In the original document, the questions and answers appear together in paragraphs. The testimony is presented here split into questions and answers so it that it is easier to follow. All spelling, grammar, and spelling inconsistencies are in the original text. The document is said to contian the verbatim record of the witnesses’ testimony in the 1845 trial of those accused in the murder of Joseph Smith.
Benjeman Brackenberry Sworn:
Mr. Lamburn. Where was you on the day the Smiths where killed?
I was on the road between this and Carthage.
Was you in Warsaw that morning?
What time did you leave Warsaw that morning?
About nine oclock.
Did you leave in A company with the troops?
Where were they going to?
When they left there I understood they where going to Nauvoo.
In what capasity was you?
I drove a Baggage Waggon.
Whose waggon did you drive?
It was Mr. Fullers waggon?
Where did you live then
I lived in Warsaw.
Whose company was the waggon attached too.
I believe Davises Company.
How meny companys where there along?
Two or three.
Who was the cap. of them.
Davis and Grover I do not know the other mans name.
And you was driving A baggage Waggon?
What time was it when you got to the railroad shanties?
About 12 o’clock.
What was done there?
We halted there and took dinner.
Did you know Williams?
Was he along with you from Warsaw to the railroad?
I do not know wether he was or not I saw him there.
Do you know Alridge?
Was he there?
Did you see Sharp there.
And Grover was there I supose with his company?
Was there any thing said about the Governor disbanding the troops?
Williams read an Order to disband the troops.
Did you hear any of these 5 men make A speash that day.
Was William on horse back or on foot?
He was on horse back.
What sort of A horse did he ride.
He rode a surrel mare.
Was Sharp on horse back or on foot?
He was on horse back.
Do you know what sort of A horse Sharpe rode?
Was Alridge on horse back?
Was Davis and Grover on horse back.
No they was on foot.
You say you heard no speaches made.
Did you hear any call made for volenteers?
Yes Grover made A call for volenteers to go to Carthage to see what the Governor had disbanded the men for.
So you concluded to come on?
I was in Mr. Fullers employment.
Did he direct you to drive on to Carthage?
Was there nothing said about Jo or Hiram Smith?
Did you hear Williams, Alridge or Sharp say any thing about going to Carthage or did they make any division in the company.
Yes some went back and some went on to Carthage.
How long after they made this division before they started?
They did not stay more than half an hour.
How meny of these 5 men came along to Carthage?
I do not remember seeing any except Mr. Grover till we got half way hear.
Who did you see when you got half way hear?
I saw Alridg Williams and Sharp.
Did you not see Davis?
Did you see him any more that day?
Yes about A quarter of A mile off the Jail Davis came on in A waggon in company with some others.
What sort of A waggon was it that Davis and others came in?
It belonged to A Mr. Coal.
Was there A place out here where A division was made?
Yes Sir 3 or 4 miles out on the Warsaw road.
Was any of these men there then?
I saw Grover Sharp and Williams there.
Do you know of them who left that point to come to town in advance of the company.
I don’t know where they went.
Did you see any more of the troops after the baggage waggons left.
Yes I saw them come out of the timber that is near Carthage.
Which way did you come?
I came down the Warsaw road.
Did you come into town?
No Sir I staid About A quarter of A mile from the Jail.
Who directed you to go back?
The company came up some and some got in the waggon.
Was there any other baggage Waggons there besides the one you drove?
Yes another one that belonged to Fuller.
While you was there Did Davis overtake you?
How many was there in the waggon when Davis came up?
4 or 5.
Where they armed?
I don’t know.
What did these men say?
They said they had killed Smith
Did you see Grover come back?
Was Grover on foot?
Yes, he road with me part of the way.
Did he say anything about killing Smith?
Yes. He said they had killed Smith, and said he was A damned [illegible] man he said Smith struck him in the face.
Did he say he was one that rushed by the guard
I heard him say he was the first man in the house.
You did not see any other of these men on their return with the company.
