JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. F-1, created 9 Apr.–7 June 1856 and 20 Aug. 1856–6 Nov. 1856; handwriting of and Jonathan Grimshaw; 304 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the final volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This sixth volume covers the period from 1 May to 8 Aug. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1 through E-1, go through 30 Apr. 1844.
History, 1838-1856, volume F-1, constitutes the last of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 May 1844 to the events following his 27 June 1844 death, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in 1856.
The material recorded in volume F-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin, and also assistant church historian . Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the volume and creating a set of draft notes, which Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks. Woodruff gathered additional material concerning the death of Joseph Smith as a supplement to George A. Smith’s work recording that event. Jonathan Grimshaw and , members of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed the draft notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents.
According to the Historian’s Office journal, Jonathan Grimshaw initiated work on the text of volume F-1 on 9 April 1856, soon after Robert L. Campbell had completed work on volume E-1. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.) Grimshaw’s scribal work begins with an entry for 1 May 1844. Unlike previous volumes in which the numbering had run consecutively to page 2028, Grimshaw began anew with page 1. He transcribed 150 pages by June 1856, and his last entry was for 23 June 1844. Though more of his writing does not appear in the volume, he continued to work in the office until 2 August, before leaving for the East that same month. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 and 10 Aug. 1856.)
assumed the role of scribe on 20 August 1856. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 20 Aug. 1856.) He incorporated ’s draft notes for the period 24–29 June 1844 on pages 151–189, providing an account of JS’s death and its immediate aftermath. He next transcribed a related extract from ’s 1854 History of Illinois on pages 190–204. Pages 205–227 were left blank.
provided the notes for the final portion of the text. This account begins with an entry for 22 June 1844 and continues the record through 8 August 1844, ending on page 304. (The volume also included ten pages of addenda.) The last specific entry in the Historian’s Office journal that captures at work on the history is for 6 November 1856. A 2 February 1857 Wilford Woodruff letter to indicates that on 30 January 1857, the “presidency sat and heard the history read up to the organization of the church in , 8th. day of August 1844.” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 6 Nov. 1856; Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 2 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, p. 410; see also Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 28 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, pp. 430–431.)
The pages of volume F-1 contain a record of the final weeks of JS’s life and the events of the ensuing days. The narrative commences with and arriving at , Illinois, on 1 May 1844 from their lumber-harvesting mission in the “” of Wisconsin Territory. As the late spring and summer of 1844 unfold, events intensify, especially those surrounding the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor in mid-June. Legal action over the Expositor leads to a charge of riot, and subsequently JS is charged with treason and is incarcerated at the jail in , Illinois. The narrative of volume F-1 concludes with an account of the special church conference convened on 8 August 1844 to consider who should assume the leadership of the church.
<June 14> intelligence which I received last evening from a person no way connected with the affair, and one of undoubted veracity, I must think to myself. This gentleman informs me that he has been in since Monday last at the land sales, and he heard threatenings by the persons assembled there, that if they could get into that they would murder indiscriminately, and those who wanted to escape must leave. This your will abhor as I do. The cititzens of this who do not reside in , and those of other counties, have indeed no interest of a personal kind at stake in this matter; there are no persons disturbing them nor a going to do so, and this great excitement does savor of something else to me than a regard for the laws. Why not let the parties, as in all other cases of the kind, settle their difficulties as the laws of the country in such cases have provided. Have the citizens of ever interfered with cases of difficulty existing in other parts of the , held public meetings to inflame the public mind in favor of one party, and prejudice it against the other party? Most assuredly they have not; why then must the citizens of this place be scourged with such attempts?
“If the citizens of want the supremacy of the laws maintained, let these tumultuous assemblies diperse, and let the civil officers, if resisted, do as in other cases, call for aid instead of assembling in [HC 6:470] advance, and then call for persons to be brought into their midst as prisoners amidst threats and insults.
“From the confidence I have in your ’s superior intelligence, and sound discretion, I doubt not but your will arrive at just conclusions when the matter is submitted to your consideration, as I understand it is about being.
“I can see no need for executive interference in this case, but disperse all uncalled for assemblies, and let the laws have their regular course, which they can have if these assemblies will disperse; if not I fear the consequences.
“I send this to your as confidential, as I wish not to take any part in the affair, or be known in it.
“With consideration of high regard, I am Dr. Sir,
Your ’s most obt. Servt.,
I read the doings of the City Council to , and gave him a volume of the Times and Seasons. About 4 P.M., I rode out with . Pleasant and warm day— towards night some clouds.
<a. m.> was tried before Esquire , J. P., on a charge of firing ’s printing office, and acquitted.
<15> Saturday 15. At home. Two brethren came from , and said that Col. had demanded the arms belonging to the Mormons in that neighborhood; they wished my advice on the subject. I told them that when they gave up their arms to give up their lives with them as dear as possible.
It is reported that a company of men were constantly training at . Mr. John M. Cane from said that several boxes of arms had arrived at from ; there was some considerable excitement, but expected they were going to wait the meeting at , which was fixed for the middle of next week.
The “Maid of Iowa” arrived at 2½ P.M., while I was examining the painting of “Death on the Pale Horse” by Benjn. West, which has been exhibiting in my reading room for the last three days. The “Maid” had [HC 6:471] lost her lighter which was loaded at the time with corn and lumber, it having broken in two on a snag in the Iowa river.
This morning started for to carry letters and papers to concerning the destruction of the Expositor Press. [p. 100]