No image available

Introduction to City of Nauvoo v. Thompson

City of Nauvoo v. Thompson
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court, 2 August 1842
 
Historical Introduction
On 2 August 1842, Warren Smith swore a complaint before JS, who was both mayor of , Illinois, and a justice of the peace for the city, accusing William Thompson of attempting to rape Thompson’s eighteen-year-old stepdaughter, Lovina Patterson Woolsey. The legal principle of coverture meant that because she was a married woman, Woolsey’s legal identity was subsumed under her husband’s. She was therefore unable to initiate litigation and was dependent on her husband or male relatives to act in a legal capacity on her behalf. Since Woolsey’s husband was absent from Nauvoo, Warren Smith, who had heard her screams and intervened along with other neighbors to stop Thompson’s assault, brought the complaint on her behalf. The fact that several neighbors had heard Woolsey screaming was crucial in charging Thompson. In an era when female victims struggled to obtain legal redress, the effort to cry out was a vital indication that she did not consent to his sexual advances.
JS created and signed a warrant for Thompson’s arrest the same day. later canceled JS’s warrant and made a new warrant under a new charge, disorderly conduct, adding standardized legal language and other pertinent information JS had omitted in his warrant. Rape and attempted rape were felonies, meaning JS, as a justice of the peace, only had authority to hear evidence for the alleged crime in a preliminary examination. If JS believed there was probable cause that the crime had occurred, the case would be sent to the Circuit Court in , Illinois, for trial. Because the charter gave JS authority as mayor to hear allegations of violations of city ordinances, changing the charge to disorderly conduct meant that he would have the authority to make a final determination in the case, as a breach of the Nauvoo ordinance on disorderly conduct, and that the matter would stay local.
In addition to having William Thompson arrested, JS issued a subpoena for Lovina Woolsey and six other witnesses. The trial was held the same day as the assault, 2 August. After the witnesses testified to hearing screams and seeing Thompson place his hands on Woolsey, she personally testified. JS found Thompson guilty of “disorderly Conduct” and sentenced him to pay the court costs of the case, indemnify the , keep the peace, and exhibit “good behaviou[r]” for a year, “especially towards Lovina Woolsey.” The sentencing included a recognizance, which stipulated that Thompson would owe the city thirty dollars if he failed to meet the requirements of the judgment. Even though JS had delivered the judgment on 2 August, Thompson apparently remained in Nauvoo city marshal ’s custody overnight and probably signed the recognizance on 3 August. Thompson may have left Nauvoo within a few months of the trial.
 
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 a court outside of its original jurisdiction, that version is listed under both courts.
 
2 August 1842 Warren Smith, Complaint, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842. Not extant.
 
2 August 1842 JS as Mayor, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal or Constable, for William Thompson, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 2 August 1842–A
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of JS; notations in handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; notation in unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of Charles Allen.
 
2 August 1842 JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for William Thompson, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 2 August 1842–B
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signature of JS; notation in handwriting of Charles Allen.
 
2 August 1842 JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Subpoena, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Lovina Patterson Woolsey and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signature of JS; notation in handwriting of Charles Allen.
 
2 August 1842 Minutes, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of James Sloan.
 
2 August 1842 William Thompson and Arthur Morrison, Recognizance, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signatures of William Thompson by his mark and Arthur Morrison; witnessed by Henry G. Sherwood; docket in handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood.
 
2 August 1842 William Thompson and Others, Bond, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, to City of Nauvoo
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signatures of William Thompson by his mark, Charles Allen, Warren Smith, and Henry G. Sherwood.
 
Ca. 2 August 1842 Docket Entry, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
Ca. 2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo Mayor’s Court Docket Book, 31, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of James Sloan.
City of Nauvoo v. Thompson
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Mayor’s Court, 2 August 1842
 
Historical Introduction
On 2 August 1842, Warren Smith swore a complaint before JS, who was both mayor of , Illinois, and a justice of the peace for the city, accusing William Thompson of attempting to rape Thompson’s eighteen-year-old stepdaughter, Lovina Patterson Woolsey. The legal principle of coverture meant that because she was a married woman, Woolsey’s legal identity was subsumed under her husband’s. She was therefore unable to initiate litigation and was dependent on her husband or male relatives to act in a legal capacity on her behalf. Since Woolsey’s husband was absent from Nauvoo, Warren Smith, who had heard her screams and intervened along with other neighbors to stop Thompson’s assault, brought the complaint on her behalf. The fact that several neighbors had heard Woolsey screaming was crucial in charging Thompson. In an era when female victims struggled to obtain legal redress, the effort to cry out was a vital indication that she did not consent to his sexual advances.
JS created and signed a warrant for Thompson’s arrest the same day. later canceled JS’s warrant and made a new warrant under a new charge, disorderly conduct, adding standardized legal language and other pertinent information JS had omitted in his warrant. Rape and attempted rape were felonies, meaning JS, as a justice of the peace, only had authority to hear evidence for the alleged crime in a preliminary examination. If JS believed there was probable cause that the crime had occurred, the case would be sent to the Circuit Court in , Illinois, for trial. Because the charter gave JS authority as mayor to hear allegations of violations of city ordinances, changing the charge to disorderly conduct meant that he would have the authority to make a final determination in the case, as a breach of the Nauvoo ordinance on disorderly conduct, and that the matter would stay local.
In addition to having William Thompson arrested, JS issued a subpoena for Lovina Woolsey and six other witnesses. The trial was held the same day as the assault, 2 August. After the witnesses testified to hearing screams and seeing Thompson place his hands on Woolsey, she personally testified. JS found Thompson guilty of “disorderly Conduct” and sentenced him to pay the court costs of the case, indemnify the , keep the peace, and exhibit “good behaviou[r]” for a year, “especially towards Lovina Woolsey.” The sentencing included a recognizance, which stipulated that Thompson would owe the city thirty dollars if he failed to meet the requirements of the judgment. Even though JS had delivered the judgment on 2 August, Thompson apparently remained in Nauvoo city marshal ’s custody overnight and probably signed the recognizance on 3 August. Thompson may have left Nauvoo within a few months of the trial.
 
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 a court outside of its original jurisdiction, that version is listed under both courts.
 
2 August 1842 Warren Smith, Complaint, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842. Not extant.
 
2 August 1842 JS as Mayor, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal or Constable, for William Thompson, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 2 August 1842–A
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of JS; notations in handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood; notation in unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of Charles Allen.
 
2 August 1842 JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Warrant, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for William Thompson, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, 2 August 1842–B
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signature of JS; notation in handwriting of Charles Allen.
 
2 August 1842 JS as Mayor and Justice of the Peace, Subpoena, to Nauvoo City Marshal, for Lovina Patterson Woolsey and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signature of JS; notation in handwriting of Charles Allen.
 
2 August 1842 Minutes, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of James Sloan.
 
2 August 1842 William Thompson and Arthur Morrison, Recognizance, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signatures of William Thompson by his mark and Arthur Morrison; witnessed by Henry G. Sherwood; docket in handwriting of James Sloan; docket in handwriting of Henry G. Sherwood.
 
2 August 1842 William Thompson and Others, Bond, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, to City of Nauvoo
2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signatures of William Thompson by his mark, Charles Allen, Warren Smith, and Henry G. Sherwood.
 
Ca. 2 August 1842 Docket Entry, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
Ca. 2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo Mayor’s Court Docket Book, 31, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; notations in handwriting of James Sloan.