“A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in ,” in Times and Seasons (Commerce/Nauvoo, IL), vol. 1, nos. 2–12: Dec. 1839, pp. 17–20; Jan. 1840, pp. 33–36; Feb. 1840, pp. 49–51; Mar. 1840, pp. 65–66; Apr. 1840, pp. 81–82; May 1840, pp. 97–99; June 1840, pp. 113–116; July 1840, pp. 129–131; Aug. 1840, pp. 145–150; Sept. 1840, pp. 161–165; Oct. 1840, pp. 177, 184–185; edited by and . The copy used for transcription is currently part of a bound volume held at CHL; includes light marginalia and archival marking.
Each segment in the eleven-part series begins on the first page of its respective number of the Times and Seasons. Each issue comprises eight leaves (sixteen pages) that measure 8⅝ x 5¼ inches (22 x 13 cm). The text on each page is set in two columns. At some point, the editors of the Times and Seasons reset and reprinted the December 1839 and January 1840 issues of the Times and Seasons; based on textual analysis, the version used for transcription appears to be the earlier typesetting of both. It is unknown how long this volume has been in church custody.
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
While incarcerated at , Missouri, in March 1839, JS addressed a letter to the Saints, and to “ in particular,” in which he called for the Saints to gather up “a knoledge of all the facts and sufferings and abuses put upon them” in that they might publish the records “to all the world” and “present them to the heads of the government.” Apparently in response to this assignment, Edward Partridge wrote a history that became the first three installments of “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” an eleven-part series published in the church’s newspaper, Times and Seasons, between December 1839 and October 1840. This series gave the first extended account of the Missouri period to be printed in the Latter-day Saint press. The editors of the Times and Seasons, and , announced in its first issue that the newspaper would “commence publishing the history of the disturbances in Missouri, in regular series,” and the first installment appeared in the second issue.
“A History, of the Persecution” begins with ’s account of the conflicts in the early 1830s. Partridge was a bishop of the church in Missouri, first in , then in following the Latter-day Saints’ expulsion from Jackson, and finally in after the Saints relocated from Clay. By the time he wrote this account of the Mormons’ experiences in Missouri, the Saints had been exiled from the state and had relocated to . Partridge lived first at Pittsfield, then at . In July 1839 he settled in the area, where he served again as a bishop in the new Mormon community being established there. Partridge’s narrative is based on firsthand observations and may also have relied on other records he kept. The manuscript version of the history begins, “In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions,” indicating that Partridge wrote it for publication purposes. He may have intended to tell the entire Missouri story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication of the “History of the Persecution” began, and he died 27 May 1840.
The “History, of the Persecution” is representative of the many histories and individual petitions written at the time to document the Saints’ experiences in . Its excerpts from ’s History of the Late Persecution and ’s Appeal to the American People provide a useful sampling of two published histories of the period and demonstrate that documenting these events was a widespread effort. Publication in the church’s periodical lent credibility to the series and ensured that it was the source from which many new Mormon converts learned the details of the church’s history in Missouri. What they read was not the work of neutral historians detached from the events described. When , Pratt, and Rigdon wrote their histories, the persecutions and injustices against them were still fresh in their memories. All three authors suffered personally during the Missouri hardships, and as they and other Saints undertook to write about their experiences, their primary focus was to fulfill JS’s directive—to obtain redress by making known the “nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practiced upon this people.”
JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:1, 6]. An edited and slightly shortened version of the letter was published in two parts in the Times and Seasons, May and July 1840. The instruction to record the Saints’ Missouri history was part of the July installment. (“Copy of a Letter, Written by J. Smith Jr. and Others, While in Prison,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:99–104; “An Extract of a Letter Written to Bishop Partridge, and the Saints in General,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:131–134.)
Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
“A Word to the Saints,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:12. After the first copies of the first number were printed in July, publication of the Times and Seasons halted for several months because both editors fell ill amidst a malaria outbreak in the Commerce, Illinois, area. The first number was reissued under the date November 1839.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Partridge, History, manuscript, Edward Partridge, Miscellaneous Papers, CHL. Significant differences between the first three installments of “History, of the Persecution” and the Partridge manuscript are described in footnotes herein.
Partridge, Edward. Miscellaneous Papers, ca. 1839–May 1840. CHL.
No manuscript is known to exist for Pratt’s published pamphlet. Rigdon is not named as the author on the title page of Appeal to the American People, but he is credited as such in the “History, of the Persecution” series and in advertisements for the pamphlet in the Times and Seasons. A manuscript version of Rigdon’s Appeal to the American People, titled “To the Publick” and inscribed by George W. Robinson, is found in the JS Collection at the Church History Library. Many textual differences exist between the manuscript and Appeal to the American People, and the editors of the Times and Seasons clearly used the published pamphlet, not the manuscript, as their source. (“History, of the Persecution,” May 1840, 1:99; Advertisement, Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1841, 2:272.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Earlier published accounts of the Jackson County conflicts from Latter-day Saints include the broadside “The Mormons,” So Called, dated 12 December 1833, and its reprint in The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, –; a series titled “The Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri,” published in The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833–Mar. 1834 and May–June 1834; John P. Greene’s pamphlet Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order” (Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839); and John Taylor’s eight-page work, A Short Account of the Murders, Roberies, Burnings, Thefts, and Other Outrages Committed by the Mob and Militia of the State of Missouri, Upon the Latter Day Saints (Springfield, IL: By the author, 1839).
