(Newspapers of Illinois)

Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois

Warsaw  Signal
1848-52 Articles

View of Nauvoo from Iowa shore -- late 1840s

1840   |   1841   |   1842   |   1843   |   1844   |   1845   |   1846-47   |   1848-52

Jan 29 48   |   Jun 01 48   |   Oct 12 '48   |   Jan 13 '49
May19 '49   |   Aug 04 '49   |   Nov 17 '49   |   Dec 08 '49
Dec 29 '49   |   Jan 12 '50   |   Jan 19 '50   |   Mar 30 '50
Aug 27 '51   |   Nov 15 '51   |   Nov 29 '51   |   Jan 10 '52
Apr 10 '52   |   Aug 14 '52   |   Nov 06 '52

Articles Index  |  Quincy Whig  |  Burlington Hawkeye, etc.


Vol. IV.                           Warsaw, Illinois, Jan. 29, 1848.                           No. 37.


The St. Louis Republican contains a long Circular addressed by the Twelve Apostles to the Saints abroad, and every body in general. It is signed by Brigham Young, President of the Twelve, and William [sic] Richards, Clerk. By it we learn that they have made a stopping place near the Great Salt Lake where they intend to remain for the time being. Their position is nearly central between the great valley of the Mississippi and the United States' possessions on the Pacific -- and their position there may have a great influence upon the future destiny of that vast region of country. According to their story, the population of the new city will be greatly increased during the coming summer -- not less than 20,000 persons are expected to join them within that period. This statement is to be taken, however, for what it is worth; and we think our readers can form a pretty correct judgment of the value of such a statement, coming from that source. That large numbers of deluded beings have been silly enough to follow the fortunes of the twelve into the depths of that dreary wilderness, there is no doubt; -- and it is equally certain that there are many 'more of the same sort,' yet to follow -- to be the dupes of heartless knaves, the victims of the savage tribes, or to die with hunger and disease on the toilsome journey.

This address will be copied extensively throughout the country, and noticed favorably by the press -- as it has already been by the Republican -- thus gaining proselytes -- and its work is accomplished.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Warsaw, Illinois, June 1, 1848.                           No. 2.

Later  from  the  Mountains.

Massacre of Men, Women and Children, by the Indians -- Threatening Aspect of Affairs in Oregon and California.

We have received intelligence from St. Joseph, on the western frontier of this State, that Mr. Shrader recently arrived there from Fort Kearney, bringing the news that an express had just got in from the Mormon settlement on the Great Salt Lake, bringing an account of the most disastrous import.

The Indians in that quarter have attacked the Mormon settlement, and massacred a large number of defenceless men, women and children! No cause is assigned for the outbreak, though doubtless the recent disturbances in Oregon have not been without their influence. The express was sent in for the purpose of soliciting aid from the United States, as it was feared that the Indians would gather in still larger numbers, and murder all the settlers at Salt Lake.

It is quite evident that the Indians intended hereafter to way-lay and massacre small emigrant parties, wherever they can be found on the great traces leading to Oregon and California. This state of things calls loudly for an additional military force in this quarter. The Indians are becoming daily more bold and reckless, and require the strong arm of power for their subjugation.

At the Bluffs, it was thought the Mormons about to emigrate, would be deterred from starting.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Warsaw, Illinois, October 12, 1848.                           No. 20.


At Nauvoo, was destroyed by fire on Sunday night last, the 8th instant, about 3 o'clock. We learn that the people of the city are strongly of the opinion that it was the work of an incendiary; but what ground there is for that opinion, we do not know. It is stated that a religious meeting had been held in it in the evening, called by a Universalist preacher -- and that this meeting did not adjourn until between 10 and 11 o'clock. There is a report, also, that when the fire was first discovered, a window was found open; leading to the conviction that it had been fired by some one who entered for that purpose. We have not heard that suspicion rests upon any individual; but whether it may have been by accident or design -- or be the perpetrator friends or foe -- Strangite, Brighamite, or Rigdonite -- the body of the Anti-Mormons, of Hancock county, will have to bear the blame.

The fire was seen in various parts of the county, at a distance of some 15 miles -- and, had it not been a moonlight night, might have been seen much further. The four blackened walls of stone still stand, a monument of the rise, progress and downfall of one of the boldest and most nefarious systems of imposture of modern times.

Note: The burning of the Nauvoo Temple, on Oct. 8, 1848, was a widely reported event, published in the columns newspapers that seldom gave up space to mention occurrences associated with the Mormons. In its issue of Oct. 19th, the Warsaw Signal reproduced four reports on the fire, taken from other mewspapers in the region.


Vol. V.                           Warsaw, Illinois, January 13, 1849.                           No. 29.


