The Final Expulsion From The State

At eight o'clock the next morning the commander of the militia

sent a flag of truce to the Mormons which Colonel Hinckle, for

the Mormons, met. General Lucas submitted the following terms, as

necessary to carry out the governor's orders:

1. To give up their leaders to be tried and punished.

2. To make an appropriation of their property, all who have taken

up arms, to the payment of their debts and indemnity for damage

done by them.

3. That the balance should leave the State, and be protected out

by the militia, but be permitted to remain under protection until

further orders were received by the commander-in-chief.

4. To give up the arms of every description, to be receipted for.

While these propositions were under consideration, General Lucas

asked that Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, P. P. Pratt, and G. W.

Robinson be given up as hostages, and this was done. Contemporary

Mormon accounts imputed treachery to Colonel Hinckle in this

matter, and said that Smith and his associates were lured into

the militia camp by a ruse. General Lucas's report to the

governor says that the proposition for a conference came from

Hinckle. Hyrum Smith, in an account of the trial of the

prisoners, printed some years later in the Times and Seasons,

said that all the men who surrendered were that night condemned

by a court-martial to be shot, but were saved by General

Doniphan's interference. Lee's account agrees with this, but says

that Smith surrendered voluntarily, to save the lives of his


General Lucas received the surrender of Far West, on the terms

named, in advance of the arrival of General Clark, who was making

forced marches. After the surrender, General Lucas disbanded the

main body of his force, and set out with his prisoners for

Independence, the original site of Zion. General Clark, learning

of this, ordered him to transfer the prisoners to Richmond, which

was done.

Hearing that the guard left by General Lucas at Far West were

committing outrages, General Clark rode to that place accompanied

by his field officers. He found no disorder,* but instituted a

military court of inquiry, which resulted in the arrest of

forty-six additional Mormons, who were sent to Richmond for

trial. The facts on which these arrests were made were obtained

principally from Dr. Avard, the Danite, who was captured by a

militia officer. "No one," General Clark says, "disclosed any

useful matter until he was captured."

* "Much property was destroyed by the troops in town during their

stay there, such as burning house logs, rails, corn cribs,

boards, etc., the using of corn and hay, the plundering of

houses, the killing of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and also the

taking of horses not their own."--"Mormon Memorial to Missouri

Legislature," December 10, 1838.

After these arrests had been made, General Clark called the other

Mormons at Far West together, and addressed them, telling them

that they could now go to their fields for corn, wood, etc., but

that the terms of the surrender must be strictly lived up to.

Their leading men had been given up, their arms surrendered, and

their property assigned as stipulated, but it now remained for

them to leave the state forthwith. On that subject the general


"The character of this state has suffered almost beyond

redemption, from the character, conduct, and influence that you

have exerted; and we deem it an act of justice to restore her

character to its former standing among the states by every proper

means. The orders of the governor to me were that you should be

exterminated and not allowed to remain in the state. And had not

your leaders been given up, and the terms of the treaty complied

with, before this time you and your families would have been

destroyed, and your houses in ashes. There is a discretionary

power vested in my hands, which, considering your circumstances,

I shall exercise for a season. You are indebted to me for this


"I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of

staying here another season, or of putting in crops, for the

moment you do this the citizens will be upon you; and if I am

called here again, in a case of a non-compliance of a treaty

made, do not think that I shall do as I have done now. You need

not expect any mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the

governor's orders shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not

think, do not imagine for a moment, do not let it enter into your

mind, that they will be delivered and restored to you again, for

their fate is fixed, their die is cast, their doom is sealed.

"I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so many apparently intelligent men

found in the situation you are; and O ! if I could invoke the

great spirit, the unknown God, to rest upon and deliver you from

that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those

fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound, that you no

longer do homage to a man. I would advise you to scatter abroad,

and never organize yourselves with bishops, presidents, etc.,

lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject

yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you.

You have always been the aggressors: you have brought upon

yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being

subject to rule. And my advice is that you become as other

citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon

yourselves irretrievable ruin."

General Clark then marched with his prisoners to Richmond, where

the trial of all the accused began on November 12, before Judge

A. A, King. By November 29 the called-out militia had been

disbanded, and on that date General Clark made his final report

to the governor. In this he asserted that the militia under him

had conducted themselves as honorable citizen soldiers, and

enclosed a certificate signed by five Mormons, including W. W.

Phelps, Colonel Hinckle, and John Corrill, confirming this

statement, and saying, "We have no hesitation in saying that the

course taken by General Clark with the Mormons was necessary for

the public peace, and that the Mormons are generally satisfied

with his course."

In his summing up of the results of the campaign, General Clark


"It [the Mormon insurrection] had for its object Dominion, the

ultimate subjugation of this State and the Union to the laws of a

few men called the Presidency. Their church was to be built up at

any rate, peaceably if they could, forcibly if necessary. These

people had banded themselves together in societies, the object of

which was to first drive from their society such as refused to

join them in their unholy purposes, and then to plunder the

surrounding country, and ultimately to subject the state to their


"The whole number of the Mormons killed through the whole

difficulty, so far as I can ascertain, are about forty, and

several wounded. There has been one citizen killed, and about

fifteen badly wounded."*

* "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 92.

Brigadier General R. Wilson was sent with his command to settle

the Mormon question in Daviess County. Finding the town of

Adamondi-Ahman unguarded, he placed guards around it, and

gathered in the Mormons of the neighborhood, to the number of

about two hundred. Most of these, he explained in his report,

were late comers from Canada and the northern border of the

United States, and were living mostly in tents, without any

adequate provision for the winter. Those against whom criminal

charges had been made were placed under arrest, and the others

were informed that General Wilson would protect them for ten

days, and would guarantee their safety to Caldwell County or out

of the state. "This appeared to me," said General Wilson, in his

report to General Clark, "to be the only course to prevent a

general massacre." In this report General Wilson presented the

following picture of the situation there as he found it: "It is

perfectly impossible for me to convey to you anything like the

awful state of things which exists here--language is inadequate

to the task. The citizens of a whole county first plundered, and

then their houses and other buildings burnt to ashes; without

houses, beds, furniture, or even clothing in many instances, to

meet the inclemency of the weather. I confess that my feelings

have been shocked with the gross brutality of these Mormons, who

have acted more like demons from the infernal regions than human

beings. Under these circumstances, you will readily perceive that

it would be perfectly impossible for me to protect the Mormons

against the just indignation of the citizens . . . . The Mormons

themselves appeared pleased with the idea of getting away from

their enemies and a justly insulted people, and I believe all

have applied and received permits to leave the county; and I

suppose about fifty families have left, and others are hourly

leaving, and at the end of ten days Mormonism will not be known

in Daviess county. This appeared to me to be the only course left

to prevent a general massacre."*

* "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 78.

The Mormons began to depart at once, and in ten days nearly all

had left. Lee, who acted as guide to General Wilson, and whose

wife and babe were at Adamondi-Ahman, says:

"Every house in Adamondi-Ahman was searched by the troops for

stolen property. They succeeded in finding very much of the

Gentile property that had been captured by the Saints in the

various raids they made through the country. Bedding of every

kind and in large quantities was found and reclaimed by the

owners. Even spinning wheels, soap barrels, and other articles

were recovered. Each house where stolen property was found was

certain to receive a Missouri blessing from the troops. The men

who had been most active in gathering plunder had fled to

Illinois to escape the vengeance of the people, leaving their

families to suffer for the sins of the believing Saints."*

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 89.

We may now follow the fortunes of the Mormon prisoners. On

arriving at Richmond, they were confined in the unfinished brick

court-house. The only inside work on this building that was

completed was a partly laid floor, and to this the prisoners were

restricted by a railing, with a guard inside and out. "Two

three-pail iron kettles for boiling our meat, and two or more

iron bake kettles, or Dutch ovens, were furnished us," says

Robinson, "together with sacks of corn meal and meat in bulk. We

did our own cooking. This arrangement suited us very well, and we

enjoyed ourselves as well as men could under such


* The Return, Vol. I, p. 234.

Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and

A. McRea were soon transferred to the jail at Liberty. The others

were then put into the debtor's room of Richmond jail, a

two-story log structure which was not well warmed, but they were

released on light bail in a few days.

