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 8> are working the basest corruption; they have lifted up their hands against innocence. You have power to hear the petitioner on his oath; I will show you a precedent. Look at the federal court of this district; the case was made out by affidavit which I swore to before the court.
“The habeascorpus is granted on the testimony of the petitioner; it is the law in Blackstone, that where no other matter is in existence, and the prisoner swears he is innocent, and his character for truth is supported by good testimony, he must be discharged; and he then goes away as free as the proud eagle. If I have the privilege of testimony under oath to the facts that they make slander of, then they cannot do anything with it. Suppose that I am an eye witness to the crime of adultery, or any other crime, and know verily for myself that the man is guilty of adultery, or other crime, and I speak of it, the man may sue me for damages, although I know him to be guilty; but if I swear <to> it in a court he cannot hurt me. If I have the privilege of giving testimony under oath, they can never do anything with me; but if you discharge me on the insufficiency of the writ, they can prosecute me again and again; but if you give me a fair hearing they cannot prosecute me again. I want the oath to go to the world; I must make statements of facts in order to defend myself. I must tell the story in its true light under oath; then I can be for ever set free. May I not have the privilege of being protected by law? The peace of myself, my family, my happiness, and the happiness of this depend upon it.’
“The Court allowed him to proceed with the case.
‘This is a malicious prosecution, and we have averred that it is malicious, and have a right to prove it. There is an insufficiency in the writ; the writ did not show any crime had been committed, and we can show that we are not guilty of any plea in the case. There is no charge or case against us, and the whole matter is corrupt, and malicious, and wicked.’
“Joseph Smith sworn— Said:
‘I must commence when was foaming against me and the Municipal Court in my house. said he was grieved at me, and I was grieved at him. I was willing on my part to settle all difficulties, and he promised if I would go before the City Council and tell them, he would drop everything against me for ever. I have never mentioned the name of disrespectfully from that time to this, but have been entirely silent about him; if any one has said that I have spoken disrespectfully since then, they have lied; and he cannot have any cause whatever. I want to testify to this court of what occurred a long time before left this . I was called on to visit ; I went and found him on a bed on the floor.
“-[Here follows testimony which is too indelicate for the public eye or ear; and we would here remark that so revolting, corrupt, and disgusting has been the conduct of most of this clique, that we feel to dread having anything to do with the publication of their trials. We will not however offend the public eye or ear with a repetition of the foulness of their crimes any more.]-
“ said pointed out the spot where he had seduced a girl, and that he had seduced another. I did not believe it; I felt hurt, and labored with about it; he swore with uplifted hands that he had lied about the matter. I went and told the girl’s parents; when and made affidavits, and both perjured themselves; they swore false about me so as to blind the family. I brought before , and others; was present, when they both acknowledged that they had done these things, and asked us [p. 11]