This excerpt from the History of George Washington Johnson:

“During the year of 1848, David T. LeBaron and myself, were engaged in exhibiting the Nauvoo Temple to strangers, he attending it one day and I the next.

“On the 18th of November I was taking a party through. We had been to the top and returned as far as the second story when I heard voices below. Leaving my company I ran down to the main room below, where I found the door partly opened and two men sitting in the pulpit talking, one of them telling the other what a host of money and lives the building of the Temple had cost, how much suffering and sorrow. When I entered and invited them to leave, which they did. He was then boarding at a public house on north of the Temple across the street, kept by a man named Slocum. After the Temple burned, he was heard to boast that he saw the fire when it did not look larger than a man’s hand. His room was facing the Temple. The fire started late at night when all were supposed to be in bed and asleep. The west basement window on the south side which led to the stairway had been taken out and was sitting against the wall of the building, showing that no key had been used in entering the building and the fire was started in the upper story.

“Now it is a supposable at least, that if a man saw the fire when it did not look larger than a man’s hand at that time of night, he must have been watching for it and all of these facts do away with the Agnew story that he went from Apanoose on horseback and with a false key went through the door and set the fire. There are some living now who can corroborate these statements.”

Editor Note:
Research has shown that Samuel Slocum was the owner of the property (where the current “Nelson” house is located).  It is at 1135 Knight Street.  This appears to be the boarding house mentioned.

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