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Introduction to Joseph Smith Sr. v. J. Hurlbut

Joseph Smith Sr. v. J. Hurlbut
Ontario Co., New York, Justice of the Peace Court, 6 February 1819
 
J. Hurlbut v. Joseph Smith Sr.
Ontario Co., New York, Court of Common Pleas, circa August 1819
 
Historical Introduction
JS’s first recorded interaction with the law occurred at the age of thirteen when he served as a witness in a case brought by his and older brother against Jeremiah Hurlbut, a prominent citizen of , New York. On 27 March 1818, and signed a promissory note to pay Hurlbut sixty-five dollars in grain for the purchase of two horses. During the subsequent summer, and his sons , JS, and worked on the farms of Hurlbut and his widowed mother, performing various services. Hurlbut also sold goods to the Smiths and loaned them a plow. The Smiths paid Hurlbut fifty-three dollars toward the note on 18 August 1818. However, in January 1819, before the remaining sum could be paid, and brought a “trespass on the case” suit against Hurlbut, asserting that the horses had proven unsound. After an initial hearing before Abraham Spear, a justice of the peace in , New York, the plaintiffs requested a jury trial, which occurred on 6 February 1819. The witnesses included JS and , and the jury awarded the plaintiffs $40.78 in damages and $4.76 in court costs. The next day, Hurlbut hired an attorney to appeal the verdict to the court of common pleas as well as to initiate a new suit against the Smiths. The suit was heard at the August 1819 term. However, a scribal ambiguity in the court of common pleas docket renders the outcome of the case uncertain.
 
Calendar of Documents
27 March 1818 Promissory Note, Joseph Smith Sr. and Alvin Smith, Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY, to Jeremiah Hurlbut
27 Mar. 1818; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; handwriting probably of Joseph Smith Sr.; signatures of Joseph Smith Sr. and possibly Alvin Smith; docket probably in handwriting of Joseph Smith Sr.; notations in handwriting probably of Jeremiah Hurlbut, unidentified scribe, and Abraham Spear.
 
Joseph Smith Sr. v. J. Hurlbut, Justice of the Peace Court
 
Between 10 May and ca. August 1818 Jeremiah Hurlbut, List of Goods, Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY
Between 10 May and ca. Aug. 1818. Not extant.
Between 12 Jan. and 6 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; unidentified handwriting.
 
12 January 1819 Summons, Ontario Co., NY
12 Jan. 1819. Not extant.
 
Ca. 22 January 1819 Joseph Smith Sr., Declaration, Ontario Co. NY
Ca. 22 Jan. 1819. Not extant.
 
30 January 1819 Writ of Venire, Ontario Co., NY
30 Jan. 1819. Not extant.
 
Between ca. 12 January and 6 February 1819 Joseph Smith Sr., List of Services, Ontario Co., NY
Between ca. 12 Jan. and 6 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; handwriting probably of Joseph Smith Sr. and unidentified scribe.
 
Between 12 January and ca. 6 February 1819 Docket Entry, Ontario Co., NY
Between 12 Jan. and ca. 6 Feb. 1819. Not extant.
9 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; handwriting of Abraham Spear; certified by Abraham Spear; notation in handwriting of Abraham Spear; docket and notation in unidentified handwriting.
 
J. Hurlbut v. Joseph Smith Sr., Court of Common Pleas
 
8 February 1819 Bond, Jeremiah Hurlbut and Others, Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY, to Joseph Smith Sr., Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY
8 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; manuscript form in handwriting of Hugh McNair with manuscript additions in handwriting of Abraham Spear; signatures of Jeremiah Hurlbut, William Jackways, and Solomon Tice; witnessed by William Jackways and Lemuel Lee; certified by Abraham Spear; docket in handwriting of Hugh McNair.
 
20 February 1819 Hugh McNair, Writ of Capias ad Respondendum, to Ontario Co. Sheriff, for JS and Alvin Smith, Ontario Co., NY
20 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Hugh McNair; docket in handwriting of Hugh McNair; notations in handwriting of Hugh McNair, Asa Swift, and unidentified scribe.
 
Ca. 26 June 1819 Frederick Smith on behalf of Jeremiah Hurlbut, Statement of Issues, Ontario Co., NY
Ca. 26 June 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Frederick Smith; docket in handwriting of Frederick Smith; notations in handwriting of Hugh McNair.
 
