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The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901 by William Alexander Linn

Part 8 out of 15

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Smith then proposed that the Council make some provision for
putting down the Expositor, declaring its allegations to be
"treasonable against all chartered rights and privileges." He
read from the federal and state constitutions to define his idea
of the rights of the press, and quoted Blackstone on private
wrongs. Hyrum openly advocated smashing the press and pieing the
type. One councillor alone raised his voice for moderation,
proposing to give the offenders a few days' notice, and to assess
a fine of $300 for every libel. W. W. Phelps (who was back in the
fold again) held that the city charter gave them power to declare
the newspaper a nuisance, and cited the spilling of the tea in
Boston harbor as a precedent for an attack on the Expositor
office. Finally, on June 10, this resolution was passed

"Resolved by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo that the
printing office from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor is a
public nuisance, and also all of said Nauvoo Expositors which may
be or exist in said establishment; and the mayor is instructed to
cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed
without delay, in such manner as he shall direct."

Smith, of course, made very prompt use of this authority, issuing
the following order to the city marshal:--

"You are hereby commanded to destroy the printing press from
whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of said
printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Expositors
and libellous hand bills found in said establishment; and if
resistance be offered to the execution of this order, by the
owners or others, destroy the house; and if any one threatens you
or the Mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who
threaten you; and fail not to execute this order without delay,
and make due return thereon.


To meet any armed opposition which might arise, the acting major
general of the Legion was thus directed:--

"You are hereby commanded to hold the Nauvoo Legion in readiness
forthwith to execute the city ordinances, and especially to
remove the printing establishment of the Nauvoo Expositor ; and
this you are required to do at sight, under the penalty of the
laws, provided the marshal shall require it and need your


"Lieutenant General Nauvoo Legion."

The story of the compliance with the mayor's order is thus
concisely told in the "marshal's return," "The within-named press
and type is destroyed and pied according to order on this loth
day of June, 1844, at about eight o'clock P.m." The work was
accomplished without any serious opposition. The marshal appeared
at the newspaper office, accompanied by an escort from the
Legion, and forced his way into the building. The press and type
were carried into the street, where the press was broken up with
hammers, and all that was combustible was burned.

Dr. Foster and the Laws fled at once to Carthage, Illinois, under
the belief that their lives were in danger. The story of their
flight and of the destruction of their newspaper plant by order
of the Nauvoo authorities spread quickly all over the state, and
in the neighboring counties the anti-Mormon feeling, that had for
some time been growing more intense, was now fanned to fury. This
feeling the Mormon leaders seemed determined to increase still

The owners of the Expositor sued out at Carthage a writ for the
removal to that place of Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo counsellors
on a charge of a riot in connection with the destruction of their
plant. This writ, when presented, was at once set aside by a writ
of habeas corpus issued by the Nauvoo Municipal Court, but the
case was heard before a Mormon justice of the peace on June 17,
and he discharged the accused. As if this was not a sufficient
defiance of public opinion, Smith, as mayor, published a
"proclamation" in the Neighbor of June 19, reciting the events in
connection with the attack on the Expositor, and closing thus:

"Our city is infested with a set of blacklegs, counterfeiters and
debauchees, and that the proprietors of this press were of that
class, the minutes of the Municipal Court fully testify, and in
ridding our young and flourishing city of such characters, we are
abused by not only villanous demagogues, but by some who, from
their station and influence in society, ought rather to raise
than depress the standard of human excellence. We have no
disturbance or excitement among us, save what is made by the
thousand and one idle rumors afloat in the country. Every one is
protected in his person and property, and but few cities of a
population of twenty thousand people, in the United States, hath
less of dissipation or vice of any kind than the city of Nauvoo.

"Of the correctness of our conduct in this affair, we appeal to
every high court in the state, and to its ordeal we are willing
to appear at any time that His Excellency, Governor Ford, shall
please to call us before it. I, therefore, in behalf of the
Municipal Court of Nauvoo, warn the lawless not to be precipitate
in any interference in our affairs, for as sure as there is a God
in Israel we shall ride triumphant over all oppression."


CHAPTER XIII. Uprising Of The Non-Mormons--Smith's Arrest

The gauntlet thus thrown down by Smith was promptly taken up by
his non-Mormon neighbors, and public meetings were held in
various places to give expression to the popular indignation. At
such a meeting in Warsaw, Hancock County, eighteen miles down the
river, the following was among the resolutions adopted:

"Resolved, that the time, in our opinion, has arrived when the
adherents of Smith, as a body, should be driven from the
surrounding settlements into Nauvoo; that the Prophet and his
miscreant adherents should then be demanded at their hands, and,
if not surrendered, a war of extermination should be waged, to
the entire destruction, if necessary for our protection, of his

Warsaw was considered the most violent anti-Mormon neighborhood,
the Signal newspaper there being especially bitter in its
attacks; but the people in all the surrounding country began to
prepare for "war" in earnest. At Warsaw 150 men were mustered in
under General Knox, and $1000 was voted for supplies. In
Carthage, Rushville, Green Plains, and many other towns in
Illinois men began organizing themselves into military companies,
cannon were ordered from St. Louis, and the near-by places in
Iowa, as well as some in Missouri, sent word that their aid could
be counted on. Rumors of all sorts of Mormon outrages were
circulated, and calls were made for militia, here to protect the
people against armed Mormon bands, there against Mormon thieves.
Many farmhouses were deserted by their owners through fear, and
the steamboats on the river were crowded with women and children,
who were sent to some safe settlement while the men were doing
duty in the militia ranks. Many of the alarming reports were
doubtless started by non-Mormons to inflame the public feeling
against their opponents, others were the natural outgrowth of the
existing excitement.

On June 17 a committee from Carthage made to Governor Ford so
urgent a request for the calling out of the militia, that he
decided to visit the disturbed district and make an investigation
on his own account.* On arriving at Carthage he found a
considerable militia force already assembled as a posse
comitatus, at the call of the constables. This force, and similar
ones in McDonough and Schuyler counties, he placed under command
of their own officers. Next, the governor directed the mayor and
council of Nauvoo to send a committee to state to him their story
of the recent doings. This they did, convincing him, by their own
account, of the outrageous character of the proceedings against
the Expositor. He therefore arrived at two conclusions: first,
that no authority at his command should be spared in bringing the
Mormon leaders to justice; and, second, that this must be done
without putting the Mormons in danger of an attack by any kind of
a mob. He therefore addressed the militia force from each county
separately, urging on them the necessity of acting only within
the law; and securing from them all a vote pledging their aid to
the governor in following a strictly legal course, and protecting
from violence the Mormon leaders when they should be arrested.

* The story of the events just preceding Joseph Smith's death are
taken from Governor Ford's report to the Illinois legislature,
and from his "History of Illinois."

The governor then sent word to Smith that he and his associates
would be protected if they would surrender, but that arrested
they should be, even if it took the whole militia force of the
state to accomplish this. The constable and guards who carried
the governor's mandate to Nauvoo found the city a military camp.
Smith had placed it under martial law, assembled the Legion,
called in all the outlying Mormons, and ordered that no one
should enter or leave the place without submitting to the
strictest inquiry. The governor's messengers had no difficulty,
however, in gaining admission to Smith, who promised that he and
the members of the Council would accompany the officers to
Carthage the next morning (June 23) at eight o'clock. But at that
time the accused did not appear, and, without any delay or any
effort to arrest the men who were wanted, the officers returned
to Carthage and reported that all the accused had fled.

Whatever had been the intention of Smith when the constable first
appeared, he and his associates did surrender, as the governor
had expressed a belief that they would do.. Statements of the
circumstances of the surrender were written at the time by H. P.
Reid and James W. Woods of Iowa, who were employed by the Mormons
as counsel, and were printed in the Times and Seasons, Vol. V,
No. 12. Mr. Woods, according to these accounts, arrived in Nauvoo
on Friday, June 21, and, after an interview with Smith. and his
friends, went to Carthage the next evening to assure Governor
Ford that the Nauvoo officers were ready to obey the law. There
he learned that the constable and his assistants had gone to
Nauvoo to demand his clients' surrender; but he does not mention
their return without the prisoners. He must have known, however,
that the first intention of Smith and the Council was to flee
from the wrath of their neighbors. The "Life of Brigham Young,"
published by Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, 1893, contains this

"The Prophet hesitated about giving himself up, and started, on
the night of June 22, with his brother Hyrum, W. Richards, John
Taylor, and a few others for the Rocky Mountains. He was,
however, intercepted by his friends, and induced to abandon his
project, being chided with cowardice and with deserting his
people. This was more than he could bear, and so he returned,
saying: 'If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of no
value to myself. We are going back to be slaughtered.'"

It will be remembered that Young, Rigdon, Orson Pratt, and many
others of the leading men of the church were absent at this time,
most of them working up Smith's presidential "boom." Orson Pratt,
who was then in New Hampshire, said afterward, "If the Twelve had
been here, we would not have seen him given up."

Woods received from the governor a pledge of protection for all
who might be arrested, and an assurance that if the Mormons would
give themselves up at Carthage, on Monday, the 24th, this would
be accepted as a compliance with the governor's orders. He
therefore returned to Nauvoo with this message on Sunday evening,
and the next morning the accused left that place with him for
Carthage. They soon met Captain Dunn, who, with a company of
sixty men, was going to Nauvoo with an order from the governor
for the state arms in the possession of the Legion.* Woods made
an agreement with Captain Dunn that the arms should be given up
by Smith's order, and that his clients should place themselves
under the captain's protection, and return with him to Carthage.
The return trip to Nauvoo, and thence to Carthage, was not
completed until about midnight. The Mormons were not put under
restraint that night, but the next morning they surrendered
themselves to the constable on a charge of riot in connection
with the destruction of the Expositor plant.

* It was stated that on two hours' notice two thousand men
appeared, all armed, and that they surrendered their arms in
compliance with the governor's plans.

CHAPTER XIV. The Murder Of The Prophet--His Character

On Tuesday morning, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were arrested again in
Carthage, this time on a charge of treason in levying war against
the state, by declaring martial law in Nauvoo and calling out the
Legion. In the afternoon of that day all the accused, numbering
fifteen, appeared before a justice of the peace, and, to prevent
any increase in the public excitement, gave bonds in the sum of
$500 each for their appearance at the next term of the Circuit
Court to answer the charge of riot.* It was late in the evening
when this business was finished, and nothing was said at the time
about the charge of treason.

* The trial of the survivors resulted in a verdict of acquittal.
"The Mormons," says Governor Ford, "could have a Mormon jury to
be tried by, selected by themselves, and the anti-Mormons, by
objecting to the sheriff and regular panel, could have one from
the anti-Mormons. No one could [then] be convicted of any crime
in Hancock County."--"History of Illinois," p. 369.

