Introduction to Holmes v. Dayton et al.

Document Transcript

Holmes v. Dayton, Slitor, and JS
Geauga Co., Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, 5 June 1837
Historical Introduction
On 15 November 1836, JS, , and signed a promissory note for $208.30, which they gave to Ezra Holmes. The reason they took on the debt is unknown, but each of these men was involved in land transactions in the , Ohio, area in fall 1836. Dayton was a church member at the time, and Slitor may have been as well; he was baptized before September 1837, when he was ordained an elder. The two men were related by marriage; Slitor’s older brother Richard was married to Dayton’s sister Amanda.
JS, , and failed to repay the note on 1 January 1837, when it was due, and Holmes brought this action. Though JS and Slitor were personally served with notice of the action against them, the defendants failed to appear for the trial during the court’s June term.
The reason JS did not appear may have been his involvement in other legal actions, one a criminal action based on ’s accusation that JS had tried to kill him, and another a civil action brought by , concerning a $5,000 note. Though JS, , and failed to appear in court, they did satisfy the judgment against them on 15 July 1837.
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.


  1. 1

    For a sample of JS land transactions in fall 1836, some of which he purchased individually and some with financial help from other Latter-day Saints, see JSP, D5:295n60; see also Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, v. 22, pp. 340, 345–346, microfilm 20,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL. On 5 October 1836, William Miller, William Smith, Don Carlos Smith, and JS contracted with Peter French and his wife, Sarah, for $11,777.50 for slightly more than 239 acres of land in Kirtland Township. This was the largest documented land purchase JS made in Ohio. (Mortgage to Peter French, 5 Oct. 1836.)  

    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.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  2. 2

    Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 26 Sept. 1837.  

    Kirtland Elders Quorum. “A Record of the First Quorurum of Elders Belonging to the Church of Christ: In Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838, 1840–1841. CCLA.

  3. 3

    Pioneer and General History of Geauga County, 462–463.  

    Historical Society of Geauga County. Pioneer and General History of Geauga County, with Sketches of Some of the Pioneers and Prominent Men. Evansville, IN: Unigraphic, 1973.

  4. 4

    Apparently $25 of the debt was paid, as the judgment was not for $208.30, but $183.30.  

  5. 5

    See Transcript of Proceedings, 5 June 1837, State of Ohio on Complaint of Newell v. JS [Geauga Co. C.P. 1837], Geauga County Court of Common Pleas, Common Pleas Record, vol. T, p. 53, microfilm 20,279, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL. This criminal action transpired at the end of May and first of June 1837, approximately the time the default judgment was rendered in the Holmes case. (Firmage and Mangrum, Zion in the Courts, 55.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Firmage, Edwin Brown, and Richard Collin Mangrum. Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1890. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

  6. 6

    Historical Introduction to Letter from Newel K. Whitney, 20 Apr. 1837; Transcript of Proceedings, ca. 5 June 1837 [Martindale v. JS et al.].