Ep 210 – First Night in Carthage Jail
On this episode, Jo and company spend their first entire day in the city of Carthage, one of the twin cities of anti-Mormonism. Governor Ford does his best to keep the peace and does so by marching Jo and Hyrum down the line of the various militias in Carthage shaking hands and providing proper introductions as “Generals Smith”. The Carthage Greys commit a brief bit of mutiny before Governor Ford brings them under control. Jo tells Ford about the vulnerability of Nauvoo with the Prophet’s absence and Ford elects to send a trusted advisor to Nauvoo to guard against a vigilante mob descending on the city and burning it to ash. Charges of treason are filed against Joseph Smith and his older brother, Hyrum Smith, for declaring martial law in Nauvoo to shut down riots across the city. A hearing takes place in Carthage to determine if there is enough evidence for the circuit court at Carthage to pursue criminal convictions on the initial charges of riot. 16 of the arrested city councilors are released on bail and the hearing is scheduled for June 29th when the state and defense attorneys can call witnesses and collect evidence. After most of them head for Nauvoo that afternoon, Jo and Hyrum are arrested and interred in Carthage Jail for their own protection. Jo and friends spend the night “laid promiscuously on the floor”.
Willard Richards journal extract June 23-27
History of Illinois by Governor Ford
Warsaw Signal archives
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/
Joseph Smith has been here before. He’s brought a state to the edge of all out civil war before. He’s been charged with treason and conspiracy to murder before. He’s been in jail before. He’s undergone a court martial which sentenced him to death before. He’s resisted the will of state militias commanded by state’s governors before. He’s riled up his followers into a frenzy befitting a revolution before. He’s been arrested for being a criminal kingpin before after surrendering to prevent total war. Everything that happened in Nauvoo happened before in Missouri. But the scale was far larger and the stakes far higher.
After Jo had repeatedly defied an arrest warrant for over 2 weeks’ time, he and his 17 co-conspirators who caused the Expositor to be destroyed were finally in Carthage, surrendering to the Illinois-state legal system. They arrived the night of June 24th, 5 minutes before midnight, to a crowd of howling anti-Mormons who considered this surrender the first battle victory in the larger impending Illinois-Mormon war.
The people in Carthage at this time considered Joseph Smith and his criminal friends to be the greatest enemies to the peace and tranquility of their lives. Before the Mormons started arriving in 1839, everything was just peachy. Then, thousands of refugees streamed into the state to take advantage of Illinois hospitality and things haven’t been the same since. The Mormons were terrible neighbors having rager parties late into the night and finally the neighbors got the cops to shut down the party.
Now, the initial charges which landed Jo, Hyrum, and their 16 city councilmen in state custody were simply inciting riot from the destruction of the Expositor. There would be other charges worked out by the state prosecutor in the coming trial, including destruction of property, abuse of power, 1st amendment violations, and so forth, but the charge of riot for now would at least get them in jail and before Judge Morrison.
Now, Judge Morrison had sworn out the first arrest warrant the day after the Expositor was destroyed, that’s June 11th, based on charges filed by Francis M. Higbee for because they “commit a riot,… wherein they with force and violence broke into the Printing Office…, and unlawfully, and with force burned and destroyed the printing press, type, and fixtures of the same,”. When constable Bettisworth arrested Jo with that warrant, Jo held his sham trials in Nauvoo, chaired by Daniel H. Wells, and he was discharged on all the alleged crimes. The Nauvoo Court refused to hear testimony of those who suffered the crime. It produced witnesses who said whatever Jo needed them to say. It came to the conclusion it started with before the hearing was even called, that Joseph Smith couldn’t possibly have committed a crime in destroying a rival religion’s paper.
Governor Ford was no idiot and he considered the Nauvoo Municipal Court hearings to be a farce, thereby considering the original arrest warrant issued by Judge Morrison, still unserved. As Jo’s posse of 18 guilty men descended into Carthage, with a small armed escort, Constable Bettisworth presented Judge Morrison’s original arrest warrant to the men, and “the prisoners voluntarily surrendered themselves to the constable”. Voluntarily is such a loaded term here because after everything we’ve discussed the past 7 episodes has been a series of events calculated by Jo to never surrender. Only when the specter of total war and another Mormon extermination became inevitable did Jo finally wave the white flag. In many ways, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that his continued flaunting of the law after the Expositor was destroyed made the central issues and the anti-Mormon outrage exponentially worse. If he’d just surrendered to the first arrest warrant the Governor wouldn’t be handling this issue personally, the state militias never would have been called out, Jo would have fought through the legal system and probably been able to appeal the issue to the state supreme court after this hypothetical Carthage hearing would have convicted him. But, he’d still be alive and the Mormon settlement wouldn’t be under the threat of state militias marching into the city and burning Mormon homes to the ground.
My point, Jo didn’t voluntarily surrender; he was forced into it like every other surrender. He’d done everything in his power to resist arrest, including declaring martial law, but no officer pinned him to the ground until he died.
Governor Thomas Ford was doing his best to handle this issue. He didn’t really have many options available to him. He knew a court hearing in Carthage would cause a riot one way or another based on the outcome. If Jo was guilty, the Mormons might very well march their militia into Carthage to break him out and lay the city to waste. If he was discharged the anti-Mormons would never let him leave the city alive. What was Governor Ford to do? An argument could be made that he should have transported them all to Springfield and held the hearing there away from all the pro and anti-Mormon sentiments which gripped the local communities. Ford talks about this in his History of Illinois p. 349
The question then arose, what would be proper to be done. A war was expected by everybody. I was desirous of preserving the peace. I could not put myself at the head of the Mormon force with any kind of propriety, and without exciting greater odium against them than already existed. I could not put myself at the head of the anti-Mormon party, because they had justly forfeited my confidence, and my command over them was put an end to by mutiny and treachery. I could not put myself at the head of either of those forces, because both of them in turn had violated the law; and, as I then believed, meditated further aggression. It appeared to me that if a war ensued, I ought to have a force in which I could confide, and that I ought to establish my head-quarters at a place where I could learn the truth as to what was going on.
Yeah, the conflict itself is what kept Governor Ford from removing the matter to a place where the conflict wasn’t raging. He was sure that if he left at any point the Mormons and anti-Mormons would immediately go to war, even with Jo and Hyrum in his custody. How would that look on his career as governor? He was properly stuck and didn’t have any other option than to handle the matter domestically without making a single false step that would excite conflict even more.
