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19th Century Mormon & Western Manuscripts: Missouri Period (1831-1839)

Guide to the 19th Century Mormon & Western Manuscripts Collection at L. Tom Perry Special Collections

Collections on Missouri Period (1831-1839)

The following are selections of manuscript collections located in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections containing information related to the Missouri period of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1831-1839).  For additional collections related to this era, contact Ryan Lee, curator of 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts.

  • Newel Kimball Whitney papers, 1817-1910 (Vault MSS 76): Collection contains correspondence, financial and legal documents, church records, military records, manuscript revelations, poetry, journals, and other material by Whitney and his family. The records document the ecclesiastical functions, political activities, and finances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when it was headquartered in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Utah. The bulk of the material is from the Illinois Era (1839-1846). However, among the most important items in the collection are the only extant manuscript copies of more than twenty revelations of Joseph Smith, all but two of which have been published in the Doctrine and Covenants. Many of these relate to or were received in Missouri.
  • Abner Blackburn diary, 1827-1851 (MSS SC 43): Typescript of diary which gives accounts of the Mormon experiences in Missouri, frontier and pioneer life, Indian customs and warfare, and gold-digging during the California gold rush of 1849.
  • John Murdock journal and autobiography, 1830-1867 (MSS SC 997): Materials include two copies of the typescript of an autobiography covering, 1792-1867, and journals, 1830-1859. Murdock was a Campbellite who joined the Mormon Church in 1830. He lived with Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the Mormon prophet, in 1833 and participated in "Zion's Camp" in 1834. He lived in Kirtland, Ohio; Nauvoo, Illinois; and Lehi, Utah and was in Missouri during the persecution of Mormons in that state.
  • The Evening and Morning Star, 1832-1834 (M205.1 Ev23): First official Church publication printed in Independence, Missouri, on W. W. Phelps printing press June 1832–July 1833. Many early revelations were printed and distributed to Church members. The printing press was destroyed in July 1833 by a mob. No issues were printed until December 1833, when Oliver Cowdery took over as editor Kirtland, Ohio, and issues were printed until September 1834. Followed by Latter-day Saints' Messenger and Advocate. In the section "Selected", addresses the need for a new translation of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. BYU copy formerly owned by Newel K. Whitney.
  • Mary E. Lightner papers, 1865-1980 (Vault MSS 363): Collection contains materials pertaining to the life of Mary Elizabeth Rawlins Lightner. While most of the materials date from the Utah period, some items relate to Lightner's experiences in Missouri as a young girl, including her account of salvaging pages of the Book of Commandments from the mobs who destroyed the press in 1833. 
  • The journal of bishop Edward Partridge, 1835-1836 (MSS SC 544): Typescript of a journal which describes Partridge's travels to Kirtland, Ohio, and Clay County, Missouri; his Mormon missions to the Eastern and New England states; his participation in the United order of the LDS Church; the dedication of the Kirtland, Ohio Temple and his dealings with the people of Liberty, Missouri.
  • William Wines Phelps papers, 1835-1865 (Vault MSS 810): Collection contains original correspondence and journal extracts written by William Wines (W.W.) Phelps and his family between 1835 and 1865. He wrote the majority of the letters to his wife, Sally, in Clay County, Missouri, while he was in Kirtland, Ohio with members of the Mormon Church. The collection also contains some original letters from other family members, such as his wife and son, to Phelps. 
  • Emilia Wilson letter, 1836 July 4 (MSS SC 2709): Photocopy of a handwritten and signed letter dated 4 July 1836 and addressed to a Samuel Turrentine in North Carolina. The item was written in Clay County, Missouri, by A. Wilson and Emilia Wilson. The Wilsons write about the organization of the citizens of Missouri to resist the Mormons.
  • Marriages solemnized by John Whitmer in Caldwell Co. state of Missouri, May-June 1837 (Vault MSS 241): Handwritten list dated 14 May and 25 June 1837. The item is a record of two marriages performed by John Whitmer, an early Mormon Church leader and one of the "Eight Witnesses" to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The marriages were between Willard Snow and Malvina Harvy and John H. Zimmar and Elisa Jackson.
  • Oration delivered by Mr. S. Rigdon, on the 4th of July, 1838. At Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, 1838 July 4 (094 F22 1838): The oration was meant as a Mormon "declaration of independence" against "mobocrats" and Anti-Mormon persecution. 
