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WE will now relate the experience of the prisoners in their journeys, trials, and incarceration.
Joseph Smith's account is as follows:-
"Saturday, 3d. We continued our march and arrived at the Missouri River, which separated us from Jackson County, where we were hurried across the ferry when but few troops had passed. The truth was General Clark had sent an express from Richmond to General Lucas to have the prisoners sent to him and thus prevent our going to Jackson County, both armies being competitors for the honor of possessing 'the royal prisoners.' Clark wanted the privilege of putting us to death himself, and Lucas and his troops were desirous of exhibiting us in the streets of Independence.
"Sunday, 4th. We were visited by some ladies and gentlemen. One of the women came up and very candidly inquired of the troops which of the prisoners was the Lord whom the 'Mormons' worshipped. One of the guards pointed to me with a significant smile and said, 'This is he.' The woman then turning to me inquired whether I professed to be the Lord and Savior. I replied that I professed to be nothing but a man and a minister of salvation, sent by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel.
"This answer so surprised the woman that she began to inquire into our doctrine, and I preached a discourse both to her and her companions and to the wondering soldiers, who listened with almost breathless attention while I set forth
the doctrine of faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance, and baptism for remission of sins, with the promise of the Holy Ghost, as recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
"The woman was satisfied and praised God in the hearing of the soldiers, and went away praying that God would protect and deliver us. Thus was fulfilled a prophecy which had been spoken publicly by me a few months previous-that a sermon should be preached in Jackson County by one of our elders before the close of 1838.
"The troops having crossed the river about ten o'clock, we proceeded on and arrived at Independence, past noon, in the midst of great rain and a multitude of spectators who had assembled to see us and hear the bugles sound a blast of triumphant joy, which echoed through the camp as we were ushered into a vacant house prepared for our reception, with a floor for our beds and blocks of wood for our pillows. 1
1 The following letter written at this date by Joseph Smith, the original of which is now in our possession in his own handwriting, conflict slightly with this account as regards their treatment:-
Independence, Jackson Co., Missouri, November 4, 1838.
My dear and beloved companion of my bosom, in tribulation and affliction:- I would inform you that I am well and that we are all of us in good spirits as regards our own fate. We have been protected by the Jackson County boys in the most genteel manner, and arrived here in the midst of a splendid parade, a little after noon. Instead of going to gaol [jail] we have a good house provided for us and the kindest treatment. I have great anxiety about you and my lovely children. My heart mourns and bleeds for the brethren and sisters, and for the slain of the people of God. Colonel Hinkle proved to be a traitor to the church. He is worse than a Hull who betrayed the army at Detroit. He decoyed us unawares. God reward him. John Corrill told General Wilson that he was going to leave the church. General Wilson says he thinks much less of him now than before. Why I mention this is to have you careful not to trust them. If we are permitted to stay any time here we have obtained a promise that we may have our families brought to us. What God may do for us I do not know, but I hope for the best always in all circumstances. Although I go unto death I will trust in God. What outrages may be committed by the mob I know not, but expect there will be but little or no restraint. Oh! may God have mercy on us.
When we arrived at the river last night an express came to General Wilson from General Clark, of Howard County, claiming the right of command, ordering us back where or what place God only knows; and there are some feeling between the officers. I do not know where it will end. It is said by some that General Clark is determined to exterminate. God has spared some of us thus far. Perhaps he will extend mercy in some degree toward us yet. Some of the people of this place
"General Clark arrived at Far West with one thousand six hundred men, and five hundred more were within eight miles of the city.
"Thus Far West has been visited by six thousand men in one week, when the militia of the city (before any were taken prisoners) amounted only to about five hundred, whose arms having been secured, the mob continued to hunt the brethren like wild beasts, and shot several, ravished the women, and killed one near the city; no saint was permitted to go in or out of the city, and they lived on parched corn.
"General Clark ordered General Lucas, who had previously gone to Adam-ondi-ahman with his troops, 'to take the whole of the men of the Mormons prisoners and place such a guard around them and the town as will protect the prisoners and secure them until they can be dealt with properly,' and secure all their property, till the best means could be adopted for paying the damages the citizens had sustained.
"Monday, 5th. We were kept under a small guard and were treated with some degree of hospitality and politeness, while many flocked to see us. We spent most of our time in preaching and conversation, explanatory of our doctrines and practice, which removed mountains of prejudice and enlisted the populace in our favor, notwithstanding their old hatred and wickedness towards our society.
"The brethren at Far West were ordered by General
have told me that some of the Mormons may settle in this county as other men do. I have some hopes that something may turn out for good to the afflicted saints. I want you to stay where you are until you hear from me again. I may send for you to bring you to me. I cannot learn much for certainty in the situation that I am in, and can only pray for deliverance until it is meted out, and take everything as it comes with patience and fortitude. I hope you will be faithful and true to every trust. I can't write much in my situation. Conduct all matters as your circumstances and necessities require. May God give you wisdom and prudence and sobriety, which I have every reason to believe you will. Those little children are subjects of my meditation continually. Tell them that Father is yet alive. God grant that he may see them again. Oh! Emma, for God's sake do not forsake me nor the truth, but remember me. If I do not meet you again in this life-may God grant that we may-may we meet in heaven. I cannot express my feelings; my heart is full. Farewell, O my kind and affectionate Emma. I am yours forever, your husband and true friend,
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Clark to form a line, when the names of fifty-six present were called and made prisoners to await their trial for something they knew not. They were kept under a close guard. . . .
