On 1 May 1841 the , Illinois, city council met at JS’s to conduct business concerning the city cemetery, city streets, stray dogs, and ’s mill. As a councilor, JS actively participated in this meeting, making motions for resolutions and speaking about the various topics. took minutes of the 1 May 1841 city council meeting in a notebook. Sloan then used those original minutes to record the official minutes in the council’s ledger, which is the version featured here. For whatever reason, Sloan did not copy all of the text from the original minutes into the official version. Those few omissions are noted in the footnotes to the transcript.
presented a petition from for liberty to put his Mill upon the outside Butment.
moved that petition be accepted, which <was> seconded, & after being debated, the motion was lost.
Upon Motion of a petition was granted (from ) that the be instructed to open that part of Wells Street which is North of Knight Street, as far North as Young Street & also that part of Young Street West of Knight Street to the next Corner by .
Colr. J. Smith moved & it was adopted that the Citizens be protected for Killing all dogs running at large which are set upon Cattle, or Hogs, or molest any person.
Upon Motion of , it was resolved, that all persons who keep a Slut, & lets her run at large, while she has Dogs following her, be fined Twenty Dollars
Sloan’s rough minutes state: “The Mayor spoke, & wished to be excused from voting as he did not consider it beneficial to Mr. Annis to have it accepted. ColD: C: Smith spoke, & wished to be excused from Voting, as he did not consider Mr. Annis’ labour wd be available. Voted, that Mr. Annis be at liberty to explain his Views, & he did so. Col Law wished that Mr. Annis shd have privilege of trying out his experiment, & thinks he is entitled to it. Aldmn Wells said if the Col tampered with this business, they wd have their first works to do over again. Col J: Smith stated the rights & priviledges of the owners of the Ferry, & that City Col has not right to take away Ferry rights, without damages being paid to the Proprietor, & he will set his Face agst the Petn altogether, if the Ferry rights be infringed upon. Question put, & motion put whether Petn wd be recd, & lost.” (Nauvoo City Council Rough Minute Book, 1 May 1841, 19–20; for earlier discussions of Annis’s case, see Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 8 Mar. 1841, 15.)
On 29 March the city council passed an ordinance “in relation to Dogs” that fined any owner of a dog that attacked cattle, hogs, or persons. Other cities in Illinois also had laws giving the city power to repress dogs from running free in the streets and to fine their owners for improper regulation. (Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 29 Mar. 1841, 17; see also An Act to Incorporate the Town of Caledonia, [21 July 1837], Laws of the State of Illinois , p. 32, sec. 6; An Act to Incorporate the Town of Danville [3 Feb. 1839], Incorporation Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 9, sec. 6; An Act to Increase the Corporate Powers of the Town of Chester [12 Feb. 1839], Incorporation Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 51–52, sec. 7; and Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois, 1035.)
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837. Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837.
Gregg, Thomas. History of Hancock County, Illinois, Together with an Outline History of the State, and a Digest of State Laws. Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1880.
A “slut” referred to a female dog. The city of St. Louis, Missouri, passed a similar ordinance requiring dog owners or keepers to pay costs for any damage done by their animals running at large. The St. Louis ordinance also contained a section stating that “every slut found running at large in this city during her season of salacity shall be slain by any person appointed for the purpose by the constable.” (See “Slut,” in Oxford English Dictionary, 9:251; and An Ordinance for Registering and Restraining Dogs from Running at Large [3 June 1835], Revised Ordinances of the City of Saint Louis, pp. 93–94, secs. 7, 8.)
Oxford English Dictionary. Compact ed. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.
The Revised Ordinances of the City of Saint Louis; Revised and Digested by the Board of Aldermen, during the Years 1835 and 1836. To Which Are Prefixed the Constitution of the United States, and the Amendments Thereto; The Constitution of the State of Missouri, and the Amendments Thereto; The Charter of the City of St. Louis, and the Act of the Legislature for the Sale of the Common. St. Louis: Missouri Argus, 1836.