In this document, Theodore Turley testifies of his harrowing experiences in Far West, Missouri. Much of this testimony was later included in Volume 3 of History of the Church. 1 See also “8: Fleeing Far West, 5-18 April 1839” by Richard E. Turley, Jr.

Reference: Joseph Smith history documents, 1839-1860, Materials used by Willard Richards, 1839-1848, Theodore Turley Memoranda, circa 1845 February, CR 100 396, Church History Library ( : accessed 16 April 2024).

Church History Library document description: Turley provides information about amount of monies paid to Joseph Smith’s defense lawyers in cash and property; attempts to obtain copies of jail orders from Judge Austin A. King and the sheriffs of Clay and Ray counties; visit in company with Heber C. Kimball to deliver a petition to the governor of Missouri; their interview with the secretary of state of Missouri (February 1839); and attempts to meet with state supreme court justices. Turley also tells about Joseph Smith’s confidence that he would be delivered from jail; threats from William Bowman and others in charge of Joseph Smith’s transfer under change of venue; and Stephen Markham’s jail interview with Joseph Smith. Turley also reports meetings with mob leader Samuel Bogart, John Whitmer, and others on 4 Apirl 1839, when they taunted him about Joseph Smith’s revelation about the Twelve leaving for foreign missions from Far West. Turley challenged Whitmer to defend his testimony, and Whitmer replied that he did handle the Book of Mormon plates. Turley also reports the mob attack on Far West (5 April 1839), his flight from Missouri with remaining families, and meeting with members of the Twelve headed for Far West. Turley also summarizes attempts to collect corn and stock in Daviess County. In Thomas Bullock’s handwriting with annotations by Willard Richards.

Notes: Annotations in pencil or another pen are indicated by bolded text. Transcription by Mary Ann Clements.

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Theodore Turley’s Memorandums

$34.000^50.000^ paid to the Lawyers – in Money, Deeds, Property &c. sheriff of Liberty referred us to Judge King
for a copy of commitment. – had none. – Sheriff of Richmond no commitment.

=I [Theodore Turley] and H. C. Kimball carried a petition to Governor Boggs. When we got there, he had left for
Philadelphia and his business was to be done by the Secretary of State. We took all the papers
that the Sheriffs held the prisoners under, signed by them. When the Secretary saw them he would
not believe that we had all.^for th[ey] were illegal.^ a Council had been called at my house which sent us off.^24 or 5 of Mch^ when
we laid the papers before him we said here are Doniphan’s Papers, and the Sheriffs – the Sheriffs refused
to give us a copy of the papers whereby they held them –^till they we had seen the judgeby what auth[ori]ty. Legal letter from Donethen went to King who made out ofance,^they had them in custody six 5 months for
transactions that they said happened in another County. The Secretary of State was astonished at
Judge King’s acting in the way he did. he said he could do nothing, and the Governor could do
nothing if he had been at home. he wrote a letter to Judge King and we went to the Supreme
Judges to get a change of venue. we rode hundreds of miles after them and when we got to Judge
King he had sent them (the Prisoners) off in a hurry to Davies County. Judge King was mad at our
having reported these things to the Governor. he said he could have done all the business for us
properly if we had gone to him.^He would have signed all the petitions for all except Jo. he was not fit to live^
the Secretary of State treated us as Gentlemen and appeared
to be mad at the way we had been treated in Upper Missouri. the Lawyer Donithan deceived us
he sent us to the Governor without proper documents, so that the change of venue could not be
effected in time. Joseph said to us Be of good cheer Brother Kimball and Brother Turley
no arm can deliver us now but God, but we shall be delivered, tell the Brethren be of good cheer
and get them away as fast as possible–
{^Davies. Friday April.—-5. on the prairie^ A Company of men ^about 50^ swore that they would
never eat or drink until they had murdered JoSmith. and their Captain William Bowman
swore in my presence that he never would eat or drink after he had seen Joe Smith
until he had murdered him. the Clay authorities delivered the Prisoners over to this
Company on the open Prairie, far away from any house, and they knew of the Oath these men
had made. and this ^Tu[r]ley & his^ Company was to escort them through Far West. but they did not go
within Eighteen Miles off and then across the Prairie. we knew of the Threats that had
been made to kill them and we felt very anxious about them. we agreed with a Man
to give him $30 to carry a letter into Davies County to Joseph and Hyrum and bring a reply
to us, he went but not returning soon we called a Council together at Turley’s house
to know what we had better do. they appointed Brother Markham to go disguised, and bring us
intelligence. he accordingly went in the night swam the rivers in the night. they took him prionser &
as good luck would have it, and put him in jail where Joseph and Hyrum were. and he could tell
them all he had to do tell there was a Wrestle and Markham had great strength and had the best,
they were determined to kill Markham but he got through the Guard and brought us intelligence
they were alive and as well as could be under the circumstances. the other man also came back. with his

