JS, Oath, , Hancock Co., IL, 21 May 1842; handwriting of ; signature of JS; witnessed by ; one page; JS Collection, CHL. Includes docket.
Single leaf measuring 3¾ × 7½ inches (10 × 19 cm), ruled with nine horizontal blue lines (now faded) on the recto. The left and top edges of the recto have the square cut of manufactured paper; the bottom edge is uneven, suggesting it was cut from a larger sheet. The oath was written in blue ink. The leaf was folded twice, once for filing.
, who served as the city recorder from February 1841 to July 1843, docketed the document. It was likely included in the Nauvoo City Council records listed in an inventory produced by the Church Historian’s Office in 1846. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early docket and inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 suggest continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
On 21 May 1842, JS signed an oath in , Illinois, to perform the duties of city mayor. had resigned the mayoral office on 17 May, and when the Nauvoo City Council met on 19 May, they accepted Bennett’s resignation and elected JS to serve in his place. The minutes of the 19 May meeting stated that when JS was elected, “he was thereupon Sworn into office, & took the Chair accordingly.” The oath was issued in accordance with section 5 of the Nauvoo charter, which stated that “the Mayor, Aldermen, and Councillors, before entering upon the duties of their offices shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation that they will . . . well and truly perform the duties of their offices to the best of their skill and abilities.”
Two days later, on 21 May 1842, JS signed a written oath of office. He swore to uphold the constitutions of the and the state of and to execute the duties of mayor to the best of his ability. As was common for elected city officers, JS swore the oath before a justice of the peace, in this case .
On the same day that JS swore this oath, he signed a bond to provide further assurance that he would perform his duties as mayor. city recorder then wrote to governor asking him to forward JS’s commission to serve as a justice of the peace. Carlin issued the commission on 13 June. Exactly one month after JS swore his oath as mayor, he swore a similar oath to perform his duties as justice of the peace.
A number of Illinois city charters stipulated that their officers swear an oath before a judge or justice of the peace. Robinson had been serving as a justice of the peace in Hancock County, Illinois, since at least May 1841. (See An Act to Incorporate the Town of Macomb [27 Jan. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], p. 319, sec. 11; An Act to Incorporate the Town of Galesburg, in Knox County [27 Jan. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], p. 324, sec. 12; An Act to Incorporate the Town of Petersburg [23 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], pp. 332–333, sec. 15; and Hancock Co., IL, Deed Records, 1817–1917, vol. I, pp. 309–310, 19 May 1841, microfilm 954,598, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835. Vandalia, IL: J. Y. Sawyer, 1835.
James Sloan, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Carlin, [Springfield, IL], 21 May 1842, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL. Section 16 of the Nauvoo charter granted “the Mayor . . . all the powers of Justices of the Peace” and stipulated he would be governed by the same state laws as other justices of the peace and be commissioned by the Illinois governor. (Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.)
I Joseph Smith, do solemnly Swear in the presence of Almighty God, that I will support the Constitution of the , and of the State of , and that I will well and truly perform the Duties of Mayor of the City of , according to the best of my Skill and abilities.
Sworn to before me the day and year above Written.