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The Indiana Mormons at the Haun's Mill Massacre
Haun's Mill was named after Jacob Haun, a member of the Church, who built a mill on Shoal Creek between 1835 and 1836.1 In October 1838, there were an estimated 75 families living there, although there were only perhaps a dozen or so houses along with a blacksmith shop and a mill.

In the afternoon of October 30, 1838 a mob consisting of more than 200 men descended upon the settlement. Many of the Saints ran into the blacksmith shop where the 200 members of the mob placed their rifles in the cracks between the logs and opened fire. At least fifteen LDS men were killed during the attack or died shortly thereafter because of wounds inflicted by the attack. After the massacre, the mob looted the houses and tents and drove off horses and wagons.

Oliver Walker was the most promient member of the Mormon church in Winchester and he was the first to scout out and settle the Haun's Mill area in August of 1836. Oliver Walker escaped from the blacksmith's shop unhurt. At this time he purchased land in Section 12, but made his homestead in Section 1.

John York and Austin Hammer brought their families from Henry county, Indiana in November of 1836 and with Oliver Walker all took land in Section 1 of Fairview Township on Shoal Creek. John York and Austin Hammer were both killed in the blacksmith shop. They had come into the mill to defend it, leaving their families on their homesteads on section 1.

David Norton and John Pye arrived in June of 1837. David Norton brough his family from Henry county, Indiana. He gathered to the mill with the others of section 1 on the evening of Oct 29th, but he had a premonition the night before the massacre that he would be killed if he stayed at the mill and took his family back to their home. The Nortons sheltered many of the survivors of the massacre in a thicket by their home. Melissa and her mother Elisabeth bringing blankets and food. (from Melissa Nortons obit) Also see David Norton's petition for redress

John Pye brought his family from Shelby county, Indiana and settled on Section 13 nest to David Norton. He is not mentioned in the massacre and it appears he moved his family back to Indiana.

Isaac Ellison arrived in August of 1827 from Henry county, Indiana making a community of 6 saints from Indiana in Section 1. Issac Ellison is not mentioned in the massacre, but apparently moved with the saints through the Nauvoo period eventually settling in the Mt Pisgah area of Winter Quarters in 1846, the same location as David Norton.

See map below.

Accounts of the Massacre

List of Characters at Haun's Mill


Timeline

1835, Dec 7 Jacob Haun registers land at what will become the settlement of Haun's Mill.
Anticipating a general gathering of members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Jacob Haun, formerly of Wisconsin, moved to northern Missouri in 1835. Haun purchased 40 acres containing a good mill seat along Shoal Creek in the eastern part of what became Caldwell County, Missouri [Township 56, Range 26, Section 17].

During this same period, (Mormon) church missionaries converted a successful millwright named Jacob Myers and his family in Richland County, Ohio, about 100 miles southwest of Kirtland. Heeding their leaders' call to come to Missouri, more than 50 wagons of Richland Saints set out in search of new homes in the fall of 1836 under Myers' direction. Many from this party settled along Shoal Creek, in Caldwell County. At the heart of this growing settlement,

Myers and his sons constructed a sawmill and a very good grain/flour mill. Myers' grist mill would have been a substantial structure, probably of frame construction. Mills were typically three stories in height, to permit grain storage in the upper level, grinding on the main floor, and machinery below. Myers sold the mill to Jacob Haun and Ellis Ames. Myers' son, Jacob Myers Jr., helped operate it.

1836, Aug 16 Oliver Walker from Randolph, IN purchases land in Section 12
1836, December More settlers from Henry, Indiana arrive. Austin Hammer, John York and Oliver Walker buy land in Section 1
1837, June David Norton and John Pye arrive from Indiana. David Norton buys land in Section 1 and Section 13. John Pye buys land next to David Norton in Section 12. David Norton moved from Indiana to the State of Missouri in President A 0 Smoot's company.
1837, August Issac Elliason arrives from Henry, Indiana and buys land in Section 1.
1837, August 15 On the 15th day of August, 1837, I (Ellis Eames) moved from Far West to Haun's Mill, 16 miles from the former place, with a quantity of merchandise intending to keep store in that place; having settled there, and liking the country very much, I purchased a saw mill from Mr. Myers, and in the spring Mr. Myers and son and I built a grist mill which was furnished that season.
1838 Mar 16 John Wesley Norton and Melissa Isabel Norton baptized by David Evans at Haun's MIll. John W is 17 and Melissa is 14.
1838, June James McBride was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by David Evans, in June 1838. At the same time James Haun and Isaac Laney were baptized.
1838, Sept 29 On 29 September 1838, "...the camp [Kirtland Camp] passed through Chilicothe the county seat of Livingston County, they traveled up the side of the Grand River and crossed the river near the small village of Utica. After crossing Shoal Creek, they camped on the west bank, fifteen miles inside the border of Caldwell County, "on the farm of Oliver Walker, who gave each family a pumpkin and plenty of shelled beans. Today we felt like we had arrived in Zion." With in a month, Oliver became involved in efforts to avert an attack on the mill, making his home available for representatives of both parties to meet. Oliver Walker owns 100 acres of land about 3 miles from Haun's Mill, Caldwell county, MO.
1838, Oct 28

Abraham Palmer moved into the State of Missouri in October 1838 and proceeded with his family in a waggon as far as Caldwell County where he arrived two days before the Massacre of the Mormons at Haun's Mill he stopped at a Mr Walkers about four miles from the said Mill where he remained in his waggon with his family in company with six other waggons of his brethren untill after the Massacre The next day after the aforesaid outrage a company of the mob came to him and brethren and said if you will deny your faith you can live with us in peace but if you will not you must leave the Country forthwith on pain of death for we will exterminate all of you that do not deny your faith men women and children. The above proposition was made by a man who had previously assisted in plundering our wagons he called his name Austin and Styled himself Captain of the Livingston County Spies.”


Joseph Young - On Sunday, twenty-eighth October, we arrived about twelve o'clock, at Haun's Mills, where we found a number of our friends collected together, who were holding a council, and deliberating on the best course for them to pursue, to defend themselves against the mob, who were collecting in the neighborhood under the command of Colonel Jennings of Livingston county, and threatening them with house burning and killing. The decision of the council was, that our friends there should place themselves in an attitude of self defense. Accordingly about twenty-eight of our men armed themselves, and were in constant readiness for an attack of any small body of men that might come down upon them.

The same evening, for some reason best known to themselves, the mob sent one of their number to enter into a treaty with our friends, which was accepted, on the condition of mutual forbearance on both sides, and that each party, as far as their influence extended, should exert themselves to prevent any further hostilities upon either party.

1838, Oct 28

At the home of Myers 28 October 1838 a group of Missouri regulators, led by Col. William Jennings of Livingston County, negotiated a peace pact with the Saints.

Though church defenders hoped this would forestall local violence, it was anticipated they should be prepared to defend the hamlet. David Evans, leader of the defenders, planned to use James Huston's blacksmith shop as a blockhouse. Some weapons were cached there in readiness.

Capt. Evans kept a picket post in the northern edge of the timber, but having entered into a truce with Capt. Nehemiah Comstock, commanding one of the Livingston county companies, and no other enemy appearing, this post was withdrawn.

1838, October 29

David Norton and family gathered to the mill for proteetion the night previous to the massacre.

Father Norton had a premonition that trouble would occur and that if he remained he would be slain. His home being in a rather secluded place he returned with his family consequently they escaped injury. (Melissa Norton Allred was the daughter of David and Elizabeth Norton.)


Ellis Eames - October 29th passed peacefully at the mill, but that night grandfather had a dream which was not in the least reassuring. In the dream he seemed to be passing along a trail where there were a great many snakes. They crawled along the ground, hurled themselves through the air and hung twisting and hissing from the limbs of trees. Dodge and hurry as he might his body was soon pierced and bleeding from the attacks of the angry snakes. Finally escaping the serpents he met a man with whom he was acquainted. "Brother Leany," he said, "you are terribly bitten so with snakes and lived." "Well, then, I'll be the first for I'm not going to die," was grandfather's answer.

1838, 30 October

John Hammer - I stood in the yard (this was the Hammer homestead in Section 1, 3 miles away) with my mother, my Aunt York, my cousin Isaiah York and some of the smaller children of our two families. Our anxiety, of course, was great as to the fate of the brethren at Haun's Mill, knowing also that my father and uncle had gone there to aid in its protection and assist those of our friends who lived there. We were standing there exactly at the time this bloody butchery was committed and of course, we were all looking eagerly in the direction of the mill. While in this attitude, a crimson colored vapor, like a mist or thin cloud, ascended up from the precise place where we knew the mill to be located and was carried or streamed upward into the sky, apparently as high as our sight could extend. This singular phenomenon like a transparent pillar of blood-remained there for a long time how long I am not now able correctly to state; but it was to be seen by us far into that fatal night, and according to my best recollection now, my mother's testimony was that it was to be seen there until morning. At that hour we had not heard a word of what had taken place at the mill; but as quick as my mother and aunt saw this red, blood-like token, they commenced to wring their hands and moan, declaring they knew that their husbands had been murdered.


At 4:00 p.m., 30 October 1838, about two hundred-forty Livingston County regulators and other volunteers caught the settlement by surprise. Attackers approached from all sides but the creek on the south. Nathan Knight was on his way to a nearby lake to shoot ducks. Comstock's men shot at Knight, cutting the string of his powder horn. Knight, and others ran to the community's blacksmith shop as planned.

35 Mormon men took shelter in the Blacksmith shop.
200 Missouri men surrounded the shop firing thousands of rounds between the unchinked logs.

About thirty-five church men were on hand. They immediately called for quarters and urged their wives and children to flee for safety. Stunned women and children ran in every direction. Jenning's men approached from the west, north and east of the shop. The only direction for flight was to the south or southeast, with the millpond blocking part of that retreat. The shortest way to safety was across the milldam. Amanda Smith and her girls ran to the bank of the stream, down a few feet and onto the plank walkway. Bullets splattered all around them, splashing into the millpond. Upon the attacker's first advance, Mary Stedwell raised her hands pleading for peace. Instead, she was shot in the hand. Seeing no other recourse, she ran for cover on the opposite bank of the creek. Mary fell behind a log, but her attackers continued to fire at her exposed clothing. Afterward, over twenty bullets were found in the log.
While women and children sought cover in streambed and distant forest, the blacksmith shop turned into a death trap for defenders. David Evans swung his hat and cried for peace. Nehemiah Comstock fired in return, then, as one, the attackers discharged their rifles into the blacksmith shop. Wide spaces between logs provided little protection as withering fire from the guns of more than 200 attackers concentrated on the men in the building.

David Lewis wrote, "The first man that fell was Simon Cox, he was standing close by my side when he received the fatal blow, he was shot threw the kidneys, and all the pain and misery I ever witnessed a poor soul in him seemed to excell [sic]. Ellis Ames' wife, Olive, left her own detailed account of the tragedy, written in 1896, "... two of the brethren, Mr. Rial Ames (my husband's brother) and Hyrum Abbott were sitting just outside the door, one cutting the other's hair, they rose from the chair and remarked. . . It's the mob right on us... I rushed out of the house... soon found myself and little ones hidden away down under the bluff in a little nook by the creek." Olive Ames,

David Evans made a second attempt to end the attack. He and Nathan Knight ran out of the building pleading for a truce. Knight was shot in the hand. When it was clear the attack would continue, Evans and Knight ran toward the creek for safety. Knight received two more wounds but escaped by running up a hill on the south side of the stream. Evans covered the same distance unharmed.
Attackers overwhelmed the defenders, closing into a tight half circle around the shop. Daniel Ashby, one of the regulators, moved in to secure the structure. He crawled over under one of the openings from which the Mormons were shooting and within a short time, "our men got possession of all the port house, cracks, &c... and kept up such a constant fire that the Mormons could not get their guns out to shoot.

Defender Ellis Eames wrote, " Seeing no prospect before us but death, the mob manifesting all malice possible and would not listen to our cries and seemed determined to murder us all, we thought it advisable for us to make our escape." Hiram Abbot, Tarlton Lewis & 2 others made a dash for the creek. Abbot received a fatal wound as he left the doorway. Lewis was wounded in the shoulder but survived.

Still inside the shop, George Myers raised his hat on a gun, drawing the fire of a nearby sharpshooter. Myers shot back and ran from the shop. He received a shot in the right shoulder, but made his way across the milldam to the safety of his house a mile from the mill. Inside the shop John Walker was hit with a ball in his right arm. Unable to reload he and another defender took out for the field. They ran down the bank of the creek. On the way up on the other side, his companion was hit. Walker hid under some lumber standing along side the creek bank. Thomas McBride was shot as he made his escape from the shop.

Olive Ames recalled, "No sooner had I concealed myself... than my husband, Mr. Ames, and old Father McBride ran past hunting a place of concealment... Isaac Laney crossed the creek above me. The mob saw him and began firing. I saw him fall, then rise and climb the hill. He escaped death...." Olive Ames, History of the RLDS Church, 2: 235.
McBride tried to surrender to Jacob Rogers of Daviess County, but Rogers shot him in the chest and slashed McBride's head, face and shoulders with a corn knife, leaving him lying in the creek. While running for his life, Jacob Myers, Jr., fell when shot through the shoulder. Rogers proceeded to also attack Myers, but a Missourian stopped him saying, Myers had "ground many a grist for him." Rogers left Myers alone and two of the attackers carried him to his home nearby and threw him onto his bed. About this time, David Lewis also fled from the shop. Lewis planned to surrender, but being in the line of fire, he went down the creek bed and waded over to Haun's house. From there he headed south to his own house one-quarter mile away. Isaac Leany, Jacob Potts, William Yokum and Benjamin Lewis were the last four to leave the shop. They left the shop under fire at close range. Though wounded, Leany ran to the mill, climbed down the timbers and waded the creek to Haun's house. Women gathered at Haun's hid him under the floorboards.

Jacob Potts was shot twice in his right leg, but made it to David Lewis' house, borrowed a horse and rode home. William Yokum fell wounded just past the milldam. Meanwhile, Benjamin Lewis made it across the creek, up a hill and, thinking himself safe from the action on the field, climbed upon a rock fence to watch. A sharpshooter named Rockholt picked him off from 300 yards. Women later found Benjamin Lewis in the woods. He was taken to David Lewis' home where he died. David Lewis buried him near his house. Benjamin was later reburied, perhaps in what is today known as White Cemetery.

The Missourians stopped firing after the last group of Mormons left the shop. Inside regulators stripped the wounded and dead of their clothing and boots. Three boys were found hiding and were shot.

While some succeeded in escaping with their lives, seventeen defenders were killed outright or mortally wounded. Of the nineteen who fled the building, only four escaped uninjured - Rial Ames, Ellis Eamut, David Evans and David Lewis. Fifteen were wounded - Jacob Foutz, Isaac Leany, Charles Jimison, Tarlton Lewis, Nathan Knight, Gilmon Merrill, George Myers, Jacob Myers Jr., Jacob Potts, John Walker and William Yokum. Four of the wounded died - Hiram Abbot, Benjamin Lewis, Thomas McBride, and John York. Fourteen in the shop were mortally wounded or killed- Elias Benner, John Byers, Alexander Campbell, Simon Cox, Joseph Fuller, Austin Hammer, John Lee, Levi Merrick, William Napier, George Richards, Sardius Smith and Warren Smith. Charles Merrick was wounded as he ran outside after being found hiding in the shop and died weeks later. Alma Smith was severely wounded in the shop but recovered. William Chaplin remained in the shop but was uninjured by playing possum. Three Missourians were injured in the affray - John Hart, from Livingston County was wounded in the arm, John Renfrow had a thumb shot off, and Alan England, of Daviess, was severely wounded in the thigh.


John Hammer - After the darkness of night had come on, the brethren who were in hiding began to make search for those who had been killed and wounded. My father was found and carried into Haun's house, where he died about 12 o'clock that night. During that night they kept up the search as well as the darkness would permit, but were only able to find the wounded by their groans. All they were able in this manner to find were taken into Mr. Haun's house as soon as possible so as to be protected from being torn or mangled by the hogs with which the woods at that place were full.


Margaret Mann Foutz - I hurried on to find my husband. (Jacob Foutz) I found him in an old house covered with rubbish. The mob had taken the bedding and clothing from al the houses that were near the mill. My husband was shot in the thigh. I rendered him all the aid that I could but it was evening before I could get him home.

I saw thirteen more dead bodies at the shop and witnessed the beginning of the burial which consisted in throwing the bodies into an old dry well. So great was the fear of the men that the mob would return and kill what few men that were left that they threw the bodies in head first or feet first as the case might be. When they had thrown in three my heart sickened and I could not stand it more. I turned away to keep from fainting.

My husband and another Brother drew dead bodies on themselves and pretended to be dead and by so doing saved their own lives and heard what the mob said. After the firing was over two little boys that were in the shop begged for their lives, but 'No,' they said, 'Damn them, they will make Mormons.' And they put the muzzle of their guns to their heads and blew their brains out.
Here were my friends dead and dying. One in particular asked me to give him relief by taking a hammer and knocking out his brains, so great was his agony from his wounds, and we knew not what moment our enemies would be upon us.

In the evening Brother Evans got a team and wagon and conveyed my husband to his house, carried him in and placed him on the bed. I then had to attend him alone, without any doctor or anyone to tell me what to do for him. Six days after, I and my husband together, extracted the bullet, it being buried deep in the thick part of the thigh and flattened like a knife.

1838, Oct 31

The day ofter the massacre, David Evans and others of the survivors took refuge in a thicket on Brother Nortons farm. To them in the company of her mother, Melissa carried provisions until peace was restored. (Melissa Norton Allred the daughter of David and Elizabeth Norton)


Abraham Palmer The next day after the aforesaid outrage a company of the mob came to him and brethren and said if you will deny your faith you can live with us in peace but if you will not you must leave the Country forthwith on pain of death for we will exterminate all of you that do not deny your faith men women and children. The above proposition was made by a man who had previously assisted in plundering our wagons he called his name Austin and Styled himself Captain of the Livingston County Spies.”

“I Certify that I lived near Haun's Mill about three months. On Tuesday the thirtieth day of October being absent from home at the House of Mr Walker, while their a man came up and told us that the mob had come to the Mill and that they had Shown no Quarter, and that they intended to Sweep Shoal Creek.