Very soon after their return to the hotel, however, the constable
who had arrested the Smiths on the new charge appeared with a
mittimus from the justice of the peace, and, under its authority,
conveyed them to the county jail. Their counsel immediately
argued before the governor that this action was illegal, as the
Smiths had had no hearing on the charge of treason, and the
governor went with the lawyers to consult the justice concerning
his action. The justice explained that he had directed the
removal of the prisoners to jail because he did not consider them
safe in the hotel. The governor held that, from the time of their
delivery to the jailer, they were beyond his jurisdiction and
responsibility, but he granted a request of their counsel for a
military guard about the jail. He says, however, that he
apprehended neither an attack on the building nor an escape of
the prisoners, adding that if they had escaped, "it would have
been the best way of getting rid of the Mormons," since these
leaders would never have dared to return to the state, and all
their followers would have joined them in their place of refuge.

The militia force in Carthage at that time numbered some twelve
hundred men, with four hundred or five hundred more persons under
arms in the town. There was great pressure on the governor to
march this entire force to Nauvoo, ostensibly to search for a
counterfeiting establishment, in order to overawe the Mormons by
a show of force. The governor consented to this plan, and it was
arranged that the officers at Carthage and Warsaw should meet on
June 27 at a point on the Mississippi midway between the latter
place and Nauvoo.

Governor Ford was not entirely certain about the safety of the
prisoners, and he proposed to take them with him in the march to
Nauvoo, for their protection. But while preparations for this
march were still under way, trustworthy information reached him
that, if the militia once entered the Mormon city, its
destruction would certainly follow, the plan being to accept a
shot fired at the militia by someone as a signal for a general
slaughter and conflagration. He determined to prevent this, not
only on humane grounds,--"the number of women, inoffensive and
young persons, and innocent children which must be contained in
such a city of twelve hundred to fifteen thousand
inhabitants"--but because he was not certain of the outcome of a
conflict in which the Mormons would outnumber his militia almost
two to one. After a council of the militia officers, in which a
small majority adhered to the original plan, the governor solved
the question by summarily disbanding all the state forces under
arms, except three companies, two of which would continue to
guard the jail, and the other would accompany the governor on a
visit to Nauvoo, where he proposed to search for counterfeiters,
and to tell the inhabitants that any retaliatory measures against
the non-Mormons would mean "the destruction of their city, and
the extermination of their people."

The jail at Carthage was a stone building, situated at the
northwestern boundary of the village, and near a piece of woods
that were convenient for concealment. It contained the jailer's
apartments, cells for prisoners, and on the second story a sort
of assembly room. At the governor's suggestion, Joseph and Hyrum
were allowed the freedom of this larger room, where their friends
were permitted to visit them, without any precautions against the
introduction of weapons or tools for their escape.

Their guards were selected from the company known as the Carthage
Grays, Captain Smith, commander. In this choice the governor made
a mistake which always left him under a charge of collusion in
the murder of the prisoners. It was not, in the first place,
necessary to select any Hancock company for this service, as he
had militia from McDonough County on the ground. All the people
of Hancock County were in a fever of excitement against the
Mormons, while the McDonough County militia had voted against the
march into Nauvoo. Moreover, when the prisoners, after their
arrival at Carthage, had been exhibited to the McDonough company
at the request of the latter, who had never seen them, the Grays
were so indignant at what they called a triumphal display, that
they refused to obey the officer in command, and were for a time
in revolt. "Although I knew that this company were the enemies of
the Smiths," says the governor, "yet I had confidence in their
loyalty and their integrity, because their captain was
universally spoken of as a most respectable citizen and honorable
man." The governor further excused himself for the selection
because the McDonough company were very anxious to return home to
attend to their crops, and because, as the prisoners were likely
to remain in jail all summer, he could not have detained the men
from the other county so long. He presents also the curious plea
that the frequent appeals made to him direct for the
extermination or expulsion of the Mormons gave him assurance that
no act of violence would be committed contrary to his known
opposition, and he observes, "This was a circumstance well
calculated to conceal from me the secret machinations on foot!"

In this state of happy confidence the governor set out for Nauvoo
on the morning of June 27. On the way, one of the officers who
accompanied him told him that he was apprehensive of an attack on
the jail because of talk he had heard in Carthage. The governor
was reluctant to believe that such a thing could occur while he
was in the Mormon city, exposed to Mormon vengeance, but he sent
back a squad, with instructions to Captain Smith to see that the
jail was safely guarded. He had apprehensions of his own,
however, and on arriving at Nauvoo simply made an address as
above outlined, and hurried back to Carthage without even looking
for counterfeit money. He had not gone more than two miles when
messengers met him with the news that the Smith brothers had been
killed in the jail.

The Warsaw regiment (it is so called in the local histories),
under command of Colonel Levi Williams, set out on the morning of
June 27 for the rendezvous on the Mississippi, preparatory to the
march to Nauvoo. The resolutions adopted in Warsaw and the tone
of the local press had left no doubt about the feeling of the
people of that neighborhood toward the Mormons, and fully
justified the decision of the governor in countermanding the
march proposed. His unexpected order disbanding the militia
reached the Warsaw troops when they had advanced about eight
miles. A decided difference of opinion was expressed regarding
it. Some of the most violent, including Editor Sharp of the
Signal, wanted to continue the march to Carthage in order to
discuss the situation with the other forces there; the more
conservative advised an immediate return to Warsaw. Each party
followed its own inclination, those who continued toward Carthage
numbering, it is said, about two hundred.

While there is no doubt that the Warsaw regiment furnished the
men who made the attack on the jail, there is evidence that the
Carthage Grays were in collusion with them. William N. Daniels,
in his account of the assault, says that the Warsaw men, when
within four miles of Carthage, received a note from the Grays
(which he quotes) telling them of the good opportunity presented
"to murder the Smiths" in the governor's absence. His testimony
alone would be almost valueless, but Governor Ford confirms it,
and Gregg (who holds that the only purpose of the mob was to
seize the prisoners and run them into Missouri) says he is
"compelled" to accept the report. According to Governor Ford, one
of the companies designated as a guard for the jail disbanded and
went home, and the other was stationed by its captain 150 yards
from the building, leaving only a sergeant and eight men at the
jail itself. "A communication," he adds, "was soon established
between the conspirators and the company, and it was arranged
that the guards should have their guns charged with blank
cartridges, and fire at the assailants when they attempted to
enter the jail."

Both Willard Richards and John Taylor were in the larger room
with the Smith brothers when the attack was made (other visitors
having recently left), and both gave detailed accounts of the
shooting, Richards soon afterward, in a statement printed in the
Neighbor and the Times and Seasons under the title "Two Minutes
in Gaol," and Taylor in his "Martyrdom of Joseph Smith." * They
differ only in minor particulars.

* To be found in Burton's "City of the Saints."

All in the room were sitting in their shirt sleeves except
Richards, when they saw a number of men, with blackened faces,
advancing around the corner of the jail toward the stairway. The
door leading from the room to the stairs was hurriedly closed,
and, as it was without a lock, Hyrum Smith and Richards placed
their shoulders against it. Finding their entrance opposed, the
assailants fired a shot through the door (Richards says they
fired a volley up the stairway), which caused Hyrum and Richards
to leap back. While Hyrum was retreating across the room, with
his face to the door, a second shot fired through the door struck
him by the side of the nose, and at the same moment another ball,
fired through the window at the other side of the room, entered
his back, and, passing through his body, was stopped by the watch
in his vest pocket, smashing the works. He fell on his back
exclaiming, "I am a dead man," and did not speak again.

One of their callers had left a six-shooting pistol with the
prisoners, and, when Joseph saw his brother shot, he advanced
with this weapon to the door, and opening it a few inches,
snapped each barrel toward the men on the other side. Three
barrels missed fire, but each of the three that exploded seems to
have wounded a man; accounts differ as to the seriousness of
their injuries. While Joseph was firing, Taylor stood by him
armed with a stout hickory stick, and Richards was on his other
side holding a cane. As soon as Joseph's firing, which had
checked the assailants for a moment, ceased, the latter stuck
their weapons through the partly opened doorway, and fired into
the room. Taylor tried to parry the guns with his cudgel. "That's
right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can," said
the prophet, and these are the last words he is remembered to
have spoken. The assailants hesitated to enter the room, perhaps
not knowing what weapons the Mormons had, and Taylor concluded to
take his chances of a leap through an open window opposite the
door, and some twenty-five feet from the ground. But as he was
about to jump out, a ball struck him in the thigh, depriving him
of all power of motion. He fell inside the window, and as soon as
he recovered power to move, crawled under a bed which stood in
one corner of the room. The men in the hallway continued to
thrust in their guns and fire, and Richards kept trying to knock
aside the muzzles with his cane. Taylor in this way, before he
reached the bed, received three more balls, one below the left
knee, one in the left arm, and another in the left hip.

Almost as soon as Taylor fell, the prophet made a dash for the
window. As he was part way out, two balls fired through the
doorway struck him, and one from outside the building entered his
right breast. Richards says: "He fell outward, exclaiming 'O
Lord, my God.' As his feet went out of the window, my head went
in, the balls whistling all around. At this instant the cry was
raised, 'He's leaped the window,' and the mob on the stairs and
in the entry ran out. I withdrew from the window, thinking it of
no use to leap out on a hundred bayonets, then around General
Smith's body. Not satisfied with this, I again reached my head
out of the window and watched some seconds, to see if there were
any signs of life, regardless of my own, determined to see the
end of him I loved. Being fully satisfied that he was dead, with
a hundred men near the body and more coming round the corner of
the gaol, and expecting a return to our room, I rushed toward the
prison door at the head of the stairs." Finding the inner doors
of the jail unlocked, Richards dragged Taylor into a cell and
covered him with an old mattress. Both expected a return of the
mob, but the lynchers disappeared as soon as they satisfied
themselves that the prophet was dead. Richards was not injured at
all, although his large size made him an ample target.

Most Mormon accounts of Smith's death say that, after he fell,
the body was set up against a well curb in the yard and riddled
with balls. Taylor mentions this report, but Richards, who
specifically says that he saw the prophet die, does not. Governor
Ford's account says that Smith was only stunned by the fall and
was shot in the yard. Perhaps the original authority for this
version was a lad named William N. Daniels, who accompanied the
Warsaw men to Carthage, and, after the shooting, went to Nauvoo
and had his story published by the Mormons in pamphlet form, with
two extravagant illustrations, in which one of the assailants is
represented as approaching Smith with a knife to cut off his

*A detailed account of the murder of the Smiths, and events
connected with it, was contributed to the Atlantic Monthly for
December, 1869, by John Hay. This is accepted by Kennedy as
written by "one whose opportunities for information were
excellent, whose fairness cannot be questioned, and whose ability
to distinguish the true from the false is of the highest order."
H. H. Bancroft, whose tone is always pro-Mormon, alludes to this
article as "simply a tissue of falsehoods." In reply to a note of
inquiry Secretary Hay wrote to the author, under date of November
17, 1900: "I relied more upon my memory and contemporary
newspapers for my facts than on certified documents. I will not
take my oath to everything the article contains, but I think in
the main it is correct." This article says that Joseph Smith was
severely wounded before he ran to the window, "and half leaped,
half fell into the jail yard below. With his last dying energies
he gathered himself up, and leaned in a sitting posture against
the rude stone well curb. His stricken condition, his vague
wandering glances, excited no pity in the mob thirsting for his
life. A squad of Missourians, who were standing by the fence,
leveled their pieces at him, and, before they could see him again
for the smoke they made, Joe Smith was dead:" This is not an
account of an eye-witness.

