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Remarkable Rockwell: Missouri part 2

Rockwell was baptized on April 6th 1830, the same day that Joseph Smith organized the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). The next year, he left New York to gather to Missouri with other Saints. There he operated a ferry on the Big Blue River, twelve miles west of Independence, Missouri with his father. Here Rockwell courted and married Luana Beebe on February 2nd, 1832 in the first LDS wedding in the area. In 1833, the Church held its regular semi-annual conference there and Rockwell’s first child, a daughter named Emily was born. Shortly after these events, all hell broke loose in Jackson County Missouri. Enemies of the new church began mockingly calling them “Mormons”, while members called themselves Saints. Rockwell’s signed affidavit detailing the persecutions in Missouri, tells of Rockwell encountering men on his ferry who boasted “of entering into resolutions to drive the Mormons from the County”. On similar occasion, Rockwell again overheard a mob crossing the river bragging about how they had just torn down the Mormons printing press and scattered the type being prepared by W.W. Phelps to publish the church’s book of covenants. These men also bragged about viciously tarring and feathering Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen, a barbaric practice of pouring hot tar over bare, often beaten and raw, flesh and coating the victim in feathers. Rockwell and his father were then menacingly threatened by these men that if they would not renounce their doctrine and religious faith as Mormons they “would share the same fate.” Rockwell names some of these men in his affidavit including “Col Bower, Isaac McCoy, missionary of the Indians, and Cummings, Indian agent” among other prominent community leaders. Soon, Rockwell personally witnessed their zeal.
He described an October night in 1833 in which a mob, disguised as Indians, pulled women and children from their homes, one woman by her hair, terrified and scattered children, and threatened women with tortures and death if they did not reveal the whereabouts of missing men. They then pulled down several homes and destroyed their household goods. The mob beat men they caught, while constantly firing a gun, leaving them for dead. Rockwell’s home, the third to be torn down in this area was devastated. His sister went to the men and begged them to “be so kind as not to destroy the goods.” Her request was poorly received. The mobber met her with a blade and an offer to “cut her throat from ear to ear.” Rockwell also observed Missourian Hugh L. Brazeale brag that “he would wade to his knees in blood but what he would drive the Mormons from the county if he could get but ten men to follow him.” Brazeale would die trying.
Despite continual violence, Rockwell and the Mormon men did not fight back until one night mobbers held the women and children hostage, threatening them if they would not reveal where the men had gone. A small group of men rode frantically to stop the mob and engaged them in battle. Here, the braggadocios Brazeale perished.
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