Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Martyrdom and the Trail West

Thursday, July 19:
Carthage Jail in Carthage, Illinois

Dylan waits on a bench when we arrive at the Carthage Jail Visitors Center.

We left Nauvoo before 9am and drove to Carthage, Illinois, which is only about 30 minutes away by car.  I'm sure it took much longer on horseback, when Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum made that final, fateful ride.

A statue of Joseph and Hyrum with the restored jail behind them.
We watched a short video inside the Visitors Center and then we walked a few yards to the jail, which has been rebuilt and restored to the condition it was believed to be in at the time of Joseph's death in 1844.

I really liked these paintings of Joseph and Hyrum.  I'd never seen them before.

You can't imagine any building looking less like a jail than this one.  Built in 1839, this place was built as a home for the jailer and his family, with a small jail cell in a room upstairs, next to the master bedroom.  The children slept on the third floor, above the cell.
The jailer actually liked Joseph and his companions. He knew they were being held on trumped-up charges of treason, so he tried to make them as comfortable as possible. In fact, rather than locking them in the cell, Joseph and Hyrum and their friends John Taylor and Dr. Willard Richards were allowed to stay in the master bedroom instead.

The four men tried to hold the bedroom door against the mob,
but two bullets pierced the door and struck Hyrum, killing him instantly.

On June 27, 1844, a mob of about 150 armed men stormed the jail, killing Joseph and Hyrum, and badly wounding John Taylor, who was shot 4 times.

The bedroom window from which Joseph fell, mortally wounded,
as he cried, "Oh Lord, my God!"

With his brother dead and men with blackened faces forcing their way into the room, Joseph turned to jump out the window.  He was shot twice in the back and twice in the chest as he fell.  Joseph was only 38 years old and left behind a wife and children.

The upper window in this view is the one from which Joseph fell.

It was sobering to see where the prophet Joseph sealed his testimony with his blood.  One more thing to thank him for.   

Still Thursday, July 19:
A little Museum in Carthage

I love looking at dresses from the 1800s and early 1900s.

As we were leaving the Carthage Jail at 11:00, Ed noticed a small museum in a building across the street and decided we should check it out.  It was very interesting, in a bizarre sort of way.  Apparently the collection was begun by an elderly female college professor who was quite a hoarder, and when she died the odd assortment of stuff cluttering her house was organized into a museum.

An exact replica of Abraham Lincoln's casket.

Over the years, the little museum accepted any and all donations, from two-headed snakes in formaldehyde to a large display of ball point pens.

I love detailed, accurate dollhouses like this one.

We spent about 30 minutes exploring the museum, and then it was time to start the next leg of our journey: the long drive through Missouri to see some LDS historical sites there.

And still Thursday, July 19:
Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri

We arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman at 5:30 pm.

So we crossed the Mississippi River again and drove south and then westward for 6 hours, finally arriving at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Jameson, Missouri.  Before the saints settled in Nauvoo, they attempted to build several communities in Missouri. 
They also dedicated sites for the building of temples before they were driven from the state.  One of those sites, the third temple planned for Missouri, was in or near Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Spring Hill in the distance on the right.

When Joseph Smith saw Spring Hill, he called it Adam-ondi-Ahman, meaning "Adam in the presence of God."  He stated that it was the place where Adam blessed his posterity after being driven out of the Garden of Eden.

Furthermore, it is said that Adam-ondi-Ahman will be the site of a future grand council where Jesus Christ will meet with His stewards of all dispensations and receive back the keys of the kingdom in preparation for His Second Coming.  How exciting would such a meeting be!

Flat boulders at the hill's summit.

Joseph also stated that there was an ancient Nephite altar located at this site.  Today, no one is sure where he saw this altar, but after seeing some of the natural altar-shaped boulders strewn all about, I can certainly imagine it.

And still yet Thursday, July 19:
Far West, Missouri and Cornerstones

The Far West Memorial on the temple site.

Our last stop for the day was at Far West, Missouri (now part of Kingston, MO).  It was only an hour's drive from Adam-ondi-Ahman to Far West, where a Mormon settlement was built in 1836 and soon became the Church headquarters when Joseph Smith relocated there from Kirtland, Ohio.  Another temple site was dedicated here.

Inside the memorial.

While we were here, another car and trailer pulled up.  The family in the car turned out to be a family Ed knew when he lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The world gets smaller and smaller!
At Adam-ondi-Ahman we also ran into a family who had stayed at Camp Nauvoo when we were there.  In fact, our two families shared a table for dinner one night in a crowded fast food joint.

One of the 4 temple cornerstones.
The Far West Memorial is built atop the actual site where a temple was set to be built before Missouri Governor Boggs issued his infamous "Extermination Order" against the Mormons in 1838, forcing the saints to flee to Illinois.  The four cornerstones are still there, crumbling and weather-worn, but now protected by plexi-glass.
By this time it was 7pm and we were beat, so we found an RV-friendly campground called Basswood in Platte City, just north of Kansas City, Missouri, and we headed there to spend the night.  It was dark when we arrived but, unlike the campground in Michigan, this park was extremely large, highly developed, and well-lit.  Parking there was easy and we enjoyed a restful night.

No comments: