<Document 1 p.1>MORRIS PHELPS
To save expense and keep down excitement, it was thought best and proper to send committees of three from every branch of the Church to view this new territory, and take out good and convenient locations for the same, and to purchase the land of those living in this territory, as it was their wish to sell. Accordingly, men were chosen by the different branches of the Churches to select situations for said branches. For the branch located on the East Branch of Fishing River, Clay County John Taylor, Wheeler Baldwin, and Myself were chosen as a committee to explore this new country that was allotted to the Mormons to settle on. By the request of our brethren we started the last of July, We found a beautiful rich and fertile country, though mostly prairie, it lay high and was beautifully situated for farming; also with groves of timber beautifully shading the small streams, and many springs of water that gently made their way into North Grand River, equally dividing the prairie leaving them sufficiently large to permit farms on each side of the timber. We returned and called a meeting and made our returns. Our brethren expressed a general satisfaction. Immediately after the returns of these committees, the Mormons commenced building, fencing and plowing the uncultivated, rich soil; And emigrating to these new habitations, where they expected to live in peace and enjoy the good of their labor and individual rights of our beloved Republic. The winter following, the legislation set off this Territory into different counties, viz.: Livingston, Daviess and Caldwell, the latter included the Mormons. They elected their officers and executed the laws in justice. The emigration rapidly increased and filled up the county; all the land fit for cultivation was purchased; large farms was in cultivation; the first summer some had grain to spare. A city was laid off on a high commanding eminence on the prairie which could be seen for several miles distant. They commenced building in the Fall of 1836; and in August, 1837 there was <p.2> seven stores in the City and about one hundred and thirty dwelling houses, and thickly settled around on the prairies were beautified with elegant farms; everything appeared flourishing. Peace and tranquility appeared to flow from the houses of every citizen of the County, and all in perfect peace with the adjoining counties until the Fourth of July 1838. This day most gracefully celebrated in the City "Far West" by the inhabitants of Caldwell and others from adjoining counties. It was thought that there was twelve hundred people present to celebrate and hold in memory our venerable Fathers of Seventy-six, who suffered and bled to secure to themselves and children equal rights and privileges, and broke the yoke of bondage; and many of them at this day are reaping their reward of their labors and by annual pensions. And in celebration of this day we can frequently discover that the bosom of their children fired with the spirit of liberty and in maintaining their rights in honor of the "Father of our Republic", George Washington. During the exercises of the day the gentlemen and ladies was attended with a band of music, while a liberty pole stood exultingly upon the square with a flag upon it entitled "Liberty". At the close of the exercises of this day the gentlemen and ladies were respectfully marched around the foot of the Liberty Pole, which was lofty, when they was addressed by Sidney Rigdon, who delivered an oration, which was followed by three cheers. From that oration many has taken exceptions, and from that time the seed of discord has been sown from neighborhood to neighborhood, and from court to court; and this upper county has not ceased to fan the flames of destruction of this defenseless people. And as many false reports has went abroad relative to this oration, and has been misrepresented, and for the satisfaction of the reader, I take the liberty to include the oration in this history, verbatim, as it was written, and a few copies of the same was printed in Far West and reads as follows: (The oration by Sidney Rigdon was omitted on the manuscript and transcript but a copy may be found at http://sidneyrigdon.com/rigd1838.htm)
<p.3>At this time the emigration of the Mormons had become the population of Davis County, and they had commenced building a town on the bank of Grand River which had every appearance of making a flourishing business place. This Town (Diamon) was situated on a high rim of land, well timbered, in seven miles of Galiton, the County Seat, which had only three of four houses in the place.
In August there was a purchase made by the Mormons of one half of a Town plot, on the bank of the Missouri River, called Dewitt, four miles above the mouth of Grand River, in Carroll County, sixty miles below Far West. - And about one hundred families from the East settled in the Town and in the region round about and purchased large farms.
Notwithstanding the excitement that arose from the speech of the Fourth of July, - There was not any acts of violence committed until the Fourth of August 1838, at an election.
