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Mormons of Hancock County


The Mormons in Hancock County
About 1839, the Mormons came to the town of Commerce. The settlement was renamed Nauvoo (Beautiful Place). From 1839-1846, Nauvoo was Illinois' largest (population 20,000) and most politically powerful town. In June of 1844, the Mormon prophet and leader, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum Smith were killed by a mob while detained in the jail at Carthage. The Mormon exodus from Nauvoo began in early 1846 as they traveled across the Great Plains to their new headquarters in Utah.



French Icarians - Utopia in Nauvoo
The Icarians came to Nauvoo in 1849. They established a utopian society. Emile Baxter, an Icarian, planted Baxter's Vineyards, now the oldest winery in Illinois.


Newspaper Articles

At a meeting of the citizens of Hancock county, held at Carthage, Illinois, on the 6th inst. it was resolved to call on the citizens of the surrounding counties and States, to assist them in delivering up Jo (sic) Smith, if the Governor of Illinois refused to comply with the requisition of the Governor of Missouri. The meeting also determined to avenge with blood, any assaults made upon the citizens by the Mormons. It was also resolved to refute to obey the officers elected by the Mormons, who have complete control of the county, being a numerical majority. [Berkshire County Whig (Massachusetts), 28 Sep 1843 - KT - Sub by FoFG]


Joe Smith, the Mormon, has come out and declared himself a whig, we learn from the N. Y. Express and avowed his determination to "swear his children never to vote the democratic ticket again, in all their generations."
At a meeting of the citizens of Hancock Co. held at Carthage, Illinois, on the 6th inst. it was resolved to call in the citizens of the surrounding counties and States to assist them in delivering up Joe Smith, if the Governor of Illinois refused to comply with the requisition of the Governor of Missouri. The meeting also determined to avenge with blood any assaults made upon the citizens by the Mormons. It was also resolved to refuse to obey the officers elected by the Mormons, who have complete control of the county, being a numerical majority.— Boston Post

[28 Sep 1843; The Sun (Massachusetts) KT - Sub by FoFG]


The Western papers still give out mutterings of war against the Mormons. A large meeting was recently held at Carthage, Illinois, growing out of numerous difficulties, of late occurrance, between the citizens of Carthage and their neighbors of Nauvoo, at which resolutions were passed, strongly denunciatory of the Mormons and their leader, Smith. The Warsaw Message, in the vicinity of these troubles, does not wish to disguise the fact that a total extinction of said people is contemplated, that the thousands of defenceless women and children, aged and infirm, congregated at Nauvoo are to be driven away, [Berkshire County Whig (Massachusetts), 21 Mar 1844 - KT - Sub by FoFG]


The following paragraph appeared in the Quincy Herald two or three weeks ago. We have not heard of anything in relation to the matter since then:
We understand that four wagons passed through this city on Thursday morning last, on their way to the state arsenal at Alton, for the purpose of procuring arms and munitions of war to be used against the Mormons. We fear much trouble will grow out of this difficulty sooner or later. We are also informed that the knowledge of what is going on this quarter has been brought to the notice of Gov. Ford, and we would suggest whether it is not the duty of his excellency to protect the innocent in their lives and property. We care not what creed or religion men profess – if they have lawfully acquired property in Illinois, there is no power in this country to deprive them of it without their consent.
[The Ottawa free trader., March 01, 1844 - NP - Sub by FoFG]


