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.
<18> Saturday 18. At 9 A. M., I went with to visit President , and afterwards went out to the regimental training; and also in the afternoon riding on “Joe Duncan”. At 5 p. m., two cannons were fired opposite my , and the regiments were dismissed.
The High Council cut off from the church, , , , and , for apostacy.
<19> Sunday 19. Cloudy morning; rain about noon. I remained at home. Elder preached at the in the morning. The usual prayer meeting at 2 p. m was dispensed with on account of the mud and rain. In the evening I talked to the brethren at my , Esquire Reid [John Reed], my old lawyer, being present. read my last letter to to the company.
<20> Monday 20. continues <continued> very sick, and was with her most of the time. At 10 A. M., there was a meeting at the for the purpose of collecting means to enable Elder to go to .
The Circuit court commenced its sitting at , presiding; and many of the brethren went. returned in the evening with the intelligence that [HC 6:398] a summons was supposed to be issued for me to appear on the same case on which I was set free by Habeas Corpus on the 8th inst. The lawyers agreed to move an abatement. A good influence in favor of the saints appears to have prevailed.
A General Court Martial of the Legion was held, Brevet Major <Gen.> presiding. It was adjourned to the 10th June next.
<21> Tuesday 21. A very pleasant morning; I rode out on horseback to the pra[i]rie with and Mr. Reid [John Reed]. At 7 A.M., Elders , , , and about a hundred Elders, left this on the steamer Osprey (Captain Anderson) for . The “Maid of Iowa” arrived at 8 A. M. with sixty-two saints from the eastern States on board, all in good health and spirits; the clerk, reported the fields on each side the were covered with water to the depth of upwards of sixteen feet, and all the farms on the flats of the were submerged, and the was still rising eight inches per day. The “Maid” started up the for Wappelo on the Iowa river at 3 p. m. I was at home towards night with , who is somewhat better. I shovelled dirt out of the ditch, while stood on the corner of the fence to watch; an officer arrived having a summons and an attachment to take me to , but he could not find me. I rode out in the evening to see ’s child who was sick, and returned home at 9 p m.
I copy from the Times and Seasons:—
“Newark, Kendall Co., Ill., May 21st. 1844.
“Editor of the Times and Seasons:
We arrived at Ottawa on the 17th inst, after driving [HC 6:399] four days through constant rains, and over roads almost impassable for man or beast. We were soon informed that the Conference was removed twenty miles up Fox river, at the Newark branch. Notice had been given for a political address to be delivered in the Court House in the evening by one of the Twelve; several hundred citizens assembled, and were addressed by Elder . The speaker considered General Smith the smartest man in the , and best calculated to fill the presidential chair, [p. 50]