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WE commence the history of 1839 with the appropriate words of Joseph Smith:-
"Tuesday, January 1, 1839, dawned upon us as prisoners of hope, but not as sons of liberty. O Columbia, Columbia! How art thou fallen! 'The land of the free, the home of the brave!' 'The asylum of the oppressed'-oppressing thy noblest sons, in a loathsome dungeon, without any provocation, only that they have claimed to worship the God of their fathers according to his own word and the dictates of their own consciences. Elder P. P. Pratt and his companions in tribulation were still held in bondage in their doleful prison in Richmond.
"Monday, 7th. Anson Call returned to his farm on the three forks of Grand River to see if he could secure any of the property he had left in his flight to Adam-ondi-ahman, and was there met by the mob, and beat with a hoop pole about his limbs, body, and head; the man that used the pole about his person was George W. O'Neal. With much difficulty he returned to Far West, with his person much bruised, and from that time gave up all hopes of securing any of his property. . . .
"Wednesday, 16th. Mr. Turner, from the joint select committee, introduced to the Senate 'A bill to provide for the investigation of the late disturbances in this State.' This bill consists of twenty-three sections:-
"'1. A joint committee shall be appointed to investigate the causes of the late disturbances between the people called Mormons and other inhabitants of this State, and the conduct of the military operations in repressing them: which committee shall consist of two senators to be elected by the Senate, and three representatives to be elected by the House of Representatives.'
"The bill further provided that the committee should meet at Richmond, Ray County, on the first Monday in May, and thereafter at such times and places as they should appoint; that they should choose a chairman, clerk, sergeant-at-arms, and assistants; issue subpnas and other processes; administer oaths; keep a record; furnish rooms; pay witnesses one dollar and fifty cents per day out of the treasury; receive their pay as members of the legislature; clerk four dollars per day, and one dollar and fifty cents for each arrest. In short, all parties concerned were to be paid the highest price-and this committee were to be clothed with all the powers of the highest courts of record. This bill did not concern the 'Mormons,' as the exterminating order of Governor Boggs and the action of General Clark thereon would compel all the saints to be out of the State before the court would sit, so that they would have no testimony but from mobbers and worse apostates; and this was evidently their object in postponing the time so long.
"Thursday, 24th. I wrote as follows from Liberty jail:-
"'To the Honorable the Legislature of Missouri:-Your memorialists having a few days since solicited your attention to the same subject, would now respectfully submit to your honorable body a few additional facts in support of their prayer.
"'They are now imprisoned under a charge of treason against the State of Missouri, and their lives, and fortunes, and characters being suspended upon the result of the criminal charges preferred against them.
"'Your honorable body will excuse them for manifesting the deep concern they feel in relation to their trials for a crime so enormous as that of treason.
"'It is not our object to complain-to asperse anyone.
All we ask is a fair and impartial trial. We ask the sympathies of no one. We ask sheer justice; 'tis all we expect, and all we merit, but we merit that. We know the people of no county in this State to which we would ask our final trials to be sent, are prejudiced in our favor. But we believe that the state of excitement existing in most of the upper counties is such that a jury would be improperly influenced by it. But that excitement and the prejudice against us in the counties comprising the fifth judicial circuit are not the only obstacles we are compelled to meet. We know that much of that prejudice against us is not so much to be attributed to a want of honest motives amongst the citizens as it is to wrong information.
"'But it is a difficult task to change opinions once formed. The other obstacle which we candidly consider one of the most weighty, is the feeling which we believe is entertained by the Hon. A. A. King against us, and the consequent incapacity to do us impartial justice. It is from no disposition to speak disrespectfully of that high officer that we lay before your honorable body the facts we do; but simply that the legislature may be apprised of our real condition. We look upon Judge King as like all other mere men, liable to be influenced by his feelings, his prejudices, and his previously formed opinions. We consider his reputation as being partially if not entirely committed against us. He has written much upon the subject of our late difficulties, in which he has placed us in the wrong. These letters have been published to the world. He has also presided at an excited public meeting as chairman, and no doubt sanctioned all the proceedings. We do not complain of the citizens who held that meeting, they were entitled to that privilege. But for the judge before whom the very men were to be tried for a capital offense to participate in an expression of condemnation of these same individuals, is to us at least apparently wrong; and we cannot think that we should, after such a course on the part of the Judge, have the same chance of a fair and impartial trial as all admit we ought to have.
"'We believe that the foundation of the feeling against us which we have reason to think Judge King entertains, may
be traced to the unfortunate troubles which occurred in Jackson County some few years ago; in a battle between the "Mormons" and a portion of the citizens of that county, Mr. Brazeale, the brother in-law of Judge King, was killed. It is natural that the Judge should have some feeling against us, whether we were right or wrong in that controversy.
"'We mention these facts, not to disparage Judge King; we believe that from the relation he bears to us he would himself prefer that our trials should be had in a different circuit and before a different court. Many other reasons and facts we might mention, but we forbear.'
"This letter was directed to James M. Hughes, Esq., member of the House of Representatives, Jefferson City."-Millennial Star, vol. 16, pp. 709-711.
On Saturday, January 26, 1839, the citizens of Caldwell County met at Far West and appointed a committee of seven; viz., John Taylor, Alanson Ripley, Brigham Young, Theodore Turley, H. C. Kimball, John Smith, and D. C. Smith to draft resolutions respecting their removal from the State according to the Governor's order, and to devise means for removing the destitute.
