Haun's Mill Massacre
February 4, 2007 1:18 PM   Subscribe

The Haun's Mill Massacre: Outbursts of violence led Governor Lilburn W. Boggs on October 27 to issue an "Extermination Order," demanding that the Latter-day Saints leave the state or be exterminated. Here is a dramatic reenactment from the LDS financed propaganda film, Legacy.
posted by Falconetti (8 comments total)
Joseph Smith's children later showed that they could do much better than the gentiles.
posted by koeselitz at 1:46 PM on February 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Not that that makes the Haun's Mill incident okay. It's a pretty clear example of the viciousness which the anti-Mormons acted with.

It just strikes me as remarkable that nobody on the scene seemed willing to learn the most obvious lesson: quick and hasty violence leads nowhere, and it's awful to be butchered just for what you say on Sunday morning. Brigham Young, at least, should have known a hell of a lot better.

posted by koeselitz at 1:51 PM on February 4, 2007

The Huan's Mill massacre and the extermination order was triggered by the news (which was false) that a company of militia sent to prevent organized Mormon hostilities was almost completely massacred. I always wonder which side was responsible for the rumor.

Samuel Bogart's Ray county troops, under official orders from the leader of the state troops, were protecting Buncombe, and trying to make sure that Richmond was out of danger. There are many attestations to this. John Corrill says that "Captain Bogard had collected a company and got permission to guard Buncum, and was there encamped for that purpose when they fell on him."( History of the Mormons (1839), p.39 ). After the battle, Sashiel Woods and Joseph Dickson wrote the following to Governor Boggs: "Sir:—We were informed last night, by an express from Ray County, that Captain Bogart and all his company, amounting to between fifty and sixty men were massacred by the Mormons at Buncombe, twelve miles north of Richmond, except three. " Woods and Dickson were wrong about the number of dead - only one of Bogart's troops, Moses Rowland, died. The distance reference, also found elsewhere, is interesting. Twelve miles from Richmond is right at the bottom of the six mile wide strip that currently lies on the northern edge of Ray County. It should also be noted that in the affidavit that Thomas B. Marsh filed with the state of Missouri at Richmond, he said "On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons, they had a meeting at Far West at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of the destruction company, for the purpose of burning & destroying, and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the people of Caldwell & committed depredations on the Mormons, they were to burn Buncombe & if the people of Clay & Ray made any movement against them, this destroying company was to burn Liberty & Richmond. This burning was to be done secretly by going as incendiaries."
posted by Brian B. at 1:54 PM on February 4, 2007

An aerial map of the site of Haun's Mill on Shoal Creek, near Kingston, Missouri (Google maps) The small "loop drive" in the green field is the location of the monument and some sites related to the massacre that have been investigated by archaeologists (including recently).

A photo of the river near the mill site. (Flickr)

1907 photo of the site and millstone monument (Wikipedia) This is, apparently, the stone that can still be seen today in nearby Breckenridge Park.

Several historical photographs, drawings, and a map of the community as it existed in 1838 (Far West History)
posted by flug at 2:48 PM on February 4, 2007

In the grand scheme of history, this is related to this [self-link; a post I made yesterday].
posted by Falconetti at 3:07 PM on February 4, 2007

These both would have been better as one connected post, I think (at least, it would have eliminated the moralist gotchas).

It's really bizarre, considering all the splinter sects that came out of the various Great Awakenings and the Burned-Over District, that this one should have attracted so much mutual suspicion and violence.
posted by dhartung at 4:43 PM on February 4, 2007

All this violence points to what I have lately been thinking is the real reason polygamy has not made a better showing over historical time despite the advantage of not having to feed as many individuals who can't produce children (the surplus males) as monogamy does.

Polygamy may be much better at growing in numbers rapidly, but when it comes to a fight at a border with a roughly equally numerous mongamous group, the monogamous group will have an overwhelming advantage in prime fighters-- the agressive, sexually mature young males.
posted by jamjam at 5:10 PM on February 4, 2007

Just a reminder that none of the people involved in these skirmishes were thought to be practicing polygamy at this time. Polygamy was slowly introduced outside of the top inner circle to the rest of Mormonism around 1842.
posted by Brian B. at 5:48 PM on February 4, 2007

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