CONSPIRACY AT CARTHAGE: THE PLOT TO MURDER JOSEPH SMITH
The main story of the Conspiracy participants and their plot is quite complex and spans fifteen years from 1830 to 1845. Beginning in Jackson County then to the Northern Missouri Counties of Caldwell and Daviess, then to Nauvoo and the Iowa Territory.
That there was a Conspiracy group involved in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith was validated by Joseph Smith in his journal in 1843, and by Stephen Markham in a letter he wrote in 1856 to Wilford Woodruff. It was similarly attested by Jonathan Wright in his affidavit. The Anti-Mormon leader George T. M. Davis in his autobiography written late in his life described in detail the events leading to the martyrdom. Governor Ford in his biography referred to the actions of the conspirators.
According to the account given by Davis, the finalized plans to the martyrdom were established at a meeting of the Carthage Vigilance Committee of Safety held on June 17, 1844 at Hamilton’s Inn. That was the meeting which was broken up by Colonel Stephen Markham. Minutes of the meeting were kept and referred to by Doctor Wall Southwick as presented in the account of Stephen Markham.
Before the Mormons arrived in Jackson County and before they arrived in Iowa and Nauvoo, detailed economic plans had been developed by leaders of the old citizens.
In 1843 Joseph Smith uncovered the existence of what he called the “Corrupt Conspiracy” formed against him and the Church connecting mob leaders in Missouri and Illinois. This book describes five groups that emerged and later joined ranks to eventually plan the murder of Joseph and Hyrum and the forced exodus of the Saints. This is the story of leaders of these five groups, who driven by greed, turned violent against the Saints.
In Iowa and Illinois various land speculators sought to gain early windfall profits because of the expectations of high land values driven by major state internal improvement projects involving railroads, canals and turnpike highways. In Iowa certain land speculators fraudulently and secretly stole lands from the Church. After the economic crisis of 1837 their various plans were thwarted and they became desperate to sell off their lands or face bankruptcy. By 1844 as the planned state internal improvement projects were able to proceed again they realized the Mormons were in the way. They had to get the Saints to leave in order to sell their lands. Each group had secrets to conceal. All united in some form to first attempt kidnapping the prophet then to plan his murder.