On the 29th another meeting was called, when the committee reported through their chairman, John Taylor. The result was the adoption of a covenant to assist one another, which reads as follows:-
"We whose names are hereunder written do each for ourselves individually hereby covenant to stand by and assist each other to the utmost of our abilities, in removing from this State in compliance with the authority of the State; and we do hereby acknowledge ourselves firmly bound to the extent of all our available property, to be disposed of by a committee who shall be appointed for that purpose, for providing means for the removing of the poor and destitute who shall be considered worthy, from this country, till there shall not be one left who desires to remove from the State: with this proviso, that no individual shall be deprived of the right of the disposal of his own property for the above purpose, or of having the control of it, or so much of it as shall be necessary for the removing of his own family,
and to be entitled to the overplus, after the work is effected; and furthermore, said committee shall give receipts for all property, and an account of the expenditure of the same."-Millennial Star, vol. 16, p. 730.
The committee on removal provided for were William Huntington, Charles Bird, Alanson Ripley, Theodore Turley, Daniel Shearer, Shadrach Roundy, and J. H. Hale, of which Wm. Huntington, was appointed chairman; Daniel Shearer, treasurer; and Alanson Ripley, clerk. A long list of names were signed to the agreement. 1
1 John Smith, Wm. Huntington, Charles Bird, Alanson Ripley, Theodore Turley, Daniel Shearer, Shadrach Roundy, Jonathan H. Hale, Elias Smith, Brigham Young, James Burnham, Leicester Gaylord, Samuel Williams, John Miller, Aaron M. York, George A. Smith, Daniel Howe, James Bradin, Jonathan Beckelshimer, David Jones, Wm. M. Fossett, James McMillan, Chandler Holbrook, Alexander Wright, William Taylor, John Taylor, Reuben P. Hartwell, John Lowry, Welcome Chapman, Solomon Hancock, Arza Adams, Henry Jacobs, James Carroll David Lyons, John Taylor, Don Carlos Smith, William J. Stuart, Isaac B. Chapman, Roswell Stephens, Reuben Hedlock David Holman, Joel Goddard, Charles N. Baldwin, Jesse N. Reed, Benjamin Johnson, Jonathan Hampton, Anson Call, Peter Dope, Samuel Ralph, Abel Lamb, Daniel McArthur, William Gregory, Zenas Curtis, John Reed, William R. Orton, Samuel D. Tyler, John H. Goff, Thomas Butterfield Dwight Hardin, Norvil M Head, Stephen V. Foot, Jacob G. Bigler, Eli Bagley William Milam, Lorenzo Clark, William Allred, Wm. Van Ausdall, Nathan K. Knight, John Thorp, Andrew Rose John B. Martin, Albert Sloan, John D. Lee, Eliphas Marsh, Joseph Wright, John Badger, Levi Richards, Erastus Bingham, Elisha Everett, John Lytle, Levi Jackman, Thomas Guyman, Nahum Curtis, Lyman Curtis, Philip Ballard, William Gould, Reuben Middleton, William Harper, Seba Joes, Charles Butler, Richard Walton, Isaac Kerron, Joseph Rose, David Foot, L. S. Nickerson, Moses Daley, David Sessions, Perry Green Sessions, Alford P. Childs, James Daley, Noah T. Guyman, David Winters, John Pack, Sylvenus Hicks, Horatio N. Kent, Joseph W. Pierce, Phineas R. Bird, Duncan McArthur, Allen Talley, James Hampton, Sherman A. Gilbert, James S. Holman, Andrew Lytle, Aaron Johnson, Heber C Kimball, George W. Harris, George W. Davidson, Harvey Strong, Elizabeth Mackley, Sarah Mackley, Andrew More, Harvey Downey, John Maba, Lucy Wheeler, John Turpin, William Earl, Zenos H. Gurley, Joseph W. Coolidge, Anthony Head, S. A. P. Kelsey, Moses Evord, Ophelia Harris, Zuba McDonald, Mary Goff, Harvey J. Moore, Francis Chase, Stephen Markham, John Outhouse, Wm. F. Leavens, Daniel Tyler, Noah Rogers, Stephen N. St. John, Francis Lee, Eli Lee, Benjamin Covey, Michael Borkdull, Miles Randall, Horace Evans, David Dort, Levi Hancock, Edwin Whiting, William Barton, Elisha Smith, James Gallaher, Robert Jackson, Lemuel Merrick, James Dunn, Orin Hartshorn, Nathan Hawke, Pierce Hawley, Thomas F. Fisher, James Leithead, Alfred Lee, Stephen Jones, Eleazer Harris, Elijah B. Gaylord, Thomas Grover, Alexander Badlam, Phebe Kellog, Albert Miner, Thomas Gates, Squire Bozarth, Nathan Lewis, Philander Avery, Benjamin F. Bird, Charles Squire, Jacob Curtis, Rachel Medfo, Lyman Stevens, Roswell Evans, Leonard Clark,
On February 1 the committee was increased to eleven and Elias Smith, Erastus Bingham, Stephen Markham, and James Newberry were added. Mr. Ripley declined to act as clerk, and Elias Smith was appointed.
On January 31 the bill of Mr. Turner before referred to passed the State Senate. On February 4 the House laid it on the table until July 4, by a majority of seven. This was too late to benefit the saints.
Charles Bird was sent in advance to buy and store corn on the way, and to make contracts for ferriage across the Mississippi River.
Visitors at the jail during the month of January were as follows: Mrs. Rigdon, and Mrs. Wight and two daughters on the 3d; Lyman Cowdery on the 5th; Attorney Burnett and Judge Turnham on the 8th; Attorneys Doniphan and Burnett on the 9th; Mrs. McRae on the 10th; Mr. Moore, and Mr. James Sloan, wife, and daughter on the 11th; Mr. Bennett on the 12th; Mrs. Fowler, Mrs. Sloan and daughter Jane, Messrs. Morey, Hedlock, and Lawyer Burnett on the 13th; Bishop Partridge and Messrs. Barlow, Gorden, and Burnett on the 16th; Bishop Partridge, Messrs. Barlow, Sloan, and Burnett on the 17th; General Hughes on the 18th; Mrs. Sloan and daughter on the l9th; Mrs. Fowler and Mrs. Blevin on the 20th; G. W. Robinson, D. C. Smith, Mrs. Emma Smith, and John Daley on the 21st; Brn. Partridge, D. C. Smith, Ripley, and Morley on the 23d; Mr. Samuels on the 24th; Mr. Samuels and Mr. Bird on the 26th; Mrs. Wight, Mrs. Baldwin, and a Mr. Murphy on the 27th; Major Dorothy on the 28th; Mrs. Hyrum Smith and Mrs. Thompson on the 29th; Messrs. Newberry, Baldwin, and Samuels on the 30th.
On January 22 a writ was served on the prisoners and
Nehemiah Harmon, Daniel Cathcart, Gershom Stokes, Rachel Page, Barnet Cole, Wm. Thompson, Nathan Cheney, James Sherry David Frampton, Elizabeth Pettigrew, Charles Thompson, Wm. Woodland, Martin C. Allred, Jedediah Owen, Orren P. Rockwell, Nathan B. Baldwin, Truman Brace, Sarah Wixom, Lewis Zobriski, Henry Zobriski, Morris Harris, Absolom Tidwell, Alvin Winegar, Samuel Winegar, John E. Page, Levi Gifford, Edmund Durfee, Josiah Butterfield, John Killion, John Patten, John Wilkins, Abram Allen, Wm. Felshaw.-Millennial Star pp. 730, 731.
they were taken to the courthouse and their trial set for the 25th.
The court opened the case on the 25th and it was continued on Saturday, the 26th, and adjourned until Monday, 28th. On the 28th by noon the evidence was all in. In the afternoon Mr. Wood made the argument for the State. On the 29th Mr. Doniphan made a very able argument in behalf of the defense. He was followed by Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith. In the afternoon Hyrum Smith addressed the court, followed by Lyman Wight and Caleb Baldwin; after which Mr. Wood closed for the State. On the 30th the judge admitted Sidney Rigdon to bail and remanded the others to jail without bail.
On the 3d of February they were visited by E. C. Kimball, Brigham Young, and G. A. Smith. Rigdon was liberated the 5th.
On February 7, Alanson Ripley, David Holman, Watson Barlow, William Huntington, Jr., Erastus Snow, and Cyrus Daniels were admitted to the prison, and continued with them until supper time. Hyrum Smith had just received a letter stating that his family were in a destitute condition, and divided, a part of them on one side of the Mississippi River and a part on the other; so as the jailer passed out and Cyrus Daniels with him, Hyrum made an ineffectual effort to go with them. The other five visitors were locked in with the prisoners. They were subsequently charged with being accessory to an attempted escape. Erastus Snow was acquitted, and the other four held to bail in one hundred and fifty dollars each. On the 13th they gave bail and started for home.
Attorney Wood presented a bill to the legislature for services in prosecuting the Mormon leader, which was denied. Senator McDaniel was the leader in opposing the bill, who said, in effect, that Mr. Wood's honor for persecuting an oppressed and abused people should be sufficient pay. This was the information given to the prisoners by a Mr. Gorden.
The month of February was spent in jail with but little transpiring outside of the dreary monotony of prison life.
Their families, with the majority of the saints, left the State about this time, so their visitors were mostly strangers; but the few remaining paid them every attention possible, especially Heber C. Kimball and Theodore Turley, who visited them occasionally and unceasingly importuned the authorities for the release of the prisoners on bail or in some other way.
About March 1 they began to make a breach in the jail by means of augers, but the timbers being hard, the auger handles gave out, which delayed them until the secret was known to the authorities.
In the epistle written by them on March 20 they state:-
"We should have made our escape, and succeeded admirably well, had it not been for a little imprudence or over-anxiety on the part of our friends."-Times and Seasons, vol. 1, p. 100.
Lyman Wight writes of it as follows:-
"[March] 3. This morning hard at work for our deliverance. We expect to go to-day without fail. We have worked hard all day-we could not finish. We will do it to-morrow if the Lord will.
"4th. This morning I walked out and returned about ten o'clock. We expect to make our escape this afternoon without fail. We got all ready to go out, and Shoemaker felt so tickled to think that he was our assistant that he made a confidant of Doctor Moss. The thing leaked out, and there were ten guards called for," etc.
