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 8> and security of helpless women and innocent children. The executives of and have had loud and fair warning, by the meetings in , and , of the dreadful scheme of arson and assassination that is going on to exterminate the Mormons; and if they permit the monstrous crime of the sacking of a city, the murder of men in cold blood, and the sacrifice of women and children to the demoniac fury of an inflamed mob, they will not, they cannot be held guiltless.
“There are other means by which the course of the Mormons, if unlawful or destructive of the rights of others, can be restrained and punished, but even if there be no immediate legal redress, are murder, rapine, desolation, the brand of civil war hurled among those who should be friends and neighbors— are these a suitable substitute for a little time and patience? Let the citizens of look to their votes when next they approach the ballot box, and examine well for whom and for what principles they are cast, and they can restore the Government of their to hands that will remove their grievances and reassure them in their rights much more speedily than they can rebuild one log hut sacrificed to brutal war, or atone for the blood of a single human victim.”
“Elder , Presiding Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ in , and the Saints in the British Empire;
Beloved Brethren,— As our beloved brother Elder <James> Parsons is about to leave for , we embrace this, as the first opportunity, to communicate to you one of the most signal events which has ever transpired in the history of the church. It has been declared by all the former Prophets and Apostles, that God had reserved unto himself a peculiar people for the last days, who would not only be zealous in good works, but who should be purified as gold in the furnace seven times, and who would have to endure through faith and patience in all long suffering, in meekness, forbearance, love, and every God-like virtue unto the end as good soldiers, and meet all the scorn, scoff, and derision, and chiding, buffeting and persecution a wicked world could heap upon them, [HC 7:171] and even death itself, not counting their lives dear unto themselves, that they might obtain their inheritance in that kingdom of their heavenly Father, which Jesus their elder brother had gone to prepare for them.
“It is in this period of time that we are permitted to live. It is at the dawning of that day of days in which our Heavenly Father is about to usher in that glorious period when times and seasons shall be changed and earth renewed; when after rumors and commotions, turmoils, strife, confusion, blood and slaughter, the sword shall be beaten into ploughshares, and peace and truth triumphantly prevail o’er all the footstool of Jehovah. The day of these events has dawned, although to human view a cloud has o’er spread the horizon.
“You are acquainted with the general history of the Church to which we belong; from our lips and pens you have learned its rise and [p. 257]