Introduction to JS v. Reynolds and Wilson

Document Transcript

JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A
Lee Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 10 May 1844
 
JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–B
Lee Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, circa 26 June 1843
 
Coolidge Administrator of the Estate of JS v. Reynolds and Wilson
Lee Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 18 December 1845
 
Historical Introduction
On 10 May 1844, a , Illinois, jury returned a verdict in JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A, awarding JS forty dollars in damages. The case originated in the government’s third attempt to extradite JS to answer charges related to the 1838 conflict between the Latter-day Saints and their antagonists there. In early June 1843, a , Missouri, grand jury indicted JS for allegedly committing treason during the conflict. On 13 June, Missouri governor sent a requisition to governor demanding that JS be apprehended and extradited. , Missouri, sheriff (no relation to the governor), the agent authorized to convey JS to Missouri, delivered the requisition to Ford in , Illinois. Ford issued a warrant for JS on 17 June, directing it to , Illinois, constable to serve.
Meanwhile, JS and his family departed , Illinois, on 13 June 1843 to visit ’s sister Elizabeth Hale Wasson in Palestine Grove, near , Lee County. JS later claimed that and were informed in advance of the family’s trip and that the extradition attempt was timed to coincide with JS being outside of Nauvoo. Although JS learned on 21 June of ’s warrant, Wilson and Reynolds were able to approach the Wasson residence on 23 June without drawing attention, as the two lawmen claimed to be Latter-day Saint missionaries. JS attempted to exit through the rear of the house but was intercepted by Wilson and Reynolds, who trained their pistols on him and threatened to shoot if he resisted. They also struck JS repeatedly with their firearms. JS later stated that when he asked them by what authority they acted, they refused to show him Ford’s warrant.
After arresting JS, transferred custody to .The two men then forced JS into their wagon and drove him about ten miles to , the seat, where they hoped to acquire fresh horses to transport JS to . The two officers confined JS in a tavern and reportedly refused him access to an attorney. JS’s associates and worked with local citizens to hire and as JS’s legal counsel; later joined the team. JS and his attorneys initiated several legal actions designed to hinder the extradition, including obtaining a writ of and bringing charges against Wilson and Reynolds for their treatment of JS.
JS and his lawyers also initiated a civil suit in the Circuit Court against and for false imprisonment and personal injury. They brought the suit as a common law action of , seeking $10,000 in damages. filed a request on 23 June 1843 asking the Lee County Circuit Court to issue a writ of . The next morning, Lee County sheriff James Campbell arrested Wilson and Reynolds and required both of them to enter into binding them to appear at the next circuit court session. The two men were unable to secure their immediate release since they needed to send for bondsmen.
On 26 June 1843, JS, his attorneys, , , Campbell, and a few others departed . Their stated destination was , Illinois, where they planned to appear before an circuit court willing to evaluate ’s warrant. At some point, however, JS and his attorneys decided instead to appear before the Municipal Court on . The party arrived in Nauvoo on 30 June, and the municipal court discharged JS the following day, citing a lack of “substance in the warrant upon which he was arrested as well as upon the merits of said Case.” On 1 July, in , Illinois, Reynolds and Wilson secured bondsmen and Campbell released them from custody on the condition that they appear for trial at the September 1843 term of the Circuit Court.
During the September 1843 term, the attorneys for the litigants filed a series of in order to define clearly the issue to be decided by the jury at the trial. The first pleading—the plaintiff’s —contained the two allegations that undergirded JS’s suit: that and had falsely imprisoned him and that the two men had used excessive force when detaining him. In response to the declaration, defense attorneys William Heaton, Joseph Knox, and John Wilson Drury filed that summarized the legal bases of the extradition and asserted that the “little force and violence” that the two men used “was necessary for the arresting and safekeeping” of JS. and countered with pleadings that challenged the legal sufficiency and even the authenticity of the documents that undergirded the extradition—the indictment, Reynolds’s requisition, and ’s warrant—in addition to pointing out errors of form made by Heaton, Knox, and Drury in the pleas. The term concluded before the attorneys could come to an agreement as to what issue the jury would decide, so the case was continued to the next session of the court in May 1844.
When the court reconvened the following May, the attorneys continued to exchange to narrow down the issue. and filed a that challenged the authenticity of the June 1843 treason indictment and argued that and had used excessive force. The defense attorneys responded with a arguing that the plaintiff’s objections lacked legal authority, after which Patrick filed another replication on 9 May 1844 that omitted the challenge to the legal sufficiency of the extradition documents. The replication narrowed the issue to just the allegation that Reynolds and Wilson “did use more force & v[i]olence than was necessa[r]y” for the arrest. With the issue determined, the trial could commence before a jury and judge Thomas C. Browne of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Witnesses testified before a jury regarding the conduct of Reynolds and Wilson during and after the arrest. On 10 May 1844, the jury returned a verdict in JS’s favor but awarded him only forty dollars in damages.
Court officials were unable to collect the judgment prior to JS’s June 1844 murder. Latter-day Saint was subsequently appointed administrator of JS’s estate in , and the court’s efforts to collect the judgment and the costs continued under the name of Coolidge Administrator of the Estate of JS v. Reynolds and Wilson. In March 1845, Coolidge assigned the judgment to resident , who received payment in December 1845.
 
