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Introduction to JS v. Brotherton

JS v. Brotherton
St. Louis Co., Missouri, Circuit Court, 22 September 1843
 
In early March 1842, JS’s attorneys sued sheriff Marshall Brotherton to recover goods that had been seized from in November 1841. This case began as a separate collection suit in St. Louis against Miller, a bishop, church agent, and president of the . On 8 April 1841, Miller and the other trustees of the association signed a promissory note for $550 to Silas Heaight, a merchant from , Iowa Territory, that was due on 15 June 1841. At some point before November 1841, Heaight assigned the promissory note to St. Louis business partners Jason Holbrook and Benjamin Slater.
Presumably unaware of the transfer of the note, left , Illinois, in October 1841 to obtain groceries and goods from . The trip appears to have been primarily in preparation for JS to open a in Nauvoo the next spring, although Miller evidently collected funds to purchase groceries for other individuals as well. At New Orleans, Miller purchased $1,500 worth of molasses, sugar, rice, coffee, and tea. On his way back to Nauvoo, he stopped at on 20 November 1841. When Holbrook and Slater learned of his arrival in the city with considerable property, the two men sued for a writ of . The St. Louis County Circuit Court granted the writ, and Henry B. Belt, deputy sheriff of St. Louis County, served it and seized the goods from Miller. Because the goods were perishable, the circuit court ordered that they be sold and the proceeds held over to await the results of the debt case slated for trial in March 1842.
Before the case against came to trial, JS retained the services of attorneys Miron Leslie and Roswell M. Field, who initiated a suit against Brotherton on JS’s behalf. Although Brotherton had not personally seized the goods from Miller, Belt had been acting on Brotherton’s authority. The plaintiff’s , which initiated the suit, employed language typical of actions in alleging that Brotherton “seized took and carried away” JS’s property “with force and arms,” then “converted and disposed of the same to his own use.” The suit sought $1,500 to compensate JS for his lost property as well as $500 in damages. Based on JS’s declaration, the clerk of the circuit court issued a summons for Brotherton. Because Brotherton was the sheriff, St. Louis County coroner Esrom Owens served the summons.
On 9 April 1842, JS’s attorneys obtained a commission for alderman to take and gave notice to the defendant of their intention to depose witnesses at Wells’s office in Nauvoo on 17 May. Between 17 and 18 May 1842, Wells deposed Nauvoo residents , , , , , and . Based on these depositions, as well as the depositions later submitted by the defense, the central issue behind the case appears to have been the question of ’s role in purchasing the goods. JS argued via his attorneys that Miller was serving as his financial agent, meaning that the goods belonged to JS and could not be seized to pay Miller’s debt. Meanwhile, the defense claimed that Miller was acting on behalf of the Nauvoo House Association, which he supervised, so the city officers were justified in seizing the goods to pay Miller’s debt. The first five witnesses for the plaintiff testified that they and others had given money to Miller to purchase goods on their behalf and that they knew JS had done the same, while the final witness testified that Miller “had been frequently engaged” as JS’s financial agent. After the depositions were certified, they were submitted to the St. Louis County Circuit Court on 6 June 1842.
On 21 July 1842, Brotherton’s attorneys—Hamilton R. Gamble and Edward Bates—filed a with the court that denied the claims in the declaration and asserted that the sheriff was “not guilty of the said supposed wrongs and injury.” That same day, six defense witnesses were deposed before St. Louis County justice of the peace DuBouffay Frémon. Four of them—George Beebe, William Harris, , and —were apparently former or estranged members of the church, and the other two were Heaight and , Iowa Territory, sheriff Braxton W. Gillock. Most of the defense witnesses testified against the character of the witnesses for the plaintiff, explicitly testifying that their religion and connection to JS meant they should not be believed in court. In addition to attacking the credibility of the witnesses, Heaight and Gillock claimed that was not acting as JS’s agent to purchase the goods and that Miller told them that the goods were to be sold in to pay off the debts of the Nauvoo House Association. These claims were further supported by a January 1843 deposition sworn by , an excommunicated former church leader and prominent opponent of JS and the church, before St. Louis County justice of the peace Benjamin F. McKenney. Bennett testified that all but a small portion of the purchased goods belonged to the Nauvoo House Association and that Miller had been acting on behalf of the association, not as JS’s agent. While Bennett agreed that the goods were meant to be sold at , he argued that JS was acting as an agent for Miller and not the other way around.
In September 1843, both the debt case against and the trespass suit against Brotherton came to trial. On 15 September 1843, Miller failed to appear before the St. Louis County circuit court, so the court ruled in against him. Similarly, on 22 September 1843, JS and his attorneys failed to appear before the circuit court, as they had apparently determined to not pursue the suit against Brotherton. Accordingly, the court granted a and ordered JS to pay Brotherton’s costs. On 9 October 1843, following the conclusion of the two suits, Brotherton paid Holbrook and Slater $331.44, presumably the amount he had received for the auctioned goods seized from Miller.
 
