Ep 48 – Haun’s Mill Massacre

On this episode, we finally dive into something highly anticipated for years, the Haun’s Mill Massacre. The title says it all; we discuss very adult concepts with graphic detail (listener discretion advised). We read 5 first-hand accounts of the massacre and bring it all together with Stephen LeSueur’s reconstruction of events. We finish out with a list of factors that lead to this fateful day in American history.

Links:

Amanda Barnes Smith
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1781809

Lyman Omer Littlefield Autobiography
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

James McBride 1876 microform
http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll15/id/11608

Ellis Eames
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/12594448

Mrs. Lucy Walker (Smith) Kimball:
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

Show links:

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Mormon Mimzy:

Lucy Smith’s dream in Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet to his Progenitors pp 54

“I thought that I stood in a large and beautiful meadow, which lay a short distance from the house in which we lived, and that everything around me wore an aspect of peculiar pleasantness. The first thing That attracted my special attention in this magnificent meadow, was a very pure and clear stream of water, which ran through the midst of it; and as I traced this stream, I discovered two trees standing upon its margin, both of which were on the same side of the stream. These trees were very beautiful, they were well proportioned, and towered with majestic beauty to a great height. Their branches, which added to their symmetry and glory, commenced near the top, and spread themselves in luxurious grandeur around. I gazed upon them with wonder and admiration; and after beholding them a short time, I saw one of them was surrounded with a bright belt, that shone like burnished gold, but far more brilliantly. Presently, a gently breeze passed by, and the tree encircled with this golden zone, bent gracefully before the wind, and waved its beautiful branches in the light air.”

Background:

Amanda Barnes Smith
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1781809

“When I was in my eighteenth year I was married to Warren Smith, brother to David, who married my sister Fanna, unto whom I bore five children: Willard Gilbert born May 9, 1827; Sardis Washington born Sept. 26, 1828; Alma Lamoni, born Dec. 16, 1831; Alvira Lavoni, born Dec. 16, 1831; Ortencia Howard, born May 27, 1837. When I married my husband he had plenty of this world's good, I knew no want, we lived comfortably together nothing particular transpired until Sidney Rigdon and Orson Hyde came along preaching Cambellism. I was converted to that doctrine and baptised by Sidney Rigdon, my hus­band did not much like that, tho it was by his permission, by this time I had two children and the Doctor in consequence of my suffering advised me to have no more, but thanks be to my Heavenly Father, the gospel came along and I was baptised by Simeon D. Carter the first day of April eighteen hundred and thirty one. It was by the mercy and power of God that I was brought to a knowledge of the truth and before a year I gave birth to a pair of twins without a pain, thanks to my Father in Heaven, that made an awful stir. My mother would not stay in the house because she found out that I had the elders pray for me when I was sick or when they were born. My neighbors thought I ought to be drummed out of town, my husband had been baptised before that time so we were united and they could do nothing.

My husband's father, Chileab Smith and brothers, David and Syl­vester, were both baptised, as also Betsy, Sylvester's wife. When David was baptised Fanny, my sister, howled and screamed so that she was heard a half mile, she said she never would eat nor drink until he left the Mormons, she was as good as her word, she went eight or nine days until she was just about gone and would not put nor let a drop of anything go into her mouth. When her husband saw that she would die he sent and had his name taken off from the church record; his father soon followed, so by one woman, two men fell. Sylvester was a smart and good man. He was chosen one of the first high council in Kirtland, was one of Zions Camp and attached to good things - he attained to great height, and knowledge, then fell away and was lost.

Warren maintained his integrity till the last. He sold out his property in Amherst and went to Kirtland and bought down west of the temple on the Shagrin river. He enjoyed himself well, done all he could to establish the bank and build the temple. Through the downfall of that place in consequence of our enemies he lost his property, except only a bare outfit with which he started with his family for the land of Missouri, in the spring of eighteen thirty eight when he bid farewell to the land of our fathers and birth and took up our line of march for the land of the saints. We visited our friends in Amherst but the treatment we received will never be forgotten by me. My mother said she hoped she should never see me, hear of me nor hear my name mentioned in the world again, but we bid them good-by and left them.

Lyman Omer Littlefield Autobiography
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

“The arrival of Joseph Smith and his first counselor, Sidney Rigdon, at Far West was a cause of great rejoicing among the Saints. They had fled from the intrigues of a dangerous conspiracy in Kirtland, originating in the bosoms of those very men who had been blessed with the enlightening influences of the spirit of God, which flowed to them through the channel of the gospel which the angel from the courts of glory had revealed to the very man whom they persecuted; that man who had given them his confidence, placed them in positions of prominence and trusted them as true servants of God's kingdom, and personal friends. Truly, "a Prophet is not without honor save in his own country and with those of his own household."

Joseph had escaped from the machinations of his own brethren, it is true, and the snare they set for his feet, but he was destined not to find much peace in Missouri. A few months, at most, were all the time allotted him for a partial rest from the turbulence and sufferings to be inflicted by a powerful foe. But then--as was ever the case with him--the whole energies of his soul were absorbed in the glorious latter-day work to which he had been called by his Divine Master. Of this great man the humble writer of this little volume had been an admirer ever since the time he first looked upon and watched his career in Zion's Camp. And here, in Far West, his admiration and respect for him personally, as well as for his calling, was heightened day by day. We watched his intercourse with the people, and listened to his preaching from the stand, with sentiments of profound respect and pleasure. There was something in his manner, his countenance and spirit that was not associated with mortal man that we had ever looked upon before.

Sidney Rigdon was a fine-looking man, polished in address and powerful in oratory; but he was far behind Joseph in the possession of those magnetic powers of the mind which attracted the multitude, and chained the attention of his auditors. In comparison, Rigdon's eloquence was delightful, like the ripple of the merry brooklet that glides over its pebbled bed or dashes down a narrow declivity; but the testimony of Joseph struck through the heart, and, like the thunder of the cataract, declared at once the dignity and matchless supremacy of the Creator.

There were various causes which produced dissatisfaction with the people of the adjacent counties against us. In Caldwell and Daviess Counties we were strongest at the polls and enabled to elect the men of our choice, as is the right of American citizens everywhere. We elected to the Legislature, John Corrill, a member of our Church. At the polls at Gallatin our opponents tried to prevent our men from voting, by mob force, but our brethren stood for their rights like men, and cast their ballots. This took place at the August election of 1838.

On the 4th of July, 1838, the cornerstone for a temple was laid on the public square at Far West. A liberty pole was erected and the stars and stripes unfurled to the breeze. An address was delivered on that occasion by Sidney Rigdon, to which our enemies took great exceptions, and from which much excitement resulted in Caldwell, Daviess and Carroll Counties.”

Mrs. Lucy Walker (Smith) Kimball:

“Father was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ in 1832; mother, two years later. They left Vermont in 1834 for the west. They found a small branch of the Church in Ogdensburg, New York; some of Brother Kimball's first converts, preparing also to go west. My father was induced to remain with this branch until 1837. During the year 1835, the children who were eight years and upwards were baptized by Elder Abraham Palmer. They were full of faith, having been taught to pray by their parents, and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and the signs followed them. Some spake in tongues, others prophesied; again others had the gift of faith to heal the sick, etc.

One of this little band prophesied that before we reached our destination we would be surrounded by armed mobs with blackened faces, and would need much faith in God to endure the many persecutions and trials before us, and that some of our number would lay down their lives; others would see their brethren shot down before their very eyes. This was verified at the wholesale slaughter at Haun's Mill.

Notwithstanding all this, we did not falter in our faith, but started on our perilous journey trusting in God. We passed through Kirtland just after the Saints had left for the far west. When we arrived in Caldwell County we were surrounded by a mob of about forty persons with blackened faces. They hooted and yelled and looked more like demons than human beings. It was early one December morning when this occurred. They ordered my poor, delicate mother out into the deep snow, searched our wagons, took from us our arms and ammunition, pointed their guns at us children to intimidate us, and cursed and swore in a most frightful manner. One of the neighboring women had intruded her hateful presence into our camp, urging them to shoot. "Shoot them down," she cried, "they should not be allowed to live!"

The question may be asked, how did we feel under these circumstances? I can speak for one, I did not tremble--I did not fear them. They looked to me too insignificant and I felt to trust in One, (although but a child) who held our destinies in His own hands.

James McBride 1876 microform
http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll15/id/11608

“I was born on the 9th, day of May A.D. 1818 in the county of Fairfield, State of Ohio. I was but two years old when my father moved to Wayne County. Of that early part of my life you have already read something in the first chapter of this work. And perhaps I could not say much more than I have already said that would be of interest to you about it.

While my father lived on the Red Haw, a branch of the Wohegan—on the Lease—of which I have already given an account—Came first to us the sound of the Everlasting Gospel, as revealed to man in these last days. It was the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; proclaimed by two elders, Thomas Tripp and Harvey Cross. I was then about thirteen years old. My father, who previously had not felt to join any Christian denomination, now opened his house, and welcomed the elders to his home.

(1831) The first Sermons preached on the Red Haw, by elders of this church, were preached in my father’s house in April 1831, by the above named elders. Soon after, my father, Mother and Sister Isabelle were baptized and confirmed members of the church, by the same elders.

(August 1833) My father sold the Lease; and in August 1833, accompanied by brother Amos and his family, and James McMillen and family, started to Jackson County Missouri to join with the Church. The Season being well advanced, he was not able to get further than to Richland County Ohio that season…

(June 1834) Having traveled about two months with ox teams, in the latter part of June 1834 we arrived in Pike County Mo.

The church being very much scattered and unsettled, we remained in Pike County about two years.

(1836) In the spring of 1836, the company above mentioned, moved to Ray County, and there joined with a branch of the Church. We stopped there about three months, during which time we suffered a great deal with ague and fever.

The howling of the mob were heard of every side, and it was decided that we should move to Caldwell Co.

In September, my father, taking with him what of his children yet remained at home, and accompanied by James Dayley and wife, moved to Caldwell County, and settled about three fourths of a mile from Haun’s Mill on Shoal creek.

There, my father Entered from Government, eighty acres of Land and began to make a home.

A branch of the church was organized at Haun’s mill, presided over by David Evans.

(1838) I was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints by David Evans, in June 1838. At the same time James Haun and Isaac Laney were baptized.”

Days Before:

Ellis Eames
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/12594448

“The next important transaction that took place was that a company was raised on Grand River, but without any legal authority whatever and came to our neighborhood and took a quantity of guns from our people. When they came up to my place I immediately went up to them, conversed with them and asked what was their object in the strange move they were making. One of them named Molsey told me that they were taking the guns from the Mormons, wanting to put a stop to the damned fuss. One young man named Hiram Abbot who was with me, and with whom I was about making arrangements to put up a store, who had a gun with him was told to give up his gun, but he refused, knowing they had no authority for such strange proceedings, when several of the mob while on their horses immediately cocked their guns and took aim at him, but did not fire.

Three of them then dismounted viz: Hiram Comstock, Trosher, and Whitney and pursued after him across the mill dam -- he got up to the side of a hill and Comstock got by the side of the house, Comstock then drew up his gun and snapped it three times at him, but without effect; his gun would not make fire. Abbott seeing that, cocked his gun, but Comstock got behind the hen house and screened himself from danger. Abbott then made his escape as fast as possible. The mob then rode off. Very soon after it was reported that they intended to come and burn the mills. On receiving this intelligence the neighbors assembled together to consult what was best to be done, and after some deliberations it was agreed that there should a few remain at the mill to guard it from the attack of any individuals who might feel disposed to put their threats into execution, and from that time there were generally some of the men about the mills in order to protect it, it being their chief and only place where they could get any flour or meal…

We continued to hear of mobs in different directions, but at the same time we felt ourselves measurable safe after being given to understand by the committee from Capt. Mattison's company that they would not molest us, if we were peaceable, etc.

James McBride 1876 microform
http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll15/id/11608

Though many of the followers of the prophet Joseph Smith had been beaten, tarred and feathered, driven from their homes and their property confiscated for the use of mobocrats, their persecutions were not yet to cease. Threats were made against the Mormons, the rights of Citizenship were denied them.

The little few now fully realizing the dangerous situation in which they were placed, decided to adopt measures to defend themselves against the raids of the mob. It was decided that a guard should be kept at the mill…

(October 30, 1838) One beautiful after-noon on the 30th day of October 1838, my father came home from meeting with the brethren at the mill. He talked with me, and told me the arrangements made. He was called to help to form the guard. I was sick at the time, with the every-other-day ague, and father said on my well day, I should take his place with the guard and that he would guard on the day that I was sick. That with himself and me, he wished to fill one man’s place. You will remember my father was then in his sixty-third year. During the summer he had been very sick—but having recovered, appeared to feel very well; in fact I think he looked better than I had ever before saw him.

My sister Catherine was living at the mill with Hauns’ family. Leaving only me and my youngest sister Dorcas, at home with father and mother.

Father was in good spirits, and his countenance wore a cheerful expression. Having shaved himself in his usual style, leaving side boards—and taking with him his gun and blankets, started on his return to the mill to join the rest of the guard. Mother, with sister Dorcas started to visit a neighbor woman, living about a quarter of a mile distant from father’s place. This being the day on which I was sick, the next day I should have taken father’s place with the guard. I was then in my twenty first year.

The day was gradually passing—evening was coming on.

The large red Sun so characteristic of an Indian summer, shone through the smokey atmosphere. All was still.

Massacre:

Mrs. Lucy Walker (Smith) Kimball:
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

We continued our journey until we came to a settlement on Shoal Creek, five miles distant from Haun's Mill; my father and another of the brethren went to the mill to hold council, with Brother Joseph Young and others, as to what course was best to pursue under the circumstances. They were in a blacksmith shop when a mob appeared in sight, formed in line and commenced firing, without giving any warning whatever, upon men, women and children. The first ball fired by the enemy lodged in my father's right arm. He returned the shot but found it impossible to reload. He then ran down the bank of the creek, and just before him one of the brethren in ascending the opposite bank, was shot down.

He stepped under some lumber leaning against the bank, which afforded very little if any protection, but, in answer to prayer, their eyes were blinded, and, although they looked directly at him, yet apparently did not see him, passed on, declaring with an oath that not another Mormon was to be seen. He remained there until all was silent, then ventured forth to witness the dreadful scene of the massacre.

In the shop lay the lifeless body of the son of Warren Smith with his brains beaten out with the breech of a gun, and another of the same family with his thigh torn entirely away, and apparently mortally wounded. A little further on an aged man, Father McBride, lay weltering in his gore. It was not enough to shoot him down, but the murderers had found an old scythe with which they had mangled that venerable head in a most horrible and sickening manner.

A young woman was also found behind a huge log, where she had fallen in a fainting condition with a wound in one of her hands, several bullet holes through her clothing and a volley had lodged in the log. If a man had on a good coat or a pair of good boots they were stripped from their bodies in a most brutal and inhuman manner, while the victims were in the agonies of death.

Willard Smith: Alexander L. Baugh: A Rare Account of the Haun’s Mill Massacre 167
http://mormonhistoricsites.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/11-MHS_2007_Willard-GIlbert-Smith-Hauns-Mill-Massacre.pdf

“With my two younger brothers, I was at the blacksmith shop with Father when without warning a large body of mounted men with faces blackened or painted like Indians rode up yelling and commenced shooting into the group. The men at the shop called for “quarters” but the mob paid no attention, continuing to shoot. The men then shouted to their wives to take the children and run for their lives.

We were surrounded on three sides by the mob, and the old mill and the millpond were on the other. The men ran for the shop, taking the little boys with them. My two little brothers ran with Father. But when I tried to enter the shop, my arms flew up and braced themselves against each side of the door, preventing my entrance. In my frenzy of fear, I again tried to enter the shop, and again my arms were braced to prevent my going in. After a third futile attempt, I ran around the corner of the shop and crawled into a pile of lumber, hiding as best I could.

Immediately, the mob began shooting at me and the splintered lumber flew all around. I crawled out and ran into an empty house on the slope near the pond. Here I found an old Revolutionary Soldier, Father McBride,3 who had been wounded and had crawled into a potato cellar under the floor of the house. Although I warned [him] that the mob would find and kill him, he begged for a drink of water and to be helped out of the cellar. I them went to the millpond to get him some water and was deliberately fired upon, the bullets spattering in the water like hail. I escaped without a scratch. (The mob did find this aged Veteran, and as he raised his hands in supplication for mercy, they were hacked and the fingers split down by a dull corn cutter.)

I made the old gentleman as comfortable as possible and as the bullets were flying thickly around us, I ran from this house into another one close by. Here I heard sobs and whispered comfortings, and lifting the valance around the bed, I found six little girls huddled in fear. As the bullets had followed me into this house, I said to the little girls: “Come we must get out of here or we will all be killed.” So we ran to the millrace which we crossed on a board reaching the woods on the other side of the pond—with the mob shooting at us all the way.

After our race for life, the little girls scurried off like prairie chickens into the brush and tall corn. Knowing that my father and two brothers were in the shop with the mob still firing, I took shelter behind a large tree where I could watch the activities of the mob with comparative safety. Finally, they ceased firing, dismounted, and went into the shop where they finished killing any whom they thought were not dead. From there, they went into all the cabins and tents destroying or taking groceries and furnishings. Then after taking all the horses belonging to their victims, they rode off howling like Indians.

Amanda Barnes Smith
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1781809

…my husband, Warren Smith, in company with several other families were moving from the State of Ohio to Missouri when we were traveling, minding our own business, we were stopped by a mob of armed men, they told us if we went another step they would kill us all, they took our guns from us, as we were going into a new country we took guns with us. They took us back five miles, placed a guard around us, kept us there three days and let us go. We traveled on ten miles, came to a small town composed of one grist saw mill, eight or ten houses all belonging to the saints, our brothers, there we stopped for the night. A little before sunset a mob of three hundred armed men came upon us, our men called for the women and children to run for the woods while they ran into an old blacksmith shop, for they feared if we all ran together they would rush upon us and kill men, women and children. The mob fired upon us before we had time to start from our camp, our men took off their hats and swung them and cried quarters until they were shot down, the mob paid no attention to their cries nor their entreaties but fired alternately.

I took my little girls, my boys I could not find, and ran for the woods, the mob encircled us in on all sides excepting the bank of the creek so I ran down the bank and crossed the mill pond on a plank, ran up the hill on the other side into the bushes. The bullets whistled by me like hail stones and cut down the bushes on all sides of me. One girl was wounded by my side and she fell over a log and her clothes happened to hang over the log in site of the mob and the mob fired at them, supposing them to be her body; (after all was still, our people cut out of that log twenty bullets.)

I saw down to witness the awful scene; when they had done firing they began to howl and one would have thought all the infernos had come up from the lower regions. They plundered the principle part of our goods, they took our horses and wagons and ran off howling like demons. After they had gone I came down to witness and behold the awful scene and Oh, Oh, horrible, what a sight!

My husband and one son ten years old lay lifeless upon the ground and one son six years old wounded very bad, his hip all shot off and to pieces, the ground all covered with the dead and dying. There were three little boys crept under the blacksmith's bellows, one of them re­ceived three wounds, he lived three weeks and died, he was not mine, the other two were and one of them had his brains all shot out and the other his hip shot to pieces. Realize, my readers, for a moment the scene. Nothing but horror and distress; it was sunset, the dogs were filled with rage, howling over their dead masters, the cattle caught the scent of innocent blood and bellowed, a dozen helpless widows, thirty or forty orphaned or fatherless children screaming and grieving for the loss of their husbands and fathers, the groans of the dying and wounded, all of this put together was enough to melt the heart of anything but a Missouri mob.

There was fifteen dead and ten wounded, two died next day, there were no men, or not enough, to bury the dead so they were thrown into an old well that was dry and covered them with straw and dirt. The next day the mob came back and told us we must leave the state or they would kill us all. It was cold weather, they had our teams and our clothes, our men all dead or wounded, I told them they might kill me and my children in welcome. They sent word from time to time that if we did not leave the state they would come and make a breakfast of us. We had little prayer meetings, they said if we did not stop them they would kill every man, woman and child. We had spelling schools for our little children, they said if we did not stop they would kill us all. We done our own milling, got our own wood, no man to help us.

I started the first of February for the State of Illinois without money, mobbed all the way, I drown my own team, slept out of doors. I had four small children, we suffered much with hunger, cold and fatigue, for what? For our religion, where in a bossed land of liberty deny your faith or die, was the cry. I will mention some of the leading men of this mob: two brothers by the name of Crumstock, William Man, Benjamin Ashby, Robert White and one by the name of Rogers, who took an old scythe and cut an old White headed revolutioner all to pieces.

Back to autobiography:

I would further state that my husband was stript of his clothes before he was dead, he had a new pair of calf-skin boots taken off his feet by Bill Man. He made his brags that he pulled a damned Mormon's boots off his feet before he was done kicking. The mob went and shot the men over for fear they were not dead. I saw one of the mob afterwards and asked him what they intended when they came there? He said they intended to kill everything that breathed. I will leave it to this honorable government to say why my damages shall be, what they would have their fathers, mothers wives and children shot for..

Ellis Eames
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/12594448

On the 31st of October things moved on as usual, we were occupied in our usual occupations and heard of nothing to increase our fears and were in hopes that soon such proceedings and alarm would cease and we should again enjoy the blessings of liberty and peace. The day was far spent; the sun was sinking fast in the western hemisphere, being only about an hour and a half high. A number of us where at a short distance from the mill between it and the blacksmith's shop when one observed there was a mob coming, and immediately we saw a large company of between 200 and 250 within about one hundred yards from us. Thinking their movements were hostile, we immediately ran into the blacksmith's shop, for safety. Some of our brethren had camped a little behind the shop; one of them by the name of Knight, had just taken up his gun and was going down to the small lake for the purpose of shooting ducks when the mob came upon him. One of their leaders named Comstock observing him immediately fired upon him and shot the strap off his shot pouch. He then ran into the shop whither we had taken shelter, the mob then kept rushing on towards the shop and shooting at us. David Evans then ran out and called for peace and solicited them to desist. Knight also went out again and joined him supplicating for peace, but all to no effect; they continued to fire upon them and shot Brother Knight in the hand, taking off one finger and disabling another, he then retreated towards the mill to cross on the dam, when he was shot in the back, the ball lodging in the pit of his stomach.

