Introduction to JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney

Document Transcript

JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 24 October 1837
 
Historical Introduction
On 21 September 1836, Elijah Cheney signed a note promising to repay $200.39 borrowed from JS. Whether this promissory note reflected a debt for goods, services rendered by JS to Cheney, or a sum borrowed is unknown. The note was due upon demand. to John Hitchcock and his son James R., hardware merchants operating in under the name of Hitchcock & Son. This firm had several business dealings with the church.
By June 1837, the note remained unpaid and this action was commenced in behalf of the Hitchcocks. The Court of Common Pleas issued a summons, which was served on Cheney by either second sheriff or deputy sheriff . , a , Ohio, attorney, represented the plaintiffs’ interest and on 10 July 1837 filed a declaration asking for $400 in damages. When the case came to trial in October 1837, Cheney failed to appear, and the court entered a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff, with damages assessed at $213.92 plus costs. Efforts to collect the judgment were “wholly unsatisfied for want of property,” likely because Cheney no longer owned property in the area.
 
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

    Summons, 9 June 1837 [JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney].  

  2. 2

    Longworth’s American Almanac [1837], 316.  

    Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory, of the Sixty-Second Year of American Independence. . . . New York: Thomas Longworth, 1837.

  3. 3

    Cahoon, Carter & Co. purchased $145.12 worth of merchandise from Hitchcock & Son on 12 October 1836 and further goods for $278 on an unspecified date. By 27 May 1837, Cahoon, Carter & Co. procured an additional $1,130.49 worth of goods from the New York firm. John and James R. Hitchcock received several notes in 1836 and 1837 from Cahoon, Carter & Co. and from Sidney Rigdon and JS, likely on behalf of Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery. JS likely assigned Cheney’s note to the Hitchcocks in another effort to pay down these accumulating debts. (George W. Shields to John Hitchcock & Son, Invoice, New York City, 12 Oct. 1836; John Hitchcock & Son to Cahoon, Carter & Co., Invoice, [New York City], ca. Oct 1836, JS Office Papers, CHL; Statement of Account from Hitchcock & Wilder, between 9 July and 6 Nov. 1838, in JSP, D6:288; Statement of Account from Hitchcock & Wilder, between 3 Apr. 1838 and 20 Oct. 1840, JS Collection, CHL; Cowdery, Docket Book, 57–58, 60–62, 64–65, 83; see also Historical Introduction to Letter from Orson Hyde, 15 Dec. 1835, in JSP, D5:105n26.  

    JS Office Papers / Joseph Smith Office Papers, ca. 1835–1845. CHL. MS 21600.

    JSP, D6 / Ashurst-McGee, Mark, David W. Grua, Elizabeth Kuehn, Alexander L. Baugh, and Brenden W. Rensink, eds. Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839. Vol. 6 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2017.

    Cowdery, Oliver. Docket Book, June–Sept. 1837. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    JSP, D5 / Rogers, Brent M., Elizabeth A. Kuehn, Christian K. Heimburger, Max H Parkin, Alexander L. Baugh, and Steven C. Harper, eds. Documents, Volume 5: October 1835–January 1838. Vol. 5 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2017.

  4. 4

    Summons, 9 June 1837 [JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney].  

  5. 5

    Summons, 9 June 1837 [JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney]. The court of common pleas had jurisdiction for actions over $100 not exceeding $1,000. (An Act Defining the Powers and Duties of Justices of the Peace and Constables, in Civil Cases [14 Mar. 1831], Statutes of Ohio, vol. 3, p. 1744, sec. 1; An Act to Reduce into One, the Several Acts Organizing the Judicial Courts, Defining their Powers, and Regulating their Practice [16 Feb. 1810], Statutes of Ohio, vol. 1, pp. 705–706, secs. 2, 5.)  

    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.

  6. 6

    Declaration, ca. 10 July 1837 [JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney]. In accordance with legal practice, the declaration, or complaint, stated the damage amount of $400 multiple times, using different language to describe it in each occurrence. In this instance, the amount of damages was approximately double the amount of the actual debt, conforming to the legal forms of the time instructing attorneys to plead “any sum sufficient to cover the real demand.” (Swan, Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law, 1:212–217; see also Historical Introduction to Declaration to the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, 7 May 1838, in JSP, D6:137.)  

    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.

    JSP, D6 / Ashurst-McGee, Mark, David W. Grua, Elizabeth Kuehn, Alexander L. Baugh, and Brenden W. Rensink, eds. Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839. Vol. 6 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, and Matthew C. Godfrey. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2017.

  7. 7

    See Docket Entry, Judgment, 24 Oct. 1837 [JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney]; and Docket Entry, Costs, ca. 24 Oct. 1837 [JS for the use of J. Hitchcock and J. R. Hitchcock v. Cheney].  

  8. 8

    Cheney held no land property or chattel in Kirtland Township, Ohio, in 1837. (Geauga Co., OH, Duplicate Tax Records, 1816–1850, Tax Record for 1837, pp. 19–43, microfilm 20,261, U.S. and Canada Records Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.