The bodies of the two brothers were removed to the hotel in
Carthage, and were taken the next day to Nauvoo, arriving there
about three o'clock in the afternoon. They were met by
practically the entire population, and a procession made up of
the City Council, the generals of the Legion with their staffs,
the Legion and the citizens generally, all under command of the
city marshal, escorted them to the Nauvoo Mansion, where
addresses were made by Dr. Richards, W. W. Phelps, the lawyers
Woods and Reid, and Colonel Markham. The utmost grief was shown
by the Mormons, who seemed stunned by the blow.

The burial followed, but the bodies did not occupy the graves.
Stenhouse is authority for the statement that, fearing a grave
robbery (which in fact occurred the next night), the coffins were
filled with stones, and the bodies were buried secretly beneath
the unfinished Temple. Mistrustful that even this concealment
would not be sufficient, they were soon taken up and reburied
under the brick wall back of the Mansion House.*

* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 174.

Brigham Young said at the conference in the Temple on October 8,
1845, "We will petition Sister Emma, in the name of Israel's God,
to let us deposit the remains of Joseph according as he has
commanded us, and if she will not consent to it, our garments are
clear." She did not consent. For the following statement about
the future disposition of the bodies I am indebted to the
grandson of the prophet, Mr. Frederick Madison Smith, one of the
editors of the Saints' Herald (Reorganized Church) at Lamoni,
Iowa, dated December 15, 1900:--

"The burial place of the brothers Joseph and Hyrum has always
remained a secret, being known only to a very few of the
immediate family. In fact, unless it has lately been revealed to
others, the exact spot is known only to my father and his
brother. Others who knew the secret are now silent in death. The
reasons for the secrecy were that it was feared that, if the
burial place was known at the time, there might have been an
inclination on the part of the enemies of those men to desecrate
their bodies and graves. There is not now, and probably has not
been for years, any danger of such desecration, and the only
reason I can see for still keeping it a secret is the natural
disinclination on the part of the family to talk about such

"However, I have been on the ground with my father when I knew I
was standing within a few feet of where the remains were lying,
and it is known to many about where that spot is. It is a short
distance from the Nauvoo House, on the bank of the Mississippi.
The lot is still owned by the family, the title being in my
father's name. There is not, that I know, any intention of ever
taking the bodies to Far West or Independence, Missouri. The
chances are that their resting places will never be disturbed
other than to erect on the spot a monument. In fact, a movement
is now underway to raise the means to do that. A monument fund is
being subscribed to by the members of the church. The monument
would have been erected by the family, but it is not financially
able to do it."

In the October following, indictments were found against Colonel
Williams of the Warsaw regiment, State Senator J. C. Davis,
Editor Sharp, and six others, including three who were said to
have been wounded by Smith's pistol shots, but the sheriff did
not succeed in making any arrests. In the May following some of
the accused appeared for trial. A struck jury was obtained, but,
in the existing state of public feeling, an acquittal was a
foregone conclusion. The guards at the jail would identify no
one, and Daniels, the pamphlet writer, and another leading
witness for the prosecution gave contradictory accounts.

But the prophet, according to Mormon recitals, did not go
unavenged. Lieutenant Worrell, who commanded the detachment of
the guards at the jail, was shot not long after, as we shall see.
Murray McConnell, who represented the governor in the prosecution
of the alleged lynchers, was assassinated twenty-four years
later. P. P. Pratt gives an account of the fate of other
"persecutors." The arm of one Townsend, who was wounded by Joe's
pistol, continued to rot until it was taken off, and then would
not heal. A colonel of the Missouri forces, who died in
Sacramento in 1849, "was eaten with worms, a large, black-headed
kind of maggot, seeming a half-pint at a time." Another
Missourian's "face and jaw on one side literally rotted, and half
his face actually fell off." *

*Pratt's "Autobiography," pp. 475-476.

It is difficult for the most fair-minded critic to find in the
character of Joseph Smith anything to commend, except an
abundance of good-nature which made him personally popular with
the body of his followers. He has been credited with power as a
leader, and it was certainly little less than marvellous that he
could maintain his leadership after his business failure in Ohio,
and the utter break-down of his revealed promises concerning a
Zion in Missouri. The explanation of this success is to be found
in the logically impregnable position of his character as a
prophet, so long as the church itself retained its organization,
and in the kind of people who were gathered into his fold. If it
was not true that HE received the golden plates from an angel; if
it was not true that HE translated them with divine assistance;
if it was not true that HE received from on high the
"revelations" vouchsafed for the guidance of the church,--then
there was no new Bible, no new revelation, no Mormon church. If
Smith was pulled down, the whole church structure must crumble
with him. Lee, referring to the days in Missouri, says, "Every
Mormon, if true to his faith, believed as freely in Joseph Smith
and his holy character as they did that God existed."* Some of
the Mormons who knew Smith and his career in Missouri and
Illinois were so convinced of the ridiculousness of his claims
that they proposed, after the gathering in Utah, to drop him
entirely. Proof of this, and of Brigham Young's realization of
the impossibility of doing so, is found in Young's remarks at the
conference which received the public announcement of the
"revelation" concerning polygamy. Referring to the suggestion
that had been made, "Don't mention Joseph Smith, never mention
the Book of Mormon and Zion, and all the people will follow you,"
Young boldly declared: "What I have received from the Lord, I
have received by Joseph Smith; he was the instrument made use of.
If I drop him, I must drop these principles. They have not been
revealed, declared, or explained by any other man since the days
of the apostles." This view is accepted by the Mormons in Utah

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 76.

If it seems still more surprising that Smith's associates placed
so little restraint on his business schemes, it must be
remembered that none of his early colaborers--Rigdon, Harris,
Cowdery, and the rest--was a better business man than he, and
that he absolutely brooked no interference. It was Smith who
decided every important step, as, for instance, the land
purchases in and around Nauvoo; and men who would let him
originate were compelled to let him carry out. We have seen how
useless better business men like the Laws found it to argue with
him on any practical question. The length to which he dared go in
discountenancing any restriction, even regarding his moral ideas,
is illustrated in an incident related in his autobiography.* At a
service on Sunday, November 7, 1841, in Nauvoo, an elder named
Clark ventured to reprove the brethren for their lack of
sanctity, enjoining them to solemnity and temperance. "I reproved
him," says the prophet, "as pharisaical and hypocritical, and not
edifying the people, and showed the Saints what temperance,
faith, virtue, charity, and truth were. I charged the Saints not
to follow the example of the adversary non-ormons in accusing the
brethren, and said, 'If you do not accuse each other, God will
not accuse you. If you have no accuser, you will enter heaven; if
you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives
you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If
you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw
a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours--for charity
covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sin is not
sin. I do many things to break down superstition."' A
congregation that would accept such teaching without a protest,
would follow their leader in any direction which he chose to

* Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII, p. 743.

Smith was the farthest possible from being what Spinoza has been
called, "a God-intoxicated man." Real reverence for sacred things
did not enter into his mental equipment. A story illustrating his
lack of reverence for what he called "long-faced" brethren was
told by J. M. Grant in Salt Lake City. A Baptist minister, who
talked much of "my dee-e-ar brethren," called on Smith in Nauvoo,
and, after conversing with him for a short time, stood up before
Smith and asked in solemn tones if it were possible that he saw a
man who was a prophet and who had conversed with the Saviour.
"'Yes,' says the prophet, 'I don't know but you do; would you not
like to wrestle with me?' After he had whirled around a few
times, like a duck shot in the head, he concluded that his piety
had been awfully shocked."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 67.

In manhood Smith was about six feet tall, weighing something over
two hundred pounds. From among a number of descriptions of him by
visitors at Nauvoo, the following may be cited. Josiah Quincy,
describing his arrival at what he calls "the tavern" in Nauvoo,
in May, 1844, gives this impression of the prophet: "Pre-eminent
among the stragglers at the door stood a man of commanding
appearance, clad in the costume of a journeyman carpenter when
about his work. He was a hearty, athletic fellow, with blue eyes
standing prominently out on his light complexion, a long nose,
and a retreating forehead. He wore striped pantaloons, a linen
jacket which had not lately seen the wash-tub, and a beard of
three days' growth. A fine-looking man, is what the passer-by
would instinctively have murmured upon meeting the remarkable
individual who had fashioned the mould which was to shape the
feelings of so many thousands of his fellow-mortals." *

*" Figures of the Past," p. 380.

The Rev. Henry Caswall, M.A., who had an interview with the
prophet at Nauvoo, in 1842, thus describes him: "He is a coarse,
plebeian, sensual person in aspect, and his countenance exhibits
a curious mixture of the knave and the clown. His hands are large
and fat, and on one of his fingers he wears a massive gold ring,
upon which I saw an inscription. His eyes appear deficient in
that open and straightforward expression which often
characterizes an honest man."

* Millennial Star, November 1, 1850.

John Taylor had death-casts taken of the faces of Joseph and
Hyrum after their murder. By the aid of these and of sketches of
the brothers which he had secured while they were living, he had
busts of them made by a modeller in Europe named Gahagan, and
these were offered to the Saints throughout the world, for a
price, of course.*

The proofs already cited of Smith's immorality are convincing.
Caswall names a number of occasions on which, he charges, the
prophet was intoxicated after his settlement in Nauvoo. He
relates that on one of these, when Smith was asked how it
happened that a prophet of the Lord could get drunk, Smith
answered that it was necessary that he should do so to prevent
the Saints from worshipping him as a god!*

* "Mormonism and its Author," 1852.

No Mormon ever concedes that proof of Smith's personal failings
affects his character as a prophet. A Mormon doctor, with whom
Caswall argued at Nauvoo, said that Smith might be a murderer and
an adulterer, and yet be a true prophet. He cited St. Peter as
saying that, in his time, David had not yet ascended into heaven
(Acts ii. 34); David was in hell as a murderer; so if Smith was
"as infamous as David, and even denied his own revelations, that
would not affect the revelations which God had given him."

