Documents, Volume 11, Part 1 Introduction: 1 September–31 October 1842
Part 1: 1 September–31 October 1842
In September and October
1842, JS attended to his and municipal responsibilities while also eluding
officers of the law who were attempting to arrest him and extradite
him to . Despite claims from JS and other
church members that the attempted extradition was illegal, governor was
relentless in his efforts to apprehend JS and send him to Missouri
to face charges that he had been an accessory to the attempted
assassination of in May 1842. JS feared that his enemies
would kill him if he returned to Missouri, so he spent much of these
two months in hiding in and around , Illinois.
When , constable of , Illinois, and two
other law officers surprised him at his home on 3 September, JS successfully avoided arrest by
fleeing out the back door and through his garden to the home of . Later that
day, he moved to the home of .
Meanwhile, Adams County undersheriff , Pitman, and about fifteen other men searched
unsuccessfully for JS in and around his home and eventually left
emerged from hiding on 10 September and stayed at his home
for the remainder of the month.
Fearing capture, however, he kept a low profile, skipping many
church meetings and other public gatherings that he normally would
Toward the end of
September, became gravely ill, and JS
spent the first week of
October by his wife’s side, attending to her needs.
On 19 and 20 September
1842, and governor each
issued a formal proclamation promising a reward of $200 and $300,
respectively, for the capture of either JS or , who was
charged with shooting .
Word of the proclamations reached
by 2 October.
On or around 7 October, JS
determined that he must leave Nauvoo “for a short season untill
there should be some change in the proceedings of our enemies.” Accordingly, he
traveled in the dark of night to the home of church member in Henderson County,
Illinois, approximately thirty miles northeast of Nauvoo. Though JS
visited Nauvoo briefly on 20 October to see , he returned to Taylor’s home
the next day and remained in Henderson County until 28 October, when he
returned to Nauvoo.
While in hiding, JS relied on couriers and
bodyguards to relay messages and keep him abreast of developments in
. In his absence, much of
his personal, financial, and ecclesiastical business was handled by
, one of his
clerks. In at least one
instance, a church member writing a letter to JS addressed it to Clayton knowing he could
transmit the letter’s content to JS.
Part 1 of this volume comprises
thirty-five documents. Among them are letters JS exchanged with individual church
members and other associates throughout the regarding
church concerns, particularly ’s
ongoing public attack on JS and the church. In addition, this part
includes letters JS wrote to the church explaining why he had gone
into hiding and giving instructions on the practice of for the dead. Letters from missionaries, church
members, and others in Great Britain
regarding the church there are also featured, as are selections of
editorial content from four issues of the Times and
Seasons, of which JS was the editor.
On 10 September, for example, the
Nauvoo Legion conducted training
maneuvers, an event that typically drew large crowds from
outside Nauvoo. JS’s journal records that JS
“kept very close and still; lest on account of the quantity of
people passing two and fro he should accidently be discovered.”
On the following day, JS stayed home from a church meeting,
opting to send a letter to be read to those in attendance rather
than to preach in person. (JS, Journal,
1842; Letter to the Church, 7 Sept. 1842 [D&C