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Times and Seasons, Oct. 1840, 1:177. The eleventh and concluding installment of the “History, of the Persecution” series reprinted a 5 November 1838 speech delivered in by , a major general in the militia during the Mormon conflict. Clark left no account of his speech, and it is unknown whether a text was originally created as the speech was given or whether it was written down later. Multiple copies of this address circulated in manuscript and print form beginning in early 1839. The first known text was recorded in a letter written by , and the first published text appeared in the 16 March 1839 issue of the Quincy Whig. The speech was subsequently published in ’s Appeal to the American People and ’s Facts Relative to the Expulsion. The similar wording of all versions indicates that they originate from a single document. It is evident from textual similarities that the source for the version found in the “History, of the Persecution” was Rigdon’s Appeal. Slight textual differences among the different versions hint that the Quincy Whig served as the source for Greene’s version, which in turn was used for Rigdon’s Appeal.
A HISTORY, OF THE PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER DAY SAINTS IN .
The following address, was delivered at , by , to the Mormons, after they had surrendered their arms, and themselves prisoners of war:
“Gentlemen—You whose names are not attached to this list of names will now have the privilege of going to your fields to obtain corn for your families, wood, &c. Those that are now taken, will go from thence to prison; be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes—but you are now at liberty, all but such as charges may be hereafter preferred against. It now devolves upon you to fulfil the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I now lay before you. The first of these you have already complied with, which is, that you deliver up your leading men to be tried according to law. Second, that you deliver up your arms—this has been attended to. The third is, that you sign over your properties to defray the expenses of the war—this you have also done. Another thing yet remains for you to comply with, that is, that you leave the forthwith, and whatever your feelings concerning this affair—whatever your innocence, it is nothing to me. , who is equal in authority with me, has made this treaty with you. I am determined to see it executed. The orders of the to me, were, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to continue in the , and had your leader not been given up and the treaty complied with before this, you and your families would have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes.
There is a discretionary power vested in my hands which I shall try to exercise for a season. I did not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season or of putting in crops; for the moment you do, the citizens will be upon you. I am determined to see the ’s Message fulfilled, but shall not come upon you immediately—do not think that I shall act as I have done any more—but if I have to come again, because the treaty which you have made here shall be broken, you need not expect any mercy, but extermination—for I am determined the ’s order shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not once think—do not imagine for a moment—do not let it enter your mind, that they will be delivered, or that you will see their faces again, for their fate is fixed, their die is cast—their doom is sealed.
I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so great a number of apparently intelligent men found in the situation that you are;— and, oh! that I could invoke the spirit of the unknown God to rest upon you, and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound. I would advise you to scatter abroad and never again organize with Bishops, Presidents, &c., lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you. You have always been the aggressors—you have brought upon yourselvs these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule—and my advice is that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin.[”]
Rockwood, Journal, 5 Nov. 1838; James M. Henderson, Affidavit, Hancock Co., IL, 3 Jan. 1840, photocopy, Material Relating to Mormon Expulsion from Missouri, 1839–1843, CHL.
Rockwood, Albert Perry. Journal Entries, Oct. 1838–Jan. 1839. Photocopy. CHL. MS 2606.
Library of Congress Collection. National Archives, Washington DC. Redress petitions from this collection are also available in Clark V. Johnson, ed., Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833–1838 Missouri Conflict, Religious Studies Center Monograph Series 16 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1992).
Albert P. Rockwood, Quincy, IL, to Luther Rockwood, Holliston, MA, 30 Jan. 1839, Albert Perry Rockwood, Mormon Letters and Sermons, 1838–1839, Western America Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT; “The Mormons,” Quincy (IL) Whig, 16 Mar. 1839, .
Rockwood, Albert Perry. Mormon Letters and Sermons, 1838–1839. Western Americana Collection. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
[Rigdon, Sidney]. An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the Barbarities Inflicted on Them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri. Cincinnati: Glezen and Shepard, 1840.
Greene, John P. Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order.” By John P. Greene, an Authorized Representative of the Mormons. Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839.
In surrendering to Samuel D. Lucas 1 November 1838, George M. Hinkle, commander of the Latter-day Saint forces at Far West, accepted the terms described here by Clark. (Samuel D. Lucas, “near Far West,” MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 2 Nov. 1838, copy; Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, 6 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)
Boggs instructed Clark that he was “authorized and full power is given you to take whatever steps you deem necessary, and such as the circumstances of the case may seem to demand to subdue the insurgents and give peace and qui[e]t to the country.” (Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, 1 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)