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 12> effect would greatly benefit the nation in point of com[HC 6:367]merce and finance; and while he maintains, and philosophically shows, that our country is approaching a fearful crisis, which if not arrested, will end in disgrace to the country, and cause our national banner to hug its mast in disgust and shame, clearly points out the remedy.
“Shall the liberty which our fathers purchased at so dear a price be wrenched from the hands of their children? Shall our national banner, which floated so proudly in the breeze at the declaration of independence, be disgraced and refuse to show its motto? Shall we, as American citizens, fold our arms and look quietly on, while the shackles of slavery are being fastened upon our hands, and while men only seek office for the purpose of exalting themselves into power? I say, shall we still rush blindly on and hasten on our own destruction by placing men in power who neither regard the interests of the people, nor the prayers of the oppressed? Every American citizen will shout at the top of his voice, NO!
“Mr. Smith’s ‘views of the powers and policy of the government’ manifest a republican spirit, and if carried out, would soon place the nation in a prosperous condition, and brighten the prospects of those who now have to toil so incessantly to support the profligate expenditures, and luxurious equipage of the present rulers and representatives of our nation.
“Joseph Smith is a man who is in every way calculated to make a free people happy; he is liberal in his sentiments, and allows every man the free expression of his feeling on all subjects; he is sociable and easy in his manners, is conversant and familiar on all exciting topics, expresses himself freely and plainly, on the different methods of administering the government; while he is not ashamed to let the world know his views, and criticise upon his opinions.
“I am, sir, in no way connected with the Mormon Church, but am disposed to listen to reason in all cases. I have heretofore been a warm advocate of the measures of the Whig party; but considering General Smith’s views and sentiments to be worthy the applause of every citizen of the , and especially the yeomanry of the country, I shall in every instance advocate his principles, and use my utmost influence in his favor.
<13> Monday 13 Heavy thunder showers during the night. At 10 A. M., went to my and conversed with several of the brethren. Sold one hundred acres of land, received $300 in cash, and his note for $1000, and $20 for the . Paid $298, and [HC 6:368] took up a note of , & ’s, given for money they had borrowed for me, and gave $10 to .
At 2 P. M., attended meeting of the General Council at which the following letter from Elder was read:—
“, April 25th. 1844.
I take the liberty to transmit through you to the Council of our Church, the results of my labors thus far. I arrived in this place on the 23rd. inst., by way of , , and .
I found Elder here, having been called home to on account of his wife’s ill health. Elder has been indefatigable in his exertions in prosecuting the business entrusted to his charge. His business has [p. 22]