February 14, 2024

Joseph F. Smith Visiting Carthage Jail

This map below was created to help find other Church Sites and Articles. Each point will have articles in the description about that point

(below the map is the rest of the article)

Carthage Jail is a somber location, with a history of extreme violence against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by killing Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The effects of what happened in Carthage Jail has influenced generations of Latter-day Saints. Even today while visiting the site, the sadness of what took place is still prominent. For the members of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's families the recollection of events, is even more terrible. Joseph F. Smith, Hyrum's son, who later became the sixth prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited the site after many years away. Being back at Carthage again, as an adult still brought Joseph F. to his knees in grief. Joseph F. was only six years old when he lost his father at Carthage.

There were many times in the life of Joseph F. when his had the chance to stop at Carthage Jail, but every time he chose to avoid it, knowing his emotions were too fragile to handle what was there. Finally a man named Charles W. Nibley convinced Joseph F. that it was time to face Carthage. Both men knew this would be a very challenging experience for Joseph F. and were tentative about how the experience would go.

When the group with Joseph F. arrived at Carthage, they all proceeded to walk up the steps to the jail and as they turned right into the room where all the bullets came, seeing the bullet holes, emotions were high. Then, the person leading the group pointed out the floor, and the group was told "that stain is the blood of Hyrum Smith."

Joseph F. overcome with sadness, walked over and sat down on the blood stain. Joseph F. put hands over his face, and convulsively wept until they could see the water coming through his fingers.

Then, Joseph F. said "Charlie, take me out of here."

They got in the buggy and rode the twenty miles back to Nauvoo. Not one word was spoken.

The emotions felt by the son of Hyrum Smith were still raw for the rest of his life. The weight that Joseph F. was forced to carry weighed on him. After the death of Hyrum it was only nine years later when Joseph F. lost his mother, he was 15 years old. He was left an orphan as a teenager. The wounds of Carthage lasted generations.

Joseph F. knew it would be difficult for him to go to Carthage Jail and face what happened to his father, being in the place where it all took place. The pain and the sadness from that day was carried with him for the rest of his life. President Russel M. Nelson said, "The only way to take the sorrow out of death, is to take the love out of life." He loved his father, and missed him. Being in Carthage Jail was a strong reminder to Joseph F. "Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love"


"Presidents of the Church" by Truman G. Madsen

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram