compiled from the collected writings of Martha Whiting Brown, Ruth Brown Lewis, other family writings, & historical writings as noted in text
by Louine B. Hunter
1997 revision
  1. Elisha Jr.'s early years
  2. Sally Hulet's background
  3. Missouri 1833
  4. Far West, Missouri
  5. Battle of Crooked River, Caldwell County, Oct. 25, 1838
  6. Illinois, 1839-1845
  7. Narrative Poem
  8. Exodus

Although the Church was centered in Kirtland until 1838, anti Mormon persecution, and internal dissension, eventually drove the Saints from the Kirtland area, which may have included the Whitings in nearby Nelson. Just when the Whitings left Nelson is unknown to me. Although Elisha was not a baptized member until 1838, it is possible they left for Missouri with the Hulets and Coxes, in 1833, and endured all the hardships they went through. It took true manhood and womanhood and faith in God to endure those years.

In the end, the Whitings were forced to leave their comfortable home (wherever it was) furniture, orchards, and lands, taking only their clothing, necessities, a few valuables and relics to move to the recently established Far West, in Caldwell County, Missouri.

Far West

In September of 1836, the Saints began to settle on Shoal Creek, about thirty miles northeast of Liberty, on prairie country, considered by the old settlers to be too wet to be much good.

Two new counties were created. The south county was Caldwell and the county north, Davies. In the region of Shoal Creek was plenty of land to be bought from the government at $1.25 per acre.

Soon a new gathering was underway in the newly created Caldwell County, and Far West was their new county seat. Far West was actually located in upper Ray County, 112 mile south of Shoal Creek, and near Goose Creek. Both streams were large enough to furnish waterpower for manufacturing purposes.

The site of Far West consisted of 640 acres. One square mile was surveyed for a town site. In the public square a site far a temple was designated and locations for public buildings to be laid out.

Far West and the surrounding area grew rapidly with the incoming Saints. A schoolhouse was erected which was also used as a church, town hall, and courthouse. By June of 1837 Caldwell County had two county judges, fourteen justices of the peace, one postmaster, and a militia. George M. Hinckle served as colonel of the militia, with Amasa Lyman as Captain, and Joseph Holbrook as First Lieutenant.

Far West Temple, 1837

On July 1, 1837, 1,500 people assembled to witness the ground breaking for the Far West Temple. The cornerstones of the temple were laid, having been hauled to the spot beforehand. The stones were seven feet long, four feet wide, and two feet thick.

At the Prophet's suggestion, the town site was enlarged from one square mile to two square miles. He observed. "In Caldwell County was sufficient land for the Saints abroad to gather."

When the Prophet visited in November, he recommended that construction on the temple be postponed until the Lord revealed to His Saints that the work should commence.

Settlements outside Far West mushroomed east, on Shoal Creek and other parts of the county.

Prophet Arrives, Mar. 14, 1838

The absence of Joseph Smith was keenly felt by the Far West Saints. After concluding business, temple, and church affairs in Kirtland, Ohio, while persecution increased daily, he and Brigham young and their families took flight from that city, and after a harrowing journey while being followed for two hundred miles by their enemies, they at last joined the Saints in Far West. (Sidney Rigdon followed a short time later.)

It was a joyous reunion. As they neared the city, they were greeted everywhere by the Saints, who gave them a grand welcome.

In mid April the Prophet, with the assistance of Sidney Rigdon and others, began writing the history of the Church.

By the spring of 1838, the population of Caldwell County was more than 5,000, of which number over 4,900 were Mormons. By this time, Far West had 150 houses, four dry goods stores, three family groceries, half a dozen blacksmith shops, a printing establishment and two hotels.

By the summer of 1838, there were a few less than 12,000 Saints in Far West, Adam Ondi Ahman, and surrounding areas. One resident wrote: "Things went on so nicely during the summer we never once dreamed what was in store to break up our happy anticipations and the plans that were laid for our happiness with our homes and friends."

Declaration Day, 1838

July 4, 1838, was a day long remembered by the Saints at Far West. Over the town waved the Stars and Stripes. The theme was, "A Declaration of Independence from all mobs and persecutions."

A parade began and the people marched to the music of a band to the temple lot, where the cornerstones were laid. Nearby, Sidney Rigdon delivered a highly patriotic oration that had been carefully prepared and read by the Prophet and his brother Hyrum. Afterward it was printed in a pamphlet by the Mormon press and distributed.

Military Organized

During the summer of 1838, a military company commissioned by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs was organized. Amasa Lyman was the captain, and Joseph Holbrook was First Lieutenant. But an organized attempt for protection only further angered the mob. Mormons were denied the right to vote at the August election in Davies County.

From Joseph Smith and the Restoration:

As the spirit of mobocracy spread among the Missourians in counties adjoining Caldwell, the brethren at Far West were organized into companies of Tens and Fifties for mutual protection and defense. These organized units were to take care of the needs of every person in an emergency.

One company would cut and draw wood, another would gather corn, a third would do the grinding, a fourth would do the butchering, and a fifth would distribute the meat. With such duties carefully carried out, no member of the Church would lack the necessities of life.

Hostilities broke out during an election in Davies County on August 6, 1838, when the Missourians tried to prevent the Mormons from voting and fighting broke out which lasted less than two minutes. After the fighting stopped, the mob dispersed, threatening to get firearms, and the Mormons were persuaded by the election officials to leave to avoid further conflict. Gathering their families, the Mormon brethren hid them in a thicket and stood guard throughout the night.

Trouble escalated.

From The Missouri Persecutions:

The mob forces were gathering from all quarters to destroy Far West. In the counties immediately surrounding Caldwell, there was a general uprising of the old settlers, under no particular leadership, but roaming through the scattered settlements of the Saints in small bands, murdering, stealing stock, house burning, whipping the men, and driving the terror stricken women and children from their homes.

In fact, the whole country surrounding Far West was infested with a merciless banditti, which daily were guilty of the most atrocious deeds of cruelty. The Saints living in a scattered condition over the prairies who were fortunate enough to escape with their lives, came running into Far West at all times of the day and night, white with fear.

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