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.> “There is already a government established in to some extent; magistrates have been chosen by the people &c. This on the south of the Columbia; north of that river the Hudson Bay Company occupy. There is some good country in , but a great deal of sandy barren desert. I have seen a gentleman who has been there, and also in .
“The most of the settlers in and are our old enemies the mobocrats of . If, however, the settlement of or be determined upon, the sooner the move is made the better; and I would not advise any delay for the action of our government; for there is such a jealousy of our rising power already, that government will do nothing to favor us. If the saints possess the Kingdom, I think they will have to take it; and the sooner it is done, the more easily it is accomplished.
“Your superior wisdom must determine whether to go to , to , or to remain within these , and send forth the most efficient men to build up Churches, and let them remain for the time being; and in the mean time send some wise men among the Indians, and teach them civilization and religion, to cultivate the soil, to live in peace with one another and with all men. But whatever you do, don’t be deluded with the hope that government will foster us, and thus delay an action which the present perhaps is the most proper time that ever will be.
“ is becoming a popular question; the fever of emigration begins to rage; if the Mormons become the early majority, others will not come; if the Mormons do not become an early majority, the others will not allow us to come.
“ is faithful, useful, and true; he has got the run of matters here very well, and is with me in all my deliberations, visitings &c.
“ goes with us this evening to introduce us to the , and to view the White House. [HC 6:372]
“My heart and hand are with you. May Heaven bless you and me.
As ever I am,
“To the Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”
Also the following letter:—
“, April 26th, 1844.
To day I trouble you with another communication which you will please have the goodness to lay before our Council.
We were last evening introduced to the at the White House by the politeness of , where we spent an hour very agreeably. The is a very plain, homespun, familiar, farmer-like man. He spoke of our troubles in , and regretted that we had met with such treatment; he asked us how we were getting along in . I told him that we were contending with the difficulties of a new country, and laboring under the disadvantageous consequences of being driven from our property and homes in .
“We have this day had a long conversation with . He is ripe for , and the . He said he would resign his seat in Congress if he could command the force that Mr Smith could, and would be on the march to that country in a month.
“I learn that the eyes of many aspiring politicians in this place are [p. 25]