We’re continuing our conversation with Nauvoo Crime expert Mary Ann Clements. Up to now, we’ve been discussing counterfeiting, but now Nauvoo’s crime families are getting involved in murder, and several of the criminal gangs are turning on each other as well as citizens. I was surprised to learn that the state government used these charges to spur the Mormons to leave Nauvoo for good, which they did on that cold winter day in February of 1846. Find out more about the Mississippi Mob Murders. Check out our conversation…
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Mississippi Mob Murders
Mary Ann 00:36 So we’ve established that there was counterfeiting going on. We’ve established that there were criminal gangs.
GT 00:42 So, three gangs, the Joseph Jackson, Edward Bonney, and who was the third one?
Mary Ann 00:47 We know Peter Haws did some counterfeiting, and he was a member of the church. But we do know, based on some statements that happened later on in Winter Quarters, someone said that he had admitted he’d been involved in counterfeiting in Nauvoo. So, that’s why my belief is there were probably at least three different counterfeiting operations that had occurred in Nauvoo. Then, in the summer of 1845. After Joseph Smith dies, there is this whole idea of counterfeiting. If people know about the governor’s troops coming in, that’s one reason the governor’s troops were going to go into Nauvoo is they–Joseph H. Jackson had told the governor that he could tell him, he could show him where the counterfeiting presses were in Nauvoo.
Mary Ann 01:38 So, when the governor brings in the troops, that’s what the Mormons are, like, “Ostensibly, they were coming in looking for counterfeiting presses.” Well, yeah, because there were counterfeiting presses in Nauvoo. But that is an element that people tend to overlook a little bit. It wasn’t just a random excuse. There was evidence of counterfeiting. In fact, we get something that happens later, some people talking about how they actually hid Bonney’s two presses. At this time, they had to get him out of his house and hide him somewhere else so that the governor’s troops wouldn’t find them.
Mary Ann 02:16 So, in the fall, after Joseph Smith is killed, there are these questions of were the Mormons counterfeiting in Nauvoo? So, the grand jury in Hancock County actually hears testimony and they bring in this Dr. Abiathar Buck Williams. They asked him, “Was there counterfeiting going on in Nauvoo?”
Mary Ann 02:45 And he’s like, “Well, yes. Joseph Smith asked me to keep a press in my house, but it was the Mormons. And I was afraid, because they would kill me if I didn’t do it. But it was all Joseph Smith.” Of course, Joseph was dead by this point. So, Dr. Williams, he would not name anyone else. He refused to name anyone else. He would only name Joseph Smith, who was already dead. So, Hancock County couldn’t prosecute anyone. They couldn’t come out with any indictments against anyone. Because this Dr. Williams wouldn’t implicate anyone else in it.
Mary Ann 03:22 So, then we get into the summer of 1845. There’s a lot of criminal gang activity that gets exposed in Nauvoo in the summer of 1845. The first problem is, we get what’s called the Miller-Leiza murders over in Lee County, Iowa. Lee County is directly across the river from Nauvoo. You have three guys from Nauvoo, who are all Mormon, go over and they’re robbing people at night. They’re coming in. They’re scaring people. They’re trying to rob them. There are all these robberies happening. One of the robberies goes bad. And it’s this Reverend, this German minister, John Miller, and he has him[self] and his wife and then he has his two daughters and their husbands all in the house. These guys come in, William and Stephen Hodges, and this guy, Thomas Brown. They all come into the house and they’re threatening them and they’re saying they’re going to kill them, if they don’t give them all the money. Because they’ve heard that this guy has like $2,000 in his house, and so they’re trying to get this money.
Mary Ann 04:40 But, it ends up Miller starts fighting back and Leiza starts fighting back, and so they end up killing Miller and Leiza. It’s brutal. They kill Miller, and then they mortally wound Leiza, but he ends up surviving, just barely, but his wounds eventually kill him. But one of them ends up leaving his cap there. William Hodges leaves his cap there, and they run back, and they go back to Nauvoo. So, suddenly, the people are in the area are infuriated. They’re like this is–because robbery is one thing. Murder, that’s a whole different story. That was one thing that a lot of the thieves at the time knew. You can threaten people. You can do all you want, but you do not kill people, because the citizens wouldn’t stand for it. So, there’s this massive manhunt. There’s this $500 reward, which gets put up by the people to find these murderers. And that’s a lot of money back then.
Mary Ann 05:49 So, by this point, Edward Bonney and Dr. Williams, and some other people are living in Iowa. Edward Bonney starts getting this idea of like, “I can work with some other people. We can get that $500 reward.” Because he already has a pretty good idea of who did it. So, in his book, he basically takes all of the credit himself. He’s like, “Oh,” like when he sees the fur cap, he’s like, “Oh, I saw a guy in Nauvoo, who was wearing that cap.” So, that’s what he tells the sheriff. He’s trying, so he totally talks about how he’s the hero. He’s the guy. So, he tells the sheriff who it is, and it’s all because of him they’re able to capture the guys in Nauvoo. It was unusual, because the Mormons did allow the people from Iowa to come into Nauvoo to take them, but there was kind of a standoff. Of course, Bonney is the one. He claims that he was able to calm everything down and the Mormons actually do allow these two brothers to get taken from Nauvoo to go back for to get prosecuted for this murder.
Mary Ann 06:59 The third guy Thomas, Tom Brown, he ends up escaping. He leaves. He’s smart enough to leave. What’s interesting, though, is in Bonney’s rough draft of his exposè–the church on microfilm has a copy of his handwritten rough draft that was deposited by his, I believe it was a granddaughter, in the University of Illinois. He mentioned that he had actually worked quite a bit with this guy, Peter Manjar, who was the brother-in-law of Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams, around this time, gets whittled out of Nauvoo, because he was showing too much effort to find the murderers of Miller and Leiza. So, it seems like Bonney probably was working with Dr. Williams and Dr. Williams’ brother-in-law, Peter Manjar, in order to catch these guys, probably so they could get the $500, right? They’re totally going after [the murderers,] but then that means that they’re kind of betraying the criminal gangs that they used to be a part of.
Mary Ann 06:59 Eventually, the Hodges brothers end up, they have to change the venue, because, of course, there’s way too much animosity in Lee County. But they [the Hodges brothers] end up getting convicted of the murder, and they end up getting hung. So, there’s some people who are really mad at Bonney about this, that Bonney would turn on people. But Bonney was like, “Hey, I got $500 out of it.” He’s like, “Apparently, turning to the other side can pay really well.” But you had the people–I mean, it’s actually really cool.
Because Bonney, in his book, he actually gets these lists of all of the people who were trying to be witnesses on behalf of the Hodges, to try to claim that like, “No, they were in Nauvoo at the time.” So, you actually get this really neat list of both Mormons and non-Mormons who are part of the criminal gang. They all were trying to testify with each other. Then Bonney was…
GT 08:15 It was just convoluted.