From Nauvoo
Our accounts from Nauvoo are up to the 24th. There has yet been no blood shed, though there is still danger there may be. It appears no attempt was made by the citizens of Hancock county to arrest the persons who destroyed the “Expositor” press on the 19th, the day they had appointed for that purpose; but they determined to await the arrival of Gov. Ford. The Gov. reached Warsaw on the 10th. He immediately declared publicly his fixed determination to bring to the aid of the civil authorities all the force he possessed for the arrest of those concerned in the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor and for the faithful and fearless administration of the law. To this end, he sent orders to the brigadier general of the fourth brigade to rendezvous forthwith at Warsaw, provided with eight days’ provisions.
This brigade consists of four regiments and is about two thousand strong. There were, also, under arms at Carthage and its vicinity, one thousand citizens, ready to aid in the execution of the laws. Gov. Ford had despatched two expresses to Nauvoo commanding Smith to send two of the most discreet members of the common council to the governor, with an explanation (if any they had to make) of their conduct in destroying the private property of citizens of this state. These messengers had not returned to Warsaw at the latest accounts.
The Gov. also sent orders to Col. Buckmaster, at Alton, for all the arms of the state in his possession fit for service, and they were sent up on the Die Vernon. The number of these is comparatively trifling; consisting of say 100 yaugers, twenty muskets and three six-pounders.
On the 20th, the Mormons were about 3,500 strong, all fully armed and equipped, with a full supply of provisions and ammunition. There were also in possession of six pieces of artillery, carrying six pound balls. The city of Nauvoo was under martial law; and the forces of Smith were daily increased by arrivals of Mormons from other section of the country.
The above particulars we get by a slip from the office of the Alton Telegraph. We find the following additional information in the St. Louis New Era of the 24th:
The Ohio and Hibernia passed Nauvoo yesterday morning and it was then currently reported that Joe Smith and the members of the Nauvoo City Council had eloped during the night previous. It was stated that they had crossed into Iowa at Montrose. The leaders had thus deserted and left their deluded followers as victims to the fury of the indignant citizens of the surrounding country. Joe had declared his determination not to go to Carthage or Missouri, far he could not get justice at either place, but he would surrender himself at any other place. He, however, concluded that discretion was the better part of valor, and escaped. The people of Warsaw were under arms; they searched the Osprey to see if she carried any arms for the use of the Mormons. Nothing unusual appeared to be going on at Nauvoo yesterday morning.
[The Ottawa free trader, June 28, 1844 - NP - Sub by FoFG]

