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.
<June 10> a private interview; had some conversation with in the hall in presence of several gentlemen on the 7th. inst; offered to meet him and have an interview in presence of friends, three or four to be selected by each party; which agreed to, and went to bring his friends for the interview; and the next notice he had of him was the following letter: [HC 6:436]
‘June 7th, 1844.
‘To Gen. J. Smith,
Sir; I have consulted my friends in relation to your proposals of settlement, and they as well as myself are of the opinion that your conduct and that of your unworthy, unprincipled clan is so base that it would be morally wrong, and detract from the dignity of gentlemen to hold any conference with you; the repeated insults and abuses I as well as my friends have suffered from your unlawful course towards us demands honorable resentment. We are resolved to make this our motto. nothing on our part has been done to provoke your anger, but have done all things as become men; you have trampled upon everything we hold dear and sacred; you have set all law at defiance, and profaned the name of the most high to carry out your damnable purposes; and I have nothing more to fear from you than you have already threatened, and I as well as my friends will stay here, and maintain and magnify the law as long as we stay; and we are resolved never to leave until we sell or exchange our property that we have here. The proposals made by your agent , as well as the threats you sent to intimidate me, I disdain and despise as I do their unhallowed author; the right of my family and my friends demands at my hand a refusal of all your offers. We are united in virtue and truth, and we set hell at defiance, and all her agents. Adieu.
‘Gen. J. Smith.
“Mayor continued:— And when left his house, he went to a shoe shop on the hill and reported that Joseph said to him if he would come back he would give him ’s place in the church, and a hat full of specie.
“ sworn; said that the conversation as stated by the Mayor was correct; was at the June 7th when rode up and inquired if Gen. Smith was at home; went into the house; witness followed. was there, the General, and others, looking at some specimens of penmanship; something was said respecting a conversation at that time between the General and the . Gen. Smith observed to , if he had a conversation he would want others present. The said he would have a word with him by himself, and went into the hall. went to the door that he might see and hear what was passing. They still continued to talk on the subject of a conversation that they might have afterwards with others present, whom Mr Smith might choose. <and might choose.> left, and went for those that he said he wanted pres[HC 6:437]ent, and would return soon with them; thinks he heard all the conversation; heard nothing about Gen. Smiths making any offers to to settle; was present all the time. said he had seen and talked with him.
“Mayor said he wished it distinctly understood that he knew nothing about going to see .
“ said he sent to , and Joseph knew nothing about it.
“Councilor said came to him on the 7th inst, and said he had had an interview with , and thought he was about ready to come back, and a word from him or Joseph would bring it about.
“Mayor said the conduct of such men, and such papers, are calculated to destroy the peace of the ; and it is not safe that such things should exist, on account [p. 77]