Affidavits of Apostles Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde (1838)
Source: “Document showing the Testimony Given Before the Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of the State of Missouri, on the Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and others, for High Treason and Other Crimes Against that State” (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1841), p. 147.
Affidavit of Thomas B. March (or Marsh)
At the request of a committe of the citizens of Ray county, I make the following statement in relation to the recent movements, plans, and intentions, of the Mormons in the counties of Caldwell and Daviess: —
Shortly after the settlement of the difficulties at De Witt, in Caroll county, a call was made by the Mormons at Far West, in Caldwell county, for volunteers to go to Daviess county to disperse the mob, as they said. On the day before this, Joseph Smith, the Prophet, had preached, in which he said, that all the Mormons who refused to take up arms, if necessary, in difficulties with the citizens, should be shot, or otherwise put to death; and as I was there with my family, I thought it most prudent to go, and did go, with my wagon, as the driver. We marched to Adam-on-diahmon, and found no troops or mob in Daviess county. Scouting parties frequently went out, and brought in intelligence that they had seen from three to five hundred men. We got to ‘Diahmon on Tuesday evening, and on the next day a company of about eighty Mormons, commanded by a man fictitiously named Captain Fearnought, marched to Gallatin. They returned, and said they had run off from Gallatin twenty or thirty men, and had taken Gallatin, — had taken one prisoner, and another had joined the company. I afterwards learned from the Mormons that they had burnt Gallatin, and that it was done by the aforesaid company that marched down. The Mormons informed me that they had hauled away all the goods from the store in Gallatin, and deposited them at the Bishop’s storehouse at ‘Diahmon. On the same day, Lyman Wight marched about eighty horsemen for Millport. He returned before night, and called for Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, to report to them, (said Hyrum being counsellor of said Joseph the Prophet, ) and siad Wight reported that he had been in sight of Millport — saw no one to fight — but that the people generally had gone and left their houses and property. The Prophet, on hearing the property was left, commenced a reply, and said, ‘We had better see to it,’ when Wight stopped him by saying, ‘Never mind, we will have a private council;’ and Smith replied, ‘Very well.’ The private council I did not hear. The men were determined to go to their camps. The same evening, a number of footmen cam e up from the direction of Millport, laden with property, which I was informed consisted of beds, clocks, and other household furniture. The same night, I think, about three wagons were dispatched for about forty bee-gums, and the next day I saw several gums, when they wer splitting them up, and taking the honey and burning the gums, in which business of taking out the honey, but few were engaged, for fear, as they said, they would be called on as witnesses against them. When Wight returned from Millport, and informed Smith that the people were gone nad the property left, Smith asked him if they had left any of the negroes fro them, and Wight replied, ‘No;’ upon which some one laughed, and said to Smith, ‘You have lost your negro then.’ During the same time, a company,called the Fur Company, were sent out to bring in fat hogs ang cattle, calling the hogs bears, and the cattle buffaloes, [and the honey sweet oil — bear meat, buffalo, and sweet oil — pretty good living!] They brought in at one time seven cattle, and at another time, four or five, belonging to the people of Daviess. Hogs were brought in dead, but I know not how many; I saw only two. They have among a company consiting of all that are considered true Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the Church in all things, that they say or do, whether right or wrong. Many, however, of this band are much dissatisfied with this oath, as being against moral and religious principles. On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons that they had a meeting at Far West, at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of the Destruction Company, for the purpose of burning and destroying; and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the people of Caldwell, and committed depredations upon the Mormons, they were to burn Buncombe; and if the people of Clay and Ray made any movements against them, this destroying company were to burn Liberty and Richmond. This burning was to be done secretly, by going as incendiaries. At the same meeting, I was informed, they passed a decree that no Mormon dissenter should leave Caldwell county alive; and that such and that such as attempted to do it, should be shot down, and sent to tell their tale in eternity. In a conversation between Dr. Avard and other Mormons, said Avard proposed to start a pestilence among the Gentiles, as he called them, by poisoning their corn, fruit, &c., and saying it was the work of the Lord; and said Avard advocated lying for the support of their religion, and said it was no harm to lie for the Lord!! The plan of said Smith, the Prophet, is to take this State; and he professes to his people to intend taking the United States, and ultimately the whole world. This is the belief of the Church, and my own opinion of the Prophet’s plans and intentions. It is my opinion that neither said Joseph Smith, the Prophet, nor any one of the principal men, who is firm in the fiath, could be indicted for any offecne in the county of Caldwell. The Prophet inculcates the notiion, and it is believed by every true Mormon that Smith’s prophecies are superior to the law of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he should yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; that if he was not let alone, hew ould be a second Mahomet to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean; that like Mahomet, whose motto, is treating for peace, was ‘Alcoran or the Sword,’ so should it be eventually with us, ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword.’ These last statments were made during the last summer. The number of armed men at Adam-on-diahmon was between three and four hundred. Thomas B. March.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, the day hering written.
Henry Jacobs, J. P., Ray County, Missouri
Richmond, Missouri, October 24, 1838
Affidavit of Orson Hyde
The most of the statements in the foregoing disclosure of the Thomas B. March I know to be true; the remainder I beleive to be true. Orson Hyde.
Richmond, October 24, 1838.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, on the day above written.
Henry Jacobs, J.P.