Olive wrote the following account in October, 1896 for publication in the history of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

by Olive Ames

  "This dreadful massacre occurred October 30, 1838. There was quite a settlement of saints at Haun's mill, there being some dozen families or more. We had been living there a year or so prior to the cruel treatment the saints received during this massacre.

  "People came from far and near to the mill for the purpose of getting their wheat and corn ground. We were living in peace and quiet when word reached our ears that a mob was coming to destroy Haun's mill. There being some thirty men of the brethren, they began immediately to make arrangements as to what would be best to do, so a few of the brethren went to Far West to seek assistance, and found they would be able to get some help if needed. But lo! one evening while I was busily engaged getting supper, and two of the brethren, Mr. Rial Ames (my husband's brother) and Hyrum Abbott were sitting just outside the door, one cutting <page 234> the other's hair, they rose from the chair and remarked, 'I see some of the brethren coming from Far West,' when suddenly the party that was approaching began firing. Then said Mr. Ames, 'It's the mob right on us.' The party consisted of two hundred men.

  "When I call this scene to mind it makes my poor old heart ache.  Men, women, and poor little children running in every direction, not knowing what minute their lives would be taken. The mob continued firing, shooting at anyone they could see amidst the smoke. I rushed out of the house, crying, 'Where are my children?'  They gathered around me, then, with my babe, but one month old, in my arms, I started to hide, not knowing where to go or what to do, so frightened was I, but anxious to conceal my little ones somewhere. I soon found myself and little ones hidden away down under the bluff in a little nook by the creek. No sooner had I concealed myself there than my husband, Mr. Ames, and old Father McBride ran past hunting a place of concealment. He called to me as he passed, 'Have you all the children?' 'Yes,' said I, 'all four.'  As Rial Ames fled he remarked, 'I guess Ellis's folks [that is myself and husband] are all murdered.'

  "Isaac Laney crossed the creek above me. The mob saw him and began firing. I saw him fall, then rise and climb the hill. He escaped death, but carried a great many wounds. How he suffered that night!

  "Poor old Father McBride was overtaken by one of the mob, who took his gun, and not then being satisfied, he took a corn knife and hacked the poor old man on the head, then turned back to his company.  As he passed my place of concealment I was crying, talking, and feeling oh! so dreadful after seeing such a dreadful sight as these two.  He remarked to me while passing, 'Don't be scared; you shan't be hurt.'

  "By this time the firing ceased and they went to plundering. I came out from my place of concealment, crossed the creek, and went to Mrs. Haun's, finding there women crying, heart-broken, their husbands killed; others, their innocent little children were missing.  Not knowing my husband's <page 235> whereabouts, I was much worried; but word soon came saying he was safe.

  "While at Mrs. Haun's I could see them go into the houses and tents, carrying out clothing and bedding, etc., and pile it on Mr. Ames' horse, then they led him off. Of course money was what they were hunting for. What little money we had was hid away in my old clock. I supposed that too would be taken, with all my bedding.

  "Such a dreadful night we spent! men, women, and children lying here and there. Such mourning for their dear ones! Everything was in an uproar.  Words cannot describe the awful scene. The wounded were numerous.  Some were groaning; others we would refresh by moistening their mouths with a little cold water.  It was an awful sad time.

  "The brethren came home in the night and buried the dead in the old well and cared for the wounded as best they could.  During the night I persuaded a lady to go over home with me, as I was anxious to see if my money was safe in the old clock.  Sure enough, there it was, but everything had been turned upside down and things carried off. We returned again to Mrs. Haun's and remained until morning.

  "On returning home next morning it was with heavy hearts we stepped in our doors, not knowing when the same scenes would be repeated.  The sound of a horn was a signal they were coming.

  "After two days they again returned painted like Indians, and took possession of the mill. They had two prisoners with them.  Part of the mob gathered the crops while others did the grinding, and then they sent the product home to their families, while we had to do without. They kept possession nine days, until they had stripped the fields.  We had a number of hogs. They killed nine of ours while there.  During their stay we were visited with a heavy snowstorm; soon after this they left.  We took possession of the mill.  (This mill was purchased by Mr. Haun and Mr. Ames from a Mr. Myers.)  During their stay the brethren were all hid away.

  "A few months after this I went to Far West to visit Mother.  She, too, was undergoing her share of trouble.   <page 236> Father was put in jail at Richmond.  Mother ground her buckwheat in a coffee mill to make bread. After a short visit I returned home, where we remained until next spring.  During the winter we underwent a great many hardships. Abbey Ames (my stepdaughter) remained with me all winter.   She was six years old the day that fearful massacre happened.   She is now living in Los Angeles.

  "In the spring we began moving from one place to another, until we finally settled at Nauvoo.

  "I was born February 13, 1815, at Rutland, Rutland County, Vermont, and am now living in San Bernardino, California.

"Olive Ames.

  "I would like to mention about the cap my husband had on that day. He was a great hand to go hunting, so I made a cap for him and he happened to have it on that day. That saved him from being killed, so we thought after we talked it over. The mob thought he was one of them because of the red stripes in his cap. But there was a bullet hole in his coat tail.
"O. A."


To read the History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, click here.
To read the chapter in the book from which the above account was taken, click here.
The Reorganized LDS Church is now known as the Community of Christ; click here.
To return to the Eames Family page, click here.
To learn more about Mormon history in northwest Missouri, click here.
To return to the Richardson Family page, click here.

Picture courtesy of Community of Christ Archives, Independence, Missouri.