Carthage Visitor's Center & Jail
We have been assigned to serve at Carthage a few times now and we love it. It's about a half hour's drive from Nauvoo so it's nice that we don't have to make that drive everyday. I always thought it would be a terrible place because of what happened there - but it is so beautiful and there is such a feeling of peace.
Between the parking lot and the visitor's center you hear soft uplifting music playing and there is a beautiful garden with reader boards of quotes.
This is my favorite.
Inside the Visitor's Center there are pictures of how the jail was remodeled through the years.
Pictures of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
There is a history room with beautiful artwork depicting the history of the church.
Guests are invited into a theater room to view a film entitled "Impressions of a Prophet".
Now - for a tour of the jail. The jail's walls are nearly three feet thick at the base and two feet thick at the top. The summer kitchen was added in 1850 (after the martyrdom).
This is the inside of the summer kitchen.
This is the main eating area for the jailer, George Stigall, his wife, and seven children.
These are a couple of views of the main living area for the jailer and his family.
This is the debtor's cell where Joseph and Hyrum and 8 other men who had come to support & protect them spent the first night, June 25, 1844.
The next morning Joseph sent 3 of the men on errands connected with the upcoming trial. Mobs were gathering outside the jail and Mr. Stigall decided to move the remaining 7 men upstairs for their protection.
He could have put them into the dungeon cell.
There are only 3 narrow slits in the two foot thick rock walls for light and ventilation.
The jailer chose not to lock the men in this cell, but this is where Willard Richards dragged the wounded John Taylor and hid him after Hyrum and Joseph were killed. Instead, the jailer let the men stay in his own bedroom. I do not think he believed that they were bad men. Seven men slept here the night of June 26. The mobs were still outside and a shot rang out about midnight.
The next morning Joseph sent three more men on errands connected with the pending trial. That left Joseph, Hyrum, Willard Richards and John Taylor there. A little before 5:00 p.m. on June 27, some members of the mob stormed up these stairs.
Two shots were fired through the door, one on the edge and one that killed Hyrum instantly.
Shots were also fired from outside, hitting Joseph twice and then from the doorway hitting him twice more and causing him to fall from the window. The mob raced down the stairs to make sure he was dead and someone yelled, "The Mormon's are coming!" The mob dispersed and ran away, leaving Willard Richards and John Taylor still alive.
The mob believed that if they killed Joseph, they would kill the church. What they didn't understand was that is wasn't Joseph's church - it's Christ's church and it cannot be stopped.