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.
“Being a stranger in the City of , but fully acquainted with the facts as stated in Gen. Smith’s letter of June 14th, I assert that they are true in every particular, and that the press in the minds of all unprejudiced people was a nuisance of the worst character, and that the authorities acted perfectly proper in destroying it; and in accomplishing the act there was no noise, tumult, or riot. Furthermore, having remained for a few weeks at Genl. Smith’s , I think it my duty to state that I have seen nothing in his deportment but what is correct in all his domestic relations, being a kind husband and an affectionate father; and all his affairs both domestic and official have not only been free from censure but praiseworthy, and ought to be imitated by every one desirous of good order and peace.
Yours Sir most obediently,
, M. D.”
“Post Office, , Ills. June 14th, 1844.
“His Excellency ,
I address this letter to your by the hand of Mr. L. James, in consequence of the difficulties now existing in this , diffficulties in which I have had no concern, and fearing as I do that in the midst of an excitement so great as I have understood now exists in this — I say understood; for it is by report only that I can speak— there may be attempts made to prejudice your mind to take some measures of a violent character that may seriously affect the citizens of this place, and injure innocent and unoffending persons, which I am satisfied would grieve your , as well as every other thinking and human man. There have for a length of time difficulties existed between a number of the citizens of this place, which kept increasing; one of the parties had recourse to the Warsaw Signal as a medium through which they communicate their difficulties to the world. Those productions were inflamatory to a high degree, and the party thus assailed charged the matter as libelous, and highly abusive; to these exposures, responses Appeared in the papers of this place, charging the matter as being false, and the authors as defamers, and slanderers. Things continued thus until a paper was established in this place called the Nauvoo Expositor. The first number of this paper made its appearance, and it was inflamatory and abusive to an extreme. This [HC 6:469] raised the excitement to a degree beyond control, and threatened serious consequences. At this particular juncture, all the authorities of the feeling a common interest in the peace and quiet of the place, and fearing the worst consequences must follow, if something were not done. The city council met and took the matter into consideration, and after deliberating on the subject, and examining the charter, came to the conclusion to hazard all the consequences of declaring the press a nuisance, and accordingly ordered its removal. The City , in obedience to this order, went and removed the press, and destroyed it. This was done without tumult or disorder; when the press was destroyed, all returned home; and everything has been perfectly quiet ever since. Within the last three days warrants have been issued from a in , calling for the bodies of the persons who destroyed the press. The having the matter in charge refuses the persons a hearing before any other justice of the peace than the one issuing the warrants; with this demand they refuse to comply, as there is a large assembly of persons assembled at making threats of violence; and they say, and I have no doubt verily believe, that by going there, their lives will be in danger, and from the [p. 99]