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 4> “That your affiant would further state that this company before mentioned were painted black: that the guns of the guard at the jail were loaded with blank cartridges; that this was an arrangement entered into by the Carthage Greys as said the messenger who came to meet said company in the morning:
“That your said affiant saw Joseph Smith leap from the window of the jail, and that one of the company picked him up and placed him against the well curb, and several shot him, exclaiming ‘Shoot him! Damn him! Shoot him,’ and further your affiant saith not” [HC 7:163]
The following anonymous letter was written:—
“For the Democrat.
, Iowa July 4, 1844
Sir, On this birthday of our common country I am admonished [HC 7:164] by surrounding circumatances, that something must be done by the friends of liberty, and that speedily too, or the star spangled banner of the American Eagle must soon cease to wave its golden pinions o’er the heads of freemen.
“I was aroused to these reflections by the statements of Messrs and in the Nauvoo Neighbor Extra, of Sunday June 30th 1844, 3 p. m., also of the Neighbor, of yesterday. Mr is a gentleman of high legal attainments, of Madison, in our , possessed of a character for truth and veracity— not to be impeached. Mr is an attorney, of , in this Territory, of the same character and standing: His word may be relied on, and as these gentlemen were in the midst of the circumstances which led to the horrid butchery of Generals Joseph and at on the 27th ult., and as they, like myself, are no Mormons & live in a neighboring territory, I hope the citizens of these will give their statements of this horrid affair that confidence and calm deliberation which the case solemnly demands.
“If the free born sons of american liberty can be incarcerated in prison for some supposed or real crime without the privilege of an investigation and be murdered by a ruthless mob in that defenceless state, in open daylight, and in the presence of the authorities of the land too, where, I ask in the name of freemen, where is our freedom? Where is our security for all the blessings for which our fathers fought and bled? Who will ere long dare lay his head upon his pillow in his own habitation and say, I am safe, if the strong walls of a prison are not sufficient to guarantee safety to citizens of this republic, what may we soon expect who live in unwalled houses? I ask in the name of humanity, are not American liberties on the verge of a mighty precipice, just ready to plunge into the whirlpool of utter dissolution.
“Perhaps it may be said the Mormons are to blame; and supposing they are, does this warrant death and destruction to be hurled at them without judge or jury? The riots at and other places have been sufficiently alarming, but the recent tragedy at mocks all parallel— history has no equal. The page of time till June 27th. 1844 has been [p. 253]