"Shortly after our arrival in Jackson County Colonel Sterling Price, 2 from the army of General Clark, came with orders from General Clark, who was commander in chief of the expedition, to have us forwarded forthwith to Richmond. Accordingly on Thursday morning we started with three guards only, and they had been obtained with great difficulty, after laboring all the previous day to get them. Between Independence and Roy's Ferry, on the Missouri River, they all got drunk, and we got possession of their arms and horses.
"It was late in the afternoon, near the setting of the sun. We traveled about half a mile after we crossed the river, and put up for the night.
"Friday, 9th. This morning there came a number of men, some of them armed. Their threatenings and savage appearance were such as to make us afraid to proceed without more guards. A messenger was therefore dispatched to Richmond to obtain them.
"We started before their arrival, but had not gone far before we met Colonel Price with a guard of about seventy-four men, and were conducted by them to Richmond and put into an old vacant house, and a guard set.
"Sometime through the course of that day General Clark came in and we were introduced to him. We inquired of him the reason why we had been thus carried from our homes, and what were the charges against us. He said that he was not then able to determine, but would be in a short time; and with very little more conversation, withdrew.
"Some short time after he had withdrawn Colonel Price came in with two chains in his hands and a number of padlocks. The two chains he fastened together. He had with him ten men, armed, who stood at the time of these operations with a thumb upon the cock of their guns. They first
2This is the General Price of Confederate fame.
nailed down the windows, then came and ordered a man by the name of John Fulkinson, whom he had with him, to chain us together with chains and padlocks, being seven in number. After that he searched us, examining our pockets to see if we had any arms. Finding nothing but pocket knives, he took them and conveyed them off.
"Saturday, 10th. . . General Clark had spent his time since our arrival at Richmond in searching the laws to find authority for trying us by court-martial. Had he not been a lawyer of eminence I should have supposed it no very difficult task to decide that quiet, peaceful, unoffending, and private citizens too, except as ministers of the gospel, were not amenable to a military tribunal, in a country governed by civil laws. But be this as it may, General Clark wrote the Governor that he had
"'Detained General White and his field officers here a day or two, for the purpose of holding a court-martial, if necessary. I this day made out charges against the prisoners and called on Judge King to try them as a committing court; and I am now busily engaged in procuring witnesses and submitting facts. There being no civil officers in Caldwell, I have to use the military to get witnesses from there, which I do without reserve. The most of the prisoners here I consider guilty of treason; and I believe will be convicted; and the only difficulty in law is, can they be tried in any county but Caldwell? If not, they cannot be there indicted, until change of population. In the event the latter view is taken by the civil courts, I suggest the propriety of trying Jo Smith and those leaders taken by General Lucas, by a courtmartial, for mutiny. This I am in favor of only as a dernier resort. I would have taken this course with Smith at any rate; but it being doubtful whether a court-martial has jurisdiction or not in the present case-that is, whether these people are to be treated as in time of war, and the mutineers as having mutinied in time of war-and I would here ask you to forward to me the Attorney General's opinion on this point. It will not do to allow these leaders to return to their treasonable work again, on account of their not being indicted in Caldwell. They have committed treason
murder, arson, burglary, robbery, larceny, and perjury.'. . .
"Sunday, 11th. While in Richmond we were under the charge of Colonel Price from Chariton County, who suffered all manner of abuse to be heaped upon us.
"During this time my afflictions were great, and our situation was truly painful.
"General Clark informed us that he would turn us over to the civil authorities for trial. Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, Amasa Lyman, George W. Robinson, Caleb Baldwin, Alanson Ripley, Washington Voorhees, Sidney Turner, John Buchanan, Jacob Gates, Chandler Holbrook, George W. Harris, Jesse D. Hunter, Andrew Whitlock, Martin C. Allred, William Allred, George D. Grant, Darwin Chase, Elijah Newman, Alvin G. Tippets, Zedekiah Owens, Isaac Morley, Thomas Beck, Moses Clawson, John T. Tanner, Daniel Shearer, Daniel S. Thomas, Alexander McRae, Elisha Edwards, John S. Higbee, Ebenezer Page, Benjamin Covey, Ebenezer Robinson, Luman Gibbs, James M. Henderson, David Pettegrew, Edward Partridge. Francis Higbee, David Frampton, George Kimball, Joseph W. Younger, Henry Zabriski, Allen J. Stout, Sheffield Daniels, Silas Maynard, Anthony Head, Benjamin Jones, Daniel Carn, John T. Earl, and Norman Shearer, were brought before Austin A. King, at Richmond, for trial, charged with the several crimes of high treason against the State, murder, burglary, arson, robbery, and larceny.
"Monday, 12th. The first act of the court was to send out a body of armed men, without a civil process, to obtain witnesses. 3
"Tuesday, 13th. We were placed at the bar, Austin A. King presiding, and Thomas C. Burch State's Attorney.
3The following letter, the original of which is now in our possession, shows the inward life and feelings of the man-
Richmond Missouri, November 12, 1838
Dear Emma: We are prisoners in chains and under strong guards for Christ's sake and for no other causes; although there have been things that were unbeknown to us and altogether beyond our control that might seem to the mob to be a pretext for them to persecute us;
Witnesses were called and Sworn at the point of the bayonet.
