The John Taylor Papers, by Samuel W. & Raymond W. Taylor Volume I, The Apostle

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allayed; that it would throw on the governor the responsibility of keeping the


Joseph planned to go to Washington, to lay his case before President

Tyler. Taylor would go to upper Canada, in company with Cyrus H.


I told him that he had better see his family, who lived over the river,

and prepare a couple of horses and the necessary equippage for the journey,

and that, if we did not find Brother Joseph before, we would start at

nightfall . . . .

After making all the preparations I could, previous to leaving Nauvoo,

and having bid adieu to my family, I went to a house adjoining the river owned

by Brother Eddy. There I disguised myself so as not to be known, and so

effective was the transformation that those who had come after me with a boat

did not know me. I went down to the boat and sat in

it. Brother Bell, thinking it was a stranger, watched my moves for some time

very impatiently, and then said to Brother [79] Wheelock, "I wish that old

gentleman would go away; he has been pottering around the boat for some time,

and I am afraid Elder Taylor will be coming." When he discovered his mistake,

he was not a little amused ....

I crossed the river; . . . and Brother Elias Smith, cousin to Brother

Joseph, went to obtain money for the journey, and also to find out the

location of the brethren . . . .

I was conducted by Brother Bell to a house that was surrounded by timber

. . . . There I spent several hours in a chamber with Joseph Cain, , adjusting my accounts; and I made

arrangements for the stereotype plates of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and

Covenants to be forwarded east, thinking to supply company with

subsistence money through the sale of these books in the east.

My horses were reported ready by Brother Wheelock, and funds on hand by

Brother Elias Smith. In about half an hour I should have started, when Brother

Elias Smith came to me with word that he had found the brethren; that they had

concluded to go to Carthage, and wished me to return to Nauvoo and accompany

them. I must confess that I felt a good deal disappointed at this news . . . .

I and my party went to the neighborhood of Montrose, where we met Brother

Joseph, Hyrum, Brother Richards, and others. . . .

I learned that it was not Brother Joseph's desire to return, but that he

came back by request of some of the brethren, and that it coincided more with

Brother Hyrum's feelings than those of Brother Joseph . . . . (20) On our

return, the calculation was to throw ourselves under the immediate protection

of the governor, and trust to his word and faith for our preservation.

Next day Taylor went with Joseph and the council to Carthage,

arriving at night [80] among wild excitement of the state militia that

the prophet was in custody. In the morning the governor walked the Mormon

party before the assembled troops, introducing Generals Joseph and Hyrum


All were orderly and courteous except one company of mobocratsthe

Carthage Greyswho seemed to find fault on account of too much honor being

paid the Mormons. There was afterwards a row between the companies, and they

came pretty near having a fight, the more orderly not feeling disposed to

endorse or submit to the rowdyism of the mobocrats. The result was that

General Deming, who was very much a gentleman, ordered the Carthage

Greys, a company under the command of Captain Smith, a magistrate

in Carthage, and a most violent mobocrat, under arrest. This matter, however,

was shortly afterward adjusted . . . .

While waiting for the hearing, Taylor wrote to Leonora from the


Carthage, June 25, 1844

My Dear Nora,

Having an opportunity I embrace it for the purpose of communicating with

you . . . . We are all well except a slight indisposition of Hyrum Smith,

occasioned by overfatigue in traveling.

Relative to our affairs here we can say little; there is, however, a

strong disposition on the part of the governor to sustain law and put down

mobocracy . . . . We shall have a fair hearing, we presume; if not, it is only

before a justice of the peace. We know that we are innocent of any crime and

that "truth will prevail."

There are plenty of persons passing to and from Nauvoo, and will be

daily, so that you will hear the news regularly.

[81] I want 1,000 copies of the book of Doctrine and Covenants printed as

quick as possible and the book binding also to go on.

Give my kindest love to all enquiring friends and accept my unshaken

regard and tenderest loveand a kiss for all the children.

I remain your affectionate husband, John Taylor.

P.S. 2 o'clock p.m. I have just received information that the Gov. is going to

send a company of men to cooperate with the police in keeping the

peace of the city and to prevent invasion from any hostile force, and if

necessary to call the Nauvoo Legion to his aid. J.T.

3 o'clock p.m. The Governor has just agreed that his Army shall march to

Nauvoo, that Joseph shall accompany him, and that all cases that are bailable

may be bailed.

John Taylor

The accused men appeared before CaptainJustice Robert F. Smith, and

were released on $500 bond to appear at the next session of the county

court. However, two of the Expositor clique, Augustine Spencer and Henry

Norton, "whose words would not be taken for five cents," made affidavit

that Joseph and Hyrum were guilty of treason, "and a writ was accordingly

issued for their arrest."

