The personal journals of William Clayton poignantly reflect the experiences, concerns, and attitudes of one of the many faithful Latter-day Saints who, though not leaders, were essential to the strength and success of early Mormonism. After 1842, however, Clayton was particularly close to Joseph Smith, and his journals provide some important insight into the life of the founding prophet of the LDS Church. They also shed significant light on the history of the Church in England, in Nauvoo, during the exodus from Nauvoo to the Great Basin, and during part of the early Utah period.
An Intimate Chronicle consists of abridgments of five journals written by William Clayton, the full text of another, and three appendixes. As detailed below, most of the items have been published before, but two appear here for the first time. The editor, George Smith, has written a fine introduction in which he reviews Clayton’s life and accomplishments and adds several miscellaneous facts about Clayton undiscovered by previous writers (including this reviewer). Footnotes provide other important insights into Clayton and his times, and Smith has done a credible job of editing the material available to him. The main value of this publication is that it brings together in one volume significant portions of Clayton’s journals, along with some other writings.