This is a reminiscence of Joseph Smith III, the son of the Mormon prophet:
Richard P. Howard, Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III (1832-1914) (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1979), 49.
Among my recollections of Mr. Powers are two that occurred after his removal to town. They might prove interesting. There was a man named Applegate who lived at Montrose, across the river. His daughter had married a man by the name of Brown, to whom Applegate, being a drinking man and quarrelsome in his cups, took a strong dislike, either before or after the marriage.
To escape his father-in-law's persecutions, Brown and his wife moved to Nauvoo and lived on "the flat" at the foot of the hill leading to the Temple. Applegate, however, would occasionally come into Nauvoo and treat the young couple very abusively.
One day that summer he visited Brown's house in the latter's absence and was quite ugly to Mrs. Brown, calling her husband bad names, and threatening what he meant to do to him, etc. Brown returned after Applegate had departed, but when he learned what had taken place he was very angry.
The next day Applegate came again, drunker than usual, and started to enter the house for further abuse of Brown and his wife. Brown ordered him out; but he refused to go, and began to make a personal attack upon Mr. Brown. He was a very large, powerful, and sinewy man, much more than a match for the son-in-law in a scuffle or personal encounter. As he advanced to attack Mr. Brown the latter drew a small, double-barreled pocket pistol, which, though looking more like a toy than a dangerous weapon, carried a heavy ball. With it he shot his father-in-law full in the breast. Applegate turned and walked out of the yard, staggered down the street two or three rods, and fell, just in front of a neighbor's house. A woman saw him fall and raised a hue and cry which rapidly collected the people of the neighborhood.
Seeing what he had done, Brown fled and in the extreme excitement prevailing managed to get out of the way. The body of Mr. Applegate was carried back into his daughter's house, the magistrate was notified, and a coroner's jury summoned. I was not one of that jury, but I did visit the house and was present when the jury inspected the body. It was the first time I had seen the body of any person who had been cut off from life while in full health and vigor, and it made a very deep and vivid impression upon my mind. I had seen my father and Uncle Hyrum in death, of course, but it was only their faces I had seen as they lay in their coffins.
As I gazed upon the body of Mr. Applegate, noted the breadth of chest, the powerful arms and massive frame, and saw in the breast the tiny round hole, with red rim, through which the pulsating life had ebbed away, I marveled that so easily could the thread of being be snapped and so quickly a body of such magnificent strength and proportions be destroyed.
He was taken to his home in Montrose for burial. The whereabouts of his son-in-law, the murderer, were unknown. A search was instigated, but for a number of days it was unsuccessful.
Upon the hillside east of the house Mr. Abner Powers had rented were the dilapidated ruins of a wildmill [sic]. It had been erected by Hugh Herringshaw, a man who had come to Nauvoo from a position in Sing Sing prison of New York. A new system of turning the wheel with which he had experimented had proved inadequate, and the building had been abandoned to decay, though its main room, built of stone in the side of the hill, was still quite intact.
Some four or five days after the killing of Mr. Applegate, as Mr. Powers left his house early in the morning, he saw a man enter the ruined structure I have described. He thought it looked like Mr. Brown. Without stopping to take any precaution or carry a weapon with him he at once went to the mill and entered its only door. There he found the escaped murderer, who had been skulking about the countryside until he was worn out for want of food and rest.
Brown at once surrendered to Mr. Powers, giving up the little weapon he had, and was taken before the magistrate who consigned him to the County jail to await action by the grand jury. He was found guilty of homicide and later, I think, was pardoned from the penitentiary—about two years, as I recall, after he entered upon his sentence. The common opinion seemed to be that the slaying of Mr. Applegate had been done in partial self-defense.
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