He further added, reflecting on the situation, that his hands were not only tied by the fury raging all around him, but by the legal system itself.
Some persons have supposed that I ought to have had them sent to some distant and friendly part of the State, for confinement and trial; and that I ought to have searched them for concealed arms; but these surmises and suppositions are readily disposed of, by the fact, that they were not my prisoners; but were the prisoners of the constable and jailer, under the direction of the justice of the peace. And also by the fact, that by law they could be tried in no other county than Hancock.
Ford was there to enforce the laws, not to make special exceptions to the laws because of extraordinary circumstances. All he could do was promise the safety of the prisoners and as impartial of a trial as possible.
The Governor was at Headquarters in person, and had pledged his own faith, and the faith of the State of Illinois, that the Smiths, and the other prisoners should be protected from personal violence, and should have a fair and impartial trial, if they would surrender themselves to be dealt with according to law. During the Governor’s stay in Carthage he repeatedly expressed to the legal counselors of the Smiths his determination to protect the prisoners, and to see that they should have a fair and impartial trial.
Jo, Hyrum, and the 16 other conspirators spent the night of June 24th-25th in Hamilton’s hotel, filled to the brim with people who wanted each other dead, including some of the printers of the Expositor as well as Joseph H. Jackson. When they awoke “At 8 a.m., President Smith had an interview with William G. Flood of Quincy…; while in conversation with him Constable Bettisworth arrested Joseph for treason against the State of Illinois.”
This was a new development. They were there in Carthage having surrendered to Judge Morrison’s original arrest warrant based on riot, but treason is a slightly greater offense than riot and Jo didn’t have an underground bunker to hide in while he turned out the lights of the Nauvoo Mansion. So what’s this treason charge about? The History of the Church includes the underlying complaints which led to the treason charges, given by Augustine Spencer. A little refresher on this guy, Augustine Spence opposed the power of the Mormon empire in Nauvoo and then got in a fight with his younger brother, Orson Spencer, a Jo crony. Jo took this matter personally and issued an arrest warrant for Augustin Spencer. When Spencer refused to be arrested by Nauvoo marshal John P. Greene, Jo and Greene attempted to get Charles and Robert Foster to help them affect the arrest, after which Charles Foster pointed a pistol at the chest of Joseph Smith before the gun was wrestled from his hand either by Jo, Robert D. Bob-the-Builder Foster, or Pistol Packin’ Porter Rockwell; the accounts conflict as to who knocked the gun out of Charles’s hands. Well, Augustine Spencer was a domestic enemy of the church and once all the men in this conflict were arrested and he was discharged he fled to Carthage, the main safehaven for dissenters of the church, which is why the Expositor printers and Joseph H. Jackson were staying there. All of that is back on episode 197 about the Fosters if you need a refresher.
This is the complaint by Augustine Spencer about treason for which Jo was arrested while already in state custody for the charges of riot.
Whereas complaint has been made… upon the oath of Augustine Spencer, that Joseph Smith,… on or about the nineteenth day of June… 1844… [did] commit the crime of treason against the government and people of the State of Illinois…
These are therefore to command you to take the said Joseph Smith, if he be found in your county, or if he shall have fled, that you pursue after the said Joseph Smith into another county within this State, and take and safely keep the said Joseph Smith, so that you have his body forthwith before me to answer the said complaint, and be further dealt with according to law.
Another complaint was filed by Henry O. Norton, another faithful member who’d been in deep conflict with the church for the past 2 years.
complaint has been made… upon the oath of Henry [O.] Norton, that one Hyrum Smith,… did on the 19th day of June, 1844 commit the crime of treason against the Government and people of the State of Illinois…
In addition to the charges of riot, now Hyrum and Jo specifically were charged with treason on complaints of Augustine Spencer and Henry O. Norton, two defectors from the church. This was purely as a result of them declaring martial law in Nauvoo and arresting people who protested their power. They did this without the approval of the commander-in-chief of the Illinois militias, Governor Ford, and thereby committed treason and infringed on people’s rights to peaceful assembly. This is reasonable as it was the presence of the Nauvoo Legion and the city police force during the destruction of the Expositor which caused the riots in the first place. They destroyed that printing press with force and the people in the city protested. Then when the criminal responsible for the press’s destruction and the ensuing riot discharged themselves from their own criminal court, the people became even more enraged to the point that it was unsafe for Jo and Hyrum in Nauvoo. They declared martial law for their own safety alone so they could commit crimes with impunity. Nauvoo policed itself but who polices that policing? The citizens of Nauvoo groaned under these draconian measures which is why one of the first things Governor Ford did upon his arrival was force Jo to rescind the martial law declaration, disband the Nauvoo Legion, and seize the Legion’s weapons. While the Nauvoo Legion had begun as a state-sanctioned militia, the way it had been used for the 4 years of its existence was to enforce an Orwellian system of absolute tyranny. The charges of riot may be dismissed based on the evidence produced by Jo’s two sham hearings in Nauvoo, but the charges of treason required a greater attention to evidence and fact-finding that would understandably tie up Jo and Hyrum in jails and court for months to come and certainly result in the revocation of the Nauvoo Charter. Revoking the Nauvoo Charter to stop corruption was one of the primary advocations in the Expositor which led to its destruction to begin with. When the fascists make it illegal or impossible to oppose their power, who will be left to oppose them? Oh… wait… that’s kind of the point isn’t it? Thanks uncle Mark for that little gem. Check out How to Heretic episode 140 for a troubling rundown of Mormon secret societies and their history of draconianism.
I digress, back to the story. When Jo’s posse entered Carthage 5 minutes before midnight, the people wanted a view of the prophet, many of them unable to recognize him because he didn’t have 81 million followers on Twitter. Governor Ford was able to assuage the infuriated mob by telling them he’d organize a public gathering the following morning for them all to see the prophet and fiend in the flesh.
All 18 men were in custody of the state and Jo and Hyrum had the additional charges of treason on their rap sheet.
8 ½ a.m. Governor Ford called all the troops, and ordered them to form a hollow square, on the public ground near the Court House; and when formed, he mounted an old table and addressed them in a most inflammatory manner, exciting the feelings of indignation against Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith, which were already burning in their breasts, occasioned by the falsehoods and misrepresentations that were in circulation, giving his assent and sanction to the rumors that had gathered them together, and stating that although they were dangerous men in the community, and guilty of all that they might have alleged against them, still they were in the hands of the law, which must have its course. He continued speaking 20 or 30 minutes.
