February 16, 2023

Alexander Doniphan Historical Marker

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Alexander Doniphan was an attorney in the State of Missouri during the Missouri and Latter-day Saint conflic. Through the brave actions of Alexander Doniphan, the prophet was not killed in the state of Missouri. Doniphan's actions as an attorney helped the Saints defend themselves in the courts where few would help.

Some of the actions Alexander Doniphan is known for was when he was hired by the Latter-Day Saints after the Missouri Mobs had driven the Saints out of their homes, Donaiphan was hired to defend the Saints. He worked hard to get both sides to come to agreements, and for the violence to stop.

The poor, homeless Latter-day Saints did not have anywhere to turn, and Doniphan felt sympathy and did all he could to help.

Joseph Smith and other members of the Church had sought help from the Governor of Missouri, and even up to the President of the United States. When no one was willing to help the displaced Saints Doniphan and his team were there to help.

Alexander Doniphan helped create a new county for the Latter-Day Saints, Caldwell County. Only through this agreement were the Latter-Day Saints safe to enter the State of Missouri again. Only, again the corruption of the people made the county of Caldwell unsafe again.

When Joseph Smith was arrested and ordered in front of the firing squad Alexander Doniphan would not shoot the prophet and demanded that no one shoot him.

Joseph Smith thought Alexander Doniphan as a “true friend.”

Alexander Doniphan also represented Porter Rockwell when the state arrested him for the attempted murder of Governor Boggs. Doniphan was able to get Porter Rockwell out of prison.

Liberty Jail

While Joseph Smith and his friends were in Liberty Jail they faced a hostile audience in the courthouse. The prisoners were defended by their attorneys Alexander Doniphan and Peter Burnett, who were "intensely opposed to the mobs. . . as the worst form of irresponsible tyranny." said Peter. They were worried they would be taken prisoners by the mob at the hearing, and prepared themselves for an attack. The lawyers said "We armed ourselves, and had a circle of brave and faithful friends armed around us." Burnett went on to say "We. . . determined inflexibly to do our duty to our clients at all hazards and to sell our lives as dearly as possible if necessary." Burnett made the opening speech, the district attorney followed, and Doniphan ended with closing arguements.

Burnett described the event:

"Before he rose to speak, or just as he rose, I whispered to him: 'Doniphan! Let yourself out, my good fellow; and I will kill the first man what attacks you.' And he did let himself out, in one of the most eloquent and withering speeches I ever heard. The maddened crowd foamed and gnashed their teeth, but only to make him more and more intrepid. He faced the terrible storm with the most noble courage. All the time I sat within six feet of him, with my hand upon my pistol, calmly determined to do as I had promised him.

Thankfully their fears were not realized. The efforts of the attorneys to stand against a large mob, in defense of Joseph Smith and his friends is empowering. These men were willing to put their lives on the line for these prisoners, and stand against lawlessness. The prisoners were not released that day, the prisoners were turned over to a grand jury investigation, all buy Sidney Rigdon who would soon be released.

More Blog Posts:

Missouri Mob and Amanda Barnes Smith Prayer

Amanda Barnes Smith Hawn’s Mill Massacre Miracle

Overview of the Missouri Years

Places to Visit:

Alexander Doniphan Home Site, south of the Liberty Jail visitors center

Alexander Doniphan Statue Richmond Missouri Location: 39° 16.724′ N, 93° 58.656′ W. 


"Sacred Places-Missouri" by LaMar C. Berrett p.227-230.

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