"Dr. Sampson Avard was the first brought before the court. He had previously told Mr. Oliver Olney that if he [Olney] wished to save himself he must swear hard against the heads of the church, as they were the ones the court wanted to criminate; and if he could swear hard against them, they would not (that is, neither court nor mob) disturb him. 'I intend to do it,' said he, 'in order to escape, for if I do not, they will take my life.'
"This introduction is sufficient to show the character of his testimony, and he swore just according to the statement
but on examination I think that the authorities will discover our innocence and set us free; but if this blessing cannot be obtained I have this consolation, that I am an innocent man, let what will befall me.
I received your letter, which I read over and over again; it was a sweet morsel to me. O God, grant that I may have the privilege of seeing once more my lovely family in the enjoyment of the sweets of liberty and sociable life; to press them to my bosom and kiss their lovely cheeks would fill my heart with unspeakable gratitude. Tell the children that I am alive, and trust I shall come and see them before long. Comfort their hearts all you can, and try to be comforted yourself all you can. There is no possible danger but what we shall be set at liberty if justice can be done, and that you know as well as myself. The trial will begin to-day for some of us. Lawyer Reese, and we expect Doniphan, will plead our cause. We could get no others in time for the trial. They are able men and will do well, no doubt.
Brother Robinson is chained next to me, he has a true heart and a firm mind; Brother Wight is next, Brother Rigdon next, Hyrum next Parley next, Amasa next; and thus we are bound together in chains, as well as the cords of everlasting love. We are in good spirits and rejoice that we are counted worthy to be persecuted for Christ's sake. Tell little Joseph he must be a good boy. Father loves him with a perfect love; he is the eldest-must not hurt those that are smaller than he, but care for them. Tell little Frederick Father loves him with all his hearth; he is a lovely boy. Julia is a lovely little girl; I love her also. She is a promising child; tell her Father wants her to remember him and be a good girl. Tell all the rest that I think of them and pray for them all.
Bro. Babbitt is waiting to carry our letters for us. Colonel Price is inspecting them; therefore my time is short. Little Alexander is on my mind continually. O, my affectionate Emma, I want you to remember that I am a true and faithful friend to you and the children forever. My heart is entwined around yours forever and ever. O, may God bless you all. Amen. I am your husband, and am in bonds and tribulation etc.
Joseph Smith, Jr.
To Emma Smith.
P. S.-Write as often as you can, and if possible come and see me, and bring the children if possible. Act according to your own feelings and best judgment, and endeavor to be comforted, if possible, and I trust that all will turn out for the best. Yours, J. S.
he had made, doubtless thinking it a wise course to ingratiate himself into the good graces of the mob.
"The following witnesses were examined in behalf of the State, many of whom, if we may judge from their testimony, swore upon the same principle as Avard; namely, Wyatt Cravens, Nehemiah Sale, Captain Samuel Bogart, Morris Phelps, John Corrill, Robert Snodgrass, George Walton, George M. Hinkle, James C. Owens, Nathaniel Carr, Abner Scovell, John Cleminson, Reed Peck, James C. Owens reëxamined, William Splawn, Thomas M. Odle, John Raglin, Allen Rathbun, Jeremiah Myers, Andrew F. Job, Freeburn E. Gardner, Burr Riggs, Elisha Camron, Charles Bleckley, James Cobb, Jesse Kelly, Addison Price, Samuel Kimball, William W. Phelps, John Whitmer, James B. Turner, George W. Worthington, Joseph E. McGee, John Lockhart, Porter Yale, Benjamin Slade, Ezra Williams, Addison Green, John Taylor, Timothy Lewis, and Patrick Lynch. . . .
"We were called upon for our witnesses and we gave the names of some forty or fifty. Captain Bogart was dispatched with a company of militia to procure them. Arrested all he could find, thrust them into prison, and we were not allowed to see them.
"We were again called upon most tauntingly for witnesses; we gave the names of some others, and they were also thrust into prison, so many as were to be found.
"In the meantime, Malinda Porter, Delia F. Pine, Nancy Rigdon, Jonathan W. Barlow, Thoret Parsons, Ezra Chipman, and Arza Judd, Jr., volunteered, and were sworn, on the defense, but were prevented by threats from telling the truth as much as possible. We saw a man at the window by the name of Allen, and beckoned him to come in and had him sworn; but when he did not testify to please the court, several rushed upon him with their bayonets, and he fled the place, and three men took after him with loaded guns, and he barely escaped with his life. It was of no use to get any more witnesses if we could have done it.
"Thus this mock investigation continued from day to day, till Saturday, when several of the brethren were discharged by Judge King, as follows:-
"'Defendants against whom nothing is proven; viz., Amasa Lyman, John Buchanan, Andrew Whitlock, Alvah L. Tippets, Jedediah Owens, Isaac Morley, John T. Tanner, Daniel S. Thomas, Elisha Edwards, Benjamin Covey, David Frampton, Henry Zabriski, Allen J. Stout, Sheffield Daniels, Silas Maynard, Anthony Head, John T. Earl, Ebenezer Brown, James Newberry, Sylvester Hulet, Chandler Holbrook, Martin Allred, William Allred. The above defendants have been discharged by me, there being no evidence against them.
"'Austin A. King, Judge, etc.
"Our church organization was converted, by the testimony of the apostates, into a temporal kingdom which was to fill the whole earth and subdue all other kingdoms.
"Much was inquired by the Judge (who, by the by, was a Methodist) concerning the prophecy of Daniel, 'In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall break in pieces all other kingdoms, and stand forever,' etc.; 'and the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heavens, shall be given to the saints of the Most High,' etc., just as though it was treason to believe the Bible.
