Mormon History, Jun 20, 1844

-- Jun 20, 1844
At daybreak Joseph inspects the city with Major-General Dunham to plan out the strongest areas of defense. He writes a letter to President Tyler of the United States noting that in a situation like thisâ€"of "insurrection and rebellion"â€"he has constitutional powers to interfere and stop the slaughter. Several Saints file petitions that Aaron Johnson, a supposed justice of the peace, has been trying to recruit them as well as everyone else to join his mob. At this time only two of the apostles are in Nauvooâ€"John Taylor and Willard Richards. Joseph writes to the others of the Twelve, who are on missions in the East, telling them to come home immediately. Theodore Turley asks Joseph if he should set up an ammunition supply in one of the buildings. Joseph answers, "I told him in confidence that there would not be a gun fired on our part during the fuss." He also tells his brother Hyrum to take his family to Cincinnati. Hyrum answers, "Joseph, I can't leave you." Joseph says,
"I wish Icould get Hyrum out of the way, so that he may live to avenge my blood." (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (7 volumes) 6:507-20.)Willard Richards writes James Arlington Bennett on behalf of Joseph, asking for his help, stating, "All the horrors of Missouri's murders are crowding thick upon us. . . . [We] invite you to come to our assistance with as many volunteers as you can bring. . . . Will you come? . . . If you do not, your turn may come next; and where will it cease?" (Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon 398.) (1)

Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith prepared for the defense of Nauvoo against the growing mob, wrote letters telling those on missions to come home immediately, and advised his brother Hyrum Smith to take his family on the next steamboat to Cincinnati, Ohio. (2)

[Joseph Smith Diary] Thursday, June 20th 1844 At day break send the Guard out of the city /to pitch upon ground to/ to meet the enemy. 10 A.M. Southwick from Louisiana arrived [and] said a cannon from Quincy arrived at Warsaw. No excitement at St. Louis. [It was] reported to him a great excitement at Far West &c. 11 [P.M.] reviewed the troops facing the Mansion and went onto parade on the bank of the River.

Recorder took affidavit of Carlos W. Lyons wrote Ballentine and Slater at Doyles Mills for wheat. Wrote John Taylor [Tyler] Pres[iden]t [of the] U[nited] Sitales].

Willard Richards wrote [James] Arlington Bennet [and] Affidavit of John P. Green and John M. Bernhisel. Wrote the Twelve [Apostles] to come home.

[Theodore] Turley had orders to commence Making cannon. (3)

[Lucy Mack Smith] At least by this date, William is in the East with his wife, Caroline, who is slowly dying of kidney failure (dropsy). (4)

[Nauvoo Temple] Because of the excitement surrounding the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor press, workmen ceased labor on the Temple. (5)

PLACE: Nauvoo, IL Smith writes to apostles, tells them to destroy their garments and return to Nauvoo. SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.519, Heber C. Kimball's diary, 21 Dec. 1845, found in the book "Smith, An Intimate Chronicle", page 224, (6)

-- Jun 20, 1844 (Thursday)
General Joseph Smith, with other officers of the Legion, examined the approaches to Nauvoo as a preparatory measure for defense. The Prophet also sent for the Twelve Apostles, who were on missions, to come home immediately. (7)

-- Jun 21, 1844
Illinois Governor Thomas Ford arrives in Carthage. He discovers that Hancock County is at the point of civil war, with approximately 1,700 men of the combined militia threatening to attack Nauvoo, which is defended by the Nauvoo Legion, 2,000 strong. His first act is to place the men of the militia under their regular officers and to get pledges of support from those officers. Ford sends a letter to Joseph Smith, Mayor of Nauvoo asking for statements from "well-informed and discreet persons, who will be capable of laying before me your version of the matter, . . ." (8)

[Joseph Smith] Gov. Ford finally arrives in Carthage to get a closer look at the situation. Ford realizes the violent anti-Mormon feeling around and says that even the non-Mormons who wanted to compromise, called "Jack Mormons," have been threatened by the anti-Mormon mobs. Ford writes to Joseph, stating that he needs more information. Joseph immediately assembles several affidavits to send to Gov. Ford, and expresses his wish that Ford come to Nauvoo. (1)

Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith exchanged letters regarding the growing crisis in Nauvoo with Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois, and prepared affidavits for him. (2)

[Joseph Smith Diary] Friday, June 21st 1844 About 10 A.M. rode out with this guard. 2 1/2 [P.M.] returned to Head quarters with Col[onel] Freeman and Mr. [Bartlett with an] express from the Governor, he having arrived from Carthage. Letter on file. City Council called. Read affidavits of all before taken and 10 more. See record of city council. W[illard] Richards, J[ohn] Taylor, and D[r]. J[ohn] M. Bernhisel appointed by council to return with the express to the Gov[ernor] to Carthage. Taylor and Bernhisel went. Richards staid to prepare further documents. Took J[ohn] P. Green affidavits and Joseph Smith affidavit. Letter from councillor S[ylvester] Emmons resigned his office accepted.

W[illiam] W. Phelps took 2 affidavits of Joseph Jackson and 1 of James Clift.

An officer of the U[nited] S[tates] Army arrested a deserter and staid at Joseph's all night. After news reached of the Gov[ernor] arrive[d] at Carthage sent an Express to Keokuk to stop the Express to the gov[ernor]. Col[onel] Brewer arrived at the Mansion about 9 eve with his Lady. (3)

1 - Conklin, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology
2 - Joseph Smith Resource Center: Daily Events in the Life of Joseph Smith,
3 - Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1844,
4 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, Editor, Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir, 2001, Signature Books,
5 - Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple
6 - Joseph Smith Polygamy Timeline,
7 - Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology
8 - On This Day in Mormon History,

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