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 27> After he fell into the room he was hit by two more balls, one of them injuring his left wrist considerably, and the other entering at the side of the bone, just below the left knee. He rolled under the bed, which was at the right of the window in the South east corner of the room. While he lay under the bed he was fired at several times from the stairway; one ball struck him on the left hip which tore the flesh in a shocking manner, and large quantities of blood were scattered upon the wall and floor.
When fell, Joseph exclaimed, “Oh dear! brother ,” and opening the door a few inches he discharged his six shooter in the stairway (as stated before) two or three barrels of which missed fire. Joseph, seeing there was no safety in the room, and probably thinking that it would save the lives of his brethren in the room if he could escape, turned calmly from the door, dropped his pistol on the floor, and sprang into the window, when two balls pierced him from the door, and one entered his right breast from without, and he fell outward into the hands of his murderers exclaiming “O Lord my God”!! [HC 6:618] He fell partly on his right shoulder and back, his neck and head reaching the ground a little before his feet, and he rolled instantly on his face. From this position he was taken by a man who was barefoot and bareheaded, and having on no coat, his pants rolled up above his knees, and his shirt sleeves above his elbows. He set Joseph against the south side of the well curb, which was situated a few feet from the jail, when Col. ordered four men to shoot him; they stood about eight feet from the curb, and fired simultaneously. A slight cringe of the body was all the indication of pain visible when the balls struck him, and he fell on his face
The ruffian who set him against the well curb now gathered a bowie knife for the purpose of severing his head from his body. He raised the knife, and was in the attitude of striking, when a light, so sudden and powerful, burst from the heavens upon the bloody scene (passing its vivid chain between Joseph and his murderers) that they were struck with terror. This light, in its appearance and potency, baffles all powers of description. The arm of the ruffian that held the knife fell powerless; the muskets of the four who fired fell to the ground, and they all stood like marble statues, not having the power to move a single limb of their bodies.
The retreat of the mob was as hurried and disorderly as it possibly could have been. hallooed to some who had just commenced their retreat to come back and help to carry off the four men who fired, and who were still paralysed; they came and carried them away by main strength to the baggage wagons, when they fled towards .
’ escape was miraculous, he being a very large man, and in the midst of a shower of balls, yet he stood unscatheed, with the exception of a ball which took away the tip end of the lower part of his left ear; which fulfilled literally a prophecy which Joseph made over a year previously, that the time would come that the balls would fly around him like hail, and he should see his friends fall on the right and on the left, but that there should not be a hole in his garment.
The following is copied from the Times and Seasons:— [p. 183]