Court and Legal News Items
©Except where noted, these were transcribed by K.Torp
To four of his old servants Peter COOPER left an annuity sufficient to support them until their deaths. It is not usual for men of wealth to make such appropriate bequests or to thus remember those who have served them most faithfully. [Thursday, April 19, 1883 - Charleston Courier]
Mrs. EILENSTEIN of Mattoon, who brought suit against the I. & St. L. Railway for the loss of her husband, who was killed a few months since, received a judgment against the company for $4,000 in the Circuit court last week. [The Plain Dealer, April 21, 1881]
A TRAGEDY RECALLED
Newton Press, 1899
[Contributed by Src #99]
Divorce in Coles County Brings Up Mysterious Death.
Mrs. Charles Cooper. Formerly Miss Anna Reed, seeks a Third severance of Matrimonial Bonds.
The suit of Mrs. Charles Cooper for divorce from her husband, Charles Cooper, is sensational and will recall to old readers of the Star, the terrible tragedy enacted up in the northern part of the county in the early part of November, 1889.
Mrs. Cooper is the second wife of Charles Cooper, and, according to her declaration, her married life has not been one continual round of pleasure and connubial bliss. She allleges that Mr. Cooper, in his idle hours, had adopted the custom of exercising his fists on what ever part of her anatomy, she could not get from his reach, and declares and avows that she wants the courts of the country to relieve her of the painful duty of being called the wife of a man so brutal and cruel as to strike a defenseless woman.
Charles Cooper was the step-father of poor little Daisy Butcher, who died at the family home, five miles northeast of Humbolt, November 1899. It has always been a question whether the little girl, she was but 16 years of age, had met death at the hands of an assassin, or whether she had grown weary of living the life surroundings made almost beyond the power of human endurance.
At that time the father had been but recently married to the woman who now sues for divorce. Mrs. Cooper had gone to Jasper county to visit relatives, and the step-father was in Arcola. There was left at the home the little girl, and a farm hand, who was husking corn.
According to the story of the farm hand, and his story was believed, he ate dinner with the girl, and left to go to his work. When the father returned he thought the house was on fire, and went in to see where the daughter was. He saw smoke issuing from the attic, and went up to see what was the cause. He found the lifeless form of the girl on the bed and the bed clothes on fire, indicating that the tragedy had not been done a very long time. He extinguished the fire, and called for help. The farm hand and neighbors came, and soon the news spread to this city. Officers hurried to the scene, and the coroner held an inquest which lasted all of the next day. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the girl came to her death by a shot fired by herself.
The inquest developed the fact that the father was in the habit of correcting his child with a "buggy whip", and that he was cruel in the fullest and broadest sense of the term. Feeling was strong against him, but he was a quite man, and never offended his neighbors by word or deed.
Mr. Cooper is a man of apparent good habits, and there is no reason to presume he is guilty of the cruelties charged by the wife in her application for divorce, other than the testimony of himself at the coroner's inquest as to his treatment of the little girl, who refused to take up the burden of life to the maturity of years.
Friends claim the testimony at the divorce trial will reopen for discussion the tragedy, and may bring up startling developments, but that claim is far-fetched, as Cooper did not try to conceal a single one of his acts at the inquests as to the cause leading up to the suicide.
The home out on the prairie is a desolate appearing place, and would almost drive anybody of refinedhabits and tastes to suicide. The house was old, and the general surroundings were anything but inviting.
Mrs. Cooper number two is from Jasper county, and alleges that she came from a happy home to bring joy and gladness to the man of her choice, and that she has always been a good and dutiful wife. She furthur alleges that at no time did she ever give her lord and master just provocation for making of her body a receptacle for his blows, and she therefore asks for divorce and alimony-----Mattoon Star
Mrs. Cooper's experience in matrimonial ventures can not have been such as to cause her to believe that married life is altogether an unalloyed success, as she has accumulated in her eventful career of less than 40 years a supply of husbands unusual for this country, and can now lay claim to three, all alive and in the flesh.
Her maiden name was Anna Reed, being a daughter of late Robert Reed of this city. Her first marriage was to Thos. R. Larkin, who is now somewhere in the west; from him the court granted her a decree severing the marital obligations, and she became Mrs. Gabe Peelman, only to regret it and seek a release at law from her vows of constancy and faithfulness and started in a third time as a wife--- marrying Charles Cooper, whom she now wishes to free herself from.
THREE CHARLESTON PERSONS ARE TO BE ARRAIGNED WEDNESDAY
CHARLESTON, July 18— Ray Shoemaker, Dora Niles Shoemaker, James Hill and Earl Becker, arrested Sunday on charges of violating the liquor laws, will be arraigned before Justice of the Peace Perry W. Grove at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning. It is believed that the case will attract such attention In view of the fact that more than two score witnesses have been subpoenaed, that the hearing will be held in the circuit court room instead of the small justice's rooms.
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Earle and Forrest Ryan, arrested at Blue Heaven the same day on similar charges, will perhaps give bond and waive their hearings, in which event, their cases will come up again next October.
The two adultery charges, city and state, lodged against Miss Bernadine Johnson, were dismissed by City Attorney J. T. Kincaid and State's Attorney C. M. Heinlein, on grounds of insufficient evidence.
[Decatur Evening Herald Thursday, July 18, 1929, Decatur, Illinois]
Personal Injury Decisions Made (excerpts)