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Introduction to JS v. Hinkle

JS v. Hinkle
United States District Court for Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 29 April 1842
 
Historical Introduction
In May 1841, JS initiated a civil suit in the United States District Court for , Iowa Territory, to recover damages from for allegedly taking some of JS’s property. Hinkle had been a prominent church member during the 1830s, but during the 1838 conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians he became disaffected from the faith. As military commander of the Latter-day Saint forces, he negotiated with the militia to surrender , Missouri, and to deliver JS and others into state custody. After JS’s arrest, Hinkle allegedly ransacked the Smith home (which Hinkle had built and subsequently sold to the church), expelled and the children from the building, and stole several items. Following the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from Missouri in 1839, he relocated first to and then to , where he was residing in 1841 when JS brought the suit against him.
On 14 May 1841, JS, represented by attorneys Alfred Rich and Lewis R. Reeves, brought an action against in the district court, claiming $2,000 in damages. There is no evidence that JS was present for the proceedings. Rich and Reeves requested that the court issue a writ of in order to apprehend Hinkle and stop him from absconding with property. Iowa territorial law required that the plaintiff or a representative file an affidavit asserting that the defendant intended to hide or flee with property to defraud creditors. Latter-day Saint , apparently acting as JS’s agent, filed an affidavit averring that Hinkle was indebted to JS for $1,500 and that he was “about to dispose of or remove his property . . . to defraud his creditors.” Based on the attorneys’ request and Miller’s affidavit, the court issued a capias for Hinkle on 14 May, which was served the same day by sheriff Hawkins Taylor. After the arrest, Hinkle entered into a $2,000 , binding him to appear at the district court for the trial at the October 1841 term. In accordance with territorial law, the court also issued a writ of to seize Hinkle’s property, but Taylor reported that he could find no property belonging to Hinkle.
In August 1841, Rich and Reeves filed a on JS’s behalf with the court. Reflecting the language of assumpsit, the document claimed was indebted to JS in the amount of $1,500 for books, horses, and various goods. In October 1841, the parties agreed to continue the case until the April 1842 court term.
During the interim, Rich and Reeves arranged for a commission to obtain depositions from witnesses living in , Illinois, who would be unable to testify in person at the impending trial. The court commissioned Mayor to examine witnesses in Nauvoo, using a template with questions formulated by JS’s attorneys. On 22 April, Bennett placed under oath sixteen witnesses, who dictated their responses to Nauvoo city recorder . described expelling her and her children from the Smith home and taking approximately $400 worth of goods. She valued the house and the property—which were not mentioned in the August 1841 declaration—at approximately $1,200. Other witnesses confirmed her testimony, relating that they knew that Hinkle had taken the property and had sold it.
On 29 April 1842, Judge Charles Mason presided at the trial at the district court in , Iowa Territory. Rich and Reeves were present to represent JS. It is unclear whether appeared or if an attorney represented him, as he “made default to plead according to the rules” of the court. After deliberation, the jury ruled in JS’s favor, awarding him $200. It is unknown whether JS collected the damages.
 
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.
JS v. Hinkle
United States District Court for Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 29 April 1842
 
Historical Introduction
In May 1841, JS initiated a civil suit in the United States District Court for , Iowa Territory, to recover damages from for allegedly taking some of JS’s property. Hinkle had been a prominent church member during the 1830s, but during the 1838 conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians he became disaffected from the faith. As military commander of the Latter-day Saint forces, he negotiated with the militia to surrender , Missouri, and to deliver JS and others into state custody. After JS’s arrest, Hinkle allegedly ransacked the Smith home (which Hinkle had built and subsequently sold to the church), expelled and the children from the building, and stole several items. Following the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from Missouri in 1839, he relocated first to and then to , where he was residing in 1841 when JS brought the suit against him.
On 14 May 1841, JS, represented by attorneys Alfred Rich and Lewis R. Reeves, brought an action against in the district court, claiming $2,000 in damages. There is no evidence that JS was present for the proceedings. Rich and Reeves requested that the court issue a writ of in order to apprehend Hinkle and stop him from absconding with property. Iowa territorial law required that the plaintiff or a representative file an affidavit asserting that the defendant intended to hide or flee with property to defraud creditors. Latter-day Saint , apparently acting as JS’s agent, filed an affidavit averring that Hinkle was indebted to JS for $1,500 and that he was “about to dispose of or remove his property . . . to defraud his creditors.” Based on the attorneys’ request and Miller’s affidavit, the court issued a capias for Hinkle on 14 May, which was served the same day by sheriff Hawkins Taylor. After the arrest, Hinkle entered into a $2,000 , binding him to appear at the district court for the trial at the October 1841 term. In accordance with territorial law, the court also issued a writ of to seize Hinkle’s property, but Taylor reported that he could find no property belonging to Hinkle.
In August 1841, Rich and Reeves filed a on JS’s behalf with the court. Reflecting the language of assumpsit, the document claimed was indebted to JS in the amount of $1,500 for books, horses, and various goods. In October 1841, the parties agreed to continue the case until the April 1842 court term.
During the interim, Rich and Reeves arranged for a commission to obtain depositions from witnesses living in , Illinois, who would be unable to testify in person at the impending trial. The court commissioned Mayor to examine witnesses in Nauvoo, using a template with questions formulated by JS’s attorneys. On 22 April, Bennett placed under oath sixteen witnesses, who dictated their responses to Nauvoo city recorder . described expelling her and her children from the Smith home and taking approximately $400 worth of goods. She valued the house and the property—which were not mentioned in the August 1841 declaration—at approximately $1,200. Other witnesses confirmed her testimony, relating that they knew that Hinkle had taken the property and had sold it.
On 29 April 1842, Judge Charles Mason presided at the trial at the district court in , Iowa Territory. Rich and Reeves were present to represent JS. It is unclear whether appeared or if an attorney represented him, as he “made default to plead according to the rules” of the court. After deliberation, the jury ruled in JS’s favor, awarding him $200. It is unknown whether JS collected the damages.
 
