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.
<Page 68> A Conference was held at Kalamazoo, Michigan. Present , of the Twelve; , , and of the High Council also 5 High priests, 8 Seventies, 14 Elders, 2 Priests and 1 Deacon. Elder presided. Seven branches were represented containing 126 members, 15 elders, 4 priests, 1 teacher and 2 deacons. Two Elders were ordained; also one Priest and one Teacher -[page 68]-
A Conference was held at Alquina, Fayette Co. Indiana. Elder , Presided. 5 High Priests, 2 Seventies, and 4 Elders present. -[page 68]-
<Page 73>. A Conference was held at Pleasant Valley, Michigan. Present of the Twelve, and . Elder , Presided: Six branches were represented, comprising 89 members, 5 elders, 2 priests, 4 teachers, and 5 deacons. -[page 73]-
<Page 101> A Conference was held at Franklin, Michigan. Present of the Twelve and . Elder Presided. Nine branches were represented comprising 170 members, 8 Elders, 5 Priests, 5 Teachers, and 3 Deacons. There were ordained 1. High Priest, 9 Elders, 2 Priests and 1 Deacon, under the hands of Elders , and . -[page 101]-
<Page 146> <*> my conversation with His . During the conversation the expressed a desire that Joseph Smith and all parties concerned in passing or executing the law in relation to the press, had better come to , that however repugnant it might be to our feelings, he thought it would have a tendency to allay public excitement and prove to the people what we professed, that we wished to be governed by law. We represented to him the course we had taken in relation to this matter, our willingness to go before another magistrate, other than the municipal court; the illegal refusal of our request by the , our dismissal by the Municipal Court, a legally constituted tribunal, our subsequent trial before at the instance of (the circuit judge) and our dismissal by him. That we had fulfilled the law in every particular; that it was our enemies who were breaking the law and, having murderous designs, were only making use of this as a pretext to get us into their power. The stated that the people viewed it differently and that notwithstanding our opinions, he would recommend that the people should be satisfied. We then remarked to him, that should Joseph Smith comply with his request, it would be extremely unsafe, in the present excited state of the country to come without an armed force; that we had a sufficiency of men and were competent to defend ourselves; but that there might be danger of collision, should our forces and that of our enemies be brought in such close proximity. He strenuously advised us not to bring any arms, and pledged his faith as , and the faith of the , that we should be protected, and that he would guarantee our perfect safety.
“At the termination of our interview, and previous to our withdrawal; after a long conversation and the perusal of the documents which we had brought, the informed us that he would prepare a written communication for General Joseph Smith, which he desired us to wait [p. 1 [addenda]]