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.
<May 12> silvery hairs will glory in bloom and beauty; no man can describe it to you— no man can write it. When did I ever teach any thing wrong from this ? When was I ever confounded? I want to triumph in Israel before I depart hence and am no more seen. I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught; must I then be thrown away as a thing of naught? I enjoin for your consideration, add to your faith virtue, love &c. I say in the name of the Lord, if these things are in you, you shall be [HC 6:366] fruitful. I testify that no man has power to reveal it but myself— things in heaven, in earth, and hell; and all shut your mouths for the future. I commend you all to God, that you may inherit all things; and may God add his blessing. Amen.”
My brother and Elder also addressed the saints.
My brother received an anonymous letter supposed to have been written by , threatening his life and calling upon him to make his peace with God, for he would soon have to die.
At 3 P. M., I attended prayer meeting in the Council room; and were present; the room was full, and we all prayed for deliverance from our enemies, and exaltation to such offices as will enable the servants of God to execute righteousness in the earth.
I copy the following form the Times and Seasons:
“For the Neighbor.
“Before taking my farewell of your beautiful and growing , I avail myself of a few leisure moments in expressing some of my views and conclusions of the prophet Joe and the Mormons. In the first place allow me to say that the Mormons as a people have been most woefully misrepresented and abused, and in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred by persons who know nothing of their principles and doctrines. Before visiting this place my mind was very much prejudiced against the Mormons from reports which I had listened to in traveling through the different states; and I presume if I had never taken occasion to inform myself of their religion and views, my mind would <have> still remained in the same condition. There is not a city within my knowledge that can boast of a more enterprising and industrious people than can ; her citizens are enlightened and possess many advantages in the arts and sciences of the day, which other cities (of longer standing) cannot boast: in a word bids fair to soon out rival any city in the West.
“General Smith is a man who understands the political history of his country, as well as the religious history of the world, as perfectly as any politician or religionist I have ever met with. He advances ideas, which, if carried into [p. 21]