Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846; Volume 1, 10 March 1844–1 March 1845

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page [289]
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46 born May 31st. 1814
47 " June 16th. 1814
48 — " — February 21st. 1816
49 — " — June 26th. 1817
50 " — November 9th. 1818
51 " March 31st. 1819
52 — " — July 28th. 1818
53 , Clerk " July 17th. 1814
54 Recorder — " — June 24th.— 1804
Events of June 1844

Editorial Note
wrote the following account to describe the events surrounding the arrest and murder of JS and . He likely wrote this account between July 1844 and February 1845 and probably copied it into the record in February 1845. Clayton witnessed some of the events he described, and much of this account contains similarities to descriptions in his diary, suggesting that he drew upon his diary while writing the account. However, he was not a witness of the events that occurred in immediately preceding the murders, or of the murders themselves, and relied on conversations or published accounts for much of this information.
While some information apparently came from and , who were jailed with JS and at and survived the attacks, attributed the information surrounding the death of JS to a personal interview with William M. Daniels, an Augusta, Illinois, resident who was not a member of the church at the time of the murders. Daniels had accompanied a local militia detachment to Carthage and witnessed the assault on the jail; shortly afterward, he swore out a brief affidavit testifying to the complicity of some Illinois militia members in the crime as well as describing JS’s death with some details that contradicted Richards’s account. While Richards believed that JS was shot as he leapt from the window and was dead by the time he reached the ground, Daniels asserted that JS was executed by those on the ground outside the jail.
By the end of 1844 wrote a pamphlet under Daniels’s name that greatly embellished and in some instances apparently distorted the account of events Daniels related to him. A stolen copy of Littlefield’s manuscript was published in December 1844 by the Warsaw Signal; authorized copies of Littlefield’s twenty-four-page pamphlet became available in at the end of April 1845. At the trial of those accused of the murder of JS in May 1845, Daniels, who had since joined the church, indicated that several portions of the pamphlet were not derived from his statements but were Littlefield’s uncorroborated statements and rhetorical flourishes. Defense attorneys used the pamphlet to discredit Daniels as a witness of the events surrounding the attack on the jail. However, while Daniels disclaimed during the trial some of the statements from the pamphlet, he again affirmed, in opposition to witnesses for the defendants, that four persons shot JS after he fell from the window to the ground outside the jail. In any case, noted here at the end of his description of the murders that “it differs in some little instances from the testimony of others but seems most likely to be correct.” That Clayton refers to his informant as “Mr Daniels” instead of Brother or Elder Daniels suggests that Clayton wrote this prior to Daniels’s conversion to the faith, which occurred by November 1844.

About the time the council met the last times, there arose considerable excitement amongst the mobocrats against Prest. Joseph Smith and others. The excitement was got up by & , , & , & others. They yeilded to the influence of wickedness because Prest. [p. [289]]
46 born May 31st. 1814
47 " June 16th. 1814
48 — " — February 21st. 1816
49 — " — June 26th. 1817
50 " — November 9th. 1818
51 " March 31st. 1819
52 — " — July 28th. 1818
53 , Clerk " July 17th. 1814
54 Recorder — " — June 24th.— 1804
Events of June 1844

Editorial Note
wrote the following account to describe the events surrounding the arrest and murder of JS and . He likely wrote this account between July 1844 and February 1845 and probably copied it into the record in February 1845. Clayton witnessed some of the events he described, and much of this account contains similarities to descriptions in his diary, suggesting that he drew upon his diary while writing the account. However, he was not a witness of the events that occurred in immediately preceding the murders, or of the murders themselves, and relied on conversations or published accounts for much of this information.
While some information apparently came from and , who were jailed with JS and at and survived the attacks, attributed the information surrounding the death of JS to a personal interview with William M. Daniels, an Augusta, Illinois, resident who was not a member of the church at the time of the murders. Daniels had accompanied a local militia detachment to Carthage and witnessed the assault on the jail; shortly afterward, he swore out a brief affidavit testifying to the complicity of some Illinois militia members in the crime as well as describing JS’s death with some details that contradicted Richards’s account. While Richards believed that JS was shot as he leapt from the window and was dead by the time he reached the ground, Daniels asserted that JS was executed by those on the ground outside the jail.
By the end of 1844 wrote a pamphlet under Daniels’s name that greatly embellished and in some instances apparently distorted the account of events Daniels related to him. A stolen copy of Littlefield’s manuscript was published in December 1844 by the Warsaw Signal; authorized copies of Littlefield’s twenty-four-page pamphlet became available in at the end of April 1845. At the trial of those accused of the murder of JS in May 1845, Daniels, who had since joined the church, indicated that several portions of the pamphlet were not derived from his statements but were Littlefield’s uncorroborated statements and rhetorical flourishes. Defense attorneys used the pamphlet to discredit Daniels as a witness of the events surrounding the attack on the jail. However, while Daniels disclaimed during the trial some of the statements from the pamphlet, he again affirmed, in opposition to witnesses for the defendants, that four persons shot JS after he fell from the window to the ground outside the jail. In any case, noted here at the end of his description of the murders that “it differs in some little instances from the testimony of others but seems most likely to be correct.” That Clayton refers to his informant as “Mr Daniels” instead of Brother or Elder Daniels suggests that Clayton wrote this prior to Daniels’s conversion to the faith, which occurred by November 1844.

About the time the council met the last times, there arose considerable excitement amongst the mobocrats against Prest. Joseph Smith and others. The excitement was got up by & , , & , & others. They yeilded to the influence of wickedness because Prest. [p. [289]]
Page [289]