Ca. 19 August 1819 Docket Entry, Canandaigua, Ontario Co., NY
Ca. 19 Aug. 1819; Common Pleas, 1819–1820, p. 19, Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; unidentified handwriting.
Joseph Smith Sr. v. J. Hurlbut
Ontario Co., New York, Justice of the Peace Court, 6 February 1819
 
J. Hurlbut v. Joseph Smith Sr.
Ontario Co., New York, Court of Common Pleas, circa August 1819
 
Historical Introduction
JS’s first recorded interaction with the law occurred at the age of thirteen when he served as a witness in a case brought by his and older brother against Jeremiah Hurlbut, a prominent citizen of , New York. On 27 March 1818, and signed a promissory note to pay Hurlbut sixty-five dollars in grain for the purchase of two horses. During the subsequent summer, and his sons , JS, and worked on the farms of Hurlbut and his widowed mother, performing various services. Hurlbut also sold goods to the Smiths and loaned them a plow. The Smiths paid Hurlbut fifty-three dollars toward the note on 18 August 1818. However, in January 1819, before the remaining sum could be paid, and brought a “trespass on the case” suit against Hurlbut, asserting that the horses had proven unsound. After an initial hearing before Abraham Spear, a justice of the peace in , New York, the plaintiffs requested a jury trial, which occurred on 6 February 1819. The witnesses included JS and , and the jury awarded the plaintiffs $40.78 in damages and $4.76 in court costs. The next day, Hurlbut hired an attorney to appeal the verdict to the court of common pleas as well as to initiate a new suit against the Smiths. The suit was heard at the August 1819 term. However, a scribal ambiguity in the court of common pleas docket renders the outcome of the case uncertain.
 
Calendar of Documents
27 March 1818 Promissory Note, Joseph Smith Sr. and Alvin Smith, Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY, to Jeremiah Hurlbut
27 Mar. 1818; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; handwriting probably of Joseph Smith Sr.; signatures of Joseph Smith Sr. and possibly Alvin Smith; docket probably in handwriting of Joseph Smith Sr.; notations in handwriting probably of Jeremiah Hurlbut, unidentified scribe, and Abraham Spear.
 
Joseph Smith Sr. v. J. Hurlbut, Justice of the Peace Court
 
Between 10 May and ca. August 1818 Jeremiah Hurlbut, List of Goods, Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY
Between 10 May and ca. Aug. 1818. Not extant.
Between 12 Jan. and 6 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; unidentified handwriting.
 
12 January 1819 Summons, Ontario Co., NY
12 Jan. 1819. Not extant.
 
Ca. 22 January 1819 Joseph Smith Sr., Declaration, Ontario Co. NY
Ca. 22 Jan. 1819. Not extant.
 
30 January 1819 Writ of Venire, Ontario Co., NY
30 Jan. 1819. Not extant.
 
Between ca. 12 January and 6 February 1819 Joseph Smith Sr., List of Services, Ontario Co., NY
Between ca. 12 Jan. and 6 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; handwriting probably of Joseph Smith Sr. and unidentified scribe.
 
Between 12 January and ca. 6 February 1819 Docket Entry, Ontario Co., NY
Between 12 Jan. and ca. 6 Feb. 1819. Not extant.
9 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; handwriting of Abraham Spear; certified by Abraham Spear; notation in handwriting of Abraham Spear; docket and notation in unidentified handwriting.
 
J. Hurlbut v. Joseph Smith Sr., Court of Common Pleas
 
8 February 1819 Bond, Jeremiah Hurlbut and Others, Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY, to Joseph Smith Sr., Palmyra, Ontario Co., NY
8 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; manuscript form in handwriting of Hugh McNair with manuscript additions in handwriting of Abraham Spear; signatures of Jeremiah Hurlbut, William Jackways, and Solomon Tice; witnessed by William Jackways and Lemuel Lee; certified by Abraham Spear; docket in handwriting of Hugh McNair.
 
20 February 1819 Hugh McNair, Writ of Capias ad Respondendum, to Ontario Co. Sheriff, for JS and Alvin Smith, Ontario Co., NY
20 Feb. 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Hugh McNair; docket in handwriting of Hugh McNair; notations in handwriting of Hugh McNair, Asa Swift, and unidentified scribe.
 
Ca. 26 June 1819 Frederick Smith on behalf of Jeremiah Hurlbut, Statement of Issues, Ontario Co., NY
Ca. 26 June 1819; Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Frederick Smith; docket in handwriting of Frederick Smith; notations in handwriting of Hugh McNair.
 
Ca. 19 August 1819 Docket Entry, Canandaigua, Ontario Co., NY
Ca. 19 Aug. 1819; Common Pleas, 1819–1820, p. 19, Ontario County Records and Archives Center, Canandaigua, NY; unidentified handwriting.