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 23> , who made some explanations respecting ’s letter.
Early in the morning a posse arrived in to arrest Joseph; but as they did not find him they started back to immediately, leaving one man of the name of [Christopher] Yates behind them, who said to one of the brethren, that designed that if Joseph and were not given up he would send his troops and guard the until they were found, if it took three years to do it.
About 11 A. M., sent over , and to intreat of Joseph and to come back to and give themselves up for trial, and to inform them what the intended to do in case they did not deliver themselves up. (.)
says that about noon, he went to the house of Captain — as proposed by Joseph the night before. In a short time afterwards came in when they went to the house of William Jordan, where Joseph, , and were, And he told them that refused to go, but that ’s , and the ’s agreed to follow counsel. Directly afterwards and came in, and commenced interceding with for them to come back to , And stuck to it until he persuaded them to do so. (.)
<they went to Mills’ Tavern; and the Officer in command exhorted and to have Joseph and come back, as the safety of depended on it. He pledged himself that their lives should be protected. was satisfied with this pledge and said it could be depended upon, as he was an old acquaintance of his; and agreed to use his influence to fetch them back. They went and informed , who requested them to go to Joseph and and say that unless they returned and went to , would be burnt up and the people massacred.>
<About 11 A. M., the posse had mounted their animals to return to , when laid his hand on ’s shoulder and said, “there must be something done in this matter immediately, or our property in the will be of no value whatever <and a number of men will be ruined if Joseph leaves.> then called the officer aside, and promised if he would wait until 2 P. M. they would go over the and try to persuade Joseph and to come back. Upon that promise, the posse dismounted and the animals were ordered back to the stable.>
<About this time came from the in great agitation and said to , “something must be done— we must get those men back or we shall all be destroyed. I must have some help immediately to pack away the printing press and fixtures.”>
At 1 P. M, sent over , requesting him to intreat of Joseph to come back; accompanied him with a letter which had written to the same effect, and she insisted that should persuade Joseph to come back and give himself up. When they went over they found Joseph, , and in a room by themselves, having flour and other provisions on the floor ready for packing. (.)
informed Joseph what the troops intended to do, and urged upon him to give himself up, inasmuch as the had pledged his faith and the faith of the to protect him while he underwent a legal and fair trial. , , and accused Joseph of cowardice for wishing to leave the people, adding that their property would be destroyed and they left without house or home; that when <like the fable when> the wolves came, the shepherd ran from the flock, and left the sheep to be devoured. To which Joseph replied, “if my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself”.
Joseph said to “what shall I do?” replied, “you are the oldest and ought to know best; and as you make your bed I will lay with you”. Joseph then turned to who was talking with , and said, “brother , you are the oldest, what shall we do?” said, “let us go back and give ourselves up, and see the thing out.” After studying a few moments Joseph said, “if [HC 6:549] you go back I shall go with you, but we shall be butchered”. said, “no, no; let us go back, and put our trust in God, and we shall not be harmed; the Lord is in it; if we live or have to die we will be reconciled to our fate”. (.)
After a short pause Joseph told to request Captain to have his boat ready by half past five o’clock, to cross them over the . (.)
Joseph and then wrote the following letter:
“Bank of the River ,
Sunday, June 23rd, 1844. 2 P. M.
“His Excellency ,
I wrote you a long communication at 12 last night expressive of my views of your ’s communication of yesterday. I thought your letter rather severe, but one of my friends has just come to me with an explanation from the Captain of your posse, which softened the subject matter of your communication, and gives us greater assurances of protection, and that your has succeeded in bringing in subjection the spirits [p. 148]
Hosea Stout, "Nauvoo Legion History," 23 June 1844, Nauvoo, IL, Legion Records, CHL.
Stout, Hosea. History of the Nauvoo Legion, Draft 1, ca. 1844–1845. Nauvoo Legion Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430, fd. 10. One of three drafts of the history; includes material dated 4 February 1841 through 22 June 1844. Pages are out of order; in the current order, this draft includes pp. –, –.