Mary Ann 08:18 It is very convoluted, which is why I don’t tend to go into it with people, because it took a couple of years just to straighten everything out. So, of course the Manjar brothers do testify against the Hodges, because they were probably working with Bonney. Dr. Williams refuses to testify against him, probably because he’d gotten whittled out. He probably was a little more worried about his safety, if he publicly testified against the Hodges. Bonney was on the schedule to testify. He ended up not testifying, but the Hodges get convicted and they are hung. To the end, both of the Hodges, the day before they’re hung, one of the Hodges brothers comes to one of the lawyers and is like, “Okay, I’ll confess everything, and I’ll tell you who was all there and who was all involved, who the criminal gang [is.]” He’s like, “I’ll tell everything.” Then the next morning, he’s like, “I can’t do it. It’s going to put my family in danger, if I do that.” So, towards the end, when the two brothers get hung up in Burlington, Iowa, they’re protesting their innocence all the way to the end. Just before they’re hung, they claim that they’re only getting hung because they’re Mormons, because they’re being persecuted because of their religion. But even the Cchurch leaders in Nauvoo knew that these guys were guilty of this murder. But it’s interesting, because they actually published in the Nauvoo newspaper that these men were not Mormons. They, they did start to try to distance themselves from them and say, “No, they weren’t Mormons.” They were.
Mary Ann 11:03 There’s a couple of interesting things that also happened around the same time. When Brigham Young refuses to save these guys, to send in people to save these two guys. One of their brothers is furious about it. So, he actually threatens to expose all of the crime going on in the city, and he threatens Brigham Young’s life. The next night, he’s dead. He is dead. He shows up dead. He was stabbed with his own knife, multiple times. Ribs were broken. That happened at night. He was on his way, it seemed, to Brigham Young’s house. There are policemen at Brigham Young’s house. He’s found by the policemen who are guarding Brigham Young’s house. People are asking him, “Who did this to you?”
Mary Ann 11:57 Because he’s still alive. He refuses to name who does it to him, who killed him, according to the policeman. He just says, “A friend from the river, someone who I thought was a friend.”
Mary Ann 12:13 So, of course, there’s this huge thing where people are like, “Oh, it’s totally the Mormon policemen who killed him, because he was threatening the life of Brigham Young.”
Mary Ann 12:20 There’s people, I think, Mike Quinn and some others, are convinced it was Hosea Stout, who was the chief of police, who totally had him killed. Because, in his journal that night, he mentioned he went to bed early, got up when people came in to tell him that this guy, Irvin Hodges had been killed. Some people were like, “Really? He went to bed early that night.” It’s more likely that there were other Mormon criminals, who were probably the ones who killed him in order to not have him reveal the depth of all the criminal gang activity. One of the non-Mormon criminals, eventually, names this Mormon criminal who did it. He says that this guy returned. Jackson Redden was the one who killed Irvin Hodges. He is a good candidate, because he was a Mormon. He was trusted by Mormon leaders, and he was absolutely a criminal, as well, part of the criminal gang activity. So, you have that. You have another brother, Amos Hodges, who goes missing in July that same summer, and people suspect that he was also killed. So, you have all of these murders happening, right in around Nauvoo, and these are Mormon guys getting killed. Then, they’re hung mid-July.
GT 13:43 This is 1845?
Mary Ann 13:47 Yes, 1845. So, the murders, the Miller-Leiza murders are committed mid-May. Because the son-in-law, Henry Leiza had survived the murder. He was able to positively identify the killers, which is why the Hodges brothers eventually get convicted. Then, he dies shortly afterwards. But something else is happening. A couple of the guys who had signed up to be witnesses for the Hodges, end up committing a major murder, also, in July, shortly before the Hodges are hung.
GT 14:26 Who knew there was all this? I mean, this is wild west stuff here, right?
Mary Ann 14:29 It is, absolutely, because that was the frontier at that time. Something that’s important to remember is that it was really hard to convict criminals, when they would have all these friends who would come and be witnesses for them. A lot of times people would get really frustrated over these criminal gangs. That’s why you have these, eventually, vigilante groups who would come in and drive out these gangs or hang the people or shoot the people, to try to clean up their community. If you understand that a lot of the surrounding community viewed Mormons as this massive criminal gang, you can start to understand why you had these vigilante activities going on. They were targeting Mormons. They were trying to worm them out. They were trying to, like, burn their houses, so they would leave. Because they’re trying to clean up their community. They saw Mormons as criminals. The only way they could live in peace would be to get them out of the area. They could not live in peace with them, because they were criminals.
GT 15:32 Gadianton robbers.
Mary Ann 15:37 Basically, yeah. There were criminals who were based in Nauvoo. A couple of these were these non-Mormon criminals who were on that list of witnesses, who were witnesses for the Hodges brothers. Several of them get this plan. They’re going to shake down this guy named Carlin Davenport, up by Davenport, Iowa. He actually lived on the island right next to Davenport, Iowa, but they literally named the city after him. He lived up in Rock Island, and he was this really well-respected, this old citizen. Supposedly, someone had found out that he had all this money, they thought it was $12,000-$13,000 that he had in his house. This was the haul of hauls. They would be able to be done doing any criminal activity, if they got this haul. One of the guys was a little doubtful, but they ended up going to this house of the Reddon family, who lived across the river from Nauvoo. They plan this, well, they plan some stuff in Nauvoo, but they are also at this house of the Reddons. They end up leaving. It’s three guys, Robert Birch, William Fox. He’s called Judge Fox, and this guy, John Long. Both John Long, and I think it was Birch, and Fox, actually, they were all involved in trying to help the Hodges brothers. Birch had actually gone with a couple of other criminals. They had actually mortgaged their property in order to pay for the lawyers for the Hodges brothers. So, these guys, were all very clearly intertwined.
Mary Ann 17:33 So, these guys go up to Davenport, Iowa, which is about 100 miles north of Nauvoo. They end up going in, and again, it’s another botched robbery. The old guy is in his house, alone. It’s the fourth of July. It’s the Fourth of July picnic, all of his family leaves. So, he’s in the house. It’s the perfect opportunity to come in and shake him down and get all the money and leave. They go in, but, almost immediately, he starts trying to fight back. So, one of them shoots him in the leg. They don’t think, I don’t believe that they think that it’s a mortal wound. But they shoot him in the leg, and they’re trying to get him to reveal his safe. They make him open up his safe and there’s only like, $600. They’re like, “Where’s all the rest of the money?” They’re basically torturing him, in a way.
Mary Ann 18:33 One of the guys was like, “I was just going to give him water.” But the way–Davenport ends up surviving for a few hours afterwards. He was talking about how they were pouring water in his face and trying to wake him up. So, he saw this as they were torturing him. He tries to actually point towards–he has, apparently, the secret drawer in a dresser. But they don’t ever find the secret drawer. They think he’s just tricking them. They get more mad, and they’re just so frustrated.
Mary Ann 17:39 Then, they end up looking out his window. They’re like, “Man.” They were able to get a watch, but it’s only $600. It’s not worth all the effort that they put into this. So, they’re frustrated, and they end up looking out over the river and they see some people in rafts in the river and they get scared. So, the burglars ended up leaving and running away before he’s–so, he’s still kind of conscious.
GT 19:29 And he bleeds out, basically?
Mary Ann 19:30 He started to call for help, this Davenport.
GT 19:33 He bleeds out basically?
Mary Ann 19:34 He ends up dying, basically, from loss of blood and shock. So, the crime happened around 2 pm in the afternoon. He ends up dying about 9pm that night. But, before he dies, he’s able to shout out, shout for help. People come in. He’s able to talk about it. He’s able to give a really accurate description of the three guys that came in. So, I mean, they’re able to write up very detailed descriptions of these three guys. Then, he ends up, of course, passing away. He was a beloved member of the community. Like, for Utah, it would be like Larry H. Miller, someone who had gone in and brutally murdered Larry H Miller. The community just gathers around, and the family, because the family is fairly wealthy, they end up putting up a $1,500 reward, almost immediately. They try all the leads. But they can’t find anything. So, they’re putting out this $1,500 reward. I think it’s about a couple of weeks later. So, now the Hodges brothers have died. Bonney’s down in Lee County, Iowa. He’s hanging out with the sheriff down there, who he worked with, in order to get the Hodges brothers. So, he’s with the sheriff when they end up seeing this newspaper bill talking about this $1,500 reward. It has this description of these three guys. Bonney’s like, “I know who those guys are, because they were criminals in Nauvoo.” And he’s probably worked with them. There’s other evidence for that. So, he’s like, “Hey, Sheriff, I actually know who these guys are. Can you write me a letter of recommendation up to the family?”
Mary Ann 21:28 So, the sheriff writes him a letter of recommendation to the family saying, “This guy totally helped us with down here finding the murderers of these Miller-Leiza, and he seems to know who these guys are that killed Davenport. So, he might be able to help you.”
GT 21:43 Nobody is suspicious that he knows all these murderers?
Mary Ann 21:48 That’s why he writes the exposè. So, he’s, basically, developing this reputation as bounty hunter, essentially, right? So, he goes up to Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois. But, he goes up and he’s with the family. He’s explaining to them. He’s like, “Look, the three guys you’re looking for are this guy named John Long, this guy named William Fox and this guy named…” His real name was Robert Birch, but he went by Robert Bleecker in Nauvoo. And he’s like, “I know, these three guys are your guys.”
Mary Ann 22:29 So, they’re like, “Okay, so how do we find them? How do we get them?”
Mary Ann 22:32 So, eventually, Bonney in his exposè, he’s like, “I felt so bad for them, and I knew I was one of the few people that had the skills that could probably get them.” He’s like, “So, I just, out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to help the family.” (Chuckling)
GT 22:51 It wasn’t that $1,500 reward.
Mary Ann 22:52 It wasn’t the $1,500. (Chuckling) But he decides to go undercover in order to find these guys. Again, same thing as Joseph H. Jackson, it’s a total Get Out of Jail Free card, right? Because he’s like, “I’m going to participate in this criminal activity in order to get these really bad guys. So, I’m going to have to do things that look like they’re illegal.” But he ends up being very careful. He’s very careful when he goes to these different places. Because remember, he actually does have a criminal record, and he is wanted in certain places. So, he’s very careful about checking in with the sheriffs in all the different places that he’s going into. So, he decides to go undercover. Before he goes undercover, he makes the family promise that if anything happens to him, they’ll take care of his wife and his kids. So, he’s got it handled. So, if he dies, at least his wife and kids are taken care of. He ends up, and this is what his book talks about, is he goes undercover. He goes back. He permeates the community, and he talks about like, “And, of course, I didn’t know all of this before, how to do these signs.” So, he talks about like, “Oh, I talked to this other guy, and he told me about all of these criminals I could like start contacting, in order to figure out where these guys had gone.” Of course, like, he’s always learning all of these criminal things from other people. It’s not like he already knows how to find the local criminals in the different areas.
Mary Ann 24:28 So, it’s a really fascinating story. Eventually, it is really cool. It is a great true crime. It’d be a great movie, it’s fascinating. But, eventually, he’s able to, through his efforts coordinating, he travels. He’s in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana. He has to go into Ohio, and he gets a little nervous in Ohio and it becomes obvious, if you know he has this background where he’s wanted In Ohio, it makes sense. But he’s, eventually, able to help facilitate the arrest of eight guys. So, you have the three guys who actually were in the house, who were shaking down Colonel Davenport. But then you have the guy who was the lookout. You have all of these accessories, who were aware of this thing, who either helped them afterwards, or helped them before. So, he’s able to arrange the arrest of eight guys. One of them, William Fox, he ends up escaping custody, but these other guys, he’s all able to bring in. Remember, the community is furious. So, they’re bringing in and so he helps orchestrate all of these arrests at the same time in all of these different areas, so that people aren’t given a heads up. It’s actually a really fascinating story that has so many details to it. He gets them all back in Rock Island. The court ends up prosecuting three guys. A couple of the guys are able to get continuances, so that their trials will happen at the next term. One of the guys turned state’s evidence and so he’s not on trial, at that point. But he is able to talk about what happened, in order to lighten his own sentence. So, the three guys that ended up being put on trial, one of them is John Long, where he was actually one of the three guys that was there when Davenport was robbed.
Mary Ann 26:48 Then, there’s his brother, Aaron Long, who had gone up with them, but he was at the base camp. So, he was kind of holding down the fort when the three guys went in, and robbed Davenport. But he was considered an accessory. Then, the third guy was a guy named Granville Young, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had intersected the three guys on their way up to Davenport. He had heard about their plan. He’s like, “Oh, that’s a really cool plan, like $13,000. That’s amazing.”
So, he’s like, “Can I buy in on it?” So, he’s like, “I’m going to go sell these two stolen horses that I have, and then I’ll put that money towards it. Then, that way, I can get a share of the stuff.” So, he was aware of that ahead of time, and that’s how the lawyers ended up prosecuting him, as he was aware of it, he was an accessory, and he didn’t try to stop them. So, therefore, he should be punished as well.
Going after Edward Bonney & Mormon Leaders
Mary Ann 27:44 Of course, the community is furious. They want justice, immediate justice. So, these three guys, even though only one of them was there at the time that they were murdered, there’s this massive trial. Of course, John Long and Aaron Long, both based in Nauvoo. Granville Young was a frequent visitor of Nauvoo. They were all part of that Nauvoo criminal gain. The three guys end up getting convicted and hung. They’re sentenced to be hung. They end up getting hung. But before they’re hung, the criminal people, there’s a lot of people mad at Edward Bonney, now. Because Edward Bonney, now, has facilitated, he’s like this massive hero in the community. His name is plastered all over the newspapers as this incredible bounty hunter, this wonderful man who brought Davenport’s killers to justice.
