(Newspapers of Illinois)

Madison County, Illinois

Alton Newspapers
1850s Articles

Town of Alton, late 1850s -- State Penitentiary in foreground

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Vol. I.                              Alton, Illinois, Friday, July 23, 1852.                             No. 8.

From the Missouri Republican.

Later  from  Utah.

Messrs. Thomas Margette, J. C. Armstrong, and Thos. B. Broderick, arrived in this city yesterday evening, on the St. Ange. The bring dates from the Salt Lake to the 9th of May last. These gentlemen, numbering six in all, have been selected as missionaries to the Old World, and will, we presume, leave at an early day upon their journey.

They report nothing of material interest since our last dates. Crops looked uncommon well, a very large amount of land planted and sowed. A wollen factory had just been put into operation, under the superintendance of Mr. Matthew Ganet, late of St. Louis.

A large emigration was looked for. Good health prevailed. New settlements were being made in a number of the surrounding valleys. A large amount of sugar beet had been sowen in anticipation of the arrival of the machinery under the charge of Elder John Taylor. Gov. Young and suite had started upon an exploring expedition through the valleys of the Colorado, Green river, and their tributaries, for the purpose of making settlements to raise cotton for home manufacture.

They met the first emigrating companies on the 23d of May, twenty-five miles beyond Independence Rock. The Western Bugle, in noting their arrival, says:

"Considerable sickness had occured with some of the companies. Capt. Gibson's company, from Pike county, Illinois, lost nineteen of their number in one week, but all were well that remained when our informants passed.

But very little sickness prevailed among the emigrants. The number of graves the whole distance was something over 150, but no how to exceed 200. Hundreds of wagons were crossing the Platte from the South to the North side, on account of better health prevailing on that side.

The grass is plenty, and of a goodly quality the whole distance to Salt Lake. No Indians on the route. The buffalo are scarce most of the distance. On the Sweet Water river the herds were large, and deer, elk, or antelope, are found the remaining distance.

The horses, mules and cattle of the emigrants were in good order and doing well, and most of the emigrants were in good spirits, and passing onward.

The widow and family of J. F. Wheeling, returned with this company. These gentlemen, with their associates, ten in all, are missionaries to the old world, whom we believe have, ere this, left our place for their posts of duty.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                              Alton, Illinois, February 11, 1853.                             No. 37.


THE LAW OF MARRIAGE. -- Mr. Seward presented the memorial of W. J. Young, of N. York, setting forth the immoral tendencies of marriage relations established among the Mormons, and the necessity for correcting them; and prays an ammendment to the Constitution vesting in Congress the power to establish an uniform system of marriage throughout the United States and Territories. The memorial was referred.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                              Alton, Illinois, Thursday, March 24, 1853.                             No. 259.

From the New York Times.

The  Mormons.

A problem of singular difficulty, and every day growing more portentous -- than which, if we except African Slavery, none is more difficult of solution -- is rising in the distant West, before the American Government and people. Ere long they will have to grapple with it. -- Whether it can be peacefully solved, the future alone can tell.

A new Territory, carved out of the recent conquests from Mexico, stretches from the summit of the Rocky Mountains on the East, through thirteen degrees of longitude, to the land of gold. A branch of the Indian family -- The Pah-Utahs -- roamed its prairies and claimed it as their own. But a new tribe and sect -- driven from State to State, fleeing before an indignant people, from Ohio, from Missouri and Illinois, struggling with cold and hunger, and encountering the [-----] fearful hardships and privations, daring the [ferocious] savages that dwelt along their route, and dragging slowly along their children, goods and domestic implements, at length make their tedious way to the home of the Utahs; and having as [-----] no doubt [-------ed] reached an isolated and [---------- ------- ----].

... established a colony. Other and outpost settlements are planting around them, on the Weber and the Timpanagos. Mormon missionaries are proselyting the world, and converging their converts to the new city of Utah. The unconquered mountains of Wales are sending their hardy sons to preach and practice the Mormon creed in the Western World. And here, between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, or eleven hundred miles from San Francisco, and about two thousand four hundred miles from the city of New York, rapisly grows this incipient community --- bound together by a burning enthusiasm and a common faith, compacted by persecutions, welded by the necessity of self-support and self-defense. -- its founder a sot, and its Bible a theft -- one of the strangest phenomena to which the present, or any age, has given birth. How far was it from the thoughts of the minister, Solomon Spalding, when at Cherry Valley, in this State, he composed his imaginary history called the 'Manuscript Found,' that it would be seized by an ignorant and truthless drunkard, proclaimed to have been engraven on silver [sic] plates, became the Scripture of a new and numerous sect -- in thirty years trail 300,000 sealots in its wake -- count its worshippers in England, Germany, Sweden, in the mountain fastnesses of Wales, in Normandy, the East Indies and the Sandwich Isles -- and found a great City and State in that territory, which, at the time he wrte, the foot of white men had never tred.

But grave questions are arising, and will hereafter arise, between the Mormons and us. How shall we tolerate their too defiant bearing and the introduction of those items of the social creed which are in hostility to our laws, and repugnant to our sentiments of morality and social order. Who shall yield, they or we? Will persuasion conquer their stubborn doctrine, and gentle words exterminate polygamy. or must that principle become engrafted upon American institutions? Can Federal laws reach them, and if not, is it not quite clear that the laws of the State of Utah will be moulded by the Mormon will. The outside population can never [-----] them...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                              Alton, Illinois, Friday, April 8, 1853.                             No. 45.

Mormon  Emigration.

The arrival of parties of Mormons at St. Louis, from the various States, and from Europe, this Spring, are quite frequent, and is expressive of the fact that Mormonism still has its votaries, and strong adherents, abd is daily making converts. Seven hundred Mormons, from England, came up on the John Simonds, from New Orleans to St. Louis, two days since. Their point of destination is the valley of the Salt Lake. -- They are represented as gentle and orderly people, and probably possessed of considerable pecuniary means. The Mormon city, at Salt Lake, is laid out upon a most extensive plan, and public buildings are being planned and errected, of large dimensions and costly. The Temple, the principal feature in Mormon building, is soon to be erected, and upon a scale far more grand and costly than the one built at Nauvoo; and we have seen the statement that it will be superior to any building in America.

It is singular that followers, evidently people of general intelligence, good moral character, and steady habits, should be so captivated by the Mormon scheme, or delusion. The known character and habits of Joe Smith, and most of his successors, one would suppose were sufficient evidence to the world as to their claim to the title of Prophets. -- The childish story they relate, of Joseph Smith finding the golden plates, on which were traced the tenets of Mormonism, and deciphered by him, the first Mormon prophet, we should suppose would be treated with contempt by all sane men. And the spiritual wife system seems but a scheme concocted by a depraved and licentious heart, and which strikes at the very well-being of society -- almost the foundation of good morals and national prosperity -- the sanctity of the marriage relations.

Yet, we daily see converts to this scheme, bidding adieu to home and kindred in foreign lands, selling the cottage and paddock bequeathed to them by their fathers, and braving the dangers of the ocean, to reach the Salt Lake city of the faithful, where, they are taught to believe, is the nucleus of a religion that is to prevail universally; and to aid in building a city and erecting a temple, which should be a lasting monument to their religion, and a wonder to the world. -- Sheer knavery, or deep-set vice, would hardly go thus far to seek indulgence. It is faith, undoubtedly, but that species of blind faith which the human heart is too prone to award to every "new wind of doctrine" which is not found in the Book of Books, and which is usually termed fanaticism.

The Mormon emigration this Spring, across the Plains, will be large. Their city, in the fertile plain beneath the western shade of the Rocky Mountains, is growing with great rapidity and regularity, and notwithstanding numberless predictions to the contrary, that strange community are as energetic and united, as at the commencement. It will be interesting to note the future career of this people. They may sail on for a time, with prosperity, but Holy Writ, as well as our knowledge of past events, and our belief that nothing but Truth can eventually succeed, all leads us to anticipate the dissolution of reform of this delusive Mormon compact.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                              Alton, Illinois, Wed., June 1, 1853.                             No. 9.

Trouble at Mackinaw with the Mormons.

We learn from the Detroit Free Press, that much excitement has prevailed of late in the village of Mackinaw, arising from the frequent and daily recurring instances of robberies, burglaries, and other depredations, committed by the Mormons of Beaver Island upon the fishermen along the shores and upon the waters of Lake Michigan. It appears that the Mormons are becoming more daring even than formerly. Heretofore, they were satisfied with robbing the poor fishermen of their boats, nets and fish, stealthily, doing everything possible to avoid detection; but now, seeing the almost utter impossibility of being brought to justice, they carry on their piratical trade with scarcely any regard to concealment.

Early in the spring, six or eight small houses on Birch Point, in which were stored some two hundred barrels of fish, were burnt to the ground, the fish stolen -- a large number of barrels of salt lying out on the beach were broken open and their contents thrown into the water. The value of the property destroyed was upwards of two thousand dollars.

The Mormons soon learn the locality of the nets, and when the wind [is] fair, sail out to them in their small boats, which move very rapidly, take them up, then shifting their sails, are soon far away on the water, leaving no trace by which to be detected. In the night they make their descent upon the land, steal, rob, and burn what they can find, then with oars and sail they glide away upon the watery element, and the fisherman wakes up in the morning but to find his boat. nets, and perhaps all the property he has in the world, stolen or destroyed. The only reason that can be assigned for these acts is (as they have openly declared) that they intend to monopolize these fishing grounds, and appropriate the same to the service of the Lord and His saints.

A large public meeting was held at Mackinaw, on the 17th inst., called by the Justice of the Peace. Strong resolutions were passed, and a committee of safety appointed. Other resolutions were read, sent down by the fishermen of Pine River and Gulf Island, the purport of which was that if the law was not put in force they would take the matter in their own hands. These resolutions were signed by seventy resolute men, who know the importance of the step they have taken.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                              Alton, Illinois, Friday, July 29, 1853.                             No. 9.


