Introduction to Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.

Document Transcript

Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger, W. Foster, O. Cowdery, J. Carter, H. Smith, Rigdon, JS, Bosley, Olney, Knight, G. Carter, Harlow Redfield, Cahoon, Hilman, Harvey Redfield, Gould, Hedlock, Hampton, Tanner, Johnson, Young, Badlam Sr., Packard, Cheney, W. Smith, Newcomb, Beman, Sherman, Perry, Barney, Decker, and J. Butterfield
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 16 April 1839
 
Historical Introduction
In October 1838, the mercantile firm of Halsted, Haines & Co. initiated a lawsuit against the , Ohio, mercantile firm of (consisting of partners , , and ) for an unpaid debt. At some point by fall 1836, Kirtland merchant introduced Cahoon, Carter, and Smith as well as JS and his mercantile partners, and , to his business contacts in New York, a connection that allowed them to buy more goods on credit than their new ventures would otherwise have allowed. The firm of Cahoon, Carter & Co. purchased goods from Halsted, Haines & Co. on 11 October 1836 and provided a promissory note for $6,162.23 payable in six months. The mercantile firm in which JS was a partner, , also purchased goods on credit during this business trip.
Because ’s note remained unpaid, the merchants hired the , Ohio, law firm Perkins & Osborn to litigate the debt and provided the law firm the overdue note in July 1837. On 1 September, went to to renegotiate this and other debts owed by Cahoon, Carter & Co. and by to Halsted, Haines & Co. and three other New York wholesale merchants: Mead & Betts, John A. Newbould, and Holbrook & Ferme. The renegotiation resulted in Cahoon, Carter & Co. dividing its original debt to Halsted, Haines & Co. into three payments and creating three promissory notes due in one, one and a half, and two years, respectively. These three notes were then cosigned by thirty Latter-day Saints living in Kirtland, including JS and . The first note, for $2,251.77, was due in September 1838.
When no payment was made in September 1838, created a statement of account in October listing the debts owed by and to the four wholesale merchants that Perkins & Osborn was representing in . Later that month, Perkins & Osborn began a lawsuit on behalf of Halsted, Haines & Co. to reclaim the debt on the first of the 1 September 1837 notes, bringing an action of against Cahoon, Carter & Co. and the cosigners on the note, including JS. By the time a summons was issued on 15 October 1838, most Latter-day Saints had relocated to , and the only signers of the promissory note still in the area were , William Foster, and church financial agent . In the declaration, Perkins & Osborn claimed $3,000 in damages. When the case was brought to court in April 1839, no representatives for the defendants appeared, so Judge ruled that the defendants had defaulted. Humphrey then required Granger and the other signers to pay Halsted, Haines & Co. $2,337.35 in damages, plus court costs.
, likely unable to pay the judgment rendered by the court and concerned by the two other promissory notes still owed to Halsted, Haines & Co., looked for another option. In August 1839, Granger and attempted to arrange another compromise to satisfy the debts owed to Halsted, Haines & Co. and the three other wholesale merchants. In the process of these debts being consolidated, JS, through Granger, became the main source for repayment, even though JS had direct ties to only two of the four debts. The August 1839 agreements required that all four of the New York merchants accept the conditions. It is unclear if Halsted, Haines & Co. (or Holbrook & Ferme) accepted the proposed arrangement; the only surviving agreements are those signed by John A. Newbould and Mead & Betts. If the agreement with Halsted, Haines & Co. was similar to the two surviving ones, it allowed Granger to pay a portion of the debt in land and the remaining debt would be forgiven.
In March 1841, the Court of Common Pleas issued a writ directing the sheriff to seize land in order to satisfy the judgment in the case. Sheriff Erastus Spencer seized several pieces of land appraised at a total of $592. For several months, Spencer tried to sell the seized land at public auction. He was unable to find buyers until September 1841, when he sold the land to and William Halsted (one of the partners in Halsted, Haines & Co.). In May 1842, Spencer gave Howden and Halsted deeds for the land they had purchased.
In November 1841, the law firm Browning & Bushnell wrote to JS requesting payment on the second and third promissory notes, which were overdue but had not yet been litigated. JS responded in December that he would need more time to repay the notes but assured the attorneys that he had means in the eastern to do so. This may have included lands that had arranged to acquire from Latter-day Saints in Oswego County, New York, in exchange for land in . After Granger’s death in August 1841, JS and the Saints discovered that the ownership of the land in New York was unclear. Granger’s son , who had taken possession of lands held by his father as a church agent, proved unwilling to return deeds, promissory notes, and other financial records in his father’s possession to JS. This left JS unable to use the New York land to repay the merchants as the elder Granger may have arranged.
JS petitioned for bankruptcy in April 1842, and he included the debt he owed Halsted, Haines & Co. in the schedule of debts he created as part of his application. However, JS’s bankruptcy was unresolved at the time of his death. The judgment owed on the first note, as well as the debts on the second and third promissory notes given to Halsted, Haines & Co., were included in the claims filed against JS’s estate.
In 1867, the law firm of Roys & Haines of Leavenworth, Kansas, sent a collection notice to the Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, banking firm of Nounnan Orr & Co. in an effort to collect the outstanding Halsted, Haines & Co. notes signed by JS, , and other prominent church leaders. This prompted Young, who was now president of the church, to send —who had taken over ’s responsibilities as church agent in the eastern —to to consult with on the status of the church’s old debts. The promissory notes had been signed thirty years earlier and were therefore no longer subject to litigation. It is unclear whether the debts were ever resolved.
 
