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 24> When the fact of the order for the State Arms was known in , many of the brethren looked upon it as another preparation for a massacre; nevertheless, as Joseph requested that it should be complied with, they very unwillingly gave up the arms.
About 6 P. M., when all the State arms were collected, and the company were ready to start, and Quarter Master General Buckmaster made a short speech, expressing their gratitude at the peaceable conduct of the citizens of , and that while they thus conducted themselves, they would protect them.
It appears feared that the Nauvoo Legion although disbanded, might avenge any outrage that might hereafter be committed on the persons of their leaders, and so thought he had better disarm them as he had previously disbanded them; yet the mob was suffered to retain their portion of the State arms, even when within a half day’s march of , and they in a threatening and hostile attitude, while the Nauvoo Legion had not [HC 6:557] evinced the least disposition whatever, except to defend their city in case it should be attacked; and they had not set a foot outside the limits of the corporation.
Joseph rode down home twice to bid his family farewell. He appeared solemn and thoughtful, and expressed himself to several individuals that he expected to be murdered. There appeared no alternative but that he must either give himself up, or the inhabitants of the would be massacred by a lawless mob, under the sanction of the .
The Company (about 15) then started again for , and when opposite to the , Joseph said “Boys, if I don’t come back, take care of yourselves; I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.” When they passed his he took a good look at it, and after they had passed it, he turned round several times to look again, at which some of the company made remarks, when Joseph said, “If some of you had got such a farm, and knew you would not see it any more, you would want to take a good look at it for the last time.” When they got to the edge of the woods near , they met returning from . He reported to what he had heard in , told him what his feelings were, and said “brother , you are now clear, and if it was my duty to counsel you I would say, do not go another foot, for they say they will kill you if you go to ”; but as other persons gathered round nothing further was said. About this time Joseph received the following letter:
“ 5 o’clock P. M.
“Genl. Joseph Smith. Dear Sir,
In accordance with previous arrangement with Elder Adams I am here at your service; and it will be necessary for us to have on the examination here before the justice a certified copy of the City Ordinance for the destruction of the Expositor Press, or a Copy [HC 6:558] which has been published by authority— We also wish the original order issued by you to the for the destruction of said press, and such witnesses as may be necessary to show by whom the press was destroyed, and that the act was not done in a riotous or tumultuous manner.