The Mormon Difficulties
As there are a great many false rumors afloat in the community in relation to the circumstances connected with the murder of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, and as it is of the utmost importance that, in an affair of such consequence, the true state of the facts should be known, we have been to the trouble of compiling, from a variety of sources, such an account of the whole affair as will, we apprehend, be found to be generally accurate. With the facts connected with the destruction of the printing materials of the Nauvoo Expositor, the main cause of all the subsequent difficulties and with what took place after that until Gov. Ford arrived in Hancock county, our readers have already been made sufficiently familiar.  We shall therefore confine ourselves to what took place after Gov. Ford’s arrival. The Governor reached Carthage on the morning of June 21st. he found the people greatly exasperated and under arms.  To prevent all violence, he assured them of his determination to investigate thoroughly all the charges alleged against the Mormons and to bring them to punishment, advising the people, however, not to lay down their arms, but to hold themselves in readiness, if need be, to assist him.  He then addressed a letter to the mayor and council of Nauvoo, asking them to send to him two of their most discreet citizens to make such explanations of their recent conduct as they might have to offer. As a means of carrying out his plans and that Smith might not dictate his own terms, the Governor, at the same time, ordered out the 4th brigade of militia, and dispatched a messenger to Alton for the arms in the state arsenal, to be used in arming the people.
The next day, (June 22d) a deputation from and on behalf of the authorities of Nauvoo waiting upon the Governor with all the required affidavits and explanations. After a patient examination, it being apparent that the law had been trampled upon in the destruction of the press, the Governor informed the committee that those engaged in it must submit to the law or the militia would be called to arrest the offenders. A constable and twelve men were then dispatched to Nauvoo the arrest those concerned in the outrage, but on arriving there, they found that Smith and the rest implicated had either fled or secreted themselves. The Governor then at once proceeded to take measures to bring the offenders to justice by coercive means; but before the arrangements were perfected, Smith sent a messenger to the Gov. informing him of his willingness to surrender himself and comrades upon condition of the Governor’s assurance that their persons should be protected from illegal violence.  The assurance was given in the strongest and most positive terms and not only by the Governor on his individual responsibility, but he was joined in it by all the officers and men under his command.  Accordingly, on Monday, June 24th, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and some fifteen others, parties and witnesses, left Nauvoo for Carthage. About four miles west of Carthage they were met by a company of about 60 men under Capt. Dunn, who was on his way to Nauvoo with an order from Gov. Ford for the state arms at that place.  After a short consultation, Smith agreed to endorse the order and placed himself under the protection of Captain Dunn, in company with whom himself and the rest returned to Nauvoo to see that the order was promptly obeyed. The arms were obtained without any attempt at resistance; and then the parties again took up the line of march for Carthage, where they arrived about five minutes before 12 o’clock at night, and were safely lodged at Hamilton’s Hotel. Next morning, the prisoners voluntarily surrendered themselves into the hands of Mr. Bettersworth, the constable who held the writ against them on a charge of riot in destroying the press and fixtures of the Nauvoo Expositor.  At this time, a large number of the militia of the surrounding counties was under arms at Carthage.  Gov. Ford was there and the commanding Gen. Deming had there fixed his headquarters.  Not long after Smith and the rest had surrendered themselves on the charge of riot, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were both arrested on a charge of treason against the state of Illinois.
In the afternoon, the two Smiths, and the other persons on the charge of riot, appeared before R. F. Smith, a justice of the peace residing at Carthage, and by the advice of their counsel, in order to prevent, if possible, any increase of excitement, voluntarily entered into recognizances in the sum of five hundred dollars each, with unexceptionable security, for their appearance at the next term of the circuit court for said county. The whole number of persons recognized was fifteen, most if not all of whom were leading men in the Mormon church.
Making out the bonds and justifying bail took till evening, and then, without intimating anything in reference to the charge of treason, the justice adjourned his court, and Smith and the rest returned to Hamilton’s Hotel.  About an hour afterwards, however, the constable came to the hotel and insisted that the Smiths should go to jail on the charge treason. Their counsel urged, in opposition, that the prisoners were entitled to be brought before the justice for examination before they could be committed; but the constable thereupon exhibited a mittimus from the justice, reciting that whereas the prisoners could not be examined by reason of the absence of several material witnesses on the part on the prosecution, therefore the jailer was commanded to keep the prisoners in custody until discharged by due course of law.  Application on behalf of the prisoners was made to the Governor, but he did not think it within the sphere of his duty to interfere; he went however, with Smith’s counsel to the justice, who gave as his reason for committing the Smiths that they were not personally safe at the hotel. They were then escorted to the jail by Capt.
Dunn’s company and a strong guard was stationed there to ensure their safety.
On the following morning, (Wednesday, June 26) the Governor visited the jail, reassured Smith of his personal safety and told him if the troops were marched to Nauvoo, as was then contemplated, he (Smith) should go along to ensure their protection.  The object the governor had in view in the proposed visit to Nauvoo, was to speak to the inhabitants and exhort them to peace.
