KEEPER OF THE PROPHET’S SWORD-PROVENANCE
1. Joseph Smith Jr. 1834- June 24, 1844 10 Years
2. Joseph Bates Noble June 24, 1844- Aug 17, 1900 56 Years
3. William Wallace Noble Aug 17, 1900- Jan 4, 1956 56 Years
4. Delbert Noble Jan 4, 1956-April 30, 1994 38 Years
5. Lamar Smith Noble April 30, 1994- Present
Various Quotes and Articles about the Nauvoo Legion Sword of Joseph Smith
1 Joseph Smith Papers about JS Ride to Carthage 27 May 1844 • Monday
Below speaks of an earlier trip to Carthage, not the June 24th trip where the Legion Sword was given to Joseph Bates Noble. This first ride sets the precedence for the second ride to Carthage with JBN on both trips.
“Monday May 27th 1844 about 8 o’clock I started on horseback with a few friends, went by the Temple, and pursued my course towards Carthage, thinking it best for me to meet my enemies before the Circuit Court, and have the indictments against me investigated. After I had passed my farm on the Prairie, most of the following brethren joined my company, and the remainder soon after my arrival in Carthage, viz: Aaron Johnson, Dr. J[ohn] M. Bernhisel, Joseph W. Coolidge, John Hatfield, O P [Orrin Porter] Rockwell, Lorenzo Rockwell, William Walker, Harrison Sagers, Hyrum Smith, John P Greene, John Y. Greene, Judge <Wm> Richards, Shadrach Roundy, Theodore Turley, Jedediah M. Grant, John Lytle, Joseph B. Nobles [Noble], Edward Bonney, Lucien Woodworth, Cornelius P. Lott, Jonathan Dunham, and other friends. [HC 6:412]
May 27 At 4½ P. M, we started on our return; but when we had got as far as brother George D. Grant’s, a heavy shower of rain commenced, and I went into the house, while most of the brethren went into the barn until the shower ab ated. After the storm had subsided we went forward, and I, Hyrum, and some others, arrived at home about 9 P. M, and found Emma sick. My carriage, with Joseph B. Nobles, arrived a little after; it was upset on the Temple Hill, but no one hurt. I rode on horseback all the way on “Joe Duncan.” [HC 6:415]
2 “Better equipped than most of the Zion’s camp recruits, Wilford owned his team, wagon, and personal armaments. Appointed a teamster, he had charge of sixteen horses. Like the others, he furnished his own arms, but unlike some with antiquated weapons, he carried a rifle, sword, dirk, and pistol. Joseph asked for the sword, and Wilford made him a gift of it.” Wilford Woodruff and Zion’s Camp: Baptism by Fire and the Spiritual Confirmation of a Future Prophet by Thomas G Alexander; Wilford Woodruff Autobiography page 41
3 “Joseph [Bates Noble] took part in the Kirtland Camp and went to Missouri where he passed through the persecutions of the saints; he then located in Commerce (Nauvoo), where he was miraculously healed from a severe attack of sickness through the administrations of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder Noble was ordained a High Priest and appointed to act as Bishop of the Nauvoo Fifth Ward. Later, he acted as one of the Prophet’s body guards. Later still, he acted as a Bishop in Winter Quarters.” LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p.691 and the Ancestral File.
4 “My father and Brother John Grag rented a room in a stone house near the landing, for a few days and then we moved into a log house belonging to Joseph B. Noble where we lived until our house was finished, which we occupied about the last of January…
While in Nauvoo I was living so near to Joseph Smith that I was enabled to see him in his daily life as well as in his public administrations though at this time his life was sought and considerable of his time was spent in seclusion to avoid his enemies. Like all boys I used to play in the streets. He once spoke to me, giving me an invitation to make less noise. It was in front of his house and he was setting out in the porch talking to some gentleman and I presume, I disturbed them.
