Mormon History

Trouble With the Strangites - 1853

The Daily Alton Telegraph June 1, 1853

Trouble at Mackinaw with the Mormons.

We learn from the Detroit Free Press, that much excitement has prevailed of late in the village of Mackinaw, arising from the frequent and daily recurring instances of robberies, burglaries, and other depredations, committed by the Mormons of Beaver Island upon the fishermen along the shores and upon the waters of Lake Michigan. It appears that the Mormons are becoming more daring even than formerly. Heretofore, they were satisfied with robbing the poor fishermen of their boats, nets and fish, stealthily, doing everything possible to avoid detection; but now, seeing the almost utter impossibility of being brought to justice, they carry on their piratical trade with scarcely any regard to concealment.

Early in the spring, six or eight small houses on Birch Point, in which were stored some two hundred barrels of fish, were burnt to the ground, the fish stolen -- a large number of barrels of salt lying out on the beach were broken open and their contents thrown into the water. The value of the property destroyed was upwards of two thousand dollars.

The Mormons soon learn the locality of the nets, and when the wind [is] fair, sail out to them in their small boats, which move very rapidly, take them up, then shifting their sails, are soon far away on the water, leaving no trace by which to be detected. In the night they make their descent upon the land, steal, rob, and burn what they can find, then with oars and sail they glide away upon the watery element, and the fisherman wakes up in the morning but to find his boat. nets, and perhaps all the property he has in the world, stolen or destroyed. The only reason that can be assigned for these acts is (as they have openly declared) that they intend to monopolize these fishing grounds, and appropriate the same to the service of the Lord and His saints.

A large public meeting was held at Mackinaw, on the 17th inst., called by the Justice of the Peace. Strong resolutions were passed, and a committee of safety appointed. Other resolutions were read, sent down by the fishermen of Pine River and Gulf Island, the purport of which was that if the law was not put in force they would take the matter in their own hands. These resolutions were signed by seventy resolute men, who know the importance of the step they have taken.

The Daily Alton Telegraph July 29, 1853

MORE TROUBLES AT BEAVER ISLAND. -- We learn from Captain Stone, of the bark Morgan, from Saginaw, that while lying becalmed off Big Traverse Bay, on Thursday last, he heard several guns in the direction of the bay, and soon two boats came in sight, rowing directly for the bark with all their strength, pursued by a third boat filled with armed men, who were firing at the two forward boats at short intervals. The two forward boats came alongside of the bark and desired to be taken on board, and to be protected from the violence of the crew of the other boat. By this time the third boat had got within speaking distance, and forbade the captain of the bark to take them on board, and saying they were "Mormon Pirates," and if he took them on board they would fire into the bark; but despite their threats they were taken on board, covered with blood and wounds -- several of them having their arms broken, one shot through the shoulder, another through the thigh, and others more slightly wounded. The party taken on board said what led to the encounter was this: a new county having been formed, embracing Beaver Island, Grand Traverse Bay, &c., Beaver Island being the county seat, and it being near the court week, the court directed the Sheriff to empanel a jury. That it should not be said that they had a jury of Mormons, he [sic - the court?] directed him to summon a portion of them from Pine River settlement, which they were attempting to do when they were set upon by the men of the place, and driven to their boats by an armed posse, who threatened to kill every one of them. They took to their boats and pulled for their lives, when twenty-five of their assailants, armed with guns, pursued them in an eight oared barge, which slowly gained on them, and when in musket range began firing upon them, which continued until they were taken on board the bark -- at a distance of fifteen miles from the place of starting. The wounded were taken care of, and landed on Beaver Island the same day. -- Chicago Tribune.