Governor Lillburn Boggs

“A note on Missouri, to introduce two persons of our drama. It was Lillburn W. Boggs who, as governor of the state, had loosed six thousand militia on the Mormons when, in 1838, Carroll and Davies Counties flared with precisely the same mob violence we have seen at Nauvoo. The Gentiles were howling that the Mormons must be expelled, the Mormons howling that the Lord had loosed His people to vengeance. There were night riding, burnings, floggings, lonely murder, and occasional attacks in force. Finally Governor Boggs directed the general of his militia, “The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace – their outrages are beyond description.” That was the “Extermination Order” of October, ’38, and the Mormons have not forgotten it to this day, quite rightly. So in 1842 O. P. Rockwell, one of the Sons of Dan – the “Destroying Angels” of ten-cent fiction), crept up to a window in Boggs’s house and shot him – not quite fatally. Under the charter granted Nauvoo by an Illinois legislature eager for Mormon votes neither Rockwell nor the prophet who had inspired the assault could be held to answer for it – and that immunity helped to keep alive in Missouri the hatred that had been lighted by the guerrilla wars. . . . Boggs was a person moving west in ’46, appropriately. He had moved from Kentucky to St. Louis. There he married a sister of the broth’ers Bent who maintained far up the Arkansas a trading post that was one of the most famous and influential institutions of the mountain trade. He moved again, to the far frontier of Missouri, and set up in business at Independence, outfitting Santa Fe traders and venturers to the mountains. At this far outpost town, which lived on the traffic of the wilderness, his wife died. He married Panthea, a granddaughter of Daniel Boone. She and three of her brothers ( their father was also an outfitter at Independence) went with him when he pulled up stakes for California.”