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Battle of Pine River

July 12, 1853

Mormon Party:
Lewis Briggs - slight arm wound; on Fitz list
  1. Orlando Briggs - a cooper, not wounded; on Fitz list
  2. Egbert Carpenter - not wounded; on Fitz list
  3. David Finch - not wounded; on Fitz list
  4. L. D. Hickey - not wounded; 1850 census; on Fitz list; on McNutt list
Lorenzo Dow - with Strang at his death; last survivor of the 12 apostles
  1. Andrew J. Hale - nearly bled to death; on Fitz list
  2. Franklin Johnson - not wounded; census - merchant
  3. F. W. Longfield - not wounded; on Fitz list; left on Michigan with McCullough (His.Gr. Trav.)
  4. Joshua Miller - on Fitz list
  1. Jonathan Pierce - slightly wounded; on Fitz list; census - farmer
  2. Isaac Pierce - slightly wounded; on Fitz list; census - farmer
  3. Andrew J. Porter - wounded; on Fitz list; on McNutt list
  4. Christopher Scott - not wounded; on Fitz list
  5. Lorenzo Tubbs - not wounded; on Fitz list; on McNutt map[?]
  6. Alexander Wentworth - slightly wounded; on Fitz list
1. Jehiel Savage - age [in 18]50, 43; born Can.; minister; born in Mich. in 1844. His
wife was Catherine & son George. One of the original exploratory party, & he had
signed the testimony of the Plates of Laban.
2. Dave Moon - [in 18]50 census [with] wife & 2-year-old child; on Fitz list; land "David
Moans." In 1950 he was living with the Gentiles at Cable's Bay (Moan).1 In 1851
filed for land, Sec. 17-38-10 NW 1/4.
3. Hall - on Fitz list there is an Oscar W. & Agnes F.; Moses of the Mormons has Samuel
E. Hall, also on Fitz list; His. Gr. Trav. says he left the Church - probably Ludlow

July 14, 1853 - reported in July 14 issue of N. Islander, 1852 [?].
The Gentiles' story is that the Mormons came to take away two Mormon families that had fled the Island, & that they were defending themselves from deportation. The neighbors joined in to help (- Child of the Sea).The Mormon story is that they came to serve notice on two men to serve on a coming grand jury; that they were unarmed and were attacked only after Mr. Cable had looked in their boat to be sure that they had no weapons (Kingdom of St. J.).2The men served summonses - William Savage & Ludlow P. Hill, apostate Mormons, & Moon, an unfriendly fisherman.
- Crown of Glory, p. 2243
Men of the party:
Sheriff Joshua L. Miller
Isaac & Jonathan Pierce (gigantic roughnecks)
Alex. Wentworth
A. J. Porter
Andrew J. Hale
Lorenzo Dow Hickey
Lewis Briggs
- Crown of Glory

Strang's Version-
In 1851 a law was passed prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors except by traders who would enter into bonds to make good damages caused by the sale of such liquors. In 1853 the Co. of Emmet erected, extending over the fisheries west of Old Mackinac & north of the Grand Traverse Light as far as the Wisconsin border. In the spring before the traders came on with their supplies, the officers gave notice through the newspapers published at the county seat, of their intention to prosecute every violation of the law within the county. When the notice appeared in Mackinac a public meeting was called at which the district attorney presided, attended by the four justices of the peace, at which resolutions were passed denouncing the people of Emmet Co. as felons & robbers, condemning the legislature for erecting the county, & threatening armed resistance to the public authorities, & pledging military aid to traders & fishermen in Emmet Co. who would resist the law. By their influence, 70 misguided men fishing and trading at Pine River were induced to fire on the Sheriff and his boatmen when he was engaged in summoning jurors. Six men were wounded. The guilty parties fled the county.
- James Jesse Strang, Ancient & Modern Mackinac4
Strang's Version, continued - The outlaws at Pine River entered into league with a disaffected family by the name of Hill on B.I., who acted as spies for them. They stole large quantities of nets from the Mormons & Indians fishing at Beaver, & set fire to an immense quantity of RR ties, ready for shipping. Before this crime could be traced to them, the sheriff of Emmet went to Pine River to summon 3 persons residing there to serve as jurors at the approaching Circuit Court... Believing that the sheriff had come to arrest criminals, a large force assembled to meet him at the place of landing, prepared for battle. He was permitted to land, & immediately met with a demand, what had he come for. He stated the nature of his business & showed his process. While this was going on they examined his boats & acertained that he was without guns. They then crowded up with such unmistakable signs of hostitilities that he returned to the boats. Thirty of the outlaws were strung upon the beach, within 4 rods of the boats; from 30 to 50 on the bluff immediately back, rising abruptly some 25 feet. As the sheriff's party were getting into the boats this crowd opened a murderous fire upon them... Six men wounded...more than 50 balls passed through the boats & rigging... The intention of the outlaws was to kill the whole party, & then report that they had been killed while committing a crime, & thus setting public indignation against the Mormons. The sheriff escaping, they took alarm lest some signal act of revenge should follow, & all fled. The fishermen at Gull Island, & who were in league with them, fled as soon as they got the news. Not a soul was left in either place... At Mackinac an attempt was made to put afloat the story that the Mormons had shot first & wounded a boy.
At the Circuit Court held at St. James shortly after, the guilty parties were indicted, but none have been arrested.
An. & Mod. Mack., p. 73-74 ; note, p. 75
In an extra edition of the Northern Islander for July 14, 1853, the posse was not without arms, but had taken 4 guns "such as are commonly used for fowling." These had been laid in the bottom of one of the boats & covered with coats, so as not to give any sign of hostile intentions. It would thus have been possible, as the Mormon opponents claimed, for one of the posse to have fired first.
E. S. Stone was captain of the bark aboard which the Mormons sought refuge. The following narrative was dictated by him for the manuscript collection of Col. George P. Mathes of Milwaukee... "In taking the Mormons aboard I found all of them armed with rifles, & the first one, as he stepped aboard, turned & said, 'Now we will give it to them.' I caught & disarmed him & all the rest as they came over the rail... The fishermen claimed that Mormons were the aggressors, which the Mormons denied, saying they had not fired a shot, & showing me their guns were all loaded. I found that out of the 15 that were in the Mackinaw boats, 8 were severely wounded, their boats were riddled with bullets & spattered with blood.'" - Michigan Pioneer & Historical Collections, Vol. 32 (1902), p. 215