Col Pennistone, a candidate for the Legislature, knowing that he could not gain the Mormon votes, he mounted a barrel and addressed his company in a very inflammatory manner against the Mormons, which caused the indignation of his followers to rise against them, and with one accord they rose up with clubs and barrel staves and expelled the Mormons from the Poll Books; - Men who were citizens of the United States and who would vote a Republican ticket, and whose fathers were spokes in the wheel of the great Revolution. And on the morning of the 5th, a gentleman from Galiton informed the inhabitants of Far West, that two of the Mormons were killed, and were not permitted to bury them, and the statement truly aroused the feelings of the people insomuch that many of the inhabitants of Far West took their march to the County of Davis, supposing that the statement was correct; though, when they arrived there they found the statement incorrect. There was none killed, but one stabbed and others badly wounded.
They stayed in Diammon on day, some for one purpose and some for another, and they had previously bought the possessions of Judge Black, on which possession they were about to build up the town of Diammon and at the time of their stay in that place they did in a friendly manner visit a house of Judge Black, and ask him <p.4> whether he was or was not in favor of the mobs that was making its appearance for the purpose of driving the Mormons from their homes, or to deter them so that they shall not have equal privileges with other citizens of the county, and he did actually give them a Writing, stating that 'he did not intend to attach himself to any mob; and that he was perfectly willing that all white citizens should have equal rights'; and did express a deep satifaction to our visit. But, to their astonishment he became dissatisfied with the treaty, and he and Col. Penniston, like twins, mutually agreed to 'howl through the counties and at the same time declared to the inhabitants, 'That the Mormons were in Davis County with Five Hundred well armed men compelling people to sigh writings against their wills; and the mob gathered on the right and on the left, and it is not hid from the public that the mob collected at Mill Port, a town eight miles below Diammon, and other places for the purpose of driving the Mormons from their homes and did, at sundry times, take prisoners and keep them from their homes, and stopped wagons, plundered the same, and at length they succeded inraising some Militia; and for a knowledge of the conduct of the mob, I refer the reader to the Commanders of the Militia. At the time that the Militia came into Davis County, the mob had one prisoner and one horse in their possession, and the horse had both eyes put out. The Militia dispersed the mob and tarried for four weeks; then was dismissed.
To pass over the conduct of Judge Black (who was sworn to keep the peace,) and not trace his conduct any further, would be doing him injustice. After performing the labors and toiled with unwearied patience at the head of about twenty men who rode from house to house in Davis County warning the Mormons to leave the County forwith or they would come out on a certain day and tear down their houses and drive them forcibly, threatening some with death and destruction of property. However, it was unheeded by the Mormons, and the time passed over without difficulty. This outrageous violation of law and inhuman conduct took place in 1837 <correct. 1838> upon some fifteen or twenty families
The mob not being able to accomplish their desighns in the late difficulties; But as soon as the militia was dismissed, the mob made their way to Dewit in Carroll <p.5> County, and was commanded by Sashel Wood, a Presbyterian Priest, who made public prayer at morning and evening for the prosperity of their expedition. The mob continued to gather several days against the Mormons at Dewit. The Militia was again called out, but it was in vain, the mob being the strongest party, the Commanders told the Mormons that they could not put down the mob for they were not disposed to have any respect fot the law. A messenger was immediately sent to Boggs, the Governor of the State, praying His Excellency to prescribe some means for protection. The answer was "He could do nothing for them."
