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Martha Thomas
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Martha Thomas autobiography, in Daniel Thomas Family History (1927), p.14 - 19
Far West, Missouri, 1838

Mr. Thomas had entered all the land he wanted, timber and prairie, driven his stakes for a large farm, as though he could turn the world upside down with a plow. He put in a large crop but before it was ripe he was called to other duties.

Brother James Allred called on him and his brother, Henry, to join the big field company. They wanted to fence a large field for the benefit of the poor. They wanted all the tools for farming that could be spared, oxen, horses, cows, and work when called on. He told them "Yes" he would do anything the rest did. Henry, his brother, said "No," he had all he could do to take care of himself. I tell this to show my first lesson in obeying counsel.

Mobbing

Our house was the last house on the Richmond road, leading from Far West to Richmond. About two miles from our house there was a little place called Buncom, where the mob gathered to counsel which way to go. At first they did not seem to notice those living close by, but would go to Davis and other far away places. Therefore my husband and others were called to go and guard those settlements, which left me alone with my little ones. I cannot tell how long I stayed alone; I was so busy gathering our crops I scarcely noticed them. When they passed by if they wanted anything they would help themselves. I never spoke to them unless they spoke to me. I answered them with as fine a words as possible. Later, I made up my mind if Mr. Thomas got home alive, I would never stay another night alone.

He came home Monday about nine o'clock. I did not tell him anything about it. Tuesday about six in the afternoon word was sent him to gather his men and go to the outside settlers between his house and Crooked River. The mob was gathering there for battle.

They drove women and children from their homes and set their houses on fire. The prairie was on fire and the smoke and flames were whirling up in the air so high it looked like the world was in a blaze. He commenced buckling on his sword. I spoke to Morgan to yoke up the oxen. He looked up with surprise. "What are you going to do with the oxen." "I am going to town." "What tonight?" "Yes, I will not stay another night alone." He saw I was in earnest, laid down his sword and began to throw things in in the wagon, pell, mell. I had a big iron kettle of beef bones boiling, he drained the water off and hoisted it in the front of the wagon; then picking up the children, tossed them in. I called to him saying: "Don't set them in the kettle of bones." We had to stop and laugh, even though our enemies were upon us. He then gathered up his gun and sword and started on the run as his men have gone on ahead. The children and I started for Far West just as the sun was setting.

As we were passing Henry Thomas's place my sister-in-law ran out to know where I was going. "Well" she said, "if you go, I will." I passed on to Benjamin Clapp's; his wife came out; I told her where I was going. "Well" she said, "Go on, I will overtake you." I drove on to Brother William Allred's. Brother Crider called, "What is up now?" I told him, "Well hold on, I will go too." It was then dark. Sister Crider commenced pitching their things in the wagon, young ones and all.

We now had five wagons, two men, the rest were women and children. We started on again, Brother Crider in the lead. It was very dark, I walked all the way beside my team for fear of accident. My son was only twelve years old. We got there about ten o'clock. I drove to Brother David Patten's, found them all asleep. I rapped on the door he said come in. I spoke to Brother Patten. "Well Sister Thomas, you are the last one I would have taken for a coward." "I am no coward, but I did not feel safe so close to the mob." Sister Patten got up and lit a candle, saying "Bring your beds in." She cleared a place for me on the floor which was covered with beds. Brother Johnson, P. Lane and his family, also William Patten and family, were there.

We all quieted down for sleep, but there was no sleep for me. At midnight a drum was sounded, a gun fired. I called to Brother Patten. "You are scared" he said. Another gun was heard. "That's two," says I. "If that is so there is trouble." He called to Brother Bently, who was looking for him to get his horse ready quickly. In a few minutes they were all out of sight.

What took place in the next few days many have told; suffice it to say he was brought home a corpse from the battle of "Crooked River." When I started for town, Mr. Thomas, my husband, said he would be there early the next morning. He did not arrive until late in the evening. I was very uneasy, not knowing whether he was dead or alive.

In a few days the militia marched in sight, camped on the east bank of Goose Creek. Four thousand in number; it was a terrible sight to see their campfires after dark. How horrifying it was to us, to heal the yells, shouts and screams; the damned in hell could not be any worse than that was.

That evening Brother Joseph and his brethren walked into camp "like lambs to the slaughter." Never will I forget those or eternity. I wish I could speak so it would be stamped on the minds of my posterity as with indelible ink, never to be ruled out.

The death sentence was pronounced on them. They were to be shot next morning, but they were not.

 

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Last modified: March 19, 2006