After the interview between Smith and the Governor, the counsel for the prosecution wanted the prisoners brought out of jail for examination; but they were answered by the counsel for Smith that they had already been committed and the justice and constable had no further control of them and that they could be brought out of jail only on a writ of habeas corpus or some other due course of law. The constable then went to the jail with an order from the justice and demanded the prisoners. The jailer refused to give them up, alleging that he was charged to keep them until they were “discharged by due course of law.” Upon this the company of Carthage Greys, of whom justice Smith was captain but not then in command, marched to the jail and compelled the jailer to deliver the prisoners to the constable, who immediately took them before Justice Smith.  The counsel for the prisoners then also appeared there and expressed their willingness to go into the examination, but asked time to get witnesses from Nauvoo; and finally the justice gave them till 12 o’clock next day for that purpose, and the prisoners were remanded to jail.  After this, a consultation of the officers took place and it was determined that the troops should take up the line of march for Nauvoo t 8 o’clock next morning; and in consequence, Justice Smith, who was an officer in command, altered the time for the hearing the Smiths to the 29th.
Next morning, (June 27,) the order for marching the troops to Nauvoo was countermanded, the Governor having discovered, the evening before, “that nothing but utter destruction of the city (his own words) would satisfy a portion of the troops; and that, if they marched into the city, pretexts would not be wanting to commence hostilities.” The governor therefore disbanded the army, except three companies, one of which, under the command of Capt. Singleton, was at Nauvoo, another (the Carthage Greys) he left to guard the jail, and with the other (Capt. Dunn’s) he left for to Nauvoo.  The company left to guard the jail were quartered about 100 rods from it, except eight, who were immediately at the jail.
About 6 o’clock in the afternoon, when everything was apparently quiet in the place and no danger dreamed of, a body of from 150-200 armed men, with faces painted, and otherwise disguised, rushed from the thicket near the jail upon the guard, overpowered them and commenced breaking their way in to the prisoners. Smith, hearing the noise outside, went to the window and leaned out, and while in that position, was fired upon by the mob and fell out of the window dead, pierced by four or five balls.  It is said when he reached the ground, he was also pierced by several bayonets. Several volleys were also fired into the jail.  The mob, by this time, broke open the doors and entered, where they found Hyrum Smith, dead, pierced by half a dozen balls and Elder Taylor, editor of the Nauvoo Neighbor, who was at the jail on a visit, severely wounded. The mob then left, going in the direction of Warsaw.  Who they were and whence they came, is not known, and will probably never be found out. A six shooter pistol was found on Joseph Smith, of which three barrels had been discharged.  On Hyrum Smith a single pocket pistol was found, but it is believes he made no attempt to use it.
This we believe to be, as nearly as can be got at the present, a true history of this most disgraceful murder, than which a greater outrage never stained our annuals, and it will remain a blot on the character of our state to all succeeding ages.
The governor, when the outrage was committed, was at Nauvoo and had addressed the inhabitants and disposed them generally to peace.  He left in the evening for Carthage and when about three miles out of Nauvoo, was met by a messenger with the news of the death of Smith.  The Governor was astounded.  Fearing that an immediate attack would be made on Nauvoo, he sent word to the inhabitants, if such should be the case, to defend themselves and left Gen. Deming with the handful of troops with him, to act as the preservation of order might require. The Gov. himself immediately left for Quincy to prepare a force sufficient to suppress disorders in case any should ensue.  No attempt however was made to attack Nauvoo and the inhabitants generally evinced no disposition to retaliate.
Next day at 10 o’clock the Nauvoo Legion was called out and were addressed by Judge Phelps, Col. Buckmaster of Alton, the Governor’s aid, and others, after which resolutions were adopted, declaring their determination to preserve peace and quiet, and to look to the laws to be avenged. The bodies of the Smiths were brought into the city at three o’clock and conveyed to the Mansion, followed by an immense procession and amid the most solemn lamentation and wailing.  After this a meeting of the inhabitants generally was held, at which resolutions similar to those adopted by the Legion were passed.  A proclamation was also circulated through the city from Mrs. Emma Smith, exhorting to peace and quiet.
Gov. Ford had his headquarters at Quincy, where he collected a force sufficient to meet any exigency. The people of Hancock county were little disposed to peace, but dared not risk an attack on the Mormons.  A long correspondence between their “committee of safety” and Gov. Ford is published in the Quincy papers of the 4th inst., in which they state there can be no compromise; either the Mormons must leave or they must, and they call on the governor to exercise his power to effect a removal of the Mormons.  The Gov. replies by reproaching the people of Hancock county with great meanness and bad faith in the murder of Smith and says it has deprived him of all moral persuasive influence with the Mormons and that he has no constitutional power to remove them and that he is determined to keep the peace.
Accounts up to the 7th from “the seat of war” state that nearly all the forces have again been disbanded and on Tuesday, we understand, the Governor was at St. Louis so that the war may be considered at an end.  The conduct of Gov. Ford, through all those trying scenes is everywhere spoken of in the highest terms.  Resolutions bearing testimony to the calmness, impartiality and judgment that characterized all his acts were adopted at the meeting in Nauvoo, Quincy and Warsaw and, generally, the papers of all parties speak in the same terms. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, July 12, 1844]


