Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Oliver Walker - The Kirtland Camp and Haun's Mill
Oliver Walker owned more than a square mile of land with Shoal Creek running through it. The photo above shows a portion of the land in 2009.
September 1838, "...the camp [Kirtland Camp] passed through Chilicothe the county seat of Livingston County, they traveled up the side of the Grand River and crossed the river near the small village of Utica. After crossing Shoal Creek, they camped on the west bank, fifteen miles inside the border of Caldwell County, "on the farm of Oliver Walker, who gave each family a pumpkin and plenty of shelled beans. Today we felt like we had arrived in Zion."
With in a month, Oliver became involved in efforts to avert an attack on the mill, making his home available for representatives of both parties to meet.
According to the testimony of Isaac Leany, in a Mormon petition for redress, signed April the 20, 1839, Quincy, Illinois:
“I Shall now procede to give an account of the bloody but(c)hery that taken place at a blacksmyth Shop at Hawns mille on Shoal creek on the 30th day of Oct. 1838. the mob party increased from time to time & committed outrages after outrages until at lenth the mormons not willing to bare it no longer they Said to the general what must they do was they not to have no protection must they Stand and See there property Stolen there familys abused there houses burned there cattle drove off & nothing to be done for them. then jeneral Donathan Said to them go & defend your Selves & drive the mob from Daviess county drive them to hell, breathing out an oath against them. the mormons then went out Supposing that they was legaly ortherized, & finding that the mob had burned Six or Seven of there houses & was carying on at a great hand Stealing & driveing off there Stock So the mormons went to work determed to rout them or dy in the attempt, they Soon got the mob in the notion of leaving Daviess county So a great portion of them fled in to Livingston ajoining county & told that the mormons was burning there houses Steeling & plundering & it was Soon blown to the four winds that the mormons was doing everything that was bad now the citiz of livingston & the mob that had left Daviess began to Steel cattle from the mormons that lived in the neighbourhood of Hawns mille & also to go threw the neighbourhood & take there guns from them, they came twice & drove off cattle & an other time they came & took Several guns they also as we heard Said that they would burn our mill down, & we new that they was not too good to do it, & nowing that it was our only chance to get on going, for we dare not to go to there milles So about thirty of us went to guard them from burning it down & while we was guarding the mill we held a council to now what plan we Should fall upon to accomplish a treaty or to come on Some conditions of peace it was voted that a letter Should be written & Sent to them imediately desireing to k[n]ow what there determinations was, for they had imboddyed themselves Several days before we had & we heared thay was comeing on us, we had appointed to take them the letter & just before he Started they came a mesage from them desireing too or three of our leading men to go & meet the too or three of there leading men & see if they compermise the matter, this was the verry thing that we wanted. So in the presance of there mesinger we elected thre men to go compermise with them. we also in the presance of there mesinger unanimously agreed to abide the treaty that our men Should make with them our thre men then Started fourth with to the place that they desired them to come to & thare they met with twelve or fourtee armed men. So the too partys began to counci the matter & Soon found that the difficulty that was between them was easy removed, that it was in consequence of false reports that had occasioned them to guether themselves to guether, they had heared that the mormons intended to come &C burn dow there houses, they Settled the difficulty without mutch trouble, the Misouriens was not willing to countunance Such conduct as this Steeling party was gilty of nor be called of that party So they would not associaiat with them, but agreed to use there enfluence to get them to come & compermise with us also & we was useing every effort that lay in our power to get on peasible terms with them when we thought that we had got the difficultys Settled with the greater part of them & was likely to Suceede in geting if while I was liveing near Hawns mills on Shoal Creek Mo and about the 25th or 26th of October 1838 I was informed that a company of mob of twenty in number under Nehemiah Cumstock had been to the mill and leveled pieces at those present demanding all their guns one man gave up his rifle another who had his gun in hand refused and started off two of the mob followed and snaped their guns at him twice or three times each one of these men I was told was Hiram Cumstock the other name I never learned though the man whom they were trying to shoot made his way off and gave word to the neighbor who met the next day at the mill to hear the story from the different families who informed us that the mob had sworn the burning of the neighbourhood and mill with the other hard threats such as killing Hiram Abbot who would not give up his gun we also learned that thare was another company of men lying below us at house of Mr McCrosky & knowing that either of those companies was far superior to ours in numbers some of the neighbours wanted to leave their homes and run off but haveing only about seven waggons to twenty three or four families we had to stay and defend our selves ..."
More Eyewitness accounts of the Hauns Mill Massacre at nortonfamily.net