I don’t remember seeing them.
Did you see them before you got home?
Yes I saw Sharp Alridge and Williams ride by on horse back they over took us.
Did they say any thing as they went by?
Was there A carraige along that day?
I don’t recollect.
Was there any body els in the waggon when Grover was talking about it?
Yes. did you know A man by the name of Brarus?
Yes he was wounded in the shoulder. And Wells was wounded in the arm, and there was a boy wounded in the face.
When they started to come up here did you hear any person say what was their object?
Did you not hear Grover say what their object was?
He said it was to see what the Governor had disbanded them for, I knew of no other purpose till one of the Carthage Grays brought A letter.
Who did he give it to?
He gave it to Alridge.
Did he read it?
Yes and after that told us what our movements where to be.
Had you any orders given that you should approach the town?
Yes Alridge told us when we should go into town to get A little apart.
Did they obey the orders and come stringing in in that way?
Yes some stopt and let their horses eat some grass.
When the troops returned from the jail did they return in A hurry?
Was they running?
How far did you go back that night with you waggon?
I went to Warsaw.
Where did you got to at Warsaw?
I went to Fullers.
What time did you get back to Warsaw that night?
It was 12 o clock at night.
Where where the rest of the men about that time when you got to Warsaw?
Some where in Warsaw and some where coming.
Did Grover come to Warsaw with you?
He got out of the waggon before he got to Warsaw?
How did he got then?
He went on foot.
What buisness does Fuller follow?
He keeps teems.
Do you know where the men went that night to get supper?
Did you go by the Warsaw house that night when you went into Warsaw?
No I did not drive by I drove up and unhitched my horses from the waggon and let me horses stand.
Did you see any person in the Warsaw house?
20 or 30.
Did you go in the house?
Did you see Davis and Grover after you got back?
Was Williams or any of these men there that night?
You never saw them after they past you in the road?
That was A short distance from Carthage?
Did you know A man by the name of Kay?
Did you know a man by the name of Greg?
Where does he live?
He lived in Warsaw then.
Where does he live now?
I do not know.
Did you see him that day in this place?
Where did you see him?
I saw him along with the rest of the men, he was the first that brought the news to me of the Smiths being killed?
Did he tell you they where both killed?
Did he tell of any body els being killed or hurt?
Did you hear any of these five men say to any body that the Carthage Grays where in the conspirasy?
You did not hear any other speak of their intention for coming hear except Grover?
And he said the reason was to see the Governor?
When the companys left the waggons A few miles from Carthage which way did they go?
They turned to the left.
Did they approach that timber?
Did you see them enter the timber?
I could not see that far. I was them when they came out of the timber going to the jail.
Did you know their intention at that time?
No, I thought they where going to take him to Missourie and hang him.
Cross Examined by Mr. Browning.:
You heard no speach made at the crossing of the railroad?
Williams, Sharp and Alridg you say where all on horse back?
You say Williams rode A surral Mare?
And that was before any person came to Carthage?
I was before I came.
Those three men pased you when you where on you way back to Warsaw after you left Carthage all on horse back and there riding the same horses?
I do not know wether they where on the same horses or not but they where riding.
Are you scertain that Williams Alridge and Sharp passed you at all?
I think they did all together.
Did they ride altogether in A breast?
If they where not altogether how far did they ride apart?
2 or 3 yards.
Which one of them was far most?
I do not know.
Was they conversing with eash other as they past?
I don’t know.
Was Grover in your waggon at that time?
Did any of these three men speak to Grover as the passed?
I forget wether they did or not.
How far from Carthage was it that they passed you?
I think between half and three quarters of A mile.
At the railroad you say you heard Grover call volenteers to go to Carthage to see the Governor?
That was the only reason you heard assigned for coming to Carthage until you met the Carthage Gray.
Was there any thing said about killing the Smiths?
When this person as you took to be the Carthage Gray came up with A note Alridge took and read it?
Did he read it loud?
He read it that I could hear.