One day with my mother I visited his house, he was not in but we spent an interesting time with his mother. She exhibited the mummies from which the Book of Abraham was taken as well as the original papyrus on which it was written. We were not privileged to enjoy his society and instructions but a few months. I was present when he made his famous speech from the frame of a building in front of his house where he drew his sword with a declaration never to submit to mobs but to uphold law and order and liberty of conscience as long as God would give him life.
I was in my father’s garden one morning, the memorable June 1844, when he [Joseph Smith] rode past on his way to Carthage. Never shall I forget the look of deep sorrow that covered his noble countenance–that was the last time I saw him alive. He was met on the way by an officer and posse with an order from the governor for the return of the state arms and he turned back to see the order complied with. On getting into town he called Brother J. B. Noble to accompany him and with his brother Hyrum. They turned off the road, leaving the company, and took a short cut across the hills. When alone, he asked Hyrum what the spirit indicated to him. He replied that he could get no satisfactory answer. Joseph then said, “Well, if they kill me, I shall die innocent and my blood will be required of this nation, this day” near as I remember was the testimony of Brother Joseph shortly before he died. In the afternoon he went to Carthage and to his martyrdom. I sat upon the steps of my father’s house on the evening of the day that he was shot until twelve o’clock and never did I hear before such an uproar and noise that seemed to pervade the very atmosphere; dogs howling, mingled with confused noises as though all the legions of the damned were in commotion…
“We were fortunate enough to have brought with us a sheet iron stove by which we were able to keep warm through that cold winter. There had been born to father in Nauvoo a boy whom they named John Jefford. During the winter mother married Joseph B. Noble and he took care of our cattle that we had kept at home; one yoke of old oxen. Towards spring the company of pioneers was organized and started to find a place to plant our feet and again commence to live in comfort. I went with Brother Noble and drove a team of three yoke of oxen down to Missouri to obtain provisions for the journey as he was going to follow the pioneers.
An instance that happened on this journey I will relate as it shows how God can bring deliverance through the weakest of us. After we had obtained our loading and was returned we left the town of Savanna about one o’clock in the afternoon. There was three wagons; first, John Lytle, then J. B. Noble with two yoke of cattle, then I brought up the rear with three yoke. About a mile from town we were overtaken by two men riding fine horses and carrying decanters of whiskey in their hands. They commenced their game by insulting Brother Noble but as he took no notice of them but drove along, they began to ride out to his oxen and drive them out of the road. I, having a long whip, stepped behind his wagon and struck the horse with the lash. He tried this a number of times and being foiled in his object got off his horse and planted himself in the road and succeeded in stopping the team. At this juncture there came a power upon me that seemed almighty. I was impelled to go to that man and drawing the butt of my whip commanded him to move out of the way or I would smash him into the earth. He looked into my eyes and commenced to humble and move backward until the road was again free and Brother Noble drove on. Thus, the Lord made use of a boy to deliver his servant from the power of enemies. I knew by experience how “one could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.” Autobiography of Benjamin Ashby, 1828-1907 Online here: https://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/BAshby.html
5 “For a time, Bates served as a counselor in the bishopric at Montrose, Iowa. After he moved to Nauvoo in 1841, he became bishop of the Fifth Ward, quartermaster sergeant in the Nauvoo Legion and a member of Gen. Smith’s bodyguard. So, it was that Bishop Joseph Bates Noble rode toward Carthage with his close friend and leader. But the bishop became seriously ill on the way and was forced to turn back. The Prophet rode off the road with him a short distance. The parting was a sad one. The Prophet gave the bishop his legion sword as a token of their friend ship and asked him to deliver a note to Mrs. Smith. That was the last time Bishop Noble saw the Prophet alive.” LDS Church News, This Week in Church History Jan 15, 1966 by Arnold Irvine
6 “Joseph rode down home twice to bid his family farewell. He appeared solemn and thoughtful and expressed himself to several individuals that he expected to be murdered. There appeared no alternative but that he must either give himself up, or the inhabitants of the city would be massacred by a lawless mob under sanction of the governor.
The company (about fifteen) then started again for Carthage, and when opposite the Masonic Hall, Joseph said, “Boys, if I don’t come back, take care of yourselves; I am going like a lamb to the slaughter!” As he passed his farm he looked long upon it, and after they had passed it turned around several times to look again, at which some of the company made remarks. Joseph then said: “If some of you had got such a farm and knew you would not see it any more, you would want to take a good look at it for the last time!” Hyrum Smith Patriarch by Pearson H. Corbett and Church History Volume 6 Chapter 30 page 558
7 “Joseph Bates Noble was born in Egremont, Massachusetts, on June 14, 1810. He joined the L.D.S. Church in the spring of 1832 being baptized by Brigham Young. He traveled 200 miles to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith. They labored six days in a hay field so Joseph could learn more about the gospel. He was a member of Zion’s Camp. He was present at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. He was a body guard to the Prophet Joseph and he was also a trusted messenger to him. He accompanied the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum, to Carthage jail but did not remain there. He came to Utah with the Jedediah Grant company in the Fall of 1847. He was always active in the L.D.S. Church and served as a Patriarch for many years. One of his greatest possessions was the sword and gun given to him by the Prophet Joseph Smith.” Transcribed from “West Bountiful, A Pictorial History” by LaRue Hugoe and Edith Deppe; Horizon Publishers Dec. 1989
8 “In Talking to Dr. [T. Leroy] Kimball President of the Nauvoo Mission, and Nauvoo Restoration, Inc], the subject of Joseph Bates Noble’s sword and the cane made from the Prophet Joseph’s oak casket cane up- He said the addition of those items to the home [The Joseph Bates Noble-Lucy Mack Smith] would be a great thing- and if you ever decide to place them there, all you would need to do is call the Nauvoo Restoration, Inc office in Salt Lake, and they would pick them up and take them to Nauvoo. Thought you would be interested in knowing this, Dell- Incidentally, did you ever receive the brass plaque from Sylvester’s, in Salt Lake, to put on the oak cane? Enclosed is a post card picture of the Joseph Bates Noble home after restoration and a folder which is given to each visitor to the house- Hope you both continue well- We’ll hope to see you again before too long- Our best Martha & Byron. Transcribed Letter addressed to; Dear Folks from Martha and Byron N. Egan Nov. 17, 1975 to Delbert Noble, Grandson of Joseph Bates Noble.
9 “As soon as we left brother Fordham’s house, we went into the house of Joseph B. Noble, who was very low and dangerously sick. When we entered the house, brother Joseph took him by the hand, and commanded him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole. He did arise and was immediately healed. While this was going on, the wicked mob in the place … had become alarmed, and followed us into brother Noble’s house. Before they arrived there, brother Joseph had called upon brother Fordham to offer prayer. While he was praying, the mob entered, with all the evil spirits accompanying them. As soon as they entered, brother Fordham, who was praying, fainted and sank to the floor. When Joseph saw the mob in the house, he arose and had the room cleared of both that class of men and their attendant devils. Then brother Fordham immediately revived and finished his prayer.
This shows what power evil spirits have upon the tabernacles of men. The Saints are only saved from the power of the devil by the power of God. This case of Brother Noble’s was the last one of healing upon that day. It was the greatest day for the manifestation of the power of God through the gift of healing since the organization of the Church”. (Wilford Woodruff, “Leaves from My Journal,” Millennial Star, October 10 and 17, 1881, 647, 669–71.
