Yesterday before walking into the Orem, Utah library (to visit an aunt who works there) I called my parents. They asked me rather urgently if I could pick up a book for them: “Stories From the Life of Porter Rockwell” by John W. Rockwell and Jerry Borrowman.

I always thought Porter Rockwell was cool and interesting, but didn’t give their request too much thought. I checked, the book was already out on loan and four other patrons were in line to get it next. So I asked for a reservation for my father and he became the fifth in that queue.

I guess my parents couldn’t wait because this afternoon when I walked into their house, they had a copy of the book already and had been reading it.

My mother then told me that I was a descendant of a man named David Norton, Jr. – “he is your fourth great grandfather” – and that with that fact in mind, I should read the book’s Afterword.

The first paragraph of this Afterword, written by Jerry Borrowman reads:

David Norton Jr., my great-great-great-grandfather, was an associate of Porter Rockwell’s from the earliest days of the Church. In fact, they both played a key role in the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor: Porter kicked the door in, and David set the printing equipment on fire. They acted under orders of Mayor Joseph Smith, never suspecting that this act would ultimately lead to Joseph Smith’s martyrdom.

Almost my entire life I have known about the destruction of the Expositor and over the years, from time to time, I have heard and read many mentions of this event, as well as arguments in regards to what it meant and how excusable or inexcusable it was. But until today I never had any inkling that someone in my family lines had such direct involvement in what happened that day.

[Based on my mother’s records, this line traces back through my mother Sherlene Hall, her mother Ida Rose Langford, her mother Zina Charlotte Chlarson, her mother Ida Isabelle Norton, her father Hyrum Fletcher Norton and then his father David Norton, Jr.]