The Mormons in California have laid claim to a large portion of the Gold Territory, and demand 30 per cent of the ore taken therefrom. An express has been sent to the Salt Lake Settlement. where about 10,000 Mormons are located. There is a rumor that equally rich mines have been discovered in that region. The 30 per cent demand of the Mormons is expected to lead to trouble.   Nat. Intell.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Warsaw, Illinois, May 19, 1849.                           No. 48.


We learn by the last Hancock Patriot, that Thomas H. Owen, and his two sons, J. Carl and Orlando, and Major L. C. Bidamon, J. C. Bidamon, P. Kimball, O. F. Hall. Jesse Avise and Allen Enslee, left that city lately for the gold diggings.

Note: For further details on the adventures of Major Lewis C. Bidamon in the California goldfields, see chapters 17 and 18 of Newell and Avery's 1994 biography of Emma Smith. They report that while in California, the Major's brother, John C. Bidamon, "became the sheriff of Hangtown." They do not mention that the same office had been previously filled by Ziba Peterson, one of the erstwhile "missionaries to the Lamanites" from Mormonism's earlier days.


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, August 4, 1849.                           No. 4.


The Strang Dynasty of the Mormon Brotherhood, it is known to most of our readers, has established the head-quarters of their Church at Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan. These Islands are highly spoken of by those who have visited them. Big Beaver Island, the principal one, being about thirteen miles long by seven broad, and containing 50,000 acres of good land. These Islands are deemed remarkably healthy, and are becoming quite noted among the Upper Lake travellers, in consequence of their beauty and their salubrity of climate. The number of resident Mormons there, is now estimated at about 300, and they are soon to have a weekly paper issued there. We believe the "stake" at Voree, is to be pulled up, and transplanted at Paradise Bay, on one of these islands, where -- we suppose -- another great temple is to be built.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, November 17, 1849.                           No. 16.


We have been shown a letter addressed to Thomas C. Sharp, Esq., from a man intimately acquainted with the Mormons the western part of Iowa, warning him of a scheme on foot among the leaders there, to assassinate several of the most objectionable Anti-Mormons in this county. The men named in the letter as being in the most danger, are Messrs. T. C. Sharp, John McAseley, James W. Brattle, and Daniel Douglass, and the writer states that all these men, as well as others he does not name, have been threatened in such a manner as leads him to conclude that their lives are in danger,

He further states that he knows of Orson Hyde's having offered $500 to a villain of the name of Bill Hickman, to come down here and kill Sharp; and that the fellow did come down here last fall, but returned without having accomplished his object -- alleging as a reason, that Sharp was sick at the time, and he could not get at him! He states further that there is now prowling about among us a man by the name of Van Fleet -- with "large bushy whiskers, and sandy complexion," -- who is on the same errand; and that Orson Hyde's mission to this region and to St. Louis recently, may have some connexion with the same object. He also says that a certain Almon W. Babbitt, United States Mail Agent, and would-be Representative in Congress from the new State of Deseret, -- is the man upon whom they depend for information as to the whereabouts of their victims.

That Orson Hyde has been in this region we know, and that A. W. Babbitt was a month or so since, is also well known; but whether Van Fleet has yet made his appearance is uncertain. It would be well, we opine, for this last personage not to show himself in Hancock county!

Many of our readers may honestly doubt whether it is the intention of the Mormon leaders to commit violence on the persons of these men; and it does require a good knowledge of Mormon character to believe it. But to those who know that emissaries were more than once sent to Missouri to assassinate Gov. Boggs, and that once he narrowly escaped with his life, and who know that the leaders among them now, were among the most unprincipled advisors and abettors of the Prophet then, the communications made in the letter referred to, will not be so very astonishing.

Let assassins and aiders and abettors in assassination, beware!

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, December 8, 1849.                           No. 19.


The last Gospel Herald of the Strang section of the Latter-Day Saints, publishes what it calls a "Phrenological Description of James J. Strang," which it says was given three years ago by Mr. Wells, of the firm of Fowler and Wells, New York. In looking over it we find the following sentence:

"Should you undertake to play the hypocrite, 'lay low and keep dark,' you would expose yourself in some way, for you have not the tack and cunning enough to enable you to carry it out into any great speculation or enterprise."

"Them's our sentiments, exactly!" we think the Phrenologist hit it that time. Your hypocritical acting has not succeeded very well -- indeed your "cunning" has not been sufficient to prevent a full "exposure" of your hypocrisy. Again, he says:

"In summing up your character, I should say that the strong points were activity, energy, excitability, &c."

We think that the strongest point in the whole lot is Rascality.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, December 29, 1849.                           No. 22.


A delegation is in Washington from the Salt Lake, asking admission into the Union for the State of Deseret. They claim a population of only 20,000 -- composed, in a large part, of persons who have not yet even been naturalized. We have no doubt but the number is overestimated, by at least one half -- and to allow 10,000 persons -- English, Welch, Scotch and American Fanatics -- with not one correct idea of what constitutes Republicanism, a representation of two or three members in Congress, would be an act of most glaring folly and injustice.