How far did he stand off you?
About 50 yards.
You Did not hear what was in that note?
Did the Carthage Gray deliver the note to Alridge as soon as he came up?
I did not see him come up.
Try to recolect if you did not state before the Grand jury, that the Carthage Gray took Mr. Williams to one side, and said if you want to do anything now is your time?
I heard him say there was no person in Carthage but what they could rely upon.
Who was he talking too when he said that?
He was talking to the men there with him.
You were 50 yards distanse from him?
Yes about that.
You say you could not hear any thing Alridge said?
No not that I recollect.
Did any person make any reply?
I do not recollect.
And that was all you heard said at that time?
Who was that Carthage Gray?
I do not know him.
What size of A man was he?
He was A middling sized man.
Was he A stout round fased men was he stouter than you are?
About what age might he be?
I should think about 30 years of age.
Do you think you would know him if you should see him?
No I never saw him before nor since?
How can you describe him then?
I recollect him so that I can describe him.
Had he A hat or A cap on his head?
I don’t recollect.
What king of A coat had he on?
He had A gray coat on.
Was it A short coat or A long one?
It was A short one.
Had it short skirts or was it A round about?
I had skirts upon it.
What kind of pantaloons had he on?
I don’t recollect.
How did you know this was A Carthage Gray?
I was told he was.
Was he talking in A loud voice?
Not very loud.
Was he talking as loud as I am not?
About as loud.
What els did he say?
I did not hear it.
What did you hear him say?
He said there was no body in Carthage but what we can depend upon, now is the time for you to rush on.
Was you halted or driving on?
I was standing still at that time.
Did this happen in the front or rear of the companys?
It took place about the middle.
Who told you he was A Carthage Gray?
I do not recollect.
Did you see Grover talking with him?
I don’t recollect wether he was talking to him or the rest of them.
Where did that Gray go to?
He came in this way.
Where did he come from when he came to the company?
I do not know.
Was he on horse back?
Yes. What kind of A horse was he riding?
Did you ever state that he was riding up an Iron gray horse?
I think it was an iron gray or A [illegible], and if it was not that coulor it was some other coulor.
Had you any thing to drink that day?
Yes Sire I had taken enough so that I felt pretty well.
You felt pretty nice?
How nise was you?
I don’t know how nice I was but I felt nice.
You saw all at the plase where the division took plase except Davis?
I think I did.
Did all the companys leave the road?
Yes the most of them.
Who was with you?
Mr. Hotten was riding in my waggon part of the time.
You saw no more of the troops till you got near Carthage.
Where did you first see them after they first seperated?
I saw them in the timber.
Was you driving forward.
How far do you say you halted from the jail?
About A quarter of A mile.
They where as near to you when at the jail as at any other time?
Did you was you saw Grover going to the jail?
I said he left the company about 4 miles from Carthage and came from the jail when he came back.
Did you see Davis at the jail?
Did you see Alridge at the jail?
Did you see Sharp at the jail?
Did you see Williams there?
Did you not state to the Grand jury that you saw Williams at the jail sitting on his horse all the time the men where there!
I don’t think I did.
Did you not state before the grand jury that Williams came riding up from the jail to where your waggon was standing and passed right by you?
I don’t think I did.
You stated that A Mr. Cregg came riding up to your waggon and told of the killing of the Smiths? Did you not state before the grand jury that his name was James Greg?/
I don’t know wether I did or not.
Was Greg on horse back?
Did he pass right on towards Warsaw?
Did you see any thing more of him that evening?
How long was it after Greg passed before Williams and Alridge and Sharp passed by you on horse back?
I do not know how long, prahaps half an hour or three quarters.
As Sharp passed you did he say any thing to any person in your waggon?
Not that I can remember.
Did you not state before the grand jury that Sharp came up to your wagon and said the Smiths where both dead for he had hold of them before he left the jail.
I don’t recolect saying so but somebody said so that night.
Did you not state before the Grand jury that you could not be mistaken about seeing Williams at the jail?
