Home Up TB Marsh Affidavit S Rigdon July 4 speech Mormon War Letters 1838 Chronology

1838 Chronology
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Stephen C. LeSueur: The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri

14 March 1838 Joseph Smith arrives in Far West.
June Danites organize in Far West.
17 June Sidney Rigdon delivers "Salt Sermon" condemning Mormon dissenters.
19 June After receiving warning, dissenters flee from Caldwell County.
28 June Mormons lay out town and organize a Stake of Zion at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Daviess County.
July Mormons open settlements at DeWitt and throughout northwestern Missouri.
4 July Fourth of July celebration at Far West. Rigdon declares Mormons will wage a "war of extermination" against mobs.
14 July Carroll citizens meet to oppose Mormon settlement at DeWitt. Meetings and threats against Mormons at DeWitt continue throughout the summer.
6 August Gallatin election battle. Daviess settlers talk of organizing against the Mormons.
7 August Joseph Smith leads one hundred fifty Danites to Diahman to protect the Saints. Mormons threaten judge Adam Black and others suspected of anti-Mormon activities. Reports of Mormon "invasion" spread through upper counties.
13 August Daviess County judges issue writs for the arrest of Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight.
13 August Committee of Carroll citizens orders the Saints to leave the county.
20 August One hundred armed men ride into DeWitt and threaten Mormons.
20-30 August Citizen groups and vigilantes meet in upper counties and resolve to assist Daviess and Carroll counties in bringing alleged Mormon criminals to justice.
30 August Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, responding to reports of civil and Indian disturbances in western counties, orders twenty-eight hundred state troops to stand ready to march.
3 September David R. Atchison and Alexander W. Doniphan are hired as lawyers for Smith and Wight.
7 September Smith and Wight are tried at a preliminary hearing in Daviess County. Judge Austin A. King orders the defendants to post bail and appear at the next hearing of the grand jury in Daviess.
9 September Excitement in upper counties continues as Mormons capture three men attempting to transport guns to vigilantes in Daviess County. Mormons and Missourians petition Judge King to quell the disturbances.
10 September Judge King orders General Atchison to raise four hundred troops and disperse the Mormons and non-Mormon vigilantes.
13 September Carroll vigilantes postpone assault on DeWitt and march to Daviess to assist settlers against the Mormons.
18 September After receiving reports of disturbances, Governor Boggs orders out two thousand troops and prepares to lead march to western Missouri.
20 September Atchison disperses vigilantes in Daviess County and leaves one hundred troops under General Parks to maintain peace.
21 September Carroll County vigilantes, returning from Daviess, resolve to expel the Saints from DeWitt.
24 September Governor Boggs receives letter from Atchison stating that vigilantes in Daviess have dispersed. Boggs dismisses troops and returns to Jefferson City.
1 October Vigilantes attack DeWitt, burn the home and stables of Smith Humphrey. During the next several days Mormons appeal to Governor Boggs and other civil authorities for protection.
6 October General Parks arrives in DeWitt with one hundred troops to quell disturbances. Anti-Mormon spirit among troops forces Parks to return to Ray County a few days later.
9 October Messenger reports to Mormons that the governor said they must rely on local authorities for protection. He will not intervene.
11 October Mormons at DeWitt surrender and move to Caldwell and Daviess counties. Carroll vigilantes resolve to help settlers expel Mormons from Daviess.
14-15 October Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon call upon Mormon troops to ride to Diahman to protect the Saints, threatening those who will not join the Mormon army. Four hundred soldiers march to Daviess County.
16-17 October Generals Doniphan and Parks prepare to march with troops to Daviess, but inclement weather and anti-Mormon sentiment in militia causes generals to abandon expedition. Parks continues to Daviess alone.
18 October Mormon soldiers attack Gallatin, Millport, and other settlements in Daviess, driving non-Mormon settlers from their homes, plundering, and burning. Missourians retaliate.
18 October General Parks visits Mormons and Missourians in Daviess. Parks discovers that civil war has broken out and declares that Mormons are now the aggressors.
22 October Mormon troops return to Far West after driving nearly all non-Mormons from Daviess.
24 October Apostles Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde sign affidavits in Ray County describing Mormon activities. Ray committee returns from Daviess with similar reports of depredations. Capt. Samuel Bogart calls out Ray troops to prevent invasion by Mormons.
24 October Bogart and his troops harass Mormon settlers in Ray and Caldwell counties. They capture two Mormon spies and threaten to execute them.
25 October Capt. David W. Patten leads Mormon troops to rescue spies. Troops clash at Crooked River, with three Mormons and one Missourian killed. Exaggerated reports of Crooked River battle spread throughout the state. Fearing the Mormons intend to continue attacks, Generals Atchison, Doniphan, and Parks call out state militia to quell alleged Mormon rebellion.
27 October Governor Boggs, responding to reports of Mormon depredations in Daviess County and their attack on state troops at Crooked River, orders that the Mormons must be "exterminated or driven from the state."
30 October Missouri troops, under command of Gen. Samuel D. Lucas of Jackson County, arrive outside Far West. Mormon leaders send messengers to learn intentions of troops.
30 October Two hundred soldiers from Livingston and nearby counties overrun Mormon village of Haun's Mill, killing eighteen and wounding fifteen.
31 October Col. George Hinkle, John Corrill, and other Mormon representatives attempt to negotiate with General Lucas, but receive demands for surrender. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and other Mormon leaders give themselves up as hostages. About seventy-five Mormon soldiers, advised of the surrender plans, flee from Far West during the night.
1 November Joseph Smith advises Mormon troops at Far West and Diahman to surrender. Mormon War ends.
1 November General Lucas holds a court-martial of seven Mormon leaders. Opposition of General Doniphan and others prevents the execution of Mormon prisoners.
2 November Mormons forced to deed over their property to pay expenses for the war. This part of the surrender agreement is later declared illegal.
4 November General Clark arrives with troops and announces his intention to carry out the surrender terms exacted by General Lucas.
12-29 November Judge Austin A. King presides at Court of Inquiry held in Richmond, Ray County. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and a number of other Mormons are committed to prison on the basis of testimony against them.
February 1839
Missouri legislature debates whether to investigate the disturbances and allow the Mormons to remain. Legislation to investigate is tabled until July, after the Mormons have already left the state.
February Mormons pool resources and organize to leave Missouri.
11 April Joseph Smith and four other Mormons are indicted for crimes in Daviess County, and are granted a change of venue to Boone County.
16 April Smith and other prisoners escape from their guards and return to Saints, who are gathering at Quincy, Illinois.
May Nearly all the Saints have left Missouri.

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