothers and sisters. For example, on January 11, 1834, he dictated the following words for his private journal: “[We] asked the Lord to grant the following petition: . . . That the Lord would deliver Zion, and gather in his scattered people, to possess it in peace; and also, while in their dispersion, that he would provide for them that they perish not with hunger nor cold. And finally, that God in the name of Jesus would gather his elect speedily, and unveil his face that his saints might behold his glory and dwell with him.”[33]

In successive meetings in February 1834, Joseph Smith and his counselors formally organized a high council consisting of twelve high priests that would conduct all Church business in Ohio and handle disputes. This presidency of three—Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams—would preside over the high council.[34] It was to this high council that Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight, envoys from Zion, made their report and requests on February 24, shortly after they arrived in Kirtland.

The substance of Pratt and Wight’s request was “when, how and by what means Zion was to be redeemed from her enemies.”[35] They explained that the Saints were relatively comfortable in Clay County, “but the idea of being driven away from the land of Zion pained their very souls.” They reported that the Saints for the most part had followed Joseph Smith’s instruction not to sell their lands in Jackson County.[36]

In a dramatic moment, the Prophet Joseph Smith arose and announced that he was going to Zion “to assist in redeeming it.” He asked the high council to sanction his going and then for volunteers to go with him. Between thirty and forty who were in attendance at the meeting volunteered. The council selected Joseph Smith to be “commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel” that would help redeem Zion.[37]

This act was ratified by a revelation, now known as D&C 103, that same day. The Lord’s word commanded the raising of an army, hopefully five hundred in number, but at least one hundred. Several men, including Joseph himself and Pratt and Wight, were commanded to recruit this army by visiting branches in the eastern and western states. “Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake,” read the revelation. “And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.”[38] When Phelps eventually read this revelation (probably in April 1834), he could have thought of his own experiences wherein he had been willing to lay down his life for the gospel’s cause.

From mid-February to early May, the recruiting proceeded. As Joseph Smith went from branch to branch in portions of Pennsylvania and New York, he often recorded in his journal heartfelt feelings and prayers that this effort would bring about the redemption of Zion.[39] Eventually, about two hundred men were enlisted and made the long overland journey as an army to help redeem Zion. This is the well-known march of Zion’s Camp. The army would bring with them some money and other items of relief for their brothers and sisters in Missouri. Phelps, his family, and all the families in Zion, when they heard of this march (probably in late May 1834), must have been intensely grateful for the dramatic show of support from their Prophet and the eastern Saints.

Apparently even as Joseph Smith and others, at great personal sacrifice, went among Mormon branches located in the eastern and western states in their recruiting mission, Phelps and his colleagues among the Zion members of the United Firm were writing letters containing “sharp, piercing, & cutting reproofs” to the Ohio leadership. They apparently did this at least partly because of their own privation and suffering at the time. Phelps had clearly vented the feelings of loss that he felt from losing the press and the printing business that were part of the United Firm. When Joseph Smith received these letters, his sensibilities were clearly affected, and he wrote a letter to Zion on March 30, 1834.[40]

Joseph directed much of his feelings to Phelps himself. He did not appreciate criticism for the spelling and grammar mistakes in a broadside of a revelation (now D&C 101) printed by Oliver Cowdery on the new printing press. The Prophet defended himself, asserting that in spite of the evident printing mistakes, “the word of God means what it says; & it is the word of God, as much as Christ was God, although he was born in a stable, & was rejected by the manner of his birth, notwithstanding he was God.” Joseph gently jabbed Phelps for calling the printing apparatus in Missouri, which had been ransacked, as “my press, my types, &c,” when in truth “all things are the Lord’s, and he opened the hearts of his Church to furnish these things, or we should not have been privileged with using them.”[41] This letter is another evidence of the lifelong challenge that Phelps faced—coping with his own sense of personal importance to whatever work with which he was engaged at a given time.

In Oliver Cowdery’s letter to “brother William,” he indicated that Phelps’s “request relative to clothing &c. shall be properly considered.” But, Oliver intoned, “I will just remind you, that your reproofs, though designed for the best, are calculated to make a different impression when written, than when given orally—the fact is, it is a long distance to reprove for small things in these days of great events.” He reminded Phelps, “I drop you this because you & I have labored together a long time.”[42]

Further Importuning

Meanwhile, during these same months of March and April back in Missouri, Phelps and his cohorts strove to do their part in redeeming Zion. Partridge and Phelps continued to pursue their civil court complaints regarding destruction of property. Neither case came to trial.[43]

Seeing no progress with the courts or with the state of Missouri, Zion’s leaders, including Phelps, proceeded with their duty to “importune at the feet of the president.”[44] For several weeks in March and early April, they worked on documents to send to President Andrew Jackson in Washington, DC. Phelps gathered or composed many of these documents. On April 10 they sent a lengthy petition, signed by 114 men, and an accompanying letter to President Jackson. The package also included a copy of the letter by Governor Daniel Dunklin to the Mormons, promising military protection. On the same day, the Zion brethren also addressed a letter to Governor Dunklin, asking him to use his influence with President Jackson to send reinforcement troops. Finally, Phelps wrote a letter to Senator Thomas H. Benton, a Democratic Party ally of President Jackson, urging him to also use his influence with the president and Congress.[45]

To President Jackson, Phelps noted that the persecution of the Mormons was really religious intolerance and unprecedented as such in America. “We know that such illegal violence has not been inflicted upon any sect or community of people by the citizens of the United States since the Declaration of Independence.” Phelps suggested that federal forces only twenty miles away at Fort Leavenworth would be available to help. The petition pointed out that the governor was willing to send in troops with the Saints to reclaim their property but couldn’t keep an armed force stationed there for any length of time. “This step would be laying the foundation for a more fatal tragedy than the first,” Phelps explained, “as our numbers at present are too small to contend single handed with the mob of said county; and as the Federal Constitution has given to Congress the power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, or repel invasions.”[46]

The governor’s reply to the brethren came back first. Dunklin felt that President Jackson had no real authority to send in troops. He asked Mormon leaders to send him a copy of their petition to Jackson in order to further study the matter. Dunklin also wrote, “Permit me to suggest to you, that as you now have greatly the advantage of your adversaries, in public estimation, there is a great propriety in retaining that advantage.”[47]

As for Andrew Jackson, he forwarded the Mormon correspondence to Secretary of War Lewis Cass. Apparently, the petition aroused some discussion among administration officials at the White House, but in the end the Jacksonian Democrats opted to apply the states’ rights doctrine to this case. Cass wrote back on May 2, “I am instructed to inform you, that the offenses of which you complain, are violations of the laws of the state of Missouri, and not of the laws of the United States. The powers of the President under the constitution and laws, to direct the employment of a military force, in cases where the ordinary civil authority is found insufficient, extend only to proceedings under the laws of the United States.”[48]

Meanwhile, Phelps and his brethren wrote to Governor Dunklin again, on April 24, this time requesting the return of their approximately fifty firearms that they had been required to surrender the previous November 5. Phelps also startlingly informed the governor that “we have received communications from our friends in the East informing us that a number of our brethren, perhaps two or three hundred, would remove to Jackson county in the course of the ensuing summer.”[49]

The governor agreed with the brethren’s request and sent an order to the Jackson County militia to return the Mormon arms to Phelps, Partridge, Corrill, Whitmer (John), and Gilbert. But sadly, these same brethren had to respond in a few days that the order was impudently ignored by the Jackson County forces: “Since [your order] the mob of Jackson county have burned our [abandoned] dwellings; as near as we can ascertain, between one hundred and one hundred and fifty were consumed by fire in about one week; our arms were also taken from the depository (the jail) about ten days since, and distributed among the mob. Great efforts are now making by said mob to stir up the citizens of this county [Clay] and Lafayette, to similar outrages against us.”[50]

Phelps certainly labored with his might to heed the Lord’s commandment: “Let them importune at the feet of the judge. . . . Let them importune at the feet of the governor. . . . Let them importune at the feet of the president.”[51] He acted as one with his brethren in Missouri to fulfill this divinely appointed quest. Would all this effort bring the Saints back to their holy city? At that very same time, faithful Mormon men and women from the east marched westward to help redeem Zion.


[1] “The Book of John Whitmer,” in JSP, H2:57; MHC, vol. A-1, 374–75; HC, 1:457.

[2] John Corrill, Brief History of the Church, in JSP, H2:149.

[3] MHC, vol. A-1, 374; HC, 1:457; Emily Dow Partridge Smith Young, “What I Remember,” April 7, 1884,

[4] Joseph Smith recorded in his journal that Hyde and Gould, on November 25, 1833, “returned from Zion and brough[t] the melencholly intlengen [intelligence] of the riot in Zion with the inhabitants in pers[e]cuting the breth[r]en.” JSP, J1:20.

[5] Correspondence in November and December 1833 between Church leaders in Missouri, including Phelps, and Joseph Smith and the Ohio leaders is documented in JSP, D3:336–54, 366–97.

[6] MHC, vol. A-1, 381–82; HC, 1:444–45.

[7] MHC, vol. A-1, 382–83; HC, 1:445–46.

[8] Sidney Gilbert wrote in a January 9, 1834, letter to Governor Dunklin that the December 6 petition “was drawn up hastily by Mr. Phelps, and signed by several of us, just before the closing of the mail.” MHC, vol. A-1, 414; HC, 1:472. Most generally Phelps was the scribe and composer of the letters written by the Missouri Church leaders.

[9] MHC, vol. A-1, 390–92; HC, 1:451–52; JSP, D3:407, 407n18. In early December, John Corrill wrote a lengthy, pessimistic letter to the Ohio brethren explaining the latest circumstances with the Missouri government. He reported that “the Governor has manifested a willingness to restore us back, and will if we request it.” But he lamented that his willingness would be of little use “unless he could leave a force there to help protect us; for the mob say, that three months shall not pass before they will drive us again.” W. W. Phelps, “From Missouri,” EMS 2, no. 16 (January 1834): 126.