Below is Information from Howard Carlos Smith
10 “This summer day in 1957 my uncle Del told me about the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo Legion Sword, the Prophet’s Pistol, and Oak Casket Stick and showed me his grandfather’s Ball and Cap Musket Rifle. The other relics were hid away in the old adobe house just a few feet away” Howard Carlos Smith Transcript of typed information from a scrapbook given to Rian Nelson Dec 2017
11 “According to Lamar Noble, great great grandson of Joseph Bates Noble, Lamar had the Legion Sword in his home in West Bountiful along with a Casket Cane and an 1872 Family Bible with hair locks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Lamar’s cousin, Howard Carlos Smith has been the Protector of the Prophet’s Sword since about 2007, and in 2009 for the first time began sharing the Prophet’s Sword with the public}.” By Howard Carlos Smith
12 “Emma Smith in remembrance of her loving husband took the head coffin of Joseph’s oak rescue casket and had made 12 canes representing the 12 Tribes of Israel, and she gave one cane to each of 12 upstanding individuals. Joseph Bates Noble was one of those upstanding individuals. The Noble family has had possession of one of these precious canes which has now been allowed to be shared with the world. The Joseph Bates Noble 1872 Family Bible has inside of it two locks of hair. One lock is from Joseph Smith and the other from his brother Hyrum. These have only been available to show publicly for a few months. Also in that Bible are original photographs of Erastus Snow, Orson Pratt, President John Taylor and many others. This amazing relic reminds us all of the importance of God and Family. A body guard named Joseph Bates Noble was with the Prophet Joseph Smith as he made his way towards Carthage. Several miles out of Nauvoo the Prophet gave Major Noble his personal Legion Sword as a token of their friendship. This legion sword has been hidden away for 165 years spending most of its time in an old home in West Bountiful, Utah. It has been handed down from father-to-son in the Noble family for a special purpose in sharing a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and Joseph Bates Noble a defender, Bishop, friend, and body guard to The Prophet.” Howard Carlos Smith Keeper of the Prophet’s Sword Published 2009
13 “The distance from Nauvoo to Carthage is eighteen miles. It takes approximately six hours in making the trip. This time it is a one way ticket for Hyrum and Joseph. It is past noon with the sky becoming cloudy, dark, and gloomy. It is a mucky, humid day in late June. The spirits of the army convoy are somewhat down.
Occasionally, a rest stop is needed to rest the horses and company. Several hours up the dirt road a private meeting is arranged with Maj. Noble by the Prophet himself. The two horses make their way into a small ravine somewhat near the dirt roadside. Bates Noble one-on-one with his friend Joseph Smith. This was Joseph’s final farewell to his trusted friend and long time bodyguard. No one knows the words that were shared at this time or the tears.
The Prophet placed into the hand of Bates two messages for delivery, one for Porter Rockwell, and the other to his sweetheart Emma. The note expressed his love to Emma. The other was to advise Porter to stay in Nauvoo thus not delivering himself into the hands of the enemy. This would prove to be certain death for Capt. Rockwell.
(6) “Joseph also sent a message to Orrin P. Rockwell not to come to Carthage, but to stay in Nauvoo, and not to suffer himself to be delivered into the hands of his enemies, or to be taken a prisoner by any one.” BYU Studies Volume 6 Chapter 30 page 565
At this time, the Prophet stood up and presented his “Legion Sword” along with his pistol to his trusted friend as a token of their friendship. He gave a parting handclasp before each parted their way. Bates Noble was now “The Keeper of the Prophet’s Sword”, a trust he kept until his death bed.
Bates Noble with honor carefully wrapped the “Legion Sword” of the Lt. General into the center of his bed blanket. He tucked away the pistol and placed the rolled blanket to the left side of his large horse. He placed the messages into his saddle bag, mounted onto his horse, and headed out from the small ravine. He glanced back tipping his hat to the Prophet.
