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Reader voices: Connections to our ancestors

By Larry R. Millett

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, June 30 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

A statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith is outside of Carthage Jail where the brothers were killed on June 27, 1844.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News archive

Enlarge photo»

As we look back to 1830-50 and the events surrounding out ancestors, we might marvel at our connections with them.

My wife’s great-grandfather Henry E. Day described in a journal the mob that killed the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. At 19, Henry went to Nauvoo, Ill., in 1941 with a family he was staying with in Cincinnati, Ohio. Henry took take of the Prophet’s horses, including one Joseph favored named Duncan.

Henry was working on the bridge near Carthage, Ill., on June 27, 1844, when a drunken mob came along wanting to cross the bridge on their way into the town. Because the bridge was not totally repaired, Henry required the mob to go half a mile to a different crossing. He was threatened with his life, but saved by the leader of the mob, Col. Williams, who recognized him, declared him a non-Mormon and his life was spared.

The next morning, on June 28, 1844, Henry was at the Carthage Jail when he met a number of brethren who had come to get the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum and then them back to Nauvoo, Ill.

Henry later came to Draper, where he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was called to be a bishop and built the second home in Draper.

Connections to our ancestors make genealogy fun. By our connections to our ancestors, we can turn our hearts to our forefathers as Elijah said we must do to prepare to meet our Savior when he comes.

Today is a different time and place, but we find we are very much the same in many ways.

Larry R. Millett lives in Salt Lake City.

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