Mormon History

Puppet Governor's Summary - 1846

Quincy Whig December 23, 1846

GOV. FORD'S REPORT UPON THE MORMON DIFFICULTIES. -- We did intend to have given this report entire -- but so much has been said and written on the subject of these difficulties, that our readers will be satisfied, we are sure, with a summary of its content.

He sets out with the statement, that the anti-Mormons, "with clubs and other weapons," surrounded the court and forced an anti-Mormon Jury upon the court for the trial of the persons indicted for the assassination of the Smiths -- and the Mormons having control of the county court, and the Sheriff in their favor, found no difficulty in getting a jury favorable to the Mormons indicted for destroying the printing office at Nauvoo. Of course each party was acquitted. The State could not change the Venue and under the circumstances the administration of justice was at an end in that county so long as the Mormons remained. In the fall of 1845, he says a portion of the anti-Mormon party burned down 150 or 175 houses of all sorts, with a view to the expulsion of the Mormons. The sheriff of the county with a posse from Nauvoo, drove the anties from their homes, while the Mormons from Nauvoo were ravaging and plundering the surrounding country. In this state of the case he sent over Hardin to reconcile matters, who succeeded in forming a treaty with the Mormons under the direction of the Governor -- they agreeing to leave in the spring of '46. During the disturbance, the Mormons and the Sheriff, succeeded in killing Worrell, McBratney, Daubenheyer and Wilcos; and the anti-Mormons killed Durfee.

Gen. Hardin disbanded his main force and left the riflemen to guard the country. Although 16,000 Mormons left in the spring, and but a few remained, the anties were not the less anxious to rid the country of the remainder. Writs were accordingly sworn out for the arrest of persons in Nauvoo -- who refusing to be taken, a posse was raised from the neighboring counties, "ostensible to make the arrests, but really to expel the Mormons." The trustees of Nauvoo applied to the Governor for assistance, and he despatched Maj. Parker with ten men to their relief. The constable's posse, however, refused to give place to Parker, and continued to increase until it reached 800 men. Things began to look more squally than ever, when M. Brayman, Esq., was sent over to inquire into matters. Soon after his arrival a treaty was formed between Col. Singleton and the Mormons, which treaty was not acceptable to a majority of the anti-Mormons, and Mr. Thomas S. Brockman of Brown county was put in command of the constable's posse. Here the Governor seems to be in the dark, as he knows nothing of the movements of the anti-Mormon force until they set themselves down directly before Nauvoo with the intention of marching in. At this juncture, a Me, Bidamon came to Springfield for more assistance -- when the Governor issued an order to Maj. William G. Flood, the commander of the militia in Adams county, by which he was authorised to raise sufficient force to suppress the riot. The Major being of the opinion, that for every volunteer he could raise to defend Nauvoo, double the number would have joined the other side, declined to act. He proceeded to Nauvoo to use his influence in behalf of peace, where he handed over his authority to the people of Nauvoo, who elected Major Clifford to command them.

With all his leaning to the Mormon side of the question, the Governor is compelled to the conclusion, "that such were the prejudices of our fellow citizens against the Mormons, that it was, and is, my solemn conviction that no sufficient volunteer force could have been raised to have fought in their favor. If a draft had been ordered, such was the disaffection of the public mind to this service, that the forces which might have been raised in this way would have been more likely to have joined the rioters and swelled their numbers, than to have fought in the defence of the Mormons."

The anti-Mormons according to the Governor, amounted to about 800 men. The forces in Nauvoo, to about 250, which were diminished to about 150. The former had five cannon, the latter four or five, made from steamboat shafts. The antis marched to within half a mile of the Mormons, and commenced a fire which they continued until they had exhausted their ammunition, when they retreated in "some disorder to their camp." In this manner says the Governor, was the fight kept up for three or four days, during which time the Mormons lost two men and a boy, and the anti-Mormons one man. He estimates from seven to nine hundred cannon balls were fired on each side, and the reason no more damage was done, was because the parties remained such a safe distance apart. Finally, the Mormons, through the intervention of a committee from Quincy, were induced to submit and remove from the State. After the anties had taken possession of the city, the "leaders erected themselves into a tribunal to decide who should be forced away, and who remain." New settlers were brought before this tribunal, who had been fighting for the Mormons, and were sentenced to be "ducked" in the river and forcibly driven away before the bayonets of armed men" -- "and it is said the houses of most of them were forced open, and their property stolen during their absence." But the Governor has the candor to acknowledge that this stealing might have been done by the Mormons as well as the anti-Mormons.

The remainder of the report is taken up with the details of his late expedition to Hancock, with which our readers, no doubt, are familiar. He is of the opinion, that as soon as his force is withdrawn from the county -- the 15th of the present month -- "the expelled citizens who have been restored to their homes," through his exertions, will be again expelled. We hope the Governor is laboring under a wrong impression.

He speaks of his midnight visit to Carthage at the head of 44 of his brave recruits in search of the arms supposed to be concealed in that village -- but through the vigilance of the wicked anti-Mormons, the expedition resulted, as heretofore stated, by our Carthage correspondent.

He concludes by recommending that the Riflemen be paid for their services, $1.00 per day; and the soldiers more recently at Nauvoo in the service of the State, be paid $1.25 per day.

The above contains the most prominent points of the Governor's report. It will at once strike the reader in reading it, that the Governor has no particular partiality for the anti-Mormons, and although he pretends to give facts, it is plainly seen to which side he inclines. That petticoat affair has done the business, and the anti-Mormons need not expect fairness or justice at his hands.