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Introduction to Niswanger v. Wight and Jett

Niswanger v. Wight and Jett
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Justice of the Peace Court, 19 September 1843
Hancock Co, Illinois, Circuit Court, 23 May 1844
 
Historical Introduction
In September 1843 William Niswanger commenced proceedings against and Hamilton Jett to collect an unpaid debt before , a , Illinois, justice of the peace. On 5 April 1842, Wight and Jett signed a promissory note for $315.20, payable within six weeks to Niswanger in the form of a horse, wagon, and groceries. Although the note became due the following month, Niswanger did not pursue legal action right away, allowing Wight and Jett to make payments in June and September 1843. A balance of $72.10 remained unpaid.
Sometime in September 1843, Niswanger initiated the suit against and Jett for $79.84. , who was authorized under law to hear debt cases for sums that did not exceed $100.00, presumably issued a summons, which is not extant, notifying the defendants to answer the suit. However, because Wight had left for on 21 July, the summons was served only on Jett. For unknown reasons, Jett had the case transferred to , a newly elected justice of the peace for Hancock County. On 18 September, Higbee issued a subpoena for JS, Wilkinson Hewit, and Jacob Zundel to appear as witnesses. Higbee attempted to hold the trial the same day, but due to the absence of material defense witnesses, he granted a continuance until the following day. On 19 September, Jett requested a trial by jury, and twelve men were selected. Zundel and Hewit provided testimony, but JS evidently did not attend the proceedings. After hearing the evidence, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Niswanger. Higbee rendered judgment against Jett for $72.10 plus costs. Niswanger then assigned his judgment to Joseph Fisher.
On 20 September, Jett, represented by attorneys and , appealed the case to the Circuit Court. The appeal was scheduled for the October 1843 term. On 2 October, JS, Zundel, , and Stephen Litz were subpoenaed as witnesses. The appeal was continued until the May 1844 term, with the subpoena being again issued for the witnesses. Hancock County sheriff served it on Litz on 22 May 1844 but was unable to locate JS or the others. The appeal was heard the following day, but when neither Jett nor appeared, the circuit court upheld ’s ruling. Approximately two months after the ruling, the judgment remained unpaid and Fisher requested the court issue a writ of against Jett. Seventy dollars was collected in October 1844, with approximately half of this amount directed toward paying costs. The following month, Fisher assigned the judgment, with its remaining balance of $35.79, to Charles Bird, who in turn assigned his interest to William Backenstos in September 1845. It is unknown if the judgment was paid in its entirety.
 
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.
 
Niswanger v. Wight and Jett
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Justice of the Peace Court, 19 September 1843
Hancock Co, Illinois, Circuit Court, 23 May 1844
 
Historical Introduction
In September 1843 William Niswanger commenced proceedings against and Hamilton Jett to collect an unpaid debt before , a , Illinois, justice of the peace. On 5 April 1842, Wight and Jett signed a promissory note for $315.20, payable within six weeks to Niswanger in the form of a horse, wagon, and groceries. Although the note became due the following month, Niswanger did not pursue legal action right away, allowing Wight and Jett to make payments in June and September 1843. A balance of $72.10 remained unpaid.
Sometime in September 1843, Niswanger initiated the suit against and Jett for $79.84. , who was authorized under law to hear debt cases for sums that did not exceed $100.00, presumably issued a summons, which is not extant, notifying the defendants to answer the suit. However, because Wight had left for on 21 July, the summons was served only on Jett. For unknown reasons, Jett had the case transferred to , a newly elected justice of the peace for Hancock County. On 18 September, Higbee issued a subpoena for JS, Wilkinson Hewit, and Jacob Zundel to appear as witnesses. Higbee attempted to hold the trial the same day, but due to the absence of material defense witnesses, he granted a continuance until the following day. On 19 September, Jett requested a trial by jury, and twelve men were selected. Zundel and Hewit provided testimony, but JS evidently did not attend the proceedings. After hearing the evidence, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Niswanger. Higbee rendered judgment against Jett for $72.10 plus costs. Niswanger then assigned his judgment to Joseph Fisher.
On 20 September, Jett, represented by attorneys and , appealed the case to the Circuit Court. The appeal was scheduled for the October 1843 term. On 2 October, JS, Zundel, , and Stephen Litz were subpoenaed as witnesses. The appeal was continued until the May 1844 term, with the subpoena being again issued for the witnesses. Hancock County sheriff served it on Litz on 22 May 1844 but was unable to locate JS or the others. The appeal was heard the following day, but when neither Jett nor appeared, the circuit court upheld ’s ruling. Approximately two months after the ruling, the judgment remained unpaid and Fisher requested the court issue a writ of against Jett. Seventy dollars was collected in October 1844, with approximately half of this amount directed toward paying costs. The following month, Fisher assigned the judgment, with its remaining balance of $35.79, to Charles Bird, who in turn assigned his interest to William Backenstos in September 1845. It is unknown if the judgment was paid in its entirety.
 
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.
 
