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SCOTT - Is it true that Joseph Smith killed two members of the mob that attacked him at Carthage Jail?

JOEL - The existing evidence leads to different conclusions as to whether anyone of the mob was killed by the gun Joeph Smith used during the attack on him and the others with him. As members of the mob were trying to shoot their way into the room where Joseph and the others were imprisioned, one of the murderer's bullets hit and killed his brother Hyrum. After watching his brother die, Joseph pulled out a gun that had been given to him earlier, stuck it out the door towards the mob of men, and blindly shot it in their direction. The reports claim that a few of the rounds missfired and a few others struck and wounded three men. Some early reports claimed two or three of them had died but later reports indicate that all were still alive and well at the time of the trial for the mob leaders.
Three men named Wills, Voras, and Gallaher were named in the indictment against those involved in the mob because their wounds, which testimony showed were received at the jail, were irrefutable evidence that they had participated in the mob. They undoubtedly recognized their vulnerability and fled the county before the trial against the mob. A contemporary witness reported these three as saying that they were the first men at the jail, that one of them shot through the door killing Hyrum, that Joseph wounded all three with his pistol, and that Gallaher shot Joseph as he ran to the window.[Hay, "The Mormon Prophet's Tragedy," 675]

Also, according to Hay, Wills was shot in the arm by Joseph Smith and Gallaher, a young man from Mississippi, was shot in the face. Hay described Voras (Voorhees) as a “half-grown hobbledehoy from Bear Creek” whom Joseph shot in the shoulder. The citizens of Green Plains were said to have given Gallaher and Voras new suits of clothes for their parts in the killing.[Statement of Jeremiah Willey, August 13, 1844] [5]

An earlier conflicting report byJohn Taylor said of the pistol Joseph fired, “only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died...” (HC 7:103.) Notice that Taylor claims that his information is not first-hand, but rather that he was “informed” of this information from another source or sources.

Parley P. Pratt has written:
"A man named Townsend, living in Iowa, near Fort Madison, was one of the mob who assaulted and forced in the jail door. The pistol discharged by Joseph Smith wounded him in the arm, near the shoulder, and it continued to rot without healing until it was taken off and even then it would not heal.
About six months after he was shot Mrs. Lawn saw his arm and dressed it. He was then gradually rotting and dying with the wound. He stayed over night with Mrs. Lawn’s father, and groaned through the night without sleeping. He asked the old gentleman what he thought of Joseph Smith being a Prophet? He replied that he did not know. “Well,” said Townsend, “I know he was a Prophet of God! And, oh, that I had stayed at home and minded my own business, and then I would not have lost my life and been tormented with a guilty conscience, and with this dreadful wound, which none can heal!” He died two or three months afterwards, having literally rotted alive! (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 1938)

Whether these men died or not does not diminish the fact that Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by the mob and shall forever be considered martyrs for the cause of God's purposes.

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