Livingston County, Illinois
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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]


Strayed or Stolen
FROM the stables of Mr. Buck, at Pontiac in Livingston county, on Sunday night the 5th inst., a dark bay horse, between the age of seven or eight years, about fifteen hands high, with a white star on the forehead, one hind fitrock  [sic] white,  moon blind of one eye,  and branded 72 on one shoulder,  the property of Wm. Blackburn.  Any person giving information to the Station Agents, at Pontiac,  Bloomington or Springfield Depots, as will lead to the recovery of the horse, will receive a liberal reward.  WM. BLACKBURN. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal 9 November 1854; Sub. by Pam Geyer]


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]


Dr. Sweet, of Pontiac in this State, had his pockets picked of $625, while on the cars a week ago, as he was returning home from the east. No clue has been found to the robbers. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal, 19 December 1857; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


Judge Jones, a Douglasite of  Pontiac was arrested and fined some days since, for making a violent assault upon Mr. Gagan, one of the Republican editors of the Pontiac Sentinel. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal, 15 September 1858 Edition 02; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Supposed Murder.

The following note from Mr. Vaughn, telegraphist at Western depot, arrived too late for publication yesterday:
Thursday Evening, Nov. 13. -- A girl about sixteen years old - daughter of a trackman at Rook [Rook's] Creek - was found dead about three miles south of Pontiac this evening. It is supposed she was murdered. She left Pontiac some eighteen days since for home. It is said she was heard to threaten to expose the name of her seducer, who lives in Pontiac; and the supposition is that he murdered her. Coroner not made report yet. Bloomington Pantagraph. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal, 24 November 1858; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

A Foul Murder.
The citizens of our town were startled on Thursday evening, November 11th, by the report that a most foul murder had been committed on the body of a young Irish girl named Mary Murphy -- daughter of John Murphy, a work-hand on the St. L. A. & C. Rail Road. The particulars, as far as we can learn them are these:   About 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon, October 24th, Miss Mary Murphy left the house of her father near Rock [Sic] Creek Station, to come to Mrs. McGregor's residence of this place, where she had formerly been engaged as a domestic.-- Her father supposing she had reached her destination in safety made himself no concern about her welfare. Her not arriving at Mrs. McGregor's at the time agreed to, induced that lady to think that she concluded to remain awhile longer at her fathers, hence no suspicions were aroused as to her absence by either her parents or her employer.
On the afternoon of the 11th, inst., while Mr. Wm. Cleary and his hand were engaged on the repairs of the Railroad track about three miles South of this place.-- Mr. Cleary, in looking for a block, seen [Sic] what he supposed to be a bundle of clothing lying on the prairie about fifty feet from the track. On approaching it, he discovered that it was the body of Mary Murphy. Immediately after the discovery, he came to town, gave the information to the Coroner who repaired to the spot. The body was then brought to town and an inquest held, the Coroner's jury giving in substance the following verdict:
"That the said Mary Murphy came to her death by blows upon her head by some instrument in the hands of some person or persons unknown to this jury, or that she came to her death by strangulation caused in some manner unknown to this jury, or that she came to her death by either or both of the above causes, either of which this jury believe to have been sufficient cause of her death."   There have been many rumors in regard to the cause for the perpetration of this deed, all of which we forbear to mention-- not knowing them to be facts. Suffice it to say that Mary Murphy has been foully dealt with, and afterwards, brutally murdered, and the body dragged out upon prairie and left in a most horrible position, where, remaining undiscovered for the long time of eighteen days; and that this most shocking murder was committed in open day, on a frequently traveled road at a distance of only three miles South of Pontiac, and further, that the villain or villains who perpetrated it are yet at large. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 19, Number 14, 27 November 1858; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


A colored man named Robert Morrison, has been arrested at Whitewater, Wisconsin and is now in the Walworth County Jail at Elkhorn, charged with the rape and murder of a young woman, a domestic named Ann Murphy, who was brutally ravished and murdered last November on the prairie, near the line of the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis R.R., in the town of Pontiac, Livingston county in this State.-- Sheriff  Russell of that county, has gone to Elkhorn to take the prisoner into his custody. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal, 4 June 1859]

Requisition for Abduction.
William S. Cilley was arrested at Sunbury, Livingston county, Illinois, on a requisition from the Governor of Maine, by officer J. T. Lurvey of Bangor, Maine, for abducting a young girl aged 13, named Amelia F. Wetherell, daughter of Joseph F. Wetherell of Bangor, Maine. She was carried off by Cilley on the 13th of October last, and officer Lurvey has been in pursuit ever since. Cilley is a widower, and pretends to have some claim to the girl, from the fact that she lived with him, and her parents are indebted to him. The officer left with the prisoner on Monday night for Maine. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal, 15 December 1859; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Elopement Editorial
We learn that Jim Albee, the Copperhead editor of the Pontiac News, the nastiest lying little sheet this side of Dixie, has come to grief. With his usual perception of the moral, he, on Friday or Saturday last, left a wife and two children, and eloped with another man’s Wife - a "war widow" - the immaculate twain taking the cars for Springfield. The indignant wife sent the Sheriff after him, who last Tuesday evening got back to Pontiac with the redoubtable Jim. We understand there will be a trial of the case. Our advice to the wife is that she gives Jim his walking papers, as he is too mean for any decent woman to tie to. - Bloomington Pantagraph. [Sangamo Journal / Illinois State Journal, 17 July 1863; Sub. by Pam Geyer;]


Cattle Stealing
For something decidedly brassy in the line of cattle stealing, commend us to the case of Mr. Jonathan Helmes, who was arrested in this city on Monday for this offense at the instance of Mr. John Hossack. It appears Mr. Hossack had an interest in a herd of cattle grazing in the town of Esmen, Livingston county, (near Dwight.) A week ago last Monday five head of these cattle were brought to Ottawa by Helmes and sold to Jacob Degan, cattle dealer. Very soon afterwards information reached Mr. Hossack, from Dwight, that a dozen of head had been stolen by Helmes, but on his way to Ottawa he had left 7 at Otter Creek, which had been recovered. Mr. Helmes having safely pocketed his money for the five head, and being now an object of anxious inquiry by the emissaries of the law, one would naturally suppose would have made himself scarce about these days. On the contrary, on Sunday he started from Odell to Ottawa in a cutter, and on the way picked up a young girl, whom he proposed to bring with him, and satisfying the girl that he had lots of money, offered to give her plenty of fine clothes in Ottawa, and do many other nice things for her. So the innocent maiden came with him, but on reaching the Illinois bridge he was recognized, and Mr. Hossack notified of his presence. The latter lost no time in getting out the papers for his arrest, and Mr. Helmes is now safely in limbo. Meantime the young girl consoles herself for the loss of her beau by the fact that she has gained a horse and cutter. [Ottawa Free Trader: Saturday November 27, 1869]


We find in the Pontiac Meteor the details making intelligible the despatch published in the Chicago papers a week ago stating that Mr. John Soter, a former resident of this county and well known in Ottawa, but for the last few years residing in Livingston county, had been placed in limbo at Pontiac on the charge of murder. It seems Soter, a few years ago, married a widow lady named Thompson, residing near Pontiac, upon a fine farm, of which she had come in possession by the death of her former husband. It turned out subsequently, however, that the said "former husband" had another wife living in England, who, on hearing of his (Thompson's) death, came to this country and claimed his property, a claim which she succeeded in making good in the courts, and the other widow, with her new husband, Soter, was dispossessed of the property. The new owner placed a Mr. Rollins upon the property, and this Mr. Rollins Soter is accused of having deliberately shot dead while playing a violin at a little party at Soter's own house. The facts as stated in the Meteor look bad for John. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 32, Number 37, 20 April 1872; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

