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.
<27> Monday 27 About 8 A. M., I started on horseback with a few friends, went by the , and pursued my course towards , thinking it best for me to meet my enemies before the Circuit Court, and have the indictments against me investigated. After I had passed my on the Prairie, most of the following brethren joined my company, and the remainder soon after my arrival in , viz: , Dr. , , John Hatfield, , Lorenzo Rockwell, , , , , John Y. Greene, Judge <Wm> Richards, , , , , , , , , , and other friends. [HC 6:412] We arrived at Hamilton’s Hotel about noon. overtook us three or four miles from the , and accompanied us to . I had considerable conversation with him, and he appeared to be more mild than previously, and as though he was almost persuaded that he had been influenced to some extent by false reports.
, , and , were in Hamilton’s Hotel when we arrived. Soon after our arrival there, took me into a private room, and told me in a friendly manner that there was a conspiracy against my life. told some of the brethren (with tears in his eyes) that there was evil determined against me; and that there were some persons who were determined I should not go out of alive &c. was seen to reload his pistols, and was heard to swear he would have satisfaction of me and .
I had a short interview with , who treated me with the utmost courtesy; he is a great man, and a gentleman. After dinner (at the second or third table) we retired to our room, when who had been to the Court house, came towards the hotel; some person told him had arrived, when he immediately turned towards the Court House again.
My lawyers, Messrs. Richardson, , and Skinner, used all reasonable exertions to bring forward my trial on the charge of perjury; but the prosecuting party were not ready, one Withers, a material witness, (as they asserted in court) being absent.
My Attorneys frequently called on me to report the state of things in Court, and I was ready to go in at a moment’s warning, being anxious for my trial; but the case was deferred until next term. I was left to give bail to the at his option; he told me I might go home, where he would call and take bail at his own convenience. We immediately called for our horses, and while they [HC 6:413] were being harnessed, came to me and wanted me to stay as a witness in a certain case in which he was employed as attorney; he urged me considerably, but I told him I did not recollect the occurrence he referred to particularly enough to testify in the case, and got him to excuse me. [p. 61]