A Rare Account of the Haun's Mill Massacre: The Reminiscence
of Willard Gilbert Smith
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.(6)
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."(7)
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
A MOMENT IN HISTORY TO REMEMBER
by Charlene Ward
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.
Charley Merrick, 9 yrs. George S. Richards
Sardius Smith, 10 yrs. William Napier
Warren Smith Augustine Harmer
Thomas McBride Simon Cox
Levin Merrick Hiram Abbott
Elias Benner John York
Josiah Fuller John Lee
Benjamin Lewis John Byers
Severely Wounded: 11 Men, 1 Boy (7 years), and 1 Woman.
Whether their alarm was justified or not, it is evident from Missouri county histories (like that of Audrain County
which is much farther away and a "Mormon Scare" story quoted elsewhere in this issue) that Missourians were
alarmed by the actions and rhetoric of the Mormons. The two short pieces which follow are pertinent to the
Haun's Mill events.
History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties: written and compiled.... St. Louis: National Historical Company, 1886.
During the Mormon War Livingston county was not an idle spectator, but an active participant. No Mormons lived in the county, but the people sided with the Gentile population of Daviess and other counties, and demanded the expulsion or extermination of the "Jo. Smithites." Early in the beginning of the troubles in 1838, a numerously signed petition was sent from this county to the Governor asking him to expel the Mormons from Caldwell and Daviess counties, and from the State. Mr. Adam Black bore the petition to His Excellency.
It was a force largely composed of Livingston county men, and led by the sheriff, Col. Wm. O. Jennings, that engaged in the massacre at Haun's mill, which is fully mentioned elsewhere in this volume. (See History of Caldwell County). Capt. Nehemiah Comstock, who lived in Greene township, was also a prominent actor in this tragedy. Certain members of Comstock's company are yet living in this county.
There were about 200 militiamen under arms in this county during the fall of 1838. These were led by Col. Jennings, and scouted through this and Daviess county chiefly, occasionally visiting Caldwell. Comstock's company was stationed at Haun's mill for some weeks after the surrender at Far West. While in this county the militia lived on their friends, and on themselves. Mr. James Leeper, whose father and brother were under Jennings, relates that he perfectly remembers cutting up his father's corn to feed the horses of the troopers.
A considerable sum of money was subscribed and given to Sheriff Jennings as a war fund, to defray certain expenses. In June, 1840, he turned over to the county treasurer, by order of the county court, a balance of this fund, amounting to $14.13, which sum was afterwards ordered paid to a Mrs. Marters.
A History of Livingston County, Missouri published by the Livingston County Centennial Committee. Chillicothe MO: Artcraft Printing Co., 1937. page 42.
The Indian wars, the "Big Neck" and "Black Hawk," served to retard the settling of Livingston County. After the Indian "fright" subsided and the county began settling, the first conflict in which the county had part was the so-called Mormon War in 1838. While no Mormons lived in this county, its citizens did not stand by idle. Money was subscribed and a force of men, composed largely of Livingston County inhabitants, under the direction of William O. Jennings, marched to Caldwell and Daviess Counties where they participated in activities to drive out the Mormons. Captain Nehemiah Comstock also had a company. After the trouble was over, Mr. Jennings returned $14.13, the balance of the subscribed money, to the county treasurer.Editor's Note: There were some extenuating circumstances that would have made both the families of Dick Weldon who moved from Clay County, to Caldwell County, then to Daviess County, and the family of W. O. Jennings feel especially strong that the Mormons were going to try, and probably would if allowed, take over the entire area. Designating a county in Missouri for them to live in would not keep them from spreading into adjoining counties. William J. "Bill" and Annette Curtis with the help of Diane Forsythe are gathering genealogy and documentation for a later article on the Weldons and Jennings.
Each piece by Bertha Booth has some of its own identification as to the sources of the information. Look
for that. These articles were submitted in the 1950's, however much of her research was done in the 1930's
and 1940's when she was writing articles for the Hamilton Advocate. Bertha Booth did not type well, or at least
her typewriter did not type well. Her handwriting is not always easy to read. In my straight transcription of
these articles, from which this is derived, I have retained the spelling errors and questioned words, as well as
whether the material was typed or handwritten and if the margins were not straight. Here I have taken liberties
with her writings to correct obvious spelling errors, to add punctuation and to format it in a more readable
SITE OF HAUN'S MILL MASSACRE
Six miles south of Brechenridge on County Route A to junction with County Route O (which goes east), then turn west two miles on unmarked county road two and a half miles . (Site is one half mile west of Marshall's ill bridge in Fairview Township. [NW 1/4 NE 1/4 Sec. 17, Twp 56 Range 26]
Historical Significance: After Mormon difficulties with their Gentile neighbors in Jackson and Clay counties, the State Legislature established Caldwell County on December 29, 1836 exclusively for Mormons. Their numbers increased and they soon were spreading into neighboring counties. In August, 1838, Mormons and Gentiles clashed in a melee in regard to Mormon influence in an election in Davies County. In October of the same year the Mormons and Missourians fought at Crooked River in Caldwell County. The Missourians fled in defeat and a few days later, on October 30, 1838, a mob of Missourians came to a group of families at Haun's Mill to take revenge. This mounted force attacked the Mormons, killing 17 of them. Following the famous order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, on October 27, 1838, which decreed the Mormons "must all be driven from the state or be exterminated", 2,000 Missouri militiamen were ordered to Far West. Bloodshed was averted by the Mormons' agreement to give up arms of every description and leave the state.
Location: The site is located 8 miles south of Breckenridge. NW 1/4 NE 1/4 Sec. 17, Fairview Twp.
Description: The site is overgrown with underbrush. The mill, operated by Jacob Haun, was built about 1836.
Status: The land is private property owned by P. Gastineau but may be viewed by the public.
Sent by: Miss Bertha Booth, Hamilton.
Research: Laura Pace Crane, September 1958
Picture: [none included]
The massacre of Haun's Mill (which at the time was generally known as the Battle at the Mill) is the biggest historic event connected with Caldwell County history.
It occurred Oct 30, 1838 at the small hamlet, Haun's Mill, in present Fairview township located a few miles west of the Livingston County line on the banks of Shoal Creek.
This mill was built in 1836 by Jacob Meyer, Mormon mill wright from Ohio and new settlers here. The date on the marker 1834 is erroneous altho it is often found in history books. A few years ago, [Bertha Booth saw a copy from] a journal written by Jacob Meyer about his various mills built by him [which] definitely dates the Haun's Mill at 1836 when he came here to settle.
The fight at the mill was between about 30 Mormon settlers and 240 Gentile militiamen from Livingston County. It resulted in 17 deaths for the Mormons and several badly wounded. The dead Mormons were buried in a half-dug well near the mill, the exact site of this well-grave being not known, except by conjecture.
The conjecture is based on the following facts.
In 1888, a son of one of the victims of the massacre came back to Caldwell County to try to find his father's grave. An old settler who knew the events well, directed him to the general spot. They dug around for about an hour until they came to a spot which plainly showed clay ground indicating where the well had been started. That was then definitely the spot where the victims had been buried in the well. The son then rolled one of the mill stones there on top of the spot, as a marker for his father's grave (and of course the other victims in the same well-grave). In time this mill stone was removed and thus the exact spot of burial of the victims again was lost.
