The “Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account, Draft,” and the “Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account” are the two complete, extant iterations of efforts by later church historians to record the murder of JS and , including the events leading up to their deaths and the immediate aftermath. As stated at the beginning of both accounts, the information was compiled from a number of different sources, including other journals, letters, and various other documents. It was put into a cohesive narrative during the 1850s by Church Historian’s Office clerks , Jonathan Grimshaw, and , presumably under the direction of the church historian, .
was the initial scribe for approximately the first half of “Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account, Draft,” and Grimshaw was the primary scribe for the remainder. Sometimes slips of paper were attached to pages of the draft with additional or alternative text to be included with a specific page. Page 12 of the draft has a notation by Grimshaw indicating that previously drafted text was to be added to the draft; instead of copying the text, he simply inserted a whole leaf into the draft. This leaf, in ’s handwriting, contains various numbered vignettes. It appears to be part of a larger collection of vignettes, as it is paginated “5” and “6,” and is likely the surviving portion of an earlier iteration of the martyrdom account by Thomas Bullock. The remainder of Bullock’s effort is not extant.
“Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account,” which is a more final copy written primarily by Grimshaw in the mid-1850s, similarly has slips of papers attached. It also includes several leaves that were physically removed from “Martyrdom Account, Draft”; these leaves were renumbered to match the pagination of the copy: pages 7–10 in the draft became pages 11–14 in the more final copy; pages 13–14 became 19–20; most extensively, pages 19–52 became 27–60; and finally, page 57, the last page of the draft, became page 73 in the new version. Although these leaves are cataloged with the more final copy, this website presents the pages both in the draft, as originally paginated, and in the more final copy, with the new pagination. Two additional items were added at the end of the more final copy. A bifolium paginated as “75” and “2” and written on the back of a printed Utah Territory legal form gives an account of the arrival of the bodies of JS and Hyrum Smith in Nauvoo as well as the funeral and burial. It was written by Grimshaw and edited by from information given by . On the final leaf, which is torn and is paginated “76,” Bullock drafted an introduction to a passage from ’s History of Illinois, with instructions to include the passage from Ford’s history in the martyrdom account.
Both the draft and the more final copy were edited by , Grimshaw, and . It is not clear when the edits were made. The more final copy of the account appears to be what was used in 1856 when the final version was copied into the last volume of the Joseph Smith’s multivolume manuscript history (JS History, vol. F-1, 147, 151–204).
of law and divinity, and make their theories and practice to appear like folly compared with the wisdom he possessed, but he was a boy only, and lacked physical strength even to defend his own person, and was subject to cold, to hunger, and to death. So it is with the ; we have the principles of revelations <of Jesus,> and the knowledge within us is sufficient to organize a righteous government upon the earth, and to give universal peace to all mankind if they will <would> receive it; but we lack the physical strength as did our Savior when a child, to defend our principles, and we shall have of necessity to be afflicted, persecuted, and smitten, and to bear it patiently until Jacob isof age; then he will take care of himself.”
9.40A. M.He <> also took a list of witnesses names that were wanted for the <expected> trial on Saturday. Joseph examined the list where the names of <When the list was read over a number of names were stricken out among whom were if> and were stricken out by<his> Joseph’s order, <it being deemed <by > unnecessary for them to attend. Bro. Joseph asked the reason why they should not come.> remarking <answered,>