Chapter 13 – The Corrupt Conspiracy Exposed

With substantial Mormon voter support, Thomas Ford defeated Joseph Duncan in the election for Illinois Governor in late 1842.  When Ford took office he found the state in serious financial crisis.  A plan had been promoted by Justin Butterfield, (former attorney for Joseph Smith) to secure a new loan of $1.6 million to get the Illinois Michigan Canal completed so it could generate revenues to service the massive state debts caused by funding previous internal improvement projects.

In September 1843 Joseph Smith received a copy of the letter of Samuel Owens to Governor Ford stating Owens had been in contact with Bennett for months and that Harmon Wilson of Carthage and Joseph Reynolds of Missouri were called to assist the mob leaders in apprehending him.  The prophet recorded in his journal, “To show the wickedness and rascality of John C. Bennett and the corrupt conspiracy formed against me in Missouri and Illinois, I insert the following under date of the letter June 10, 1843.”

Anti-Mormon meetings continued and additional kidnapping efforts of Joseph Smith were attempted. In late 1843, Colonel Levi Williams, with the aid of several associates from Illinois and Missouri kidnapped Daniel Avery and his son.  Their plan was to lure out the prophet from the safety of Nauvoo to rescue the Avery’s and then kidnap him.

Also in late 1843, Missouri Governor Reynolds was accused of being actively involved in corrupt practices involving the Central Clique.  Reynolds had been working with Fleak, hoping to extradite Joseph Smith to Missouri for trial.  Governor Reynolds was married to the sister of Samuel Owens’ wife.  In January 1844, Governor Reynolds committed suicide.