The women seeing our situation and expecting no better treatment took to flight, taking their little ones along with them and running away from a scene of murder, which it is impossible to portray. As the mob approached nearer the shop, (indeed if we had all been armed it would have been impossible for us to have resisted them) took deliberate aim through the cracks and the shop being crowded almost every ball that entered the shop took effect and every moment some one was exclaiming, "Oh, I am shot," and first one and then another kept sinking down upon the ground, writhing in agony, while the blood flowed from their wounds and steamed upon the floor. One young man standing immediately next to me was shot, seeing no prospect before us but death, the mob manifesting all malice possible, and would not listen to our cries, and seemed determined to murder us all, we thought it advisable for us to try to make our escape by running out of the shop and cross the mill dam. Those of us who were able ran out and endeavored to make our escape in doing which as many were shot down while making the attempt and the mob firing upon us all the time as long as we were within reach. The mob then rushed into the shop where the wounded and dying were laying and those in whom the spark of life was not extinct were then shot over again. A little boy about nine years old who had hid himself under the bellows being observed and on being threatened to be shot, he earnestly desired and prayed for them to spare him, plead for his life, but to no purpose, for a muzzle shot gun was placed to his head and his brains were literally blown out, another little boy was likewise shot and died soon after, still another was shot, but has survived. One old gentleman who was immediately behind, named Thos. McBride, Esq., ran when we fled from the shop and was pursued, having a gun in his hand. This was demanded by his pursuer, he immediately turned round and delivered it up. The monster then took a corn cutter which he had by his side and cut the old man into pieces.

Some of the women were shot. Mrs. Merril's clothes were cut in two or three places with bullets and a young woman named Mary Studwell who was running away, at a distance from any one else was shot through the hand. Hearing the balls whistling by her she took shelter behind some logs which screened her from the balls as several lodged in the logs.

After they had finished their bloody work, the mob next commenced to plunder, and seeing some teams standing by belonging to the movers who had lately come along, they loaded the wagons with our goods. They entirely stripped me of all my clothing as well as my wife's and the clothes belonging to a young man who was boarding at our house, and all our bed clothes and beds likewise a quantity of merchandise which they carried away. Nor did this satisfy them, but those who were murdered were then robbed of their clothes, watches and everything else of value. The mobbers took their booty to Grand River and there made a distribution of the spoils amongst themselves.

James McBride 1876 microform
http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll15/id/11608

My father had but little more than got to the mill—in fact not more than thirty minutes had elapsed from the time he left the house, when a gun was heard!—and another!—followed by the deadly crack of musketry, which told too well the fate of all who fell a prey to the b[l]ood-thirsty mob!

Perhaps not more than six minutes had passed from the firing of the first gun, ‘till the massacre was accomplished,--the bloody deed was done.

The firing ceased—The Screams of Mothers, daughters and the wounded, told the dreadful tale!

That b[l]oody picture in the book of time; May it ever stamp with stigma the brow of that Government that offered not a protecting hand to those who were ruthlessly cut down—wounded; or made widows, and orphans, at the Haun’s Mill Massacre.

The Sun slowly sank be-neath the Western Horizon:--and darkness spread its broad mantle over the universe.

Aftermath:

Willard Smith: Alexander L. Baugh: A Rare Account of the Haun’s Mill Massacre 167
http://mormonhistoricsites.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/11-MHS_2007_Willard-GIlbert-Smith-Hauns-Mill-Massacre.pdf

As soon as I was sure they had gone, I started for the shop and was the first person to enter this holocaust, stepping over the dead body of my Father in doing so. I looked around and found by brother Sardis dead with the entire top of his head shot away, and my brother Alma almost lifeless lying among a pile of dead where he had been thrown by the mobsters who, evidently, thought him dead. I picked up Alma from the dirt and was carrying him from the shop when I met my Mother who screamed: “They have killed my little Alma.” I replied: “No mother, but Father and Sardis are dead.” I begged her not to enter the shop but to help me with Alma.

Our tent had been looted, even the ticking cut and straw strewn about. Mother leveled the straw and covered it with some clothing and on this awful bed we placed Alma, cutting off his pants to determine the extent of his injury. After placing Alma on this improvised bed, my mother, Amanda Barnes Smith, a woman of dauntless courage and implicit faith in her Heavenly Father, found that the entire ball and socket of the left hip had been shot away leaving the bones about three or four inches apart. As soon as Alma was conscious, Mother asked him if he thought the Lord could make him another new hip, and he replied that if she thought he could, then he, too, believed it could be done. Then she called her remaining three children around the bed, and they knelt and supplicated the Lord for faith and guidance. Mother dedicated Alma to the Lord, praying that he be restored and made well and strong, but if this were not possible, to take him in his innocence. This picture of my Mother’s implicit faith in her Heavenly Father remained as a living testimony to her children through their lives.

In her terrible sorrow and bereavement, her only help could come from divine guidance. By inspiration, her prayers were answered and she knew what to do. First she was directed to take the ashes from a fireplace and made a mild lye solution with which she bathed the gaping wound until it was as white as the breast of a chicken, with all the mangled flesh and bone gone. Then she prayed for further guidance and was prompted to take the roots from the slippery elm tree and made poultices for application. She asked me if I had seen any elm trees, and I replied that there were some on the banks of the stream feeding the millpond.

By this time, dark had descended upon this tragic scene, and when my Mother asked if I could take a shovel and get some of the roots, you can appreciate the terror which gripped my heart as an eleven-year old child. However, Mother assured me that the Lord would protect me and with a lighted torch of Shag-bark Hickory, I began by search.

Women and children were lamenting loss of husbands, fathers, and children; dogs were howling, and the cattle smelling fresh blood were bellowing, and no one could know how many mobocrats lurked in the menacing shadows. It required all the courage I could summon to take the shovel, and with the aid of a dim torch, follow the stream and secure the roots from which Mother made a soothing poultice. The story of the miraculous healing of Alma’s hip has been related many times, but few realize the constant terror of the stricken family, unable to leave the State as Alma could not be moved because of his injured hip; yet they were repeatedly warned that if they did not leave, they would be killed.

They were forbidden to call the family together for prayers or even to pray vocally alone. This Godless silence, Mother said, she could not stand, so one day, she went down into a corn field and crawled into a shock of the corn which had been cut. After carefully ascertaining that no one was within hearing distance, she said she “Prayed till her soul felt satisfied.” As she left the shock of corn, although there was no one in sight, she plainly heard a voice repeating these words:

“That soul who on Jesus hath leaned for repose I cannot—I I will not desert to it foes. That soul, ’though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

Amanda Barnes Smith
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1781809

I felt the loss of my husband but not as I should if he had apostatized, he died in the faith and in hopes of a glorious resurrection. As for myself, I felt an unshaken confidence in God through it all. I had been personally acquainted with the prophet Joseph for many years, had seen his walks and knew him to a Prophet of God, that boyed me up under every trial and privation.

I would further state that Sardis my second son was killed when his father was - he was ten years old. Alma had his hip shot off, the entire hip joint and socket gone leaving the point of the bone about three or four inches apart, besides the bones badly fractured, pieces worked out for three months. I knew, naturally, he must be a cripple but I knew that the same God that formed the first bone could form another, consequently I dedicated him to the Lord, did the best I could for him myself, had no doctor. I laid him on a soft bed and let him lie five weeks and never moved him in that time, the Lord formed a new joint, as good as the old one, and he ran and lept: like an hart and danced like a top and is not a cripple.

Willard my first born when about twelve years old was thrown from a horse and taken for dead. Men ran a half mile then carried him a half mile before there was any appearance of life but by the power of the priesthood was brought to life. His skull was badly cracked, his brain injured, he did not know anything for some days but he got well and his senses as good as ever. When Alma was about two years old he had the sore eyes, he was blind for about three months, a thick film grew over both eyes which was taken off by the prayer of faith in an instant so that there was no weakness and they are perfectly well. Besides numerous other healings and great manifestations of the Power of God I have witnessed in my own family for which I thank and praise my Heavenly Father for it is His mercy, not any worth or worthiness in me, but to Him be all the glory, honor, both now and forever. Amen. /s/ Amanda Smith.”

James McBride 1876 microform
http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll15/id/11608

With a single exception, the dead were left lying where they fell—In fact there were none left that were able to take care of them. Whether dead or alive, all fared alike—all was uncertainty—all was pain and sorrow.

In vain did the affectionate wife with aching heart and streaming eyes watch through the long, long night for the return of her husband.

(October 31, 1838) The 31st day dawned, and again the rays of the morning sun, kissed the land-scape. As yet the extent of the massacre was not known.

Brother Amos having been detailed on the previous day to get wood for families, was on his way to the mill when he was told there had been serious trouble there. His home was about three miles from the mill, and as he was not detailed on guard, was not at the mill at the time of the slaughter.

He went on; and passing the mill a short distance, came to Haun’s house. The first object that met his eye in human form, was the mangled body of my murdered father, lying in the door yard.

He had been shot with his own gun, after having given it into the mobs possession. Was cut down and badly disfigured with a corn cutter, and left lying in the creek.

Some of the women had dragged him from the creek into the door yard and left him there. One of his ears was almost cut from his head—deep gashes were cut in his shoulders; and some of his fingers cut till they would almost drop from his hand.

On further examination it was found that fifteen were murdered, and fifteen wounded—one of whom was a woman, Mary Stedwell, who in trying to escape, was shot through the hand, and fell behind a log. Several bullet holes were found in the log, directly opposite of where she lay.

Alma Smith a small boy; and I believe one _____Marrick were the only wounded children that were yet alive.

Of the wounded men, three afterward died. Making eighteen dead in all.

Isaac Laney a young man that was baptized into the church at the same time that I was, was in the black-smith shop, when the mob began to fire on them. His gun stock was shot to pieces in his hands. He then escaped from the shop, ran to the mill, and climbed down one of the mill timbers into the creek. That being the quickest way for him to escape, danger. From there he went into the house, where Sister Catherine, Mrs. Haun, Mrs. Merril and some other women were. They administered to Isaac, and put him under the floor. He had received eleven bullet marks in his body. I was well acquainted with Isaac Laney, and helped to take care of him until he recovered. He told me that when trying to escape from the mob, the blood gushing from his mouth would almost strangle him. While he was under the floor he said he suffered a great deal for want of water. The women not daring to venture out to get water until they felt sure the mob was entirely gone.

Isaac recovered, and lived thirty-five years from the day of the Haun’s Mill Massacre.”

Mrs. Lucy Walker (Smith) Kimball:
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

My father aided in dressing the wounds of those worse off than himself and to bury the dead as best he could with his left hand. His own arm was not cared for or scarcely thought of, in the midst of the terrible suffering of others, until it was in danger of mortifying. Besides, the country was in such a state of excitement, he had to hide from place to place, and came near losing his arm. Two weeks later he rejoined his family, pale and emaciated. My brother William had gone in search, having learned that his life had been spared, but was wounded. These two weeks were full of the keenest anxiety.

On the night of this fearful slaughter, a young man came running through the woods and deep snow, bare headed, telling us that an armed mob had surrounded those at the mill, and were murdering men, women and children, and would soon be upon us. This news caused a regular stampede in our little company, as some of our company had gone to the mill. Some of the women took their little ones in their arms, while others clung to their clothes; a loaf of bread and a blanket or two, were carried by older members of the family, and all rushed deeper into the snow and adjacent timber. Mother pleaded in vain for all to remain in camp, as there would be no possible safety in such a flight. The cries of the famishing children would betray them, besides they could have no fire, as this too would attract the attention of the mob.

My mother and Sister Davis (whose husband had died enroute, and whose loss was deeply mourned by all), remained in camp, called their children together, prayed with them, soothed their fears, and assured them that the same God whose watchcare had been over us during our journey thus far, was our friend still and would protect us. We went to bed feeling that we were safe, and God was our friend; but when the morning dawned and I looked into my mother's pale face, I was positive she had not closed her eyes, and felt, child as I was, almost guilty that I had suffered myself to be lulled to sleep by her magic words of comfort, while she had kept a vigilant watch during that fearful night of keenest anxiety. Those who left camp returned exhausted and almost famished.

