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 10> bosoms envy, hatred and all ungodliness. This is the true secret of all their barbarous movements against Mormonism— and they supposed by destroying the Smiths they should extinguish their religion, disperse the Mormons, depopulating and desolating . Their folly and wickedness will produce a result exactly the reverse— Mormons will increase an hundred fold, they will if possible be more devoutly attached to their religion; will concentrate more closely together, for self preservation, and their united industry will produce such a city, at , as does not exist west of the mountains.
“From all accounts which have been published here, it does not appear that the slightest resistance was made to the execution of the law, and the inquiry is now made, what was all this clamor, excitement and military parade for? The of the Signal can answer the question, and if he had his deserts, it is probable no more unprincipled and inflammatory addresses to an infuriated mob would ever emanate from his pen. Not that I would wish any violence to him, but he should be tried by the laws of the , and see how far his course renders him accountable for the murders which have been committed.
“Nothing has ever given me greater gratification than the calm, dignified submission to the laws shown at since the death of the Smiths. This forbearance on your part is beyond all praise: let it continue. Give not the shadow of a pretext for another appeal [HC 7:181] to popular fury. The demons are foiled, and let then gnash their teeth in silence over their disappointment.
“The increase of population at can no more be prevented than the can be stopped in its course. Its triumph is inevitable, because the engine by which it is <to be> accomplished is irresistable. What earthly power has ever yet stood before the overpowering energies of a religious creed? But when religion is protected by law, as your religion ought to be, and will soon be, in , then such advances will be made by the Mormons as have never been dreamed by the greatest enthusiast”
The editor of the Neighbor adds:
“Upon this letter, let it be remembered that the writer is not a Mormon or a western man, but a citizen of , loving law, liberty and life.”
From the Tompkins (N. Y.) Democrat, we extract the following:—
“The report that a battle had been fought between the Mormons and anti-Mormons, in which some five hundred were slain, is all a hoax. Such vile statements only serve to give strength to the Prophets views. Indeed, we do not know which has the worst effect on <the> community— the doctrines of Smith, or the ten thousand false rumors constantly put in circulation against him. One thing is certain; his name will survive, when those who grossly misrepresent him have become blanks on the page of the future.” [HC 7:182]