Saturday, October 12, 2013

Haun's Mill Massacre

Haun's Mill was a tragedy.  It is called a massacre, because it took place in a time of truce.  "Because the attack was unprovoked in a time of truce, had no specific authorization, and was made by a vastly superior force with unusual brutality, it has come to be known as 'The Haun's Mill Massacre.'  (Blair, Alma R., Encyclopedia of Mormonism)  Haun's Mill was a small isolated Mormon community.  That the attack was possible was a result of the people not heading the prophet's instruction of the isolated communities gathering to Far West.  This request was not passed on to the Saints at Haun's Mill as presented in this discourse of Henry B. Eyring.

Blair explains the events of the day:
Thirty to forty LDS families were at Haun's Mill when some 200 to 250 militia from Livingston, Daviess, and Carroll counties, acting under Colonel Thomas Jennings, (also sheriff of Livingston county) marched against the village. Assuming that an earlier truce still held, the residents were surprised by the late afternoon attack. Church leader David Evans' call for "quarter" was ignored, and the villagers were forced to flee for safety. The Mormon women and children fled south across a stream into the woods, while the men gathered in the blackSmith shop, but found it a poor place for defense because the Missourians were able to fire through the widely spaced logs directly into the group huddled inside.
Seventeen Latter-day Saints and one friendly non-Mormon were killed. Another thirteen were wounded, including one woman and a seven-year-old boy. (ibid.)
This is event was even more heinous because of some of the murders, including that of children:  "After the initial attack, several of those who had been wounded or had surrendered were shot dead. Members of the militia entered the shop and found ten-year-old Sardius Smith, eight-year old Alma Smith, and nine-year-old Charles Merrick hiding under the blacksmith's bellows. Alma and Charles were shot (Charles later died), and William Reynolds put his musket against Sardius's skull and blew off the top of his head, killing him.  Reynolds later explained, "Nits will make lice, and if he had lived he would have become a Mormon."  Seventy-eight year old Thomas McBride surrendered his musket to militiaman Jacob Rogers, who then shot McBride and hacked his body apart with a corn knife. Several other bodies were mutilated or clothing stolen, while many women were assaulted. Houses were robbed, wagons, tents and clothing were stolen, and horses and livestock were driven off, leaving the surviving women and children destitute.  (Wikipedia)

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