Seventeen Mormon men and boys were killed at Hawn’s Mill, Missouri on October 30, 1838. Dr. Alex Baugh describes the awful tragedy that includes mutilation of corpses, and gruesome injuries to a boy as young as 7 years old. As we approach Halloween, it is a very sad anniversary to the awful tragedy. If you are sensitive to these kinds of descriptions, you may want to skip this episode.
Alex: So we’ve got 30 plus men. But they had thought if there was conflict, that perhaps they could use this unfinished blacksmith shop as a garrison, a place of defense. That was a bad choice, because, unfortunately, it was not finished. But they thought, “Well, this will be good. It wasn’t chinked or daubed, so we can shoot through the cracks. But that’s going to prove fatal. What ends up happening then is they start attacking and so the women immediately leave. I’m sure this was pre-arranged. They get out of there. Most of them fled across the river, across the Mill, and race up the hill into the woods. They shot at a woman, her name was Mary Steadwell, and she was shot in the hand. So they’re indiscriminate. They’re not just firing at men. They’re firing at women and children. These women are making their way out. She was injured, and she fell behind a log and her dress was over the log. So they kept pelting the log. There were 20 bullets right in the log itself, but she only had the hand injured. But they’re after these the women and children, too. So, the men try to find some sort of defense in the blacksmith shop. They’ve got the numbers, but about 30 some odd men went in there and four boys with the intent of defending themselves and the community. But as these waves come in, they were slowly able to get under the fire, and eventually come right on to [shop.] The south end is where the door was, and that faced the river.
Again, this is Thomas McBride. He was 62 years old. He was probably the oldest guy there. He makes his way out and gets hit a couple of times….McBride is just wounded terribly….A guy named Jacob Rogers from Daviess County, he’s one of the ones [the Mormons] expelled. He finds Thomas McBride and he says, “Give me your weapon.” He’s thinking, “Okay, I’m wounded, but he won’t hurt me. I’m giving up my weapon.” He gives it to him and he actually shoots him. Then he takes a corn cutter and cuts off some of his fingers. He mutilates him. I mean, this is a terrible, horrific killing.
Isaac Leaney was pelted and he made his way and eventually was able to get into the home of Jacob Hawn, where some of the women had assembled and were praying. They took care of him….What’s interesting is years later, and Wilford Woodard talks about this, and I may be off a little bit on the figures, but he was walking in Nauvoo, and Isaac Leaney goes, “Brother Woodruff, do you want to see the clothes I was shot in?” They said, “He went in, he laid out his clothes.” I think he said there were 28 bullet holes.
17 Mormon men and boys were killed in the massacre. Check out our conversation….
Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Baugh.
332: Finding Jacob Hawn