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.

Footnotes

  1. 1

    Halsted, Haines & Co. included several members of the Halsted family—William, Matthias, and James Halsted—as well as Richard Haines and Richard Thorne. The firm sold wholesale dry goods in New York City from the 1830s to the 1890s. (Declaration, ca. 17 Dec. 1838 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Williams, New-York Annual Register, 507; Northeastern Reporter, 900–901.)  

    Williams, Edwin. New-York Annual Register for the Year of Our Lord 1836. Containing an Almanac, Civil and Judicial List; with Political, Statistical and Other Information, respecting the State of New-York and the United States. New York: Edwin Williams, 1836.

    The Northeastern Reporter, Volume 31, Containing All the Current Decisions of the Supreme Courts of Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Appellate Court of Indiana, and the Court of Appeals of New York. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1892.

  2. 2

    Historical Introduction to Blessing to Newel K. Whitney, 7 Oct. 1835; William Perkins, Statement, 23 July 1867 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. Granger et al.].  

  3. 3

    The invoice for this transaction apparently has not survived. However, other invoices from this same buying trip in October 1836 are extant. The debt was also recorded in the books kept by the Ohio law firm Perkins & Osborn, and William Perkins of that firm informed church agent Reuben McBride of the specifics of this debt years later. (See Invoices for New York City Merchandise, 8–15 Oct. 1836, JS Office Papers, CHL; and William Perkins, Statement, 23 July 1867 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. Granger et al.].)  

    JS Office Papers / Joseph Smith Office Papers, ca. 1835–1845. CHL. MS 21600.

  4. 4

    See Historical Introduction to Declaration, 7 May 1838 [JS for the use of J. Granger v. Smalling and Coltrin].  

  5. 5

    William Perkins, Statement, 23 July 1867 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. Granger et al.].  

  6. 6

    William Perkins, Statement, 23 July 1867 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. Granger et al.]; Historical Introduction to Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838. While both Kirtland-area firms combined their debts in the renegotiation for the debt to the firm of John A. Newbould, Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery was responsible for the debt owed to Holbrook & Ferme, and Cahoon, Carter & Co. was responsible for the debts to Halsted, Haines & Co. and Mead & Betts. (Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–A [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–B [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–C [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Charles Taylor for John A. Newbould to Oliver Granger, Agreement, ca. 2 Aug. 1839, Hiram Kimball, Collection, CHL; JS et al. to Holbrook & Ferme, Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837, copy at CHL; Hyrum Smith et al. to Mead & Betts, Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837, Mead & Betts v. Estate of JS, Illinois State Historical Society, Circuit Court Case Files, CHL.)  

    Kimball, Hiram. Collection, 1830–1910. CHL.

    Smith, Joseph, et al. Promissory Note, Kirtland, OH, to Holbrook & Ferme, 1 Sept. 1837. Photocopy. CHL. MS 20064.

    Illinois State Historical Society. Circuit Court Case Files, 1830–1900. Microfilm. CHL. MS 16278.

  7. 7

    Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–A [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–B [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–C [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.].  

  8. 8

    Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–A [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–B [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–C [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; see also JS et al. to Holbrook & Ferme, Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837, copy at CHL.  

    Smith, Joseph, et al. Promissory Note, Kirtland, OH, to Holbrook & Ferme, 1 Sept. 1837. Photocopy. CHL. MS 20064.

  9. 9

    Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–A [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]. The second note was for $2,323.66 and was due in eighteen months. The third note was for $2,395.37 and was due in two years. (Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–B [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Promissory Note, 1 Sept. 1837–C [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838.)  

  10. 10

    Statement of Account from Perkins & Osborn, ca. 29 Oct. 1838; see also Agreement with Mead & Betts, 2 Aug. 1839. The statement was directed to JS but was likely created for, or at the request of, Oliver Granger, who had become the church’s financial agent in Kirtland and was working to resolve unpaid debts in Ohio and New York beginning in 1838. This statement included the three renegotiated promissory notes given to Halsted, Haines & Co. on 1 September 1837. For more information on Granger’s role as a financial agent for JS and the church, see Letter of Introduction from John Howden, 27 Oct. 1838; and Historical Introduction to Authorization for Oliver Granger, 6 May 1839.  

