Willard Richards, who was unharmed, dragged John into the next room and threw a dirty straw mattress over him, hoping to protect him.
John coughed at the dusty mattress covering him. What had just happened? Joseph’s body lay in the yard. Hyrum’s body rested peacefully in the next room. Pain wracked John’s knee and hip. His hand ached. Grief overwhelmed him.
The Prophet was dead. “I felt a dull lonely sickening sensation at the news. . . We [the Saints] were left alone.” How would the Church continue without Joseph? Was all lost?
The people of Carthage feared the Saints would retaliate. They fled their city. A few curious onlookers stayed behind, climbing the stairs of the jail to see the damage. One of them was a doctor. With no pain medication, he gouged the bullet out of John’s hand with a dull pen knife. John later called it “surgical butchery.”
Some of the people tried to move him to the Hamilton Hotel where he could be cared for, but he would not go. He feared for his life. After eight hours of anguish, he allowed himself to be moved. It was two in the morning. Colonel Jones of the Hancock County militia was kind to him. He stayed with John to protect him. When he had to leave John’s room, he left two loaded pistols on the table for him.