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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Illinois

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Sidney Rigdon
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reformation
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Reception Of The Mormons








The state of Illinois, when the Mormons crossed the Missouri
River to settle in it, might still be considered a pioneer
country. Iowa, to the west of it, was a territory, and only
recently organized as such. The population of the whole state was
only 467,183 in 1840, as compared with 4,821,550 in 1900. Young
as it was, however, the state had had some severe financial
experiences, which might have served as warnings to the
new-comers. A debt of more than $14,000,000 had been contracted
for state improvements, and not a railroad or a canal had been
completed. "The people," says Ford, "looked one way and another
with surprise, and were astonished at their own folly." The
payment of interest on the state debt ceased after July, 1841,
and "in a short time Illinois became a stench in the nostrils of
the civilized world . . . . The impossibility of selling kept us
from losing population; the fear of disgrace or high taxes
prevented us from gaining materially."* The State Bank and the
Shawneetown Bank failed in 1842, and when Ford became governor in
that year he estimated that the good money in the state in the
hands of the people did not exceed one year's interest on the
public debt.

* Ford's "History of Illinois," Chap. VII.


The lawless conditions in many parts of the state in those days
can scarcely be realized now. It was in 1847 that the Rev. Owen
Lovejoy {handwritten comment in the book says "Elijah P.
Lovejoy." PG Editor} was killed at Alton in maintaining his right
to print there an abolition newspaper. All over the state,
settlers who had occupied lands as "squatters" defended their
claims by force, and serious mobs often resulted. Large areas of
military lands were owned by non-residents, who were in very bad
favor with the actual settlers. These settlers made free use of
the timber on such lands, and the non-residents, failing to
secure justice at law, finally hired preachers, who were paid by
the sermon to preach against the sin of "hooking" timber.*

* Ford's "History of Illinois," Chap. VI.


Bands of desperadoes in the northern counties openly defied the
officers of the law, and, in one instance, burned down the
courthouse (in Ogle County in 1841) in order to release some of
their fellows who were awaiting trial. One of these gangs ten
years earlier had actually built, in Pope County, a fort in which
they defied the authorities, and against which a piece of
artillery had to be brought before it could be taken. Even while
the conflict between the Mormons was going on, in 1846, there was
vitality enough in this old organization, in Pope and Massac
counties, to call for the interposition of a band of
"regulators," who made many arrests, not hesitating to employ
torture to secure from one prisoner information about his
associates. Governor Ford sent General J. T. Davies there, to try
to effect a peaceable arrangement of the difficulties, but he
failed to do so, and the "regulators," who found the county
officers opposed to them, drove out of the county the sheriff,
the county clerk, and the representative elect to the
legislature. When the judge of the Massac Circuit Court charged
the grand jury strongly against the "regulators," they, with
sympathizers from Kentucky, threatened to lynch him, and actually
marched in such force to the county seat that the sheriff's posse
surrendered, and the mob let their friends out of jail, and
drowned some members of the posse in the Ohio River.

The reception and treatment of the Mormons in Illinois, and the
success of the new-comers in carrying out their business and
political schemes, must be viewed in connection with these
incidents in the early history of the state.

The greeting of the Mormons in Illinois, in its practical shape,
had both a political and a business reason.* Party feeling ran
very high throughout the country in those days. The House of
Representatives at Washington, after very great excitement,
organized early in December, 1839, by choosing a Whig Speaker,
and at the same time the Whig National Convention, at Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, nominated General W. H. Harrison for President.
Thus the expulsion from Missouri occurred on the eve of one of
our most exciting presidential campaigns, and the Illinois
politicians were quick to appraise the value of the voting
strength of the immigrants. As a residence of six months in the
state gave a man the right to vote, the Mormon vote would count
in the presidential election.

* "The first great error committed by the people of Hancock
County was in accepting too readily the Mormon story of
persecution. It was continually rung in their ears, and believed
as often as asserted."--Gregg, "History of Hancock County," p.
270.


Accordingly, we find that in February, 1839, the Democratic
Association of Quincy, at a public meeting in the court-house,
received a report from a committee previously appointed, strongly
in favor of the refugees, and adopted resolutions condemning the
treatment of the Mormons by the people and officers of Missouri.
The Quincy Argus declared that, because of this treatment,
Missouri was "now so fallen that we could wish her star stricken
out from the bright constellation of the Union." In April, 1839,
Rigdon wrote to the "Saints in prison" that Governor Carlin of
Illinois and his wife "enter with all the enthusiasm of their
nature" into his plan to have the governor of each state present
to Congress the unconstitutional course of Missouri toward the
Mormons, with a view to federal relief. Governor Lucas of Iowa
Territory, in the same year (Iowa had only been organized as a
territory the year before, and was not admitted as a state until
1845), replying to a query about the reception the Mormons would
receive in his domain, said: "Their religious opinions I consider
have nothing to do with our political transactions. They are
citizens of the United States, and are entitled to the same
political rights and legal protection that other citizens are
entitled to." He gave Rigdon at the same time cordial letters of
introduction to President Van Buren and Governor Shannon of Ohio,
and Rigdon received a similar letter to the President,
recommending him "as a man of piety and a valuable citizen,"
signed by Governor Carlin, United States Senator Young, County
Clerk Wren, and leading business men of Quincy. Thus began that
recognition of the Mormons as a political power in Illinois which
led to concessions to them that had so much to do with finally
driving them into the wilderness.

The business reason for the welcome of the Mormons in Illinois
and Iowa was the natural ambition to secure an increase of
population. In all of Hancock County there were in 1830 only 483
inhabitants as compared with 32,215 in 1900. Along with this
public view of the matter was a private one. A Dr. Isaac Galland
owned (or claimed title to) a large tract of land on both sides
of the border line between Illinois and Iowa, that in Iowa being
included in what was known as "the half-breed tract," an area of
some 119,000 acres which, by a treaty between the United States
government and the Sacs and Foxes, was reserved to descendants of
Indian women of those tribes by white fathers, and the title to
much of which was in dispute. As soon as the Mormons began to
cross into Illinois, Galland approached them with an offer of
about 20,000 acres between the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers
at $2 per acre, to be paid in twenty annual instalments, without
interest. A meeting of the refugees was held in Quincy in
February, 1839, to consider this offer, but the vote was against
it. The failure of the efforts in Ohio and Missouri to establish
the Mormons as a distinct community had made many of Smith's
followers sceptical about the success of any new scheme with this
end in view, and at this conference several members, including so
influential a man as Bishop Partridge, openly expressed their
doubt about the wisdom of another gathering of the Saints.
Galland, however, pursued the subject in a letter to D. W.
Rodgers, inviting Rigdon and others to inspect the tract with
him, and assuring the Mormons of his sympathy in their
sufferings, and "deep solicitude for your future triumphant
conquest over every enemy." Rigdon, Partridge, and others
accepted Galland's invitation, but reported against purchasing
his land, and the refugees began scattering over the country
around Quincy.





Next: The Settlement Of Nauvoo

Previous: The Final Expulsion From The State



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