Move to Missouri . . .
James and Mary took their family out of
Ohio after August of 1832. It is unknown if they traveled during the
fall, or if
they left the next spring for Independence, Missouri. Upon arriving they
found the region was about to blow up into
civil strife over the presence and beliefs of the Mormons. By November of
1833 they found themselves being driven
out of Independence in Jackson Co, across the river into Clay Co.
Clay County, Missouri, James obtained an unimproved tract of
land via pre-emption laws through the federal
government. (See GLO records) Two years later they made
another removal and took up a piece of raw land for a
farm in Far West,
in Mirabile Township near Far West.
From the time they moved to Missouri until the fateful day when they were
entirely forced out, the whole population
was beset with difficulties stemming from their religious beliefs.
Indelicate in the way they approached the rough and
tumble Missourians, they spoke loudly of their coming ownership of the
whole region and the methods they would
employ in ruling the frontier. The Indian populations who resided
just across the river in Indian territory would be their
brothers and partners in taking back the United States. They claimed
a theocracy would over rule the democracy that
their ancestors had fought for in the Revolutionary War. Ironically, as
New Englanders, their ancestors fought in the war
of Independence, and it seems scarcely reasonable they would choose a
communalistic, theocratic lifestyle.
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery tried to hush these people who
thought their God would protect them and deliver
the land into their stewardship. From 1833 until the Saints were run
out of Missouri, the settlers didn't understand the
Yankee mind, and determined it was best to burn them out and drive them
away, rather than trying to co-exist peacefully.
As a group, the Mormons were
persecuted to the point where they were never left in peace. They
beaten, murdered and defiled every where they went. Their belief
system and large scale immigration practices
caused non-believers to rise up against them. James Newberry moved out of
Jackson Co., into Clay Co., and was
driven from house to house before he removed his family to Caldwell
Co. and Far West. The Missouri settlers with
the Governor of Missouri struck a blow in threatening extermination.
They had their day and from November of 1838
until May of 1839, hounded the Mormons out of Missouri across the
Mississippi River to Quincy, Illinois.
James Newberry was one of the men appointed to help the Saints who were
now destitute, to leave the country for
Illinois. The Committee for Removal was appointed by Joseph Smith's
uncle, John Smith and overseen by Brigham
Young. By May of 1839 Far West became a ghost town. The Mormon
War ceased temporarily, but the Missourians
still rattled their sabers across the border, looking for other reasons to
come across the state lines and arrest Joseph
The best reading I have found
explaining the events in Missouri is the book by Stephen LeSuere, The
War in Missouri, by the University of Missouri Press. Fawn
Brodie also does an exemplary job in the telling of this
history with, No Man Knows My History. Much of the information is
no longer available to the public as first sources..
interesting piece of information recently surfaced regarding a house that
James owned in Jackson Co. Which seems
to be an impossibility in view of the fact that he was in Jackson Co. for
probably only about eight months to a year before
being driven away; especially in view of the fact that we are uncertain
when he arrived in Missouri. However, a grandson,
W.E. Winegar wrote in his personal history about this mysterious home,
which no one has yet been able to find evidence.
House James Built . . . in Jackson Co. Missouri
The following information comes from a history written by James Newberry's
grandson W.E. Winegar regarding his stay in
Missouri. History provided by Jeff Farquhar.
"We do not know where James first
came in contact with the Church, but we have reason to believe that
We do know this: that he was a very sincere and converted man to
this new movement.
So much so that around 1832 or 1833
he made the long trek to Independence and settled there.
He believed it to
be a place to establish his home, so he
built a large two-storied stone house in Independence, which my mother
pointed out to me many times as “The house my Father built”.
But the times were very unsettled and the
trouble in Independence brought about the
unfortunate strife between the settlers, and he, along with the others
suffered a loss of this home.
It was still standing when we lived in Independence and only in
recent years was it
torn down to make room for modern
businesses. The Newspaper,
“The Observer”, now stands on the spot where
James Newberry once tried to establish his
The only land holding that shows up in Independence for James Newbery was
a piece of land which he bought from
William McLellin. The time frame for this purchase is assumed to be after
the Saints were forced into Clay County. The
land he bought from McLellin was an odd-shaped piece located on Lexington
near the Temple lot. Whether The Observer
stood there is still open to speculation, and this particular subject is
still being researched (Jan. 2005). It is fortuitous that
W.E. Winegar left us such a precious clue. (April 2005) It was found that
James sold this piece of land back to the LDS
Church land agent (Edward Partridge) for the same price he paid in
August of 1833. The matter is still under investigation.
Driven from Jackson County into Clay
Other records of land holdings show up in
Clay County. The Federal General Land Office also has some records
him in that county and some in Caldwell County. He took his own
money and bought land, trying to lay down roots for
his family and himself, among his brethren of the Mormon Church. In
Far West he had two parcels in Mirabel Township.
These he evidently lost in November of 1838 after the fall of Far West,
when all the Mormons were forced to sign over
their property to pay for the "Mormon War." The
Missourians significantly impacted the Saints' freedoms, for which they
After Far West . . .
Unfortunately, the Missourians were no
more content with the Mormons being in Caldwell Co. than they were any
where else in the state. In November of 1838, the Missouri Militia
marched into Far West, and gave the Mormons
the ultimatum of moving again or mass extermination.
The LDS Committee for Removal who helped relocate the Saints out of
Missouri conducted their charges across
the state via two routes that went almost directly east to Quincy,
Illinois. Another went up into Iowa. There James
helped to bring the Saints to safety in rag tag poverty, under terrible
conditions. Many people died along the way and
all felt the horrendous strain of being driven like animals away from
their homes and hearths, to start over, yet again.
The residents of Quincy received them and attempted to make them
comfortable. They had a political agenda in
extending their hand in friendship. With the upcoming elections they saw
the large group of Mormons as a voting block
to help swing the election their way. Of course, there also were likely
people who just wished to extend the Christian
hand of friendship to a persecuted people. In less than a decade,
history was destined to repeat itself.
On to Illinois and