A dark and gloomy aspect now presented before a defenseless people, who had moved a long distance and had spent their substance, and at that time had but little flour or meal, and could not get out to get any more; the mob still gathering and frequently would come to the edge of the Town and fire down upon them, in the lower part of the Town, and then return to the Methodist Camp meeting ground the place of their emcampment. An express was sent to inform the citizens of Far west of the situation. It aroused their feelings. Upon this information there was near on hundred men went from Caldwell county to assist their afflicted brethren, who were near unto starvation, and surrounded by the mob. However before this company arrived the mob came on with their forces to attack the Town. And when in about half a mile, they were met by a much less number of Mormons who received a fire from the mob, commanded by S. Wood. It was soon returned. The second and third round was fired when the mob fled, some few of them wounded, and it is said one was killed (on the part of the Mormons not a man hurt). The mob again sent for reinforcement, and also a cannon, and when they had obtained their cannon and a small reinforcement, they frequently requested a treaty, knowing that they could starve them out in a few days, and choosing this way of fighting rather than facing powder and ball. On the other or opposite side of the river in Salem County, there was another large company, which lay in sight ready to come to their assistance. About this time there was a company that went to Mr. Smith Humphrey, when his family was sick, and ordered them out of their houses <p.6> and took their goods out and then put fire to the ouse and burned it, and some other buildings were likewise destroyed. They had stolen or taken some eighteen or twenty horses; Some cattle was also taken by them. The Mormons seem to be left to fight their own battles, or deliver themselves, their wives and children into the hands or power of a wicked and cruel people who only sought their destruction.
The Mormons being sensible of their situation. Tehy at length covenanted to leave the Town, their houses and their lands forthwith, it being the only terms of treaty which the mob would accept. They put what little they could into their wagons, and made their way to Caldwell County. As many as twelve or fifteen persons were sick, two died while on the removal, one by the infirmity of old age, the other in child birth.
The mob having had good sweeps in this expedition in obtaining a spoil and feathering their nests of the goods of poor afflicted, persecuted, unprotected innocent people who were lawful citizens of our country.
The mob immediately after closing this expedition turned their course and made their way for Davis County. On their way they took two prisoners, namely, James Dunn and Amasa Lyman, and compelled them to ride upon their cannon four days in succession, then liberated them by their making oath that they would not fight against them. This company encamped in another Methodist camp meeting establishment in the East of Davis.
I will remark here that the Methodists in the west are in the habit of building a number of small houses upon their camp grounds for the convenience of their meetings. Which also made it very convenient for a mob to encamp in while recruiting; and it also afforded another particular convenience when their leaders (the Priests) wished to say grace or pray. They have a stand or pulpit to mount up inot and lay hold of the horns of the altar Baalam like. All the upper country appeared to be in one scene of confusion. The cries of mob were heard from the rising of the sun until going down, and by night news did not cease to fly as upon the wings of the winds. <p.7>
The Mormons made application to the Commanding Generals of this upper country who was acquainted with their situation. General Doniphan was aware of the difficulty of raising the Militia to protect the Mormons, he, as I have been informed, advised the Mormons to go to Davis, Diammon, and tarry there for the purpose of prtecting their brethren until further orders or the Militia called out.
Beholding the scene of trouble that was swiftly rolling upon them they know that there must be some exertions amde or they would share the smae fate of the people at Dewit. There was a general meeting called at Far West, October 1838.
Their sufferings for several years past in this upper Missouri, was freely spoken of, and their present situation was still more alarming than ever. The mob was gathering from all the upper counties, and appeared more terrifying and blood-thirsty than any since the old Jackson mob; they appeared to spread consternation over all the upper country; and more particular upon the Mormons, and to pursue their prey and never cease contending even unto bloodshed until they got the Mormons out of the State, or their bones left to bleach upon the earth.
Solemn feelings appeared to weigh down the spirits of every person present, and a general inquiry was made: What shall we do? Shall we stand still and let the mob continue to walk through and tread down our brethren, their wives and children, and destroy their property and they perish? The Governor refuses to assist us. We are cast off and without protection notwithstanding our father's blood is yet making firm the ground that was shed in obtaining our liberty. At length the majority agreed to take the advice of General Doniphan. The same night upwards of one hundred men mounted on horses well equipped, started for Diammon and arrived there before daylight the next morning - twenty-five miles. The next day another company of one hundred and fifty foot men arrived at the same place, where they tarried two or three days and had their spies watching the moves of the mob. They were wtill gathering in four different, and was considerably flustrated in their calculation in consequence of a severe snowstorm that fell about that time, which was remarkable for this country. <p.8>
One company was gathering at Galiton, another at Milport, and another twenty miles west up Grand River, commanded by Neal Gillem, a member of the Senate; he was painted red and black in the face, in all the beauty of one of the savage Natives of the forest. This man was once a moral Methodist Priest, and taught good principles of morality; but is more highly honored at this time than he ever was when a moral, good citizen. If a man in this upper Missouri wishes to be honorable to be a Governor, a General, a Senator, or or Legislator, Judge, let him come out and persecute the Mormons in the most cruel, hostile manner, defying all laws of man and God.