A report of the testimony given at the hearing of the Mormon

prisoners before judge King will be found in the "Correspondence,

Orders, etc.," published by order of the Missouri legislature,

pp. 97-149. Among the Mormons who gave evidence against the

prisoners were Avard, the Danite, John Whitmer, W. W. Phelps,

John Corrill, and Colonel Hinckle. There were thirty-seven

witnesses for the state and seven for the defence. As showing the

character of the testimony, the following selections will


Avard told the story of the origin of the Danites, and said that

he considered Joseph Smith their organizer; that the constitution

was approved by Smith and his counsellors at Rigdon's house, and

that the members felt themselves as much bound to obey the heads

of the church as to obey God. Just previous to the arrival of

General Lucas at Far West, Smith had assembled his force, and

told them that, for every one they lacked in numbers as compared

with their opponents, the Lord would send angels to fight for

them. He presented the text of the indictment against Cowdery,

Whitmer, and others, drawn up by Rigdon.

John Corrill testified about the effect of Rigdon's "salt

sermon," and also that he had attended meetings of the Danites,

and had expressed disapproval of the doctrine that, if one

brother got into difficulty, it was the duty of the others to

help him out, right or wrong; that Smith and Rigdon attended one

of these meetings, and that he had heard Smith declare at a

meeting, "if the people would let us alone, we would preach the

Gospel to them in peace, but if they came on us to molest us, we

would establish our religion by the sword, and that he would

become to this generation a second Mohammed"; just after the

expulsion of the Mormons from Dewitt, Smith declared hostilities

against their opponents in Caldwell and Daviess counties, and had

a resolution passed, looking to the confiscation of the property

of the brethren who would not join him in the march; and on a

Sunday he advised the people that they might at times take

property which at other times it would be wrong to take, citing

David's eating of the shew bread, and the Saviour's plucking ears

of corn.* Reed Peck testified to the same effect.

* Corrill, Avard, Hinckle, Marsh, and others were formally

excommunicated at a council held at Quincy, Illinois, on March

17, 1839, over which Brigham Young presided.

John Clemison testified to the presence of Smith at the early

meetings of the Danites; that Rigdon and Smith had advised that

those who were backward in joining his fighting force should be

placed in the front ranks at the point of pitchforks; that a

great deal of Gentile property was brought into Mormon camps, and

that "it was frequently observed among the troops that the time

had come when the riches of the Gentiles should be consecrated to

the state."

W. W. Phelps testified that in the previous April he had heard

Rigdon say, at a meeting in Far West, that they had borne

persecution and lawsuits long enough, and that, if a sheriff came

with writs against them, they would kill him, and that Smith

approved his words. Phelps said that the character of Rigdon's

"salt sermon" was known and discussed in advance of its delivery.

John Whitmer testified that, soon after the preaching of the

"salt sermon," a leading Mormon told him that they did not intend

to regard any longer "the niceties of the law of the land," as

"the kingdom spoken of by the Prophet Daniel had been set up."

The testimony concerning the Danite organization and Smith's

threats against the Missourians received confirmation in an

affidavit by no less a person than Thomas B. Marsh, the First

President of the twelve Apostles, before a justice of the peace

in Ray County, in October, 1838. In this Marsh said:--

"The plan of said Smith, the Prophet, is to take this state; and

he professes to his people to intend taking the United States and

ultimately the whole world. The Prophet inculcates the notion,

and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith's prophecies

are superior to the law of the land. I have heard the Prophet say

that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their

dead bodies; that, if he was not let alone, he would be a second

Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore

of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean."

This affidavit was accompanied by an affidavit by Orson Hyde, who

was afterward so prominent in the councils of the church, stating

that he knew most of Marsh's statements to be true, and believed

the others to be true also.

Of the witnesses for the defence, two women and one man gave

testimony to establish an alibi for Lyman Wight at the time of

the last Mormon expedition to Daviess County; Rigdon's daughter

Nancy testified that she had heard Avard say that he would swear

to a lie to accomplish an object; and J. W. Barlow gave testimony

to show that Smith and Rigdon were not with the men who took part

in the battle on Crooked Creek.

Rigdon, in an "Appeal to the American People," which he wrote

soon after, declared that this trial was a compound between an

inquisition and a criminal court, and that the testimony of Avard

was given to save his own life. "A part of an armed body of men,"

he says, "stood in the presence of the court to see that the

witnesses swore right, and another part was scouring the country

to drive out of it every witness they could hear of whose

testimony would be favorable to the defendants. If a witness did

not swear to please the court, he or she would be threatened to

be cast into prison . . . . A man by the name of Allen began to

tell the story of Bogart's burning houses in the south part of

Caldwell; he was kicked out of the house, and three men put after

him with loaded guns, and he hardly escaped with his life.

