In our final conversation with Dr. Alex Baugh, we’ll talk about the lessons to be learned from Hawn’s Mill. Who deserves blame in this escalation? What might have helped calm things down? Did Porter Rockwell try to assassinate Governor Boggs?
GT: There was an assassination attempt on his life and a lot of people want to pin that on Porter Rockwell.
Alex: It probably was.
GT: It probably was?
Alex: Yeah, I think it was. He was visiting his in-laws, the Beebes. The Beebes lived in Jackson County. Monte McClaus wrote an article about it years ago. I taught his kids in seminary, actually. But if you line everything up, I think Rockwell, he was definitely there. Did he intend to kill Boggs? I kind of think not. He just wanted to make him–and why do I say that? Well he used a German buckshot pistol. So they were just small pellets, and it didn’t kill him. I mean, it could have, but I don’t think he intended it to. I think he was just upset with what this man did to us. I mean, his indecisiveness, his lack of humanity towards the Mormons. I don’t know what you want to say, I think he probably did it.
GT: Oh, really?
Alex: Yeah, I do. Would he deny it? Well, of course. I guess the folklore around, “If I would have done it, I would have killed him.” Well, that’s just a good round about there. But Joseph had nothing to do with it. There’s no question there. Even though John C. Bennett and others wanted to pin that on him, there’s no evidence for that. Joseph was not an accessory to the crime. Rockwell acted on his own.
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