On March 15 the following petition to the Supreme Court was sworn to by and in behalf of Joseph Smith. At the same time each of the prisoners made a similar petition:-
"To the Honorable Judge Tompkins, or either of the Judges of the Supreme Court for the State of Missouri:-
"Your petitioners beg leave respectfully to represent to your honor, that Joseph Smith, Jr., is now unlawfully confined and restrained of his liberty, in Liberty jail, Clay County (Missouri); that he has been restrained of his liberty near five months. Your petitioners claim that the whole transaction which has been the cause of his confinement is
unlawful from the first to the last. He was taken from his home by a fraud being practiced upon him by a man by the name of George M. Hinkle and one or two others, thereby, your petitioners respectfully show, that he was forced contrary to his wishes and without knowing the cause, into the camp which was commanded by General Lucas, of Jackson County, and from thence to Ray County, sleeping on the ground and suffering many insults and injuries and deprivations, which were calculated in their nature to break down the spirits and constitution of the most robust and hardy of mankind. He was put in chains immediately on his being landed at Richmond, and there underwent a long and tedious ex parte examination; not only was it ex parte, but your petitioners solemnly declare that it was a mock examination; that there was not the least shadow of honor or justice or law administered toward him, but sheer prejudice, and the spirit of persecution and malice, and prepossession against him on account of his religion; that the whole examination was an inquisitory examination. Your petitioners show that the said Joseph Smith, Jr., was deprived of the privilege of being examined before the court as the law directs; that the witnesses on the part of the State were taken by force of arms, threatened with extermination or immediate death, and were brought without subpna or warrant under this awful and glaring anticipation of being exterminated if they did not swear something against him to please the mob or his persecutors; and those witnesses were compelled to swear at the muzzle of the gun, and that some of them have acknowledged since, which your petitioners do testify and are able to prove that they did swear false and that they did it in order to save their lives. And your petitioners testify that all the testimony that had any tendency or bearing of criminality against said Joseph Smith, Jr., is false. We are personally acquainted with the circumstances, and being with him most of the time, and being present at the times spoken of by them, therefore we know that their testimony was false, and if he could have had a fair and impartial and lawful examination before that court, and could have been allowed the privilege of introducing his
witnesses, he could have disproved everything that was against him; but the court suffered them to be intimidated- some of them in the presence of the court, and they were driven also, and hunted, and some of them entirely driven out of the State. And thus he was not able to have a fair trial; that the spirit of the court was tyrannical and overbearing, and the whole transaction of his treatment during the examination was calculated to convince your petitioners that it was a religious persecution, proscribing him in the liberty of conscience, which is guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States and the State of Missouri; that a long catalogue of garbled testimony was permitted by the court, purporting to be the religious sentiment of the said Joseph Smith, Jr., which testimony was false, and your petitioners know that it was false; because the witnesses testified that those sentiments were promulgated on certain days, and in the presence of large congregations; and your petitioners can prove by those congregations that the said Joseph Smith, Jr., did not promulge such ridiculous and absurd sentiments for his religion, as was testified of and admitted before the Honorable Austin A. King; and, at the same time, those things had no bearing on the case that the said Joseph Smith, Jr., was pretended to be charged with; and after the examination the said prisoner was committed to the jail for treason against the State of Missouri; whereas, the said Joseph Smith, Jr., did not levy war against the State of Missouri, neither did he commit any covert acts; neither did he aid or abet an enemy against the State of Missouri during the time that he is charged with having done so; and, further, your petitioners have yet to learn that the State has an enemy; neither is the proof evident nor the presumption great, in its most indignant form, upon the face of the testimony on the part of the State, ex parte as it is in its nature, that the said prisoner has committed the slightest degree of treason or any other act of transgression against the laws of the State of Missouri; and yet said prisoner has been committed to Liberty jail, Clay County (Missouri), for treason.
"He has continually offered bail to any amount that could
be required, notwithstanding your petitioners allege that he ought to have been acquitted. Your petitioners also allege that the commitment was an illegal commitment, for the law requires that a copy of the testimony should be put in the hands of the jailer, which was not done. Your petitioners allege that the prisoner has been denied the privilege of the law in a writ of habeas corpus, by the judges of this county. Whether they have prejudged the case of the prisoner, or whether they are not willing to administer law and justice to the prisoner, or that they are intimidated by the high office of Judge King, who only acted in the case of the prisoners as a committing magistrate, a conservator of the peace, or by the threats of a lawless mob, your petitioners are not able to say; but is a fact that they do not come forward boldly and administer the law to the relief of the prisoner; and, further, your petitioners allege that immediately after the prisoner was taken, his family was frightened and driven out of their house, and that, too, by the witnesses on the part of the State, and plundered of their goods; that the prisoner was robbed of a very fine horse, saddle, and bridle, and other property of considerable amount; that they (the witnesses), in connection with the mob, have finally succeeded, by vile threatening and foul abuse, in driving the family of the prisoner out of the State, with little or no means and without a protector, and their very subsistence depends on the liberty of the prisoner. And your petitioners allege that he is not guilty of any crime whereby he should be restrained of his liberty, from a personal knowledge, having been with him and being personally acquainted with the whole of the difficulties between the Mormons and their persecutors; and, that he has never acted, at any time, only in his own defense, and that too on his own ground, property, and possessions; that the prisoner has never commanded any military company, nor held any military authority, neither any other office, real or pretended, in the State of Missouri, except that of a religious teacher; that he has never bore arms in the military rank, and in all such cases has acted as a private character and as an individual.
"How, then, your petitioners would ask, can it be possible
that the prisoner has committed treason? The prisoner has had nothing to do in Daviess County, only on his own business as an individual. The testimony of Doctor Avard concerning a council held at James Sloan's was false. Your petitioners do solemnly declare that there was no such council; that your petitioners were with the prisoner, and there was no such vote nor conversation as Doctor Avard swore to; that Doctor Avard also swore false concerning a constitution, as he said, was introduced among the Danites; that the prisoner had nothing to do with burning in Daviess County; that the prisoner made public proclamation against such things; that the prisoner did oppose Doctor Avard and George M. Hinkle against vile measures with the mob, but was threatened by them if he did not let them alone; that the prisoner did not have anything to do with what is called Bogart's battle, for he knew nothing of it till it was over-that he was at home, in the bosom of his own family during the time of that whole transaction; and, in fine, your petitioners allege that he is held in confinement without cause, and under an unlawful and tyrannical oppression, and that his health and constitution and life depend on being liberated from his confinement.
"Your petitioners aver that they can disprove every item of testimony that has any tendency of criminality against the prisoner, for they know it themselves and can bring many others also to prove the same. Therefore your petitioners pray your honor to grant to him the State's writ of habeas corpus, directed to the jailer of Clay County (Missouri), commanding him forthwith to bring before you the body of the prisoner, so that his case may be heard before your honor, and the situation of the prisoner be considered and adjusted according to law and justice, as it shall be presented before your honor, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.