John Soter, formerly a resident of the town of Deer Park, in this county, but for the last few years a resident of Livingston County, has just been tried for murder at Pontiac, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung. We gave the circumstances of the murder a month or two ago. We had known John well for many years, and in his sober senses always found him well behaved, kind and open hearted. But he had contracted the morbid appetite for strong drink and when under its influence, like so many other good men, was a demon. The evidence showed that when he committed the horrible crime which he will probably expiate on the gallows, he was under the influence of "fire water." [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 32, Number 44, 8 June 1872; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Gov. Palmer has committed the sentence of John Soter to imprisonment for life. The jury, on his recent trial for murder in Livingston county, had sentenced him to be hung. [The Ottawa Free Trader 6 July 1872; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

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]


A horrible murder was committed in Nebraska township, Livingston county, last Saturday night. A dance had been appointed at the house of Pat and Tom Barrett, for which a fiddler named Marlott had agreed to play but went to play at another house. About 12 o'clock at night, when all parties were pretty full of liquor, the Barretts went to the other house, a quarrel ensued, in the course of which fiddler Marlott and his brother were clubbed to death, and half a dozen are now in jail candidates for the gallows. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 6 September 1873]


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.
 [28 FEB1874; Sioux City Journal - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

Cornell was the scene of a drunken row on Saturday last. Pistol shots were fired, and a free fight indulged in. Two of the parties, Charles Johnson and William Scully were captured, and placed in the calaboose overnight, and on Monday they were brought before Jason Curtis, Police Magistrate, and fined fifteen dollars each. [The Pantagraph, Aug. 21, 1874; sub. by PHG]

D. E. Straight assaulted Wm. Morgan in Fairbury, then complained of himself and was fined twenty-five dollars and costs. [The Pantagraph, Aug. 28, 1874; sub. by PHG]

Four Pontiac men were driving to Chenoa in a carriage last Sunday and when they got to Ocoya, two horsemen had words with them about the right of way. They drove on, but the horsemen returned, stopped and renewed the quarrel. As the carriage passed, one of the horsemen fired two shots from a pistol, one bullet cutting the band from the hat of Mr. Charles Nelson, one of the carriage party. The horsemen then rode off. A warrant has been issued for one of the horsemen, the other being unknown as yet. This, of course, is only one side of the story. [The Pantagraph, Aug. 28, 1874; sub. by PHG]


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]

Rev. Father Hanley, Catholic priest at Dwight, in this state, was brought before the police magistrate of that village on Wednesday and fined $5 for committing an assault and battery upon a parishioner. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 35, Number 24, 16 January 1875; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


George Diehl, a boy from Dwight, was tried for burglary on Tuesday. He swore that the store was robbed Sunday afternoon, and burglary could not be made of the charge. The jury disagreed. He has been in the Reform School one term. [The Pantagraph, Jan. 2, 1877; sub. by PHG]

The case of the Board of the Supervisors against W. B. Fyfe, ex-Swamp Lands Commissioner, was dismissed at the request of the Board. [The Pantagraph, Jan. 2, 1877; sub. by PHG]

A dispatch from Pontiac, Ill., stated that two inmates of the Ohio Penitentiary had confessed to having outraged and murdered Miss Mary Murphy near Pontiac, for which crime Wiley L. Morris was already hanged in Kankakee, Ill. [New York Clipper 16 June 1877]

Most of our older citizens remember the case of Mary Murphy, who was murdered near Pontiac, in Livingston county, in 1861. The girl lived at Rook's Creek, some five miles south of Pontiac, but was employed in the latter town as a servant. One Saturday she had gone home to spend Sunday, and was not seen for 18 days afterwards, when her body was found near the railroad track, so concealed and with such marks upon it as to show that she had been foully dealt with. A negro named Morris who had been seen on the railroad track the day of the murder and in the vicinity where the body was found, was pursued and arrested for the crime. The only evidence against him was, his having been seen at the place at such an unfortunate time, and that he had some blood on his clothes. The negro of course vehemently protested his innocence. At the trial, he explained the blood on his clothes by showing that he had had a fight in Bloomington the day before the murder, and was really hurrying towards Chicago to escape the vengeance of his Bloomington enemies. However, the popular mind was intensely excited at the time, and the current ran so strong against the poor negro that the jury pronounced him guilty, he was sentenced to be hung and in due time the sentence was carried into execution. Now comes the sequel.  There was known about Pontiac a hard character named Hildebrand. He had joined a band of horse thieves and cut-throats headed by a notorious character named "Hawkeye Bill.'' Hildebrand is now in the Jeffersonville, Ind., penitentiary, and has just written a confession, which is published in the Louisville Courier-Journal.  In that confession he states that Hawkeye Bill died in 1866 in an underground stable near Dubuque. A few hours before he died be made a confession of his various crimes. Among other things Hawkeye Bill said that while he, Bill Britt, Joe Montana alias "French Joe," a half-breed Indian named Sioux, and Charles Logue alias "Big Curtis" were running some stolen horses through from Iowa to Michigan, they captured a young woman on the railroad track near Pontiac, took her into the woods and kept her two days and then murdered her. That young woman's name was Mary Murphy, and for this crime a negro named Morris was hung at Kankakee, Ills. Bill Britt, French Joe and Sioux were hung in the west, and Big Curtis died in the Allegheny, Pa., prison. This is the substance of Hildebrand's confession, and of its truthfulness their exists no doubt in the minds of those most familiar with all the details of the horrid and unfortunate affair. Morris was an innocent man. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 37, Number 48, 30 June 1877 - Page 4]


A. H. Hupp, who was sentenced at the last term of the circuit court to a term in the county jail for selling liquor at Long Point without a license, was released lately under the pauper act. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 38, Number 44, 6 July 1878 - Page 1]

Pontiac - While John Riley, of Cayuga, was coming home from church, at Odell, Sunday, he came across Eratus Demroaux, and Byron Demroaux, with his wife and child, who had stolen a livery rig in DeKalb; and at once gave chase. He followed the quartet six miles, and arrested all of them, secured the team, took them to Pontiac, turned the four prisoners over to the sheriff, took the team to the Phoenix, where he found the man from whom the team was stolen, and turned it over to him. He had no papers, and says he does not want any for such business. John says he is on duty at large, and will arrest any horse thief he can see. [The Pantagraph, July 3, 1878; sub. by PHG]


Burglars went through a Fairbury safe to the extent of $10.55. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 22 November 1879; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Five tramps were arrested in Chenoa Wednesday night for enticing a little son of Dr. Limber, of Pontiac, to run away. They were taken to Pontiac on a freight, but were liberated and were back in Chenoa on Thursday. [The Pantagraph, Mar. 28, 1879; sub. by PHG]


Burglars entered the house of Dennis White, at Odell, and stole Mr. White's pocket-book, containing $14, and a coat and vest. [The Pantagraph, June 25, 1880; sub. by PHG]


