Not Every Missourian Was a Bad Guy: Hiram G. Parks’ 1839 Letter to James Sloan in Quincy, Illinois


Hiram G. Parker, James Sloan, Quincy Illinois, Missouri, Early Church History


The journals, letters, and reminiscences of Mormons who lived at one time or another in Missouri during the years 1831–39 contain few positive comments about the Mormons’ “Gentile” neighbors. When we consider the fact that a large number of Saints were the victims of mistreatment, persecution, and civil injustice, this is not surprising. However, attitudes toward the Latter-day Saints covered a wide spectrum—from “Mormon eaters” on one end to sympathy or even friendliness on the other end. Although some Missourians detested the Mormons and carried out acts of aggression and violence against them, other Missourians were sympathetic, wished the Mormons no harm, and felt some dismay concerning how they were treated. In short, not every Missourian should be considered a “bad guy” when it came to how the Saints were treated.

Original Publication Citation

“Not Every Missourian was a Bad Guy: Hiram G. Parks’ 1839 Letter to James Sloan in Quincy, Illinois,” Mormon Historical Studies 2, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 163–72.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Mormon Historical Studies




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor