Docket Entry, circa 5 July 1842 [City of Nauvoo v. McGraw]
Docket Entry, , Hancock Co., IL, ca. 5 July 1842, City of Nauvoo v. McGraw (Nauvoo, IL, Mayor’s Court 1842). Featured version inscribed [ca. 5 July 1842] in Nauvoo Mayor’s Court Docket Book, p. 30; handwriting of ; in Historian’s Office, Historical Record Book, 1841–1874, CHL.Nauvoo Mayor’s Court Docket Book, , Hancock Co., IL, 25 Oct. 1841–10 Feb. 1843; handwriting of and ; thirty-eight pages; in Historian’s Office, Historical Record Book, 1843–1874, pp. 12–50, CHL.The docket book for the mayor’s court is recorded on pages 12 to 50 of a large, commercially produced record book used by various organizations in Nauvoo and later by the Church Historian’s Office (now CHL) in Utah Territory. The book, which measures 14⅜ × 10 × 2 inches (37 × 25 × 5 cm), has 228 leaves of paper measuring 14 × 9⅝ inches (36 × 24 cm), with forty preprinted blue horizontal lines. The volume has twenty-seven gatherings: the first twenty-five gatherings are composed of eight leaves each; the twenty-sixth gathering has four leaves, with signs indicating that two additional leaves were removed; and the last gathering consists of ten leaves, all of which were separated from the binding, likely after the pages were inscribed. The endpapers consist of a pastedown and two flyleaves at each end of the book; the pastedowns and facing flyleaves use marbled paper. The volume has a hardbound ledger-style binding. It is bound in brown calfskin with blind-tooled decoration on the cover as well as red leather bands with decorative stitching on the top and bottom edges of the cover. The cover was inscribed with the title “Docket | of the | Municipal Court | of the | City of Nauvoo.” The spine of the volume bears four paper labels. The label placed at the top of the spine reads “Record | 1855” and the next says “Incidents | of | History”. The third label is torn and shows a greater degree of wear; it reads “Nauvoo | Municipal Court | Docket”. The last paper label has a red border, likely placed on the record by Church Historian’s Office staff in the 1950s or 1960s, and reads “N686.4”. Significant staining and wear on the edges of the pages of the final gathering suggest that these leaves were stored outside the volume. At some point, these ten leaves underwent conservation and were pasted into folded paper edges to create an artificial gathering, which was then tied into the existing binding with string.The record book was initially in the possession of . He used it to record four pages of information about the University of Nauvoo from 1841 to 1844. These entries were later canceled. Beginning in 1841, Bennett also used the volume as a docket book for the Nauvoo mayor’s court and the Nauvoo Municipal Court, both of which he presided over as mayor and a justice of the peace. When JS was elected mayor of in May 1842 after Bennett’s resignation, began keeping the records for the Nauvoo mayor’s court and Nauvoo Municipal Court, using this same book. The record book was included in Historian’s Office inventories, indicating it was transported from Nauvoo to Utah along with church records. The volume was used by the Church Historian’s Office in the 1850s and 1870s to record ordinations, general conference minutes, correspondence, and blessings, as well as church information and journal entries from . It also contains copies of several texts related to the Latter-day Saints’ departure from Nauvoo, the writing of JS’s history, and a list of members of the first pioneer company to arrive in Utah Territory in 1847, which was compiled in 1867.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
On 5 July 1842, JS, as mayor of , Illinois, heard several cases in the Nauvoo mayor’s court, including one against William H. McGraw. JS had been elected mayor on 19 May and therefore, as stipulated in the Nauvoo charter, was able to prosecute violations of city ordinances. After his election, he was also commissioned a justice of the peace for , Illinois, a position authorized by the governor, which allowed him to preside over judicial matters. The first cases JS heard as mayor were brought forward on 5 July 1842 and included three charges; two, including McGraw’s, related to the sale of alcohol in Nauvoo, while the third was a charge of disorderly conduct. Each of these cases appears to be connected to Fourth of July festivities held in Nauvoo and suggests that the celebration included alcohol and lasted through the night and into the next day. The record of McGraw’s trial is featured here as a document representative of records created when JS presided over the mayor’s court. McGraw’s case, the most complete record of the three 5 July 1842 trials, represents a common charge of selling small quantities of alcohol, and it captures the legal process of appealing a case from the mayor’s court to the municipal court., who charged McGraw, was a constable for the city of and a member of the city’s recently established night watch. McGraw was charged with a breach of the city’s temperance ordinance, which was passed in order to dissuade public drunkenness and stipulated that spirituous liquors must not be sold in small quantities unless they were dispensed under the recommendation of an accredited physician. One of the witnesses summoned to testify against McGraw was Henry Rhodes, who had been charged on 4 July with disorderly conduct, which may have included public drunkenness. Rhodes was apparently not fined in his 5 July trial because he agreed to identify the individual who sold him alcohol, William McGraw. After summoning the three witnesses and hearing their statements, JS fined McGraw twenty-five dollars—the maximum amount allowed by the temperance ordinance—and ordered him to pay the court costs, or the payment due court officers. McGraw appealed his case to the Nauvoo Municipal Court, which JS presided over as chief justice and which required a jury to determine a verdict. McGraw’s case was brought before the municipal court on 2 August 1842. However, neither McGraw nor anyone representing him was present for the trial, which resulted in the appeal’s dismissal. The judgment then defaulted to JS’s earlier ruling.The transcript for City of Nauvoo v. McGraw sheds light on JS’s new role as justice of the mayor’s court. The systematic approach used in this case record suggests that JS and , who served as JS’s recorder, were learning the requisite legal processes and were attentive to the detailed record keeping required of the court and its officers. As shown in the featured docket entry, JS followed legal process when he issued and signed an execution, which gave his decision on the case. McGraw’s appeal, however, voided the execution, making the document unnecessary.Justices of the peace were required to keep a docket of the cases they oversaw. In his time as mayor and as judge over the mayor’s court, personally wrote the docket entries for his cases. JS, however, did not keep his own docket book. Rather, , who was city recorder at the time, kept the docket for JS, who signed and certified Sloan’s entries. Sloan appears to have taken notes on loose paper during the trials and then transcribed those notes, which are apparently no longer extant, into the docket book. Sloan presumably copied the McGraw transcript into the docket book on 5 July 1842 or shortly thereafter.See also Introduction to City of Nauvoo v. Rhodes, City of Nauvoo v. Walker, and City of Nauvoo v. McGraw.
Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.
Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.
Illinois Daily Journal. Springfield, IL. 1848–1855.
The Wasp. Nauvoo, IL. Apr. 1842–Apr. 1843.
Digest of the Laws and Ordinances of Cincinnati, of a General Nature, Now in Force. Cincinnati: E. Morgan, 1842.
By-Laws and Ordinances of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City of New-York. New York: John S. Voorhies, 1845.
Laws and Ordinances Governing the City of Chicago, January 1, 1866, with an Appendix, Containing the Former Legislation relating to the City, and Notes of Decisions of the Supreme Court of Illinois, relating to Corporations. Compiled by Joseph E. Gray. Chicago: E. B. Myers and Chandler, 1866.
The Wasp. Nauvoo, IL. Apr. 1842–Apr. 1843.
Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of the Several States of the American Union; With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Deacon and Peterson, 1854.
|City of )||Breach of a City Ordinance, for by Selling Spirituous Liquors.|
|William H. McGraw)|
|City of )||Breach of a City Ordinance, by Selling Spirituous Liquors.|
|William H. McGraw)|