JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. E-1, created 20 Aug. 1855–5 Apr. 1856; handwriting of Robert L. Campbell, , and Jonathan Grimshaw; 392 pages, plus 11 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the fifth volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This fifth volume covers the period from 1 July 1843 to 30 Apr. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, C-1, D-1, and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
History, 1838–1856, volume E-1, constitutes the fifth 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 July 1843 to 30 April 1844, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in the mid-1850s.
The material recorded in volume E-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin. Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the history and creating a set of draft notes that Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks.
Robert L. Campbell, a recently returned missionary and member of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed ’s notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents (such as letters and meeting minutes). The Church Historian’s Office journal entry for 2 May 1855 pinpoints the beginning of his work: “R. L. C. on Book D forenoon, afternoon began book E.” Campbell’s work on the volume apparently concluded on 5 April 1856; entries in the Historian’s Office journal indicate that he then moved on to other assignments while another clerk, Jonathan Grimshaw, began work on volume F-1, the last manuscript in the series. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 May 1855; 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.)
Volume E-1 contains 391 pages of primary text and 11 pages of addenda. The initial entry on page 1637 is a continuation of the 1 July 1843 entry that closed volume D-1. The final entry in volume E-1 is for 30 April 1844.
The 391 pages of volume E-1 document a crucial period of JS’s life and the history of the church. Important events recorded here include
• An account of JS’s 2 July 1843 meeting with several Pottawatamie chiefs.
• JS’s 4 July 1843 address regarding his recent arrest, the Legion, and Mormon voting practices.
• JS’s 12 July 1843 dictation of a revelation regarding eternal marriage, including the plurality of wives, in the presence of and .
• Dispatch of the first missionaries to the Pacific Islands on 20 September 1843, led by .
• JS’s 1 October 1843 announcement of ’s appointment to a mission to Russia.
• Minutes of a 6–9 October 1843 general conference inserted under the date of 9 October at which pled his case in regard to his 13 August 1843 disfellowshipment and was permitted to continue as counselor in the First Presidency.
• Text of JS’s appeal to the Green Mountain Boys of , inserted under the date of 29 November 1843.
• A 20 January 1844 entry that includes a poem by commemorating the presentation of two copies of the Book of Mormon to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by .
• JS’s nomination on 29 January 1844 as an independent candidate for the presidency of the .
<October 19> upon the brink of one of them, the cars being drawn by horses, the men had left the breakers; the conductor seeing the cars coming and about to run on to the horses, he hollered for the men to break, but finding none at the breakers and the cars approaching the inclined plane, the teamster liberated his horses as soon as possible, and they just escaped being run over, and the conductor sprang to the breaker himself and with great exertion merely saved it from running down the plane, which would have dashed the boat to atoms. I was standing in the cars at the time. I instantly flung my cloak from my shoulders, and prepared myself for leaping out of the cars in case it should start down the plane. In either case it might have killed me, but I knew it was certain death to go down the plane; but through the mercy of God the <cars> were stopped before they began to descend. The whole distance was a constant scene of danger, and I called upon God in my heart to preserve my life. Even while on a level, we were running on the edge of precipices, hundreds of feet deep, down which, if a wheel should break, or run off the track, the cars would surely be plunged; which would make an end of all flesh that was on board. We passed through one tunnel in the mountain, and when we reached the bottom of the inclined planes, I felt thankful to God and felt that we were mostly out of danger, but they put the boat together, and started it on the rail with all on board, without horse or steam, and the railroad being a little descending, it increased in speed, until it ran at a rapid rate, and was still in danger of upsetting. It ran of itself 4 miles, until it came to the canal, where it was to take water, and here again to finish the day with danger, a train of cars was left in our track, and with all the power that could be exerted on the breaks, we barely missed having a smash up at last. We finally got rolled into the water alive, with no bones broken, or lives lost, and for one I had a glad heart. While conversing with the mate in the evening on the subject, he remarked that “we were not sensible of one half of the danger that we were in during the proceedings of that day.” But I was sensible of a good deal at least. We got into the canal about dark, being 36 miles from canal to canal, in crossing the mountains. We travelled all night in the Canal which was one constant scene of locks.”