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Livingston County, Illinois
Genealogy and History

Crime News


A man by the name of Elliott killed his brother-in-law, Mullen, in Livingston County, Illinois, on Sunday and is in jail for murder. [26 Mar 1850; Paper: Boston Post - Sub by Teri Colglazier]


In Livingston County, Illinois, some women whipped and tarred and feathered a young woman named Dickson, who had ill-treated a little girl living with her father. Old Dickson was ?___? for maltreating the same child. [Date: 1851-08-06; Paper: Albany Evening Journal - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

In Livingston County, Illinois, twenty or thirty woman whipped a young woman of 20 years, very brutally dragged her a distance and wound up by applying to her a coat of tar and feathers -- their indignation being aroused against her because she was believed to have ill treated a child that lived in her father's family. [Date: 1851-08-12; Paper: New-Hampshire Gazette - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

SHOCKING REVENGE -- About fifteen or twenty women, somewhere in Livingston County, Illinois, enticed a Miss Dickson, a young lady of twenty years of age, away from her home on the 17th wit. and after whipping her in a brutal manner, and dragging her to a considerable distance, tarred and feathered her and set her at liberty. The provocation for this inhumane outrage is alleged to have been the cruel treatment by Miss Dickson's father of a young girl who was living with him. [Date: 1851-08-13; Paper: Sun - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

In 1851, William Rollings arrived from Ohio and settled on what has since been known as the Benham farm. He was a peaceable and quiet citizen, but came to a tragical end, being murdered in cold blood April 1, 1872. The facts in the case seem to be about these : A man named John Soter claimed the land occupied by Rollings, and, although he was but a renter, he had made frequent threats on Rollings' life. On the evening of the 1st of April, in the year mentioned, Soter, who lived on a neighboring farm, invited a party of young folks to his house to spend the evening. Among the rest was Rollings' son, who was engaged to play the violin. Late in the evening, Rollings himself came to the house and relieved his son for a while in the furnishing of the music. Though Rollings had heard rumors of Soter's antipathy toward him, but, conscious of his having had nothing to do with dispossessing Soter, and having been on friendly terms with him, did not apprehend any danger, or even that he was unwelcome at his neighbor's house. However, while engaged as stated, the party were alarmed by the report of a gun, fired near the window, and William Rollings, at the same moment, fell to the floor in a dying condition. He had received a charge of shot in his breast, from the effects of which he died a few hours later. Soter was arrested and sent to jail until the next term of the Circuit Court, which convened in May. He was tried and convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged ; but the sentence was subsequently commuted to imprisonment in the penitentiary for life. Soter, at the time of the act, was already 60 years of age, and his penalty proved to be but a short term, as he died two or three years after his incarceration. [Unknown newspaper - - Sub by Teri Colglazier]


Cold Blooded Murder of a Kansas Emigrant - Death of his wife -
We learned on Saturday of the murder of Mr. Alfred Wilbur, ?__? of Illinois, and a son of Mr. Jeptha Wilbur, of Avon, Livignston County, who was on his way, with his family, consisted of a wife and three chidlren, to the Territory of Kansas, where he designed settling. The deceased was a cousin of Mr. J. M. Babcock, of Irondequoit, and Mr. H. H. Babcock, of Charlotte, and it is to the first named gentleman that we are indebted for the few particulars which have come to his knowledge. It appears that Mr. Wilbur was traveling upon the cars and was free in communicating the purpose of his journey. He had in his possession two of Sharp's rifles. At a station, the name of which has not be ascertained, he stepped from the cars and the opportunity was seized by some person or persons as yet unknown, to murder him. The fact became known to a few passengers, as one of them, soon after the cars started, informed Mrs. Wilbur of the tragical fate of her husband. She became almost frantic, and besought the conductor to stop, but he refused, and in her excitement she jumped from the train while under fast motion and was almost instantly killed. This sad occurrence is said to have taken place about three weeks since, and the father of the murdered man started two weeks ago to ascertain more fully the circumstances, and look after the children thus suddenly made orphans. - (Roch. Democrat, 28th.)
[Date: 1856-04-29; Paper: Albany Evening Journal & Date: 1856-05-14; Paper: Ohio State Journal - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

