THE MORMON WAR IN MISSOURI.
AFTER 1844, it was my habit to keep a journal, in which I wrote at length all that I considered worthy of remembering. Most of my journals, written up to 1860, were called for by Brigham Young, under the plea that he wished the Church historian to write up the Church history, and wished my journal to aid him in making the history perfect. As these journals contained many things not intended for the public eye, and especially very much concerning the crimes of Mormon leaders in Southern Utah and elsewhere, and all I knew of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and what led to it, they were never returned to me. I suppose they were put out of the way, perhaps burned, for these journals gave an account of many dark deeds.
I was at Far West when the Danites returned. They brought Captain Patton with them. He died that night, and his death spread a mantle of gloom over the entire community. It robbed many of their fond hope that they were invincible. If Fear Not could be killed, who could claim immunity from the missiles of death, hurled by Gentile weapons?
I admit up to this time I firmly believed what the Prophet and his apostles had said on that subject. I had considered that I was bullet proof, that no Gentile ball could ever harm me, or any Saint, and I had believed that a Danite could not be killed by Gentile hands. I thought that one Danite could chase a thousand Gentiles, and two could put ten thousand to flight. Alas! my dream of security was over. One of our mighty men had fallen, and that by Gentile hands. My amazement at the fact was equal to my sorrow for the death of the great warrior apostle. I had considered that all the battles between Danites and Gentiles would end like the election fight at Gallatin, and that the only ones to be injured would be the Gentiles. We had been promised and taught by the Prophet and his priesthood that henceforth God would fight our battles, and I looked as a consequence for a bloodless victory on the side of the Lord, and that nothing but disobedience to the teachings of the priesthood could render a Mormon subject to injury from Gentile forces. I believed as our leaders taught us, that all our sufferings and persecutions, were brought upon us by the all-wise God of Heaven, as chastisement to bring us together in unity of faith and strict obedience to the requirements of the Gospel; and the feeling was general, that all our sufferings were the result of individual sin, and not the fault of our leaders and spiritual guides. We, as members of the Church, had no right to question any act of our superiors; to do so wounded the Spirit of God, and lead to our own loss and confusion.
I was thunderstruck to hear Joseph Smith, the apostle, say at the funeral of Capt. Patton that the Mormons fell by the missiles of death the same as other men. He also said that the Lord was, angry with the people, for they had been unbelieving and faithless; they had denied the Lord the use of their earthly treasures, and placed their affections upon worldly things more than they had upon heavenly things; that to expect God's favor we must blindly trust him; that if the Mormons would wholly trust in God the windows of heaven would be opened and a shower of blessings sent upon the people; that all the people could contain of blessings would be given as a reward for obedience to the will of God as made known to mankind through the Prophet of the ever-living God; that the Mormons, if faithful, obedient and true followers of the advice of their leaders, would soon enjoy all the wealth of the earth; that God would consecrate the riches of the Gentiles to the Saints. This and much more he said to induce the people to obey the will of the priesthood. I believed all he said, for he supported it by quotations from Scripture, and it I believed the Bible, as I did most implicitly, I could not help believing in Joseph Smith, the Prophet of God in these last days. Joseph Smith declared that he was called of God and given power and authority from heaven to do God's will; that he had received the keys of the holy priesthood from the apostles Peter, James and John, and had been dedicated, set apart and anointed as the prophet, seer and revelator; sent to open the dispensation of the fullness of time, according to the words of the apostles; that he was charged with the restoration of the house of Israel, and to gather the Saints from the four corners of the earth to the land of promise, Zion, the Holy Land (Jackson County), and setting up the kingdom of God prepatory to the second coming of Christ in the last days.
Every Mormon, it true to his faith, believed as fully in Joseph Smith and his holy character as they did that God existed.
Joseph Smith was a most extraordinary man; he was rather large in stature, some six feet two inches in height, well built, though a little stoop-shouldered, prominent and well-developed features, a Roman nose, light chestnut hair, upper lip full and rather protruding, chin broad and square, an eagle eye, and on the whole there was something in his manner and appearance that was bewitching and winning; his countenance was that of a plain, honest man, full of benevolence and philanthropy and void of deceit or hypocrisy. He was resolute and firm of purpose, strong as most men in physical power, and all who say were forced to admire him, as he then looked and existed.
