JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, addenda, created 18 Oct.–ca. 20 Nov. 1854; 75 pages in volume bearing three labels reading “Historical Notation,” “From 1841 to 1851,” and “Addenda to C1;” handwriting of , Jonathan Grimshaw, Robert Campbell, and John L. Smith; CHL.
On 11 June 1839, while residing at , Illinois, JS began dictating what his journal simply referred to as his “history.” (An earlier draft was begun by JS and in April 1838, but that draft is no longer extant; see JS, Journal, 27 Apr. 1838.) However, substantial progress on the history was not made until assumed responsibility for the project and was appointed as JS’s “private se[c]retary & historian” in December 1842 (JS, Journal, 11 June 1839; 21 Dec. 1842). Work on this endeavor came to span eighteen years and included frequent stops and starts. The longest lull, of over seven years, was occasioned by the Saints’ exodus from followed by the challenges of settling the Salt Lake Valley. After the death of Willard Richards in 1854, the project was brought to a conclusion in Utah by and in 1856. By that time the history had swelled to six volumes and over 2,400 pages. It subsequently came to be known as the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers it bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”).
As part of that enterprise, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]” was begun on or just after 24 February 1845 and its basic narrative was completed by 3 May of that year, although work continued on the volume through that July (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). was the scribe for the volume, which contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda, and covers the period 2 November 1838 through 31 July 1842.
On 10 April 1854, less than five weeks after the death of , assumed the role of church historian and with it responsibility for the completion of JS’s history. He subsequently observed in a letter to :
I commenced to perform the duties of Historian by taking up the History of Joseph Smith where Dr. had left it when driven from on the 4th day of February 1846. I had to revise and compare two years of back history which he had compiled, filling up numerous spaces which had been marked as omissions on memoranda by Dr. Richards.
I commenced compiling the history of Joseph Smith from April 1st 1840 to his death on June 27th 1844. I have filled up all the reports of sermons by President Joseph Smith and others from minutes or sketches taken at the time in long hand by Dr. , , , , Miss &c. which was an immense labor, requiring the deepest thought and the closest application, as there were mostly only two or three words (about half written) to a sentence.” (George A. Smith, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, 21 Apr. 1856, in Historian’s Office, Historical Record Book, 218.)
In October 1854 and his clerks began compiling a separate, extensive list of addenda to volume C-1. The Church Historian’s office journal entry for 13 October 1854 noted, “ engaged on history papers all da[y] found many that will have to be inserted in 40 & 41” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 13 Oct. 1854). Apparently these addenda represented some of the revising and comparing of “two years of back history” with the “filling up numerous spaces” Smith had mentioned in his 1856 letter to . In support of that effort, the 19 October 1854 issue of the Deseret News carried the following item that also explained why the serialization of the History of Joseph Smith was being temporarily interrupted:
The History of Joseph Smith is necessarily omitted in this number; and from one to two columns a number will probably be all that can be furnished for some time, as the Historian has come to a period which requires hunting up many facts, and preparing them for embodying, which the hurry of the times obliged to pass over by simply writing on the margin, “note to be supplied” (”History and Sermons,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 19 Oct. 1854, ).
At that time, Joseph Smith’s history had been reported through October 1840 in the Deseret News.
The addenda to volume C-1 presented here are labeled “Addenda to Book C1. By . Octr. 18th. 1854.” They are in the handwriting of Jonathan Grimshaw, , Robert L. Campbell, and John L. Smith, all of whom worked under the direction of . These addenda provide supplemental material for the period from 19 October 1840 to 15 July 1842 and consist of seventy-five pages copied into a separate ledger that also contains a chronological inventory of material employed in compiling the manuscript history. Many entries from George A. Smith’s “Addenda” were incorporated under their respective dates into the text of the version of Joseph Smith’s history published in the Deseret News, a fair copy identified as C-2, and the later account edited by B. H. Roberts as History of the Church.
Among the significant items included in the addenda to volume C-1 are sermons, editorials, and records of events. Of particular note are entries regarding the October 1840 creation of stakes at , , and , Illinois; the January 1841 acknowledgement of the mission of the Twelve to ; the 7 August 1841 death of JS’s brother ; JS’s 12 August 1841 meeting with Sac and Fox Indians from ; a November 1841 description of the construction of a temporary wooden font for the performance of baptisms for the dead within the rising Nauvoo ; the February 1842 appointment of as superintendent of the church printing office, and of as head of the Times and Seasons editorial department; and four accounts of JS’s instructions to the Female Relief Society.
All those elders and priests who are now in the vineyard will communicate with us immediately and inform us of their situations, designs, and all things relating to their ministry, and improve the earliest opportunity of repairing hither where they will have the privilege of instruction from the first Presidency and thereby understanding principle and doctrine, not to be learned elsewhere, and which is necessary for them to know, that they may become wise stewards in their master’s house.
We are engaged in a great work, and but little comparatively can be known of the magnitude thereof, of the Revelations of heaven, and the order of the kingdom, by the Saints while they are scattered to the four winds; and this being well understood by the ancient prophets and apostles was the reason why they so often spoke of the gathering in the last days, and as this is the place where the Elders are to receive instruction concerning their ministry, so as to become successful ministers of the dispensation of the fulness of times, so also this is the place where the brethren may receive such instructions as are necessary to constitute them a righteous and holy people, prepared for the reception of the Lord Jesus; therefore, we say to all Saints who desire to do the will of heaven, arise, and tarry not, but come up hither to the places of gathering as speedily as possible, for the time is rapidly approaching when the Saints will have occasion to regret, that they have so long neglected to assemble themselves together and stand in holy places awaiting those tremendous events which are so rapidly approaching the nations of the earth.
It will be recollected that in a recent communication from the First Presidency, all places of gathering are discontinued, excepting Ill. and in Lee County I. T. opposite , and we would suggest to those coming up the particularly, and all others who are disposed, to look at , a beautifully located village about 20 miles below , consisting of about 500 inhabitants, a steam flour and lumber mill; one mile below is a section already surveyed on which the town of is to be built, and every facility is now offered to the brethren, for the immediate erection of houses, the location being very desirable at the lowest point of the Desmoine Rapids.
As we have been called upon to act as agents for the church, it may be expected that some one or more of our Quorum may be [p. 28]