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.
“Dear Brother Joseph, and Brother , or whom it may concern,
“This is to forewarn you that you have a snake in the grass— a base traitor and hypocrite in your midst— of whom perhaps you may not be <fully> aware. You may <think> these harsh terms, but I speak from good evidence, and speak the truth. Mr. , brother to Elder , has written a letter from , which is now going the rounds in this neighborhood, and is fraught with the most infamous slander and lies concerning Joseph Smith and others, and which is calculated to imbitter the minds of the people who read or hear of it. It affirms that Joseph Smith is in the habit of drinking, swearing, carousing, dancing all night &c, &c; [HC 6:354] and that he keeps six or seven young females as wives &c; and many other such like insinuations. At the same time he cautions the people to whom he writes, to keep the letter in such a way that a knowledge of its contents may not reach , as he says he is on intimate terms and confidential friendship with the ‘prophet Jo’ and the Mormons, and that he hopes to get into office by their means: this is his own acknowledgement of his own baseness, imposition, and hypocrisy. I have not seen the letter myself, but have carefully examined the testimony of those who have, and I have also seen and witnessed its baneful effects upon the people here.
“Now I say to the saints, let such a man alone severely; shun him as they would the pestilence; be not deceived by a smooth tongue nor flattering words. Neither accept of any excuse nor apology until he boldly contradicts and counteracts his lying words abroad, but rather expose and unmask him in your midst, that he may be known and consequently become powerless, if he is not already so. I am well and expect to be in tomorrow.
“I remain as ever your friend and brother in the love of the truth.
<4> Saturday 4. Rode out on the prarie to sell some land. The stone work for four circular windows finished cutting for the middle story of the . Elder moved into his new brick house.
A Court Martial was detailed as follows:—
“Head Quarters, Nauvoo Legion,
May 4th 1844.
, Sergeant Major, 2nd. Cohort, Nauvoo Legion,
“You are <hereby> forthwith commanded to notify the following named officers of the Nauvoo Legion to assemble at the of Lieut. General Joseph Smith on Friday the 10th inst, at 9 o’clock A. M., as members of a court martial detailed for the trial of , Surgeon in chief, and Brevet Brigadier General of the Nauvoo Legion, on the complaint of Lieut. , for unofficer-like and unbecoming conduct; and hereof fail not and make returns of your proceeding to the President of the Court on the first day of its sitting, viz: