At that time, there were numerous LDS settlements in Missouri. The two largest settlements were at Far West and a settlement called Adam-ondi-Ahman; and the Prophet, Joseph Smith, ordered the saints to gather in those two communities for their own safety.
One of the LDS communities extant at that time was known as Haun's Mill. According to Wikipedia:
Haun's Mill was a mill established on the banks of Shoal Creek in Fairview Township, Caldwell County, Missouri in 1835–1836 by Jacob Haun (Hawn), who was not a Mormon. However, by October 1838 there were approximately 75 Mormon families living along the banks of Shoal Creek, about 30 of them in the immediate vicinity of Haun's Mill and the blacksmith shop.
Around October 25, a band of approximately twenty men headed up by Nehemiah Comstock,one of three captains who led the attack five days later, rode into Haun’s Mill and demanded that the Mormons turn over their guns and weapons. Fearing repercussions if the ruffians’ directives were not met, most of the men reluctantly complied. As soon as the anti-Mormon band made their departure, messengers were dispatched to Mormon families living along Shoal Creek that hostile bands were active in the area and to be on guard. Anti-Mormon raiders also accosted Mormon companies traveling through the area en route to Far West. Abraham Palmer stated that while passing through Livingston County, his company was surrounded by a mob consisting of thirty-eight men who abused them and then took the only three rifles they had before allowing them to pass on.William H. Walker’s wagon company was stopped in the same area. Every wagon was searched and robbed of all its firearms and ammunitions. Then, as if the attack on the Haun’s Mill had already been planned, they were warned that if they proceeded any farther, they would all be killed.Another Mormon company led by Joseph Young, an older brother to Brigham Young, received even harsher treatment. Young’s party, composed of some ten families, had almost reached Caldwell County when they were confronted by a Livingston band headed by Thomas R. Bryan (the county clerk), his brother Jefferson Bryan, William Ewell, and James Austin. “We were taken prisoners by an armed mob that . . . demanded every bit of ammunition and every weapon we had,” wrote Amanda Smith. “We surrendered all. They knew it, for they searched our wagons.” The raiders then took them back a distance of five miles to a location known as Whitney’s Mills, where they placed them under guard and detained them for several days. After finally being released, they proceeded on to Haun’s Mill where they arrived two days before the attack.
Under the leadership of Colonel Thomas Jennings [of the Missouri State militia], the several companies of Livingstone militia were formed into a battalion. The decision to attack the settlement was made 29 October at Woolsey’s farm about ten miles northeast of Haun’s Mill. Jennings and his force of about 200 men left after noon on 30 October and rode south to within several miles of the mill. There they dismounted, marched across the open prairie to the woods just north of the mill, and filtered through the trees.
Captain Evans had withdrawn the pickets that had been stationed in the woods the previous day, but was apparently planning to set them out again that evening. The attack came about 4:00 p.m. without warning. Some of the Saints at first thought the approaching men were reinforcements from Far West. With the opening volley of shots, the hamlet was thrown into confusion. Evans waved his hat and shouted for “quarter.” He was not heard, but it is doubtful if peace would have been given anyway. The women and children scattered, and some of the men ran for the woods and safety. Those who got to the blacksmith shop [which they had planned on using as a "fort"] found it to be a trap; they were fired upon through the large cracks between the logs and were so crowded inside that they were easily hit. When they tried to flee from the building, they were again fired upon and only a few, most of them
wounded, managed to get to the woods where they hid until night.
Seventeen Saints, all men and boys, died that day or in the following weeks. One woman was injured, and some men were hacked to death by corn knives after they had been wounded. Thomas McBride, a seventy-eight-year-old man, was wounded, then shot with his own rifle as he surrendered, and finally hacked by his murderer. Ten-year-old Sardius Smith was deliberately killed as he tried to hide, and nine-year-old Charles Merrick suffered with his wounds for five weeks before he died. The Missourians had three men wounded who were taken away in wagons stolen from the Saints. Jennings’ men stayed for less than two hours and then returned to Livingstone County.
The Saints slowly gathered themselves together during the night, tended to the wounded as best they could, and wept for the dead. The following day the bodies were slid into a partially dug well and lightly covered with dirt. Later that day Comstock’s men returned to bury the dead and warn the remaining Mormons that they must leave the state immediately. After the surrender of Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman, Comstock’s com-
pany was assigned to Haun’s Mill and remained there until the Saints migrated to Illinois.