Joseph Smith, Robert Foster, and Chauncey and Francis Higbee


church history, Nauvoo, dissenters, Joseph Smith


On 7 June 1844, seven dissenters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—William and Wilson Law, Francis M. and Chauncey L. Higbee, Robert and Charles Foster, and Charles Ivins—published the first and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor, a four-page, six-column paper whose purpose was to provide “a full, candid and succinct statement of facts, as they exist in the city of Nauvoo, fearless of whose particular case they apply.” Concerned that the paper’s accusations and inflammatory rhetoric would result in violence against Nauvoo, the city council three days later ordered Joseph Smith, in his capacity as mayor of the city, to “destroy the Nauvoo Expositor establishment as a nuisance.” Joseph passed the order on to Nauvoo city marshal John P. Greene, who reported later that evening “that he had removed the press, type—& printed paper—& fixtures into the street & fired them.” The following day, 11 June, one of the paper’s publishers, Francis Higbee, went before Thomas Morrison, a Hancock County justice of the peace, and accused Joseph and seventeen other men of having committed a riot, “wherein they with force & violence broke into the printing office of the Nauvoo Expositor and unlawfully & with force burned & destroyed the printing press, type & fixtures of the same.” Morrison immediately issued a warrant for Joseph’s arrest, thus setting into motion the legal process that would lead to the prophet’s murder at Carthage Jail less than three weeks later.

Original Publication Citation

Andrew H. Hedges, “Joseph Smith, Robert Foster, and Chauncey and Francis Higbee,” The Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel 18/1 (January 2017): 89-111.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Religious Educator




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor