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 22> I had a consultation for a little while with my brother , , , and , and determined to go to , and lay the matter before .
About 7 P. M. I requested and to stand guard at the , and not to admit any stranger inside the house. (.)
At sundown, I asked if he would go with me a short journey, and he replied he would. (.) -[See Margin.]-
< says that soon after dark Joseph called , , , , and some others into his <upper> room and said “brethren, here is a letter from the which I wish to have read”. After it was read through Joseph remarked “there is no mercy— no mercy here”. said “No; just as sure as we fall into their hands we are dead men”. Joseph replied “yes; what shall we do brother ?” He replied, “I don’t know”. All at once Joseph’s countenance brightened up and he said, “the way is open— it is clear to my mind what to do; all they want is and myself— then tell every body to go about their business, and not to collect in groups but scatter about; there is no doubt they will come here and search for us— let them search; they will not harm you in person or property, & not even a hair of your head. We will cross the tonight and [HC 6:545] go away <to the West>. He made a move to go out of the house to cross the ; when out of doors he told and to take the Maid of Iowa (in charge of Repsher) get it to the Upper landing, and put his and ’s families and effects upon her; then to go down the , and up the Ohio river to Portsmouth where they should hear from them. He then took by the hand and said, “now, , let what will come, don’t deny the faith, and all will be well”.>
I told that if I and were ever taken again, we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God; “I want to live to avenge my blood, b<ut> he is determined not to leave me.” [HC 6:546]
An account of the arrest, imprisonment, and martyrdom of President Joseph Smith, and Patriarch in Jail, Hancock County, Illinois, as collected from the journals kept at the time by Dr. , and the statements published by , Messrs Reid and , and , and the writings and statements of , , , and many other persons who were personally acquainted with the transactions.
By the Historian
About 9 P. M, came out of the and gave his hand to , at the same time saying, “a company of men are seeking to kill my brother Joseph, and the Lord has warned him to flee to the Rocky Mountains to save his life; good bye , we shall see you again.” In a few minutes afterwards, Joseph came from his family; his tears were flowing fast; he held a handkerchief to his face, and followed after brother without uttering a word. (.)
Between 9 & 10 P. M., Joseph, and , while waiting on the banks of the for the skiff, sent [HC 6:547] for , and instructed him to take their families to by the second Steamboat arriving at , and when he arrived there to commence petitioning the of the and Congress for redress of grievances, and see if they would grant the Church liberty and equal rights. Joseph then said “go to our wives, and tell them what we have concluded to do, and learn their feelings on the subject; and tell you will be ready to start by the second Steamboat, and she has sufficient money wherewith to pay the expenses. If you ascertain by tomorrow morning that there is any thing wrong, come over the to to the house of Captain , and there you will learn where we are. (.)
About midnight Joseph, , and called for at his lodgings, and all went up the river bank until they found ’s boat, which they got into, and started about 2 A.M. to cross the . rowed the skiff which was very leaky, so that it kept Joseph, , and the busy baling out the water with their boots and shoes to prevent it from sinking. (.)
<23> Sunday 23. At daybreak arrived on the side of the river. Sent back to with instructions to return the next night with Horses for Joseph and , pass them over the in the night secretly, and to be ready to start for the Great Basin in the . (.)
Joseph, , and walked up to Captain ’s house, where they arrived at sunrise, but he not being at home, they went from thence to brother William Jordan’s. About 9 A. M. came over the to visit Joseph. Also [p. 147]