(The Founder and first Prophet of the Mormon Church.)
In the sports of the day, such as wrestling, etc., he was over an average. Very few of the Saints had the strength needed to throw the Prophet in a fair tussel; in every gathering he was a welcome guest, and always added to the amusement of the people, instead of dampening their ardor. During the time that we were camping at Adam-on-Diamond, waiting to see what would be the result of the quarrel between our Church and the Gentiles, one Sunday morning (it had rained heavily the night before and the air was cold) the men were shivering over a few fire-brands, feeling out of sorts and quite cast down. The Prophet came up while the brethren were moping around, and caught first one and then another and shook them up, and said, "Get out of here, and wrestle, jump, run, do anything but mope around; warm yourselves up; this inactivity will not do for soldiers. Th. words of the Prophet put life and energy into the men. A ring was soon formed, according to the custom of the people. The Prophet stepped into the ring, ready for a tussel with any corner. Several went into the ring to try their strength, but each one was thrown by the Prophet, until he had thrown several of the stoutest of the men present. Then he stepped out of the ring and took a man by the arm and led him in to take his place, and so it continued - the men who were thrown retiring in favor of the successful one. A man would keep the ring so long as he threw his adversary. The style of wrestling varied with the desires of the parties. The Eastern men, or Yankees, used square hold, or collar and elbow; those from the Middle States side hold, and the Southern and Western men used breeches hold and old Indian hug or back hold. If a man was hurt he stood it without a murmur; it was considered cowardly and childish to whine when thrown down or hurt in the fall.
While the sport was at its height Sidney Rigdon, the mouth-piece of the Prophet, rushed into the ring, sword in hand, and said that he would not suffer a lot of men to break the Sabbath day in that manner. For a moment all were silent, then one of the brethren, with more presence of mind than the others, said to the Prophet, "Brother Joseph, we want you to clear us. from blame, for we formed the ring by your request. You told. us to wrestle, and now Brother Rigdon is bringing us to account for it."
The Prophet walked into the ring and said, as he made a. motion with his hand: "Brother Sidney, you had better go out of here and let the boys alone; they are amusing themselves according to my orders. You are an old man. You go and get ready for meeting and let the boys alone. Just then catching Rigdon off his guard, as quick as a flash he knocked the sword from Rigdon's hand, then caught him by the shoulder, and. said: "Now, old man, you must go out, or I will throw you down." Rigdon was as large a man as the Prophet, but not as tall. The prospect of a tussel between the Prophet and the mouthpiece of the Prophet, was fun for all but Rigdon, who pulled back like a craw-fish, but the resistance was useless, the Prophet dragged him from the ring, bareheaded, and tore Rigdon's fine pulpit coat from the collar to the waist; then he turned to the men and said; "Go in, boys, and have your fun. You shall never have it to say that I got you into any trouble that I did not get you out of."
Rigdon complained about the boa of his hat and the tearing of his coat. The Prophet said to him: "You were out of your place. Always keep your place and you will not suffer; but you got a little out of your place and you have suffered for it. You have no one to blame but yourself. After that Rigdon never countermanded the orders of the Prophet, to my knowledge - he knew who was boss.
An order had been issued by the Church authorities commanding all of the members of the Mormon Church to leave their farms, and to take such property as they could remove, and go to one of the two fortified camps - that is Far West or Adam-on-Diamond. A large majority of the settlers obeyed, and the two camps were soon full of people who had deserted home again for the sake of the gospel.
There was a settlement on Log Creek, between three and five miles east from Far West. It was quite a rich settlement. A man named Haughn had just completed a good flouring mill on the creek. The morning after the battle of Crooked River, Haughn came to Far West to consult with the Prophet concerning the policy of the removal of the settlers on Log Creek to the fortified camps. Col. White and myself were standing by when the Prophet said to him: "Move in, by all means, if you wish to save your lives." Haughn replied that if the settlers left their homes all of their property would be lost, and the Gentiles would burn their houses and other buildings. The Prophet said: "You had much better lose your property than your lives, one can be replaced, the other cannot be restored; but there is no need of your losing either if you will only do as you are commanded." Haughn said that he considered the best plan was for all of the settlers to move into and around the mill, and use the blacksmith's shop and other buildings as a fort in case of attack; in this way he thought they would be perfectly safe. "You are at liberty to do so if you think best," said the Prophet. - Haughn then departed, well satisfied that he had carried his point.
