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.
<29> Saturday 29. The legion was out all last night, expecting a mob to come.
The following extract is from a letter, addressed to Prest Joseph Smith, from Elders and <and :—> [HC 7:135]
June 19. 1844
“To my well beloved brother, and fellow prisoner, Prest. Joseph Smith,
I take this opportunity of giving you an abridged history of my transactions, together with Bro. my fellow traveller. We left the 21st day of May, amidst the acclamations of three cheers from the Shore ‘Joseph Smith the next President of the .’
“We passed smoot[h]ly down the ; there were 165 passengers on board the boat ‘Osprey’. I was called upon to deliver a political address, and to show what right Joseph Smith had to the Presidential Chair, which I did to the entire satisfaction of nearly all the passengers on board, not forgetting at the same time to show that the other candidates had disqualified themselves to all the right and title, by acts of meanness. Whilst speaking of their mean acts I was frequently interrupted with loud laughing and clapping of hands, by way of approbation. A vote being taken on the Presidential question, Joseph Smith received a large majority over all the other candidates.
“We reached on the 22nd at 10 a. m. Here bros. and called the Church together and instructed them spiritually and politically. We learned that the Church at numbered nearly 700 souls. On the 23rd we left on board the boat ‘Louis Phillippe’ at half past 12 o’clock, with about 200 passengers on board; many of the same that were on the ‘Osprey’, together with many new passengers. There were at first some little prejudices existing, but Prest , being called upon, delivered a discourse upon the principles of our doctrine, which entirely allayed the prejudices. Next evening bro was called upon to deliver an address, which he did in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, and we were ever afterwards looked upon as their superiors.
“On the 26th we reached , at 6 o’clock p. m. Elders and went to visit the Church in that , whilst I changed our luggage on board the boat ‘Neptune’, for . All the passengers on board the ‘Louis Phillippe’ being bound for came with us.
“At 8 a. m. on the 27th we held a conference with the Elders in . I addressed them on the subject of politics, and perseverence in duty, and the great necessity of reform in government. I was followed by brothers and on the same subjects. [HC 7:136] We then instructed them to [p. 232]