Taylor protested that the brothers had been jailed without a

hearing, but the governor said that "he could not interfere with the

judiciary." Taylor accompanied a number of brethren who stayed in jail

with Joseph and Hyrum during the night.

Next morning Governor Ford came to the jail and engaged in 45

minutes of [82] fruitless discussion with Joseph. That afternoon the

prisoners appeared before Captain Robert F. Smith, J.P., for a hearing.

Many remarks were made at the court that I paid but little attention to,

as I considered the whole thing illegal and a complete burlesque. The court .

. . until tomorrow at twelve m. to get witnesses.

We then returned to jail . . . to occupy a large open room . . . . There was free access to the jailor's house, and no bars or

locks except . . . on the outside door of the jail. The jailor, Mr. George W.

Steghall, and his wife, manifested a disposition to make us as comfortable as

they could; we ate at their table, which was well provided, and, of course,

paid for it.

I do not remember the names of all who were with us that night and the

next morning, for several went and came; among those that we considered

stationary were Stephen Markham, John S. Fullmer, Captain Dan Jones, Dr.

Willard Richards, and myself . . . .

When conversing about deliverance, I said, "Brother Joseph, if you will

permit it, and say the word, I will have you out of this prison in five hours,

if the jail has to come down to do it." My idea was to go to Nauvoo and

collect a force sufficient, as I considered the whole affair a legal farce,

and a flagrant outrage upon our liberty and rights.

Brother Joseph refused.

Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock came in to see us, and when he was about leaving,

drew a small pistol, a sixshooter , from his pocket, remarking .

. . "Would any of you like to have this?"

Brother Joseph immediately replied, "Yes, give it to me," . . . and put

it in his pantaloons pocket.

[83] Although the governor had promised to take Joseph and Hyrum with him

to Nauvoo, he left without them. This, Taylor said,

caused very unpleasant feelings, as we were apprised that we were left to the

tender mercies of the Carthage Greys, a company strictly mobocratic, and whom

we knew to be our most deadly enemies; and their captain, Esquire

Smith, was a most unprincipled villain. (21)

Besides this, all the . . . comprising the governor's

troops were dismissed, with the exception of one or two companies which the

governor took with him to Nauvoo. The greater part of the mob was liberated;

the remainder was our guard. (22)

One by one, as visitors left the jail, they were prevented from

returning. Only four remained, Joseph, Hyrum, Richards and Taylor.

Realizing that the mob was conspiring with the guards to storm the jail,

Joseph sent an order to Nauvoo by Stephen Markham "for the purpose of

raising a company of men for our protection." Johnathan Dunham, the

Legion officer to whom the order was directed, simply pocketed it, for

reasons that have never been explained.

Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported by some

that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing: our spirits were

generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us . . . . I believe

we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards.


We all felt unusually dull and languid, with a remarkable depression of

spirits. In consonance with those feelings, I sang a song that had lately been

introduced into Nauvoo, entitled "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.". . .

[84] Soon afterwards I was sitting at one of the front windows of the jail,

when I saw a number of men with painted faces coming around the corner of the

jail, and aiming towards the stairs.

The jail guard fired one round into the air, then stepped aside to

allow the mob to enter. In attempting to hold the door closed against the

assault, Hyrum was killed by a shot through the door. The mob moved back

as Joseph emptied his pistol at them; then they charged again, pushing

the door partly open and firing through. Taylor resisted the pressure at

the door, and beat the gun barrels down with a heavy stick.

Joseph said, "That's right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you

can." These were the last words I ever heard him speak on earth.

Every moment the crowd at the door became more dense . . . . As I

expected them . . . to rush into the room, I made a spring for the window

which was right in front of the jail door, where the mob was

standing, and also exposed to the fire of the Carthage Greys, who were

stationed some ten or twelve rods off . . . As I reached the window, and was

on the point of leaping out, I was struck by a ball from the door about midway

of my thigh . . . . I fell upon the window sill, and cried out, "I am shot!"

Not possessing any power to move, I felt myself falling outside the

window, but immediately fell inside from some, at that time, unknown cause.

Ironically, Taylor was to learn that his life was saved by a bullet

from the Carthage Greys. The ball struck the big watch in his vest

pocket, propelling him back inside the room. He began crawling toward the

bed in the corner of the room.

[85] While on my way . . . I was wounded in three other places. . . . I well

remember my reflections at the time. I had a very painful idea of becoming

lame and decrepid, and being an object of pity; and I felt as though I would

rather die . . . .

