Old Carthage Jail
[south side 44K JPG] -
[west side 36K JPG]
History of Carthage
Hancock County Courthouse
- Hancock County established
- William Gilham, Scott Riggs, and John Hardin were commissioned
by the Illinois General Assembly to found a permanent county seat, near the geographic center,
which became named Carthage.
- Carthage was incorporated
- Joseph Smith, founder of Mormon Church, and his brother
Hyrum Smith were shot today in the old Carthage jail.
The Mormon Church was headquartered in Nauvoo in 1839. When
Mormon leaders destroyed an anti-Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo,
the Smiths were jailed at Carthage to await trial. Illinois
Governor Thomas Ford ordered the Carthage Grays militia unit to
guard the jail from an anti-Mormon mob. The mob overpowered
the guard (some believe the guard joined the mob), entered the jail, shot the Smiths, and wounded
another Mormon, John Taylor.
- During their campaigns for the US Sentate, Stephen A. Douglas
spoke at Carthage on Oct. 11 and Abraham Lincoln spoke on Oct. 22
Douglas won the election, and carried Hancock County by a small majority
- 1860 Presidential election. Abraham Lincoln was elected President,
but the majority of Hancock County voters voted for Stephen Douglas, not
- Hancock County sent 3,272 men to fight in Illinois Regiments during the
Civil War. The 118th Illinois Infantry was made almost entirely of
men enlisting from Hancock County. They served primarily in
Arkansas and Mississippi.
- Hancock County celebrates centennial of formation.