Genealogy Trails

Old News of Hardin County, Illinois


So They Hung The First Man They Caught

Source:  Date: 1882-06-30; Paper: The Wheeling Register

Cairo, ILL., June 29.--Monday morning at Elizabethtown, Illinois, a negro named John Tolly attempted to enter the house of a man named Howe, through the window.  He was discovered by Mrs. Howe, who was alone, and whose screams for assistance frightened him away, but not until he had struck her a blow in the face.  A posse was summoned, and pursuit commenced.  A young negro, probably innocent, was found on the roadside, near the premises, and although Mrs. Howe failed to identify him as the assailant, he was brutally maltreated and taken to the woods and hung to a tree.  There being no jail nearer than Golconda, the sheriff was unable to protect the prisoner.


Commissioner Jim Ledbetter of Bliss, is spending the next two weeks visiting his parents at Cave In Rock, Illinois.

Source:  Date: 1915-05-06; Paper: Perry Republican



 Plater, of Hardin County, Illinois, Again Distinguishes Himself by His Imbecility...He Wants the Legislature to Establish Asylums for Deranged and Idiotic Politcians.

Source:  Date: 1875-02-07; Paper: Inter Ocean


Fresh Outbreaks Occur In Hardin County, Illinois.  Family Capture Denied.
Trouble which started last November over wages comes to head when men imported.

Harrisburg, ILL, Sept 5--Fresh outbreaks in Hardin county between striking Fluorspar miners and guards were reported tonight, but it was impossibly to verify the stories over crippling wires. Included in the unconfirmed reports was one that a battle had occurred near Rosiclare this noon.  Other reports denied serious trouble and said all was quiet.

Reports that Mine Superintendent Swanson, his wife, three children and brother-in-law were prisoners in the hills were denied.  The report of their capture declared this was in retaliation for the driving out of miners from Rosiclare and Elizabethtown by the guards.

Ed Carine, organizers of the United Mine Workers, and Albert Hardesty, Rosiclare merchant, who has been handling provisions for the United Mine Workers of America, are reported to have been forced to leave the region.

The Rosiclare trouble started last November when the men demanded higher wages.  This was refused and the men quit work.  After several weeks idleness the company is said to have sought to import other workers, but the strikers persuaded them to leave.

Source:  Date: 1921-09-06; Paper: Morning Oregonian


An Old Mail Robber: The Alton (Illinois) Telegraph of the 16th instant, says:

"At the present term of the United States District Court, John Wingate, late Postmaster at the Rocking Cave, in Hardin County, Illinois, was indicted for an alleged robbery of the mail.  The accused is 73 years of age."

Source:  Date: 1843-12-27; Paper: The Madisonian



We invite attention to an advertisement in another column, announcing that a valuable tract of land, containing 515 acres, and located about 5 miles below Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Illinois, immediately on the Ohio River, will be sold at public auction at the Court House in Elizabethtown, on the 4th of January next.  Between 75 and 100 acres are improved and under good fence, and the place is provided with a convenient dwelling-house, store-house, out-buildings, etc.  The opportunity is a rare one, especially for persons who intend to emigrate to the West.

Source:  Date: 1846-12-05; Paper: Pennsylvania Inquirer And National Gazette


From the N. Y. Weekly


A Tale of the Early West

By Hazel Greene, ESQ.

"In the early times," said Jones, "I organized a party near Louisville, Kentucky to go down and commence a settlement on the Ohio River in Hardin county; or what is now Hardin county, Illinois.  The country round about there bore rather a bad name at that day, for people generally believed a strong band of robbers were quartering among the rocks skirting the stream; nevertheless I was determined to carry out my plans.  Rich specimens of lead and iron ore had been brought up by boatmen from that region, with the assurance that it existed in large quantities.  That was the magnet that drew me thither.  The company organized consisted of ten men--all heads of families.  Our programme of action was the first go down ourselves and get ready our cabins, etc., and then to return for our women and children.  Preparations for prosecuting the enterprise having been made complete, a morning was set for our departure from the settlement.  On the night preceding it I went to bed as usual, but not as usual calmly to sleep.  Something laid heavy on my mind, yet I knew not what it was.  It occurred to me that there was danger near at hand, or that something would occur to prevent our voyage down the river in the morning.  My wife, to whom I unfolded my thoughts laughed at my fears, and being anything but superstitious myself, I tried to shake them off.  Next morning I found, however, that they were not wholly without foundation.  Only two of my men made their appearance equipped for the expedition; the other seven sent word that they had changed their minds, and, consequently would not accompany me.  What was to be done?  Must the enterprise, which has cost me so much labor, both mentally and physically, be abandoned?  We three consulted together, and without a dissenting voice, resolved to go at all hazards.  Smith and Steene, my only backers in the new enterprise, were both as resolute as lions, and but little inferior to lions in point of physical ability.  They were a host within themselves--capable of felling more trees, chopping more logs and splitting a larger number of rails in a day than half-a-dozen ordinary men, and I, myself was not slow at such things, knowing our ability to make a mark in the woods, we doubted not but we would be as successful as if accompanied by our over nerved neighbors; besides, and reasoned we, the fewer the claimants the greater the glory.  A large canoe was loaded up with such articles as our wants and prospects demanded, and, under the influence of buoyant spirits, we paddled off down the river.  In due time, we landed at a suitable place some four miles below "Cave In Rock," and took possession--not like Cortez, in the name of our sovereign, but in the name Smith, Jones and Steene.  Our first care after locating, was to erect shanty for our own accommodation.  This we completed in two days, after which we boarded at home and slept in the same place.  From the beginning our work of improvement was pushed on with giant strides--in six weeks we expected to go back after our families.  At the end of two weeks nothing had disturbed us.  The robbers so much dreaded by those living at a distance and in perfect safety, had not made their appearance.  Not a human being, save those composing our little party; or, in other words, our own trio, and the crews of two flatboats, that had floated down the river without landing, had been within sight of our new homes, so far as we knew.  The story of the robbers began to be regarded by us as a myth, in consequence of which we felt entirely secure.  Why not?  If robbers really did exist in the vicinity, what had we to fear from them?  They robbed for profit, and had they taken upon themselves to rob us, the profit would not have paid the expense, for we had no valuables with us.  The only score upon which we could have the least apprehension was, that they might wish to check our operations in order to prevent the encroachment of civilization upon their den.  As before stated, two weeks passed without the least disturbance.  At the end of that time, and late in the night, I was suddenly awoke from sleep by an unusual sound in our cabin.  A large fire was burning upon the hearth, by the light of which I discovered, on opening my eyes, that two strange men each armed with an axe, and making suspicious gestures, were in our apartment.  I was lying on the side bunk with Smith at the time--Steene was sleeping by himself in a bunk in the opposite corner.  Ere I had time to speak the strangers separated, and with a poised weapon leaped each to a bunk.  Two heavy dull sounds followed, and poor Smith and Steene--it was all over with them.  Their brains were splattered upon the walls and floor of the shanty.   I leaped up in bed, and warding off a blow aimed at me, struck the villain who had wounded Smith, and with all the power I could command.  He rolled over on the floor like a log, and his companion on the other side of the room was so intent on his hellish work to observe what was going on.  Seizing the momentary advantage thus gained, I bound from the bunk and made the best of my way to the open air.  In less than a minute the robbers in close pursuit; and owing to the fact that I was barefoot--in short, almost wholly unclad--and the land was thickly spread with an undergrowth of thorns and briars, and masses of broken rocks, they could not do otherwise than gain upon me.  The struggle on my part, was one of almost superhuman endurance, however, for I knew life or death depended upon its finale.  The chase continued for at least two miles;  the robbers gained ground slowly all the while.  The fates seemed against me, for a full round moon was looking down upon the scene, and destroying all my chances of dodging them--chances which might have been good in the dark.  Finally I lost my reckoning, and becoming entirely bewildered, ran on I knew not wither.  The result of this was that a few minutes later found me standing upon the range of a cliff looking down upon a small stream that gurgled among the rocks full two hundred feet below.  I was trapped and wholly in the power of my merciless foes.  No, not wholly in their power!  There was still a chance to escape them, but no hope of cheating death out of a victim.  What would I do?  Would I deliver myself into the bloody hands of these fiends or would I dare the leap and die among things which had never of themselves, committed a crime?  Would I suffer my blood to be besplatter the garments of murderers--devils--to be exhibited by them as marks of triumph, or would I let it bury itself among the giant rocks at the bottom of the precipice?  Thus debated I for a moment, while the robbers paused to laugh in derision at my condition.  In that moment my verdict was made up--I would elude their grasp.  A short prayer, and closing my eyes I sailed from the giddy height and alighted upon the floor!  I had jumped out of bed--it was only a dream.  On getting fairly awake I found myself still in my comfortable room in Kentucky, on the night before starting the expedition.

