It is not surprising, then, that on the evening of June 27, 1844, John Taylor was wearing his watch as he sat with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Willard Richards. The previous days had been busy as he met with the governor, lawyers, and leading citizens in an effort to free the Smith brothers. Readers know the story of the martyrdom. Within minutes, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were dead and John Taylor was severely injured.
When Richards left for Nauvoo, John Taylor asked him to take his watch and purse with him, as he feared they would be stolen. Several days later, Taylor was at his home in Nauvoo still convalescing when he was once again reunited with his watch. At this moment, the watch was transformed from a mere timepiece to a holy relic.