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.

Site of Hawn's Mill in 2011 before it was purchased by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

Site of Hawn’s Mill in 2011 before it was purchased by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

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.

Archaeological team that conducted the Haun's Mill excavation in October 2000. From left to right: Alan Hutchinson, Kim R. Wilson, Jonathan Bullen, Dr. Mark A. Scherer, and Dr. Richard Hauck. Photo courtesy Kim R. Wilson

Archaeological team that conducted the Hawn’s Mill excavation in October 2000. From left to right: Alan Hutchinson, Kim R. Wilson, Jonathan Bullen, Dr. Mark A. Scherer, and Dr. Richard Hauck.
Photo courtesy: Kim R. Wilson. ____________________________________

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.

Photos

One of there millstones from Hawn's Mill. Photo (1907) by George Edward Anderson.

One of there millstones from Hawn’s Mill. Photo (1907) by George Edward Anderson.

 

Articles & Resources

LDS Church buys farmland, Haun's Mill, Far West, Kirtland property from Community of Christ

By , Deseret News
Published: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Read Article

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
Read article

Picturing history: Haun's Mill

By , For the Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Read article

Max H Parkin, in LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places, Vol. 4, 337-355.