So, I am more than a little embarrassed that almost all of Women’s History month has passed and the JI has not published even one post on women and Mormonism. I was hoping to put together a more analytical post on how gender shaped some of the early Mormon narratives and poems written after the expulsion from Missouri, but that’s a project that will have to wait for now. But here is an Eliza R. Snow poem that describes the Haun’s Mill massacre. How does Snow use gender to shape the memory of the massacre?
For the Times and Seasons.
THE SLAUGHTER ON SHOAL CREEK,
CALDWELL COUNTY MISSOURI.
[BY MISS ELIZA R. SNOW.]
Here, in a land that freemen call their home,
Far from the influence of papal Rome;
Yes, in a “mild and tolerating age”
The saint have fall’n beneath the barb’rous rage
Of men inspired, by that misjudging hate,
Which ignorance and prejudice create;
ll-fated men-whose minds would hardly grace
The most ferocious of the brutal race:-
Men without hearts-else, would their bosoms bleed
At the commission of so foul a deed
As that, when they, at Shoal Creek, in Caldwell,
Upon an unresisting people fell;
Whose only crime, was, DARING TO PROFESS
THE ETERNAL PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Twas not enough for that unfeeling crew,
To murder men: they shot them through and through?
Frantic with rage; they pour’d their moulted lead.
For mercies claim, which heav’n delights to hear
Profusely on the dying and the dead;
Fell disregarded on relentless ears;
Long o’er the scene, of that unhappy eve
Will the lone widow-and the orphan grieve
Their savage foes, with greedy av’rice fir’d;
Plunder’d their murder’d victims, and retir’d;
And at the shadowy close of parting day,
In slaughter’d heaps, husbands and fathers lay;
There lay the dead and there the dying ones
The air reverberating with their groans;
Night’s sable sadness mingling with the sound
Spread a terriffic hideousness around;
Ye wives and mothers; think of women then
Left in a group of dead, and dying men,
Her hopes were blasted-all her prospects riv’n
Save one; she trusted in the God of heav’n,
Long, for the dead, her widow’d heart will crave
A last kind office-yes, A DECENT GRAVE!
Description fails; Tho’ language is too mean
To paint the horrors of that dreadful scene,
All things are present to His searching eye
Whose ears are open to the ravens’ cry.
Times and Seasons, December 1839, 32.