However, some Saint visitors from Utah who came here when the mill stone was still above the supposed well-grave gave the following directions to find the grave -
The visitor enters the corn field and walks along the creek up past the corn until he comes into a spot overgrown with low trees. That is the site of the old mill, the well grave and the hamlet of Haun's Mill.
On the south bank of the creek, he can yet (even to 1958) see a projecting rocky slab, which was the south end of the old mill-dam. Then the Utah visitors reported in 1888, some of the planks were still hanging to this broad flat rock. (The planks have of course disappeared by 1958). Now take [editor's note: this number is unreadable in the copy I was supplied but this is my best guess] steps in a northeastly direction from this ledge, and it will take you to the supposed grave of the Mormon victims of Haun's Mill.
This massacre was the direct result of the Mormon victory at the Crooked River battle on October 25, when the Gentile forces were driven in defeat.
Now there is some difficulty in getting to this site. Start from Hamilton on highway 36, going as far as the farm corner where a sign is on Whitmer Farm, then turn south and go two miles on fair road, then when you come to a road with two forks, take the road leading west (the other fork leads to the Murphy bridge which is clearly seen up the road). The traveler then after about two miles of poor roads comes to a marked bend in the road. He is now in the Haun's Mill community. As he turns with the bend, he sees a wood sign on a tree, Hauns Mill, and near it he sees a concrete marker, put there by Glenn Setzer now of St. Joseph, then of Caldwell County, dedicated with due ceremony by Saints and Gentiles 1941. The date of the building of the mill 1834 is erroneous. It should be 1836.
Many visitors stop their trip here at the marker, but they should really go farther along the creek bank to the east to see the site of the massacre, the site of the mill and the little hamlet located there.
The marker was placed by the road-side in 1941 because it could not be placed in the private field grounds of the farm owner P. Gastineau.
The history of this mill stone is interesting. It was made by Jacob Meyer - the mill wright who made Haun's Mill - a well known Mormon mill wright both in Ohio and Caldwell County, 1836.
When Haun's Mill was finally carried down Shoal
Creek in 1844, one mill stone must have been broken.
The other was left on the site. In the late 1880's, a son of
one of the mill battle victims came to hunt up the well-grave of his father; and having decided where it was. He
set the millstone up as grave marker above the well-grave. There it stood till about 1900 when it was found
below in the bed of Shoal Creek. It lay there till 1925
when the residents of Breckenridge moved it to the city
park. The P. E. O. later provided the marker, the work
being done by the same Glenn Setzer who made the
marker for Haun's Mill site. The same mistake occurs
on both markers, the date 1834, which for many years
was given as the date of building Haun's Mill. A few
years ago the journal of the millwright Jacob Meyer, was
found in which he gave the true date as 1836.
[by] Bertha Booth, Hamilton Mo
Site - Haun's Mill Stone in Breckenridge Mo in city park.
This millstone is one of the choice possessions of the people of Breckenridge. It is visited annually by probably hundreds of R.L.D.S. and L.D.S. pilgrims as a tangible relic of the 1838 Haun's Mill massacre in Fairview twp., a few miles away. In fact, it is the only tangible relic of the mill.
According to the authority of the Journal still extant of Jacob Meyer the mill-wright who built Haun's Mill, [he] made the two mill stones from boulders then common along Shoal Creek. I did not see the journal but a mill expert friend of mine copied that part of it for me. He owns the Jacob Meyer journal. It [the millstone] was one of the pair used in this mill at its opening in 1836.
The story which I have learned from various old-timers of the Haun's Mill district goes like this. We do not know what became of the mate. It may have been broken by the terrific force of Shoal Creek when on its occasional flood rampages. About 18_ _, two LDS missionaries came here on a quest pilgrimage. They saw the stone turned edgewise over a hollow place which the local people called the well-grave. The missionaries wrote back to the Salt Lake City papers about it. Then it came out that the stone had purposely been placed there-on by a son of one of the victims when he visited the spot hunting the probable grave of his father (one of the victims). He and Charles Ross (a very authentic early Gentile settler) dug around till they came to a spot which showed clay dirt, indicating well-depth, & both agreed that was the well-grave. They then rolled the remaining mill-stone there - sinking it in edge-wide to stand up, as a grave-marker. Old timers tell me, of seeing L.D.S. pilgrims pick grass from the spot as keepsakes during the 90s. In was known then as a Haun's Mill stone.
The next news of the millstone came after 1900, when Shoal was low. It was seen lying in the creek-bed below its grave-site position. I do not know how long it stayed there exactly, but about 1925 the people of Breckenridge - a few miles away, who had historic minds, moved it from the creek to the city park. In [date uncertain], it was encased with cement and a marker duly made by the same Glenn Setzer who had made the marker near Haun's Mill. The date in both these markers is wrong - as the Meyer journal (above mentioned) shows. Is should be 183 . [editor's note: Bertha Booth seems to not have looked up the exact dates when she wrote this as many are incomplete]
The reason for its encasement in cement is the fear
that some outsider would steal it for its historic worth.
Journal of Jacob Meyer mill wright of Haun's Mill
also interviews by Bertha Booth with old people of the
Pilgrims usually take the two sites, mill stone & mill site in an hour.
[form: italic words are filled in by typed patch and handwriting] Caldwell County
INFORMATION FORM County in which site lies
HISTORICAL SITES SURVEY *Best
State Historical Society of Missouri
Hitt and Lowrey Streets
Fairview township Indian remains
Name of site X or building _ Probable Indian Village and Burial Mounds
Town or township Fairview township
Distance from nearest landmarks or points of identification -
The Moore farm on which the "Indian" village lies is the so-called old Jim Mackey farm one and a quarter miles
north of Catawba, and the White cemetery is one half mile north of the Moore farm
Accessibility - Start out from Braymer to the south or Breckenridge to the north, asking route to the Paul Moore
(old Jim Mackey farm). Mrs. Moore says the roads are good.
For the Moore farm where the small village was - is located in n hlf se quarter of sect 17. of Fairview twp. The burial mounds are in White Cemetery. one half mile north of the Moore farm.
Hence it is easy for a one-trip visit to both sites.
Availability for public use or view:
Owner Indian village on Paul Moore farm. Indian Mound White Graveyard.
Sponsor, if public property Manager of White Graveyard - Braymer Mo.
Provisions for public use or view absolute freedom to enter graveyard. Get permission from Moore family to look for village site.
Markers or other identification none
Historical significance small Indian village on Moore farm where Indian relics and an Indian path on bluff long existed near Shoal Creek. A grave mound in White Cemetery - (there before the White cemetery was started) White cemetery was on land of Robert White - early pioneer.
Photographic references none
Bibliographic references none. there has been almost no notice taken of either site.
Recorder Bertha E. Booth Hamilton Mo
Utah Hist. Society Missouri Hist Society
(affiliation with historical societies)
The old White graveyard mentioned on other side is still in active use for those who already had lots there. It is on a hill and commands a wonderful view. It has another item of interest besides the Indian mound, for tradition says that two of the victims of Haun's Mill massacre were buried there, having died after the burial of other victims of the Haun's Mill massacre in an [unfinished] well. The location of that grave pit however is lost. The land then belonged to Robert White, a pioneer of the Mormon era, who came in as a Mormon and became a Gentile. This White graveyard is one of the oldest in Caldwell County, still in present use and some of the earliest Gentile settlers after the Mormons left buried there. White gave the land for his own but allowed other friends to use it.
