Jason Luce was probably connected with Bill Hickman and the Danites as early as 1844, when he was 13. He seems to have been one of the young boys who operated as a spy network in Nauvoo. Joseph Smith wrote in his journal in June 1844:
“Jason R. Luse reported that Ianthus Rolf said, while the press was burning that before three weeks the Mansion House [Joseph Smith’s residence] would be strung to the ground, and he would help to do it; and Tallman Rolf said the city would be strung to the ground within ten day. Moses Leonard also heard him, Joshua Miller being also present. Bryant, (merchant of Nauvoo) said before he would see such things, he would wade to his knees in blood. It is reported that runners have gone out in all directions to try to get up a mob; and the mobbers are selling their houses in Nauvoo and disposing of their property.“
The burning press referred to was that of the Nauvoo Expositor, which was destroyed by Mormons, igniting the civil unrest that led to Joseph Smith’s murder in December 1844.
Jason was the oldest of the Luce brothers, and probably the one who led them into the company of some hard-bitten characters. Twenty years after this report of him in Nauvoo, he was executed for murder in Utah, but not without having led a colorful life to that point.
- “History of Joseph Smith” in The Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star, Volume 24 (1864), 7.
- “History of Joseph Smith” in Deseret News, Wed., Sept. 30, 1857.