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> which surround your to some extent. And I declare again, the only objection I ever had or ever made to <a> trial by my country at any time, was what I have made in my last letter.— on account of assassins, and the reason I have to fear deathly consequences from their hands. But from the explanation, I now offer to come to you at on the morrow, as early as shall be convenient for your posse to escort us in to Head Quarters, provided we can have a fair trial, not be abused, nor have my witnesses abused, and have all things done in due form of law, without partiality, and you may depend on my honor without the show of a great armed force to produce excitement in the minds of the timid. We will meet your posse, if this letter is satisfactory (if not inform me) at or near the Mound at or about two o’clock tomorrow afternoon, which will be as soon as we can get our witnesses, and prepare for trial. We shall expect to take our witnesses with us, and not have to wait a subpoena, or a part at least, so as not to detain the proceedings, although we may want time for counsel.
“We remain most respectfully, Your ’s Humble Servants,
.” [HC 6:550]
Also wrote to Esq.:
“Sunday, , June 23rd, 1844.
Sir:— I have agreed to meet at tomorrow to attend an examination before , and request your attendance, professionally with the best attorney you can bring.
“I meet the ’s Posse on the Mound at 10. A. M.; in at 12 noon. Do not fail me and oblige,
per , Clerk.
“P. S. Dr. I wish as witness &c.”
And also to Dr. as follows:—
“, Sunday, June 23rd, 1844.
Sir:— I would respectfully solicit our attendance at Court in tomorrow at 12 noon as witness in Case ‘State of , on complaint of vs Joseph Smith and others.’ Dear Sir, do not fail me and oblige your old friend,
<by> , Clerk.
“P. S. and co-partner are expected; we meet the ’s Posse on the Mound at 10 A. M.; at at 12 noon; bearer will give particulars.”
About four o’clock P. M., Joseph, , the , and others started back; while walking towards the Joseph fell behind with ; the others shouted to him to come on; Joseph replied, “it is of no use to hurry, for we are going back to be slaughtered”, and continually expressed himself that he would like to get the people once more together, and talk to them tonight. said if that was his wish he would get the people together, and he could talk to them by starlight. (.) [HC 6:551]
It was through the strong persuasions of , , and , who were carrying out ’s instructions, that induced Joseph and to start back to . They recrossed the at half past five; when they arrived <at his > in , Joseph’s family surrounded him and he went to the with them without molestation, and <he> tarried there all night, giving up the idea of preaching to the saints by starlight.
He sent the letter to of this date by Col. . *
<* And Elder , who carried it to , where they arrived about 9 p. m. They gave the letter to , who first agreed to send a posse to escort Gen. Smith in safety to ; immediately afterwards came in and made a very bitter speech to the , in which and joined, telling him naught but lies, which caused to ask if Messengers to him were to be insulted in that manner. The treated them coldly, and recinded his previous promise and refused to send, or allow an escort to go with Joseph, as he said it was an honor not given to any other citizen. He— would not allow the Messengers to stay in through the night, but ordered them to start at 10 o’clock and return to with orders for Gen. Smith to be in by 10 o’clock tomorrow morning without an escort; and he threatened that if Gen. Smith did not give himself up at that time, that would be destroyed, and all the men, women and children that were in it. Messrs. and immediately started, but on account of their horses being wearied they did not arrive in until about 4 a. m. of the 24th. when they went to Gen. Smith to report to him the state of excitement in : he would not hear one word of the warning, as he was determined to go to and give himself up to the .> [HC 6:552]
<About sundown, <Genl.> went to <Capt.> ’s house, near the Lone Trees, and told him that Joseph requested him () to go over to , and procure two horses and some clothing &c, and take them across the river the next night to his house> [p. 149]
Hosea Stout, "Nauvoo Legion History," 23 June 1844, Nauvoo, IL, Legion Records, CHL; Clayton, Journal, 23 June 1844.
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. –, –.