Babbitt is one of the Delegation, upon whose statements and representations this folly is to be perpetrated. The most that can reasonably be asked, and the most that can be granted, is to give them a Territorial Government.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, January 12, 1850.                           No. 22.


Mr. Joseph L. Heywood and others passed through this place some days ago, direct from the Mormon City of the Salt Lake, on their way to the Eastern Cities. They represent the Mormons as enjoying a high degree of prosperity. They represent the gold as plentiful -- and they showed some specimens, both in the native state, and in the shape of a 20 dollar coin. (These Latter Day Saints always were great at coining money.) They state the population of the city at 10,000, and that of the Valley at 15 to 20 thousand -- one half that number then, is nearer the truth.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, January 19, 1850.                           No. 23.


We ask the attention of the Louisville Journal, New York Sun, and other Eastern papers, who have uniformly traduced the people of this portion of the State, for their treatment of the Mormons, to the following statement. It is an extract of a letter written by a correspondent of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier, who was sojourning there on his route to California, and who had opportunities of seeing and knowing the truth.

"When I first came into the valley there was a large number of emigrants here that expected to stay till spring, but now all seem determined to go on, which is mainly owing to the uncongeniality of feeling existing between the people here and themselves. I must say, in reference to those people -- I have been disappointed in them. I had supposed them an abused people; I had thought them falsely accused of all manner of crime, when in the States. However it may have been there, it has proven to be a fact here that there is nothing they will not do. From the highest in authority to the most servile and beggarly, they will steal, rob and beg worse than the worse Indians we have yet met with. They have resorted to all manner of devices to induce emigrants to stay with them, for no other reason but to steal and beg from them.  *  *  *   No man can live among them who is not one of them, because I believe they consider all as lawful that does not belong to the Saints. So take them as they are, and earth does not produce so degraded, so damnable a community of people. The morals and order of society are totally disregarded by them. Their Bishops take as man women as they wish, and discard them at pleasure. Some instances have come under my notice where men have a mother and three daughters at the same time for wives. It is no uncommon thing to find them with a whole family of sisters, and other women too; some four instances have come under my notice where men have a mother and her daughters, more or less.

"My opinion is, that if something does not occur to change their course, the world's history will not furnish a parallel of degradation and wretchedness. They are from under all restraints of law. The priests are supreme, and they indulge in all these vices -- and like priest, like people. They deny the authority of the United States, and gasconade around as if they were able to maintain themselves against any force that might be sent against them."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                           Warsaw, Illinois, March 30, 1850.                           No. 31.

                   From the National Intelligencer.


Mention is frequently made of Deseret, as the name of a territory settled by the people commonly called Mormons, and now praying to be admitted into the Union under the name just stated. It is a matter of surprise that this subject has not attracted a greater degree of public attention. This circumstance can only be accounted for by the fact that other subjects of a more urgent nature have for the last few months occupied the thoughts and time of Congress and the people. Under ordinary circumstances, there are many questions connected with the settlement of the Mormons, and their present application to be admitted into the federal Union, which would have been thought to require very serious consequences.

In the first place, who and what are the Mormons? The answer is, they are a sect of fanatics, who have sprung up within the last few years, and who believe in the late Joe Smith as a divine prophet. Since the cruel murder of Joe Smith, they believe that his gift and power of prophecy have passed to his successors, and that Divine revelations are regularly and even frequently made by them and their followers. The "Book of Mormon" is a pretended revelation, which Joe Smith alleged was communicated to him on golden plates, dug up in the State of New York, written in an unknown language, but translated into English by himself. In point of fact, the greater part of this pretended new Bible was a sort of religious romance written by a clergyman of New York, not with any intention to deceive, but as an effort (a very ill-judged one) at an innocent exercise of the imagination. By some accident it fell into Joe Smith's hands, and was by him made the subject of the abominable fraud just named. The deluded followers of Smith, calling themselves "Latter-day Saints," emigrated, we believe from New York to the West, Whether their first establishment there was in the State of Missouri, we are not accurately informed. They had not been long in that State before they incurred the ill-will and odium of their neighbors, and were illegally and violently driven out of the State. They took refuge in Illinois, founded the city of Nauvoo, built an abortion of architecture which they called a temple, and grew rapidly in numbers and wealth. Recruits of two descriptions flocked to them; first, simple fanatics, who believed in the pretensions of Joe Smith, a considerable number of whom were enlisted by his missionaries. not only on the Middle and Northern States, but in England; and second, adventurers of every kind, who flocked to Nauvoo to speculate upon the credulity of the other portion.

