Kirtland Temple
A National Historic Landmark

Carthage Jail


As Joseph left for the Carthage jail "Emma's eyes filled with tears. 'Oh Joseph,' she said. . .'you are coming back!'" [1] Joseph returned twice more before saying his final good-bye. On 27 June 1844 inside a Carthage jail, Joseph and his companions languished in the afternoon heat. John Taylor later recorded,

All of us felt. . .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. . . . After a lapse of some time, Brother Hyrum requested me again to sing that song. I replied, "Brother Hyrum, I do not feel like singing;" when he remarked, "Oh, never mind; commence singing, and you will get the spirit of it." At his request I did so." [2]

Some time later, the mob stormed the jail and shot into a small room. When the fire and smoke subsided Joseph and Hyrum lay dead. Joseph's body was brought back to Nauvoo in a "rough pine casket" [3] for a proper funeral. At the funeral Emma, the young widow ". . .sank upon [her husband's] body. Suddenly her grief found vent, and sighs and groans and lamentations filled the room." [4]

Notes:

[1] Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (New York: Doubleday, 1984), 190. Based on account of Edwin Rushton in "Bridge Builder and Faithful Pioneer," Pioneer Journals, n.d., 3.

[2] Joseph Smith, B. H. Roberts, ed., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1974) 7:101-102; quoted by Richard Clothier, "The Singing Saints: A Festival of Hymns and History," for John Whitmer Historical Association, Nauvoo, Illinois, 2002.

[3] Newell, Mormon Enigma, 196.

[4] B. W. Richmond's statement, "The Prophet's Death!" Deseret News (27 November 1875), reprinted from the Chicago Times. Quoted in Newell, Mormon Enigma, 197.


 

 

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