The Prophet turned to Col. White and said: "That man did not come for counsel, but to induce me to tell him to do as he pleased; which I did. Had I commanded them to move in here and leave their property, they would have called me a tyrant. I wish they were here for their own safety. I am confident that we will soon learn that they have been butchered in a fearful manner.
At this time the Missourians had determined to exterminate the whole of the Mormon people. Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued orders to that effect. I think General Clark was the officer in command of all the Gentile forces. Gen. Atchison and Gen. Doniphan each commanded a division, of from three to eight thousand men, and they soon besieged Far West. The Mormons fortified the town as well as they could, and took special care to fortify and build shields and breastworks, to prevent the cavalry from charging into the town. The Gentile forces were mostly camped on Log Creek, between the town of Far West and Haughn's Mill, and about a mile from Far West, and about half a mile south of our outer breastworks. Our scouts and picket guards were driven in, and forced to join the main ranks for safety. The Mormon troops were placed in position by the officers, so as to guard every point. Each man had a large supply of bullets, with the patching sewed on the balls to facilitate the loading of our guns, which were all muzzle loaders. The Mormon force was about eight hundred strong, poorly armed; many of the men had no guns; some had single-barrel pistols, and a few had home-made swords. These were all of our implement. of war. So situated, we were still anxious to meet the enemy, and demanded to be led out against our foes. Our men were confident that God was going to deliver the enemy into our bands, and so we had no fears. I was one of the advance force, and as I lay behind some timber, with my cap-box open, and bullets lying on the ground by my side, I never had a doubt of being able to defeat the Gentile army. The troops lay and watched each other two days, then the Gentiles made two effort. to force their way into the town by stratagem; but seeing our forces in order, they did not come within range of our guns. The Mormons stood in the ranks, and prayed for the chance of getting a shot; but all to no effect. The same evening we learned of the massacre at Haughn's Mill. The description of this massacre was such as to freeze the blood of each Saint, and force them to swear revenge should come some day.
HAUGHN'S MILL MASSACRE
was reported about as follows to us at Far West. When the Gentile mob attacked the Mormons at the mill the Mormons took shelter in the blacksmith shop and other buildings. The mob took advantage of the banks of the creek and the timber, and very nearly surrounded the shop, which was built of logs, and served as a slaughter-house instead of a shelter or protection. The mob, while protected as they were, shot down the Mormons it their leisure. They killed eighteen and wounded as many more; in fact they killed and wounded every one who did not run away during the fight and take refuge in the woods. After shooting down all that could be seen, the mob entered the blacksmith shop and there found a young lad who had secreted himself under the bellows. One of the men said, "Don't shoot; it is but a small boy." The reply was, "Nits will make lice; it is best to save them when we can." Thus saying, they shot the little fellow where he lay. There was an old man in the settlement by the name of McBride, who had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war; he was killed by being hacked to pieces with a corn-cutter while begging for his life. The dead and wounded were thrown into a well all together. Several of the wounded were afterwards taken out of the well by the force that went from Far West, and recovered from their wounds. So great was the hatred of the mob that they saved none, but killed all who fell into their hands at that time. I received my information of the massacre from David Lewis, Tarleton Lewis, William Laney and Isaac Laney; they were Kentuckians, and were also in the fight, but escaped death. Isaac Laney was shot seven times, leaving thirteen ball holes in his person; five of the shots were nearly in the centre of the chest; one entered under the right arm, passed through the body and came out under the left arm; yet, strange as it appears, he kept his feet, so he informed me, and ran some three hundred yards to a cabin, where a woman raised a loose plank of the cabin floor, and he lay down and she replaced the boards.
The mob left, and in about two hours Laney was taken from under the cabin floor nearly lifeless. He was then washed, anointed with oil, the elders praying for his recovery, according to the order of the Holy Priesthood, and he was promised, through prayer and faith in God, speedy restoration. The pain at once left him, and for two weeks he felt no pain at all. He then took cold, and the wound in his hips pained him for some two hours, when the elders repeated their prayers and again anointed him, which had the effect desired. The pain left him, and never returned. I heard Laney declare this to be a fact, and he bore his testimony in the presence of many of the Saints. I saw him four weeks after the massacre and examined his person. I saw the wounds, then healed. I felt of them with my hands, and I saw the shirt and examined it, that he had on when was shot, and it was cut in shreds. Many balls had cut his clothing, that had not touched his person.