To the disgrace of the age this wicked imposture flourished. As a specimen of its grossness, we may mention a fact, stated by an extremely respectable gentleman of this city, as one within his personal knowledge. Being on a tour to the West, he visited Nauvoo from curiosity. In the temple he was shown a collection of curiosities, and among them were one or two mummies, which had been imported from Egypt by Joe Smith. The attention of the visitor was called by Smith to the mummy clothes and the writing upon them. "There," said Smith, "that's the hand writing of the patriarch Abraham, and I am the only man that can read it," which he then proceeded to do!

In the course of a few years the scenes of violence which had occurred in Missouri, were repeated, and with still more fatal results, in Illinois, and the Mormons were driven from the State by armed and organized bodies -- not acting, however, with any legal authority. We do not, by any means, justify or palliate the manner in which the Mormons were treated, either in Missouri or Illinois. It was illegal and cruel, and this without any reference to the character and conduct of the Mormons. What credit is to be given to the reports which circulated to their disadvantage we have no means of knowing. They were believed to be guilty of the grossest immoralities; it has been constantly stated that they professed and practiced on the doctrine of community, or plurality of wives; and it was believed in their neighborhood that they made up their separate organization to screen each other in a general violation of the laws of the land and good morals. Whether this is true, false, or exaggerated, we have no knowledge; but it seems scarcely possible that, unless there had been some foundation for the prejudice, they should in so short a time have become the object of such bitter hostility in Missouri and Illinois.

In the conflict between the Mormons and the neighboring population of Illinois, Joe Smith was murdered in the prison in which he had been committed. His followers fled from the State and formed the resolution to emigrate to California; not then known to abound in gold. Having reached the region of the great Salt Lake they halted there and established a settlement, which has produced, and is now said to contain twenty thousand persons, one half of whom are unnaturalized foreigners, principally English. It is probable that their settlement has received a good many recruits from emigrants who had started for California. Their pretended theocratic government is still kept up; and revelations are a regularly announced to them as the orders of the day by a commanding general in time of war.

Such is the people, who having founded a few straggling settlements on the public land of the United States -- of which they do not own an inch, of which the Indian title has not been extinguished -- have formed a constitution of government, chosen a Delegate to Congress, and asked admission to the Union as an organized territory by the name of Deseret. As far as we can judge, the region modestly included within the boundaries which they have granted themselves is about as big as all New England and New York. This is "vote yourself a farm" with a vengeance. If Congress admits the pretensions of these people, they all them to vote themselves to each adult male a domain about as big as Rhode Island; or rather, Congress will in so doing, grant its sanction to this most monstrous and unexpected appropriation, which has already been made by the Mormons.

Had the Mormons addressed a memorial to Congress praying for a small tract of land, say five or six townships 00 a quarter section for each head of a family (!) -- our individual feelings might have been in favor of complying with their request, and thus allowing them a place of asylum from persecutions. We very much doubt, however, whether Congress would have granted such a petition. It is entirely against the spirit of our legislation to bestow any such favor on large organized sects. It never has been done, and it may be doubted whether it ever ought to be done. There are about twenty thousand Shakers in New York and the Eastern States; they own valuable tracts of land, honestly bought and paid for, or acquired by gift. Suppose they should (with or without reason) become odious to their neighbors, be the subjects if a general persecution, and finally be driven by violence from their present homes; does any man propose for a moment that Congress would grant them an ample tract out of the public domain? Would such a grant be made to any sect -- to Mennonites, Rappists, to Trinitarians, Unitarians, Orthodox or Liberal? Is there any one of the kindred sects that fill the dictionary of denominations, to which Congress would grant an acre of land, or even a charter of incorporation? We think not.

But Congress is asked to make to this sect, not of Christians but of Mormons, of believers not in Jesus Christ but of Joe Smith, a more than imperial grant; to bestow upon them, not a township, but a region as large as Great Britain; not an act of incorporation, but an act of admission, on terms of equal membership, to this Union of States!

The name by which the Mormons have begun to call their new settlement, and propose to call their new State, is Deseret; and if there were no other objection to this name, it would be a sufficient and fatal objection that its adoption by Congress would be a direct recognition of the wretched fraud called the Book of Mormon. The following is the account which we find cited from the Frontier Guardian: "The name selected for that country is borrowed from the Book of Mormon, where a description is given of a voyage of the ancient Jaredites, from the Tower of Babel to the American continent, more than four thousand years ago. It is said they brought with them seeds of all kinds, and also 'Deseret,' which by interpretation is the 'honey bee.' The bee and the hive being emblems of industry, the citizens there, wishing ever to exhibit those qualifications, have chosen the above name, as being adapted to the character which they ever wish to sustain."

It is unnecessary to state that this whole attempt to connect the history of the Mormons -- a sect of fanatics formed in our own day -- with the dispersion of mankind at the tower of Babel is pure fiction. It is a part of the romance to which we allude above, and which Joe Smith adopted as his revelation. There is not the slightest reason for thinking that the word Deseret means Honey Bee in any language ever spoken by man. We have seen it stated, and that in a respectable journal, that Deseret is the ancient Egyptian word for Bee.

