The people loved Joseph because he tried to exemplify the love of the Savior. For example, Margarette McIntire Burgess recalled that as a little girl she found herself and her brother mired in the mud of a Nauvoo street as they walked to school. Joseph stopped, lifted them from the muddy street, cleaned the mud from their shoes and, as Margarette recalled, "took his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped our tear-stained faces. He spoke kind and cheering words to us, and sent us on our way to school rejoicing. Was it any wonder that I loved that great, good and noble man of God?" (in "Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith," Juvenile Instructor, Jan. 15, 1892, 127).
Responses varied, of course, but many were favorably impressed. Peter H. Burnett, Joseph's lawyer in Missouri and later governor of California, wrote of him: "He was much more than an ordinary man. He possessed the most indomitable perseverance. . . . His manner was so earnest, and apparently so candid, that you could not but be interested. There was a kind, familiar look about him, that pleased you. He was very courteous in discussion, . . . [and] had due deference to your feelings. . . . I saw him out among the crowd [who had been his enemies], conversing freely with every one, and seeming to be perfectly at ease. In the short space of five days he had managed so to mollify his enemies that he could go unprotected among them without the slightest danger" (An Old California Pioneer , 40).