Account of Hearings, circa 20 December 1843

Document Transcript

It will be recolled that we gave an account last week of two persons being kidnapped by some persons from the state of . The names of the persons kidnapped were , and , father, and son. , the son, by some means or other escaped from their hands, and returned to this . We have also obtained information from other sources pertaining to this diabolical outrage, having a tendency to implicate others of whom we favorably could have hoped better things.
The following affidavit will show that some of the citizens of are so far fallen, and so much governed by mobocratic influence as to assist the wretches in their hellish designs:
On the 11th day of December 1843, came , before me , a justice of the peace of said , and after being duly sworn deposeth and saith that the crime of kidnapping has been committed in , and on the 2d day of this present Dec., 1843, at the house of Scherench Freeman, about four miles and a half south of , in said county; your said heard a man by the name of say that he was going a shooting turkies, when asked what he was going to shoot them with, he shewed a brace of pistols and a large hickory cane: your observed that he thought he could not kill turkies with such weapons, and the said said there was a certain cock he meant to take before night and they would do for that. He the said went off, and your did not see him till Sunday evening the third, when your asked the said if he had caught his turkey, and he replied yes, the one he was after, a Mormon Elder; your then asked him who he was and he said ; your then asked the said what had been done with said ? and he said we put on to a horse, tied his legs and guarded him to the , from whence about ten o’clock at night, we took him into Clark county, Missouri, for stealing a horse three years ago, where they would try him, and if found guilty, they would then take him into another county where there was a jail, and there was none in Clark county. On the 4th day of December I asked him if they had writs or authority to take , he replied, we all had writs. On the 5th he the said said he expected to get into difficulty on account of this scrape, but if any mormon makes any business with me, I will shoot him, and further your says not.
Subscribed and sworn to this 11th day of December 1843, before me.
, J. P.
Upon the filing of the foregoing affidavit a was immediately dispatched for the said , who was brought tforthwith to and had a hearing before , justice of the peace. The court was held in the large room over General Smith’s , on Monday afternoon.
The court being opened and the affidavit read, on the question being asked the , guilty or not guilty, he plead not guilty.
I went down to that neighborhood to go to work—found work at Mr. Scherench Freeman’s. was there —entered into conversation—found them opposed to Mormonism—next morning there was something said relative to his, ’s going to shoot turkies. I asked him what he would shoot them with —he fetched a pair of pistols—I said I thought he could not kill turkies with such weapons—he said there was a certain cock they intended to take before night— he thought they would do for that—he also had a hickory cane and said, that would be a good weapon. He went away on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday night, he lhen [then] said that he had taken the turkey—a Mormon Elder, —that they had taken him to the at , and took him across the at ten o’clock at night—that they had taken him to Clark county, Missouri—would try him there and take him to another county where there was a jail.
I said that would not do. In two days he came back—I asked what he had been doing—said taking a Mormon Elder—I asked if they had taken him by authority — he said not but by force of arms. He , said that he should likely get into difficulty, but that if a mormon should touch him he would shoot them. He said that Joseph Smith was a bad man, that he would be taken—I said they had tried it before but had failed—he said that they would not fail this time, that a plan was in operation that would succeed—that he would be popped over.
Mr. Smith asked what was said about him—s counsel objected. Mr. Smith said he had a right to hear concerning himself. Court decided that it might be heard inasmuch as other mormons were mentioned.
Mr. again related something similar to what he had done before—related the design of to take him—they wanted Mr. Smith, and some three or four more.
Heard make no threats— heard say that he assisted in taking —that there was nine of them engaged in it, six belonging to and three to . He was taken in this .
Did make any threats to ? Not to me, only in taking him. He swore he would shoot us, and pointed his pistol. I told him to stand or I would shoot him if he offered resistance—that we were officers of the peace—had a writ for him—that if he gave himself up he should be civilly treated.
Cross examined.
