A Young Folks' History of the Church
Persecution In Jackson County
A great many of the old settlers of Jackson county, meaning those who were there before
the Saints, were of a shiftless, ignorant class from the Southern States. They made but
little improvement in their homes, being content to live in small, log huts, many of them
without windows or board floors. They all believed it right to have negro slaves. They
were also eager to hold public office.
At that time there were also many persons in western Missouri who had fled from the east
on account of crimes which they had committed. Being near the boundary line of the
United States, these persons would need only to cross the line into Mexico to be safe if an
officer should come after them.
You will readily see by this what kind of neighbors the new settlers had. Of course the
Saints could not join with these wicked people in their horse racing, Sabbath breaking,
idleness, drunkenness, and other things which the Missourians took delight in. Most of
the Saints were from the Eastern and Northern States and did not believe in slavery. They
worked hard, and as the land produced good crops, they were soon prospering, while
their idle neighbors remained in poverty.
All this naturally led the Missourians to hate the "Mormons," and as early as the spring of
1832 they began to molest them by throwing stones into their houses, etc. That same fall
mobs began to come against the Saints, burning some of their hay and shooting into their
In April, 1833, the mobbers held a meeting at Independence to discuss plans whereby
they could rid the county of the "Mormons." However, the meeting broke up in a row.
July 20th, they held another meeting which was more successful. An address was read to
the people wherein the Saints were falsely accused of all manner of wrong doings. It also
set forth that no more "Mormons" must settle in Jackson county; that the "Mormons"
already there should be given a reasonable time to sell their property and then remove;
that the printing of their paper must cease; that the stores of the Saints must close up their
business as soon as possible; and that the leading brethren should use their influence to
have the Saints comply with these requests. The meeting agreed to all this and a
committee was appointed to wait on the leaders of the Saints to see what they would do
about it. When the committee called, the brethren asked for time to consider the matter,
but fifteen minutes only were given them. Nothing could be done in that short time, so
the committee went back to the meeting and reported.
The mob then broke loose, yelling like a band of wild Indians. They went to the house
and printing office of W.W. Phelps, forced Mrs. Phelps and the children, one of whom
was sick, out of the house and threw the furniture out in the street. They then destroyed
the printing press and tore the office down. Then they went through the town hunting for
the leading brethren. They caught Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen, dragged
them to the public square, stripped most of their clothes off, and then smeared tar all over
their bodies. This ended that day's work, and the frightened women and children who had
fled to the woods came back to their homes.
The third day after this a mob of five hundred men came into Independence. They were
armed with guns, knives, and whips, and they swore they would kill or whip all who