Independence, Missouri

Mormon sites in western Missouri

Start at site 1 - Independence. The LDS visitor center is located at 937 West Walnut Street. Nearby is the National Frontier Trails Center, a Puppetry Center, and the Clinton Drugstore where Harry S. Truman worked as a youth. The visitor center has information about these sites and other things to see. I strongly suggest that you start the Missouri Church History tour at the visitors Center.

Site 2 is the Liberty, Missouri Jail where Joseph Smith and several other leaders were held in a veritable dungeon during the winter of 1838. Three of the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants were written by the prophet while being held here.

We skipped sites 3 - 5 due to a severe time crunch.

Site 3 is Richmond where many of the Whitmers and Oliver Cowdery are buried.

Site 4 is the approximate location of Haun's Mill. This was a small Mormon settlement where 17 or so Mormons were killed by a mob on October 30, 1838. We have since learned that one of RoseMary's ancestors, Thomas McBride, was among those killed by the mob at Haun's Mill. It also appears that one of my ancestors, Oliver Thornton, lived in Far West for a short time. On our next trip to Missouri we will make sure to "hit" these sites.

Site 5 is Far West, where a future temple of the church will be built and was an important Mormon town until they were driven out in 1839.

Site 6 is the approximate location of Adam-Ondi-Ahman. This is the valley where Adam called together his righteous posterity and where a future conference of the Church will be held and there Adam and the Savior will be present. From Gallatin, take highway 13 north and follow the signs.


It was a hot July day when we toured Independence. We had planned to take a walking tour of independence sites, but quickly discovered that the walking tour took you to places where certain historical events took place, but the historical buildings have been replaced by parking garages, hotels and other modern buldings. After a visit to the LDS visitor center ,

The crew outside the LDS Independence Visitor Center. Click on the picture for a larger image.
The temple lot at Independence.
The temple of the Community of Christ (formerly the reorganized LDS) Church

we walked across the street to the temple lot but soon abandoned the walking tour in favor of ice cream treats at the Clinton Drugstore. We wish we had visited the trails history center instead of trying the walking tour.

Grandma and Grandpa enjoy the ice cream at Clinton's.
Ryan has big eyes and a stomach to match, even though he doesn't look like it.


When we returned to our campsite, the owner pointed out that we had a flat tire on the rear. The tire had a large hole and could have dangerously blown-out but I-70 was under repair and we had to take a very slow detour in rush hour.

It was a clear night when we were doing laundry. We finished about midnight. Brittany and Chantel were sleeping outside the motorhome, in a tent. About 1 AM they came into the motorhome because far off in the distance they had seen lightning. A bit later a siren went off waking us up. Several pick-ups roared out of the campground and we could see the wind blowing. We hunted on the radio and TV until we learned that there was a tornado alert for the area. It was very scary as the announcers talked about the direction the tornado(es) was taking. Our maps were not detailed enough to allow us to understand exactly which towns and roads they were talking about, so we had no idea whether we were in danger or not.

Eventually the trucks (construction workers who apparently had to take care of equipment at their construction site) returned to the campground, the tornado watch was called off and we went to bed, still unsure what actions we should have taken. In the morning, the campground was very wet.

Several hours after the rain, there's still a small stream flowing past the motorhome. The tent is flooded where Brittany and Chantel were sleeping before the storm hit.

From Independence we took highway 291 north to Liberty. Again, get exact directions from the Independence Visitor Center. When 291 veers west towards I-35, continue north on state route 33.

Unfortunately, there is little to actually see at Far West and even less at the Hahn's Mill site. Check at the Liberty Jail or Independence visitors centers for more information.