Mary Ann 28:47 You have the people, the criminal gangs down in Nauvoo are ticked. They are so mad at him. Also, because you have these guys, Aaron Long and Granville Young… John Long and the other two, they’re like 19, 20 in their early 20s. So, they’re fairly young kids. You have a lot of the older guys, who are mad that these young kids are getting killed, because Edward Bonney turned them in, basically. So, you start getting this conspiracy. This guy down in Iowa named Silas Haight, he ends up working and he has this plan to get these three guys–if not off, at least, maybe he can get their sentences at least lessened or something. So, his plan is to have the three of them turn state’s evidence against Edward Bonney. He wants to have Bonney convicted. Because he knows, because he was associated with a criminal gang. Silas Haight knows that Edward Bonney was a counterfeiter. He knows he was part of all the criminal activity. So, he orchestrates his plan where he’s going to get Bonney indicted in Iowa, for murder, for helping out on the Miller/ Leiza murders with the Hodges for counterfeiting. [Haight wants Bonney indicted] for, basically, three counts of counterfeiting, having presses and then passing counterfeit money. So, he goes, and he’s able to get Dr. Williams to testify against Bonney. It’s likely he set up Dr. Williams to also get caught, which is probably why Dr. Williams agreed to testify against Edward Bonney, just because of some other reasons.
Mary Ann 30:37 Again, this is, like you said, it’s very convoluted. And it is hard to piece all this stuff together. But he’s able to get these indictments. But, at the same time, because they really need a trial to happen. They need a trial to happen to get an opportunity for these three guys who are about to be killed. They are two weeks away from getting hung. They need a trial to happen. So, these three guys can testify against Bonney, because then that’ll pause…
GT 31:05 To save their own lives.
Mary Ann 31:09 That will save their lives. Silas Haight books it back down to Lee County, Iowa, because the term is almost over, the court term is almost over. So, he’s able to get–he probably arranges for Dr. Williams to get caught. But then, that way Dr. Williams will testify against Edward Bonney. He gets Bill Hickman and some of the other gang from…
GT 31:31 Wild Bill Hickman?
Mary Ann 31:32 Wild Bill Hickman, who was also part of the criminal gangs, he gets him to testify against Edward Bonney. That’s how they get the murder charge on him. At the same time, you also have Dr. Williams testify that a bunch of church leaders were counterfeiting as well. I suspect part of that was to try to guarantee a trial would take place. Because, at the time, there was so much anti-Mormon sentiment, this was October 1845. The Church leaders had already agreed, by this point, that they would be leaving in the spring. And there’s all this other stuff happening in Hancock County.
Mary Ann 32:10 But, again, these guys really needed a trial to happen to get these three kids basically off the hook, or delayed, at least the hanging delayed, so that they could bring them in. So, what Silas Haight does is he, so he gets the indictments in Lee County. He goes to the Governor of Iowa, and the Governor of Iowa agrees that those three guys could be useful in the cases against Bonney. So, he sends the extradition request to the Governor of Illinois, because these guys, because Davenport lived in Rock Island, Illinois, they’re getting killed there. But Silas Haight was not able to convince the Illinois Governor that these guys needed to be arrested. So, the plan had been that on the day that they were going to get hung, Silas Haight was going to come in with a bunch of police. They were going to very publicly arrest Edward Bonney at this hanging of these three guys. And then the hanging of the three guys would be delayed. So, it was going to be this huge thing where you’re going to have these three guys in front of this crowd that’s all paying attention, and on their last words, they’re going to have all of these crimes against Edward Bonney. They’re going to tell how Bonney is such a horrible person.
Mary Ann 33:31 Then, they’re going to have the crowd all just like, “Oh my gosh,” and then they’re going to march in and arrest Edward Bonney, and then the hanging would be stopped. That was the plan. That was the big, dramatic plan. But the Illinois Governor doesn’t go along with it. Probably, because he knew, like, people in Rock Island, they wanted justice. They wanted swift justice. So, he does not agree to allow the Iowa Governor to have these guys extradited. But on the stand there, they’re delaying, probably because they’re still hoping that these police officers will come.
Mary Ann 34:12 Edward Bonney figures out that something’s up. He gets warned by Lyman E. Johnson, as part of this whole thing. He’s an attorney. But he had family connections to a lot of the criminals.
GT 34:26 He was an apostle, right?
Mary Ann 34:27 He had been an apostle, yeah. He had left the Church though, or he’d been excommunicated, back in Missouri. So, I mean, it’s just so convoluted. On the stand, when these guys are getting killed, or just before they’re hung October 29 th, they start talking about how Bonney is this horrible, horrible person, and how he’s a counterfeiter, how he was the one who alerted people to the Hodges or that the Millers had this money. He was the one that had given the idea to the Hodges to go shake down the Millers. All of the claims they have on the–when they’re on the scaffold about to get hung, match up, perfectly, with all of the indictments that had been given against Edward Bonney the week prior. So, it was clear that there was communication happening, where they were listing out exactly all of the crimes he had done, which corresponded, perfectly, with the indictments that Silas Haight had had against them on October 26 th. So, that’s why it’s pretty clear that there was a coordinated effort in order to try to get Bonney.
Mary Ann 35:49 But while they’re on the scaffold, John Long, he’s totally upfront. He’s like, “Look, I’m a criminal. I was there. I’ve done enough crimes. Whatever. Hang me. That’s fine.” He’s like, “But my brother Aaron Long and Granville Young, they do not deserve to be up here.” But he’s the one that goes off on Bonney and just listing everything and he gives the names of several people in Nauvoo, who can vouch, that that Bonney was a counterfeiter. They know that John Long had helped hide Bonney’s presses when the governor’s troops were coming in.
Mary Ann 36:24 And so among the names that he lists are a couple guys, Reuben Loomis. You have a guy named Joseph McCall. They don’t end up playing a big part later, but Dr. Williams is one of those that he names as a witness, which Dr. Williams had already said that he could testify. Then, he also needs a guy named Carlos Jove, who is a non-Mormon who lived in Nauvoo. He married Flora Woodworth, who was one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives. And there’s a whole story there, too. But then the last guy he names is Theodore Turley.
GT 37:03 I was just going to say, I’m like, I know this has to get into Theodore Turley, somehow.
Mary Ann 37:07 So, October 29 th, on the scaffold, John Long named Theodore Turley as one of the people that can testify against Bonney, that knows that Bonney was a criminal. He doesn’t say that Theodore Turley, himself, was the one, but just that Theodore Turley was aware of stuff that had happened. Again, it corresponds, because the week prior, remember I said Carlos Jove was married to Flora Woodworth. The week prior, before all the indictments are coming through in Lee County the day before, a bunch of people from Iowa come in to Nauvoo and actually searched Lucien Woodworth’s house for a counterfeiting press. They question his daughter, specifically, who was Flora Woodworth.
Mary Ann 37:51 So, clearly, Carlos Jove was getting targeted at that time, too. Silas Haight was probably trying to get him caught, so he could help testify against Bonney, too, in Lee County. At the time, they mentioned that they got that information because another criminal had been arrested for counterfeiting in Lee County. Of course, the next day, Dr. Williams, the one that is suddenly having to answer for his own counterfeiting charges… So, Dr. Williams and Carlos Jove were both targeted. They both end up getting named the next week as people that can corroborate these charges against Edward Bonney. So, that’s in October. So, you have these Lee County, Iowa indictments against church leaders, plus Edward Bonney in November, Silas Haight, mid-November, Dr. Williams, and then a guy named David Bates Smith, who is another participant of the Nauvoo criminal gangs. He lived in Alton, Illinois, by that point. They ended up intercepting Theodore Turley. He’s on his way. He’s traveling up or down the river. I don’t know if he was on his way to Nauvoo. He was the armor General of the Nauvoo Legion. So, at this time, this is 1845, he’s trying to procure a lot of arms, a lot of weapons.
