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 28> Friday 28th. 1 A. M. The said the matter should be investigated, and that there was a great responsibility resting upon him. He also said he would send a messenger with an express for , and wrote an order for the citizens of to defend themselves. He then went to the public square, and advised all who were present to disperse, as he expected the Mormons would be so exasperated that they would come and burn the , whereupon the Citizens of fled in all directions, and the and his posse fled towards , and did not consider themselves safe until they had reached Augusta, 18 miles distant from .
At daybreak eat breakfast.
Capt. Singleton, of Brown County, arrived from with his troops [HC 6:625]
About 8 A. M. started for with the bodies of Joseph and on two wagons, accompanied by their brother , , and a guard of eight soldiers who had been detached for that purpose by . The bodies were covered with bushes to keep them from the hot sun. They were met by a great assemblage of the citizens of on Mullholland Street, about a mile east of the , about 3 P. M., under the direction of the .
The City Council, the Lieutenant General’s Staff, Major General and staff, the acting Brigadier General and Staff, commanders and officers of the Legion, and several thousands of the citizens were there amid the most solemn lamentations and wailings that ever ascended into the ears of the Lord of Hosts, to be avenged of their enemies.
When the procession arrived, the bodies were both taken into the ; the scene there cannot be described.
About 8 or 10,000 persons were addressed by Dr , Esquires and of , and Col. ; admonished the people to keep the peace, stating that he had pledged his honor and his life for their good conduct, when the people with one united voice resolved to trust to the law for a remedy of such a high handed assassination; and when that failed, to call upon God to avenge them of their wrongs.
O! Americans weep, for the glory of freedom has departed.
When the bodies of Joseph and arrived at the the doors were closed immediately, the people were told to go quietly home, and the bodies would be exhibited the next morning at 8 A. M. [HC 6:626] with the assistance of and washed the bodies from head to foot, Joseph was shot in the right breast, also under the heart, in the lower part of his bowels on the right side, and on the big wrinkle on the back part of the right hip. One ball had come out at the right shoulder blade: he put cotton soaked in camphor, into each wound, and laid the bodies out with fine plain drawers and shirts, <white neckerchiefs> white cotton stockings and white shrouds. (Gilbert Goldsmith was doorkeeper at the time.) After this was done, (who was at the time pregnant) was then permitted to view the bodies. On first seeing the corpse of her husband she screamed and fell, but was supported by . She then fell upon his face and kissed him, calling him by name, and begged of him to speak to her once— the scene was too affecting almost [p. 188]