Persecution in Jackson county.
A great many of the old settlers of Jackson county, meaning those who were there before the Saints, were of a shiftless, ignorant class from the Southern States. They made but little improvement in their homes, being content to live in small, log huts, many of them without windows or board floors. They all believed it right to have negro slaves. They were also eager to hold public office.
At that time there were also many persons in western Missouri who had fled from the east on account of crimes which they had committed. Being near the boundary line of the United States, these persons would need only to cross the line into Mexico to be safe if an officer should come after them.
You will readily see by this what kind of neighbors the new settlers had. Of course the Saints could not join with these wicked people in their horse racing, Sabbath breaking, idleness, drunkenness, and other things which the Missourians took delight in. Most of the Saints were from the Eastern and Northern States and did not believe in slavery. They worked hard, and as the land produced good crops, they were soon prospering, while their idle neighbors remained in poverty.
All this naturally led the Missourians to hate the “Mormons,” and as early as the spring of 1832 they began to molest them by throwing stones into their houses, etc. That same fall mobs began to come against the Saints, burning some of their hay and shooting into their houses.
In April, 1833, the mobbers held a meeting at Independence to discuss plans whereby they could rid the county of the “Mormons.” However, the meeting broke up in a row. July 20th, they held another meeting which was more successful. An address was read to the people wherein the Saints were falsely accused of all manner of wrong doings. It also set forth that no more “Mormons” must settle in Jackson county; that the “Mormons” already there should be given a reasonable time to sell their property and then remove; that the printing of their paper must cease; that the stores of the Saints must close up their business as soon as possible; and that the leading brethren should use their influence to have the Saints comply with these requests. The meeting agreed to all this and a committee was appointed to wait on the leaders of the Saints to see what they would do about it. When the committee called, the brethren asked for time to consider the matter, but fifteen minutes only were given them. Nothing could be done in that short time, so the committee went back to the meeting and reported.