CHAPTER XV. After Smith's Death--Rigdon's Last Days

The murder of the Smiths caused a panic, not among the Mormons,
but among the other inhabitants of Hancock County, who looked for
summary vengeance at the hands of the prophet's followers, with
their famous Legion to support them. The state militia having
been disbanded, the people considered themselves without
protection, and Governor Ford shared their apprehension. Carthage
was at once almost depopulated, the people fleeing in wagons, on
horseback, and on foot, and most of the citizens of Warsaw placed
the river between them and their enemies. "I was sensible," says
Governor Ford, "that my command was at an end; that my
destruction was meditated as well as the Mormons', and that I
could not reasonably confide longer in one party or the other."
The panic-stricken executive therefore set out at once for
Quincy, forty miles from the scene of the murder.

From that city the governor issued a statement to the people of
the state, reciting the events leading up to the recent tragedy,
and, under date of June 29, ordered the enlistment of as many men
as possible in the militia of Adams, Marquette, Pike, Brown,
Schuyler, Morgan, Scott, Cass, Fulton, and McDonough counties,
and the regiments of General Stapp's brigade, for a twelve days'
campaign. The independent companies of all sorts, in the same
counties, were also told to hold themselves in readiness, and the
federal government was asked to station a force of five hundred
men from the regular army in Hancock County. This last request
was not complied with. The governor then sent Colonel Fellows and
Captain Jonas to Nauvoo by the first boat, to find out the
intentions of the Mormons as well as those of the people of

Meanwhile the voice of the Mormon leaders was for peace. Willard
Richards, John Taylor, and Samuel H. Smith united in a letter
(written in the first person singular by Richards), on the night
of the murders, addressed to the prophet's widow, General Deming
(commanding at Carthage), and others, which said:--

"The people of the county are greatly excited, and fear the
Mormons will come out and take vengeance. I have pledged my word
the Mormons will stay at home as soon as they can be informed,
and no violence will be on their part. And say to my brethren in
Nauvoo, in the name of the Lord, be still, be patient; only let
such friends as choose come here to see the bodies. Mr. Taylor's
wounds are dressed and not serious. I am sound."

This quieting advice was heeded without even a protest, and after
the funeral of the victims the Mormons voted unanimously to
depend on the law for retribution.

While things temporal in Nauvoo remained quiet, there were deep
feeling and great uncertainty concerning the future of the
church. The First Presidency had consisted, since the action of
the conference at Far West in 1837, of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and
Sidney Rigdon. Two of these were now dead. Did this leave Rigdon
as the natural head, did Smith's son inherit the successorship,
or did the supreme power rest with the Twelve Apostles?
Discussion of this matter brought out many plans, including a
general reorganization of the church, and the appointment of a
trustee or a president. Rigdon had been sent to Pittsburg to
build up a church,* and Brigham Young was electioneering in New
Hampshire for Smith. Accordingly, Phelps, Richards; and Taylor,
on July 1 issued a brief statement to the church at large, asking
all to await the assembling of the Twelve.

"John Taylor so stated at Rigdon's coming trial. This, perhaps,
contradicts the statement in the Cannons' "Life of Brigham Young"
that Rigdon had gone there "to escape the turmoils of Nauvoo."

Rigdon arrived in Nauvoo on August 3, and preached the next day
in the grove. He said the Lord had shown him a vision, and that
there must be a "guardian" appointed to "build the church up to
Joseph" as he had begun it. Cannon's account, in the "Juvenile
Instructor," says that at a meeting at John Taylor's the next day
Rigdon declared that the church was in confusion and must have a
head, and he wanted a special meeting called to choose a
"guardian." On the evening of August 6, Young, H. C. Kimball,
Lyman Wight, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, and Wilford Woodruff
arrived from the East. A meeting of the Twelve Apostles, the High
Council, and high priests was called for August 7, at 4 P.m.,
which Rigdon attended. He declared that in a vision at Pittsburg
it had been shown to him that he had been ordained a spokesman to
Joseph, and that he must see that the church was governed in a
proper manner. "I propose," said he, "to be a guardian of the
people. In this I have discharged my duty and done what God has
commanded me, and the people can please themselves, whether they
accept me or not."

A special meeting of the church was held on the morning of August
8. Rigdon had previously addressed a gathering in the grove, but
he had not been winning adherents. As we have seen, he had
alienated himself from the men who had accepted Smith's new
social doctrines, and a plan which he proposed, that the church
should move to Pennsylvania, appealed neither to the good
judgment nor the pecuniary interests of those to whom it was
presented. Young made an address at this meeting which so wrought
up his hearers that they declared that they saw the mantle of
Joseph fall upon him. When he asked, "Do you want a guardian, a
prophet, a spokesman, or what do you want?" not a hand went up.
Young then went on to give his own view of the situation; his
argument pointed to a single result--the demolition of Rigdon's
claim and the establishment of the supreme authority of the
Twelve, of whom Young himself was the head. W. W. Phelps, P. P.
Pratt, and others sustained Young's view. Before a vote was
taken, according to the minutes quoted, Rigdon refused to have
his name voted on as "spokesman" or guardian. The meeting then
voted unanimously in favor of "supporting the Twelve in their
calling," and also that the Twelve should appoint two Bishops to
act as trustees for the church, and that the completion of the
Temple should be pushed.*

* For minutes of this church meeting, see Times and Seasons, Vol.
V, p. 637. For a full account of the happenings at Nauvoo, from
August 3 to 8, see "Historical Record" (Mormon), Vol VIII,

On August 15 Young, as president of the Twelve, issued an epistle
to the church in all the world in which he said:--

"Let no man presume for a moment that his [the Prophet's] place
will be filled by another; for, remember he stands in his own
place , and always will, and the Twelve Apostles of this
dispensation stand in their own place, and always will, both in
time and eternity, to minister, preside, and regulate the affairs
of the whole church." The epistle told the Saints also that "it
is not wisdom for the Saints to have anything to do with
politics, voting, or president-making at present."

Rigdon remained in Nauvoo after the decision of the church in
favor of the Twelve, preaching as of old, declaring that he was
with the brethren heart and soul, and urging the completion of
the Temple. But Young regarded him as a rival, and determined to
put their strength to a test. Accordingly, on Tuesday, September
3, he had a notice printed in the Neighbor directing Rigdon to
appear on the following Sunday for trial before a High Council
presided over by Bishop Whitney. Rigdon did not attend this
trial, not only because he was not well, but because, after a
conference with his friends, he decided that the case against him
was made up and that his presence would do no good.*

* For the minutes of this High Council, see Times and Seasons,
Vol. V, pp. 647-655, 660-667.

When the High Council met, Young expressed a disbelief in
Rigdon's reported illness. He said that, having heard that Rigdon
had ordained men to be prophets, priests, and kings, he and Orson
Hyde had obtained from Rigdon a confession that he had performed
the act of ordination, and that he believed he held authority
above any man in the church. That evening eight of the Twelve had
visited him at his house, and, getting confirmation of his
position, had sent a committee to him to demand his license. This
he had refused to surrender, saying, "I did not receive it from
you, neither shall I give it up to you." Then came the order for
his trial.

Orson Hyde presented the case against Rigdon in detail. He
declared that, when they demanded the surrender of his license,
Rigdon threatened to turn traitor, "His own language was,
'Inasmuch as you have demanded my license, I shall feel it my
duty to publish all your secret meetings, and all the history of
the secret works of this church, in the public journals.'* He
intimated that it would bring a mob upon us." Parley P. Pratt,
the member of Rigdon's old church in Ohio, who, according to his
own account, first called Rigdon's attention to the Mormon Bible,
next spoke against his old friend.

* Lee thus explains one of these "secret works": "The same winter
[1843] he [Smith] organized what was called 'The Council of
Fifty.' This was a confidential organization. This Council was
designated as a lawmaking department, but no record was ever kept
of its doings, or, if kept, they were burned at the close of each
meeting. Whenever anything of importance was on foot, this
Council was called to deliberate upon it. The Council was called
the 'Living Constitution.' Joseph said that no legislature could
enact laws that would meet every case, or attain the ends of
justice in all respells." --"Mormonism Unveiled," p.173.

After Amasa Lyman, John Taylor, and H. C. Kimball had spoken
against Rigdon, Brigham Young took the floor again, and in reply
to the threat that Rigdon would expose the secrets of the church,
he denounced him in the following terms:--

"Brother Sidney says, if we go to opposing him, he will tell our
secrets. But I would say, 'O, don't, brother Sidney! don't tell
our secrets--O, don't!' But if he tells our secrets, we will tell
his. Tit for tat. He has had long visions in Pittsburg, revealing
to him wonderful iniquity among the Saints. Now, if he knows of
so much iniquity, and has got such wonderful power, why don't he
purge it out? He professes to have the keys of David. Wonderful
power and revelations! And he will publish our iniquity. O, dear
brother Sidney, don't publish our iniquity! Now don't! If Sidney
Rigdon undertakes to publish all our secrets, as he says, he will
lie the first jump he takes. If he knew of all our iniquity why
did he not publish it sooner? If there is so much iniquity in the
church as you talk of, Elder Rigdon, and you have known of it so
long, you are a black-hearted wretch because you have not
published it sooner. If there is not this iniquity, you are a
blackhearted wretch for endeavoring to bring a mob upon us, to
murder innocent men, women and children. Any man that says the
Twelve are bogus-makers, or adulterers, or wicked men is a liar;
and all who say such things shall have the fate of liars, where
there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Who is there who has seen
us do such things? No man. The spirit that I am of tramples such
slanderous wickedness under my feet." *

* William Small, in a letter to the Pittsburg Messenger and
Advocate, p. 70, relates that when be met Rigdon on his arrival
at St. Louis by boat after this trial, Orson Hyde, who was also a
passenger and thought Small was with the Twelve, addressed Small,
asking him to intercede with Rigdon not to publish the secret
acts of the church, and telling him that if Rigdon would come
back and stand equal with the Twelve and counsel with them, he
would pledge himself, in behalf of the Twelve, that all they had
said against Rigdon would be revoked.

At this point the proceedings had a rather startling
interruption. William Marks, president of the Stake at Nauvoo,
and a member of the High Council (who, as we have seen, had
rebelled against the doctrine of polygamy when it was presented
to him) took the floor in Rigdon's defence. But it was in vain.

W. W. Phelps moved that Rigdon "be cut off from the church, and
delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until he repents." The
vote by the Council in favor of this motion was unanimous, but
when it was offered to the church, some ten members voted against
it. Phelps at once moved that all who had voted to follow Rigdon
should be suspended until they could be tried by the High
Council, and this was agreed to unanimously, with an amendment
including the words, "or shall hereafter be found advocating his
principles." After compelling President Marks, by formal motion,
to acknowledge his satisfaction with the action of the church,
the meeting adjourned.