Of this we have no proof. Sir Gardner Wilkinson does not appear to have known the ancient Egyptian name of the bee, (see his Manners and Customs, second series, vol. 1, p. 81,) and if not known to him, it is not likely to have been known to any one else. In fact, we understand that the Mormons do not themselves pretend that Deseret is the ancient Egyptian word for bee, but that a certain ancient race called Jaredites (existing only in the imagination of Joe Smith and his followers) brought from the tower of Babel a something which they called Deseret, and which is, by the Mormon interpretation, honey-bee. The entire Book of Mormon being a forgery out of whole cloth, it is of course idle to discuss the meaning of anything contained in it. But we protest against the incorporation of any of this jargon into the statute book of the United States.

We have lately seen in the Washington papers handsome testimonials to the moral character of the Mormons in their present location, to their thrift, good conduct, and consequent general prosperity. How far these testimonials are well-founded we do not know. We do not at all enter into the question of the morality of the Mormons nor in the slightest degree apologize for the treatment which they received in Missouri and Illinois. At the same time, however, there is reason for believing that they hold some dangerous principles of practical morality, which should make Congress pause before they constitute them a coequal sovereign member of the Union. If their future history is to resemble the past, Congress, in taking steps to organize them into a permanent political community, will be laying the foundation of convulsions of a most dangerous character. If they were, or believed to be, a community which neither Missouri nor Illinois would tolerate, even in the number of a few thousands, is it likely that they can live in peace and harmony with neighboring states, when they themselves have grown into a powerful State, wielded by artful chiefs who pretend to add Divine to human power?

It has been publicly stated by seceding members of the Mormon body that their leaders already threaten vengeance for the wrongs they have suffered; and among the wild visions of Joe Smith's heated brain was that of acting over again the part of Mahomet, and founding a new Mormon caliphate on this continent. We may smile at the egregious absurdity of these delusions, and yet not think it prudent to assist his followers, already boasting of their tens of thousands, to plant themselves on the high-road to California, and give them complete control of our line of communications between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.   FRANKLIN.


We notice that Mr. Wentworth has introduced a petition into the House of Representatives, remonstrating against the admission of Deseret into the Union. They object on the grounds that the leaders there are enemies to the United States -- are robbers, murderers, polygamists, &c., &c. The petitioners represent themselves to be Mormons residing in the State of Illinois, and we presume are Strangites belonging to Mr. Wentworth's District.

The attention of our readers is directed to an article on the subject of the admission of Deseret, from the National Intelligencer, to be found on the outside of our paper to-day.

Note 1: The petitioners "residing in the State of Illinois" were not exactly "Strangites;" rather, they were former Strangites, allied with William Smith at Shelbourne, Lee Co., Illinois. Shelbourne was the western terminus of Palestine Grove, immediately south of what is now Amboy, Illinois. This was the headquarters of William Smith's "Palestine Stake of Zion." In Chapter 5 of his 1901 book on the Mormons, William Alexander Linn provides the following information: "The constitution of Deseret was presented to the House of Representatives by Mr. Boyd, a Kentucky Democrat, on January 28, 1850, and referred to the Committee on Territories. On July [sic] 25, John Wentworth, an Illinois Democrat, presented a petition from citizens of Lee County, in his state, asking Congress to protect the rights of American citizens passing through the Salt Lake Valley, and charging on the organizers of the State of Deseret treason, a desire for a kingly government, murder, robbery, and polygamy." According to the Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Wentworth's presentation was made on February 25, 1850 -- the relevant entry for that date reads: "Mr. Wentworth presented the petition of Thomas Hunt and other citizens of the State of Illinois, praying Congress to protect the rights of American citizens while trading through the valley of the Salt Lake, and setting forth other matters concerning the treasonable designs of the Salt Lake Mormons. On motion of Mr. Wentworth, the said petition was read. Mr. Wentworth moved that the petition be referred to the Committee on Military Affairs. And debate arising thereon, the petition was laid upon the table under the rule." See Feb. 26, 1850 issue of the Washington D. C. Congressional Globe for further information on this petition.

Note 2: According to the Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, on July 19, 1850, "Mr. Robert M. McLane reported that the... Committee of Elections, to whom were referred the credentials of Almon W. Babbitt, esq., and his memorial, praying to be admitted to a seat in the House as a delegate from the provisional State of Deseret, together with the resolution reported by the said committee, had come to no resolution thereon." The issue for July 20, 1850 records that John Wentworth voted against tabling the resolution to admit Almon W. Babbitt, Esq., as the "delegate from the alleged State of Deseret."


Vol. VII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, August 27, 1851.                           No. 4.


