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.
<July 9> must be rebuilt and Zion must be redeemed, the earth be cleansed from blood by fire, Jesus return unto his own, and all who shall continue faithful unto the end shall rest in everlasting peace and blessedness.
“We alone, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, are here at this time to write to you, the remaining ten are in the Eastern States preaching the Gospel, and we expect them soon to return, and as soon as God will we will write you again.
“Proceed onward with all your labors as though nothing had happened, only preach Joseph martyred for his religion, instead of living, and God will pour out his spirit upon you, and hasten his work from this time.
“Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits; believe not every report for every false rumor that men and demons can invent is set afloat to gull the world. What we have told you by letter and papers is true, but time will not permit to tell you every particular now.
“Be humble, prayerful, watchful, and let not the adversary get any [HC 7:174] advantage <of one> of you, and may the choicest blessings of Israel’s God rest upon you and abide with you, that you may endure faithful in all tribulation and affliction, and be prepared to be gathered unto Mount Zion, and enter into celestial glory is the earnest prayer of your brethren in the new and everlasting covenant. Amen.
“P. S. We would have said that while Joseph was on his way to , and on the prairie, he said to his friends around him, ‘I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but my mind is calm as the summer’s morning, I have a conscience void of offence towards God and towards all men’. Joseph also said to his friends ‘I am going voluntarily to give myself up, and it shall be said of me that I was murdered in cold blood.”
Elders and were at when the<y> first heard the rumors of the massacre of the Prophets, but did not believe the accounts were correct.
Elders and were in this morning and heard of the death of the Prophets. recorded he was unwilling to believe it, though it struck him to the heart. They took cars for in the morning where they stayed during the day. In the evening they proceeded to .
Elder was in Portland, Maine, and ready to step on board of a steamer for Fox Islands, when he received the Boston Times, Newspaper, containing an account of the death of the Prophets, he immediately took cars and returned to stopping over night at Scarborough.