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 13> to [HC 6:370] relinquish our rights in ; we have been forcibly driven from our homes, leaving our property and inheritances as spoil to the oppressor; and more or less in , we have been subject to the whims and chimeras of illiberal men, and to threats, to vexatious prosecutions and law suits.
“Our government profess to have no power to help us or to redress the wrongs which we have suffered, and we now ask the government to protect us while raising our volunteers; and when we get into we will protect ourselves, and all others who wish our protection. And after subduing a new country, encountering all its difficulties and hardships, and sustaining the just claims of our nation to its soil, we believe that the generosity of our government towards us will be equal to our enterprize and patriotism; and <that> they will allow us a grant or territory of land, which will be both honorable in them, and satisfactory to us. This, he says, is all very just and reasonable. But still, he thinks that Congress will take no step in relation to , from the fact that his resolution requesting the President of the to give notice to the British government for the abolition of the treaty of joint occupation, was voted down; and while that treaty is in force, our government dare do nothing in relation to that country. This resolution was introduced by to pave the way for the passage of those bills in relation to a territorial government in .
“All our members join in the acknowledgement that you now have an undoubted right to go to with all the emigrants you can raise. They say the existing laws protect you as much as law can protect you; and should Congress pass an additional law it would not prevent wicked men from shooting you down as they did in . All the men in Congress would be glad we would go to that country and settle it.
“I will now give you my opinion in relation to this matter; it is made up from the spirit of the times in a hasty manner; nevertheless I think time will prove it to be correct:— That Congress will pass no act in relation to or at present. She is afraid of , afraid of , and afraid the Presidential election will be twisted by it. The Members all appear like unskilful players at checkuers— afraid to move; for they see not which way to move advantageously. All are figuring and playing round the grand and important questions. In the days of our Lord the people neglected the weightier matters of the law, but tithed mint, rue, annis, and cummin; but I think here in they do little else than tithe the mint.
“A Member of Congress is in no enviable situation; if he will boldly advocate true principles, he loses his influence and becomes unpopular; [HC 6:371] and whoever is committed, and has lost his influence, has no power to benefit his constituents; so they all go to figuring and playing round the great points. said that Mr. Smith could not constitutionally be constituted a member of the army by law; and this, if nothing else, would prevent its passage. I observed that I would in that case strike out that clause. Perhaps I took an unwarrantable responsibility upon myself; but where I get into a strait place, I can do <no> better than act according to what appears most correct.
“I do not intend the opinion that I have hastily given shall abate my zeal to drive the matter through, but I have given the opinion for your benefit, that your indulgence of the hope that Congress will do something for us may not cause you to delay any important action. [p. 24]