Mormon History 1830-1844

1832 Tarring of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon
Joseph is dragged from his bed, tarred and feathered by a mob led by former Mormon and Campbellite preacher Symonds Ryder. Others former Mormons include Methodist minister Ezra Booth, John Johnson Jr., and brothers Eli and Edward Johnson. Sidney suffers the same fate. Joseph thinks Sidney is dead but discovers he only "crazy." Sidney wants a knife to kill his wife, then to kill Joseph. Condition persists for some time.
Plan to visit Missouri

Murdock twins 11 months
According to previous calculation intentions we now began to make preperations to visit the brethren who had removed to the land of Missouri. Before going to Hiram, to live with Father Johnson, my wife had taken two children (twins) of John Murdock, to bring up rear. She received them <when> only nine days old; they were now nearly eleven months.

Manuscript History of the Church &#40;December 1805&#45;August 30, 1834&#41;, 553 pages numbered from the &#34;back&#34; of Joseph&#39;s &#34;large journal&#34; &#40;A&#45;1&#41;, written June 11, 1839&#45;Aug. 24, 1843. <i>Selected Collections</i> 1:1, Volume 1 // “Joseph Smith History, 1839” &#40;first 93 pages&#41;, <i>Early Mormon Documents</i> 1:56&#45;148; “History, 1839” &#40;first 240 pages&#41;, <i>Papers of Joseph Smith 1:265&#45;386</i>. Original, Church Archives, CR 100 102, Volume 1.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">MH-A, 204–209 //
<i>Papers of Joseph Smith, Volume 1: Autobiographical and Historical Writings</i>, edited by Dean C. Jessee &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1989&#41;.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Papers 1:373–378.

Blue: dropped for
<i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.
')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC 1:260–265.
Red: added for <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC.

Living at Father Johnson's

Uneventful
I would remark that nothing important had occurred since I came to reside in Father Johnson's house in Hiram; except that I had held meetings on the sabbaths and evenings. and baptized a number >. Warns Olmsted Johnson Father Johnsons Son, Olmsted Johnson, about this time came home on a visit, during which I told him if he did not obey the gospel, [205] the spirit he was of would lead him to destruction, and when he went away, he would never return or see his father again. He went to the southern states and Mexico, and on his return, he took sick, and di<e>d in Virginia >. Olmsted Johnson (1809–1834) Apostates In addition to the apostate Ezra Booth, Symonds Rider Ryder, Eli Johnson, Edward Johnson and John Johnson Jr., had apostatized. Eli and Edward Johnson are not sons of John Johnson Sr.

March 24

Twins have measles
On the 24th of March; the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broken of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife, in the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sickest sicker child. Emma screams murder

A dozen men grab Joseph
In the night she told me I had better lie down on the trundle bed, and I did so, and was soon after awoke awakened by her screaming Murder! when I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some had hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs, The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing open. ¶ Luke Johnson (h): Carnot Mason dragged Joseph out of bed by the hair of his head.

¶ Luke Johnson (h)
Dr. Dennison was there to emasculate Joseph but decided not to.

Marinda Johnson said the men were disguised "as black men." <i>Women of Mormondom</i>, Edward W. Tullidge &#40;New York: author&#41;, 1877; on <i>GospeLink 2001</i> CD&#45;ROM &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company&#41;, 2000.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Women of Mormondom, 404.
My wife heard a gentle tapping on the windows which she then took no particular notice of (but which was unquestionably design'd designed for ascertaining whether or not we were all asleep,) and soon after the mob burst open the door and surrounded the bed in an instant, and, as I said, the first I knew I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob. Struggle

Knock one down

Threats
I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately confined overpowered again; and they swore by God G—, they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me. one man:Warren Waste. ¶ Satan Came Also As they passed around the house with me, the fellow that I kicked came to me and thrust his hand into my face, his hand, all covered with blood, into my face (for I hit him on the nose,) and with an exulting horse hoarse laugh, muttered,—"Ge … gee … God dam ye G—d—ye; I'I fix ye."
Choke, passes out They then seized me by the throat, and held on till I lost my breath. Sidney appears dead After I came to, as they passed along with me, about thirty rods from the house, I saw Elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by his heels. I supposed he was dead. Pleads with mob I began to plead with them, saying, you will have mercy and spare my life, I hope:— No mercy To which they replied, "God dam ye G—d—ye; call on yer God for help, we'll show ye no mercy:"— Plank and the people began to shew show themselves in every direction: one coming from the orchard had a plank. and I expected they would kill me, and carry me off on the plank. Sidney lying in meadow

Symonds Ryder
They then turned to the right and went on about thirty rods further;— about sixty rods from the house. and thirty from whence where I saw Elder Rigdon;— into the meadow, where they stopped, and one said, "Simonds, Simonds" (meaning I supposed, Simonds Rider Ryder,) "pull up his drawers, pull up his drawers, he will take cold." Symonds in all three instances in <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC. Kill him (Sidney?) Another replied "a'nt ye goin to kill 'im." ? "a'nt ye goin to kill 'im." ? HC: "Ain't ye going to kill 'im? ain't ye going to kill 'im?"

