From Historian to Dissident
Bruce N. Westergren, editor
[p.101](Immediately after the commandment was given and the epistle written O. Cowdry and N. K. Whitney went from place to place; and from Church to Church preaching and expounding the Scriptures and Commandments and obtaining commandments moneys of the disciples for the purpose of buying lands for the Saints [in Missouri] according to commandments and the disciples truly opened their hearts, and thus there has been lands purchased, for the inheritance of the Saints.)
Soon after this[,] the time of holding the general conference drew near and Joseph the Seer and Sidney the Scribe moved from Kirtland Ohio to Hiram Portage Co. and continued the Translation of the new Testament,1 On the 25 day of Oct. 1831, the Elders assembled together at Serenes Burners in the township of Orange and County of Cuyahaga Ohio 12 high priests—17 elders—5 priests and 3 teachers: at Which conference were ordained 1 elder & 14 priests the names of whom you will find <recorded> an [in] the the conference minute book.2
[p.102]About this time it was in contemplation for Oliver Cowdry to go to Zion [Missouri] and carry with him the Revelations and Commandments, and I also received a revelation to go with him.3 we left Ohio, on the 20 of Nov, 1831 and arrived in Zion Mo. Jan. 5, 1832.
When we arrived in Zion we found the saints in as good situation as we could reasonably expect.
Jan. 23, 1832, held a conference in Zion attended to the business of the church and licensed ten elders to go and preach the gospel.
In March 1832, the enemies held a counsel in Independence Jackson County Mo. how they might destroy the saints but did not succeed at this time, But continued their brails until they had expelld us from the county as you will hereafter see.
[— — — by those from—that we — — — —]. there are at this time 402 disciples living in this land Zion.
And it came to pass that Joseph the seer and Sidney the Scribe and N. W. Whitney and one Jesse Gause4 came to Zion to comfort the Saints and setle some little dificulties, and regulate the church and affairs concerning it, we had a pleasant visit with them and they returned again in peace. I will here mention one circumstance and the return of these brethren while they were riding in a Stage coach the horses ran away and upset the coach and broke N. K. Whitney[‘s] [p.39] ankle bone. but notwithstanding through the providence of God he soon got home, but is now somewhat infirm in consequence of aforesaid accident.5
About these days the Lord gave a Commandment for Joseph the seer and N. K. Whitney the Bishop at Kirtland to go and cry repentance to the cities of Boston New York and Albany. and bear testimony of their utter abolishment if they [p.103]did not repent and receive the gospel.
Zion is prospering at present and high priests are stationed to watch over the several branches. December 1, 1832, there are now 538 individuals in this land belonging to the church.
And it came to pass that in the fall of the year 1832, the disciples at Ohio received the gift of tongues and in June 1833 we received the gift of tongues in Zion.6
About these days we received the following epistle We the undersigned citizens of Jackson County believing: that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society in consequence, of a pretended religious sect of people styling themselves that have setled and are still setling in our County styling themselves Mormons, and intending to rid ourselves as we do peacefly if we can and forcibly if we must, and believing as we do, that the arm of civil law does not afford us a guarantee or at least a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect deem it expedient, and of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company, for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose which we deem almost superfluous to say is Justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self preservation.
It is more than two years since the first of these fannoticks or knaves, (for one or the other they undoubtedly are) made their first appearance among us. and pretending as they did, and now do, to hold personal communion and converse face to face with the most high God to receive communications and revelations, direct from heaven, to heal the sick by the laying on of hands and in short, to perform all the wonder working miracles wrought by the inspired apostles and Prophets. We believe them deluded fanaticks or weak and designing knaves, and that they and their pretentious would soon pass away, but [p.104]in this we were deceived. The arts of a few designing leaders among them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society, and since the arrival of the first of them they have daily increased, and if they had been respectable citizens in society, and thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than to our contempt and hatred, but from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct, since their comming among us, we have every reason to believe that with but a few very exceptions, they were of the very diggs of that society from which they came, lazy Idle and vicious[.]