"The remaining prisoners were all released, or admitted to bail, except Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, Hyrum Smith, Alexander McRae, Sidney Rigdon, and myself, who were sent to Liberty, Clay County, to jail, to stand our trial for treason and murder-the treason, for having whipped the mob out of Daviess County and taking their cannon from them; and the murder, for the man killed in the Bogart battle; also Parley P. Pratt, Morris Phelps, Luman Gibbs, Darwin Chase, and Norman Shearer, who were put into Richmond jail to stand their trial for the same crimes.
"During the investigation we were mostly confined in chains and received much abuse.
"The matter of driving away witnesses, or casting them into prison, or chasing them out of the country, was carried to such a length that our lawyers, General Doniphan and Amos Reese, told us not to bring our witnesses there at all;
for if we did there would not be one of them left for final trial; for no sooner would Bogart and his men know who they were than they would put them out of the country.
"As to making any impression on King, if a cohort of angels were to come down and declare we were clear, Doniphan said it would be all the same; for he (King) had determined from the beginning to cast us into prison.
"We never got the privilege of introducing our witnesses at all; if we had, we could have disproved all they swore."-Millennial Star, vol. 16, pp. 539, 556-558, 565.
On November 30 the prisoners were started from Richmond for Liberty, as ordered in the following mittimus:-
"State of Missouri, Ray County.
"To the Keeper of the Jail of Clay County Greeting:-Whereas, Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin, as also Sidney Rigdon, have been brought before me, Austin A. King, judge of the fifth judicial circuit in the State of Missouri, and charged with the offense of treason against the State of Missouri, and the said defendants, on their examination before me, being held to answer further to said charge, the said Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin to answer in the county of Daviess, and the said Sydney Rigdon to answer further in the county of Caldwell, for said charge of treason, and there being no jail in said counties: These are therefore to command that you receive the said Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, Caleb Baldwin, and Sidney Rigdon into your custody in the jail of the said county of Clay, there to remain until they be delivered therefrom by due course of law.
"Given under my hand and seal the 29th day of November, 1838.
"Austin A. King.
"State of Missouri, County of Clay.
"I, Samuel Hadley, sheriff of Clay County, do hereby certify
that the above is a true copy of the mittimus to me, directed in the cases therein named.
"Samuel Hadley, Jailer.
"By Samuel Tillery, Deputy Jailer.
"Clay County, Missouri."4
-Millennial Star, vol. 16, p. 566.
Lyman Wight's account as recorded in his journal is as follows:-
"November 1. This morning we were ordered by General Wilson to make ready to go to Jackson County, and informed by him that we were delivered into his charge, that he had three hundred good soldiers, and that he would guarantee that we should be well treated; which promise he fulfilled to the very letter. We were then placed in a wagon, marched seventeen miles to Crooked River, and camped for the night.
"2d. To-day we marched on and crossed the Missouri River at Williams' Ferry and camped on the other side for the night.
"3d. We now found ourselves in Jackson County, from which we were driven in 1833, about thirteen miles from Independence. Several times in the course of this day we were exhibited as a public show, having been carried in a covered wagon. But I have it to say that with one exception we were treated in the most genteel manner. We landed at Independence about three o'clock p. m. and were placed in a huge log house on the north side of the public square, with a small guard about us. We had many respectable visitors this evening, together with some few of the offscouring of the earth. We had food prepared for and brought to us. We rested very comfortably through the night.
"4th. This day we were at liberty to go where we pleased about through the town. We walked down to the Temple Lot, in company with a gentleman by the name of Collins. He said he presumed the place did not look as it would had
4This purported mittimus was not made out, however, until the March following. So they were over three months in jail without process.
we been permitted to have remained in this county. We spent [the day] in walking about, retired in the evening to the same place and tarried for night.
"5th. This day we were invited to dine with General Wilson, by the request of his wife and family, where we were treated in the most genteel style. When the blessing was asked at the table his wife shed tears freely. We retired after dinner to our place of residence for the night.
"November 6. This morning General Wilson ordered us to be moved to Knowlten's hotel, where we were treated in a genteel manner. We spent the day walking about through town, and also traded some, and returned to Knowlten's for the night.
"7th. On this day we were invited to dine at a hotel in the lower part of the town. We returned to Knowlten's in the evening, and were introduced to Colonel Price, who gave us to understand that he had been sent by General Clark, who had just arrived in Richmond with five thousand troops, and who, by the order of the Governor, was commander in chief of all the mob militia in the State, ordered us forthwith to Richmond for a new trial, as he claims the highest authority of martial law on the occasion. He also informed us that General Clark had with him an express order from the Governor, to either exterminate or drive from the State every Mormon within its borders. We now retired to rest, and to wait the result of another day.
"8th. This morning we made every necessary preparation to repair to Richmond as quick as possible. Colonel Arnat and two other men attended us as guards. We started and crossed the Missouri River fifteen miles from this place about the setting of the sun, and camped in an old house on the opposite bank.
"9th. This morning about ten miles from Richmond we were met by about fifty men, who guarded us into Richmond, where we were thrust into an old log house. Some little provisions were brought in, which we took in our hands and ate. We were strongly guarded through the night. This evening we were informed that General Clark
had been to Far West and had disarmed every Mormon that he could find, and had taken about sixty prisoners, and brought them to this place, and placed them in the courthouse about twenty rods from where we now are, which has neither floor nor door-shutter, and the weather is very inclement. The remainder of the Mormons he said could remain until the opening of the spring season; but if they should then be found attempting to put in a crop or stay longer, they should most assuredly be exterminated without mercy. . . .
