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.
<June 28> to be borne. (’s wife) was also admitted, and manifested calmness and composure throughout the trying scene. The children of the martyred Prophet and were then admitted to see the bodies, when the scene beggared description, being perfectly heart rending. Relatives and particular friends were also permitted to visit them during the evening.
<29> At seven next morning (29th) the bodies were put into the coffins which were covered with black velvet, fastened with brass nails. Over the face of each corpse was a lid hung with brass hinges, under which was a square of glass to protect the face, and the coffin was lined with white cambrie. The coffins were then each put into a rough pine box.
At 8 A. M. The room was thrown open for the Saints to view the bodies of their martyred prophet and patriarch; and it is estimated that over 10,000 persons visited the remains that day, as there was a perfect living stream of people entering in at the west door of the and out at the north door, from 8 A. M. to 5 P. M. at which hour a request was made [HC 6:627] that the should be cleared so that the families could take their farewell look at the remains. The coffins were then taken out of the boxes into the little bedroom in the North east corner of the , and there concealed and the door locked. Bags of sand were then placed in each end of the boxes which were then nailed up, and a mock funeral took place, the boxes being put into a hearse and driven to the grave yard by , and there deposited in a grave with the usual ceremonies. This was done to prevent the enemies of the martyred Prophet and getting possession of the bodies as they had threatened they would do. As the hearse passed the meeting ground accompanied by a few men, was preaching the funeral sermon
About midnight the coffins containing the bodies were taken from the by , , , , , Gilbert Goldsmith, , , and , preceded by as guard, with his musket. They went through the garden, round by the pump, and were conveyed to the which was then built to the first joists of the basement, and buried in the basement story. After the bodies were interred, and the ground smoothed off as it was before, and chips of wood and stone and other rubbish thrown over so as to make it appear like the rest of the ground around the graves, a most terrific shower of rain, accompanied with thunder and lightning occurred and obliterated all traces of the fact that the earth had been newly dug.
The bodies remained in the cellar of the , where they were buried until the fall when they were removed by , , and Gilbert Goldsmith at ’s request to near the and buried side by [HC 6:628] side, and the Bee House then moved and placed over their graves. The deceased children of Joseph were afterwards removed and interred in the same place. It was found at this time that two of ’s teeth had fallen into the inside of his mouth, supposed to have been done by a ball during the martyrdom, but which was not discovered at the time he was laid out, in consequence of his jaws being tied up [p. 189]