Source:  Date: 1860-12-22; Paper: The Easton Gazette



Purchased Mules With Bogus Checks, Sold Them and Fled The Country.

Equality, Ill., Dec. 18.--Joseph Choisser, who, with his son, was killed at Los Angeles, was a fugitive from justice, having purchased a lot of mules and horses in Hardin county, Illinois, and given in payment alleged worthless checks for $1800, drawn on the bank of Eldorado, Ill., for which warrants had been issued for his arrest.  It is alleged that Choisser shipped the mules to East St. Louis, sold them, wired the bank of Eldorado to pay no more of his checks and departed for California, taking his son with him.  The warrant for his arrest was in the hands of the sheriff of Hardin county, when his arrest was ordered by wire.  He had always borne a good reputation for square dealings and his family stands high in the community.

Source:  Date: 1903-12-19; Paper: The Idaho Daily Statesman


Joseph Choisser and his Son Killed in Duel with Three Detectives at Los Angeles.  Elder Man Wanted in Illinois for Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses.

Los Angeles, Calif., Dec 17--Trailed up to their lodging place and brought to bay within the walls of a small room, Joseph Choisser, aged 50, and Louis Choisser, aged 29, father and son, were shot to death in a battle with Detectives Hawley, Murphy, and Gowen late tonight.  The three officers escaped from close range, but short-lived duel without injury.  Both of the Choissers were killed instantly.  Two telegrams were received by Chief of Police Elton today, from Equality, Hardin county, Illinois, requesting the arrest of Joe Choisser.  One was from Weldman Bros. & Co., offering a reward for $50 for Choisser's arrest and the other was from Sheriff W. T. Lamar of Hardin county, asking Chief Elton to look out for and arrest Choisser on the charge of obtaining money under false pretenses.  There was no charge against young Choisser, so far as known.  Detectives Hawley, Murphy, and Gowen were detailed on the case and immediately began a search for Choisser.   He was located this afternoon at the Broxboro lodging house, 323 West Fifth Street, where he and his on had their rooms.  The detectives watched the place for several hours for Choisser to appear, but it seems he had become aware of the search for him and both he and his son kept close to their room.  Shortly after 10 o'clock tonight the detectives decided to search the lodging house for the fugitive, and were directed to his room.  Without the ceremony of knocking for admittance the detectives opened the door and walked in. 


The elder Choisser was laying on the bed and as the officers came in he reached for a pistol.  Before he could seize it Dectective Hawley seized it and wrested it from his hand.  At the same moment Louis Choisser opened fire upon the officers.  They promptly returned the fire.  Joe Choisser was struck by a bullet from the officer's pistol and killed instantly.


The fire from Louis Choisser's revolver became so hot that the officers retreated into the hallway.  A moment later the young man threw open the door and walked into the hall with a revolver in each hand, firing as he came.  Aiming one of his revolvers directly at Detective Murphy's breast, he fired but missed the officer.


Before he could take aim for a second shot both Murphy and Gowen fired, the two bullets passing through the young man's breast.  He died instantly.  After the battle was over the officers went into the room again and found the elder Choisser lying dead on the bed.  One bullet had passed through his head and the other had lodged in the body.


When the clothing of the dead man was searched, $1800 was found on Louis Choisser.  Very little is known of the two men beyond the information contained in the telegrams from Equality.  It is thought they were horse traders or dealers in livestock.  The officers were taken by surprise when young Choisser opened fire on them, as they were not seeking his arrest.  The bodies were removed late tonight to the morgue to await instructions from Equality, Ill.

Source:  Date: 1903-12-18; Paper: The Idaho Daily Statesman


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