Appendix 4: William Clayton, Daily Account of Joseph Smith’s Activities, 14–22 June 1844
, Daily Account of JS’s Activities, 14–22 June 1844; handwriting of ; thirteen pages; inserted into William Clayton, Journals, 3 vols., Nov. 1842–Jan. 1846, CHL. Includes redactions and use marks.Eight sheets of unlined paper folded in half lengthwise and sewn to create a gathering of sixteen leaves, measuring 6 × 3¾ inches (15 × 9 cm). Adhesive residue on the recto of the first leaf and the attachment of the second leaf to the first leaf indicates that these two leaves were pastedowns and that this gathering was once the first or possibly the last gathering in a previously bound volume before it was removed. The entire gathering includes a running header, providing the month and year of the entries. Two leather straps attached to the left side of the document were apparently used at some point to join this gathering with others. The straps were roughly 1/2-inch (1 cm) wide and spaced approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from the top and bottom, respectively. A portion of one of these straps remains. The gathering appears to have been inserted into the end of ’s April 1843–September 1844 journal and kept with Clayton’s journals from an early time, possibly by Clayton himself.
Why recorded this daily account of JS’s activities is unclear. Though the record contains daily entries from 14 to 22 June 1844, it is not part of Clayton’s personal journal, which covers the same time period. In every case, the entries in the account are longer and more detailed than the corresponding entries in Clayton’s own journal, and significant differences in content suggest that neither record was copied from the other. The record does not include a title page or other written explanation to indicate the purpose of its creation.While JS figured prominently in ’s personal journal, he is demonstrably the principal subject of the record transcribed here. When JS is not specifically identified, he is the implied subject, and references to Clayton are made by name. In contrast, in Clayton’s personal journal, the implied subject is Clayton and JS is referred to as “J.” or “Prest. J.” That the record ends with the entry of 22 June 1844, leaving blank pages in the gathering, is further evidence that the account was intended to capture JS’s activities. On the night of 22 June 1844, Clayton did not accompany JS, , , and when they crossed the into , nor did he accompany JS and others when they departed for , Illinois, on 24 June. If this account was not meant to document JS’s activities, Clayton likely would have continued recording entries in JS’s absence. Clayton did not inscribe any entries after JS’s departure, likely because he could not observe JS’s activities, which further affirms that JS is the main subject of this record. JS’s personal journal, which was kept by Willard Richards, also remained in and likewise terminates prior to JS’s departure on 22 June.The length of entries in this document is roughly comparable to those recorded by in JS’s journal for this same period. As would be expected, many events of significance—such as the arrival of visitors to , movements of militia units or mobs, and letters being sent to the —are treated in both manuscripts. The account featured here, however, is more deliberate and comprehensive than JS’s journal in its coverage of JS’s individual movements and personal involvement in events. frequently noted activities, such as early morning conversations, that are absent in JS’s journal. It is unknown whether this was because Clayton had more, constant access to JS or because Clayton and Richards had different journal-keeping styles.The entries in this account appear to have been made contemporaneously and depict no knowledge of future events. For instance, employed the present tense when writing some sentences—such as “Prest. J is now in conversation,” “s is gone on express,” and “the balance will be sent in the morning”—which indicates that Clayton inscribed entries as events unfolded. If Clayton had been creating a historic reminiscence, as many Saints did in the days and weeks following the murder of JS and , he likely would not have concluded his narrative before recounting the broadly known and significant events in .The account’s focus on JS may indicate that was keeping the record at JS’s instruction, though no known evidence suggests that JS made such a request. It is unclear why JS would have commissioned Clayton to produce this record when JS’s own journal was being regularly kept by , with increasingly lengthy and detailed daily entries chronicling the eventful days of June 1844. At the same time, it is also unclear why Clayton would have taken it upon himself to keep such an account. Whatever its origin, this document is included here as an appendix because it provides a detailed and contemporaneous account of JS’s life in the days leading up to his final trip to .For expanded treatment of the events described in the following account, see the entries for 14–22 June 1844 in JS’s journal.
A letter was received stating that was acquit[t]ed by .
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. ]
A letter was received stating that was acquitted by .
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 protection 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 acquaintance 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. ]
View entire transcript |
Cite this page