Bloomington, Feb. 27. -- Arguments of counsel in the case of Shannon and Barrett, charged with the murder of Joseph Morriatt, in Livingston County, some months since, were concluded today, and the case given to the jury who, up to a late hour to-night, had not rendered a verdict.
[Date: 1874-02-28; Paper: Sioux City Journal - Sub by Teri Colglazier]


August 20. -- Last Saturday, Frank Bell, who lives in Livingston County, some fifteen miles south of Chillicothe, on returning home from town, found Thomas Florence in such relations with his wife as caused him to empty three chambers of a revolver into him killing him instantly. [Date: 1875-08-21; Paper: Cincinnati Commercial Tribune - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

Chatsworth, Ill., Aug. 18. -- The following is the verdict as agreed upon by the coroner's jury in the Chatsworth disaster: State of Illinois, Livingston County. In the matter of the inquest on the body of Mrs. Dr. Duckett, of Forest, Ill., deceased, held at Chatsworth, on the 11th day of August, A. D. 1887. We, the undersigned jurors, sworn to inquire into the cause of the death of Mrs. Dr. Duckette, late of Forest, Ill., on oath, do find that she came to her death by injuries received in the wrecking of the NIagara Falls excursion train on the Toledo, Peoria & Western railway, on which she was a passenger. We find that the wrecking of the said train which totally demolished eight coaches, one baggage car and one engine and either killed or wounded most of the occupants of said coaches, was caused by said bridge having been burned out before the thrain struck it. We think from the evidence that the bridge was fired from fires left buring which had been set as late as 5 o'clock that afternoon by the section men as close as sixteen feet on both the east and est sides of the bridge. We further find that the foreman of Section 7, Timothy Coughlin, disobeyed positive orders from his superior to examine the track and bridges on his section the last thing on Wednesday, and we find that he did not go over the west two and one-half miles at all on Wednesday, and that the said foreman Coughlin was guilty of gross and criminal carelessness in leaving fires buring along the track in such a dry season and with such a strong wind blowing. We recommend that he be held for examination by the grand jury; and further, it is the opinion of the jury that the leaving of the track with being patrolled for six hours before the passage of the excursion and the setting of the fires by the section men on such a dry and windy day as the 10th of August, 1887, were acts which deserve severe criticism. (Signed.) W. W. Sears, Foreman, P. L. Cook, David E. Shaw, H. P. Turner, J. R. Brigham, Frank Osborne. The within was agreed upon and signed in my presence and approved by me this 18th day of August, 1887. (Signed.) Charles H. Long, Coroner of Livingston County.
[Date: 19 Aug 1887; Paper: Lake Superior Review and Weekly Tribune - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

L. H. Kolsey was arrested in Livingston county and arraigned before United States Commissioner Wynne yesterday afternoon, on an indictment found by the grand jury of the Southern district of Illinois, charging him with falsely assuming to be connected with the secret service department of the United States and "by means of such cheat and fraud obtaining bed and board of Mark Durant of the value of 75 cents." He was remanded to the Illinois authorities for trial, and was sent to that state last night in charge of Depurty United States Marshal Gates.
[Date: 1888-02-26; Paper: Kansas City Times - Sub by Teri Colglazier]


Springfield, Ill., June 4. -- The Governor to-day granted pardons in the following cases: James McAllister, who was convicted at the October term, 1887, of the Livingston County Circuit Court, and sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty-five years. This pardon was quite generally recommended, the presiding Judge expressing a doubt as to McAllister's guilt.
Lawrence R. Lucas, who was convicted at the May term 1891, of the County Court of McLean County of burglary and sentenced to the Reform School for three years. Lucas, who at the time of his conviction was only 15 years of age, in company with another boy, broke into the Grand Opera House in Bloomington and stole various articles worth about $50. The Governor finds that since his confinement the boy's conduct has been so exempellary as to warrant his pardon.
[Date: 1892-06-05; Paper: St. Louis Republic - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