That evening I Started to go to the mill and proceeded Some distance I met Some Families in the Woods who had fled from the Slaughter they persuaded me not to go any further that night So I Consented to Stay with them. We all Slept in the Woods that night without any beds or any thing to Cover us with excepting two women (This was Melissa and Elizabeth Norton) who had brought Each of them a quilt. The next morning I pursued my Journey and went I got to the Mill I met my Mother and the rest of the family I asked them if my Father was dead. They told me to go and look into the Shop I immediately went to the Shop and Saw Seven men and one boy lying dead amongst whom was my Father who was shot through the head and through the heart Three more I found lay dead near the Shop and Several more reached Some houses and Soon afterwards died, in all there were Eighteen killed Sixteen men and two boys.”


Ellis Eames - Early in the morning a few of us got together and interred the dead in a hole which had been dug for a well, and then we went and hid in the hazel brush, expecting the mob would probably be coming to massacre the remainder. Some came, but they did not appear so hostile, but satisfied themselves with carrying off 2 or 3 horses.

James McBride A few rods south of the blacksmith shop, was an unfinished well, about eight or twelve feet deep; but no water was in it. This made the sepulchre for the dead. Fifteen murdered persons, including my father, were carried on a board, one at a time, and dropped into that well--by brother Amos McBride, James Dayley and Jacob Myers: the only three able bodied men that were present.

1838, Nov 2

Willard Smith - We were forbidden to call the family together for prayers or even to pray vocally alone. This Godless silence, Mother said, she could not stand, so one day, she went down into a corn field and crawled into a shock of the corn which had been cut. After carefully ascertaining that no one was within hearing distance, she said she "Prayed till her soul felt satisfied." As she left the shock of corn, although there was no one in sight, she plainly heard a voice repeating these words:

"That soul who on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I cannot­I will not desert to it foes.
That soul, 'though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake."

From that moment Mother said she had no further fear of the mob, and she inspired us children with faith that if we conscientiously did right, the Lord would shelter us from harm.


A few days after the same company came and pretended that General Clark had sent them to take prisoners and send them to Richmond jail. They took me prisoner and kept me in close confinement for nine days and would not let me converse with any one. They then took possession of my mills and ground up all the wheat and corn and took it home to their families and after taking about all the spoil they could and killed nearly all my hogs, they departed and left me at liberty and drove off the cattle, etc. They went all around the neighborhood and threatened the lives of all the Mormons and ordered them out of the state upon pain of extermination.

1838, Nov 8 Margaret Mann Foutz - During the first ten days the mob came every day with blackened faces, more like demons from the infernal pit than like human beings, cursing and swearing that they would kill that damn old Mormon preacher. (Jacob Foutz) And, at times like these when human nature would quail, I have felt the power of God upon me to that degree that I have stood before them fearless and although a woman and alone, these demons in human shape had to succumb, for there was a power they knew not of. During these days of danger I would sometimes have to hide my husband out in the woods and cover him with leaves. And, then again in the house. Thus during my husband's illness was I harassed by mobocratic violence."
1838, Late November Philinda Merrick witnessed in horror the murder of her husband in cold blood, and the mortal wounding of her eldest son, Charlie, as he lay almost hidden behind the bellows in the blacksmith shop...
The pillaging that followed the massacre, the mobsters took the Merrick team and , from Brother Merrick's pocket, the proceeds from the sale of their former home, leaving Plilinda penniless(Ibed 5).
Phillinda nursed her wounded son until he died in late November and somehow cared for her other three children
1840 Aug 11 David Norton Jr. buys land in Pikes county, IL

 


David Norton
David Norton Jr. page

David Norton was born 1795 in Pendleton, Kentucky. he married Elizabeth Benefield 1820 in Fayette, IN and settled near New Lisbon or Jamestown, Henry county, IN. He was baptized a member of the Mormon church Oct 1, 1831. He brought his family to Caldwell county, MO June of 1837.

Just before they cross the plains to Utah in 1847, David's sons (John Wesley and James Wiley) married Austin Hammer's daughters (Rebecca Ann Hammer & Nancy Jane Hammer).

David Norton petition for redress of damages for loss suffered in Caldwell county, Missouri

Sworn to before W. Laughlin, J.P., Adams Co., IL, 7 Jan 1840. Norton, David

January the 22 AD 1840 Township Five by Five, Co., of Pike, State of Illinois
A Statement of los and Dammages done me the undersigned David Norton By the athority of Govener Bogs and his asistance of mosoury state I had 200 acres of land and Buildings thare on I had paid government and had government was abelegeed to let my wheat, Corn, hogs and some of my Cattle to get away [___________] not being able to git my money tho I had lent to the missourians to help my self a way and they no now ow me lent money and they in mo and I have been drove [of] from my land and [___________] was not allowed to Retirn to it any more and A trifle had to take a trifle for it or loze it all And i Consider that I have lost 500 Dollars
David X Norton his had and seal
[Sworn to before W.H. Boling, C.C.C.C., Pike Co., IL, 27 Jan 1840]


Oliver WALKER [Parents] was born 11 Jul 1782 in New York, , New York, USA. He died 13 Apr 1843 in Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA and was buried in Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois. He was endowed 30 Dec 1845 in the Nauvoo Temple. Oliver married Nancy (Crissie) CRESSY on 8 Feb 1803. They were sealed 6 Feb 1846. Oliver Walker - Lived in Randolph county

Oliver Walker was a Justice of the Peace in Randolph County, Indiana just north of Henry, IN. He purchased land in 1819, very early. He belonged to the Mormon church in Winchester that Zebedee Coltrin and Levi Hancock had organized.(Link to Levi handcocks mission ) (David Norton was baptized 1 Oct 1831) Oliver Walker is also in Kirtland at the same time John W Norton is clerk of the Kirtland Temple. Oliver moved his family to Caldwell, Missouri in 1836.

Meanwhile, Oliver Walker performed his daughter Nancy Reader Walker's marriage to Horace Martin Alexander, in 1834, in Randolph County, Indiana,
as a Justice of the Peace. After their marriage, Nancy and Horace moved to Clay County, Missouri. By 1838. John R. Walker and family were in Jackson County in 1833, John related, " his family were in Jackson county, and driven out “by the Hands of a mob who pillaged and destroyed my Goods &C. &C. in Jackson and Caldwell Countys and Which Losses I Certify To be no Less than Five Hundred Dollars further that I suffered many Injuries from this mob By Breaking in my Windows By Thrusting Long Poles Through at My family and Driving them from their Habitation.”

On 29 September 1838, "...the camp [Kirtland Camp] passed through Chilicothe the county seat of Livingston County, they traveled up the side of the Grand River and crossed the river near the small village of Utica. After crossing Shoal Creek, they camped on the west bank, fifteen miles inside the border of Caldwell County, "on the farm of Oliver Walker, who gave each family a pumpkin and plenty of shelled beans. Today we felt like we had arrived in Zion." With in a month, Oliver became involved in efforts to avert an attack on the mill, making his home available for representatives of both parties to meet. Oliver Walker owns 100 acres of land about 3 miles from Haun's Mill, Caldwell county, MO.

Abraham Palmer of Springfield Sangamon County State of Illinois says he is a member of the Church of Latter day Saints commonly called Mormons and that he moved into the State of Missouri in October 1838 and proceeded with his family in a waggon as far as Caldwell County where he arrived two days before the Massacre of the Mormons at Haun's Mill he stopped at a Mr Walkers about four miles from the said Mill where he remained in his waggon with his family in company with six other waggons of his brethren untill after the Massacre The next day after the aforesaid outrage a company of the mob came to him and brethren and said if you will deny your faith you can live with us in peace but if you will not you must leave the Country forthwith on pain of death for we will exterminate all of you that do not deny your faith men women and children. The above proposition was made by a man who had previously assisted in plundering our wagons he called his name Austin and Styled himself Captain of the Livingston County Spies.”

“I Certify that I lived near Haun's Mill about three months. On Tuesday the thirtieth day of October being absent from home at the House of Mr Walker, while their a man came up and told us that the mob had come to the Mill and that they had Shown no Quarter, and that they intended to Sweep Shoal Creek.

That evening I Started to go to the mill and proceeded Some distance I met Some Families in the Woods who had fled from the Slaughter they persuaded me not to go any further that night So I Consented to Stay with them. We all Slept in the Woods that night without any beds or any thing to Cover us with excepting two women (This was Melissa and Elizabeth Norton) who had brought Each of them a quilt. The next morning I pursued my Journey and went I got to the Mill I met my Mother and the rest of the family I asked them if my Father was dead. They told me to go and look into the Shop I immediately went to the Shop and Saw Seven men and one boy lying dead amongst whom was my Father who was shot through the head and through the heart Three more I found lay dead near the Shop and Several more reached Some houses and Soon afterwards died, in all there were Eighteen killed Sixteen men and two boys.”

November 29, 1831 Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana
Minutes of a conference … Moderator [Oliver Cowdery] , Clerk John Whitmer
Open Prayer by Oliver Cowdery
Present: Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Thomas B. Marsh, Seymour Brunson, Oliver Walker (license taken), George Burkett (license taken 1832 & 1833) (Oliver Cowdrey and John Whitmer were en route to Zion with the revelations for the Book of Commandments.)
Disagreement among elders Seymour Brunson explains the purpose of the conference is to resolve a difficulty among the elders in the Winchester branch.
Issue of common stock Henry Jackson: He and Isaac Follis interpreted certain passages in Acts and in the Book of Mormon differently than the church. They believe the disciples lived in common stock.

Date November 30, 1831
Misrepresented letter Elders agree unanimously that the problem was due to "misrepresentations of a writing which was represented to have been written by br. Henry Jackson" and a reply by Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin to Henry Jackson. Henry Jackson to make public apology Oliver proproses to restore Henry Jackson to his former standing if he admits his error to the branch "for which he was sorry in all humility."

7 December - Minutes of a Conference held in Randolph County, Indiana.
Case of George Heartly vs Oliver Walker. "With much cavilling on the part of Walker to stand or hold fast to his agreement. Finally Walker did agree truely humble himself.etc."

The issue resurfaced at Kirtland, December 28, 1834, see the Kirtland Council Minute Book, p81
Sabbath evening, December 28th, 1834. Sidney Rigdon presiding, who opened by prayer. The Council was organized as follows: Jared Carter, Joseph Smith Senr., Oliver Cowdery President. Orson Hyde, Orson Johnson, Wm E. McLellin for Samuel H. Smith, Luke Johnson, John Johnson, Martin Harris, Sylvester Smith for John Smith, Joseph Coe, Hyrum Smith President

The case of Elder Oliver Walker of Winchester, Indiana, was presented to the Council by President Rigdon. Elder Walker was called to make such remarks before the Council as he thought proper who related a difficulty which formerly existed between himself and George Hartley, once a member of the Church in
Winchester. Four councillors were appointed to speak on the case viz.: Jared Carter Joseph Smith Senr. Oliver Cowdery Orson Hyde

The circumstances of Elder Walker's former difficulty were stated by himself. Elder (Levi] Hancock, President Cowdery (who presided over the conference at one time when said difficulty was settled) [December 6, 1831, in Winchester, Indiana.] President H. Smith, Councilor McLellin and President Rigdon.
The councilors then made their remarks and also Presidents F. G. Williams & J. Smith Junr., after which President Rigdon gave [his] decision. That Elder Walker is, and has been a member of this Church, and that he is and has been an Elder in the same. And that so far as has been presented to this Council,
nothing has been done by him whereby he ought to be expelled from this Church. A vote was called which was unanimous with said decision.

David Fullmer prefers charges against Oliver Walker
Sunday, Oct 11, 1840 --High Council met according to adjournment. The charge against Oliver Walker was taken up, and the following substituted for the first charge:
To the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ at Nauvoo:

For and in behalf of said Church, I prefer a charge against Elder Oliver Walker, for several different offenses hereinafter set forth, as said to be by him done, performed, said, and committed, as well as various duties omitted, all of which was done at different times, periods, places, and seasons, subsequent to September 1st, A.D. 1838, to-wit.:

For a general course of procedure, of acts, doings, and words, and suggestions by him, the said Elder Oliver Walker, done, performed, said, spoken, hinted at, and suggested, both directly and indirectly, and as calculated to be derogatory to the character of the heads and leaders of the Church, and extremely injurious and hurtful to the upbuilding, welfare, being, and advancement of the same, namely, for fleeing from, quitting, and deserting the society, ranks, and needs of his brethren, in times of difficulty with, and danger from their enemies, "the mob;" restraining from the use of his brethren, his influence, efforts, and
needful assistance, at such times of need; as also for joining with, and strengthening the hands, will, evil pursuits, and designs of the mob, and Gentile enemies of the Church, by expressions, hints, and suggestions of wavering and dubious nature, respecting the faith and order of the Church, and of the professed calling, qualifications, proceedings, &c., of Joseph Smith, Jun., as a Seer, Prophet, and one called to bring to light the fullness of the Gospel, &c., in these last days.

Likewise for advancing ideas, notions, or opinions, that the different orders or sects, namely, Methodists and others, could by a pursuit in their faith, order, and pursuits, as readily obtain every celestial attainment and Gospel advantage, as they could by embracing and pursuing the system brought forth by Joseph Smith, Jun., in these last days.

And moreover for suggesting within the last six months, at Alton, Nauvoo, intermediate and adjacent places, that in the Church at Nauvoo there did exist a set of pilferers, who were actually thieving, robbing plundering, taking and unlawfully carrying away from Missouri, certain and chattels, wares and property; and that the act and acts of such supposed thieving, &c., was fostered and conducted by the knowledge and approbation of the heads and leaders of the Church, viz., by the Presidency and High Council; all of which items set forth as aforesaid, together with any and all corroborating acts, doings, hints, expressions, and suggestions in any way belonging to, or connected with, any or all of the aforesaid accusations, he, the said Oliver Walker, is hereby notified to prepare to defend in said trial. Dated October 11, 1840, Nauvoo. DAVID FULMER.

Walker pleaded that he was not prepared to defend himself, and the trial was deferred at his request till April conference.

 

1831 Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin traveled together to Missouri and performed successful missionary labors in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The companions were in Winchester (Randolph County, Indiana) during July and August 1831 and there they "raised a large branch of the Church", in addition to baptizing about one hundred others, including one of George Washington's bodyguards, in nearby Ward township: “We then went to Winchester in Randolph County, Indiana and stopped at the county seat on the head waters of the White River. We saw there a school master and introduced the Gospel to him He was so well pleased with the message that he spread the news as fast as possible and called a meeting. After the meeting he wanted to be baptised, so we went to the water with him and baptised him. Soon after this we were happy to hear that nearly all the people want to hear us so we went to the court house and got permission to hold a meeting there. After this meeting we were able to baptise several others. “By this time we were getting to look pretty shabby as our clothes had become so old, our stockings were nearly worn out and our money gone. But we were among friends and we were serving the Lord with the faith that he would take care of us. “One of the old settlers invited me to go see his wife and talk to her, so I went and talked for some time with her. As I was ready to leave she gave me a pair of warm socks. The first thing I ever had given to me in my life, to my remembrance; and if l had had the means to pay her I should have offered to pay her.

“Parley P. Pratt once let me have a Book of Mormon and before I could pay for it he was gone, I read it once and then someone else got it, I was not used to having anyone give me anything, Zebidee and I held another meeting and after we were through I was informed that one man brought some cloth for me, some pants and a shirt. This was in the forepart of July. We continued to preach here in the region and around about, until we had raised a large branch of theChurch. “We were sent for from the Ward township. We went there and in a short time we had in both places about one hundred members. Among them was a man by the name of Jones and his wife. He told me that he was through the Revolutionary War, that he was a bodyguard once for General Washington, He told me many things about the war, which was very interesting, I told him my message, and we discussed the Gospel for some time then he asked for baptism and I baptised him. Afterwards he said he had something for me. He had saved a watermelon on purpose for me so he now went and picked it.

“He was so grateful to me. It appeared to do him good to see me enjoying the watermelon, as if he were feeding an angel. He was so thankful to be baptised and felt the spirit of the Lord with him, I had no Elder with me at this time. “Soon after this we thought we should leave here as we had done all we could in Winchester, The people were growing hard and had threatened to mob us but had not done it yet, I will now mention a time when we thought they were going to harm us. It was almost dark and I was crossing the public square, I saw a company of men standing at the tavern door talking when one man came up to me and wanted me to stop.

He handed me a letter. It read as follows: Dear Sir: We have been reading your new Bible and find it to be a piece of nonsense and we understand you are looking after the New Jersualem. We inform you it is not here; and you must leave this place before tomorrow atthen 10 o'clock or we will have something to reveal to you far beyond the Book of Mormon. You may take Mr. Brindle with you (Mr. Brindle was the first one we baptised there) If you have any use for such an ass to pack your religion on." It was signed, "The Public." “I showed the letter to Zebidee and asked him what we should do. He said, "I'll stay and fill our appointment if you will?" We had an appointment at eleven the next morning and we were warned to leave town at ten. We had put our meeting off until eleven in order that the farmers could come to it. “I told Zebidee 'that I was willing to stay. The next morning Sunday came and we were prepared for the worst. It was my turn to speak and I sang too. Zebidee gave the prayer. Bill Walker placed himself at the door and looked as surly as a bull; he was my friend. He said nothing, but something said to me, that I should not be hurt. So I commenced talking and soon forgot myself and said what came to my heart. I mounted the bench and walked in among the same crows who had written that letter. I said, "You wrote to warn me to leave this place before then, but you see I am still here. What I said before this I know not. I was heated up, until I cared little what came. I said, "My Father fought for liberty you now enjoy and you want to deprive me of the liberty that rightly belongs to me. I am a son of the only man who survived the great struggle for independence, who belonged to the family, and I am a cousin to the first man who signed the Declaration of Independence. Now If you want to reveal anything to me, come on, I am ready." I felt as independent as If I were a King and they were subject to me. Nothing was said so I sat down and Zebidee then took hold of the subject and gave a good sermon. He opened the door for baptism. We felt the spirit of the Lord there with us. After the meeting we went to the water and baptised seventeen out of that crowd, who the day before were going to mob us. It Is now In the month of August that I made this last account. Mr. Jones showed me his cornfield and cut down one stalk that measured one rod. It was the tallest corn I had ever seen. I think there was none in the field any longer. This was on a branch, he says, on the head waters of the Wabash.

I took a route through the country with a brother by the name of George Burket and was called upon to preach a funeral sermon for a child who had died. I did not know what to do for I had never done this before but I trusted the Lord and did the best I could. I did not know that a gospel sermon would do and I liked to have been backed; but I believe the people were satisfied. Brother Burket bore his testimony. I wanted Zebidee along, but he was in Winchester.