Finally, our lawyers, General Doniphan and Amos Rees, told us not

to bring our witnesses there at all, for if we did, there would

not be one of them left for the final trial . . . . As to making

any impression on King, if a cohort of angels were to come down

and declare we were clear, Doniphan said it would be all the

same, for he had determined from the beginning to cast us into

prison. Smith alleged that judge King was biased against them

because his brother-in-law had been killed during the early

conflicts in Jackson County.

Several of the defendants were discharged during or after the

close of the hearing. Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and three

others were ordered committed to the Clay County jail at Liberty

on a charge of treason; Parley P. Pratt and four others to the

Ray County jail on a charge of murder; and twenty-three others

were ordered to give bail on a charge of arson, burglary,

robbery, and larceny, and all but eight of these were locked up

in default of bail. The prisoners confined at Liberty secured a

writ of habeas corpus soon after, but only Rigdon was ordered

released, and he thought it best for his safety to go back to the

jail. He afterward, with the connivance of the sheriff and

jailer, made his escape at night, and reached Quincy, Illinois,

in February, 1839.

P. P. Pratt, in his "Late Persecution," says that the prisoners

were kept in chains most of the time, and that Riodon, although

ill, "was compelled to sleep on the floor, with a chain and

padlock round his ankle, and fastened to six others." Hyrum

Smith, in a "Communication to the Saints" printed a year later,

says; "We suffered much from want of proper food, and from the

nauseous cell in which I was confined."

Joseph Smith remained in the Liberty jail until April, 1839. At

one time all the prisoners nearly made their escape, "but

unfortunately for us, the timber of the wall being very hard, our

augur handles gave out, which hindered us longer than we

expected," and the plan was discovered.

The prophet employed a good deal of his time in jail in writing

long epistles to the church. He gave out from there also three

"revelations," the chief direction of which was that the brethren

should gather up all possible information about their

persecutions, and make out a careful statement of their property

losses. His letters reveal the character of the man as it had

already been exhibited --headlong in his purposes, vindictive

toward any enemy. He says in his biography that he paid his

lawyers about $50,000 "in cash, lands, etc." (a pretty good sum

for the refugee from Ohio to amass so soon), but got little

practical assistance from them, "for sometimes they were afraid

to act on account of the mob, and sometimes they were so drunk as

to incapacitate them for business." In one of his letters to the

church he thus speaks of some of his recent allies," This poor

man [W. W. Phelps] who professes to be much of a prophet, has no

other dumb ass to ride but David Whitmer, or to forbid his

madness when he goes up to curse Israel; but this not being of

the same kind as Balaam's, therefore, notwithstanding the angel

appeared unto him, yet he could not sufficiently penetrate his

understanding but that he brays out cursings instead of

blessings." *

* Times and Seasons, Vol. I, p. 82.

On April 6, Smith and his fellow-prisoners were taken to Daviess

County for trial. The judge and jury before whom their cases came

were, according to his account, all drunk. Smith and four others

were promptly indicted for "murder, treason, burglary, arson,

larceny, theft, and stealing." They at once secured a change of

venue to Boone County, 120 miles east, and set out for that place

on April 15, but they never reached there. Smith says they were

enabled to escape because their guard got drunk. In a newspaper

interview printed many years later, General Doniphan is quoted as

saying that he had it on good authority that Smith paid the

sheriff and his guards $1100 to allow the prisoners to escape.

Ebenezer Robinson says that Joseph and Hyrum were allowed to ride

away on two fine horses, and that, a few Weeks later, he saw the

sheriff at Quincy making Joseph a friendly visit, at which time

he received pay for the animals.* The party arrived at Quincy,

Illinois, on April 22, and were warmly welcomed by the brethren

who had preceded them. Among these was Brigham Young, who was

among those who had found it necessary to flee the state before

the final surrender was arranged. The Missouri authorities, as we

shall see, for a long time continued their efforts to secure the

extradition of Smith, but he never returned to Missouri.

As the Mormons had tried to set aside their original agreement

with the Jackson County people, so, while their leaders were in

jail, they endeavored to find means to break their treaty with

General Lucas. Their counsel, General Atchison, was a member of

the legislature, and he warmly espoused their cause. They sent in

a petition,* which John Corrill presented, giving a statement in

detail of the opposition they had encountered in the state, and

asking for the enactment of a law "rescinding the order of the

governor to drive us from the state, and also giving us the

sanction of the legislature to inherit our lands in peace"; as

well as disapproving of the "deed of trust," as they called the

second section of the Lucas treaty. The petition was laid on the

table. An effort for an investigation of the whole trouble by a

legislative committee was made, and an act to that effect was

passed in 1839, but nothing practical came of it. When the Mormon

memorial was called up, its further consideration was postponed

until July, and then the Mormons knew that they had no

alternative except to leave the state.

* For full text, see Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, pp. 586-589.

While the prisoners were in jail, things had not quieted down in

the Mormon counties. The decisive action of the state authorities

had given the local Missourians to understand that the law of the

land was on their side, and when the militia withdrew they took

advantage of their opportunity. Mormon property was not

respected, and what was left to those people in the way of

horses, cattle, hogs, and even household belongings was taken by

the bands of men who rode at pleasure,* and who claimed that they

were only regaining what the Mormons had stolen from them. The

legislature appropriated $2000 for the relief of such sufferers.

* See M. Arthur's letter, "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 94.

Facing the necessity of moving entirely out of the state, the

Mormons, as they had reached the western border line of

civilization, now turned their face eastward to Quincy, Illinois,

where some of their members were already established. Not until

April 20 did the last of them leave Far West. The migration was

attended with much suffering, as could not in such circumstances

be avoided. The people of the counties through which they passed

were, however, not hostile, and Mormon writers have testified

that they received invitations to stop and settle. These were

declined, and they pressed on to the banks of the Mississippi,

where, in February and March, there were at one time more than

130 families, waiting for the moving ice to enable them to cross,

many of them without food, and the best sheltered depending on

tents made of their bedclothing.*

* Green's "Facts Relative to the Expulsion."

What the total of the pecuniary losses of the Mormons in Missouri

was cannot be accurately estimated. They asserted that in Jackson

County alone, $120,000 worth of their property was destroyed, and

that fifteen thousand of their number fled from the state. Smith,

in a statement of his losses made after his arrival in Illinois,

placed them at $1,000,000. In a memorial presented to Congress at

this time the losses in Jackson County were placed at $175,000,

and in the state of Missouri at $2,000,000. The efforts of the

Mormons to secure redress were long continued. Not only was

Congress appealed to, but legislatures of other states were urged

to petition in their behalf. The Senate committee at Washington

reported that the matter was entirely within the jurisdiction of

the state of Missouri. One of the latest appeals was addressed by

Smith at Nauvoo in December, 1843, to his native state, Vermont,

calling on the Green Mountain boys, not only to assist him in

attaining justice in Missouri, "but also to humble and chastise

or abase her for the disgraces she has brought upon

constitutional liberty, until she atones for her sin."

The final act of the Mormon authorities in Missouri was somewhat

dramatic. Smith in his "revelation" of April 8, 1838, directing

the building of a Temple at Far West, had (the Lord speaking)

ordered the beginning to be made on the following Fourth of July,

adding, "in one year from this day let them recommence laying the

foundation of my house." The anniversary found the latest

Missouri Zion deserted, and its occupants fugitives; but the

command of the Lord must be obeyed. Accordingly, the twelve

Apostles journeyed secretly to Far West, arriving there about

midnight of April 26, 1839. A conference was at once held, and,

after transacting some miscellaneous business, including the

expulsion of certain seceding members, all adjourned to the

selected site of the Temple, where, after the singing of a hymn,

the foundation was relaid by rolling a large stone to one

corner.* The Apostles then returned to Illinois as quietly as

possible. The leader of this expedition was Brigham Young, who

had succeeded T. B. Marsh as President of the Twelve.

* The modern post-office name of Far West is Kerr. All the Mormon

houses there have disappeared. Traces of the foundation of the

Temple, which in places was built to a height of three or four

feet, are still discernible.

Thus ended the early history of the Mormon church in Missouri.

The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood The First Converts At Kirtland facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail