In 1834, the Prophet Joseph Smith led a group of men and women known as the Camp of Israel, later Zion's Camp, to Missouri in an effort to assist those who had been driven from Jackson County move back to their lands and property.

As they arrived in Clay County to the north, a group of Missourians were waiting to launch an assault in response to the perceived threat. Around the time of the attack on the Mormons, a violent storm with torrential rains, wind and lightning swept in on the site. This caused Fishing River to rise and swell way beyond its normal level.

Because the Missourians were unable to cross the swollen river under such conditions, some members of Zion's Camp believed that the river, as a barrier, prevented the impending battle from taking place.

Joseph and some of the Zion's Camp members found shelter in an old church building and sang hymns as they waited out the storm.