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 15> formed against him has prospered. One or two disaffected individuals have made an attempt to spread dissention, but it is like a tale that is nearly told, and will soon be forgotten. It was first represented as a monster calculated to spread desolation around, but we are credibly informed by a person who attended their first meeting, that there was much difficulty in raising a committee of seven, for there was some objection to Father [blank]; but as none could be found to fill the vacuum, he constituted one of the seven stars!!
“It will be unnecessary for us to say much about those luminaries of the last days, as they shine forth in their true colors in our columns this week in the trial of President Smith. But to say any thing by way of warning to the brethren abroad would resemble the ‘ocean into tempest tossed, to waft a feather or to drown a fly’. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them; do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?’
“The glad tidings of salvation, and the fulness of the gospel, are fast spreading from city to city and from nation to nation. The little stone will still increase till the Knowledge of God covers the earth, and righteousness and truth extend from pole to pole.”
I copy from the Neighbor:—
“To the friends and voters of .
“Elder , (late representative) wishes to say to the friends and voters [HC 6:378] of , that in consequence of the sickness of his family, now in the hands of a doctor in the city of , he relinquishes the idea of offering himself as a candidate for a seat in the next Legistature of ; but, as a matter of the highest consideration, would recommend his brother as a suitable and capable person to fill that office, and worthy of the people’s confidence and votes.
“We know of no person that would be more qualified to fill his station than Genl. (his brother.) We are not informed whether the will accept of the office or not; if he will, we don’t know of any gentleman in who would be more competent. is a man of sterling integrity, deep penetration, and brilliant talents. He is well versed in politics, and as unchangeable as the everlasting hills. He is a man of probity and virtue, and an unwavering patriot.
“If Gen. will allow his name to be brought forth we go it for him; and we know from the confidence and respect that is entertained of him as a gentleman and a patriot, he will be elected. What say you General?”