Robert White was one of the most unique characters in that part of the country.
According to recent visits to the graveyard, the
following is a description of the Indian mound there. -
It is on the west side and near the road which passes the
White farm -- six and three fourth miles south on
highway 36, the cemetery road leaving the highway two
miles west of Breckenridge.
The grave mound is about 50 feet wide and numerous rocks lie on it, as if purposely placed there. It is surmised that the bones in this low mound belong to the dead Indians who lived in the nearby village, who might have been victims of some Indian raid with another tribe or might have been victims of some of the malarial epidemics which are said to have occurred in Indian days by Shoal Creek floods. One has to recall that Caldwell County in Indian days was much fought over by different tribes both Missouri and Iowa Indians as a fine hunting and fishing ground.
All this country in Fairview and New York townships where once an Indian village stood, was in the so called Shoal country and afforded easy travel by canoe eastward to present Livingston County where the Indians could sell their furs to agents.
The Moore Family from whom I got most of this
Fairview material on Indians, tell be that in earlier years
there were trcks [sic] of an Indian path along the bluffs
by Shoal Creek, and along that road have been found
even in recent years Indian arrowheads, tomahawks,
hammers which would indicate that a village was
somewhere within travel reach, but no one has found
the site. There might have been a sort of ____ factory
without long residences. But the numerous finds show
that they often visited this section, and the burial
mounds might point to an occasional home of some
direction of the present Moore farm where many of the
relics used to be found during the last 100 years. The
arrowheads are of various nations, and experts say it
shows that various tribes camped or lived here or fought
Indian remains -- continued.
In New York twp. there is an Indian Village site plainly. Glenn Setzer who used to live in Kingston, dug out ax, tomahawk, broken pottery, and other Indian relics. I saw them in his office at Kingston all marked. Now in your description of this Indian village, you say six miles east of Kingston, which is quite true - but it does not state its definite location in New York twp. It is on a side of sect. 30. Mrs. Reuben Hartley - whose husband owns the site made a picture / drawing of it which I repeat here rudely. [not worth trying to reproduce]
The same people (Hartley) own the old Bonanza Springs site on the same farm - so the visitor can take in the Indian site & the Bonanza site in half an hour, she says.
I presume the easiest approach to both Bonanza and the
Indian village is to start from Kingston as I described in
the Bonanza story.
Any question of what I mean or am trying to say with pencil-writing will be gladly answered by me. This refers to all my work. Any changes in English expression of my facts will be OK. Just so you do not change facts.
I believe this will end the two hurried but rather
pleasant contact with you, despite my rhematism
background. Bertha Booth
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.
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.
In cooperation with several institutional and
historical organizations, Dr. Mark A. Scherer, RLDS
Church Historian, is pleased to extend an open invitation
to those interested in participating in a commemorative
ceremony at the RLDS Haun's Mill Historic Site, in
northeast Caldwell County, Missouri. The
commemoration is scheduled for Friday, 30 October
1998, at 2:00 p.m. (CST).
Representatives of religious and historical
organizations, including the RLDS and LDS churches,
Restoration Trail Foundation, Brigham Young
University Religious Studies Center, John Whitmer
Historical Association, Mormon Historic Sites
Foundation, and Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation,
will join together in commemorating the event and
remembering those who died. LDS Assistant Church
Historian John Carmack, Brigham Young University
History Professor Alex Baugh, RLDS Peace and Justice
Coordinator Andrew Bolton, RLDS Church Historian
Mark Scherer, and RTF President W.B. "Pat" Spillman
are among those who will speak.
Efforts are underway to improve access to the site
for this commemoration.
Directions: From I-35, take State Rt. 116 exit east to
Polo (12.3 mi), north (left) on Highway 13 to County
Rd. F (4 mi.), east (right) on F to NE Catawba Rd. (12.6
mi), north (left) on NE Catawba Rd. (gravel surface) to
bridge (2.2 mi.), west (left) from bridge onto Haun's Mill
Dr. (.8 mi to site).
For more information, please contact Susan Naylor,
Public Relations coordinator, at the RLDS Temple,
Independence, MO 64051, 816-833-1000 Ext. 3045; or
Mark Scherer, Ext. 2338
The Haun's Mill site may also be approached from
the north via US 36 and NE Catawba Rd. See Maps.
In case of rain, the alternate location will be the Far West Temple Site. There may be flooding. In case of prolonged rains ask about road conditions before you leave a major highway.
A commemorative marker which is now in a deteriorated condition was unveiled at Haun's Mill in 1941. The text of the program follows herein.
A new wooden marker which is visible from the road was erected a few years ago in the area where vehicles can turn around. It is also aging. Nearer Shoal Creek is a memorial erected at the same time which is showing signs of vandalism and decay. [August 1998]
Approaches to the Haun's Mill site. Map by Annette Curtis, adapted from the 1995 atlas by Miller Management Services, Inc. US 36 runs east from St. Joseph at the top of the map. Route F is reached per directions on the previous page.
[From 1941 Program:]
Program at Site of Haun's Mill
July 13, 1941, 2;30 p. m.
Master of Ceremonies Reverend Earl S. Craven
"Faith of Our Fathers" Congregation
Invocation Reverend Emery E. Jennings, Independence, Mo.
"Lead Kindly Light" Wayside Chapel Quartet
Address Honorable Glenn Booth, Caldwell County Historian
Address Dr. Bertha Booth, Caldwell County Historian
"In Christ There Is No East Nor West," Wayside Chapel Quartet
Address Bishop Mark H. Siegfried, Independence, Mo.
"How Firm a Foundation," Congregation
Mr. Glenn Setzer, citizen and ex-county official of Kingston, Missouri, at his own expense has provided markers for about one thousand one hundred  graves in Caldwell county and vicinity, as also other historical markers. Many of these graves and sites but for his interest would remain unmarked forever. His knowledge of the history of Haun's Mill has prompted him to provide a marker for this site, so generations yet unborn may know where tragedy had its regrettable day in October, 1838. Mr. William R. Pemberton, an old-time resident of the county, has located the site.
All citizens of Missouri and especially of Caldwell County, as well as the descendants of those who lost their lives here, will forever be grateful for the altruism and thoughtfulness of Mr. Setzer.
We are indebted to Mr. Paul N. Craig of Independence, Missouri, and the Wayside Chapel Quartet for their
contribution to the program. The quartet consists of Messrs, Glenn Closson, Don Pyper, Robert Young and Paul
We extend thanks to Mr. P. E. Gastineau of Cowgilll, Missouri, owner of the land, for permission to place this marker on the site of the old mill and for the privilege of holding these services there.
For historical interest we here give the inscription on the marker:
SOUTHWEST OF HERE
ON OCTOBER 30, 1838,
OCCURRED THE INCIDENT
GENERALLY KNOWN AS THE
HAUN'S MILL MASSACRE.
THIS SITE LOCATED BY
WM. R. PEMBERTON.
THIS MARKER PLACED HERE BY
GLENN M. SETZER,
Glenn Setzer (right), 13 July 1941.
Haun's Mill Massacre
Adapted from an article by Alma R. Blair, "Haun's Mill Massacre,"
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2 (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992).
