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“When we arrived at the house of Mr. Haun, we found Mr. Merrick's body lying in the rear of the house; Mr. McBride's in front, literally mangled from head to foot. We were informed by Miss Rebecca Judd, who was an eye witness, that he was shot with his own gun after he had given it up, and then cut to pieces with a corn cutter by a man named Rogers, of Davies County, who keeps a ferry on Grand River, and who has since repeatedly boasted of this act of savage barbarity. Mr. York's body we found in the house. After viewing these corpses we immediately went to the blacksmith's shop, where we found nine of our friends, eight of whom were already dead — the other, Mr. Cox, of Indiana, in the agonies of death, who soon expired.
“We immediately prepared and carried them to the place of interment. This last office of kindness due to the remains of departed friends was not attended with the customary ceremonies nor decency; for we were in jeopardy, every moment expecting to be fired on by the mob, who, we supposed, were lying in ambush, waiting the first opportunity to despatch the remaining few who were providentially preserved from the slaughter of the preceding day. However, we accomplished without molestation this painful task. The place of burial was a vault in the ground, formerly intended for a well, into which we threw the bodies of our friends promiscuously. 5
“Among the slain I will mention Sardius Smith, son of Warren Smith, about nine years old, who, through fear, had crawled under the bellows in the shop, where he remained till the massacre was over, when he was discovered by one Glaze, of Carroll County, who presented a rifle near his head and literally blew off the upper part of it. Mr. Stanley, of Carroll County, told me afterwards that Glaze boasted of this fiend-like murder and heroic deed all over the country.
“The number killed and mortally wounded in this wanton slaughter was eighteen or nineteen, whose names, as far as I can recollect, were as follows: Thomas McBride, Levi Merrick, Elias Benner, Josiah Fuller, Benjamin Lewis, Alexander Campbell, Warren Smith, Sardius Smith, George Richards, Mr. Napier, Mr. Harmer, Mr. Cox, Mr. Abbott, Mr. York, Wm. Merrick (a boy eight or nine years old), and three or four others whose names I do not recollect, as they were strangers to me.
“Among the wounded who recovered were Isaac Laney, Nathan K. Knight, Mr. Yokum, two brothers by the name of Myers, Tarlton Lewis, Mr. Haun and several others. Miss Mary Stedwell, while fleeing, was shot through the hand, and, fainting, fell over a log, into which they shot upwards of twenty balls.
“To finish their work of destruction, this band of murderers composed of men from Davies, Livingston, Ray, Carroll and Chariton Counties, led by some of the principal men of that section of the upper country (among whom, I am informed, were Mr. Ashby, from Chariton, member of the State Legislature; Col. Jennings, of Livingston County; Thos. O'Bryon, Clerk of Livingston County; Mr. Whitney, Dr. Randall and many others), proceeded to rob the houses, wagons and tents of bedding and clothing; drove off horses and wagons, leaving widows and orphans destitute of the necessaries of life, and even stripped the clothing from the bodies of the slain!
“According to their own account they fired seven rounds in this awful butchery; making upwards of sixteen hundred shots, at a little company of men about thirty in number.
“I hereby certify the above to be a true statement of facts, according to the best of my knowledge.
“State of Illinois, County of Adams.
“I hereby certify that Joseph Young this day came before me, and made oath in due form of law, that the statements contained in the foregoing sheets are true, according to the best of his knowledge and belief. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the seal of the Circuit Court at Quincy, this fourth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine.
“C. M. Woods, “Clerk of Circuit Court of Adams Co., Ill.” 6
1 Joseph Young (1797–1881), the seventh of the eleven children of John and Abigail Howe Young, was an older brother of Brigham Young. He joined the Church in 1832 and served as a President of the First Quorum of Seventy from 1835–81. He was ever faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2 This settlement was built around the mill of Jacob Haun.
3 This mob was led by Nehemiah Comstock and Obadiah Jennings, notorious mobsters and killers in western Missouri.
4 “Amanda Barnes Smith and her daughters saved their lives by running to the woods with bullets whistling by ‘like hailstones.' But when she crept back to the mill, she saw her husband and ten-year-old son ‘lifeless upon the ground.' Then she found another son shot in the head under the blacksmith's bellows where he had attempted to hide” (Proctor, Witness of the Light, 149).
5 The location of this well was known until the late 1870s. It was then lost from history until March 1999, when Dr. F. Richard Hauck aimed to discover it using sophisticated ground sonar. The burial well has still not been identified.
6 This account appears in Smith, History of the Church, 3:183–86.