ADAMS, Arza Madsen

A muggy evening added to Arza’s discomfort with the chills and fever. Malaria had driven him to bed for several days, even though he had much work to do on his farm located just north of the village of Carthage, Illinois. It was dusk when William and John Barnes, two non-Mormon acquaintances, knocked on the cabin door with devastating news: Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had just been murdered in Carthage. One of two survivors, Willard Richards, wrote a short letter describing the disaster and asked the Barnes brothers to deliver the letter to Arza Adams, one of the few Mormons living near Carthage. Although seriously ill, a surge of adrenaline permitted Arza to drag himself out of bed, saddle his horse, ride to Benjamin Leyland’s cabin and ask him to join in a dash to Nauvoo.

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