A Young Folks' History of the Church by Nephi Anderson - HTML preview
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In this small history, an account of all that happened in Missouri during those cruel times can not be given; but enough can be told to show you what the Saints had to endure in the early days of the Church. If you will but think of the sufferings the boys and girls must have gone through when the mobs tore the roofs from their houses, drove them out on the prairies to go hungry and cold, and killed or whipped their fathers, you may then appreciate God's blessings to you who live in peace and comfort.
The persecutions, which began in earnest October 31st, 1833, continued day after day. On November 2nd a mob attacked a settlement on Big Blue River. They unroofed one house and were beating a brother by the name of Bennett, who was sick in bed, when a party of brethren came to the rescue. There was some firing of guns between them, and a mobber was wounded in the leg.
On November 4th as a band of mobbers started out to make a raid on the Saints, word was sent to the brethren, and thirty of them soon gathered to withstand the mob. A battle ensued in which two of the mobbers were killed. One of the brethren was so badly wounded that he died the next day. Brother Philo Dibble was shot and severely wounded, but he was administered to and soon got well.
The whole country was now aroused. Word was sent broadcast that the "Mormons" had got the Indians to help them, and that they had taken the town of Independence.
Next morning people flocked into the town and there was great excitement.
And now we must name one of the most cruel and wicked men of that time, Lilburn W. Boggs. He was lieutenant-governor, which is next to the governor, the highest officer in the state. Boggs permitted the mob to organize themselves into a militia and thereby become regular soldiers of the state. The mob leaders seeing that the Saints had decided to protect themselves and fight if necessary, raised this militia so that if the Saints opposed them that they could be classed as law breakers.
The branches of the Church west of Independence having heard that the mob was going to kill some of the brethren in that town, raised about one hundred men to go to their rescue. While on the way they heard that there was no immediate danger, and that the militia had been called out. At this they were going back to their homes; but just then the militia came up, led by Colonel Pitcher. He demanded that the "Mormons" give up their arms, but they would not unless the mob, or militia as it was called, would do the same. This Colonel Pitcher agreed to have done, and then the brethren gave up their arms, consisting of fifty-nine guns and one pistol.No sooner was this done than the most awful scene took place. The mob did not give up a gun, but bands of them roamed over the country searching for the Saints. Houses were torn down and burned, men were tied up and whipped, women and children were driven out into the fields and forests. Many of the county's leading men took part in these crimes, and even ministers, preachers of the gospel as they called themselves, were seen leading mobs from place to place.
The cold winter was now coming on, it being the month of November. At one place a company of one hundred and ninety—all being women and children excepting three old men—was driven thirty miles across a burnt prairie, the ground being coated with sleet. Their trail could be easily followed by the blood which flowed from their feet.
You will see by the map that Clay county lies north of Jackson, just across the Missouri river. As the Saints were driven from their homes, most of them made their way to Clay county whose people received them kindly. Soon the shores of the river were lined with men, women and children, goods, boxes, wagons, etc; The ferrymen were kept busy taking them over the river. At night the place had a strange appearance. Hundreds of people could be seen in every direction; some in tents and some in the open air around the fires. The rain descended in torrents. Husbands were asking for their wives and wives for their husbands, parents for children and children for parents. Some had managed to escape with a little provisions; many had lost all their goods.
There were at this time about twelve hundred Saints in Jackson county, so it took many days for them all to get away. Some of the poorest of the Saints who could not get away at first were driven out during the cold storms of that winter.
Early next spring when nearly all the Saints had left, the mob set fire to the deserted homes. One of the brethren reported that two hundred and three dwellings and one grist mill were destroyed.
Topics.—1. Contrast between present conditions and past. 2. Mobbing continued. 3. Saints driven from Jackson county.
Questions and Review.—1. What experiences did the Latter-day Saint boys and girls of Jackson county pass through? (Read the story, "Grandmother's Rocking Chair," in the Contributor, Vol. 11, page 242.) 2. What happened in November, 1833? 3. What is the state militia? 4. Why was the Jackson county militia raised? 5. What happened after the brethren had given up their arms? 6. Tell about the scene on the banks of the Missouri river. 7. Where is Clay county? 8. What happened in the spring of 1834?