Early next morning a fine looking young officer rode into camp, and said he had come as a friend to save us from the fate of those at the mill. He referred to the dreadful scene with words of sympathy and regret. He said he was forced to join the military to save his own life, but had done and would do all in his power to save the oppressed. If we would follow him, he would lead us to a place of safety, to a friendly neighborhood, where we would find shelter from the cold storms of winter. We followed him, and here was where my father found us. James Flanagan, the young missionary who died with smallpox in England in 1848, was one of our company. He was an exemplary young man; in fact, an exception among men. His zeal for the cause of truth was unexcelled.

We left the state of Missouri in 1838 and went with the Saints to Quincy, Illinois, and to Nauvoo in 1841.”

Ellis Eames
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/12594448

I went about two miles and hid in the Hazel brush and then returned with Mr. Blackburn about ten O'clock at night. I went amongst my friends who had been shot, and those who had been wounded, I assisted all I could and administered to their necessities, and early in the morning a few of us got together and interred the dead in a hole which had been dug for a well, and then we went and hid in the hazel brush, expecting the mob would probably be coming to massacre the remainder. Some came, but they did not appear so hostile, but satisfied themselves with carrying off 2 or 3 horses. A few days after the same company came and pretended that General Clark had sent them to take prisoners and send them to Richmond jail. They took me prisoner and kept me in close confinement for nine days and would not let me converse with any one. They then took possession of my mills and ground up all the wheat and corn and took it home to their families and after taking about all the spoil they could and killed nearly all my hogs, they departed and left me at liberty and drove off the cattle, etc. They went all around the neighborhood and threatened the lives of all the Mormons and ordered them out of the state upon pain of extermination…

These acted without any authority and committed all these murders, and robberies, yet none of them have been brought to punishment. The affair was left without investigation and the poor afflicted broken-hearted survivors left without any redress.”

Days Following:

Willard Smith: Alexander L. Baugh: A Rare Account of the Haun’s Mill Massacre 167
http://mormonhistoricsites.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/11-MHS_2007_Willard-GIlbert-Smith-Hauns-Mill-Massacre.pdf

From that moment Mother said she had no further fear of the mob, and she inspired us children with faith that if we conscientiously did right, the Lord would shelter us from harm. Although Alma lay in the same position for five weeks while the wound was healing, strength seemed to come to the limb suddenly. One day, when Mother was carrying a bucket of water from the spring, she was alarmed to hear the children screaming in the house. She rushed through the door to see them all running about the room with Alma in lead, crying “I’m well, Ma, I’m well!” Something had grown in to take the place of the missing ball and socket, and he was able to use the limb with no inconvenience. Although it was necessary in later years to pad the side of his trousers, he never suffered any pain or discomfort, although he filled a mission in the Sandwich Islands where he did a great deal of walking.

As soon as Alma was well enough that we could plan to leave Missouri, great difficulties presented themselves, one being that our horses had been confiscated by the mob. Finally, I went with Mother to Captain Comstock, leader of the mob, and she demanded the horses, one of which was in the field. He said we might have the animal by paying $5.00 for its feed bill. This Mother could not do as all her money had been stolen by the mob. I admired her courage when she walked out into the field and tying her apron around the horse’s neck, led it home with no further objections”

This is how Stephen LeSueur recounts the situation in “The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri”:

“No one knows who ordered the attack on Haun’s Mill. The militia companies that participated in the assault belonged to General Parks’s brigade, but he did not issue the order. The troops organized under the command of Col. Thomas Jennings, who apparently acted on his own initiative in leading the attack. It is possible that the Missourians received word of Governor Boggs’s extermination order and took it upon themselves to carry out the decree, but they never offered this as a reason for the raid. One of the attackers, Charles Ashby, a state legislator from Livingston, said the Missourians attacked because Mormon dissenters fleeing into Livingston warned them that the Saints at Haun’s Mill were planning an invasion of their county. Local citizens decided they must act to prevent Mormon soldiers from overrunning Livingston as they had Daviess…

The Mormons at Haun’s mill were not planning an attack upon Livingston settlers. They had set guards around the village but because of their recent treaty they were not expecting an attack. The Missouri troops were first seen as they emerged from the woods about one hundred yards from the village. The Mormons, who were simply going about their daily tasks, did not react with alarm, but stared cautiously as the Missourians formed into three companies for their attack. Many of the Saints thought the troops were reinforcements from Far West. Captain Comstock fired his rifle into the air, after which ten seconds of silence followed. During the silence—described by Joseph Young as a “solemn pause”—the Mormons began slowly to grasp the meaning of the soldiers’ appearance as they anxiously searched for wives, husbands, children, and the nearest shelter. The Missouri troops raised their guns, and with a thunderous roar broke the spell of silence by firing at the Mormon villagers.

As soon as the shooting started, David Evans, the commander of the small militia force at Haun’s Mill, ran to the center of the village, waved his hat, and yelled for quarter. So did a number of other Mormons, but the Missouri troops ignored their appeals and continued firing. Mothers frantically gathered their children and fled into the woods. A rifle ball pierced Mary Stedwell’s hand as she attempted to jump a log. Her dress caught the log, and she fell over it, protected, as another twenty balls peppered the fallen tree. Fifteen men and three boys ran into a blacksmith shop, where the Mormons had previously determined to fight if they were attacked. They thought the shop would provide a shelter from which to defend the village, and their brief stand doubtless saved the lives of their fleeing neighbors because they attracted most of the Missourians’ fire. But the shop also became a deathtrap, for the Missourians’ musket balls easily passed through the large, unchinked cracks between the logs of the shop’s walls.

Inside the shop the three boys crawled under the bellows for safety while the men frantically loaded, fired, reloaded, and fired again. The Missourians poured round after round into the shop while the Mormons’ fire proved entirely ineffective as one-by-one the Mormon men fell. The Missourians slowly advanced toward the shop until they simply shoved their muskets through the logs and fired into the crowd of bodies. David Lewis attempted to fire through an open window, but, as he raised his gun, saw a Missourian preparing to fire. Lewis ducked just as another Mormon, stepping to the window to fire his musket, was shot in the face. Eventually, the crush of the Missourians’ guns through the shop walls was so great that the defenders could not return fire, but could only desperately parry and dodge as the Missourians continued firing into the shop.

About half the Mormon men had fallen when Captain Evans ordered the rest to flee, but most of them were cut down as they ran the gauntlet of soldiers. Thomas McBride, a sixty-two-year-old Mormon who was wounded as he ran from the shop, surrendered his gun when the Missourians came upon him. Jacob Rogers, who ran a ferry in Daviess County, took McBride’s loaded gun and discharged it into the old man’s breast. Rogers then hacked at McBride with a scythe until his body was mangled from head to foot. Isaac Leany, after having the breach of his rifle shot off, crawled through a window and ran for the woods. He received two shots in the chest, one in the hip, and one in each arm before reaching the safety of the brush. His clothes were torn to shreds by a dozen other balls that grazed his body. Inside the blacksmith shop the Missourians found ten-year-old Sardius Smith hiding under the bellows. Young Smith, whose father lay mortally wounded on the floor, begged for his life, but William Reynolds of Livingston County put a gun to the boy’s head and blew off the top. “Nits will make lice, and if he had lived he would have become a Mormon,” Reynolds reportedly said in justification of his act. After the firing ceased, some of the Missourians looted the homes and bodies of the Saints—several of the wounded were stripped as they feigned death—and then rode off. The Missourians suffered three wounded in the attack…

Bodies lay scattered throughout the village: eighteen had been killed or mortally wounded, twelve to fifteen others wounded. All but one were men or boys. The floor of the blacksmith’s shop was almost entirely covered by a pool of blood. The women who came back the night of the massacre tended to the wounded, but left most of the dead where they had fallen…

A few of the men returned the next day, but, fearing the Missourians would attack, did not take time to bury the dead. Instead, they helped the women gather the bodies, frozen stiff, and threw them into an old well, some feet first, others head first, after which they filled in the well with dirt and straw. Although some of the women stayed to care for the wounded, most of the men fled back into the woods for safety after they disposed of the dead.

The messenger who brought news of the attack to Far West did not know how many had been killed or wounded; he could only report that the Missourians had overrun Haun’s Mill and massacred a great number of its inhabitants.”

https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/390333
“Following are the names of the killed or mortally wounded Thomas McBride, Levi N. Merrick, Elias Benner, Joseph Fuller, Benjamin Lewis, Alexander Campbell, Warren Smith, George S. Richards, William Napier, Austin Hammer, Simon Cox, Hyrum Abbott, John York, John Lee, John Byers, Sardius Smith and Charles Merrick. Among the wounded who recovered were Issac Laney, Nathan K. Knight, William Yokum, Jacob Myers, George Myers, Tarlton Lewis, Jacob Haun (founder and owner of the mill), Jacob Foutz, Jacob Ports, Charles Jimison, John Walker, Alma L. Smith, Miss Mary Stedwall and two others.”

Haun’s Mill Massacre has served to be the quintessential moment of Mormon persecution, second only to Joseph’s claimed martyrdom 7 years in the future from this time. No level of historiography or reading first-hand accounts will truly enlighten us as to what this fateful day must have been like for the people actually experiencing it. Some of the details are a bit muddy, the exact sequence of events is a bit fluid depending on who’s telling the story, but one thing remains objectively true, this was a tragedy. This was truly a lapse in humanity, a blight which infected the Missourians, causing them to commit this heinous aberration from basic human empathy.

How did we get here? It took us 48 episodes to do it, but I’m still at a loss to truly comprehend such a detestable abomination committed against these people. These past few weeks compiling the necessary research for this episode have been…. Emotionally draining to say the least. In a stupor of inspiration, I decided to watch a clip from “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration,” the Joseph Smith movie that used to play in the Legacy theatre, because they depict this scene at the 35-minute mark; and by minute 37, the massacre is over. They don’t provide any insight. They don’t even give us the slightest inkling to the sequence of events leading to this day, which only serves to further reinforce this relentless religious persecution narrative. They don’t even let us in on why Joseph and Emma left Kirtland for Missouri in the first place, it’s just a standalone incident with no explanation.

I guess I would simply like to point out that this would have been a good time for Joseph to use his prophetic proclivities to know the situation before it occurred. I guess that’s the problem when it comes to a prophet, they seem to know everything concerning god’s will and how to best fulfill such a concept, but when it comes to useful knowledge, like how to save the lives of 18 of his parishioners, God simply forgot to mention it to Joseph? Joseph’s god did help the Mormons as much as his god had a hand in everything else Joseph did, which, I would argue, it could be concluded Joseph’s god is absentee at best, and vindictive at worst.

Everything that happened here was simply humans interacting with other humans. Neither of these groups were sanctioned by God as his chosen people. Joseph didn’t suddenly develop supernatural fire-breathing powers and burn away their persecutors. This situation is exactly what we would expect when humans persecute other humans.

This was a major lapse in judgement on the part of everybody involved directly or indirectly. Colonel Thomas Jennings was the CO of this specific militia while Comstock, Ashby, and a few others were sub-commanding officers under Jennings’ direction. General Parks wasn’t aware of these actions even though Jennings was under his personal command, but should have removed and court martialed every single one of those 250 men for what they did at Haun’s mill. Every man involved in the militia should never have done what they did. Jacob Haun and the other settlers at the mill should have heeded the warnings of mobs and abandoned Haun’s mill for Far West days before. Thomas McBride should never have given up his gun to only be shot with it seconds later. David Evans should have commanded the Mormon militia to form a firing line to answer the militia, or at least decided upon a more strategic fort than a blacksmith shop with gun barrel-sized cracks in the wall to hold up in. Joseph Smith should have been more insistent when he called the Mormons from Haun’s mill to flee to Far West, as opposed to telling them to do whatever they saw fit. The truth of the matter is, Haun’s mill was the perfect storm.

