Next morning people flocked into the town and there was great excitement.
And now we must name one of the most cruel and wicked men of that time, Lilburn W. Boggs. He was lieutenant-governor, which is next to the governor, the highest officer in the state. Boggs permitted the mob to organize themselves into a militia and thereby become regular soldiers of the state. The mob leaders seeing that the Saints had decided to protect themselves and fight if necessary, raised this militia so that if the Saints opposed them that they could be classed as law breakers.
The branches of the Church west of Independence having heard that the mob was going to kill some of the brethren in that town, raised about one hundred men to go to their rescue. While on the way they heard that there was no immediate danger, and that the militia had been called out. At this they were going back to their homes; but just then the militia came up, led by Colonel Pitcher. He demanded that the “Mormons” give up their arms, but they would not unless the mob, or militia as it was called, would do the same. This Colonel Pitcher agreed to have done, and then the brethren gave up their arms, consisting of fifty-nine guns and one pistol.
No sooner was this done than the most awful scene took place. The mob did not give up a gun, but bands of them roamed over the country searching for the Saints. Houses were torn down and burned, men were tied up and whipped, women and children were driven out into the fields and forests. Many of the county’s leading men took part in these crimes, and even ministers, preachers of the gospel as they called themselves, were seen leading mobs from place to place.
The cold winter was now coming on, it being the month of November. At one place a company of one hundred and ninety—all being women and children excepting three old men—was driven thirty miles across a burnt prairie, the ground being coated with sleet. Their trail could be easily followed by the blood which flowed from their feet.
You will see by the map that Clay county lies north of Jackson, just across the Missouri river. As the Saints were driven from their homes, most of them made their way to Clay county whose people received them kindly. Soon the shores of the river were lined with men, women and children, goods, boxes, wagons, etc; The ferrymen were kept busy taking them over the river. At night the place had a strange appearance. Hundreds of people could be seen in every direction; some in tents and some in the open air around the fires. The rain descended in torrents. Husbands were asking for their wives and wives for their husbands, parents for children and children for parents. Some had managed to escape with a little provisions; many had lost all their goods.
There were at this time about twelve hundred Saints in Jackson county, so it took many days for them all to get away. Some of the poorest of the Saints who could not get away at first were driven out during the cold storms of that winter.