Chapter 8 – Governor Bogg’s Extermination Order

In July 1838 residents of Carroll County Missouri held a mass meeting identified as the Carroll County Committee of Safety, to draft a resolution to expel the Mormons from Dewitt and elsewhere in Carroll County.  Soon after, residents in Saline and Howard Counties also held similar meetings and drafted Anti-Mormon resolutions.  These were the counties where the Sappington empire was the most dominant and where the Central Clique (aka “the Boonslick Democracy”) was growing in power.  In August, a group in Gallatin in Daviess County attempted to stop the Mormons from voting.  A fight ensued.  Initial reports claimed that two Mormons were killed. From Far West, Joseph Smith assembled a band of Mormon defenders to assist their fellow saints in Daviess County and to retrieve the bodies of those that were killed.  When the group arrived they soon learned that the previous reports had been exaggerated and that no one had been seriously injured.  The prophet sought to restore order and justice so he went with his band of followers to visit Adam Black, the local Justice of the Peace.  He asked if Black would sign an affidavit agreeing to neutrality and that he would not join the mob efforts.  Black signed a statement that he would act prudently if matters escalated.

After Joseph and his followers left, Black falsely claimed that he had been forced to sign his statement at the peril of his life and that the Mormons were intent on forcing others not to resist the Mormons.  Various enemy groups started to raid Mormon settlements.  In the Battle of Crooked River in October, Apostle David Patten was killed and a few of the mob members also were killed.  False reports were spread that Captain Bogart’s entire militia force was killed by the Mormons.  Governor Boggs then issued the Extermination Order on October 27.  The Prophet and a few other Church leaders were betrayed by Colonel Hinkle, a Mormon and they were taken prisoner by General Lucas a former mob leader from Jackson County.  Lucas ordered that Joseph Smith be executed but General Doniphan refused to carry out the orders.  Joseph Smith and others were taken to Liberty Jail.

A Preliminary Hearing was held with Judge Austin King presiding.  Judge King’s brother-in-law, Hugh Brazeale, had been killed a few years earlier by Mormon defenders after Brazeale lead mob attacks in Jackson County.  In this sham trial Joseph Smith was denied his basic judicial rights.  The biased judge ruled that the Prophet and others should be held for trial.  Judge King along with Governor Boggs, Senator Benton and various state legislators,were active members of the Central Clique.

While many of the Mormons were held in Jail the deadline for exercising their pre-emption rights for their lands in Daviess and Caldwell Counties lapsed.  Justice Black himself sought to reclaim lands he sold to Vinson Knight. Several of the mob members were able to take over the Mormon lands.