Symonds in all three instances in <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC.
Keep Joseph off the ground when a group of mobbers collected a little way off and said. "Simonds, Simonds come here;" and Simonds charged those who had hold of me to keep me from touching the ground, (as they had done all the time) lest I should get a spring upon them. Mob discuss killing Joseph They went and held a council, and as I could occasionally over-hear a word, I supposed it was to know. whether or not it was best to kill me. Decide not to kill They returned after a while when I learned that they had concluded not to kill me, but pound beat and scratch me well, tear of[f] my shirt and drawers and leave me naked Call for tar One cried "Simonds, Simonds, where's the tar bucket"? Symonds in both instances in <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC. "I don't know" answered one, "where 'tis, Eli's left it." Blue: dropped for <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC 1:260–265.
Red: added for <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC.
Try to force tar into mouth They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed with an oath "God dam it,—let us tar up his mouth;" and they tried to force the tar paddle into my mouth; I twisted my head around, so that they could not; and they cried out, "God dam ye G—d—ye, hold up yer head and let us give [207] ye some tar." Vial breaks They then tried to force a phial vial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth. ¶ Luke Johnson (h) says it was a vial of "of some obnoxious drug." The vial was dropped and the contents killed the grass.

George A. Smith: vial of aquafortis. ¶ Satan Came Also
Stripped, scratched All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar; and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out, "God dam ye G—d—ye, that's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.!" Makes way to Father Johnson's They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again. I pulled the tar away from my lips &c, so that I <could> breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up, when whereupon I saw two lights: I made my way towards one of them, and found it was father Johnson's. Emma faints When I came to the door, I was naked, and the tar made me look as though I had been if I were covered with blood, and when my wife saw me she thought I was all mashed crushed to pieces, and fainted. Sisters gather

Blanket
during the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket, they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me, and went in. Father Johnson held in house In the meantime, Brother John Poorman heard an outcry across the cornfield, and running that way met father Johnson, who had been fastened in his house at the commencement of the assault, by having his door barred by the mob, Calls for gun but on calling to his wife to bring his gun, saying he would blow a hole through the door, the mob fled, Knocks down one mobber and father <Johnson> seizing a club, ran after the party that had Elder Rigdon, and knocked down one man, and raised his club to level another. exclaiming. "What are you doing here"? when they left Elder Rigdon and turned upon father Johnson,

Runs for home

Poorman strikes shoulder

who, turning to run toward his own house, met Brother Poorman coming out of the cornfield; each supposing the other to be a mobber, an encounter ensued, and Poorman gave Johnson a severe blow on the left shoulder with a stick or stone. which brought him to the ground. Father Johnson's collar bone was broken but promptly healed by David Whitmer. ¶ Luke Johnson (h) Poorman ran immediately towards father Johnsons, and arriving while I was waiting for the blanket, exclaimed. "I'm [208] afraid I've killed him." Poorman hides Killed who? asked some one; when Poorman hastily related the circumstance circumstances of the rencounter [encounter] near the cornfield, and went into the shed and hid himself. Johnson arrives Father Johnson soon recovered so as to come to the house. when the whole my[s]tery was quickly solved concerning the difficulty between him and Poorman, who, on learning the facts, joyfully came from his hiding place Scrape tar My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and Cleansing my body. so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. Philemon Duzette witnesses cleansing, is baptized. ¶ Satan Came Also Sunday service

Mobbers attend
This being the sabbath morning, the people assembled for meeting at the usual hour of worship, and among them came also the mobbers; viz, Simonds Rider Simonds Ryder, a campbellite Preacher. and leader of the mob; one McClentic, who had his hands in my hair; one Streeter, son of a campbellite minister; and Felatiah Allen, Esquire, who gave the mob a barrel of whiskey to raise their Spirits; and many others; Besides these named, there were many others in the mob.   Joseph preaches, baptizes With my flesh all scarfied scarified and defaced. I preached to the congregation as usual, and on in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals. Blue: dropped for <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC 1:260–265.
Red: added for <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC.
Visits Sidney on Monday

Crazy
The next morning I went to see Elder Rigdon, and found him crazy, and his head highly inflamed, for they had dragged him by his heels, and those, too, so high from the earth ground that he could not raise his head from the rough frozen surface, which lacerated it exceedingly; Asks for razor to kill wife, Joseph and when he saw me he called to his wife. to bring him his razor: She asked him what he wanted of it? and he replied, to kill me. Sister Rigdon left the room and he asked me to bring his razor. I asked him what he wanted of it, and he replied he wanted to kill his wife, and he continued delirious some days. Sisters detain mob member The feathers which were used with the tar on this occasion, the mob took out of Elder Rigdens house. After they had seized him. and dragged him out. one of the banditti returned to get some pillows, when the women shut him in and kept him a prisoner some time. Son dies [209] During the mob[bing] one of the twins received contracted a severe cold, and continued to grow worse till until friday, and then died Without comment on the discrepancy, <i>History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter&#45;day Saints</i>, edited by B. H. Roberts, 7 vols. &#40;Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902&#45;1912, 1932&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">HC 1:265n has the death of "Joseph S. Murdock" on March 29, which was a Thursday. Mob continues to harrass Johnson home