We subjoin a statement, published in the Oregon Spectator of June 12, by a Rev. Mr. Goodall, who. among others, had the misfortune to spend the winter at Salt Lake:

"The number of our company, said he, is 105; of them 49 are men, 19 women and the rest children, included in ten families. Being compelled to winter among the Mormons, it gave us an opportunity of becoming acquainted with their manners and customs. Concubinage, polygamy, and incest, are common among them. It is not at all uncommon for a man to take for his wives a mother and a daughter at the same time. Polygamy is publicly advocated by the leaders. Brigham Young, according to the testimony of the Mormons themselves, has over 80 wives.

Between 800 and 1000 persons, immigrants, wintered in the Salt Lake Valley -- most of them were bound for California. They all suffered more or less of injustice and wrongs from the Mormons. The liberty of speech was denied them. Their lives were threatened by the heads of the church, if they said aught against the religion or practices of the Mormons. The most unjust measures were resorted to to rob the immigrants of their money. One man ventured to say 'that if a man in the States had as many wives as Young, he would be called a wicked man,' was immediately arrested and fined $50 and costs.

To cap the climax, an unjust and cruel tax was imposed upon them. After they had left their settelement, they were followed 60 miles from their city by teh State Marshal, with power to assess their property and collect tax at the same time -- authorized to seize their teams if the tex was not promptly paid. This tax was two per cent. on every kind of property they possessed -- even to the beds -- valued at the prices put upon such property in Salt Lake Valley. The immigrants had to pay from $15, up to as high as $50 and $60 each. This, considering the circumstances in which they were placed, they felt severely.

The Mormons are opposed to the Government of the United States -- speak against it publicly and privately, and predict its overthrow."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, November 15, 1851.                           No. 15.


Several years since, when we, as editor of the Warsaw Signal, were battling with the Saints and endeavoring to convince the public abroad that the Anti-Mormons were not the aggressors, that the difficulties which at that time distracted this county was the result of the treasonable character of the Mormon religion, -- all we could say to convince the world of the honesty and justice of our cause, was set down to the account of malice and persecution. We told of the high handed acts of oppression, daily practiced in Nauvoo; we chronicled the thefts continually going on; we demonstrated the utter inefficacy of the law to punish the Saints for depredations committed by them, or to shield the old settlers from insult and wrong; but it was all to no purpose. In vain did we show that the old settlers previous to the emigration of the Mormons were a law abiding and peaceable community; and in vain did we point to the difficulties which had grown up between the Saints and their neighbors wherever they had been. All was in vain. The public press, every where pronounced us a gang of mobocrats, unfit to be endured in a civilized land, -- while the Mormons were entitled to all sympathy and respect.

When the Mormons were driven from Hancock and took up their residence at Salt Lake, we prophecied that in less than five years the world would have an opportunity to judge of the relative characters of the two parties which had so long agitated this part of the country. And what do we now see? on the one hand an industrious and peaceable people, are the Anti-Mormons of Hancock. Since the exodus of the Mormons not one instance of mobocracy has occurred, & we are as moral a community, and as free from thefts and breaches of the peace as any other in the west. For the opposite picture read the following, -- from a correspondent of the Missouri Republican:   S. [Sharp]

                                             Independence, Oct. 31, 1851.
On yesterday afternoon, the Salt Lake mail reached here, arriving at Fort Laramie on the 16th instant. The party in charge met with no detention this trip, other than that arising from a slight snow storm. The roads were in a fine condition. Grass and water plenty.

It seems that the Mormons are at their old game; creating difficulties with those who try to be friends and neighbors. B. D. Harris, Secretary; L. J. Brandenburg, Chief Justice; P. E. Brochus, Associate Judge; H. R. Day, Indian Agent; Gillam and Young, have all left the Territory, and will be here by the 4th or 5th of next month. Cogswell and Young, and one or two others, will not be in quite so soon; they have been compelled to leave the Valley on account of the seditious sentiments of Gov. Brigham Young, and other leaders of the Mormon church. On every occasion those men have been denouncing our government before the officers, and especially at their religious gatherings, in such a manner as to make every one unpleasant who was not connected with them; asserting, among other things, 'that Congress is a pack of corrupt swindlers'; that 'our government stinks in the nostrils of Jehovah,' &c., &c. Church and State are so much merged in one, that justice on any occasion, cannot be rendered, and any one unconnected with the church is unsafe either as to life or property.

The $20,000 appropriated by Congress for public buildings has been taken to pay off the debts of the church, and only a short time before the merchants and Judges left, Brigham Young called together, secretly, the Legislature, and passed resolutions and issued orders for the seizure of twenty-four thousand dollars more from the hands of Harris; Harris persisted in retaining it, and only by the using of an injunction by the Supreme Court, was he able to do so, and get away with the money. In consequence of this last act of theirs, matters were brought to a crisis, and each and all left; the merchants without their property, and the Judges and officers to resign their places. I think, now, all must begin to see that trouble springs from the Mormons, and not others.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, November 29, 1851.                           No. 16.


