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 26> Such a one I am bound to obey any how. Said he, ‘I want a warrant against the man who stabbed brother Badham’; he said it was a man who boarded at Davis’s; he said it was Mr. Simpson— it answered his description. I said I had no jurisdiction out of the . He said the man must be arrested, or else he will go away. I told him, ‘you must go to Squire , , or .’ Mr. Lytle stepped up and said ‘I am a policeman’. I jumped into my carriage and away I went. When I came back I met . He said, ‘you did wrong in arresting Mr. Simpson’. I told him I did not do it. I went over and sat down, and related the circumstances. He turned round and said, ‘Mr.Smith, I have nothing against you; I am satisfied’. He went and supped with me. He declared in the presence of witnesses that he had nothing against me. I then said ‘I will go over to , and testify what the englishman told me’. I told him not to make out that I believe he is the man, but that I believe he is innocent. I don’t want to swear that he is the man. , , Hatfield, and were present. made one out in due form; and as I sat down in a bustle, the same as I do when one of the clerks brings a deed for [HC 6:409] me to sign, read it. I said ‘I can’t swear to that affidavit; I don’t believe it; tear up that paper’. Mr. Simpson agreed to come before Badham and make it up. I did not swear to it. After a while and others came in; they called me up to testify. I told it all the same as I do here. Mr. Simpson rode up, and asked, ‘do you believe now that I am the man who stabbed Mr. Badham?’ I replied, ‘no sir; I do not now, nor ever did; the magistrate says I did not swear to it’. He considered, and made a public declaration that he was satisfied with me. went before the Grand Jury, and swore that I did not swear to it, when goes and swears that I swore to it, and that he was in the room when he was not in. wanted me to stay and have a conversation. asked for the writ and affidavit; he handed them to who read them, and then threw them into the fire. I said, ‘, you ought not to have burned it, it was my paper’; goes to the Grand Jury and swears he did not burn only one; but I say he burnt both. This is a fair sample of the swearing that is going on against me.
“The last discharge was the 40th, now the 41st, 42nd, 43rd, all through falsehood. Matters of fact are as profitable as the gospel, and which I can prove; you will then know who are liars, and who speak the truth. I want to retain your friendship on holy grounds. Another indictment has been got up against me; it appears a holy prophet has arisen up, and he has testified against me; the reason is he is so holy. The Lord knows I do not care how many churches are in the world; as many as believe me, may; if the doctrine that I preach is true, the tree must be good. I have prophesied things that have come to pass, and can still. Inasmuch as there is a new church, this must be the old, and of course we ought to be set down as orthodox; from henceforth let all the churches now no longer persecute orthodoxy. I never built upon any other man’s ground. I never told the old Catholic that he was a fallen true prophet. God knows then the charges against me are false. I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the gospel before it was reported that I had seven wives. I mean to live and proclaim the truth as long as I can. This new holy prophet () has gone to and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery. This spiritual wifeism! why a man dares not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this. testified before forty policemen, and the assembly room full of witnesses, that he testified under oath, that he [p. 59]