News traveled more slowly 167 years ago. It was in July 1844, that Elder Smoot finally hears the news of the prophet's death. He has stopped for a few days in the area of Shady Grove, at the home of Abraham Church whose son, Haden Wells Church, had joined the Church in Nauvoo in 1840 and was now serving a mission.
July 05, 1844
On the 5th, traveled 6 miles in the forenoon, arrived in Murry County, at Mr. Church's, where I met Elder H. W. Church, with whom I had been acquainted in Nauvoo, who have been also preaching in the South for 12 months, so I spent the day and night with Esquire Church.
[The Church family home at Shady Grove sat in Hickman County right over the line from Maury County, so it would be easy for Elder Smoot to have made the mistake of placing it in Maury County.]
July 08, 1844
Traveled 14 miles on the 8th, passed through Williams Port twice and returned to Esquire Church's and spent the night, but not without having burdens of trouble on my mind from the alarming story that I had been told and came to hand through the medium of several newspapers of the day that General Joseph Smith the prophet was dead_ murdered by a painted mob in Carthage jail, I labored to conceal from my brethren and friends the sad news, by saying we had no right to believe the report, as many like reports had proved to be false in days past concerning him.
[Williamsport is only 3 miles from Shady Grove along the Duck River. Although he does not specify where he picked up the papers, it was likely in Williamsport. A 14 mile round trip would have only allowed him to travel 4 miles from Williamsport, not enough to get to Columbia.]
July 12, 1844
On the 12th, sent to the Post Office early and obtained my letters. An important Erra in my Christian life. Great God! endow me with Christian fortitude, for my for my fears are more than I can realized. On the return of the messenger I received with my letters a "Nauvoo Neighbor Extra", dressed in deep mourning from which I learned the awful tragedy that had been committed on the persons of Presidents Joseph and Hyrum Smith, had been assassinated by a painted mob, in which the pledged faith of the State of Illinois was stained with inocent blood.
[After receiving confirmation that the news was indeed true, he immediately made preparations to return home to Nauvoo.]
1 month ago