Skip to comments.A different take on the Carthage mob -- BYU Studies Symposium
Posted on 03/13/2010 4:21:42 PM PST by Colofornian
PROVO, Utah -- Those who were responsible for the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum on June 27, 1844, were not who might you think they were, according to one presenter at the BYU Studies 50th Anniversary Symposium.
Debra Marsh, a master's student at the University of Utah, presented evidence Friday that the members of the Illinois mob that sought to put an end to Mormonism at Carthage Jail didn't rot away because of "the Mormon curse," as N.B. Lundwall claimed in his book, "The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith," but went on to live normal lives.
Another characterization from B.H. Roberts found in the introduction to volume 6 of the History of the Church, which called the mob a "criminal element" and "ruffians" isn't correct, either, Marsh said.
Marsh, in her paper "Respectable Assassins: A Collective Biography and Socioeconomic Study of the Carthage Mob," said that contrary to popular belief the mobsters did not suffer for their actions, and actually were respected people who went on to greater accomplishments.
"The Carthage mob members lived normal life spans, through which they prospered financially," Marsh said. "They ran for and won political office, and generally appear to be protected and honored by their fellow citizens for their participation in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. "
Marsh used a list of 89 men compiled by Sheriff Jacob Backenstos and a variety of other records to paint a picture of who these mobsters were. According to her research, while they came from the same regions of the country as others who lived in the area, mobsters were generally older than the general male population of Hancock County and were mostly learned professionals, businessmen and farmers who had their own property. The mob also had 16 men who held 24 different public offices, including state senator and U.S. senator. A large majority of the mob would have been considered in the upper class.
"This was a group of men that represented the top tier of Hancock county, in regards to power and socioeconomic status."
Marsh then showed what happened to the mob after the martyrdom of the Smith brothers.
"Most of these individuals seem to have lived normal life spans in which they prospered," Marsh said. "Obviously, living a long life doesn't necessarily translate into good fortune. But if financial well-being is an indicator of the quality of one's life, then they lived quite well."
In 1850, the average earnings of the mob were barely more than the U.S. average, with mobsters earning $1,540 compared to $1,050 for the average American. But at the end of the decade, mobsters had increased their earnings by 249 percent, or five times the national average, earning an average of $7,842 compared to $2,140. One member, Mark Aldrich, was extremely successful in the California Gold Rush and later became a merchant in Tucson, Ariz., with his personal estate valued at $50,000. Another, Jacob C. Davis, ended up being a state senator and eventually a U.S. senator for Illinois. Mob members held 24 public offices between 1844 and 1856.
Marsh also referred to various historical accounts in which men list being part of the proceedings at Carthage Jail as one of their life's greatest achievements.
Seeing the killers of Mormonism's founder doesn't take away from Marsh's testimony of the church, and she says it shouldn't bother other Mormons, either.
"Some people are uncomfortable with the idea that the mob members prospered. I know that the notion that an unseen hand dispersing justice to the wicked is very comforting," Marsh said.
"However, it quite simply isn't true. The wicked often prosper in this life. As many of us believe, though, we all will have to account for our actions, if not in this life, in the next. The most important fact remains, regardless of what happened to the Carthage mob: Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyrs for God, and Joseph did more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world than any other man that lived in it."
#1...this wasn't your "normal assassination." Two of the four Mormons were slipped pistols -- and they used them.
LDS Official History of the Church:
"Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock came in to see us, and when he was about leaving drew a small pistol, a six-shooter, from his pocket, remarking at the same time, 'Would any of you like to have this?' Brother Joseph immediately replied, 'Yes, give it to me,' whereupon he took the pistol, and put it in his pantaloons pocket." "The pistol was a six-shooting revolver, of Allen's patent; it belonged to me, and was one that I furnished to Brother Wheelock when he talked of going with me to the east, previous to our coming to Carthage. I have it now in my possession. Brother Wheelock went out on some errand, and was not suffered to return."
Not only that, but Hyrum Smith, who died, suffered a mysterious back wound...more on that next post.
"I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, 'Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!' He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died."
