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.
<June 12> on the opposite shore, and far away in the distance, blue along the Western horizon, the retreating, undulating hills of — all these objects are spread out like a map before the eye, at a coup doeil, from the walls of the ; and the scene is as grand as it is beautiful.”
<13> Thursday 13 At nine A. M. presided in Municipal Court which sat in the . Present, , , , , and , Associate Justices. , , , , , , , , , , , , , and were arrested on the complaint of before , J. P. of [HC 6:460] , by , a constable of . They petitioned for and obtained a writ of Habeas Corpus. I sat as Chief Justice, , , , and , as Associate Justices.
Addison Everett and James Jackson gave their testimony under oath, when they were all honorably discharged from the accusations and arrest, the Court deciding that said pay the costs; whereupon execution was issued for the amount.
Evening, I attended meeting in the ; preached, <and I made some observations afterwards, and related a dream which I had * -[see margin]-> <had a short time since. I thought I was riding out in my carriage, and my guardian angel was along with me; we went past the , and had not gone much further before we espied two large snakes so fast locked together that neither of them had any power. I enquired of my guide what I was to understand by that; he answered “those snakes represent and — they are your enemies, and <desire to> destroy you, but you see they are so fast locked together that they have no power of themselves to hurt you”. I then thought I was riding up Mullholland Street, but my guardian angel was not along with me. On arriving at the Prairie I was overtaken and seized by & and others saying “Ah, Ah! we have got you at last, we will secure you and put you in a safe place”; and without any ceremony, dragged me out of my carriage, tied my hands behind me, and threw me into a deep dry pit, where I remained in a perfectly helpless condition, and <they> went away. While strugging to get out I heard screaming for help hard by; I managed to unloose myself so as to make a spring, when I caught hold of some grass which grew at the edge of the pit; [HC 6:461] I looked out of the pit and saw at a little distance attacked by ferocious wild beasts and heard him cry out “Oh brother Joseph, come and save me”. I replied “I cannot for you have put me into this deep pit”. On looking out another way I saw with outstretched tongue, blue in the face; and the green poison forced out of his mouth caused by the coiling of a large snake round his body; it had also grabbed him by the arm a little above the elbow ready to devour him. He cried out in the intensity of his agony “Oh brother Joseph, brother Joseph come and save me or I die”. I also replied to him “I cannot — I would willingly, but you have tied me and put me in this pit and I am powerless to help you or to liberate myself”. In a short time after my guide came and said aloud “Joseph, Joseph! what are you doing there? I replied “my enemies fell upon me, bound me, and threw me in”. He then took me by the hand, drew me out of the pit, set me free, and we went away rejoicing. >
Two of the brethren arrived this evening from , and said that about 300 mobbers were assembled there, with the avowed intention of coming against . Also that Hamilton was paying a dollar per bushel for corn to feed their animals.
The following was published in the Warsaw Signal Office; I insert it as a specimen of the unparalelled corruption and diabolical falsehood <of> which the human race has become capable in this generation:—
“At a mass meeting of the Citizens of , convened at on the 13th day of June, 1844, Mr Knox was appointed President, John Doty and Lewis F Evans, Vice Presidents, and William Y. Head, Secretary.
“Henry Stephens, Esq. presented the following resolutions passed at a meeting of the Citizens of , and urged the adoption of them as the sense of this meeting: [HC 6:462]
“Preamble and Resolutions.
“Whereas, information has reached us, about which there can be no question, that the authorities of did recently pass an Ordinance declaring a Printing Press and Newspaper published by the opponents of the prophet, a Nuisance, and in pursuance thereof, did direct the of the , and his adherents, to enter by force the building from whence the paper was issued, and violently (if necessary) to take possession of the press and printing materials, and thereafter to burn and destroy the same. And whereas, in pursuance of said ordinance, the and his adherents, together with a mob of Mormons, did after sun set on the evening of the 10th inst., violently enter said building in a tumultuous manner, burn and destroy the press and other material found on the premises.
“And whereas, did in presence of the City Council, and the citizens of , offer a reward for the destruction of the printing press and materials of the Warsaw Signal,— a newspaper also opposed to his interest.
“And whereas the liberty of the press is one of the cardinal principles of our Government, firmly guaranteed by the several Constitutions of the States, as [p. 94]