On October 30, 1838, segments of the Missouri
militia attacked a settlement of Mormons at Jacob Haun's
mill, located on Shoal Creek in eastern Caldwell County,
Missouri. Because the attack was made by a vastly
superior force with what was perceived as unusual
brutality for the time, it has come to be known as "The
Haun's Mill Massacre." It was one incident in the
conflict between the Missourians and the Latter Day
Saints that resulted in the LDS expulsion from the state
Tensions had been building between the Latter Day
Saints and their non-member neighbors since the State
Legislature designated Caldwell County, in north central
Missouri, as a place of gathering for the Mormons in
1836. Rumors abounded that the Mormons planned to
"despoil" the Missourians and take their land.
Specifically, some believed that emigrating Latter Day
Saints threatened to spill over into surrounding
non-Mormon counties. It is clear that both the Mormons
and Missourians believed that their rights were being
violated and their existence threatened. Leading up to
the fall of 1838, incidents of overt conflict grew
dramatically. By October 27, outbursts of violence led
Governor Lilburn W. Boggs to issue an "Extermination
Order," demanding that the Latter Day Saints leave the
state or be exterminated. This order may have served as
a catalyst for the attack on Haun's Mill which followed.
Thirty to forty LDS families were in the vicinity of
Haun's Mill when some 200 to 250 militia from
Livingston, Daviess, and Carroll counties, acting under
Colonel Thomas Jennings, marched against the village.
Assuming that an earlier truce still held, the residents
were surprised by the late afternoon attack. Church
leader David Evans' call for "quarter" was ignored, and
the villagers were forced to flee for safety. Mormon
women and children fled south across a stream into the
woods, while the men gathered in the blacksmith shop,
but found it a poor place for defense. Missourians were
able to fire through the widely spaced logs directly into
those seeking sanctuary inside.
Seventeen Latter Day Saints and one friendly
non-Mormon were killed outright or mortally wounded.
An additional thirteen received wounds, including one
woman and a seven-year-old boy. No Missouri
militiamen were killed, though three were wounded.
The brutal deaths of some of church members killed
have been remembered as particularly harsh. It is
recalled that seventy-eight-year-old Thomas McBride
surrendered his musket to militiaman Jacob Rogers, only
to be shot, then his body hacked with a corn knife. And
that, William Reynolds discovered ten-year-old Sardius
Smith hiding under the bellows and blew the top of the
child's head off.
In the aftermath of the attack, women cared for the wounded, while the surviving men remained in hiding during the night. The dead were deposited into an unfinished well and covered with dirt and straw. A few Missourians returned the next day, taking plunder, and warning the remaining Saints to
Though the 1838-39 Missouri judicial proceedings
investigating the "Mormon War" largely ignored the
events at Haun's Mill, Latter Day Saints have
remembered Haun's Mill as an epitome of persecution
associated with their experiences in Missouri.
Subsequent histories have explored factors present in
both the Mormon and Missouri societies which led to
this unfortunate clash of cultures.
Blair, Alma R. "The Haun's Mill Massacre." BYU Studies
13 (Autumn 1972):62-67.
History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties (Missouri.
St. Louis, 1886).
Johnson, Clark V. "Missouri Persecutions: The Petition of Isaac Leary." BYU Studies 23 (Winter
LeSueur, Stephen C., The 1838 Mormon War in
Missouri (Columbia, Mo., 1987).
Times and Seasons, 1 (1840):145-50.
p326 Elder Brigham Henry Roberts Missouri Persecutions. Appendix IV, Caldwell County. By Crosby
On the thirteenth of October an engagement was fought at Haun's Mill on Shoal Creek, south of Beckenridge. [sic] At that point a "Mormon" outpost entrenched in the mill and a blacksmith shop was attacked by the Livingston County militia under Captain Comstock. After a brief struggle the "Mormons threw down their arms in token of surrender, but one of the militia men, being savagely wounded, his comrades were so enraged that their officer was unable to check them until eighteen of the "Mormons" were killed and a number wounded. Haun, the proprietor of the mill, was killed and with the rest of the dead buried in a well that stood near by.
No one knows for a certainty who made these mill stones. The county history of Caldwell and Livingston Counties says that the Lyon brothers built the mill and operated it hence they might have been mill wrights as well as millers (an unusual thing).
The Lyons mill was a horse mill. The Mormon brothers are said to have operated the mill successfully for several years till the close of the Mormon war 1838 when they sold the mill apparatus to Samuel Richey and his wife Nancy McBride Richey both of whom were skilled millers. Richey died in the middle 50s and is buried in the lost Salem graveyard somewhere on the Salem site (see Salem paper). His wife became widely known as "Mother Richey" the woman miller. She and her sons continued to run the mill till the middle of the Civil War then they fled to Ray County because the Richey family were Southern sympathizers and some sons were killed by Unionists.
The mill was then abandoned and went to pieces, so to speak. The mill stones became the property of the related McClellan family and lay on their farm till about 50 years ago when they were moved to the nearby rural graveyard by the Cormana family to be grave markers for the pioneer Cormana couple. From there they were moved in 1937 to the grounds of the Hamilton public library by the local D.A.R. chapter. Glen Setzer, now of St. Joseph, then a Caldwell County official, made the marker standing by the stones which reads as follows.
Salem, Caldwell County 1838
Placed here by the Major Molly chapter DAR
The date on this marker 1838 may be wrong as these millstones originally belonged to the Lyon Brothers mill at Salem, as stated above. However 1838 is the correct date for start of the Richey mill itself. -- Bertha Booth
Have you wondered who Bertha Booth was? How did it come to be that she lived in Caldwell County,
Missouri and wrote history about the Mormons that is surprisingly unbiased? I have found a few things about
her and Diane Forsythe has learned others. Together we found the obituaries.
I do not believe anyone who knew her, or knew about her, would take exception to saying that Bertha Booth was an unusual and somewhat strange person. According to the preface to the Short History of Caldwell County, Missouri, Dr. Bertha Booth was a graduate of Hamilton High School and Kidder Institute. She received an A. B. degree from Drury College [1900 or after], an A. M. degree from the University of Missouri, and a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago. She did additional graduate work at Cornell and Washington Universities. Miss Booth taught two years in the public schools of Caldwell County before going to college, and was an instructor in academies, junior and senior colleges, and universities for eighteen years. She was a college teacher of Latin and Greek. As yet I have not found a college yearbook with her picture. There should be at least one. It would be helpful to know when she graduated from each school.
In the 1930's to 1950's she was often asked to speak
on historical subjects. Hamilton's newspaper The
Hamilton Advocate-Hamiltonian of February 24, 1938
on page 2, column 4 has a item with the headline: "Dr.
Bertha Booth's Address." It reads:
The Ed J. Kenney Post No. 40 held dinner Tuesday evening in the Legion Hall. Guests were Dr. Bertha Booth and Mr and Mrs.(10) Floyd Hosman of Hamilton and Mr. and Mrs. Weldon of Gilman City.
At 8 o'clock Dr. Bertha Booth gave a
wonderful address on "The Makers of the U. S.
Constitution" at the Christian Church. Dr.
