Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 5.1

Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841

[ Full-text transcription of: Petition from William Dryden, J.P., of Daviess County to Governor Boggs, Jefferson City, MO ]
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To His Excellency Lilburn W. Boggs

            Governor of the State of Missouri

            Your petitioner William Dryden

an acting Justice of the peace within and for

Daviess County would respectfully represent

that the Counties of Daviess, Caldwell and

Livingston are settled by in part a denomination

of people called Mormons.  These Mormons to

the number of about fifteen hundred men have

associated themselves together, and have resisted

and do resist with force and arms legal [process]

against persons belonging to their denomination.

Your petitioner further states that on the 29th day

of Augurst last past, Adam Black appeared be-

fore me and made oath, that Andrew Ripley,

George Smith and others, had been guilty of a

[           illegible line                             ]

follows to wit, that on or about the 8th day of

August 1838 in Daviess County , there came an

armed force to his Blacks house in said county

among whom the said Ripley and Smith and other

persons named in said affidavit were a part, and

then and there with deadly weapons made an assault

upon him the said Black, and then and there

threatened him Black (who was then an acting

Justice of the peace with in the and for Daviess County


aforesaid) with instant death if he did not sign a cer-

tain instrument of writing binding himself as a Justice

of the peace of said County of Daviess not to molest the

people called Mormons, and threatened the lives of him-

self the said Black & others, and said they intended to

make every citizen of said County sign such obligation xc.

            Your petitioner further states that he immediately

issued a writ pursuant to law, for the arrest of the

said Andrew Ripley, George Smith, & others, commanding

            [           ] with the [      ]

after the arrest, to bring the Bodies of the persons there

in named forthwith before your petitioner, to answer the

complaint, and farther to be dealt with according to

law.  There being no constable within the township of

which I am Justice, he having been driven from the

County by and through fear of the Mormons, and your

petitioner believing that said writ would not be ex-

ecuted, unless a special Deputy was made for that purpose.

Your petitioner then and there appointed Nathaniel H.

Blakely a special Deputy, to serve said writ, and

said appointment was endorsed on said writ and signed

by myself officially, and then and there delivered to the

said Blakely.  Your petitioner further states that the

said Blakely took said writ and summoned a

Guard consisting of ten men, who went in search of

the persons named in said writ for the purpose of

executing the said writ, but the said constable

returned that the persons named in said writ, were


not found in said County by reason of himself and

Guard having been driven by force from the Town in

said County in which the offenders were supped then

to be.  The said affidavit, writ, and return are herewith

respectfully submitted to your Excellency.

            Your petitioner further believes and represents,

that the Mormons are so numerous and so well arm-

ed within the limits of the Counties of Caldwell and

Daviess that the power of the County is wholy

unable to execute any Civil or Criminal process

within the limits of either of said Counties against

a mormon or mormons as they each and every one of

act in concert and out number the other Citizens.

They also declare that they are independent, and your

petitioner verily believes, that the said mormons hold

in utter contempt the institutions of the Country in

which they live.

            Your petitioner further represents that the some

time about the 8th Sept “Inst. that three individuals

were arrested by the said mormons in Caldwell County

and held in Custody, and your petitioner represents, that

he believes they are still in confinement without any

warrant of law.  Your petitioner further represents

that he verily believes, that no Civil officer of the

State could cause to be executed any legal process

within either of said Counties of Caldwell or Daviess

            Your petitioner would therefore respectfully

pray your Excellency to furnish the Civil officers


within and for the Counties of Daviess  & Caldwell, a

sufficient number of troops to enable them to execute

the law of the land and bring the offenders aforesaid

to Justice to this end your petitioner will ever pray &c

15th September 1838,              William Dryden

                                                Justice of the Peace

                                                            Daviess County

                                    Executive Dept City of Jefferson

            The Adjutant-Genl                  Sept 15th 1838

                        Sir

                             You will issue an order directed to

Major Genl. Atchison Commanding the 3rd Division of the

Militia of the State, and direct – him to cause a sufficient

force of the Troops under his Command to aid the Civil officers

within the County of Daviess  in executing such writs or

process as may be legally within the province of their re-

spectice duties.  And especially to furnish the officers charged

with the service of the writ mentioned in the foregoing pe-

tition of William Dryden Justice of the Peace of Daviess

County with a force sufficient to enable him to execute

said process and bring the offenders to Justice.

                                    L. W. Boggs

                                                Commander in Chief