Mary Ann 39:18 Earlier, he had gone down to New Orleans to purchase a bunch of weapons. He was probably either on his way down or on his way back. But they board the steamer at Alton, Illinois, and they have the local constable arrest Theodore Turley. They go back and there is a local church member, at the time, who writes a letter. He’s like, “This guy who says he’s the agent of the government”, which matches Silas Haight, “This guy named Dr. Williams from Montrose, Iowa, and then this other guy named Smith, who’s this engineer,” which is David Bates Smith.”
Mary Ann 39:54 “They’re claiming that they saw counterfeiting equipment in Theodore Turley’s shop.” So, they ended up having him arrested and he goes up to Springfield, Illinois, and he’s stays in jail for about a month. But, again, this is one of those guys who can testify against Edward Bonney, supposedly. After the indictments are given in Iowa, Silas Haight takes the writs–sorry, back at the end of October, he takes the writs the same day that they’re given, because it’s the last day of the court term. He brings them over, he hand delivers them to Carthage, Illinois, to Major Warren, who is head of the governor’s troops in the area. He’s like, “You need to go into Nauvoo and arrest these church leaders.”
Mary Ann 40:45 Because again, he needs a trial to happen so that he could get these other guys off. Major Warren’s like, “Okay.” He was already planning to go to Nauvoo. He was going to arrest Jack Reddon for his role as an accessory in the murder of Colonel George Davenport. Lyman E. Johnson had tried to help have Jack Redden arrested because they were related. Lyman Johnson’s aunt had married Jack Redden’s uncle, so they had this family connection.
Mary Ann 41:18 So Lyman E. Johnson had kind of tricked Jack Redden into coming out on the wharf earlier that day, and he had the Sheriff of Rock Island there and they were trying to arrest Jack Redden. Of course, this is October 1845. The Mormons on the wharf start freaking out, because they don’t want any Mormons arrested, because they think this is a whole anti-Mormon thing. So, they start throwing rocks, they start injuring the people. They’re protecting Jack Redden, who outsiders see as one of the Davenport murderers. But they’re trying to protect a Mormon from these non-Mormons who are coming in and trying to arrest them. So, they end up going down. So, the Rock Island County Sheriff, who’d already been injured, had already gone down to Carthage. He was like, “I need your help arresting this guy for the murder of George Davenport.” So, Warren was already planning to go to Nauvoo to arrest Jack Redden.
Mary Ann 42:15 Then Silas Haight comes over, and he is like, “We need to arrest these church leaders and Edward Bonney and other people.”
Mary Ann 42:26 So, Warren’s like, “Okay.” So, he takes the warrants in, but he has no desire to arrest any of the Church leaders, because in his mind, and we hear about this later, he explains it later. In his mind, it doesn’t matter if the Church leaders are innocent or guilty. If they get sent to jail, it’s going to delay the Mormons leaving Illinois, in his mind. He’s like, “My job is to make sure they leave, so I’m not doing anything that’s going to possibly delay that.” So, he wants to come and so he marches into Nauvoo with all of these soldiers. On the way in, he ends up seeing Hosea Stout with a bunch of armed men. There had been already a rule that you weren’t supposed to have large numbers of men, because there had already been a lot of armed conflicts. So, he’s furious by the time he comes into Nauvoo, marches up to cChurch leaders. “Why are there armed men on the road? I’m trying to keep the peace here. You guys are not helping me. And we have a warrant in here. We need to arrest someone.” And he’s referring to Jack Redden.
Mary Ann 43:32 But Church leaders think that they’re trying to arrest them back on treason charges that had happened earlier. So, John Taylor starts going off about like, “We’re not going to allow you to arrest people.” Of course, because he’s like, “I know what it’s like to be in police custody, supposedly safe when… I still have the bullets from when the law was supposedly trying to protect us.”
Mary Ann 44:00 He’s like, “Stupid laws.” John Taylor goes off on Warren and so Warren is just sitting there. And keep in mind, he has arrest warrants for John Taylor and Brigham Young on counterfeiting charges. He could have totally just flat out right there just arrested him. But he was a smart guy. And even though he was furious, he just turns around and he leaves.
Mary Ann 44:24 He’s like, “I’m not doing anything. I’m just leaving here. We’re just going to defuse the situation.” He starts considering declaring martial law in Hancock County. The Mormons start to become very worried about that. So, these two guys, I think it’s Orson Hyde and I can’t remember who the other is. They write this letter to the governor, giving their side and like, “John Taylor gave some spirited, but not unjustified remarks about…but we’re really trying to work…”
GT 44:57 Trying to get out of here.
Mary Ann 44:57 “Please, please don’t have Warren declare martial law and all this stuff.” That’s on Sunday, they write the letter. It was Saturday when they had marched in. Then, on Tuesday, there’s this secret meeting that occurs where Warren comes in with a bunch of the judges. They meet with Church leaders. Warren is like, like, “Why wouldn’t you guys allow me to arrest Jack Redden?”
Mary Ann 45:23 Then, they’re like, “What? You were coming in to arrest Redden?” They had no clue. They thought they were just doing another, in their minds, anti-Mormon thing, coming in, just trying to be difficult.
Mary Ann 45:35 He’s like, “You’re going to just stop us from arresting murderers?”
Mary Ann 45:39 They’re like, “No, that would have been fine.” So, it really was like this massive misunderstanding. Eventually, they’re able to quietly like, “No, we’re totally fine if you arrest him, but I’m pretty sure he’s left town by now.”
Mary Ann 46:03 So, that’s when Warren explains his side of the story where he’s like, “I totally had a writ that I was not planning to issue. But it was tempting.”
Mary Ann 46:11 Anyway, we have the minutes from that meeting. And it’s just fascinating to see all of this interplay, because it’s all related to the stupid counterfeiting charges. They know that it was Dr. Williams, who testified against them. Then you have, in November, you have Theodore Turley getting arrested, because remember, he can testify against Bonney. So, he gets taken to Springfield. It’s clear that Warren is not going to allow these Iowa writs to be enforced. He’s not going to do it. So, they need to figure out another way to get a trial. Because now Dr. Williams is up on counterfeiting charges. He needs to be able to testify against someone, so he can get off on his charges. Silas Haight is still trying to punish Bonney, because they’re still mad at Bonney for doing what he did.
How Counterfeiting Affected Mormon Exodus
Mary Ann 47:01 So, what they end up doing is they keep stalling. They keep Theodore Turley in jail in Springfield. They’re trying to get him out, because they’re like, “There’s no real good, solid evidence and he should be able to at least get off on bail.” But apparently, it was like a crazy amount of bail. So, they eventually were able to get the bail dropped, but not before the beginning of the U.S. federal court that met in Springfield. So, before you had had Hancock County Court. You’d had Lee County. Now we’re doing federal district court in Springfield, there was a term that that was starting there.