And: "It certainly was a terrible scene: streams of fire as thick as my arm passed by me as these men fired, and, unarmed as we were, it looked like certain death. I remember feeling as though my time had come, but I do not know when, in any critical position, I was more calm, unruffled, energetic, and acted with more promptness and decision. It certainly was far from pleasant to be so near the muzzles of those firearms as they belched forth their liquid flames and deadly balls. While I was engaged in parrying the guns, Brother Joseph said, 'That's right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can.' These were the last words I ever heard him speak on earth."
From two other sources, as cited by No1 Mormon Joseph Smith armed in jail :
Reporter John Hay, of the Atlantic Monthly identified three men who were shot by Joseph Smith: John Wills in the arm, William Vorhees in the shoulder, and William Gallagher in the face. Hay was a son of Charles Hay, a surgeon of the Carthage militia and apparently a member of the mob. "Smith had two loaded six-barrelled revolvers in his room. How a man on trial for capital offences came to be supplied with such luxuries is a mystery that perhaps only one man could fully have solved; and as General Deming, the Jack-Mormon sheriff, died soon after, and left no explanation of the matter, investigation is effectually baffled. But the four shots which I have chronicled, and two which had no billet, exhausted one pistol, and the enemy gave Smith no time to use the other. Severely wounded as he was, he ran to the window, which was open to receive the fresh June air, and half leaped, half fell, into the jail yard below." - John Hay, "The Mormon Prophet's Tragedy," Atlantic Monthly (December 1869) 671-678.
The same Web site says: In another conemporary account from a faithful Latter-Day Saint: "Of the three barrels discharged by Joseph, it is believed he hit three men: an Irishman named Wells-who was in the mob from his love of a brawl-in the arm; Voorhees-an oversized kid from Bear Creek known for his lack of good sense-in the shoulder; and a man named Gallagher-a Southerner from the Mississippi Bottom-in the face." "Two other men were known to get hit in the hall, one a man named Townsend from Fort Madison, Iowa Territory, who died nine months later from the arm wound that wouldn't heal, and another named Mills, who was shot in the arm." - Elder Reed Blake, 24 Hours to Martyrdom, p. 129
So as these mob members were shot down by Joseph Smith and perhaps another left standing in room, how is it that Joseph's brother, Hyrum, came to have a back wound?
From a Mormon author: "...it was found that the wound that killed Hyrum was sustained in his face while he was apparently holding the door against the mobbers. This was verified by one of the survivors, Willard Richards. Also discovered, however, was a wound in his lower back. The mystery of that wound is hard to explain if he was shot in the face and, falling backward, never moved as the survivors later testified. One report state he was shot in the back by a rifleman outside the window, but this is not a credible report since the...room is on the second floor and the door is some distance from the window. Other wounds found on his body were in front, sustained as he lay on the floor. But that back wound, after 160 years, is still a mystery." (Lds author George W. Givens, 500 More Little-Known Facts in Mormon History, Bonneville Books, 2004, p. 46)
Did Joseph Smith accidentally shoot his own brother?
During one of these conversations Dr. Richards remarked: “Brother Joseph, if it is necessary that you die in this matter, and if they will take me in your stead, I will suffer for you.” At another time, when conversing about deliverance, I said, “Brother Joseph, if you will permit it, and say the word, I will have you out of this prison in five hours, if the jail has to come down to do it.” My idea was to go to Nauvoo, and collect, a force sufficient, as I considered the whole affair a legal farce, and a flagrant outrage upon our liberty and rights. Brother Joseph refused.
LOL! The Voorhees family are laywers here in South Dakota; Voorhees Hall is the main building of Huron College. It has to be the same family - too funny!
Joseph shooting his brother in the back is totally believable, too.
Just as important was the “authorization” of the mob, if not its well known motivation.
Being outsiders, it began with a diplomatic effort of sorts, in which the Smith’s endeavored to get a political alliance with the Republican party, offering to encourage “the Mormon vote” for Republicans in exchange for some degree of political protection of the Mormons by the Republicans.
At the time, however, the US had not introduced “the Australian (secret) ballot”, and the Mormon rank and file were overwhelmingly Democrat, and apparently didn’t get the message, or disobeyed.
The end result was that the Democrats, who already hated Mormons, were joined by the Republicans, who felt they had been double crossed, in essentially “authorizing” the mob to attack the Mormons.
That is, while the political parties didn’t agitate the mob, they no longer had any reason to stay the mob’s hand in its violence.
Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyrs for God, and Joseph did more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world than any other man that lived in it.”
What exactly ???
Did Joseph Smith accidentally shoot his own brother?
“contrary to popular belief the mobsters did not suffer for their actions, and actually were respected people who went on to greater accomplishments.
“The Carthage mob members lived normal life spans, through which they prospered financially,” Marsh said. “They ran for and won political office, and generally appear to be protected and honored by their fellow citizens for their participation in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.”
So what’s your point, since the mob people didn’t suffer a curse it must have been ok for them to have killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith? You must be really pleased.
The wicked often prosper in this life.
Yeah...Joey Smith didnt do too badly...
Brigham Young was a multi millionaire in land and money by todays standards...
Did you read the whole thing ???
The author is a mormon...
The Mormon Times is part of the MORMON owned and controlled newspaper, Deseret news...
“Marsh, in her paper “Respectable Assassins: A Collective Biography and Socioeconomic Study of the Carthage Mob,”...”
Don’t scholars of American history know when to use the word “prosopography”?
it must have been ok for them to have killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith?
Since you dont seem to agree with the death of Hyrum Smith, would you have the same objection if it had been Joey Smith that killed his own brother ???
Should the mormon god revenge the death of Hyrum ???
Maybe that’s why Joey Smith didnt prosper or live long after he killed his own brother...
Hyrum’s killer did suffer a curse...
“The author is a mormon...”
I was referring to the poster, not the author. He’s always happy to get his digs in, always happy to dredge up whatever crap comes along so long as it doesn’t ever put a Mormon or Mormonism in a positive light. Why doesn’t he just come right out and say that he’s glad that Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot and that the perps prospered thereafter?
Not according to the sequence of events recounted by John Taylor, which you yourself quoted:
I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, 'Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!' He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. . . .
Hyrum Smith was shot before Joseph Smith returned fire with his six-shooter. Moreover, Joseph "opened the door slightly" and fired at the attackers outside the room; Hyrum was on the floor inside the room.
“dont seem to agree with the death of Hyrum Smith”
Of course I don’t, do you? I don’t think Joseph Smith shot his brother, but in the ‘fog of war’ anything is possible. If a cop unintentionally kills his partner in a gunfight, it doesn’t make him a copkiller.
“Maybe thats why Joey Smith didnt prosper or live long after he killed his own brother...
Hyrums killer did suffer a curse...”
So based on such limited evidence, you automatically conclude that Joseph Smith intentionally killed his own brother during the mob attack? People talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome, you definitely have Mormon Derangement Syndrome. You are mentally unbalanced.
always happy to get his digs in, always happy to dredge up whatever crap comes along so long
So this article is propaganda ???
I agree with you...
Joey Smith was a pagan conman and sexual predator..
This bit here is part of the objectionable lies...
“Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyrs for God, and Joseph did more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world than any other man that lived in it.
So based on such limited evidence, you automatically conclude that Joseph Smith intentionally killed his own brother during the mob attack?
So based on such limited evidence, you automatically conclude that (I said) Joseph Smith intentionally killed his own brother during the mob attack?
No, the intentional was the murders of two men by Joey Smith...
While Joey Smith was trying to murder some more he could have accidently shot his own brother in the back...
Joey Smith was intentionally shooting to kill...
Did his brother get in the way of the gun held in the hand of a terrified and desparate Joey Smith ???
Since there is a claim that Hyru7m Smith was “martyred” and the killer should have been cursed by the mormon gods, that would place Joey Smith, who may have shot hyrum IN THE BACK, as the killer or at least one who contributed to his death, and therefore Joey Smith would have been cursed...
The idea I believe was not the intention or the cause but the end result that brought about Hyrum’s so called “martyrdom” and his assailants’ curse...
If Joey Smith was one of those would he not also warrant the same curse ???
dont seem to agree with the death of Hyrum Smith
Of course I dont, do you? .
How do you feel about the 3,000 that were murdered on 9/11 ???
How do you feel about the 50 million aborted babies ???
“No, the intentional was the murders of two men by Joey Smith...”
When people are shooting at you, and you shoot back and kill one or more, that isn’t murder. It’s generally seen as justifiable homicide in a court of law.