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.
<June 26> would have stated that we wanted to use intimidation, therefore we thought it the most judicious to avail ourselves of the protection of the law.
“. I see, I see.
“Joseph Smith. Furthermore, in relation to the press, you say that you differ from me in opinion; be it so, the thing after all is only a legal difficulty and the courts I should judge competent to decide on that matter. If our act was illegal we are willing to meet it and although I cannot see the distinction that you draw about the acts of the City Council, and what difference it could have made in point of fact, law or justice, between the City Council’s acting together or separate, or how much more legal it would have been for the Municipal Court, who were a part of the City Council, to act separate, instead of with the Councilors. Yet if it is deemed that we did a wrong, in destroying that press, we refuse not to pay for it, we are desirous to fulfil the law in every particular, and are responsible for our acts. You say that the parties ought to have had a hearing. Had it been a civil suit, this of course, would have been proper, but there was a flagrant violation of every principle of right; a nuisance; and it was abated on the same principle that any nuisance, stench or putrified carcase would have been removed. Our first step therefore was to stop the foul noisome, filthy sheet, and then the next, in our opinion, would have been to have prosecuted the man for a breach of public decency. And furthermore, again let me say, , I shall look to you for our protection. I believe you are talking of going to ; if you go, , I wish to go along. I refuse not to answer any law, but I do not consider myself safe here.
“. I am in hopes that you will be acquitted, but if I go, I will certainly take you along; I do not however apprehend danger. I think you are perfectly safe, either here or anywhere else. I cannot however interfere with the law. I am placed in peculiar circumstances, and seem to be blamed by all parties.
“Joseph Smith. , I ask nothing but what is legal, I have a right to expect protection, at least from you, for independent of law, you have pledged your faith, and that of the for my protection, and I wish to go to .
<Page 162.> “. And you shall have. protection, Gen. Smith. I did not make this promise without consulting my officers, who all pledged their honor to its fulfilment. I do not know that I shall go tomorrow to , but if I do, I will take you along”
<Page 285> On hearing of the death of the Prophet and , Elders , , , , Ira Miles and were together in . Elder counselled the Elders to return home. They accordingly started for ; the roads were muddy, the waters high, and many of the bridges gone. As they approached [p. 8 [addenda]]