Strang, July 14, 1852 issue of the Northern Islander: As the party was ready to embark...a body of 30 filed down a narrow path (from the bluff) with their guns in their hands & formed a row on the beach by the boats. In the intervening time 3 men had been down to the boats, & as they returned one of them was heard to say, "They have no guns." Sheriff Miller left ___ they went unarmed.
With the sheriff was a boat's crew of 5 men. Stopping at Galilee, he learned that fresh threats had been made at Pine River to kill any man who attempted to serve any kind of a process there. Accordingly he took along from there another boat & crew, all unarmed, thinking, if the Mormon narrative may be credited, that the presence of so large a number of witnesses would prevent any act of violence. - Quaife, note on p. 155 As usual the Mormon account of the affair differs widely from the gentile narrative. The former is contained in an extra edition of the Northern Islander, issued July 14, 1853. The Gentile point of view is presented in the narrative of Ludlow P. Hill, a renegade Mormon, printed by Legler in A Moses of the Mormons, & in Eliz. Whitney Williams' Child of the Sea. I have followed the Mormon narrative in the main, as evidently far superior as to accuracy, to the others. The story of Capt. Stone, of the bark Morgan, who witnessed the conclusion of the fight, is printed by Legler. - Quaife, p. 155 [?]
Gentile account by Louis Gebo - Mormons Hull [aka Hill] & Savage escaped to Pine River when Strang sent them to Drummond Island to start a colony. They asked protection of the fishermen. One of the fishermen, named Moon, had had serious trouble with the Mormons. These three men were the ones subpoenaed by the Mormons for jury duty. They thought it only a stratagem to get them in their power. There were 2 boat-loads of Mormons, 9 in a boat, armed. The Mormons came to the house of a fisherman named Morrison, where the women were all at a quilting bee. The Mormons blustered, the women were frightened. The fishermen got there (they were working at the other end of town). The Mormons demanded the 3, the fishermen refused & told the Mormons to go. They did, going to their boats. Louis Gebo was a fisherman who had formerly lived a year or two on the Island. Thinking the danger over, he started to follow the Mormons to the beach to talk to some he knew. He had his gun. He heard the sound of a gun & felt a bullet strike his leg. He learned afterwards from friends among the Mormons that the shot was fired by Jonathan Pierce, one of Strang's "hard-fisted men," who exclaimed, "We are running away like a set of cowards; I'll let them know I'm not afraid." As Gebo limped back, the fishermen opened fire. They left in haste, 3 severely wounded. There is no evidence that they returned the fire. Manning a boat, the fishermen pursued them until they were picked up by the Morgan. Strang's account - The Mormons - 2 boats, 14 men, all unarmed. As they peaceably embarked they were attacked by 40 men from the bluff who pursued them in 3 boats for 15 miles, keeping up a fire upon them the whole time. Taken onboard the Morgan, Capt. Stone commanding. Six men wounded. Capt. Stone's account - Heard loud shouts & firearms on the mainland. Saw 2 small boats coming off the mainland, with one large fish boat in pursuit of the two, keeping up a brisk fire. The two boats were trying to get clear of their more powerful assailant who was gaining on them, keeping up a brisk fire but receiving none in return. Taking them onboard & refusing to give them up to their assailants, Capt. Stone "ascertained the following facts. The party was of 15 men, including the sheriff - all Mormons. Six were badly wounded, & the boats were riddled. Broken legs, arms, & thighs." The fishermen hastily left the place. It was abandoned until the spring of the next year, 1854, when Geo. Preston arrived with his family from B.I. & took possession of one of the houses. Soon Galen B. Cole came with his family from S. Fox Island. This was the beginning of the Mormon settlement here - both Preston & Cole being Mormons. In May 1855 John S. Dixon came - he found a Mormon settlement. In the fall he left with his family for Northport because of the Mormons, returning for good in the fall of 1856. [- these three accounts are on a single card marked, The Grand Traverse Region, but a more detailed citation is not given]


"Jimmy the Jew" Gallagher had a store where Nels' store was. ( -Lawrence)

1 Assume this is a typo & should be 1850.
2 Milo M. Quaife, The Kingdom of Saint James: A Narrative of the Mormons. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1930.
3 O. W. Riegel, Crown of Glory: The Life of James J. Strang, Moses of the Mormons. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1935.
4 James Jesse Strang, Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac; Including an Account of the Controversy Between Mackinac and the Mormons. Saint James, MI: Cooper & Chidester, 1854.