Appendix 4: William Clayton, Daily Account of Joseph Smith’s Activities, 14–22 June 1844

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

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14 June 1844 • Friday
Friday 14— A.M. conversing with a number of gentleman in the Bar room, concerning the proceedings of our enemies. He prophecied in the name of the Lord that if they did mob us it would be a precedent to come down upon their own heads with fury and vengeance. He ordered to write a letter to the giving him the particulars of the proceedings of the City Council in relation to declaring the press of the Expositor a nuisance <​Evening rode out with ​>
15 June 1844 • Saturday
Saturday 15th A.M. conversing with & others in the Bar room— telling a dream concerning his father killing a man who attempted to stab him. He also spake concerning key words. The [illegible] key word was the first word Adam spoke and is a word of supplication. He found the word by the Urim & Thummim— It is that key word to which the heavens is opend. [p. [1]] At 1/2 past 9 two messengers arrived from the . These brethren brought news that the mob had asked the brethren in to give up their arms promising if they would do so till Joseph & about 15 or 20 others were taken they might dwell there in peace. J. told them as Lieutt General not to give up their arms but to keep them till they died. After the men were gone he advised the brethren to be peaceable & not wish the mob would come &c— but be calm and if the mob did come & begin to destroy we would send the sufferers to the & then we could know what he would do & have to publish to the w[o]rld that we had kept the peace in all things. [p. [2]]
16 June 1844 • Sunday
Sunday 16 Preached at the . P.M at the laying the proceedings of the City Council before a number of Gentlemen from . 4 o clock at the stated the design of the meeting & ordered the to have the Legion in readiness to suppress all illegal violence in the .
17 June 1844 • Monday
Monday 17th. This A.M. two brethren arrived from to ask instruction relative to the emergency. Prest. J. dictated a letter & forwarded to advising them not to give up their arms. At 10 walked to to sign Steam Boat documents. P.M. rode to to stand his trial on a complaint for destroying the Press &c. various reports come in from saying that the roads are stopped and passengers prevented entering &c [p. [3]] A letter was received stating that was acquit[t]ed by .
18 June 1844 • Tuesday
Tuesday 18th. This A.M. the Legion is ordered to parade— says that 2 chests of arms were landed last night and they belong to the Greys. There is nothing certain known as to whom they are for but supposing that they are for the protecti[o]n of this place the Legion have taken them in charge. <​see 19th. date​> There is considerable excitement this A.M. and many suppose we will have trouble immediately. Prest. J is now in conversation with two Gentlemen acquaintanc[e] of . At 11 he rode to the parade ground & after staying a short season the whole Legion marched down to the there read the preamble and resolutions of the mob in which [p. [4]] they threaten extermination to the whole Church in . After got through Genl. J. Smith addressed the multitude. He briefly explained the object of the mob and showed that they waged a war of extermination upon us because of our religin He called upon all the volunteers who felt to support the constitution from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean to come with their arms, ammunition & provisions to defend us from the mob & defend the constitution. He called upon them as the Lieutenant General of the N.L [Nauvoo Legion] and Militia in the name of the Constitution of the the people of the State of and the citizens of He called upon the Citizens to defend the lives of their wives & children, fathers [p. [5]] and mothers, brothers & sisters from being murdered by the mob. He urged them in strong terms not to shed innocent blood.— not to act in the least on the offensive but invariably in the defensive and if we die— die like men of God and secure a glorious resurrection— He concluded by invoking the Great God to bless the people.—
After the address the companies marched back to the parade ground—he at their head but after a very short stay returned. In the above address he advised all to arm themselves. those who had no rifles, get swords, scyths and make weapons of some kind He informed them that he had 5000 Elders minute men who would come with volunteers as soon as he would inform them. He said there were many from waiting to come when requested [p. [6]]
In the evening a messenger arrived from bringing intelligence that the mob had had news from the & he would not render them any assistance, nor grant a writ, neither sanction their proceedings. They swore this was what they wanted and that the was a damned scoundrel, worse than Joe Smith.
19 June 1844 • Wednesday
Wednesday 19th. This A.M. is gone on express to to carry an affidavit to the of what the mob said concerning him.
The bought 40 stand of arms of a Mr Hunt and paid him $160 for them <​These are the arms which are referred to on the 18th.​> About 10 a large company of volunteers from landed & marched to parade ground
The is now under marshal Law has been arrested for attempting to violate the law & go to [p. [7]]
10½ A.M. The delegates who went to Rocky run have just returned. They had an interview with the mob committee and made known their object. The committee said they should report to the central committee at . One of the committee was a [blank] minister and breathed hard threats. They enquired if the Gen. had had an interview with when answered in the affirmative. One of them moved that a committee be appointed to visit & that they take tar and feathers with them.
The Genl. sent to Mr Hall to enquire if he was intending to serve in his place in the Legion— Mr Hall said he was willing to resign his commission inasmuch as he intended to leave this fall. He came to the Genl. soon after for this purpose. [p. [8]]
11 o clock A.M. While conversing with Mr Hall a company of volunteers numbering about 25 came up from the neighborhood of . The Genl. went out to speak them. They feel well and cheerfull. They speak of the movements of the mob demanding their arms &c. The Genl. advised Mr Hall to retain his commission, which he did.
P.M. Dictated a letter to (copy on file) informing him of the threats of the mob committee at Rocky Run to tar & feather him &c.
20 June 1844 • Thursday
Thursday 20th. 11 A.M. went to review the Legion. P.M. again on parade ground. Reviewed the troops on the hill— At 7 returned home. Several reports have come in from to the effect that about 200 of the mob arrived there to day but few of them were armed. [p. [9]]
21 June 1844 • Friday
Friday 21st. A.M. in conversation with 8½ rode on the Hill with his .
At 10 rode to the prarie with his body guards. returned 1-40. While out a messenger from met them & presented a letter from the who is now at . The news is reported as being as favorable as can be expected. The City Council were convened forthwith on the subject and prepared aff[idavi]ts to send forthwith, but the men being in a hurry to return part only was forwarded in the hands of & . The balance will be sent in the morning. A letter was wrote to the informing of him of this and also informing him that the mob have again fired upon our men A company of the mob was passing by the Large mound on the La Harpe road [p. [10]] about 7 miles from where a picket Guard was stationed. The mob fired upon the guard but we have not learned that any was hurt. The mob had baggage waggon with them, and on their way to & about 40 others were dispatched in pursuit with orde[r]s to take them prisoners if possible. While this was going on a officer from Fort Desmoines came in a very wrathy manner. He was in pursuit of a deserter— had taken him over the & brought him here to find a justice He states that when he got to the guard. the latter threatened to “shoot him like a dog if he did not stand.” Genl. Smith reasoned with him & told him if the officer had done so he had done wrong & if he had done wrong he should be arrestd But the man would listen to no reason [p. [11]] He breathed out hard threats & was very firey. Genl. Smith used every argument to persuade the man that he should be well used he offered him men to go with him past the guards and help him to secure his deserter but nothing could satisfy the man. he went away very wrathy. After this Genl Smith expressed his sorrow that such numbers of the brethren crowded round his door when any person came, and ordered the again to keep them away.
22 June 1844 • Saturday
Saturday 22nd. A.M. conversing with Sergeant Farley again. It appears that after Farley was past the Guards last evening he was driven back by the mob. but notwithstanding all that Genl. J. could say he persisted that it was our guards that drive him back & wrote a letter to that effect to Col. Carney [Stephen Kearny] his officer. [p. [12]]
Prest. J. sent a letter by Farley stating the true facts a copy of which is on file. After this he was preparing documents to send by to the at . He sent a letter giving further explanation & asking him to visit . a copy of the letter is on file. He related the history of the case to a gentleman.— At 1½ the Madison Ferry landed with about 300 gentlemen who came to to attend the Whig convention. They came here to view the & soon returned. At the same time Genl. J. rode out in company with & others and were gone about 2 hours. [p. [13]]
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  1. 1

    Illinois governor Thomas Ford.  

  2. 2

    In JS’s 14 June 1844 journal entry, scribe Willard Richards identifies this person as “Dr J R. Wakefield.”  

  3. 3

    TEXT: Possibly “grand” or “great”.  

  4. 4

    Illinois governor Thomas Ford.  

  5. 5

    Jonathan Dunham, acting major general of the Nauvoo Legion.  

  6. 6

    Illinois militia unit based at Quincy, Illinois.  

  7. 7

    Illinois governor Thomas Ford.  

  8. 8

    Illinois governor Thomas Ford.  

  9. 9

    Nauvoo city marshal John P. Greene.  

  10. 10

    JS, lieutenant general of the Nauvoo Legion.  

  11. 11

    Probably William Hall, an aide-de-camp to Lieutenant General JS. (Nauvoo Legion, Hancock Co., Illinois State Militia Commission Records, 1834–1855, vol. 14, p. 1163; vol. 17, p. 39, Illinois State Archives, Springfield.)  

    Illinois State Militia Commission Records, 1834–1855. Illinois State Archives, Springfield.

  12. 12

    Illinois governor Thomas Ford.  

  13. 13

    Nauvoo city marshal John P. Greene.  

  14. 14

    Probably John Farley, a sergeant in Company F—which was based in Fort Des Moines, Iowa Territory—of the First United States Infantry. (Porter, Annals of Polk County, Iowa, 113.)  

    Porter, Will. Annals of Polk County, Iowa, and City of Des Moines. Des Moines, IA: Geo. A. Miller Printing, 1898.

  15. 15

    Illinois governor Thomas Ford.