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Introduction to City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault

City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court, 6 December 1842
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 23 May 1843
 
Historical Introduction
On 1 December 1842, William C. Walker swore a complaint before JS accusing of committing assault and battery that day, as well as for violating unspecified , Illinois, city ordinances. Davis, a merchant and tavern keeper in Nauvoo, had joined the church in 1840, but in 1842 his relationship with JS and the church deteriorated. In March JS brought charges against Davis for slandering his character and a jury found Davis guilty of violating Nauvoo’s vagrancy and disorderly persons ordinance. Between 29 November and 6 December 1842, Davis was accused of violating several city ordinances and was tried in five cases in Nauvoo courts. In each of these cases, JS participated as either mayor, justice of the peace, complainant, or witness.
law authorized JS, as a justice of the peace, to try allegations of assault and battery, while the charter empowered him, as mayor, to hear alleged violations of the city’s ordinances. was arrested the day after Walker made his complaint and was brought before JS. All parties agreed to adjourn the assault case to 6 December at ten o’clock in the morning. Walker also swore out a second complaint accusing Davis of “indecent and unbecoming language and behavior” toward him. This second complaint, like the first complaint sworn the day before, did not specify which city ordinance Davis had violated, although it possibly relied on Nauvoo’s disorderly persons ordinance.
On 6 December, the day of the trial, Walker swore a third complaint before JS, amending his original accusation of assault and battery and broadening the time frame of the alleged assault, now stating it occurred “on or about” 1 December. The multiple complaints led to a possible error in the legal process. The first and third complaints of assault and battery alleged a violation of a state statute; however, the first and second complaints alleged a violation of an unidentified city ordinance. While JS had the authority under the charter to try in the mayor’s court for the city ordinance violation, law required that he, as a justice of the peace, empanel a jury to determine the assault and battery charges. Instead, it appears that JS combined both charges into a single case, which he tried alone. At the 6 December trial, JS found Davis guilty and fined him fifty dollars.
Because assault and battery was a violation of a state statute, appealed his conviction directly from the mayor’s court to the Circuit Court. On 19 January 1843, he filed a notice of appeal before the circuit court and the appeal was heard at the May 1843 term. This appeal was one of three that Davis made to the circuit court following his string of prosecutions in in late November and early December 1842. Because of the similarities between the three cases in the circuit court, some of the same documents were used multiple times and it is possible that some were misfiled and are currently associated with the wrong case. According to an attorney’s agreement signed before the circuit court proceedings, the three appeals were to focus on “the legailty of the Ordinances and if the City Council has the authority under the charter to pass said Ordinances.” Subsequently, on 16 May 1843, C. O. Warner, the defense attorney, filed a motion to dismiss the suits, while George Bachman, Nauvoo’s attorney, filed to dismiss Davis’s appeals. All of the motions used almost identical language. Warner claimed that the proceedings had been contrary to the constitutions of and the and that no law or ordinance had been violated. Bachman, meanwhile, primarily objected to the procedures of Davis’s appeals; one of Bachman’s arguments was that Davis’s appeal bonds were irregularly entered and that “no appeal lies from Said Mayor Directly to the ‘Circuit Court.’” Bachman’s claim that the appeal to the circuit court was improper likely grew out of Davis’s direct appeal of the assault case from the mayor’s court to the circuit court, rather than to the municipal court.
Although the motions were submitted to the court on 16 May 1843, deliberations did not begin until 23 May 1843. In the assault case, the court sustained Bachman’s motion to dismiss the appeal and ordered to pay ’s court costs. By 18 December 1843, the costs were paid in full.
For other cases involving JS that were brought against around this time, see City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–B, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits, and City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of Miles.
 
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.
City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Assault
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court, 6 December 1842
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 23 May 1843
 
