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Introduction to JS v. McLellin

JS v. McLellin
Clay Co., Missouri, Circuit Court, 21 August 1839
 
Historical Introduction
In early March 1839, JS initiated legal proceedings in the , Missouri, Circuit Court to recover damages from for taking some of JS’s property and unlawfully converting it to his own use. McLellin had been one of the original members of the church’s Quorum of the , but by summer 1838 he no longer affiliated with the faith. In late October 1838, he accompanied the state militia during its occupation of the Latter-day Saint settlement of at the conclusion of the military conflict between the Saints and their antagonists in the state. Following JS’s arrest on 31 October, McLellin reportedly led a group that “went about from house to house, plundering the poor saints, and insulting both male and female.” According to a statement inscribed by , who was then living with the Smith family, McLellin entered JS’s residence and stole books, clothing, and other goods.
The following spring, while JS was imprisoned in the jail in , he employed attorney John A. Gordon to initiate a civil suit against , claiming $500 in damages. Gordon brought the suit under the common law action of , a word derived from the French word meaning “to find.” William Blackstone’s influential commentary on English law indicated that trover was used “for recovery of damages against such person as had found another’s goods, and refused to deliver them on demand, but converted them to his own use.” On JS’s behalf, Gordon wrote a declaration that laid out JS’s claims against McLellin, using language derived from Blackstone. On 6 March 1839, Clay County Circuit Court clerk Samuel Tillery issued a summons for McLellin to appear at the court’s next session on 15 April. On 20 April, the court granted a motion by McLellin’s attorney, , requesting that JS be required to demonstrate that he would be able to pay the court costs. As JS had escaped state custody on 16 April and relocated to , he was unable to do so. On 21 August 1839, the court granted McLellin’s motion to dismiss the suit.
 
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. McLellin
Clay Co., Missouri, Circuit Court, 21 August 1839
 
Historical Introduction
In early March 1839, JS initiated legal proceedings in the , Missouri, Circuit Court to recover damages from for taking some of JS’s property and unlawfully converting it to his own use. McLellin had been one of the original members of the church’s Quorum of the , but by summer 1838 he no longer affiliated with the faith. In late October 1838, he accompanied the state militia during its occupation of the Latter-day Saint settlement of at the conclusion of the military conflict between the Saints and their antagonists in the state. Following JS’s arrest on 31 October, McLellin reportedly led a group that “went about from house to house, plundering the poor saints, and insulting both male and female.” According to a statement inscribed by , who was then living with the Smith family, McLellin entered JS’s residence and stole books, clothing, and other goods.
The following spring, while JS was imprisoned in the jail in , he employed attorney John A. Gordon to initiate a civil suit against , claiming $500 in damages. Gordon brought the suit under the common law action of , a word derived from the French word meaning “to find.” William Blackstone’s influential commentary on English law indicated that trover was used “for recovery of damages against such person as had found another’s goods, and refused to deliver them on demand, but converted them to his own use.” On JS’s behalf, Gordon wrote a declaration that laid out JS’s claims against McLellin, using language derived from Blackstone. On 6 March 1839, Clay County Circuit Court clerk Samuel Tillery issued a summons for McLellin to appear at the court’s next session on 15 April. On 20 April, the court granted a motion by McLellin’s attorney, , requesting that JS be required to demonstrate that he would be able to pay the court costs. As JS had escaped state custody on 16 April and relocated to , he was unable to do so. On 21 August 1839, the court granted McLellin’s motion to dismiss the suit.
 
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.
 
  • 1839 (7)
    • March (2)
      Ca. 6 March 1839

      John A. Gordon on behalf of JS, Declaration, to Clay County Circuit Court, Liberty, Clay Co., MO

      • Ca. 6 Mar. 1839; Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting probably of John A. Gordon; signature of John A. Gordon; dockets in unidentified handwriting.
      6 March 1839

      Samuel Tillery, Summons, to Clay Co. Sheriff, for William E. McLellin, Liberty, Clay Co., MO

      • 6 Mar. 1839; Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting of Samuel Tillery; notation in handwriting of Samuel Hadley.
    • April (4)
      18 April 1839

      William Wood on behalf of William E. McLellin, Motion, Liberty, Clay Co., MO

      • 18 Apr. 1839; Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting of William Wood; docket in handwriting of William Wood; notation in handwriting of Samuel Tillery.
      18 April 1839

      William Wood on behalf of William E. McLellin, Plea, Liberty, Clay Co., MO

      • 18 Apr. 1839; Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting of William Wood; docket in handwriting of William Wood; notation in handwriting of Samuel Tillery.
      18 April 1839

      Docket Entry, Motion and Plea, Clay Co., MO

      • 18 Apr. 1839; Clay County Circuit Court Record, vol. 2, p. 279, Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting of Samuel Tillery.
      20 April 1839

      Docket Entry, Order to Pay Bond, Clay Co., MO

      • 20 Apr. 1839; Clay County Circuit Court Record, vol. 2, p. 298, Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting of Samuel Tillery.
    • August (1)
      21 August 1839

      Docket Entry, Nolle Prosequi, Clay Co., MO

      • 21 Aug. 1839; Clay County Circuit Court Record, vol., 2, p. 315, Clay County Archives and Historical Library, Liberty, Missouri; handwriting of Samuel Tillery.