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 13> the Mormons to , and free from debt and disgrace!’ Ah! sir, let this doctrine go to and fro throughout the whole earth, that we, as said, Know your cause is just, but the government can do nothing for you because it has no power; ‘you must go to , and get justice from the Indians!’
“I mourn for the depravity of the world, I despise the hypocrisy of christendom, I hate the imbecility of American statesmen, I detest the shrinkage of candidates for office from pledges and responsibility; I long for a day of righteousness, when ‘he whose right it is to reign shall judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth’, and I pray God who hath given our fathers a promise of a perfect government in the last days, to purify the hearts of the people and hasten the welcome day.
“With the highest consideration for virtue and unadulterated freedom,
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Hon. , , Ky.”
I instructed to take charge of the books of the “Maid of Iowa”, and to go on board as clerk.
<14> Tuesday, 14. Rode out about 7 A.M. The “Maid of Iowa” started for at 8.30 A.M. This afternoon, Mr. Reid [John Reed], my old lawyer, gave a lecture on the , relating the history of some of my first persecutions. I spoke after he closed, and continued my history to the present time, relating some of the doings of the apostates in .
At 4 P.M., prayer meeting— few present. Prayed for ’s daughter who was sick. Elder was present.
<15> Wednesday 15 At home— much rain through the day— rising rapidly. Mr. Adams, son of , with , called to see me at the . At 5 P.M. went to my , and heard my letter to read. At 7 P.M., rode to the upper landing with Mr.Adams.
I insert the following from the Times and Seasons:—
“We take pleasure in announcing to the saints abroad that continues to flourish, and the little one has become a thousand. Quite a number of splendid houses are being erected, and the is rapidly progressing, insomuch that there is one universal expectation, that before next winter closes in upon us the top-stone will have been raised, and the building inclosed.
“The saints continue to flock together from all parts of this wide-spread continent, and from the islands of the sea. Three ships’ com[HC 6:377]panies have arrived this spring from , and are now rejoicing in the truths of the everlasting gospel. The prophet is in good health and spirits, and unwearied in his anxiety and labors to instruct the saints in the things of God, and the mysteries of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we may truly say that those who came to scoff remain to pray. Many have come here filled with prejudice and strange anticipations, but have been convinced that report is false with her thousand tongues, and have almost invariably left a testimony behind them. Instead of finding Mr. Smith the cunning, crafty, and illiterate character that he has been represented to be, they have found in him the gentleman and scholar; frank, open, generous, and brave. But it is his immediate connexions and associates alone that can appreciate his virtues and his talents. While his face is set as a flint against iniquity from every quarter,—— the cries of the oppressed ever reach his heart, and his hand is ever ready to alleviate the sufferings of the needy.
“A few artless villains can always be found who are watching for his downfall or death; but the Lord has generally caused them to fall into their own pit, and no weapon [p. 33]