 
  • 1842 (1)
    • April (1)
      5 April 1842

      Lyman Wight and Hamilton Jett, Promissory Note, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, to William Niswanger

      • 5 Apr. 1842; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm 4,661,986 at FHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signatures of Lyman Wight and presumably Hamilton Jett; docket in unidentified handwriting; notations in unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
 
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, Justice of the Peace Court
  • 1843 (6)
    • September (6)
      Ca. 17 September 1843

      Hamilton Jett, Affidavit, before Robert D. Foster, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      18 September 1843

      Isaac Higbee, Subpoena, to Any Hancock Co. Constable, for JS and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 18 Sept. 1843; microfilm in Circuit Court Case Files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting of George Stiles; signature of Isaac Higbee; notation in handwriting of Joel Miles; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
      19 September 1843

      Isaac Higbee, Venire Facias, to Any Hancock Co. Constable, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 19 Sept. 1843; private possession; handwriting of Isaac Higbee; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket in handwriting of David E. Head.
      19 September 1843

      William W. Edwards and Others, Verdict, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      19 September 1843

      William Niswanger, Assignment of Judgment, to Joseph Fisher, Hancock Co., IL

      • 19 Sept. 1843; Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court Legal Documents, 1839–1860, BYU; handwriting of William Niswanger.
      18–19 September 1843

      Docket Entry, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 18–19 Sept. 1843. Not extant.
      • 20 Sept. 1843; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm 4,661,986 at FHL; handwriting of Isaac Higbee.
 
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court
  • 1843 (7)
    • September (6)
      18–19 September 1843

      Docket Entry, Copy, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 20 Sept. 1843; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm 4,661,986 at FHL ; handwriting of Isaac Higbee.
      20 September 1843

      List of Fees, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 20 Sept. 1843; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm 4,661,986 at FHL; handwriting of Isaac Higbee.
      21 September 1843

      Isaac Higbee, Certification, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 21 Sept. 1843; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm 4,661,986 at FHL; unidentified handwriting; signature of Isaac Higbee; docket and notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
      21 September 1843

      Warren & Higbee on behalf of Lyman Wight and Hamilton Jett, Praecipe, to Hancock Co. Circuit Court Clerk, Hancock Co., IL

      • 21 Sept. 1843; Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm 4,661,986 at FHL; unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket in handwriting of David E. Head.
      21 September 1843

      Jacob B. Backenstos, Subpoena, to Hancock Co. Sheriff, for JS and Others, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 21 Sept. 1843; private possession; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; notations printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of William Backenstos; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
      21 September 1843

      Jacob B. Backenstos, Summons, to Hancock Co. Sheriff, for William Niswanger, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 21 Sept. 1843; Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court Legal Documents, 1839–1860, BYU; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; notations printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of William Backenstos; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
    • October (1)
      16 October 1843

      Docket Entry, Continuance, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 16 Oct. 1843; Hancock County Circuit Court Record, vol. D, p. [15], Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm at FHL; handwriting of David E. Head.
  • 1844 (7)
    • May (4)
      Ca. 19 May 1844

      Chauncey L. Higbee, Praecipe, to Hancock Co. Circuit Court Clerk, Hancock Co., IL

      • Ca. 19 May 1844; private possession; handwriting of Chauncey L. Higbee; notation in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket in handwriting of David E. Head.
      20 May 1844

      Chauncey L. Higbee, Affidavit, before David E. Head on behalf of Jacob B. Backenstos, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 20 May 1844; CHL; handwriting of Chauncey L. Higbee; certification in handwriting of David E. Head; docket and notation in handwriting of David E. Head.
      20 May 1844

      Jacob B. Backenstos, Subpoena, to Hancock Co. Sheriff, for JS and Others, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 20 May 1844; Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court Legal Documents, 1839–1860, BYU; printed form with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; docket printed with manuscript additions in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos; notations printed with manuscript additions presumably in handwriting of James M. Spilman; notation printed with manuscript additions by William Backenstos.
      23 May 1844

      Docket Entry, Judgment, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • 23 May 1844; Hancock County Circuit Court Record, vol. D, p. 124, Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; microfilm at FHL; handwriting of David E. Head.
    • July (1)
      15 July 1844

      Joseph Fisher, Praecipe, to Hancock Co. Circuit Court Clerk, Hancock Co., IL

      • 15 July 1844; Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court Legal Documents, 1839–1860, BYU; unidentified handwriting; docket in handwriting of David E. Head; notations in handwriting of Jacob B. Backenstos.
    • October (1)
      Between 16 August and ca. 9 October 1844

      Docket Entry, Fieri Facias, Carthage, Hancock Co., IL

      • Between 16 Aug. and ca. 9 Oct. 1844; Hancock County Circuit Court, Execution Docket, vol. B, p. [157], Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, IL; image in Hancock County Papers, 1830–1872, CHL; unidentified handwriting.
    • November (1)
      29 November 1844

      Joseph Fisher, Assignment of Judgment, to Charles Bird, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 29 Nov. 1844; microfilm in Circuit Court Case Files, 1830–1900, CHL; handwriting presumably of Joseph Fisher; docket and notation in handwriting of David E. Head.
  • 1845 (1)
    • September (1)
      22 September 1845

      Charles Bird, Assignment of Judgment, to William Backenstos, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Sept. 1845; Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court Legal Documents, 1839–1860, BYU; handwriting of William Backenstos; signature presumably of Charles Bird; docket in handwriting of William Backenstos; notation in unidentified handwriting.