According to the recent census of Ohio, there are two hundred and ninety-eight papers published in that State; of which thirty are published daily. Fifty-six are from Cincinnati.

The Mormons arrested for robbery in Wisconsin, belong to Jas. Strang's gang on Beaver Island, and which have been cut off from membership with the great Church of Latter Day Saints.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, Jan. 10, 1852.                           No. 22.


The last Frontier Guardian contains an elaborate 'review of the news from Salt Lake,' which we have perused with no little curiosity. Its great length, however, occupying two columns, prevents us from transferring it entire.

In the outset Bro. Hyde professes to know very little about the difficulties -- having had 'about all he could do to keep things right side up in his own field of labor' -- and hence he could not be expected to throw much new light on the subject, and his 'suppositions,' 'surmises,' &c., will be received with due allowance.

The charge that Gov. Young had embezzled twenty thousand dollars of United States money, is substantially admitted; and the only defence set up is, that he can produce the same amount 'when he pleased,' or 'whenever he is required to account for it, or 'he can command, at pleasure, the materials and the workmen to build the State House. Admit all this to be true, and does that alter the [gravament?] of the charge? As a federal officer, entrusted with government funds, it was felony for him to use them for private or church purposes, or for any other object than that for which they were appointed; and having confessedly done so, he has made himself liable, and should, at all hazards, be made subject to the penalities of the violated law.

As an excuse for Gov. Young declaring that General Taylor was in h--l, we are told that h--l is a place where all persons, the righteous as well as the wicked, must go, and that 'Christ, Washington, Taylor, [and] Brocchus' have or must pass through that place!! If this be true -- and we have the Prophet's word for it; who can censure His Excellency for so harmless an expression?

In regard to the prophecy on the 24th July last, referred to by the officers, 'the Nations will have a sign, if they take the preliminary steps, whether there is any virtue or strength in this Mormon prophecy or not,'

Let Congress proclaim a general fast; let the officials of Government go in sackcloth and ashes; and let every Gentile cry 'wo is me! wo is me! -- for when all the 'Saints' shall have been duly gathered 'home' -- 'then cometh fire and brimstone, the elemental strife and the general destruction upon the rest of mankind.' We trust the National Observatory at Washington, will be on the look out for that 'sign!'

Not a word is said about polygamy as charged against these 'Saints' at the Lake Why this silence, Bro. Hyde? Guilty or not guilty?

We take it for granted, that it is true; and we have, in this age, the astonishing spectacle of a people who claim to be civilized and Christianized, boldly setting at defiance the opinion of the world; trampling under foot the sacred instincts of virtue, and revelling in the most shameful licentiousness! 'Sixteen wives, fourteen of whom with infants at the breast! We drop the pen in disgust. -- Savannah Sentinel.

Note: Orson Hyde responded to this Savannah Sentinel article in one of the last issues of the Iowa Frontier Guardian that he edited before selling the newspaper office and moving off to Utah. See excerpts from his reply, as reprinted in the May 1, 1852 issue of the Salt Lake City Deseret News.


Vol. VII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, April 10, 1852.                           No. 34.


Several Mormon families, numbering some thirty persons, and in charge of Elder John Taylor, one of the Twelve, arrived here yesterday on the steamer Pike No. 9. It is stated that Elder Taylor has just returned from a mission to France, where he was sent by his Church to preach its creed. He reports favorably on his success. Besides the conversations which he effected, he translated the Mormon Bible into French, and left a sufficient number of copies for distribution among the converts. He also established a newspaper devoted to the interests of Mormonism. The Elder will probably preach to-day at the gathering of the Saints in Concert Hall. -- St. Louis Republican.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, August 14, 1852.                           No. 50.


The Salt Lake mail reached Independence on the 29th ult. The Messenger says that the mailable matter all comes on to St. Louis for distribution. Little news came with the trains. Things seemed to be getting along quietly at the Mormon city. The emigrants were doing well; but little sickness among them. The cattle of Hicks and other drovers were suffering from the wearing out of their feet. The grass on the plains this season is very fine. -- St. Louis Intel.