"And, further, your petitioners testify that the said Joseph Smith, Jr., did make a public proclamation in Far West, in favor of the militia of the State of Missouri, and of its laws, and also of the Constitution of the United States; that he has ever been a warm friend to his country, and did
use all his influence for peace; that he is a peaceable and quiet citizen, and is not worthy of death, of stripes, bonds, or imprisonment.
"The above-mentioned speech was delivered on the day before the surrender of Far West.
"Heber C. Kimball.
"Joseph B. Noble
"Joseph Smith, Jr.
"State of Missouri,)
"County of Clay.)
"This day personally appeared before me, Abraham Shafer, a justice of the peace within and for the aforesaid county-Alanson Ripley, Heber C. Kimball, William Huntington, Joseph B. Noble, and Joseph Smith, Jr., who being duly sworn, doth depose and say that the matters and things set forth in the foregoing petition, upon their own knowledge, are true in substance and in fact, and so far as set forth upon the information of others, they believe to be true.
"Heber C. Kimball.
"Joseph B. Noble.
"Joseph Smith, Jr.
"Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 15th day of March, 1839.
"Abraham Shafer, J. P.
"We, the undersigned, being many of us personally acquainted with the said Joseph Smith, Jr., and the circumstances connected with his imprisonment, do concur in the petition and testimony of the above-named individuals, as most of the transactions therein mentioned we know from personal knowledge to be correctly set forth, and from information of others, believe the remainder to be true.
"H. G. Sherwood.
-Persecution of the Saints, pp. 205-215.
These petitions were carried to Jefferson City by Heber C. Kimball and T. Turley.
On the 20th, the letter published in Times and Seasons, volume 1, pages 99 to 104, was written. This epistle was signed by the five prisoners, but was written by Joseph Smith himself. Under date of March 20, 1839, Lyman Wight in his journal writes:-
"This evening Joseph is writing an epistle to the church; myself and Bro. Baldwin letters to our families.
"22d. . . . Brother Ripley came in and took our package of letters for Quincy."
Elder Wight in his journal states under date of March 23, 1839, as follows:-
"Doniphan informed us that Judge Turnham did not think that we had committed treason, but the responsibility was too great for him; accordingly he remanded us for fear he should offend Judge King."
This is sustained by the testimony of Mr. M. Curtis, of Bandera, Texas:-
"To Whom it May Concern:-I hereby certify that I was an employee of Judge Joel T. Turnham, in 1838, at the time Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and others were confined in Liberty jail, Clay County, Missouri, and I was often present in the office of said Judge Joel T. Turnham while the above-named defendants were being tried, and I heard the said Judge Turnham read extracts from the written testimony of the witnesses for the State of Missouri, and then point out points of contradiction in said testimony; saying that such evidence was insufficient to hold the prisoners, and that he would have acquitted the prisoners at the bar, only for fear that they would be assassinated by furious mob.
"Witness my hand this 23d day of July, 1878.
"BANDERA, Bandera County, Texas."
-Saints Herald, vol. 25, p. 256.
Here we quote the statement of Joseph Smith concerning the effort to reach the Governor and the Supreme Court:-
"Monday, 25th. 3 About this time Elders Kimball and Turley started on their mission to see the Governor. They called on the sheriff of Ray County and jailer for a copy of the mittimus by which the prisoners were held in custody, but he confessed he had none.
3Lyman Wight states that they started on the 18th.
They went to Judge King, and he made out a kind of mittimus. At this time we had been in prison several months without even a mittimus; and that, too, for crimes said to have been committed in another county.
"Kimball and Turley took all the papers by which we were held, or which were then made out for them, with our petitions to the Supreme Judges, and went to Jefferson City.
"The Governor was absent. The Secretary of State treated them very kindly; and when he saw the papers could hardly believe those were all the documents by which the prisoners were held in custody, for they were illegal. . . .
"The Secretary was astonished at Judge King acting as he did, but said he could do nothing in the premises, and if the Governor were present, he could do nothing. But the Secretary wrote a letter to Judge King.
"The brethren then started to find the Supreme Judges and get writs of habeas corpus; and after riding hundreds of miles to effect this object, returned to Liberty on the 30th March, having seen Matthias McGirk, George Tompkins, and John C. Edwards, the Supreme Judges, but did not obtain the writ of habeas corpus, in consequence of a lack of the order of commitment, although the Judges seemed to be friendly.
"We were informed that Judge King said that there was nothing against my brother Hyrum, only that he was a friend to the prophet. He also said there was nothing against Caleb Baldwin and McRae."-Millennial Star, vol. 17, pp. 68, 69.
During their absence Joseph continued his instruction to the church through Bishop Partridge, in an epistle which is found in Times and Seasons, volume 1, pages 131, 134. This epistle closes with the following sound advice, and patriotic declaration:-
"We further caution our brethren against the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies by covenants, oaths, penalties, or secrecies; but let the time past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Doctor Avard suffice, and let our covenants be that of the everlasting covenant, as it is contained in the holy writ, and the things which God has revealed unto us; pure friendship always
becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy. Your humble servants intend from henceforth to disapprobate everything that is not in accordance with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and which is not of a bold, frank, and upright nature; they will not hold their peace as in times past when they see iniquity beginning to rear its head, for fear of traitors, or the consequences that shall follow, from reproving those who creep in unawares that they may get something to destroy the flock. We believe that from the experience of the saints in times past they will henceforth be always ready to obey the truth without having men's persons in admiration because of advantage; we ought to be aware of those prejudices (which are so congenial to human nature) against our neighbors, friends, and brethren of the world, who choose to differ with us in opinion, and in matters of faith; our religion is between us and our God; their religion is between them and their God: there certainly is a tie to those of the same faith which is peculiar to itself; but it is without prejudice, gives full scope to the mind, and enables us to conduct ourselves with liberality towards those who are not of our faith; this principle, in our opinion, approximates the nearest to the mind of God, and is godlike. There is a duty which we in common with all men owe to governments, laws, and the regulations in the civil concerns of life; these guarantee to all parties and denominations of religion equal and indefeasible rights, all alike interested; and they make our responsibilities one towards another in matters relating to temporal affairs and the things of this life; the former principles do not destroy the latter, but bind us stronger and make our responsibility not only one towards another, but unto God also: hence we say that the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard, it is founded in wisdom, it is a heavenly banner, and is to all those who are privileged with the sweets of its liberty, like the cooling shade and refreshing water of a great rock in a thirsty and weary land; it is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of an inclement sun. We are deprived of the protection of this
glorious principle by the cruelties of those who only look to the time being for pasturage; and who forget that the Mormons, as well as the Presbyterians and every other denomination, have equal rights to partake of the fruits of the great tree of our national liberty; yet notwithstanding we see what we do, and feel the effects of the cruelty of the enemies of freedom, that fruit is no less precious and delicious to our taste; we cannot be weaned from the milk, neither can we be drawn from the breast; nor will we deny our religion because of the hand of oppression, but we will hold on until death. We say that God is true, that the Constitution of the United States is true, that the Bible is true, the Book of Mormon is true, that Christ is true, that the ministering of angels is true; and 'we know we have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God;' a consolation which our oppressors cannot feel when fortune or fate may lay its hand on them as it has on us. We ask, What is man? Remember, brethren, that time and chance happeneth to all men.
"We subscribe ourselves your sincere friends and brethren in the bonds of the everlasting gospel, and prisoners of Jesus Christ.
"Joseph Smith, Jr.
-Times and Seasons, vol. 1, pp. 133, 134.
They were taken from Liberty jail on the 6th of April, 1839, and taken to Daviess County for trial. Of these events Joseph Smith writes:-
"Brothers Kimball and Turley called on Judge King, who was mad at their having reported the case to the Governor; and, said he, 'I could have done all the business for you properly, if you had come to me; and I would have signed the petition for all except Joe, and he is not fit to live.' I bade Brothers Kimball and Turley to be of good cheer, 'for we shall be delivered; but no arm but God can deliver us now. Tell the brethren to be of good cheer and get the saints away as fast as possible.'
"Brothers Kimball and Turley were not permitted to enter the prison, and all the communication we had with them was through the grate of the dungeon. The brethren left Liberty on their return to Far West.
Friday, 5th. Brothers Kimball and Turley arrived at Far West.
"Saturday, April 6. Judge King, evidently fearing a change of venue, or some movement on our part to escape his unhallowed persecution, (and most probably expecting that we would be murdered on the way,) hurried myself and fellow prisoners off to Daviess County, under a guard of about ten men, commanded by Samuel Tillery, deputy jailer of Clay County. We were promised that we should go through Far West, which was directly on our route, which our friends at that place knew, and expected us; but instead of fulfilling their promise they took us round the city and out of the direct course eighteen miles, far from habitations, where every opportunity presented for a general massacre. . . .
"We continued our travels across the prairie, while the brethren at Far West, anxious for our welfare, gave a man thirty dollars to convey a letter to us at Daviess County and return an answer.
"Monday, 8th. After a tedious journey, for our long confinement had enfeebled our bodily powers, we arrived in Daviess County, about a mile from Gallatin, where we were delivered into the hands of William Morgan, sheriff of Daviess County, with his guard, William Bowman, John Brassfield, and John Pogue (?). The Liberty guard returned immediately, but became divided or got lost on their way; and a part of them arrived in Far West after dark and got caught in the fence; and calling for help, Elder Markham went to their assistance and took them to the tavern. From them he got a letter I had written to the committee informing them of our arrival at Daviess.
"Tuesday, 9th. Our trial commenced before a drunken grand jury, Austin A. King presiding judge, as drunk as the jury; for they were all drunk together.
"Elder Stephen Markham had been dispatched by the committee to visit us and bring a hundred dollars that was sent by Elder Kimball, as we were destitute of means at that time; and leaving Far West this morning and swimming several streams he arrived among us in the afternoon and spent the evening in our company. Brother Markham brought us a written copy of a statute which had passed the legislature, giving us the privilege of a change of venue on our own affidavit.
"Judge Morin arrived from Millport and was favorable to our escape from the persecution we were enduring, and spent the evening with us in prison, and we had as pleasant a time as such circumstances would permit, for we were as happy as the happiest; the Spirit buoyed us above our trials, and we rejoiced in each other's society.
"Wednesday, 10th, was spent in the examination of witnesses before the grand jury. Dr. Sampson Avard was one of the witnesses. Brother Markham was not permitted to give his testimony.
"Our guard went home, and Colonel William P. Peniston, Blakely, and others, took their place. . . .
"The examination of witnesses was continued and Elder Markham was permitted to give his testimony. After he had closed, Blakely, one of the guard, came in and said to Markham that he wanted to speak to him. Brother Markham walked out with him, and round the end of the house, when Blakely called out, 'God damn you, you damned old Mormon; I'll kill you;' and struck at Markham with his fist, and then with a club. Markham took the club and threw it over the fence. There were ten of the mob, who immediately rushed upon Markham to kill him, Colonel William P. Peniston, captain of the guard, being one of the number. But Markham told them he could kill the whole of them at one blow apiece, and drove them off. The court and grand jury stood and saw the affray, and heard the mob threaten Markham's life by all the oaths they could invent, but they took no cognizance of it.