The massacre at Haughn's Mill was the result of the brethren's refusal to obey the wishes of the Prophet. All the brethren so considered it. It made a deep and lasting impression on my mind, for I had heard the Prophet give the counsel to the brethren to come into the town. They had refused, and the result was a lesson to all that there was no safety except in obeying the Prophet.
Col. George M. Hinkle had command of the troops at Far West, under Joseph Smith. He was from Kentucky, and was considered a fair weather Saint. When danger came he was certain to be on the strong side. He was a fine speaker, and had great influence with the Saints.
Previous to the attack on Far West, Col. Hinkle had come to an understanding with the Gentile commanders that in case the danger grew great, they could depend on him as a friend and one through whom they could negotiate and learn the situation of affairs in the camp of the Saints. When our scouts were first driven in Col. Hinkle was out with them, and when they were closely pursued he turned his coat wrong side out and wore it so. This was a peculiar move, but at the time it did not cause much comment among his men, but they reported it to the Prophet, and he at once became suspicious of the Colonel. The Prophet, being a man of thought and cool reflection, kept this information within a small circle, as that was a bad time - to ventilate an act of that kind. The Prophet concluded to make use of the knowledge he had gained of Hinkle's character, and use him to negotiate between the two parties. I do not believe that Joseph Smith had the least idea that he, with his little handful of men, could stand off that army that had come up against him. I know that now, but at that time I was full of religious zeal and felt that the Mormon Hosts of Israel were invincible. Joseph wished to use Hinkle to learn the destiny of the Gentiles, so that he could prepare for the worst. Col. Hinkle was sent out by Joseph to have an interview with the Gentiles.
The Colonel returned and reported to Joseph Smith the terms proposed by the Gentile officers. The terms offered were as follows: Joseph Smith and the leading men of the Church, Rigdon, Lyman White, P. P. Pratt, Phelps and others, were to give themselves up without delay, the balance of the men to surrender themselves and their arms by ten o'clock the following day, the understanding being that all would be tried for treason against the Government, and for other offences. The Prophet took advantage of this information, and had every man that was in imminent danger, leave the camp for a place of safety. The most of those in danger went to Illinois. They left at once, and were safe from all pursuit before the surrender took place, as they traveled north and avoided all settlements. When the brethren had left for Illinois, as just stated, Joseph Smith called all of his remaining troops together, and told them they were a good lot of fellows, but they were not perfect enough to withstand so large an army as the one now before them, that they had stood by him, and were willing to die for and with him, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, that he wished them to be comforted, for God had accepted their offering, that he intended to, and was going to offer himself up as a sacrifice, to save their lives and to save the Church. He wished them all to be of good cheer, and pray for him, and to pray that he and the brethren that went with him might be delivered from their enemies. He then blessed his people in the name of the Lord. After this, he and the leading men, six in number went with him direct to the camp of the enemy. They were led by a Judas, Col. G. M. Hinkle. I stood upon the breastworks and watched them go into the camp of the enemy. I heard the yells of triumph of the troops, as Joseph Smith and his companions entered. It was with great difficulty that the officers could restrain the mob from shooting them down as they entered. A strong guard was then placed over them to protect them from mob violence.
The next morning a court martial was held, at which Joseph Smith and his six companions that had surrendered with him, were sentenced to be shot. The execution was to take place at eight o'clock the next morning. When the sentence of the court martial was announced to them, Col. Lyman White said, "Shoot and be d-d." General Atchison and Col. Doniphan arrived with their divisions the same day, soon after the court martial had been held. Col. Doniphan, in particular, remonstrated against the decision. He said it was nothing more or less than cold blooded murder, and that every name signed to the decision was signed in blood, and he would withdraw his troops and have nothing to do in the matter, if the men were to be shot. General Atchison sustained Col. Doniphan, and said the wiser policy would be, in as much as they had surrendered themselves as prisoners, to place them in the Richmond jail, and let them take the due course of the law; let them be tried by the civil authorities of the land. In this way justice could be reached and parties could be punished according to law, and thus save the honor of the troops and the nation. This timely interposition and wise course on the part of Col. Doniphan and General Atchison, changed the course and prevented the hasty action of an infuriated mob, calling itself a court, men who were all the bitter enemies of Joseph Smith and his followers.