Rigdon's next steps certainly gave substance to his brother's
theory that his mind was unbalanced, the family having noticed
his peculiarities from the time he was thrown from a horse, when
a boy.* He soon returned to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where his
first step was to "resuscitate" the Messenger and Advocate, which
had died at Kirtland. In a signed article in the first number he
showed that he then intended "to contend for the same doctrines,
order of government, and discipline maintained by that paper when
first published at Kirtland," in other words, to uphold the
Mormon church as he had known it, with himself at its head. But
his old desire for original leadership got the better of him, and
after a conference of the membership he had gathered around him,
held in Pittsburg in April, 1845, at which he was voted "First
President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator," he issued
an address to the public in which he declared that his Church of
Christ was neither a branch nor connection of the church at
Nauvoo, and that it received members of the Church of Latter-Day
Saints only after baptism and repentance.** In an article in his
organ, on July 15, 1845, he made assertions like these: "The
Church of Christ and the Mormons are so widely different in their
respective beliefs that they are of necessity opposed to one
another, as far as religion is concerned . . . . There is
scarcely one point of similarity . . . . The Church of Christ has
obtained a distinctive character."

* Baptist Witness, March I, 1875.

**Pittsburg Messenger and Advocate, p, 220.

Rigdon told the April conference that he had one unceasing
desire, namely, to know whether God would accept their work. At
the suggestion of the spirit, he had taken some of the brethren
into a room in his house that morning, and had consecrated them.
What there occurred he thus described:--

"After the washing and anointing, and the patriarchal seal, as
the Lord had directed me, we kneeled and in solemn prayer asked
God to accept the work we had done. During the time of prayer
there appeared over our heads in the room a ray of light forming
a hollow square, inside of which stood a company of heavenly
messengers, each with a banner in his hand, with their eyes
looking downward upon us, their countenance expressive of the
deep interest they felt in what was passing on the earth. There
also appeared heavenly messengers on horseback, with crowns upon
their heads, and plumes floating in the air, dressed in glorious
attire, until, like Elisha, we cried in our hearts, 'The chariots
of Israel and the horsemen thereof.' Even my little son of
fourteen years of age saw the vision, and gazed with great
astonishment, saying that he thought his imagination was running
away with him. After which we arose and lifted our hands to
heaven in holy convocation to God; at which time was shown an
angel in heaven registering the acceptance of our work, and the
decree of the Great God that the kingdom is ours and we shall

While the conference was in session, Pittsburg was visited by a
disastrous conflagration. Rigdon prayed for the sufferers by the
fire and asked God to check it. "During the prayer" (this
quotation is from the official report of the conference in the
Messenger and Advocate, p. i86), "an escort of the heavenly
messengers that had hovered around us during the time of this
conference were seen leaving the room; the course of the wind was
instantly changed, and the violence of the flames was stayed."

Rigdon's attempt to build up a new church in the East was a
failure. Urgent appeals in its behalf in his periodical were made
in vain. The people addressed could not be cajoled with his
stories of revelations and miraculous visions, which both the
secular and religious press held up to ridicule, and he had no
system of foreign immigration to supply ignorant recruits. He
soon after took up his residence in Friendship, Allegheny County,
New York, where he died at the residence of his son-in-law, Earl
Wingate, on July 14, 1876. In an obituary sketch of him the
Standard of that place said:--

"He was approached by the messengers of young Joseph Smith of
Plano, Ill., but he refused to converse or answer any
communication which in any way would bring him into notice in
connection with the Mormon church of to-day. It was his daily
custom to visit the post-office, get the daily paper, read and
converse upon the chief topics of the day. He often engaged in a
friendly dispute with the local ministers, and always came out
first best on New Testament doctrinal matters. Patriarchal in
appearance, and kindly in address, he was often approached by
citizens and strangers with a view to obtaining something of the
unrecorded mysteries of his life; but citizen, stranger and
persistent reporter all alike failed in eliciting any information
as to his knowledge of the Mormon imposture, the motives of his
early life, or the religious faith, fears and hopes of his
declining years. Once or twice he spoke excitedly, in terms of
scorn, of those who attributed to him the manufacture of the
Mormon Bible; but beyond this, nothing. His library was small: he
left no manuscripts, and refused persistently to have a picture
of himself taken. It can only be said that he was a compound of
ability, versatility, honesty, duplicity, and mystery."

One person succeeded in drawing out from Rigdon in his later
years a few words on his relations with the Mormon church. This
was Charles L. Woodward, a New York bookseller, who some years
ago made an important collection of Mormon literature. While
making this collection he sent an inquiry to Rigdon, and received
a reply, dated May 25, 1873. After apologizing for his
handwriting on account of his age and paralysis, the letter

"We know nothing about the people called Mormons now.* The Lord
notified us that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
were going to be destroyed, and for us to leave. We did so, and
the Smiths were killed a few days after we started. Since that, I
have had no connection with any of the people who staid and built
up to themselves churches; and chose to themselves leaders such
as they chose, and then framed their own religion.

* The statement has been published that, after Young had
established himself in Utah, be received from Rigdon an
intimation that the latter would be willing to join him. I could
obtain no confirmation of this in Salt Lake City. On the
contrary, a leading member of the church informed me that Young
invited Rigdon to join the Mormons is Utah, but that Rigdon did
not accept the invitation.

"The Church of Latter-Day Saints had three books that they
acknowledged as Canonical, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the
Commandments. For the existence of that church there had to be a
revelater, one who received the word of the Lord; a spokesman,
one inspired of God to expound all revelation, so that the church
might all be of one faith. Without these two men the Church of
Latter-Day Saints could not exist. This order ceased to exist,
being overcome by the violence of armed men, by whom houses were
beaten down by cannon which the assalents had furnished
themselves with.

'Thus ended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and
it never can move again till the Lord inspires men and women to
believe it. All the societies and assemblies of men collected
together since then is not the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, nor never can there be such a church till the
Lord moves it by his own power, as he did the first.

"Should you fall in with one who was of the Church [of] Christ,
though now of advanced age, you will find one deep red in the
revelations of heaven. But many of them are dead, and many of
them have turned away, so there are few left.

"I have a manuscript paper in my possession, written with my own
hands while in my [Both. year}, but I am to poor to do anything
with it; and therefore it must remain where it [is]. During the
great fight of affliction I have had, I have lost all my
property, but I struggle along in poverty to which I am
consigned. I have finished all I feel necessary to write.

Respectfully,"SIDNEY RIGDON."*

* The original of this letter is in the collection of Mormon
literature in the New York Public Library. An effort to learn
from Rigdon's descendants something about the manuscript paper
referred to by him has failed.

Rigdon's affirmation of his belief in Smith as a prophet and the
Mormon Bible when he returned to Pennsylvania was proclaimed by
the Mormons as proof that there was no truth in the Spaulding
manuscript story, but it carries no weight as such evidence.
Rigdon burned all his old theological bridges behind him when he
entered into partnership with Smith, and his entire course after
his return to Pittsburg only adds to the proof that he was the
originator of the Mormon Bible, and that his object in writing it
was to enable him to be the head of a new church. Surely no one
would accept as proof of the divinity of the Mormon Bible any
declaration by the man who told the story of angel visits in

CHAPTER XVI. Rivalries Over The Succession

Rigdon was not alone in contending for the successorship to
Joseph Smith as the head of the Mormon church. The prophet's
family defended vigorously the claim of his eldest son to be his
successor.* Lee says that the prophet had bestowed the right of
succession on his eldest son by divination, and that "it was then
[after his father's death understood among the Saints that young
Joseph was to succeed his father, and that right justly belonged
to him," when he should be old enough. Lee says further that he
heard the prophet's mother plead with Brigham Young, in Nauvoo,
in 1845, with tears, not to rob young Joseph of his birthright,
and that Young conceded the son's claim, but warned her to keep
quiet on the subject, because "you are only laying the knife to
the throat of the child. If it is known that he is the rightful
successor of his father, the enemy of the Priesthood will seek
his life."** Strang says, "Anyone who was in Nauvoo in 1846 or
1847 knows that the majority of those who started to the Western
exodus, started in this hope," that the younger Joseph would take
his father's place .***

* The prophet's sons were Joseph, born November 6, 1832; Fred G.
W., June 20, 1836; Alexander, June 2, 1838; Don Carlos, June 13,
1840; and David H., November 18, 1844.

** "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 155, 161.

*** Strang's "Prophetic Controversy," p. 4.

At the last day of the Conference held in the Temple in Nauvoo,
in October, 1845, Mother Smith, at her request, was permitted to
make an address. She went over the history of her family, and
asked for an expression of opinion whether she was "a mother in
Israel." One universal "yes" rang out. She said she hoped all her
children would accompany the Saints to the West, and if they did
she would go; but she wanted her bones brought back to be buried
beside her husband and children. Brigham Young then said: "We
have extended the helping hand to Mother Smith. She has the best
carriage in the city, and, while she lives, shall ride in it when
and where she pleases." * Mother Smith died in the summer of 1856
in Nauvoo, where she spent the last two years of her life with
Joseph's first wife, Emma, who had married a Major Bideman.

* Millennial Star, Vol. VII, p. 23.

Emma caused the Twelve a good deal of anxiety after her husband's
death. Pratt describes a council held by her, Marks, and others
to endeavor to appoint a trustee-in-trust for the whole church,
the necessity of which she vigorously urged. Pratt opposed the
idea, and nothing was done about it.* Soon after her husband's
death the Times and Seasons noticed a report that she was
preparing, with the assistance of one of the prophet's Iowa
lawyers, an exposure of his "revelations," etc. James Arlington
Bennett, who visited Nauvoo after the prophet's death, acting as
correspondent for the New York Sun, gave in one of his letters
the text of a statement which he said Emma had written, to this
effect, "I never for a moment believed in what my husband called
his apparitions or revelations, as I thought him laboring under a
diseased mind; yet they may all be true, as a prophet is seldom
without credence or honor, excepting in his own family or
country." Mrs. Smith, in a letter to the Sun, dated December 30,
1845, pronounced this letter a forgery, while Bennett maintained
that he knew that it was genuine.**

*Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 373.

