Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 5.1

Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841

[ Full-text transcription of: Witness Reed Peck, a Mormon dissenter ]
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Reed Peck a witness, produced, sworn, and ex

-amined on behalf of the State, deposeth and saith

A short time after Cowdery & the Whitmers left Far

West (sometime in June) Geo. W. Robinson and Philo

Dibble invited me to a Danite meeting.  I went,

the only speaker was Dr Avard who explained

the object of the meeting and said that its object was,

that [“they” crossed out] we might be perfectly organized, to defend

[“ourselves their” crossed out] ourselves against mobs, that we were [“to” crossed out]

all to be governed by the presidency and do what

-ever they required, and uphold them:  that we were

not to judge for ourselves whether it were right or

wrong. that God had raised us [“up” crossed out] a prophet who

would judge for us. and that it was proper we

Should stand by each other in all cases. and he gave

us an example:- if we found one of the Danites in

a difficulty, in Ray or Clay for instance, we

should rescue him, if we had to do with his ad-

-versary, as Moses did with the Egyptian-put him

in the sand; It made no difference whether the

daniete was to blame or not, they would track to

Far West, and there be taken care of- The ques

-tion was asked whether it would extend to a legal

process.- Avard answered not.   The Danite oath

was administered to about 30 or 40 persons at this meet

-ing.-  Philo Dibble told me who the head

officers of the Danite [“members” crossed out] were: that George

W. Robinson, was Colonel, that he Dibble, was Lieut

Colonel, and Seymore Brunson Major, and that

I was chosen Adjutant.  After that I had a talk

with Geo. W. Robinson & Philo Dibble together, in

which I was informed who the officers were as

above, and further, that Jared Carter was Cap

-tain General of the band, Cornelius P Lott Maj

Genl. and Sampson Avard Brig General this is

as I now recollect it.  Dr Avard in speaking

to the society remarked that it would be impossi

-ble for the presidency to explain the object of

the society, to every member, but that the pres-

-idency would explain their views or wishes, to

the head officers, and they to the members of

the society- I was present at one meet

-ing where the officers of the society were



presented & introduced to the presidency , each

office receiving a blessing from them- Avard

stated that he had procured the presidency

to come there to show the Society, that what he

was doing was according to their direction or

will- And while there the presidency approved

of Avards course in the society.  Dr Avard how

-ever did not explain to the presidency what

his teachings had been in the Society_

  I heard Avard, on one occasion say that the Dan

-ites were to consecrate their surplus property, and

to come in by tens to do so. and if they lied about

it,- he said Peter Killed Ananias and Sapphira, and

that would be an example for us-  When

appointed adjutant of the Danite band, as refered

to above, I did not think proper to object openly,

tho’ I determined within myself not to act, &

the lists, and other papers brought to me for

recording, I threw aside & made no record of-

   On the day before the last expedition to

Daviess I heard Joseph Smith Jr, in a speach

say, in refference to stealing, that in a general

way he did not approve of it, but that on one

occasion, our Saviour and His disciples, stole

corn in passing through the corn fields for the

reason that they could not otherwise procure any

thing to eat.   He told an anecdote of a

dutchmans potatoes, and said in Substance that

a colonel or captain was quartered near a

Dutchmans from whom he wished to purchase

some potatoes, who refused to sell them, the of

-ficer then charged his men not to be caught

stealing the Dutchman’s potatoes, but next morn

ing he found his potatoes all dug-  I think this

was in refference to the expedition to Daviess, and

that they had been compeled to go out there so

often, that the people there ought to bear the expense

  Such men as would oppose things undertaken

as being unlawful, & such as they feared was a vio

-lation of the law. I have heard Smith & Rigdon in

their publick addresses denominate “O don’t men”

these I understood to be those who were denominated also

dissenteres; and in refference to [“such” crossed out] men who were




hanging back, & did not wish to engage in their

expeditions, they were called traitors, and refer

ing to such, as I understood, Mr Rigdon proposed

that blood should first begin to flow in the streets

of Far West- but his proposition did not carry

The proposition was then made, and carried unan

-imously that those who thus hung back, should

be pitched upon their horses [“with” crossed out] and made to go,

and placed in front of the [“battle” crossed out] army.  All the

above occurred in Far West. the day before the

last expedition to Daviess-The following of

the Defendants were in the last expedition to

Daviess City. Jos Smith Jr. Hiram Smith. P. P.

Pratt. Lyman Wight. Amazy Lyman I am certain was not

there, Geo. W. Robinson, Cabel Baldwin  Alanson

Ribley were there, John Buckhannon was

not there, Geo W. Harris, Geo Grant & Dar

-win Chase were out.  Isaac Worley was

not about.  Alex.a McRay was there, Ebenezer

Robinson was there, John S Higby I think,

James M Henderson was there, Edward Part

-ridge was there, Francis Oligby I think was

there, Geo Kimble was there, Amaso Younger

was there. James W Rawlins Maurice Phelps

were there.    When the troops arrived at

Diahmon they were divided into companies of 20

40, 50& just as they might be called for, those

companies were sent out in different parts of

the county, as I saw them thus occasionally going

out & coming in.  I saw a company of

about 50 called a fur company come once

some had one thing, & some another, one I saw

with a feather bed, another had some spun

yarn_ I understood from some of those who

were bringing property, that they were to take it,

to the Bishops store & deposit it, and if they

failed to do so, it would be considered stealing.

-As the property was brought in there

was a general shout of hurrah, and wav

-ing of hats by those in camp- I heard

Demick Huntingdon, one of the troops, tell in

Camp, that the mob had burned the store

-house in Gallatin but that the Mormons had



hauled off the goods.  And also that the mob were

burning some Mormon houses.  I looked at him

as though I did not believe it.  and he stooped

down to me, being on his horse, and whispered to

me, that it was Capt Brunson who had gone

with 20 men to the grindstone Fork who was

burning those houses.  The goods taken

in Gallatin was generally understood in Camp,

to have been deposited with the bishop as con

-secrated property- When the Companies

would return from their expedition, they would

make their reports to the presidency who were

there-  As this company above refered to

as the fur company, passed with their plun

-der, I heard Mahlon Johnson, who lived in

the lower part of Caldwell, ask Joseph Smith

Jr, if these proceedings would not endanger

the families living in that [“lower” crossed out] part of Cald

-well, and insite the people to come on them, and Smith asked him what he was talk

-ing about, that this was the first step they

had ever taken to quell the mob.

I heard Perry Keepes Kiso, one who was engaged in

the depredations in Daviess, say that Joseph

Smith Jr. remarked in his presence, that it

was his intention, after they got through in Da

-viess, to go down and take the store in Carrol

-ton;  this remark Smith made while in

Daviess.        After the mormon troops re

-turned to Diahmon Far West from Daviess.  I saw several

of the captains of tens, who had been in that exe

-pedition, making out a list of their men, for

the purpose, as they said, of being handed in that

they might receive their portion of the spoils-

-I heard Darwin Chase say that he was in the

expedition against Bogart.   Several days before the Militia came

to Far- West I learned through Mr Arthur of Clay

County, that they were raising the Militia,

On monday before the militia arrived I went

out toward Crooked River, to see if I could meet

them.  I met a young man who informed me that

Genl Donephan was on Crooked River with the

militia.  I returned to Far West and informed


Mr Rigdon & Jos Smith Jr, as well as giving

general information of the fact.  I proposed to

Mr Smith to go next morning and try to find them

to which he assented, I was disappointed in my

effort & returned late in the evening to Far West,

Just as I arrived I saw the militia & I went

down to them with a flag.  I met with Genl

Donephan who recd. me , & told me there were

about 1300 in number & that they were militia.

On my return to town I met with Jos Smith Jr.

& informed him, that the troops were militia

under Genl. Donephan’s command. (as I then sup

-posed was the case) Mr Smith asked me their

number & when I told him, he replied- keep

up good courage we can whip that number

if they make an attack upon us.  Some other

person came up at the time and enquired of

me their number. and Mr Smith answered,

that Mr Phelps, who was a judge of numbers

having seen troops before, said that there is

about 250. as he would suppose. Mr Geo

W. Robinson then whispered to me not to tell

the men the number of the militia, that it

would frighten them, or damp their courage

[“and further this deponent saith not,

                        Reed Peck” crossed out]