I don’t think I did.
How was Grover dressed that day?
I don’t recollect his clothing only his cap and feathers.
How meny feathers he in his cap?
I don’t recollect prahaps three or four.
Where they all in the same place in his cap?
They where all in the same place I believe.
Did he ware them in the front or on one side or behind?
In the front beleive.
What coulour was those feathers.
Yes they where all black.
Had any others feathers in their caps or hats?
Alridge was about all that had them.
What coulour was Allridge’s feathers?
Black I beleive.
Did he ware these feathers on to Carthage?
Had he them in when you met the Carthage gray?
Yes I beleive he had.
Had you turned your wagon round to go back to Warsaw when Cap. Grover came up to you?
Who was the first to get into your waggon after the Smiths where killed?
Was it Grover?
I do not know.
Who was the first who came to tell you to turn and go back?
I was Mr. Chatendun and some others.
Did they get into your waggon?
Was it before or after Grover came up?
I don’t know. Wells Glew and Boarus got into my waggon.
When was it you first saw Boarus and Glew?
I saw them on the road going to Warsaw.
How meny got into your Waggon?
5 or 6.
Did they state who they where?
Did you not state before the grand jury that A number of persons came from the jail and got into your waggons among them was Chatendun Wells and Grover?
I don’t remember.
Where was it in Warsaw you saw Glew?
I saw him in main street that night.
When Grover got into your waggon was he conversing about the killing of the Smiths?
He was talking to Wells about it.
And Grover said he went into the jail?
Yes Sir hes said he was the first man in the jail, and Jo Smith seiged him and struck him twise in the fase.
Did he say he saw Hiram Smith in the jail?
I did not hear him say wether he saw him or not.
He spoke only of Jo?
Did he say any thing about Jo being armed?
I think he said he had a pistol.
Did he say why Jo did not shoot him instead of strike him with his fist?
What did he say Smith did with his pistol?
I did not hear him say.
What was it you did hear him say about the pistol?
I forget now what it was I heard him say some thing about him being armed.
You did not hear him say any thing about A pistol then?
The first thing that I heard him say was that he was armed.
You where mistaken then when you stated he said that Jo had A pistol?
U am not sure what he said but I beleive he said pistol and arms both.
Had Grover A sword on that day?
I do not know.
Had not all the officers swords?
I forget wether they had or not.
What you recollect is not very distinckt about the events of that day?
You remember that you felt very nice yourself?
Yes I should have remembered things better if I had not felt so, I think likly.
Did you not state before the grand jury, that Grover said that Jo struck him twice in the face but he got revenge upon him for he through him out of the window?
I do not remember.
Did you hear Grover say anything about throwing him out of the window?
Not that I recollect.
In what direction where you from the jail?
South west A little more west than south.
From the possition you occupied could you see the window Smith fell from?
I could not.
What time of the day was it when you started back to Warsaw?
Between 4 and 5 o’clock in the evening.
Where you driving an ox or A horse teem?
I was driving A horse teem.
How meny horses was in the teem?
It was a common horse waggon?
How far is it from here to Warsaw?
I think about 18 miles.
After you had stopt your waggon from A quarter to A half miles from the jail you say Davis came past?
Was he on foot?
No he was riding in A waggon.
What kind of A waggon was he riding in?
I do not know.
How meny persons where in that wagon?
5 or 6.
Who was driving that Waggon?
Did you know any other person in that Waggon besides Davis?
I forget but I beleive there was one of the name of Jo. Johnson, but who els I cannot say I am not shure he was in the waggon but I think he was.
Had any of those in that waggon been with the troops when you left the rail road crossing?
I think not.
Did they stop when they came up to your waggon?
They past by two or three rods South of us.
Did they make any enquirys as they past?
I don’t know wether they did or not.
Did they go to the jail?
Had there been any firing at the time this waggon past?
I beleive there was firing at the time they past.
You think the firing had comenced at the jail at the time they past?
