Zion’s Camp

While the temple in Kirtland was under construction, hostility towards the Mormons in Jackson County erupted. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 permitted slavery in the state and Missourian settlers were leery of the sudden influx of Yankee Mormons. Although the Mormons were not abolitionists, a cultural and political clash ensued in 1833 when the Mormon newspaper under the editorship of William Phelps invited free blacks to join their settlement. Five hundred Jackson County residents protested, which escalated into the sacking of the Mormon printing press and storehouse, the vandalizing of Mormon homes, and the tarring and feathering of several Mormon leaders. Over 1,200 Mormons were driven out of Jackson County. Responding to this calamity, Smith organized a paramilitary relief effort called “Zion’s Camp” with instructions to march into Jackson County and restore the Mormon people to their homes and businesses. In part due to an untimely cholera outbreak and internal quarrels, the march was lackluster and the expedition failed to restore the Mormons to Jackson County. In 1836 the Missouri legislature under the governorship of Lilburn Boggs created Caldwell County as a place for Mormons to settle.