, History, Manuscript, ca. 1839; handwriting of ; nineteen pages (several additional leaves missing); CHL.
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.” (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].) 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.
may have intended to tell the entire story himself, but he fell ill shortly after publication began and died 27 May 1840. Partridge’s manuscript, which he did not title, is provided here. The full text of “A History, of the Persecution,” which necessarily relied on other sources following Partridge’s demise, receives comprehensive treatment in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers and is available on this website.
’s history begins with his account of the conflicts in the early 1830s. Partridge was a bishop of the church in Missouri, first in and then in following the Saints’ expulsion from Jackson County. He also served as bishop in after the Saints relocated there from Clay County in 1836. By the time he drafted his account of the Mormon experiences in Missouri, the Saints had been exiled from the state and had relocated to .
’s narrative is based on firsthand observations and may also have relied on other records he kept. It begins, “In presenting to our readers a history of the persecutions,” indicating that Partridge wrote it for publication purposes. However, there are occasionally significant differences between the manuscript version and “A History, of the Persecution” as published.
The early custodial history of the manuscript is somewhat uncertain. However, the manuscript was presumably among materials in the possession of church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith, who held that office from 1921 to 1970 and who had worked in the Church Historian’s Office many years prior. The manuscript became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became church president in 1970, and, with other records (including Revelation Book 1 and two drafts of JS’s history), was transferred from the First Presidency’s office to the Church History Library in 2005.
indeed he <has> never hasovercome<out grown> <fully recovered from> that beating The Governor <> was disposed to bring theleadersof the mob<bers> to justice consequently <about 10 or 12> witnesses <of the saints> were subpoened <to attend the Feb. term of the circuit court> and ’s co. <was> ordered to guard them over to & back, <with his Co. of grays> the Atorney Genl. was also ordered to attend the trialat theFeb. term of the circuit court court to assist the circuit attorney. The witnesses were guarded over to and after being there a short time they were visited by the circuit attorney in co. with the atto[r] ney Genl. they informed the witnesses that such was the excitement that it was doubtfull whether any thing could be done to bring the mobbers to justice, that if any were convicted they would only be fined some trifling sum not to exceed $5 at most, and <they> advised them not to come before the grand jury <and intimated that the extent of the <there would be> danger> the witnesses observed <replied> that they had been ordered there by the court and that they supposed <that> that they were still subject to the court or <to them> the attorneys. as to the danger of going before the grand jury <they feared it not —> they were ready & willing to go & testify to the truth— they feared not [p. ]