It would seem that immediately after my attempt to leap out the window,

Joseph also did the same . . . . A cessation of firing followed; the mob

rushed downstairs, and Dr. Richards . . . dragged me along to a small cell

prepared for criminals, saying, "I am sorry I cannot do better for you," and,

taking an old, filthy mattress, he covered me with it, and said, "That may

hide you, and you may yet live to tell the tale, but I expect they will kill

me in a few moments." While lying in this position I suffered the most

excruciating pain.

Soon afterwards, Dr. Richards came to me, informing me that the mob had

fled, and at the same time confirming my worst fears, that Joseph was

assuredly dead.

Taylor spent five apprehensive days in the Hamilton House, lying

helpless while hearing of plots to assassinate him. Evidently he was

considered more valuable as a hostage, to prevent Mormon retaliation, for

a visiting Gentile slipped him two loaded pistols, which he kept under

his pillow. (24)

On 2 July a contingent of brethren arrived, who fixed a bed on a

sleigh. As Leonora applied ice water to Taylor's wounds, the sleigh slid

smoothly over the prairie grass, the brethren taking down fences enroute,

and carrying the sleigh over pools of standing water.

Taylor was thrilled to be greeted by the Saints as he neared Nauvoo:


The people of the Living God; Friends of Truth and Righteousness, thousands of

whom stood there with warm, true hearts, to offer their friendship and

services, and to welcome my return.

The ball which had struck his watch and flung him back inside the

window, was, he said, Turned by an overruling Providence into a messenger

of mercy, and saved my life . . . . I felt the Lord had preserved me by a

special act of mercy, that my time had not yet come, and that I still had

a work to perform upon the earth.

(1) More than a century later, a descendant of the elder who

appropriated the eight pounds moved into Samuel W. Taylor's ward. Though

he was an agreeable person, the descendant of John Taylor could never see

him without thinking. "Your great grandfather was a miserable specimen,

keeping that money from a lonely woman, sick and in need." How true it is

that a record is being kept, in indelible ink. Omar Khayyam said, "The

Moving Finger writes; and having writ/ Moves on; nor all your Piety nor

Wit/ Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,/ Nor all your Tears wash

out a Word of it."

(2) JD, 1883; 7 April 1866; 18 January 1865.

(3) Although all ten of these wives were sealed in the Nauvoo

Temple, only the first four were subsequently acknowledged in Utah. The

authors have verified six additional marriages, after the Saints located

in Utah, for a grand total of sixteen. However, only seven of these wives

were "officially" recognized. (See "Little Known Wives of John Taylor,"

BYU Special Collections.)

Why were some wives acknowledged, while others remained secret? John

C. Bennett claimed there were three classes of wives at Nauvoo. It is

evident from the marriages of John Taylor, Brigham Young, and others,

that there were at least two classes. It is perhaps possible that plural

marriage was practiced as a restoration of the ancient practice of taking

wives and concubines. A concubine, incidentally, is not a mistress, but a

wife of inferior status.

[87] (4) T&S 5:715. The law of the land forbade polygamy, but the law of

God commanded it; the church would not tolerate it, but the priesthood

within the church practiced it.

(5) 23 July 1841.

(6) Cecil A. Snider points out: "The Warsaw Signal with two other

newspapers, the Sangamo Journal at Springfield and the Alton Telegraph at

Alton, formed a press triangle that `went to seed' on Mormon propaganda .

. . . It is therefore a significant fact in relation to the nonMormon

press, that some three or four antiMormon papers shaped public opinion

against the Mormons in Illinois . . . . The public was virtually fed on

biased radicalism which was largely accepted as authentic regardless of

its factual content." Development of Attitudes in Sectarian Conflict: A

Study of Mormonism in Illinois in Contemporary Newspaper Sources. MA

thesis. Iowa State University, 1933.

(7) Its literary style indicates that John Taylor had a hand in its


(8) T&S, 1 December 1841.

(9) The History of the Saints; or an Expose of Joe Smith and

Mormonism. Boston, 1842. Snider says in his thesis: "Perhaps no other

single event brought about more criticism of the Mormons than did the

shooting of Boggs in Missouri. It came at a very critical time, too,

since the saints had for several months preceding been eyed with

suspicion in relation to numerous stealings and acts of depredation . . .

. There had naturally been some suspicion about the . . . but

it was not taken seriously until Bennett had written his letters of

accusation to the Sangamo Journal of Springfield, charging the prophet

Smith with being an accomplice, and O. P. Rockwell with commission of the

act. To make the situation even more indicting, the prophet had

previously prophesied the death of ExGovernor Boggs by some violent


(10) Charges that Joseph instigated the Boggs affair were denied by

Rockwell, a man who either told the truth or said nothing. Rockwell was

arrested for the deed, but discharged after nine months for lack of


(11) PD.