Historical Introduction
On 1 December 1842, William C. Walker swore a complaint before JS accusing of committing assault and battery that day, as well as for violating unspecified , Illinois, city ordinances. Davis, a merchant and tavern keeper in Nauvoo, had joined the church in 1840, but in 1842 his relationship with JS and the church deteriorated. In March JS brought charges against Davis for slandering his character and a jury found Davis guilty of violating Nauvoo’s vagrancy and disorderly persons ordinance. Between 29 November and 6 December 1842, Davis was accused of violating several city ordinances and was tried in five cases in Nauvoo courts. In each of these cases, JS participated as either mayor, justice of the peace, complainant, or witness.
law authorized JS, as a justice of the peace, to try allegations of assault and battery, while the charter empowered him, as mayor, to hear alleged violations of the city’s ordinances. was arrested the day after Walker made his complaint and was brought before JS. All parties agreed to adjourn the assault case to 6 December at ten o’clock in the morning. Walker also swore out a second complaint accusing Davis of “indecent and unbecoming language and behavior” toward him. This second complaint, like the first complaint sworn the day before, did not specify which city ordinance Davis had violated, although it possibly relied on Nauvoo’s disorderly persons ordinance.
On 6 December, the day of the trial, Walker swore a third complaint before JS, amending his original accusation of assault and battery and broadening the time frame of the alleged assault, now stating it occurred “on or about” 1 December. The multiple complaints led to a possible error in the legal process. The first and third complaints of assault and battery alleged a violation of a state statute; however, the first and second complaints alleged a violation of an unidentified city ordinance. While JS had the authority under the charter to try in the mayor’s court for the city ordinance violation, law required that he, as a justice of the peace, empanel a jury to determine the assault and battery charges. Instead, it appears that JS combined both charges into a single case, which he tried alone. At the 6 December trial, JS found Davis guilty and fined him fifty dollars.
Because assault and battery was a violation of a state statute, appealed his conviction directly from the mayor’s court to the Circuit Court. On 19 January 1843, he filed a notice of appeal before the circuit court and the appeal was heard at the May 1843 term. This appeal was one of three that Davis made to the circuit court following his string of prosecutions in in late November and early December 1842. Because of the similarities between the three cases in the circuit court, some of the same documents were used multiple times and it is possible that some were misfiled and are currently associated with the wrong case. According to an attorney’s agreement signed before the circuit court proceedings, the three appeals were to focus on “the legailty of the Ordinances and if the City Council has the authority under the charter to pass said Ordinances.” Subsequently, on 16 May 1843, C. O. Warner, the defense attorney, filed a motion to dismiss the suits, while George Bachman, Nauvoo’s attorney, filed to dismiss Davis’s appeals. All of the motions used almost identical language. Warner claimed that the proceedings had been contrary to the constitutions of and the and that no law or ordinance had been violated. Bachman, meanwhile, primarily objected to the procedures of Davis’s appeals; one of Bachman’s arguments was that Davis’s appeal bonds were irregularly entered and that “no appeal lies from Said Mayor Directly to the ‘Circuit Court.’” Bachman’s claim that the appeal to the circuit court was improper likely grew out of Davis’s direct appeal of the assault case from the mayor’s court to the circuit court, rather than to the municipal court.
Although the motions were submitted to the court on 16 May 1843, deliberations did not begin until 23 May 1843. In the assault case, the court sustained Bachman’s motion to dismiss the appeal and ordered to pay ’s court costs. By 18 December 1843, the costs were paid in full.
For other cases involving JS that were brought against around this time, see City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–B, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS–C, City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Ardent Spirits, and City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of Miles.
 
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.
 
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court
  • 1842 (10)
    • December (10)
      1 December 1842

      William C. Walker, Complaint, before JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 1 Dec. 1842; private possession; handwriting of Willard Richards; signatures of William C. Walker and JS; endorsement in handwriting of James Sloan.
      1 December 1842

      JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Amos Davis, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 1 Dec. 1842; Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; handwriting of Willard Richards; signature of JS; notation in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; docket and notation in handwriting of James Sloan; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      2 December 1842

      JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Subpoena, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Charles Allen and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 2 Dec. 1842–A

      • 2 Dec. 1842; Collection of Manuscripts about Mormons, 1832–1954, Chicago History Museum; handwriting of James Sloan with insertions by Henry G. Sherwood; signature of JS; docket and notation in handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      2 December 1842

      William C. Walker, Complaint, before JS as Mayor, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 2 Dec. 1842; private possession; photocopy in JS Collection, CHL; handwriting of Chauncey L. Higbee; signatures of William C. Walker and JS; endorsement in handwriting of James Sloan.
      3 December 1842

      JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Subpoena, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for David Mathews and Michael Barns, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 3 Dec. 1842; private possession; handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of William Backenstos; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      5 December 1842

      Subpoena, for Harmon T. Wilson and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 5 Dec. 1842–A

      5 December 1842

      JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Subpoena, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Seeley and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 5 Dec. 1842–B

      • 5 Dec. 1842; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; docket and notations in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; docket in handwriting of James Sloan; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      6 December 1842

      William C. Walker, Complaint, before JS as Mayor, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      6 December 1842

      JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Amos Davis, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 6 Dec. 1842; BYU; handwriting of George Stiles; signature of JS; docket and notation in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; docket and notation in handwriting of James Sloan; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      Between 1 and ca. 6 December 1842

