Polk County, Florida
Crime News

In the Toils.

Just as the GAZETTE goes to press we learn of the arrest of Dr. J. R. Folsom, postmaster at Cecil, by an United States' officer and carried to Macon upon the charge of forging affidavits to a pension application of a Mrs. Roberts, who claims to be the widow of a survivor of the Mexican war. It seems that the woman's husband is alive and a resident of Polk county, Florida. This fact places the accused under the ban of suspicion, if nothing more. We shall believe him innocent of the charge until the contrary appears by competent testimony. The preliminary hearing will be had to-day or to-morrow.

[Source: Tifton Gazette, Friday, July 6, 1894 -- Page 1.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


A Georgia Postmaster Who Must Answer for Alleged Forgery.

MACON, July 6,---Mr. J. B. Folsom of Berrien county, has been arrested and brought to Macon by revenue officers on a serious charge of offense against the government. Folsom is the postmaster of Cecil, is 68 years old, and has prominent family connections in the state.

He is charged with forging affidavits to a pension application of a widow in Berrien, and the case has been made against him by the pension department of Washington where Special Examiner Davis was given charge of it to work up.

The result of the examiner's investigation was Folsom's arrest, based upon evidence which the pension department thinks will secure his conviction, though the case has not yeat been sifted by the commissioners here, who postponed the hearing on account of absent witnesses.

According to the case made out against him by the pension bureau's examiner, Mr. Folsom, some time ago, secured forged affidavits to the pension application of a Mrs. Sarah Roberts. The charges recite that some time ago Mrs. Roberts came to Folsom, and claiming that her husband was dead, or that he was, to the best of her belief, said that he was a survivor of the Mexican war and that she wanted him to put the application of her dead husband's pension through to the department at Washington, the understanding being that she would divide up the money with the postmaster in payment for his trouble.

Folsom agreed and went to work at once to secure affidavits as to the woman's title to the pension, necessary to accompany the application, such as to the death of her husband and all the other formalities which have to be gone through with. The batch of papers were sent on to Washington. By looking over their roll of pension drawers the authorities in the department found out that Mrs. Power's husband was not dead, but that he was living in Polk county, Florida, and regularly drawing his pension there. This put a cloudy veil over the whole business, and Special Examiner Davis was put on to the case.

He came down to the little town of Cecil and opened a further investigation into the affidavits. He found, so he claims in his charges, that the men whom Folsom had down as authors of the accompanying affidavits knew nothing about them, and disclaimed their authorship.

[Source: Tifton Gazette, Friday, July 6, 1894 -- Page 1.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.



(By Associated Press.)

Lakeland, Fla., April 9.---The charred body of Joseph Wread, an aged recluse of Nichols, was found in the ruins of his home this morning. The police theory of the old man's death is that burglars killed him to obtain $17,000, and then set fire to the house to hide the crime.

[Source: Daily Times Enterprise, Apr. 9, 1913 -- Page 1.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


An interesting arrest was made here last evening, when Capt. W. W. Bindeman of the Lakeland District of the railway police picked up "Hop' Smith, who broke jail Wednesday night at Brooksville, where he was being held for murder. The young man had reached Lakeland in safety and made application at the local recruiting station for admittance to the army. The recruiting station was sending him on to Jacksonville and he was at the depot awaiting his train when the arrest was made. The young man stoutly denied his identity until confronted by Chief Allen who was prepared to make a personal identification. He does not deny the killing for which he was being held in Brooksville.

[Source: The Lakeland evening telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922, December 31, 1920, Image 4.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

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