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
5 Battle of Crooked River,
Caldwell County, Oct. 25, 1838

The Battle of Crooked River was one of a series of outrages. According to one family writing, it was during this battle that Sally and Elisha's son, Charles, was killed. But there are some inconsistencies. Church records indicate that Charles died May 26, 1900. If that is correct, then he was wounded in battle, but not mortally. Another possibility is that the person was William E. Whiting, an older brother to Charles, who is listed as having died in August, 1846, at Clay County. (This vague date and place still does not add up.) Church records do not list a Whiting as one of the three who died from wounds inflicted at Crooked River.

Condensed and paraphrased from History of the Church, vol 3, p 169:

Upon hearing that a large mob was gathering again, the county judge, Elias Higbee, ordered the highest officer in command at Far West to organize a company to disperse the mob and retake their three prisoners, whom, it was reported, they intended to murder that night.

About seventy five men volunteered. They commenced their march on horseback, hoping to surprise and scatter the camp, retake the prisoners, and prevent the attack threatening Far West all without the loss of blood.

They were confronted by a mob that lay in wait. Unhesitatingly, David Patton, whom Joseph Smith had named "Captain Fearnot," ordered a charge. With the cry, "God and Liberty," the Mormons charged the mob and put it to flight.

A fleeing Missourian, hiding behind a tree, shot and mortally wounded David Patton, the Mormon commander. Patton and two others died soon after. One of Pattons last expressions to his wife was, "Whatever you do else, O! do not deny the faith."

Several others were wounded, all by musket shot. Bogart, head of the opposition, reported he lost one man.

The three prisoners were released and returned with the brethren to Far West.

The Expulsion, Oct 27, 1838

In the midst of those bloody days of persecution, came the following orders from Governor Lilburn Boggs:

The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary, for the public peace.

Haun's Mill Massacre, Oct. 30, 1838

Condensed from historical accounts:

On the south bank of Shoal Creek, more atrocities occurred at Haun's Mill, a Mormon village ten to twelve miles east of Far West. About thirty Mormon families were located at the mill, several had just recently arrived from the eastern states, and were camped in their wagons and tents behind an old blacksmith shop adjacent to the mill.

It was late afternoon when those on guard saw a large body of armed and mounted men approaching the mill at full speed. David Evans ran out to meet them swinging his hat and crying, "Peace! Peace!"

The Saints ran in every direction, many of the men taking refuge in the old blacksmith shop. About a hundred shots were fired into the old blacksmith shop and at those fleeing for the woods. The mob then rode up to the shop and fired through the space between the logs until they thought all had been killed or mortally wounded.

As night came on, those who escaped to the woods returned to learn the fate of the others. Wives sought husbands and mothers searched for sons among the mangled bodies of the dead. Nineteen were killed outright and twelve to fifteen were wounded.

The following day, the few men who escaped carried the bodies of the slain to an old vault which had been dug for a well, and there the bodies were interred in haste, as those performing the service were under fear every moment that the mob would return to massacre the survivors. The slain remain there still.

No Whiting, Cox, or Hulet names are listed with the Haun's Mill Massacre, but it is important to our history because it rounds out the story and helps us to understand the terror church members lived through.

Liberty Jail

Nov. 12, 1838 to mid April, 1839

During the defense of Far West, Joseph Smith and other Church leaders were invited to meet with mob leaders to work out a settlement of their difficulties.

Joseph was betrayed by one or more of his followers into the hands of the militia. A mock trial followed and Joseph Smith, along with about sixty other men were confined in Liberty Jail* and treated with the "utmost contempt."

(For a full account, read Joseph Smith's History of the Church, vol 3, p 158 forward.)

Chandler Holbrook was one of the men imprisoned with the Prophet. Sixteen days after being imprisoned, most of the men were released, after a "mock investigation" which turned up no evidence against them. Chandler was one of those released.

From Missouri to Illinois

While the prophet was in prison, General Lucus carried out the extermination order. About fifteen thousand Mormons were driven from comfortable homes, and their property, which amounted to almost two million dollars, was taken from them. They were driven from their homes in mid winter, and the bloody footprints of some, visible in the snow, could be traced into the state of Illinois.

The Prophet and several Church leaders were imprisoned six months, being allowed to escape in mid April, 1839.

Source: Louine Berry Hunter

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