Bones in the Well: The Haun's Mill Massacre of 1838

Bones in the Well: The Haun's Mill Massacre of 1838

by Beth S. Moore


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Bones in the Well: The Haun's Mill Massacre of 1838 by Beth S. Moore

The massacre at Haun’s Mill is a defining moment in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon Church. The Mormons were at war in 1838. They had come to Missouri at the urging of their prophet, Joseph Smith, but after a short time found themselves at odds with the original settlers. Armed militia, both Mormon and gentile, roamed the country. On October 7, 1838, Governor Lillburn Boggs issued his infamous order: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state.”

Gathered in this new work are eyewitness testimonies of the massacre and its aftermath by those who were on the scene. The accounts of Joseph Young, Amanda Smith, Willard Gilbert Smith, Austin Hammer, Artemisia Sidnie Meyers, Nathan Kinsman Knight, Thomas McBride, Isaac Laney, Olive Ames, and others are heart-rending and vivid.

On October 30, 1838, a group of Missouri militia attacked the small Mormon settlement at Haun’s Mill on Shoal Creek, killing seventeen men and boys and wounding eleven men, one woman, and one child. The conflict between the Missourians and the Mormons was in many ways inevitable. The Mormons had their own business and economic system. Clannish people, they voted in a bloc, thus tipping elections in their favor. They had a “different” religion and considered their faith superior to all others. Unlike most of their neighbors, they were friendly to the Indians and were thought to be abolitionists. The Missourians saw them as interlopers to be driven out.

Set in context by the author, these documentary accounts dramatically portray the suffering of the Saints during and after the episode. An important event in Latter-day Saints history that helped mold Mormon attitudes and posturing toward the outside world in following decades, the Haun’s Mill Massacre still resonates today in the hearts and minds of Mormons as a manifestation of religious persecution.

The book has a bibliography and index. It is bound in wine linen cloth and has a foil stamped spine and front cover.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806142708
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date: 03/02/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 194
Sales rank: 1,335,011
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Beth Shumway Moore graduated from the University of Utah with both a Bachelor and Master's degree in education, and taught in elementary school for 30 years in Layton, Utah. Since retirement, she has focused on writing, publishing articles, short stories, and one novel, Mormon Reflections: The Path to Mountain Meadows, that received the League of Utah Writers first place award. She co-authored Legends of the Chiefs, a nonfiction book, with her American Indian friend, Blackhawk Walters.

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