This passage strains credulity. Governor Ford was doing everything in his power to keep the 1300 militiamen in Carthage from exacting vigilante justice. His parading Jo and the other prisoners through the town square in front of all the militiamen wasn’t to rile them up, they were already sufficiently riled up. It was most likely done to put a human face on the demon these people imagined Jo to be for the past 4 years. His speech of 20 to 30 minutes this morning isn’t recorded anywhere I could find but I’m pretty comfortable in stating that whatever he said was to calm the tensions, not exacerbate them.
Beyond that, his actions immediately following the speech provide a window into just how much deference Ford was showing to the prisoners. Instead of simply locking them up and letting whatever happens happen, he kept Jo and Hyrum out in the public to talk to the people of the community under guard to keep from vigilante justice from happening.
9 ¼ a.m. The Governor came and invited Joseph to walk with him through the troops. Joseph solicited a few moments’ private conversation with him; which the Governor refused. While refusing, the Governor looked down at his shoes, as though he was ashamed.
But he did end up granting private conversation with Jo, just not yet. It’s not that he refused to hold a private meeting with Jo, it was that this wasn’t the right time. Other more important issues needed to be dealt with first.
They then walked through the crowd with Brigadier-General Miner R. Deming and Dr. Richards to General Deming’s quarters. The people appeared quiet until a company of Carthage Greys flocked round the doors of Gen. Deming in an uproarious manner, of which notice was sent to the Governor. In the meantime the Governor had ordered the McDonough troops to be drawn up in line for Joseph and Hyrum to pass in front of them, they having requested that they might have a clear view of the Generals Smith.
Why did he Governor Ford walk Jo and Hyrum up and down the lines of the Carthage Greys and the other companies of the Illinois militia? To literally get the men to shake hands and meet face to face. When two groups of people have so thoroughly demonized each other, the only way to make headway to combat those deep human tendencies is to make dramatic efforts to force each side to see the other as human. Jo and Hyrum were powerless to do anything here. The militia in Carthage, under the command of Governor Ford, held the lives of the prophet and patriarch in their hands. Any false move resulting in Jo or Hyrum being hurt would immediately bring the Nauvoo Legion marching into Carthage before nightfall. Governor Ford made each of these guys literally shake the hands of their enemies. When our enemies change from a concept to a person with a face, we act more human toward each other. Shaking hands or kneeling in solidarity goes a lot further in reducing tensions than firing rubber bullets while masked in combat gear.
From the General’s quarters Joseph and Hyrum went in front of the lines, in a hollow square of a company of Carthage Greys; at 7 min. before 10, they arrived in front of the lines, and passed before the whole, Joseph being on the right of Gen. Deming, and Hyrum on his left; Elders Richards, Taylor and Phelps following. Joseph and Hyrum were introduced by Governor Ford, about twenty times along the line, as Gen. Joseph Smith and Gen. Hyrum Smith, the Governor walking in front on the left.
Governor Ford had no real assurance, other than the force of his vested authority, that one of these men wouldn’t crack a shot off at Jo or Hyrum as he forced the men to shake hands. He was taking a massive risk with this display but the payoff may assuage a civil war from assassinations so the reward was worth the risk in his mind. As they were making this pass in front of the Carthage Greys and the McDonough troops, among all the other militiamen, Jo pulled Ford to the side and apparently voiced some concern over Ford’s plan to introduce Jo and Hyrum to everybody.
Joseph had a conversation with the Governor for about 10 minutes, when he again pledged the faith of the State that he and his friends should be protected from violence.
Jo, ever the coward, didn’t think it was a good idea. But, Governor Ford’s deportment was solemn and reassuring enough that Jo continued walking down the line. Then, the group got to the platoon of Carthage Greys, the antagonists of all these events in Carthage, if Jo could be considered our protagonist.
The Carthage Greys refused to receive them by that introduction, and some of the officers threw up their hats, drew their swords, and said they would introduce themselves to the damned Mormons in a different style.
Try to picture this. Jo and Hyrum are prisoners of the state and Governor Ford is walking them down the line of Illinois militiamen and telling them, “alright boys… shake hands. I know you don’t like each other but shake hands or nobody gets their apple juice.” Then they get to the Carthage Greys who refuse and act all blustery and macho by drawing their swords and talking a big game. Here’s what happened next.
The Governor mildly entreated them not to act so rudely, but their excitement increased: the Governor, however, succeeded in pacifying them by making a speech, and promising them that they should have “full satisfaction”.
Whatever Governor Ford actually said there it was written in the history of the church as foreshadowing 2 days ahead. Regardless of what the HoC says Ford said, he was able to calm everybody down even though they didn’t want to shake hands and the day continued on. Of all the folks caught up in this tension, the person I’d most like to meet and share a dirty whiskey with is Governor Ford. He was able to keep a mob of over a thousand people from killing their public enemies #1 & 2 when Jo and Hyrum were essentially unarmed in handcuffs. We can’t stop cops today from killing people in that scenario in the 21st century, but Governor Ford kept 19th-century drunken mobocrats from killing the men in their custody.
Jo was obviously very worried about what was going on in Nauvoo during his absence. A lot of people who’d been dealing with his poor leadership for years just read in the Nauvoo Expositor that Jo was a tyrant with dozens of wives among him and his closest friends. For many Nauvoo citizens, the Mormonism described in the Expositor was not the religion or god they believed in and now the leadership whose faults were highlighted in the Expositor destroyed the press to silence those critical voices. But, the damage was done. The insurrection wasn’t just the printers of the Expositor, hundreds or thousands of Nauvoo members were questioning their decisions and religious convictions. Now, Jo, Hyrum, and most of the city council were locked in jail facing charges of riot after an overtly tyrannical act. Jo’s grasp on the people was slipping, yes, but there was also a greater danger and that was the threat of confusion and other state militias working under direction of themselves instead of Governor Ford. Now that the highest-ranking commanding officers of the Nauvoo Legion were in state custody and the Legion itself was disbanded by order of the Governor, Nauvoo was a sitting duck for its enemies. Any vigilante mob with misdirected anger wanted to exact revenge on the Mormons at large, instead of just the leadership who was responsible for their woes, could make short work of invading the city and wreaking chaos on people they believed to be their enemies. Jo was understandably stressed, not only about the safety of the Mormons, but about the safety of his throne upon his eventual return to the kingdom; he petitioned Governor Ford multiple times during these morning exercises and meet-n-greets for a conversation to tell him that a militia was needed in Nauvoo.