I’ve been trying to quantify how things arrived to this point, and it’s not simple. I’ve come up with a list of ­­­10 factors that caused this situation to explode, some of which we’ve discussed at varying lengths in the past, but many bear repeating, if only for a brief mention.

1: Joseph Smith. He was a charismatic and polarizing person and often acted with little regard for how his actions might affect the future. As we heard from Lyman Littlefield, Rigdon was a great orator, but Joseph struck through the heart. Those who loved him would willingly die for him, those who hated him would willingly kill those who followed him. His sheer lack of experience with any wartime strategies made him a terrible leader in this situation, making mistake after mistake and never acting proactively in anticipation of the next problem.

2: Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon was a complicated piece of the Mormon leadership puzzle. Quite a significant number of the Mormons living in Far West or migrating from Kirtland and outer lying areas had been Rigdonites for years before they were baptized into Mormonism. Some of the people killed at Haun’s Mill only converted to Mormonism after Rigdon had, but they’d spent more than the last decade listening to Rigdon pound the pulpit and rant about Zion being restored to the American Continent. On the flipside of that relationship, many of these people suffering and starving as refugees in Missouri had been Rigdon’s close friends for decades; a flock he’d been tasked with keeping safe. But, before Joseph came along, Rigdon suffered his fair share of persecution from followers and peers; he was tired of everything he and his parishioners had endured and his frustrations finally came to a head at the 4th of July Oration, what we called the Red Sermon. The language Governor Boggs had employed in his extermination order were directly taken from this sermon where Rigdon claimed the Mormons would wage a war of extermination upon the Missourians. If not for this vitriolic rhetoric, things may never have escalated to this point.

3: Governor Lilburn Boggs. The entire Mormon situation in Missouri had been incredibly taxing on Boggs’ political career since the Mormons began moving to Jackson County back in 1831. It wasn’t popular with the Missourians to side with the Mormons, and there were enough Mormons living in Missouri by mid-1838 to properly influence elections, as is every American’s constitutionally sanctioned right. Boggs attempted to balance his career on a knife edge, but did so by handling the situation at an arms-length. In defiance of multiple requests from multiple state militia officials to make a personal appearance, Boggs’ apathy to get properly entrenched in the conflict and journey to Far West to converse with Joseph himself was a heavily contributing cause. Generals Atchison, Parks, Bogart, Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight all petitioned Boggs at some point and level to show up in person to diffuse the situation; every request for interference was blatantly ignored or outright refused.

4: Real Estate. Since the Mormons began settling in Missouri in 1831, they were working and living on credit. Most of Missouri was rather undesirable land with very little civilization once the Natives were removed. The government offered great incentives for people to settle these new lands and the Mormons capitalized as best they could. This led to them being removed to Caldwell and Daviess Counties in 1833, where they continued to live on borrowed resources. Whether in Ohio, Missouri, New York, or Illinois, Mormons weren’t known for paying their tab. One can only default on so much credit before creditors inevitably wage war at some level to foreclose on the Mormon settlements.

5: Kirtland Safety Society anti-Bank-ing company. The Mormons were paying for goods and land with counterfeit money or meaningless “I owe you” agreements. The leadership had created their own false economy in Kirtland only months before fleeing to Missouri to escape murder conspiracies orchestrated by those who’d been burned. That counterfeit money culminating with the panic of 1837 caused a lot of hard feelings amidst a resource vacuum. Mormons and non-Mormons alike had been hurt by the Kirtland Safety Society

6: Refugee Crisis. The collapse of the KSS company and the subsequent fleeing of the leadership to Missouri left thousands of helpless Mormons in Ohio with nothing more than a commandment to move to Missouri as soon as they could, or desert Joseph and become an apostate. Many of these people moved with barely more than the clothes on their back. In addition to those moving from Ohio, a small influx of poor Mormons from Canada and Europe only further strained the already scarce resources.

7: Resource Vacuum. All the economic pressures caused a resource vacuum. Many of the Mormons fleeing Ohio were simply leaving their crops in the ground and selling their property and crops at rock-bottom prices, only to move to Missouri too late in the year to get any crops in the ground. When that many people who typically farm simply lose a year or two of work to the circumstances, it makes for billions of calories never planted, harvested, or consumed. Mass starvation was a harsh reality with which every Mormon living in Missouri had to contend.

8: Mormon Depredations. In response to said resource vacuum, Joseph “became a second Mohammet to this generation” and the Mormons looted and burned the non-Mormon villages in Daviess county. But, given the sequence of events which led them there, they had little other option than stealing the needed calories to survive the harsh Missouri winter that lay ahead. Missourians refused to do business with the Mormons, and often times when they ventured away from the sanctuary cities, the Missouri mobs would arrest and detain the Mormons or steal their property. They were hungry and stuck with options running out.

9: Politics. Just as it was corrosive to Boggs’ political career to sympathize with the Mormons, it was the same with many people who were in a position of civil servant, people who had a constitutional obligation to defend every American from threat, foreign or domestic. The same people who neglected this duty for whatever reason were equally culpable for the deaths of Mormons just as much as those who pulled the triggers at Haun’s mill.

10: Religion. This makes the last on our list not because it was most or least responsible as a contributing factor, but it is, by far, the most complicated of all and deserves the most careful and scrupulous examination. By the end of October 1838, even the most ardent Mormon defenders, e.g. Generals Atchison, Doniphan and Parks, called the Mormons religious fanatics. The Mormons had been persecuted because of their religion in many instances, we can’t deny that fact any more than we can consider it the only reason for persecution, religion was obviously one of many factors. The Mormons were considered eccentric zealots by most Missourians. These good-hearted old school farmers and merchants couldn’t stand to watch so many people deluded by that devil Jo’ Smith. Many of the people opposed were of the Methodist faith, one of the largest sub-faiths of Christianity existing in 19th century American culture; they knew for a fact that Joseph was deluding these thousands of people, effectively leading them to Methodist hell. It wasn’t just Methodists that were persecuting Mormons, it was really most other Christians, but most of those other Christians by population were Methodists, so it’s a useful oversimplification, and it gets at the heart of deep human instincts. Xenophobia is a powerful human emotion and when it is the person’s belief in god that presents them as alien, people with opposed conceptions of god don’t need excuses to persecute the people who believe in the weird god. Look at nearly any geography during nearly any time in human history and differing religions were almost always a factor in violence perpetrated against one group or class of people. At the same time the Mormons’ religion played its part in this overall persecution, claiming it was the only reason for the Haun’s Mill massacre and all the troubles the Mormons were fighting through is a damaging narrative. It’s a narrative motivated by painting the most holy and pious portrait of the historical Joseph Smith. This false and simplistic narrative corrupts the overall perception of Mormon history and confuses people as to why the Mormons were really persecuted. Most Mormons are familiar with Haun’s mill, it’s sold as the height of religious persecution in all Mormon history second only to the martyrdom of Joseph 7 years later. But to extract the situation from the historical realm in which it lives does a great disservice to historians and Mormons alike. It restricts our already limited view of historical reality. It paints Joseph and the Mormons as righteous martyrs, innocent of any real crime, when the actual history is so much more nuanced and complicated.

Let’s zoom out a little bit. At the same time Jennings’ troops were assaulting Haun’s mill on October 30th, 1838, General Clark was soon to arrive on the outskirts of Far West with the largest militia ever before gathered by the state of Missouri. 1,000 Missouri militia-men were beginning to surround Diahmen, and 2,500 soldiers would soon reinforce the already 1,500 surrounding Far West for a total of nearly 5,000 armed men surrounding the two Mormon sanctuary cities. The fighting force of the Mormons was made up of 300 soldiers in Diahmen and 700 in Far West. Granted, they had their fortifications and they had all entrances and exits to these towns locked down, but how long can 1,000 stand against a siege by 5,000?

I’ve come to view Haun’s Mill as the Mormon Hiroshima. During the closing months of WWII, America dropped Fat Man and Little Boy on Nagasaki and Hiroshima Japan, killing tens of thousands and creating nuclear fallout for millions of Japanese people for generations to come. However, the argument can be made that if not for those atomic bombs being dropped, Japan’s defeat would have been much slower and bloody, possibly with hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions dying from starvation during a drawn-out conflict. The bombs got the necessary loss of human life done and over with in a couple of weeks’ time and threw over the game-board in the mix.

If we look at this through a lens of consequential utilitarianism, whatever outcome causes the least suffering for the fewest people is the best possible outcome. As soon as a messenger reached Joseph in the night following the massacre, serious surrender negotiations began, even though Joseph, Lyman Wight, and Sidney Rigdon had all been rallying their troops, claiming they would win or die, never to surrender. How long could the Mormons last a drawn-out siege with such a massive disparity of numbers? Could every armed Mormon kill 5 armed Missourians?

Haun’s mill showed the Mormon leadership that the Missourians were serious. The real threat hadn’t been realized until these 18 people were wholesale slaughtered. Had this massacre not happened, Joseph may have declared open war on the Missourians, resulting in a week-long siege of Far West and Diahmen until they broke. What would that break look like? How many Mormon militia-men would die in all-out war against a force 5 times their size? How many women and children would have been lost in the aggregate? How many orphaned or widowed?

There’s simply no answer to any of these questions or hypotheticals. But, given our perspective of consequential utilitarianism, as much as the atomic bombs going off was an overall good to minimize human suffering, the Haun’s Mill massacre was an overall good for the 1838 Mormon war in Missouri. This loss of 18 lives may have spared the lives of thousands. It’s odd that I find myself calling the Haun’s Mill massacre an overall good thing after we heard how barbaric and heinous the Missourians were to the Mormons, and I don’t want to minimize their very real suffering. Haun’s mill was an abomination in American history, the revolting actions taken by these hateful men should never be forgotten. But, we can’t neglect the good that came out of it. Thousands of Mormons were spared, the prophet wasn’t killed they may have lost their towns and possessions, but they didn’t lose their lives. The Mormons would rebound from this situation and eventually move to Commerce, Illinois, which later was changed to Nauvoo. You can keep kicking em down, but somehow, amidst all the persecution and unfair treatment, the resilient Mormons simply refuse to stay down.

Don’t forget to mention Brodies!

James McBride 1876 microform
http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16003coll15/id/11608

“I was born on the 9th, day of May A.D. 1818 in the county of Fairfield, State of Ohio. I was but two years old when by father moved to Wayne County. Of that early part of my life you have already read something in the first chapter of this work. And perhaps I could not say much more than I have already said that would be of interest to you about it.

While my father lived on the Red Haw, a branch of the Wohegan—on the Lease—of which I have already given an account—Came first to us the sound of the Everlasting Gospel, as revealed to man in these last days. It was the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; proclaimed by two elders, Thomas Tripp and Harvey Cross. I was then about thirteen years old. My father, who previously had not felt to join any Christian denomination, now opened his house, and welcomed the elders to his home.

(1831) The first Sermons preached on the Red Haw, by elders of this church, were preached in my father’s house in April 1831, by the above named elders. Soon after, my father, Mother and Sister Isabelle were baptized and confirmed members of the church, by the same elders.

