Testimony against Chauncey L. Higbee, 25 May 1844

  • Source Note

Document Transcript

May 21. 1842
Testimony of Margaret I. Nyman <​vs. ​> before the of the , <​vs ​> in the City of . May 21st. 1842
Some time during the month of March last, came to my mother’s house, early one evening, and proposed a walk to a spelling school. My Sister Matilda and myself accompanied him; but, changing our design on the way, we stopped at Mrs Fullers’. During the evening’s interview, he, (as I have since learned,) with wicked lies proposed that I should yield to his desires, and indulge in sexual intercourse, with him, stating that such intercourse might be freely indulged in, and was no sin:— That any respectable female might indulge in sexual intercourse, and there was no sin in it, providing the person so indulging, keep the same to herself; for there could be no sin where there was no accuser;— And most clandestinely, with wicked lies, persuaded me to yield, by using the name of Joseph Smith; and, as I have since learned, totally false and unauthorized; and in consequence of those arguments, I was influenced to yield to my seducer.
I further state that I have no personal acquantance with Joseph Smith, and never heard him teach such doctrines, as stated by either directly or indirectly. I heartily repent before God, asking the forgiveness of my brethren.
Margaret I. Nyman
State of Illinois) ss.
County of Hancock)
City of )
May 24[th] 1842. Personally appeared before me. , Alderman of the aforesaid Margaret I. Nyman, the signer of the above instrume[n]t, and Testified, under oath, that the above declaration is true.
. Aldn. [p. 1]
, May 21st. 1842, During this spring kept company with me from time to time, and, as I have since learned, wickedly, deceitfully, and with lies in his mouth, urged me vehemently to yield to his desires; that there could be no wrong in having sexual intercourse with any female that would keep the same to herself;— most villianously and lieingly lyingly stating that he had been so insructed by Joseph Smith, and that there was no sin where there was no accuser:— Also vowing he would marry me.
Not succeeding, he on one occasion, brought one, who affirmed that such intercourse was tolerated by the heads of the . I have since found him <​also​> to be a lying conspirator against female virtue and chastity, having never received such teachings from the heads of the church; but, I was at the time partially influenced to believe in consequence of of the source from whom I received it. I yielded and become subject to the will of my seducer, : And having since found out to my satisfaction, that a number of wicked men have conspired to use the name of Joseph Smith, or the heads of the Church, falsely and wickedly. to enable them to gratify their lusts, thereby destroying female innocence and virtue, I repent before God and my brethren and ask forgiveness,
I further testify that I never had any personal acquaintance with Joseph Smith, and never heard him teach such doctrines as stated either directly or indirectly.
Matilda I. Nyman
State of Illinois) Ss.
City of. )
May 24th 1842— Personally appeared before me alderman of said . Matilda J. Nyman the signer of the above instrumnt. and testified under oath. that the above declaration was true.—
Aldm. [p. 2]
May 24th 1842 Sarah Some two or three weeks since, in consequence of brother Joseph Smith’s teachings to the singers, I began to be alarmed concerning myself, and certain teachings which I had receved from , and question him () about his teaching, for I was pretty well persuaded from Joseph’s public teachings that had been telling falsehoods; but said that Joseph now taught as he did through necessity, on account of the prejudices of the people, and his own family particularly, as they had not become believers in the work Doctrine. I then become satisfied that all of ’s teaching had been false from beginning to and, and that he had never been authorized by any one in authority to make <​any​> such communications to me. ’s teaching and conduct were as follows. When he first came to my house soon after the special conference. this spring, commenced joking me about my getting married, and wanted to know how long it had been since my husband died, and soon removed his seat near mine <​me​> and began his seducing instructions by saying it was no harm to have sexual intercourse with women if they would keep it to themselves, and continued to urge me to yield to his desires, and urged me vehemently, and said he and Joseph were good friends, and he teaches me this doctrine, and allows me such priviliges, and there is no harm in it and Joseph Smith says so. I told him I did not believe it, and had heard no such teaching from Joseph, nor from the stand, but that it was wicked to commit adultery, &c, said that did not mean single women, but married women; and continued to press his instructions and argumnts until after dark, and until I was inclined to believe. for he called God to witness of the truth, & was so Solemn and confident, I yielded to his temptations, having received the strongest assurance from him that Joseph approved it & would uphold me in it. [p. 3] He also told me that many others were following this the same course of conduct, As I still had some doubts, near the close of our interview. I again suggested my fears that I had done wrong, and should loose the confidence of the brethren. when he assured me that it was right, and he would bring a witness to confirm what he had taught.— When he come again, I still <​had doubt &​> told him I understood he () had recntly been , and that Joseph, when he him, told him to quit all his iniquitous practices.— said it was not for such things that he was baptized for. Do you think I would be baptized for such a thing & then go into it so soon again. said it would never be known. I told him it might be told in bringing forth. said there was not danger. said that understood it and could come and take it away, if there was any thing.—
Sarah Miller.
State of Illinois) Ss.
City of )
May 24th 1842 there appeared Sarah Miller the Signer of the above instrument and made oath that the above declaration is true before me
, Alderman.
We have a mass of affidavits and testimony on the subjet before us but the following extract from Katherine Warren’s testimony concerning , may suffice for the present.
May 25. 1842, <​Extract from the​> testimony of Katherine Warren
<​before the of the . &c.​>
I have had unlawful connextion with .—
