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> every thing waste about ; they therefore carried it to who was sick with the ague and fever, bout 2½ miles North of ; he was afraid to go on the main road, and after two hours persuasion Mr Benjamin Leyland consented to pilot by “a blind road”, and about midnight they started and arrived in a little after sunrise; they found the News had arrived before them for about a dozen men were chatting about it at the , not knowing what to believe until handed in the <above> official letter. [HC 6:622]
In the meantime the was making to the Saints in , one of the most infamous and insulting speeches that ever fell from the lips of an Executive; among other things he said,
“a great crime has been done by destroying the Expositor press and placing the under martial law, and a severe atonement must be made, so prepare your minds for the emergency. Another cause of excitement is the fact of your having so many fire arms; the public are afraid that you are going to use them against government. I know there is a great prejudice against you on account of your peculiar religion, but you ought to be praying saints, not military Saints, not military Saints. Depend upon it, a little more misbehavior from the citizens, and the torch which is now already lighted will be applied, the may be reduced to ashes and extermination would inevitably follow; and it gave one great pain to think that there was danger of so many innocent women and children being exterminated. If anything of a serious character should befal the lives or poperty of the persons who are prosecuting your leaders, you will be held responsible”
The was solicited to stay until morning, but he declined and left at about 6½ P. M.; and in passing up Main Street his escort performed the sword exercise, giving all the passes, guards, cuts and thrusts, taking up the entire width of [HC 6:623] the street, and making as imposing a show as they could, until they passed ’s store near the ; this was apparently done to intimidate the people, as the had remarked in his speech, that they need not expect to set themselves up against such “well disciplined troops.”
Soon after Capt. Singleton and his company left for home.
When the and his party had proceeded about three miles <from > they met two messengers ( and ) hastening with the sad news to ; the took them back to with him, <to ’s house 1½ miles east of > and kept them in custody in order to prevent their carrying the News until he and the authorities had removed the County records and public documents, and until most of the inhabitants had left . The then proceeded towards , <when took another horse and rode into with the news that night.>
12 o’clock at night, 27th June,
“To Mrs , and &c,—
The has just arrived; says all things shall be inquired into, and all right measures taken.
“I say to all the citizens of , my brethren, be still, and know that God reigns. Don’t rush out of the city— don’t rush to : stay at home, and be prepared for an attack from Missouri mobbers. The will render every assistance [p. 186]
John S. Fullmer, Preston, England, to George A. Smith, 27 Nov. 1854, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, 1839–1860, CHL; Stephen Markham, Fort Supply, Utah Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, 20 June 1856, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, 1839–1860, CHL; Jones, Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.
Jones, Dan. The Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, 1855. CHL. MS 153.