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 27> At 4½ P. M, we started on our return; but when we had got as far as brother ’s, a heavy shower of rain commenced, and I went into the house, while most of the brethren went into the barn until the shower abated. After the storm had subsided we went forward, and I, , and some others, arrived at home about 9 P. M, and found sick. My carriage, with , arrived a little after; it was upset on the Temple Hill, but no one hurt. I rode on horseback all the way on “Joe Duncan.”
As we left the Tavern in , and passed the Court House, there were many people about in small groups; stood on the green with one or two men some distance off.
While at Hamilton’s, offered some insulting language concerning me to , who resented it nobly as a friend ought to do; seeing it, turned out of doors.
It was afterwards reported to me by James Flack, that , , Wm. H. Rollison, and the Higbees, were on the hill when I passed in the morning; they immediately gathered their pistols, mounted their horses, and were in before me; excepting .
Also Mr. Powers was talking with Mr. Davis, Tailor, about my going to , and said they would attempt to kill Joseph Smith. Mr. Davis replied, “O no, I think not.” Mr. Powers rejoined, “they will by God, and you know it by God”.
Samuel Smith of Montebello, heard at 5 this morn[HC 6:414]ing, that I had been taken prisoner to by a mob; he immediately gathered a company of 25 men for the purpose of assisting me, and arrived at about the time I did. [HC 6:415]
<28> Tuesday 28 At home all day. Rain in the afternoon. The “Maid of Iowa” started for the Iowa river at 11 A. M.
I received a letter from Mr. J. Bronder, dated , May 20th., expressing his strong desires that I should allow my name to stand as candidate for the Presidency of the , urging many reasons for his request.
<29> Wednesday 29 At home. Rain in the morning. , of , Iowa came in, and arrested on a warrant issued by , Judge of the Circuit Court. During our conversation in the afternoon, we learned to our mutual joy that < and I> were of one origin.
Received the following letter:—
“Baltimore, May 9th., 1844.
“Dear Brother Joseph,
From the time of my departure to that of my arrival here on Saturday last, I was blessed with prosperity. The feelings manifested by the passengers on the boat to were quite favorable. At I embarked on board the Steamer ‘Valley Forge’ with about 125 cabin passengers. I gradually introduced myself to those whose faces gave indications of honest hearts and intelligent minds. On Sunday I was invited to give, in a public discourse, the points of difference between the faith of the Latter Day Saints, and other professors of [HC 6:416] the Christian religion. There was a Methodist preacher on board, with whom arrangements were made to follow me, and blow Mormonism to the four winds. Well, I led off in a discourse of an hour and a half. After dinner the Methodists tried to rally their preacher, but he could not be induced to undertake the fulfilment of his engagements. I spent the time in conversing with groups of enquirers, [p. 62]