taught the same doctrine as was taught by , and that Joseph Smith taught and presented those things, but he stated that he did not have it from Joseph but had his information from Dr . He, has gained his object about five or six times. also made propositions to keep me with food if I would submit to his desires.”
We have abundance of like testimony on hand, which may be forth coming if we are compelled. At present the foregoing may suffice.—
“Why have you not published this before”?— we answer, on account of the humility and entreaties of — at the time,— and on account of the feelings of his parents, who are highly respectable.— Who we have withheld <​foreborne​>, until now.— The character of is so Infamous & his Exertions such to destroy the word of God <​every principle of​> <​Righteousness​> that forbearance is no longer a virtue [p. 4]
. Illinois May 24th 1844
After, all that this . has done. in wickedly, <​&​> maliciously, using the name of Joseph Smith, to persuade innocent females to submit to gratify his hellish lusts, and <​thus​> blast the Characters of the most, chaste pure & virtuous, and philanthropic men on the earth, he has. <​&​> <​he,​> to screen himself from the law of the Lord, and the just indignation of an insulted people, and save himself from the penetentiary, or whatever punishment his <​unparalled​> crimes merit, he has entered into a conspiracy with the Laws and others <​with the Laws and others—​> to <​against​> take the life of those who are knowing to their his abandoned conduct thus hoping to save himself from the disgrace which must follow an exposure,— and wreak his vengeance, and gratify his Revenge for his awful disappointments. in the in shameful career. [p. 5]
State of Illinois) Ss.—
City of )
Personally appeared before me, , Clerk of the municipal court in and for the aforesaid , Marshal of said , who being duly Sworn according to ordinance deposeth and saith that on Friday the 26th day of Ap[r]il 1844, Mr informed me that one had committed an assault on the person of Alderman, , and the Mayor of the had sent for said . I repaird immediately to ’s Store <​Law office​> where I found said . Made him <​my​> prisoner, & informed him he must go with me to the Mayor’s , when he said he would not go. I then called upon <​commanded​> , and to assist me in taking said to the Mayor’s ; but they swore they would not. and used many threatning oaths and aspersions, Saying they would “see the Mayor and the damned and then they would not.” but soon after they followed me and the prisoner to the door, when the Mayor ordered me to arrest Said Foster’s and for refusing to assist me in the discharge of my duty. I immediately attempted to arrest them, but they resisted, and with horrid imprecations threatened to shoot. I <​laid hold of , and told him he was my prisoner, and told him he & must go into the with me, when Laid violnt hands on me & I​> commanded the bye standers to assist me; When there not being sufficient present, the Mayor, laid hold on the Two Fosters at the same time. At that instant drew a double barrel pistol on the Mayor, Joseph Smith, but it was instantly wrenched from his hands, and he afterward declared I <​he​> would have shot the <​you -[speaking to the​> Mayor]- if he <​you​> had let his <​not taken my​> pistol [p. 6] alone from me, and <​would have​> thank<​ed​> God for the privilege of ridding the world of a Tyrant. responded to s threats, and swore by the eternal God “I will do it” yet,— then asked said if he had his pistols with him. . <​said​> “no, if I had I swear by God I would shoot the right man for he is in the crowd.— looking the Mayor full in the face, and stretching his hand out towards the mayor when he spoke it.—— About this time took up a rock in each <​hand​>— and smote them together repeatedly— swearing vengeance on the Mayor and officers of the .— By this time some forty or fifty had assembled around the door, among whom was , the City Recorder, who was standing peaceably and silently on the spep [step]— of the door. When , <​who was raging and foaming about the Mayor and oth[er]s.—​> came up to him sudenly, <​And​> shaking his fists in the ’s face, whi in the most threatning and abusive manner Said “and you <​too by God​> are another damned black hearted villian,” with many more such like abo oppobious [opprobrious] epethits which he repeated many times,— The said Fosters and were soon after arrested brought before the Mayor— and fined each $100,00. in the sum of one hundred dollars for refusing to obey the s orders at ’s office
C. M
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 25th day of May 1844.) witness the Seal of court and Clerk of the Municipal Court C.
State of Illinois) ss
City of )
Personally appeared before me. Clerk of the Municipal Court of <​in​> and <​&​> for said . . and , and after being duly sworn [p. 7] depose and say that they have read the foregoing affidavit <​of​> , Marshall of said , that they were present at the door of the Mayor’s on the 26th of April 1844 when said arrived with the prisonr , that they saw and heard what transpired after the arrival of the as aforesaid, as stated in said affidavit and that the same is verily true.
Sworn to and subscribed, this 25th day of May 844.<​before me Cle[r]k,​> In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hnd and seal of cout. The Time and place above Written.
, Clerk
M. C. C. [p. 8]
in consideration <​addition​> with <​to​> the above affidavits & certificate, we refer the reader to the depositions of , & and published in the neighbor of the 15th may inst. and ask what honest man is safe while such, hot headed, Law breaking, peace disturbing, angry threatning, heaven daring God povoking, beings, are stalking abroad at <​in​> our midst; And what virtuous female will ever venture again to be within the reach of such a creature.— And when complaints have been made to the grand jury of , against such abominable wretches as are palming themselves upon us— to g[r]atify their hellish lusts what have the jury done?
of Testimony
We have abundance now in store—
And every morrow <​moment​> brings us more.
and all who are not <​now​> satisfied, of the true character <​of​> and his Clique,— we thing <​think​> them hard to satisfy,—— but they need not despair but more anon if they will not stop their cease their threatnings and abominations [p. 9]
April 26. 1844
Testimony against and Fosters—
May 25 44 [p. [10]]


  1. 1

    TEXT: Seal of the Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo.  

  2. 2

    TEXT: Seal of the Municipal Court of the City of Nauvoo.  

  3. new scribe logo

    Docket in handwriting of Thomas Bullock.