Introduction to Rigdon et al. for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith

Document Transcript

Rigdon, JS, O. Cowdery, and H. Smith for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 12 November 1839
 
Historical Introduction
On 17 May 1839, a writ of was issued against by the , Ohio, Court of Common Pleas. The attachment initiated a lawsuit “,” or on behalf of, Lyman Cowdery to collect money from Smith, who was indebted to two mercantile firms, (operated by ) and (operated by , JS, and ). According to court documents, the plaintiffs’ attorneys filed the suit as an action and claimed $2,000 in damages, meaning that William Smith’s unpaid debt was likely between $1,000 and $2,000. The nature of the debt is unknown, as is the reason for the delay in litigation, since both firms had ceased operation by summer 1837.
At some point before May 1839, the debt was assigned to Lyman Cowdery. , a younger brother of Lyman, may have made the assignment, as he was the only member of the mercantile firms present in at the time. The other partners in the firms—JS, , and —resided in in May 1839 and may have been unaware of the debt or the litigation to collect it. In May, the writ of was issued to sheriff , who attempted to find land, goods, or chattels belonging to that he could seize in order to pay the debt. His efforts proved unsuccessful, and in the June 1839 term of court he returned the writ. At the November 1839 term of court, the plaintiffs discontinued the suit due to a lack of property to pay the debt.
 
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

    Attachment, 17 May 1839 [Rigdon et al. for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith]. This type of attachment was used when the debtor had either “absconded to the injury of his creditors” or was “not a resident of the state.” By 1839, William Smith was no longer living in Ohio. (An Act Allowing and Regulating Writs of Attachment [17 Jan. 1824], Statutes of Ohio, vol. 2, p. 1321, sec. 1; Letter from Don Carlos Smith, ca. Late May 1838.)  

    The Statutes of Ohio and of the Northwestern Territory, Adopted or Enacted from 1788 to 1833 Inclusive: Together with the Ordinance of 1787; the Constitutions of Ohio and of the United States, and Various Public Instruments and Acts of Congress: Illustrated by a Preliminary Sketch of the History of Ohio; Numerous References and Notes, and Copious Indexes. 3 vols. Edited by Salmon P. Chase. Cincinnati: Corey and Fairbank, 1833–1835.

  2. 2

    Attachment, 17 May 1839 [Rigdon et al. for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith]. The actual amount of the debt is unknown, as plaintiffs typically pleaded “any sum sufficient to cover the real demand.” (Swan, Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law, 1:216.)  

    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.

  3. 3

    Attachment, 17 May 1839 [Rigdon et al. for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith].  

  4. 4

    Oliver Cowdery returned to the Kirtland area in late 1838. He studied law there through 1839. (Walker, “Oliver Cowdery’s Legal Practice in Tiffin, Ohio,” 304.)  

    Walker, Jeffrey N. “Oliver Cowdery’s Legal Practice in Tiffin, Ohio.” In Days Never to Be Forgotten: Oliver Cowdery, edited by Alexander L. Baugh, 295–325. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009.

  5. 5

    See Woodruff, Journal, 18 May 1839.  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  6. 6

    Transcript of Proceedings, ca. 12 Nov. 1839 [Rigdon et al. for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith].  

  7. 7

    Transcript of Proceedings, ca. 12 Nov. 1839 [Rigdon et al. for the use of L. Cowdery v. W. Smith]; Hammond, Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Ohio, 9:112; see also Swan, Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law, 2:1197.  

    Hammond, Charles. Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Ohio, in Bank, at December Terms, 1833, 1834. Vol. 6. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke, 1872.

    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.