New Outrages in Hancock County
Hancock county is again in a state of anarchy.  The war on the Mormons has been recommended and is prosecuted with more violence than has ever before distinguished these outbreaks.  A determination in manifested that Mormons shall no longer remain in Hancock county and that they must be driven out, and to effect this, their enemies are prepared to burn, kill and destroy.

The last outbreaks were preceded by a meeting of the anti-Mormons in Green Plain precinct, held probably for the purpose of concerting some plan of operations.  While the meeting were engaged in the business before them, several shots were fired at them through the windows and door of the school house they had met in, by whom it is not known, but the Mormons allege by the Anties themselves, who indeed but faintly deny it – at all events do not plead the circumstance in justification of their subsequent proceedings.

The day after this meeting (Sept. 10) the Anties proceeded to put their plans intoe executions, and what these were may be readily inferred from the following account, taken from the Warsaw Signal of the 17th, of their proceedings:

“On Wednesday night the work was commenced by burning two Mormon cabins and the saints were started from Morley’s settlement, (in the south-western part of the county.) From that time to the present, they have been flying before the Anties, and the latter have destroyed all Morley’s settlement and are, at the time of writing this, at work on the Bear Creek settlement.”

“The Mormons were allowed to remove their furniture and most of them have already taken all their moveables to Nauvoo.  A determined spirit exists amongst the Ani-Mormons, and they have resolves to accomplish their objest of driving (..?...) settlements and destroying their (?)

On Monday, Sept. 15, Sheriff Backenstos issued a proclamation, calling on the posse comitatas to aid him in suppressing the rioters and maintaining the supremacy of the laws and order citizens had not force sufficient to suppress the rioters, 2000 effective men in Nauvoo should hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment’s warning to any point in Hancock county.  The Signal says none of the citizens had answered or would answer the call and that all the force the sheriff can raise must come from Nauvoo.  The Signal also gives an account of the murder of F. A. Worrel, who was shot dead on the 16th, while riding across the prairie, “by some Mormon concealed in the hazel rough nine miles from Warsaw,” and winds off with the exclamation, “Revenge, revenge, fellow citizens, is now the word!”
The above are the principal items of news in the Signal of the 17th.  In an extra from the office of the Springfield Register, dated Sept. 21, we have the following additional items:
It appears that the anti-Mormons continued their work of destruction until upwards of 100 houses have been consumed.  Sheriff Backenstos failed in raising a posse strong enough to stop these movements without resorting to Nauvoo, owing to the fear of all well-disposed persons in the country, that their own houses might be consumed.  We learn that he has raised about 500 men from Nauvoo, all well-armed, with which he had dispersed the rioters, commanded by Col. Williams at Green Plains.
In this affair no lives were lost, as the “Anties” run and took shelter in a cornfield, before the posse came within firing distance.
Backenstos had been driven away from Carthage, and returned with about 500 men, to remove his family; on his retreat he fell in with a large body of Anti-Mormons, when a battle ensued. It is said that eighteen Anties and three Mormons were killed.  It appears that Williams, Sharp, Davis and other leaders escaped.  A large number of the Anties were taken prisoners and are now confined and guarded at the court house at Carthage.
The people had all fled from Carthage.  Augusta, and other Anti-Mormon towns, and carried their families into the counties of Adams, Marquette, Schuyler and McDonough, and are beating up for volunteers in those counties, to recruit their forces, with which to renew the war.  It is unknown how many men they will be able to raise; but it is believed that they have so disgraced themselves by the incendiary mode in which they have carried on the war, that their success will not be very great.  But if they succeed, another bloody battle may be expected in the course of this week.
Before this news arrived, the Governor had issued a call for five hundred men to quell the disturbances.
We are advised that it is a fact that no letters have been received at this place from any of the Mormon party since the commencement of these troubles, except one from a very obscure man in Nauvoo, and another from McDonough county, and no newspapers.  It is rumored that the mails have been stopped and there is a story afloat that one mail carrier has been murdered.  No messenger has arrived from all that section of country until today when a committee arrived from Mt. Sterling.

