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.
<July 3> the conspirators. If they are culpable at all it is <for> not using their influence against the act, and for not communicating to me information which would have enabled me to prevent it. The intention of the people must to some extent have been whispered about and understood, and ought to have been communicated to me as commander in chief.
“Under these circumstances I am in but a poor situation to use influence with the Mormons to procure their removal. Your own people have destroyed whatever influence I might otherwise have possessed in that quarter to serve you. Your own conduct has placed me in a painfully suspicious attitude; and I have no hopes that I could now have a more persuasive influence with the Mormons than I had with the perpetrators of the horrid deed which I sought to prevent. Under the circumstances I cannot ask the Mormons to confide in me.
“It must appear to them that they have been betrayed by somebody, and they do not know by whom.
“If you mean to request me to exercise a forcible influence to expel them from the ; I answer you now as I have uniformly done, that the law is my guide, and that I know of no law authorising their expulsion. From this determination I have not swerved for an instant from the beginning until this time. I see nothing now requiring any deviation, and besides if I were ever so much determined to drive them out I believe such is the abhorrence against the base deed which some of you have committed, that I could not obtain voluntary aid from the people. I suppose <that> you are aware that a call for volunteers is the only mode in which a force can be raised, and the force when raised must be provisioned by voluntary contribution.
“You had better not make too loud a call upon your fellow citizens; you may want their aid for defence; and may yet be glad to receive aid for defence rather than aggression. I know the apprehensions which you entertain of Mormon violence: I will not now say whether your fears are well or ill founded. A little time will develope what may be expected. Taking the law for my guide, I can assure you, that although some [HC 7:161] of you have treated me badly, in thwarting my policy and violating my honor, and have acted basely towards defenceless prisoners, yet you are entitled to, and are assured of all the force of the to prevent or avenge illegal violence towards any of you. An inquiry must be made concerning the murderers; they must for the honor and credit of the be dealt with according to law.
“You ask a small force to be stationed in your as a protection against small parties. You have not probably duly considered how large a force would be necessary for this purpose. A small force could protect but a few points of attack, and must necessarily leave the residue of the exposed. A large force cannot be stationed there permanently. Your best protection is the assurance that upon the first aggression or well defined threats an overpowering force is ready to march directly for the scene of action.
“I am informed that a design is still entertained at of attacking . In this you will not be sustained by myself or the people: [p. 251]