Miss Eliza Horine has been suspended from the Methodist Church at Pontiac, Ill., for slander. She was charged also with lying and gross immorality, but after a five days trial she was acquitted of everything but slander. [Western Rural 12 February 1881; sub. by Pam Geyer]


Nic Huber, the Saunemin ex-saloon-keeper, now in jail  in Pontiac on a sentence of 200 days for illegal liquor selling, is in hopes of being pardoned out, a petition with sixty names having been sent from Saunemin to Gov. Cullom for that purpose on Monday of last week. May 04, 1882 - Bloomington Weekly Leader; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


A horrid butchery occurred at Dwight, Livingston county, on Thursday morning. A wealthy farmer named Andrew White, who had shown unmistakable symptoms of insanity and been sent to the asylum, conceived that his wife and two children had sent him there to get possession of his property, and stealing away from the asylum he got home early on Thursday morning, when, calling the family out of bed, as soon as they made their appearance he shot the three dead and then shot and killed himself. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 14 July 1883; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

The Wabash depot at Pontiac was badly burglarized last Friday night. The ticket cases were broken open, the tickets scattered out on the floor and about 400 of them taken. A lot of boxes of goods in the baggage room were broken open and the contents scattered around but how much had been taken could not be ascertained until the owners would come. A horse and buggy was also stolen, presumably by the same persons for the purpose of getting away. Three or four boys escaped from the reform school that night and it is suspicioned that they committed the thefts. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 1 December 1883; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Charles Munhall, who was reported to have been killed Saturday night in Indianapolis by falling from a third story window, is now supposed to have been pushed out the window while intoxicated by his wife. Mrs. Munhall has been arrested. Munhall hailed from Fairbury, in Livingston County, Illinois. [The Weekly Pantagraph, June 22, 1883; sub. by PHG]

Judge Payson, of Livingston County, is in Washington, fighting the land thieves single-handed.  He has just discovered a new plot to steal the 15,000,000 acres of the Texas Pacific lapsed grant and turn it over to the Southern Pacific. He has traced out 138,000,000 acres of lapsed grants, which the thieves were trying to gobble, and he complains the newspapers of the country appear indifferent about helping him expose and prevent these giant robberies of the lands which the people need for settlement.   [The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Illinois, Sept. 3, 1883], (submitted by PHG: Note: Lewis Edwin Payson was born in Providence, R.I., September 17, 1840. He moved to Illinois with his parents in 1852 and studied law. He practiced law in Ottawa and Pontiac, Illinois, and from there became a judge of the Livingston County court. He lived in Pontiac when elected to Congress, serving from 1881 to 1891. There he was Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands. After 1891 he resumed his practice of law and died and was buried in Washington D.C. October 4, 1909. There is a street named for him in Pontiac, Illinois.)

A Granger Gulled
A credulous granger from near Fairbury, named Michael Conners, reported at police headquarters Tuesday morning that he had been cruelly gulled. He said that he was accosted while at a hotel Sunday night, by a hack driver to take a ride. He got into a carriage and was taken to a place where a woman lived all alone. She had something to drink, and it was not long until he was insensibly drunk. He was then taken from there and dumped out. When he sobered up Tuesday morning he was minus a silver watch worth $28 and $17 in money. He is unable to give any clew to his robbers. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Dec. 21, 1883; sub. by PHG]


G. Eggenberger,  grocer and well-known citizen of Odell, Ill., was shot dead while returning home on foot from the village of Dwight, Ill., on Tuesday night, his body being found on the Chicago and Alton Railroad track. It is believed that he was murdered by a tramp. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 45, Number 34, 15 March 1884; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Eugene Riordan and John Mitchell were indicted on two charges, one, that they had incited and encouraged a riot June 1, 1882, when a passenger train on the Chicago & Alton Road was attacked at Brighton Park, and several passengers were injured, notably Judge Pillsbury, of Pontiac, who received a bullet in his groin, which has permanently disabled him. The other indictment charged them with assault with intent to do bodily harm "to a person or persons to the Grand Jury unknown."   The Brighton Bark riot case was given to the jury at 5:30 Saturday afternoon, and a verdict finding Riordan and Mitchell guilty of assault with intent to do bodily injury to some person unknown was returned in three-quarters of an hour. [The Cairo Bulletin 11 March 1884; sub. by Pam Geyer]

H. H. McDowell of Pontiac was arrested some days ago on complaint of one Chris Hercules of that place, charging him with the assault upon Mrs. Ladd, who was struck in the face and quite severely injured two weeks ago last Saturday night, by some unknown person. At the trial Mr. McDowell was fully exonerated and has now commenced suit against Hercules for slander, by capias. Hercules now languishes in jail in default of $2,500 bail, The case will come up at the October term of the circuit court. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Aug. 8, 1884; sub. by PHG]


John Barry, city marshal of Odell has got into trouble again, Miss Emma Aker, of Streator, being his nemesis. The lady became a mother and charged her trouble on John, who was taken to Streator by Marshal Smith, of that city. He waived examination and gave bonds to appear at the next term of the county court. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 46, Number 30, 14 February 1885; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


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; Lake Superior Review and Weekly Tribune - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

A dispatch from Forrest, ILL., speaks of little Robbie Ferguson, the boy who created considerable interest in Chicago, by claiming outrageous treatment at the hands of Rev. T.B. Arnold, who was once a resident of Sycamore. The dispatch says: Last Tuesday he stole a span of mules and a wagon in that place, and drove to the edge of town but was caught before he could go further. He declared with tears in his eyes that he had been induced to steal by other boys, and was allowed to go. Yesterday he stole a valuable letter from the post office in Fairbury, and was locked up in the calaboose there. He obtained a nail however, and last night managed to pick the lock of the door and escaped. He walked to Forrest, and this morning stole a watch and chain valued at $30 from the vest of a carpenter named Henry Parker, while the latter was at work. He was arrested but not searched, and protested his innocence so strongly that he was given his liberty. He attempted to leave here on foot, but by the time he had reached the edge of the village some person who knew him had informed the officials of his identity. Two men on bicycles and a man on horseback started rapidly after him, searched him, and found the watch and chain in his pockets. He was locked up here, and was taken to Pontiac this afternoon. He will be sent to the reform school there. [True Republican 24 August 1887; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


Thomas Cramer, a young railroad man, burglarized Oliver K. Teach's house near Pontiac, securing a suit of clothes and other items.  He is in the Pontiac jail at present. [The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 51, Number 16, 24 November 1888 — Page 8; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Charles Harris, a colored man from Pontiac, was arrested at Minonk for burglarizing the money drawer of the Santa Fe railroad depot.  He was taken to Metamora and lodged in jail. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 9 June 1888]

Cyrus B. Jones, a farmer living six miles west of Pontiac, Livingston county, was shot and instantly killed on the 8th inst. About 9 o'clock Mr. Jones heard a noise in the barn and went with his son to ascertain the cause.  When within a few feet of the door, a shot was fired by some unknown person, and Mr. Jones fell dead. The assassin escaped. The Ottawa Free Trader, Volume 49, Number 44, 9 June 1888 [The Ottawa Free Trader, 20 February 1875]

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 Deputy United States Marshal Gates.
[Date: 1888-02-26; Paper: Kansas City Times - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