"General Clark came in between the hours of seven and eight o'clock this evening, who on being interrogated what our crimes were, said he would inform us in the morning, and with a frown passed out of the room. After receiving many insults and much abuse from the people, we were left to await the result of the morning.
"l0th. This morning General Clark came and with a look of awe and disdain said: 'Gentlemen, you are charged with having committed treason, murder, arson, burglary, larceny, and stealing, and various other crimes too numerous to mention,' and in great haste left the room. He had not more than passed the door when Colonel Price with sixteen men stepped in at the door, each having his gun presented with his thumb on the cock. They were quickly followed by a Mr. Fulkinson, the overseer of the penitentiary, with three trace chains and seven padlocks in his hands, and commenced chaining us by our legs, one by one, until we were all chained together about two feet apart. We were then informed that we were delivered over to the civil law, and that General Clark, after arriving at this place, had held a court-martial and sentenced us to be shot, but fearing this might not be correct he had sent to Fort Leavenworth to the United States officer, whose answer, on the subject was that 'it would be nothing more, nor nothing less than cold-blooded murder.' 5 During this whole time there had not been a process served on us, neither civil nor uncivil. We spent this day in chains for the first time, ruminating from present
5This was Lieutenant Colonel Richard B. Mason, First Dragoons.
prospects what the future might be. You may well calculate the day passed off with gloomy aspect.
"11th. A. King, circuit judge of the fifth judicial circuit, called for us at the courthouse to-day, and informed us that we were put on trial for the above-mentioned charges, stated by General Clark. Court was called and adjourned for want of testimony. We retired to our chains and couches of straw and spent the night.
"November 12. Court opened this morning and Sampson Avard was sworn. He was a man whose character was perfectly run down in all classes of society, and he being a stranger palmed himself upon the Mormon Church, and in order to raise himself in the estimation of the church invented schemes and plans to go against mobocracy, which were perfectly derogatory to the laws of this State and of the United States, and frequently endeavored to enforce them upon members of the church, and when repulsed by Joseph Smith he would frequently become chagrined. At one time he told me that the reason why he could not carry his plans into effect was that the First Presidency of the church feared that he would have too much influence, and gain the honor which the First Presidency desired for themselves.
"At one time he said to me that he would be damned if he did not carry his plans through. More than once did he raise a conspiracy against them (the Presidency) in order to take their lives, thinking that he might then rule the church. Now when he was brought before the court he swore that all these treasonable purposes (which he had sworn in his heart to perform) originated with us."
P. P. Pratt writes concerning their treatment at Independence:-.
"We were soon at liberty to walk the streets without a guard; and soon we were removed from our house of confinement to a hotel, where we were entertained in the best style of which the place was capable, which was lodging on the floor and a block of wood for a pillow. We had no longer any guard-we went out and came in when we pleased, a certain keeper being appointed merely
to look to us; with him we walked out of town and visited the desolate lands which belonged to our society, and the place which, seven years before, we had dedicated and consecrated for the building of a temple, it being a beautiful rise of ground about half a mile west of Independence. When we saw it last it was a wilderness, but now our enemies had robbed it of every stick of timber, and it presented a beautiful rolling field of pasture, being covered with grass. Oh, how many feelings did this spot awaken in our bosoms! Here we had often bowed the knee in prayer to Jehovah in bygone years; and here we had assembled with hundreds of happy saints, in the solemn meeting, and offered our prayers, and songs, and sacraments, in our humble dwellings; but now all was solemn and lonely desolation; not a vestige remained to mark the place where stood our former dwellings; they had long since been consumed by fire, or removed to the village and converted to the use of our enemies. While at Independence we were once or twice invited to dine with General Wilson, and others, which we did with much apparent politeness and attention on their part and much cheerfulness on our own.
"After about a week spent in this way, during which I was at one time alone in the wilderness more than a mile from town, we were at length (after repeated demands) sent to General Clark, at Richmond. This place was on the same side of Missouri that Far West was, and about thirty miles distant. Generals Lucas and Wilson had tried in vain to get a guard to accompany us; none would volunteer, and when drafted they would not obey orders; for, in truth, they wished us to go at liberty. At last a colonel and two or three officers started with us, with their swords and pistols, which was more to protect us than keep us from escaping. On this journey some of us rode in carriages and some on horseback. Sometimes we were sixty or eighty rods in front or rear of our guard, who, by the by, were three sheets in the wind in the whisky line, having a bottle in their pockets; but knowing that we were not guilty of any crime, we did not wish to escape by night. At night, having crossed the ferry, we put up at a private house. Here our guards all
went to bed and to sleep, leaving us their pistols to defend ourselves in case of any attack from without, as we were in a very hostile neighborhood."-Persecution of the Saints, pp. 92-95.
One touching incident we relate here as given by Mr. Pratt.
"The court of inquiry now commenced before Judge A. A. King. This continued from the 11th to the 28th of November, during which we were kept most of the time in chains, and our brethren, some fifty in number, were penned up in the open, unfinished courthouse.
