Civic Officers in Caldwell County

The government organized in 1836 as a solution to the state’s “Mormon problem.” Missourians understood that the county was intended for Mormon settlement. Counties in Missouri were primarily governed by the county court, which consisted of three justices. These justices were initially appointed by the governor, but they were up for reelection or replacement every four years. One of the justices was appointed president of the court by his peers. The justices had the power to appoint a treasurer and a clerk/recorder for the court and county, while other county offices, such as assessor, sheriff, and coroner, were elected positions. Because of the lack of contemporaneous records, it is impossible to completely reconstruct the local governments of Caldwell County during the period from February 1838 through August 1839.
Before August 1838 6 August 1838
Court Officers Court Officers
, president , president
, justice , justice
Unidentified justice , justice
, clerk and recorder , clerk and recorder
Unidentified treasurer Unidentified treasurer
Assessors Assessors
Unidentified
 
Coroner
Unidentified
Sheriff
(appointed 1837; elected 6 August 1838)
John Skidmore (appointed before March 1839)
Deputies
(appointed June 1838)
William Allred (appointed 9 September 1838)
 
Rockford Township
Shortly after being organized, was subdivided into four municipal townships: Rockford, Blythe, Grand River, and Davis. Each township could elect up to four justices of the peace and a constable. Rockford Township included , where many 1838 documents were produced.
Justices of the Peace
(resigned by 9 April 1838)
David Frampton (served in 1838)
Harvey Green (served in 1838)
(served in 1838)
(serving as of 10 September 1838)
(elected 2 January 1839)
(elected 2 January 1839)
Constable
(elected spring 1838)
 
Far West
The town of apparently was legally incorporated sometime between April and November 1837. law required that the town government begin with five trustees, initially appointed by the county court but elected thereafter. The trustees had the power to appoint an assessor, a collector, a constable, and other necessary officers. The initial appointments would have occurred in connection with the town’s incorporation. The first election of trustees would have occurred on 2 April 1838. None of the trustees in 1837 or 1838 has been identified.
Trustees
Unidentified
Assessor
Collector
Constable
  1. 1

    LeSueur, “Missouri’s Failed Compromise,” 113–145.  

    LeSueur, Stephen C. “Missouri’s Failed Compromise: The Creation of Caldwell County for the Mormons.” Journal of Mormon History 31, no. 3 (Fall 2005): 113–144.

  2. 2

    An Act to Establish Courts of Record and Prescribe Their Powers and Duties [7 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], pp. 156–157, secs. 11 and 17.  

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  3. 3

    Constitution of the State of Missouri [1820], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 22, art. 4, sec. 23; p. 24, art. 5, sec. 15; An Act to Establish and Regulate County Treasuries [14 Feb. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 150, art. 1, sec. 1; An Act to Provide for Levying, Assessing, and Collecting the Revenue [14 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 531, art. 2, sec. 1.  

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  4. 4

    Lilburn W. Boggs, Certificate of Appointment, Jefferson City, MO, to William W. Phelps, 4 Feb. 1837, William W. Phelps Commissions, CHL; Deed to Samuel F. Whitney, 8 July 1838.  

    Phelps, William W. Commissions, 1837–1838. CHL.

  5. 5

    Parley P. Pratt, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; see also Certificate from Elias Higbee, 9 July 1838; and LeSueur, “Mixing Politics with Religion,” 205.)  

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

    LeSueur, Stephen C. “Mixing Politics with Religion: A Closer Look at Electioneering and Voting in Caldwell and Daviess Counties in 1838.” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 33, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2013): 184–208.

  6. 6

    Certificate from Elias Higbee, 9 July 1838.  

  7. 7

    See LeSueur, “Mixing Politics with Religion,” 205.  

    LeSueur, Stephen C. “Mixing Politics with Religion: A Closer Look at Electioneering and Voting in Caldwell and Daviess Counties in 1838.” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 33, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2013): 184–208.

  8. 8

    Arthur Morrison, Affidavit, Adams Co., IL, 1 Nov. 1839, Mormon Redress Petitions, CHL.  

    Mormon Redress Petitions, 1839–1845. CHL. MS 2703.

  9. 9

    Deed to Samuel F. Whitney, 8 July 1838. As clerk of the circuit court in Caldwell County, Cleminson likewise served as the ex officio county recorder. (An Act concerning Perpetuating Testimony [6 Feb. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 446, sec. 13; Isaac and Lucy Gunn Morley, Deed, Far West, MO, to Charles C. Rich, 9 June 1837, photocopy, CHL.)  