[10] See Peter Crawley and Richard L. Anderson, “The Political and Social Realities of Zion’s Camp,” BYU Studies 14, no. 4 (Summer 1974): 406–20, for a thorough discussion of the Mormons’ assumption that the march of Zion’s Camp would result in aid from the Missouri government.

[11] JSP, D3:383–85; MHC, vol. A-1, 397–98; HC, 1:457; W. W. Phelps, “Later from Missouri,” EMS 2, no. 16 (January 1834): 128.

[12] JSP, D3:376–81; MHC, vol. A-1, 392–94; HC, 1:454.

[13] D&C 101:2, 6, 9, 18; JSP, D3:386–97; JSP, MRB:343–55.

[14] D&C 101:80, 86–89; JSP, D3:395–96.

[15] JSP, J1:24.

[16] JSP, D3:379–80; MHC, vol. A-1, 395–96; HC, 1:455–56.

[17] Max H Parkin, “A History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County, Missouri, from 1833 to 1837” (PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1976), 220–21.

[18] Alexander Majors, Seventy Years on the Frontier (New York: Rand, McNally & Co., 1893), 52; Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 188–98.

[19] Mary Lightner wrote in her memoirs, “I did not understand much about grammar. I had commenced its study with Sabrina Phelps . . . in Jackson County, until stopped by the mob.” “Mary E. Lightner’s Life History,” Hermine C. Irving polygamy research collection, box 1, folder 22, MS 25286, CHL.

[20] Life and Journal of Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman, M270.07 L9865L, CHL.

[21] Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 189, 198–209, 220.

[22] MHC, vol. A-1, 414–16, 421–24; HC, 1:472–80; “Newel Knight’s Journal,” in Scraps of Biography, Faith Promoting Series (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor’s Office, 1883), 89; Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 97–106.

[23] MHC, vol. A-1, 413; HC, 2:1; Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 6th ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1964), 106.

[24] Max H Parkin discussed the trial records that he researched in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, in his “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 103–7, 306–8. See also MHC, vol. A-1, 426–27; HC, 1:478–79.

[25] MHC, vol. A-1, 434; HC, 1:479; “The Book of John Whitmer,” in JSP, H2:58.

[26] .MHC, vol. A-1, 442–45; HC, 1:481–83; W. W. Phelps, “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” EMS 2, no. 18 (March 1834): 139; JSP, D3:468–72.

[27] MHC, vol. A-1, 442–45; HC, 1:481–83; Phelps, “Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” 139; JSP, D3:468–72.

[28] MHC, vol. A-1, 442–45; HC, 1:481–83; Phelps, “Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” 139; JSP, D3:468–72.

[29] MHC, vol. A-1, 442–45; HC, 1:481–83; Phelps, “Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” 139; JSP, D3:468–72; “Newel Knight’s Journal,” 90.

[30] Parkin, “History of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County,” 100–101; JSP, D4:xx, xxn15.

[31] MHC, vol. A-1, 443–44; HC, 1:482; Phelps, “Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” 139.

[32] MHC, vol. A-1, 443–44; HC, 1:482; Phelps, “Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” 139.

[33] JSP, J1:25–26; MHC, vol. A-1, 417; HC, 2:2–3.

[34] MHC, vol. A-1, 427–31; HC, 2:28–35; JSP, D3:435–45; D&C 102.

[35] JSP, D3:456; HC, 2:39.

[36] JSP, D3:456.

[37] JSP, D3:456–57.

[38] D&C 103; the quoted portion is from verses 27–28. The original documents for this revelation are found in JSP, MRB:354–61, 632–69; JSP, D3:457–63.

[39] JSP, J1:28–36.

[40] Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery sent letters in one posting from Kirtland, Ohio, to Edward Partridge, W. W. Phelps, and other members of the United Firm on March 30, 1834. JSP, D3:488–98 (quotation on p. 491).

[41] JSP, D3:491, 496.

[42] JSP, D3:497.

[43] In “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” T&S 1, no. 4 (February 1840): 50 (also in JSP, H2:227), Edward Partridge recounted that finally in the summer of 1836 Phelps’s and Partridge’s cases, as well as a few other more minor ones, would come to trial. However, the Church’s lawyers made an agreement without permission from Partridge and Phelps to receive a few hundred dollars’ recompense from the defendants. This did not even meet the thousand-dollar fee charged by the lawyers.

[44] D&C 101:88; “Newel Knight’s Journal,” 90.

[45] MHC, vol. A-1, 452–59; HC, 1:483–89; “Book of John Whitmer,” 59–70.

[46] MHC, vol. A-1, 452–56; HC, 1:483–85; JSP, D4:xix, xixn14.

[47] MHC, vol. A-1, 461–62; HC, 1:488–89; “Book of John Whitmer,” 71–72.

[48] MHC, vol. A-1, 475–76; HC, 1:493; JSP, D4:xixn14.

[49] MHC, vol. A-1, 472–74; HC, 1:489–90.

[50] MHC, vol. A-1, 476–79; HC, 1:491–93; “Newel Knight’s Journal,” 90–91.

[51] D&C 101:86–89.