Pontiac papers claim that the city is infested with fire bugs, three buildings having been set on fire within three weeks. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 14 July 1888; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Miss Godfrey, of Rooks Creek, Livingston county, is under arrest for the alleged murder of her newborn child, the other day. [The Ottawa Free Trader 16 March 1889; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

William Hohenshill and wife, of Manville were visiting friends in this vicinity Sunday. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 14 September 1889; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

While drunk on the 13th at Cayuga, Ill., Joseph Nenne struck his wife, causing her to fall and sustain injuries that proved fatal two hours later. [Mower County Transcript (Lansing, MN), June 19, 1889, page 2]

The short, thick-set individual, with long black hair and swarthy complexion, who has paid annual visits to this city for years and is known as "Shakespeare," is suspected of having robbed a safe in Hoobler Bros. store at Manville last week. "Shakespeare" is crazy but he has always behaved himself morally, according to common report. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 29 June 1889 — Page 1; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


Campus, Ill., Oct. 13th -- Some miserable wretch stole the remains of the wagon that Mr. Franklin Harding rode in when killed by the Wabash train a short time ago.; [October 15, 1890 - Forrest Rambler; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

D.D. Ryan, our pool hall man, was taken to Pontiac and jailed under indictment.  There are nine indictments from this place and seven from Pontiac,  which it is said are for selling liquors illegally and keeping a gambling house.  What does it mean that the county jail is occupied by so many Wing and Pleasant Ridge citizens?  It is because of the acts of some who pray out of one corner of their mouth and lie out of the other. [October 15, 1890 - Forrest Rambler; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


Daniel North, of Forrest, is to be hanged at Pontiac, Ill., Friday of next week, unless his attorney shall succeed in obtaining a stay of execution. Last summer, while North was intoxicated and terrorizing Pontiac, City Marshall Hodge attempted his arrest and was shot and killed by North. [True Republican 24 January 1891; sub. by Pam Geyer]


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]


State Reformatory At Pontiac
The first biennial report of the state reformatory at Pontiac has been submitted to the governor. It shows that the number of inmates October 1, 1891, was 380; received during fourteen months, 163; total, 549; discharged, 170; escaped, 16; pardoned, 13; died, 3; present December 1, 1892, 341; average during the year, 257. [True Republican, 7 January 1893; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

William Estes, a well-known citizen of Livingston county, accused of assaulting Mary Elliott, a 14-year-old girl, has been acquitted of the charge. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Feb. 3, 1893; sub. by PHG]

Ought to Have Been Hanged.
Pontiac, Jan. 18. - In the circuit court, Judge Starr presiding, Thomas Lightholder, of Saunemin, was convicted of rape on the person of his 12-year-old daughter and sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Jan. 20, 1893; sub. by PHG]


Village Marshal Bound, Gagged and Shot.

Pontiac, Ills. Nov. 30:  David Decker, village marshal of Saunemin, was bound and gagged at night by three men who had applied for lodging in the jail. In the scuffle Decker was shot, but not fatally. Saunemin people believe it was the plan of the men to loot the town. [The Rock Island Argus 30 November 1896; sub. by Pam Geyer, who adds this Note:  He is buried at Sunny Slope Cemetery at Saunemin, Illinois.)


CASHIER WAS READY. Attempt to Rob the Bank at Odell, Ills., Was a Failure.
ODELL, Ills., July 21.- Two men entered McWilliams bank and placing revolvers at the head of Cashier Van Buskirk, ordered him to throw up his hands and pass over the cash. Van Buskirk was ready to meet just such an emergency as he had weapons at his command, which he raised to shoot at the intruders. They did not wait, but opened the door and escaped. The cashier at once gave the alarm. The people on bicycles, horses, wagons, buggies and afoot followed the would-be robbers, who fled east of town, where they jumped into a buggy driven by two boys. They drove the horses hard until they saw that the Odell pursuers were gaining on them, when they leaped out of the buggy and made for the cornfields, and after several attempts to get away, the miscreants were caught. Numerous shots were fired, but no one was injured. The robbers were brought to town and lodged in jail to await the action of the grand jury. At a preliminary examination they gave the names of Frank W. Jackson and Harry Howard, both hailing from New York. It is supposed that they are the same persons who made two attempts to wreck the Wabash pay car between Fairbury and Forest last Saturday. [The People's Press (Owatonna, Steele Co., MN) July 23, 1897, page 7; Sub by RL]

Probable Murder
Michael C. Wagner, a well-to-do and well known stock raiser of this county, residing in Saunemin township near Eylar on what is known as the Hobbs farm, was probably fatally wounded in a shooting scrape. [November 19, 1897 - Pontiac Sentinel; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Put a Ball Through His Thigh.
Pontiac, May 13. - Late last evening, Officer John Cook arrested "Red" Osborne and "Buz" Laycock in the rear of one of the saloons and, while he was taking them to the calaboose, they suddenly broke away and ran. Officer Cook took after them and shot twice. One bullet took effect. It went through Osborne's thigh. Both escaped and at this writing have not been captured. [The Weekly Pantagraph, May 14, 1897; sub. by PHG]

Two Foolish Pontiac Girls Who Had a Narrow Escape From Ruin.
Emma and Rachel Laycock, two blooming country girls, loitered around the union depot in Peoria all day Wednesday. They reached that city on the T. P. & W. passenger train at 4:30 a. m. from Pontiac, and at noon were joined by two young men from the same town. During the afternoon the young men left the girls at the depot and, it is said, came to Bloomington. The girls were thus left alone in a large city absolutely without money and complete strangers. Along in the evening they became very forlorn and noticing their despondent looks a gentleman living on First avenue learned from them their story and took them to his home for the night and yesterday morning they were sent back to Pontiac.  The girls said they were cousins, each 16 years old, and that their homes were in Pontiac. The two young men spoken of had induced them to leave home and go to Peoria, where they could find employment. When the young men joined them in Peoria, they told the girls that they had no money and no place to take them, but if they would go to Chicago they knew a lady there with whom they could live and who would give them a home, and that tickets would be bought for their transportation thither. By this time the girls had become heartily sick of their adventure and wanted to go home. They rejected all further overtures, and in the evening the young men left for Bloomington. Fortunately for the girls, they fell into good hands, and at noon yesterday were eager to return to their respective homes. They stated that they belong to respectable families, and their appearance indicated that such was the case. [The Weekly Pantagraph, May 7, 1897; sub. by PHG]


Oct. 13. The little town of Virden is comparatively quiet now after a day of riot and bloodshed the long expected clash between the union miners and imported negroes. At 12:40 p. m. yesterday a Chicago and Alton special train bearing 200 negro miners from the south arrived at the stockade around the Chicago-Virden Coal company's mines, and immediately a terrific fire began from the striking union miners. The casualty list at this writing stands seven dead and eighteen wounded.
John M. Hunter, of Pontiac, the president of the Illinois district of the United Mine Workers of America, lies at the Collins House in a critical condition. Hunter got on the train which bore the colored miners to this city and engaged in conversation with two of the colored miners. Some of the deputy sheriffs saw Hunter, and when the train was between North Grand avenue and the north shaft and was going at the rate of eighteen miles an hour, it is estimated, attacked Hunter and pushed him off the train. A man who happened along later in a buggy saw Hunter lying near the track in an unconscious condition and placed him in his buggy and took him to the Collins House, where a physician dressed his wounds.  He is terribly cut about the face and his ribs are injured. He is still unconscious. [The Rock Island Argus 13 October 1898; sub. by Pam Geyer]


