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.
<12> Friday 12. consulted with about calling a meeting of the Presidents of various quorums to appoint a Trustee in Trust in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
A council was held at 3 p. m., but as and considered it premature, the Council was adjourned till Sunday evening the 14th.
Messrs. [Edward] Bedell and Backenstos arrived in , and reported that the had demanded the public arms at , and was refused.
Prest spent the day with the brethren in . [HC 7:183]
We learn from ’s Journal, that in company with Elder and delegates to the convention from , Delaware, and Maryland, he proceeded to Baltimore. He and hearing so many contradictory reports concerning the death of the Prophets, felt very anxious to obtain some correct information, they went into their closets and prayed to the Lord to open the way whereby they might know the truth concerning it. Immediately went to the post office and got letters up to the 24th of June, from his , informing him that Prests Joseph and had delivered themselves up into the hands of their enemies to be tried; upon reading which they were immediately satisfied that the Prophets were massacred.
Elder wrote a letter of exhortation to the Saints; which was published in the Prophet.
Elder wrote a long letter on Mormonism which appeared in the People’s Organ, of .
<14> Sunday 14. Meeting at the : Elder preached.
proposed that the church postpone electing a Trustee until the Twelve returned and called a special Conference.
6 p. m. Several Councilors came to the Council Chamber to investigate the subject of choosing Trustees, but decided to wait until the Twelve arrived.
We extract the following from Prest ’s Journal:— [HC 7:184]
“Friday. 12. We held a meeting in in the evening, preparatory to the conference tomorrow.
“Saturday 13. Had a good time at Conference all day: the brethren were very glad to see us, and the Lord gave us many good things to say to them. I preached to the Saints and showed the organization and establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth; that the death of one or a dozen could not destroy the priesthood, nor hinder the work of the Lord from spreading throughout [p. 266]