Pontiac - Charles Page, 55, a painter, after attempting to kill his wife and son here, committed suicide by shooting. [The Sainte Marie Tribune, Jasper County, IL - Friday, Jan. 23, 1914 - Sub. by K. Torp]


Girl Slain by Phantoms - Experts say horror was the murderer of Christine Diemer - Her fear of a suit that was the emblem of her spells of immunity may have driven a rich girl to her death. -- When the body of Christine Diemer, daughter of the richest land owner in Livingston County, Illinois was found in the Vermillion River November 8, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Diemer, and her sister, Magdalene, were arrested on suspicion and the county authorities said the dead young woman was a murder victim. Other theories as to the identity of her murderer were also advanced. One of these was that she ahd been slain by a tramp, another that she had been kidnapped by river men, held several days and then killed to prevent disclosures as to her mistreatment. But now expert investigators, including a University of Chicago patholist, have virtually agreed that Christine Diemer was murdered by no human hands. Her murderer was horror. The phantoms that sometimes plagued her poor, diseased brain drove her to death. The story that the expert investigators have woven out of this farm town mystery is a strange one and its dark morbidity rivals the pages of Poe. Christine Diemer was affliced with spells of insanity and last summer she was sent to a sanitarium at Peoria, much against her wishes. When she was taken to the sanitarium she wore a blue serge suit and black hat. The family was thrifty, despite its wealth and Christine did not have many suits. The blue serge was worn by her during most of her stay at the sanitarium, a place where she formed a great fear and an equally great hatred. She was released after a brief treatment at the sanitarium and returned to her home at Pontiac. The blue serge suit was laid aside for a gladder raiment, bought in honor of her homecoming. But a few days before her disappearance October 27 her mother and sister, inspired by their characteric Danish economy, sent the blue serge suit to a cleaning establishment and on its return gave it to Christine to wear again. The poor girl shrank from the suit, trembling and fear filled. The sight of it summoned into her mad brain all the phantoms that had tortured her during her days at the sanitarium. "Burn it, oh, please burn it." she pleaded. "If you don't I'll take it out into the woods and destroy it." But her mother and sister were insistent that the suit, having been cleaned, was deserving of more wear. When Christine Diemer disappeared the suit disappeared with her. It has not been found. That she, hastening to destroy this ?__? that her distracted mind told her was perpetually unclean, became lost, wandered about several days and then fell into the river, is the conclusion of the expert investigators. Their case against Horror seems complete, they declare. But the relatives are still held under suspicion because there are two or three details that the authorities say are unexplained. One of these is the fact that Magdalene Diemer, the sister, is the beneficiary of Christine's will and that a pair of Magdalene's shoes, mud caked as would be the shoes of a person who had walked along a river bank, were found in the basement of the Diemer home. Magdalene Diemer said the mud had collected on the shoes when she was working in the basement, but the floor of the basement is of cement and is dry. Another unexplained thing is that, though Christine Diemer disappeared October 27, nothing was said by her relatives for several days afterward. They say this was due to their belief that she had gone on an unannounced trip to Florida, a trip that she had made once before and planned to make again some time. There is yet one more feature that is not quite clear -- Christine Diemer was missing nine days, she had been in the river only three days, according to the finding at the autopsy held over her body. The authorities, however, admit there is little tangible evidence, despite these unexplained points, against any of the possible murderers save one -- and that is Horror.
[Date: 1916-11-22; Paper: Kansas City Star - Sub by Teri Colglazier]


The new $600,000 cell house at the reformatory was occupied for the first time today; 1,000 inmates are using the cells.
[1971 June 16 - Wednesday - Pontiac Daily Leader - "Remember? June 16, 1931" by: Mary Jean) - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

The general store operated by Mrs. C. Rynning at Rowe, was burglarized some time during last night. Entrance to the store was gained by prying open two front windows with a screw driver. A box of cigars, some cigarettes, candy, canned goods, shoes, rubbers, bread and chewing tobacco was taken.
[1971 June 16 - Wednesday - Pontiac Daily Leader - "Remember? June 16, 1931" by: Mary Jean) - Sub by Teri Colglazier]


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