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*Reflecting on Hawn’s Mill (Part 7 of 7)

In our final conversation with Dr. Alex Baugh, we’ll talk about the lessons to be learned from Hawn’s Mill.  Who deserves blame in this escalation?  What might have helped calm things down?  Did Porter Rockwell try to assassinate Governor Boggs?

GT:  There was an assassination attempt on his life and a lot of people want to pin that on Porter Rockwell.

Alex:  It probably was.

GT:  It probably was?

Alex:  Yeah, I think it was. He was visiting his in-laws, the Beebes. The Beebes lived in Jackson County. Monte McClaus wrote an article about it years ago. I taught his kids in seminary, actually. But if you line everything up, I think Rockwell, he was definitely there. Did he intend to kill Boggs? I kind of think not. He just wanted to make him–and why do I say that? Well he used a German buckshot pistol. So they were just small pellets, and it didn’t kill him. I mean, it could have, but I don’t think he intended it to. I think he was just upset with what this man did to us. I mean, his indecisiveness, his lack of humanity towards the Mormons. I don’t know what you want to say, I think he probably did it.

GT:  Oh, really?

Alex:  Yeah, I do. Would he deny it? Well, of course.  I guess the folklore around, “If I would have done it, I would have killed him.” Well, that’s just a good round about there. But Joseph had nothing to do with it. There’s no question there. Even though John C. Bennett and others wanted to pin that on him, there’s no evidence for that. Joseph was not an accessory to the crime. Rockwell acted on his own.

Check out our conversation….

Dr. Alex Baugh discusses lessons learned from Hawn’s Mill Massacre and Gov. Boggs credit/blame.


Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Baugh!

333: Halloween Massacre at Hawn’s Mill

332: Finding Jacob Hawn

331: Was Extermination Order a License to Kill?

330: Mormon Dissent Leads to Salt Sermon

329: Mormon Expulsion from Jackson County

328: Trouble in Missouri 1833

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Halloween Massacre at Hawn’s Mill (Part 6 of 7)

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….

17 Men and boys were killed by a Missouri mob. The dead ranged in age from 10-62. Women and children were also wounded severely in the Hawn’s Mill Massacre on October 30, 1838.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Baugh.

332: Finding Jacob Hawn

331: Was Extermination Order a License to Kill?

330: Mormon Dissent Leads to Salt Sermon

329: Mormon Expulsion from Jackson County

328: Trouble in Missouri 1833

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Finding Jacob Hawn (Part 5 of 7)

The story of Hawn’s Mill, Missouri is a tragedy.  You may have noticed I have been spelling the name H A W N, rather than the traditional spelling of H A U N.  In our next conversation with Dr. Alex Baugh, we discuss the spelling of Jacob’s name, and why it has likely been misspelled by historians for over a century.

Alex:  [Jacob] is in New York, marries. His first wife dies, I think in childbearing. Then he marries Harriet… I believe they married in Buffalo. But anyway, he’s kind of one of these, you know, “Go West, young man.” Next we pick him up, he’s near Green Bay, Wisconsin… Then he moves down to Caldwell County, Missouri…He’s got a mill operation. You can’t pack that up and move it. He’s not going anywhere. So he stays. He’s not a Latter-day Saint and he never was. He spells his name HAWN, not HAUN. But you can understand that’s a phonetic spelling, you can spell it HAHN. We’ve got a place in Orem here, they have HAHN. It’s German.  [There are] multiple, different spellings. For years we’ve been looking for Hawn with HAUN, because that’s the way it was always on the maps and everything that I found his name was HAWN.

I was in my office one time and I got an email from Kyle Mayer up at Family History [library.] He says, “I got a lady here who needs to talk to you.” Now I can’t remember her name. But I emailed her and [Kyle] says, “I think you you might want to talk to her, communicate with her. She’s got some information about Jacob Hawn. There might be a connection.” Anyway, I write to her. I wish I could remember her name. As soon as we stop talking, I’ll remember. She was so helpful. She said, “I’m reading a book by Beverly Cleary.” Do you know who Beverly Cleary is?

GT:  Yes, the children’s author.

Alex:  Yeah, Ramona and all. She’s got an autobiography called, A Girl From Yamhill. Beverly Cleary was born in the Yamhill, Oregon. In the book, she says, “My great grandfather”, I think it was, “was a man by the name of Jacob Hawn. He was a miller, and in 1835, he was in Caldwell County, Missouri.”

GT: Oh my goodness.

Alex:  And anyway, they had two children there. I’m going, “Oh my gosh.” Well, again, I got the email. I walked right over to the Harold B. Lee library and checked out that book and read exactly where she was telling me about. Two weeks later, I was on my way to Portland, Oregon and Yamhill is a little south. I went there. I’m trying to think of the county. Rick, I found out everything about Jacob Hawn. I found his burial place, I found out all about him.

GT:  All through Beverly Cleary, essentially.

Alex:  Yep. I have written, I’ve tried to find her. She’s 100 years old right now.

Did you know we’ve been spelling Jacob’s last name wrong for a century?  We’ll also recap events up to this point.

Alex Baugh discovered Jacob Hawn’s granddaughter is best-selling children’s author Beverly Cleary.

Check out our conversation….