Returning towards Nauvoo, he was very careful to ride up and off the dirt road to avoid any suspicion with any horseman or buggy. He was carrying two very important messages, one for Emma Smith and the other for Porter Rockwell. He could feel the parting handclasp with the Prophet into his inner spirit. This feeling carried with him throughout the remainder of his life. The big reminder was anytime he held the sword into his right hand. The sword became a comfort to him at times of depression and he could feel the spirit of a great noble one who once held this “Legion Sword” to his side. It was like repeating the parting handclasp of true friendships at the departure day.” Howard Carlos Smith, Keeper of the Prophet’s Sword 2009
14 “Though small in stature,” states Howard Carlos Smith, “Joseph Bates Noble was a Big Man” (118). In this biography, he describes Noble as one of Joseph Smith’s bodyguards and his loyal friend. One purpose of the book is to describe in detail Joseph Smith’s sword, apparently obtained for his activities in the Nauvoo Legion: “The sword blade measures 35-1/2 inches, and the hilt measures 5-1/2 inches and the overall length is 41 inches” (14). The sword’s hilt is black steel and has a hand protector. Although Howard Smith was the sword’s temporary keeper in 2007, the weapon is currently in possession of Lamar Noble, Joseph Noble’s great-grandson. The sword is shown in several black and white pictures and also in color (11, 12, 14, 53). Another artifact that the book covers in both words and illustration is the oak cane made from Joseph Smith’s casket lid that Emma Smith gave to Bates in 1844.The author also highlights Wilford Woodruff’s oak staff (87) and a black coffin cane now located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum of Daughters of Utah Pioneers. The book also contains colored photographs of these canes (84, 87)…. Howard Smith recounts Joseph Bates Noble’s life with considerable emphasis on his participation in Zion’s Camp (1834), which marched from Ohio to Missouri with the intention (never fulfilled) of reinstalling the Saints expelled from Jackson County, back on their property. When an outbreak of cholera struck the camp, Noble, age twenty-four, helped Joseph Smith heal the sick. As another memorable experience with Joseph Smith, five years later in Nauvoo on July 22, 1839, Noble was stricken with fever (probably malaria) but was miraculously healed by Joseph Smith who told him, “Brother Noble, you have been too long with me to lie here” (46). Noble became one of Nauvoo’s earlier practitioners of plural marriage, as taught by the Prophet. With the approval of his first wife, Mary Adeline Beaman, he married Sarah B. Alley on April 5, 1843 (106), and, two months later, Mary Ann Washburn on June 28, 1843 (107). Joseph Smith gave his Nauvoo Legion sword to Noble before he entered Carthage Jail in June 1844 where he was killed. Noble and six other officers of the Nauvoo Legion helped transport the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith from the Hamilton Hotel to Nauvoo. Noble was also involved in the funeral procession and burial service of the Smith brothers. Joseph Noble’s faith in Joseph Smith transferred to the Quorum of the Twelve and the leadership they provided. In Winter Quarters, his second wife, Sarah Alley, died, and “five weeks later” he married Susan Hammond Ashby on February 1, 1847” (108).He headed the Bates Noble Company, consisting of 171 people, that reached the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. He married his fifth wife, Sylvia Loretta Mecham in January 1857 (114).” By Journal of Mormon History Vol. 36, No. 3, Summer 2010- Howard Carlos Smith. Keeper of the Prophet’s Sword: Joseph Bates Noble, Body Guard to the Prophet Joseph Smith 1810–1900. Twin Falls: Blip Communications, 2009. Photographs, notes, bibliography, index. Paper: $12.95. ISBN 978–0–615–28601–3
This day a meeting was called of those who journeyed to Zion for the <purpose of laying> the foundation of its redemption last season with as many more of the Brethren & Sisters as felt disposed to attend.
