As most of you are well aware, this is the jail in Carthage were Joseph and his brother Hyrum, and fellow church leaders John Taylor and Willard Richards were being held on bogus charges of treason on June 27, 1844 when a mob with painted faces stormed the building, forcing their way up the stairs and with guns blazing, shot through the door, killing Hyrum instantly. Bursting the door open they severly wounded John Taylor and killed Joseph with gunfire from both within and without the building. He fell from the window to the yard, his body landing near the well, mortally wounded. The attackers then fled. Willard Richards was not hit. John Taylor survived his wounds and would live to be the 3rd prophet and president of the Church in this dispensation. He and Willard Richards were witnesses to the martyrdom of the Prophet.
As John Taylor stated in the 135 Section of the Doctrine & Covenants, verse 3: "He (Joseph Smith) lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood: and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!"
Before touring the Jail we first viewed a fine film produced by the Church regarding the final days in the life of Joseph Smith, based on first person accounts of those who were his contemporaries both in and out of the Church. Then were were escorted on a tour of the Jail by a Senior Missionary, a Sister Evans, who serves at the Carthage Jail Visitor's Center with her husband. Elder and Sister Evans are from Salt Lake City, Utah, serving a 6-month mission. She gave a most effective presentation. As with so many other Church historic sites, this is sacred ground, particularly so when, in your heart there beats a testimony of the truthfulness of the divine mission and calling of Joseph Smith and the reality of the Restoration.