Mormon History, Jun 27, 1844

-- Jun 27, 1844
Sidney S Rigdon: Left Nauvoo 18 June 1844 for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; arrived 27 June 1844. (1)

-- Jun 28, 1844
In the morning Orrin Porter Rockwell rides through Nauvoo crying, "Joseph is killed! Goddamn them! They have killed him!" The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith arrive in Nauvoo at 3:00 PM. William Clayton goes to see them and remarks: "Joseph looks very natural except being pale through loss of blood. Hyrum does not look so natural. Their aged mother is distracted with grief and it will be almost more than she can bear." Allen Stout, former Danite, writes in his journal after viewing the bodies: "I stood there and then resolved in my mind that I would never let an opportunity slip unimproved of avenging their blood.... I knew not how to contain myself, and when I see one of the men who persuaded them to give up to be tried, I feel like cutting their throats yet" (2)

The day after the martyrdom, George Cannon (father of Church leader George Q. Cannon) makes death masks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, providing historians with a valuable source of information about the two men's facial features. (3)

[Joseph Smith] Willard Richards and Samuel H. Smith, Joseph's brother, take the bodies of Hyrum and Joseph back to Nauvoo in two wagons. They are taken to the Nauvoo Mansion, where the doors are closed and the thousands of mourners are told they will be able to see the bodies the next day. Dimick B. Huntington, William Marks, and William D. Huntington wash the bodies and dress them in white. Emma (four months pregnant) and Mary Fielding Smith and children are then admitted to see the bodies. Emma screams and falls back, and is caught by Dimick B. Huntington. She then falls forward onto Joseph's face and kisses him, calling him by name and begging him to speak to her once more. Mary Fielding Smith holds back her grief and keeps her composure. During this time Willard Richards and several others speak to eight or ten thousand Saints who have gathered, telling them to keep the peace and trust in the law to punish the assassins of Joseph and Hyrum. (4)

[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph and Hyrum Smith's bodies were brought through Nauvoo to the Mansion House (the Prophet's home) on two wagons, where thousands of Saints were gathered to lament their death. (5)

[Nauvoo Temple] Workmen suspended work on the temple to guard the temple walls. (6)

-- Jun 28, 1844 (Friday)
Apostle Willard Richards and Samuel H. Smith conveyed the bodies of the martyrs to Nauvoo, where they were met by the officers of the Nauvoo Legion, and a very large number of citizens. (7)

-- Jun 28, 1844, Friday
[William Clayton Writings] /Clayton describes the martyrdom the best he can from the information received/ 46

...And all this brought upon us by those who have shared of the kind sympathies & generosity of Genls Joseph & Hyrum Smith and have received good at their hands. The names of these men are William Law who was one of Josephs council and a member of the Quorum. Wilson Law Robert D. Foster, Charles A. Foster, Francis M. Higbee, Chancy L. Higbee There associates in crime were Austin Cowles, Joseph H. Jackson a murderer, John M. Finch, Wm A. Rolloson Wm H.J. Man /Marr?/, Sylvester Emmans, Alexand Sympson S.M. Marr /Man/ John Eagle Henry O. Norton & Augustine Spencer. These had been aided and abetted by Charles Ivins & family. P.T. Rolfe, N.J. Higbee, Wm Cook & Sarah his wife formerly Sarah Crooks of Manchester England. James Blakeslee. And finally a band of mobacrats scattered through the county amoung whom are Alexander Sympson, Thos. C. Sharp, Colonel Williams, Walter Bagby, &. O. C. Skinner. Some of the aforesaid parties were storekeepers here & have drawn a vast of money from
the place. David Bryant also joined in the clammer but did not take any public measures. ... After the bodies were laid out I went to see them. Joseph looks very natural except being pale through loss of blood. Hyrum does not look so natural. Their aged mother is distracted with grief & it will be almost more than she can bear. (8)

[William Clayton Writings] Early the next morning Orrin P. Rockwell woke him up with the stunning news that Joseph and Hyrum ahd been shot to death. His diary entry for that day is one of the longest he everr wrote, and it contains within it all the sorrow, solemnity, and dismay that any disciple could feel. ``I went out & met brother Cutler & several others,'' he wrote, ``and the news soon became general. Sorrow & gloom was pictured in every countenance and one universal scene of lamentation pervaded the city. The agony of the widows & orphan children [i.e., the wives and children of Joseph and Hyrum] was inexpressible and utterly beyond description.'' He went on with a lengthy description of what had happened at Carthage, as he understood it (which turned out to be a fairly accurate account), emphasizing what he considered to be the culpability of the governor for not providing better protection for the prophet. He then wrote a prayer, that, though vengeful in its tone, is
a perfect reflection of the anger and frustration felt by many at the sudden tragedy:

``And now O God wilt thou not come out of thy hiding place and avenge the blood of thy servants.--that blood which thou hast so long watched over with a fatherly care--that blood so noble--so generous--so dignified, so heavenly you O Lord will thou not avenge it speedily and bring down vengeance upon the murderers of thy servants that they may be rid from off the earth and that the earth may be cleansed from these scenes, even so O Lord thy will be done. We look to thee for justice. Hear thy people O God of Jacob even so Amen.''

Clayton saw the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum arrive in Nauvoo about 2 P.M. and was part of the large procession of mourners that collected on the hill and followed them to the Mansion House. There they heard exhortations to be peaceful and calm and not to utter threats. He concluded his diary entry for the day:

``Few expressions were heard save the mourns for the loss of our friends. All seem to hang on the merch of God and wait further events. Some few can scarce refrain from expressing aloud their indignation at the Governor and a few words would raise the City in arms & massacre the Cities of Carthage & Warsaw & lay them in ashes but it is wisdom to be quiet. After the bodies were laid out I went to see them. Joseph looks very natural except being pale through loss of blood. Hyrum does not look so natural. Their aged mother is distracted with grief & it will be almost more than she can bear.'' (8)

1 - Cook, Lyndon W., The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants, Seventy's Mission Bookstore, Provo UT, 1985,
2 - On This Day in Mormon History,
3 - The Woodland Institute 'On This Day Historical Database,'
4 - Conklin, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology
5 - Joseph Smith Resource Center: Daily Events in the Life of Joseph Smith,
6 - Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple
7 - Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology
8 - Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois.

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