(August 1833) My father sold the Lease; and in August 1833, accompanied by brother Amos and his family, and James McMillen and family, started to Jackson County Missouri to join with the Church. The Season being well advanced, he was not able to get further than to Richland County Ohio that season…

(June 1834) Having traveled about two months with ox teams, in the latter part of June 1834 we arrived in Pike County Mo.

The church being very much scattered and unsettled, we remained in Pike County about two years.

(1836) In the spring of 1836, the company above mentioned, moved to Ray County, and there joined with a branch of the Church. We stopped there about three months, during which time we suffered a great deal with ague and fever.

The howling of the mob were heard of every side, and it was decided that we should move to Caldwell Co.

In September, my father, taking with him what of his children yet remained at home, and accompanied by James Dayley and wife, moved to Caldwell County, and settled about three fourths of a mile from Haun’s Mill on Shoal creek.

There, my father Entered from Government, eighty acres of Land and began to make a home.

A branch of the church was organized at Haun’s mill, presided over by David Evans.

(1838) I was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints by David Evans, in June 1838. At the same time James Haun and Isaac Laney were baptized.

Though many of the followers of the prophet Joseph Smith had been beaten, tarred and feathered, driven from their homes and their property confiscated for the use of mobocrats, their persecutions were not yet to cease. Threats were made against the Mormons, the rights of Citizenship were denied them.

The little few now fully realizing the dangerous situation in which they were placed, decided to adopt measures to defend themselves against the raids of the mob. It was decided that a guard should be kept at the mill…

(October 30, 1838) One beautiful after-noon on the 30th day of October 1838, my father came home from meeting with the brethren at the mill. He talked with me, and told me the arrangements made. He was called to help to form the guard. I was sick at the time, with the every-other-day ague, and father said on my well day, I should take his place with the guard and that he would guard on the day that I was sick. That with himself and me, he wished to fill one man’s place. You will remember my father was then in his sixty-third year. During the summer he had been very sick—but having recovered, appeared to feel very well; in fact I think he looked better than I had ever before saw him.

My sister Catherine was living at the mill with Hauns’ family. Leaving only me and my youngest sister Dorcas, at home with father and mother.

Father was in good spirits, and his countenance wore a cheerful expression. Having shaved himself in his usual style, leaving side boards—and taking with him his gun and blankets, started on his return to the mill to join the rest of the guard. Mother, with sister Dorcas started to visit a neighbor woman, living about a quarter of a mile distant from father’s place. This being the day on which I was sick, the next day I should have taken father’s place with the guard. I was then in my twenty first year.

The day was gradually passing—evening was coming on.

The large red Sun so characteristic of an Indian summer, shone through the smokey atmosphere. All was still.

My father had but little more than got to the mill—in fact not more than thirty minutes had elapsed from the time he left the house, when a gun was heard!—and another!—followed by the deadly crack of musketry, which told too well the fate of all who fell a prey to the b[l]ood-thirsty mob!

Perhaps not more than six minutes had passed from the firing of the first gun, ‘till the massacre was accomplished,--the bloody deed was done.

The firing ceased—The Screams of Mothers, daughters and the wounded, told the dreadful tale!

That b[l]oody picture in the book of time; May it ever stamp with stigma the brow of that Government that offered not a protecting hand to those who were ruthlessly cut down—wounded; or made widows, and orphans, at the Haun’s Mill Massacre.

The Sun slowly sank be-neath the Western Horizon:--and darkness spread its broad mantle over the universe.

With a single exception, the dead were left lying where they fell—In fact there were none left that were able to take care of them. Whether dead or alive, all fared alike—all was uncertainty—all was pain and sorrow.

In vain did the affectionate wife with aching heart and streaming eyes watch through the long, long night for the return of her husband.

(October 31, 1838) The 31st day dawned, and again the rays of the morning sun, kissed the land-scape. As yet the extent of the massacre was not known.

Brother Amos having been detailed on the previous day to get wood for families, was on his way to the mill when he was told there had been serious trouble there. His home was about three miles from the mill, and as he was not detailed on guard, was not at the mill at the time of the slaughter.

He went on; and passing the mill a short distance, came to Haun’s house. The first object that met his eye in human form, was the mangled body of my murdered father, lying in the door yard.

He had been shot with his own gun, after having given it into the mobs possession. Was cut down and badly disfigured with a corn cutter, and left lying in the creek.

Some of the women had dragged him from the creek into the door yard and left him there. One of his ears was almost cut from his head—deep gashes were cut in his shoulders; and some of his fingers cut till they would almost drop from his hand.

On further examination it was found that fifteen were murdered, and fifteen wounded—one of whom was a woman, Mary Stedwell, who in trying to escape, was shot through the hand, and fell behind a log. Several bullet holes were found in the log, directly opposite of where she lay.

Alma Smith a small boy; and I believe one _____Marrick were the only wounded children that were yet alive.

Of the wounded men, three afterward died. Making eighteen dead in all.

Isaac Laney a young man that was baptized into the church at the same time that I was, was in the black-smith shop, when the mob began to fire on them. His gun stock was shot to pieces in his hands. He then escaped from the shop, ran to the mill, and climbed down one of the mill timbers into the creek. That being the quickest way for him to escape, danger. From there he went into the house, where Sister Catherine, Mrs. Haun, Mrs. Merril and some other women were. They administered to Isaac, and put him under the floor. He had received eleven bullet marks in his body. I was well acquainted with Isaac Laney, and helped to take care of him until he recovered. He told me that when trying to escape from the mob, the blood gushing from his mouth would almost strangle him. While he was under the floor he said he suffered a great deal for want of water. The women not daring to venture out to get water until they felt sure the mob was entirely gone.

Isaac recovered, and lived thirty-five years from the day of the Haun’s Mill Massacre.”

Willard Smith: Alexander L. Baugh: A Rare Account of the Haun’s Mill Massacre 167
http://mormonhistoricsites.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/11-MHS_2007_Willard-GIlbert-Smith-Hauns-Mill-Massacre.pdf

“With my two younger brothers, I was at the blacksmith shop with Father when without warning a large body of mounted men with faces blackened or painted like Indians rode up yelling and commenced shooting into the group. The men at the shop called for “quarters” but the mob paid no attention, continuing to shoot. The men then shouted to their wives to take the children and run for their lives.

We were surrounded on three sides by the mob, and the old mill and the millpond were on the other. The men ran for the shop, taking the little boys with them. My two little brothers ran with Father. But when I tried to enter the shop, my arms flew up and braced themselves against each side of the door, preventing my entrance. In my frenzy of fear, I again tried to enter the shop, and again my arms were braced to prevent my going in. After a third futile attempt, I ran around the corner of the shop and crawled into a pile of lumber, hiding as best I could.

Immediately, the mob began shooting at me and the splintered lumber flew all around. I crawled out and ran into an empty house on the slope near the pond. Here I found an old Revolutionary Soldier, Father McBride,3 who had been wounded and had crawled into a potato cellar under the floor of the house. Although I warned [him] that the mob would find and kill him, he begged for a drink of water and to be helped out of the cellar. I them went to the millpond to get him some water and was deliberately fired upon, the bullets spattering in the water like hail. I escaped without a scratch. (The mob did find this aged Veteran, and as he raised his hands in supplication for mercy, they were hacked and the fingers split down by a dull corn cutter.)

I made the old gentleman as comfortable as possible and as the bullets were flying thickly around us, I ran from this house into another one close by. Here I heard sobs and whispered comfortings, and lifting the valance around the bed, I found six little girls huddled in fear. As the bullets had followed me into this house, I said to the little girls: “Come we must get out of here or we will all be killed.” So we ran to the millrace which we crossed on a board reaching the woods on the other side of the pond—with the mob shooting at us all the way.

After our race for life, the little girls scurried off like prairie chickens into the brush and tall corn. Knowing that my father and two brothers were in the shop with the mob still firing, I took shelter behind a large tree where I could watch the activities of the mob with comparative safety. Finally, they ceased firing, dismounted, and went into the shop where they finished killing any whom they thought were not dead. From there, they went into all the cabins and tents destroying or taking groceries and furnishings. Then after taking all the horses belonging to their victims, they rode off howling like Indians.

As soon as I was sure they had gone, I started for the shop and was the first person to enter this holocaust, stepping over the dead body of my Father in doing so. I looked around and found by brother Sardis dead with the entire top of his head shot away, and my brother Alma almost lifeless lying among a pile of dead where he had been thrown by the mobsters who, evidently, thought him dead. I picked up Alma from the dirt and was carrying him from the shop when I met my Mother who screamed: “They have killed my little Alma.” I replied: “No mother, but Father and Sardis are dead.” I begged her not to enter the shop but to help me with Alma.

Our tent had been looted, even the ticking cut and straw strewn about. Mother leveled the straw and covered it with some clothing and on this awful bed we placed Alma, cutting off his pants to determine the extent of his injury. After placing Alma on this improvised bed, my mother, Amanda Barnes Smith, a woman of dauntless courage and implicit faith in her Heavenly Father, found that the entire ball and socket of the left hip had been shot away leaving the bones about three or four inches apart. As soon as Alma was conscious, Mother asked him if he thought the Lord could make him another new hip, and he replied that if she thought he could, then he, too, believed it could be done. Then she called her remaining three children around the bed, and they knelt and supplicated the Lord for faith and guidance. Mother dedicated Alma to the Lord, praying that he be restored and made well and strong, but if this were not possible, to take him in his innocence. This picture of my Mother’s implicit faith in her Heavenly Father remained as a living testimony to her children through their lives.

In her terrible sorrow and bereavement, her only help could come from divine guidance. By inspiration, her prayers were answered and she knew what to do. First she was directed to take the ashes from a fireplace and made a mild lye solution with which she bathed the gaping wound until it was as white as the breast of a chicken, with all the mangled flesh and bone gone. Then she prayed for further guidance and was prompted to take the roots from the slippery elm tree and made poultices for application. She asked me if I had seen any elm trees, and I replied that there were some on the banks of the stream feeding the millpond.

By this time, dark had descended upon this tragic scene, and when my Mother asked if I could take a shovel and get some of the roots, you can appreciate the terror which gripped my heart as an eleven-year old child. However, Mother assured me that the Lord would protect me and with a lighted torch of Shag-bark Hickory, I began by search.

Women and children were lamenting loss of husbands, fathers, and children; dogs were howling, and the cattle smelling fresh blood were bellowing, and no one could know how many mobocrats lurked in the menacing shadows. It required all the courage I could summon to take the shovel, and with the aid of a dim torch, follow the stream and secure the roots from which Mother made a soothing poultice. The story of the miraculous healing of Alma’s hip has been related many times, but few realize the constant terror of the stricken family, unable to leave the State as Alma could not be moved because of his injured hip; yet they were repeatedly warned that if they did not leave, they would be killed.

They were forbidden to call the family together for prayers or even to pray vocally alone. This Godless silence, Mother said, she could not stand, so one day, she went down into a corn field and crawled into a shock of the corn which had been cut. After carefully ascertaining that no one was within hearing distance, she said she “Prayed till her soul felt satisfied.” As she left the shock of corn, although there was no one in sight, she plainly heard a voice repeating these words:

“That soul who on Jesu s hath leaned for repose I cannot—I I will not desert to it foes. That soul, ’though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”

From that moment Mother said she had no further fear of the mob, and she inspired us children with faith that if we conscientiously did right, the Lord would shelter us from harm. Although Alma lay in the same position for five weeks while the wound was healing, strength seemed to come to the limb suddenly. One day, when Mother was carrying a bucket of water from the spring, she was alarmed to hear the children screaming in the house. She rushed through the door to see them all running about the room with Alma in lead, crying “I’m well, Ma, I’m well!” Something had grown in to take the place of the missing ball and socket, and he was able to use the limb with no inconvenience. Although it was necessary in later years to pad the side of his trousers, he never suffered any pain or discomfort, although he filled a mission in the Sandwich Islands where he did a great deal of walking.

