Jacob Hawn and the Hawn’s Mill Massacre: Missouri Millwright and Oregon Pioneer


Jacob Hawn, Hawn's Mill Massacre, Early Church History, Mormon Studies


For a number of years I have had a keen interest in researching and writing about the Missouri period of early Mormonism (1831–1839). This interest propelled me to write my doctoral dissertation, completed in 1996, entitled “A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri,” which work has since been published in BYU Studies under the same title.1 Included in this study was an extensive examination of the incident generally known as the Hawn’s Mill Massacre and its aftermath. On the afternoon of October 30, 1838, an extralegal force composed of over two-hundred men, primarily from Livingston and Daviess Counties, Missouri, attacked the isolated settlement of Hawn’s Mill, situated in eastern Caldwell County, killing seventeen Latterday Saint civilians and wounding another fourteen. This incident, part of the larger Mormon-Missouri War, is the singular most tragic event in terms of loss of life and injury enacted by an anti-Mormon element against Latter-day Saints in the Church’s history

Original Publication Citation

“Jacob Hawn and the Hawn’s Mill Massacre: Missouri Millwright and Oregon Pioneer,” Mormon Historical Studies 11, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 1–25.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Mormon Historical Society




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor