It was on this day in 1844 Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother were murdered while in a county jail in western Illinois. The Mormons had founded the town of Nauvoo about five years previously, after being driven out of Missouri. Smith, who was mayor at the time, had ordered the destruction of a local newspaper’s printing press after their debut edition was highly critical of his leadership of both the church and the city. This resulted in outrages through out the state, and arrest warrants were issued for Smith and members of his city council. Joseph at first reacted by declaring martial law and calling out the 5,000 man city militia, but decided to surrender after being given personal assurances about his safety from the Governor. The men all traveled to the county seat of Carthage to turn themselves in on the charges of inciting riot. Most of them made bail that same afternoon, but Joseph and his brother Hyrum were also charged with treason and were ordered held until trial. It was the very next day that a mob of about 200 men attacked the jail and shot the prisoners to death.
The earliest event that Wiki says happened on this day is “1358 – Republic of Dubrovnik is founded” and the most recent is “2008 – In a highly-scrutizined election President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe is re-elected in a landslide after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn a week earlier, citing violence against his party’s supporters.”
A few other things that also happened on this day are:
1950 – President Truman orders US forces into the Korean War.
1954 – The first nuclear power station in the world goes online near Moscow.
1967 – The first Automatic Teller Machine in the world is installed in England.
Slices of birthday cake go out to J. J. Abrams, Tobey Maguire, Bruce Johnston, Kathryn Beaumont, Ross Perot, and especially Camile Baudoin.