Intelligence was given to Joseph that the Laws, Higbees, Fosters, and others, were going to Nauvoo to plunder. The Governor called at the door with some gentlemen, when Joseph informed him of what he had heard, and requested him to send a guard to protect the city of Nauvoo…
The Governor communicated that he had ordered Captain Singleton with a company of men from McDonough County to march to Nauvoo to co-operate with the police in keeping the peace; and he would call out the Legion, if necessary.
Were the Higbee, Fosters, and Laws actually headed to Nauvoo to plunder? They’d be stopped immediately if they were trying to plunder property but what if they were trying to plunder souls? Look, William Law was designated the president of the True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when it was formed one month ago in May 1844. William Law had called his own quorum of apostles, his own bishop and, more importantly, called the Nauvoo church leadership to repentance and told members they could join the True Church with their preaching license granted by Jo’s church. That was one of the primary reasons the Expositor was so quickly dealt with. It was a paper not just printed as an expose of the Nauvoo leadership, but also as the foundational press for the rival church the printers had formed. You silence a press, you silence a movement and with Jo’s absence ringing through the streets of Nauvoo the True Church led by the much less controversial William Law was an appealing proposition to many members who were sick of the constant outrage. The growth of the True Church in the face of Jo’s Church would be completely unopposed with Jo and his cronies locked up or across the nation preaching and electioneering for him.
Governor Ford heard the pleas of Jo and Hyrum that Nauvoo was in danger without them there. Ford had also removed the Nauvoo Legion’s arms provided by the state, leaving them understandably defenseless should any rival state militia march into the town. This conversation between Jo and Ford was consequential enough that even he reported about his response; which was conducted in the way a good Governor and Commander-in-chief should act given the circumstances.
Soon after the surrender of the Smiths, at their request I despatched Captain Singleton with his company from Brown county to Nauvoo, to guard the town; and I authorized him to take command of the legion. He reported to me afterwards, that he called out the legion for inspection; and that upon two hours’ notice two thousand of them assembled, all of them armed; and this after the public arms had been taken away from them. So it appears that they had a sufficiency of private arms for any reasonable purpose.
Bear arms and a well-regulated militia; it turns out the state clawing back the arms they provided to the Nauvoo Legion didn’t do much good because the Mormons were independently armed to the teeth already and no order from any Governor would seize their private guns no matter how great a threat they were cuz ‘Murica. I assume Jo calculated that the presence of the militia there would allow him to retain power in absentia while he and his most powerful elites were nowhere near the city. The Fosters, Higbees, and Laws were still in Carthage but word of their return to Nauvoo was assuaged by the Brown county militia heading to Nauvoo, likely arriving about the same time the dissenters would. The militia would aid the city police, who were still loyal to Jo, in putting down any gatherings of people and if groups couldn’t be dispersed they’d emplace a curfew to send people home and tear gas those who didn’t disperse.
Now that Nauvoo was sorted out by request from Jo to Governor Ford, some other more immediate troubles arose in Carthage, the Carthage Greys. These guys had refused to shake Jo’s and Hyrum’s hands when Ford was walking the men down the line. They were just too haughty and prideful to see their enemy as anything other than inhuman.
News reached Joseph at the Hotel, that the Carthage Greys had revolted, and were put under guard by Gen. Deming. Joseph told all his friends to stay in the two rooms occupied by them in the hotel.
The McDonough county militia could be better relied on than the Carthage Greys by sheer virtue of the respective militia compositions. The Carthage Greys were made up of citizens of Carthage, one of the twin cities that comprise the hotbed of anti-Mormonism, the other being Warsaw where Thomas Coke Sharp published his openly anti-Mormon paper the Warsaw Signal. The McDonough boys, however, were in the next county east from Adams and Hancock county where all this rivalry was going on. The citizens of McDonough County were far less affected by the Mormon empire, whether that be with shady business practices and counterfeit money or the Mormon political chess for the past 5 years. Simply put, the Carthage Greys were anti-Mormons, the McDonough county militia were there to support orders from Governor Ford, even though some of them had friends in the Carthage Greys. No group before or since has been as overtly anti-Mormon as the Carthage Greys. With them riled up into a fury, Jo was forced to tell his bois to stay in the hotel, don’t go downstairs and certainly don’t go outside or the Carthage Greys will revolt from Governor Ford’s command. Ford was able to calm them down, but would that last for the rest of the day? Would his ability to keep the Carthage Greys calm last for the rest of the week?
Jo was getting constant intel while locked up in Hamilton’s Hotel awaiting the trial of that afternoon.
It was reported by Israel Barlow, that he had heard resolutions of the Warsaw troops read, to the effect that they would return to Warsaw at 3 p.m., then go to Golden’s Point on Thursday, and thence to Nauvoo.
This was crucial intel. These are Colonel Levi William’s boys. Levi Williams is basically the anti-Mormon poster boy who’d later stand trial for assassinating Jo and Hyrum. Intel that the Warsaw militia under Levi Williams’s command was headed to Carthage was crucial and dire. It was hoped that Singleton’s men would get to Nauvoo to command the disbanded Legion and defend against Williams’s men if they made an attack on the city, but could the men from Brown County in Singleton’s command be trusted to not commit mutiny and simply join Levi Williams’s troops in burning Nauvoo to ash? Singleton was trusted by Governor Ford but the men he commanded were much harder to trust or control. As this intel came to Jo from Israel Barlow, Jo took a number of meeting at the Hotel without leaving for legitimate fear his life was in danger. In this prison of sorts, he was something of a spectacle. Some of these interactions are reported in the HoC, although the exact words exchanged between Jo and his visitors are hard to nail down as this was all recreated after the fact, meaning George A. Smith could make Jo however he wanted him to sound for readers today.
Several of the officers of the troops in Carthage, and other gentlemen, curious to see the Prophet, and to gratify a propensity to see the Elephant, visited Joseph in his room. Gen. Smith asked them if there was anything in his appearance that indicated he was the desperate character his enemies represented him to be; and he asked them to give him their honest opinion on the subject. The reply was, “No, sir, your appearance would indicate the very contrary, General Smith, but we cannot see what is in your heart, neither can we tell what are your intentions”; to which Joseph replied, “Very true, gentlemen, you cannot see what is in my heart, and you are therefore unable to judge me or my intentions; but I can see what is in your hearts, and will tell you what I see: I can see you thirst for my blood, and nothing but my blood will satisfy you. It is not for crime of any description that I and my brethren are thus continually persecuted and harassed by our enemies, but there are other motives, and some of them I have expressed so far as related to myself, and inasmuch as you and the people thirst for blood, I prophesy in the name of the Lord that you shall witness scenes of blood and sorrow to your entire satisfaction. Your souls shall be perfectly satiated with blood, and many of you who are now present shall have an opportunity to face the cannon’s mouth from sources you think not of; and those people that desire this great evil upon me and my brethren, shall be filled with regret and sorrow because of the scenes of desolation and distress that await them. They shall seek for peace, and shall not be able to fine it. Gentlemen, you will find what I have told you to be true.”
Imagine having the audacity to bring an entire state to the brink of civil war, surrendering to your enemies and being locked in essentially a prison, and then telling your aggressors to their faces that they will find blood and be fired upon by cannons from sources they don’t think of. He has the arrogance to threaten their lives in this moment? Imagine if an unarmed black man with an officer pointing a gun at him told the officer that he will witness scenes of blood and sorrow for thirsting for the man’s blood. The cop would probably shoot him if he didn’t already as soon as the man mentioned a cannon the officer can’t see. I digress but the point remains that Jo wasn’t trying to calm the fury of the people, he was playing into the us vs. them mentality. He had manufactured an empire that benefitted from war if he could make it out alive. He was acting aggressively while surrounded by his enemies in a city of people who wanted him dead and his aggression here proves that he thought he’d get out of all this alive. Well, Jo, you stoke the fires of war, everybody gets burned.
Sometime before, during, or after these visits, Jo wrote to Pistol Packin’ Porter and his first wife, Emma. The letter to Emma survives, the message to Port was probably verbal and never written because Port was illiterate. A lot is revealed in these messages though. First the letter to Emma after Jo had a considerably longer conversation with Governor Ford:
Dear Emma:--I have had an interview with Gov. Ford, and he treats us honorably. Myself and Hyrum have been again arrested for treason, because we called out the Nauvoo Legion; but when the truth comes out, we have nothing to fear: we all feel calm and composed.
This morning Gov. Ford introduced myself and Hyrum to the militia in a very appropriate manner as Gen. Joseph Smith and Gen. Hyrum Smith. There was a little mutiny among the “Carthage Greys,” but I think the Governor has, and will succeed in enforcing the laws. I do hope the people of Nauvoo will continue pacific and prayerful.
Governor Ford has just concluded to send some of his militia to Nauvoo to protect the citizens, and I wish that they may be kindly treated; they will co-operate with the police to keep the peace. The Governor’s orders will be read in the hearing of the police and officers of the Legion, as I suppose.
[P.S.] 3 o’clock. The Governor has just agreed to march his army to Nauvoo, and I shall come along with him. The prisoners—all that can—will be admitted to bail.
I am, as ever,
Jo wrote this letter too hastily. First off, the Governor did treat Jo and Hyrum with respect and appropriately when he marched the two of them down the line of Carthage militiamen and had everybody shake hands. Introducing them as Generals was also appropriate and obviously carried considerable weight for all of these militiamen who were colonels, majors, privates, and the like. Ford did agree to send Captain Singleton’s Brown County militia to aid the Nauvoo Police in keeping the peace. However, Jo’s third point after his interview with Ford is a bit more questionable. Apparently Ford had agreed that the prisoners would receive bail after the forthcoming hearing, which we’ll get into in a minute here, and Ford would bring Jo and Hyrum to Nauvoo under armed escort for their bail with the understanding that they’d appear at the coming hearing, which ended up being scheduled for June 29th. Like I said, we’ll get into it in a minute. It is notable, however, that after the hearing, Jo and Hyrum were deemed to high-risk to be released on bail. They had plenty of resources but they were obviously a flight risk. Jo and Hyrum had done nothing to gain the confidence of the legal system and Governor Ford here; the Carthage Court had absolutely no assurance that they’d return to Carthage once released on bail, so they were interred in the city jail after this hearing. What is particularly notable about this is Jo probably had the agreement from Ford that he’d return to Nauvoo on bail and therefore felt comfortable acting aggressively toward his visitors. If Ford told him he’d be back in Nauvoo by the following day, he’d once again be surrounded by his Legion and a veritable army of his sycophants and he'd break the state of Illinois into war after refusing to return to fulfill his bail. This is all hypothetical obviously because Jo did leave that jail while still alive but it was out a window into a courtyard with 150 men who immediately killed him.
Now, the message to Pistol Packin’ Porter Rockwell which was probably never written, just transmitted orally by the same messenger who carried the message to Emma.
Joseph also sent a message to Orrin P. Rockwell not to come to Carthage, but to stay in Nauvoo, and not to suffer himself to be delivered into the hands of his enemies, or to be taken a prisoner by any one.
Port, don’t come to Carthage! This is further evidence to me that Jo fully expected to return to Nauvoo within two days’ time. Port was quite well-known in Carthage. When John C. Wreck-it Bennett had been excommunicated from the church and began collecting affidavits and making public allegations that Porter Rockwell pulled the trigger on Governor Lilburn Boggs in Missouri, Port confronted Bennett in Carthage where he was hiding out from the Danites. Because this was in public and Bennett was smart enough to never be alone when the Danites were hunting him, Bennett and Port got in a fight at one of the taverns there in Carthage. The people removed Port from the inn and chased him out of the city, after which Port went into hiding and traveled across Illinois to Indiana where he hid for months before being apprehended on his return trip to Nauvoo and spending months in Missouri jails. All that to say, the Carthaginians knew Port by his face and if he showed up in Carthage they’d suspect he was up to no-good and who knows what would happen. Jo telling Port to not come to Carthage here was protection for Port and protection from the city exploding into chaos while it teetered on the precipice of doing so with Jo locked up in Hamilton’s Hotel.
Now, to the hearing. This is essentially titled an “examination” of Jo and the other 17 defendants who were charged for riot. The only record I can find of it comes from White-out Willard Richards who hastily scratched the proceedings in his journal as it took place, doing his best at shorthand. You’ll find a link in the show notes.
First I’ll read the introduction to the hearing in Richard’s notes from the Joseph Smith Papers as it illuminates why we’re going to struggle through it.
