Introduction to Underwood, Bald, Spencer & Hufty v. Rigdon et al.
Underwood, Bald, Spencer & Hufty v. Rigdon, JS, E. Boynton, S. Foster, McWithey, Joseph Smith Sr., Bosley, Parker, Holmes, W. Smith, J. Butterfield, Packard, Clark, Webb, Carrico, and A. Allen
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 16 April 1839
In June 1837, attorneys for the engraving firm Underwood, Bald, Spencer & Hufty brought a lawsuit against JS, , and several other men who owed a debt to the firm for the engraving and printing of banknotes. In October 1836, JS, , and other church leaders began organizing a bank in , Ohio, which they named the . That same month, an agent acting on behalf of the bank—likely —commissioned Underwood, Bald, Spencer & Hufty to engrave and print a series of banknotes. Cowdery brought the finished printing plates and printed banknotes back to Kirtland Township by the end of December 1836. There is no extant record for the initial payment, though it was probably a promissory note given to the firm by Cowdery. The debt appears to have been renegotiated when JS and fifteen other Kirtland residents signed a new promissory note for $1,450.
The legal firm Andrews & Foot, representing the engravers, began an action in in the Court of Common Pleas against JS and his fellow signers on 9 June 1837. Either the or his left copies of the writ of summons with all but four of the sixteen defendants. A month later, Andrews & Foot filed a declaration with the court claiming $2,000 in damages. The defendants, represented by Perkins & Osborn, filed a plea in the October 1837 term of court for the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas. The matter remained unresolved until 16 April 1839, when the court rendered a judgment requiring JS and his fellow signers to pay $1,641.63 as well as the costs for the case. In order to satisfy the judgment, the sheriff seized land in May or June 1839 and attempted to sell it at public auction, but he was unable to find a buyer. Attempts to sell the seized property continued until October 1840, when a portion of the land was sold for $201 to . The remainder was sold in April 1841 to Latter-day Saint , through his agent . Babbitt may have been acting as an agent for JS and the church. In 1841, Babbitt paid Thomas Underwood and his partners in order to acquire the judgment they held against JS, , and the other signers. By 1848 the case costs had been paid and the judgment was satisfied.
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.
9 June 1837
David D. Aiken, Summons, to Geauga Co. Sheriff, for Sidney Rigdon and Others, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH
Transcript of Proceedings, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH
Ca. 16 Apr. 1839; Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Common Pleas Record, vol. X, pp. 34–36, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; handwriting of David D. Aiken; signature presumably of Van R. Humphrey.
Ca. 16 April 1839
Docket Entry, Costs, Chardon, Geauga Co., OH
Ca. 16 Apr. 1839; Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Execution Docket, vol. G, p. 676, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; handwriting of David D. Aiken; notations in handwriting of David D. Aiken; notations in handwriting of Charles H. Foot; notation in unidentified handwriting; notation in handwriting of Lyman Cowdery; notation in handwriting of David D. Aiken with signature of Abel Kimball; notation in handwriting of Lorenzo J. Rider.
Almon Babbitt, Receipt, Geauga Co., OH, to Geauga Co. Sheriff
Ca. 30 Apr. 1841. Not extant.
3 June 1841
Erastus Spencer on behalf of Sidney Rigdon and Others, Deed for Property in Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH, to Almon Babbitt
3 June 1841. Not extant.
28 Sept. 1841; Lake County Deed Record, vol. A, pp. 513–515, Land Registry Records, 1840–1842, CHL; handwriting of H. F. Shepard.
Ca. September 1841
Gilbert Granger, Assignment, to Daniel Carter, Geauga Co., OH
Ca. September 1841. Not extant.
23 November 1841
Erastus Spencer on behalf of Sidney Rigdon and Others, Deed for Property in Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH, to Daniel Carter
23 Nov. 1841; JS Collection, CHL; handwriting of Alfred Phelps; signatures of Erastus Spencer and Alfred Phelps; probable signature of Edwin F. Phelps; docket in handwriting of Alfred Phelps; notation in handwriting of Daniel Kerr; notation in handwriting of H. F. Shepard.
16 March 1842; Lake County Deed Record, vol. B, pp. 100–102, Land Registry Records, 1840–1842, CHL; handwriting of H. F. Shepard.