A local legend for Halloween…
“About the year 1892…an old man lived neighbor to my father, William E. Chappell.
The old man used to come to my father’s home, sit on the porch and talk to my father. The conversation turned to pioneer stories and of Joseph Smith the Prophet. On one particular evening after my father had talked about Joseph Smith, the old man Brooks said : “Mr. Chappell, I saw the last bullet shot into the old boy.” After Mr. Brooks had gone to his cabin, my father said: “No wonder he is a miserable old soul. If he saw the last bullet shot into Joseph Smith, he was in that mob.”
“After this conversation I took particular notice of the old man and how he suffered. The old man had a belt which he wore around his waist which the son would take off, then beat the old man with it just to hear him scream and when beating him the son would laugh and profane and seemed to enjoy it. All of this I saw.
“Later, a Dr. Cannon, then living in Coalville, and who owned a ranch in Weber canyon about eight miles above Oakley, made arrangements with this old man and his son to start a chicken ranch on Dr. Cannon’s premises, onto which the father and son moved….About that time my sister, Elizabeth Chappell, married Thomas Wilde and he owned a ranch adjoining Dr. Cannon’s and lived about four hundred yards from where the old man and his son lived.
“The son would often leave his father for three or four days and sometimes a week without any food. I was up to my brother-in-law’s ranch one fall, in November, when an eight inch snow fell, the weather clearing up in the afternoon, and dropping to zero weather by night. My brother-in-law and I took over an extra quilt and some supper to the old man and also chopped wood which we piled close to the stove so that he could handily keep the fire going during the night without getting out of bed. After returning home later in the night, I heard him screaming. I awoke my brother-in-law and he said : “Don’t take notice of him ; he always screams like that.” When we got up the next morning, we looked towards his cabin and saw that the house was gone. We immediately went to where his cabin had been and found it had burned to the ground during the night. All of the old man’s clothes had burned off of him and he was burned all over his body from his feet to the top of his head. He was alive and lay curled up in the ashes of the burned cabin, trying to keep warm. We secured some quilts and with team and sleigh we took him to Peoa where we found the son. The people of Peoa took up a collection which amounted to five dollars, gave it to the son and told him to go to Park City for the particular medicine he was directed to buy. With the money the son bought liquor and became drunk and did not return for four days.
“The old man died on the fourth day after he was burned, before his son returned. His remains were interred in the Peoa cemetery. The son was ordered out of the country and he left immediately for parts unknown.”
Signed : William H. Chappell
“I, Joseph H. Wilde, was present when my brother, and others, took the blankets to the cabin to cover the old man as stated in the above affidavit.
“Although this man was implicated in the murder of the Prophet Joseph, yet the Latter-day Saints who resided in this vicinity were very considerate and brought food and clothing to him”.
Signed : Joseph H. Wilde
From “The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith” by N.B. Lundwall
After his burial in Peoa cemetery a rock rolled down from the hillside behind and stopped over the grave, and it was decided to leave it there as a marker. The plaque is supposedly a Boy Scout project to tell the story.