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.
<5> Wednesday 5 I went to the Prairie to show some land, and returned home towards night.
At 8 P. M., I walked out with ; the lightning in the north was most beautiful. About 10 a shower of rain passed over with continual distant thunder; there has not been any rain for some days back. Thermometer stoood at 94½o in the shade. Very warm.
I received a book entitled “The book of denominations”, and wrote the following acknowledgement:—
“, Illinois, June 5th., 1844
‘He pasa Ek-klesia’ &c, together with your note, has safely reached me; and I feel very thankful for so valuable a treasure. The design, the propriety, the wisdom of letting every sect tell its own story; and the elegant manner in which the work appears, have filled my breast with encomiums upon it, wishing you God Speed. Although all is not gold that shines, any more than every religious creed is sanctioned with the so eternally sure word of prophesy, satisfying all doubt with ‘Thus saith the Lord’, yet, ‘by proving contrarieties truth is made manifest’, and a wise man can search out the ‘old paths’, wherein righteous men held communion with Jehovah, and were exalted through obedience.
“I shall be pleased to furnish further information at a proper time, and render you such further service as the work, and vast extension of our church, may demand for the benefit of truth, virtue, and holiness.
“Your work will be suitably noticed in our papers for your benefit.
<6> Thursday 6. About 9 A. M., I ordered my carriage for a ride, but it stood at the door till near noon, while I read my letter to to many strangers in the [HC 6:428] bar room; among whom was one who advocated the claims of for the Presidency. I argued with him a long time to show the subject in its true light, and that no man could honestly vote for a man like , who had violated his oath, and not acted on constitutional principles.
About half past 12, came and said that felt very bad, and he thought there was a chance for his return, if he could be reinstated in his office in the Legion &c &c; and that had all the affidavits of the Anti-Mormons under his control. I told that if would return, withdraw all the suits he had commenced &c, and do right, he should be restored.
I rode out in the carriage with several persons for an hour or two. At 7 P. M., a heavy shower of rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and another shower at 9 P. M.
I issued the following caution to the public:—
“Having once notified the Public against receiving a certain currency, called ‘Kirtland Safety Society’, I again caution all persons against receiving, or [p. 70]