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

    See Introduction to Extradition of JS for Treason; see also Introduction to Extradition of JS et al. for Treason and Other Crimes; and Introduction to Extradition of JS for Accessory to Assault.  

  2. 2

    Indictment, ca. 5 June 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason].  

  3. 3

    Power of Attorney, 13 June 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason].  

  4. 4

    Warrant, 17 June 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]; see also Introduction to Extradition of JS for Treason.  

  5. 5

    JS, Journal, 13 June 1843.  

  6. 6

    “Minutes of a Special Conference,” Times and Seasons, 15 Sept. 1843, 4:329–330; see also Introduction to Extradition of JS for Treason, n11.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  7. 7

    Clayton, Journal, 21 June 1843; William Clayton, Journal Excerpt, 23 June 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]; JS History, vol. D-1, 1582.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  8. 8

    William Clayton, Journal Excerpt, 23 June 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]; “Missouri vs Joseph Smith,” 1 July 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]; JS History, vol. D-1, 1583–1584; Letter, Edward Southwick to Editor, 12 July 1843; see also Discourse, 30 June 1843.  

  9. 9

    William Clayton, Journal Excerpt, 23 June 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]; Letter, Joseph H. Reynolds to Editor, 10 July 1843; JS History, vol. D-1, 1583–1584.  

  10. 10

    Praecipe, 23 June 1843 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; see also Historical Introduction to Affidavit, 24 June 1843, in JSP, D12:401.  

    JSP, D12 / Grua, David W., Brent M. Rogers, Matthew C. Godfrey, Robin Scott Jensen, Christopher James Blythe, and Jessica M. Nelson, eds. Documents, Volume 12: March–July 1843. Vol. 12 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, R. Eric Smith, Matthew J. Grow, and Ronald K. Esplin. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2021.

  11. 11

    Capias ad Respondendum, 24 June 1843 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; Recognizance, 1 July 1843–A [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; Recognizance, 1 July 1843–B [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]. For unknown reasons, Southwick initiated a parallel suit on 26 June by requesting the circuit court to issue a summons for Reynolds and Wilson. The second suit claimed $5,000 in damages. The court issued the summons and labeled the case “45”—which was later revised to “24”—but no other documents for the parallel suit have been located. (Praecipe, ca. 25 June 1843 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–B]; Summons, 26 June 1843 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–B].)  

  12. 12

    Docket Entry, 1–ca. 6 July 1843 [Extradition of JS for Treason]; Introduction to Extradition of JS for Treason; see also “The Nauvoo Municipal Court and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.”  

  13. 13

    Recognizance, 1 July 1843–A [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; Recognizance, 1 July 1843–B [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; see also Edward Southwick, Statement, 5 July 1843.  

  14. 14

    Declaration, ca. 17 Aug. 1843 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].  

  15. 15

    Pleas, ca. 13 Sept. 1843 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; History of Lee County, 219; Palmer, Bench and Bar of Illinois, 2:635.  

    History of Lee County, Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc., Gathered from Old Settlers, County, Township and Other Records, and Extracts from Files of Papers, Pamphlets, and Such Other Sources as Have Been Available. Chicago: H. H. Hill, 1881.

    Palmer, John M., ed. The Bench and Bar of Illinois. 2 vols. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1899.

  16. 16

    Demurrer, ca. 14 Sept. 1843–A [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; Demurrer, ca. 14 Sept. 1843–B [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].  

  17. 17

    Replication, ca. 7 May 1844 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].  

  18. 18

    Demurrer, ca. 8 May 1844 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A]; Replication, ca. 8 May 1844 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].  

  19. 19

    Replication, ca. 8 May 1844 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].  

  20. 20

    An Act to Establish Circuit Courts [23 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], p. 105, sec. 9.  

    Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly, at Their Session, Began and Held at Springfield, on the Seventh of December, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty. Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841.

  21. 21

    Clayton, Journal, 9 May 1844; William Clayton, Nauvoo, IL, Letter to the Editor, 16 May 1844, Times and Seasons, 1 June 1844, 5:554–556. The bill of costs identified the witnesses as William Clayton, John Dixon, Stephen Markham, John B. Nash, Lucien Sanger, Asa B. Searles, Benjamin Wasson, and Harmon Wasson. (Bill of Costs, 23 Jan. 1845 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].)  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  22. 22

    Verdict, 10 May 1844 [JS v. Reynolds and Wilson–A].  

  23. 23

    Alias Fieri Facias, 3 July 1845 [Coolidge Administrator of the Estate of JS v. Reynolds and Wilson].  

  24. 24

    Assignment of Judgment, 29 Mar. 1845 [Coolidge Administrator of the Estate of JS v. Reynolds and Wilson]; Venditioni Exponas, 11 Nov. 1845 [Coolidge Administrator of the Estate of JS v. Reynolds and Wilson].