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Remarkable Rockwell: Nauvoo part 5

Their home in Caldwell County was not to be the last for the Rockwell’s. In late 1838, the Saints were again violently driven out of their homes, this time from the state, under an infamous extermination order from Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. Rockwell fled with his wife and two daughters. This time the Saints began again in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was early in the establishment of Nauvoo that Rockwell’s father died, in September 1939. Early in this period Rockwell accompanied Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee, and Dr R.D. Foster to petition President Martin Van Buren to help the Saints recover their lost properties from the Missouri persecutions. They carried affidavits from the Saints testifying of the treatment they received and detailing the losses they had suffered. This trip ended in disappointment when Van Buren reportedly declared the cause just but not politically expedient. Rockwell arrived home to Nauvoo in 1840 to a newborn son.
By early 1842 Rockwell’s wife was again pregnant and the family relocated to Independence to be with Luana’s parents until after the baby was born. But in May of that year someone attempted to shoot the former Governor Boggs and the suspicion quickly feel on Rockwell. Rockwell fled leaving Luana in the protection of her family, but was arrested in early 1843 and brought back for trial in Missouri. While traveling in chains to Missouri, Rockwell’s coach, driven by a drunk, crashed into a tree. Rockwell fixed the carriage and the trip went on. The second time the coach crashed, Rockwell offered to drive the rest of the way and did so in his shackles. At the next station Rockwell was promptly lodged in the jail. Finally, in late 1843, after spending nine months freezing and starving in jail, he was tried, but not for shooting Boggs. Instead he was tried for attempting to escape custody. He was found guilty and sentenced to five minutes in jail. After five hours he was released with only the rags on his body and desperately made his way back to Nauvoo.
During Rockwell’s Missouri imprisonment the jailers had often kept him updated on their attempts to capture Joseph Smith. At one point they offered to reward him with anything he asked and protection if he would help them capture him. With typical Rockwell loyalty he responded “I’ll see you all damned first, and then I won’t.” Rockwell’s concern for the safety of the Prophet increased when he overheard the conspirators talking about someone inside the church leadership who was helping them. As soon as Rockwell rejoined Joseph Smith he informed him of the threat of a traitor. Joseph Smith asked Rockwell to be his bodyguard. The two would rarely be separated from then until the Prophets death.
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