MORE TROUBLES AT BEAVER ISLAND. -- We learn from Captain Stone, of the bark Morgan, from Saginaw, that while lying becalmed off Big Traverse Bay, on Thursday last, he heard several guns in the direction of the bay, and soon two boats came in sight, rowing directly for the bark with all their strength, pursued by a third boat filled with armed men, who were firing at the two forward boats at short intervals. The two forward boats came alongside of the bark and desired to be taken on board, and to be protected from the violence of the crew of the other boat. By this time the third boat had got within speaking distance, and forbade the captain of the bark to take them on board, and saying they were "Mormon Pirates," and if he took them on board they would fire into the bark; but despite their threats they were taken on board, covered with blood and wounds -- several of them having their arms broken, one shot through the shoulder, another through the thigh, and others more slightly wounded. The party taken on board said what led to the encounter was this: a new county having been formed, embracing Beaver Island, Grand Traverse Bay, &c., Beaver Island being the county seat, and it being near the court week, the court directed the Sheriff to empanel a jury. That it should not be said that they had a jury of Mormons, he [sic - the court?] directed him to summon a portion of them from Pine River settlement, which they were attempting to do when they were set upon by the men of the place, and driven to their boats by an armed posse, who threatened to kill every one of them. They took to their boats and pulled for their lives, when twenty-five of their assailants, armed with guns, pursued them in an eight oared barge, which slowly gained on them, and when in musket range began firing upon them, which continued until they were taken on board the bark -- at a distance of fifteen miles from the place of starting. The wounded were taken care of, and landed on Beaver Island the same day. -- Chicago Tribune.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                              Alton, Illinois, Sat., April 29, 1854.                             No. 289.

Important  Arrest.

Day before yesterday, Mr. L. McCuen, Sheriff of Lee county, Illinois, arrived in this city in pursuit of a man by the name of William Smith, who was lately confined in Hancock county for highway robbery, but broke jail and fled to the county first mentioned. The rascal there became acquainted with a family in which were two girls, twin sisters, of comparatively tender age. There he committed the double crime of seducing one of the sisters, and perpetrating a rape upon the other, and fled to this city. The Sheriff, obtaining the assistance of officers Grant and Guyott, after a thorough search succeeded in arresting him about ten o'clock on Wednesday night, on Market street. The Sheriff left immediately to return to Illinois with his prisoner. -- The latter is forty-five years of age, and said to be a man of desperate character. -- St. Louis Intel.

Note 1: This interesting criminal justice report first appeared in the St. Louis Intelligencer of Thursday, Apr. 27, 1854. See also the St. Louis Missouri Republican of Apr. 26, 1854 for a similar account of William Smith's ignominious arrest.

Note 2: The "man of desperate character" who had perpetrated "highway robbery" in the vicinity of Nauvoo, Illinois, was ex-Apostle William B. Smith (the younger brother of Joseph Smith, jr.), who was born March 13, 1811, and who did not begin his forty-fifth year until eleven months after his 1854 arrest at St. Louis. William's brief career as a fugitive from the law (an accused highwayman, child molester, and rapist) seems to have escaped the attention of the Reorganized LDS, when they later fellowshipped him as a member in good standing.


Vol. VI.                              Alton, Illinois, Thurs., January 28, 1858.                             No. ?


                                                                  Washington, January 26.
SENATE. -- Mr. Douglass, from the Committee on Territories, reported a bill for the admission of Minnesota into the Union... Mr. Toombs... presumed the occasion of the [Army bill] increase is the anticipated Mormon war, for it was not yet a fact. Congress, which alone could make war, had not yet declared war against Utah, and unless the country had undergone a revolution, the President could not make war; but if there should be a war, it would be exceedingly brief and but temporary. If these troops were to be used in Utah he should move an ammendment, that they should go out of service as soon as the war was over.

Mr. Davis argued to show the necessity of the passage of the bill; the increase is not asked by the Secretary, on the ground of a Mormon war...

Mr. Hale remarked that this bill proposed to raise 7,000 additional men... It had been said... that war was once declared to exist by the act of Mexico, and that it might also be declared to exist by the act of Brigham Young...

Mr. Seward was of the opinion that the Utah troubles were more serious than was generally implied...

HOUSE. -- ... Mr. Morris, of Illinois, asked, but did not obtain, leave to introduce a joint resolution authorizing the President to appoint three Commisioners to proceed to Salt Lake to negotiate with the Mormons for the purchase of their possessions, on condition of their removal from the United States...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                              Alton, Illinois, Thurs., June 3, 1858.                             No. 1.


The Texas Mormons have been driven out by grasshoppers, and have broken up their settlement. We suggest to Mr. Buchanan that he send these grasshoppers to Utah.

A correspondent of the Washington Union condidently states that Col. Kane is a Mormon, and the Union is equally confident that he is not.

The wages paid to wagon masters and teamsters in the Utah expedition is $150 a month, and found.

Notes: (forthcoming)

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