Introduction to Singley v. Rigdon

Document Transcript

Singley v. Rigdon
Hancock Co., Illinois, Circuit Court, 6 May 1841
 
Historical Introduction
In May 1841, the Circuit Court issued a subpoena for JS to testify in a civil suit regarding a debt that held. Law firm Little & Williams, representing Nicholas Singley, commenced an action against Rigdon in November 1839 in the Hancock County Circuit Court related to a $150 promissory note that Rigdon had given to Singley—who was evidently a Latter-day Saint—in , Ohio, in March 1837. Little is known about the reason for this debt or the circumstances surrounding it.
Common law procedures for recovering debts on notes could be cumbersome, but Little & Williams employed a provision that simplified legal process by allowing a petition to be used in the place of a declaration. After the submission of the petition, the court issued a summons to requiring his presence at the April 1840 term of court. Rigdon, however, was not in , as he had accompanied JS to to present a for redress to Congress. In July 1840, Little & Williams filed a duplicate petition on Singley’s behalf, and the court issued another summons for Rigdon, which was served upon him.
The circuit court subpoenaed JS, , and in May 1841 to testify on ’s behalf. In an affidavit, Rigdon explained that JS was a material witness and claimed that JS had paid off the debt but that Singley had subsequently become dissatisfied with part of JS’s payment. On 6 May 1841, Rigdon, acting as his own attorney, filed a plea in which he claimed that Singley had no cause of action because the debt had been paid. Singley’s attorneys filed a to the plea, claiming the debt remained unsatisfied. The suit then proceeded to trial before Judge at the circuit court in , Illinois. Cahoon and Ripley testified; it is unknown whether JS appeared. The plaintiff’s attorney and Rigdon in his own defense appeared before the court. After Douglas listened to the evidence, he ruled in favor of Rigdon.
 
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

    Subpoena, 3 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon].  

  2. 2

    Sidney Little had a law practice in Carthage, Illinois, and Archibald Williams had a practice in Quincy; they advertised their joint legal services under the firm Little & Williams.  

  3. 3

    Petition, ca. 6 Nov. 1837 [Singley v. Rigdon]; Promissory Note, 6 Mar. 1837 [Singley v. Rigdon]; Minute Book 1, 10 June 1836; see also Letter from Don Carlos Smith, ca. Late Mar. 1838.  

  4. 4

    Rigdon, JS, and other church leaders were involved in several business ventures in the Kirtland area in 1837, including a store in nearby Chester, Ohio, and the Kirtland Safety Society. (Historical Introduction to Notes Receivable from Rigdon, Smith & Co., 22 May 1837.)  

  5. 5

    Petition, ca. 6 Nov. 1839 [Singley v. Rigdon]; An Act, Simplifying Proceedings at Law for the Collection of Debts [25 Feb. 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1839], p. 538, sec. 1, sec. 6; see also Introduction to Boosinger v. JS et al. and Boosinger v. O. Cowdery et al.  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  6. 6

    Summons, 7 Nov. 1839 [Singley v. Rigdon].  

  7. 7

    Summons, 7 Nov. 1839 [Singley v. Rigdon]. Rigdon started on the journey to Washington DC with JS and Elias Higbee in October 1839, but a continued bout of malaria necessitated that he stop in Springfield, Illinois, to recover. Though Rigdon apparently returned to Nauvoo in May 1840, he remained bedridden as late as July. (Historical Introduction to Statement, ca. 1 Nov. 1839–B; Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 19 Nov. 1839; Richard M. Young to Elias Higbee, 9 Apr. 1840, JS Letterbook 2, pp. 133–134; Historical Introduction to Letter to Crooked Creek, Illinois, Branch, ca. 7 or 8 July 1840.)  

  8. 8

    Petition, ca. 6 Nov. 1839 [Singley v. Rigdon]; Summons, 4 July 1840 [Singley v. Rigdon].  

  9. 9

    Subpoena, 3 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon]; Affidavit, 4 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon].  

  10. 10

    Affidavit, 4 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon].  

  11. 11

    Plea, ca. 5 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon].  

  12. 12

    Replication, ca. 5 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon]. Both parties requested a jury trial. However, the statute outlining the debt collection procedure made no mention of a jury, referring only to the parties appearing before the court, which would issue a verdict. (An Act, Simplifying Proceedings at Law for the Collection of Debts [25 Feb. 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1839], p. 538, secs. 5–6.)  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  13. 13

    Cahoon and Ripley filed affidavits attesting to their presence in court on 6 May 1841. If JS filed a similar affidavit, it has not been located. JS wrote a letter from Nauvoo on 6 May, although it is possible that he wrote the letter either before or after a day trip to Carthage. Alternatively, JS may have given a statement regarding the case to Douglas when he visited Nauvoo on 2 May 1841. (Affidavit, 6 May 1841–A [Singley v. Rigdon]; Affidavit, 6 May 1841–B [Singley v. Rigdon]; Letter to Editors, 6 May 1841; see also JS, Journal, 27 May 1844.)  

  14. 14

    Docket Entry, Judgment, 6 May 1841 [Singley v. Rigdon].