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 18 > Judge Phelps read the Signal Extra of the 17th, wherein all the “old citizens’ were called upon to assist the mob in exterminating the leaders of the saints, and driving away the people.
I addressed the Legion for about 1½ hours; the following synopsis of this address was compiled by from the verbal reports of Joseph G. Hovey, William G. Sterrett, Robert [L.] Campbell, and many others, who heard the prophet on the occasion:— [HC 6:497]
“It is thought by some, that our enemies would be satisfied with my destruction; but I tell you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will thirst for the blood of every man in whose heart dwells a single spark of the spirit of the fulness of the gospel. The opposition of these men is moved by the spirit of the adversary of all righteousness; it is not only to destroy me, but every man and woman who dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me to teach to this generation. We have never violated the laws of our country; we have every right to live under their protection, and are entitled to all the privileges guaranteed by our and national constitutions. We have turned the barren bleak prairies and swamps of this into beautiful towns, farms, and cities, by our industry; and the men who seek our destruction and cry thief, treason, riot &c, are those who themselves violate the laws, steal and plunder <from> their neighbors, and seek to destroy the innocent, heralding forth lies to screen themselves from the just punishment of their crimes, by bringing destruction upon this innocent people. I call God, Angels, and all men to witness that we are innocent of the charges which are heralded forth through the public prints against us by our enemies; and while they assemble together in unlawful mobs to take away our rights, and destroy our lives, they think to shield themselves under the refuge of lies which they have thus wickedly fabricated. We have forwarded a particular account of all our doings to the ; we are ready to obey his commands, and we expect that protection at his hands which we know to be our just due. We have taken the Counsel of , and have been tried before a civil magistrate on the charge of riot; not that the law required it, but because the advised it as a precautionary measure to allay all possible pretext for excitement; we were legally acquitted by who is a good judge of law. Had we been before the Circuit, the Supreme, or any other court of law in the or , we should have been acquitted, for we have broken no law. comes here with a writ requiring us to go before , ‘or some other justice of the peace of the ’, to answer to the charge of riot; we acknowledged ourselves his prisoners, and were ready to go before any magistrate in any precinct in this part of the country, which is a privilege the law guarantees to us, and which the writ itself allows. He breaks the law, and refuses us this privilege or any where else where our lives could be protected from the mob, who have published the resolutions for our extermination, which you have just heard read. This is a privilege the law guarantees to us, and which the writ itself allows. He breaks the law, and refuses us this privilege, declaring that we shall go before [HC 6:498] in , and no one else, when he knew that a numerous mob was collecting there, who are publicly pledged to destroy our lives. It was under these circumstances that we availed ourselves of the legal right of the Ancient, high, and constitutional privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus, and were brought before the Municipal Court of this , and discharged from the illegal detention under which we were held by . All the mob men, priests, thieves, and bogus makers, apostates, and adulterers, who combine to destroy this people now raise the hue and cry throughout the , that we resist the law, in order to raise a pretext for calling together thousands more of infuriated mob men to murder, destroy, plunder, and ravish the innocent. We are American Citizens; we live upon a soil for the liberties of which our fathers periled their lives, and spilt their blood upon the battle field; those rights so dearly purchased shall not be disgracefully [p. 118]