Artwork by Julie Rogers
Amanda Barnes Smith tragically lost a husband and a son in the Haun’s Mill massacre. She had been miraculously inspired to know how to save another of her sons who had also been a victim of the violent attack. In the days after the tragic event, the women who remained were continually harassed by the Missourians. Still, as illustrated by one of Amanda’s personal accounts, she found strength and courage through Jesus Christ.
One day a mobber came from the mill with the captain’s fiat: “The captain says if you women don’t stop your d—d praying he will send down a posse to kill every d—d one of you!” And he might as well have done it, as to stop us poor women praying in that hour of our great calamity. Our prayers were hushed in terror. We dared not let our voices be heard in the house in supplication. I could pray in my bed or in silence, but I could not live thus long. This godless silence was more intolerable than had been the night of the massacre.
I could bear it no longer. I pined to hear once more my own voice in petition to my Heavenly Father. I stole down into a cornfield, and crawled into a “stout of corn.” It was the temple of the Lord to me at that moment. I prayed aloud and most fervently.
When I emerged from the corn a voice spoke to me. It was a voice as plain as I ever heard one. It was no silent, strong impression of the spirit, but a voice, repeating a verse of the saint’s hymn:
The soul that on Jesus hat leaned for repose,
I cannot, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
From that moment I had no more fear. I felt that nothing could hurt me. Soon after this the mob sent us word that unless we were all out of the State by a certain day we should be killed.
The day came, and at evening came fifty armed men to execute the sentence. I met them at the door. They demanded of me why I was not gone? I bade them enter and see their own work. They crowded into my room and I showed them my wounded boy. They came, party after party, until all had seen my excuse. Then they quarreled among themselves and came near fighting.
At last they went away, all but two. These I thought were detailed to kill us. Then the two returned. “Madam,” said one, “have you any meat in the house?” “No,” was my reply. “Could you dress a fat hog if one was laid at your door?” “I think I could!” was my answer. And then they went and caught a fat hog from a herd which had belonged to a now exiled brother, killed it and dragged it to my door, and departed.
These men, who had come to murder us, left on the threshold of our door a meat offering to atone for their repented intention.
This account comes from “The Witness of Women”, a powerful new book featuring first-person experiences and testimonies, organized by topic, from the women of the Restoration. From Palmyra to the Salt Lake Valley, you can personally follow these women through their own inspiring words.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.