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 29> have 2000 copies of your views on the powers and policy of the government printed, and for the Elders to scatter them with the velocity of lightning and the voice of thunder.
“I had nearly forgotten to mention an important occurrence on board of the ‘Louis Phillippe, with a Mr David Guard of Lawrenceburgh Indiana: he is worth from 2 to $300,000; he emigrated to when there were but three log cabins in that place. He gave me his views on politics, which completely corresponded with yours: I then gave him two copies of your ‘Views’. He was highly pleased with them, and pledged his word he would have them published in both the Lawrenceburgh papers, as they were both published under his roof, and if they did not comply with so reasonable a request, they (the Editors) would have to seek shelter elsewhere. He also stated that Joseph Smith was the first man, since the days of [George] Washington and [Thomas] Jefferson, who had been frank and honest enough to give his views to the people before being elected; and said, that he would go his whole length for such a man, and that if you were not elected this time, you would <be> the next: let this be an ensample of numerous other cases, as you know it would be too irksome to write them all, or read them.
“To return to the subject, at ten o’clock this morning (the 27th) we left for with an addition of passengers. On this boat I was called upon to deliver an address showing the utility of the Book of Mormon, and the present situation of the world, which I did, and by this time we had a complete victory over both priests and people. On this boat a large majority of votes were given for yourself for President.
“We arrived at on the 30th at 6 p. m. Here we left President . Bros , and left on the 31st of May at 10 o’clock, from thence by steamer, stage and railway we passed over hills and dales, arriving at on the 2nd of June, preaching to, and thorning every body with politics that came in our way. Thus after a journey of thirteen days we arrived in the great Metropolis of the ; which by the bye, with the exception of the Pennsylvania Avenue, more resembles the Methodist slough of despond than anything like a decent city. At this time, being near the close of the session, it was filled up with demagogues, jack leg lawyers and black leg gamblers, and everything else but intelligence. The Senators and Representatives generally rise at 8 o’clock in the morning, prepare themselves for business about 11 o’clock, commonly return at 3 and 4 in the afternoon. From 6 till 9 is the only time we could do any business whatever, hence we prepared and watched our opportunity, and did all the [HC 7:137] business we could betwixt those hours, for ten days, pleading the cause of the poor and oppressed.
“We have got a petition signed, with our names attached, in behalf of the Church, asking for a remuneration for our losses, and not for our rights, or redress, for they would not receive such a petition from us. It was thought by , , and Major Hughs, that our petition would carry if it was not too late in the session. [p. 233]