[Letters amongst the Brattle family, 1834-1844]
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James Brattle was a member of the Illinois Grays Militia, which was ordered to protect Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, while Smith was awaiting trial in Carthage, and was present when Smith and his brother Hyrum were attacked and killed. Brattle then rode Smith's horse to the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo, to give them the news of Smith's death.
6 ALS, one of them by James W. Brattle to his brother Charles dated July 5, 1844, providing an eyewitness account of the events leading to the death of Joseph Smith and the reaction of Mormons to the murder. Brattle describes Smith's crackdown on the Nauvoo Expositor, his incarceration in Carthage, and the attack and murder on June 27, 1844. Brattle records the shock of the Mormons who had believed that Smith could not be killed by bullets, and states that Governor Ford could have handled the crisis better. Four other letters by members of the Brattle family, based in Massachusetts and Connecticut, discuss family news, including occasional references to James and his interactions with Mormons in Illinois. One letter from James B. Burbank,James Brattle's nephew, is written from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, dated April 12, 1866, and mentions a threat telegraphed by General Tecumseh Sherman to Brigham Young.
1 folder (3 letters) ; 32 cm. and smaller
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