Chapter 3 – The Mormons Are Expelled from Jackson County

In 1830 Joseph Smith from Fayette, New York sent Oliver Cowdery and a few others as missionaries to the Lamanites.  After arriving in the Kansas Territory, Oliver Cowdery found success in missionary labors with the Delaware Indians.  A federal Indian agent told the Mormon missionaries they had to contact Superintendent William Clark to secure a license before they could continue.  Oliver Cowdery sent a letter to Clark but he never responded.  Cowdery and the other missionaries went to nearby Independence to preach instead.  Shortly thereafter, Joseph Smith received the revelation that Independence was the site of the ancient Garden of Eden and the lands of Father Adam.  It was to be the center of Zion and the New Jerusalem.

Many saints began gathering in Jackson County where the Law of Consecration was introduced.  Sydney Gilbert was called to administer the Church Storehouse in Independence.  The Gilbert Store soon began purchasing goods from the local farmers and selling to Santa Fe Trail merchants.  The church store had the advantage of securing some of their inventory from the saints at no cost as donations under the Law of Consecration.  The St. Louis Junto and Independence merchants and their trade monopoly was being threatened by the Gilbert Store and the local Mormon farmers.  Under the name of the “Secret Constitution”, Lt. Gov. Lilburn Boggs and Samuel Owens as merchant leaders sought to force the Mormons out of Jackson County and remove them as a threat to their monopoly.  When mob violence broke out in 1833, the Gilbert Store and William Phelp’s printing press were targeted.  When the Saints still did not leave, the mob attacked many member family homes. The federal Indian agent Richard Cummins, a subordinate to Superintendent Clark, who told Oliver Cowdery in 1830 he had to leave because he didn’t have a license was also a member of the Secret Constitution group against the Mormons.