After Joseph Smith's assassination, the agitation against Mormons continued. The conflict escalated into what has sometimes been called the "Mormon War in Illinois." Opponents of the Mormons in Warsaw and Carthage began to agitate for the expulsion from Illinois of the Latter Day Saints. In October 1844, a great gathering was announced in Warsaw. Although it was purported to be a "wolf hunt," it was known that the "wolves" to be hunted were the Mormons. When Governor Thomas Ford became aware of it, he sent militia troops to disperse the gathering. However, as he later recalled:
"The malcontents abandoned their design, and all the leaders of it fled to Missouri. The Carthage Greys fled almost in a body, carrying their arms along with them. During our stay in the county the anti-Mormons thronged into the camp and conversed freely with the men, who were fast infected with their prejudices, and it was impossible to get any of the officers to aid in expelling them".
Vigilante bands continued to roam the county, forcing Latter Day Saints in outlying areas to abandon their homes and gather to Nauvoo for protection.
When the Illinois state legislature met in December 1844, there was great support for the repeal of the Nauvoo Charter. Governor Ford conceded that the charter's privileges had been "much abused" by the Mormons, but he urged that the legislature merely amend the document, saying "I do not see how ten or twelve thousand people can do well in a city without some chartered privileges". However, on January 29, 1845, the repeal was overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 25-14 in the Senate and 75-31 in the House.