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.
 
  • 1841 (9)
    • May (7)
      14 May 1841

      Rich & Reeves on behalf of JS, Praecipe, to Lee Co. District Court Clerk, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting presumably of Alfred Rich or Lewis R. Reeves; notation in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck.
      14 May 1841

      George Miller, Affidavit, before O. S. X. Peck, Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 14 May 1841–A

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting presumably of Alfred Rich or Lewis R. Reeves; signature of George Miller; certified by O. S. X. Peck; notation in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck.
      14 May 1841

      O. S. X. Peck, Capias, to Lee Co. Sheriff, Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; docket in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; notation in handwriting of Hawkins Taylor.
      14 May 1841

      George M. Hinkle and Others, Recognizance, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to Hawkins Taylor, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 14 May 1841–A

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of Hawkins Taylor; signatures presumably of George M. Hinkle, George W. Austin, A. G. Siverly, and Henry B. McFall.
      14 May 1841

      George Miller, Affidavit, before O. S. X. Peck, Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 14 May 1841–B

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; signature of George Miller; notation in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck.
      14 May 1841

      George Miller and John G. Toncray, Recognizance, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to George M. Hinkle, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 14 May 1841–B

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; signatures of George Miller and presumably John G. Toncray; docket and notation in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; notation in unidentified handwriting.
      14 May 1841

      O. S. X. Peck, Attachment, to Lee Co. Sheriff, Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • 14 May 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; docket in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck; notation in handwriting of Hawkins Taylor.
    • August (1)
      Ca. 27 August 1841

      Rich & Reeves on behalf of JS, Declaration, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • Ca. 27 Aug. 1841; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting presumably of Alfred Rich or Lewis R. Reeves; docket presumably in handwriting of Alfred Rich or Lewis R. Reeves; notation in handwriting of O. S. X. Peck.
      • Ca. 27 Aug. 1841. Not extant.
    • October (1)
      Ca. 4 October 1841

      Docket Entry, Continuance, Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • Ca. 4 Oct. 1841; Lee County District Court, District Court Record, vol. 3, p. 76; microfilm at FHL; handwriting of O. S. X. Peck.
  • 1842 (22)
    • April (22)
      6 April 1842

      Interrogatories, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • 6 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting presumably of Alfred Rich or Lewis R. Reeves; notation presumably in handwriting of William W. Chapman or Mudd.
      • Ca. 6 Apr. 1842. Not extant.
      18 April 1842

      Joel C. Walker, Appointment, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, to John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 18 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting presumably of Joel C. Walker.
      20 April 1842

      John C. Bennett, Subpoena, for Elias Higbee and Others, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 20 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan; signature of John C. Bennett; notation in handwriting of William D. Huntington.
      22 April 1842

      Emma Smith, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Emma Smith; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Reynolds Cahoon, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Reynolds Cahoon; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Thomas Grover, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Thomas Grover; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      George W. Harris, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of George W. Harris; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Lucinda Pendleton Harris, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Lucinda Pendleton Harris; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Elias Higbee, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Elias Higbee; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Caroline Clark Huntington, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Caroline Clark Huntington; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Vinson Knight, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Vinson Knight; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Amasa Lyman, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Amasa Lyman; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Alanson Ripley, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Alanson Ripley; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      George W. Robinson, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of George W. Robinson; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      John Scott, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of John Scott; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Henry G. Sherwood, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Henry G. Sherwood; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Hyrum Smith, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Hyrum Smith; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      John Taylor, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of John Taylor; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      Lyman Wight, Deposition, before John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; manuscript form in handwriting of James Sloan with manuscript additions in handwriting of James Sloan; signature of Lyman Wight; certified by John C. Bennett.
      22 April 1842

      John C. Bennett and James Sloan, Certification, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of John C. Bennett and James Sloan.
      22 April 1842

      James Sloan, Costs, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL

      • 22 Apr. 1842; Joseph Smith vs. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842, CHL; handwriting of James Sloan.
      29 April 1842

      Docket Entry, Judgment, Fort Madison, Lee Co., Iowa Territory

      • 29 Apr. 1842; Lee County District Court, District Court Record, vol. 3, p. 173; microfilm at FHL; unidentified handwriting.