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  • Writer's pictureRobert O Young DSc, PhD, Naturopathic Practitioner

The American Witch Hunt Still Goes On!

Death by a Thousand Cuts, Burning Alive and Hanging! So much for the rights under the first amendment! But things really haven't changed much!

My Great Great GrandFather Brigham Young Was Targeted

Did you know it was legal to kill a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints (Mormons) from October 27th, 1838 until June 25th, 1976? This is why my grandfather was forced to leave Missouri and head west with over 70,000 immigrants from Europe to settled in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.

Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the Extermination Order of Mormons was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838, by the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. The order was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as Mormons) and a unit of the Missouri State Militia in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the 1838 Mormon War. Claiming that the church members had committed open and avowed defiance of the law and had made war upon the people of Missouri, Governor Boggs directed that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description". The militia and other state authorities—General John B. Clark, among them—used the executive order to violently expel the Mormons from their lands in the state following their capitulation, which in turn led to their subsequent migration to Nauvoo, Illinois. The order was supported by most northwest Missouri citizens but was questioned or denounced by others. However, no determination of the order's legality was ever made.

On June 25, 1976, Governor Kit Bond issued an executive order rescinding the Extermination Order, recognizing its legal invalidity and formally apologizing on behalf of the State of Missouri for the suffering it had caused the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


While the church never made a full accounting of their casualties, their various reports listed rape, gunshot wounds, beatings and exposure. Persecutions against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the 19th century were often violent, vicious, and cruel. Many were murdered and hundreds of surviving refugees died fleeing their persecutors during the War against Mormons.

Going Back Even Further in a Dark History of America!

Very little is recorded concerning another relative, Alice 'Alse' Young; whose existence is only known through her reputation as a witch for practicing natural medicine or herbology. She is believed to have been the wife of John Young, who bought a small parcel of land in Windsor in 1641, sold it in 1649, and then disappeared from the town records. She had a daughter, Alice Young Beamon, who would be accused of witchcraft in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, some 30 years later. Even though Alice Young was a woman without a son when the witchcraft accusation was lodged, her husband was still alive during her accusation.

There is no further record of Young's trial or the specifics of the charge, only that Alice Young was a woman. Early historical records indicate that an influenza epidemic took hold of New England including the town of Windsor, Connecticut Colony in early 1647. The mortality rate that year increased dramatically and included many children. It is possible that she was wrongfully blamed for these deaths.

Alice Young was hanged at the Meeting House Square in Hartford, Connecticut, on what is now the site of the Old State House since a jail was also on the edge of the square. A journal of then Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop states that "One... of Windsor arraigned and executed at Hartford for a witch." The second town clerk of Windsor, Matthew Grant also confirms the execution with the May 26, 1647 diary entry, "Alse Young was hanged." However, it was not until December 3, 1904, when Annie Eliot Trumbull, James Hammond Trumbull's daughter, revealed the identity of the first colonial witch hanging victim to the public in an article in the Hartford Courant entitled "One Blank of Windsor".

Efforts to acknowledge Alice Young both artistically and politically have taken place recently. Author Beth M Caruso wrote a novel (historical fiction) based on early Windsor and the life of Alice Young entitled One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging published by Lady Slipper Press, October 29, 2015. The author's note details some of her research. Jason P. Krug, of the band Grimm Generation, wrote a song entitled "Alse Young" in October 2011. The town of Windsor, Connecticut passed a resolution clearing the names of its two witch hanging victims, Alice 'Alse' Young and Lydia Gilbert, on February 6, 2017.

In 1642, witchcraft became punishable by death in the Connecticut Colony. This capital offense was backed by references to the King James version of the Bible: Exodus (22:18) says, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. And Leviticus (20:27) says, A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood (shall be) upon them. In Connecticut, witchcraft was last listed as a capital crime in 1715. The crime of witchcraft disappeared from the list of capital crimes when the laws were next issued in 1750.


Today the American witch hunt still goes on under different names but for similar reasons with hundreds of unconscionable judgements, incarcerations, fallacious character assassinations and mysterious deaths and assassinations. Do YOU have the intelligence to read between the lines here? Think about it! You know who we are!

"Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education." Martin Luther King, Jr.

When will the intelligent words of Rodney King begin to fill our hearts, minds and finally our souls, "Can't we ALL just get along."

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