I beleive it had.
About how many persons came out of the town and went to the jail?
Did you hear any firing before you heard that at the jail?
The first I saw was at the jail.
Did you see the troops as they came up the fence?
You heard no firing at all then when they came up the fence?
By what means did you asertain they where firing when Davis past you?
I saw the smoke of guns.
Was the smok on the out side of the jail or on inside?
It was on the out side.
Did you see any flash?
I saw the smoke rise at the knock of the gun.
What side of the jail where the men that was firing?
At the south end.
Where they just firing at the jail?
I do not know what they where firing at.
Did Grover say how he got loose from Smith?
Where abouts was Glewer wounded in the face?
In the check like as if A ball had taken the skin off.
What age was Glewer?
He was A boy between 14 and 18 I should think.
How far from Warsaw was it where Grover got out of your waggon?
It was two or three miles from hear.
Did you see any thing more of him that night?
I do not recollect.
Who was in your waggon when you got to Warsaw?
One or two men.
Did Wells ride all the way?
No; and the Chatendens did not ride more than half a mile.
You went most of the way then with an empty waggon except two or three men?
I had not more than 5 I beleive.
Where do you reside?
Are you a member of the Mormon church?
Have you A family?
Who do you live with in Nauvoo?
I live with David Durkie my step father.
Is he a member of the church?
Is your mother?
What buisness do you follow?
How long have you followed that buisness?
Most of this winter.
How long have you lived in Nauvoo?
Six years this spring.
And you comenced the profession of loafering just after the last term of court?
I had followed it a good deal before that time.
Did you know that William H. Daniels?
I have seen him.
Is he of the same trade as yourself?
I don’t know what he follows.
Have you and him ever had any conversation upon this case?
I have had A little with him.
You where conected with each other to talk over knew about this matter or you have conected together what each of you knew about this matter?
Yes but not quit all.
When did Daniels first tell you about seeing this marvolous light?
Before the last term of court.
How did he discribe that light to you?
He said it was like lightening .
Your and him have talked about what your would be upon this case?
A little he told me what he saw and I told him what I saw.
And you aquainted with Miss Eliza Grame?
You never saw her while she lived in Warsaw?
Have you and her ever had any conversation about this case?
Who pays you for your attendance at court hear?
I have no pay.
Did you get any thing for attending last term?
Who pays your boards hear in Carthage?
I don’t know who.
Who paid you board the last term?
I don’t know that it is paid yet.
I supose you have you often conversed about his matter?
When did you first tell what you heard Grover say About this matter?
It was in the latter part of last summer.
Before that time you had never told what you heard Grover say about this matter?
I don’t know that I did.
Who applied to you to know what Grover said upon the subject?
Where did he call upon you at?
At the Nauvoo Mansion.
Who was with him?
Was you ever applied to by any other person?
Did you not make an affidavit at Nauvoo as to what you knew about the killing of the Smtihs?
Did you not say in your affidavid that Col. Williams came all the way from the railroad crossing to Carthage with you?
I never told any [illegible] at Nauvoo upon the case at all.
Did you not stake then that Williams came all the way with the troops?
Whad day of the mounth was it that this scercumstanse took plase?
It was the 27 of May.
Was it A clear day?
Was the moon shining that night?
I don’t know.
Did you not swear as at Nauvoo there where only 4 or 5 guns fired?
I think I did swear to 5 guns.
Where there any men at the jail before before those men came out of the woods?
I don’t recollect that there was.
It was at the front of the jail at the south end you saw the firing?
Did you ever say that Williams gave the command for the firing at the jail?
Have you ever stated that if they did not feed you and cloth you better at Nauvoo you would quit them?
Have you not complained A little?
I suposed they did not use me as well as they did Daniels.
How old are you?
When Boarus got out of you waggon did he walk?
I beleive he did.
You say Wells was shot in the arm?
Had he his arm in A sling?
I forget if his arm was in A sling but I think he had A handkerchief tied round it Boarus was on foot when I saw him.