"It was a very severe spell of snow and winter weather, and we suffered much. During this time Elder Rigdon was taken very sick from hardship and exposure, and finally lost his reason; but still he was kept in a miserable, noisy, and cold room, and compelled to sleep on the floor with a chain and padlock round his ankle, and fastened to six others; and here he endured the constant noise and confusion of an unruly guard who were changed every few hours, and who were frequently composed of the most noisy, foul-mouthed, vulgar, disgraceful, indecent rabble that ever defiled the earth. While he lay in this situation, his son in-law, George Robinson, the only male member of his numerous family, was chained by his side; and thus Mrs. Rigdon and her daughters were left entirely destitute and unprotected. One of his daughters, Mrs. Robinson, a young and delicate female, with her little infant, came down to see her husband and to comfort and take care of her father in his sickness. When she first entered the room, amid the clank of chains and the bristle of weapons, and cast her eyes on her sick and dejected parent and sorrow worn husband, she was speechless, and only gave vent to her feelings in a flood of tears. This faithful lady with her little infant continued by the bed of her father till he recovered from his sickness, and till his fevered and disordered mind assumed its wonted powers of intellect.
"In this mock court of inquiry the judge could not be prevailed on to examine the conduct of the murderers, robbers, and plunderers, who had desolated our society. Nor would
he receive testimony except against us. And by the dissenters and apostates who wished to save their own lives and secure their property at the expense of others; and by those who had murdered and plundered us from time to time, he obtained abundance of testimony, much of which was entirely false."-Persecution of the Saints, pp. 102-104.
Of the prisoners left at Richmond when Joseph and his companions were taken to Liberty, all were finally released but four, and they were sent to Columbia, in Boone County. Of this Mr. Pratt writes as follows:-
"On the 24th of April our cases were laid before the grand jury of the county of Ray; and Darwin Chase and Norman Shearer were dismissed after being imprisoned near six months. This release happened just as Mr. Shearer came to visit his son for the last time before he left the country. He came into the prison to see us, and not knowing of the intended release, he took an affectionate leave of us and of his son, who seemed to weep with heartbroken anguish. But while he yet lingered in town his son was called before the court, and with Mr. Chase was told that they might go at liberty. The father and son then embraced each other, almost overcome with joy, and departed. At the same time my brother, Orson Pratt, whom I had not before seen for a year, came from Illinois to see me, but was only permitted to visit me for a few moments, and then was ordered to depart. Mrs. Phelps, who had waited in prison for some days in hopes that the court would release her husband, now parted with him, overwhelmed with sorrow and tears, and with her infant moved slowly away to remove to Illinois and leave her husband behind. Thus our families wander in a strange land, without our protection, being robbed of house and home. Oh God, who can endure the thought! Come out in justice, O Lord, and restore us to our mourning families!
"Our number in prison were now reduced to four. One having been added about the middle of April. His name was King Follet; he was dragged from his distressed family just as they were leaving the State. Thus of all the prisoners which were taken at an expense of two hundred thousand
dollars, only two of the original ones, who belonged to the church, now remained, Mr. Gibbs having denied the faith, to try to save his life. These were Morris Phelps and myself. All who were let to bail were banished from the State, together with those who bailed them. Thus none are like to have a trial by law but ourselves; and we are without friends or witnesses in the State. After the grand jury had found a bill against us for defending ourselves in the battle with Bogart's company, we were kept in prison at Richmond for about a month. We then took a change of venue and were ordered to be sent to Columbia, Boone County, for trial. On the 22d of May we were handcuffed together, two and two, with irons round the wrist of each, and in this fix we were taken from prison and placed in a carriage. The people of Richmond gathered around us to see us depart; but none seemed to feel for us except two persons. One of these (General Parks' lady) bowed to us through the window, and looked as if touched with pity. The other was a Mr. Huggins, merchant of Richmond, who bowed with some feeling as we passed. We now took leave of Richmond, accompanied by Sheriff Brown, and four guards with drawn pistols, and moved on towards Columbia. No tongue can describe our sensations as we came forth from a most filthy dungeon, where we had been confined for near seven months, and began to breathe the free air, and to change the scenery and look abroad upon the face of the earth. There was a sweetness in the air and a perfume from the earth which none could fully realize except such as have been for a long time confined in tainted air. It had been thundering and raining for some days and the thunderstorm lasted with but short cessations from the time we started till we arrived at the place of destination, which was five days. The small streams were swollen so as to be very difficult crossing them. On the second day we came to a creek which was several rods over, with a strong current, and very deep. It was towards evening and far from any house, and we had received no refreshment through the day. Here we halted, and knew not what to do; we waited awhile for the water to fall, but it fell slowly. All hands
were hungry and impatient, and a lowery night seemed to threaten that the creek would rise before morning by the falling of additional rains. In this dilemma some counseled one thing and some another. Some said, Go back some miles to a house and tarry till morning. Others said, Camp here for the night. Others said, Swim the river and leave the carriage and baggage till morning; and some advised to attempt to drive some miles around the head of the stream. At last I proposed to the sheriff that if he would take off my irons I would go into the water to bathe and by that means ascertain the depth and bottom; this he consented to do, after some hesitation. I then plunged into the stream and swam across, and attempted to wade back; I found it to be a hard bottom, and the water about up to my chin; but a very stiff current. After this, Mr. Brown, the sheriff, undertook to cross on his horse; but just as his horse neared the opposite shore he sprung sidewise to gain a bank, and Mr. Brown was thrown off his horse and buried in the stream. He could not swim, but sprang out, hallooing and flouncing in a manner that caused much merriment to the company. This accident decided the fate of the day. Being now completely wet, he resolved to effect the crossing of the whole company, bag and baggage. Accordingly several stripped off their clothes and mounted on the bare backs of the horses; and, taking their clothing, saddles, and arms, together with our trunk and bedding upon their shoulders, they bore them across in safety, without wetting. This was done by riding backwards and forwards across the stream several times. In this sport and labor prisoners, guards, and all mingled in mutual exertion. All was now safe but the carriage. Mr. Phelps then proposed to swim that across by hitching two horses before it; and he mounted on one of their backs, while myself and one of the guards swam by the side of the carriage to keep it from upsetting by the force of the current. And thus, Paul like, we all got safe to land. Everything was soon replaced; and ourselves in the carriage, and the suite on horseback, we moved swiftly on, and at dark arrived at a house of entertainment, amid a terrible thunderstorm. Next morning we proceeded on and
in a few miles came to another swimming stream; but after some consultation it was thought best to go around the head of the stream. We accordingly took our back track for a half mile, and then striking to the north in the open prairie, without any track, we rode some seven miles around, crossed the head of the stream, and returned to the road which we had left; this day we crossed the Missouri at a place called Arrow Rock, being named from the circumstance of the natives coming there from all quarters to get a kind of hard rock from the bluff to make arrow points. In this journey we had slept each night on our backs on the floor, being all four of us ironed together, with hand and ankle irons made for the purpose. This being done, the windows and doors were all fastened, and then five guards with their loaded pistols staid [stayed] in the room, and one at a time sat up and watched during the night. This cruelty was inflicted on us more to gratify a wicked disposition than anything else; for it was in vain for us to have tried to escape, without any irons being put on us; and had we wished to escape, we had a tolerable good opportunity at the creek.
