Established by Jacob Haun, Haun’s Mill was a settlement in Missouri on Shoal Creek. Haun was a convert to the Mormon Church from Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1835, he moved to the area hoping to avoid some of the persecution other Saints in the area were experiencing. The settlement had a mill, blacksmith shop, and a few homes. About 20-30 families lived near the mill, and another 100 families lived in the surrounding area.On October 25, 1838, there was a battle at Crooked River between the Mormons and a group of men who, for days, had been terrorizing Mormon families. Following this battle, Joseph Smith warned all of the Saints to move into Far West for protection. Jacob Haun didn’t want to lose his property and convinced many of the other residents to stay at Haun’s Mill. If attacked, they decided they would use the blacksmith shop as a fort. Guards were posted around the settlement to protect and watch over the area.
On October 28, the Livingston County (the county in which Haun’s Mill stood) Militia Colonel Thomas Jennings sent a man to arrange a peace treaty with the residents of Haun’s Mill. Both sides agreed that they would keep the peace. In spite of this, the following day a group of men decided to attack Haun’s Mill. During the afternoon of October 30, 240 men approached Haun’s Mill. The day began much like any other: children were at play, women were about their housework, and men were working to prepare for the coming winter.
Around 4:00 that afternoon the 240 men arrived at Haun’s Mill. The women and children ran to the woods to escape. One woman, Amanda Smith, was able to save her two daughters, but her ten-year-old son, who was in the blacksmith shop when the mob attacked, was killed and her seven-year-old son (who witnessed his brother’s murder as well as his father’s) was injured.
David Evans, who was the military leader for Haun’s Mill, yelled for peace as the mob arrived and waved his hat in the air. His cries were answered with rifle shots. At least 17 Saints were killed in the attack and 13 were wounded, including Jacob Haun. Much later, the prophet Joseph Smith commented that, “at Haun’s Mill the brethren went contrary to my counsel; if they had not, their lives would have been spared” (History of the Church, 5:137).