Near Braymer in Caldwell County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
on October 30th, 1838,
occurred the incident generally
known as the Haun's Mill Massacre.
This site located by
Wm. R. Pemberton.
This marker placed here by
Glenn M. Setzer
Erected 1941 by Glenn M. Setzer.
Location. 39° 40.206′ N, 93° 50.35′ W. Marker is near Braymer, Missouri, in Caldwell County. Marker is on NE Hauns Mill Drive half a mile west of Catawba Road, on the left when traveling west. Driving directions: On northbound I-35, 40 miles northeast of Independence/Kansas City, Missouri, take exit #40 (Polo exit). Drive east on State Route 116 for 12.3 miles. At Polo, turn left to stay on Route 116 and go north for 1 mile. After a mile, turn right to stay on Route 116 and go east again for 11.2 miles. Turn left onto Catawba Road and go north for 6.1 miles. Cross the bridge over Shoal Creek and turn left onto Hauns Mill Drive. Follow Hauns Mill Drive west .25 miles, then south .3 miles to the site. Touch for map Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Haun's Millstone Commemorative Marker (approx. 6.6 miles away); Hamilton (approx. 9.8 miles away); Boyhood Home of J. C. Penney (approx. 9.9 miles away); Welcome to Hamilton (approx. 9.9 miles away); "Richey" and Harden Stone Millstones (approx. 9.9 miles away); Birthplace and Boyhood Home of Jerry Litton (approx. 12.7 miles away).
More about this marker. In 1887 a millstone was recovered from the well at the massacre site and was set in place to mark the spot, inscribed with the words "In memory of victims of Haun's Mill massacre, Oct. 30th, 1838." In 1941 Glenn M. Setzer cast the present concrete marker near the road entry and moved the millstone a short distance to this spot. The concrete marker is difficult to read due to weathering and parts of the stone are missing due to being vandalized 3 times. In 2003 the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) placed a new metal marker at the site explaining the historical facts in more detail.
Regarding Haun's Mill. The "Haun's Mill Massacre" occurred a few days following an order issued by Governor Boggs of Missouri, known as the "Extermination Order". In effect this order declared "open season" on all Mormons and called for their slaughter. This Missouri Executive Order 44 issued Oct. 27, 1838, stated that all Mormons should be treated as enemies and should be exterminated or else driven from the state. The order was issued in response to exaggerated and one-sided reports received from a few Missouri militia members. The order was not formally rescinded until 1976, by Gov. Christopher S. Bond.
Inscription on the metal sign (photo 2) placed in 2003 by the Community of Christ follows. This sign was reported missing in 2018.
In December 1835, Church member Jacob Haun acquired this tract of land and hired the construction of a gristmill. By 1838 an 18-foot square blacksmith shop had also been built and 10 to 15 families lived in the community. Cultural differences between members and non-members soon led to conflict. Missourians harassed church wagon trains traveling to Caldwell County and confiscated weapons. Church members at Far West responded by sacking several northwestern Missouri communities. Local residents spread rumors that further aggression was planned. For their protection, Haun's Mill residents planned a defensive strategy--the men and boys were to use the blacksmith shop as a fortress while the women and children were to escape into the woods to the south.
Missouri Regulators initiated a preemptive attack. On the afternoon of October 30, 1838, an armed force composed of local residents and extralegal militia units from Livingston, Carroll, and Daviess Counties numbering 200-250 men approached from the north through a large stand of trees, stopping a few hundred yards from the settlement. The vigilante force blackened its faces and wore red bandanas. They quietly divided into three columns, planning their attack from the north, east, and west. Seeing the militia moving into position, community leader David Evans waved a white flag, but his surrender was ignored.
At approximately 4:00 p.m. the onslaught began. Nearly all 50 women and children escaped safely across Shoal Creek into the woods leaving 32 men and four boys to defend the settlement from the blacksmith shop. This structure was neither chinked nor daubed and had wide cracks between the logs. There were two windows and a door to the south facing the creek. The ill-fated defensive strategy turned disastrous as it allowed the militia to focus their fire. Balls ripped through the structure and it became a deathtrap. One survivor estimated an exchange of 1,600 rounds. The massacre lasted 30-60 minutes.
Without resistance, raiders pillaged the settlement for the next hour. At nightfall, those who had fled returned to discover the fate of their loved ones. Through the night they nursed the wounded and prepared the dead for burial. Fearing the militia's return, the next morning 14 of the dead were buried in an unfinished well near the mill, the exact location of which is presently unknown. A total of 17 church members eventually died, another 14 suffered wounds in the engagement, and one was held captive for three days. Only four defenders were unharmed. Three attackers were wounded, one seriously. During the following weeks church members were forced from the state by the October 27 Extermination Order of Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs.
[erected by the] Community of Christ
Also see . . .
1. Haun's Mill massacre. (Submitted on September 17, 2009.)
2. Extermination order. (Submitted on September 17, 2009.)
1. no marker on 7/13/2018
I am appreciating the historical info on this page. We were at the Haun's Mill site yesterday 7/13/18 and the marker in photo 2 was not there. We looked all around the perimeter of the open area. We did see the marker in photo 1. We traveled to Breckenridge to see the Haun's Mill Memorial there that lists the survivors and those who were killed and took a picture.
— Submitted July 14, 2018, by Annette Bell of Beaverton, Oregon.
Additional keywords. religious discrimination, religious intolerance
Categories. • Churches & Religion • Notable Events • Settlements & Settlers •
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 24, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 17, 2009. This page has been viewed 5,684 times since then and 117 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 17, 2009. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.