Saturday, July 9, 2016


                 In the previous episode we discussed the two main documents pinpointing where and when John was in Missouri.  First was the 10 November 1838 purchase of land in Monroe Co., Missouri.  The second was the 27 August 1840 marriage license, also in Monroe Co., Missouri for the marriage of Mary Jane Carter and Jacob Dooley that had to be signed by John as Mary Jane was under aged.

Northern Missouri - Kids settle in Caldwell and John in Monroe County
                John did not go to the center of Mormon settlement in Caldwell County but instead settled in the eastern part of Monroe County some 4 counties to the east of his children.  In fact, this location was only two counties south west of Adams County in Illinois on the other side of the Mississippi River.


Gov. Lilburn Boggs
                 As can be seen John and Hannah were in Missouri but not in the immediate area of the Mormon community in Caldwell and adjoining counties.  Problems had already begun in Missouri prior to the time that the Carters arrived.  In fact in the month prior to John’s purchase of land in November, 1838, the situation had reached an intolerable point for the Mormons.  On October 27, 1838, Governor Lilburn Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order 44 , also known as the Extermination Order.  The order was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Latter Day Saints and a unit of the Missouri State Guard in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the 1838 Mormon War. Claiming that Latter Day Saints had committed open and avowed defiance of the law and had made war upon the people of Missouri, Governor Boggs directed that "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 all description". (Wikipedia – Missouri Exectutive Order 44)

Haun's Mill by C. C. A. Christensen
                Just three days later, on October 30, 1838, the Haun’s Mill massacre occurred when a mob/militia unit from Livingston County, Missouri, attacked a Mormon settlement in eastern Caldwell County, Missouri, United States, after the Battle of Crooked River. By far the bloodiest event in the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, it has long been remembered by the members of the Latter Day Saint movement. (Wikipedia – Haun’s Mill massacre) 

To the best of my knowledge none of the Carter family was directly associated with either of these events but because of them it was imperative that the Mormons move out of Missouri or die.  John’s children and their families shortly began their journey by January,1839 as the Church “realized they would not be helped by the legislature, and determined to leave as best they could. Most families were destitute, so those who had extra pooled their resources, determining to leave no one behind. Those who had been fortunate enough to retain their property sold it to gain funds with which to leave the state, but they were only able to get a fraction of the properties’ values. The exodus from Missouri took place in the dead of winter, with many Mormons trudging eastward with bare feet and little to keep them warm.” (online source:  For those that are interested the Saints left Caldwell County and the areas around there and headed generally Marion County, Missouri  where they crossed the Mississippi River and first stopped at Quincy, Illinois before moving on to Nauvoo.

Mormons Expelled from Missouri

John and Hannah, on the other hand we able to remain in Missouri from their relative safety of Monroe County.  John, not being a member of the Church, was able to live safely with the Missourians.  Surely they kept Hannah’s membership a secret or they would have had major problems.

Very little is known about John during the time he was in Missouri.  The family is found on the 1840 census for Jefferson, Monroe, Missouri[1]:
                Male      age 20 – 29        Richard age 20
                Male       age 50 – 59        John age 58
                Female  age 15 – 19         Mary Jane age 17
                Female  age 20 – 29        ??? (no idea whom this might be)
                Female  age 50 – 59         Hannah age 54

Monroe Co., Missouri Land Map
Dooley family in purple, John Carter in Yellow
John and Hannah remained in Monroe County through August, 1840 when on the 27th John signed for Mary Jane, who was 17 at the time, to marry Jacob Dooley.  This map of land owners in Monroe County will show that the entire Dooley clan appeared to own land in the area of John’s land.  The chance of Mary Jane marrying one of the clan is easy to see since a large portion of the neighbors were named Dooley.  Jacob Dooley probably lived with his father, Gideon Dooley at this time, and that is why Gideon’s land is highlighted on the map.

The land that John had purchased in 1838 was later sold and this sale provides a glimpse of the whereabouts of John and Hannah following the expulsion of the main body of the Saints from Missouri.  I personally suspect that John didn’t want to move for a while as he watched the events unfold.  Up until this time he had avoided the main areas of persecution and probably wanted to keep it that way. The subsequent sale of this property establishes that by 1843 John and Hannah were now in Illinois.  Here is a transcript of the deed of sale[2]:
                This Indenture made this 10th day of May in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and forty three (43) Between John Carter and Hannah Carter his wife of the County of Hancock State of Illinois of the first part and Clement Purceall of the County of Monroe State of Missouri of the second part… in consideration of the same of four hundred Dollars… a parcel of land… (known) as the North West fourth of the South East quarter and the South West fourth of the North East quarter of Section No. twenty five of Township No. fifty five of Range No. 9…
Witnesses:  Isaac Morley Marshall

                The recording of this document was actually originated in Hancock Co., Illinois where John and Hannah Carter took the deed to the Clerk of the Hancock County Court and with Isaac Morley, a constable, vouching for them the deed was recorded there on the 15th day of May, AD 1843.  It then had to be sent to Monroe County, Missouri where it was finally recorded the 29th day of August, 1843.  It can be inferred that prior to May 15, 1843 John and Hannah had sold this piece of land in Monroe Co., Missouri, but the purchaser had not had the cash in hand.  John left Missouri, probably leaving the purchaser, Clement Purceall, in possession of the land but without the deed until he could come up with the full $400 purchase price.  When the money was delivered to John he then sent the deed back to Missouri for recording after it was witnessed by Isaac Morley.  This was a somewhat unusual arrangement but good for us as it clearly places our family in Illinois and verifies that it was our John who owned the land in Missouri.

                Beyond these few facts nothing else is known about John’s time in Missouri.  Some suppositions can be made at this time.  John was not excited about living in proximity with the Mormons (relatives or not.)  He could have left Maine and gone to Kirtland but he didn’t.  For whatever reason he waited until the family was moving to Missouri before he left Maine to move closer to them.  Since mob violence was already occurring prior to his arrival it makes sense that John would not want to move into the middle of the mob violence.  After following John this far one might wonder why he would choose at this time to actually move to Illinois and place himself in the middle of the mob violence that would occur there.  The answer to this problem probably lies in the political climate of Missouri at this time.  This is only two decades before the Civil War and Missouri was initially settled by Southerners.  John was from Maine and would not have fit in with the bulk of the citizens in Missouri.  Most likely that social situation probably played a big role in John’s move.  If there hadn’t been serious North vs. South issues in Missouri, John might have stayed in Missouri.  His location in Monroe County placed him just two counties away from Adams Co., IL but of course on the other side of the Mississippi River.

[1] "United States Census, 1840" index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 17 February 2012). entry for John Carter, residence Jefferson, Monroe, Missouri; citing Census Records, FHL microfilm 0,014,856; National Archives, United States Federal Archives and Records Center, Washington D.C., United States.
[2] Monroe County, Missouri, Deeds, Book G, p. 308 (Family History Library Film 975064)

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