A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
The Haun's Mill Massacre
In this chapter I wish to tell you about one of the saddest events that happened in all that
sad time of persecution in Missouri.
It occurred on October 30, 1838, during the time of great excitement, when bands of
armed men roamed over the country doing what damage they could to the homes of the
At a point on Shoal Creek, about sixteen miles from Fat West, a brother by the name of
Haun had built a flour mill. Besides the mill there were a blacksmith shop and half a
dozen houses. About thirty families lived here, some of which had just arrived from the
Eastern States and were yet camping in their tents.
This little body of Saints had been threatened by mobs a number of times, but on the
28th, a treaty of peace was made in which each party agreed not to molest the other.
Before this, however, Joseph had advised the Saints at Haun's Mill to move into Far
West, which advice they had not taken.
October 30th was a beautiful autumn day. The air was warm, and the breeze stirred the
fields of wheat and rustled the corn. The children were playing on the banks of the creek,
and their merry laugh was echoed by the birds in the forest close at hand. All seemed
peaceful and lovely.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, a company of two hundred and forty men dashed up
to the clearing. Brother David Evans who had command of the few brethren, ran out to
meet them, swinging his hat and crying, "Peace, peace." The leader of the mob told all
who desired to save their lives and make peace to run into the blacksmith shop. Some of
the brethren did this, but in a few seconds after, a volley was fired into the shop. The
bullets went between the logs, which were far apart, and in at the open door, killing and
wounding the brethren within. Some few shots were fired back, but the brethren soon saw
it was useless to resist, so they tried to save themselves as best they could. Men, women
and children scattered in every direction taking refuge in the woods, while the bullets of
the mobbers flew thick and fast among them, wounding and killing.
The mob kept on firing at the shop until they thought all within were killed; then they
went about the place killing all they could find alive, and robbing the houses of
everything they could carry off. They even stripped the dead and dying of their clothes.
They went into the blacksmith shop for this purpose, and there they saw dead men lying
in piles, and wounded men groaning in pain, while pools of blood stood on the floor. A
little ten year old boy named Sardius Smith had crawled under the bellows, trying to hide
from the wicked mobbers; but one of them saw him and dragged him out. Then putting
the muzzle of his gun to the boy's head he killed him instantly. Sardius' little brother,
Alma, seven years old had a great hole shot in his hip; but he lay still, fearing that if he
moved they would shoot him again. Another boy by the name of Charles Merrick was
discovered. He pleaded with the mobbers not to kill him: "I am an American boy," he
said "O! don't kill me!" The mobber heeded not, but blew out his brains.
Thomas McBride, an old, gray-haired man who had fought in the Revolutionary War
under Washington, gave up his gun to a mobber, and then pleaded for his life. The cruel