Alexander W. Doniphan (1808 - 1887)
Mormons were then allowed to settle in Caldwell County, but after they began to stream into Daviess and Carroll counties, many non-Mormons felt threatened and there was more tension between Mormons and non-Mormons. Violence soon broke out between them. The state militia was called out and Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order Number 44, which proclaimed, "The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace..." After bloodshed on both sides, sixty Mormon men were to be put on trial, but after an initial inquiry, many were released. While the remaining Mormon men were being transferred on a change of venue to trials in Columbia, all but two of them escaped and left the state. The two remaining men were acquitted. Unwelcome in Missouri, Mormon refugees relocated to Illinois, bringing an end to the hostilities that had plagued the state.
Early Years and Education
Born on July 9, 1808, in Mason County, Kentucky, Alexander was the youngest of ten children born to Joseph and Anne Smith Doniphan. After serving in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, Joseph became a prosperous farmer and served as county sheriff.
In 1813, after Joseph Doniphan’s unexpected death, Alexander was sent to live with his oldest brother, George, in Augusta, Kentucky. Doniphan graduated from Augusta College when he was eighteen and then read law with attorney Martin P. Marshall. He was admitted to the Kentucky bar, but decided to head west in search of greater opportunity. In 1830 he settled in Lexington, Missouri, where he quickly earned a reputation as an eloquent and skilled defense attorney.
Three years later, Doniphan moved to Liberty, Missouri, and became friends with influential local attorney and politician David Rice Atchison. He also joined the local militia company, the Liberty Blues, beginning what would become a lengthy military career.