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 25.> and wreak his vengeance, and gratify his revenge for his awful disappointments.” [HC 6:407]
A two days’ Conference was held in , New York, at 10 A. M.; present 300 saints, 150 of whom had embraced the gospel since last autumn. 9 Branches were represented, containing 289 Members, 16 Elders, 8 Priests, and 1 Teacher. An immense concourse of people assembled to hear the elders preach. Elder was President, and , clerk.
A three days’ Conference was held at Dresden, Weakly County, Tennessee. Elder A[braham] O. Smoot was chosen President, and D. P. Raney, secretary. A large congregation assembled, but the proceedings were interrupted by a mob, headed by some of the leading men of the county; yet a candidate for elector was appointed by my friends.
<26> Sunday 26 At 10 A. M., I preached at the ; the following <synopsis> was reported by Mr. , clerk of the steamer “Maid of Iowa”:—
President Joseph Smith read the 11th Ch. 2nd. Corinthians. “My object is to let you know that I am right here on the spot where I intend to stay. I, like Paul, have been in perils, and oftener than any one in this generation; as Paul boasted, I have suffered more than Paul did. I should be like a fish out of water if I were out of persecution; perhaps my brethren think it requires all this to keep me humble. The Lord has constituted me so curiously that I glory in persecution; I am not near so humble as if I was not persecuted. If oppression will make a wise man mad, much more a fool. If they want a beardless boy to whip all the world, I will get on the top of a mountain, and crow like a rooster; I shall always beat them. When facts are proved, truth and innocence will prevail at last. My enemies are no philosophers; they think that when they have my spoke under, they will keep me down; but for the fools, I will hold on and fly over them.
“God is in the ‘still small voice’; in all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil— all corruption. Come on ye prosecutors, ye false swearers; all hell boil over; ye burning mountains roll down your lava; for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had; I am the only man that ever has been able to keep a whole church together since the days [HC 6:408] of Adam; a large majority of the whole have stood by me: neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as me; the followers of Jesus ran away from him; the latter day saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl; when they can get rid of me the devil will also go. For the last three years I have a record of all my acts and proceedings; for I have kept several good, faithful, and efficient clerks in constant employ; they have accompanied me everywhere, and carefully kept my history, and they have written down what I have done, where I have been, and what I have said; therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions, and my enemies cannot prove anything against me. They have got wonderful things in the land of Ham. I think the grand jury have strained at a gnat and swallowed the camel. A man named Simpson says I made an affidavit against him &c. Mr.Simpson says I arrested him; I never arrested Mr. Simpson in my life. He says I made an affidavit against him; I never made an affidavit against him in my life. I will prove it in Court. I will tell you how it was: last winter I got ready with my children to go to the to kill hogs; was going to drive. An englishman came in and wanted a private conversation with me; I told him I did not want any private conversations; ‘I demand one of you’! [p. 58]