On June 27, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered in Carthage Jail...
They had been asked to appear at a court hearing in Carthage, Illinois, to address the issue of the Nauvoo Expositor. En route to Carthage, Joseph said,
"I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men....
I shall die an innocent man....and it shall be said of me 'He was murdered in cold blood.'"
"I, at length, came to the determination to 'ask of God'...
I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty...
I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God...
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head. Above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me."
Joseph Smith Jr. (1839)
At the time of the Martyrdom, George Stigall (the jailor) and his wife and seven children lived in the jail. They were responsible for housing and feeding prisoners in the jail. Meals were prepared by the jailor's wife, but the prisoners were expected to pay for their own meals.
Joseph and Emma Smith, as well as Hyrum Smith are memorialized in this beautiful monument next to the original homestead and Red Brick Store.
This was Phoebe Woodruff's kitchen. Phoebe was born in 1807 in Maine. She records in her journal,
"In the year 1834 I embraced the Gospel, as revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith. About a year after, I left my parents and kindred and journeyed to Kirkland, Ohio, a distance of one thousand miles, a lone maid, sustained only by my faith and trust in Israel's God. My friends marveled at my courses, as did I, but something within impelled me on.
"My mother's grief at my leaving home was almost more than I could bear; and had it not been for the spirit within, I should have faltered at the last. My mother told me she would rather see me buried than going thus alone into the heartless world, and especially was she concerned about my leaving home to cast my lot among the Mormons...
"When the time came for my departure I dared not trust myself to say farewell, so I wrote my goodbye to each, and leaving them on my table, ran down stairs and jumped into the carriage. Thus I left my beloved home of childhood to link my life with the Saints of God.
In 1846 Wilford sold his fine brick home for $675 and joined the exodus west.
Each day that we, as missionaries, greet guests in these beautiful homes, we testify of our love for the Savior, Jesus Christ. We ask guests to remember the sacrifices that were willingly made by those pioneers on our behalf, like Wilford Woodruff.
There's nothing like having good friends and family from home come to visit. In July we were truly blessed to have Caroline Walters (Portland) visit, together with special friends, Debbie and Brian Kuehne (Boise). Just about the time we were thinking we couldn't make it through the summer, they came to our rescue.
The very same week that Caroline and Debbie were here, I met some DeGraffenried cousins from Utah. An unplanned meeting in the temple was truly a tender mercy. What an incredibly beautiful family.
The family of Charles DeGraffenried came to visit Nauvoo. We were blessed to spend about 30 minutes together in the Riser Boot shop. Oh, how I love my family, my cousins, and especially the DeGraffenried cousins. Thanks to Heavenly Father for this sweet family and how they touched my life.
We leave you with this thought:
Hard is not bad
Hard is just HARD.
Elder Gross and I have worked extremely hard in Nauvoo. We have stretched ourselves to do things we've never done before. We have sometimes struggled to do the things asked of us. However, we have grown because of the challenges. We have been promised that what ever we lacked would be made up, so that we could be successful in our tasks.
Be obedient to the commandments and you will be blessed beyond your abilities.
Sister Harleen Gross
Elder Thomas Gross