"The ten mobbers went home after their guns to shoot Markham, and the grand jury brought in a bill for 'Murder,
treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing,' against Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, Caleb Baldwin, Hyrum Smith, and myself.
"This evening the committee assembled at Daniel Shearer's. After prayer by Brother James Newberry, he was ordained an elder on the recommendation of Elder Kimball, under the hands of Elder Kimball, H. Clark, and W. Huntington.
"Elder Kimball reported that Jesse P. Maupin, the thirty dollar messenger they sent to us, had returned; that the prisoners were well and in good spirits.
"Brother Rogers, who had returned from Jackson County, reported that he had sold all the lands in Jackson. Elder Kimball was requested to attend a meeting of the county tomorrow, and as an individual mention the case of the committee and brethren generally, and learn their feelings, whether they would protect the brethren from the abuse of the mob, in case they come immediately to drive them out, as they had recently threatened.
"During this night the visions of the future were opened to my understanding, when I saw the ways and means and near approach of my escape from imprisonment, and the danger that my beloved Brother Markham was in. I awoke Brother Markham and told him if he would rise early and not wait for the judge and lawyers, as he had contemplated, but ride briskly, he would get safe home almost before he was aware of it; and if he did not, the mob would shoot him on the way; and tell the brethren to be of good cheer and lose no time in removing from the country."-Millennial Star, vol. 17, pp. 102-104, 126, 127.
They were granted a change of venue, and on the 15th of April started for Boone County, in company with the sheriff, William Morgan, and four guards; viz., John Brassfield, William Bowen, Wilson McKinney, and John Pough (?). That night they staid [stayed] with a man by the name of Cox, and on the 16th traveled about twenty miles and camped. The sheriff and guards became intoxicated and went to sleep. The prisoners soon arose and left the camp, traveling towards Illinois and liberty.
Of their escape Hyrum Smith testified before the municipal court of Nauvoo, as follows:-
"There we bought a jug of whisky, with which we treated the company, and while there the sheriff showed us the mittimus before referred to, without date or signature, and said that Judge Birch told him never to carry us to Boone County and never to show the mittimus; 'and,' said he, 'I shall take a good drink of grog and go to bed; you may do as you have a mind to.' Three others of the guard drank pretty freely of whisky, sweetened with honey; they also went to bed, and were soon asleep, and the other guard went along with us and helped to saddle the horses. Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the State of Illinois, and, in the course of nine or ten days we arrived in Quincy, Adams County [Illinois], where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health, they having been driven out of the State previously, by the murderous militia, under the exterminating order of the Executive of Missouri."-Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors, pp. 264, 265.
On the 17th Elder Baldwin got separated from the rest; but two days later he fortunately but accidentally met them again, at the house of a Mr. Harrison, on Big Chariton River.
On the 21st Alexander McRae left the rest. Of this Lyman Wight states:-
"McRae left us, being displeased with Joseph."
The other four proceeded together, until the next day, the 22d, when Joseph Smith and Caleb Baldwin took the horses and hurried onward, while Hyrum Smith and Lyman Wight proceeded more leisurely on foot. The two on foot arrived at Quincy, Illinois, at six p. m. the same evening, the other two having preceded them.
We will close this chapter in the words of Joseph, allowing him to tell of his feelings when again at liberty and among friends:-
"Monday, 22d. We continued on our journey, both by night and by day, and after suffering much fatigue and hunger
I arrived at Quincy, Illinois, amidst the congratulations of my friends and the embraces of my family, whom I found as well as could be expected, considering what they had been called to endure. Before leaving Missouri I had paid the lawyers at Richmond thirty-four thousand dollars in cash, lands, etc.; one lot which I let them have, in Jackson County, for seven thousand dollars they were soon offered ten thousand dollars for it, but would not accept it. For other vexatious suits which I had to contend against the few months I was in this State, I paid lawyer's fees to the amount of about sixteen thousand dollars, making in all about fifty thousand dollars, for which I received very little in return; for sometimes they were afraid to act on account of the mob, and sometimes they were so drunk as to incapacitate them for business. But there were a few honorable exceptions.
"Among those who have been the chief instruments and leading characters in the unparalleled persecutions against the Church of Latter Day Saints, the following stand conspicuous; viz., Generals Clark, Wilson, and Lucas, Colonel Price, and Cornelius Gillium; Captain Bogart also, whose zeal in the cause of oppression and injustice was unequaled, and whose delight has been to rob, murder, and spread devastation among the saints. He stole a valuable horse, saddle, and bridle from me, which cost two hundred dollars, and then sold the same to General Wilson. On understanding this I applied to General Wilson for the horse, who assured me upon the honor of a gentleman and an officer that I should have the horse returned to me; but this promise has not been fulfilled.
"All the threats, murders, and robberies which these officers have been guilty of are entirely looked over by the Executive of the State; who, to hide his own iniquity, must of course shield and protect those whom he employed to carry into effect his murderous purposes.
"I was in their hands, as a prisoner, about six months; but notwithstanding their determination to destroy me, with the rest of my brethren who were with me, and although at three different times (as I was informed) we were sentenced
to be shot, 2 without the least shadow of law (as we were not military men), and had the time and place appointed for that purpose, yet through the mercy of God, in answer to the prayers of the saints, I have been preserved and delivered out of their hands, and can again enjoy the society of my friends and brethren, whom I love, and to whom I feel united in bonds that are stronger than death; and in a State where I believe the laws are respected, and whose citizens are humane and charitable.
