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Introduction to United States v. Haws et al.

United States v. Haws, H. W. Miller, G. Miller, JS, and H. Smith
United States District Court for the District of Illinois, Springfield, Sangamon Co., Illinois, 11 June 1842
 
Historical Introduction
In April 1842, , United States attorney for the district of , brought charges against , , , JS, and for an unpaid promissory note given to the federal government. Haws, JS, and the others had purchased the steamboat Des Moines from the government in a public auction in September 1840. The five men gave Robert E. Lee, who was overseeing the sale on behalf of the government, a promissory note for $4,866.38 due in eight months. A few months after the purchase, the steamboat, which was renamed the Nauvoo, was damaged while piloted by Benjamin and William Holladay. JS and the other owners blamed the Holladays for the wreck and brought a lawsuit against them in November 1840 in the Circuit Court, claiming $2,000 in damages. In February 1841, JS and his partners received a promissory note from Charles B. and Marvin B. Street to pay for their purchase of several shares in the boat.
In May 1841, because the promissory note to the federal government remained unpaid, Charles B. Penrose, the newly appointed solicitor for the Treasury, arranged to collect payment by seeking the arrest of JS and . He instructed Montgomery Blair, United States district attorney in , to apprehend the two men in , as they were thought to travel there. This plan failed, and initiated a common law in the United States district court in , Illinois, in April 1842. The defendants, except for , were notified of the proceedings in May. In June, Butterfield filed a claiming that the defendants owed the federal government $10,000. On 11 June, the day of the trial, the defendants failed to appear and the court awarded the United States $4,866.38 for the delinquent promissory note and $317.93 in damages, as well as the court costs.
Though five men were charged in ’s action, JS became the focus of the repayment. Butterfield informed Penrose that “unless the Judg[men]t can be collected of [JS] and his brother it will be lost as the other defendants are all insolvent.” In April 1842, two weeks before the summons for this litigation was served on them, JS and Hyrum Smith had petitioned for bankruptcy. Some viewed this as an attempt to avoid paying creditors with the assets he had. JS’s financial dealings, especially land transactions, were called into question. Butterfield looked into claims made by and found several transactions in that Butterfield considered fraudulent, either because the transfers took place after JS had applied for bankruptcy or because JS had transferred property to noncreditors, including family members. Butterfield concluded that Bennett’s accusations of fraud were accurate and wrote to the court opposing JS’s petition for bankruptcy.
Despite opposing JS’s bankruptcy proceedings, sought to reach an arrangement wherein the bankruptcy would be accepted in return for JS and his partners repaying the debt owed the federal government. In December 1842, JS and other church leaders offered Butterfield a bond, payable in four annual installments and secured “by a Mortgage in real estate,” to satisfy the 11 June judgment. Butterfield recommended this arrangement to Penrose, explaining, “If I should defeat [JS] obtaining his discharge under the Bankrupt Act (of which I have no doubt) it would then be necessary to institute proceedings in , to set aside fraudulent he has made, in order to subject his property to execution. Such a proceeding would be attended with costs and delays.” Penrose countered that if JS would pay a third of the judgment in cash and the balance in installments over one to three years, then he would consent. When no agreement could be reached, however, another attempt was made to collect the judgment in July 1843. An officer approached JS and demanded payment, but JS apparently refused, and the officer was unable to find property to seize.
 
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.
United States v. Haws, H. W. Miller, G. Miller, JS, and H. Smith
United States District Court for the District of Illinois, Springfield, Sangamon Co., Illinois, 11 June 1842
 
Historical Introduction
In April 1842, , United States attorney for the district of , brought charges against , , , JS, and for an unpaid promissory note given to the federal government. Haws, JS, and the others had purchased the steamboat Des Moines from the government in a public auction in September 1840. The five men gave Robert E. Lee, who was overseeing the sale on behalf of the government, a promissory note for $4,866.38 due in eight months. A few months after the purchase, the steamboat, which was renamed the Nauvoo, was damaged while piloted by Benjamin and William Holladay. JS and the other owners blamed the Holladays for the wreck and brought a lawsuit against them in November 1840 in the Circuit Court, claiming $2,000 in damages. In February 1841, JS and his partners received a promissory note from Charles B. and Marvin B. Street to pay for their purchase of several shares in the boat.
In May 1841, because the promissory note to the federal government remained unpaid, Charles B. Penrose, the newly appointed solicitor for the Treasury, arranged to collect payment by seeking the arrest of JS and . He instructed Montgomery Blair, United States district attorney in , to apprehend the two men in , as they were thought to travel there. This plan failed, and initiated a common law in the United States district court in , Illinois, in April 1842. The defendants, except for , were notified of the proceedings in May. In June, Butterfield filed a claiming that the defendants owed the federal government $10,000. On 11 June, the day of the trial, the defendants failed to appear and the court awarded the United States $4,866.38 for the delinquent promissory note and $317.93 in damages, as well as the court costs.
Though five men were charged in ’s action, JS became the focus of the repayment. Butterfield informed Penrose that “unless the Judg[men]t can be collected of [JS] and his brother it will be lost as the other defendants are all insolvent.” In April 1842, two weeks before the summons for this litigation was served on them, JS and Hyrum Smith had petitioned for bankruptcy. Some viewed this as an attempt to avoid paying creditors with the assets he had. JS’s financial dealings, especially land transactions, were called into question. Butterfield looked into claims made by and found several transactions in that Butterfield considered fraudulent, either because the transfers took place after JS had applied for bankruptcy or because JS had transferred property to noncreditors, including family members. Butterfield concluded that Bennett’s accusations of fraud were accurate and wrote to the court opposing JS’s petition for bankruptcy.
Despite opposing JS’s bankruptcy proceedings, sought to reach an arrangement wherein the bankruptcy would be accepted in return for JS and his partners repaying the debt owed the federal government. In December 1842, JS and other church leaders offered Butterfield a bond, payable in four annual installments and secured “by a Mortgage in real estate,” to satisfy the 11 June judgment. Butterfield recommended this arrangement to Penrose, explaining, “If I should defeat [JS] obtaining his discharge under the Bankrupt Act (of which I have no doubt) it would then be necessary to institute proceedings in , to set aside fraudulent he has made, in order to subject his property to execution. Such a proceeding would be attended with costs and delays.” Penrose countered that if JS would pay a third of the judgment in cash and the balance in installments over one to three years, then he would consent. When no agreement could be reached, however, another attempt was made to collect the judgment in July 1843. An officer approached JS and demanded payment, but JS apparently refused, and the officer was unable to find property to seize.
 
