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Published: August 30th 2017
LOT HUNTINGTONTHE DANITES
Lot was buried with military honors such as they were. His was laid to rest only about 50 yards from where his killer is at rest from his earthly toil.
The Danites were a fraternal organization based upon principals of good fellowship among the members of the Mormon Church. They got underway on June 4, 1838 in Farr West, Clay County, Missouri in response to some church dissenters who were accusing church leadership of financial improprieties. The church leaders imposed a rule of consecration upon all members of the church. All members of the church were required to turn over all of their wealth and property to the church. The church would invest in farmland and then members of the church who could not afford to buy land could slowly purchase their farms from the church. It was pure communism and the dissenters did not like it. Sidney Rigdon was one of the church leaders and he delivered a sermon called the Salt Sermon in which he likened the dissenters to salt that had lost its savor. The thrust of the sermon is that he threatened to have the dissenters murdered if they did not run for their lives; which they gladly did that very afternoon taking only the clothes on their back, some bedding and maybe a few dogs. The Danites were so proud of themselves that
Not even Bill Oliver could knock this one over
they signed their names to a manifesto in which they decreed that they would follow the words of the church leaders in all matters, right or wrong. The manifesto carried 83 signatures of the very best of Mormon manhood. Among them were names of Orrin Porter Rockwell and Dimmick Huntington. The ranks of the Danites swelled during the Mormon War of 1838. The war sort of culminated at the Battle of Crooked River. Some Mormons had sacked and burnt the town of Gallatin, MO and in retaliation the local militia captured three Mormons. Three companies of Danites galloped off to the rescue of those captives and a sharp but brief engagement ensued on the banks of Crooked River. Three of the state militiamen were killed and one was captured and died of mutilation, and maybe one or two Danites were killed. It wasn’t much of a fight, but it alarmed Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs to the point that he issued an Extermination Order on all Mormons and they were driven from the state. They settled over in Nauvoo, Illinois and were allowed to raise their own militia. The Danites then faded from existence, but they were still around and eager to do service for the church. Porter Rockwell ambushed Governor Boggs at his home in Jefferson City as he was seated at a table enjoying a stout libation. The shot passed through a window and was deflected so the good governor only received a minor wound. Rockwell was quickly arrested and thrown in jail but he was a resourceful man and eventually managed to escape custody.
Within about 7 years Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, author of the Book of Mormon, its Prophet, Seer and Revelator was arrested and murdered and the Mormons were driven out of Illinois too, militia and all. They scampered up into Iowa and across to the Missouri River hoping to escape into the wilds of the Great American Desert where they would be free from further persecution in untamed lands. The problem was they were destitute and could not make the trip. They hunkered down as best they could beside the river amongst the fierce Potawatomy. Brigham Young had ascended to leadership of the church and he was seriously wondering if they might all perish in their tracks. Fortunately the War with Mexico had just begun and the country was in desperate need of troops. Brigham volunteered his militia and they marched off to California as the Mormon Battalion. What a rag tag outfit it was. They did not dress as soldiers because they donated their clothing allowance and part of their pay to the church. It provided the funds, through the rule of consecration, that Brigham needed to move to Salt Lake City. The Mormon Battalion was allowed to elect their own officers and the officers were allowed to bring their wives and children. Those officers had dozens of plural wives and maybe a hundred children. It was an entire community that marched off to Fort Leavenworth and on to San Diego. Brigham decided he needed personal protection after Joseph Smith was killed, and who better could he find than the faithful old Danite, Porter Rockwell? As the church grew and prospered so did Brigham’s faithful band of thugs and henchmen. Among them were John D. Lee, Wild Bill Hickman, and Dimmick Huntington. Lee was involved up to his eyeballs in the Mountain Meadows Massacre and Brigham exiled him to Lee’s Ferry because of it. Eventually Lee was sacrificed as the sole culprit for all of those ruthless murders. Hickman was the leader of Brigham’s band of thugs. He got to bragging about it and even wrote a memoir about his killings implicating Brigham. Of course he was ex-communicated for it when he threatened to go public with his accusations, and nine of his ten wives left him. He left the world destitute and broken a short while later. Dimmick Huntington had himself a yowling infant son named Lot who was born about the time the Mormons were driven out of Jackson County, Missouri in 1834. Lot grew up in the shadow of his dad along with Porter Rockwell who remained a close Danite friend. Lot served in the Utah Volunteer Cavalry and fought Indians and Johnston’s Army. He thought of himself as a bad man and one day stole a horse and made a break for California. Porter was the United States Marshal for the Territory of Utah at the time and was sent to recover the horse. He found the horse in a corral before daybreak at the stage coach station at Faust. After breakfast Lot came out of the station to saddle the horse and Porter offered to arrest him, but Lot went for his gun and Porter emptied both barrels of a shotgun into him. Lot bled out in four minutes. Porter had just killed a dear friend’s son. Nobody but a fellow Danite could have gotten away with it. The Danites no longer existed, but they were still around. Porter had a fondness for Valley Tan. It was wheat whiskey and it finally killed him. Nobody else could.
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