"When we arrived within four miles of Columbia the bridge had been destroyed from over a large and rapid river; and here we were some hours in crossing over in a tottlish canoe, having to leave our carriage, together with our bedding, clothing, our trunk of clothing, books, papers, etc.; but all came to us in safety after two days. After we had crossed the river, our guards having swam their horses, mounted them, and we proceeded towards Columbia, the prisoners walking on foot, two being fastened together two and two by the wrists.
"After walking two or three miles Mr. Brown hired a carriage, and we rode into Columbia. It was about sunset on Sunday evening, and as the carriage and our armed attendants drove through the streets we were gazed upon with astonishment by hundreds of spectators, who thronged the streets and looked out at the windows, doors, etc., anxious to get a glimpse of the strange beings called Mormons. On our arrival we were immediately hurried to the prison without
going to a tavern for refreshment, although we had traveled a long summer day without anything to eat. When unloosed from our fetters we were ushered immediately from the carriage into the jail, and the next moment a huge trapdoor was opened, and down we went into a most dismal dungeon, which was full of cobwebs and filth above, below, and all around the walls, having stood empty for near two years. Here was neither beds, nor chairs, nor water, nor food, nor friends, nor anyone on whom we might call, even for a drink of cold water; for Brown and all others had withdrawn to go where they could refresh themselves. When thrust into this dungeon we were nearly ready to faint with hunger, and thirst, and weariness. We walked the room for a few moments, and then sank down upon the floor in despondency, and wished to die; for like Elijah of old, if the Lord had inquired, 'What dost thou here?' we could have replied, 'Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and thrown down thine altars, and have driven out all thy saints from the land, and we only are left to tell thee; and they seek our lives, to take them away; and now, therefore, let us die.'
"Our feelings were the more melancholy because here we had hoped to see our families from Illinois or some kind friend from thence, as we had not heard from them for some time and were now within one hundred miles of them; but we neither saw nor heard of anyone who knew us or cared for us. We now sent to the post office, but got no letters. Our families and friends, it seemed, had even neglected to write to us-this seemed the more unaccountable, as they had long expected us at Columbia. When we had been in the dungeon for some time, our new jailer handed down some provisions, but by this time I was too faint to eat; I tasted a few mouthfuls, and then suddenly the trapdoor opened and some chairs were handed to us, and the new sheriff, Mr. Martin, and his deputy, Mr. Hamilton, entered our dungeon and talked so kindly to us that our spirits again revived in some measure. This night we slept cold and uncomfortable; having but little bedding. Next morning we were suffered to come out of the dungeon, and the liberty of the upper room
was given us through the day ever afterwards."-Persecution of the Saints, pp. 114-124.