As soon as Alma was well enough that we could plan to leave Missouri, great difficulties presented themselves, one being that our horses had been confiscated by the mob. Finally, I went with Mother to Captain Comstock, leader of the mob, and she demanded the horses, one of which was in the field. He said we might have the animal by paying $5.00 for its feed bill. This Mother could not do as all her money had been stolen by the mob. I admired her courage when she walked out into the field and tying her apron around the horse’s neck, led it home with no further objections”

Lyman Omer Littlefield Autobiography
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

“The arrival of Joseph Smith and his first counselor, Sidney Rigdon, at Far West was a cause of great rejoicing among the Saints. They had fled from the intrigues of a dangerous conspiracy in Kirtland, originating in the bosoms of those very men who had been blessed with the enlightening influences of the spirit of God, which flowed to them through the channel of the gospel which the angel from the courts of glory had revealed to the very man whom they persecuted; that man who had given them his confidence, placed them in positions of prominence and trusted them as true servants of God's kingdom, and personal friends. Truly, "a Prophet is not without honor save in his own country and with those of his own household."

Joseph had escaped from the machinations of his own brethren, it is true, and the snare they set for his feet, but he was destined not to find much peace in Missouri. A few months, at most, were all the time allotted him for a partial rest from the turbulence and sufferings to be inflicted by a powerful foe. But then--as was ever the case with him--the whole energies of his soul were absorbed in the glorious latter-day work to which he had been called by his Divine Master. Of this great man the humble writer of this little volume had been an admirer ever since the time he first looked upon and watched his career in Zion's Camp. And here, in Far West, his admiration and respect for him personally, as well as for his calling, was heightened day by day. We watched his intercourse with the people, and listened to his preaching from the stand, with sentiments of profound respect and pleasure. There was something in his manner, his countenance and spirit that was not associated with mortal man that we had ever looked upon before.

Sidney Rigdon was a fine-looking man, polished in address and powerful in oratory; but he was far behind Joseph in the possession of those magnetic powers of the mind which attracted the multitude, and chained the attention of his auditors. In comparison, Rigdon's eloquence was delightful, like the ripple of the merry brooklet that glides over its pebbled bed or dashes down a narrow declivity; but the testimony of Joseph struck through the heart, and, like the thunder of the cataract, declared at once the dignity and matchless supremacy of the Creator.

There were various causes which produced dissatisfaction with the people of the adjacent counties against us. In Caldwell and Daviess Counties we were strongest at the polls and enabled to elect the men of our choice, as is the right of American citizens everywhere. We elected to the Legislature, John Corrill, a member of our Church. At the polls at Gallatin our opponents tried to prevent our men from voting, by mob force, but our brethren stood for their rights like men, and cast their ballots. This took place at the August election of 1838.

On the 4th of July, 1838, the cornerstone for a temple was laid on the public square at Far West. A liberty pole was erected and the stars and stripes unfurled to the breeze. An address was delivered on that occasion by Sidney Rigdon, to which our enemies took great exceptions, and from which much excitement resulted in Caldwell, Daviess and Carroll Counties.”

Mrs. Lucy Walker (Smith) Kimball:
http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/LLittlefield.html

“Father was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ in 1832; mother, two years later. They left Vermont in 1834 for the west. They found a small branch of the Church in Ogdensburg, New York; some of Brother Kimball's first converts, preparing also to go west. My father was induced to remain with this branch until 1837. During the year 1835, the children who were eight years and upwards were baptized by Elder Abraham Palmer. They were full of faith, having been taught to pray by their parents, and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and the signs followed them. Some spake in tongues, others prophesied; again others had the gift of faith to heal the sick, etc. One of this little band prophesied that before we reached our destination we would be surrounded by armed mobs with blackened faces, and would need much faith in God to endure the many persecutions and trials before us, and that some of our number would lay down their lives; others would see their brethren shot down before their very eyes. This was verified at the wholesale slaughter at Haun's Mill.

Notwithstanding all this we did not falter in our faith, but started on our perilous journey trusting in God. We passed through Kirtland just after the Saints had left for the far west. When we arrived in Caldwell County we were surrounded by a mob of about forty persons with blackened faces. They hooted and yelled and looked more like demons than human beings. It was early one December morning when this occurred. They ordered my poor, delicate mother out into the deep snow, searched our wagons, took from us our arms and ammunition, pointed their guns at us children to intimidate us, and cursed and swore in a most frightful manner. One of the neighboring women had intruded her hateful presence into our camp, urging them to shoot. "Shoot them down," she cried, "they should not be allowed to live!" The question may be asked, how did we feel under these circumstances? I can speak for one, I did not tremble--I did not fear them. They looked to me too insignificant and I felt to trust in One, (although but a child) who held our destinies in His own hands.

We continued our journey until we came to a settlement on Shoal Creek, five miles distant from Haun's Mill; my father and another of the brethren went to the mill to hold council with Brother Joseph Young and others, as to what course was best to pursue under the circumstances. They were in a blacksmith shop when a mob appeared in sight, formed in line and commenced firing, without giving any warning whatever, upon men, women and children. The first ball fired by the enemy lodged in my father's right arm. He returned the shot but found it impossible to reload. He then ran down the bank of the creek, and just before him one of the brethren in ascending the opposite bank, was shot down. He stepped under some lumber leaning against the bank, which afforded very little if any protection, but, in answer to prayer, their eyes were blinded, and, although they looked directly at him, yet apparently did not see him, passed on, declaring with an oath that not another Mormon was to be seen. He remained there until all was silent, then ventured forth to witness the dreadful scene of the massacre.

In the shop lay the lifeless body of the son of Warren Smith with his brains beaten out with the breech of a gun, and another of the same family with his thigh torn entirely away, and apparently mortally wounded. A little further on an aged man, Father McBride, lay weltering in his gore. It was not enough to shoot him down, but the murderers had found an old scythe with which they had mangled that venerable head in a most horrible and sickening manner. A young woman was also found behind a huge log, where she had fallen in a fainting condition with a wound in one of her hands, several bullet holes through her clothing and a volley had lodged in the log. If a man had on a good coat or a pair of good boots they were stripped from their bodies in a most brutal and inhuman manner, while the victims were in the agonies of death.

My father aided in dressing the wounds of those worse off than himself and to bury the dead as best he could with his left hand. His own arm was not cared for or scarcely thought of, in the midst of the terrible suffering of others, until it was in danger of mortifying. Besides, the country was in such a state of excitement, he had to hide from place to place, and came near losing his arm. Two weeks later he rejoined his family, pale and emaciated. My brother William had gone in search, having learned that his life had been spared, but was wounded. These two weeks were full of the keenest anxiety.

On the night of this fearful slaughter, a young man came running through the woods and deep snow, bare headed, telling us that an armed mob had surrounded those at the mill, and were murdering men, women and children, and would soon be upon us. This news caused a regular stampede in our little company, as some of our company had gone to the mill. Some of the women took their little ones in their arms, while others clung to their clothes; a loaf of bread and a blanket or two, were carried by older members of the family, and all rushed deeper into the snow and adjacent timber. Mother pleaded in vain for all to remain in camp, as there would be no possible safety in such a flight. The cries of the famishing children would betray them, besides they could have no fire, as this too would attract the attention of the mob.

My mother and Sister Davis (whose husband had died enroute, and whose loss was deeply mourned by all), remained in camp, called their children together, prayed with them, soothed their fears, and assured them that the same God whose watchcare had been over us during our journey thus far, was our friend still and would protect us. We went to bed feeling that we were safe, and God was our friend; but when the morning dawned and I looked into my mother's pale face, I was positive she had not closed her eyes, and felt, child as I was, almost guilty that I had suffered myself to be lulled to sleep by her magic words of comfort, while she had kept a vigilant watch during that fearful night of keenest anxiety. Those who left camp returned exhausted and almost famished.

Early next morning a fine looking young officer rode into camp, and said he had come as a friend to save us from the fate of those at the mill. He referred to the dreadful scene with words of sympathy and regret. He said he was forced to join the military to save his own life, but had done and would do all in his power to save the oppressed. If we would follow him, he would lead us to a place of safety, to a friendly neighborhood, where we would find shelter from the cold storms of winter. We followed him, and here was where my father found us. James Flanagan, the young missionary who died with smallpox in England in 1848, was one of our company. He was an exemplary young man; in fact, an exception among men. His zeal for the cause of truth was unexcelled.

We left the state of Missouri in 1838 and went with the Saints to Quincy, Illinois, and to Nauvoo in 1841.”

Amanda Barnes Smith
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1781809

“When I was in my eighteenth year I was married to Warren Smith, brother to David, who married my sister Fanna, unto whom I bore five children: Willard Gilbert born May 9, 1827; Sardis Washington born Sept. 26, 1828; Alma Lamoni, born Dec. 16, 1831; Alvira Lavoni, born Dec. 16, 1831; Ortencia Howard, born May 27, 1837. When I married my husband he had plenty of this world's good, I knew no want, we lived comfortably together nothing particular transpired until Sidney Rigdon and Orson Hyde came along preaching Cambellism. I was converted to that doctrine and baptised by Sidney Rigdon, my hus­band did not much like that, tho it was by his permission, by this time I had two children and the Doctor in consequence of my suffering advised me to have no more, but thanks be to my Heavenly Father, the gospel came along and I was baptised by Simeon D. Carter the first day of April eighteen hundred and thirty one. It was by the mercy and power of God that I was brought to a knowledge of the truth and before a year I gave birth to a pair of twins without a pain, thanks to my Father in Heaven, that made an awful stir. My mother would not stay in the house because she found out that I had the elders pray for me when I was sick or when they were born. My neighbors thought I ought to be drummed out of town, my husband had been baptised before that time so we were united and they could do nothing.

My husband's father, Chileab Smith and brothers, David and Syl­vester, were both baptised, as also Betsy, Sylvester's wife. When David was baptised Fanny, my sister, howled and screamed so that she was heard a half mile, she said she never would eat nor drink until he left the Mormons, she was as good as her word, she went eight or nine days until she was just about gone and would not put nor let a drop of anything go into her mouth. When her husband saw that she would die he sent and had his name taken off from the church record; his father soon followed, so by one woman, two men fell.Sylvester was a smart and good man. He was chosen one of the first high council in Kirtland, was one of Zions Camp and attached to good things - he attained to great height, and knowledge, then fell away and was lost.

Warren maintained his integrity till the last. He sold out his property in Amherst and went to Kirtland and bought down west of the temple on the Shagrin river. He enjoyed himself well, done all he could to establish the bank and build the temple. Through the downfall of that place in consequence of our enemies he lost his property, except only a bare outfit with which he started with his family for the land of Missouri, in the spring of eighteen thirty eight when he bid farewell to the land of our fathers and birth and took up our line of march for the land of the saints . We visited our friends in Amherst but the treatment we received will never be forgotten by me. My mother said she hoped she should never see me, hear of me nor hear my name mentioned in the world again, but we bid them good-by and left them.

