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. . . .”

Notes: Transcriptions by David Roche Turley II and Lawrence “Larry” B. Lee were consulted. Some edits by Mary Ann Clements. Original spelling was retained. Editorial insertions in brackets were added sparingly.

Transcript of Theodore Turley’s 1855 Letter to Hosea Stout

[Page 1]

Sanbarnardino Octor 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
Careth anything for me. But I must forbare
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
thier council rather than the Counci[l]s of God

[Page 2]

The reson why I made the foregoing expresings after
his arrist at Dixon he told me when walkng
the road that God did not ever require him
to Stand another tryal 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 accomplish
the same that was the reason I wanted your help to
go to Carthage you know howe [how he] 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 [thighs] 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 two hands on his thys [thighs]
Saying God bless you with Strength & wisdom
to performe this your Covenant. Than asked
me to do the Same. After Joseph was gon[e] ove[r] 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 haded [heeded?] tell Joseph from me to

[Page 3[]

to remember his covenants that he has made to
live & die for the Saints I whent along Warter Str
thinking upon the erand resolved not to go
turned round to See if any Saw me whent acroos
lots from the river a peice Saw Cahoone & young
Warson Sister Emma’s nefue go to the Skiff & 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 replyed if my life his of no Benef[it]
to my Bretheren it is of no Value to me go tell
him I will meet him on the Mound tomorow
Br Jeredia Grant went with me I returned
to ^Nauvoo^ Earley in the morning through an infla-
matory speach made by Lawyer Skinner the
Governer required Br Joseph to come without his
Gard when I told Br Joseph & that I knew they
whould kill him he Said he know that but
if [h]is life was of no benefit to his Bretheren it
was non[e] to him he repeited again he had obaid [obeyed]
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 Leg[i]on 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 mens Souls you will have something to Stand
against I want you neavour to rest till you have
forty peices of Canon Sutable for Flying Artillery
& as many Field Peices as the Bretheren can get
means for you to obtain I will give Br O[.] Hyde
& G[.] Adams Orders to go to raise the Same ^money^ he
Joseph & Hyrum Ordained me has Armer
General of the Na[u]voo Leg[i]on Bless^ed^ me with
wisdom to performe the duti[e]s 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 Woodworth will
Give you ome particulars.  Myselfe &
Famely are well I Shall be pleased to here
from you again God Bless you & yours

Yours in the Bonds of the
Covenant  Theo Turley

Hosa Stout
B[r] L[.] Woodworth says he will
write he has some important Items to the point
you wish. Please to to excuse the Authory
& Style. In [h]aste