Question: What is the timeline of events that led to Joseph Smith's death in Carthage?

Table of Contents

Question: What is the timeline of events that led to Joseph Smith's death in Carthage?

There were attempts to arrest Joseph after the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor

13 June 1844
The Nauvoo municipal court released Joseph on a writ of habeas corpus, finding that the charge of “riot” was unsubstantiated since the destruction of the press had been orderly.
14 June 1844
Thus cleared, Joseph Smith (as mayor) took his seat as judge over the municipal court, and cleared all others charged the day following his own release. This recurrent mix of religious, executive, and judicial power again infuriated the anti-Mormons.
17 June 1844
Joseph and others consented to be brought before another court, headed by a (then non-Mormon) justice of the peace, Daniel H. Wells. Wells again discharged them, but did not have the authority to acquit them.
18 June 1844
Joseph Smith declares martial law in Nauvoo and calls out the militia to protect the city from anti-Mormon mobs.

Governor Ford writes to tell Joseph that he must face charges

22 June 1844
Governor Ford writes to tell Joseph that he must face charges before the same judge that issued the writ for his arrest, because only this will appease the public. This requires Joseph to appear in a very hostile community, where feelings against the Mormons run high.
23 June 1844
Joseph and Hyrum leave Nauvoo to seek refuge over the Mississippi. Some members appeal to Joseph to return, believing (contrary to Joseph’s promise) that the members of the Church would be despoiled and driven out if he did not. Joseph agrees to return, stating, “If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself.”

Governor Ford guaranteed the safety of Joseph and others if they went to Carthage

25 June 1844
the state governor (Thomas Ford) believed that only a state trial would calm the furor over the Expositor. Joseph and fifteen others therefore received guarantees of safety and presented themselves in Carthage. They were freed on bail pending the October arrival of the circuit court. However, Joseph and Hyrum were jailed by a writ issued by Robert F. Smith, a Methodist minister, justice of the peace, and captain of the Carthage Greys militia. Joseph and Hyrum were accompanied to the jail by John Taylor, Willard Richards, Dan Jones, Stephen Markham, and John S. Fullmer. The latter three left to run errands, and were not readmitted, leaving only Joseph, Hyrum, John Taylor, and Willard Richards.
26 June 1844
Governor Ford meets with the prisoners. He then disbands all the militia companies, except the hostile Carthage Greys.

Governor Ford left the hostile Carthage Greys to guard the jail

27 June 1844
Ford leaves for Nauvoo, leaving two companies of Carthage Greys to guard the jail, while Ford takes a third to Nauvoo. He did not keep his promise that the prisoners could go with him to Nauvoo. After Ford’s departure, the discharged Warsaw militia company attacked the jail. The Carthage Greys gave only token resistance; they had loaded their weapons with gunpowder but no bullets. The Warsaw company stormed the jail, and murdered Joseph and Hyrum. John Taylor was severely injured; Willard Richards was unharmed.

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