** Emma Smith is described as "a tall, dark, masculine looking
woman" in "Sketches and Anecdotes of the Old Settlers."

The organization--or, as they define it, the reorganization of a
church by those who claim that the mantle of Joseph Smith, Jr.,
descended on his sons, had its practical inception at a
conference at Beloit, Wisconsin, in June, 1852, at which
resolutions were adopted disclaiming all fellowship with Young
and other claimants to the leadership of the church, declaring
that the successor of the prophet "must of necessity be the seed
of Joseph Smith, Jr." At a conference held in Amboy, Illinois, in
April, 1860, Joseph Smith's son and namesake was placed at the
head of this church, a position which he still holds. The
Reorganized Church has been twice pronounced by United States
courts to be the one founded under the administration of the
prophet. Its teachings may be called pure Mormonism, free from
the doctrines engrafted in after years. It holds that "the
doctrines of a plurality and community of wives are heresies, and
are opposed to the law of God." Its declaration of faith declares
its belief in baptism by immersion, the same kind of organization
(apostles, prophets, pastors, etc.) that existed in the primitive
church, revelations by God to man from time to time "until the
end of time," and in "the powers and gifts of the everlasting
gospel, viz., the gift of faith, discerning of spirits, prophesy,
revelation, healing, visions, tongues, and the interpretation of
tongues." No one ever heard of this church having any trouble
with its Gentile neighbors.

The Reorganized Church moved its headquarters to Lamoni, Iowa, in
1881. It has a present membership of 45,381, according to the
report of the General Church Recorder to the conference of April,
1901. Of these members, 6964 were foreign,--286 in Canada, 1080
in England, and 1955 in the Society Islands. The largest
membership in this country is 7952 in Iowa, 6280 in Missouri, and
3564 in Michigan. Utah reported 685 members.

The most determined claimant to the successorship of Smith was
James J. Strang. Born at Scipio, New York, in 1813, Strang was
admitted to the bar when a young man, and moved to Wisconsin.
Some of the Mormons who went into the north woods to get lumber
for the Nauvoo Temple planted a Stake near La Crosse, under Lyman
Wight, in 1842. Trouble ensued very soon with their non-Mormon
neighbors, and after a rather brief career the supporters of this
Stake moved away quietly one night. Strang heard of the Mormon
doctrines from these settlers, accepted their truth, and visiting
Nauvoo, was baptized in February, 1844, made an elder, and
authorized to plant another Stake in Wisconsin. He first
attempted to found a city called Voree, where a temple covering
more than two acres of ground, with twelve towers, was begun.

When Smith was killed, Strang at once came forward with a
declaration that the prophet's revelations indicated that, at the
close of his own prophetic office, another would be called to the
place by revelation, and ordained at the hands of angels; that
not only had he (Strang) been so ordained, but that Smith had
written to him in June, 1844, predicting the end of his own work,
and telling Strang that he was to gather the people in a Zion in
Wisconsin. Strang began at once giving out revelations,
describing visions, and announcing that an angel had shown him
"plates of the sealed record," and given him the Urim and Thummim
to translate them.

Although Strang's whole scheme was a very clumsy imitation of
Smith's, he drew a considerable number of followers to his
Wisconsin branch, where he published a newspaper called the Voree
Herald, and issued pamphlets in defence of his position, and a
"Book of the Law," explaining his doctrinal teachings, which
included polygamy. He had five wives. His Herald printed a
statement, signed by the prophet's mother and his brother
William, his three married sisters, and the husband of one of
them, certifying that "the Smith family do believe in the
appointment of J. J. Strang." Among other Mormons of note who
gave in their allegiance to Strang were John E. Page, one of the
Twelve (whom Phelps had called "the sun-dial"), General John C.
Bennett, and Martin Harris.

Strang gave the Mormon leaders considerable anxiety, especially
when he sent missionaries to England to work up his cause. The
Millennial Star of November 15, 1846, devoted a good deal of
space to the subject. The article began:--

"SKETCHES OF NOTORIOUS CHARACTERS: James J. Strang, successor of
Sidney Rigdon, Judius Iscariot, Cain & Co., Envoy Extraordinary
and a Minister Plenipotentiary to His Most Gracious Majesty
Lucifer L, assisted by his allied contemporary advisers, John C.
Bennett, William Smith, G. T. Adams, and John E. Page, Secretary
of Legation."

Strang announced a revelation which declared that he was to be
"King in Zion," and his coronation took place on July 8, 1850,
when he was crowned with a metal crown having a cluster of stars
on its front. Burnt offerings were included in the programme.

This ceremony took place on Beaver Island, in Lake Superior,
where in 1847 Strang had gathered his people and assumed both
temporal and spiritual authority. Both of these claims got him
into trouble. His non-Mormon neighbors, fishermen and lumbermen,
accused the Mormons of wholesale thefts; his assumption of regal
authority brought him before the United States court, (where he
was not held); and his advocacy of the practice of polygamy by
his followers aroused insubordination, and on June 15, 1856, he
was shot by two members of his flock whom he had offended, and
who were at once regarded as heroes by the people of the
mainland. A mob secured a vessel, visited Beaver Island, where
Strang had maintained a sort of fort, and compelled the Mormon
inhabitants to embark immediately, with what little property they
could gather up. They were landed at different places, most of
them in Milwaukee. Thus ended Strang's Kingdom.*

* "A Moses of the Mormons," by Henry E. Legler, Parkman Club
Publications, Nos. 15-16, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 11, 1897; "An
American Kingdom of Mormons," Magazine of Western History,
Cleveland, Ohio, April, 1886.

Another leader who "set up for himself " after Smith's death was
Lyman Wight, who had been one of the Twelve in Missouri, and was
arrested with Smith there. Wight did not lay claim to the
position of President of the church, but he resented what he
called Brigham Young's usurpation. In 1845 he led a small company
of his followers to Texas, where they first settled on the
Colorado River, near Austin. They made successive moves from that
place into Gillespie, Burnett, and Bandera counties. He died near
San Antonio in March, 1858. The fact that Wight entered into the
practice of polygamy almost as soon as he reached Texas, and
still escaped any conflict with his non-Mormon neighbors, affords
proof of his good character in other respects. The Galveston
News, in its notice of his death, said, "Mr. Wight first came to
Texas in November, 1845, and has been with his colony on our
extreme frontier ever since, moving still farther west as
settlements formed around him, thus always being the pioneer of
advancing civilization, affording protection against the

After Wight's death his people scattered. A majority of them
became identified with the Reorganized Church, a few gave in
their allegiance to the organization in Utah, and others
abandoned Mormonism entirely.

CHAPTER XVII. Brigham Young

Brigham Young, the man who had succeeded in expelling Rigdon and
establishing his own position as head of the church, was born in
Whitingham, Windham County, Vermont, on June 1, 1801. The precise
locality of his birth in that town is in dispute. His father, a
native of Massachusetts, is said to have served under Washington
during the Revolutionary War. The family consisted of eleven
children, five sons and six daughters, of whom Brigham was the
ninth. The Youngs moved to Whitingham in January, 1801. In his
address at the centennial celebration of that town in 1880, Clark
Jillson said, "Henry Goodnow, Esq., of this town says that
Brigham Young's father came here the poorest man that ever had
been in town; that he never owned a cow, horse, or any land, but
was a basket maker." Mormon accounts represent the elder Young as
having been a farmer.

His circumstances permitted him to give his children very little
education, and, when sixteen years old, Brigham seems to have
started out to make his own living, working as a carpenter,
painter, and glazier, as jobs were offered. He was living in
Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York, in 1824, working at his trade,
and there, in October of that year, he married his first wife,
Miriam Works. In 1829 they moved to Mendon, Monroe County, New

Joseph Smith's brother, in the following year, left a copy of the
Mormon Bible at the house of Brigham's brother Phineas in Mendon,
and there Brigham first saw it. Occasional preaching by Mormon
elders made the new faith a subject of conversation in the
neighborhood, and Phineas was an early convert. Brigham stated in
a sermon in Salt Lake City, on August 8, 1852, that he examined
the new Bible for two years before deciding to receive it. He was
baptized into the Mormon church on April 14, 1832. His wife, who
also embraced the faith, died in September of that year, leaving
him two daughters.

Young married his second wife, Mary A. Angel, in Kirtland on
March 31, 1834. His application for a marriage license is still
on file among the records of the Probate Court at Chardon, now
the shire town of Geauga County, Ohio, and his signature is a
proof of his illiterateness, showing that he did not know how to
spell his own baptismal name, spelling it "Bricham."

Young began preaching and baptizing in the neighborhood, having
at once been made an elder, and in the autumn of 1832, after
Smith's second return from Missouri, he visited Kirtland and
first saw the prophet. Mormon accounts of this visit say that
Young "spoke in tongues," and that Smith pronounced his language
"the pure Adamic," and then predicted that he would in time
preside over the church. It is not at all improbable that Joseph
did not hesitate to interpret Brigham's "tongues," but at that
time he was thinking of everything else but a successor to

Young, with his brother Joseph, went from Kirtland on foot to
Canada, where he preached and baptized, and whence he brought
back a company of converts. He worked at his trade in Kirtland
(preaching as called upon) from that time until 1834, when he
accompanied the "Army of Zion" to Missouri, being one of the
captains of tens. Returning with the prophet, he was employed on
the Temple and other church buildings for the next three years
(superintending the painting of the Temple), when he was not
engaged in other church work. Having been made one of the
original Quorum of Twelve in 1835, he devoted a good deal of time
in the warmer months holding conferences in New York State and
New England.

When open opposition to Smith manifested itself in Kirtland,
Young was one of his firmest defenders. He attended a meeting in
an upper room of the Temple, the object of which was to depose
Smith and place David Whitmer in the Presidency, leading in the
debate, and declaring that he "knew that Joseph was a prophet."
According to his own statement, he learned of a plot to kill
Smith as he was returning from Michigan in a stage-coach, and met
the coach with a horse and buggy, and drove the prophet to
Kirtland unharmed. When Smith found it necessary to flee from
Ohio, Young followed him to Missouri with his family, arriving at
Far West on March 14, 1838. He sailed to Liverpool on a mission
in 1840, remaining there a little more than a year.

In all the discords of the church that occurred during Smith's
life, Young never incurred the prophet's displeasure, and there
is no evidence that he ever attempted to obtain any more power or
honor for himself than was voluntarily accorded to him. He gave
practical assistance to the refugees from Missouri as they
arrived at Quincy, but there is no record of his prominence in
the discussions there over the future plans for the church. The
prophet's liking for him is shown in a revelation dated at
Nauvoo, July 9; 1841 (Sec. 126), which said:--

"Dear and beloved brother Brigham Young, verily thus saith the
Lord unto you, my servant Brigham, it is no more required at your
hand to leave your family as in times past, for your offering is
acceptable to me; I have seen your labor and toil in journeyings
for my name. I therefore command you to send my word abroad, and
take special care of your family from this time, henceforth, and
forever. Amen."

The apostasy of Marsh and the death of Patton had left Young the
President of the Twelve, and that was the position in which he
found himself at the time of Smith's death.

