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 26> spoke up and said “I shouldn’t wonder if there is some damned Mormon hearing all we have to say,’ another who stood next to , replied, ‘if I knew there was I would run him through with my bayonet’. In a few minutes went to another crowd of soldiers, and heard one say ‘I guess this will be the last of Old Joe’, from there went to where Governor was standing by the Fence side, and heard another soldier tell ‘the Soldiers are determined to see Jo Smith dead before they leave here.’ replied ‘if you know <of> any such thing, keep it to yourself’’. I<n> a short time started for his own home, staid all night and arrived in on the twenty seventh of June, when [HC 6:586] was making his notorious speech to the Citizens. And further this saith not.
“Subscribed and sworn to before me this twelfth day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifty five.
Recorder, Great Salt Lake County”
“On the 26th day of June A. D. 1844 near the in the City of , I fell in company with Col. Enoch C. March and Geo. T. M. Davis Esq., from , Ills; Editor of the Telegraph, who had just arrived from , where they said they had been for some days in company with and others, in Council upon the subject of the arrest and trial of Joseph and who were then prisoners in the County Jail in . After considerable conversation between myself and them on the subject of the Mormon Religion, and the reasons why I had embraced that faith, and renounced my former religious discipline, viz, that of the Methodists; Mr March asked me what I thought of Joe Smith, and if I had any hopes of his return to in safety? I answered that I knew Joseph Smith was a true prophet of the living God, as good and virtuous a man as ever lived upon the earth; that the Book of Mormon was true as holy writ and was brought forth precisely in the way and manner it purported to be, by the Gift and power of the Lord Almighty, and from no other source and that the Revelations. he had received and published were eternal truth, and heaven and earth would pass away before one jot or tittle of the same should fail, and all that he pretended and testified to concerning the ministration of Holy Angels from the Heavens to him, the Urim and Thummim, the voice of God, his correspondence with the Heavens,— was the truth and nothing but the truth; and that in relation to his return I had no doubt but that he would be honorably discharged upon his trial by the Court, and would be preserved in safety from the power of his enemies— that he was in the hands of his God whom he loved and faithfully served, and he who held the destinies of nations in his own hands would deliver him from his enemies as he had done hundreds of times before
“Col March. Replied. ‘Mr [Jonathan] Wright you are mistaken and I know it, you do not know what I know; I tell you they will kill Joe Smith before he leaves and I know it, and you never will see him alive [HC 6:587] again.’ Said I, ‘Enoch, I do not believe it, he is in the hands of God, and God will deliver him.’ Says he ‘I know better, when you hear of him again, you will hear he is dead, and I know it, and I will tell you why I know it. The people at wanted permission from the to kill you all and burn up your , and , [p. 165]