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

    Morley, Isaac, and Lucy Gunn Morley. Deed, Far West, MO, to Charles C. Rich, 9 June 1837. Photocopy. CHL.

  10. 10

    Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [15]; Attachment of Goods, no date, draft, George W. Robinson, Papers, CHL; George W. Pitkin, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; Constitution of the State of Missouri [1820], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 22, art. 4, sec. 23; An Act to Regulate Elections, [20 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 238, sec. 4.  

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.

    Robinson, George W. Papers, 1838. CHL.

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  11. 11

    Writ of Attachment, Caldwell Co., MO, 16 Mar. 1839, George Boosinger v. JS et al. (Mo. 5th Jud. Cir. 1839), photocopy, George Boosinger, Papers, CHL.  

    Boosinger, George. Papers, 1836–1842. CHL. MS 20060

  12. 12

    Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [15].  

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.

  13. 13

    George W. Pitkin, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 1 July 1843, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; JS, Journal, 9 Sept. 1838.  

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

  14. 14

    Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri, 10.  

    An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri. Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys. Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers, 1876.

  15. 15

    An Act to Provide for the Election of Justices of the Peace, and to Prescribe Their Powers and Duties [20 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 344, sec. 1; An Act respecting Constables [17 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 116, sec. 1.  

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  16. 16

    Jackman was no longer serving as justice by 9 April 1838, but it is unclear whether he resigned or was not reelected. (John Cleminson, Receipt to Levi Jackman, 9 Apr. 1838, Levi Jackman, Papers, CHL.)  

    Jackman, Levi, Papers, 1835–1846. CHL. MS 4453.

  17. 17

    David Frampton, Justice of the Peace Docket Entry, 12 July 1838, CHL.  

    Frampton, David. Justice of the Peace Docket Entry, 12 July 1838. CHL.

  18. 18

    Charles C. Rich and Sarah Pea Rich, Deed, Caldwell Co., MO, to Joseph Rich, 1838, CHL.  

    Rich, Charles C., and Sarah Pea Rich. Deed, Caldwell Co., MO, to Joseph Rich, 1838. CHL.

  19. 19

    Charles C. Rich and Sarah Pea Rich, Deed, Caldwell Co., MO, to Joseph Rich, 24 Apr. 1838, Charles C. Rich Collection, CHL.  

    Rich, Charles C. Collection, 1832–1908. CHL. MS 889.

  20. 20

    JS, Journal, 10 Sept. 1838.  

  21. 21

    Arthur Morrison, Certificate, Far West, MO, to Amasa Lyman, 14 Jan. 1839, Amasa Lyman Collection, CHL.  

    Lyman, Amasa. Journals, 1832–1877. Amasa Lyman Collection, 1832–1877. CHL. MS 829, boxes 1–3.

  22. 22

    Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” Return, Apr. 1890, 241; Lucy Caulkins, Deed, Caldwell Co., MO, to Levi Richards, 18 Jan. 1839, Levi Richards, Papers, CHL.  

    The Return. Davis City, IA, 1889–1891; Richmond, MO, 1892–1893; Davis City, 1895–1896; Denver, 1898; Independence, MO, 1899–1900.

    Richards, Levi. Journals, 1840–1853. Levi Richards, Papers, 1837–1867. CHL. MS 1284, box 1.

  23. 23

    Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [14].  

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.

  24. 24

    Minutes, 6 Nov. 1837. The town plat was registered on 13 April 1837. (“Description of Far West Plat,” Bertha Booth, Papers, State Historical Society of Missouri, Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia.)  

    Booth, Bertha. Papers. State Historical Society of Missouri, Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia

  25. 25

    An Act for the Incorporation of Towns [11 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], pp. 601–602, secs. 2, 8.  

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  26. 26

    Decades later, Dibble recounted that “while at Far West an election was held to elect an assessor,” with himself, Isaac Higbee, and “a Missourian” as the candidates. “The brethren held a caucus meeting,” Dibble recalled, “and advised one of us to withdraw our name lest the Missourian might gain the election, and proposed that Higbee and I cast lots for it.” Dibble drew the lot, which presumably secured the election. (Dibble, “Philo Dibble’s Narrative,” 90.)  

    Dibble, Philo. “Philo Dibble’s Narrative.” In Early Scenes in Church History, Faith-Promoting Series 8, pp. 74–96. Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1882.

  27. 27

    Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [14].  

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.

  28. 28

    David Frampton, Justice of the Peace Docket Entry, 12 July 1838, CHL; Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [14].  

    Frampton, David. Justice of the Peace Docket Entry, 12 July 1838. CHL.

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.