We left here and went to Muncetown, and held a meeting. Afterwards we went to Winchester where we found Zebidee sick so we did not start on our journey until about the first of September. We stopped In Muncetown and held meeting, then continued our joumy west. We made a little raise of money and was determined to reach Indianapolis as soon as we could. We did not attempt to preach much on the way, until we felt better as we were both of us nearly worn out speaking.”


John P. York - Killed at the blacksmith shop at Haun's Mill. He was the uncle of Austin Hammer's wife, Nancy York Hammer. These Yorks were in Henry, In 1822. John York is next to David Norton on the 1830 census of Henry, IN
Father: John York b: 1779 in Randolph County, North Carolina
Mother: Hannah Hammer b: 1785 in Randolph County, North Carolina
Marriage 1 Laura Perham b: 20 APR 1812 in Vermont
Married: 8 OCT 1829 in Preble County, Ohio
Children
Lucy Ann York b: 1834 in Butler County, Ohio
John Wright York b: 20 JUL 1837 in Butler County, Ohio
Jesse P. York b: 14 FEB 1840 in Henry County, Indiana
Philia York b: 24 FEB 1842 in Henry County, Indiana
Maria L. York b: JUN 1844 in Miami County, Indiana

Name: John York
Sex: M
Birth: 1779 in Randolph County, North Carolina, On Sandy Creek
Death: 31 OCT 1838 in Haun's Mill, Shoal Creek, Caldwell County, Missouri
Burial: 31 OCT 1838 Common grave(well hole) of Morman victims, Haun's Mill, Missouri


AUSTIN HAMMER (Writings of Josiah A. Hammer)
Austin Hammer married Nancy Elston, December 1826, in Wayne County, Indiana. Nancy Elston was born 26th February 1806, in Lexington, Kentucky. She died 10th of October 1871, in Smithfield, Utah. Her mother was Rebecca Lewis and her Father, Josiah Elston. He fought in the Revolutionary war from Sussex Co. New Jersey, and afterward settled in Kentucky, and there married. There were six children in the family.

Austin and Nancy Elston Hammer had six children whose names were: John, Josiah, Rebecca, Nancy, Julia, and Austin. The son Josiah was born in Ohio where they lived for three years. They then moved to Henry Co., Indiana and lived for five years. From here they went on to Shoal Creek, Caldwell Co., Missouri. They had a farm and title to 120 acres of land. Austin Hammer and 18 other men and boys were killed on 30th October 1838 while guarding Haun's Mill to keep the mob from burning it. This was a grist mill for ginding corn. The dead were put into a dry well and covered with dirt, as the mob was so bad no one dared to go there and give them a proper burial. John Hammer, the oldest son, about 14 years had to hide in the woods for some time in fear of the mob. During the time a man came to the house wearing a hat with a bullet hole in it and boots belonging to John York who had been killed.

After the death of Austin Hammer, his wife took her family of six children and went to Nauvoo, Illinois. Their outfit consisted of an old blind horse and an old wagon. The baby Julia and small boy Austin, who was sick, were the only ones to ride. Only two of the family had shoes. The others tied their feet up in rags and made the journey of 200 miles in the latter part of November and December 1838, to Nauvoo. They remained there until Spring and then went to Wayne Co., Indiana to grandfather Elston's home and stayed there for two years. Then they moved to La Harp Co., Illinois to be with the Saints. They remained there 5 years. In the fall of 1845 they crossed the Mississippi River and remained there over the winter. In the spring of 1846 they went to Council Bluffs where there was a large encampment of L.D.S. people.

Account of R. J. Hammer, Grandson of Austin Hammer

Reminiscence provided courtesy of Roger L. Hammer
I am on the Haun's Mill track just now. Father talked of it and would express how he felt about getting revenge. He told me that he would crawl on ice and snow for a mile to get a shot at one of that Haun's Mill mob. Well, the opportunity came for him to kill one of the mob. It occurred while he was in the standing army, (today it is known as the U.S. National Guard) his company was pitching camp close to Carson City, - the time Carson was just a little more that a stage depot. While father was busy putting up his tent, a man came up to the captain of the company and asked him if he had any Mormons in his Company. The stranger then inquired, "Do you know if you have any of them who had any killed at Haun's Mill?" The captain thought and then said, "Yes, there is a man right there," pointing to father, "he can tell you more about it; go talk to him." He came over where father was busy with his tent and said, "Sir, did you have any of your kin-folks killed at Haun's Mill Massacre?" "Yes," replied father, "my father and uncle. Why, what do you want to know for?" "Well," answered the stranger, I was one of the bunch that helped kill them." Father told me that his first impression was to drive the tent axe he had in his hand right through the stranger's head. But just at that moment the Lord let him see into the very inner parts of the stranger's soul, and father told me that there wasn't words that could describe the condition of this man's suffering and as father stood looking at him he said, "I've been looking all this time to find a relative of one of those I helped kill, so that I could die at the hands of one of their relatives. Now I want you to kill me for I am powerless to kill myself, and for them I helped to kill, I hear their groans all day long. I have no rest day or night and I see their forms all night. "Father told him to go his way. He said, "I'll not harm one hair of you head. "The poor disappointed wretch left. From that day on father did not seek any revenge for he felt that the Lord was doing a much better job of it than he could do.

http://members.fortunecity.com/kgoofy7/d39.htm
AUSTIN HAMMER(1) was born on 6 May 1804 in RANDOLPH CO., NORTH CAROLINA. He
was blessed on 6 May 1805 in RANDOLPH CO., NORTH CAROLINA. He was baptized on
16 Nov 1834 in HENRY CO., INDIANA. He owned 120 ACRES in 1838 in CALDWELL CO.,
MISSOURI. AUSTIN'S LAND COMPRISED 120 ACRES OF LAND AND ON THIS LAND HE RAISED
A CROP OF CORN.


John Pye - From Shelby, Indiana and before KY - not mentioned in massacre, went back to IN

John Pye was born in SC around 1810. He married Lydia ___in 1830 in Williamstown, Ohio. They took up land in the wilderness of Indiana in Shelby county where they pioneered until John's death in 1839. They had 5 children, two of whom lived to maturity,

John Pye bought 85 acres of land in Shelby 4/17/1833. E½NW 3/, tnship 14-N rnage, 6-E , No 2nd PM IN Shelby along with Murnan Youtsey.
(E1/2 of NW1/4=85.36a John Pye 4/17/1833 Campbell Co, KY)
PYE, John & Lydia HIRKY, 19 May 1831, married by Judge, Henry Youtsey, Campbell Co., KY John Pye was brother of Capt. Wm Henry Pye - Campbell Co., KY .

(E1/2 of SW1/4 = 80a
Henry Youtsey 8/12/1834 Campbell Co, KY) Henry Youtsey was cousin of Jane Orr Culbertson.

(E1/2 of NE1/4=86.32a
Robert Culbertson 1/14/1828 Campbell Co, KY) PYE, William H. & Jane Orr CULBERTSON, 1 July 1837, m by EG, b Robert Culbertson, Campbell Co., KY.

John and Lydia Pye traveled to Indiana near Indianapolis from old Youtsey family journal - they were in Missouri before the period you discussed with some Mormon involvement, then returned to Indiana.


Issac Ellison - lived in Jamestown, Henry, IN Came to Harrison county area of Iowa for winter quarters. (same place as Norton family - Mt Pisgah.
http://winterquarters.byu.edu/pages/settlements.htm

Isaac ELLISON, was born in Monroe County, Va., June 2, 1807, and was the son of Mat and Anna (CAMPBELL) ELLISON. At the age of twenty-five years Mr. ELLISON started for himself. He first went to Ohio, lived ther ten months, and then went to Wayne County, Ind., then to Missouri, and then retraced his
steps to Pike County, Ill., and in 1850, came to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and three years later to Harrison County.

Mr. ELLISON was married in Virginia, in 1831, to Sinda CLARK, and they had a family of eleven children, eight of whom are living, one of whom was Lehi,
who came with his parents to this county in the fall of 1853, and located on section 17, of Cass Township. He was born in Jim-Town, Henry County, Ind.,
in 1837, and removed with his parents to Iowa in 1850. In September, 1864, he was married to Lydia M. SCOFIELD, a native of Ohio, born in 1842. Mr. and
Mrs. Lehi ELLISON are the parents of two children, who still live, and two deceased.

Mrs. Isaac ELLISON is a native of Virginia, born February 23, 1815. Her parents were Alexander and Mary CLARK. Mary Clark's maiden name was HOCKING. Isaac ELLISON and wife have fifty-three grandchildren, and forty-one great-grandchildren, most of whom live in Harrison County.

Another son of Isaac is Alma, who accompanied his parents to this county, as above related. His father entered eighty acres of land at a time when wild
game was very plenty. He erected a hewed log house, in which lived the family consisting of parents and ten children. Alma was born in Pike County,
Ill., in March, 1840, left there when ten years of age, with his parents for Iowa. When twenty-two years old he embarked in life for himself, by farming
a tract of land he owned on section 16, of Cass Township. He was married August 24, 1862, to Sarah M. RUNYAN, a native of Iowa, born in 1844.
Ellison joined the re-organized church. Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 444.


Accounts of the Massacre

Melissa Norton Allred's obitutary. She was the daughter of David Norton and Elizabeth Benefield. Click for a larger image

Obituary

Melissa Norton Allred was born in New Lisbon state of Indiana December 23, 1824. She was the daughter of David and Elizabeth Norton
and wife of P H Allred. She died July 26th 1892. Her grandfather
fought in the Revolutionary War under General George Washington. She with her parents joined the church in an early day and moved from Indiana when twelve years old to the State of Missouri in President A 0 Smoot's company; settled near Haun's mill; shared in the persecutions of the Saints and came near being in the Haun's mill massacre. Her father and family gathered to the mill for proteetion the night previous to the massacre.

Father Norton had a premonition that trouble would occur and that if he remained he would be slain. His home being in a rather secluded place he returned with his family consequently they escaped injury. The day ofter the massacre, David Evans and others of the survivors took refuge in a thicket on Brother Nortons farm. To them in the company of her mother, the deceased carried provisions until peace was restored. Many other other incidents of kindness peculiar to sister allreds disposition might be mentioned, but space will not permit.

Next through the exterminating order of Governor Boggs the family were compelled to flee into the state of Illinois. They participated in the persecutions in Nauvoo, the enemy being continually on their trail.

The family were again compelled to abandon their home and fled to Council Bluff in the State of Iowa, near Winter Quarters on the Missouri River. It was at the last mentioned place that the deceased became the wife of P.H. Allred February 3rd, 1848.

The following summer Sister and Brother Allred emigrated to Utah in President Briham Young's company and settled in the Old Ford Salt Lake City. She with her husband shared the hardships peculiar to this
barren uncultivated region, suffered many times for want of food and clothing, but dividing their scanty means with their friends and also the Indians.

In the fall of 1854 Sister Allred and family located in Lehi city, Utah county where they resided until the time of her death. She had been a perpetual sufferer for nineteen years, never at any time being free from pain. But she possessed a powerful constitution and struggled along through all these years of affliction. It has been a mystery to those acquainted with her how she survived so long.

She was of a kind motherly disposition, imparting ofher substance with the poor and destitute. She never could do too much for suffering humanity. The day she died she remarked that she had not felt so well during all her past years of her affliction. The day previous to her death she walked 125 yards to see the procession on July 25th. In the afternoon she went to son, James Allred's to dinner with her friends.

On the day of her death she arose in the morning, ate her breakfast,
did her house work partook of dinner and afterwards wresumed work about the house. She finally laid down upon her bed to rest when suddenly she called to her husband and remarked that she was He went to her assistance whereupon she be closed her eyes and passed away without a struggle. Thus departed an honest noble daughter of god to await the morn of the first resurrection. Too much cannot be said of her kind hearted husband for unceasing and untiring efforts during her years of affliction to comfort his wife.

Sister Allred was the mother of eight children (6 sons and 2 daughters)
two of whom preceded her behind the viel. She leaves a husband six children
thirty five grand children and a wide circle of friends to mourn her departure. The funeral services were held at the family residence at 4 p m
on the afternoon of the 28th of July. Bishop T R Cutler presiding brother William Goates offered the opening prayer, brother J L gibbs and his aides rendered some exellent singing appropriate to the occasion, brother T R Cuttler, William Clark, E H Davis and Israel Evans spoke in eulogistic terms of the deceased and offered consoling remarks to the relatives and friends. At 5 pm the remains were conducted to their last resting place followed by a
large concourse of people. The dedicatory prayer at the grave was delivered
by Bishop Cutler. E. 8.
LEHI, Aug 1892


Joseph Young's Account of the Haun's Mill Massacre

"On Sunday, twenty-eighth October, we arrived about twelve o'clock, at Haun's Mills, where we found a number of our friends collected together, who were holding a council, and deliberating on the best course for them to pursue, to defend themselves against the mob, who were collecting in the neighborhood under the command of Colonel Jennings of Livingston county, and threatening them with house burning and killing. The decision of the council was, that our friends there should place themselves in an attitude of self defense. Accordingly about twenty-eight of our men armed themselves, and were in constant readiness for an attack of any small body of men that might come down upon them.

The same evening, for some reason best known to themselves, the mob sent one of their number to enter into a treaty with our friends, which was accepted, on the condition of mutual forbearance on both sides, and that each party, as far as their influence extended, should exert themselves to prevent any further hostilities upon either party.

At this time, however, there was another mob collecting on Grand river, at William Mann's, who were threatening us, consequently we remained under arms.

Monday passed away without molestation from any quarter.

On Tuesday, the 30th, that bloody tragedy was acted, the scene of which I shall never forget. More than three-fourths of the day had passed in tranquility, as smiling as the preceding one. I think there was no individual of our company that was apprised of the sudden and awful fate that hung over our heads like an overwhelming torrent, which was to change the prospects, the feelings and the circumstances of about thirty families. The banks of Shoal creek on either side teemed with children sporting and playing, while their mothers were engaged in domestic employments, and their fathers employed in guarding the mills and other property, while others were engaged in gathering in their crops for their winter consumption. The weather was very pleasant, the sun shone clear, all was tranquil, and no one expressed any apprehension of the awful crisis that was near us-even at our doors.

It was about four o'clock, while sitting in my cabin with my babe in my arms, and my wife standing by my side, the door being open, I cast my eyes on the opposite bank of Shoal creek and saw a large company of armed men, on horses, directing their course towards the mills with all possible speed. As they advanced through the scattering trees that stood on the edge of the prairie they seemed to form themselves into a three square position, forming a vanguard in front.

At this moment, David Evans, seeing the superiority of their numbers, (there being two hundred and forty of them, according to their own account), swung his hat, and cried for peace. This not being heeded, they continued to advance, and their leader, Mr. Nehemiah Comstock, fired a gun, which was followed by a solemn pause of ten or twelve seconds, when, all at once, they discharged about one hundred rifles, aiming at a blacksmith shop into which our friends had fled for safety; and charged up to the shop, the cracks of which between the logs were sufficiently large to enable them to aim directly at the bodies of those who had there fled for refuge from the fire of their murderers. There were several families tented in the rear of the shop, whose lives were exposed, and amidst a shower of bullets fled to the woods in different directions.

After standing and gazing on this bloody scene for a few minutes, and finding myself in the uttermost danger, the bullets having reached the house where I was living, I committed my family to the protection of heaven, and leaving the house on the opposite side, I took a path which led up the hill, following in the trail of three of my brethren that had fled from the shop. While ascending the hill we were discovered by the mob, who immediately fired at us, and continued so to do till we reached the summit. In descending the hill, I secreted myself in a thicket of bushes, where I lay till eight o'clock in the evening, at which time I heard a female voice calling my name in an under tone, telling me that the mob had gone and there was no danger. I immediately left the thicket, and went to the house of Benjamin Lewis, where I found my family (who had fled there) in safety, and two of my friends mortally wounded, one of whom died before morning. Here we passed the painful night in deep and awful reflections on the scenes of the preceding evening.

After daylight appeared, some four or five men, who with myself, had escaped with our lives from the horrid massacre, and who repaired as soon as possible to the mills, to learn the condition of our friends, whose fate we had but too truly anticipated. When we arrived at the house of Mr. Haun, we found Mr. Merrick's body lying in the rear of the house, Mr. McBride's in front, literally mangled from head to foot. We were informed by Miss Rebecca Judd, who was an eye witness, that he was shot with his own gun, after he had given it up, and then cut to pieces with a corn cutter by a Mr. Rogers of Daviess county, who keeps a ferry on Grand river, and who has since repeatedly boasted of this act of savage barbarity. Mr. York's body we found in the house, and after viewing these corpses, we immediately went to the blacksmith's shop, where we found nine of our friends, eight of whom were already dead; the other, Mr. Cox, of Indiana, struggling in the agonies of death and soon expired. We immediately prepared and carried them to the place of interment. The last office of kindness due to the remains of departed friends, was not attended with the customary ceremonies or decency, for we were in jeopardy, every moment expecting to be fired upon by the mob, who, we supposed, were lying in ambush, waiting for the first opportunity to despatch the remaining few who were providentially preserved from the slaughter of the preceding day. However, we accomplished without molestation this painful task. The place of burying was a vault in the ground, formerly intended for a well, into which we threw the bodies of our friends promiscuously. Among those slain I will mention Sardius Smith, son of Warren Smith, about nine years old, who, through fear, had crawled under the bellows in the shop, where he remained till the massacre was over, when he was discovered by a Mr. Glaze, of Carroll county, who presented his rifle near the boy's head, and literally blowed off the upper part of it. Mr. Stanley, of Carroll, told me afterwards that Glaze boasted of this fiend-like murder and heroic deed all over the country.

The number killed and mortally wounded in this wanton slaughter was eighteen or nineteen, whose names as far as I recollect were as follows: Thomas McBride, Levi N. Merrick, Elias Benner, Josiah Fuller, Benjamin Lewis, Alexander Campbell, Warren Smith, Sardius Smith, George S. Richards, Mr. William Napier, Augustine Harmer, Simon Cox, Mr. [Hiram] Abbott, John York, Charles Merrick, (a boy eight or nine nears old), [John Lee, John Byers], and three or four others, whose names I do not recollect, as they were strangers, to me. Among the wounded who recovered were Isaac Laney, Nathan K. Knight, Mr. [William] Yokum, two brothers by the name of [Jacob and George] Myers, Tarlton Lewis, Mr. [Jacob] Haun, and several others, [Jacob Foutz, Jacob Potts, Charles Jimison, John Walker, Alma Smith, aged about nine years]. Miss Mary Stedwell, while fleeing, was shot through the hand, and, fainting, fell over a log, into which they shot upwards of twenty balls.

