Kirtland Bank

In Ohio, Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon struggled to hold together a church that was fracturing. The failure of Zion’s Camp had added to growing dissent, which only increased following the state legislature’s rejection of Smith’s proposed charter for the Kirtland Safety Society bank. Although the legislature’s denial was more likely a reflection of larger national trends during the “bank war” waged by President Jackson’s administration, Smith and Rigdon viewed the denial as anti-Mormon discrimination. Smith scornfully renamed his venture the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and began issuing unauthorized bank notes. Unchartered banking ventures and bank notes were common, but the Panic of 1837 rendered most private bank notes worthless. Suddenly finding themselves destitute, civil unrest grew in Kirtland. Both Smith and Rigdon quietly fled Ohio for Missouri to escape outrage and avoid litigation. However, conditions in the western settlement were about to take a considerable turn for the worse, as the Mormons would soon find themselves engaged in a civil war with the Missourians.

 

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