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 21> Friday 21. About 10 A. M. I rode out with my guard up Main Street, past the ’s quarters, and reviewed the Legion. I returned to Head Quarters about 2½ P. M., having met Col. Elam S. Freeman and Mr. Bartlet, who came as express from the who had arrived at this morning, and they delivered me the following letter:— [HC 6:520]
, June 21st, 1844.
“To the Hon. The Mayor and Common Council of the City of ,
Gentlemen;— Having heard of the excitement in this part of the country, and judging that my presence here might be necessary to preserve the peace and enforce the laws, I arrived at this place this morning. Both before and since my arrival, complaints of a grave character have been made to me of certain proceedings of your honorable body. As Chief Magistrate it is my duty to see that impartial justice shall be done, uninfluenced either by the excitement here or in your . I think before any decisive measure shall be adopted that I ought to hear the allegations and defences of all parties. By adopting this course I have some hope that the evils of war may be averted; and at any rate I will be enabled by it to understand the true merits of the present difficulties; and shape my course with reference to law and justice. For these reasons I have to request that you will send out to me at this place, one or more well informed and discreet persons, who will be capable of laying before me your version of the matter, and of receiving from me such explanations and resolutions as may be determined on.
“Col. Elam S. Freeman will present you this note in the character of a herald from the ; you will respect his character as such, and permit him to pass and repass free from molestation.
“Your messengers are assured of protection in person and property, and will be returned to you in safety.
“I am, Gentlemen with high consideration, most respectfully,
Your obedient Servant,
Governor and Commander in Chief.”
I immediately notified the City Council to meet in session at 4 P. M. About 11 A. M, a rumor was circulated at ’s Head Quarters, that was seen at ’s. He ordered out a posse to arrest him, which went accordingly, but returned without success.
At 4 P. M I met with the City Council when the affidavits of the following persons were read, viz; [HC 6:521] , , John Edmiston, , , William Gardner, John G. Lofton, Allen T. Waite [Wait], James Guymon, Obadiah Bowen, , Hiram B. Mount, John Cunningham, , , , David Evans, , , Thomas G. Wilson, , , , Carlos W. Lyon, and ; when Dr. , Councilor , and Dr. , were appointed by the Council to return with the express to the at , and carry said affidavits with the following letter:—
“, June 21st, 1844.
The affidavits and hand bills herewith connected are submitted for your ’s consideration.
Nauvoo City Council Minute Book / Nauvoo City Council. “A Record of the Proceedings of the City Council of the City of Nauvoo Handcock County, State of Illinois, Commencing A.D. 1841,” ca. 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3435.