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> right there. I gave up my berth to the ladies, and I felt indignant at such conduct; his conduct towards the lady passengers was unbecoming, and particularly in one who professes so much virtue as he does now.’
‘I have seen , go into rooms with females, but what their intentions were I did not know. I might have seen him two or three times; I think he has done that which is not right. I should judge from conversations with him that that was the case; <I presume he has a good many times;> I might recollect twenty times; he has frequently told me things of that kind. It is a private case to be sure. He has told me that he had commenced an action against Joseph Smith for slander. I met today; I asked him about the fuss, when he said he had got Mr. Smith up for slander; he said he should not come here, but did not say why. I recollect the time that he was sick, when attended him; I went to see him nearly every day. I understood to say that he was prosecuting Mr. Smith for slander, and that he was up before the Municipal Court. He told me he supposed I was wanted to prove that he was a thief, whoremaster, and everything else.’
‘I have several times had conversations with ; I recollect that near two years ago there was a fuss about ’s spiritual wife system before the High Council. I recollect a French woman coming up from , and that had medical assistance x x x x x x x x attended him. Joseph Smith administered unto him, but it was irksome; assented that it was so; he did not contradict it; he promised to reform— he would do better— he would do so no more.’
‘I think it is near two years since that I had a conversation with ; he expressed himself indignant at some things; he expressed himself that he was sorry; he would live a new life— he never would say a word against President Joseph Smith; he had an inclination to write that what he had published was false. I exhorted him to go and recall what he had said. I afterwards saw him in , when he promised by every thing sacred that he would come home, reform, and then go and publish this doctrine, for it was true. He said he had taken a course that was wrong towards President Smith, and was sorry for it. He said he would study at , for his character was ruined here. When we were in , I went over to , and exhorted him to alter his conduct. The last time I conversed with him, he said, “if I had taken your counsel, I should now have been a man looked on with respect”; he said he was not connected with the people that opposed President Smith and never would; he much regretted the course he had taken.
‘The statement I made out against I have proved to be facts, and therefore it is not slander. I have testified boldly, and have brought witnesses to prove him to be an adulterer, and a vicious man. I did not do it until he began to use his <evil> influence against me. If I had been to blame, and he had got the least chance, he would have been here; he knows I am here, and all know that they have nothing against me. I have proved all that I ever testified; the Court would be bound to discharge me on account of having proved it. There are very few lawyers who know the great principle of the Habeas Corpus Act; ask a lawyer, and he does not know but that he has got to go to some Judge. The U. S. District Judge () has been one of the Supreme Judges of the ; his decision is that it should [p. 14]