President Joseph Smith presided over the meeting. After the Congregation assembled. he arose and requested the attention and read the 15th chapter of John and said, let us endeavor to solemnize our minds that we may receive a blessing by calling on the Lord & said let us pray
After an appropriate and affecting prayer was made the Bretheren who went to Zion, were requested to take their seats together in one part of the house by themselves. President Smith arose and stated the reason why this meeting was called. It was this. God had commanded it and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. he then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion, our trials, sufferings &c &c. He said God had not designed all this for nothing, but he had it in remembrance yet, and those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, it was the Will of God, that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh, even fifty six years, should wind up the scene. He said many things such as the weak things, even the smallest and weakest among us shall be powerful and mighty and great things, should be accomplished by you, even from this hour. He said, you shall begin to feel the whisperings of the Spirit of God, and the works of God, shall begin to break forth from this time. you shall be endowed with power from on high. [p. 147]
President Smith then called upon all those who went to Zion to know if they were agreed with him in the statements which he had made, he said if you are arise upon your feet, all arose upon their feet. He then called upon the balance of the congregation to know also, if they would sanction the movement. They all raised the right hand. The names of those who went to Zion are as follows.
16 “Mary Adeline Beman was born October 19, 1810 in Livonia, Livingston County, New York. She was the daughter of Alvah Beman and Sarah Burtts. Alvah was a prosperous farmer and through hard work and frugality has acquired a good home, and much land. They had become known among the town’s people as well-to-do.
Into the Beman home eight children were born, two sons and six daughters. Of the sons very little is known, but of the last three girls much has been written. These three fine young women were destined to be among the vanguard of women to the Salt Lake Valley. Artemesia became the wife of Erastus Snow in Far West in 1838, and Mary Adeline married Joseph Bates Noble in 1834 in New York. The third sister Louisa, was the first plural wife in this dispensation. She was married to the prophet Joseph Smith on April 5, 1841 by Joseph Bates Noble, her brother-in-law. After the prophet’s death she was married to Brigham Young in September of 1844. She had two sets of twins, all of whom died, and Louisa died when the second sets were born in Salt Lake City. These loyal and devoted sisters were among the first Pioneer women to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley.” Life Sketch of Mary Adeline Beman Noble Contributed By Pearl Irene Hart · 2014-04-21
17 “How much would you give for even a cane that Father Abraham had used? Or a coat or ring that the Savior had worn? The rough oak boxes in which the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought from Carthage, were made into canes and other articles. I have a cane made from the plank of one of those boxes, so has brother Brigham and a great many others, and we prize them highly, and esteem them a great blessing. I want to carefully preserve my cane, and when I am done with it here, I shall hand it down to my heir, with instructions to him to do the same. And the day will come when there will be multitudes who will be healed and blessed through the instrumentality of those canes, and the devil cannot overcome those who have them, in consequence of their faith and confidence in the virtues connected with them. Some do not appreciate these things nor the counsels of their leaders. And then again many do appreciate brother Brigham; they love him and his counsels, and his words are jewels to them. When persons do not care anything about his words, what do they care about mine? And if they do not care for his words, they will not care for those of any righteous man. If I had those relics of Abraham and the Savior which I have mentioned, I would give a great deal for them. In England, when not in a situation to go, I have blessed my handkerchief, and asked God to sanctify it and fill it with life and power, and sent it to the sick, and hundreds have been healed by it; in like manner I have sent my cane. Dr. Richards used to lay his old black cane on a person’s head, and that person has been healed through its instrumentality, by the power of God. I have known Joseph, hundreds of times, send his handkerchief to the sick, and they have been healed. There are persons in this congregation who have been healed by throwing my old cloak on their beds.” Journal of Discourses 4: 294 by Heber C. Kimball
18 Joseph Bates Noble Fall of 1840, is taught the Principle of Celestial Marriage by Joseph Smith Online Here
19 Joseph Bates Noble April 5, 1841 Sealed Joseph Smith to Louisa Beaman Online Here
20 Joseph Bates Noble certified as minster to perform marriage in Iowa Territory, July 20, 1841
21 Joseph Bates Noble July 29, 1841 appointed Second Lieutenant of the First Co. Montrose Dragoons
22 Joseph Bates Noble June 1842, certified as Quartermaster Sergeant by Thomas Ford Governor of Ill.