At this Stage of the examination of Reed Peck the fol-

lowing named defendants [ ]  King Follet  Samuel Bent

J Ebeny Brown  William Whitman and Jonathan Dunham

were brought to the bar of the court and put upon this

trial for the offences alleged against the other defendts

and time being allowed them to employ counsel they retired

and again returned to the bar appearing by their counsel

Mess Rees & Donephant the examination of Reed Peck

was then continued  Reed Peck deposeth and further saith

that Jonathan Dunham was in the last expedition to Daviess

and was Captain of a company of 50 which I have spoke of as

called the Fur Company.  He went under the fictitious name

of Capt Blackhawk.  when the men were paraded, they

were called out as all belonging to Capt Blackhawks

company my impression is that King Follet was

not in that expetition, but he was captain of 12 men

in far West under the Daniet order as I understood as he was

neither an Officer or private of militia and was Known and

called under the fictitious name of Capt Bull and by Com

=pany was called the regulators, I saw William Whitman

on the Expedition to Daviess and seemed to be one of the

troops engaged with others, some time previous to the

difficulties in Daviess the first time when the militia went out

there for the purpose of keeping the peace, I heard Jo. smith Jr

in a public address say that he had a reverance for the con

=stitution of the united States and of this State but as for the

laws of this State he did not intend to regard them nor care any

thing about them, as they were made by lawyers and blacklegs

the above things said some time in last July or August.  On

the eve of the last expetition to Daviess I heard Joseph Smith Jr. say

that they meaning the heads of the church had appealed to the Govt

for protection and he had sent us back word that we must fight

our own battles, he further stated that the law was unequally ad

=ministered, all against us and none for us and spoke of the prosecu

=tions set on foot in Daviess as an instance and He then said we must take

our own cause in our own hands and defend ouselves__that he did not

calculate to regard the laws any longer, I think & was in the last of

June or first of July last that I heard Dr Avard say that he had Just

returned from a Council with the presidency in which council Jared

Carter was broken of his Office of Capt Genl of the Danite band

for having spoken against Sydney Rigdon one of the presiden

=cy, it being a regulation of that society that no one should speak

against them- or hear any one else do it with impunity In that council

Avard said an arrangement was made to dispose of the dissenters

vozt, that all the head offices, of the Daniet band should have a list of

the dissenters both here and in Kirtland and said he I will tell you how I will

do with them when I meet one damning the presidency I can damn

them as well as he, and if he wanted to drink he would get a bowl

of brandy & get them half drunk and taking him by the arm he would

take him to the woods or brush and said” he (would) be into their

guts in a minute and put them under the sod” he gave this a

an example of the way they should be disposed of the only mo

-tives for getting rid of the dissenters in this way as far as I ever learn

=ed was this if they remained among the mormons they would

introduce a class there that would ultimately endanger their lives &

destroy the church and if they were suffered to go out from

among them they would be telling lies on them in the surrounding

country, these reasons I gathered from Mr. Rigdons Salt Sermon

and Mr Rigdon said in the Same Sermon that he would assist to

erect a gallows on the Square and hang them all. Jos Smith Jr

was present and followed Mr Rigdon after he also made the

above declaration and said he did not wish to do any thing un

=lawful. he then spoke of the fate of Judas & said that Peter had

hung him (Judas) & said that he approved of Mr Rigdons

Sermon & called it a good sermon and further this de

=ponent saith not        Reed Peck

James C Owens a witness who was produced on a

former day and [ ] been called back to the bar again

further deposeth and Saith.  He does not think Wil

=liam Whitman was in the Danit expedition to Daviess, I think

he was left at far west as Captain of the town guard though

he may have been in Daviess for aught I Know and further

this deponent saith not   James C Owens

   William Splaun a witness produced sworn and

examined on behalf the State deposeth and saith I was

at Eli Bagleys in Daviess county when an armed company

of men about 1000/2 in numbers James H Raulins and

Jesse D Hunter two of the defendants were of the company

they came to Bagleys they enquired who I was and if I was a

mob character and learning I was not they let me alone

they inquired for John Raglin and Said they heard he was a mob

character and had gone for men to fight them and if they got

their eyes on him they would take his life & that he had better

keep out of the way to be positive that Hunter was of the

company I will not but I have little or no doubt of it from his ap

-perance this was on Saturday after I learned that Gallatin

was burned the Thursday before and during the time the mormon

troops were in Daviess county and further this deponent saith not

                                                                                William Splaion

Thomas M Odell  a witness produced sworn and examined

on behalf the State deposeth and Saith, that on the Saturday after

Gallatin was burnt and armed company of 12 men rode up to Mr

Raglins house in Daviess County where I resided, they inquir

=red for John Raglin I told them where he had gone, they said

their object was to drive the mob from the county and said that

I must go. I replied I could not. that I had no way to get off

and that my family in is bare footed they replied that made

no difference I must go, and said if I was not gone by next

morning by sunrise they would take my life, they told

Mrs Raglin she must [ ] that there she could not stay

and that Raglin had better never show himself there that they

would take his life if ever they set their eyes on him next