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> I am in prison.— Myself and Brother were arrested yesterday on charge of treason; without bringing us before the magistrate, last evening we were com[HC 6:590]mitted on a mittimus from Justice Robert F. Smith, stating that we had been before the Magistrate, which is utterly false; but from the appearance of the case at present, we can have no reasonable prospect of any thing but partial decisions of law, and all the prospect we have of justice being done, is to get our case on Habeas Corpus before an impartial judge,— the excitement and prejudice is such in this place, testimony is of little avail.
“Therefore, Sir, I earnestly request your honor to repair to without delay, and make yourself at home at my until the papers can be in readiness for you to bring us on Habeas Corpus. Our Witnesses are all at , and there you can easily investigate the whole matter; and I will be responsible to you for all the trouble and expense” [HC 6:591]
made copies of the orders of Joseph Smith as Major Mayor to Marshal , and as Lieutenant General to Major General .
Joseph remarked, “I have had a good deal of anxiety about my safety since I left , which I never had before when I was under arrest. I could not help those feelings and they have depressed me.”
Most of the forenoon was spent by and Col. in hewing with a penknife, a warped door to get it on the latch; thus preparing to fortify the place against any attack. The prophet, and their friends took turns preaching to the guards, several of whom were relieved before their time was out, because they admitted they were convinced of the innocence of the prisoners. They frequently admitted they had been imposed upon, and more than once it was heard “Let us go home boys, for I will not fight any longer against these men” --
During the day encouraged Joseph to think that the Lord, for his Church’s sake, would redeem <release> him from prison. Joseph replied, “could my brother but be liberated it would not matter so much about me; poor , I am glad he is gone to out of the way; were he to preside he [HC 6:592] would lead the Church to destruction in less than five years.” was busily engaged writing as dictated by the Prophet, and amused him by singing. Joseph related his dream about and ; also his dream about trying to save a steamboat in a storm.
One of the Counsel for the prosecution expressed a wish to , that the prisoners should be brought out of jail for examination on the charge of treason; he was answered that the prisoners had already been committed “until discharged by due course of law”; and therefore the justice and had no further control of the prisoners, and that if the prosecutors wished the prisoners brought out of jail, they might bring them out on a writ of Habeas Corpus., or some other “due course of law”; when we would appear and defend. -[T. & S.]-
12½. Noon. arrived at the Jail.
came with the following letter from :
I was requested by the to order you such protection as circumstances might require. The guard have been acting upon the [p. 168]