(12) Conference Report, April 1844; T&S 5:577.

[88] (13) See The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith, by Apostle John Taylor, in

Richard F. Burton's "City of the Saints"; London, 1861. Also, "Memoirs of

the Late President John Taylor . . . ."; DHC 7:55126.

(14) Nauvoo Neighbor, 12 June 1844; also Memoirs.

(15) 11 June 1844.

(16) 19 June 1844.

(17) DHC, 17 June 1844.

(18) 19 June 1844.

(19) Jackson had been warmly endorsed by the Expositor. He was

author of the book A Narrative of the Adventures and Experiences of

Joseph H. Jackson in Nauvoo, Disclosing the Depths of Mormon Villainy;

Warsaw, 1844.

(20) The prophet's first wife, Emma, had sent a letter urging him to

return and give himself up. Reynolds Cahoon, Lorenzo D. Wasson and Hiram

Kimball accused Joseph of cowardice for deserting his people. Joseph

replied, "If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of none to

myself." (DHC 6:549)

(21) Governor Ford has been most severely criticized for breaking

his promise to take Joseph and Hyrum with him to Nauvoo. However, after

he made this promise, Joseph's lawyers secured a postponement of the

hearing of the case to allow the accused to obtain witnesses. Thus the

governor could not have taken the prisoners from jail without violating

due process of law. As he previously had told Taylor, he "could not

interfere with the judiciary."

(22) This was not simply callous disregard on the governor's part

for the safety of the prisoners. It was now the 27th of June, and

torrential rains all spring had made it impossible to put in crops.

Streams were at flood tide; hundreds of grist mills run by water power

had been destroyed, causing an acute shortage of meals. Now, with food

weather, Governor Ford dismissed all possible units of the militia to

allow the men to return to their farms, because the country faced

possible crop failure and famine. As for the Carthage Greys, they were

part of the state militia, and Ford fully expected them to obey orders.

The governor's mistake was in not recognizing the inflamed passions

existing between the Saints and their neighbors.

[89] (23) They also sent out for pipes and tobacco. A reason for the

tobacco was to settle Willard Richards' upset stomach. (MS 24:471, and

DHC 6:616). It might also be noted, as indicative of the difference

between modern and pioneer attitudes, that none of the four men wore


(24) The doctor who attended him, Thomas L. Barnes, when an old man

wrote his account of events, complaining that he never was paid for his

medical services. (Reason was that John Taylor knew that Barnes was a

member of the mob which had wounded him.) John Taylor's grandson, Raymond

W. Taylor, negotiated with Barnes' descendants and settled the account

for $1, 120 years after it was due. (Church News, 22 February 1964)

[90] Chapter 6


Under leadership of Brigham Young and the Twelve, Nauvoo's greatest

growth and prosperity came after Carthage. Permanent structures of brick

and stone were undertaken with the faith that Nauvoo was "the center

stake of Zion forever." The temple was conceived as the actual dwelling

place of Christ during the millennial reign, "where the Almighty has

promised to meet with us." The Twelve issued an Epistle regarding "the

building up of Nauvoo; the gathering of the saints; the building of the

temple; the establishment of manufacturing, and various branches of

industry . . . a stronghold of industry and wealth, which will stand firm

and unshaken amid the wreck of empires and the crash of thrones." John

Taylor declared, "So long as we are sustained and upheld by the arm of

Jehovah, we shall stand: mobs may rage . . . but God has said, touch not

mine anointed and do my people no harm.... We assembled together to

fulfill the revelations of the Great Jehovah . . . . We will not be

diverted from our course, though earth and hell oppose." (1)

However, the seeds of destruction had been sown; the city was

doomed. Taylor wrote farewell in the Times and Seasons. (2)

All things are in preparation for a commencement of the great move of the

Saints out of the United States.....


It is reduced to a solemn reality that the rights and property, as well as the

lives and common religious belief of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday

Saints, cannot be protected in the realms of the United States, and, of

course, from one to two hundred thousand souls must quit their freedom among

freemen, and go where the land, the elements, and the worship of God are free

. . . .

May God continue the spirit of fleeing from false freedom, and false

dignity, till every Saint is removed to where he "can sit under his own vine

and fig tree" without having any to molest or make afraid. Let us golet us


Enroute, the bitter cold of winter gave way in the spring to

seemingly endless rains.

A hurricane came on, blew down, the tents and trees all around us.

Through the mercy of the Lord no one was hurt. Joseph ran

away from the tent in the midst of the storm for fear of the trees. I went out

to seek him. Br. Jones got hold of the tent pole and said the wind would find

it had to beat a savage if it beat him. Very soon after the roof pole came

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