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.
<10> Monday 10. I was in the City Council from 10 A. M. to 1.20 P. M., and from 2.20 to 6.30 P. M., investigating the merits of the “Nauvoo Expositor”, and also the conduct of the Laws, Higbees, Fosters, and others, who have formed a conspiracy for the purpose of destroying my life, and scattering the saints, or driving them from the . An ordinance was passed concerning libels. The Council passed an ordinance declaring the Nauvoo Expositor a nuisance, and also issued an order to me to abate the said nuisance. I immediately ordered the to destroy it without delay, and at the same time issued an order to , acting Major General of the Nauvoo Legion to assist the with the Legion if called upon so to do.
About 8 P. M., the returned and reported that he had removed the press, type, printed paper, and fixtures, into the street, and destroyed them. This was done because of the libelous and slanderous character of the paper, its avowed intention being to destroy the municipality, and drive the saints from the . The posse, accompanied by some hundreds of the Citizens, returned with the to the front of the , when I gave them a short address, and told them they had done right; and that not a hair of their heads should be hurt for it; that they had executed the orders which were given me by [HC 6:432] the City Council; that I would never submit to have another libelous publication established in the ; that I did not care how many papers were printed in the if they would print the truth, but would submit to no libels or slanders from them. I then blessed them in the name of the Lord. This speech was loudly greeted by the assembly with three times three cheers. The posse and assembly then dispersed all in good order. and others made some threats.
East wind; very cold and cloudy.
I here insert the “Ordinance concerning libels and for other purposes.[”]
“Whereas the saints in all ages of the world have suffered persecution and death, by wicked and corrupt men under the garb of a more holy appearance of religion; and whereas the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from the moment that its first ‘truth sprang out of the earth’ till now, has been persecuted with death, destruction, and extermination; and whereas men, to fulfill the scriptures, that a man’s enemies are they of his own household, have turned traitors in the church, and combined and leagued with the most corrupt scoundrels and villains that disgrace the earth unhung, for the heaven-daring and damnable purpose of revenge on account of disappointed lust, disappointed projects of speculation, fraud, and unlawful designs to rob and plunder mankind with impunity; and whereas such wicked and corrupt men have greatly facilitated their unlawful designs, horrid intentions, and murderous plans, by polluting, degrading, and converting the blessings and utility of the press, to the sin-smoking and bloodstained ruin of innocent communities, by publishing lies, false statements, coloring the truth, slandering men, women, children, societies, and countries, by polishing the characters of black legs, highwaymen, and murderers, as virtuous; and whereas a horrid, bloody, secret plan, upheld, sanctioned, and largely patronized by men in and out of it, who boast that all they want for the word ‘go’, to exterminate or ruin the Latter Day Saints, is, for them to do ‘one’ unlawful act, and the work shall be done, is now fostered, cherished, and maturing in ; by men too who helped to obtain the very charter [p. 74]