This we conceive is not idle assertion but a fact susceptible of proof, For with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our country little or no property with them, and left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the Mormon car, who had nothing earthly or heavenly to loose by the change. and we fear that if some of the leaders among them had paid the forfeit due the crime, instead of being chosen embassadors of the most high, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true color. More than a year it has been ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves, and endeavering to sow dissension and raise sedition among them. Of this their Mormon leaders were informed, and they said they would deal with any of their members, who should again in like case offend, but how spacious are appearances in a late No. of the Star printed in Independence, by the leaders of the sect[.] there is an article inviting free negroes and mulatoes from other States to become mormons, and move and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colours. It manifests a desire on the part of their society, to inflict on our society, an injury that they know would be to us entirely insuportable, and one of the surest means, of driving us from the country. for it [p.105]would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see, that the introduction of such a cast among us, would corrupt our blacks, and instigate them to blood shed.
They openly blaspheme the most high God, and cast contempt on his holy religion, by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven by pretending to speak in unknown tongues, by direct inspiration, and by divine pretentions derogotory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason.
They declare openly that God has given them this Country of land and that sooner or later they must and will have <possession of> our lands, for an inheritance and in fine they have conducted themselves, on [p. 42] many other occasions in such a manner, that we believe it a duty, we owe ourselves, to our wives and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up our possesions to them, or to receive into the bosom of our families as fit companions for our wives and daughters the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulatoes, that are now invited to setle among us.
Under such a state of things [,] even [in] beautiful country, would [it not] cease to be a desirable residence, and our situations intolerable? We therefore agree that after timely warning, and upon receiving an adiquate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us; we agree to use such means as will be sufficient, to remove them and to that end we pledge each to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
July 15, 1833.
We will meet at the court house in the Town of Independence on Saturday next, the 20 ult: to consult of ulterior movements.
[p.106]A committee was appointed at the foregoing meeting and waited on us. Partridge Corrill, Phelps <&c>. Cowdry &c. [met with] the committee consisted of Lewis Franklin, Mr. Campbell, Jud[ge] Lucas, Judge Fristoe, Russel Hicks, Mr. Simpson, two of the Mr. Wilsons[,] Captain Tipitts[,] & Mr. Commings.
To answer them this question will you leave this County or not? allowing us only fifteen minutes to answer the question. We did not
any reply at that time:
The committee further required of us to shut up our printing office, store, Mechanical [p. 43] shops &c. immediately and leave the County.
Those who waited on the committee were A. S. Gilbert, Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, John Corrill[,] W W Phelps[,] and John Whitmer
When they found that we were unwilling to comply with their requests, they returned to the Courthouse and voted to raze the printing [office] to the ground which they immediattly did. and at the same time took Edward Partridge and Charles Allen and tarred and leathered them threatning to kill us if we did not leave the County immediately.
They were also determined to demolish the store A. S. Gilbert prevailed on them to let it stand until Tuesday next and have time to pack his goods himself.
Tuesday arrived and death and destruction stared us in the face. The whole County turned out and surrounded us [and] came to W W Phelps, and my hous and took us upon the publick Square, as also Partridge, Corrill, Morly, and Gilbert and were determined to massacre us unless we agreed to leave the County immediately. Finally we agreed to leave upon the following condition.
[p.107]July 23, 1833.
It is understood that the undersigned members of the said society do give their solemn pledge each for himself as follows. That Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, Wm. E. McLellin, Edward Partridge, Lyman Wight, Simeon Carter, Peter & John Whitmer, and harvey Whitlock, shall remove with their families out of this County on or before the first day of Jan. next and that they as well as the two herein after named use all their influence, to induce all the brethren, now here to move as soon as posible one half say by the first of Jan. next and all [p. 44] by the first day of April next and to advise and try all means in their power, to stop any more of their sect from moving to this County, as to those now on the road, and who have no notice of this agreement, they will use their influence to prevent their setling permanantly in the County but that they shall only make arrangement for temporal shelter till a new location is fixed on by the society. John Corrill & A. S. Gilbert, are allowed to remain as general agents to wind up the business of the society, so long as nesessity shall require, and said Gilbert may sell out his good[s] now on hand, but is to make no new importation. The Star is not again to be published no[r] a press set up by the society in this County.
If the said E. Partridge and W. W. Phelps move their families by the first of Jan. as aforesaid that they themselves will be allowed to go and come in order to transact and wind up their business. The committee pledge themselves, to use all their influence to prevent any violenc being used[,] so long as a compliance with the foregoing terms is observed by the parties concerned.