Booth's addresses are always greatly enjoyed
by the Kidder people and this one exceptionally
In 1946 she presented the State Historical Society of Missouri, "several records pertaining to Missouri history. Four diaries, kept by members of the Brown family, cover the period of 1861 and several years in the seventies. The family originally came from Dutchess County, New York, in 1868 moved to Michigan, and then for a time in 1873 to Caldwell County, Missouri, remaining permanently after 1875. Other materials include a lottery ticket and a muster roll [of a military unit raised] to control the spread of bushwhackers." Several years previous to this, Dr. Booth presented a mimeographed copy of her "Short History of Caldwell County," published by the Hamilton public schools in 1936 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the organization of the county. (Missouri Historical Review, April 1946, page 445)
From the United States censuses of Missouri we find that Bertha Booth was born in Missouri in November of either 1876 or 1877. She apparently lived in the household with her parents as her primary residence. Her father was Daniel [Dan or D. P.] Booth, born in Ohio in May 1840, a bank president in Hamilton, Missouri for much of his adult life. Her mother was Helen L. Booth born in Ohio in July 1854. Bertha's parents were married about 1873/74 in Ohio. Bertha had an older sister named Elizabeth still at home in 1920 at age 42. She was born about October 1873 in Ohio. Elizabeth worked at "odd jobs" as a stenographer in 1910.
A brother, Herbert R., was born in April 1881 in Missouri. He served in World War I and became a medical physician.
In the 1920 census neither Bertha or her sister Elizabeth at ages 38 and 42 are listed as having occupations. Bertha may be just home for the summer if she is teaching school in 1920. Or they may not have felt a need to work as their father could provide for them comfortably or may not have been able to find work in the area.
From the censuses we know that the family came from Ohio to Missouri between 1877 and 1881. They lived on Ardinger street in Hamilton, Missouri from at least 1900 to 1920. Local lore says that Bertha was not much of a cook.
From published and indexed Caldwell County
obituaries we learn that there were no children in the
next generation. Bertha Booth had no children or nieces
or nephews. The closest relatives left were the nieces
and nephews of her sister-in-law.
Dr. Bertha Booth, 87, Dies
Friday, Sept. 18 
Dr. Bertha Booth, 87, of Hamilton, a retired college teacher of Latin and Greek, author and Caldwell county historian, died Friday morning, Sept. 18. She had been in ill health for some time and had been cared for by Mrs. Ray Yoakum for several weeks.(11)
Dr. Booth was a daughter of the late Dan and Helen Booth. She was preceded in death by a sister, Elizabeth, and a brother, Dr. Herbert R. Booth. She was the last of her family.
The funeral service was held Sunday at 3:00 o'clock
at the Bram Funeral Home conducted by Rev. Robert
Grant. Burial was in Highland cemetery. Pallbearers
were J. P. Jones, Paul McCoy, C. A. Neal, C. A. Rouse,
George Boutwell and Charles Thompson.(12)
Dr. H. R. Booth Dies
Dr. Herbert R. Booth, 77, died this morning [April 24, 1964] about 10:30 at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City where he had been a patient since April 20. He was 77 last Sunday and had been a practicing physician in Hamilton 48 years.
He was a veteran of World War I, a life member of B.-C.-C.-E. Post 285, American Legion, and had served on the Hamilton board of education.
He is survived by his wife, Irene Booth, of the
home; and a sister, Dr. Bertha Booth, of Hamilton.
Funeral for Dr. Herbert Booth
The Federated Church was filled to capacity Friday afternoon at 2 for the funeral for Dr. Herbert R. Booth conducted by Rev. Stuart C. Cowles, pastor of the Chillicothe Episcopal Church, assisted by Rev. S. B. Look of Kidder. ... Interment was in the Booth lot in Highland cemetery under the direction of Brams.
The death of Dr. Booth occurred at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, April 29, just two days after his 77th anniversary. He practiced his medical profession here 48 years. In February he was presented an honorary life membership by the Grand River Medical Conference.
Veteran of WW-I, he was a charter member of the Hamilton American Legion post and served in local, district, Missouri Department and national offices, also in the 40 and 80, including thee Grand Voiture.
Dr. Booth was a life member of the local Legion Post. Six life members attended the funeral and sat in a body. They wereP. A. Fredericksen, A. B. Goodrich, Roy C. Hendren, Sherman Henkins, G. T. Henricks and J. B. Moore.
Dr. Booth is survived by his wife, Mrs. Irene Booth of the home; and one sister, Dr. Bertha Booth.
Among Legionnaires attending the funeral service were Owen Anglum and Mrs. Anglum, Ash Grove; Glen Powell and Mrs. Powell, Kansas City; Bill Sams, North Kansas City, District commander; A. J. Whipple, Pat Elson and Tom Moran, Excelsior Springs; Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Dunham, Osborn; Curt Kuehn, Al Roth and Floyd Farr, St. Joseph; Frank Bonderer and Wayne Mendenhall, Chillicothe; Raymond Wade, Lock Springs; and Harley Fisher of Maysville.
Others attending were Miss Frances Shively, Mrs.
Errol Myers, Gerald Dale, Mrs. Carolyn Simpson, Mr.
and Mrs. Earle Neale, Kansas City; Glenn Setzer, Mrs.
Richard Veraguth, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Michael, St.
Joseph; Mrs. Inez Moran, Mrs. Martha Zarman, Excelsior
Springs; and Mrs. Dixie Crider, Stewartsville.(13)
Irene Booth, 80, died Friday, Aug. 31 , at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. Born in Mirable Dec. 26, 1898, Mrs. Booth was a lifelong resident of Caldwell County. The widow of Dr. Herbert R. Booth, she was affiliated with the Federated Church of Hamilton, the P.E.O. Sisterhood, Daughters of the American Revolution and the American Legion Auxiliary.
She is survived by several nieces and nephews.(14)
The funeral was Sunday at the Federated Church in
Hamilton and burial was in Highland Cemetery.
Irene Booth, 80, died at St. Luke's Hospital in
Kansas City Friday, August 31 , where she had
been a patient since August 21. Irene had been a
resident of Hill Crest Manor almost four years. She was
the widow of Dr. Herbert R. Booth, long time Hamilton
physician, who died 15 years ago. A niece, Mrs. Harold
Wilhoit, and Mr. Wilhoit spent much time with her. Her
funeral service was held Sunday at the Federated
The source which can tell more than most and is
easiest to find is the United States Federal Census. On
the following page are abstracts of those listing Bertha
Booth and her family from 1880 to 1920.
Dw # fam# name rel. age mar nat. father mother occupation
1920 U.S. Census, Missouri, Caldwell County, Hamilton city, vol. 18, ED 9, sheet 10, line 33.
Ardinger street [no house numbers]
265 270 Booth, Daniel head 79 M Ohio VA VA President, Bank
Helen L wife 65 M Ohio Ohio Ohio none
Elizabeth dau 42 S Ohio Ohio Ohio none
Bertha dau 38 S MO Ohio Ohio none
Herbert son 32 S MO Ohio Ohio Physician, medical
1910 U. S. Census, Missouri, Caldwell County, Hamilton city, vol. 15, ED 8, family 132.
T-624, roll 773.
130 132 Booth Dan head 68 M1 Ohio VA VA President, Bank
Helen wife 56 M1 Ohio Ohio Ohio none
Lizzie dau 34 S Ohio Ohio Ohio Stenographer
Bertha dau 30 S MO Ohio Ohio Teacher, public sch
Herbert R son 22 S MO Ohio Ohio none
This census also says that they were married 36 years as their only marriage and Helen has had 4 children, 3 living.
1900 U.S. Census, Missouri, Caldwell County, Hamilton city, vol. 13, ED 7, sheet 3, line 85.
T-623, roll 844.
