Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bringing the Froe

The inside view of a covered wagon similar to what would have been used on the Mormon Trail

Henry Bigler gives an extensive list of supplies that he and his family took on the Mormon Trail. One of the stated items was a froe. What is a froe?
a.                   An ax type tool used to split wood into shingles and planks
b.                  A dual barrel gun
c.                   Another term for a milk cow
d.                  The very first sewing machine
Yesterday’s answer:
a.       Burned their own homes
The following is a letter that George Foote sent to Warren Foote. George, the non-member father to Warren, quotes a newspaper article and Warren (who is a member of the Church) responds in his journal to the article. The article has reference to the Missouri/Mormon problems.
Ypsilanti bank has broke, with hundreds and thousands of dollars of its paper palmed on the public; while the stockholders make themselves, and friends rich by it. I will give you a short sketch published in the Advocate that I received yesterday.
"It is hard to tell which party were the aggressors. It is the prevailing sentiment, so far as I can learn, that the Mormons committed the first depredations, in the character of a mob, and such was the excitement, that the militia were twice called out to suppress the gathering. After the troops were called home the last time, the Mormons commenced burning, plundering, taking prisoners, and threatening to murder everything in Daviess County. The apprehensions of the citizens, of Ray County were so fearful, that they thought their safety required a guard to be placed on the line between Caldwell and Ray Counties. This guard consisted of about 45 soldiers, legally ordered out. [Battle of Crooked River] They were attacked in the night, by about 100 Mormons, and some were killed, and wounded on both sides. This defiance of the laws kindled a flame in the bosom of every patriot. The country was soon in arms, and things began to wear a gloomy and awful aspect. Vengeance seemed determined on both sides.
The Mormons rallied to their strong hold, men, women and children, to witness the fulfillment of prophecy viz. that God would send angels to fight their battles. Never did there seem to be more depending on an action; the truth, or falsehood of prophecy, was to be tested by it, the fate of hundreds were depending on the issue. Both parties seemed certain of victory.
The day, the hour, at last came. 3000 citizens were encamped within half a mile of the village of Far West. They were marched to the town, and a line of battle formed. An engagement was expected, but prevented (blessed be God) by a truce, until an unconditional surrender was made. Their leaders were given up prisoners of war, and there grounded at the feet of their enemies.
About 50 Mormons have been killed during the war. Since their surrender, a company of Mormons, calling themselves Danites that had entered into a conspiracy against the government have been detected and about 50 are now in Richmond jail. There is no doubt but both parties are to blame, and I rejoice to say, that it is the determination of the officers to punish all who have acted as a mob on both sides. The state of Missouri will have to pay dear for such acts. Two hundred thousand dollars would not pay the expense, it is thought. What I have stated I have done on the veracity of men, who were in the war. I have had no share in it; more than to stay home and defend my family. Their condition is truly deplorable. Their lands are taken to pay their debts; they are without homes, without money, and without friends. Let the followers of the humane Jesus, as far as they can, relieve their distress, by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked." Signed H. L. Dodds. Independence Mo. (Nov. 22nd 1838)
I want you to write as soon as you get this--do not delay. As I have run ashore of paper I am obliged to close. George Foote.

The following is Warren’s reply to his father’s letter:
The foregoing letters were all written on one double sheet of paper. I answered all of George’s queries and corrected the statements made by H. L. Dodds. The Mormons were not the first aggressors, neither did they threaten to murder everything in Daviess County. The mobbers commenced plundering, and threatened to drive all the Mormons from that county, and when they found that the Mormons were too much for them, they set fire to their own houses, and fled into the adjoining counties, and spread the report that the Mormons had burned their houses, and drove them from their homes. Previous to this, the mobbers took some of the Mormons prisoners, and treated them most illy. One person they beat over the head with a gun barrel until his brains oozed out, and left him for dead, but he afterward recovered. I saw him in Illinois and examined his head. I could have lain my finger in the wound after it was healed. The Mormons did not feel justified, to tamely submit to such brutal treatment to have their brethren murdered in cold blood, their women ravished, and their property destroyed by these devils in human shape. After appealing in vain to the authorities of the state, they found that they would have to protect themselves or be destroyed, therefore they arose en masse, and put a stop to mobbing in Daviess County. But when they found that the Governor had ordered the militia of the state to march to Far West, and take them prisoners, they threw down their arms, and submitted to banishment, trusting in the God of Israel for that protection, which the governor had refused them, who instead of protecting them in their rights, as American Citizens, had ordered his Generals to exterminate them.

Autobiography of Warren Foote, Typescript, HBLL;

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