He was led into it not knowing what it would amount to—he said he would assist in taking the leaders, McCoy, Clark, Williams and his son, I forget the names of the whole; there was nine in company; I think Stocgdon was one, I also think the name of one was Cox.
sworn. Dont know that I can make any addition to the testimony—the man attempted to get away, but we headed him. He threatened to shoot at first, but afterwards gave up. He confessed to me that he had been guilty of kidnapping—he said he was led into it by others—did not know what he was doing. He said there was Mr. Clark who was far more guilty than he, and wanted me to take them; I said I coald not do it—I had no authority. He acknowledged the whole circumstance and said he would do so to the court. The was then asked if he had any plea to make, he said not at this time.
The court declared that the said he held to bail in the sum of 3000 dollars to appear on the first day of the sitting of the county court at . Mr. Smith observed that the was a stranger—that he might not be able to get bail, suggested the propriety of the bond being reduced. The court however thought that in consequence of the enormity of the crime, that the bond was not more than sufficient to cause the to appear on the day of trial, and therefore could not mi[t]igate it.
After the was remanded, there was another writ issued, predicated upon the following affidavit, made returnable before , J. P.:
Personally appeared before me, , a justice of the peace for , Joseph Smith, who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith, that one of said is gui[l]ty of a breach of the peace for this, that on or about the second instant, the said did use threatening language concerning your deponent as informed that said threatening language was made in the county of , and further this deponent saith not.
Subscribed and sworn to this 18th of Dec. A. D. 1843.
, J. P.
The was again brought forward and the court adjourned for one hour.
The court said that it was his privilege to plead for a change of venue by paying the costs, but as the costs were not forthcoming the court proceeded.
then read the act to regulate the apprehension of offenders and for other purposes, p.219.r.s, The act sets forth the use of threatening language is sufficient to criminate individuals; this we are prepared to prove.
The testimony was similar to that before delivered with the following additional items:
I did ask him if he had authority—in the morning he said that he would not [p. [2]] care about shooting some of the mormons —in conversation I had with him he carried the idea that a conspiracy was formed against Joseph Smith and others, and that some of them would be shot. These conversations were had at different times. He thought Mr. Smith was a bad character. He thought they ought to be taken. Ques. Who? Joseph Smith, and some others. I told him he had been taken, but had been acquitted. He did not thank the for that. He carried the idea that there was a conspiracy against his life, and said we have a plan in operation that will pop him over.
Question by court. Do you know how long has been in the ? No.
By counsel for . Did you hear him state that he himself would do any thing? I heard him state nothing further than I have mentioned.
and sworn.
By the court. Is your residence in this ? Yes.
I have heard of the things stated but not from him.
Messrs. and , attorneys, resident in , made some thrilling remarks pertaining to the outrageous proceedings of . The diabolical conduct of those wretches who could be engaged in destroying and kidnapping their fellow men was portrayed in glowing colors. Judge Phelps and General Smith then followed on the same subject, their language was thrilling eloquent and powerful: if ever inhumanity and deeds of blood were depicted in their true colors it was on that occasion; their thoughts flashed as fire and they spake in ‘words that burned.’ We never saw the character of General Smith so clearly developed for while he abhorred and depicted the fiendish crime that the stood charged with in its true colors, he pitied the poor wretch that then stood before him, and with feelings of commiseration, benevolence and philanthropy, withdrew his charge, wished if it was in the power of the court that the culprit might be forgiven, promised to pay all the charges, and invited him and those of his friends who came along, to come to his house and they should be taken care of. It would be superfluous for us to attempt to give even a faint outline of the remarks made by the above named gentlemen, we hope to have at least a synopsis of their speeches for publication which we are sure would be highly interesting to our readers, Upon the whole, although a painful, yet it was an interesting occasion and will long be remembered, and unless ’s heart, and those of his friends, were made of adamant, it must have made an indelible impresson on their minds and almost made them hate themselves.
Since the above was in type, we have received information that Mr. is now in the jail, where, no doubt, he will be safely kept.
We have also received information that the celebrated mober, Col. Williams, with his possey, have left for ; we suppose that he has found out the pleasure of entertai[ni]ng mobs. [p. [3]]