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.
<24> Friday 24 With my family all day. and , went to to get indicted; but they returned again as the Grand Jury had risen. was at , and had sworn falsely against me.
At 6 P. M, went into ’s room, and had counsel with Brothers and . I ordered a meeting of the City Council for tomorrow, and returned to my family after being absent <about> one hour.
The Central Committee wrote a letter to Esqre.: [HC 6:403]
“, Illinois, May 24th. 1844.
Having received your address through our mutual friend Mr. Edward Doughty, we forward with this per next mail the Nauvoo Neighbor of the 22nd. inst, through which you will learn the doings of a state convention held in this place on the 17th.; and this communication has been drawn forth, in a great degree, through our sympathies for a people who are now being mobbed in this city of brotherly love (), as we have been for many years in ; and for what? for our religion, although called by another name.
The Mormons and the Catholics are the most obnoxious to the sectrian world of any people, and are the only two who have not persecuted each other and others in these , and the only two who have suffered from the cruel hand of mobocracy for their religion under the name of foreigners; and to stay this growing evil, and establish ‘Jeffersonian Democracy, free trade and sailors rights, and protection of person and property’, we have nominated Gen. Joseph Smith for the next President of the nation; a man with whom we are thoroughly acquainted, and have no fear in pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honors, that if elected, he will give and secure these inestimable blessings to every individual and society of men, no matter what their religious faith. Help us to elect this man, and we will help you to secure those privileges which belong to you, and break every yoke.
You will please to consider yourself a member of the corresponding committee with us, agreeably to the resolution of the State Convention, and lay this subject before your people, giving us your views on receipt hereof, and open such correspondence as wisdom shall dictate.
General Smith’s prospects are brightening every day. With sentiments of the highest consideration,
We are your obedient servants,
<Central> Committee of correspondence for the election of Gen. Joseph Smith to the Presidency.”
Corner of 4th. & Masters Street,
Rainy evening. A Conference was held at , , President, and , Clerk; eleven elders were [HC 6:404] present, and a very favorable impression was made upon the minds of the people.