Appendix 4: Petition to Elias Higbee, circa 16 August 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To one of the Justices of the County Court within and for the County of State of The undersigned your petitioner would respectfully show that Whereas Joseph Smith Junr. of the County of and aforesaid is now restrained of his liberty and in the custody of and detained by Mr. [William] Morgan Sheriff of and aforesaid by virtue of a process directed to him the said Sheriff Issued out of the Circuit Court of or by the Judge thereof and by virtue of said writ the said Morgan Sheriff as aforesaid is about to remove the said Joseph Smith Junr. out of where he now is and was Arrested to your Petitioner verily believes said process is either not authorized by any provision of law or is not allowed by law under the circumstances which— caused its Issue and that in attempting to take the said Joseph Smith Junr. out of the County of aforesaid would be to exceed the right or Jurisdiction of the said Sheriff Therefore your Petitioner requests that a writ of Habeas Corpus may be immediately Issued directed to said Sheriff to enquire in to the cause of such confinement or restraint
August [blank] AD 1838
State of Missouri) ss
County of )
Before me one of the Justices of the County Court within and for the aforesaid personally came [blank] who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith that that the above petition is substantially true to the best of his belief and further this deponent saith not.
Sworn to and subscribed before me)
in the Town of Caldwell County)
aforesaid this [blank] day of August AD 1838) [p. [1]]


  1. 1 See Warrant, Ray Co., MO, 10 Aug. 1838, State of Missouri v. JS et al. for Riot (Mo. 5th Jud. Cir. 1838), microfilm 959,084, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  
  2. 2 A sheriff’s jurisdiction was over his own county only. However, under Missouri law, Morgan had the authority to work with a local magistrate to serve the arrest warrant. Although King reportedly informed Morgan of this provision, for unknown reasons the sheriff decided against involving Caldwell County officials. (An Act to Regulate Proceedings in Criminal Cases [21 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 475, art. 2, secs. 4–5; Sidney Rigdon, Far West, MO, to Sterling Price, 8 Sept. 1838, draft, CHL.)