, Journal Excerpt, 23–27 June 1844; handwriting of ; nineteen pages; in Willard Richards, Journal, CHL. Portions of some entries were written in pencil before they were overwritten in ink.
JS’s journal, kept by , ended with the entry of 22 June 1844, just before JS left , Illinois, in company with Richards, , and . Richards, who remained with JS until the moment of JS’s death on 27 June, evidently left JS’s journal in Nauvoo when the four men departed for , Illinois. Richards, however, recorded in his own journal many of the events of the last five days of JS’s life. These events include JS’s arrival on the bank in on the morning of 23 June and his trip to Carthage, during which JS and Hyrum gave themselves up to authorities on the charge of treason. Richards’s journal also recounts JS’s activities in Carthage during the days preceding his and Hyrum’s deaths. The material Richards recorded in his own journal during this time is in the same format and style as the record he had been keeping for JS. Richards’s hasty, terse notations and precise attention to details—illustrated by his practice of recording the specific times events occurred—indicate that he continuously carried his journal with him and recorded many of the events as he witnessed them, possibly with the intention of using the record to fill in JS’s journal at a later date. Richards’s journal entries for 23–27 June 1844 provide a contemporaneous firsthand account of JS’s activities during the last five days of his life, and they are reproduced here in full. Richards first inscribed portions of these entries in pencil and then rewrote them in ink. In a few cases, while overwriting, he skipped or altered the original penciled text. The transcription here reproduces the final ink version and does not capture the slight variations in the penciled text.
For additional details on the events leading to the deaths of JS and Hyrum Smith, see Oaks and Hill, Carthage Conspiracy.
Oaks, Dallin H., and Marvin S. Hill. Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975.
court acknowlidged the admissi[o]n and ordered cognizances at 5 P.M Most of the brethren left for after Joseph Smith . . . . William . . . . . & . had given bonds, 5 in each bond, 15 in all. with sur[e]ties in the sum of $500. each— $7500.00
about 1/2 past 7 the breth[r]en left for and Joseph & went into the Room and spoke with him, the had promised an interviw. after a moments conversation. left for a moment to order the Capt of the guard. to give the brethren some pass—— & we went to supper— Ju[s]t before. [p. ]
Sixteen of the eighteen men who were charged with committing a riot are listed here. Samuel Bennett and William Edwards, whose names also appear on the original writ, are not listed. In order to supply the necessary sureties, John S. Fullmer wrote, “I went it to the full extent of my worth; so did others.” Five hundred dollars was more than twice the upper limit (two hundred dollars) of the fine that could be imposed on someone convicted of riot. (JS, Journal, 12 June 1844; Warrant for JS et al., 11 June 1844, copy, JS Collection, CHL; John S. Fullmer, Preston, England, to George A. Smith, 27 Nov. 1854, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1860, CHL, underlining in original; An Act Relative to Criminal Jurisprudence [1 July 1833], Laws of the State of Illinois [1834–1837], p. 220.)
Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835. Vandalia, IL: J. Y. Sawyer, 1835.