  • Allen Slusher letter, 1838 September 15 (MSS SC 32): Photocopy and typescript of an order dated Sept. 15, 1838 and addressed to an unnamed sergeant. This item directs the assembling of a company of Missouri Militia at Independence on Sept. 21 and 29, 1838 for the purpose of expelling the Mormons or resisting Indian "invasions."
  • National Archives material on the persecutions of the Church in Missouri, 1838-1842 (MSS 942): Photocopies of handwritten and printed petitions, affidavits, and published and unpublished accounts of the persecutions suffered by the Mormons in Missouri. The materials were an attempt to get redress for their grievances, especially relating to their expulsion from Missouri in 1839. The items were acquired from the National Archives and Record Service in Washington, D.C. Material pertaining to the Missouri persecutions of the Church, 1839. As found at the National Archives.
  • Joseph Hawkins papers, 1838-1839 (Vault MSS 724): Six items relating to Joseph Hawkins' role in the Mormon War in Missouri. Includes original handwritten and signed letters from Missouri Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, Adjutant General B. M. Lisle, and Brigadier General Green White, which contain military orders to Hawkins. Also includes a printed general order (original was removed to print collection) by Lilburn W. Boggs and B. M. Lisle; and, a newspaper article on Joseph Hawkins from a 1924 Missouri newspaper.
  • Lilburn Boggs executive orders, 1838-1976 (MSS SC 1790): Photographic prints and photocopies of Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs' 1838 "extermination order" of the Mormons, Governor Christopher Bond's executive order rescinding it, and a newsclipping describing the rescission.
  • Amanda Barnes Smith autobiographical sketch and statement, 1866-1921 (MSS SC 528): Typewritten autobiography which includes genealogical data of Smith's family and an account of the Haun's Mill massacre where her son and husband were murdered.
  • John Hunt letter, 1839 January 20 (MSS SC 657): Handwritten and signed letter dated 20 January 1839. The item was created in Polk County, Missouri, and is addressed to Hunt's brother, David Hunt. John Hunt writes about family matters and about the Mormons in Missouri at that time.
  • Sidney Rigdon letter, 1839 February 18 (MSS SC 2266): Photocopies of a letter printed in the "Quebec Gazette" 20 (18 Feb. 1839) p. 2. Also included is a typescript of the letter. Rigdon, confined in the jail at Liberty, Missouri outlines "the sufferings, the calamities, the woe and wretchedness of the Mormons" in Missouri.
  • Hyrum Smith letter to Hannah Grinnels and children, 1839 March 16 (Vault MSS 774, Series 2, box 1, folder 18): Letter written by Smith from Liberty Jail, this two page letter contains advice to "Sister Grinnels" and Hyrum Smith's children. "Sister Grinnels" is likely Hannah Grinnels, a woman who lived with Hyrum's family to help care for the children, The signature at the bottom of the letter has been clipped away. Dated March 16, 1839. Also includes a one page letter written by Cleone Smith Isom on August 24, 1985 clarifying the identity of those mentioned in the letter.
  • Joseph Young affidavit of Haun's Mill massacre, 1839 June 4 (Vault MSS 791): Materials include Joseph Young's original eyewitness account of events that occurred during the Haun's Mill massacre on October 30, 1838. His account was witnessed and sealed on June 4, 1839, by John Woods of the Circuit Court in Adams County, Missouri. Young describes the mob, his escape, and the conditions of the victims. Young also writes that he helped bury the dead. The account was later used by the Church as evidence of the sufferings of its members in Missouri. Dated June 4, 1839.
  • Facts relative to the expulsion of the Mormons or Latter-day Saints, from the state of Missouri, under the "exterminating order." By John P. Greene, an authorised representative of the Mormons, 1839 (M277.78 G831 1839): Facts relative to the expulsion of the Mormons or Latter-day Saints, from the state of Missouri, under the "exterminating order." By John P. Greene, an authorised representative of the Mormons. Greene, a brother-in-law of Brigham Young, was present during these events.
  • William Morgan certificate, 1839 (MSS SC 1045): Account certifying that Joseph Smith, Caleb Baldwin, and Lyman Wight escaped from Morgan "without the common concent or negligence of myself or gard" on April 16, 1839. The item was written on July 6, 1839. Morgan and others were escorting the prisoners to Boone County to be tried for various crimes.
  • Allen Joseph Stout journal, 1845-1889 (MSS 5900): Related items include his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Missouri in 1838, his activities in Missouri, the organization of the Danites, the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri.
  • Jane Walker Smith autobiography, ca. 1900 (MSS SC 2631): Typewritten autobiography. Smith writes about being born in Pecham, Vermont, migrating to Haun's Mill, Missouri, what she observed during the "Haun's Mill Massacre," mob activities against the Mormons in Missouri, her life in Nauvoo, Illinois, her miraculous healing, her association with the first president of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, and her sister's marriage to Joseph Smith as a plural wife.