Mormon History

Blaming the Warsaw Signal Editor - 1844

Sangamo Journal October 3, 1844


We have nothing of very great importance from the Mormon region. The troops rendezvoused at Rushville, left that place on Wednesday of last week, and marched immediately to Carthage. Their number is supposed to have been about 600. The following article from the St. Louis Republican of Saturday, seems to be authentic:


We learn by the officers and passengers of the steamer Osprey, that Gov. Ford and his troops have reached Carthage. The purpose of the Governor in ordering out the troops seems to be a determination to bring the murderers of Joe and Hyrum to trial. The troops are under the command of Gen. J. J. Hardin, subject, of course, to the direction of the Governor. The reason assigned by the Governor's friends for ordering out the troops in the first instance, was a "wolf-hunt," advertised by s portion of the people of Hancock county, to come off on the 26th and 27th instant. This hunt, it was believed by the Governor, was a pretext to get the people assembled, aroused, and then to make an attack upon the Mormons at Nauvoo, or some other Mormon settlement. From all we can learn, we suppose the wolf-hunt was abandoned after the orders of the Governor were issued.

The Governor was at Carthage. Writs were issued and placed in the hands of the Sheriff for the arrest of Thomas C. Sharp, editor of the Warsaw Signal, and for Col. Williams, of the same place, both charged with participating in the murder of the Smiths. The Sheriff came to Warsaw and attempted to arrest Sharp, but he refused to surrender himself, and in this resolution was sustained by the people of Warsaw. The Sheriff returned and reported his inability to arrest him, when three hundred of the troops were ordered to march to Warsaw. The troop had not arrived at Warsaw before the Osprey left. but Sharp and Williams had escaped to the Missouri side of the river, and, we presume, will not be taken. A gentleman has furnished the following in manuscript, which appears to be a copy of an address from Sharp, intended for his paper. His admission for participating, so far as to exasperate others to the commission of the murder, are explicit; and, it seems to us, would at least make him an accessory. He also seems to admit that he was with the crowd. The Gov. will have to move very promptly if he expects to capture any of the participators in that affair.

Just as our paper was going to press this morning, a man came into our office, and said that he had a writ for me. Well, sir, let me see it. He produced the paper, which proved to be a warrant for the murder of Joe and Hyrum Smith, issued by Aaron Johnson, Justice of the Peace in Nauvoo. After reading, I told the officer that if my friends said go, I would go, if not, I would stand fast. Accordingly I went out, and conversed with the citizens, and unanimously they said don't go. I then told the officer that he could return and report progress, but I could not go with him, for I was not to be singled out as the sole object of Mormon vengeance. Now, gentle reader, I did not help to kill Joe Smith, for I did not go to the jail, with those who killed him. If my influence helped to produce the state of feeling that resulted in his death, why I am in common with some hundred others, guilty -- not of murder, but of an extra judicial execution. I have the most satisfactory proof that Joe Smith threatened my life, and sought to take it; if I had, therefore, killed him I should only have acted in self-defence. The writ only included Col. Williams and myself. Thus it will appear that it is not the guilty, but those most obnoxious to the Latter Day Saints, who are to be selected as victims. The officer, who is deputy Sheriff, says that his orders are to arrest and return the prisoners to the Sheriff, in Carthage, from thence I suppose I am to be taken to Nauvoo; but I will not go to Nauvoo unless my fellow citizens say so. I did not resist the officer, but my friends advised me not to go, and the officer did not call on any of the citizens to aid him in taking me. After I told him I would not go, he troubled me no further.

Fellow-citizens, shall we submit?
                                        THOMAS C. SHARP.

Though the Governor was manifestly anxious to secure these men, the arrangements for the purpose were badly made. The Governor mat demand them of the Governor of Missouri. Will he obey the requisition? Will he not rather follow the lead of the Governor of Illinois in the demand which he made for Smith? So far as the presses of the State have spoken of the measures of the Governor, in calling out 2,500 militia, to suppress a wolf-hunt in Hancock county, as far as we have seen, with the exception of the State Register, it has been [received] with unqualified condemnation. We especially now allude to the Morgan Journal, the Rushville Whig and Alton Telegraph and Quincy Whig. The loco foco papers, which have come to hand, have no opinions to express on the subject.