A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
Driven From Missouri
Wild reports now went over the country about the "Mormons;" and to make these reports
seem true some of the mobbers actually set fire to their own log cabins and then accused
the Saints of the act.
In a previous chapter, mention was made of Lilburn W. Boggs. This man was now
governor of the state, and we shall see how he used his power against the "Mormons,"
whom he hated so much.
The reports that the "Mormons" were burning houses and driving people from their
homes, reached the governor, and he believed, or pretended to believe, all these false
stories. So he gave orders to the officers of the state militia to organize an army of 2,000
men, march to the scene of the trouble, and see that the people whom the "Mormons" had
driven from their homes were returned to them. Note how eager the governor was to
restore these few presumably abused people to their lands—but it was all right that
twelve hundred "Mormons" should be driven from their property!
The next day after the governor had issued this order, the news of the Crooked River
battle reached him, so he changed his instructions to the commanding officer, General
Clark. This order, given October 27, 1838, is known as Governor Boggs' exterminating
order, and is one of the most disgraceful and wicked commands known in history.
Exterminate means to destroy utterly, to root out completely, and this is what a governor
of a state said should be done to twelve thousand innocent people if they did not leave the
Companies of Missouri militia now came marching from various parts of the state into
Caldwell and other counties nearby. Soon Far West was surrounded by an army. Niel
Gillium was there with his band of men in Indian costume, who whooped and yelled like
true savages. On the evening of October 30th, a party of men came fresh from the awful
massacre, at Haun's Mill, eager for more blood. Thus the town was surrounded, and as it
seemed, doomed to destruction.
The few brethren in Far West prepared to defend themselves as best they could. It might
appear useless for a handful of men to oppose an army, but when men are fighting for
their homes, their liberty, their wives and their children, a few can do mighty deeds.
But they were not to fight. Traitors were in the camp of the Saints and they now betrayed
their brethren into the hands of the enemy. Colonel George M. Hinkle was the
commander of the Far West militia, and he went to the mob commanders and promised to
deliver up to them the Church leaders. He also made an agreement with them that the
Saints would deliver up their arms, sign away their property to pay the expenses of the
war, and then leave the state. This was all done without the knowledge of the "Mormons"
or their leaders.
On the evening of October 30th, Colonel Hinkle told Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon,
Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson that the officers of the mob-
militia wanted to consult with them and try to arrange matters. Next morning these
brethren went with Hinkle some distance out of Far West where they were met by
General Lucas, and soon most of the mob came up. Lucas ordered his men to surround
the brethren, when Hinkle stepped up and said: