History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

Addenda, Note 16 • 19–20 June 1834

<Note 16> of their men was killed by lightning, and that another had his hand torn off by his horse  drawing his hand through <between> the door, <logs of a corn crib> while he was holding him on the inside, and they  declared “that if that was the way, God fought for the God damd Mormons, they might as  well go home about their business.”
Friday 20th. This morning I counselled the brethren to discharge all their fire arms, when  it was found we had near six hundred shots, very few of which missed fire, which shows  how very careful the brethren had been in taking care of their arms during the storm—

Addenda, Note 17 • 25 June 1834

<Note 17.> he was buried by Jesse Smith, George A. Smith, and two or three others, and while burying him  Jesse Smith was attacked with the Cholera see page 506+

Addenda, Note 18 • 26–28 June 1834

<Note 18> among the most active of those who were engaged in taking care of the sick at the Camp,  burying the dead <&c> were John D. Parker, John Tanner, Nathan Tanner, Joseph <B> Nobles [Noble], Brigham  Young, Joseph Young, Heber C. Kimball, Luke Johnson and Eleazer Miller.
I sent Hiram Page with instructions to bring Jesse <J. Smith> and George A. Smith to me at all hazards  to the west part of the Country, having had intimations that they were sick— he found  that Jesse had been severely racked with the Cholera all day— George A Smith had taken  care of him for upwards of thirty hours— Dr. [Frederick G.] Williams decided that the cholera had left him  and would recover if not moved— on the morning of the 28th. George A. Smith was attacked  and was immediately mounted on a hard riding horse, rode 15 miles and came to me—

Addenda, Note 19 • 3 July 1834

<Note 19> I authorized General Lyman Wight to give a discharge to every man of the Camp, who  had proved himself faithful, certifying that fact, and giving him leave to return home.

Addenda, Note 20 • 5 May 1834

<Note 20> This night being in the town of Streetsborough 27 miles from Kirtland, we staid in Mr. Ford’s  Barn, where uncle John Smith and Brigham Young had been preaching &c three months before.  This day brothers Brigham Young and Joseph Young went to Israel Barlow’s, about three  quarters of a mile, and tarried over night, brother Barlow returned with them in the  morning and joined the Camp; here let it be remarked that brother Brigham Young  took <had taken> the families of Solomon Angel[l], and Lorenzo Booth, into his house, that they might  accompany us to Missouri. see page 477#

Addenda, Note 21 • 6–7 June 1834

<Note 21> On the <and at> night of the 6th we encamped in a yard in Maple Grove, near the creek.  the men who had previously followed us, passed us several times during the day, and  were in search for <of> us this evening— the guards heard them say “they have turned  in one <a>side, dam ’em we cannot find ’em”— Elder<s> <Seth Johnson & A[lmon] W.> Babbitt who had  been sent to Bowling Green Branch to gather recruits, returned to the Camp on  the morning of the 7th. with a <small> company of Fifteen— two waggons, and several  spare horses. see page 488# [p. 16 [addenda]]
This document, volume A-1, is the first of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. Volume A-1 encompasses the period from JS’s birth in 1805 to 30 August 1834, just after the return of the Camp of Israel (later known as Zion’s Camp) from Missouri to Kirtland, Ohio. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
In April 1838 JS renewed his effort to draft a “history” with the aid of his counselor Sidney Rigdon. George W. Robinson served as scribe. JS’s journal for late April and early May 1838 notes six days on which JS, Rigdon, and Robinson were engaged in “writing history.” Though not completed and no longer extant, that draft laid the foundation for what became a six-volume manuscript eventually published as the “History of Joseph Smith,” and at least a portion of its contents are assumed to have been included in the manuscript presented here.
On 11 June 1839 in Commerce, Illinois, JS once again began dictating his “history.” James Mulholland now served as scribe. Apparently the narrative commenced where the earlier 1838 draft left off. When work was interrupted in July 1839, Mulholland inscribed the draft material, including at least some of Robinson’s earlier material, into a large record book already containing the text of an incomplete history previously produced over a span of two years, 1834–1836. For the new history, Mulholland simply turned the ledger over and began at the back of the book. The volume was later labeled A-1 on its spine, identifying it as the first of multiple volumes of the manuscript history.
Prior to his untimely death on 3 November 1839, Mulholland recorded the first fifty-nine pages in the volume. Subsequently, his successor, Robert B. Thompson, contributed about sixteen more pages before his death in August 1841. William W. Phelps then added a little over seventy-five pages. However, it was not until Willard Richards was appointed JS’s “private secretary and historian” that substantial progress was made on the compilation of the history. Richards would contribute the remainder of the text inscribed in the 553-page first volume. The narrative recorded in A-1 was completed in August 1843. Thomas Bullock and Charles Wandell subsequently added sixteen pages of “Addenda” material, which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated. For instance, several of the addenda expanded on the account of the Camp of Israel as initially recorded.
JS dictated or supplied information for much of A-1, and he personally corrected the first forty-two pages before his death. As planned, his historian-scribes maintained the first-person, chronological narrative format initially established in the volume. When various third-person accounts were drawn upon, they were generally converted to the first person, as if JS was directly relating the account. After JS’s death, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.
Beginning in March 1842 the church’s Nauvoo periodical, the Times and Seasons, began publishing the narrative as the “History of Joseph Smith.” At the time of JS’s death only the history through December 1831 had been published. When the final issue of the Times and Seasons, dated 15 February 1846 appeared, the account had been carried forward through August 1834—the end of the material recorded in A-1. The “History of Joseph Smith” was also published in England in the church periodical the Millennial Star beginning in June 1842. Once a press was established in Utah and the Deseret News began publication, the “History of Joseph Smith” once more appeared in print in serialized form. Beginning with the November 1851 issue, the narrative picked up where the Times and Seasons had left off over five years earlier.
Aside from the material dictated or supplied by JS prior to his murder, the texts for A-1 and for the history’s subsequent volumes were drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. The narrative in A-1 provides JS’s personal account of the foundational events of his life as a prophet and the early progress of the church. It also encompasses contentions and disputations that erupted between the Latter-day Saints and their neighbors in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri. While it remains difficult to distinguish JS’s own contributions from composition of his historian-scribes, the narrative trenchantly captures the poignancy and intensity of his life while offering an enlightening account of the birth of the church he labored to establish.