Samuel Rightsell killed Chief of Police Fred Baird in Fairbury.  The coroner's jury at Fairbury found Rightsell guilty of the murder of Chief of Police Fred Baird, and held him for trial. [True Republican, 22 February 1899; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac. Ill., Dec. 5 -- The bank at Cornell, Ill., was entered by burglars, who dynamited the safe and secured $8,000. Two men suspected of the crime have been arrested. [The Rock Island Argus, 5 December 1899; Sub. by Pam Guyer]

Robbed of $8,000 in Cash
Pontiac, Ills., Dec. 6 -- The bank at Cornell, Ills., eight miles from here, was robbed of $8,000 in currency Monday night. The robbers secured entrance through the front door of the building and blew the large safe open with dynamite. The force of the explosion partially wrecked the building and left the contents of the safe exposed. [The Rock Island Argus, 6 December 1899; Sub. by Pam Guyer]

Pontiac, Dec. 6. - No new developments have come to light in regard to the Cornell bank robbers. Mr. Johnson, the president, says that business will at once be resumed and that he has been notified the loss will be made good by the insurance companies. Sheriff Talbott has returned from Chicago, where he has been in consultation with officials and is positive the rest of the gang will be captured before long. The two prisoners in jail are very cheerful, but will not say a word in regard to the robbery. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Dec. 8, 1899; sub. by PHG]

Two of The Cornell Men Taken at Pontiac - Had Lots of Money.
Pontiac, Dec. 6. - Two of the seven robbers who so boldly blew up the Bank of Cornell at 2 o'clock a. m. today, as told in this morning's Pantagraph, were captured by Policemen Berry and Robinson two hours later. These robbers had secured a hand car after the robbery and came to within a mile of Pontiac where they abandoned it. Four then came overland to a point near the railroad and were waiting for a train. A freight northbound was the first to appear and when they attempted to catch it they were seen by the policemen who immediately called to them to surrender. This they refused to do and opened fire. After an exchange of some dozen shots two were finally made to surrender. The other two fled and disappeared, but it is supposed they caught the freight which was fast pulling out. Word was at once sent to Dwight, where ten men were in waiting, but when the train arrived no clew could be found. The two arrested gave their names as James Karney and Thomas O'Leary. On the former was found $479.25, principally in gold and silver, while the latter only had $241.50 principally in currency. On the latter was also found a trades union card which gave his name as Joseph T. Stanch; also a bank book which showed that but yesterday he had drawn $35 on the Northern Trust company, Chicago. Both men were well dressed, their clothes being worn but a few days.
The first sure trace of the robbers was at Rowe where they stole the handcar belonging to the Wabash fence gang which they rode to Cornell and left near the creamery. They went to the wagon and blacksmith shop of W. S. Wayman and took a sledge, brace and bits, chisels, wrench, etc. They easily pried the door of the bank building open. The safe was an old one which the company had lent the bank to use until they could furnish them with the Corliss safe which they had ordered. One theory is that the robbers drove a burglar's chisel into one side of the door, squirted nitro-glycerine into the opening and blew the door off. The safe weighed 3,580 pounds, and including the cash box there were several doors to be gone through before the coveted cash was reached. The big door was blown several feet, wrecking the front counter. Earl States was close enough to the safe when the explosion took place that the debris was thrown upon him. What he thought is not recorded.
There was about $4,228 in the safe, composed of silver, gold, paper money and small currency. There was $856 found in and around the wreck of the safe, mostly in gold and some silver blown into the fireproof clay that had composed the sides of the safe. Four $20 gold certificates were found a little mutilated and one that was blown all to pieces. The amount of cash lost and not recovered at this writing is about $2,600. The bank is insured for $5,000 in the Fidelity and Casualty Co., of New York and in all probability the loss will be made good by the insurance company. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Dec. 8, 1899; sub. by PHG]

The Cornell Institution Blown Up at an Early Hour Tuesday Morning. Cornell, Ill., Dec. 5, 3 a. m. - The Bank of Cornell was blown up with nitroglycerine at 2 o'clock this (Tuesday) morning by a gang of seven robbers. The thieves secured between $4,000 and $5,000 in money besides valuable papers. The safe is a total wreck; the furniture is badly demoralized, and the building is damaged to a considerable extent. The deed was an exceedingly daring one. The robbers entered town at 1:30 and were seen by Earl States, a young man of this city. Immediately they pounced upon him, bound and gagged him, and took him with them to the bank, where they blindfolded him. He was held in the bank while the wrecking and robbery was perpetrated, and was discovered by the awakened citizens afterward. A big charge of nitroglycerine was placed in the safe and fired. The contents were then rifled, and the seven robbers fled. The town was aroused by the explosion, and at this hour there are scores of citizens on the streets. They found the interior of the bank all upset, and the safe rifled of everything valuable. The Bank of Cornell is a new institution, organized in September by G. R. Johnson & Son. It was doing a good business. G. R. Johnson is president and W. R. Johnson cashier. Cornell is a small town in Livingston county about ten miles north of Pontiac, on the Wabash railroad. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Dec. 8, 1899; sub. by PHG]

Pontiac, Dec. 4. - Oscar Van Doren was arraigned before Justice Thompson this morning charged with obtaining a suit of clothes and an overcoat from Hirsch's store under false pretenses. He waived examination and in default of $500 bail was locked up in the county jail. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Dec. 8, 1899; sub. by PHG]

Joseph Alles, of Fairbury, who shot and killed Earl Hanna at that place on April 5, 1897, and fled at the time, has been arrested in Racine, Wis. [True Republican, 19 December 1900; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Biggs, the colored man charged with obtaining a watch in a fraudulent manner at J. S. Murphy's store in Pontiac, was brought back from Jacksonville; he settled for his board bill and some borrowed money and has been held by the state. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Aug. 30, 1901; sub. by PHG]

In the circuit court at Pontiac, Joseph Ellis, who was charged with the killing of Albert Hannah at Fairbury about two years ago, was declared not guilty. [True Republican, 13 February 1901; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

A Runaway Boy
Guy Higgins, a boy aged about 9 years, was captured by the police Tuesday p. m. He had run away from his home in Dwight, Ill. His father is Mr. George Higgins, switch man for the Alton at Springfield, and he was notified that the boy was being held here in Bloomington. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Apr. 19, 1901; sub. by PHG]

W. H. Hill, manager of the Cornell creamery, has been held to the circuit court under bond of $500 under the charge of larceny as bailee. The charge is that he received milk from the Cornell farmers to be made into butter but instead sold it to the Allen Candy company of Pontiac. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Aug. 30, 1901; sub. by PHG]

Sheriff L.M. Talbott returned from Chicago today with John Foreman who jumped his bond some time ago. Attorney Blasdel is the person who went Foreman's bond.  [Daily Pantagraph 4 June 1901; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Ben Walters and Earl Diers, the youthful train wreckers, were held in $500 bonds and placed in the Pontiac Jail to await the action of the September grand Jury. [The Weekly Pantagraph, May 10, 1901; sub. by PHG]



