Hyrum Smith - Carthage Jail - Carthage, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 40° 24.923 W 091° 08.346
15T E 657883 N 4475524
Quick Description: These statues of Joseph & Hyrum Smith, stands outside the Carthage Jail, where they were murdered on June 27, 1844, in Carthage, Illinois.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 6/14/2012 1:36:25 PM
Waymark Code: WMEMHM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member scrambler390
Views: 4

Long Description:
The violent deaths of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the age of thirty-eight and his brother Hyrum Smith (age forty-four), Associate President and patriarch of the Church, dramatically ended the founding period of the LDS Church. On June 27, 1844, they were mobbed and shot while confined at Carthage Jail in Hancock County, in western Illinois. Climaxing more than two decades of persecution across several states, this event gave them an enduring place as martyrs in the hearts of Latter-day Saints.

Nauvoo in 1844, gathering place for the Saints on the Mississippi River, contained elements of both greatness and dissension. Almost overnight, it grew from a village of religious refugees and new converts to the point where it rivaled Chicago as the largest city in Illinois. With Democrats and Whigs both vying for the Mormon vote, Nauvoo was granted one of the most liberal city charters in the state, an independent military force, and a strong judicial system.

Illinois anti-Mormons, perhaps assisted by old enemies from Missouri, joined with a handful of determined Mormon defectors within Nauvoo. Several had held high Church positions and, when excommunicated, fueled efforts to destroy Joseph Smith and the Church.

Threats of mob violence increased. In Warsaw and Carthage, newspapers called for extermination of the Mormons. On June 18, Joseph Smith mobilized his troops to protect Nauvoo. When Illinois governor Thomas Ford apparently sided with the opposition and ordered the Church leaders to stand trial again on the same charges, this time in Carthage, Joseph and Hyrum first considered appealing to U.S. President John Tyler, but then decided instead to cross the Mississippi and escape to the West. Pressured by family and friends who felt abandoned and who believed Joseph to be nearly invincible, he agreed to return and surrender; but he prophesied that he would be going "like a lamb to the slaughter" and would be "murdered in cold blood". Joseph urged Hyrum to save himself and succeed him as prophet, but Hyrum refused and accompanied his brother to Carthage.

Despite his promises of protection and a fair trial, Governor Ford allowed the Smiths to be imprisoned by their enemies without bail and without a hearing on a wholly new charge of treason for having declared martial law in Nauvoo. Stating that he had to "satisfy the people," the Governor ignored clear warnings of danger and disbanded most of the troops. He then left the hostile Carthage Greys to guard the jail and took the most dependable troops with him to Nauvoo.

During the governor's absence, a mob of between one hundred and two hundred armed men—many of them from the disbanded Warsaw militia—gathered in late afternoon, blackened their faces with mud and gunpowder, and then stormed the jail. In less than two minutes, they overcame feigned resistance from the Greys, rushed upstairs, and fired through the closed door. Hyrum, shot first, died instantly. John Taylor, an apostle, tried to escape out a window and was shot five times, but survived to later become the Church's third President. Only Willard Richards, another apostle, survived unharmed. Trying to go out the window to deflect attention from the two survivors inside, Joseph Smith was hit in the chest and collarbone with two shots from the open doorway and two more from outside the window. His final words as he fell to the ground outside the jail were, "O Lord, my God!". As rumors spread that the Mormons were coming, the mob dispersed. (visit link)


Hyrum was born in Tunbridge, Vermont, the second son of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. Hyrum received a limited education, and established himself as a farmer.

During the translation of the Book of Mormon and the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Hyrum was Joseph Smith, Jr.'s close advisor and confidant. In June 1829, Hyrum was baptized in Seneca Lake, New York. He was one of the Eight Witnesses examining and testifying of the reality of the Golden Plates, the original source of the Book of Mormon. When the Church of Christ[3] was organized on April 6, 1830, six men signed their names as charter members; at the age of thirty, Hyrum was the oldest of the six. Hyrum served as presiding officer of a church branch in Colesville, New York and was one of the first Latter Day Saint preachers in the surrounding area.

After relocating to Nauvoo, Illinois, Hyrum was ordained as Presiding Patriarch of the Church, a position formerly held by his deceased father, Joseph Smith, Sr. He also was ordained by Joseph to the priesthood office of Apostle and replaced Oliver Cowdery as Assistant President of the Church; in this capacity, Hyrum acted as President of the Church in Joseph's absence and was designated to be Joseph's successor if he were killed or incapacitated.

When warned of possible danger, Joseph urged Hyrum and his family to flee to Cincinnati, Ohio. Hyrum refused and, in 1844, traveled with Joseph to Carthage, Illinois where both were charged with riot and treason. Joseph, Hyrum, John Taylor and Willard Richards were held awaiting trial in a jail in Carthage. On June 27, 1844, the building was attacked by a mob of between sixty and two hundred men. While attempting to barricade the door to prevent the mob from entering, Hyrum was shot in the face and exclaimed, "I am a dead man," as he died.[4] Taylor was struck by several bullets but survived with the help of Richards. Joseph was hit by at least two shots, exclaimed "O Lord, My God,"[4] and fell through a second-story window to the ground where he was shot again.

Because of his position as Assistant President of the Church, it is likely that Hyrum would have succeeded Joseph and become the next president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had he outlived his brother. (visit link)
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