[The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, September 26, 1845]


The Trials of Joe and Hiram Smith's murderers are in progress at Carthage, Illinois. It is stated that the testimony on the part of the State has been very la?e, and that of the witnesses so very contradictory, and the fact that improper influences have been brought to bear upon them, so very apparent, that it is not within the bounds of probability that the jury will hesitate in acquitting the prisoners. One of the witnesses, Daniels, and the most important on the part of the State, has been proven to have acknowledged that he was to get $500 from the Mormons and $360 from Governor Ford for testifying in the case; another acknowledged from the stand that he told his acquaintances that he did not think he got as well paid as Daniels. A number of charges for perjury have been preferred against Mormons as witnesses in this case. Everybody almost attending court comes armed to the teeth, and frequently muskets and rifles will be seen taken out of wagons with as much deliberation as if they were attending a militia muster instead of attending a court of justice. The Mormons are said to have expressed a determination to take revenge in case the defendants should not be convicted. [11 June 1845; The Public Ledger (Pennsylvania) - KT - Sub by FoFG]


Mormon War Ended
We mentioned last week that Gen. Hardin with his staff and forces had gone to Nauvoo to effect an arrangement between the Mormons and their enemies, by which permanent peace should be secured to Hancock county.  The result of this effect is disclosed in a correspondence between Gen. H. and the Mormons, which is published in the Quincy papers.  The Mormons pledge themselves to remove from the state by the first of next April, if no effort is made to drive them off before that time.  Their houses and farms in Hancock county they offer for sale, but if they cannot sell them before they leave, they wish it distinctly understood that they will not give them away or suffer them to be illegally wrested from them.  As an evidence that they are in earnest about leaving, and had even intended to leave before the late outbreak, they state that they have sowed no wheat his fall, that four companies of 100 families each, are already full organized and six more of the same number of families are about organizing, preparatory to a removal.  Their destination appears to be west of the Rocky Mountains. The Anti-Mormons in their convention at Carthage of delegates from nine of the surrounding counties have acceded to the proposition of the Mormons; and Gen. Hardin, for the purpose of maintaining law and order during the winter, has left an armed force in the county, which will be sufficient for that purpose.  And, that this force may not be used for vexatious or improper purposes, he recommends the governor to send some competent legal officer to remain there and have the power of deciding what process shall be executed by said military force.  [The Ottawa Free Trader, October 17, 1845; NP, Sub by FoFG]


Carthage Illinois, Sept 12.
GENTLEMEN: I sent you yesterday, via Warsaw, a brief account of the proceedings yesterday at the seat of war.
At 12 o'clock, the Anti-Mormon army took up its line of march towards Nauvoo. There were 52 platoons of footmen averaging nine in each platoon, 100 horsemen, and 75 artillery-men, besides from 150 to 200 in wagons, making, including officers, upwards of 800 men. From an eminence which I occupied in the prairie, the display was quite military and imposing. They approached to within two miles of the Temple: they were fired upon at their advance and flank guards by the Mormons, from a cornfield. The fire was returned by the Anties, first with small arms, and afterwards with a cannon, charged with grape shot, was discharged into the field. Squads of Mormons were afterwards seen at various points, and were successfully driven by the fire of the cannon, until the Anties halted within a mile of the Temple. The Mormons occasionally fired a cannon, but without effect. The only artillery of the Mormons are some cannons they manufactured themselves out of the shafts of steam boats, which poorly answer the purpose they were intended for, and will give the Anties great advantages over them, as they have five first rate six-pounders. I do not know certainly whether any blood was spilled yesterday or not. The Anties claim to have killed several. They fired six pounders into some houses where the Mormons were stationed; one went entirely through a brick house. On the side of the Anties none were killed or wounded. The cannonading lasted three hours, during which time 56 guns were fired, about 16 of which were fired by the Mormons.
I was on a commanding elevation, at a respectful distance, where I could witness the whole manoeurvering, see the flash and hear the report of the cannon -- to one not used to such scenes, i assure you it is quite exciting. It is said that the Mormons make a fortress of the Temple,and today the Anties will probably try to batter it down with their six pounders. They tried a shot upon it yesterday, but the distance was too great for any effect. The Mormons will undoubtedly have to surrender. The success of the Anties yesterday in forcing the Mormons to retreat form every position they were found in, has given them new strength and vigor, and they are rapidly reinforcing. What the consequences will be, I cannot tell. As the Mormons have shown resistance, I fear the temple will be destroyed.
After the firing of cannon ceased the Anties pitched their tents one mile west of the Temple, near the LaHarpe Road, within the suburbs of Nauvoo. Today I expect there will be fun, and if the Mormons come out and give the Anties a fair fight, there will be much blood spilled. Both parties will doubtless fight hard.
Yesterday morning the Anties proposed to compromise on terms very similar to those agreed upon with Gen. Singleton, only that the Mormons were to leave within 30 days, instead of 60. This time the Mormons refused to accept.
It was reported yesterday, by persons direct from Nauvoo, that the Mormons had been reinforced and were 800 strong. It was also reported that they had imprisoned al the new citizens, who refused to fight for them, in the Temple. Neither of these stories were credited.
[30 Sep 1846; The Milwaukee Sentinel - KT - Sub by FoFG]


