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.> upon that country; and that there is so much jealousy between them that they will probably pass no bill in relation to it. Now all these politicians rely upon the arm of our government to protect them there; and if government were to pass an act establishing a territorial government west of the , there would be at once a tremendous rush of emigration; but if government pass no act in relation to it, these men have not stamina or sufficient confidence in themselves and their own resources to hazard the enterprize. The northern whig members are almost to a man against and ; but should the present administration succeed in annexing , then all the whigs would turn round in favor of ; for if be admitted, slavery is extended to the south; then, free states must be added to the west to keep up a balance of power between the slave and the free states.
“Should be admitted war with is looked upon as inevitable. The Senate have been in secret session on the ratification of the treaty of annexation; but what they did we cannot say. General Gaines, who was boarding at the same house with , was secretly [HC 6:373] ordered to repair to the Texan frontier four days ago, and left immediately. I asked if that did not speak loud for annexation. He says, no! Santa Anna being a jealous hot headed pate, might be suspicious the treaty would be ratified by the Senate, and upon mere suspicion might attempt some hostilities, and Gaines has been ordered there to be on the alert and ready for action if necessary. Probably our navy will in a few days be mostly in the Gulf of Mexico.
“There are many powerful checks upon our government, preventing her from moving in any of these important matters; and for aught I know these checks are permitted to prevent our government from extending <her> jurisdiction over that territory which God designs to give <to> his saints. says he would equally as soon go to that country without an act of Congress as with; ‘and that in five years a noble State might be formed, and then if they would not receive us into the Union we would have a government of our own’. He is decidedly of the opinion that Congress will pass no act in favor of any particular man going there; but he says if any man will go, and desires that privilege, and has confidence in his own ability to perform it, he already has the right, and the sooner he is off the better for his scheme. It is the opinion here among politicians, that it will be extremely difficult to have any bill pass in relation to the encouragement of emigration to ; but much more difficult to get a bill passed designating any particular man to go; but all concur in the opinion that we are authorized already.
“In case of a removal to that country, is the place of general rendezvous; our course from thence would be westward through , bearing a little north until we come to the , leaving the State of on the left, thence onward till we come to the Platte, thence up the north fork of the Platte to the mouth of Sweetwater river in longitude 107o 45" w., and thence up said Sweetwater river to the South pass of the about eleven hundred miles from , and from said South pass in latitude 42o 28" north to the Umpqua and Klamet Valleys in bordering on is about 600 miles making the distance from to the best portions of 1700 miles. There is no government established here, and it is so near that when a government shall be established there, it may readily embrace that country likewise. There is much barren country— rocks and mountains— in , but the valleys are very fertile. I am persuaded [p. 26]