Adam-ondi-Ahman

From Academic Kids

Adam-ondi-Ahman is a historic site along the east bank of the Grand River in Daviess County, Missouri. The early settlement was commonly called Diahman by contemporaries and the town was later known as Cravensville. The site is 4.5 miles northeast of Gallatin, Missouri, and 25 miles north of the historic site of Far West.

Contents

1 References

Meaning of the Name

According to Mormon belief, the term Adam-ondi-Ahman is part of the Adamic language. Prior being attached to a specific place, the name was mentioned in Mormon scripture and it was the title of the early church's most popular hymn. The phrase has been sometimes been translated as the "Valley of God, where Adam dwelt" or "Adam with God."

Foundation and Early History

Daviess and Caldwell counties were established by the Missouri state legislature in December of 1836. Caldwell County, Missouri was created specifically for Latter Day Saint or Mormon settlement, but Daviess' status was less certain. Many Missourians believed that the Mormons had agreed not to settle in Daviess, but Mormons never acknowledged nor adhered to any such agreement.

Lyman Wight, an early Latter Day Saint leader in Missouri, moved to Daviess County in early 1838 and established a ferry on the Grand River at a spot known as "Wight's Ferry." A church conference June 25, 1838 established a Mormon settlement on the Spring hill above the ferry site. Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet of the church, named the settlement "Adam-ondi-Ahman," proclaiming that this was the area where the Biblical Adam dwelt after he was evicted from the Garden of Eden for partaking of the forbidden fruit. According to Smith, Adam built an altar at the site and Smith prophesied that Adam would return again and rule as the "Ancient of Days," a phrase derived from Daniel 7:9, see LDS Doctrine and Covenants 107:53. (Smith taught the Latter Day Saints that the Garden of Eden and other Antediluvian sites in the Book of Genesis were in the New World, rather than Mesopotamia.)

The church conference which created the settlement also established Adam-ondi-Ahman as a "stake". This was the 3rd Stake of the church. The settlement grew quickly in the summer of 1838, outpacing the nearby non-Mormon town of Gallatin, Missouri, the county seat.

The 1838 Mormon/Missourian Conflict

Non-Mormon settlers grew concerned that the Mormons would seize political control of Daviess County. On August 6, 1838, a group of non-Mormons tried to prevent Mormon settlers from voting in the local elections at Gallatin. The Mormons fought back and defeated the mob in a skirmish that came to be called the Gallatin Election Day Battle. This was the first in a series of conflicts in 1838 that are sometimes called the Mormon War.

In the course of the conflict, non-Mormon vigilantes from neighboring counties came to Daviess and burned Mormon homes, which caused Mormon refugees to gather to Adam-ondi-Ahman for protection. Mormons responded to these attacks by leading their own forces up from Caldwell County. The Mormon militia and Danite groups marched to the non-Mormon settlements of Gallatin, Millport, and Grindstone Forks. They seized the property found in homes and stores and then burned the settlements to the ground. As a result most non-Mormon residents fled the county and their stories increased anti-Mormon sentiment throughout northwestern Missouri.

Missouri's governor, Lilburn Boggs, responded to the crisis with his famous Extermination Order, in which he called out 2,500 militiamen and threatened to drive the Mormons from the state or "exterminate them". The militia caused the Mormons to surrender at their headquarters in Far West and later sent a unit to Adam-ondi-Ahman to occupy it. Most of the Mormons had left the state by early 1839, the refugees gathered in Illinois and later regrouped at the new Mormon center of Nauvoo. Although many Mormons were tried for their part in the war, no non-Mormon vigilantes were brought to trial.

Aftermath and Adam-ondi-Ahman Today

The Latter Day Saints held their lands in Adam-ondi-Ahman by preemption and all of their rights and improvements were lost when they were forced to leave their homes. Their losses are recorded in a set of Redress Petitions collected and edited by Clark V. Johnson. Most of the land in Adam-ondi-Ahman was purchased by John Cravens who renamed the town, "Cravensville." For a time, the non-Mormon residents of Cravensville vied with Gallatin for the county seat, but the town eventually dwindled and was abandoned.

Today the site of Adam-ondi-Ahman is owned and maintained as a historic site by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest Latter Day Saint denomination.

References

Stephen C. LeSueur, The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, University of Missouri Press, 1990. Alexander L. Baugh, A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, BYU Studies, 2000.

Clark V. Johnson, Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833-1838 Missouri Conflict, Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1992.

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