<Doucument 2 P.1>About this time there was several expresses brought in such as the mob had burnt four houses, vix. Henry Umpred, Samuel Murick, Thomas Gordon and Don C. Smith, the latter had for some months been gone to the East, his wife and little children was driven out of their beds and house into the snow, some distance from any house to shift for themselves, while the mob in her presence destroyed her property and burnt her house. She then made her way with her little children that night to Diammon, five miles. The other families had fortunately made good their escape with their goods and families, but a few minutes before the mob came up and burnt their houses.
This the work of destruction of property and the cries of women and children is again heard in our land. But if it had ended here, it would be joy of my heart, and I should not have the painful and disgraceful history to write: -- For I consider I have already written enough to pain the heart of the recorder and to raise his republican spirit to zenith and cause our boasted and most beloved Republic to blush.
The next morning a company of thirty men set off on their chargers well equipped to a night and hood on Grind-Stone creek, about fourteen miles, to see what the senator Neal Gillom, and company was about for it was supposed that it was some of his company that burnt those houses; -- but he was not to be found. And on their return they called on an elderly man by the name of Cope, wishing to know whether he was a Mormon-eater. They introduced themselves as being a volonteer company from Saline County who had come to see what the Mormons were about, as they had understood that they were gathering in Davis County, and perhaps for no good, and they had come to assist him and others, if necessary to drive them from the County.
Cope - "Well, gentlemen, is this your business?" "Yes sir, that is our business and a cold disagreeable time to have too." "Yes, gentlemen it is; but notwithstanding I am truly glad to see you, for the D--n Mormons are about to take our County and we dare not sleep as yet in this settlement; but now I think we can give them hell, with the assistance of those that are encamped below here; --Yes, old Dad <p.2> we think we are enough for them." The old gentleman's countenance brightened, and spirits seemed to kindle with gratitude, his eyes sparkled with joy. Said; --"Gentlemen light from you horses; and have them fed with corn; -- Curry them that they may be prepared and ready for business; --and rest yourselves and have some refreshments; -- Old woman, get some dinner for those men! They have come to fight the Mormons for us - My daughter; fly round and help Marm! And get a good dinner. Gentlemen! Here is corn in the crib and a stable and lot; help yourselves, feed high; --I have a plenty and you are welcome." After they had fed their horses, they were invited in to the house. A bee-hive was uncapped; a good dinner was soon set upon the table of which they refreshed themselves, and passed off a few hours in lively chat with the family. The old gentleman observing some of the company was too thinly clad for cold weather, gave one his overcoat, and one or two blankets, and one gun and some ammunition, and swapped two of his best horses for two poor ones. (And elegant chargers they were.) They rigged them out for the campaign. --And agreed to meet them the next day with all the men he could raise the next day near Mill port, saying I am a hole hook beggared; and we will make Diammon tremble like hell charged of ale.
When they left the old gentleman, they offered to pay him for his trouble, but he refused taking any pay; --saying, I have plenty, and you are welcome to come again and was willing to bear his part. They gave him the parting hand and rode off. According to agreement they went the next morning to meet the old gentleman, who failed to come having got a knowledge of his mistake.