He had not been riding in your waggon at all?
Mr. Lamborn: you said the Smiths where killed on the 27th of May Did you mean June?
I meant June.
Was you ever offered any thing or paid any thing for swaring?
No I was never offered or paid any thing for swearing at all.
You do not not wether your board was paid for attending the court here last fall?
Mr. Browning: Have you had any money since the last term of Court?
I have had A little now and then.
How did you come by it?
For driving A teem.
Court Ajourned till 7 o'clock Tuesday morning
Second Version of Testimony:
“Minutes record proceedings at the trial of the murderers of Joseph Smith. Included are witnesses’ testimonies, indictment, jurors, and arguments of the prosecution and defense, probably recorded by the counsel for the defense. Copy made by Wilford C. Wood from original notes.”
on the day Jo Smith was killed I was on the road between Warsaw & Carthage I was in [illegible] that [page torn] about 9 o’ clock they left [page torn] I drove a baggage Waggon [page torn] this [illegible] was attached to [page torn] [illegible]. Came along D. G & the others from Golden Plains we got to RRS- between 11&12 [illegible] and eat dinner- I know Col W saw him at RR- I know A and saw him at RR- G & D were there- W read an order to disband the troops after dinner- I heard none of Defts make a speach- W was on horse back [illegible] - S was [illegible] don’t recollect what kind of hors A on horsback – D & G on foot G called for volunteers to go to Carthage to [illegible] what he [illegible] the men for [illegible] arms in their hands for - Did not hear any thing said about killing the Smiths- Did not hear W or A or S call for [illegible] I saw none of Defts here [illegible] untill we got half way here- then I saw A & S don’t know whether I saw W or not I saw D about [illegible] from Jail [illegible] then overtook them about 4 miles from here I saw A G W & S- they then left did not see them any more untill we turned back- I was about ¼ mile from Jail when Smiths were killed after I had stopped D came up I don’t recollect who they were they saw nothing [illegible]- Grover saw Smith was a [illegible] him [illegible] cough him G and struck him twice in the face- G said he was the first man in the house ½ [illegible] from [illegible] W S & A caught up with us- I heard none of the Defts but G say anything about it.- [illegible] was in the wagon at home G spoke of it [illegible] was wounded in the arm [illegible] in the shoulder and [illegible] in the face I did not know that they had any other object in [illegible] untill one of the Carthage [illegible] brought us a [illegible] and then [illegible] told him they were going to take the Smiths to [illegible] and hand [illegible] – when the troops from Jail met us they were an [illegible]. two of the [illegible] turned the baggage Wagg back I went to Warsaw that night got there about 12 when I [illegible] there some of the men had got in and some were coming- there were a good many persons about Warsaw House some 20 or 30 I did not go in did not see either of Defts afterwards. Do not know [illegible] do know [illegible] I saw him coming out & he was the first that brought the [illegible] to me [page torn] hear either Defts say any [page torn] [illegible] knowing all [page torn] RR I was near [page torn] [illegible] Did not hear [page torn] who wanted go to Carthage [page torn] – when the men 4 miles from here left they went to the left towards the paint of lumber. never heard either of the Defts say that they were going to kill Smith-
I heard no speach [illegible] mad W S A were on horseback this was before I came to Carthage. the same [illegible] me on my way back and they were there on horseback – I am not right sure that they were together but but they were in sight of each other Grover was in my way [illegible] they [illegible] I cannot recollect that either of them spoke to G [illegible] time Grover stated that he wished to come to Carthage to see the Govner about the pubblick [illegible] and sayd that he had given him and [illegible] for [illegible] and was responsible for them when the [illegible] came up with I did not state before the Grand Jury that Col W was at the Jail all the time the men were there I did not state that Col W [illegible] from the Jail past my wagon I don’t think that I stated before the Grand Jury that [illegible] name was [illegible]. it was half an hour after [illegible] before A & S & W [illegible] it [illegible]