The Chicago Democrat says: It has been circulated all through Hancock county that Joe Smith, Jr., lately made head of the Mormon church, has summoned the faithful to return to Nauvoo, Hancock county, and reconstruct their society there. This has greatly aroused the people of that county, and calls for precinct meetings throughout the county are published in the Warsaw Bulletin, of this week, to take “immediate and decided measures” to counteract the Mormon movement, and the excitement among the people in that region is represented as increasing daily, the public peace being threatened, and another Mormon war, like that of several years ago in the same locality, being almost certain, if the proposed movement of young Joe Smith is carried out. [Illinois State Democrat, Aug. 29, 1860 - submitted by C. Horton]


A telegram from Carthage, Illinois, says: While County Treasurer John W. Bertsche was overhauling his office yesterday he found a number of papers, old and musty with age, which, upon examination proved to be a number of official writs, summonses and executions issued out of the office of John Banks, a justice of the peace of Rocky Run township. The papers have dates varying from 1843 to 1850 most of them are writs for the "Boddies" of certain Mormons who are charged with stealing corn, oats cabbages, etc. One William McAuley swears he has been robbed of certain spring-guns, and verily believes that said guns are concealed in the town of Nauvoo. Fravers M. Higbee swears that certain men did feloniously and with force of arms take from him an old musket or shot-gun. Higbee, together with his brother, the late Judge Higbee, issued one number of the Nauvoo Expositor, at Nauvoo, which was declared a nuisance by Smith, and the press and type were destroyed. This act led to the murder of Joe Smith and his brother Hyrum. Francis Higbee subsequently moved to Carthage, and was active in his opposition to Mormons. [Weekly Journal Miner (Arizona), 7 October 1891; - KT - Sub by FoFG]


CARTHAGE. Ill.. March 29.—Because of historical associations, the members of the Mormon church have purchased for $4000 the old jail here where the first prophet and the founder of the faith met a tragic death at the hands of a mob. The old structure was not worth over $1500. It is proposed to establish a mission church in the building. In this connection announcement that the Mormons are coming back to Illinois after the lapse of half a century and are to establish three new churches has caused comment. The fact that the church is to make Carthage a headquarters in Illinois may be followed by public action in opposition. [29 March 1905; "Salt Lake Telegram" - KT - Sub by FoFG]


THE ORIGINAL MORMONS
The St. John's Herald, Ariz. Apr 30, 1885 - transcribed by J.S.
Joseph Smith, Jr., who was interviewed in St. Louis recently, made the following statements in regard to the original Mormon church, the difference between the several branches, and what the reoganized church believe in:

"I am the eldest son of Joseph Smith, the founder of our church. I have been in attendance at the conference of our church at Independence, Mo., and am now on my way to Alton, Ill. My home is in Lamoni, Io., where our paper, The Saints Herald, is published. Our church numbers between 16,000 and 20,000 members and over 400 regular congregations scattered all over from Maine to New Mexico and from Florida to Alaska. We have members in all parts of the world. In the Society Islands, Australia, England, Wales and so on, all established by apostles or elders. We have 800 or 1,000 in Utah, who are in charge of Elder J.R. Anthony. We have a large missionary force at work always."