79 81 Booth D. P. head 60 M Ohio VA VA Pres of Bank
Helen wife 45 M Ohio Ohio NY
Lizie dau 26 S Ohio Ohio Ohio Stenographer
Bertha dau 23 S MO Ohio Ohio Teacher
Herbert son 13 S MO Ohio Ohio at school, 9 mo.
This census also says that they were married 27 years and Helen has had 4 children, 3 living.
The month and year of births given are respectively: May 1840, July 1854, Oct 1873, Nov 1876 and April 1881.
1900 U.S. Census, Missouri, Greene County, vol. 33, ED 41, sheet 1, line 95. T-623, roll 856.
North Campbell Township, Drury College, Springfield city
1122 Washington Avenue among boarders with Caroline Daniels, age 41:
4 5 Booth Bertha E. bo 22 S MO VA Ohio student, 9 months
This census listing gives her month and year of birth as Nov 1877. [Note discrepancy with duplicate listing with
parents. Which is more accurate is anyone's guess.]
1880 U.S. Census, Missouri, Caldwell County, vol. 5, ED 180, sheet 10, line 46. T-9, roll 677.
95 100 Booth Daniel head 39 M Ohio Ohio Ohio farmer
Hellen wife 28 M Ohio Ohio Ohio housekeeper
Lizzie dau 6 Ohio Ohio Ohio
Bertha dau 3 MO Ohio Ohio
Aultman, Daniel serv 19 S Ind Ohio Ohio farm hand
While on another research mission, Bill Curtis ran across this account that MMFF Newsletter readers may
find of interest. It is a slightly different account of the "Mormon Scare" incident printed in our MMFF Newsletter
Number 5, Winter 1995, pages 4-5. That article was from the 1884 History of Audrain County, Missouri...
. The account which follows is from Centennial History of Audrain County by Herschel Schooley (Mexico:
The McIntyre Publishing Co., 1937). This one seems to have more accurate dates, the full name of Mr. Hook,
and a few more details about people. Pages 116-117:
One of the most thrilling and exciting experiences of the infant town of Mexico has come down in history as "The Mormon Scare" of the late '30's.
The Mormon Church, or properly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, with a belief in continual divine revelation as one of the characteristics of the sect. The first decade was one of persecutions and migrations for the church. Founded in Fayette, N. Y., successively the Mormons moved west to Kirkland, O., in 1831, then into Missouri for the later '30s.
The Mormons left Missouri for Nauvoo, Ill., the City of Beauty, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River above Keokuk, Iowa, in 1839 to remain there until Brigham Young led the migration to Utah as a haven in the wilderness, with Salt Lake City founded in 1849. It was during the several years the Mormon followers spent in Missouri, in the '30s, that the incident in early Mexico history occurred.
The late Samuel T. Hook, an early settler, and the father of T. E. Hook, prominent Mexico citizen of today, told the story as it was recorded in an early history of the county. Samuel T. Hook, a progressive farmer and stock raiser, and the son of Samuel Hook, Sr., and Mary Sims Hook, was born in Callaway County, in 1830, and moved with his family to Audrain in 1833. He was several years old when the "Mormon scare" took place, and recalled it well. Mr. Hook was married on February 18, 1868, to Miss Mary S. Snell, daughter of Granville and Emily Snell, of Monroe County, and they had two children, Thomas E. and Mary E.
"On a bright, beautiful, fall day," related Mr. Hook, "There was suddenly heard in the direction of the little town of Mexico, the report of small arms--about one hundred guns--the reverberation being distinctly heard by the few citizens who resided beyond the city limits, and by others who lived still further out.
"A few moments afterward, Richmond Pearson came riding on horse-back, under full speed, bareheaded and barefooted, saying excitedly, "The Mormons are in town killing everybody'." Richmond Pearson, pioneer settler who lived so many years on what is known as the Lawder Place, east of Mexico, is the father of Ripley Warren Pearson, well known 90-year old resident of South Clark Street, this city.
"Meantime," Mr. Hook continued, "the firing could be distinctly heard in the town. Soon, James Reed and Isaac Johnson came along and were told the awful news, that 'The Mormons are killing everybody in Mexico'. They also started to town, but soon returned in hot haste, as though pursued.
"Horses were running at half speed, with all the gearing on, and frightened men, women, children, and the sound of guns added to the great confusion. Reed and Johnson confirmed the statements already made by Pearson, and added they saw the Mormons shoot Jack Willingham off his horse.
"By this time the news had spread into the country, and men, women and children, for miles around, were fleeing in every direction, believing the Mormons were determined to slaughter them.
"Mr. Willingham, after remaining in town awhile, returned, and explained. He said that the company of soldiers which had embarked on the expedition to drive the Mormons from the state had arrived in town, and had been having somewhat of a sham battle, which accounted for the firing heard.
"Reed and Johnson had really seen Willingham fall from his horse, but he was not shot. As they approached the town, they saw Willingham at a distance sitting sideways on his horse in the street, and when the guns were fired, Willingham's horse jumped, throwing him off. Supposing Willingham shot, they turned their horses and fled. For years afterward there were many jokes about the Mormon scare.
"I think old father Jesse, that good old man, long since dead, loaded up his wagon and was moving his family and household good to the woods. Mr. Pearson, who was then the owner of the Wade farm, said that he could see from his upstairs window the people being shot down in the streets of Mexico."
Week Long Dig Report
The Log house primary objective was completed. The log house is on its original location, not moved in any direction, but only raised to put a floor under it. The new floor was done by Mr. Wallace the next owner.
During our week long dig a second fireplace was located on the east wall of the main house. This fireplace was later removed to be replaced by a stove. It is believed that Mr. Wallace took the logs from the lean-to on the north side, probably for use as floor supports, and extended the house to the north and south. There was also a kitchen to the east, which had been demolished.
The second objective was to locate outbuilding remains. The turnout of volunteers was smaller than expected, so we were unable to do this during the dig.
The third objective was to institute an investigation which could obtain funding; and to sustain itself through a series of projects in the years to come. This is still in the working stage.
The fourth objective in studying the artifacts by the students and reporting their relationship to our interpretation to date is a project in the working. The land owners are willing to allow Mr. Paul DeBarthe and students to have access to the artifacts over the winter season. The disposition of the land is still in the working.
In spite of rain and other obstacles, the week long
dig was a decided success. It was hot in the sun, but
everyone who got to stay the week or just part of the
time enjoyed the experience immensely.
We would like to personally thank everyone who worked on the C. C. Rich - Wallace Log House Dig in Caldwell County in 22-27 June 1998.
Mr. and Mrs. Jr. Gardner
The Polo Volunteer Fire Dept.
Hy-Klas Foods - Polo, Mo
Mirable Feed Store
ASCS Office - Kingston, Mo.
Red Rooster - Polo, Mo.
Bank Northwest - Polo, Mo.
The Hamilton Advocate
Polo "Get It" Store - Polo, Mo.
Kidder Curve - Kidder, Mo.
The Farmers Electric Coop., Inc.