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answer. Brother Markham told us how to act, we had to hurry the Women and
Children away as fast as we could, we removed 36 families into a Grove about 25 miles
off, a few men were chosen to chop wood for them. I had the charge to feed them
with meal and meat until we could get them to Quincey. the corn I ground at my horse ^the committees^
mill; when Joseph wanted us to hurry off. Elias Smith and I were the last men who
stopped. Heber C. Kimball was in and out councelling us at nights^he had to sleep and stop in the Corn Fields^.
Brigham Young was in
Quincey. he had to flee for his life. H. C. Kimball came and told me to wind up my affairs
^April 15, 1839—18^ and be off, or my life would be taken.
in the latter part of the day 12 men^Wm Bowmen & John Crossfield^ came to my
house with loaded rifles to shoot me. they broke 17 Clocks into matchwood. they broke tables,
smashed in the windows. while Bogard who was the County Judge was watching and laughing
at them. they threw Iron Pots at me^one Whitaker as princeple^ one hit me on the Shoulder and then the^man who hit me^jumped and
laughed like a madman. Warnd the brethren to be off in a week or the Gov Orders Should be enforcd
=Brother Kimball was obliged to be hid in the Cornfields.
=The mob shot down Cows while the girls were milking them.
=On the 4th April 1839 8 men. Captn. Bogard, ^(who was the Cy. Judge)^ Dr. Laffity, John Whitmer and 5 others came
into the Committee room and presented to me^Turl[e]y^ the Messenger and Advocate one of them
opened to the Revelations of July 8. 1838, to Joseph Smith. that the 12 were to take their leave
at the building in Far West on the 26th April to go to the Isles of the Sea. and asked him to
read it. ^Turl[e]y^I said, “Gentlemen I am well acquainted with it.” they said, “then you as a rational
man will give up Joseph Smith being a prophet and an inspired man. now he, and the
twelve are scattered all over the creation. let them come here if they dare. if they do they
will be murdered. as that revelation cannot be fulfilled, you will now give up your faith.”
^Turly^I jumped up and said “in the name of God that revelation will be fulfilled.” they laughed mehim
to scorn. John Whitmer hung down his head. they said “if they (the 12) come they will get
murdered. they dare not come to take their leave here. that is like all the rest of Joe Smiths
d—d prophecies.” they commenced on me^Turly^ and said ^he^I had better do as John Corrill has done
he is going to publish a book called Mormonism farely delineated he is a sensible man
and you had better assist him.” ^Turly^I said Gentlemen I presume there are men here who
have heard Corrill say. Mormonism was true, Joseph Smith was a prophet and inspired
of God &c. I now call upon you John Whitmer – you say Corrill is a moral and good man
do you believe him when he says ^the Book of^ Mormon is true, or when it is not true, there are a many
things published that they say is true, and again turn round and say it is false.” Whitmer
asked do you hint at me? ^Turly replied^I said “if the cap fits you wear it. all I know, you have published
to the world that an angel did present those plates to Joseph Smith. ^Whitmer replied^and he said “I now say

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I handled those plates. there was fine engravings on both sides. I handled them.” and he
described how they were hung and they were shown to me by a supernatural power. he
acknowledged all. ^Turly^I asked him why the translation is not ^now^ true.” he said “I cannot read it, and
I do not know whether it is true or not”. ^Whitmer^he testified all this in the presence of 8 men.

=^18. April^ In consequence of the threats of these men that they would send us to hell jumping and put
daylight thro’ us. Elias Smith left that morning to cross the river and collect $300. that a man
had swindled us out of. they came and said they would kill me. Brother Kimball told me
to wind up all my business, gather up all the Women and Children and be off. Daniel Shearer
was with me. we had just gathered up all and left in one hour. I wanted to have made
a turn of 6 or 700 dollars^for the brethren^. they staid till we had left, and then they took property to the
amount of a many thousand dollars that the ^brethren^ Sisters had left, to sell, in order to remove the
poor from out of Missouri. we had to go 260 miles to Quincey, all the way by land.
the committee appointed Levi Richards and Reuben Hadlock to take charge of the goods and the
families that went to Quincy by Water^at Richmond in the fall.^ I and Hyrum Clark started together. he was all the
time hard at work shoeing horses for the brethren. when we were driven and had started
10 or 11 miles Bro: Clarke’s Wagon broke down. we had to contrive a new axle. Bro Clark went
40 miles to Richmond to get some Wagon boxes, and I set to work to make an axle tree. we
were delayed. after we repaired and Hauled again. we again broke down. after getting ready
a second time, on the morning of our departure. I observed there were some Mormon Wagons
in the distance on the Prairie. we had some meal and milk, which afforded a sufficiency
for a meal, when up came Father Alpheus Cutler, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith,
John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, John E. Pages, and Daniel Shearer.
(Prest. Brigham Young has a history of it. Papers of the Council &c)
=after we had left Davies County, the officers or leaders of the Militia made an agreement
about the 20th. Nov. to let a certain number of our men go into Davies County to get our
property and they were to wear a signal which was a riband of red and white, round their
hats. We were allowed to the 1st March to get our corn out of the Fields, and then they
docked it off to 30 days, and then to 10. When the 10 days were closed Mrs. Page ^(amongst others)^ got off barefooted.
there was 47,550 bushels of corn left behind unused —1,000,000 bushels [?…fied].—
the State appropriated $2000 to be distributed in food among the poor, when Judge Camaron, McHenry
and others were to distribute it among the poor. Judge Cameron would drive in our own hogs.
many of which were identified. they were shot down ^in the streets^ were not bled. and distributed by McHenry
to the poor, and he charging 4 and 5 centers per # for it
=Brigham Young told the brethren to make out a list of the property. that we or our descendants might claim it

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Turly & Kimball at Jefferson City about 23 Feb 24. saw the Surety, Gov Jones
to see Judge Thorntere he thinks, ^gone^ crossed Missouri 5 times, ^Thompkins^ dined with col Levey
about 3d March
Joseph left Liberty about 5 March Turlley.

Theodore Turley’s Statement of occurrences in Missouri in 1839.

  1. Joseph Smith history documents, 1839-1860, Materials used by Willard Richards, 1839-1848, Theodore Turley Memoranda, circa 1845 February, CR 100 396, Church History Library,, accessed April 2024. B.H. Roberts, ed., History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Vol. 3 (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1905), The Project Gutenberg eBook no. 47707 released 19 December 2014, produced by the Mormon Texts Project ( : accessed April 2024).