Mary Ann 47:41 On the first day of the term, they get Dr. Williams. They get some other guys to get Silas Haight. They list these 12 guys in Nauvoo on counterfeiting, which includes a whole bunch of church leaders. It includes Theodore Turley. It includes Joseph H. Jackson, Eaton, Barton, they’d already been outed as counterfeiters. Everyone already knew [that] these, at least some of these guys were counterfeiters. Peter Haws is on the list. And you have, of course, Edward Bonney’s on the list. So, they need a trial to happen. Before Theodore Turley is released from jail, they make sure these indictments are done. He’s released on a $250 bond. But now, you have U.S. Marshals going after Church leaders on these counterfeiting charges. Now, the Illinois Governor can say, “It’s not me going after you.”
Mary Ann 48:46 The marshals actually go to the governor and say, “Can we get your help arresting these people?”
Mary Ann 48:52 The governor’s like, “Nope, you may not have our help,” like, “No. We have already had our issues with these people.” But the U.S. Marshals do go into Nauvoo with Silas Haight. They’re constantly trying. They’re hunting down the Church leaders, constantly trying to arrest them. Because they don’t really care as much about Bonney. They don’t care as much about Joseph Jackson. They want to get to the big guys. They want to arrest Brigham Young. They want to arrest Church leaders, so that’s who they’re targeting. So, they hang out outside the temple. And so, the Church leaders are constantly in having to be in hiding, because of the stupid counterfeiting indictments because Silas Haight and Dr. Williams are trying to punish Bonney. But they’re bringing in these Church leaders, because that pretty much guarantees a trial is going to happen. So, then they can bring in all this stuff. It’s so convoluted.
Mary Ann 49:51 I’m sure I’ve lost a bunch of people already. But this is where you get the story of the bogus Brigham incident. So, it’s playing off the idea that counterfeit coin is called bogus. But then you had Brigham Young, and he was so proud of this. The Church leaders were so proud of this. You had Brigham Young, who was hiding in the temple, and he had the U.S. Marshals outside. I want to say this was the last week in December. You have the U.S. Marshals hanging out outside and they’re watching. They’re waiting for Brigham Young to come out. What they end up doing is they have William Miller come out in Brigham Young’s coat and his hat. Then, they have someone else mention, Brigham’s name. So, it perks up the U.S. Marshals and they’re like, “Oh, that must be Brigham Young.” So, they go, and they arrest the guy. And they go and they take him to jail to another city.
Mary Ann 50:47 A guy there at the jail is like, “You guys are idiots. This is not Brigham Young.” And oh my gosh, even the Warsaw Signal said this was this was a good joke. This was a good prank, like, “Okay, Mormons did good on this.”
Mary Ann 51:02 So they call it the bogus Brigham incident. But Church leaders were so proud of themselves on that one that they got another guy arrested, because they tricked the U.S. Marshals into thinking it was Brigham Young. So that’s the bogus Brigham incident, because it was about counterfeiting charges, and it was a bogus Brigham.
Mary Ann 51:22 About the same time, you have the Illinois Governor starts realizing that maybe he can use this to his advantage. So, he sends a letter to Jacob Backenstos, who’s the Sheriff of Hancock County. He heavily implies that the federal government may be sending in U.S. troops to enforce these federal writs. And he has no control over what the federal government is going to do. So, he purposely starts playing up this risk that federal troops, any day, are going to be marching into Nauvoo. It spooks the leaders enough, but, because of enough other things that are going on that they start moving up the timeline for leaving. Their first priority is to get everyone who has arrest warrants out, for them need to leave first. They and their families need to get out of town first. But that’s why they end up having to leave at such a horrible time. The governor admitted, later. He wrote a history of Illinois, and he totally admits he overplayed the risk of the federal troops coming in. But he’s like, “I wanted them out, I wanted them out.”
Mary Ann 52:34 So, it’s funny, because you actually had Major Warren initially, who didn’t want to enforce the arrest warrants, because he was worried it would delay them leaving. But, then later on, you have the Illinois governor who’s like, “Okay, we can use this to our advantage. We can do this.” So historically, a lot of historians have thought that the counterfeiting charges that were done in both Iowa and in Springfield at the federal level, were a ploy by government officials to get the saints out of Illinois sooner. That was my argument for the Mormon History Association presentation was that no, the counterfeiting accusations are actually this ploy by these other criminals to try to get back at Bonney, try to get a trial, try to save these three guys, initially, but now trying to get these other guys off the hook, because now they have counterfeiting charges against them.
Mary Ann 53:31 So, yeah. It was not the governor who initially did the counterfeiting charges. It had very little to do with that, but the governor used it. He did use it later on. Most of the Mormons–so the only person of the 12 men who were indicted, who eventually does go to trial, most of the Mormons, obviously, they leave. They go west. Silas Haight and Edward Bonney still go after Theodore Turley. There’s evidence that they’re still trying to catch him before the Iowa courts are trying [suspects.] Because, again, he can testify against Bonney. And Bonney wants to get to him before he could testify against him. But eventually, Bonney is put on trial. And this is where you have Dr. Williams and Silas Haight testify against him and they have some other guys testify against him. This is where you have guys from the Hancock County grand jury who come in and say, “Yeah, Dr. Williams testified to us and he gave no indication that Edward Bonney was involved. He gave no indication.” So, eventually, Edward Bonney gets off the hook, more because Dr. Williams and Silas Haight, they’re able to prove that they’re [Haight and Williams are] not super trustworthy witnesses. It’s clear that they had a motive, that they were trying to go after Bonney. They were trying to get Bonney convicted.
Mary Ann 55:09 But it’s interesting because the court reporters at the time are like, “Wow, Bonney does not look good coming from this testimony.” But it is clear that there was some conspiracy and coordination against them. So, 10 of the jurors actually signed this letter telling the U.S. Treasury that they need to fire Silas Haight as a contractor agent to locate counterfeiters and arrest counterfeiters, that Dr. Williams is just, like, this horrible person and that–just exposing this entire scheme, this entire conspiracy, which is why we know about it.
Mary Ann 55:45 So, Bonney ends up off. He’s able to say, “Obviously, that meant I was innocent.”
Mary Ann 56:00 Other people are like, “Not really.” Then, what’s really fascinating is that about a month or two after the trial ends, because it gets delayed. There are problems with witnesses. So, the trial doesn’t end up happening until the end of 1846. Sorry, no, the end of 1847. Sorry. Or was it 1848? Now, I’m messing it up. But it takes a couple of years for the trial to actually be completed. Then, about a month or two after the trial is completed, in a completely different counterfeiting bust over in Illinois, there is this letter discovered among the effects. When they’re going through, they’re finding all the evidence. There’s this letter from Edward Bonney to this criminal, talking about how he’s setting up his own merchandising outlet in Montrose, Iowa. It’s dated from when he moved to Montrose, Iowa, talking about how he’s excited to–it’s using all of the euphemisms. So, basically, he was excited to start helping with the horse theft ring. All of these things, basically, make him look like a criminal. But it comes out after he’s already been declared not guilty on the counterfeiting charges.