One of the first subjects which Young had to decide concerned
"revelations." Did they cease with Smith's death, or, if not, who
would receive and publish them? Young made a statement on this
subject at the church conference held at Nauvoo on October 6 of
that year, which indicated his own uncertainty on the subject,
and which concluded as follows, "Every member has the right of
receiving revelations for themselves, both male and female." As
if conscious that all this was not very clear, he closed by
making a declaration which was very characteristic of his future
policy: "If you don't know whose right it is to give revelations,
I will tell you. It is I."* We shall see that the discontinuance
of written "revelations" was a cause of complaint during all of
Young's subsequent career in Utah, but he never yielded to the
demand for them.

* Times and Seasons, Vol. V, pp. 682-683.

At the conference in Nauvoo Young selected eighty-five men from
the Quorum of high priests to preside over branches of the church
in all the congressional districts of the United States; and he
took pains to explain to them that they were not to stay six
months and then return, but "to go and settle down where they can
take their families and tarry until the Temple is built, and then
come and get their endowments, and return to their families and
build up a Stake as large as this." Young's policy evidently was,
while not imitating Rigdon's plan to move the church bodily to
the East, to build up big branches all over the country, with a
view to such control of affairs, temporal and spiritual, as could
be attained. "If the people will let us alone," he said to this
same conference, "we will convert the world."

Many members did not look on the Twelve as that head of the
church which Smith's revelations had decreed. It was argued by
those who upheld Rigdon and Strang, and by some who remained with
the Twelve, that the "revelations" still required a First
Presidency. The Twelve allowed this question to remain unsettled
until the brethren were gathered at Winter Quarters, Iowa, after
their expulsion from Nauvoo, and Young had returned from his
first trip to Salt Lake valley. The matter was taken up at a
council at Orson Hyde's house on December 5, 1847, and it was
decided, but not without some opposing views, to reorganize the
church according to the original plan, with a First Presidency
and Patriarch. In accordance with this plan, a conference was
held in the log tabernacle at Winter Quarters on December 24, and
Young was elected President and John Smith Patriarch. Young
selected Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards to be his
counsellors, and the action of this conference was confirmed in
Salt Lake City the following October. Young wrote immediately
after his election, "This is one of the happiest days of my

The vacancies in the Twelve caused by these promotions, and by
Wight's apostasy, were not filled until February 12, 1849, in
Salt Lake City, when Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, C. C. Rich, and
F. D. Richards were chosen.

CHAPTER XVIII. Renewed Trouble For The Mormons--"The Burnings"

The death of the prophet did not bring peace with their outside
neighbors to the Mormon church. Indeed, the causes of enmity were
too varied and radical to be removed by any changes in the
leadership, so long as the brethren remained where they were.

In the winter of 1844-1845 charges of stealing made against the
Mormons by their neighbors became more frequent. Governor Ford,
in his message to the legislature, pronounced such reports
exaggerated, but it probably does the governor no injustice to
say that he now had his eye on the Mormon vote. The non-Mormons
in Hancock and the surrounding counties held meetings and
appointed committees to obtain accurate information about the
thefts, and the old complaints of the uselessness of tracing
stolen goods to Nauvoo were revived. The Mormons vigorously
denied these charges through formal action taken by the Nauvoo
City Council and a citizens' meeting, alleging that in many cases
"outlandish men" had visited the city at night to scatter
counterfeit money and deposit stolen goods, the responsibility
for which was laid on Mormon shoulders.

It is not at all improbable that many a theft in western Illinois
in those days that was charged to Mormons had other authors; but
testimony regarding the dishonesty of many members of the church,
such as we have seen presented in Smith's day, was still
available. Thus, Young, in one of his addresses to the conference
assembled at Nauvoo about two months after Smith's death, made
this statement: "Elders who go to borrowing horses or money, and
running away with it, will be cut off from the church without any

* Times and Seasons, Vol. V, p. 696.

A lady who published a sketch of her travels in 1845 through
Illinois and Iowa wrote:--

"We now entered a part of the country laid waste by the
desperadoes among the Mormons. Whole farms were deserted, fields
were still covered with wheat unreaped, and cornfields stood
ungathered, the inhabitants having fled to a distant part of the
country . . . . Friends gave us a good deal of information about
the doings of these Saints at Nauvoo--said that often, when their
orchards were full of fruit, some sixteen of these monsters would
come with bowie knives and drive the owners into their houses
while they stripped their trees of the fruit. If these rogues
wanted cattle they would drive off the cattle of the Gentiles."*

* "Book for the Married and Single," by Ann Archbold.

A trial concerning the title to some land in Adams County in that
year brought out the fact that there existed in the Mormon church
what was called a "Oneness." Five persons would associate and
select one of their members as a guardian; then, if any of the
property they jointly owned was levied on, they would show that
one or more of the other five was the real owner.

While the Mormons continued to send abroad glowing pictures of
the prosperity of Nauvoo, less prejudiced accounts gave a very
different view. The latter pointed out that the immigrants, who
supplied the only source of prosperity, had expended most of
their capital on houses and lots, that building operations had
declined, because houses could be bought cheaper than they could
be built, and that mechanics had been forced to seek employment
in St. Louis. Published reports that large numbers of the poor in
the city were dependent on charity received confirmation in a
letter published in the Millennial Star of October 1, 1845, which
said that on a fast-day proclaimed by Young, when the poor were
to be remembered, "people were seen trotting in all directions to
the Bishops of the different wards" with their contributions.

We have seen that the gathering of the Saints at Nauvoo was an
idea of Joseph Smith, and was undertaken against the judgment of
some of the wiser members of the church. The plan, so far as its
business features were concerned, was on a par with the other
business enterprises that the prophet had fathered. There was
nothing to sustain a population of 15,000 persons, artificially
collected, in this frontier settlement, and that disaster must
have resulted from the experiment, even without the hostile
opposition of their neighbors, is evident from the fact that
Nauvoo to day, when fifty years have settled up the surrounding
district and brought it in better communication with the world,
is a village of only 1321 inhabitants (census of 1900).

Politics were not eliminated from the causes of trouble by
Smith's death. Not only was 1844 a presidential year, but the
citizens of Hancock County were to vote for a member of Congress,
two members of the legislature, and a sheriff. Governor Ford
urgently advised the Mormons not to vote at all, as a measure of
peace; but political feeling ran very high, and the Democrats got
the Mormon vote for President, and with the same assistance
elected as sheriff General Deming, the officer left by Governor
Ford in command of the militia at Carthage when the Smiths were
killed, as well as two members of the legislature who had voted
against the repeal of the Nauvoo city charter.

The tone of the Mormons toward their non-Mormon neighbors seemed
to become more defiant at this time than ever. The repeal of the
Nauvoo charter, in January, 1845, unloosened their tongues. Their
newspaper, the Neighbor, declared that the legislature "had no
more right to repeal the charter than the United States would
have to abrogate and make void the constitution of the state, or
than Great Britain would have to abolish the constitution of the
United States--and the man that says differently is a coward, a
traitor to his own rights, and a tyrant; no odds what Blackstone,
Kent or Story may have written to make themselves and their names
popular, to the contrary."

The Neighbor, in the same article, thus defined its view of the
situation, after the repeal:--

"Nor is it less legal for an insulted individual or community to
resist oppression. For this reason, until the blood of Joseph and
Hyrum Smith has been atoned for by hanging, shooting or slaying
in some manner every person engaged in that cowardly, mean
assassination, no Latter-Day Saint should give himself up to the
law; for the presumption is that they wilt murder him in the same
manner . . . . Neither should civil process come into Nauvoo till
the United States by a vigorous course, causes the State of
Missouri and the State of Illinois to redress every man that has
suffered the loss of lands, goods or anything else by expulsion .
. . . If any man is bound to maintain the law, it is for the
benefit he may derive from it . . . . Well, our charter is
repealed; the murderers of the Smiths are running at large, and
if the Mormons should wish to imitate their forefathers and
fulfil the Scriptures by making it 'hard to kick against the
pricks' by wearing cast steel pikes about four or five inches
long in their boots and shoes to kick with, WHAT'S THE HARM?"
Such utterances, which found imitation in the addresses of the
leaders, and were echoed in the columns of Pratt's Prophet in New
York, made it easy for their hostile neighbors to believe that
the Mormons considered themselves beyond the reach of any law but
their own. Some daring murders committed across the river in Iowa
in the spring of 1845 afforded confirmation to the non-Mormons of
their belief in church-instigated crimes of this character, and
in the existence and activity of the Danite organization. The
Mormon authorities had denied that there were organized Danites
at Nauvoo, but the weight of testimony is against the denial.
Gregg, a resident of the locality when the Mormons dwelt there,
gives a fair idea of the accepted. view of the Danites at that

"They were bound together with oaths of the most solemn
character, and the punishment of traitors to the order was death.
John A. Murrell's Band of Pirates, who flourished at one time
near Jackson, Tennessee, and up and down the Mississippi River
above New Orleans, was never so terrible as the Danite Band, for
the latter was a powerful organization, and was above the law.
The band made threats, and they were not idle threats. They went
about on horseback, under cover of darkness, disguised in long
white robes with red girdles. Their faces were covered with masks
to conceal their identity."*

* "History of Hancock County." See also "Sketches and Anecdotes
of the Old Settlers," p. 34.

Phineas Wilcox, a young man of good reputation, went to Nauvoo on
September 16, 1845, to get some wheat ground, and while there
disappeared completely. The inquiry made concerning him led his
friends to believe that he was suspected of being a Gentile spy,
and was quietly put out of the way.*

* See Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 158-159, for accounts of
methods of disposing of objectionable persons at Nauvoo.

William Smith, the prophet's brother, contributed to the
testimony against the Mormon leaders. Returning from the East,
where he had been living for three years when Joseph was killed,
he was warmly welcomed by the Mormon press, and elevated to the
position of Patriarch, and, as such, issued a sort of
advertisement of his patriarchal wares in the Times and Seasons*
and Neighbor, inviting those in want of blessings to call at his
residence. William was not a man of tact, and it required but a
little time for him to arouse the jealousy of the leaders, the
result of which was a notice in the Times and Seasons of November
1, 1845, that he had been "cut off and left in the hands of God."
But William was not a man to remain quiet even in such a retreat,
and he soon afterward issued to the Saints throughout the world
"a proclamation and faithful warning," which filled eight and a
half columns of the Warsaw Signal of October 29, 1845, in which,
"in all meekness of spirit, and without anger or malice" (William
possessed most of the family traits), he accused Young of
instigating murders, and spoke of him in this way:--

* Vol. VI, p. 904.

