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.
I write you this morning briefly to inform you of the facts relative to the removal of the press and fixtures of the ‘Nauvoo Expositor’ as a nuisance.
“The 8th and 10th instant were spent by the city council of , in receiving testimony concerning the character of the Expositor, and the character and design of the prorietors.
“In the investigation it appeared evident to the council that the proprietors were a set of unprincipled, lawless, debauchees, counterfeiters, bogus makers, gamblers, peace disturbers, and that the grand object of said proprietors was to destroy our constitutional rights and chartered privileges; to overthrow all good and wholesome regulations in society; to strengthen themselves against the Municipalitiy; to fortify themselves against the church of which I am a member, and destroy all our religious rights and privileges, by libels, slanders, falsehoods, perjury &c; <and> sticking at no corruption to accomplish their hellish purposes, and that said paper of itself was libelous of the deepest dye, and very [HC 6:466] injurious as a vehicle of defamation;— tending to corrupt the morals, and disturb the peace, tranquility, and happiness of the whole community, and especially that of .
“After a long and patient investigation of the character of the Expositor, and the characters and designs of its proprietors, the constitution, the charter, (see addenda to charter from the charter, sec. 7) and all the best authorities on the Subject. (see Blackstone III, 5. and n. &c &c.).
“The City council decided that it was necessary for the ‘peace, benefit, good order, and regulations’ of said , ‘and for the protection of property’, and for ‘the happiness and prosperity of the citizens of ’, that said Expositor should be removed; and, declaring said Expositor a nuisance, ordered the Mayor to cause them to be removed without delay, which order was committed to the by due process, and by him executed the same day, by removing the paper, press, and fixtures into the streets, and burning the same; all which was done without riot, noise, turmult, or confusion, as has already been proved before the Municipality of the ; and the particulars of the whole transaction may be expected in our next ‘Nauvoo Neighbor.’
“I send you this hasty sketch that your may be aware of the lying reports that are now being circulated by our enemies, that there has been a ‘Mob at ’, and ‘bloodandthunder’, and ‘swearing that two men were killed’, &c &c, as we hear from abroad, are false— false as Satan himself could invent, and that nothing has been transacted here but what has been in perfect accordance with the strictest [p. 97]