On being further questioned in regard to the establishment of the church and the difference in the two branches he said:
"In the year 1827 my father had his visitation. An angel revealed to him the theory of our doctrine and our church. All that is a matter of history, and has been repeated so often that it is a hardly necessary for me to say anything of it. On the 6th of April, 1830, the church was organized by Joseph Smith and six elders, at Amherst, Ohio. The first conference was held in June of that year. The members of that conference went forth into the world and preached the word. In the course of time they made converts and then they gathered together and built a temple. This was at Kirkland, Ohio. About this same time they settled in Missouri, in the town of Independence. They proposed in both places until, in the year 1834, a local feeling arose against them in Kirkland, resulting finally in their explusion from that place. They concentrated at Independence Mo., after that, but encountered the same opposition in Missouri that they met in Ohio, and in 1838 they were banished from that State. They then emmigrated to Illinois, settling in Hancock County, at Nauvoo. This was in 1839. In 1844 my father was killed at Carthage. The church then numbered 150,000 souls, 25,000 of whom were in Hancock County, Illinois.  After my father's death, or in 1846, the mass of the church went west to Utah. A large number, however, remained behind. It was then that the schism in the church began. My mother, myself and my brothers did not go. In 1852 we reorganized the church, the branch of which I am now President originating then. The difference between the two branches of the Morman church is simply this. We do not believe in polygamy. The church, as first organized, was not a polygamic body. It was only later that it became so.

The death of my father caused great excitement. He had been arrested by an excited body of citizens. He could have taken advantage of an opportunity given him to bail  himself out, but chose to remain in prison, where he was placed on the debtor's side of the jail. John Taylor and my uncle Hiram were with him. A furious mob attacked the jail, overpowered and butchered the guard, and shot my father to death. They put four bullets into Uncle Hiram, who, however, did not die. John Taylor escaped unharmed, and afterwards led the church to Utah.

Brigham Young was with the church then, but not at Nauvoo. He was preaching in New York and afterwards returend and emigrated with the rest to Utah.

The belief of our people, the original mormon, is this:
"We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

We believe that man will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transgressions.

We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all men may be saved by the obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

We believe that a man must be Called of God, and ordained by the Laying on of Hands of those who are in authority, to entitle him to preach the gospel, and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe in the same kind of organization that existed in the primitive church, viz: Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etec.

We believe that in the Bible is contained the word of God, so far as it is translated correctly. We believe that the canon of Scripture is not full, but that God by his Spirit, will continue to reveal His word to man until the end of time.

We believe in the powers and gifts of the everlasting gospel, viz: the gift of faith, discerning of spirits, prophecy, revelation, healing, visions, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues, wisdom, charity, brotherly love, etc.

We believe that marriage is ordained of God; and that the law of God provides but for one companion in wedlock, for either man or woman, except in cases were[sic] the contract of marriage if broken by death or transgression.

We believe that the doctrines of a pluarlity of wives and a community of wives are heresies, and are opposed to the law of God. The Book of Morman says:  "Wherefore my brethren, hear me, and harken to the word of the Lord. For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife, and concubines be shall have none, for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastitiy of women. And whoredoms are adomination before me, saith the Lord of hosts."

We believe that the religion of Jesus Christ, as taught in the New Testament Scriptures, will, if its precepts are accepted and obeyed, make men and women better in the domestic circle, and better citizens of town, county and state, and consequently better fitted for the change which cometh at death.

We believe that men should worship God in "Spirit and in truth," and that such worship does not require a violation of the constitution at law of the land.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, allow all men the same privileges, let them worship how, where, or what they may.


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