Allen v. JS, Cowdery, Carter, Knight, Orton, and Cahoon
Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., Ohio, Justice of the Peace Court, 8 January 1838
In 1834, Latter-day Saints in , Ohio, began operating a water-powered sawmill on ’s property, allowing the church “a better opportunity to use its own resources” in constructing the and other buildings. Two years later, in an effort to transform the mill from water-powered to steam-powered production, JS, , , , , and formed the Kirtland Steam Company. Like other business ventures in Kirtland, the steam company apparently fell into financial difficulties during the Panic of 1837, and it failed by early 1838. According to , the church spent “some thousands of dollars in building a steam mill, which never profited them anything.” At some point, the steam company accrued a debt of twenty-three dollars to , and on 8 August 1837, justice of the peace awarded Allen the debt and assessed to the defendants $1.31½ in court costs. On 16 August, as part of a stay of , became surety for the payment, acquiring responsibility for both the debt and court costs if JS and the others could not or did not pay. By January 1838, the defendants had not made any payments on the debt, and justice of the peace summoned them to appear before him on 8 January.
On the appointed day, with dissent dividing the Saints and threats of violence hounding JS, none of the defendants appeared in court. Since the defendants did not appear, the court assessed $0.57½ interest to the debt of $23, added another $1.32½ for court costs, and issued an order of execution to collect the judgment. On 24 January, constable returned the execution, stating that he was able to collect only $9.25 of the debt. Two days later, constable received $5.41 of the judgment. The defendants’ failure to satisfy the balance led to bring an action against , the surety.
Calendar of Documents
This calendar lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not. It does not include versions of documents created for other purposes, though those versions may be listed in footnotes. In certain cases, especially in cases concerning unpaid debts, the originating document (promissory note, invoice, etc.) is listed here. Note that documents in the calendar are grouped with their originating court. Where a version of a document was subsequently filed with another court, that version is listed under both courts.
8 August 1837
Frederick G. Williams, Docket Entry, Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH
8 Aug. 1837. Not extant.
16 August 1837
Oliver Granger, Bond, Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH
16 Aug. 1837. Not extant.
3 January 1838
Scire Facias, Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH
3 Jan. 1838. Not extant.
Ca. 8 January 1838
Docket Entry, Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH
Ca. 8 Jan. 1838; Cowdery, Docket Book, p. 293; handwriting of Warren A. Cowdery; notations in handwriting of Warren A. Cowdery and James Markell.
Ca. 8 January 1838
Execution, to Luke Johnson, Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH
Although six defendants are listed in the docket entry, a writ of scire facias summoning the defendants to court was served on only four. The constable attempted to serve the writ on Oliver Cowdery but was unsuccessful because he had moved to Missouri in September 1837. The fact that the docket entry lists six defendants, when only five were served (or attempted to be served), may be the result of a clerical error. (Docket Entry, ca. 8 Jan. 1838 [Allen v. JS et al.].)
The 57½ cents of interest was calculated at six percent over five months (the time from the initial judgment on 8 Aug. 1837 to 8 Jan. 1838), according to statute. (An Act Fixing the Rate of Interest [12 Jan. 1824], The Public Statutes at Large, of the State of Ohio , 3:2317–2318.)
The Public Statutes at Large, of the State of Ohio: From the Close of Chase's Statutes, February, 1833, to the Present Time. Arranged in Chronological Order. With References to the Judicial Decisions Construing Those Statutes. And a Supplement, Containing All Laws Passed Prior to February, 1833, Which Are Now in Force. 4 vols. Edited by Maskell E. Curwen. Cincinnati: By the author, 1853–1861.