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.
 
  • 1840 (1)
    • September (1)
      10 September 1840

      Peter Haws and Others (Including JS), Promissory Note, Quincy, Adams Co., IL, to Robert E. Lee

      • 10 Sept. 1840. Not extant.
      • 8 Oct. 1840; Case Files and Other Records Relating to Suits, 1791–1929, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Record Group 206, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; microfilm at CHL; unidentified handwriting; docket in unidentified handwriting.
      • 1 June 1841; Case Files and Other Records Relating to Suits, 1791–1929, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Record Group 206, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; microfilm at CHL; handwriting of Charles B. Penrose.
 
United States District Court for the District of Illinois, Springfield, Sangamon Co., Illinois
  • 1842 (7)
    • April (1)
      25 April 1842

      James Owings, Summons, to U.S. Marshal of the District of IL, for Peter Haws and Others, Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL

      • 25 Apr. 1842. Not extant.
      • 11 June 1842; in Transcript of Proceedings, U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois, Complete Record, 1819–1842, vol. 1, p. 529, National Archives at Chicago, Chicago; unidentified handwriting.
    • June (5)
      Ca. 7 June 1842

      Justin Butterfield, Declaration, Illinois

      • Ca. 7 June 1842. Not extant.
      • 11 June 1842; in Transcript of Proceedings, U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois, Complete Record, 1819–1842, vol. 1, pp. 529–531, National Archives at Chicago, Chicago; unidentified handwriting.
      11 June 1842–30 January 1851

      Docket Entry, Judgment, Chicago, Cook Co., IL

      • 11 June 1842–30 Jan. 1851; Register of Miscellaneous Suits in which the United States is a party or interested, 1834–1848, pp. 37–38, 110–111, Case Files and Other Records Relating to Suits, 1791–1929, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Record Group 206, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; microfilm at CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting.
      Ca. 11 June 1842

      Transcript of Proceedings, Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL

      • Ca. 11 June 1842; U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois, Complete Record, 1819–1842, vol. 1, pp. 529–531, National Archives at Chicago, Chicago; unidentified handwriting.
      18 June 1842

      Fieri Facias, Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL

      Ca. June 1842

      Justin Butterfield, Report, Chicago, Cook Co., IL, to U.S. Solicitor of the Treasury, Washington DC

      • Ca. June 1842; Reports about Debt Proceedings against JS and Others, Contained in Periodic Reports of the United States Attorneys and Marshals ot the Solicitor of the Treasury, Case Files and Other Records Relating to Suits, 1791–1929, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Record Group 206, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; microfilm at CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; signature of Justin Butterfield.
    • July (1)
      Ca. 18 July 1842

      Docket Entry, Fieri Facias, Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL

      • Ca. 18 July 1842; microfilm in reel 25 of Wilford C. Wood, Collection of Church Historical Materials, CHL; unidentified handwriting.
  • 1843 (1)
    • January (1)
      24 January 1843

      William Prentiss, Report, Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL, to U.S. Solicitor of the Treasury, Washington DC

      • 24 Jan. 1843; Case Files and Other Records Relating to Suits, 1791–1929, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Record Group 206, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; microfilm at CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; signature of William Prentiss.
  • 1844 (1)
    • January (1)
      23 January 1844

      William Prentiss, Report, Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL, to U.S. Solicitor of the Treasury, Washington DC

      • 23 Jan. 1844; Case Files and Other Records Relating to Suits, 1791–1929, Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, Record Group 206, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC; microfilm at CHL; printed form with manuscript additions in unidentified handwriting; signature of William Prentiss.