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 17th.> () asserting that the Mobocracy— the decree, (the woman and babe destroyer) and the expatriating or exterminating feat from , was not only just but that he was clad with proof— with legal justification, and the Mormons merited all and more than they had received of viralence and brutality. If American jurisprudence be on these decisions, and by the men whom democracy sustained, the deeds of valor which again will place them at the head of <our> affairs, the strands are broken, the links have sprung, and the anchor fangs refused to hold; may we now say that in 1844, Joseph Smith the proclaimer of Jefferson Democracy, of Free trade and Sailors rights, and protection of Person and Property, with us stands first to the Baltimore Convention, (and if his want of success in the nomination exists instruct our delegates to say ), and like men stand firm— to a man vi voca speak out— and herald the tidings North, South, East, and West, admitting that
“None but mean spirits dread the face of care,
And none but cowards, life’s afflictions bear;
All dastard spirits sink at distant war,
And tremble as it threatens from afar;
But rich or poor, true minds preserve their weight,
And if exalted or debased are great.”’
“Synopsis of the remarks of Hon. John S. Reid:—
‘I cannot leave this subject and do justice to my own feelings, and the character of Gen. Smith, without giving a short history of the first persecution that came upon him in the counties of and , in the State of , commenced by that class of people calling themselves christians.
‘The first acquaintance I had with Gen. Smith was about the year 1823. He came into my neighborhood, being then about eighteen years of age, and resided there two years; during which time I became intimately acquainted with him. I do know that his character was irreproachable; that he was well known for truth and uprightness; that he moved in the first circles of community, and he was often spoken of as a young man of intelligence and good morals, and possessing a mind susceptible of the highest intellectual attainments.
‘I early discovered that his mind was constantly in search of truth, expressing an anxious desire to know the will of God concerning his children here below, often speaking of those things which professed christians believe in. I have often observed to my best informed friends, [HC 6:392] (those that were free from superstition and bigotry), that I thought Joseph was predestinated by his God from all eternity to be an instrument in the hands of the great dispenser of all good to do a great work; what it was I knew not. After living in that neighborhood about three years, enjoying the good feelings of his acquaintances as a worthy youth, he told his particular friends that he had had a revelation from God to go to the west about eighty miles to his ’s, in which neighborhood he should find hid in the earth an old history, written on golden plates, which would give great light and knowledge concerning the will of God towards his people in this generation, unfolding the destiny of all nations, kindreds, and tongues; he said that he distinctly heard the voice of him that spoke. , one of the father’s of your church, a worthy man, and my intimate friend, went with him. When I reflect upon our former friendship, , and upon the scenes that he has passed through through in consequence of mal-administration, mobocracy, and cruelty, I feel to lift [p. 46]