To finish their work of destruction, this band of murderers, composed of men from Daviess, Livingston, Ray, Carroll, and Chariton counties, led by some of the principal men of that section of the upper country, (among whom I am informed were Mr. Ashby, of Chariton, member of the state legislature; Colonel Jennings, of Livingston county, Thomas O. Bryon, clerk of Livingston county; Mr. Whitney, Dr. Randall, and many others), proceeded to rob the houses, wagons, and tents, of bedding and clothing; drove off horses and wagons, leaving widows and orphans destitute of the necessaries of life; and even stripped the clothing from the bodies of the slain. According to their own account, they fired seven rounds in this awful butchery, making upwards of sixteen hundred shots at a little company of men, about thirty in number. I hereby certify the above to be a true statement of facts, according to the best of my knowledge."

Joseph Young.
State of Illinois, ss.
County Of Adams.


Amanda Smith's Account of the Healing of Her Son Alma Smith1

"Flesh, hip bone, joint and all had been ploughed out. We laid little Alma on a bed in our tent and I examined the wound. It was a ghastly sight. I knew not what to do.yet was I there, all that long, dreadful night, with my dead and my wounded, and none but God as our physician and help. 'Oh my Heavenly Father,' I cried, 'what shall I do? Thou seest my poor wounded boy and knowest my inexperience. Oh, Heavenly Father, direct me what to do!' And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me.

Our fire was still smouldering. I was directed to take ashes and make a lye and put a cloth saturated with it right into the wound again and again I saturated the cloth and put it into the hole, and each time mashed flesh and splinters of bone came away with the cloth; and the wound became as white as chicken's flesh.

Having done as directed I again prayed to the Lord and was again instructed as distinctly as though a physician had been standing by speaking to me. Near by was a slippery-elm tree. From this I was told to make a poultice and fill the wound with it the poultice was made, and the wound, which took fully a quarter of a yard of linen to cover was properly dressed.

I removed the wounded boy to a house.and dressed his hip; the Lord directing me as before. I was reminded that in my husband's trunk there was a bottle of balsam. This I poured into the wound, greatly soothing Alma's pain.

'Alma my child,' I said, 'you believe that the Lord made your hip?'

'Yes, mother.'

'Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don't you believe he can, Alma?'

'Do you think that the Lord can, mother?' inquired the child, in his simplicity.

'Yes, my son,' I replied, 'he has showed it all to me in a vision.'

Then I laid him comfortably on his face, and said: 'Now you lay like that, and don't move, and the Lord will make you another hip.'

So Alma laid on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered-a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket, which remains to this day a marvel to physicians.

It is now nearly forty years ago, but Alma has never been the least crippled during his life, and he has traveled quite a long period of the time as a missionary of the gospel and [is] a living miracle of the power of God."


HAUN'S MILL MASSACRE. [by Ellis Eames]

On the 15th day of August, 1837, I moved from Far West to Haun's Mill, 16 miles from the former place, with a quantity of merchandise intending to keep store in that place; having settled there, and liking the country very much, I purchased a saw mill from Mr. Myers, and in the spring Mr. Myers and son and I built a grist mill which was furnished that season. All things continued to move on well; the inhabitants behaved themselves very friendly and purchased goods from and used my mill for grinding and sawing. This continued until the disturbances broke out in Daviess County, when I observed from the conversation that they did not like the proceedings of our brethren. However, they seemed to be kind as usual to me and the rest of our people, who were in the immediate neighborhood.

As the disturbances increased, and the excitement prevailed they partook of the same spirit and some threats were made by them of burning the mills. Three men, viz. Lardus Smith, George Miller, Robert White (one once a member of the Church) and the other two men left the place to move up to the Grand River. Thinking they would be protected in that place from the mob whom they feared would soon fall upon the brethren who were settled in Caldwell, these men who had left nearly all their property behind them agreed with the inhabitants amongst whom they had gone to reside to give them half of their stock, if they would drive it home for them.

Accordingly, about eighteen or twenty came for that purpose, but did not content themselves with driving off the property of the individuals, but likewise drove off two cows belonging to Gilman Merrick and several young stock from me. At the time they were coming they met a man by the name of Miller who was on horseback; they took his horse from him.

A few days after this Mr. Isaac Calkin had a beautiful span of horses which he secreted in the corn field, for fear the mob would steal them, but notwithstanding this precaution they succeeded in finding them and took them away.

The next important transaction that took place was that a company was raised on Grand River, but without any legal authority whatever and came to our neighborhood and took a quantity of guns from our people. When they came up to my place I immediately went up to them, conversed with them and asked what was their object in the strange move they were making. One of them named, Molsey, told me that they were taking the guns from the Mormons, wanting to put a stop to the damned fuss. One young man named Hiram Abbot who was with me, and with whom I was about making arrangements to put up a store, who had a gun with him was told to give up his gun, but he refused, knowing they had no authority for such strange proceedings, when several of the mob while on their horses immediately cocked their guns and took aim at him, but did not fire.

Three of them then dismounted viz: Hiram Cumstock, Trosher, and Whitney and pursued after him across the mill dam -- he got up to the side of a hill and Cumstock got by the side of the house, Comstock then drew up his gun and snapped it three times at him, but without effect; his gun would not make fire. Abbott seeing that, cocked his gun, but Comstock got behind the hen house and screened himself from danger. Abbott then made his escape as fast as possible. The mob then rode off. Very soon after it was reported that they intended to come and burn the mills. On receiving this intelligence the neighbors assembled together to consult what was best to be done, and after some deliberations it was agreed that there should a few remain at the mill to guard it from the attack of any individuals who might feel disposed to put their threats into execution, and from that time there were generally some of the men about the mills in order to protect it, it being their chief and only place where they could get any flour or meal.

The mob understanding that we had made such a movement, sent word to us that they wished to meet a committee of our people and have an understanding of each other's movements and expressed their wish to live in peace and friendly terms with us. We immediately sent a committee who met them at the house of Mr. Myers, and after a short interview and explaining to them the object we had in view and that we desired to live in peace, and they separated both parties seemed satisfied and manifested a kind spirit. The committee on the part of the mob were Samuel S. Todd, Paceriah Lee, Isaac McCaskie, Thos. R. Brien, Clerk of the Circuit Court at Livingston, and William F. Ewell, Esq. The names of our brethren were David Evans, Jacob Myers and Anthony Blackburn. After this interview we felt more satisfied, having, as we thought, a perfect understanding of their intentions, but at the same time we thought it best to keep up a watch at the mills--for fear any individuals might come privately and burn them.

About this time a number of movers from the East came up, intending to settle in that section of the country, but had not determined where. They stopped a few days at the mills and purchased some provisions until they should find a place to settle.

We continued to hear of mobs in different directions, but at the same time we felt ourselves measurable safe after being given to understand by the committee from Capt. Mattison's company that they would not molest us, if we were peaceable, etc.

On the 31st of October things moved on as usual, we were occupied in our usual occupations and heard of nothing to increase our fears and were in hopes that soon such proceedings and alarm would cease and we should again enjoy the blessings of liberty and peace. The day was far spent; the sun was sinking fast in the western hemisphere, being only about an hour and a half high. A number of us where at a short distance from the mill between it and the blacksmith's shop when one observed there was a mob coming, and immediately we saw a large company of between 200 and 250 within about one hundred yards from us. Thinking their movements were hostile, we immediately ran into the blacksmith's shop, for safety. Some of our brethren had camped a little behind the shop; one of them by the name of Knight, had just taken up his gun and was going down to the small lake for the purpose of shooting ducks when the mob came upon him. One of their leaders named Comstock observing him immediately fired upon him and shot the strap off his shot pouch. He then ran into the shop whither we had taken shelter, the mob then kept rushing on towards the shop and shooting at us. David Evans then ran out and called for peace and solicited them to desist. Knight also went out again and joined him supplicating for peace, but all to no effect; they continued to fire upon them and shot Brother Knight in the hand, taking off one finger and disabling another, he then retreated towards the mill to cross on the dam, when he was shot in the back, the ball lodging in the pit of his stomach.

The women seeing our situation and expecting no better treatment took to flight, taking their little ones along with them and running away from a scene of murder, which it is impossible to portray. As the mob approached nearer the shop, (indeed if we had all been armed it would have been impossible for us to have resisted them) took deliberate aim through the cracks and the shop being crowded almost every ball that entered the shop took effect and every moment some one was exclaiming, "Oh, I am shot," and first one and then another kept sinking down upon the ground, writhing in agony, while the blood flowed from their wounds and steamed upon the floor. One young man standing immediately next to me was shot, seeing no prospect before us but death, the mob manifesting all malice possible, and would not listen to our cries, and seemed determined to murder us all, we thought it advisable for us to try to make our escape by running out of the shop and cross the mill dam. Those of us who were able ran out and endeavored to make our escape in doing which as many were shot down while making the attempt and the mob firing upon us all the time as long as we were within reach. The mob then rushed into the shop where the wounded and dying were laying and those in whom the spark of life was not extinct were then shot over again. A little boy about nine years old who had hid himself under the bellows being observed and on being threatened to be shot, he earnestly desired and prayed for them to spare him, plead for his life, but to no purpose, for a muzzle shot gun was placed to his head and his brains were literally blown out, another little boy was likewise shot and died soon after, still another was shot, but has survived. One old gentleman who was immediately behind, named Thos. McBride, Esq., ran when we fled from the shop and was pursued, having a gun in his hand. This was demanded by his pursuer, he immediately turned round and delivered it up. The monster then took a corn cutter which he had by his side and cut the old man into pieces.

Some of the women were shot. Mrs. Merril's clothes were cut in two or three places with bullets and a young woman named Mary Studwell who was running away, at a distance from any one else was shot through the hand. Hearing the balls whistling by her she took shelter behind some logs which screened her from the balls as several lodged in the logs.

After they had finished their bloody work, the mob next commenced to plunder, and seeing some teams standing by belonging to the movers who had lately come along, they loaded the wagons with our goods. They entirely stripped me of all my clothing as well as my wife's and the clothes belonging to a young man who was boarding at our house, and all our bed clothes and beds likewise a quantity of merchandise which they carried away. Nor did this satisfy them, but those who were murdered were then robbed of their clothes, watches and everything else of value. The mobbers took their booty to Grand River and there made a distribution of the spoils amongst themselves.

I went about two miles and hid in the Hazel brush and then returned with Mr. Blackburn about ten O'clock at night. I went amongst my friends who had been shot, and those who had been wounded, I assisted all I could and administered to their necessities, and early in the morning a few of us got together and interred the dead in a hole which had been dug for a well, and then we went and hid in the hazel brush, expecting the mob would probably be coming to massacre the remainder. Some came, but they did not appear so hostile, but satisfied themselves with carrying off 2 or 3 horses. A few days after the same company came and pretended that General Clark had sent them to take prisoners and send them to Richmond jail. They took me prisoner and kept me in close confinement for nine days and would not let me converse with any one. They then took possession of my mills and ground up all the wheat and corn and took it home to their families and after taking about all the spoil they could and killed nearly all my hogs, they departed and left me at liberty and drove off the cattle, etc. They went all around the neighborhood and threatened the lives of all the Mormons and ordered them out of the state upon pain of extermination. The names of those who were killed were as follows:

Elias Benner, Josiah Fuller, John Boyers, from Ohio, Richland County, Simon Cox, George Richards, Thos. McBride, Levi McMerrick, John York, Austin Hammer, Warren Smith, Benjamin Lewis, Hiram Abbott, John Lee, Sardius Smith, Wm Roper and Merrill.

Wounded Elimar Merrill, Isaac Laney, William Yokum, Jacob Hammer, Jacob Foutz, George Meyers, Jacob Meyers, Jun., Jacob Potts, Charles Jameson, Carlton Lewis.

The names of the leading characters who took part in this outrage and inhuman butchery were as follows: Nehemiah Comstock, John Conmer, --- Gee, Jennings, Sheriff of Lewiston County, etc.

These acted without any authority and committed all these murders, and robberies, yet none of them have been brought to punishment. The affair was left without investigation and the poor afflicted broken-hearted survivors left without any redress.

Ellis Eames

The above is one account of the Massacre at Haun's Mill. This was written by Ellis Eamut (actually Eames) and was copied at the Church Historian's Library in Salt Lake City from the Journal History of the [LDS] Church, 30 October 1838, pp. 11-16.

"And as I recollect it was on the twentieighth of the month we conducted to offer them terms of peace but before our mesengers had started thare came one from the company below us with a request that we would send three men to the house of Oliver Walker to make a treaty with three men which they would send to the same house David Evans Jacob Myers seignior and Anthony Blackburn was chosen to meet them and on going to Walkers they met ten men with each a rifle instead of three without arms however peace prevailed and a treaty was soon made and agreed a pon I suppose to the satisfaction of both sides and on next day two of our men went back again those two were Evans and Ames they was told that the other company had sent a mesenger to Cumstock and his company with word of the treaty between us and them and also told them that we wanted to treat with them they said that Cumstocks company was not only mad with us but mad with them for making any kind of a treaty with us Evans sent them word that he wanted nothing but peace and would not fight them without offering them terms of peace I cannot tell whether or not they got the word or not but well I remember that on the thirtyeth of October about three o clock in the afternoon Cumstocks whole army of two hundred and fifty men came a pon us our company was about thirtyseven in number being joined by a company of families traveling to the other side of that County and the adjoining Counties stoped thare to get grinding at the mill Cumstocks company formed a kind of broken line at the distance of about seventyfive yards situating their horses in front for a kind of breastwork commenced a fire without passing a word.
Meantime Capt Evans advanced toward them and called aloud for Quarters untill they Fired I suppose between fifty and a hundred rounds with out any answer then we could do no more than Fire a few shots while the women and children made their escape the mob still advancing came within about four or Five rods when I made my escape by flight being shot four times through the body and once across each arm being about the last man off the ground now I am well aware that this is an incredible story to tell that amman being shot four times through body made his escape by flight but I have the scare to show ten in number one ball entering my body through the inside comer of my left shoulder blade came out just below about two and a half or three inches below my collar bone and as far as three inches on the right of the midle of my breast another entered through the muscle under the hind part of my left arm and passed through my body and came out under the middle of my right aim another passed through the my left hip on the inside or through the uper end of my hip bone another through my right hip hit the bone just about the joint glanced out through the skin and rolled down my drawers leg in to my boot these four balls made eight visible wounds with two others one across each arm are all the wounds in my flesh I cannot tell how many bullet holes was in my clothing thare was twentyseven in my shirt but to my story haveing made my own escape and hid my self I listened at them shooting the wounded which could not escapeI was informed that one of these murderers followed old father McBride in his retreat and and cut him down with an old sythe while he was pleading for mercy this was seen by Mrs ames and two other ladies who were secreted under the creek bank Waren Smith and his Son was also shot a seccond time being unable to retreat after their first wounds Jacob Fouls and Wm. Champlin feined their selves dead and lay still untill their pockets were robed and after they supposd the wounded all were all dead they robed the houses took the horses from the mill and out of the stables and two waggons from the mill and off they went for the night but on the first or seccond of Nov they returned and camped at the mill robed that plundered the neighbourhood taking offsuch things as they pleased mob law being established in this band ofrobers murderers and thieves was Wm. Man Esq. N. Cumstock Esq Howard Maupin Jesse Maupin James and Stephan Reynolds called Runnels Hiram Cumstock a young man named Glase Erasmus Severe Jacob Rodgers Robert White George Miller Sardis Smith Elijah Trosper these men came on painted black trimed of with red rags and ribbands screming like so many demons enough to disgrace a heathen forest much more a land of liberty after some spend in this manner captain went to Richmond to draw pay for his service I was told that instead of pay they gave him a cursing and threatened him with justice throwing the murder and robery in his teeth and orders to return the stolen property (thema] this made Cumstock mad and on his way home he passed the mill and stuck up an advertisement staling that the stolen property should be brought to his house and could be had by paying him for taking care of hit some of the property was got and I have seen some of the horses that was worked [—] to death and rode nearly down but some of the best of them could not be found for asmall reward and one of the mob was going round trying to buy the chance of such they being about the best that was taken the names of the murdered Benjamin Lewis, John York, John Lee, John Byers, Wm Napier, Warren Smith, Austin Hammer, Simon Cox, Levi Merick, Elias Benner, George Richards, — Campbell, Josiah Fuller,Thomas McBride, Sardis Smith a little boy. wounded Tariton Lewis, Jacob Fonts, Jacob Myers, Jacob Hawn, Jacob Potts, Isaac Leany, Wm Yocum, Nathan Night, — Walker (not related), Charles Jimison, Alma Smith a little boy, Mary Steadwell, Hiram Abbot, Charles Merick a boy mortally wounded this I will support in any court of justice." [Isaac Leany,Mormon Redress Petitions].



History of Austin Hammer and Nancy Elston
Massacre at Haun's Mill

By John Hammer

From a personal history of unknown origin in the possession of Robert S. Raymond, given to me by my grandmother, Ireta Pitcher Raymond, ggranddaughter of Austin Hammer. The history consists mostly of John Hammer's account.

Austin Hammer (my father) was the son of John Hammer and Nancy York Hammer. He was born in the state of South Carolina, May 6, 1804, and obeyed the gospel in 1835 in Henry County, state of Indiana. He moved to Clay County, Missouri, where he stayed a short time and soon after settled in Caldwell County, and made a cash entry of 120 acres of land and raised one crop of corn. His farm was within three or four miles of Haun's Mill, both situated on Shoal Creek.

In the fall of 1838, the mob threatened to burn this mill because it ground grain for the Mormons, and all the mills in that section of the country, controlled or owned by the mob party, refused to grind for them, hoping by so doing to starve the Mormons out. In consequence of these threats, a few of the brethren assisted in guarding the mill. This duty they had performed for several days and nights. The mob kept repeating their threats of violence. Finally some of our leading men interviewed the mob leaders who agreed upon a certain day when they would send a committee to the mill to confer with our brethren and see if terms could be agreed upon whereby a compromise could be arranged.

On the day thus fixed, being the 30th of October, a number of our brethren were at the mill hoping to have something of a reasonable talk, being of course, anxious that peace and security might be restored. With this understanding entered into, no violence from the mob party on that day was anticipated, and the brethren stacked their arms. The mob committee, however, did not make their appearance, but as the day was drawing to a close, a company of the mob, some two or three hundred strong, were seen partly sheltered from observation by the heavy timber nearby. Our brethren immediately hoisted a white flag. When the mob saw the flag, they knew they were discovered.

