The “Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account, Draft,” and the “Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account” are the two complete, extant iterations of efforts by later church historians to record the murder of JS and , including the events leading up to their deaths and the immediate aftermath. As stated at the beginning of both accounts, the information was compiled from a number of different sources, including other journals, letters, and various other documents. It was put into a cohesive narrative during the 1850s by Church Historian’s Office clerks , Jonathan Grimshaw, and , presumably under the direction of the church historian, .
was the initial scribe for approximately the first half of “Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account, Draft,” and Grimshaw was the primary scribe for the remainder. Sometimes slips of paper were attached to pages of the draft with additional or alternative text to be included with a specific page. Page 12 of the draft has a notation by Grimshaw indicating that previously drafted text was to be added to the draft; instead of copying the text, he simply inserted a whole leaf into the draft. This leaf, in ’s handwriting, contains various numbered vignettes. It appears to be part of a larger collection of vignettes, as it is paginated “5” and “6,” and is likely the surviving portion of an earlier iteration of the martyrdom account by Thomas Bullock. The remainder of Bullock’s effort is not extant.
“Historian’s Office, Martyrdom Account,” which is a more final copy written primarily by Grimshaw in the mid-1850s, similarly has slips of papers attached. It also includes several leaves that were physically removed from “Martyrdom Account, Draft”; these leaves were renumbered to match the pagination of the copy: pages 7–10 in the draft became pages 11–14 in the more final copy; pages 13–14 became 19–20; most extensively, pages 19–52 became 27–60; and finally, page 57, the last page of the draft, became page 73 in the new version. Although these leaves are cataloged with the more final copy, this website presents the pages both in the draft, as originally paginated, and in the more final copy, with the new pagination. Two additional items were added at the end of the more final copy. A bifolium paginated as “75” and “2” and written on the back of a printed Utah Territory legal form gives an account of the arrival of the bodies of JS and Hyrum Smith in Nauvoo as well as the funeral and burial. It was written by Grimshaw and edited by from information given by . On the final leaf, which is torn and is paginated “76,” Bullock drafted an introduction to a passage from ’s History of Illinois, with instructions to include the passage from Ford’s history in the martyrdom account.
Both the draft and the more final copy were edited by , Grimshaw, and . It is not clear when the edits were made. The more final copy of the account appears to be what was used in 1856 when the final version was copied into the last volume of the Joseph Smith’s multivolume manuscript history (JS History, vol. F-1, 147, 151–204).
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An account of the arrest, imprisonment, and martyrdom of Joseph Smith, and the , in Jail, <Hancock County, Illinois> as collected from the journals kept at the time by Dr. , and the statements published by , Messrs. & , and , and the writings and statements of , , , and many other persons who were personally acquainted with the transactions.
Monday June 24th 1844. <having> swore <sworn> out a writ before Robert F. Smith <> [blank] <a Justice of the Peace> at on the 11th. inst against Joseph Smith, , , , , , <,> , , <,> , , , , <, ,> and , for riot and destroying the Nauvoo Expositor Press <the property of & and others <on the 10th inst>>. <and> having sent word <by the Posse> that those 18 persons should be protected by the militia of the ; and upon the assurance of that pledge at 6½ A. M. they started for ; , , , , James Davis, , and several other brethren, and , Counsel, accompanied them. <--> <When they arrived at the top of the hill, Joseph sent with a horse for Dr. Southwick, a Southern gentleman who had been staying some days at the ; but took <possession of> the horse from him so that he <Dr. S.> could not then go.> <Joseph paused when they got to the , and looked with admiration first on that and then on the and remarked “this is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens, little do they know the trials that await them,”> As Joseph passed out of the , he called on [p. 1]