People Who Seem to Develop a Sudden Desire to Get Away from the Town.
Pontiac. Ills., Dec. 24.-- J.C. Dunham, who conducted a saloon at 341 North Mill street, suddenly disappeared Dec. 14, and his relatives and friends are considerably worried over his long absence. He left Pontiac to spend Sunday with his mother, who lives north of town, and it is feared he has been waylaid and killed. Dunham is unmarried and considered well-to-do. He is the third man who has mysteriously disappeared from Pontiac in the last month. On Dec. 1, J.J. Griffith, secretary and treasurer of the J.G. Mott Granite company, left home, and about Nov. 23, Fred Setzer, agent for the Standard Oil company, disappeared. None of them has been heard from. [The Rock Island Argus, 24 December 1902; Sub. by Pam Geyer]


Henry Gram, of Saunemin, is missing. He went to Chicago last week and his wife thinks he has been killed. [July 17, 1903 - Bloomington Weekly Pantagraph; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Still Believes That His Son Is Innocent of Snyder Murder.
Chief of Police William Moore, of Pontiac, father of Jack Moore, who recently escaped from the penitentiary at Chester where he was sent for the murder of Snyder in this county,  was in the city yesterday. He reaffirmed his belief in the innocence of his son and said he was down here for the purpose of finding those whom he believed to be Snyder's real murderers. Moore has not yet been captured. It is stated that he was in Champaign one night last week but that is the last trace that has been secured of him. [Urbana Daily Courier, 21 May 1903; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Concludes to Marry the Daughter Instead of the Mother.
Bloomington, Ill., July 25.-- A remarkable matrimonial entanglement came to light when a message was received by the local police to arrest James Conrad and his bride of Pontiac. The couple were charged by Mrs. Mary Noys, of Pontiac, mother of the bride, with illegal marriage, and the groom was said to have been guilty of abduction in running away with the girl. The message from the sheriff of Livingston county stated that the girl was but 13 years old. She declared here, however, that she was 16.  The groom said that he became engaged to the mother of the girl before he met the latter and that he agreed to marry her. Later he changed his mind and decided to marry the daughter. The couple produced a marriage license which showed that the ceremony was performed Wednesday evening by a clergyman of Pontiac. The allegations of the mother are that the license bore her name instead of the daughter and that the union, therefore, was illegal. [The Rock Island Argus 25 July 1903; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Must Face Trial
After a hearing James Conrad, the Pontiac groom who, with his child wife, was arrested on complaint of the mother of the girl, was held to the grand Jury an a charge of conspiracy to do an illegal act. The mother insisted that the girl was but 14 years of age, while the latter was under the impression that she was 16 and had told her husband so before they were married. Conrad had been engaged to the mother, but jilted her and married the daughter at the hour set for the marriage with the parent. [True Republican, 1 August 1903; Sub. by Pam Geyer]


As a result of action by the University of Illinois council of administration, several students, including J. M. Evvard of Pontiac, were suspended from the university one year for hazing. They are all members of the sophomore class and all but Evvard were students in the college of engineering. Evvard, who was a sophomore in the college of agriculture, was one of the varsity's prominent weight men. The offense of the dismissed consisted in "ducking" freshmen in the Boneyard, the campus stream. [The Ashton Gazette 26 October 1905; Sub. by Pam Geyer]


Champaign Man is Wounded.
Bloomington, Ill., May 14. -- F. E. Gingeley of Champaign was shot and seriously wounded by R. C. Huntoon, a farmer, near Fairbury. Gingeley is charged with enticing Huntoon's daughter, late an inmate of Kankakee asylum, from her home. Gingeley was taken to the hospital at Pontiac. [The Rock Island Argus 14 May 1906; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Sheriff Hoke, of Pontiac, Ill., was called to Cardiff to quell trouble with striking miners. [True Republican 23 May 1906; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Aged Minister, While Insane, Committed Terrible Deed.
Pontiac, Ill., Aug. 21:  An aged minister while insane, crushed his wife's skull five times with an ax, cut her throat with a razor, carried her body upstairs, washed his hands and fled. [The Rock Island Argus 21 August 1906; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Mrs. William Thomas, wife of a miner at Pontiac, was murdered by her husband, who cut her throat from ear to ear and smashed her skull with a hatchet. The murderer escaped to a cornfield and a sheriff's posse is in pursuit. A family quarrel is given as the cause.  [The Ashton Gazette 30 August 1906; Sub. by Pam Geyer, who added this Note: She is buried at South Side Cemetery in Pontiac, Illinois.]


The Livingston county grand jury at its January session will investigate the death of Willie Hamlin, an inmate of the Illinois State reformatory at Pontiac, who died of injuries alleged to have been inflicted by guards. [The Ashton Gazette 31 December 1908]

Will Sift Death of Boy.

The body of 19 year old William Hamlin, said to have died as the result of an accidental fall at the Pontiac Reform School, where he was sent last September, has arrived in Quincy. The boy's mother has retained lawyers to make an investigation into the cause of his death. [The Ashton Gazette 30 January 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Orders Discharge of Disciplinarian and Guard at Pontiac Reform School.
Chicago, Feb. 12. -- The board of managers of the Illinois state reformatory at Pontiac met yesterday at the Auditorium and ordered the immediate discharge of Captain A. J. Reno, disciplinarian of the institution, and J.W. Rogers, guard, holding them responsible for the tragic death of William Hamlin, an inmate, who died Jan. 2, after maltreatment in the "solitary" of the prison. Hamlin's death, the managers concluded, resulted from an attempt at suicide after a frustrated plan to escape and kill a guard, but blame is attached to Reno and Rogers for permitting Hamlin to lie all night in a cell without medical or surgical attention after he had leaped to the cement floor from the top of his cell and broke his back. The board was unable to substantiate the statement made by Hamlin on his deathbed that he was kicked by the guards as he lay writhing on the floor. [The Rock Island Argus 12 February 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

