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.
<May 8> Joseph Smith; as he had no character he did not care what he did— he had nothing to lose by it. That was the substance of our conversation.’
‘I recollect a settlement of difficulties between and my brother Joseph, about which some of the court may recollect. I recollect asking forgiveness of the Lodge, when there were about sixty present. acknowledged that it was the truth, and that he was sorry, and had been a thousand times; he acknowledged his connexion with the woman on the hill: I did think he was with at the time. The statement of was, that he was guilty— he was sorry and asked forgiveness— he said he had seduced six or seven; he acknowledged it, and said if he was forgiven he would not be guilty any more. said he knew it was true— he was sorry and had been a hundred times. The very things that we had challenged him with he acknowledged. I told that it had better be settled; he said Joseph had accused him, and if his character was gone all was gone; he said he would settle it, and they went into the room. He did not deny any charge; he said he was sorry, that he wanted it buried, and it was agreed to do so. did not say anything about his sickness, but made those observations to him— that he had doctored him in the time of his sickness.’
‘I asked if he did not tell that he had seduced a girl; he replied, “I told that I did seduce her, but I tell you I never did it; I told him so for my own notion of things.” I do not recollect of him saying that he had got a bad disorder with the French girl; he said he should not have been seduced if it had not been by <for> . When charged with them, said they were true— that they were alleged a hundred times; he said, “I will alter— I will save my character.” I have never heard from brother Joseph anything about his character; Joseph did not accuse him of anything before the police— he said had better take care. was a little dissatisfied, but that difference was settled; I was present. He said he would not receive any thing again from abroad— he would not take any steps by hearsay; he would come to him and tell him. There were several present when this took place.’
“ sworn— he recollected the conversation, but not very distinctly; but he did recollect that acknowledged to Joseph Smith that he was guilty of the charges preferred against him.
“Court adjourned for one hour and a half.
‘With regard to this case, I know nothing, but through a circumstance which occurred at . Elder came to my house to preach; he preached and was upholding the authorities of the Church very much; he came over here and apostatized the same day. I then came over and went to see him; I asked him why he had changed his mind so quick; he said he had seen affidavits of the guilt of Mr Smith; he told me was going about to the different conferences. I told him <I thought> he had better send some one else; his conduct was not the best, and I know of circumstances that were not right. Once I was a mate on a Steamboat, and was clerk; we had not much cabin; we had some females on board. I and another had given up our room to some ladies for the night; it was my watch, and I went into the cabin for my Buffalo robe about one o’clock in the night, when I saw him leaning over the berth where one of the ladies slept. This was in the night, and he had no business there; no gentleman had any [p. 13]