Cyrus Wheelock

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Question: How was Cyrus Wheelock able to get a revolver into Carthage Jail to give to the Prophet Joseph on June 27, 1844?

Answer: Cyrus Hubbard Wheelock was born 28 February 1813 in Henderson, Jefferson, New York to Asa Wheelock and Lucy Hubbard.

Cyrus Wheelock was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on September 1, 1839. Shortly afterward, he served as a missionary in Vermont. He had married and had two sons, both who died as babies. He and his wife had one more son in 1843.

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In June 1844, Cyrus tried to convince Governor Thomas Ford of Illinois to release Joseph Smith, Jr. from Carthage Jail, but the Governor refused to listen. Cyrus was given a pass by the Governor enabling him to visit the men in the jail. The morning of June 27, 1844, being a little rainy, favored Cyrus wearing an overcoat, in the side pocket of which he was able to hide a six shooter. He passed the guard unmolested. During the visit, he slipped the revolver into Joseph’s pocket. It was the revolver the Prophet Joseph used when the mob attacked the jail later that day.

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When Cyrus left the Carthage Jail for the last time that day, the Prophet Joseph gave him a letter to take to his wife. He was also charged by the Prophet to request the commander of the Nauvoo Legion to avoid all military display and everything that would be likely to produce excitement, and also to use his influence with the members of the Church to remain perfectly calm and quiet during the events Joseph evidently knew were near at hand.

Cyrus served three missions to England. His first mission to England was in June 1846. It was a hard thing for him to leave his new wife he had married in January 1846 and head across the ocean. His wife died in May 1847 in Iowa while he was gone.

In June 1853, Cyrus was the captain of one of the pioneer companies that crossed the plains to Utah Territory. There were 400 individuals and 52 wagons in his company. They arrived in Utah the first of October 1853. In 1854, Cyrus became the president of the 37th Quorum of the Seventy. Cyrus then married again in Salt Lake, and was the father of fifteen children through his wives.

In 1856, Cyrus was coming back from his three-year mission in England when they came upon the handcart companies. He had been serving as a counselor to Franklin D. Richards. They helped get 3,000 Saints on to ships to emigrate to Utah. After they completed their duties in England, they headed back to America. In Omaha, Nebraska, President Richards was able to obtain a couple of light wagons and a few horses and mules, and he and the missionaries headed to Utah. On their way, they encountered the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies. They did what they could for them and then continued on to Salt Lake to report to Brigham Young about the companies still on the plains.

Cyrus then turned around and went back with the first rescue company, assigned by Brigham Young as a Chaplin. It was reported by one of the boys in the Martin Handcart Company that Cyrus pulled some of the handcarts by a rope fastened to his saddle. One time he had three little boys up on his saddle with him. One little boy slid off into the water as the horse leaped up the steep bank, but he said he “held on to the horses’ tail and came out all right.” (Peter Howard McBride)

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Cyrus settled in Mount Pleasant, Utah Territory. He wrote several hymns while living there, including Hymn #319, "Ye Elders of Israel."

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Cyrus was a gifted orator, and in 1878, he was made president of the Northern States Mission which then consisted of the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Cyrus served as mission president for just over a year. Cyrus died on October 11, 1894 in Mount Pleasant, Sanpete County, Utah, and is buried in the Mount Pleasant City Cemetery.

Source: Excerpts from the Life Sketch of Cyrus Wheelock from FamilySearch.org; Pioneer Story of Cyrus Wheelock, FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.