Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 5.1

Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841

[ Full-text transcription of: Witness John Cleminson, a Mormon dissenter and Clerk of Caldwell County Circuit Court ]
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John Cleminson a witness, produced, sworn, and examined

in behalf of the State, deposeth and saith. Some

time in June (“last” crossed out) I attended two or three Danite

meetings, and it was taught there as a part of the

duty of the band, that they should support the

presidency in all their designs right or wrong;

that whatever they said was to be obeyed, and

whoever opposed the presidency in what they said

or desired done, Should be expeled the county

or have their lives taken.  The three composing

the Presidency was at one of those meetings, and

to Satisfy the people, Dr Avard called on Jos

Smith Jr, who gave them a pledge, that if they

led them into a difficulty, he would give them

his head for a foot ball, and that it was the

will of God these things should be so.- The

teacher, and active agent of the Society was Dr

Avard, and his teachings were approved of by

the presidency-  Dr Avard further taught as

a part of their obligation, that if any one betrayed

the secret designs of the society, they should be Killed

and laid aside, and nothing said about it.-

I heard Sidney Rigdon’s sermon, commonly called

the salt sermon, and its purport and design was

about as other witnesses have state there before

me.   When process was filed against Joseph

Smith Jr and others, in my office as clerk of Cald

-well circuit court, for trespass, Jos Smith Jr told

me not to issue that writ, that he did not in

-tend to submit to it: that it was a vexatious thing

and I had a right to judge whether a suit was

vexatious or not: and that he would see me out in

it  Hiram Smith (who was not a defendent in that

suit) also joined him in this promise If I would not issue the writ.  This was

previous to the last term of the Caldwell circuit

court.- I considered myself not as a proper judge

as to whether it was a vexatious suit or not. Jos

Smith Jr said it was a vexatious thing, and that he

would not suffer it to be issued; and I felt

myself intimidated and in danger if I issued

it.  Knowing the regulation of the Danite band.

  On the monday prior to the last Daviess expe-

-dition I heard Mr Rigdon say that those who had

heretofore been backward in taking up arms

in defending themselves, ought to or should be put


upon their horses with bayonets and pitch-forks

(“and forced” crossed out) and Smith said forced into the front

of the battle, and that the property of those who

would not go into the war, should be consecrated

to the use of those who did.  Mr Smith said their

beef, corn and potatoes they would take_

  I went in the expedition to Daviess, in which

Gallatin was burnt, as I felt myself compelled to

go from the regulations which had been made.

  It was generally understood that every move

-ment made in Daviess was under the direction &

supervision of the first presidency of whom

Jos Smith Jr & Hiram Smith were in Daviess

  The following of the Def.th  were in that expedition to

Daviess. viz:  Jos Smith Jr. Hiram Smith. P.P

Pratt Lyman Wight Caleb Baldwin, Alanson

Ripley,_ John Buckhannon was not there, George

W. Harris was there, Darwin Chase was there, Elijah

Newman was not there, Isaac Morely was not there,

Moses Clawson I think was there, Alexz McRay was

there, John S Higbey I think was there Ebenezer Robinson

 & and Daniel Pettigrew were there Edward

Partridge was there.  David Frampton was not

there.  Sheffield Daniels I think was not there.

Danil Carr was there.  James H Rawlings was there

Maurice Phelps, I think was there.

  Of the troops at Diahmon in this expedition Some

were sent on one expedition, and some on another

but all were there mutually to aid and assist

each other in all that they undertook or did on

that occasion- When we first went to Da

-viess. I understood the object to be to drive out the

mob If any should be collected there. but when we got there we found none.  I

then learned the object was, from those who were

actively engaged in the matter to drive out all

the citizens of Daviess, and get possession of their

property.  It was understood that they burnt

mormon houses, as well as the houses of the citizens;

the burning of the mormon houses was to bring the

Mormons into Diahmon as I understood it_  It

was said by some that the mormons were burn

-ing their own houses, and by others that the

mob were burning them, and so much was

said about it, that I did not know when I got

the truth_  I heard Demick B. Huntington

one of the Mormon troops say, that  Mis-

                                               [“ourians” crossed out]


sourians at Gallatin had taken the goods out of Stollings

[“the” crossed out] store, and piled them up, and set fire to the

store house, and had gone off for  waggons to haul

off the goods but that our waggons had got there

first and had hauled them off.-I understood

that the goods were deposited with the Bishop of

the church at Diahmon as consecrated property

to the church.  A great deal of other property

was brought into the mormon camps, but

Know where it came from, but understood it to be

consecrated property.  It was frequently ob-

-served among the troops, that the time had come

when the riches of the gentiles should be consecra

-ted to the saints.- From the time of the

return of the troops from Diahmon the town of

Far West was kept under military rule, troops

paraded, and disciplined every day.   It was

a generally prevailing understanding among the

troops, and seemed to be so much so towards

the last, that no other impressions prevailed, that

they would oppose, either militia or mob, should

they come out against them; for they considered

them all mob at heart.  this was about the time

the militia arrived there-  As to Hiram

Smith personally,  I have thought him to be a good

meaning man, but in connexion with others un

-der the order of the Daniete society.  I thought, I had

as much to fear from  him as from others.

As to the constitution testified of, by Dr Avard I

never heard of it until he disclosed it when he

was taken prisoner_ I did not attend the first

meetings in which the Danite band was formed.

I did not see Hiram Smith in the last expedition

to Daviess have arms upon his person, but he

constituted one of the consellors of Jos Smith Jr &

it was not usual for any of the Presidency, com

posed of Prest Smith & his consellors to take any

& go into the ranks     When I arrived at Diah

mon, I staid the first night at Lyman Wight’s house

& informed Wight that Genl Parks was coming out.

with the militia.  Wight answered that he did not

wish Parks to come out, & sent an express to him not

to come, he remarked that they could settle the difficulties

themselves.  And further this deponent saith not

                  John Cleminson