Hitherto our Mormon neighbors, when charged with the practice of polygamy, have either stood mute, or denied the allegation. But the following letter from one of the Elders in the New York Herald, avows and justifies not only the existence, but the propriety and utility of the practice, on high moral and religious grounds. Verily, these are strange times. Listen to Elder Phelps:

                                                    Great Salt Lake City,
                                                    Utah Territory, May 1, 1852.
J. Gordon Bennett, Esq.:

In the Herald of the 9th March, in your comments upon General Grant's reply to the "flying court," or "Babes in the Woods," late of Utah, I see you sagaciously say the Latter Day Saints must "make up their minds to submission to the federal authorities, and come down to the established arrangement of one wife at a time, or abide the consequences of the higher law." -- Now, sir, in all deference to your unique opinion, permit me to dissent, because the constitution has no power over religion, neither has Utah's Congress; "the federal authorities" have no control over morality -- that belongs to the good old book, the word of the Lord, and you know that God allowed any good man, such as Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, David, Solomon, and hundreds of others, a plurality of wives. 'Praise ye the Lord,' and unless all christendom shall, by their 'sacredotal clergy,' petition Jehovah, and repeal king James' repugnant, and as I believe. 'wonderful wiving law,' we shall, as a religious community, hold on to our rights, guarenteed by the constitution & revelation. It is just as virtuous, just as holy, and just as wise, for the Mormons to obey the Scriptures now, as in the days of Moses or Jesus; for Jesus said, 'suffer little childrem and forbid them not to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'

You know also, that among other great promises to the Latter Day Saints, an 'hundred fold of mothers and children' is promised. You could not have the children, unless you had the wives, [and] mothers, to bear them. Some of the old prophets sais 'seven women should take hold of one man,' &c. but I think it is no where said that seven men should take hold of one woman, as it is somewhat fashionable among the elite of many nations.

If you have not received a communication from Dr. J. M. Bernhisel, on the plurality of wives, being a dialogue between Bogus-bus, and the king's fool, call on him for it, and let the people have it, and I think your own wife system will sing as small as our racing Gilipons, or, 'dirty cotton court.' Of two evils, a Mormon chooses neither, but goes in for all good and more good, which, if as Solomon said, a good wife is a good thing, then the more you have the more good you have; so that when suffering female kind, over the great globe, are acquainted with the fact, that, "the daughters of kings are among the Lord's honorable wives in heaven," (Psalm 45,) and on the right hand the queen in gold of Ophir, you will hear of more honorable women clinging to the priesthood [than] you ever thought of, or a narrow contracted christian clergy, drove into corruption by night closetings, because their deeds are evil.

Brother Gordon, look into my almanac for this year, and on the 22d page you will observe an account of the 'Eternal Mother,' -- and on the 37th, 'The Philosophy of the Heavens.' Try a little of the Mormon classics. I go in for Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish and any other language which conveys truth. Should you get the communication I mentioned above, I think that what I have written will do for you and I and others, to circulate that the constitution of the United States, actually allows men and women to love, get and do all the good they can from the Bible, from the Book of Mormon, from the world, and even from one another. 'Praise ye the Lord.'

      Respectfully,         W. W. PHELPS.

Note: Such was the Mormons' first public attempt at justifying their long-held secret doctrine of spiritual wifery. Phelps' letter to the major newspaper on the east coast was obviously timed to appear almost simultaneously with Parley P. Pratt's admission of Mormon polygamy, in a publication on the west coast. By the time that reprints from these two unofficial "press releases" had spread through most of the reading population of the United States, and an incipient discussion of the subject had begun in the popular press, the official admission, from Salt Lake City, was finally publicized. In New York City, even the patience and indulgent allowance Editor Bennett generally extended to the Utah Saints must have been sorely taxed in his reading of this communication from "the King's Fool." Bennett's experience in New York journalism stretched back to his days at the National Advocate, when the William Morgan affair was a big story in the press of the Empire State. He was a contemporary of William W. Phelps in the business when Phelps started his anti-masonic Ontario Phoenix at Canandaigua. While Phelps joined the Mormons and "went west," Bennett remained in the east, giving voice to the pro-masonic cause and conducting some of the very first investigative reporting on the origin and rise of Mormonism. No doubt Bennett kept an eye on Phelps over the years, and watched with distaste the man's long, slow downhill slide into obsession and obscurity. After so many years of promulgating lies regarding their secret marital affairs, Phelps' professed love of all "language which conveys truth" must have struck Bennett as both pathetic and comical.


Vol. VIII.                           Warsaw, Illinois, November 6, 1852.                           No. 3.

A  Month  Later  from  Utah.

                                              Independence, November 1st.
The Salt Lake mail reached us on Friday last, bringing but little news of interest. We learn from the carrier, that the Pawnee Indians are becoming troublesome. -- They recently robbed a small party of emigrants to California. Capt. ercheval had the Indians in charge. Tasson lately lost thirteen horses, stolen by the same hand.

The Sioux and Cheyennes are now at war with the Pawnees, wherever they can find them.

A party of seventy Mormons were overtaken by the carrier at Fort Kearney. Some of them are coming here and some to Saint Joseph. They are on a missionary tour. -- Missouri Republicam.

Notes: (forthcoming)

Back to top of this page.

News Articles Page    |    News Articles Index    |    History Vault
Bookshelf    |    Spalding Studies Library    |    Mormon Classics

last updated: Jan. 1, 2006