175 years ago today - Jun 27, 1844
5 p.m. - A large group of men approaches Carthage Jail disguised with blackened faces. Joseph Smith at first assumes it is the Nauvoo Legion he has secretly ordered to rescue him. However, major-general Jonathan Dunham has disobeyed orders knowing that a prison escape would beam the annihilation of Nauvoo. Instead the vigilantes storm the upstairs room, instantly killing Hyrum Smith and severely wounding John Taylor. Joseph defends himself with a pistol (smuggled in by Cyrus H. Wheelock who had a written pass from Governor Ford allowing him to go "unmolested" in and out of the jail), fatally wounding two men in the mob. He then jumps out of the window, and begins to shout the Masonic cry of distress: "Oh Lord, my God, is there no help for the widow's son?" Masons in the crowd show no mercy and prop the semi-conscious Smith against a nearby well and shoot him several times at point-blank range. The Carthage Grays arrive at the jail moments later from their encampment half a mile away. Willard Richards is the only one not killed or severely wounded. Mormons immediately attribute this to the fact that he alone wore the undergarment given to endowed persons.