Samuel C. Owens N. K. Olmstead
Leonadas Oldham Wm. Bowers
[p.108]G. W. Simpson Z. Waller
W. L. Irvin Harman Gregg
John Harris Aaron Overton
Henry Childs Samuel Weston
Harvey H. Younger
Hugh L. Brazi<a>le
The battle was fought on the evening of the  4 November and only <one> of the brethren was killed & two of the mob.7 David Whitmer headed the disciples.
Independence Oct. 30, 1833.
About these days we employed counsellors to assist in prosecuting the law, which we had been advised by J. Smith Jr the seer to do[.] Therefore [we] employed Donaphan, Atchison, Rees and Wood8 of Liberty[,] Clay County[,] Mo. who engaged to carry on our Suits for $1000,00 which was agreed to be paid by E. Partridge and W W. Phelps which came from the church.
The Church was driven by the Mob of Jackson County on the 4. of November 1833. on the night of the 13th of the same month th[e] stars fell[.]9
1. Joseph Smith had been working on his “inspired version” of the Holy Bible. See Robert J. Matthews, “A Plainer Translation”: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible—A History and Commentary (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975).
4. Jesse Gause was born about 1785 in Pennsylvania; sometime before 1825 he married Martha Cuntry; they had five children. Gause was an active Quaker in Fayette and Chester counties in Pennsylvania and in Ohio. His wife, Martha, died in 1828. Gause married a woman named Minerva sometime before 1832; they had one child.
On April 26, 1830, Gause resigned as a Quaker preacher and sometime later that year became a member of the Shaker community in Hancock, Essex County, Massachusetts. In October 1831 the Gause family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and joined with the Shaker community there.
Gause was baptized into the Mormon church around October 22, 1831, and was ordained a high priest on March 8, 1832; that same day he was ordained a counselor to Joseph Smith in the newly organized First Presidency of the church.
In April 1832 Jesse traveled to Independence, Missouri, with Smith and several others. He remained in Missouri after the prophet returned to Ohio in May. By August 1832 he was back in Kirtland as well.
Gause was called to serve a mission in Pennsylvania with Aebedee Coltrin in the summer of 1832; the pair left Kirtland on August 1. Gause parted company with Coltrin around August 19, apparently en route to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where he had preached while still a Quaker. By December Gause had left the church. He was formally excommunicated on December 3, 1832 (Cook, Revelations, 171-72, 314-15; Robert J. Woodford, “Jesse Gause—Counselor to the Prophet,” Brigham Young University Studies 15 [Spring 1975]: 362-64; and D. Michael Quinn, “Jesse Gause: Joseph Smith’s Little-Known Counselor,” Brigham Young University Studies 23 [Fall 1983]: 487-93).
On the 6th of May, I gave the parting hand to the brethren in [p.110]Independence, and, in company with Brothers Rigdon and Whitney, commenced a return to Kirtland, by stage to St. Louis, from thence to Vincennes, Indiana; and from thence to New Albany, near the falls of the Ohio River. Before we arrived at the latter place, the horses became frightened, and while going at full speed, Bishop Whitney attempted to jump out of the coach, but having his coat fast, caught his foot in the wheel, and had his leg and foot broken in several places; at the same time I jumped out unhurt. We put up at Mr. Porter’s public house, in Greenville, for four weeks, while Elder Rigdon went directly forward to Kirtland. During all this time, Brother Whitney lost not a meal of victuals or a night’s sleep, and Dr. Porter, our landlord’s brother, who attended him, said it was a pity we had not got some “Mormon” there, as they could set broken bones or do anything else. I tarried with Brother Whitney and administered to him till he was able to be moved (HC, 1:271).
7. In Mormon history this battle has become known as the Battle of Crooked River. David W. Patten, at the time president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles; Gideon Carter; and a young man named O’Banyon were killed. According to Pratt, Patten led the Mormon forces. See Pratt, Autobiography, 152-55. See also B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century I, 6 vols. (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 1:314-47; Warren A. Jennings, “Zion Is Fled: The Expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri,” Ph.D. diss, University of Florida, 1962; and Richard L. Bushman, “Mormon Persecutions in Missouri, 1833,” Brigham Young University Studies 3 (Autumn 1960): 11-20.