I will here record on affadavit that I made out and made oath to in the city of Quincy, state of Illinois, (visit to Governor) Quincy, Illinois April 18th, 1839 To whom This May Come:

…my husband, Warren Smith, in company with several other families were moving from the State of Ohio to Missouri when we were traveling, minding our own business, we were stopped by a mob of armed men, they told us if we went another step they would kill us all, they took our guns from us, as we were going into a new country we took guns with us. They took us back five miles, placed a guard around us, kept us there three days and let us go. We traveled on ten miles, came to a small town composed of one grist saw mill, eight or ten houses all belonging to the saints, our brothers, there we stopped for the night. A little before sunset a mob of three hundred armed men came upon us , our men called for the women and children to run for the woods while they ran into an old blacksmith shop, for they feared if we all ran together they would rush upon us and kill men, women and children. The mob fired upon us before we had time to start from our camp, our men took off their hats and swung them and cried quarters until they were shot down, the mob paid no attention to their cries nor their entreaties but fired alternately.

I took my little girls, my boys I could not find, and ran for the woods, the mob encircled us in on all sides excepting the bank of the creek so I ran down the bank and crossed the mill pond on a plank, ran up the hill on the other side into the bushes. The bullets whistled by me like hail stones and cut down the bushes on all sides of me. One girl was wounded by my side and she fell over a log and her clothes happened to hang over the log in site of the mob and the mob fired at them, supposing them to be her body; (after all was still, our people cut out of that log twenty bullets.)

I saw down to witness the awful scene; when they had done firing they began to howl and one would have thought all the infernos had come up from the lower regions. They plundered the principle part of our goods, they took our horses and wagons and ran off howling like demons. After they had gone I came down to witness and behold the awful scene and Oh, Oh, horrible, what a sight!

My husband and one son ten years old lay lifeless upon the ground and one son six years old wounded very bad, his hip all shot off and to pieces, the ground all covered with the dead and dying. There were three little boys crept under the blacksmith's bellows, one of them re­ceived three wounds, he lived three weeks and died, he was not mine, the other two were and one of them had his brains all shot out and the other his hip shot to pieces. Realize, my readers, for a moment the scene. Nothing but horror and distress; it was sunset, the dogs were filled with rage, howling over their dead masters, the cattle caught the scent of innocent blood and bellowed, a dozen helpless widows, thirty or forty orphaned or fatherless children screaming and grieving for the loss of their husbands and fathers, the groans of the dying and wounded, all of this put together was enough to melt the heart of anything but a Missouri mob. There was fifteen dead and ten wounded, two died next day, there were no men, or not enough, to bury the dead so they were thrown into an old well that was dry and covered them with straw and dirt. The next day the mob came back and told us we must leave the state or they would kill us all. It was cold weather, they had our teams and our clothes, our men all dead or wounded, I told them they might kill me and my children in welcome. They sent word from time to time that if we did not leave the state they would come and make a breakfast of us. We had little prayer meetings, they said if we did not stop them they would kill every man, woman and child. We had spelling schools for our little children, they said if we did not stop they would kill us all. We done our own milling, got our own wood, no man to help us.

I started the first of February for the State of Illinois without money, mobbed all the way, I drown my own team, slept out of doors. I had four small children, we suffered much with hunger, cold and fatigue, for what? For our religion, where in a bossed land of liberty deny your faith or die, was the cry. I will mention some of the leading men of this mob: two brothers by the name of Crumstock, William Man, Benjamin Ashby, Robert White and one by the name of Rogers, who took an old scythe and cut an old White headed revolutioner all to pieces.

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I would further state that my husband was stript of his clothes before he was dead, he had a new pair of calf-skin boots taken off his feet by Bill Man. He made his brags that he pulled a **** Mormon's boots off his feet before he was done kicking. The mob went and shot the men over for fear they were not dead. I saw one of the mob afterwards and asked him what they intended when they came there? He said they intended to kill everything that breathed. I will leave it to this honorable government to say why my damages shall be, what they would have their fathers, mothers wives and children shot for..

I felt the loss of my husband but not as I should if he had apostatized, he died in the faith and in hopes of a glorious resurrection. As for myself, I felt an unshaken confidence in God through it all. I had been personally acquainted with the prophet Joseph for many years, had seen his walks and knew him to a Prophet of God, that boyed me up under every trial and privation.

I would further state that Sardis my second son was killed when his father was - he was ten years old. Alma had his hip shot off, the entire hip joint and socket gone leaving the point of the bone about three or four inches apart, besides the bones badly fractured, pieces worked out for three months. I knew, naturally, he must be a cripple but I knew that the same God that formed the first bone could form another, consequently I dedicated him to the Lord, did the best I could for him myself, had no doctor. I laid him on a soft bed and let him lie five weeks and never moved him in that time, the Lord formed a new joint, as good as the old one, and he ran and lept: like an hart and danced like a top and is not a cripple.

Willard my first born when about twelve years old was thrown from a horse and taken for dead. Men ran a half mile then carried him a half mile before there was any appearance of life but by the power of the priesthood was brought to life. His skull was badly cracked, his brain injured, he did not know anything for some days but he got well and his senses as good as ever. When Alma was about two years old he had the sore eyes, he was blind for about three months , a thick film grew over both eyes which was taken off by the prayer of faith in an instant so that there was no weakness and they are perfectly well. Besides numerous other healings and great manifestations of the Power of God I have witnessed in my own family for which I thank and praise my Heavenly Father for it is His mercy, not any worth or worthiness in me, but to Him be all the glory, honor, both now and forever. Amen. /s/ Amanda Smith.”

Ellis Eames
https://familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/12594448

“The next important transaction that took place was that a company was raised on Grand River, but without any legal authority whatever and came to our neighborhood and took a quantity of guns from our people. When they came up to my place I immediately went up to them, conversed with them and asked what was their object in the strange move they were making. One of them named Molsey told me that they were taking the guns from the Mormons, wanting to put a stop to the damned fuss. One young man named Hiram Abbot who was with me, and with whom I was about making arrangements to put up a store, who had a gun with him was told to give up his gun, but he refused, knowing they had no authority for such strange proceedings, when several of the mob while on their horses immediately cocked their guns and took aim at him, but did not fire.

Three of them then dismounted viz: Hiram Comstock, Trosher, and Whitney and pursued after him across the mill dam -- he got up to the side of a hill and Comstock got by the side of the house, Comstock then drew up his gun and snapped it three times at him, but without effect; his gun would not make fire. Abbott seeing that, cocked his gun, but Comstock got behind the hen house and screened himself from danger. Abbott then made his escape as fast as possible. The mob then rode off. Very soon after it was reported that they intended to come and burn the mills. On receiving this intelligence the neighbors assembled together to consult what was best to be done, and after some deliberations it was agreed that there should a few remain at the mill to guard it from the attack of any individuals who might feel disposed to put their threats into execution, and from that time there were generally some of the men about the mills in order to protect it, it being their chief and only place where they could get any flour or meal…

We continued to hear of mobs in different directions, but at the same time we felt ourselves measurable safe after being given to understand by the committee from Capt. Mattison's company that they would not molest us, if we were peaceable, etc.

On the 31st of October things moved on as usual, we were occupied in our usual occupations and heard of nothing to increase our fears and were in hopes that soon such proceedings and alarm would cease and we should again enjoy the blessings of liberty and peace. The day was far spent; the sun was sinking fast in the western hemisphere, being only about an hour and a half high. A number of us where at a short distance from the mill between it and the blacksmith's shop when one observed there was a mob coming, and immediately we saw a large company of between 200 and 250 within about one hundred yards from us. Thinking their movements were hostile, we immediately ran into the blacksmith's shop, for safety. Some of our brethren had camped a little behind the shop; one of them by the name of Knight, had just taken up his gun and was going down to the small lake for the purpose of shooting ducks when the mob came upon him. One of their leaders named Comstock observing him immediately fired upon him and shot the strap off his shot pouch. He then ran into the shop whither we had taken shelter, the mob then kept rushing on towards the shop and shooting at us. David Evans then ran out and called for peace and solicited them to desist. Knight also went out again and joined him supplicating for peace, but all to no effect; they continued to fire upon them and shot Brother Knight in the hand, taking off one finger and disabling another, he then retreated towards the mill to cross on the dam, when he was shot in the back, the ball lodging in the pit of his stomach.

The women seeing our situation and expecting no better treatment took to flight, taking their little ones along with them and running away from a scene of murder, which it is impossible to portray. As the mob approached nearer the shop, (indeed if we had all been armed it would have been impossible for us to have resisted them) took deliberate aim through the cracks and the shop being crowded almost every ball that entered the shop took effect and every moment some one was exclaiming, "Oh, I am shot," and first one and then another kept sinking down upon the ground, writhing in agony, while the blood flowed from their wounds and steamed upon the floor. One young man standing immediately next to me was shot, seeing no prospect before us but death, the mob manifesting all malice possible, and would not listen to our cries, and seemed determined to murder us all, we thought it advisable for us to try to make our escape by running out of the shop and cross the mill dam. Those of us who were able ran out and endeavored to make our escape in doing which as many were shot down while making the attempt and the mob firing upon us all the time as long as we were within reach. The mob then rushed into the shop where the wounded and dying were laying and those in whom the spark of life was not extinct were then shot over again. A little boy about nine years old who had hid himself under the bellows being observed and on being threatened to be shot, he earnestly desired and prayed for them to spare him, plead for his life, but to no purpose, for a muzzle shot gun was placed to his head and his brains were literally blown out, another little boy was likewise shot and died soon after, still another was shot, but has survived. One old gentleman who was immediately behind, named Thos. McBride, Esq., ran when we fled from the shop and was pursued, having a gun in his hand. This was demanded by his pursuer, he immediately turned round and delivered it up. The monster then took a corn cutter which he had by his side and cut the old man into pieces.

Some of the women were shot. Mrs. Merril's clothes were cut in two or three places with bullets and a young woman named Mary Studwell who was running away, at a distance from any one else was shot through the hand. Hearing the balls whistling by her she took shelter behind some logs which screened her from the balls as several lodged in the logs.

After they had finished their bloody work, the mob next commenced to plunder, and seeing some teams standing by belonging to the movers who had lately come along, they loaded the wagons with our goods. They entirely stripped me of all my clothing as well as my wife's and the clothes belonging to a young man who was boarding at our house, and all our bed clothes and beds likewise a quantity of merchandise which they carried away. Nor did this satisfy them, but those who were murdered were then robbed of their clothes, watches and everything else of value. The mobbers took their booty to Grand River and there made a distribution of the spoils amongst themselves.

I went about two miles and hid in the Hazel brush and then returned with Mr. Blackburn about ten O'clock at night. I went amongst my friends who had been shot, and those who had been wounded, I assisted all I could and administered to their necessities, and early in the morning a few of us got together and interred the dead in a hole which had been dug for a well, and then we went and hid in the hazel brush, expecting the mob would probably be coming to massacre the remainder. Some came, but they did not appear so hostile, but satisfied themselves with carrying off 2 or 3 horses. A few days after the same company came and pretended that General Clark had sent them to take prisoners and send them to Richmond jail. They took me prisoner and kept me in close confinement for nine days and would not let me converse with any one. They then took possession of my mills and ground up all the wheat and corn and took it home to their families and after taking about all the spoil they could and killed nearly all my hogs, they departed and left me at liberty and drove off the cattle, etc. They went all around the neighborhood and threatened the lives of all the Mormons and ordered them out of the state upon pain of extermination…

These acted without any authority and committed all these murders, and robberies, yet none of them have been brought to punishment. The affair was left without investigation and the poor afflicted broken-hearted survivors left without any redress.”

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