16 Stunning Photographs with Eyewitness Accounts to Help you Remember the Martyrdom on this 170th Anniversary
Even the coldest heart is moved by the events that took place in the Carthage Jail on Thursday, June 27, 1844—170 years ago today. Joseph died not only as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, but as a Mayor of one of the largest cities in America, General of the Nauvoo Legion (the largest city militia in the western United States), a declared candidate for President of the United States, and more tenderly, as a husband to Emma Hale Smith and father of eleven children (six then deceased, one yet unborn). Joseph died, as the Prophets of old, as a witness of the Savior of mankind. The following accounts are given to paint a picture of some of the feelings that surround that fateful day in June of 1844. I have added the photographs so you may journey with the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum to Carthage.
“Willard, the time will come that the balls will fly around you like hail, and you will see your friends fall on the right and on the left, but there shall not be so much as a hole in your garment.” (Joseph Smith to Willard Richards, Summer 1843)
“The last time I saw the Prophet, he was on his way to Carthage jail…They stopped..at the house of Brother Rosecrans. We were on the porch and could hear every word he said…one sentence I well remember. After bidding good-bye, he said to Brother Rosecrans, ‘If I never see you again, or if I never come back, remember that I love you.’ This went through me like electricity. I went in the house and threw myself on the bed and wept like a whipped child. And why this grief for a person I had never spoken to in my life, I could not tell. I knew he was a servant of God, and could only think of the danger he was in, and how deeply he felt it…” (Mary Ellen Kimball on June 24, 1844)
[Joseph looking at the Temple site and at the city of Nauvoo on the way to Carthage:] “This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens; little do they know the trials that await them.” [Sometime later that same day on the road to Carthage, Joseph said,] “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men. If they take my life I shall die an innocent man…and it shall be said of me ‘He was murdered in cold blood.’” (Joseph on the Martyrdom Trail, June 24, 1844)
“Dear Emma, I am very much resigned to my lot knowing I am justified and have done the best that could be done. Give my love to the children and all my friends…you need not have any fears that any harm can happen to us…may God bless you all, Amen.” (Handwritten Letter from Joseph to Emma 8:20 a.m., June 27, 1844)
“…the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” (Jesus Christ to the Nephites, concerning Joseph Smith)
“We have had too much trouble to bring ‘Old Joe’ here to let him ever escape alive…You’ll see that I can prophesy better than ‘Old Joe,’ that neither he nor his brother, nor anyone who will remain with them, will see the sun set today.” (Frank Worrell, Officer of the Guard of Carthage Jail, June 27, 1844)
[Conversation between Joseph and Dan Jones in the Carthage Jail, past midnight on June 27, 1844:] “Brother Dan, are you afraid to die?” Joseph asked.
“Has that time come, think you?” Dan replied. “Engaged in such a cause, I do not think that death would have many terrors.” Joseph then said, “You will see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you ere you die.”
Early that morning Dan Jones left the jail to meet with Governor Ford. He explained to the governor with great anxiety how the lives of Joseph and Hyrum were in great danger, and the threats that were made towards them, to which Governor Ford replied: “You are unnecessarily alarmed for your friends’ safety, sir. The people are not that cruel.” Dan Jones returned to try to reenter the jail but was not allowed. His life was spared; he did fill his mission to Wales, as Joseph prophesied and brought untold thousands into the Church.
Jailer at Carthage, George W. Stigall, heard of the impending danger to the lives of the prisoners (whom he admired and knew were innocent men) and suggested they go from his upstairs bedroom where they had been staying to the inner cell next to the bedroom where they would be safer. Joseph turned to Dr. Willard Richards and said, “If we go into the cell, will you go in with us?” The doctor answered, “Brother Joseph, you did not ask me to cross the river with you-you did not ask me to come to Carthage-you did not ask me to come to jail with you-and do you think I would forsake you now? But I will tell you what I will do: if you are condemned to be hung for treason, I will be hung in your stead, and you shall go free.” Joseph said, “You cannot.” Willard replied, “I will.” Witnessing this loyalty, Joseph wept. (This conversation took place between Willard Richards and Joseph about 5:00 p.m., less than fifteen minutes before the brutal murders, June 27, 1844)
“A great crime has been done by destroying the Expositor press and placing the city under martial law, and a severe atonement must be made, so prepare your minds for the emergency.” (Governor Thomas Ford, State of Illinois, June 27, 1844. This was said about the time of the martyrdom while he was in Nauvoo.)
“I felt a dull, lonely, sickening sensation…When I reflected that our noble chieftain, the Prophet of the living God, had fallen, and that I had seen his brother in the cold embrace of death, it seemed as though there was a void or vacuum in the great field of human existence to me, and a dark gloomy chasm in the kingdom, that we were left alone. Oh, how lonely was that feeling! How cold, barren and desolate! In the midst of difficulties he was always the first in motion; in critical positions his counsel was always sought. As our Prophet, he approached our God and obtained for us his will; but now our Prophet, our counselor, our general, our leader was gone, and amid the fiery ordeal that we then had to pass through, we were left alone without his aid, and as our future guide for things spiritual or temporal, and for all things pertaining to this world, or the next, he had spoken for the last time on earth.” (John Taylor)
“Had he [Joseph] been spared a martyr’s fate till mature manhood and age, he was certainly endued with powers and ability to have revolutionized the world…as it is, his works will live to endless ages, and unnumbered millions yet unborn will mention his name with honor, as a noble instrument…who…laid the foundations of that kingdom spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, which should break in pieces all other kingdoms and stand forever.” (Parley Parker Pratt)
“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.
” (John Taylor)
“After the corpses were washed and dressed in their burial clothes, we were allowed to see them. I had for a long time braced every nerve, roused every energy of my soul and called upon God to strengthen me, but when I entered the room and saw my murdered sons extended both at once before my eyes and heard the sobs and groans of my family…it was too much: I sank back, crying to the Lord in the agony of my soul, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!’ A voice replied, ‘I have taken them to myself, that they might have rest’…I then thought upon the promise which I had received in Missouri, that in five years Joseph should have power over all his enemies. The time had elapsed and the promise was fulfilled.” (Lucy Mack Smith, mother of Joseph and Hyrum, June 29, 1844, Nauvoo Illinois)
“My Dear Companion…We are in great affliction at this time. Our dear Br. Joseph Smith and Hyrum has fell victims to a ferocious mob. The great God of the Creation only knows whether the rest shall be preserved in safety or not…I have been blessed to keep my feelings quite calm through all the storm. I hope you will be careful on your way home and not expose yourself to those that will endanger your life. Yours in haste. If we meet no more in this world may we meet where parting is no more. Farewell.” (Mary Ann Angell Young to her husband, Brigham Young, President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, dated June 30, 1844)
“We would beseech the Latter Day Saints in Nauvoo, and else where, to hold fast to the faith that has been delivered to them in the last days, abiding in the perfect law of the gospel. Be peaceable, quiet citizens, doing the works of righteousness…Rejoice then, that you are found worthy to live and die for God: men may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul.” (W.W. Phelps, W. Richards, John Taylor, July 1, 1844)
 Smith, Joseph, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1980), 6:619 (Hereinafter, History of the Church).
 History of the Church, 6:547.
 The Juvenile Instructor, 15 August 1892, 27: 490-91.
 History of the Church, 6:554-55.
 Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. and comp. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1984), 611.
 History of the Church, 6: 558.
 3 Nephi 21:10.
 Dan Jones, “The Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith,” 20 January, 1855, handwritten manuscript in the Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 Ibid. See also History of the Church 6:603.
 History of the Church 6:16.
 Ibid. 623.
 Ibid. 7:106.
 Pratt, Parley P. Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Revised and Enhanced Edition. Edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor. Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 2000, pp. 45, 46.
 Doctrine and Covenants 135:3.
 Smith, Lucy Mack. Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother. Edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor. Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1996, pp. 457, 458.
 Mary Ann Angell Young to Brigham Young, 30 June, 1844, dated at Nauvoo, Illinois, housed at Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
 Times and Seasons, vol. 5, no. 12, (l July 1844): 568
Independence, Missouri was chosen for the reunion this summer to celebrate important anniversaries in our family history; the dedication of the temple lot as well as one of the original Smith reunion held in Independence more than forty years ago. Our theme “Walking in their Shoes” will help us remember our Smith ancestors who lived in Missouri, their efforts to build Zion, and courage as they faced great trials.
Our Grandmother Lucy Mack wrote that while living in Missouri the Smith family numbered about 24. (Several of the Smith women were expecting babies.) Included in the group were eleven children eight years old and under.
Persecutions the family faced are difficult to imagine. Agnes Smith, wife of Don Carlos, waded the Grand River with her babies in arm after the mob burned their home to the ground. Within days of giving birth to a son, Samuel’s wife, Mary, was told she had to move immediately to Far West traveling alone in the rain in an open lumber wagon. These are just two examples illustrating their plight.
For some Missouri may be remembered as a place of sadness, in contrast, scriptures revealed to Joseph in Liberty Jail are a source of hope. We wish to share this hope through our family service project of collecting shoes for a women and children’s shelter in the Independence area. Your donation of new shoes or small contribution of cash will purchase shoes for young children and mothers in need, who have left their homes with little in hand, much like our Smith ancestors had to do.
As we serve together our family bond is strengthened and we become part of a greater purpose to ensure the Smith name is known for good. Donations can be made now. We’ll also have a collection shoe box at the reunion.
