Chapter 4 – The St. Louis Junto Declares War on the Mormons  

In 1834 John Astor decided to sell out his interest in the American Fur Company.  The Bernard Pratt and Chouteau families purchased rights to the Western Division which included along the Missouri River and the Mississippi River up to Galena and on to Prairie du Chien.  Also in 1834 Joseph Smith lead the Zions Camp expedition to Missouri to redeem the saints who had lost their lands to the mobs in Jackson County.  Two years later, rumors were spread in Missouri that the Mormons were again coming to attack the old settlers to get their lands back and build the New Jerusalem.  Francois Chouteau in May 1836 wrote to his father in law, Pierre Menard, in Kaskaskia that they expected war with the Mormons and that they would fight to the last man to keep the Mormons from returning to the Jackson County region.

The Chouteau family spread from St. Louis to Jackson County and the Kansas and Oklahoma Territories remained fearful the Mormons would return and jeopardize the merchant trade monopoly that Senator Benton, Superintendent Clark and the Chouteau family leadership had created.  Lilburn Boggs, Samuel Owens and the other Independence merchants also feared the Mormons would destroy their control of commerce in Jackson County and beyond.  The Mormons did not come.  Instead, Alexander Doniphan helped create two new counties, Caldwell and Daviess Counties for the Mormons to settle.  Adam ondi Ahman was in Daviess County.

About this same time, Senator Benton’s close friend, John Sappington was developing a commercial empire in Saline, Howard and surrounding counties in Missouri.  This was the beginning of the development of the Central Clique (part of the Missouri Democrat Party) which would dominate Missouri politics for decades.