Following are Willard Richards’s hastily written notes taken during an “examination” of JS and other defendants in the Nauvoo Expositor riot case, held before Justice of the Peace Robert Smith at Artois Hamilton’s hotel in Carthage, Illinois. The fragmentary nature of the record precludes a thorough understanding of the arguments made by the prosecution, the defense, and the court in the course of the hearing. Accounts written shortly afterward, however, indicate that the court decided to release the prisoners on bail, with instructions to appear at the next term of the circuit court, only after hearing “great exertions” from the defense counsel and “a good deal of resistance” from the prosecution.
That’s the brief overview so let’s dive into this fateful hearing. First, I’ll describe the battlefield. Notably, the prosecuting attorney on behalf of Hancock County here was Chauncey L. Higbee, one of the primary antagonists of the church and Joseph Smith as well as one of the 7 printers of the Expositor. Apparently, there wasn’t enough of a conflict of interest for him to recuse himself from this hearing. This is one of the first errors of this hearing. The attorneys on the defense side for Jo and his boys were James Woods and Hugh T. Reid. Interesting to have James Woods defending a criminally insane tyrant in 1844 as well as 2018! History is circular.
[Hugh] Reid &— [blank]31 objected to an adjourmt [adjournment]—— said court was not authorizd to take recognisanc [recognizance] without their acknowlidgig [acknowledging] their guilt— or having witnesses <to prove, <that we> we> admit the press was distroyed.—— read Law— to show— that Justice could not r[e]cognize without admission of guilt—32
Offered to give bail or <askd [illegible]> discharge, us.33——
State insistd to have a commissi[o]n crime acknownldgd [acknowledged]—
cou[r]t asked askd if the parties admitted th[e]re was suffic[ie]nt cau[s]e to bind over— and the council admittd there was suffcnt [sufficient] cau[s]e to bind ove[r]— with cognizanc[e] in comm[o]n form—35 [p. ]
court acknowlidged the admissi[o]n and ordered cognizances at 5 P.M Most of the brethren left for Nauvoo after Joseph Smith John Taylor William W. Phelps. Hyrum Smith. John P. Green[e] Stephen Perry. Dimick B. Huntington Jonathan Dunham. Stephen Markham William Jonathan Dunham Holmes Jesse P. Harman [Harmon]. John Lytle. Joseph W. Coolidge. Harvey D. Redfield. [Orrin] Porter Rockwell. & Levi Richards. had given bonds, 5 in each bond, 15 in all. with sur[e]ties in the sum of $500. each— $7500.00
And that was the entire hearing. You see why I read the introduction from the Joseph Smith Papers because it accurately describes how hastily it was written and how the people attending knew what was going on, but us reading the record in hindsight have to make guesses and assumptions based on what White-out Willard Richards wrote. Regardless, the conclusion is clear, the offenders were released on bail totaling $7,500 or just over $250k in 2020 money. However, this hearing was on the charges of riot for the 18 involved individuals including Jo, Hyrum, and the various city councilors who passed the resolution declaring the Expositor a public nuisance and destroyed the press. The charges of treason against Jo and Hyrum specifically were still active and required a separate hearing. Also worth noting, this hearing wasn’t an actual jury trial. It was considered an investigation like the November 1838 court of inquiry. It was conducted to determine whether there was enough evidence to charge the offenders with the stated crimes and begin an investigation. The 16 men were released on bail which means there was enough evidence to charge them and they would be held over for that $250 grand if they didn’t appear for the subsequent jury trial which was scheduled for June 29. The state had to gather evidence and material witnesses who weren’t present during this investigation so it was postponed until that date of June 29th. Jo and Hyrum, however, being charged with treason, wasn’t at issue or under investigation here. They would be held in Carthage Jail for treason.
Governor Ford reflects on this hearing.
On the 23rd or 24th day of June, Joe Smith, the mayor of Nauvoo, together with his brother Hiram and all the members of the council and all others demanded, came into Carthage and surrendered themselves prisoners to the constable, on the charge of riot. They all voluntarily entered into a recognizance before the justice of the peace, for their appearance at court to answer the charge. And all of them were discharged from custody except Joe and Hiram Smith, against whom the magistrate had issued a new writ, on a complaint of treason. They were immediately arrested by the constable on this charge, and retained in his custody to answer it.
After that, however, Ford discusses how the charge of treason was calculated by the enemies of Jo and Hyrum. This taps into a legal doctrine known as posse comitatus, a subject that’s been in the headlines a bit recently. It is essentially the practice of a civil officer, like a mayor or president, using the military as a police force. The two divisions of law enforcement are supposed to remain separate because police officers are supposed to live in the communities which they police, while the military comes from anywhere and may not know much about the area in which they are called to act as the police. This posse comitatus was considered a problematic practice as was one of the primary reasons Nauvoo formed a police force when they already had the Nauvoo Legion. The Legion was supposed to be the well-regulated state-sanctioned militia for armed conflicts. The police force is supposed to be the dudes in blue who patrol the city and make sure people are being good citizens. When the military is called in to do the job of cops, you run the risk of a military-police state, which hearkens back to the 4th amendment of the Constitution about quartering soldiers. The federalists didn’t like that the commonwealth considered occupying soldiers to be acceptable and the fourth amendment was created to insulate citizens from a military-police force and to discourage presidents from using military as their police force. It wasn’t until after the civil war that the practice of posse comitatus was outlawed as the Southern States were infuriated by Union soldiers occupying them during the reconstruction era.
The charge of treason against Jo and Hyrum centered around this same doctrine that a mayor or president can’t simply declare martial law and engage in posse comitatus because he did something that was unpopular with constituents. We start doing that, we slip further into a military state and no haven of liberty America claims to be can withstand the acts of a tyrant using his military as the police.
Here’s Governor Ford’s commentary on the charge of treason against Jo and Hyrum within the context of using the Nauvoo Legion as a posse comitatus.
The overt act of treason charged against them consisted in the alleged levying of war against the State by declaring martial law in Nauvoo, and ordering out the legion to resist the posse comitatus. Their actual guiltiness of the charge would depend upon circumstances. If their opponents had been seeking to put the law in force in good faith, and nothing more, then an array of a military force in open resistance to the posse comitatus and the militia of the State, most probably would have amounted to treason. But if those opponents merely intended to use the process of the law, the militia of the State, and the posse comitatus, as cats-paws to compass the possessions of their persons for the purpose of murdering them afterwards, as the sequel demonstrated the fact to be, it might well be doubted whether they were guilty of treason.