"It is my firm and sincere conviction that, since the murder of
my two brothers, usurpation, and anarchy, and spiritual
wickedness in high places have crept into the church, with the
cognizance and acquiescence of those whose solemn duty It was to
guardedly watch against such a state of things. Under the reign
of one whom I may call a Pontius Pilate, under the reign, I say,
of this Brigham Young, no greater tyrant ever existed since the
days of Nero. He has no other justification than ignorance to
cover the most cruel acts--acts disgraceful to any one bearing
the stamp of humanity; and this being has associated around him
men, bound by oaths and covenants, who are reckless enough to
commit almost any crime, or fulfil any command that their
self-crowned head might give them"

William was, of course, welcomed as a witness by the non-Mormons.
He soon after went to St. Louis, and while there received a
letter from Orson Hyde, which called his proclamation "a cruel
thrust," but urged him to return, pledging that they would not
harm him. William did not accept the invitation, but settled in
Illinois, became a respected citizen, and in later years was
elected to the legislature. When invited to join the Reorganized
Church by his nephew Joseph, he declined, saying, "I am not in
sympathy, very strongly, with any of the present organized bands
of Mormons, your own not excepted."

By the spring of 1845 the Mormons were deserted even by their
Democratic allies, some three hundred of whom in Hancock County
issued an address denying that the opposition to them was
principally Whig, and declaring that it had arisen from
compulsion and in self-defence. Governor Ford, anxious to be rid
of his troublesome constituents, sent a confidential letter to
Brigham Young, dated April 8, 1845, saying, "If you can get off
by yourselves you may enjoy peace," and suggesting California as
opening "a field for the prettiest enterprise that has been
undertaken in modern times."

An era of the most disgraceful outrages that marked any of the
conflicts between the Mormons and their opponents east of the
Rocky Mountains began in Hancock County on the night of September
9, when a schoolhouse in Green Plain, south of Warsaw, in which
the anti-Mormons were holding a meeting, was fired upon. The
Mormons always claimed that this was a sham attack, made by the
anti-Mormons to give an excuse for open hostilities, and
probabilities favor this view. Straightway ensued what were known
as the "burnings." A band of men, numbering from one hundred to
two hundred, and coming mostly from Warsaw, began burning the
houses, outbuildings, and grain stacks of Mormons all over the
southwest part of the county. The owners were given time to
remove their effects, and were ordered to make haste to Nauvoo,
and in this way the country region was rapidly rid of Mormon

* Gregg's "History of Hancock County," p. 374.

The sheriff of the county at that time was J. B. Backenstos, who,
Ford says, went to Hancock County from Sangamon, a fraudulent
debtor, and whose brother married a niece of the Prophet Joseph.*
He had been elected to the legislature the year before, and had
there so openly espoused the Mormon cause opposing the repeal of
the Nauvoo charter that his constituents proposed to drive him
from the county when he returned home. Backenstos at once took up
the cause of the Mormons, issued proclamation after
proclamation,** breathing the utmost hostility to the Mormon
assailants, and calling on the citizens to aid him as a posse in
maintaining order.

* Ford's "History of Illinois," pp. 407-408.

** For the text of five of these proclamations, see Millennial
Star, Vol. VI.

A sheriff of different character might have secured the help that
was certainly his due on such an occasion, but no non-Mormon
would respond to a call by Backenstos. An occurrence incidental
to these disturbances now added to the public feeling. On
September 16, Lieutenant Worrell, who had been in command of the
guard at the jail when the Smith brothers were killed, was shot
dead while riding with two companions from Carthage to Warsaw.
His death was charged to Backenstos and to O. P. Rockwell,* the
man accused of the attempted assassination of Governor Boggs, and
both were afterward put on trial for it, but were acquitted. The
sheriff now turned to the Nauvoo Legion for recruits, and in his
third proclamation he announced that he then had a posse of
upward of two thousand "well-armed men" and two thousand more
ready to respond to his call. He marched in different directions
with this force, visiting Carthage, where he placed a number of
citizens under arrest and issued his Proclamation No. 4., in
which he characterized the Carthage Grays as "a band of the most
infamous and villanous scoundrels that ever infested any

* "Who was the actual guilty party may never be known. We have
lately been informed from Salt Lake that Rockwell did the deed,
under order of the sheriff, which is probably the case."--Gregg,
"History of Hancock County," p. 341.

"During the ascendency of the sheriff and the absence of the
anti-Mormons from their homes," said Governor Ford,* "the people
who had been burnt out of their houses assembled at Nauvoo, from
whence, with many others, they sallied forth and ravaged the
country, stealing and plundering whatever was convenient to carry
or drive away." Thus it seems that the governor had changed his
opinion about the honesty of the Mormons. To remedy the chaotic
condition of affairs in the county, Governor Ford went to
Jacksonville, Morgan County, where, in a conference, it was
decided that judge Stephen A. Douglas, General J. J. Hardin,
Attorney General T. A. McDougal, and Major W. B. Warren should go
to Hancock County with such forces as could be raised, to put an
end to the lawlessness. When the sheriff heard of this, he
pronounced the governor's proclamation directing the movement a
forgery, and said, in his own Proclamation No. 5, "I hope no
armed men will come into Hancock County under such circumstances.
I shall regard them in the character of a mob, and shall treat
them accordingly."

*Ford's "History of Illinois," p. 410.

The sheriff labored under a mistake. The steps now taken
resulted, not in a demonstration of his authority, but in the
final expulsion of all the Mormons from Illinois and Iowa.

CHAPTER XIX. The Expulsion Of The Mormons

General Hardin announced the coming of his force, which numbered
about four hundred men, in a proclamation addressed "To the
Citizens of Hancock County," dated September 27. He called
attention to the lawless acts of the last two years by both
parties, characterizing the recent burning of houses as "acts
which disgrace your county, and are a stigma to the state, the
nation, and the age." His force would simply see that the laws
were obeyed, without taking part with either side. He forbade the
assembling of any armed force of more than four men while his
troops remained in the county, urged the citizens to attend to
their ordinary business, and directed officers having warrants
for arrests in connection with the recent disturbances to let the
attorney-general decide whether they needed the assistance of

But the citizens were in no mood for anything like a restoration
of the recent order of things, or for any compromise. The Warsaw
Signal of September 17 had appealed to the non-Mormons of the
neighboring counties to come to the rescue of Hancock, and the
citizens of these counties now began to hold meetings which
adopted resolutions declaring that the Mormons "must go," and
that they would not permit them to settle in any of the counties
interested. The most important of these meetings, held at Quincy,
resulted in the appointment of a committee of seven to visit
Nauvoo, and see what arrangements could be made with the Mormons
regarding their removal from the state. Notwithstanding their
defiant utterances, the Mormon leaders had for some time realized
that their position in Illinois was untenable. That Smith himself
understood this before his death is shown by the following entry
in his diary:--

"Feb. 20, 1844. I instructed the Twelve Apostles to send out a
delegation, and investigate the locations of California and
Oregon, and hunt out a good location where we can remove to after
the Temple is completed, and where we can build a city in a day,
and have a government of our own, get up into the mountains,
where the devil cannot dig us out, and live in a healthy climate
where we can live as old as we have a mind to."*

* Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 819.

The Mormon reply to the Quincy committee was given under date of
September 24 in the form of a proclamation signed by President
Brigham Young.* In a long preamble it asserted the desire of the
Mormons "to live in peace with all men, so far as we can, without
sacrificing the right to worship God according to the dictates of
our own consciences"; recited their previous expulsion from their
homes, and the unfriendly view taken of their "views and
principles" by many of the people of Illinois, finally announcing
that they proposed to leave that country in the spring "for some
point so remote that there will not need to be a difficulty with
the people and ourselves." The agreement to depart was, however,
conditioned on the following stipulations: that the citizens
would help them to sell or rent their properties, to get means to
assist the widows, the fatherless, and the destitute to move with
the rest; that "all men will let us alone with their vexatious
lawsuits"; that cash, dry goods, oxen, cattle, horses, wagons,
etc., be given in exchange for Mormon property, the exchanges to
be conducted by a committee of both parties; and that they be
subjected to no more house burnings nor other depredations while
they remained.

* Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 187.

The adjourned meeting at Quincy received the report of its
committee on September 26, and voted to accept the proposal of
the Mormons to move in the spring, but stated explicitly, "We do
not intend to bring ourselves under any obligation to purchase
their property, nor to furnish purchasers for the same;. but we
will in no way hinder or obstruct them in their efforts to sell,
and will expect them to dispose of their property and remove at
the time appointed." To manifest their sympathy with the
unoffending poor of Nauvoo, a committee of twenty was appointed
to receive subscriptions for their aid. The resignation of
Sheriff Backenstos was called for, and the judge of that circuit
was advised to hold no court in Hancock County that year.

The outcome of the meetings in the different counties was a
convention which met in Carthage on October 1 and 2, and at which
nine counties (Hancock not included) were represented. This
convention adopted resolutions setting forth the inability of
non-Mormons to secure justice at the hands of juries under Mormon
influence, declaring that the only settlement of the troubles
could be through the removal of the Mormons from the state, and
repudiating "the impudent assertion, so often and so constantly
put forth by the Mormons, that they are persecuted for
righteousness' sake." The counties were advised to form a
military organization, and the Mormons were warned that their
opponents "solemnly pledge ourselves to be ready to act as the
occasion may require."

Meanwhile, the commissioners appointed by Governor Ford had been
in negotiation with the Mormon authorities, and on October 1
they, too, asked the latter to submit their intentions in
writing. This they did the same day. Their reply, signed by
Brigham Young, President, and Willard Richards, Clerk,* referred
the commission to their response to the Quincy committee, and
added that they had begun arrangements to remove from the county
before the recent disturbances, one thousand families, including
the heads of the church, being determined to start in the spring,
without regard to any sacrifice of their property; that the whole
church desired to go with them, and would do so if the necessary
means could be secured by sales of their possessions, but that
they wished it "distinctly understood that, although we may not
find purchasers for our property, we will not sacrifice it or
give it away, or suffer it illegally to be wrested from us." To
this the commissioners on October 3 sent a reply, informing the
Mormons that their proposition seemed to be acquiesced in by the
citizens of all the counties interested, who would permit them to
depart in peace the next spring without further violence. They
closed as follows:--

* Text in Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 190.

"After what has been said and written by yourselves, it will be
confidently expected by us and the whole community, that you will
remove from the state with your whole church, in the manner you
have agreed in your statement to us. Should you not do so, we are
satisfied, however much we may deprecate violence and bloodshed,
that violent measures will be resorted to, to compel your
removal, which will result in most disastrous consequences to
yourselves and your opponents, and that the end will be your
expulsion from the state. We think that steps should be taken by
you to make it apparent that you are actually preparing to remove
in the spring.

"By carrying out, in good faith, your proposition to remove, as
submitted to us, we think you should be, and will be, permitted
to depart peaceably next spring for your destination, west of the
Rocky Mountains. For the purpose of maintaining law and order in
this county, the commanding general purposes to leave an armed
force in this county which will be sufficient for that purpose,
and which will remain so long as the governor deems it necessary.
And for the purpose of preventing the use of such force for
vexatious or improper objects, we will recommend the governor of
the state to send some competent legal officer to remain here,

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