Truman by David McCullough:
Violence quickly followed. A mob smashed the Mormon printing press, a Mormon bishop was tarred and feathered. On Halloween night armed riders, “without other warrant than their own judgment of the requirements of the situation,” attacked the Mormon settlement on Blue River, driving women and children from their homes. Crops and barns went up in flames, men were dragged into the fields and flogged. Jackson County was in a state of “dreadful fermentation.” In another clash three men were killed.
When, on the night of November 12, the skies ignited in a spectacular meteor shower like none ever seen on the Missouri frontier, many took it as a sign to rid the land of Mormons once and for all. More than a thousand people were forced from their homes and driven across the Missouri River into less settled territory to the north, where their persecutions only grew worse, but with the difference now that they fought back. The governor of Missouri, an Independence storekeeper named Lilburn W. Boggs, called out the militia and declared that for the public good all Mormons must leave the state or be “exterminated.” A religious war was under way, Missouri’s first civil war, and ended only when the Mormons departed for Illinois in 1839.