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 8th.> be as much in the power of the simple magistrate as of the greatest judge; hence Governors and Supreme Judges all know that I am correct. A simple magistrate should have the right; “the right of Habeas Corpus shall not be denied”; it does not say by a governor or judge; who then does it mean? all the authorities. All judges know that it is a fact. If you hold the office of a magistrate, and you are sworn to keep inviolate the Constitution of the , you are sworn to fulfil that part which says that you shall not refuse the privilege of the Habeas Corpus to any one. I have only to open Blackstone, or the Bible, and then I know where powers are. I never said anything about the Higbees, or the Laws, or the Fosters, but what is strictly true. I have been placed in peculiar circumstances.
“The only sin I ever committed was in exercising sympathy, and covering up their iniquities, on their solemn promises to reform; and of this I am [HC 6:360] ashamed, and never will do so again.’
“After hearing the foregoing evidence in support of said petition, it is considered and ordained by the Court: 1st, That the said Joseph Smith Senior, be discharged from the said arrest and imprisonment complained of in said petition, on the illegality of the writ upon which he was arrested, as well as upon the writ of the Case, and that he go hence without day [delay?]. Secondly, ’s character having been so fully shown as infamous, the Court is convinced that this suit was instituted through malice, private pique, and corruption, and ought not to be countenanced; and it is ordained by the Court that said pay the costs.
In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix the seal of said Court at the City of , this 8th day of May, 1844.
I copy the following from the Neighbor of this date:
“Hurrah for the General!! The following which we extract from the St. Louis Organ, shews how the public mind is turning, and what their feelings are in regard to the Prophet, his views, and theirs also in regard to the Presidency.
‘Forbear awhile— we’ll hear a little more. The matter is now settled with , , and ! Let return at once from his political perambulation in the South, abandon his hopes of re-election by aid of the “immediate annexation” of , and let be quiet at Kinderhook that he may watch <the operations of> the “sober second thought” of the people! General Joseph Smith, the acknowledged modern prophet, has got them all in the rear; and from the common mode of testing the success of candidates for the Presidency, to wit— by steamboat elections— he, Smith, will beat all the other aspirants to that office, two to one. We learn from the polls of the steamboat Osprey, on her last trip to this , that the votes stood for