  11. 11

    Summons, 15 Oct. 1838 [Halsted, Haines & Co v. O. Granger et al.].  

  12. 12

    Declaration, ca. 17 Dec. 1838 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]. While this larger amount may have included interest on the promissory note, it was standard legal practice to seek more in damages than the actual amount of the debt. (Swan, Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law, 1:212–217.)  

    Swan, Joseph R. The Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law, in Ohio, and Precedents in Pleading, with Practical Notes; together with the Forms of Process and Clerks’ Entries. 2 vols. Columbus: Isaac N. Whiting, 1845.

  13. 13

    Transcript of Proceedings, ca. 16 Apr. 1839 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]. The damages set by Humphrey likely included the interest that had accrued on the note after its September 1838 due date.  

  14. 14

    Agreement with Mead & Betts, 2 Aug. 1839; Charles Taylor for John A. Newbould to Oliver Granger, Agreement, ca. 2 Aug. 1839, Hiram Kimball, Collection, CHL.  

    Kimball, Hiram. Collection, 1830–1910. CHL.

  15. 15

    Docket Entry, Costs, ca. 16 Apr. 1839 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.].  

  16. 16

    Deed, 24 May 1842 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.].  

  17. 17

    Docket Entry, Costs, ca. 16 Apr. 1839 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Notice, 29 May 1841 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Notice, 21 Aug. 1841 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Deed, 24 May 1842 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Deed, 27 May 1842 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.].  

  18. 18

    Deed, 24 May 1842 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.]; Deed, 27 May 1842 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. O. Granger et al.].  

  19. 19

    Letter from Orville Browning and Nehemiah Bushnell, 23 Nov. 1841.  

  20. 20

    Letter to Orville Browning and Nehemiah Bushnell, 7 Dec. 1841.  

  21. 21

    Benjamin Elsworth, Palermo, NY, 18 Oct. 1840, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, 15 Nov. 1840, 2:219–220; Memorandum of Deeds, 3 Mar. 1842.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  22. 22

    Memorandum of Deeds, 3 Mar. 1842; Letter from Reuben McBride, 3 Jan. 1842; Receipt, 8 July 1842.  

  23. 23

    Application for Bankruptcy, ca. 14–16 Apr. 1842, in JSP, D9:360–372.  

    JSP, D9 / Smith, Alex D., Christian K. Heimburger, and Christopher James Blythe, eds. Documents, Volume 9: December 1841–April 1842. Vol. 9 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, R. Eric Smith, Matthew J. Grow, and Ronald K. Esplin. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2019.

  24. 24

    See Historical Introduction to Application for Bankruptcy, ca. 14–16 Apr. 1842, in JSP, D9:363; Notice to Creditors and Others, 17 June 1842, in JSP, D10:162–164; and “Joseph Smith Documents from May through August 1842,” in JSP, D10:xxiii–xxiv.  

    JSP, D9 / Smith, Alex D., Christian K. Heimburger, and Christopher James Blythe, eds. Documents, Volume 9: December 1841–April 1842. Vol. 9 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, R. Eric Smith, Matthew J. Grow, and Ronald K. Esplin. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2019.

    JSP, D10 / Kuehn, Elizabeth A., Jordan T. Watkins, Matthew C. Godfrey, and Mason K. Allred, eds. Documents, Volume 10: May–August 1842. Vol. 10 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, R. Eric Smith, Matthew J. Grow, and Ronald K. Esplin. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2020.

  25. 25

    Hancock Co., IL, Probate Records, 1831–1912, Probate Records, 1841–1849, pp. 229, 245, 16 Sept. and 16 Nov. 1848, microfilm 947,494, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  26. 26

    Roys & Haines, Collection Notice, 1867, Brigham Young Office, Halsted, Haines & Co. File, 1867, CHL. Franklin D. Richards included a copy of William Perkins’s statement as an enclosure to a letter he wrote to Brigham Young on 27 August 1867. (William Perkins, Statement, 23 July 1867, copy, in Franklin D. Richards, Liverpool, England, to Brigham Young, 27 Aug. 1867, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.)  

    Brigham Young Office. Halsted, Haines & Co. File, 1867. Copy of case, Halsted, Haines & Co. v. Granger et al. (Geauga Co. C.P. 1841). CHL.

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  27. 27

    William Perkins, Statement, 23 July 1867 [Halsted, Haines & Co. v. Granger et al.].  

  28. 28

    Illinois law required that an action for payment of promissory notes and other debts be commenced within sixteen years “after the cause of such action shall have accrued.” However, there was a provision that any payment made on the debt after the sixteen-year limitation would revive the debt. This may have been Roys & Haines’s objective in sending the collection notice: If Young made any payment on the notes, then the firm could proceed legally to collect the debt. (An Act for the Limitation of Actions and for Avoiding Vexatious Law Suits [10 Feb. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1834–1837], p. 454, sec. 4.)  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.