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.
JS v. Brotherton
St. Louis Co., Missouri, Circuit Court, 22 September 1843
 
In early March 1842, JS’s attorneys sued sheriff Marshall Brotherton to recover goods that had been seized from in November 1841. This case began as a separate collection suit in St. Louis against Miller, a bishop, church agent, and president of the . On 8 April 1841, Miller and the other trustees of the association signed a promissory note for $550 to Silas Heaight, a merchant from , Iowa Territory, that was due on 15 June 1841. At some point before November 1841, Heaight assigned the promissory note to St. Louis business partners Jason Holbrook and Benjamin Slater.
Presumably unaware of the transfer of the note, left , Illinois, in October 1841 to obtain groceries and goods from . The trip appears to have been primarily in preparation for JS to open a in Nauvoo the next spring, although Miller evidently collected funds to purchase groceries for other individuals as well. At New Orleans, Miller purchased $1,500 worth of molasses, sugar, rice, coffee, and tea. On his way back to Nauvoo, he stopped at on 20 November 1841. When Holbrook and Slater learned of his arrival in the city with considerable property, the two men sued for a writ of . The St. Louis County Circuit Court granted the writ, and Henry B. Belt, deputy sheriff of St. Louis County, served it and seized the goods from Miller. Because the goods were perishable, the circuit court ordered that they be sold and the proceeds held over to await the results of the debt case slated for trial in March 1842.
Before the case against came to trial, JS retained the services of attorneys Miron Leslie and Roswell M. Field, who initiated a suit against Brotherton on JS’s behalf. Although Brotherton had not personally seized the goods from Miller, Belt had been acting on Brotherton’s authority. The plaintiff’s , which initiated the suit, employed language typical of actions in alleging that Brotherton “seized took and carried away” JS’s property “with force and arms,” then “converted and disposed of the same to his own use.” The suit sought $1,500 to compensate JS for his lost property as well as $500 in damages. Based on JS’s declaration, the clerk of the circuit court issued a summons for Brotherton. Because Brotherton was the sheriff, St. Louis County coroner Esrom Owens served the summons.
On 9 April 1842, JS’s attorneys obtained a commission for alderman to take and gave notice to the defendant of their intention to depose witnesses at Wells’s office in Nauvoo on 17 May. Between 17 and 18 May 1842, Wells deposed Nauvoo residents , , , , , and . Based on these depositions, as well as the depositions later submitted by the defense, the central issue behind the case appears to have been the question of ’s role in purchasing the goods. JS argued via his attorneys that Miller was serving as his financial agent, meaning that the goods belonged to JS and could not be seized to pay Miller’s debt. Meanwhile, the defense claimed that Miller was acting on behalf of the Nauvoo House Association, which he supervised, so the city officers were justified in seizing the goods to pay Miller’s debt. The first five witnesses for the plaintiff testified that they and others had given money to Miller to purchase goods on their behalf and that they knew JS had done the same, while the final witness testified that Miller “had been frequently engaged” as JS’s financial agent. After the depositions were certified, they were submitted to the St. Louis County Circuit Court on 6 June 1842.
On 21 July 1842, Brotherton’s attorneys—Hamilton R. Gamble and Edward Bates—filed a with the court that denied the claims in the declaration and asserted that the sheriff was “not guilty of the said supposed wrongs and injury.” That same day, six defense witnesses were deposed before St. Louis County justice of the peace DuBouffay Frémon. Four of them—George Beebe, William Harris, , and —were apparently former or estranged members of the church, and the other two were Heaight and , Iowa Territory, sheriff Braxton W. Gillock. Most of the defense witnesses testified against the character of the witnesses for the plaintiff, explicitly testifying that their religion and connection to JS meant they should not be believed in court. In addition to attacking the credibility of the witnesses, Heaight and Gillock claimed that was not acting as JS’s agent to purchase the goods and that Miller told them that the goods were to be sold in to pay off the debts of the Nauvoo House Association. These claims were further supported by a January 1843 deposition sworn by , an excommunicated former church leader and prominent opponent of JS and the church, before St. Louis County justice of the peace Benjamin F. McKenney. Bennett testified that all but a small portion of the purchased goods belonged to the Nauvoo House Association and that Miller had been acting on behalf of the association, not as JS’s agent. While Bennett agreed that the goods were meant to be sold at , he argued that JS was acting as an agent for Miller and not the other way around.
In September 1843, both the debt case against and the trespass suit against Brotherton came to trial. On 15 September 1843, Miller failed to appear before the St. Louis County circuit court, so the court ruled in against him. Similarly, on 22 September 1843, JS and his attorneys failed to appear before the circuit court, as they had apparently determined to not pursue the suit against Brotherton. Accordingly, the court granted a and ordered JS to pay Brotherton’s costs. On 9 October 1843, following the conclusion of the two suits, Brotherton paid Holbrook and Slater $331.44, presumably the amount he had received for the auctioned goods seized from Miller.
 
