Portion of Theodore Turley's 28 October 1855 letter to Hosea Stout from San Bernardino. View the full document online at the Church History Library Catalog using the link below.

Citation: Joseph Smith history documents, 1839-1860; Materials used by Church historians, 1854-1856; Theodore Turley letter, San Bernardino, California to Hosea Stout, 1855 October 28; Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/1177cc3b-d4cb-4897-b2ba-08def6399c3b/0/0 (accessed: March 11, 2021)

Description in the Church History Library Catalog: Turley recounts his experiences in Nauvoo several days before Joseph Smith’s death. He tells about Joseph Smith asking both his son and Turley to avenge his death, and of attempts by others to have Joseph Smith return to Nauvoo from Iowa. Turley also reports subsequent conversations with Joseph Smith, including his instructions about additional Nauvoo Legion armaments.

From Ann Lewis’ blog:

In 1855, LDS Church Historians were compiling the history of the Church. Theodore Turley was living in San Bernardino at the time. Hosea Stout wrote to him, asking him to recall his experiences with Joseph in the final days before Joseph was martyred. Below is the first page of the letter Theodore sent in response, expressing his love for Joseph, the Prophet.

Today on the anniversary of Joseph’s birth, I would like to express my love and appreciation for the Prophet Joseph, as Theodore did when he wrote, “The Wourld alone [h]as not lost a Friend But I myself have lost the Best friend I ever had upon the Earth in Joseph Smith. . . .”

Transcript of Theodore's 1855 Letter to Hosea Stout

Page 1

(Sanbarnardino), Octo. — 28th 1855
Dear Brother Stout
Yours of the 25 of Sept is before me
and it is pleasing to me to (here) from (my)
old friends  I rejoice at your welfare (& in)
the prosperity of all the (faithfull).
The Subject upon which you write is one
that causes me to (morne) all(so) one that
time (canot) (erace) from my memory or (blunt)
the edge of its keen (dartes) into my whole
(Systom.) Why so (mutch) so you may ask (or
rather some may ask) my answer is. The
(Wourld) alone (h)as not lost a Friend  But I
(myselfe) have lost the Best friend I ever
Had upon the Earth in Joseph Smith  I
feel as though there was no man that
(Carith) anything for me.  But I must (forbear)
You have (tutched) a Subject that (whould) (draw)
from me that which no other can do knowing
As I do that God the Eternal Father did not
Design taking him from us or he (whould)
not have given him Revelation to have
fled to the (mountins)  But the (couerdly)
advice of his pretended friends led him to take
(their) council rather than the (councis) of God

Page 2

The (reason) why I made the foregoing (expresinegs?) after
his (arrist) at Dixon he told me when walking
the road that God did not ever require him
to Stand another (trayal) at Court and that
if he Should be arrested he wished his friends
to (reskue) him from the hands of his (enemis)
& told me (neavour) to wait for him to tell me to
do so & to get all the help in my power to (accomplis)
the same  that was the reason I wanted your help to
go to Carthage  you know (howe) (stopped) us.  A few
nights Before his murder while I was Sitting
with him in his own house he Called his Son
Joseph to him taking him by the two wrists
placing his Sons hands on his (thys)  Said
Joseph my Son Some Day this wicked Mob
will kill me  I want you to (promis) to me that
you will avenge my Blood  will you, my Son(?)
Replyed I will Father.  I will.  Putting his
right hand on his head & holding with his
left hand the boy’s too hands on his  (thys)
Saying  God bless you with Strength and wisdom
to performe this your covenant.  Then asked
me to do the Same. After Joseph was (gon) (over) the
(rivirer)  Brothers (Cahoone) & Cuttler & H (Kimble)
came out of the (mantion) in Nauvoo  (I was not
in the council) wished me to go with a.
message to Joseph to persuade him to
come back  that the (governer) had promised
that he should have a fair trial, & the
(gard) to protect him. Emma calling me
Back ha(?)ded (litl) Joseph from me to

Page 3

(to) (remember?) his covenants that he has made to
live & die for the Saints  I (whent) along (Warter Street)
thinking upon the (erand) resolved not to go
turned round to See if any Saw me. (Whent) (across)
lots from the river a (peice)  Saw (Cahoone) & young
Warson  Sister Emma’s (nefue)  go to the skiff and go
over that Evening  Joseph came home Sent for (me).
I went to him into his (roome) he told me he
Wanted me to go to Carthage to take a message
to the Governer that he whould comply with
his request. I asked him, Br Joseph will you go
Seeing God has told you to flee(?)  if not they will
Kill you  he (repyled) if my life (his) of no (Benefit)
to my Bretheren it is of no value to me  go tell
him I will meet him on the Mound tomorrow
Br (Jeredia) Grant went with me.  I returned
to Nauvoo (earley) in the morning—through an (infla-
mitory) (Speach) made by lawyer Skinner the
(Governer) required Br Joseph & that I knew they
(Whould) Kill him  he Said he knew that  but
if (is) life was of no benefit to his Bretheren it
Was (non) to him  he (repeited) again he had (obaid)
the (Council) of man & not the (Council) of God as
he started that day and returned. That night
he sent for me late  I (whent) to his house  he (sent)
for Br Hyrum  he told me (a) many things &
I asked him if I should not rent some Buildings
to put the (armes) of the (Legon) in repair

Page 4

he said it whould not Matter now  (Sayes he) Br Turley
I tell you there will not be a Gun fired on our part this
time  But the Next time the Saints are assailed
will try men’s Souls  you will have Something to (Stand)
against I want you (neavour) to rest till you have
forty pieces of Canon (Sutable) for Flying artillere
& as many Field Pieces as the Bretheren can get
means for you to obtain  I will give Br O. (Hy-)
& G. Adams Orders to go to raise the Same (money) he
Joseph & Hyrum Ordained me (has) (Armer)
General of the Nauvoo (Legon)  Blessed me with
Wisdom to (performe) the duties of the Same
Gave Br General Dunam order to (See)
he and General C. Rich order that this
appointment be  Recorded in its proper
place before morning.  Br Rich Came to Joseph
I (Believe) he spent some time in making
(nessary) arrangements .  I had considerable
Conversation with him.  Br. Woodvorth will
Give you Some particulars.  (Myselfe) &
Family are well  I shall be pleased to (here)
from you again  God Bless you & yours
Ho(s)ea Stout.
Yours in the Bonds of the
Covenant  Theo Turley

Br. L. Woodworth says he will
write  he has some important Items to me from
you wish(?). Please to (to) excuse the (authory?)
& Style. In (aste?)

Transcript by Lawrence “Larry” B. Lee