They rode rapidly on, led by Boregard and Comstock, and on their arrival at the mill one of them without saying a word to our men gave orders for their men to fire, which order was obeyed. Their leader then said to the brethren: "All who desire to save their lives and make peace run into the blacksmith shop," whereupon my father and my uncle John York, together with others, ran into the shop, which was immediately surrounded by the infuriated assailants, who commenced firing between the logs, as there was no chinking between them. They also fired through a long opening made at one side of the shop by one of the logs having been sawed out to admit light; and at the same time, they fired through the door which was standing open. Several were killed in the shop, my father being one of the number, seven balls being shot into his body, breaking both thigh bones. Some of the brethren thus shot down were dragged out into the yard so that their murderers might have a better chance and more room to strip them of their clothing. All who had on good coats and boots were rifled of these articles. My father had on a new pair of boots that fitted him tightly and in the efforts to get them off he was dragged and pulled out of the shop and about the yard in a barbarous manner. In his mangled condition, this cruel treatment must have caused him the most excruciating pain.

The brethren, seeing that the mob party were so numerous and bloodthirsty, concluded that it was useless to make any defense. Their only safety was in everyone making their escape the best way they could, which they did by fleeing into the woods and brush, or wherever they could secrete themselves. When the mob had murdered all they could find and robbed a number of their clothing, they retreated.

After the darkness of night had come on, the brethren who were in hiding began to make search for those who had been killed and wounded. My father was found and carried into Haun's house, where he died about 12 o'clock that night. During that night they kept up the search as well as the darkness would permit, but were only able to find the wounded by their groans. All they were able in this manner to find were taken into Mr. Haun's house as soon as possible so as to be protected from being torn or mangled by the hogs with which the woods at that place were full. When daylight had fully come, the brethren who had been spared had to move with great caution, knowing that the mob was liable to fall upon them at any moment, for the purpose of finishing their bloody and damnable work.

Of course, there was no opportunity for affording the dead a decent and respectable burial. There was an old dry well nearby, and the only thing possible to be done was to place all the bodies of the dead into it. They were all put into this well together and the only burial clothes with which they could be clothed were just what this rapacious band of murderous vampires had left upon them. In this manner, seventeen bodies of our brethren found there their place of rest, my father and my uncle York being among the number. At the time of this sad occurrence, I was in the ninth year of my age.

I wish here to record a circumstance which occurred exactly at the time this bloody deed was being enacted. I stood in the yard with my mother, my Aunt York, my cousin Isaiah York and some of the smaller children of our two families. Our anxiety, of course, was great as to the fate of the brethren at Haun's Mill, knowing also that my father and uncle had gone there to aid in its protection and assist those of our friends who lived there. We were standing there exactly at the time this bloody butchery was committed and of course, we were all looking eagerly in the direction of the mill. While in this attitude, a crimson colored vapor, like a mist or thin cloud, ascended up from the precise place where we knew the mill to be located and was carried or streamed upward into the sky, apparently as high as our sight could extend. This singular phenomenon like a transparent pillar of blood-remained there for a long time how long I am not now able correctly to state; but it was to be seen by us far into that fatal night, and according to my best recollection now, my mother's testimony was that it was to be seen there until morning. At that hour we had not heard a word of what had taken place at the mill; but as quick as my mother and aunt saw this red, blood-like token, they commenced to wring their hands and moan, declaring they knew that their husbands had been murdered.

Our uneasiness through that night was too great to be described, and when daylight came, my cousin rode to the mill in order to learn the facts in relation to what had taken place. On his arrival there, he learned concerning the massacre and brought us word back as soon as possible. The following morning my cousin and myself went to the mill and found that the dead had all been buried in the well by our brethren as before mentioned. We found the hat of my uncle York with a bullet hole made through it on the two sides at or near the place usually occupied by the band, showing that my uncle must have been shot through the head. We, at this time, went into the blacksmith shop previously spoken of, and there saw a sight truly appalling. The earth constituted the floor and in places where there were small hollows in the soil, the blood stood in pools from two to three inches deep. A boy had tried to hide by creeping under the bellows, but was discovered by the ruffians and killed. The boy begged piteously for his life, exclaiming, beseechingly, "Oh! don't kill me, I am an American boy!" But this touching appeal to their patriotism was unheeded, and the innocent and noble boy while thus appealing to the memory of his native country had his brains dashed out which were plain to be seen upon the logs at the time of my visit.

As before stated, during the time of this bloody onslaught the brethren and sisters tried to save their lives by secreting themselves. One young lady by the name of Mary Stedwell secreted herself behind a large log. While in the act of hurriedly throwing herself behind this log, one of her hands received one of the enemy's bullets which passed through it at the palm.

The death of my father left our family in a very helpless and unprotected condition. It would have been an event sufficiently melancholy had he died of sickness, at home, where his family could have administered to his wants, and his last moments been soothed by those attentions which the hand of kindness and affection alone can satisfactorily administer. But to be cut down in his prime and torn thus suddenly and ruthlessly from wife and children so intensified the gloom which rested down upon our bereaved circle, that for a time it seemed that no ray of hope or joy would ever by able to penetrate our bosoms. And could we have been left, uninterrupted, to pass our season of grief that would have been a boon which we had not the privilege to enjoy. Those prowling fiends who like demons of hell had murdered the innocent and robbed them of their raiment, were still lurking around watching for new victims. Especially all the male members of the neighborhood had to keep concealed. The moment the mob got sight of them, they were shot at. The women were not quite so closely hunted and they, by being extremely cautious, managed to convey water and food to their husbands, sons and brothers, to keep them from famishing. Myself and cousin had to sleep in shocks of corn or in the brush for two or three weeks, not daring to enter the house, and we were kept from starving by the food which our mothers and sisters managed to convey to us. The nights were cold and frosty, which added seriously to our affliction.

After about three weeks from the time of the massacre, the mob sent our people word that we were all to leave that country inside of ten days or we would all be killed. They were doubtless stimulated to make this announcement because of the order of extermination which was issued by Governor Boggs. Whatever the cause was, it was equally cruel to be borne by our people. It affected our family equally with other members of the Church. The burden of all this preparation and removal, on our part, rested first upon my mother. A less healthy and resolute woman could not have had the courage and endurance to grapple successfully with the obstacles that lay in her path. A family of six children upon her hands to be made ready for removal in ten days' time, would have been a wonderful undertaking in a time of peace with an abundance of means at her command. But she had neither peace or available means. True, my father left her 120 acres of excellent land, with a government title, a good crop of corn, already matured and ten or fifteen acres of fall wheat. But all this she had to leave for the enemy to appropriate to their own use. In fact all the comforts of home had to be sacrificed, and with the Saints of God, we had to flee, destitute and hunted, because of our religion.

The names of her children were Rebecca, Nancy, John, Josiah, Austin and Julian. My mother's age at that time was about 32 years.

Well do I remember the sufferings and cruelties of those days. But we knew when the ten days were up that we would have to be on the move or our lives would be sacrificed. The Saints had no opportunity to sell their possessions, except in a few cases, and this is exactly what the mob wanted, knowing that they could take possession after they had compelled our removal.

Our family had one wagon, and one blind horse was all we possessed towards a team, and that one blind horse had to transport our effects to the state of Illinois. We traded our wagon with a brother who had two horses, for a light one horse wagon, thus accommodating both parties. Into this small wagon we placed our clothes, bedding, some corn meal and what scanty provisions we could muster, and started out into the cold and frost to travel on foot, to eat and sleep by the wayside with the canopy of heaven for a covering. But the biting frosts of those nights and the piercing winds were less barbarous and pitiful than the demons in human form before whose fury we fled. The stars looked down upon us from the vaults of heaven, reminding us that God ruled on high and took cognizance of the conditions of those who peopled His earth.

When night approached we would hunt for a log or fallen tree and if lucky enough to find one we would build fires by the sides of it. Those who had blankets or bedding camped down near enough to enjoy the warmth of the fire, which was kept burning through the entire night. Our family, as well as many others, were almost barefooted, and some had to wrap their feet in cloths in order to keep them from freezing and protect them from the sharp points of the frozen ground. This, at best, was very imperfect protection, and often the blood from our feet marked the frozen earth. My mother and sister were the only members of our family who had shoes, and these became worn out and almost useless before we reached the then hospitable shores of Illinois.

All of our family except the two youngest Austin and Julian had to walk every step of the entire distance, as our one horse was not able to haul a greater load; and that was a heavy burden for the poor animal. Everything bulky or anyway heavy was discarded before starting. Such articles as my father's cooperage tools, plows and farming implements we buried in the ground, where they may have remained undiscovered to the present time.

There was scarcely a day while we were on the road that it did not either snow or rain. The nights and mornings were very cold. Considering our unsheltered and exposed condition, it is a marvel with me to this day how we endured such fatigues without being disabled by sickness, if not death. But that merciful Being who "tempers the winds to the shorn lamb," sheltered and gave us courage, otherwise strength and our powers of endurance must have given way and we perished by the roadside. My mother seemed endowed with great fortitude and resolution, and appeared to be inspired to devise ways and plans whereby she could administer comforts to her suffering children and keep them in good spirits. Her faith and confidence had ever been great in the Lord; but now that all this care and responsibility came upon her shoulders, with no husband to lean upon, she felt indeed that God was her greatest and best friend, and she realized that He alone must be the deliverer of herself and family and conduct them to a people possessing the sympathies of humanity.

At last we reached the Mississippi River and were happy indeed. We gazed upon the opposite shore with hearts overflowing with thankfulness to our Heavenly Father, for that indeed was our land of refuge, an asylum, and we hoped there to find a home where mobs would not lay in wait to shed our blood or place the torch to our houses and barns. We crossed the river at Quincy, Illinois, where not only our family but the entire host of exiled Saints found protection and friends whose hearts and hands were open and ready to administer relief.

Our family went to Pike County, where we made the acquaintance of Mr. Hornback. He was kind and furnished us a small house to live in through the remainder of the winter. In the spring, my Uncle William Anderson came and took us to Indiana, to my grandfather Hammer's. After staying in Indiana about three years, my mother was extremely anxious to go to the Church at Nauvoo, and an old friend by the name of Fielding Garr furnished an outfit for our entire family and moved us near to the town of Laharp. All this he did at his own expense, and continued to see that we were provided for until we could provide for ourselves. His two oldest sons Richard and John Garr would haul our wood and chop it up for us.

We remained at Laharp until the Church was again driven; and we with them were compelled to seek an asylum in the wilderness regions of the Rocky Mountains.

My mother's name was Nancy Elston Hammer. She was born in February, 1806, and died at Smithfield, Cache County, Utah, October 10, 1873. She died full in the faith of the gospel and all the doctrines revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith. She rests from her earthly sufferings, which will make her resurrection glorious.

During the last years of her pilgrimage, her mind was much occupied in reviewing her long and useful life. In conversing with her children and friends, she expressed much satisfaction that she had acted her part so well and that the Lord had been merciful in giving her the light of His Holy Spirit, which had been a lamp to her feet to direct her course safely through the darkest perils of life. She has gone to her glorious reward, where the turmoils of the wicked cannot afflict or drive the children of the righteous from the eternal dwellings prepared for them from the foundation of the world.

Yours truly,

John Hammer.



Biography of Isaac Leany, 1815-1873
Grandfather while a young man was actively interested in religion, and it was at one of the open air meetings near his home in Kentucky that he first heard a Mormon elder explain the gospel of Jesus Christ. Isaac knew at once that he had found what he had been looking for. Desiring to be near the Saints he went to Illinois, and it was while here he met a young lady whom he married. Leaving Illinois, Isaac went to Missouri where he shared with the rest of the Saints the terrible persecutions of the mob. The 29th of October, 1838 found him with a small number of Saints working at a place called Haun's Mill in Missouri. It was on this day that the mob came upon them demanding that they sign a treaty of peace and deliver their weapons of war. They were allowed no word in the matter and had to comply. Grandfather had no faith in the mob's promise of peace.

October 29th passed peacefully at the mill, but that night grandfather had a dream which was not in the least reassuring. In the dream he seemed to be passing along a trail where there were a great many snakes. They crawled along the ground, hurled themselves through the air and hung twisting and hissing from the limbs of trees. Dodge and hurry as he might his body was soon pierced and bleeding from the attacks of the angry snakes. Finally escaping the serpents he met a man with whom he was acquainted. "Brother Leany," he said, "you are terribly bitten so with snakes and lived." "Well, then, I'll be the first for I'm not going to die," was grandfather's answer. In a patriarchal blessing given to grandfather he was told that he was a direct descendant of "Joseph, the Dreamer," son of Jacob and that he had inherited the gift of dreams. That dream was a warning and we shall see its fulfillment.

On October 30th, [1838] the mob heavily armed, dashed down on the little party at the mill, and began firing. Grandfather gained possession of three guns, gave two of them to the other men, and placing himself between the mob and the cabin's housing the women and children began firing. Lead was flying around like hailstorm. You may judge how thick was the hail of lead, for while he was preparing to fire, eleven bullets hit the stock of his gun, cutting it off in his hands. One hit and knocked the trigger guard off but the works were still intact, for he loaded and fired it once more and saw one of the mob drop as a result. This of course was a matter of a few seconds. Grandfather could see he was doing little good, and they were cutting him to pieces, so he returned to the cabin, and told the women and children to run for the woods. As he turned a bullet struck him in the right armpit and came out the left. This was not the first wound he had received, for two bullets had gone through his breast and came out his back, and two had passed through his hips. After they shouted [a] warning to the women and children, Isaac fled for his life, taking a trail leading up a small hill.

As he was running up the hill with much effort, his body bent, a large ball struck him in the back near the kidneys, passing lengthwise through his body. He said only the power of God stopped it from going on into brain. According to his own words. "This one came nearer to knocking me off my feet than any, the rest just plunked through me as if I were a squash." Knowing he must hurry to help or give up his life, grandfather first sat down to take of his boots, for they were so heavy that it was hard to lift one foot after the other in his weakening condition. He was obliged to split his boots with his knife before he could remove them. As he struggled on he soon met the man he had seen in his dream.

He said, "Brother Leany its no use to encourage you, for no man was ever shot as you are and lived." Then followed the identical conversation of the dream, excepting the substitution of shot instead of snake bite. A little farther on was the home of some friends who took him, and so great was their fear that the mob would follow and kill him, they took up a board and laid him under the floor. His condition was such that he could not stand this long, and on begging, they took him out washed and dressed his wounds and put him to bed. His clothes were literally cut to pieces, and his body almost as bad, for it had been struck by seven bullets, leaving 13 scars, six passing through and through, the 7th struck him in the back leaving but one scar. For some time he lay near death being fed with a spoon, and so weak he could not so much as open or close his eyes. With so many wounds practically all his blood was lost. The elders were called in and he was anointed and promised in the name of Jesus Christ that he would recover. From that time on he recovered rapidly and was soon chopping logs in Illinois for the homes of the Saints.


James McBride, 1818-1876 Autobiography (1818-1846)
The howling of the mob were heard on every side, and it was decided that we should move to Caldwell County.

In September, my father, taking with him what of his children yet remained at home, and accompanied by James Dayley and wife, moved to Caldwell County, and settled about three fourths of a mile from Haun's Mill on Shoal Creek.

There, my father entered from government eighty acres of land and began to make a home.

A branch of the church was organized at Haun's Mill, presided over by David Evans.

(1838) I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by David Evans, in June 1838. At the same time James Haun and Isaac Laney were baptized.

Though many of the followers of the Prophet Joseph Smith had been beaten, tarred and feathered, driven from their homes and their property confiscated for the use of mobocrats, their persecutions were not yet to cease. Threats were made against the Mormons, the rights of citizenship were denied them.

The little few now fully realizing the dangerous situation in which they were placed, decided to adopt measures to defend themselves against the raids of the mob. It was decided that a guard should be kept at the mill.

Chapter 3

(October 30, 1938) One beautiful afternoon on the 30th day of October 1838, my father came home from meeting with the brethren at the mill. He talked with me, and told me the arrangements made. He was called to help to form the guard. I was sick at the time, with the every-other-day ague, and father said on my well day, I should take his place with the guard and that he would guard on the day that I was sick. That with himself and me, he wished to fill one man's place. You will remember my father was then in his sixty-third year. During the summer he had been very sick--but having recovered, appeared to feel very well; in fact I think he looked better than I had ever before saw him.

My sister Catherine was living at the mill with Hauns' family. Leaving only me and my youngest sister Dorcas, at home with father and mother.

Father was in good spirits, and his countenance wore a cheerful expression. Having shaved himself in his usual style, leaving side beards--and taking with him his guns and blankets, started on his return to the mill to join the rest of the guard. Mother, with sister Dorcas started to visit a neighbor woman, living about a quarter of a mile distant form father's place. This being the day on which I was sick, the next day I should have taken father's place with the guard. I was then in my twenty- first year.

The day was gradually passing--evening was coming on.

The large red sun so characteristic of an Indian summer, shone through the smokey atmosphere. All was still.

My father had but little more than got to the mill--in fact not more than thirty minutes had elapsed from the time he left the house, when a gun was heard--and another--followed by the deadly crack of musketry, which told too well the fate of all who fell a prey to the blood-thirsty mob.

Perhaps not more than six minutes had passed from the firing of the first gun, 'till the massacre was accomplished,--the bloody deed was done.

The firing ceased--the screams of mothers, daughters and the wounded, told the dreadful tale!

The bloody picture in the book of time; may it ever stamp with stigma the brow of that government that offered not a protecting hand to those who were ruthlessly cut down--wounded; or were made widows, and orphans, at the Haun's Mill Massacre.

The sun slowly sank beneath the western horizon--and darkness spread its broad mantle over the universe.

With a single exception, the dead were left lying where they fell--in fact there were none left that were able to take care of them. Whether dead or alive, all feared alike--all was uncertain--all was pain and sorrow.

In vain did the affectionate wife with aching heart and streaming eyes watch through the long, long night for the return of her husband.

(October 31, 1833) The 31st day dawned, and again the rays of the morning sun, kissed the landscape. As yet the extent of the massacre was not known.

Brother Amos having been detailed on the previous day to get wood for families, was on his way to the mill when he was told there had been serious trouble there. His home was about three miles from the mill, and as he was not detailed on guard, was not at the mill at the time of the slaughter.

He went on; and passing the mill a short distance, came to Haun's house. The first object that met his eye in human form, was the mangled body of my murdered father [Thomas McBride], lying in the door yard. He had been shot with his own gun, after having given it into the mobs possession. Was cut down and badly disfigured with a corn cutter, and left lying in the creek. Some of the women had dragged him from the creek into the door yard and left him there. One of his ears was almost cut from his head--deep gashes were cut in his shoulders; and some of his fingers cut till they would almost drop from his hand.

On further examination it was found that fifteen were murdered, and fifteen wounded--one of whom was a woman, Mary Stedwell, who in trying to escape, was shot through the hand, and fell behind a log. Several bullet holes were found in the log, directly opposite of where she lay. Alma Smith a small boy; and I believe one Merrick were the only wounded children that were yet alive. Of the wounded men, three afterward died. Making eighteen dead in all.

Isaac Laney a young man that was baptized into the church at the same time that I was, was in the black-smith shop, when the mob began to fire on them. His gun stock was shot to pieces in his hands. He then escaped from the shop, ran to the mill, and climbed down one of the mill timbers into the creek. That being the quickest way for him to escape danger. From there he went into the house, where sister Catherine, Mrs. Haun, Mrs. Merril and some other women were. They administered to Isaac, and put him under the floor. He had received eleven bullet marks in his body. I was well acquainted with Isaac Laney, and helped to take care of him until he recovered. He told me that when trying to escape from the mob, the blood gushing from his mouth would almost strangle him. While he was under the floor he said he suffered a great deal for want of water. The women not daring to venture out to get water until they felt sure the mob was entirely gone. Isaac recovered, and lived thirty-five years from the day of the Haun's Mill Massacre.

Chapter 4

A few rods south of the blacksmith shop, was an unfinished well, about eight or twelve feet deep; but no water was in it. This made the sepulchre for the dead. Fifteen murdered persons, including my father, were carried on a board, one at a time, and dropped into that well--by brother Amos McBride, James Dayley and Jacob Myers: the only three able bodied men that were present.

It was now plainly shown that there was no mercy for us. What few men, and boys that were of much age--yet alive--were under necessity of hiding away, to escape danger.

About the first day of November, being tired of lying out in the woods, I concluded to venture a trip to the mill. I was anxious to see the grounds on which the slaughter took place; and learn if possible, the general situation of affairs. Accordingly, with feelings that I can not here describe, I slowly wended my way to the spot. I walked over the grounds, noticing here and there the blood stained earth--and seriously reflecting on our then sorrowful situation. On the outside, the logs of the shop were defaced with bullet marks, and on the inside of the shop, the ground was scarcely visible for blood.

I traced the blood from the dead bodies of those who were carried and buried in the well. I went to the place and stood at the edge of the silent tomb of my beloved father. A silent prayer I offered to God, and turned away.

I went to a house in which a widow woman lived, by name [William] Napier--her husband was a victim of the massacre. She was yet there with her family. She advised me to be careful least the mob might come upon me, and kill me.

Having spent a few minutes at the house, I went into the mill, to look once again through it. While there a noise attracted my attention, and I saw the woman of whom I have just spoken--running and beckoning to me in an affrighted manner. I sprang to the door-way, and saw about thirty rods distant a posse of men, coming in the direction of the mill. I did not feel right in trusting myself in their hands--but rather than let them see me run to escape, I would have died. I therefore walked from the mill to the dam, crossed it, and quietly walked on until I was out of sight. Why they did not fire at me I can not tell.

A few days after, a company of men, commanded by Nehemiah Comstock took possession of the mill.

In that company was a man by name [Howard] Mopin, for whom, my father who was then a magistrate, had collected a judgment amounting to ten dollars and ten cents, just before his death. Mopin now threatened that my mother's house would be burned down over us, if the money was not forth coming. I heard of the treats made, and after reflecting for a time took the money and started to chance my fate with the mob. In as bold a manner as I could assume, I went among them. They did not bother me, and I soon thought myself quite safe. I found Mopin, and presented him with the money. He took it, and seemed somewhat effected, on learning the situation of my father's family. To renumerate me for my trouble, he gave me ten cents.

I was quite small for my age--was smooth faced, and very sickly--which perhaps in part accounted for me being allowed to depart in peace. Having ventured thus far, I decided that I would again return, and act as a spy.

One day having worked my way back into their midst, I discovered that a man by name Robert White, who was a member of the Church had turned traitor, and gave the enemy all the information he could about the Mormon families and their situations. The captain who was aside instructing his men, I overheard mention my brother Amos' name, as one having a gun--which he said was hid in a hollow tree. And if he refused to give it up when called for, they were instructed to shoot him down without further ceremony.

As soon as a chance presented itself, I left the camp, and as soon as I was out of their sight, made my way across the hills, to where Amos lived--and told him what I had heard. I advised him to go and get his gun, and demanded of him, to give it to them--as we were betrayed, and if he tried to keep his gun, he would lose his life. I then hurried away before the mob came. Amos done as I had advised him.

A few days after, brother Amos, James Dayley and David Lewis, were taken prisoners. They were kept a few days, harassed and tormented, and then set at liberty.

While Comstock's Company remained at the mill, they used it to do their grinding. They would shoot down our cattle and hogs--not caring how much they were needed by the widows and children that had been left to care for themselves. When they wished honey, they would take a hive to their camp, split it open with an ax, and help themselves. This was indeed hard to endure, but to resist was death.

The Governor of Missouri (Boggs) not being satisfied with the suffering already borne by the Latter-day Saints issued orders requiring them to surrender their fire arms, give up their principal leaders, and leave the state at a given time. The suffering caused by that exterminating order of Boggs', could hardly be described. Families were turned out of their homes, and the widows and orphans found themselves cast helplessly upon the mercy of the church. Some were without teams, and almost destitute of food and clothing. Thus exposed to the storms of winter, and travel a journey of more than two hundred miles.

It was now necessary to get rid of our home at the mill, in the best way we could. If we could get something for it, well and good, and if not, we were to leave it any how. The place was worth about one thousand dollars.

(February 24, 1839) We left Haun's Mill, on the 24th, of February; on our way to Illinois. The first day we traveled about nine miles--and then camped in a house which had been vacated by one of the brethren. The day had turned extremely cold--and we decided to remain at that place 'till the weather became more favorable for traveling. While there camped, we were informed that our guns, which had been taken from the saints at Haun's Mill, and at the surrender of arms at Far West, had been taken to Richmond in Ray County--and that we could get them by first describing them, swearing to the description--and paying a fee of sixty-cents for each gun. James Dayley and myself, decided to ascertain the truth of the matter, and if possible, get our guns. My main object was, however, to get possession of my father's gun--with which you may remember father was shot.



POTTS, Jacob H.
AD 1840 111 Adams County Columbus March the 12
I was a sitizen of Missori for near three years where I selected a home and purchced the same with my own money in the Cunty of Caldwell it being the west half of the south east qr of Sec 13 T 26 R 56 contaiined eighty acres twenty acres of the same was in a state of cultivation four acres of it was in corn eight acres in wheat this being under a free govorment I expected to enjoy Equal rights with other men which my fore Fathers fought for but in concequence of A decree that went forth from the govornor I was deprived of that privilege and was forced to dis[pose] of it at a low rate and leave the state in February 1839 But previous to this in the month of Oct 1838 there was some excitement raised but the of it I know not but our lives were threatened in that neigborhood and we met together to council the matter over to now what was best for us to do and the council was adjourned till the next day then we met together again durring which time their number of late emigrants came and encamped at the same plac this being at Hauns Mill and in the evening about an hour and a half by sun their was a lawless set of bandities say about two hundred and fifty men headed by Captain Cumstock and Ginings all on horse back they came up and commenced fireing on us with out uttering awor[rf] our people began to call for quarters but none was giving the mob continued their fireing untill they had killed and wounded about 30 of our people 16 of them was killed and wounded so they died by 10 oclock the next day 1 boy in four week 1 young in 8 weeks and as as far as I know the rest remains alive yet and amongst the wounded I was one I received two wounds in my right leg which proved aserious injury to me I also had agood mare saddle bridle blanket and halter taken at the same time Levi Stiltz lost a mare sadle and bridle

Benjamin Lewis was killed and two horses taken from the widow Isaac Laney severely wounded William Yokkam badly wounded and his horse taken Jacob Haun was wounded and his critter taken he was the ownener of the mill and land where the fray took place Jacob Myers lived on the same place he was wounded and his criter taken Charles Jameson and Jacob Foutz was wounded[.]

And a mumber of other horses was taken from the late emigrants and their was eight of those killed two of them was little boys the names of those that was killed is Benjamin Lewis John York Austin Hamer Simon Cox John Lee Amos Mcbride Mr Merick and boy Mr Smith and boy Mr Canada Hiram Abbot Josiah Fuller Mr Naper the names of the other four I no not and the mob plundered many things that I have not mentioned waggons horses clothing bed clothing &c in testimony whereof I set my hand[.]
- Jacob H Potts

STILTZ, Levi
I also was asitize of Mo at the time above mentioned and had entered forty acres of land in the same neighborhood and was treated in the same manner as is above mentioned except being wounded I was at the mill at the same time above mentioned I had amare saddle and bridle taken after ward I was taken prisoner and my gun was taken from me and the same mob passed through the neighborhood painted plundering what eve they could get their hands on. I can testify that the above ritten is correct[.]


- Levi Stiltz

State of Illinois Adams County SS

this day personally Came before me the undersigned Justice of the peace within & for the County aforesaid Jacob H. Potts and Levi Stiltz & after being Duly sworn Deposeth and Sayeth that the foregoing statements are facts & that they are Correct & true to the best of their belief & farther these Deponats sayeth Not.
- Jacob H. Potts [&] Levi Stiltz

[Sworn to before W. Oglesby, J.P., Adams Co., IL. 13 Mar 1840.]
[Clark V. Johnson, Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Missouri Conflict (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1992), 320-21.]



Margaret Mann Foutz
Account of Haun?s Mill, written by Margaret Mann Foutz, from her autobiography, written by her and signed on December 28, 1876 at Pleasant Grove City, Utah.

"I was at home with my little family of five children and could hear the firing of guns. In a moment I knew the mob was upon us. Soon a runner came telling the women and children to hasten into the timber and secret ourselves, which we did without taking anything to keep us warm. And had we been fleeing from the scalping knife of the Indian we would not have made greater haste, and as we went we finally numbered about forty or fifty women and children.
We ran about three miles into the woods and there huddled together, spreading what few blankets and shawls chance only had thrown in our path, upon the ground for the children and here we remained until two o'clock the next morning before we heard anything of the result of the firing at the mill. Who can imagine our feelings during this dreadful suspense? And when the news did come, oh! what terrible news; fathers, husbands, brothers and sons, inhumanly butchered!
We now took up the line of march for home. Alas what a home! Who would we find there and now with our minds full of the most fearful forebodings, we retraced those dreary long miles.
As we were returning I saw a Brother Myers who had been shot through his body. In that dreadful state he crawled on his hands and knees about two miles to his home.
After I arrived at my house with my children, I then made a fire and we warmed ourselves. We then started for the mill, which was over one mile from our house. My children said if Father and Mother are going to be killed, we want to be with them.
It was about seven o'clock in the morning when we arrived at the mill. The first house I came to there were three dead men, one a Brother McBride, I was told that he was one of the survivors of the Revolution. He was a terrible sight to see, having been cut and chopped and terribly mangled with a corn cutter.
I hurried on to find my husband. (Jacob Foutz) I found him in an old house covered with rubbish. The mob had taken the bedding and clothing from al the houses that were near the mill. My husband was shot in the thigh. I rendered him all the aid that I could but it was evening before I could get him home.
I saw thirteen more dead bodies at the shop and witnessed the beginning of the burial which consisted in throwing the bodies into an old dry well. So great was the fear of the men that the mob would return and kill what few men that were left that they threw the bodies in head first or feet first as the case might be. When they had thrown in three my heart sickened and I could not stand it more. I turned away to keep from fainting.
My husband and another Brother drew dead bodies on themselves and pretended to be dead and by so doing saved their own lives and heard what the mob said. After the firing was over two little boys that were in the shop begged for their lives, but 'No,' they said, 'Damn them, they will make Mormons.' And they put the muzzle of their guns to their heads and blew their brains out.
What a change one short day had brought! Here were my friends dead and dying. One in particular asked me to give him relief by taking a hammer and knocking out his brains, so great was his agony from his wounds, and we knew not what moment our enemies would be upon us.
And all this, not because we had broken any of the laws, on the contrary, it was a part of our religious belief to keep the laws of the land.
In the evening Brother Evans got a team and wagon and conveyed my husband to his house, carried him in and placed him on the bed. I then had to attend him alone, without any doctor or anyone to tell me what to do for him. Six days after, I and my husband together, extracted the bullet, it being buried deep in the thick part of the thigh and flattened like a knife.
During the first ten days the mob came every day with blackened faces, more like demons from the infernal pit than like human beings, cursing and swearing that they would kill that damn old Mormon preacher. (Jacob Foutz) And, at times like these when human nature would quail, I have felt the power of God upon me to that degree that I have stood before them fearless and although a woman and alone, these demons in human shape had to succumb, for there was a power they knew not of. During these days of danger I would sometimes have to hide my husband out in the woods and cover him with leaves. And, then again in the house. Thus during my husband's illness was I harassed by mobocratic violence."


The Reminiscence of Willard Gilbert Smith
A Rare Account of the Haun's Mill Massacre:

Alexander L. Baugh

Assistant Professor, Church History and Doctrine, BYU

While researching and writing a chapter analysis of the Haun's Mill massacre for my dissertation, almost by chance I happened to come across an interesting and illuminating narrative of the October 1838 tragedy. The account, written as a reminiscence by Willard Gilbert Smith, was published in an obscure LDS family history and genealogy publication by the Fry family association, a copy of which was located in the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. No actual manuscript of the narrative could be found in the LDS Church Archives or any other depository suggesting the reminiscence has merely been passed on through family connections.(1)

Those familiar with the incidents surrounding the massacre will likely recognize the name of Willard G. Smith. Although only eleven years old at the time of the attack, he played a prominent role in the ordeal. He was the first Latter-day Saint to come out of hiding once the assault was over. As the first to return to the scene of the conflict, he was also the first to enter the blacksmith shop and observe the terrible human carnage. Sadly, there he found a wounded brother, and viewed the remains of his own father and a younger brother. One can only imagine what horrible images remained in his young, impressionable mind throughout the rest of his life.

Willard G. Smith was born on 9 May 1827, in Amherst, Ohio, the eldest of five children born to Warren and Amanda Barnes Smith. Upon hearing the restored gospel taught by Simeon Carter, the Smith's joined the Church in 1831, then moved to Kirtland the following year. During the summer of 1838, the Smith family, consisting of Warren and Amanda, Willard, Sardius (sometimes given as Sardis), twins' Alma and Alvira, and Ortencia, left Ohio bound for Missouri with the "Kirtland Camp." However, because of problems encountered during the journey, the Smith's eventually fell in with a smaller group, consisting of ten families headed by Joseph Young. The company arrived at Haun's Mill in eastern Caldwell County on 28 October. Here, they intended to remain for a few days before continuing the rest of the way to Far West. Two days after their arrival at the Mormon settlement, the fateful tragedy occurred.(2) Willard Smith's account is as follows:

With my two younger brothers, I was at the blacksmith shop with Father when without warning a large body of mounted men with faces blackened or painted like Indians rode up yelling and commenced shooting into the group. The men at the shop called for "quarters" but the mob paid no attention, continuing to shoot. The men then shouted to their wives to take the children and run for their lives.

We were surrounded on three sides by the mob, and the old mill and the millpond were on the other. The men ran for the shop, taking the little boys with them. My two little brothers ran with Father. But when I tried to enter the shop, my arms flew up and braced themselves against each side of the door, preventing my entrance. In my frenzy of fear, I again tried to enter the shop, and again my arms were braced to prevent my going in. After a third futile attempt, I ran around the corner of the shop and crawled into a pile of lumber, hiding as best I could.

Immediately, the mob began shooting at me and the splintered lumber flew all around. I crawled out and ran into an empty house on the slope near the pond. Here I found an old Revolutionary Soldier, Father McBride,(3) who had been wounded and had crawled into a potato cellar under the floor of the house. Although I warned [him] that the mob would find and kill him, he begged for a drink of water and to be helped out of the cellar. I them went to the millpond to get him some water and was deliberately fired upon, the bullets spattering in the water like hail. I escaped without a scratch. (The mob did find this aged Veteran, and as he raised his hands in supplication for mercy, they were hacked and the fingers split down by a dull corn cutter.)(4)

I made the old gentleman as comfortable as possible and as the bullets were flying thickly around us, I ran from this house into another one close by. Here I heard sobs and whispered comfortings, and lifting the valance around the bed, I found six little girls huddled in fear. As the bullets had followed me into this house, I said to the little girls: "Come we must get out of here or we will all be killed." So we ran to the millrace which we crossed on a board reaching the woods on the other side of the pond­with the mob shooting at us all the way.

After our race for life, the little girls scurried off like prairie chickens into the brush and tall corn. Knowing that my father and two brothers were in the shop with the mob still firing, I took shelter behind a large tree where I could watch the activities of the mob with comparative safety. Finally, they ceased firing, dismounted, and went into the shop where they finished killing any whom they thought were not dead. From there, they went into all the cabins and tents destroying or taking groceries and furnishings. Then after taking all the horses belonging to their victims, they rode off howling like Indians.

As soon as I was sure they had gone, I started for the shop and was the first person to enter this holocaust, stepping over the dead body of my Father in doing so. I looked around and found by brother Sardis dead with the entire top of his head shot away, and my brother Alma almost lifeless lying among a pile of dead where he had been thrown by the mobsters who, evidently, thought him dead. I picked up Alma from the dirt and was carrying him from the shop when I met my Mother who screamed: "They have killed my little Alma." I replied: "No mother, but Father and Sardis are dead." I begged her not to enter the shop but to help me with Alma.(5)

Our tent had been looted, even the ticking cut and straw strewn about. Mother leveled the straw and covered it with some clothing and on this awful bed we placed Alma, cutting off his pants to determine the extent of his injury. After placing Alma on this improvised bed, my mother, Amanda Barnes Smith, a woman of dauntless courage and implicit faith in her Heavenly Father, found that the entire ball and socket of the left hip had been shot away leaving the bones about three or four inches apart. As soon as Alma was conscious, Mother asked him if he thought the Lord could make him another new hip, and he replied that if she thought he could, then he, too, believed it could be done. Then she called her remaining three children around the bed, and they knelt and supplicated the Lord for faith and guidance. Mother dedicated Alma to the Lord, praying that he be restored and made well and strong, but if this were not possible, to take him in his innocence. This picture of my Mother's implicit faith in her Heavenly Father remained as a living testimony to her children through their lives.