Mary Ann 57:25 But it’s very clear. He was very organized with it. So, he ends up developing a pretty bad reputation. This is beginning of 1847. Then, he starts writing his version of the story. That’s where we start getting where he’s handwriting, and we get these rough drafts. It’s interesting, because in the rough draft, in the initial one, he’s he talks a lot more about Nauvoo. He talks a lot more about his close relationship with Joseph Smith. He talks a lot more about how Joseph trusted him so much. [He talks] about how, of course, he wasn’t wild about the Mormons, and he’s trying to distance himself a little bit. But by the time you get to the final version, he barely even talks about Nauvoo. He’s just talking about, “Oh, I briefly, I’ve been there.
GT 58:20 It’s too problematic.
GT 58:21 It’s too problematic. He can’t spin in a good way. But he does talk about how criminals would come to Nauvoo in order to avoid being arrested. He described the criminal gang networks, the way they had the waystations, the way that they would steal horses. He goes into detail in how the criminal gangs worked, which makes it fascinating. But, yeah, he definitely plays up that he is the hero, and he was just trying to figure out what crimes other people did. Of course, he had nothing to do with them. As proof, at the end, he prints out this statement that the jurors had written, talking about how Silas Haight and Dr. Williams were just these awful, awful people that were just having all of these false charges [brought against others.] I mean, it’s just, trying to figure out all of this stuff has been crazy. But it’s also, it’s fascinating, all the different threads coming around.
GT 59:19 Are you writing a book on this?
Mary Ann 59:23 I’ll eventually have to, just because it’s too convoluted not to.
GT 59:28 Because I know, you talked to a couple of publishers at the [MHA conference.]
Mary Ann 59:31 Oh, yeah, well, crime is just kind of a fun topic. There were a couple of publishers that came up and said, “If you want to do a book on it, we’ll take it.” But it’s just fascinating.
Correcting Theodore Turley Polygamy Records
Mary Ann : I mean, the exposès, you know, a lot of times people will just dismiss the exposès because it’s anti-Mormon stuff. But there is such cool, fascinating information in there. It’s just difficult to parse out when they’re telling the truth when they’re not, when they’re just stretching the truth, a little bit.
GT 1:00:04 They all have self-motives.
Mary Ann 1:00:07 Exactly. They definitely have some motives. Like, Joseph H. Jackson, I had mentioned, he tried to court Hyrum Smith’s daughter. So, Hyrum Smith looks really bad in Joseph H. Jackson’s little exposè. He really goes after Hyrum. If you know Hyrum’s reputation as a total stick in the mud, that’s one of the big red flags in Joseph H’s exposè. It’s like, you can accuse Joseph Smith of some shenanigans, but when you start accusing Hyrum Smith, you’re like, “Oh, that starts to look a little weird.” But it’s interesting.
Mary Ann 1:00:40 I mean, there are several people–you have John C. Bennett, who goes into a little bit of the crimes in his 1842 exposè that he’s mainly quoting court records and newspapers, so you can kind of confirm his stuff. Joseph H. Jackson’s exposè is amazing. Edward Bonney’s exposè is fascinating, but it’s fascinating to compare the rough drafts with the final one.
GT 1:01:03 It’s weird that we have rough drafts, because you wouldn’t normally have those, right?
Mary Ann 1:01:06 You wouldn’t normally have them.
GT 1:01:07 How do we have them? How do we have the rough draft?
Mary Ann 1:01:10 Okay, so they were deposited by, I think it was his granddaughter in–I don’t know if it’s University of Illinois, in a university repository out there. Then, the Church History Library has a copy of the microfilm. So, the Church History Library, that’s where I was able to access it. They have a microfilm of the rough drafts. The only reason I knew that there were rough drafts available is in just doing the research and doing different articles. Because, obviously, people have looked into Edward Bonney, because he’s just a fascinating character. Someone had mentioned these rough drafts that were at this place. So, I was like, “Well, that’s cool. Is there any way I could access them through contacting the special collections?” Then when I found out the Church History Library had it, I was like, “Okay, well, I have to go down there. And I have to look at it.” It’s really cool, because a lot of what’s in his book, he doesn’t necessarily list his sources, but he’ll talk about how he’s receiving letters all the time. He’ll talk about this. He’ll talk about that. In the rough draft, he actually quotes the letters. He gives the dates. He gives the name he gets it from. So, it’s really cool. You can actually see where this information is coming from. You can see the dates and so you can see, “Oh, this is how he knew.”
Mary Ann 1:02:24 So this is how I can prove that the indictments were from this court term, were coming from the state, because Lyman E. Johnson wrote him a letter, warning him that he had these indictments in Lee County, Iowa. So, it’s really fascinating. The rough drafts are actually really helpful in kind of pinning down some neat details that we can corroborate. That’s the thing is finding the details to corroborate. Going through the exposès, going through a lot of the newspapers are really good. Because people love the true crime stuff, right? So, a lot of the times the reporters would write up exactly who were the witnesses, what they actually testified. So, that’s where we get it. On the Hodges trial, the Bonney trial, they’re all from these newspapers that are reporting exactly what these people are saying. The Davenport trial was such a big deal that there was actually a pamphlet published, that not only gave the details of the crime, but they also gave a summarized version of the court transcript. Then, they also had interviews. The reporter interviewed the three criminals before they were hung. So, we can, actually, get a little bit more of their background, where did they come from? Then it gives the confession from Robert Birch, which gives a few more inside details of the murder. So, that was really cool. That was a major find. The only place I could find that had a copy of it was the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
GT 1:03:58 Wow.
Mary Ann 1:04:00 So, I was able to contact them, and the Special Collections area, they were awesome. They were able to send me a PDF of it. The lady that was helping me, she apologized profusely because it was actually just a photocopy of it. They didn’t even have the original pamphlet. But it was the only place I could find that had a copy. So, she just apologized profusely. I’m sitting there and I’m transcribing it, but I was able to find enough spots where it had been quoted in some other newspapers, and so I was able to kind of figure it out. I basically wrote up a transcript of it. I’m like, “Okay, if anyone else is trying to research this, here’s this. Because I know enough other sources about this. I can figure this out a little bit easier than maybe someone else can.”
GT 1:04:47 I hope you all see what an amazing researcher she is.
Mary Ann 1:04:50 (Chuckling) It was awesome. I have to give a huge shout out to Special Collections, both at BYU, [and] obviously, Church History Library. I’ve had people help out so much. BYU Special Collections scanned the full William Hall’s exposè, which talks about counterfeiting, as well. They totally scanned his entire exposè.
GT 1:04:51 For you, basically? Nice.
Mary Ann 1:04:51 I mean, you have to pay for the images. But I was like, “I’ll seriously do that. I’ll pay for it.” Because it’s hard for me, with my position, since I’m a stay-at-home mom. It’s hard for me to go down there.
GT 1:05:23 Right.
Mary Ann 1:05:24 And actually, sit there and research in special collections. And they were awesome. So, I have had such people, archivists, [who] are just awesome. They are so helpful. Anyway, so I want send that out.
GT 1:05:37 Well, very good. So, when is your book coming out?
Mary Ann 1:05:39 (Chuckling) I want to get–so obviously, I’m working on my portfolio to get certified as a genealogist or to become a certified genealogist.
GT 1:05:51 So, this is your side project.
