Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 6 June 1837
In mid-June 1836, the , Ohio, firms of and sent agents to , New York, to purchase wholesale goods. From 12 to 18 June, the firms collectively purchased over $14,000 worth of goods on credit. On 18 June, Cahoon, Carter & Co. purchased goods from merchant Daniel Ketchum amounting to $2,014.74, apparently paid for by Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery, since that same day Cahoon, Carter & Co. gave a promissory note for the exact amount to Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery. The firm of Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery then transferred the note received from Cahoon, Carter & Co. to Buffalo merchant , who in turn signed it over to , another merchant.
In 1837, a financial panic created a national economic downturn, which in turn affected the economy. The Kirtland mercantile firms found themselves unable to pay their sizable debts, resulting in several legal actions against them that year. The case featured here, brought by , was one of these proceedings. After the note now in Kelley’s possession became due and payment was not made, and , acting as Kelley’s attorneys, commenced two separate legal actions to collect on the note. One action was brought against , as the originator of the promissory note, and a separate suit against , as endorser of the note.
On 25 March 1837, JS and were arrested and brought before the Court of Common Pleas, but was absent from and could not be found to stand trial. This same day, special bail for $6,000 was entered in behalf of the men. The case was tried on 6 June 1837, with the court ruling that , having endorsed the note, was liable for the debt. prevailed in this action as well as his suit against ; each firm was assessed $2,083.47 in damages, plus court costs. Efforts to collect the debt continued until after the death of JS.
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.
18 June 1836
Cahoon, Carter & Co., Promissory Note, Kirtland, Geauga Co., OH, to Rigdon, Smith, & Cowdery
18 June 1836. Not extant.
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas
22 March 1837
David D. Aiken, Capias ad Respondendum, to Geauga Co. Sheriff, for Sidney Rigdon and Others, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH
6 June 1837; Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Journal, vol. N, p. 193, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; handwriting of Charles H. Foot and David D. Aiken.
Ca. 6 June 1837
Docket Entry, Costs, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH
Ca. 6 June 1837; Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Execution Docket, vol. G, p. 58, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; handwriting of David D. Aiken; notations in handwriting of David D. Aiken, Charles H. Foot, unidentified scribe, John French, and Lorenzo J. Rider.
Ca. 6 June 1837
Transcript of Proceedings, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH
Ca. 6 June 1837; Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Common Pleas Record, vol. U, pp. 97–99, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; handwriting of David D. Aiken; signature presumably of Van R. Humphrey.
JSP, D5 / Rogers, Brent M., Elizabeth A. Kuehn, Christian K. Heimburger, Max H Parkin, Alexander L. Baugh, and Steven C. Harper, eds. Documents, Volume 5: October 1835–January 1838. Vol. 5 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2017.
Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838. Ohio law required that before an endorsee of the note could be responsible for the note, he had to use “due diligence to obtain the money of the drawer, maker or obligor.” It was considered due diligence if demand was made for payment at the time the note became due “or within a reasonable time thereafter.” An Act, Making Certain Instruments of Writing Negotiable [25 Feb. 1820], Statutes of Ohio, vol.2, pp. 1137, 1139, secs. 2, 5.
Statutes of the State of Ohio, of a General Nature, in Force, December 7, 1840; Also, the Statutes of a General Nature, Passed by the General Assembly at Their Thirty-Ninth Session, Commencing December 7, 1840. Columbus, OH: Samuel Medary, 1841.
Swan, Joseph R. The Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law, in Ohio, and Precedents in Pleading, with Practical Notes; together with the Forms of Process and Clerks’ Entries. 2 vols. Columbus: Isaac N. Whiting, 1845.
The Statutes of Ohio and of the Northwestern Territory, Adopted or Enacted from 1788 to 1833 Inclusive: Together with the Ordinance of 1787; the Constitutions of Ohio and of the United States, and Various Public Instruments and Acts of Congress: Illustrated by a Preliminary Sketch of the History of Ohio; Numerous References and Notes, and Copious Indexes. 3 vols. Edited by Salmon P. Chase. Cincinnati: Corey and Fairbank, 1833–1835.