The Day Joseph Smith Was Killed: A Carthage Woman’s Perspective

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Years after the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on June 27, 1844, Amanda Benton Smith, a resident of Carthage, Illinois, and non–Latter-day Saint, recorded an account of the events of that day. Twenty-eight years old and a mother of six, Amanda was the wife of Carthage Grey captain Robert F. Smith—the militia officer responsible for protecting the Latter-day Saint prisoners in Carthage jail and defending the town. In her reminiscence, Amanda describes learning of the Smiths’ deaths and draws a vivid picture of the vacant city as local citizens fled to the countryside in anticipation of the Latter-day Saints’ retaliation, which never came. This account, reproduced in full in this article, presents an alternative viewpoint articulated with courage and even a little humor. If accurate, her sketch also suggests that the leader of the Carthage Greys may not have been complicit in the attack on the jail.