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.
<July 25> the Mormons are all killed; some times they are half killed; some times the blood is shoe deep in ; some times ‘Old Joe’, as they call him, is taken by the mob and carried to ; sometimes he is gone to ; sometimes he has run away; then again he is given up to the authorities &c &c. One might suppose him to be a sectarian God, without body, parts or passions, his center everywhere and his circumference nowhere.
“Since I left I have heard a great many expressions about the Prophet, but the prevailing opinion is, that he is the smartest man in the , and the people are afraid of his smartness. Some will vote for him for the novelty of the thing, and some to see what a prophet will do at the head of government. We had a fine passage on the rivers; preached and lectured all the way round. I lectured at and in . We held political meetings at Shalorsville and . I preached in the first house west of old ’s, where Bros Joseph and were mobbed; I looked at the house a great many times. I left Bros. and in doing well. The Twelve have been faithful in all things. Br. is a great man in his calling in this country. Bro has never been with us before: he is a great, good, noble hearted man. I love my brethren more and more. I want to see you and the rest of the brethren in . Give my best love to Bros Joseph & . I cannot be there to see them but I pray for them continually, and for you and all the brethren in our beloved , and I pray my Heavenly Father to preserve my brethren, my family, and the whole . I pray that we may finish the and get our endowments.
“We had a large congregation in at our convention, though in the evening there were some came in that made some disturbance. This proves that the voice of the people rules— that is the voice of the rabble; one of the watch got some hurt, but all this did us good in . , from , is here with us and is doing much good: he is a faithful witness for Br Joseph and the principles of righteousness.
We have baptised a good many since we left. The gospel is going ahead. All the stories that are going the rounds make no difference, the people will believe the gospel. You might ask what we think about Bro Joseph’s getting the election this year? You know all about it. We shall do all we can and leave the event with God, the God of Heaven will do just as he pleases about it. Bro and many others are here, they are awake to the subject. We are now in the Concert Hall in ; Br is now speaking. We shall attend the conferences in this country, and then leave for the western States to attend the conferences and get home as quick [HC 7:210] as possible. If you are to have a little trouble there we wish to have a hand in <it> with you.
“I wish you would see my family and speak comfortably to them. I hope all will go on well with him. If you get a chance to dispose of our property at a good rate, do so. If my wife can get anything to help her, I should be pleased. Give my love to and all the household, and all the Saints. Bros and will [p. 284]