Introduction to JS v. Emmons

Document Transcript

JS v. Emmons
Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, Justice of the Peace Court, 7 June 1844
 
Historical Introduction
On 7 June 1844, JS commenced an action against for a debt of $22.75. The circumstances of the debt are unknown. The complaint was brought before , a justice of the peace in , Illinois, and Johnson issued a summons for Emmons to appear before him on 22 June. JS also requested subpoenas be issued for and .
JS had associated with under a variety of circumstances. Emmons had served as legal counsel to clients against whom JS had filed complaints, and during JS’s tenure as mayor of , Emmons served as a member of the city council. He also acted as editor of the Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper devoted to criticizing JS and the church. The contents of the paper’s first and only issue on 7 June were deemed so inflammatory that the Nauvoo City Council declared it a nuisance and ordered JS, as mayor, to destroy it. That same day, JS commenced this action against Emmons for a debt.
The destruction of the Expositor caused a great deal of excitement among area residents who opposed the Latter-day Saints. By 22 June, the day set for the trial, , one of the witnesses subpoenaed, was sent to , Illinois, to speak with Governor about the escalating tensions, and by day’s end JS was on his way to to avoid arrest. In these circumstances, ’s hearing did not occur, and it is unknown if the case was ever settled. The only extant case document is a brief entry in ’s docket book.
 
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.
 
7 June 1844 JS, Bill, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
7 June 1844. Not extant.
 
Ca. 7 June 1844 Summons, for Sylvester Emmons, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
Ca. 7 June 1844. Not extant.
 
Ca. 7 June 1844 Subpoena, for Lucien Woodworth and Eliza Partridge, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
Ca. 7 June 1844. Not extant.
 
Ca. 7 June 1844 Docket Entry, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL
Ca. 7 June 1844; Robinson and Johnson, Docket Book, 251, Collection of Manuscripts about Mormons, 1832–1954, Chicago History Museum; handwriting of Aaron Johnson.

Footnotes

  1. 1

    The law specified that the trial could not be “less than five, nor more than fifteen days from the date of such summons.” (An Act Concerning Justices of the Peace and Constables [1 June 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 403, sec. 3.)  

    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.

  2. 2

    Docket Entry, between 7 and ca. 22 June 1844 [JS v. Emmons]. Justices of the peace had jurisdiction of cases involving debts due on promissory notes, contracts, or written agreements that did “not exceed one hundred dollars.” (An Act Concerning Justices of the Peace and Constables [1 June 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, p. 402, sec. 1.)  

    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.

  3. 3

    City of Nauvoo v. Davis for Slander of JS, 10 Mar. 1842, Nauvoo Municipal Court; City of Nauvoo v. Hunter, 29 Nov. 1842, Nauvoo Municipal Court.  

  4. 4

    Records of Attendance of City Council, 1842–1845, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL; see the attendance for 1843, online frame no. 18.  

    Nauvoo, IL. Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 16800.

  5. 5

    JS, Journal, 7 June 1844.  

  6. 6

    JS, Journal, 10 June 1844. For a discussion of legal issues surrounding the actions of the city council and JS as mayor, see Oaks, “Legally Suppressing the Nauvoo Expositor in 1844,” 427–459.  

    Oaks, Dallin H. “Legally Suppressing the Nauvoo Expositor in 1844.” In Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith’s Legal Encounters, edited by Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, and John W. Welch, 427–459. Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 2014.

  7. 7

    JS, Journal, 22 June 1844; Editorial Note following 22 June 1844 entry in JS, Journal.  

  8. 8

    Historical Introduction to Appendix 1: Willard Richards, Journal Excerpt, 23–27 June 1844.  

  9. 9

    See Docket Entry, between 7 and ca. 22 June 1844 [JS v. Emmons].  

  10. 10

    See Docket Entry, between 7 and ca. 22 June 1844 [JS v. Emmons]. It appears that the return date recorded in the docket entry was originally written as 25 June but later written over to change to 22 June.  

  11. 11

    See Docket Entry, between 7 and ca. 22 June 1844 [JS v. Emmons].