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.
 
  • 1841 (1)
    • October (1)
      16 October 1841

      George Miller, Receipt, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, to Orson Spencer

      • 16 Oct. 1841; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; handwriting of George Miller; endorsement in handwriting of William Clayton.
 
St. Louis Co., Missouri, Circuit Court
  • 1842 (21)
    • March (2)
      Ca. 3 March 1842

      Leslie & Field on behalf of JS, Declaration, St. Louis Co., MO

      • Ca. 3 Mar. 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; handwriting of Miran Leslie; docket and notation in handwriting of Miran Leslie.
      4 March 1842

      John Ruland, Summons, to St. Louis Co. Coroner, for Marshall Brotherton, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 4 Mar. 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; docket and notations in unidentified handwriting; notation presumably in handwriting of Esrom Owens.
    • April (2)
      Ca. 8 April 1842

      Leslie & Field on behalf of JS, Notice, to Marshall Brotherton, St. Louis Co., MO

      • Ca. 8 Apr. 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; notation in unidentified handwriting with signature presumably of Marshall Brotherton.
      • 9 Apr. 1842. Not extant.
      9 April 1842

      John Ruland, Dedimus, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 9 Apr. 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; signature presumably of John Ruland.
    • May (8)
      17 May 1842

      John Taylor, Deposition, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      17 May 1842

      Hyrum Smith, Deposition, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      17 May 1842

      Orson Spencer, Deposition, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      17 May 1842

      Lyman Wight, Deposition, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      17 May 1842

      Henry G. Sherwood, Deposition, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      18 May 1842

      John S. Fullmer, Deposition, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      17–18 May 1842

      Depositions, before Daniel H. Wells, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 17–18 May 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; handwriting of Daniel H. Wells; signatures of John Taylor, Hyrum Smith, Orson Spencer, Lyman Wight, Henry G. Sherwood, and John S. Fullmer; notation by Daniel H. Wells; endorsement, docket, and notation in unidentified handwriting.
      27 May 1842

      Samuel Marshall, Certification, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 27 May 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Samuel Marshall.
    • July (9)
      Ca. 20 July 1842

      Gamble & Bates on behalf of Marshall Brotherton, Plea, St. Louis Co., MO

      • Ca. 20 July 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; unidentified handwriting; docket in unidentified handwriting; notation in unidentified handwriting.
      21 July 1842

      Docket Entry, Plea, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 21 July 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court Record, 1841–1843, vol. 13, p. 233, MSA; images at Washington University in St. Louis, University Libraries; unidentified handwriting.
      21 July 1842

      Braxton W. Gillock, Deposition, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      21 July 1842

      George Beebe, Deposition, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      21 July 1842

      William Harris, Deposition, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      21 July 1842

      J. J. Johnson, Deposition, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      21 July 1842

      Silas Heaight, Deposition, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      21 July 1842

      Lyman Johnson, Deposition, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      21 July 1842

      Depositions, before DuBouffay Frémon, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 21 July 1842; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; unidentified handwriting; signatures of George Beebe and presumably Braxton W. Gillock, William Harris, J. J. Johnson, Silas Heaight, and Lyman Johnson; notations and docket in unidentified handwriting.
  • 1843 (4)
    • January (3)
      20 January 1843

      C. C. Carroll on behalf of Marshall Brotherton, Notice, to Leslie & Field on behalf of JS, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 20 Jan. 1843; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; handwriting presumably of C. C. Carroll; notation in unidentified handwriting; docket in unidentified handwriting.
      • 20 Jan. 1843. Not extant.
      24–25 January 1843

      John C. Bennett, Deposition, before Benjamin F. McKenney, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      25 January 1843

      Depositions, before Benjamin F. McKenney, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 25 Jan. 1843; St. Louis County Circuit Court, Civil Case Files, MSA; handwriting of unidentified scribes and presumably Benjamin F. McKenney; signature of John C. Bennett; docket in unidentified handwriting; endorsement in unidentified handwriting; notation presumably in handwriting of Benjamin F. McKenney.
    • September (1)
      22 September 1843

      Docket Entry, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO

      • 22 Sept. 1843; St Louis County Circuit Court Record, 1843–1844, vol. 14, p. 190, MSA; images at Washington University in St. Louis, University Libraries; unidentified handwriting.