Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People

Meanwhile, the Mormons in Clay County, with the assent of the

natives there, had opened a factory for the manufacture of arms

"to pay the Jackson mob in their own way,"* and it was rumored

that both sides were supplying themselves with cannon, to make

the coming contest the more determined. Governor Dunklin, fearing

a further injury to the good name of the state, wrote to Colonel

J. Thornton urging a compromise, and on June 10 Judge Ryland sent

a communication to A. S. Gilbert, asking him to call a meeting of

Mormons in Liberty for a discussion of the situation.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 68.

This meeting was held on June 16, and a committee from Jackson

County presented the following proposition: "That the value of

the lands, and the improvements thereon, of the Mormons in

Jackson County, be ascertained by three disinterested appraisers,

representatives of the Mormons to be allowed freely to point out

the lands claimed and the improvements; that the people of

Jackson County would agree to pay the Mormons the valuation fixed

by the appraisers, WITH ONE HUNDRED PER CENT ADDED, within thirty

days of the award; or, the Jackson County citizens would agree to

sell out their lands in that county to the Mormons on the same

terms." The Mormon leaders agreed to call a meeting of their

people to consider this proposition.

The fifteen Jackson County committeemen, it may be mentioned, in

crossing the river on their way home, were upset, and seven of

them were drowned, including their chairman, J. Campbell, who was

reported to have made threats against Smith. The latter thus

reports the accident in his autobiography, "The angel of God saw

fit to sink the boat about the middle of the river, and seven,

out of the twelve that attempted to cross were drowned, thus

suddenly and justly went they to their own place by water."

On June 21 the Mormons gave written notice to the Jackson County

people that the terms proposed were rejected, and that they were

framing "honorable propositions" on their own part, which they

would soon submit, adding a denial of a rumor that they intended

a hostile invasion. Their objection to the terms proposed was

thus stated in an editorial in the Evening and Morning Star of

July, 1834, "When it is understood that the mob hold possession

of a large quantity of land more than our friends, and that they

only offer thirty days for the payment of the same, it will be

seen that they are only making a sham to cover their past

unlawful conduct." This explanation ignores entirely the offer of

the Missourians to buy out the Mormons at a valuation double that

fixed by the appraisers, and simply shows that they intended to

hold to the idea that their promised Zion was in Jackson County,

and that they would not give it up.*

* The idea of returning to a Zion in Jackson County has never

been abandoned by the Mormon church. Bishop Partridge took title

to the Temple lot in Independence in his own name. In 1839, when

the Mormons were expelled from the state, still believing that

this was to be the site of the New Jerusalem, he deeded

sixty-three acres of land in Jackson County, including this lot,

to three small children of Oliver Cowdery. In 1848, seven years

after Partridge's death, and when all the Cowdery grantees were

dead, a man named Poole got a deed for this land from the heirs

of the grantees, and subsequent conveyances were made under

Poole's deed. In 1851 a branch of the church, under a title

Church of Christ, known as Hendrickites, from Grandville

Hendrick, its originator, was organized in Illinois, with a basis

of belief which rejects most of the innovations introduced since

1835. Hendrick in 1864 was favored with a "revelation" which

ordered the removal of his church to Jackson County. On arriving

there different members quietly bought parts of the old Temple

lot. In 1887 the sole surviving sister and heir of the Cowdery

children executed a quit claim deed of the lot to Bishop

Blakeslee of the Reorganized Church in Iowa, and that church at

once began legal proceedings to establish their title. Judge

Philips, of the United States Circuit Court for the Western

Division of Missouri, decided the case in March, 1894, in favor

of the Reorganized Church, but the United States Court of Appeals

reversed this decision on the ground that the respondents had

title through undisputed possession ("United States Court of

Appeals Reports," Vol. XVII, p. 387). The Hendrickites in this

suit were actively aided by the Utah Mormons, President Woodruff

being among their witnesses. This Church of Christ has now a

membership of less than two hundred.

Two Mormon elders, describing their visit to Independence in

1888, said that they went to the Temple lot and prayed as

follows: "O Lord, remember thy words, and let not Zion suffer

forever. Hasten her redemption, and let thy name be glorified in

the victory of truth and righteousness over sin and iniquity.

Confound the enemies of the people and let Zion be free:'

--"Infancy of the Church," Salt Lake City, 1889.

On June 23 (the date of Smith's last quoted "revelation"), the

Mormons presented their counter proposition in writing. It was

that a board of six Mormons and six Jackson County non-Mormons

should decide on the value of lands in that county belonging to

"those men who cannot consent to live with us," and that they

should receive this sum within a year, less the amount of damage

suffered by the Mormons, the latter to be determined by the same

persons. The Jackson County people replied that they would "do

nothing like according to their last proposition," and expressed

a hope that the Mormons "would cast an eye back of Clinton, to

see if that is not a county calculated for them." Clinton was the

county next north of Clay.

Governor Dunklin, in his annual message to the legislature that

year, expressed the opinion that "conviction for any violence

committed against a Mormon cannot be had in Jackson County," and

told the lawmakers it was for them to determine what amendments

were necessary "to guard against such acts of violence for the

future." The Mormons sent a petition in their own behalf to the

legislature, which was presented by Corrill, but no action was


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