"During the time I was in the hands of my enemies I must say that although I felt great anxiety respecting my family and friends, who were so inhumanly treated and abused, and who had to mourn the loss of their husbands and children who had been slain, and, after having been robbed of nearly all that they possessed, be driven from their homes, and forced to wander as strangers in a strange country, in order that they might save themselves and their little ones from the destruction they were threatened with in Missouri,-yet as far as I was concerned I felt perfectly calm and resigned to the will of my heavenly Father. I knew my innocency, as well as that of the saints, and that we had done nothing to deserve such treatment from the hands of our oppressors. Consequently I could look to that God who has the hearts of all men in his hands, and who had saved me frequently from the gates of death, for deliverance; and notwithstanding that every avenue of escape seemed to be entirely closed, and death stared me in the face, and that my destruction was determined upon, as far as man was concerned; yet from my first entrance into the camp I felt an assurance that I with my brethren and our families should be delivered. Yes, that still small voice which has so often whispered consolation to my soul in the depth of sorrow and distress, bade me be of good cheer, and promised deliverance, which gave me great comfort. And although the heathen raged and the people imagined vain things, yet the Lord of Hosts, the God of Jacob was my refuge; and when I cried unto him in the day of trouble he
2Once at Far West and once at Richmond. Of the third time we have seen no account.
delivered me; for which I call upon my soul and all that is within me to bless and praise his holy name. For although I was 'troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.'
"The conduct of the saints under their accumulated wrongs and sufferings has been praiseworthy; their courage in defending their brethren from the ravages of the mobs; their attachment to the cause of truth, under circumstances the most trying and distressing which humanity can possibly endure; their love to each other; their readiness to afford assistance to me and my brethren who were confined in a dungeon; their sacrifices in leaving Missouri, and assisting the poor widows and orphans and securing them houses in a more hospitable land; all conspire to raise them in the estimation of all good and virtuous men, and has secured them the favor and approbation of Jehovah, and a name as imperishable as eternity. And their virtuous deeds and heroic actions while in defense of truth and their brethren will be fresh and blooming when the names of their oppressors shall be either entirely forgotten or only remembered for their barbarity and cruelty.
"Their attention and affection to me while in prison will ever be remembered by me; and when I have seen them thrust away and abused by the jailer and guard, when they came to do any kind offices, and to cheer our minds while we were in the gloomy prison house, gave me feelings which I cannot describe; while those who wished to insult and abuse us by their threats and blasphemous language were applauded and had every encouragement given them.
"However, thank God, we have been delivered. And although some of our beloved brethren have had to seal their testimony with their blood and have died martyrs to the cause of truth, yet
"'Short, though bitter, was their pain,
Everlasting is their joy.'
"Let us not sorrow as 'those without hope;' the time is fast approaching when we shall see them again and rejoice together, without being afraid of wicked men. Yes, those
who have slept in Christ shall he bring with him when he shall come to be glorified in Him, and admired by all those who believe, but to take vengeance upon his enemies and all those who obey not the gospel.
"At that time the hearts of the widows and fatherless shall be comforted, and every tear shall be wiped from off their faces. The trials they have had to pass through shall work together for their good, and prepare them for the society of those who have come up out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
"Marvel not, then, if you are persecuted; but remember the words of the Savior: 'The servant is not above his Lord; if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also;' and that all the afflictions through which the saints have to pass are in fulfillment of the words of the prophets which have spoken since the world began.
"We shall therefore do well to discern the signs of the times as we pass along, that the day of the Lord may not 'overtake us as a thief in the night.' Afflictions, persecutions, imprisonments, and deaths we must expect, according to the Scriptures, which tell us that the blood of those whose souls were under the altar could not be avenged on them that dwell on the earth until their brethren should be slain as they were.
"If these transactions had taken place among barbarians, under the authority of a despot, or in a nation where a certain religion is established according to law and all others proscribed, then there might have been some shadow of defense offered. But can we realize that in a land which is the cradle of liberty and equal rights, and where the voice of the conquerors who had vanquished our foes had scarcely died away upon our ears, where we frequently mingled with those who had stood amidst 'the battle and the breeze,' and whose arms have been nerved in the defense of their country and liberty, whose institutions are the theme of philosophers and poets and held up to the admiration of the whole civilized world,-in the midst of all these scenes with which we were surrounded, a persecution the most unwarrantable
was commenced and a tragedy the most dreadful was enacted, by a large portion of the inhabitants of one of those free and independent States which comprise this vast republic; and a deadly blow was struck at the institutions for which our fathers had fought many a hard battle, and for which many a patriot had shed his blood; and suddenly was heard amidst the voice of joy and gratitude for our national liberty, the voice of mourning, lamentation, and woe. Yes! in this land, a mob, regardless of those laws for which so much blood has been spilled, dead to every feeling of virtue and patriotism which animated the bosom of freemen, fell upon a people whose religious faith was different from their own, and not only destroyed their homes, drove them away, and carried off their property, but murdered many a freeborn son of America-a tragedy which has no parallel in modern and hardly in ancient times; even the face of the Red Man would be ready to turn pale at the recital of it. It would have been some consolation if the authorities of the State had been innocent in this affair; but they are involved in the guilt thereof, and the blood of innocence, even of children, cries for vengeance upon them.
"I ask the citizens of this vast republic whether such a state of things is to be suffered to pass unnoticed, and the hearts of widows, orphans, and patriots to be broken and their wrongs left without redress No! I invoke the genius of our Constitution. I appeal to the patriotism of Americans to stop this unlawful and unholy procedure; and pray that God may defend this nation from the dreadful effects of such outrages.
"Is there not virtue in the body politic? Will not the people rise up in their majesty and with that promptitude and zeal which is so characteristic of them discountenance such proceedings by bringing the offenders to that punishment which they so richly deserve, and save the nation from that disgrace and ultimate ruin which otherwise must inevitably fall upon it?
"Joseph Smith, Jr."
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, pp. 148-151.
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