Mary Ann 1:05:54 Yeah, and then I also, one of my big things, because I am working on Theodore Turley, is, there’s not a lot of peer reviewed stuff out there on him. So, a lot of the stuff, the only item that really is published that all the scholars quote, is this 1978 compilation of family history information, which took 20 years to put together, but it’s very outdated. And it’s wrong. It’s incorrect in a lot of ways. So, I do want to get an article out, just on Theodore Turley, just correcting the record and giving a good peer-reviewed source for scholars to use. That’s why I was so excited at Sunstone, when we were listening to Todd Compton’s section. He was talking about–so for people who don’t know that Todd Compton came out with this book, In Sacred Loneliness, which talked about all the different wives of Joseph Smith. He’s now come out, through Signature Books, this second book, In Sacred Loneliness: The Documents.
GT 1:06:51 Right.
Mary Ann 1:06:51 Where he’s actually printing a lot of these, so that the women could kind of tell their full story in their own words, as opposed to him just piecing out different parts. But, because so many of Joseph Smith’s wives ended up marrying Brigham Young–so, he has an appendix that has the list of all of Joseph Smith’s wives. He also has an appendix. It has a list of all of Brigham Young’s wives. So, Brigham Young ended up marrying one of my family members, a girl named Mary Ann Turley. So, he was in that appendix and he [Todd Compton] and I are working on, we’re both contributors to this polygamy in the book that’s coming out in the next year.
GT 1:07:39 I didn’t know about that.
Mary Ann 1:07:40 I can talk about that one. He had contacted me, because he was like, “Oh, you’re a Turley person. You might be interested, that I have this little blurb.”
GT 1:07:13 I think we need to change your title from stay-at-home mom. (Chuckling)
Mary Ann 1:07:49 (Chuckling) I’m a nerd. He contacted me. He gave me this little biography, thinking it would be really cool, like, I’d be really interested in it. I kind of took it–I was, like, “Well, that’s great. I’m so glad you showed this to me, because this was wrong, and this is wrong, and this is wrong, and this is wrong, this was wrong.”
Mary Ann 1:08:16 So, I send him back the edits and he’s like, “Oh, like, I wonder if I can contact the publisher and have them change it.”
GT 1:08:21 Oh, no.
Mary Ann 1:08:23 I was like, “Oh, that’s why I thought you were contacting me.” I felt really bad. But he did. He was able to get all of the changes. And so…
GT 1:08:33 So, you’re correcting Todd Compton?
Mary Ann 1:08:35 Well, okay. I’m correcting—there’s not a lot of good stuff out there on the Turley family that’s correct, that’s been researched really well. So that was huge to me. So, he was able to get the corrections in there. So, that is, so he gave me…
GT 1:08:53 You’re the person in charge of the Theodore Turley family.
Mary Ann 1:08:57 Well, I’m in charge of the website. So, I do a lot of the research. I was a past president. It’s fun for me to do the research. It’s super fun, and I’m trying to share because we’re still finding new things about him. The polygamy book, this one’s coming out from Signature Books. Cheryl Bruno, who used to blog on Wheat and Tares. She’s now one of the authors of the new freemasonry book, Method Infinite. She is doing this book and it’s on early polygamy in Nauvoo, and most of the chapters, most of the essays, they’re all from different people. You have big names like Todd Compton. She had sent out a request basically saying, “We need a couple more people, and you’ll publishing with some of these big names. So, that’s how I went, and I was like, “Well, I have this Theodore Turley information.” Because he was one of the early polygamists in Nauvoo. So, that’s why I decided to write an essay. I wanted to focus more on the three sisters that he married in Nauvoo, because the family had backdated one of his marriages. So, he was often noted in a lot of scholarly stuff. He was always a footnote that, like, theoretically, he had this super early plural marriage before anyone else besides Joseph Smith had a plural marriage. But Gary Bergera, and other people had already figured out that it was probably backdated, because the girl had actually had an illegitimate child, and there was this huge High Council case. Because this guy had told her that Church leaders were practicing polygamy. So there was this huge thing.
GT 1:10:46 It wasn’t John C. Bennett?
Mary Ann 1:10:47 It was not John C. Bennett. But it was a few months after John C. Bennett was excommunicated for all that stuff. Anyway, historians had already figured out that this early marriage was probably backdated, that Theodore Turley was probably late…
GT 1:11:01 To cover up for the child.
Mary Ann 1:11:02 As a cover-up for the child, to basically legitimize the child for later family records. So, I knew Theodore Turley, he’s often mentioned. This would be a great opportunity to correct some information. But, also, these three sisters really had some fascinating stories. There was, again, so much more information out there that we discovered that I really wanted to get their stories out there. One of the sisters, the whole reason I had gotten into researching her was because we, as an organization, we decided to give her a headstone up in… We found out she was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, but she didn’t have a headstone. It turned out there was another family member buried right next to her and also didn’t have a headstone. So, I took that on as my special project, when I first started coming into the organization. So, then I suddenly had to research her. Then, that’s when I started coming up with, digging into all this early polygamy, all of the deception, all of the stuff. It was crazy, but that means that I always had a soft spot for her. So, that was something I really thought was cool was in this book about early polygamy, having this opportunity to take the viewpoint of, why would some of these women agree to participate? What was happening in their backgrounds, that they may have seen this as a positive? [Why would] they would have seen more positive than negative coming out of agreeing to become one of these early plural wives? So, that was a big deal to me. I’m excited for that chapter to come out, given the stories of those three women.
GT 1:12:51 Yeah. I might have to have a back on.
Mary Ann 1:12:53 (Chuckles) Yeah, there’s some interesting stuff, but yeah, the crime stuff, it is convoluted. It’s very convoluted.
GT 1:12:59 We’re going to change it from stay-at-home mom to stay-at-home researcher.
Mary Ann 1:13:06 (Chuckles) Yep, still the on-call parent.
GT 1:13:08 I hope you guys understand what an amazing researcher she is.
Mary Ann 1:13:11 But it’s really fun. Obviously, I get really excited about it. It’s just fascinating, and it’s just, yeah.
GT 1:13:21 Well, I love talking to nerds like you.
Mary Ann 1:13:25 That’s why we get along.
GT 1:13:26 I know. I was talking to somebody last night, and I’m like, “Don’t get me started. I’ll talk your ear off.”
Mary Ann 1:13:34 Exactly.
GT 1:13:35 All right. Well, is there anything else we should add before we before I let you go?
Mary Ann 1:13:42 I think we’ve given people enough for right now. I think we’re good.
GT 1:13:48 All right. Well, everybody. Give her lots of thumb’s ups and tell her to write more on Wheat and Tares, so we can find out more of this stuff.
Mary Ann 1:13:56 I have talked a little bit about the Nauvoo counterfeiting on . I do have three blog posts. Wheat and Tares
GT 1:14:00 That’s right. You’ve got three of those. Yeah. I’ll make sure I link to those.
Mary Ann 1:14:03 Oh, yeah.
GT 1:14:05 All right. Well, Mary Ann Clements, thank you for being on Gospel Tangents. I really appreciate it.
Mary Ann 1:14:08 Thank you.
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