The Mobbers were composed of various religious parties, but mostly Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists, who continued to molest and menace father Johnson's house for a long time.   Sidney moves to Kirtland, then Chardon Elder Rigdon removed to Kirtland with his family, then sick with the meazles, the following wednesday; and. on account of the mob he went to Chardon, on Saturday April first March 31st. The tarring triggered Joseph's trip to Missouri. ¶ Joseph Remembered

Mason had an attack of the spinal affection, Fullars died of cholera in Cleveland, Dr. Dennison was sent to the penitentiary for ten years, and died before the term expired.
¶ Luke Johnson (h)

Citing Luke Johnson, George A. Smith reports different persecutor fates. ¶ Satan Came Also
Discussion Joseph: nothing important Joseph Smith seems unable to find a direct cause for the March 1832 attack: he preached on Sundays, baptized a few, and scolded Olmstead Johnson for not being baptized. Other than that, "nothing important had occurred" since he had moved to Hiram on September 12, 1831 <. Ezra Booth and Symonds Ryder Other factors were probably in play, though to what degree it is impossible to say. First, all nine Ezra Booth letters had been published by December 8, 1831, but it seems unlikely that Ezra abandoned his anti-Mormon campaign, since he was in the March 1832 mob. Ezra and Symonds Ryder, whom Joseph named as the leader of the band, were long-time residents in the Hiram area. Ezra Booth Letters John Johnson [Jr.] Other possible factors strike closer to home. According to Joseph, John Johnson Jr., the eldest living son of John Johnson, was one of the mob <; and the son Joseph warned he would be destroyed if he wasn't baptized —Olmstead—died in Virginia on February 24, 1834, one month before the mob attack. Did some blame Joseph for Olmstead's death? ¶ John Johnson

Olmstead's death: Evening and Morning Star, 2, no. 19 (April 1834): 151.
Hostile sources: Three sources hostile to Mormonism proposed other hypotheses. The fact that all three mistakenly include more than one of John Johnson's sons in the mob suggests they were not intimately acquainted with the facts. Nevertheless, their arguments merit consideration. Hayden: Johnson property In his 1876 history of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Amos S. Hayden states Johnson brothers participated in the action because of "the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Smith." John Johnson Sr. was a prosperous farmer, and Joseph was desperate to raise funds for the United Firm. He no relied on John, which John Jr. and Olmstead may have resented. <i>Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio</i>, A. S. Hayden &#40;Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, 1876&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Hayden history, 221. Braden: Marinda In an 1884 debate, Clark Braden, a member of the Church of Christ (Disciples), alleges that Marinda's brother Eli led the mob against Joseph because he had been intimate with Marinda. Several factors lend plausibility to this theory: Eli Johnson was in the mob; castration may have been considered appropriate punishment for sexual misconduct; according to Todd Compton, Joseph tended to marry women who stayed in his house or in whose house he stayed; there is some evidence that Joseph was converted to the idea of plural marrage as early as 1831 or 1832; and in fact, Joseph did marry Marinda, in 1842.

<i>Public Discussion of the Issues between the Reorganized Church ... and the Church of Christ &#40;Disciples&#41;: Held in Kirtland, Ohio, beginning February 12th, and closing March 8th, 1884: Between E. L. [Edmund Levi] Kelley ... and Clark Braden ... </i>, &#40;St. Louis: C. Braden, 1884&#41;. Special Collections, BYU, Americana BX 8691 .K28p')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Kelley-Braden debate, 202 qtd. in <i>In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith</i>, Todd Compton &#40;Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998&#41;.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">Sacred loneliness, 235–239.

Deming/Whitney: Johnson property In comments about his1885 interview with Rev. S. F. Whitney, Arthur B. Deming reports additional Whitney statements about the mobbing, followed immediately by, "Several of Johnson's sons were of the party. They were angry because their father was urged by Jo and Rigdon to let them have his property." It is not clear whether John Johnson or someone else is the source of this information "Statement of Rev.S. F. Whitney on Mormonism," Naked Truths About Mormonism, January 1888, p. 3 column 7. Link to source at Uncle Dale&#39;s Readings in Early Mormon History website.')" onmouseout="kill()" target="_blank" class="ref">UDR.   Several of Johnson's sons were of the party. They were angry because their father was urged by Jo and Rigdon to let them have his property. He finally did give them some of it, and moved to Kirtland and kept tavern, and his son Luke became one of the first Mormon Twelve Apostles.   We don't know Again, these hypotheses have plausibility but lack evidence. Presently it is simply not possible to determine with any certainty what the proximate cause of the attack was.

Ohio Opposition
Kirtland 1832




Home | Joseph | Bios | Beliefs & Practices | Chron | NY | Ohio | Missouri | Missions | Sources | Top

Dale R. Broadhurst | Far West | JS Writings | BYU Mormon Studies | More
Dialogue | JWHA | LDS Church | MHA | Signature Books | Sunstone

Saints Without Halos has no official connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
© 2001-2009 Saints Without Halos. All rights reserved.