Yes, without the rising conflict between Carthage and Nauvoo for the previous 4 years, it may have been determined in a court of law that Jo and Hyrum had committed treason by their invocation of the posse comitatus and martial law, but the charge seemed clearly to be a ploy to get them locked in jail to exact vigilante justice. So, let’s talk about the arrest after the hearing.
The charges for treason were filed and the prisoners were released on bail after the hearing that afternoon. Jo and Hyrum returned to their room in Hamilton’s Hotel. On the main floor of the hotel, Jo’s buddy, Dan Jones, overheard a conversation between Wilson Law and Joseph H. Jackson, two of Jo’s main antagonists.
Dan Jones heard Wilson Law, whilst endeavoring to get another warrant against Joseph Smith for treason, declare, that while he was once preaching from Daniel 1st ch. 44 v., Mr. Smith said that the kingdom referred to was already set up; and that he was the king over it. He also heard Joseph H. Jackson and other leaders of the mob declare that they had eighteen accusations against Joseph, and as one failed they would try another to detain him there, and that they had had so much trouble and hazard, and worked so hard in getting him to Carthage that they would not let him get out of it alive. Jackson pointed to his pistols and said, “the balls are in there that will decide his case.” Jones immediately went up stairs to Joseph and informed him what he had heard Jackson say.
What those eighteen charges were, we’ll never know. The thing is, many of Jo’s actions were against the spirit of the law, but often not necessarily against the letter of the law. He was a religious leader while being the mayor of the city and commander-in-chief of the Nauvoo Legion and he abused all three offices to create his Kingdom on the Mississippi. This was a flagrant abuse of the wall of separation between church and state but supreme court cases and the Lemon test we use today to determine if certain laws or actions break that wall of separation didn’t exist at the time, but that didn’t stop it from feeling wrong. Other actions were less quantifiable but equally frustrating. Jo’s coopting of the Nauvoo Municipal Court had sent case after case to the circuit court at Carthage through the appeals process, but how does somebody impeach and entire city’s court system for abuse of power? Was calling out the Nauvoo Legion and declaring martial law actually treason? It was certainly an abuse of power but determining if it constituted treason was a bit more complicated. Besides, do you try Joseph Smith as Mayor and keep everything in civil courts, or do you throw the book at him by trying his conduct in court martials because he was also the Lieutenant-General of the Nauvoo Legion? Other criminal acts were much simpler, like harboring fugitives like Jeremiah Smith, Jo’s distant cousin, who was running from the law on counterfeit and theft charges. Jeremiah Smith was discharged via the Nauvoo Municipal Court and he could claim double jeopardy if another court attempted to try him but it was a sham hearing to begin with and the fact he found refuge in Nauvoo was a criminal act by Joseph Smith of harboring a fugitive from justice. Overall, the problem with Joseph Smith and the 1840s legal sphere is a problem we see in 2020. The wheels of justice churn slowly but what happens when a criminal like Joseph Smith creates a system of flagrant abuse of power and insulates himself from any legal ramifications by appointing only his most loyal friends to jobs intended to oversee his conduct and root out corruption? Add into this the constant onslaught of propaganda and tribalism Jo spewed in public kept the outrage machine running above capacity his entire life. He’s so deeply poisoned the well of regular conduct of elected officials; he so effectively crafted a reality for the Mormons where the world was against them and anything negative about the divine leader was apostate or gentile mobocrats attacking the gospel. Jo didn’t just hold up a bible in front of a church, he wrote the bible, built the church, and commanded the Army of Israel to destroy dissenting voices in the city. Simply put, the structure of society we all agree to abide by couldn’t handle the output of one mastermind criminal in Joseph Smith.
That being said, Jo and Hyrum were in Hamilton’s hotel after the hearing which discharged the other 16 men on bond. They took dinner with the Governor and talked with him for a while about what had transpired. He took his leave from the engagement and Constable Bettisworth, the original constable who’d tried to arrest Jo in Nauvoo immediately after the Expositor was destroyed, served an arrest warrant on Jo and Hyrum.
At 8, Constable Bettisworth appeared at the lodgings of Joseph and Hyrum, and insisted that they should go to jail. Joseph demanded a copy of the mittimus, which was refused. Messrs. Woods and Reid, as counsel [to the prophet], insisted the prisoners were entitled to be brought before a justice of the peace for examination before they could be sent to jail. The constable to their surprise then exhibited the following mittimus:
Whereas, Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith… have been arrested upon oath of Augustine Spencer and Henry O. Norton for the crime of treason, and have been brought before me as a justice of the peace in and for the said county, for trial at the seat of justice thereof, which trial has been necessarily postponed by reason of the absence of the material witnesses… Therefore I command you in the name of the people to receive the said Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith into your custody in the jail of the county aforesaid, there to remain until discharged by due course of law…
R.F. SMITH, J.P.
Of course, Constable Bettisworth had the proper documentation to commit Jo and Hyrum to Carthage jail based on the charges of treason filed by Spencer and Norton. Jo doth protest too much.
Joseph remonstrated against such barefaced, illegal, and tyrannical proceedings, but the constable still insisted that they should go to jail. Lawyer Woods requested the officer to wait until he could see Governor Ford, and was told by Bettisworth that he could only wait five minutes.
Joseph and Hyrum again remonstrated, and the constable waited until about 9 o’clock, when they heard by Mr. Wood that the Governor did not think it within the sphere of his duty to interfere, as they were in the hands of the civil law, and therefore he had no the power to stay process, of the due course of law, and that he could not interrupt a civil officer in the discharge of his duty.
Just because Jo doesn’t want to go to jail doesn’t mean the person serving the legal process is committing “barefaced, illegal, and tyrannical proceedings”. Arguably, the whole reason Jo was tangling with the legal system right now was because of his own tyranny. Wait… that’s not even arguable, that’s just the facts. This is a typical case of “I’m not a tyrant, you are!” “I didn’t collude with Russia, the democrats did!” Jo has reliably demonstrated his disdain for the law and it doesn’t matter how much he and his older brother are remonstrating against the due process of law, they would have to do what the cop says or he’ll put them in a chokehold until they die. Wait… sorry, Jo and Hyrum were white and their crimes were white-collar, that’s my mistake. Besides, them going to Governor Ford to nullify the arrest warrant would go against the entire reason he was there. Ford was only in Carthage the ensure faithful execution of the law, not to interfere with it. They were going to Carthage Jail and it didn’t matter how much they said they can’t breathe. Wait… I forgot, they were just taken peacefully to jail without any physical force even though the crimes they committed were treason, not just accidentally using a counterfeit $20 bill.
