Search This Blog

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 12 - To Jail then heading home!

We left Fort Madison (Nauvoo) Iowa and headed to the Carthage Jail to the place where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed.  It was a very moving tour.  After the jail, we went to Adam-Ondi-Ahman and tried to find Far West.  Finally, we are heading home through the long drives (Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and HOME!).

This first picture is from the Iowa side looking across the Mississippi River to see the Nauvoo Temple.

First stop for the day was Carthage Jail.  This was interesting yet emotionally moving.  We crossed the river again to Carthage, Illinois.  By the way, all of the Church sites are very well marked with blue signs.  The jail was easy to find right off the main road.

We began our tour in the Visitor's Center where we watched a movie.  I think of all of the movies, I enjoyed this one the most.  It started when Joseph was a young boy clear through to Carthage Jail.  There were lots of comments about Joseph from people who knew him.  Many were not even members of the church some were even those that guarded him.  These were accounts written in personal journals.  Everyone had pretty much the same comment...Joseph was a kind and gentle man that would do anything for anyone.  He was not a violent man.

Our tour guides, two missionaries, then took us through the cooking room (which actually was added to the building after the death of Joseph Smith).  The following picture was from that cooking kitchen.

Now we entered the actual jail.  The bottom floor housed the caretaker and his family (husband, wife, and 7 children).  There was only one sleeping room but there was an attic to the jail.  It is believed that it could have possibly been more sleeping for the children.

This is the original jail (the walls are 3' thick at the base).  After it was a jail (used to house the not so dangerous prisoners), a family owned it and remodeled it to become a house.  They added the cooking room.  Then they sold it to a man who owned it until he died.  After his death, it was sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  A missionary couple spent many years restoring the home back to the original jail.  The walls on the outside are original and much of the inside is the same (floors and some doors) but some had to be upgraded for use in tours and some just had to be replaced as they were no longer there.  The design is as it was originally.
The wife cooked all of the meals for the family and for those being held prisoner.  The prisoners had to pay for their own food and as in the case of Joseph, any others visiting him had to pay for their own food also.

On the day that Joseph was killed, the wife and two of her young children were in the house (not sure where everyone else was) when they heard a shot outside.  It startled her and she went to the bed where her children were.  The mob burst into the jail and to this room and shot into the room where she was.  She grabbed her two children and fled out of the jail through the side door.

This next room was a holding cell.  At times the rooms upstairs would get to 120 degrees so the jailer would bring the prisoners down to this holding cell where they would be cooler.  The problem was that it was on the main floor and very dangerous if someone from the outside wanted to shoot into the jail.  They could only leave them in there for a couple of hours at a time.

We then went upstairs to the 2nd floor.  There were two rooms on the 2nd floor.  One was called the dungeon.  It had this name because it was extremely dark with the only windows for light and air were slits within the rocks.  There was an inside cage which housed the prisoners.  Joseph and Hyrum and six other men were with them as supporters to include John Taylor and Willard Richards.  This cell was not much bigger than a small bedroom.

After the mob broke into the room where Joseph, Hyrum, John Taylor, and Willard Richards were being held, Hyrum and Joseph had been killed and John Taylor had been shot in the hip.  He called to Willard to take him with him as Willard was trying to get away (the mob had fled thinking the Mormons were coming) and so Willard took John Taylor into the dungeon and hid him under the straw thinking that the mob might return.  The mob did not return.

The four men were kept in this front room on the 2nd floor.  Just before the mob arrived, Joseph had asked John to sing a song.  The missionaries put on an audio tape for us to hear the accounts of these last minutes.  It was hard to keep the eyes dry as the events unfolded.  The two survivors recounted the events of the deaths.

The pictures:  There was a bed in the room and the men encouraged Joseph and Hyrum to lay down on it as they took the floor but Joseph was fearing shooting through the window so he slept on the floor also.  The floors in this room are original.  The hole in the door was from the bullet that shot Hyrum.  The cane in the corner was used by John to ward off the guns being shoved through the door.  Joseph died falling out of the window.  The mob left abruptly when they knew Joseph was dead.  They thought the Momon's were coming to retaliate but they never did.

Well, our church tour has come full circle...from where Joseph was raised to where he was murdered.  I am so glad that we had this opportunity to see these sites and to experience these feelings along the way.  I encourage everyone whether a member or not to go to Palmyra, Nauvoo, and Carthage and hear and feel the history of the Church.

Our next stop was Adam-Ondi-Ahman in Missouri.  We have only heard little bits and pieces from people who have been there but never really heard what was there or the feelings they had when visiting there.  First, it was not the easiest place to find but I used the GPS coordinates to get us there.  I will not say too much except that we were surprised.  I am not sure what we thought we were going to see but all that we saw was beautiful land.  Now we did not walk on the trail to the lookouts.  Here are some of our pictures.

That's It!  We tried to find Far West but got the wrong coordinates.  We did see some very real back country of Missouri!

So we are staying somewhere just barely into Nebraska.  Tomorrow is Mother's Day and we will be checking out more cemeteries of both my ancestors and those of my husband.  We also have some really long traveling to do in the next few days.  For now - time for bed!

No comments:

Post a Comment