The next day a writing desk was prepared, with two secretaries or clerks; it was placed in the middle of the hollow square formed by the troops. The Mormons were marched in double file across the centre of the square, where the officers and men who had remained in Far West surrendered themselves and their arms to General Clark, Commander-in-Chief of the Missouri Militia, then in arms against the Saints at Far West. I was among the number that then surrendered. I laid down a good Kentucky rifle, two good horse pistols and a sword. After stacking our arms we were marched in single file, between a double file of the militia, who stood in a line from the secretary's desk, extending nearly across the square, ready to receive us, with fixed bayonets. As each man came up to the stand, he stepped to the desk and signed his name to an instrument recapitulating the conditions of the treaty, which were substantially as follows: We were to give a deed to all of our real estate, and to give a bill of sale of all our personal property, to pay the expenses of the war that had been inaugurated against us; that a committee of twelve should be appointed, one for Far West and one for Adam-on-Diamond, who were to be the sole judges of what would be necessary to remove each family out of the State, and all of the Mormons were to leave Missouri by the first of April, A. D. 1839, and all the rest of the property of the Mormons was to he taken by the Missouri troops to pay the expenses of the war. When the committee had examined into affairs and made the assignment of property that the Mormons were to retain, a pass would be given by the committee to each person as an evidence that he had gone through an investigation both as to his conduct and property. The prisoners at Far West were to be retained and not allowed to return home until the committee had reported and given the certificate that all charges had been met and satisfied. I remained a prisoner for nine days, awaiting the action of the committee. While such prisoner I witnessed many scenes of inhumanity, even more degrading than brutality itself. The mob of the militia was mostly composed of men who had been neighbors of the Mormons. This mob rifled the city, took what they wished, and committed many cruel and shameful deeds. These barbarous acts were done because they said the Mormons had stolen their goods and chattels, and while they pretended to search for stolen property they ravished women and committed other crimes at will. One day, while standing by a log fire, trying to keep warm, a man came up and recognized Riley Stewart, and said, "I saw you knock Dick Weldon down at Gallatin." With this he sprang and caught at an ax that had been stuck in a log; while trying to get the ax out, as it stuck fast in the log, Stewart ran; the man succeeded in getting the ax loose; he then threw it with all his force at Stewart; fortunately the ax struck him glancing blow on the head, not killing him, but giving him a severe wound. When one of the mob saw a saddle, or bridle, or any article they liked, they took it and kept it, and the Mormon prisoners dared not say a word about it.
The night after he was wounded, Stewart broke through the guard, and escaped to his wife's people in Carroll County, fifty miles south of Far West. As soon as the citizens heard that Stewart had arrived, they notified his wife's brothers and father that an armed mob intended to take him out and whip him severely, and then tar and feather him. His friends notified him of the fact, and he attempted to make his escape, but the mob was on the watch. They caught him, and, holding two pistols at his head, forced him to take off his coat, kneel down, and receive fifty lashes. These were given him with such force that they cut through his linen shirt. After this whipping, he returned to Far West, and took his chances with the rest of us. One day a soldier of the mob walked up to a house near where I was standing. The house was occupied by an old widow woman. The soldier noticed a cow in the little shed, near the house. He said he thought that was a Danite cow; that he wanted to have the honor of killing a Danite, or something that belonged to a Danite. The old widow came to the door of her cabin, and begged him to spare her cow saying it was her only dependence for milk, that she had no meat, and if her cow was killed, she must suffer. "Well, then," said he, "you can eat the cow for a change." He then shot the cow dead, and stood there and tantalized the old woman when she cried over her loss.
While we were standing in line, waiting our turns to sign the treaty, a large company of men, painted like Indians, rode up and surrounded us. They were a part of the men who were in the fight at the town of Gallatin, on the day of election. They tantalized us and abused us in every way they could with words. This treatment was hard to bear, but we were powerless to protect ourselves In any way.