P. P. Pratt and Morris Phelps escaped from the Boone County jail on July 4,1839, and finally made their way to their families in Illinois. Mr. Follet broke jail with them, but was recaptured. Mr. Luman Gibbs, the other one of the four, apostatized, and was acquitted on trial. Mr. Follet was retained several months and dismissed. The following is Mr. Pratt's account of their thrilling escape:-
"The author of the foregoing narrative is now at liberty, and some account of his narrow escape from prison and from the State of Missouri, is due to the public. On the 1st of July the special term of the court was held at Columbia for our trials but was adjourned for nearly three months because all our witnesses were banished from the State. Under these circumstances we were unwilling to be tried in a State where all law and justice were at an end. We accordingly thought it justifiable to make our escape. In the meantime we were visited by Mrs. Phelps, the wife of one of the prisoners, and also by my brother, Orson Pratt, and Mrs. Phelps' brother. These all came from Illinois or Iowa, on horseback, and visited with us for several days. On the 4th of July we felt desirous as usual to celebrate the anniversary of American liberty. We accordingly manufactured a white flag, consisting of the half of a shirt, on which was inscribed the word LIBERTY, in large letters, and also a large American eagle was put on in red. We then obtained a pole from our jailer, and on the morning of the 4th this flag was suspended from the front window of our prison, overhanging the public square, and floating triumphantly in the air to the full view of the citizens who assembled by hundreds to celebrate the national jubilee. With this the citizens seemed highly pleased, and sent a portion of the public dinner to us and our friends, who partook with us in prison with merry hearts, as we intended to gain our liberties or be in paradise before the close of that eventful day. While we were thus employed in prison, the town was alive with troops parading, guns firing, music sounding, and shouts of joy resounding
on every side. In the meantime we wrote the following toast, which was read at their public dinner, with many and long cheers:-
"'The patriotic and hospitable citizens of Boone County: Opposed to tyranny and oppression, and firm to the original principles of republican liberty-may they in common with every part of our widespreading country, long enjoy the blessings which flow from the fountain of American Independence.' Our dinner being ended, our two brethren took leave of us and started for Illinois (leaving Mrs. Phelps to still visit with her husband). They had proceeded a mile or two on the road and then took into the woods, and finally placed their three horses in a thicket within one third of a mile of the prison, and there they waited in anxious suspense till sundown. In the meantime we put on our coats and hats and waited for the setting sun. With prayer and supplication for deliverance from this long and tedious bondage, and for a restoration to the society of our friends and families, we then sang the following lines:-
"'Lord, cause their foolish plans to fail,
And let them faint or die,
Our souls would quit this loathsome jail,
And fly to Illinois.
"'To join with the embodied saints,
Who are with freedom blessed,
That only bliss for which we pant,
With them awhile to rest.
"'Give joy for grief-give ease for pain,
Take all our foes away.
But let us find our friends again,
In this eventful day.'
"This ended the celebration of our national liberty, but the gaining of our own was the grand achievement now before us. In the meantime the sun was setting. The moment arrived, the footsteps of the jailer were heard on the stairs. Every man flew to his feet, and stood near the door. The great door was opened, and our supper handed in through a small hole in the inner door, which still remained locked; but at length the key was turned in order to hand in the pot of coffee. No sooner was the key turned than the
door was jerked open, and in a moment all three of us were out and rushing down the stairs. The foremost, Mr. Phelps, was clinched by the jailer; both tumbled down the stairs, through the entry and out into the dooryard, when Phelps cleared himself without injuring the jailer, and all of us leaped several fences, ran through the fields towards the thicket, where we expected to find our friends and horses. In the meantime the town was alarmed and many were seen rushing after us, some on horseback and some on foot, prepared with dogs, guns, and whatever came to hand. But the flag of liberty with its eagle still floated on high in the distance, and under its banner our nerves seemed to strengthen at every step. We gained the horses, mounted, and dashed into the wilderness, each his own way. After a few jumps of my horse I was hailed by an armed man at pistol shot distance, crying, 'D-n you, stop, or I'll shoot you.' I rushed onward deeper in the forest, while the cry was repeated in close pursuit, crying, 'D-n you, stop, or I'll shoot you,'' at every step, till at length it died away in the distance.
"I plunged a mile into the forest-came to a halt-tied my horse in a thicket-went a distance, and climbed a tree to await the approaching darkness. Being so little used to exercise, I fainted through overexertion, and remained so faint for nearly an hour that I could not get down from the tree. But calling on the Lord, he strengthened me, and I came down from the tree. But my horse had got loose and gone. I then made my way on foot for several days and nights, principally without food, and scarcely suffering myself to be seen. After five days of dreadful suffering with fatigue and hunger, I crossed the Mississippi and found myself once more in a land of freedom. Hundreds of my friends crowded around me, and many of the citizens of Illinois, although strangers to me, received and welcomed me as one who had escaped from a persecution almost unparalleled in modern history. I was everywhere invited to preach the gospel, and gave many public addresses, but no attempt has ever been made to retake myself and fellow prisoners."-Persecution of the Saints, pp. 164-169.
A more detailed account may be found in his autobiography.
Joseph Smith and his companions reached Liberty jail on December 1, 1838, where the closing month of the year was spent in a loathsome jail. On the 8th the wives of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon visited them, remaining with them in the jail all night and departing on the 9th. On the 10th Lyman Wight's wife and four boys were visitors at the jail. They remained over the 11th, on which day the youngest child was blessed, taking their departure on the 12th.
On the 14th Isaac Morley, Reynolds Cahoon, and W. M. Allred, of their brethren, visited them; also a Mr. Harris and several other gentlemen of Clay County. Alexander McRae's wife and two little boys came on the 13th and remained until the 15th.
On the 17th they were visited by General Doniphan and N. West.
On December 20 the wives of Joseph Smith and Caleb Baldwin, accompanied by Mrs. Reynolds Cahoon, came in and remained until the 22d.
On the 21st they were visited by William Clark, also by Attorneys Doniphan and Burnett.
On the 22d Deacon Covey, accompanied by a Mr. Rase, came in and brought them each a pair of boots which he had manufactured, assisted by his son-in-law, Ethan Barrows.
On Christmas Day they were visited by a Disciple preacher by the name of Howard Evert.
On the 30th a Mr. Thompson, from Ray County, called.
Thus in their gloomy prison house, cheered only by occasional visits from friends and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they beheld the eventful year 1838 pass away. Its closing hours found them deprived of liberty, their families robbed and destitute, their brethren scattered and driven from their once pleasant, happy homes by a ruthless mob,-and all this for the testimony they bore, that Jesus was the Christ, his gospel true, and his promised blessings sure.
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