      Docket Entry, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

 
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court
  • 1842 (2)
    • December (2)
      Between 1 and ca. 6 December 1842

      Docket Entry, Copy, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 17 Feb. 1843; private possession; handwriting of James Sloan; signature of JS; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      9 December 1842

      Amos Davis and Others, Bond, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL to City of Nauvoo

      • 9 Dec. 1842; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise; signatures of Amos Davis, Lewis Robison, and Robert D. Foster; docket and notation printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise.
  • 1843 (21)
    • January (1)
      19 January 1843

      Jacob B. Backenstos, Supersedeas, to JS and Any Hancock Co. Constable, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 19 Jan. 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise; signature of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise; notations printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of John D. Parker.
    • May (13)
      9 May 1843

      Amos Davis, Praecipe, to Jacob B. Backenstos, Hancock Co., IL

      • 9 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting presumably of Amos Davis; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      9 May 1843

      Jacob B. Backenstos, Subpoena, to Hancock Co. Sheriff, for David Mathews and Michael Barns, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 9 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise; docket printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise; notation printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of James M. Charles.
      15 May 1843

      Onias Skinner, Praecipe, to Hancock Co. Circuit Court Clerk, Hancock Co., IL

      • 15 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting of George Stiles; probable signature of Onias Skinner; docket probably in handwriting of David E. Head; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
      Ca. 15 May 1843

      C. O. Warner on behalf of Amos Davis, Motion, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL, ca. 15 May 1843–A

      • Ca. 15 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting of C. O. Warner; docket in unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
      Ca. 15 May 1843

      Motion, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL, ca. 15 May 1843–B

      16 May 1843

      Docket Entry, Motions, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 16 May 1843; Hancock County Circuit Court Record, vol. C, p. 409, Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm at FHL; handwriting of David E. Head.
      18 May 1843

      C. O. Warner, Agreement, with George Bachman, Hancock Co., IL

      • 18 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting of George Bachman; dockets and notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
      23 May 1843

      Sidney Rigdon and Others, Praecipe, to Hancock Co. Circuit Court Clerk, Hancock Co., IL

      • 23 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting of Onias Skinner; docket in unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
      23 May 1843

      Docket Entry, Motion Sustained, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 23 May 1843; Hancock County Circuit Court Record, vol. C, p. 468, Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm at FHL; handwriting of David E. Head.
      Ca. 23 May 1843

      Docket Entry, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • Ca. 23 May 1843; Hancock County Circuit Court, Judgment Docket, vol. B, pp. 31–31a, Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; image in Hancock County Papers, 1830–1872, CHL; unidentified handwriting.
      24 May 1843

      Robert D. Foster, Affidavit, before David E. Head on behalf of Jacob B. Backenstos, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL, 24 May 1843–A

      • 24 May 1843; private possession; photocopy in Historical Department, Nineteenth-Century Legal Documents Collection, 1829–1973, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Robert D. Foster; signature of David E. Head.
      24 May 1843

      Ira Miles, Affidavit, before Jacob B. Backenstos, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL, 24 May 1843–B

      • 24 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; signature of Ira Miles; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise; docket in unidentified handwriting.
      25 May 1843

      Joseph A. McCall, Affidavit, before M. Avise on behalf of Jacob B. Backenstos, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 25 May 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of M. Avise; signature of Joseph A. McCall; docket and notation in handwriting of M. Avise.
    • September (4)
      19 September 1843

      Execution, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      19 September 1843

      David E. Head on behalf of Jacob B. Backenstos, Fee Bill, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL, 19 Sept. 1843–A

      • 19 Sept. 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; certification printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of David E. Head; docket in handwriting of David E. Head.
      19 September 1843

      Jacob B. Backenstos, Fee Bill, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL, 19 Sept. 1843–B

      • 19 Sept. 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court case files, 1830–1900, CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; certification printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of David E. Head; docket in handwriting of David E. Head.
      Ca. September 1843

      Docket Entry, Fee Bill, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

    • October (1)
      20 October 1843

      Docket Entry, Motion, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

    • December (2)
      Between 19 September and 18 December 1843

      Receipts, Hancock Co., IL

      Between 23 May and ca. 18 December 1843

      Docket Entry, Fieri Facias, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • Between 23 May and ca. 18 Dec. 1843; Hancock County Circuit Court, Execution Docket, vol. B, pp. 97–97a; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; image in Hancock County Papers, 1830–1872, CHL; handwriting of probably of David E. Head.