Hawn's (Haun's) Mill, Caldwell County, Missouri
Hawn’s Mill, Caldwell County, Missouri is the site of one of the great tragedies in early Mormon history. It was here that a mob of some 240 men attacked the LDS settlement centered around a mill on Shoal Creek operated by Jacob Hawn. At least seventeen men were killed and others wounded.
For many years the name “Hawn” was misspelled as “Haun,” making it difficult to do research on the life of Jacob Hawn. BYU professor, Alex Baugh, found Hawn’s grave in Yamhill, Oregon. In doing so, he learned the correct spelling. Baugh subsequently learned that Hawn was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Evidently, Hawn decided not to pass on a warning from Joseph Smith that the settlers should move to Far West for safety because of the potential economic loss. Had he done so, the tragedy may have been averted.
Between March 8-18th, 1999, Mormon Historic Sites Foundation funded a scientific archaelogical study of the Hawn’s Mill Massacre Site in Caldwell County, Missouri by Dr. Richard Hauck of the Archaelogical Research Institute (ARI) of Bountiful, Utah, and two staff archaelogists, Brian Mueller and Alan Hutchinson.
The main objective was to locate the well where the bodies of fouteen of the seventeen Mormon men and boys killed on October 30, 1838, were interred. However, at the same time, it was hoped that the ground penetrating radar might also reveal the position of some community structures, such as the blacksmith shop where a number of Mormon defenders were killed while defending the community, the mill and dam.
Between October 9-11, 2000, another archeological dig was conducted, also funded in part by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation. Dr. Hauck was joined by Dr. Mark A. Scherer, World Church Historian for the Community of Christ, Alan Hutchinson, a research assistant, as well as Kim R. Wilson and Johnathan W. Bullen, both of whom serve on the board of the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation.
Articles & Resources
LDS Church buys farmland, Haun's Mill, Far West, Kirtland property from Community of Christ
Jacob Hawn and the Hawn’s Mill Massacre: Missouri Millwright and Oregon Pioneer
Mormon Historical Studies
Vol. 11, #1, Spring 2010
by Alexander L. Baugh
Picturing history: Haun's Mill
Max H Parkin, in LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places, Vol. 4, 337-355.