Mr. & Mrs. Dave McEwen
Mr. & Mrs. Gary Coit
Mr. & Mrs Richard Ross
Mr. & Mrs. Phil Hoffman
Mr. & Mrs. Bob Hawley
Mr. & Mrs. Lionel Ward
Mr. & Mrs. Mike Riggs
Mr. Carl Hugh Jones - Consultant
Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Short
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Inouye
Mr. & Mrs. Paul DeBarthe
Mr. Ben Harper
Mr. Stacey Stillwell
Mr. David Lee
Mr. Tehau DeBarthe
Mr. Micah Riggs
Miss Renne Romig
Miss Holly Curtis
Miss Katie Bloom
Miss Anna Lyse Erickson
Miss Le Ann Coit
Mr. David Coit
Mr. James Coit
Mrs. M. DeBarthe
Mr. Bob Robert
Thanks to all of the people who donated money, and those who did work that "only" showed behind the scenes. There are some whom I have forgotten to mention but your encouragement and best wishes have been greatly appreciated.
As Newsletter Editor, may I add that the rest of us thank Diane for doing a super job of coordinating the whole affair and making the Dig work.
Fall Weekend (Sunday) Digs
Fall Sunday digs have had to put up with rainy weather. On September 30th Paul DeBarthe took three students and they washed artifacts and made some headway on the project. The site has to have at least a full day of drying time before people can dig.
Activities in the lab include: Washing: There remain a dozen or so bags not yet clean. Some must be re-washed, especially ceramics with dirty edges. Labeling: Our ink bottle is nearly dry. Sorting within categories: Each category will have pieces which mean more together than they do as isolated artifacts. On the 20th they found most of a profile of a stoneware bowl among the stoneware artifacts. Bottles, cups, plates, etc. need to be assembled and glued. Super glue and Elmer's ceramic glue needed. Compiling lists of assembled artifacts: Counting numbers of vessels of the same type.
Our Sunday afternoon, 6 September dig day proved very successful. Project Archaeologist Paul Debarthe (coordinated digs for the RLDS church at Nauvoo during the 1970s), along with 12 of his Shawnee Mission East High School students (a new crew composed of Paul's current students) and a number of MMFFers worked at the site.
MMFF NW Chapter Chair Diane Forsythe had been contacted by a TV reporter from St. Joseph, MO, (KQ2, Channel 2) and arranged for him to visit the site and do a video interview. The reporter found the dig of interest and videoed several students and others present.
The video report was featured on KQ2's 10:00 p.m. broadcast Sunday evening, 6 September 1998. The report began with shots of Rene Romig and Rachel Cash, (titled Aspiring Archaeologists) from Independence, MO, describing artifacts from their square. Next Historian Mike Riggs explained the meaning of the site, Site Archaeologist Paul DeBarthe described the significance of the experience for the students, two of Paul's students were shown inside the structure uncovering a bottle neck from the floor area, another of Paul's students, Amanda Hartpence, described her feelings at turning up 150 year old artifacts, and Diane Forsythe ended the video segment saying that the dig has been a lot of fun.
The reporter's voiceover mentioned C. C. Rich,
indicated that the site was located in Caldwell County,
and invited area students to join the Sunday afternoon
digs between now and Oct. 11. Diane Forsythe's phone
number was featured at the end. The report provided
substantial coverage (by usual news broadcast
standards) lasting 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in total.
The last 1998 Fall Sunday digs scheduled are for October 4 and 11, 1998.
Master Plan Announced
for C. C. Rich Log House Site
Having nearly completed its third year of archeological investigation at the C.C. Rich/James Wallace Log House Site in Caldwell County, Missouri, MMFF announces its intention to assist the current property owners to find a suitable individual or group of individuals who are interested in purchasing the 60 acre tract comprising the site. Once known in LDS history as the C.C. Rich branch, this site represents what would have been the hub of an early Mormon settlement five miles south of the Church's headquarters at Far West, and is, therefore, extremely significant in understanding the Mormon experience in that period. MMFF is seeking a "teaming partner" whereby MMFF would not directly own the property, but would be the vehicle for obtaining tax deductible donations for a three phase preservation of the Log House site.
Under a joint venture agreement, MMFF and the new property owner(s) would work together to promote, maintain, and expand the site to accurately interpret its Mormon and post-Mormon history. It is critical that a buyer for the property be identified very soon as the condition of the remaining exposed logs are in grave danger of total deterioration. MMFF's master plan calls for a temporary structure to be placed over the logs until enough money can be raised to erect a permanent building over the entire excavated area.
This will allow future visitors the opportunity to see an actual archeological site in "as is" condition. It will become an educational experience for those who tour the site on how the process works for uncovering the past. A full restoration would mean losing most of the more significant parts of the structure. For example, the south side could not be saved if the log house was reconstructed, but that portion of the house has the original door and window with the pegs still in them from when Charles C. Rich put them in. It would be much better to preserve these details along with the rest of the building in its present condition.
Other parts of the master plan call for a gravel drive way and parking lot for better access on the site. More improvements can be added later as money and interest increase. Donations will be solicited at the site from visitors interested in helping MMFF in maintaining and expanding the project. Many things must happen in order for this to all fall into place, but the master plan is achievable if we can obtain broad-based support for the effort. Please contact Master Planning committee members Mike Riggs at (816) 254-6501 firstname.lastname@example.org or Nancy Eppert (816) 478-4445 email@example.com for more information or to express interest. -- Mike Riggs
Winter is coming -- the exposed logs will deteriorate fast. Some decisions need to be made soon.
Should a not-for-profit be set up to own and manage the Rich-Wallace property?
Should an interested individual buy the 60 acres which includes the Rich-Wallace home site?
What kind of ownership and management can you envision? (any lawyers out there?)
Would YOU like to own a share in an investment in Mormon history in Caldwell County, Missouri?
Would you like to "own an acre" of the Rich farm?
Would you be interested in investing $1000 to $1500 in the preservation of the C. C. Rich site and be
on a governing board of trustees or a voting shareholder?
If you are interested or would like to comment please respond ASAP.
Write to MMFF, Master Planning Committee, P.O. Box 3186, Independece MO 64055
Contact Mike Riggs at (816) 254-6501 or send him an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcing the Dedication of the
Alexander Doniphan Memorial Highway
Friday, October 23, 1998, 9:30 A.M.
Alexander Doniphan Elementary School,
1900 Clay Drive, Liberty, Missouri
A dedication will be held to celebrate the naming of MO 152 to the Alexander Doniphan Memorial Highway on October 23, 1998, 9:30 a.m. at the Alexander Doniphan Elementary School, in Liberty, Missouri.
Fourth and fifth grade students will research
the life of Doniphan and prepare a presentation
about his eventful life, highlighting his major
accomplishments including the founding of
William Jewell College. Representatives of
the Missouri Department of Transportation and
its commission will be present to unveil the
highway sign to be placed on MO 152. The
name change was recently approved of by
MODOT due to the historic significance of
General Doniphan following endorsements by
numerous county and city governments, elected
and appointed officials, local civic organizations
Directions: Exit I-35 N. to 152 East. Take a right onto Conistor Dr. Follow through 4 way stop sign, (Conistor becomes Liberty Dr.) Continue 5 blocks. School is on right (west side).
Given the great success of the MMFF's Caldwell County, Missouri, Northwest Chapter just over a year ago, plans are under consideration to form another similar chapter in Utah. Interest has already been expressed by a number of MMFF members in the Beehive State wanting to start such a chapter so they also will be able to participate more fully in bringing about our organizational goals.
This notice is placed in the newsletter in order to alert other interested folks living in Utah so that they can contact us about their willingness to help organize. Should there be expressions of additional interest, a kick off meeting will be planned in the near future
for the formation of a formal chapter and where the MMFF model of success in Missouri can be explained. Specifically, a Utah Chapter would be a major asset in promoting travel to Mormon historic sites in Missouri (especially sites now marked by MMFF), provide a better source list of potential visiting scholars lecturers and authors, and would be a good outlet for distribution of MMFF printed materials.
If you would be interested in participating in a new Utah Chapter of MMFF, please contact Alex Baugh, Assistant Professor, Church History and Doctrine, 275-A JSB, Brigham Young University, Provo UT 84602, email@example.com or MMFF Acting President Ron Romig at (816) 833-1000 ext. 2449, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you know something about Bertha Booth, order her A Short History of Caldwell County, Missouri. Our 1998 reprint is a convenient 5½ x 7 inch size, 65 pages. It is in a new, easier to read type style but the same text and map as was published for the Hamilton Public Schools in 1936. The new material includes a table of contents and an index so you can find stuff; a preface to the MMFF edition and a picture of Bertha Booth and Glenn M. Setzer at the dedication of a marker at Haun's Mill in 1941 from the collection of Robert and Lucretia Hawley.
Price $5.00 plus shipping. See new order form.
This newsletter editor has more to do than time to do
it in, as you may have guessed from the time between
issues. Sorry. I am sure some of you have wondered
what happened to your newsletters. There are so many
exciting projects on the "back of the stove." Is anyone
out there able and interested in taking over the editorship
of this newsletter and make it a true quarterly again?
Ron Putz and his wife Elizabeth are in sunny? Florida. He says he doesn't have anything for this newsletter but he may be surprised. The "?" is because the hurricane kept the skies cloudy some days and deposited all day rain instead of the hour or so they normally get in the afternoons. Georges missed them!
They go to the Family History Center in Fort Meyers every day except Wednesday and Sunday, about 32 yours a week. When they are not working with patrons, they are developing computer training materials for the staff. They hope to have all the training finished by December when the big rush hits. Ron says Fort Meyers FHC is one of the busiest of the centers. They order over 4,000 rolls of microfilm a year for patrons.
For any uninitiated reader: Family History Centers provide access for the public to the vast microfilm collection in the Family History Library (FHL)in Salt Lake City. The FHL has material for both genealogists and historians. Most people use the U.S. Censuses and microfilmed records from County Courthouses. But there is much more. You may even order the family book that your editor Annette Curtis had a hand in publishing in the 1970's. It's there! All Family History Centers have computers to use the CD versions of the Family History Library Catalog, Ancestral File, and International Genealogical Index (IGI). So you see, there is plenty to keep Elizabeth and Ron Putz busy.
Keep the newsletter coming to you. Memberships are
for the calendar year. New memberships are
welcomed anytime. Now accepting memberships for
1999 (first newsletter, next issue).
Interested people are invited to attend MMFF functions. Call Ron Romig at (816) 833-1000 ext. 2449 for more information.
Notice the new book order form includes a new item: a reprint of Bertha Booth's A Short History of Caldwell County with an added index. Feel free to duplicate the form!
What about the C. C. Rich - J. Wallace log house in Caldwell County? We want to hear from you. See page 25 for details.
This double issue is dedicated to Haun's Mill. Alex Baugh has written an article for us using the reminiscence of Willard Gilbert Smith. Charlene Ward has written an article asking us to put ourselves there. Also included in this issue are several articles which Bertha Booth submitted to the State Historical Society of Missouri on the historic Haun's Mill site and an article by Alma R. Blair.
The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri by Stephen C. LeSueur (Columbia, Mo., 1987) is recommended reading.
Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation
P.O. Box 3186
Independence MO 64055
Marker Fund $ Rich-Wallace log house project $ Un-designated $
Regular $12.00 Family $20.00 Sustaining $25.00 Sponsor $100.00
Student $8.00 (full time HS & college to age 25) Patron $250.00 Life $1000.00
City State Zip
Home & Bus. Phone
Make checks payable to Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation
and mail to:
Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation
P.O. Box 3186
Independence MO 64055
City State Zip
1. Willard G. Smith's account is found in Jeanine Fry Ricketts, ed., By Their Fruits: A History and Genealogy of the Fry Family of Wiltshire, England, and Their Descendants, Including the Allied Lines of Harwood, Ramsden, Toomer, Thurston, Bosen and Maddox (Salt Lake City: n.p., n. d.), 181-83.
2. Andrew Jenson, "Willard Gilbert Smith," in Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1901), 1:473; also Estella S. Tolman, "Willard Gilbert Smith," in Kate S. Carter, comp., Treasures of Pioneer History (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1955), 4:516-17.
3. In a number of sources Thomas McBride was reported to have been a soldier in the American Revolution. This however is an error. The confusion apparently lies in the fact that he was born in 1776, the year the Revolution began, making him sixty-two years old at the time of the massacre. See James McBride, "Autobiography of James McBride," typescript, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 5, 11.
4. Thomas McBride was killed by Jacob Rogers, a resident of Daviess County, Missouri.
5. At this point in the narrative, Smith appears to be citing information about the aftermath given in other sources by his mother Amanda Barnes Smith. See Amanda Barnes Smith, "Reminiscence," in Edward W. Tullidge, Women of Mormondom (New York: n.p. 1877), 121-132; Emmeline B. Wells, "Amanda Smith," Woman's Exponent 9 (1 May 1881): 181-82; 9 (15 May 1881): 189-90; and "Journal of Amanda Barnes Smith," typescript, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1-4.
6. With the assistance of his mother, in 1840, Alma Smith dictated a sworn affidavit about his observations and experiences at the time of the massacre. See Clark V. Johnson, ed., Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Mormon Conflict (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1992), 537.
7. "Hymn 82," A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Kirtland, Ohio: Printed by F. G. Williams & Co., 1835), 112-13, 7th stanza. Among present day Mormons the hymn is known by the title, "How Firm a Foundation."
8. Nehemiah Comstock was actually a captain of one of three companies that attacked the mill. Following the Mormon surrender at Far West, he oversaw the state militia occupation at Haun's Mill. Numerous Mormon sources cite his activities.
9. Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:473-74; and Tolman, Treasures of Pioneer History, 4:517.
10. The Hamilton Advocate-Hamiltonian newspaper abbreviated "Mr. and Mrs." as "Mrms." which can really confuse the uninitiated. I have opted to un-abbreviate it.
11. Before that she was cared for by Mrs. Irene Booth who at this time was caring for her husband, Herbert R. Booth.
12. Caldwell County, Missouri Obituaries, Volume 8, 1864-1866 by Joyce E. Kindred and Matthew W. Carver, published August 1994 by K-C Genealogical Publications and Researchers. The obituary collection was the work of Florence Legg. Since this book was compiled from her "shoe box of clippings", the name of the newspaper is undetermined but most will be from Caldwell County newspapers.
14. Children of her brother(s) and/or sister(s), not the Booth side.
15. Caldwell County, Missouri Obituaries, Volume 11, 1973-1979 by Joyce E. Kindred and Matthew W. Carver, published September 1994 by K-C Genealogical Publications and Researchers. The obituaries were collected by Florence Legg. These are from the loose clippings kept in shoe boxes therefore the newspaper titles are not known but most are from Caldwell County newspaper. Probably Hamilton.