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.
<August 1> damned Mormons for they were stopped by a damned snow storm.
“After they had got some distance on their journey the company divided into three parts, the three brethren named fell in company with ; their provisions gave out, and after spending several days without food, except eating lynne buds and slippery elm bark. They camped upon a small stream, and the company, numbering eight, held a council, and appointed , president, that they might receive the word of the Lord in relation to the situation of Joseph the Prophet and those that were with him, also in relation to their families, and what they were to do to obtain food: they all knelt down in a circle and each one prayed, then the spirit of the Lord came upon , and being filled with the Holy Ghost, he arose and said:—
“’Thus saith the Lord, my servant Joseph is not injured, nor any of his brethren that are with him, but they will all be delivered out of the hands of their enemies; your families are all well, but anxious about you. Let your hearts be comforted, for I the Lord will provide food for you on the morrow.’ They went to bed with glad hearts, and arose in the morning and prayed again, and went out two by two to hunt for food. Bro. Clapp saw several squirrels and shot at them, but could not hit them; they were only to stay one hour: at the end of the time they all returned except and . Feeling very faint, one of the brethren proposed killing a horse. Bro Clapp said that when Brothers and returned they would have food, as he never knew the Lord to give a false revelation to his servants, and while conversing upon the matter, the brethren made their appearance with two silk handkerchiefs tied up full of bread and dried meat. ’s mind was led in a certain direction, and following it, they came to an Indian camp; they made known to the Indians by signs, that they were hungry, upon this the squaw with all <possible> speed baked them some cakes and gave each of them two, sending two to each of the six brethren in camp, giving them to understand that she would be glad to send more but she had but little flour, and her Papooses (children) would be hungry. When they arrived in camp all felt to rejoice, they formed a circle around the food, and asked a blessing upon it: the bread was very good, being shortened with Raccoon’s oil. After eating they started upon their journey and obtained food sufficient so that none perished.
“ arrived in , and was there to assist his and [HC 7:220] over the on their arrival, and hired a house for them, into which he also assisted four other families of the Saints, and, according to the word of the Lord unto him, his brothers, Joseph and were delivered, and they arrived in in April 1839.
“He moved up to with his brethren, and from thence, in company with , he moved on to a farm <which he rented> near , McDonough Co., where he spent the season farming. Elders and called upon them as they went on their missions to and held a meeting with the Saints in that place (Oct. 11. 1839). preached, and was followed by ; who enjoyed much of the Holy Spirit [p. 291]