George A. Smith spends a page in the History of the Church declaring how illegal the mittimus was and decrying Governor Ford’s lack of action in putting a stop to it. I won’t bore you with the propaganda because frankly it’s all wrong and predicated on the idea that Jo and Hyrum weren’t actually guilty of the crimes they very clearly committed. However, when the mittimus was served, John Taylor, second prophet of the Utah church, immediately burst into Governor Ford’s quarters and demanded some answers. He’s the conversation according to John Taylor after the fact.
Elder John Taylor says, “As I was informed of this illegal proceeding, I went immediately to the Governor and informed him of it, whether he was apprized of it before or not, I do not know, [(he was)] but my opinion is that he was. I represented to him the character of the parties who had made oath, the outrageous nature of the charge, the indignity offered to men in the position which they occupied, and that he knew very well that it was a vexatious prosecution, and that they were not guilty of any such thing.[“]
The Governor replied that he was very sorry that the thing had occurred; that he did not believe the charges, but that he thought that the best thing to be done in the premises, was to let the law take its course.
[“]I then reminded him that we had come out there at his instance, not to satisfy the law, which we had done before, but the prejudices of the people, in relation to the affair of the press; that we had given bonds, which we could not by law be required to do to satisfy the people, at his instance, and that it was asking too much to require gentlemen in their position in life to suffer the degradation of being immured in a jail, at the instance of such worthless scoundrels as those who had made this affidavit.
[“]The Governor replied, that it was an unpleasant affair and looked hard, but that it was a matter over which he had no control, as it belonged to the judiciary that he, as the executive, could not interfere with their proceedings, and that he had no doubt but that they would be immediately dismissed.
[“]I told him that we had looked to him for protection from such insults, and that I thought we had a right to do so from the solemn promises he had made to me and Dr. Bernhisel, in relation to our coming without a guard or arms; that we had relied upon his faith, and had a right to expect him to fulfill his engagements, after we had placed ourselves implicitly under his care and complied with all his requests, although extra-judicial.
[“]He replied that he would detail a guard, if we required it, and see us protected, but that he could not interfere with the judiciary.
[“]I expressed my dissatisfaction at the course taken, and told him, that if we were to be subject to mob rule, and to be dragged contrary to law, into prison, at the instance of every infernal scoundrel whose oaths could be bought for a dram of whiskey, his protection availed very little, and we had miscalculated his promises.
[“]Seeing there was no prospect of redress from the Governor, I returned to the room and found the constable, Bettisworth, very urgent to hurry bros. Joseph and Hyrum to prison whilst the brethren were remonstrating with him.
[“]At the same time, a great rabble was gathered in the streets and around the door, and form the rowdyism manifested, I was afraid there was a design to murder the prisoners on the way to the jail.
[“]Without conferring with any person, my next feeling was to procure a guard, and seeing a man habited as a soldier in the room, I went to him and said, ‘I am afraid there is a design against the lives of the Messrs. Smith, will you go immediately and bring your captain, and if not convenient any other captain of a company, and I will pay you well for your trouble.
[“]He said he would, and departed forthwith and soon returned with his captain, whose name I have forgotten, and introduced him to me.
[“]I told him of my fears and requested him immediately to fetch his company; he departed forthwith and arrived at the door with them, just at the time that the constable was hurrying the brethren downstairs.
[“]A number of brethren went along, and one or two strangers, and all of us safely lodged in prison; remained there during the night.”
All John Taylor’s arguments against Governor Ford, everything George A. Smith put in the History of the Church about how unlawful this arrest was, is immediately nullified by the following paragraphs.
As Esq. Woods [Jo’s counsel] went to the door he met Captain Dunn, with some 20 men, they having come to guard the prisoners to jail. Mr. Woods accompanied Governor Ford to (Captain) Justice Robert F. Smith, who gave as a cause for issuing the warrant of committal, that the prisoners were not personally safe at the hotel. Mr. Woods then requested the Governor to have a company of troops from some other county detailed to guard the jail.
Yeah, the reason they were taken to Carthage Jail was just as much for their own protection as it was to prevent them from fleeing Carthage under the cover of night. They even got their own security detail at the direction of Governor Ford who would select only the most trusted of soldiers to make sure vigilante justice wasn’t served while Jo and Hyrum were there.
The company began the journey from Hamilton’s Hotel to Carthage Jail.
Captain Dunn with his company escorted Joseph and Hyrum Smith from their lodgings, together with Willard Richards, John Taylor, John P. Greene, Stephen Markham, Dan Jones, John S. Fullmer, Dr. Southwick, and Lorenzo D. Wasson, to the jail. Markham had a very large hickory cane, which he called “the rascal-beater.” Dan Jones had a smaller walking-stick, and they walked on either side of Joseph and Hyrum, keeping off the drunken rabble, who several times broke through the ranks.
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Nauvoo city marshall John P. Greene, Dan Jones (a Danite who ran a ferry on the Mississippi), John S. Fullmer (what’s up Gazalem!) Dr. Southwick (a Nauvoo city councilor), and Lorenzo D. Wasson (another city councilman), were all locked up in Carthage jail on the night of Tuesday, June 25th, 1844. Initially they were placed in the dungeon but as the quarters were too constrictive for all these men together, they were moved upstairs to the debtor’s apartment “where the prisoners and their friends had amusing conversations on various interesting subjects, which engaged them till late.”
They also had a good ol-fashioned Kirtland-era style prayer meeting in the cell that night.
Prayer was offered, which made Carthage prison into the gate of heaven for a while. They laid promiscuously on the floor, where they all slept from ½ past 11 until 6 a.m. of the 26th.
One of these men wouldn’t leave the jail cell alive. One of them would leave the jail cell by falling out a window, only to be repeatedly shot upon his crumbling to the ground 2 stories below. One of these men would leave on a stretcher, filled with bullet holes and missing a massive chunk of flesh from his hip. Yet another would leave only having sustained a small graze on the ear from another bullet. The rest would leave long before that fateful 2 minutes of Mormon history. The overall point remains that nobody left Carthage unscathed in one way or another. In less than 48 hours, Mormonism would be tossed into the depths of chaos and uncertainty, having just lost their prophet and patriarch.
How 2 Heretic
Q&A June 8 6 p.m.
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