In her terrible sorrow and bereavement, her only help could come from divine guidance. By inspiration, her prayers were answered and she knew what to do. First she was directed to take the ashes from a fireplace and made a mild lye solution with which she bathed the gaping wound until it was as white as the breast of a chicken, with all the mangled flesh and bone gone. Then she prayed for further guidance and was prompted to take the roots from the slippery elm tree and made poultices for application. She asked me if I had seen any elm trees, and I replied that there were some on the banks of the stream feeding the millpond.

By this time, dark had descended upon this tragic scene, and when my Mother asked if I could take a shovel and get some of the roots, you can appreciate the terror which gripped my heart as an eleven-year old child. However, Mother assured me that the Lord would protect me and with a lighted torch of Shag-bark Hickory, I began by search.

Women and children were lamenting loss of husbands, fathers, and children; dogs were howling, and the cattle smelling fresh blood were bellowing, and no one could know how many mobocrats lurked in the menacing shadows. It required all the courage I could summon to take the shovel, and with the aid of a dim torch, follow the stream and secure the roots from which Mother made a soothing poultice. The story of the miraculous healing of Alma's hip has been related many times, but few realize the constant terror of the stricken family, unable to leave the State as Alma could not be moved because of his injured hip; yet they were repeatedly warned that if they did not leave, they would be killed.

They were forbidden to call the family together for prayers or even to pray vocally alone. This Godless silence, Mother said, she could not stand, so one day, she went down into a corn field and crawled into a shock of the corn which had been cut. After carefully ascertaining that no one was within hearing distance, she said she "Prayed till her soul felt satisfied." As she left the shock of corn, although there was no one in sight, she plainly heard a voice repeating these words:

"That soul who on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I cannot­I will not desert to it foes.
That soul, 'though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake."

From that moment Mother said she had no further fear of the mob, and she inspired us children with faith that if we conscientiously did right, the Lord would shelter us from harm. Although Alma lay in the same position for five weeks while the wound was healing, strength seemed to come to the limb suddenly. One day, when Mother was carrying a bucket of water from the spring, she was alarmed to hear the children screaming in the house. She rushed through the door to see them all running about the room with Alma in lead, crying "I'm well, Ma, I'm well!" Something had grown in to take the place of the missing ball and socket, and he was able to use the lib with no inconvenience. Although it was necessary in later years to pad the side of his trousers, he never suffered any pain or discomfort, although he filled a mission in the Sandwich Islands where he did a great deal of walking.

As soon as Alma was well enough that we could plan to leave Missouri, great difficulties presented themselves, one being that our horses had been confiscated by the mob. Finally, I went with Mother to Captain Comstock,(8) leader of the mob, and she demanded the horses, one of which was in the field. He said we might have the animal by paying $5.00 for its feed bill. This Mother could not do as all her money had been stolen by the mob. I admired her courage when she walked out into the field and tying her apron around the horse's neck, led it home with no further objections.

Smith's description of the massacre adds a number of interesting details to the historical record. His several attempts to secure his personal safety amid a barrage of constant gunfire further substantiates additional Mormon accounts of the fact that the Missourians were bent on wholesale murder and intentionally fired at innocent women and children, not just the Mormon defenders. The fact that only two children lost their lives, and only one child and one woman were injured, is remarkable considering the random shooting that occurred.

Young Willard's heroism is especially noteworthy, particularly in the case of his efforts to assist Father McBride and the six young girls whom he helped reach safety. In recounting the incident with McBride, additional information is learned concerning what happened to him just prior to his death. McBride went into the blacksmith shop and was either wounded while inside, or while making an attempt to escape. During his flight, he made his way to a cabin where he secured temporary safety in a potato cellar, but due to the extent of his injury, could go no further. While trying to make his own way to safety, young Willard came upon the injured man. Parched with thirst, McBride requested a drink of water which Willard heroically provided. A short time after this incident, McBride was discovered and brutally killed.

Finally, Willard fully believed divine providence interceded in sparing his life as noted by his description of some invisible force that prevented him from entering the blacksmith shop. Considering the fact that of the thirty-five men and boys who can be identified as having entered the structure, only five escaped without being killed or suffering some degree of injury. Following the ordeal, he clearly recognized that had he gone into the shop, chances were, he would have been killed or severely wounded.

Willard lived a full and eventful life. As a young man in Nauvoo, he learned the trade of a stonecutter and worked on the Nauvoo Temple. In 1846, he became a member of the Mormon Battalion, arriving in Utah in 1848. He spent a short time in Oregon farming, then returned to Utah where he lived until 1860 when he was called on a mission to England. In 1865 he was ordained a bishop and called to preside over the Saints in Morgan, Utah. In 1877 he was chosen as the first stake president of the Morgan Stake and served in that capacity for sixteen years. He died on 21 November 1903, in Logan, Utah, at the age of 76.(9)Notes



Charlene Ward
A MOMENT IN HISTORY TO REMEMBER

Here we are on a lonely country road in the Eastern part of Caldwell County, Missouri.... Release from your mind the sounds of civilization, as it is now.... Picture, if you will, a quiet autumn day.... It's Tuesday, October 30th, 1838. All is quiet except for a quail calling from a nearby tree, bob white -- bob white -- . A jay is threatening from a bush that borders the creek.... The autumn leaves are brilliant with color.... You can hear the sound of the mill wheel turning and the splashing of the water as it runs off the wheel and over the spillway of the small dam at the end of the mill pond.... You can hear the grinding of the mill as it grinds up the corn that has been brought in for grinding into meal.... A saw mill is set up on the west.... About a dozen homes are snuggled together surrounding the mill.... On the south side of the creek, across from the dam, two or three homes have been built. The day has been warm and beautiful.

The sound of voices come to you. As you turn, you can see small groups of people gathered together talking. You can hear the sound of a hammer as it hits the anvil in the blacksmith shop. The mill was built by Jacob Myers, an experienced mill builder, and bought by Jacob Haun. Covered wagons and tents are spaced among the trees. All of them have gathered at the Haun's Mill Hamlet for protection -- protection from the mob that was trying to run them away from their homes. Governor Boggs, an anti-Mormon arch enemy, was relentless in his war against them. He had been a powerful influence in Independence, Missouri where the trouble with him started.

The tension seemed to have been eased a little, when a truce had been called, and arms had been lain down on both sides (supposedly). But the Livingston and Daviess County mob had threatened them, so they had armed themselves again. Everyone was afraid to go home. David Evans had been put in charge of protection of the Hamlet. He was getting ready to send out scouts again to watch for any trouble.

Trouble was no stranger to these quiet peace loving people. In fact it had plagued them everywhere they went since the founding of the church. People could not accept the fact that Joseph Smith, Jr. had seen a vision and was given plates of gold that told of ancient inhabitants, written in strange signs. There was so much prejudice against them. Ministers of other churches hated the Saints because they could convert their members in droves. They had so much power and conviction in what they believed. In Missouri they were against slavery. The slave owners did not want to hear about free Negroes. They were showing a lot of improvement in the bare prairie land. No one had chosen to settle here, at least very few, because it held no promise. This industrious people had proven that it was a rich fertile land. General Doniphan, a friend of the church members from Liberty, had worked to get this land set apart just for them. It was cut out of Ray County, and specifically given to the Saints, so they could worship as they wished.

Children were playing in the dust, just outside the blacksmith shop. Some of them were pretending they were the enemy while others were the Caldwell County Militia, chartered to them by the State of Missouri. Many of the adults were discussing the problems they had been having. Would they leave them alone? Would they be able to get on with their lives and farm the land? Crops were in the fields ready for harvest. Stock needed tending. Was it safe to return to their homes? What should they do?

The blacksmith shop was under construction and the logs had not been chinked. They planned to use it for a fortress in the event that they would be attacked. There was so much to be done before winter set in. Winter was harsh on the prairie. There were no trees except for the ones along the creek. The wind out of the North blew very cold with nothing to stop it. The tall prairie grass bent with the breeze.

"Sardie" Smith (named after his grandfather who had settled two miles northwest of there on June 1837) who was 10 years old was watching his father Warren roll a wheel into the blacksmith shop for repairs. The trip from Ohio had been a long hard one. They had just stopped for the night. He saw another little boy about his own age helping his father put grease on the wheels of a wagon that was sitting just outside the shop. Sardie went up to the boy and asked his name. "I'm Charles Merrick and my father's name is Levi," he said. Sardie said, "Come on Charles, let's tease my brother. He's only 7, but he thinks he's so big." And away the children ran to play.

In front of a house built by Jacob Haun gathered a group of men. John York, Austin Hammer, who had settled here in the fall of 1836, (their children had just married and they were next door neighbors about 5 miles northeast of here), Thomas McBride, (an old man from the Revolution who had settled about one mile northeast of here. He was the only one here with military training.) and Jacob Haun had been discussing the trouble. I went to Far West and talked to Brother Joseph. He said we should come there and ban together for protection of our lives and to forget about our property. I told him all were not willing to do that. Even the women folk said to stay and said they would help.

A washing whipped in the afternoon breeze behind a house on the south side of the creek. Joseph Young, a brother of Brigham Young, sat in the doorway holding his young child on his knee. He had arrived October 28th (Sunday) from Kirtland, Ohio.

Amanda Smith, wife of Warren Smith, was preparing supper in their wagon. Her girls were at her side but were too small to help. Too soon they will grow up and then they can take over the many duties of a pioneer woman. Amanda was proud of her children and loved them very much. Her husband had followed his father, Sardis Smith, to Missouri. She tenderly touched the curly head of her youngest child. What would she do if anything should happen to one of her children. She was afraid. Why on earth had they come here when there was so much trouble. Wasn't this a free country? Is this our boasted land of liberty? For some say we must deny our faith, or they would kill us. Others said we should die anyway. Well all of this worry won't get supper done. Levi and the boys would be hungry when they came back from the blacksmith shop. I'd better get busy.

In the center of the Hamlet, Josiah Fuller, who had settled two miles southwest of there, was passing a large wooden bucket to a man in a well being dug. While he has here he might just as well help with the work. A dark head could be seen as James Haun climbed up the ladder made of young hickory trees. He was thirsty from his labors. His brother had helped him dig his well on the farm just west. They often helped one another. They could not have survived if they did not pull together. Each one depended on the other and knew they could. There was a unity in the group that was akin to a large family. Their faith was being tested, tested the same as the Christians of old....

Nathan Knight stepped out of the door of his cabin. He threw a bone to his dog from the meal he had just finished. He slung his powder horn ever his shoulder and tucked his rifle under his arm. He was due to stand watch and wanted to be on his way. A bullet came out of nowhere and severed the rawhide string that held his powder horn. I don't need to tell you what happened on that fateful day... at about 4:00 P.M. It has long since been known as the Haun's Mill Massacre.

What would we do today if we had to face the same trouble? Would we have the courage to stick to our faith? would we pull together, as they did in the early days of the church? Have the lives that were lost been given for nothing? Did they love the church more than we do? It seems to me that the support and loyalty that was given in those days have diminished. The church finds it hard to get members to file their Tithing Statement, let alone pay it. Hardly anyone can be depended on to support any church activity. Going to church seems to be a secondary function in our lives. Where truly is our goal? It has to make you think. What did they have that we do not?

1983 by Charlene Ward

Research for the facts were gained from the Church History, Caldwell County History, records at the Recorder of Deeds office in Caldwell County, Missouri.

"Massacred at Haun's Mill"


Bertha Booth, Hamilton, Mo.
The Battle of the Mill in Caldwell County History

It will soon be Oct 30, the 113th anniversary of the Battle of Haun's Mill, usually known as Haun's mill Massacre, the darkest chapter in Caldwell County history, when 17 Latter Day Saints were killed in the attack on the hamlet of Haun's Mill by an attacking force of about 230 Gentile militiamen from Livingston County. A few years ago, a marker was placed fairly near the site of this well known event, the site being in the present Fairview township a few miles south of Breckenridge.

There survives in the state records a letter written on Nov 28, 1838 by a participant in this fray which tells the story very minutely but with some errors. The date of the letter (written to Gen. J. B. Clark) was less than a month after the attack. It follows below --

Gen. J. B. Clark,

Dear Sir, In answer to your note of this morning requesting me to give you such information as was in my knowledge relative to the battle fought on the 30th of October at the Mill on Shoal Creek between the citizens and the Mormons, I will state that the company I belonged to was stationed in the rear as a reserve, at a distance of about 40 yards from the line of battle. As soon as the line of battle was formed and before all the troops in the line had dismounted, the fire commenced (by Mormons, as I am told by those in front). The position I occupied prevented me from seeing the commencement; as soon as the firing commenced, the company I belonged to dismounted and ran into the line in front.

When I got sight of the position of the Mormons, they were all in the house (the letter writer here means the blacksmith shop), or under the bank of the creek and the smoke of their guns from both places appeared to be continual. Our men took a few fires at the cracks in

page 2 Battle at the Mill

the house when I heard the order to charge the house, which order was promptly obeyed. The men ran to the house, and as we approached, I saw one man have out his gun in front of me, and I stepped to one side. The man in front of me squatted and pitched down his "muzzel," and lay still until his gun fired, and then he arose, and as the above Mormon drew back his gun, our man shoved his gun into the house and fired. By this time, our men got possession of all the portholes, (there were no portholes in the blacksmith shop, just openings between logs) cracks etc. and kept up such a continuous fire that the Mormons could not get their guns out to shoot. They then broke our of the house and ran toward the creek but many fell in their flight. About that time, I heard the cry of "quarters," among our own men. I recollect distinctly hearing one of our men saying, "They called for quarters." I then halloed "Quarters, quarters" as loud as I could, which was re-echoed by those around me. The firing then ceased on our part, at which time a volley came from the creek. I then thought they had heard us calling for quarters, and thought that we were whipped. The firing was then renewed on our part and continued as long as there was a Mormon in sight, except their wounded. After the battle was near its close, I saw some of the Mormons that had reached the base of the hill south of the creek, about three hundred yards from us, stop, turn around and shoot back at us, then ran on.

After the battle had subsided, I saw some of our men carry our wounded man into a house, and laid him on a bed. Our men in counting the dead found one man in the house not hurt, who had fallen down in the early part of the action, as was covered with the slain. I saw him and talked with him the moment he was taken prisoner. Those who counted said 31 was killed of the Mormons and seven of our men was wounded. We then got a wagon and horses and such as our men as was unable to ride horses was put into the wagon and we left the place.

page 3,

The above is the outline of the affair as my recollection serves me. I am Respectfully Daniel Ashby".

This old letter to General Clark written a few weeks after this massacre differs from modern reports on the same event, as verified by reputable authorities of the time. There were 15 Mormons killed outright, with two [who] died later instead of the 31 mentioned by Ashby in his report. The house in which the Mormons first took refuge was really the blacksmith shop, a part of the small hamlet of Haun's Mill. The so-called port holes mentioned in the letter were really the gaps between the logs which make the walls of the shop.

According to most authorities of today, the firing started not from the Mormons but from the Livingston militia.

The letter writer does not mention the subsequent chapter in this massacre, i.e. the burial of the 15 victims. To get the entire story of this event, the last chapter of the burial should be told. The families of the victims, dragged their dead into a central spot, and spent the night in lamentations, prayers and Mormon hymns. Then when dawn came, they realized that the bodies had to be buried at once, because in the warm night, they had already begun to turn black. There were but three or four able bodied men to dig graves, not enough to dig for the 15 dead. Therefore the bodies were slid down gently into a half dug well near the blacksmith shop and the well filled up as best the survivors could. There they rest today, the exact spot of their burial having been long ago lost in the field which since that time has usually been used for a cornfield.

Because of its significance in religious intolerance, the spot is frequently visited by Mormons and Gentiles alike, while the old Haun's Mill stone which helped to operate the old mill is lying quietly in the public park at Breckenridge, Mo. a few miles to the north.



Characters

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAMES MCBRIDE
James McBride, 1818-1876 Autobiography (1818-1846)typescript, HBLL

My grandfather's name was James McBride; he was born in the state of Virginia--in which state he died at seventy or seventy-five years of age.

My grandmother's maiden name was Mary White. After her marriage to my grandfather, she gave birth to John, James, Philip and Thomas. Of the girls there were Isabelle, Mary, and Sarah--and I believe another girl, whose name I can not tell, but was the wife of McDougal. Perhaps the names are not given regular--but as nearly so as I can remember having heard them.

I believe my grandfather was of Irish descent.

My grandfather's name on my mother's side, was Thomas John. His wife's name was Ruth. After her marriage to grandfather John, she gave birth to James and also a son who was scalded and died when quite young, whose name I can not give. Of the girls, Sarah, Elizabeth, Hannah and Catherine my mother, are all I have any information of.

Thomas McBride, (my father) was born March, 1776; in London County, Virginia. At the age of about eighteen, he was married to Catherine John. At the time she was about sixteen years of age. I think they were married in Hancock County, Virginia--at least grandfather John lived in that county at that time.

To my mother were born, Rebecca, Ruth, Amos, Mary, Hannah, Elizabeth, Susan, Thomas, Sarah, Isabelle, James, Catherine and Dorcas. There were two other girls born in the family, that died when infants, and I think they were not named.

The first seven above named were born in the state of Virginia, in which state Susan died.

(1810) My father left Virginia in the Spring of 1810--and moved to New Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio; a journey of about three hundred miles. Taking with him all his children living except Ruth; who was living with her grandfather and grandmother John and remained in Virginia for some time after.

In the autumn of 1813, my father returned to Virginia and brought home with him, Ruth. I will now give you a short account of my father's trip. He rode a pacing mare called Snap--and not being able to furnish a better mode of conveyance, my sister Ruth, who was then about fourteen years old, was obliged to ride and walk in turn with father, a trip as you already understand of about three hundred miles, from Virginia, to Lancaster, Ohio.

Rebecca and Mary were both married in Fairfield County, Ohio.

Thomas, Sarah, Isabelle and myself were born in the same county.

(1820) In March 1820 father moved from Fairfield County, to Wayne County, a distance of about one hundred and ten miles. Taking with him Ruth, Amos, Elizabeth, Thomas, Sarah, Isabelle, and myself. There he took a lease on a school section of land for fifteen years--which was situated on one of the tributaries of the Mohegan, called the Red Haw.

The conditions on which the lease was took, was that my father was obliged to clear not less than twenty acres of heavy timbered land. The clearing was to be divided into fields of not more than seven acres each, lawfully fenced. He was also to put out an orchard of not less than twenty-five apple trees, and twenty-five poach trees each. A log house, and a double log-barn were to be built.

My father's circumstances were very poor. He had but little stock when he took the lease, and unfortunately lost part of that. But bone and sinew were put to chopping and grubbing--and the younger hands to gathering brush--whether boys or girls, it mattered not, the clearing must be done. The first year about five acres were cleared, and put in corn. Heavy frosts destroyed the crop, so the first year there was no income from the lease.

In three years, however, the eighty acres were about cleared, and a gradual income was realized.

Catherine and Dorcas were born in Wayne County.

Ruth, my oldest sister remaining at home, was here married to Perry Durfee; a few years after my father took the lease.

(1826) Amos McBride, married Keriah McBride--a daughter of Robert McBride, but no relation to my father's family. Elizabeth, afterward married a man by the name of James McMillen. My sister Sarah died about the year 1828.

Chapter 2

Go those whose eyes peruse these pages in search of the more particular history of my life--let me say, go back with me a few years, and I will endeavor to give you a plain account of my life, from my childhood.

(1818) I was born on the 9th, day of May A.D. 1818 in the county of Fairfield, state of Ohio. I was but two years old when my father moved to Wayne County. Of that early part of my life you have already read something in the first chapter of work. And perhaps I could not say much more than I already said that would be of interest to you about it.

While my father lived on the Red Haw, a branch of the Mohegan--on the lease--of which I have already given an account--came first to us the sound of the everlasting gospel, as revealed to man in these last days. It was the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; proclaimed by two elders, Thomas Tripp and Harvey Green. I was then about thirteen years old. My father, who previously had not felt to join any Christian denomination, now opened his house, and welcomed the elders to his home.

(1831) The first sermons preached on the Red Haw, by elders of this church, were preached in my father's house in April 1831, by the above named elders. Soon after, my father, mother and sister Isabelle were baptized and confirmed members of the church, by the same elders.

(August 1833) My father sold the lease; and in August 1833, accompanied by brother Amos and his family, and James McMillen and family, started to Jackson County, Missouri to join with the Church. The season being well advanced, he was not able to get further than to Richland, County, Ohio that season.

(1834) While there, Isabelle and Thomas both married.

My father stayed in Richland County, till the Spring of 1834; when accompanied by Amos and family, James McMillen and family, Isabelle and husband, James Dayley and family and Thomas and his family, he started to Missouri.

(June 1834) Having traveled about two months with ox teams, in the latter part of June 1834 we arrived in Pike County, Missouri.

The Church being very much scattered and unsettled, we remained in Pike County about two years.

(1836) In the spring of 1836, the company above mentioned, moved to Ray County, and there joined with a branch of the church. We stopped there about three months, during which time we suffered a great deal with ague and fever.

The howling of the mob were heard on every side, and it was decided that we should move to Caldwell County.

In September, my father, taking with him what of his children yet remained at home, and accompanied by James Dayley and wife, moved to Caldwell County, and settled about three fourths of a mile from Haun's Mill on Shoal Creek.

There, my father entered from government eighty acres of land and began to make a home.

A branch of the church was organized at Haun's Mill, presided over by David Evans.

(1838) I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by David Evans, in June 1838. At the same time James Haun and Isaac Laney were baptized.

Though many of the followers of the Prophet Joseph Smith had been beaten, tarred and feathered, driven from their homes and their property confiscated for the use of mobocrats, their persecutions were not yet to cease. Threats were made against the Mormons, the rights of citizenship were denied them.

The little few now fully realizing the dangerous situation in which they were placed, decided to adopt measures to defend themselves against the raids of the mob. It was decided that a guard should be kept at the mill.

Chapter 3

(October 30, 1938) One beautiful afternoon on the 30th day of October 1838, my father came home from meeting with the brethren at the mill. He talked with me, and told me the arrangements made. He was called to help to form the guard. I was sick at the time, with the every-other-day ague, and father said on my well day, I should take his place with the guard and that he would guard on the day that I was sick. That with himself and me, he wished to fill one man's place. You will remember my father was then in his sixty-third year. During the summer he had been very sick--but having recovered, appeared to feel very well; in fact I think he looked better than I had ever before saw him.

My sister Catherine was living at the mill with Hauns' family. Leaving only me and my youngest sister Dorcas, at home with father and mother.

Father was in good spirits, and his countenance wore a cheerful expression. Having shaved himself in his usual style, leaving side beards--and taking with him his guns and blankets, started on his return to the mill to join the rest of the guard. Mother, with sister Dorcas started to visit a neighbor woman, living about a quarter of a mile distant form father's place. This being the day on which I was sick, the next day I should have taken father's place with the guard. I was then in my twenty- first year.

The day was gradually passing--evening was coming on.

The large red sun so characteristic of an Indian summer, shone through the smokey atmosphere. All was still.

My father had but little more than got to the mill--in fact not more than thirty minutes had elapsed from the time he left the house, when a gun was heard--and another--followed by the deadly crack of musketry, which told too well the fate of all who fell a prey to the blood-thirsty mob.

Perhaps not more than six minutes had passed from the firing of the first gun, 'till the massacre was accomplished,--the bloody deed was done.

The firing ceased--the screams of mothers, daughters and the wounded, told the dreadful tale!

The bloody picture in the book of time; may it ever stamp with stigma the brow of that government that offered not a protecting hand to those who were ruthlessly cut down--wounded; or were made widows, and orphans, at the Haun's Mill Massacre.

The sun slowly sank beneath the western horizon--and darkness spread its broad mantle over the universe.

With a single exception, the dead were left lying where they fell--in fact there were none left that were able to take care of them. Whether dead or alive, all feared alike--all was uncertain--all was pain and sorrow.

In vain did the affectionate wife with aching heart and streaming eyes watch through the long, long night for the return of her husband.

(October 31, 1833) The 31st day dawned, and again the rays of the morning sun, kissed the landscape. As yet the extent of the massacre was not known.

Brother Amos having been detailed on the previous day to get wood for families, was on his way to the mill when he was told there had been serious trouble there. His home was about three miles from the mill, and as he was not detailed on guard, was not at the mill at the time of the slaughter.

He went on; and passing the mill a short distance, came to Haun's house. The first object that met his eye in human form, was the mangled body of my murdered father [Thomas McBride], lying in the door yard. He had been shot with his own gun, after having given it into the mobs possession. Was cut down and badly disfigured with a corn cutter, and left lying in the creek. Some of the women had dragged him from the creek into the door yard and left him there. One of his ears was almost cut from his head--deep gashes were cut in his shoulders; and some of his fingers cut till they would almost drop from his hand.

On further examination it was found that fifteen were murdered, and fifteen wounded--one of whom was a woman, Mary Stedwell, who in trying to escape, was shot through the hand, and fell behind a log. Several bullet holes were found in the log, directly opposite of where she lay. Alma Smith a small boy; and I believe one Merrick were the only wounded children that were yet alive. Of the wounded men, three afterward died. Making eighteen dead in all.

Isaac Laney a young man that was baptized into the church at the same time that I was, was in the black-smith shop, when the mob began to fire on them. His gun stock was shot to pieces in his hands. He then escaped from the shop, ran to the mill, and climbed down one of the mill timbers into the creek. That being the quickest way for him to escape danger. From there he went into the house, where sister Catherine, Mrs. Haun, Mrs. Merril and some other women were. They administered to Isaac, and put him under the floor. He had received eleven bullet marks in his body. I was well acquainted with Isaac Laney, and helped to take care of him until he recovered. He told me that when trying to escape from the mob, the blood gushing from his mouth would almost strangle him. While he was under the floor he said he suffered a great deal for want of water. The women not daring to venture out to get water until they felt sure the mob was entirely gone. Isaac recovered, and lived thirty-five years from the day of the Haun's Mill Massacre.

Chapter 4

A few rods south of the blacksmith shop, was an unfinished well, about eight or twelve feet deep; but no water was in it. This made the sepulchre for the dead. Fifteen murdered persons, including my father, were carried on a board, one at a time, and dropped into that well--by brother Amos McBride, James Dayley and Jacob Myers: the only three able bodied men that were present.

It was now plainly shown that there was no mercy for us. What few men, and boys that were of much age--yet alive--were under necessity of hiding away, to escape danger.

About the first day of November, being tired of lying out in the woods, I concluded to venture a trip to the mill. I was anxious to see the grounds on which the slaughter took place; and learn if possible, the general situation of affairs. Accordingly, with feelings that I can not here describe, I slowly wended my way to the spot. I walked over the grounds, noticing here and there the blood stained earth--and seriously reflecting on our then sorrowful situation. On the outside, the logs of the shop were defaced with bullet marks, and on the inside of the shop, the ground was scarcely visible for blood.

I traced the blood from the dead bodies of those who were carried and buried in the well. I went to the place and stood at the edge of the silent tomb of my beloved father. A silent prayer I offered to God, and turned away.

I went to a house in which a widow woman lived, by name [William] Napier--her husband was a victim of the massacre. She was yet there with her family. She advised me to be careful least the mob might come upon me, and kill me.

Having spent a few minutes at the house, I went into the mill, to look once again through it. While there a noise attracted my attention, and I saw the woman of whom I have just spoken--running and beckoning to me in an affrighted manner. I sprang to the door-way, and saw about thirty rods distant a posse of men, coming in the direction of the mill. I did not feel right in trusting myself in their hands--but rather than let them see me run to escape, I would have died. I therefore walked from the mill to the dam, crossed it, and quietly walked on until I was out of sight. Why they did not fire at me I can not tell.

A few days after, a company of men, commanded by Nehemiah Comstock took possession of the mill.

In that company was a man by name [Howard] Mopin, for whom, my father who was then a magistrate, had collected a judgment amounting to ten dollars and ten cents, just before his death. Mopin now threatened that my mother's house would be burned down over us, if the money was not forth coming. I heard of the treats made, and after reflecting for a time took the money and started to chance my fate with the mob. In as bold a manner as I could assume, I went among them. They did not bother me, and I soon thought myself quite safe. I found Mopin, and presented him with the money. He took it, and seemed somewhat effected, on learning the situation of my father's family. To renumerate me for my trouble, he gave me ten cents.

I was quite small for my age--was smooth faced, and very sickly--which perhaps in part accounted for me being allowed to depart in peace. Having ventured thus far, I decided that I would again return, and act as a spy.

One day having worked my way back into their midst, I discovered that a man by name Robert White, who was a member of the Church had turned traitor, and gave the enemy all the information he could about the Mormon families and their situations. The captain who was aside instructing his men, I overheard mention my brother Amos' name, as one having a gun--which he said was hid in a hollow tree. And if he refused to give it up when called for, they were instructed to shoot him down without further ceremony.

As soon as a chance presented itself, I left the camp, and as soon as I was out of their sight, made my way across the hills, to where Amos lived--and told him what I had heard. I advised him to go and get his gun, and demanded of him, to give it to them--as we were betrayed, and if he tried to keep his gun, he would lose his life. I then hurried away before the mob came. Amos done as I had advised him.

A few days after, brother Amos, James Dayley and David Lewis, were taken prisoners. They were kept a few days, harassed and tormented, and then set at liberty.

While Comstock's Company remained at the mill, they used it to do their grinding. They would shoot down our cattle and hogs--not caring how much they were needed by the widows and children that had been left to care for themselves. When they wished honey, they would take a hive to their camp, split it open with an ax, and help themselves. This was indeed hard to endure, but to resist was death.

The Governor of Missouri (Boggs) not being satisfied with the suffering already borne by the Latter-day Saints issued orders requiring them to surrender their fire arms, give up their principal leaders, and leave the state at a given time. The suffering caused by that exterminating order of Boggs', could hardly be described. Families were turned out of their homes, and the widows and orphans found themselves cast helplessly upon the mercy of the church. Some were without teams, and almost destitute of food and clothing. Thus exposed to the storms of winter, and travel a journey of more than two hundred miles.

It was now necessary to get rid of our home at the mill, in the best way we could. If we could get something for it, well and good, and if not, we were to leave it any how. The place was worth about one thousand dollars.

(February 24, 1839) We left Haun's Mill, on the 24th, of February; on our way to Illinois. The first day we traveled about nine miles--and then camped in a house which had been vacated by one of the brethren. The day had turned extremely cold--and we decided to remain at that place 'till the weather became more favorable for traveling. While there camped, we were informed that our guns, which had been taken from the saints at Haun's Mill, and at the surrender of arms at Far West, had been taken to Richmond in Ray County--and that we could get them by first describing them, swearing to the description--and paying a fee of sixty-cents for each gun. James Dayley and myself, decided to ascertain the truth of the matter, and if possible, get our guns. My main object was, however, to get possession of my father's gun--with which you may remember father was shot.

(February 27, 1839) Accordingly about the 27th, we started to Richmond--at the same time, the main body of our company started on their journey to Illinois. We had no horses to ride--no teams were traveling in that direction--consequently, we were compelled to go on foot.

And now, let me say--this was the beginning of the three hardest days suffering from fatigue that I ever experienced.

The first day about one hour before sunset we arrived in Richmond--and after describing our guns, taking the oath, and paying the required fees, we were directed into a room in which was stacked several hundred guns--all of which justly belonged to our people--but of which they had been unwarrantedly deprived. My father's gun was not to be found by us--but fortunately I got my brother Amos' gun--James Dayley got his. Having done all we could, we turned our faces in the direction of our company. Having traveled about ten miles on our way, at a late hour we stopped for the night, at the home of brother Pleasant Ewell who had been a good friend to many of the Saints-- and who gave us lodging, supper and breakfast.

At an early hour of the morning we were again traveling. After a hard days trip, just before sun set we came to a place where we were informed our company had passed about eleven o'clock that day. We were now on the road our company had travelled, which made us anxious to push forward. We had been without eating since early breakfast, so we arranged with the man of the place for our dinners, for which we paid twelve and a half cents each.

A few miles ahead, commenced a prairie--through which we would have to travel for about eighteen miles. The country through which we were traveling was a new country, and it was not thought strange there to travel ten or more miles without seeing a house. But with the hope that our company had camped at the edge of the prairie and we might overtake them, we travelled on. Darkness came upon us, we reached the prairie, but found no one there. The wolves howling around us in almost every direction. We were indeed tired--but to lie down in the cold, and trust ourselves to the hungry appetites of howling wolves, seemed hopeless, and we still traveled on. Repeatedly I proposed to my traveling companion to stop, but he would not consent to the proposition at that critical time. Slowly we trudged on, 'till at a late hour--when we saw, to our right--and about a mile distant a fire in the timbers. We left the road, and went in the direction of the fire. When we got to the place, we gathered wood to keep fire, and there camped for the rest of the night.

Before day dawned, the shrill Clarion of the dung-hill cock informed us, we were then but a short distance from a house. We went to the house and got our breakfasts; which were very acceptable to hungry, and weary foot travelers.

About eleven o'clock that day we overtook our company. We had traveled an average of about forty miles each day--and you are left to judge the good feelings we enjoyed, at again joining our friends.

After a tedious journey--and a great deal of exposure--from which many died, we arrived in Adams County, Illinois. At which place I built a house, about four miles east of Payson. I rented a piece of land which I farmed one season.

At that place Dorcas married Harrison Severe.

(April 1840) In the spring of 1840, about the last of April, I started to Nauvoo, Hancock, County. Taking with me my mother, and sister Catherine. Accompanied by Amos and family--James Dayley and family and Harrison Severe and wife--also a young man by name of William Pope, who afterward married Catherine.

At Nauvoo I got in with a man named Creamer, from whom I got a small place, and raised a crop of corn the first year. The gathering of the church was at Nauvoo.

(1841) In the year 1841, I rented a portion of a farm from a man named John Eagle, which I cultivated.

(July 26, 28, 1841) My circumstances were very good, and all went well until about July, when my mother was taken with the kings evil--from which she died about the 26th or 28th, of July 1841.

At that place Catherine married William Pope.

In the autumn of 1841, I moved north about two miles, and built another home. On which I remained about a year and a half, and then disposed of it.

(1843--March 7, 1844) In the spring of 1843, I bought a piece of land, about one mile still north, on which I built a home, and made some improvement. While on that place, I married Olive Mahetable Cheeney, on the evening of 7th, day of March 1844. Olive Mahetable Cheeney, daughter of Aaron Cheeney, and Mahetabel Wells, was born on the 16th, day of Mary, A.D. 1817, in Bloomfield, Cataraugus County, state of New York.

(June 27th, 1844) On the 27th day of June 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and Patriarch Hyrum Smith, were murdered at Carthage Jail Illinois.

Chapter 5

The hand of the assassin was not yet stayed. The persecutions of the saints were very severe and having long suffered the gross impositions of all who wished us evil, it was discovered that we would again have to move.

(January 28, 1846) Accordingly on the 28th of January 1846, the breaking up of the Church at Nauvoo began.

(February 6, 1946) My first son--Brigham McBride, was born at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois on the 6th day of February 1846.

In order to keep affairs in the best possible conditions, it was necessary to organize the Church into companies. First headed by a captain, would be a company of one hundred families. These families divided into two companies of fifty families each. Over each of these was a captain. These fifties were divided into companies consisting of ten families, each ten having a separate captain. Of the ten of which I was a member, James Dayley was the captain.

(April 1846) In April 1846, we left Nauvoo, directing our course westward. A span of horses, (of very inferior quality) to a small wagon--a yoke of oxen and wagon, made up the traveling outfit for our entire company--to which was also added a widow woman and family. The first day we moved to the banks of the Mississippi--taking first a part of the company, their bedding, clothing and provisions and unloading it at the river. Then returning with the teams for those remaining behind-- and so on 'till at evening the company were all together. This was the way we traveled each day--and by this means we traveled about twenty-five miles in ten days--all camping together every night.


Robert White

Autobioagrphy of James McBride - "One day having worked my way back into their midst, I discovered that a man by name Robert White, who was a member of the Church had turned traitor, and gave the enemy all the information he could about the Mormon families and their situations. The captain who was aside instructing his men, I overheard mention my brother Amos' name, as one having a gun--which he said was hid in a hollow tree. And if he refused to give it up when called for, they were instructed to shoot him down without further ceremony. "