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).
Esq., who was unwell: on parting he said “, I wish you to cherish my memory and not think me the worst man in the world either: <-[.]-> <When ne>
10 min. to 10. A. M. <whenthey <they>> arrived at Albert G. Fellows’ farm, 4 miles from <west of> , <(No 2. .)> <where they> met with a company of about 60 mounted militia <on seeing which Joseph said “do not be scared brethren, for they cannot do more to you than the mob did to the ancient saints— they can only kill the body”. <The Company made a halt when> Joseph, , and several others went in to Fellows house with> who <, who> presented an order from for all the “State Arms in possession of the The company made a halt <Joseph immediately countersigned the order.> rode <went> up to Joseph on his left side, and said “Bro Joseph, shall I return to and regulate about getting the arms, and get the receipts for them. <-[,]-> Joseph enquired if he was under arrest, or expected to be arrested. He answered “No”; when Joseph directed him to return ahead of the company and make as good a disposition of the arms as he could, and do as well as he could in all things. Joseph then said to the company, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning. I have a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward all men; if they take my life I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry from the ground for vengeance, and it shall yet be said of me ‘he was mur [p. 2]