Thank you for your kindness,
Steve and Frances Orton
Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Reunion Committee
Posted: Jun 14, 2014 3:35 PM MDT
Updated: Jun 14, 2014 10:27 PM MDT
By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
NAUVOO, Ill. — Michelle Murri held a key to history in the palm of her hand.
The small house key, carefully teased from the soil, could open doors to an even better understanding of Nauvoo’s past.
An archaeological dig is underway to find the location of the home built for Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife Lucy Mack in Nauvoo. Recent discoveries led to a possible site just south of the Joseph and Emma Smith Mansion House.
“You found the key to Grandma’s house,” Bob Smith, the dig site host and a great-great-great-grandson of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, said. “Working on the site, holding something they might have held before, making that connection is a positive thing.”
Volunteers are discovering what appears to be a pier support, a structural support for the house, which research says was a double log cabin.
“Young Joseph talks about having a breezeway between the two structures and a roof over the whole area which was used for storage,” Smith said. “We found walkway all along here. You can see remnants.”
It’s history both for Nauvoo and for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Joseph Smith Sr. was the patriarch of the church. This is the house where he gave his patriarchal blessings to his kids,” Smith said. “This is a special spot.”
It’s special for Murri, a volunteer from LeVerkin, Utah, who just graduated from Utah State University.
“I’ve never been to Nauvoo. This was a perfect opportunity to visit and get some professional experience,” she said. “It’s taught me a lot about the history of Nauvoo and my own family history, and it’s also taught me a lot of skills that I can use in my further archaeology jobs.”
Archaeologist Paul DeBarthe heads a team of volunteers carefully digging into the past, screening buckets of soil and preserving their finds from bits of pottery to window glass, metal and buttons.
“Fundamentally, what we have here is a site that in the last three years has produced 10,000 pieces,” DeBarthe said.
“Anytime you can touch something, it just makes you more aware of history,” said longtime volunteer Synthia DeBarthe, whose husband Thomas is a cousin to Paul DeBarthe. “It gets into your heart and your soul, and you never forget it.”
The Joseph Smith Historic Site along with the Joseph Smith Sr. Family Association, the Hyrum Smith Family Association, the Joseph Smith Jr. Historical Society and the Samuel H. Smith Foundation sponsor the digs.
The work brings together Smith, a Mormon, with DeBarthe, a member of the Community of Christ, along with volunteers of many faiths.
“To discover, preserve and share. That’s what we’re about,” Smith said. “Religion doesn’t matter.”
DeBarthe has done archeological work in Nauvoo since 1971. Most of the work was done from 1975 to 1984, then resumed three years ago when Smith and DeBarthe met.
“We’ve got enough Smith family sites to keep us busy for 10 years,” Smith said.
Among the finds are projectile points dating back 10,000 years to the age of the hairy mammoths, more points used by bison hunters 6,000 years ago, pottery from the Early Woodland period and a burial site from the Middle Woodland period some 2,000 years ago not far from the Smith’s own family plots.
“People come here to pilgrimage to the Joseph Smith burial site and home site. Mormons in particular come for about five years of Mormon history, 1839-1844,” he said. “For us to come looking for five years of history and find 10,000 years is really gratifying.”
Replacing the wooden steps at the Mansion House with historically-accurate stone steps led to even more pieces of the past.
Volunteer Rebecca Esplin found a piece of what DeBarthe said was cord-marked, grit-tempered pottery. Working at the site was a perfect fit for Esplin, who just graduated from Utah State University.
“I’ve always loved Nauvoo, and I like historical archaeology as well,” she said. “Finding things makes it a lot more exciting than just digging and not finding anything.”
Pieces from the archaeological digs near the Mansion House come into the lab in the basement of the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo for classifying, authenticating and tabulating. From there, Synthia DeBarthe’s job is to “try to put things back together again.”
She carefully glues together pieces, including a butter churn one day last week, adding masking tape for support until they dry.
“What we’re interested in doing is putting together enough pieces so we can create a museum over in the visitor center for people to get an idea of the times and how they lived here in Nauvoo,” she said.
Synthia DeBarthe says she gets everything from stone to bone to glass, nails, ceramics and stoneware. The finds tell about early family life in Nauvoo.
“They had a lot of things,” she said. They weren’t poor, but they weren’t rich. It appears they were comfortable.”
Work done three years ago tried to explore the legend that the Smith homestead was built in 1805 as a trading post.
“We found 5,000-year-old stuff, 2,000-year-old stuff, but we didn’t find very much attributed to a trading post in 1800,” DeBarthe said. “In the meantime, across the street, we’re finding some possible trade beads. Where was the trading post? That’s one question we’d like to answer.”
HOW TO HELP
Volunteers can spend an hour, a day or a week at the archeological dig sites in Nauvoo. Work continues through Friday, June 27. More information is available by contacting dig site hosts Bob and Becky Smith at 801-471-7253 firstname.lastname@example.org more