Jasper County, Illinois
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Genealogy and History

Crime News

Horse Thieves.
On the night of the 16th, Mr. Denman, near Hidalgo, Jasper county, lost five horses; and on the Tuesday following Orville Wilhoit, of Coles county, lost four. R. Rankins, of Marshall, Clark county, lost one. Two persons were arrested at Westfield on suspicion of being engaged in the theft.   [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal - 26 November 1856]

Edward Forsman was pardoned out of the penitentiary by Gov. Altgeld.  He was sent from Jasper county in 1887 for 14 years for murder.  [True Republican, 13 February 1895]

Newton, Ill., Jan 9 — Particulars of a mail robbery which occurred about December 23 have just leaked out here after being kept quiet by the post office authorities for several days. December 24 the track walker on the Ohio At Mississippi railroad saw four men sitting by a fire near Clay City, who, on his approach, made their escape, leaving a large number of rifled letters containing checks, drafts and other papers, some of which had been sent from the People's bank, of this place. The supposition is that a mail pouch has been stolen from some of the transfer stations. All the letters and papers are in possession of Sheriff Higgins of Olney, Ill., who is awaiting the arrival of the post-office inspector.
[The Evening Bulletin., January 09, 1889, (Maysville, Ky.)]

Newton's Ben Blanchard
The Joseph Litzelman, mentioned in the Gazette of last week is a nephew of the proprietor of the American House in Newton.  The Cumberland Times says:
Joseph C. Litzelman, a Newton, Ill., contractor, has disappeared between two days, leaving behind him scores of victims who hold nothing but his forged paper.  Litzelman recently has been engaged in buying and selling railroad ties to the Peoria, Decatur and Evansville railroad.  He also bought up staves and hoops in large quantities, and his transactions made it necessary to handle large sums of money, which he generally raised on forged notes.  Many of his speculations, however, proved unprofitable, and he soon found himself in a bad financial condition.  Having a circle of well-to-do relatives, he never failed to use their names to paper on which he desired to realize money.  The Litzelmans are among the wealthiest people of Jasper county, and their signatures would be weighty in almost any bank in the southern part of the state.  Young Joseph, knowing this, never failed to use the name of his father, and when that failed to accomplish the desired effect he would add the name of his uncle, Joseph Litzelman, proprietor of the American Hotel, at Newton.
The forger bought a $2,000 residence with forged paper, and came into possession of a barber shop and property by the same methods.  His mode of doing business was always considered by practical business men as very reckless, but it was not until within two or three weeks prior to his departure that the people became suspicious of his actions.  ONly a few days before his departure he called on the bank in Effingham for a loan of $2,000, offering George and Anthony Litzelman as security.  The Effingham bank wrote a letter of inquiry to the Newton bank, and got a reply from Cashier Scott which, in substance, was to the effect that the note was probably a forgery.  Litzelman, however, smelled a mouse, and carrying previous plans into execution escaped before the stern hand of the law could be laid on him.
Among the victimized ones Litzelman leaves behind him forged papers are Daniel Wood. $1800;  Jerry S. Kelton, $25; Schifferstein & Osthermeier, $500; Thos. W. Wheeler, $300; Joseph Boas, $110; Dr. A.A. Frank, $110;  Taylor Randolph, $280; Wash Kibler, $200; John M. Foltz, $225; James Kelly, $100; W.H. England, $61.
The above is only a partial list of those who succumbed to the wiles of the sleek forger, and it is expected that another batch will be brought to the surface in a few days.  The man's own relatives have turned against him and declare that they had never, in all of his railroad transactions, signed his paper in a single instance.  Litzelman enjoyed an enviable reputation in his community and his acquaintances reposed the utmost confidence in him.  He had an unassuming air and innocent cast of countenance.  It is predicted that the total amount of his forgeries will reach about $10,000.  He leaves his family in destitute circumstances.[Mattoon Gazette (Mattoon, Illinois)     8 Jan 1886, Friday]

W.E. Stone, sentenced to state prison for seven years for forgery, escaped from jail at Newton, Ills., Friday, while the streets were full of people.  [The Rock Island Argus, 24 May 1890]



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