The above story was related to me by the man that had the overcoat; and I have written the same as near as possible verbatim word for word. Many of the Mormons had become most furiously heated with just revenge when reflecting upon their sufferings by a mob who had not ceased to hunt and scourge them every opportunity, and had destroyed their property from time to time; their wives and daughters had frequently been greatly insulted, and driven from place to place in heat and cold and no protection afforded them by law, their rights and privileges as full citizens taken from them. And a mere terrible and terrifying mob than ever drawing in upon them on every side with every appearance of a savage war ensuing, or the final expulson of two or three <p.3> hundred families from Davis County, and between five and six thousand inhabitants from Caldwell County and in fact, cout of the state. No prospect of the Militia affording relief any longer, for the officers could no longer command a majority of their men in protecting the Mormons. The Governor declared that he could not do anything for them. Some weeks previous, under these existing circumstances the officers of the Mormons Army could no longer govern and keep down many of their men. Near one hundred and fifty men came out from the others and chose their officers and declared that they would no longer bear the insults of a savage, hostile mob, but would protect their wives and children and property from being driven and destroyed by the ungodly rulers: The Militia was excepted, although it was been said that they were determined to resist the Militia, but it was not the case.
TO PASS OVER THE MODERN SAMPSON
Avard, without noticing his conduct, would be doing him and my history injustice. For, it is a well known fact that he was one of the most conspicuous characters in the (Mormon so called) society, who ever sought to be on the top of the heap, but failing to get the applause of the society, he under-handedly sought by forming a secret combination to overthrow the Church, in which he succeeded in getting many of the members of the society to join him in his diabolical designs.
Through his smooth and flattering and winning speeched, which he frequently made, while he had the house well guarded, by some two or three of his pupils. In this situation, well secluded from the public he would lecture and initiate into his lodge by an oath, firmly binding them (by all that was sacred) in the protecting each other n all thing that was lawful. And was careful to picture out a great glory that was then hovering over the Church, and would soon burst upon the Saints as a cloud by day and a pillow of fire by night; and would soon unveil the slumbering mysteries of Heaven which would gladden the hearts and arouse the stupid spirits of the Saints of the Latter-days, and fill their hearts with that love which is unspeakable and full of glory; and arm them with power that the gates of hell could not prevail against them. And would often affirm to his company that the principal man of the Church had put him forward as a spokesman and a leader of this band which he named DANITES.
<p.4>Thus he duped many which gave him the opportunity to figure more largely. He held his meetings daily and carried on his work of craft in great hasts, to prevent a mature reflection upon the matter, and had them bound under the nealties of death to keep the sains and certain signs which they had to know each
<Document 3 p.1>In June, 1844, the mob began to collect and threaten to destroy Nauvoo, and kill the prophets. We were now under the necessity of being under arms, and in readiness for several weeks, to save our City from the fames, and our women and children from the ravages of a brutal mob, and the Prophets from assassination.
At length the Governor of the State, Mr. Ford, made his appearance at the head of the mob under the notice of Militia, and demanded the Prophets, Joseph, Hyrum and others to give themselves up, or he would come against Nauvoo. Joseph and Hyrum, having a greater love for his brethren than for themselves, -- marched into Carthage as a sacrifice to save their brethren, and on the 27th day of June, 1844, they were brutally murdered in Carthage jail, in Hancock County, State of Illinois. The next day was brought into Nauvoo and buried.
The first of January 1845, the mob began to search for Brigham young (who is Joseph Smith's successor in office) with warrants to arrest him, he having witnessed their treachery, he evaded the officers, and took his family and started for the West in the wilderness and mountains, and all the Church followed him.
When the Prophet Joseph was arrested and taken to Moumoth for trial, I went with him as a witness; he was honorably acquitted.
In the summer of 1845 the mob commenced burning houses and driving men and women and children in to Nauvoo, from the southern settlements. The Sheriff, Mr. Backentos, called for a posse, committees to arrest the house burners. I, with many others turned out in defence of the rights of the suffering citizens, and to bring the offenders to a just punishment. After searching through the settlements for several days and not <p.2> finding any men, all having fled, we turned or course to Carthage, and endeavored to surround the town of a sudden, hoping to find some of the offenders, but to no effect, they had all slipped out before our arrival. We stayed all night, encamped around the Court House, and in it the next day we were discharged and returned to Nauvoo.