It is announced that the Board of Managers of the Pontiac institution intend to have a house cleaning of the offending employees, who have been in the habit of barbarously beating up the inmates of the reformatory. It will be a severe jolt at this time to be separated from the state pay rolls especially when Governor Deneen is seeking a second nomination. [The Rock Island Argus 14 February 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Legislative investigating committee has evidence which proves that young Hamlin, former inmate of Pontiac (Ill.) reformatory, came to his death by brutal treatment by guards. [Chicago Livestock World 18 March 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Report of Probe Read to Solons.
Condemnation of men and conditions, couched in strong language, crops out in page after page of the 55,000 words which make up the report presented to the house of representatives by its committee which has been investigating for nearly five months the conduct of state institutions for the care of the insane, the feeble-minded and those deserving of reform.After discussing baldly the evidence in the case of the boy Hamlin, who died after excruciating suffering in the solitary cell at the Pontiac reformatory, the committee in its report takes the position that the unfortunate lad was either murdered by brutal guards or driven by their cruelty to take his life in order to escape their blows and kicks. We cannot too strongly condemn the management of the Pontiac reformatory, declares the report, in concluding the account of the evidence it took relating to the manner in which the boy came to his death. A summary of the report in part follows: It is not within the province of this committee to determine the guilt or innocence of the men who had charge of the Hamlin boy at the time he received the injuries from which he died. This is a matter for a jury regularly drawn in a court of law and after a fair and impartial trial. Suffice it to say that there is abundant evidence to warrant the submission of the entire matter to a court of law for final determination. Such a step should be taken in the interest of justice. If the men accused are innocent they should welcome a hearing before a jury of their peers. If they are guilty they should be prosecuted and punished as the crime deserves. If the Hamlin boy was kicked and beaten, as he protested with his dying breath, after he had been shrived by a priest of the Catholic faith, the religion he had embraced when he realized that all hopes of life were gone, then the brutality, the diabolical cruelty of these men, these prison guards in charge of a defenseless inmate, is without parallel in the history of Illinois. Taking, however, the explanation offered by these accused men, as the truth of the situation, there could be no more damnable indictment worded against their conduct or against the conduct of the reformatory management. Hamlin jumped from the bars of his cell to the cement floor, inflicting upon himself the injuries from which he later died, say the reformatory officials. [True Republican 9 May 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Legislators End Inquiry.
Chairman John W. Hill and the members of the legislative committee investigating state institutions have finished their inquiry into the death of William Hamlin. Hamlin's home was in Quincy. On the banks of the Mississippi river, the boy's father and mother live in a little houseboat and gain a living by fishing. It was to the mother that young Hamlin told the story of how he had been beaten by guards at the Pontiac reformatory. The committee wished to hear the mother's story of the deathbed statement, although they had been investigating the death for a week, they found nothing to corroborate the boy's story. [True Republican 21 March 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Three of the five prisoners who escaped from the Pontiac reformatory were captured by the local police at Saunemin, Ill., Livingston County. [Chicago Livestock World 8 September 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

The remaining two of the five convicts who escaped from the Illinois State Reformatory Sunday night were captured by a posse near Fairbury, where they had been hiding for two days. [The Ashton Gazette 17 September 1908]

Steve Moskier, giving his residence as Chicago, was arraigned at Pontiac, charged with burglarizing the post office at Ancona, Ill., Livingston County, on the night of December 9. Thirty dollars worth of stamps were found on his person. [Urbana Daily Courier 13 December 1909; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Clergyman Pleads Guilty to Abduction in Taking Girl to Chicago.
Pontiac, Ill., Dec. 29-- Rev. Harry H. Goodin, the Baptist minister who was arrested in a hotel at Chicago on Dec. 17, accompanied by 15-year-old Anna Blanch Edgington of this city, was sentenced yesterday by Judge Patton in the Livingston county circuit court to the Joliet penitentiary for an indeterminate term not to be less than one year and not more than 10. Goodin expressed his desire to plead guilty to the charge of abduction. should a special grand jury be called. His desire was carried to the judge presiding, who immediately ordered a special grand jury. So anxious were the citizens to get on the jury which was to indict Goodin that it was short work to secure the necessary number. The grand jury, after being instructed, was out only 25 minutes, returning an indictment against Goodin, finding him guilty of the charge of abduction. Goodin will be taken to Joliet later in the week to commence his sentence. [The Rock Island Argus 29 December 1908; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Husband In Jail at Pontiac Charged with the Act
Pontiac, Ill., Sept. 21. - Calvin Tuggle, of Cullom, is in the county jail charged with shooting his wife, Saturday night. The couple had been separated for some time, and Saturday night, while intoxicated, it is alleged, he attempted to effect a reconciliation. Being unsuccessful, it is alleged he fired two shots at the woman, one missing and one taking effect in her left arm. Her injury is not serious. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Sept. 25, 1908; sub. by PHG]

Held to Grand Jury
Pontiac, Ill., Sept. 22 - Andrew Katschmerick, a resident of Reading township, and who is an Austrian by birth, was held to the grand jury on Monday afternoon by Justice W. E. Baker under $500 bonds, charged with maliciously poisoning a horse. A warrant was sworn to by W. D. Breen, a resident, of Reading township. The horse died from the poison. Katschmerick was unable to furnish the bond and went to jail. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Sept. 25, 1908; sub. by PHG]

Charged With Mutilating Horse.
Pontiac, Ill. Sept. 21. -  George Hooker, who gives his home as Chicago, is in the county jail in this city, having waived preliminary examination, and being held to the grand jury charged with cutting a valuable horse belonging to R. D. Ruddy at Blackstone, some time Saturday night. Hooker says he stabbed the horse because it tried to kick him. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Sept. 25, 1908; sub. by PHG] 


Take Rich Man as Kidnapper.
Pontiac, Feb. 22:  Charged with having threatened the life of his wife and with having kidnapped his four-year-old son, Edward Bowser, a wealthy insurance man from Peoria, was brought to this city, and lodged in jail. He was arrested in Dwight, where the alleged kidnapping took place. Mrs. Bowser left her home in Peoria several days ago, following trouble, it is reported, with her husband, and fled to the home of her mother, Mrs. E. Trunnell, in Dwight, taking her son with her. The husband followed her to Dwight. Calling at the Trunnell home he demanded the child, and is alleged to have drawn a revolver. Mrs. Bowser fainted with fright and, it is said, Bowser picked up his child and carried it off. [Urbana Daily Courier 23 February 1910; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Chatsworth, IL., May 11.-- It is reported that a petition is being circulated for the purpose of having Albert Haag of Cullom, who is serving a term in the penitentiary for killing his father, Andrew Haag, pardoned. [May 13, 1910 - Bloomington Weekly Pantagraph; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Wife Beating Is Charged
Pontiac, Ill., June 22. - Thomas Lloyd who was arrested and brought to this city yesterday from Cardiff charged with beating his wife, was placed under a $300 peace bond by Justice Gaff yesterday. He was unable to furnish the bond and went to jail.[The Weekly Pantagraph, June 24, 1910; sub. by PHG]

Chief of Police Slain.
Pontiac, Ill., May 6: Amos Brown, chief of police of Fairbury, southeast of this city, was last night shot and killed by an unknown assassin. [Urbana Daily Courier 7 May 1910; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Roy Servian Is Charged with Death of Fairbury Official.
Search is being made in Chicago for Roy Servian, 28 years old, of Fairbury, who shot and instantly killed Marshal Amos Brown of that town. Mayor J.P. Rayburn, of Fairbury, telegraphed Capt. Stephen Wood, of the detective bureau, that Servian had disappeared after the shooting and was believed to be in Chicago. Servian and a young woman friend were walking down the main street in Fairbury, according to the story, when the marshal stopped them and objected to their alleged "spooning" in the street. The official advised the girl to go to her home and arrested Servian, who shot the marshal. His companion ran away, screaming, and he disappeared. [The Ashton Gazette, Volume 16, Number 13, 19 May 1910; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Murderer of Fairbury City Marshal, Who Evades Officers Since May 5, 1910, Said to Have Been Taken.
A requisition was issued Saturday by Governor Charles S. Deneen on the governor of Texas, for the return of a man under arrest in Waco, Tex., who is thought to be Ray Scriven, wanted at Fairbury, Ill., for the murder of City Marshal Amos Brown on May 5, 1910. Scriven has been seen in Champaign since the murder and his presence was reported to the police, but he made good his escape. [Urbana Daily Courier, 24 April 1911; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Refused Money to Buy Liquor Pontiac (Ill.) Man Probably Fatally Injures Helpmate.
Pontiac, Ill., June 22: Angry because his wife would not untie a string about her neck holding a bag containing $75 in bills and give him to buy drink, Alexander Wiley, aged forty years, slashed his wife's throat with a knife then shot her three times in the face with a revolver and fired a bullet into his own head. Both are in the hospital. The woman will die, but Wiley will probably recover. [Urbana Daily Courier 23 June 1910; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Bank Robbers Taken to Prison.
Pontiac, May 31:  Johnny Gardner and August Meyer, two of the recent Chatsworth bank robbers, were taken to the Joliet penitentiary to serve five years each. [Urbana Daily Courier 1 June 1910; Sub. by Pam Geyer]


Farmer Slain In Quarrel

Pontiac. July 21.-- Charles Raube, a farmer residing near Saunemin, was killed by his friend and neighbor, William Schulz. The two men had become involved in an argument over a wagon which they had purchased in partnership. Schulz stabbed Raube five times with a pocketknife. Death was instantaneous. Schulz surrendered to the authorities and is in jail here. [The Rock Island Argus, 21 July 1911]

Ready to Try Alleged Slayer
Pontiac, Jan. 22. --After 10 days spent in questioning veniremen a jury was obtained to try William Schulz on the charge of having murdered Charles Raube. The crime is alleged to have occurred at Raube's home while neighbors sat around watching, thinking the two men were wrestling. Schulz, however, it is charged, was jabbing Raube with a knife. Schulz entered a plea of not guilty.  [The Rock Island Argus, 22 January 1912]

25 Years for Murder
Pontiac, Feb. 2. William Schulz, a wealthy farmer, was found guilty of the murder of his best friend and neighbor, Charles Raube, by a jury that returned a verdict in the circuit court yesterday. He was sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary. Raube and Schultz quarreled over possession of a wagon, which they owned in partnership, at a neighborhood gathering July 19, 1911. Before friends could separate them Schulz slashed Raube with a pocketknife. Death followed within a few minute. It required, 174 talesmen to obtain the jury. [Chicago Livestock World, 2 February 1912]

Wealthy Farmer Is Sentenced to 25 Years In Prison for Murder of Neighbor.
Pontiac, Ill., Feb. 2:  William Schulz, a wealthy German farmer, was found guilty of the murder of his best friend and neighbor, Charles Raube, by a jury in the circuit court here and sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary. Schulz and Raube became involved in a quarrel over the possession of a wagon and Schultz stabbed Raube to death.(Urbana Daily Courier 2 February 1912, Sub. by Pam Geyer, who adds this Note: Mr. Raube is buried at Swygert Cemetery in Livingston County)

George M. Chaney, Charged With Fraudulently Obtaining $75,000, Arrested In New Orleans.
Pontiac, Ill., Feb. 23: George M. Chaney, a loan and insurance man, wanted here to answer charges of forgeries estimated at $75,000, was arrested at New Orleans. [Urbana Daily Courier 23 February 1911]


Mm. (sic) Schultze, wealthy German farmer, found guilty of murder of his friend and neighbor, Chas. Raube, at Pontiac, Ill.,  25 years in Joliet. [The Day Book, 1 February 1912; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Convict Seeking Pardon.
Pontiac, April 3:  George M. Chaney, who was sentenced to the Joliet penitentiary last spring to serve an indefinite term on the charge of forgery, is seeking a pardon. [Urbana Daily Courier 4 April 1912]


Dwight, Ill., - H. J. Hansen, wealthy stock raiser; missing since Monday. Had much money with him. Believed robbed and murdered. [The Day Book, 22 January 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Deputy Fire Marshal Ed Holland declared he obtained confession from Thos. Hornsby, saloon roustabout, that he was paid $100 for setting fire to Illinois hotel at Fairbury, Nov. 30. [The Day Book, 27 December 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill.,- Dr. Marshall, chief physician of state reformatory, ordered by board of managers to answer charges of cruelty to inmates, that have been preferred by number of boys examined at inquiry. [The Day Book, 24 September 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill., Sept. 18: Inmates of the Pontiac State Reformatory, testifying before board of managers, recited additional tales of alleged cruelties upon them. William Luelle, 14, from Chicago, stated that on the day he entered the institution he was compelled to undress and Dr. J. A. Marshall, physician of the reformatory, struck him on the bare skin. Some of the boys declared they had been confined in screened cells, a sort of solitary confinement, where they were not given enough water to satisfy their thirsts, and that they had to drink water used in flushing the closets. [[The Day Book, 18 September 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Inmate Testifies That in 1906 Negro Died of Beating.
Pontiac, ILL., Sept. 19. -- Testimony concerning the death of an inmate of the reformatory in 1906 was given at the afternoon session of Governor Dunne's investigating committee by a boy named Murray Hulbert. Hulbert declared that a colored boy named Williams had been so severely beaten by a guard named Quinn and by A.D. Burrell, another guard, that he died in the hospital three days later. The weapons used, according to Hulbert, were a blackjack in the hands of Quinn and a stool in the hands of Burrell, and the attack, he asserted, followed a fight between the boy Williams and a white boy named Sherry. [True Republican, 20 September 1913; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill., Sept. 18:  Inmates of the Pontiac State Reformatory, testifying before board of managers, recited additional tales of alleged cruelties upon them. William Luelle, 14, from Chicago, stated that on the day he entered the institution he was compelled to undress and Dr. J. A. Marshall, physician of the reformatory, struck him on the bare skin. Some of the boys declared they had been confined in screened cells, a sort of solitary confinement, where they were not given enough water to satisfy their thirsts, and that they had to drink water used in flushing the closets. [The Day Book 18 September 1913]

Pontiac, Ill:  More inmates of Pontiac State Reformatory, some little boys, testify as to cruelty. [Chicago Livestock World, 18 September 1913]
Pontiac, Ill: Dr. Marshall, Pontiac, reformatory physician, filed $25,000 damage suit against accusers. [Chicago Livestock World, 26 September 1913]

Conference Results in Suspension of Dr. Marshall Pending His Trial.
Springfield, Ill., Sept. 27:  Governor Dunne has approved the course taken by the members of the board of managers of the Pontiac reformatory. After a conference between the governor and three democratic members of the Pontiac board of managers, Dr. J. A. Marshall, the institution physician was suspended, pending trial on charges filed this morning with the state civil service commission. Under the agreement, 3 democratic board of managers representatives will go to Pontiac tomorrow morning to serve the formal notice of suspension on Dr. Marshall and choose a physician to act until after his trial. Governor Dunne did not wish to make any reply to the statement issued by Mr. Marshall when he refused to resign and filed damage suits against Attorney General Lucey, Florence E. Sullivan, the governor's representative at Pontiac, and Guard James Quinn. Governor Dunne intimated that little attention will be paid to the demand in the Marshall statement that there be another investigation conducted by a democratic tribunal. It seems probable that the record of the proceedings had during the last two weeks will be submitted to the civil service commission in substantiation of the charges filed this morning and that the merit board will then call on Dr. Marshall to make his defense. It is not known in Springfield what is to be Dr. Marshall's attitude when his suspension is ordered by the board of managers tomorrow. When Gov. Yates attempted to dispose of the physician he refused to quit, and won out. Dr. Marshall has a democratic physician in Pontiac whom he would like to see appointed in his stead. [The Rock Island Argus 27 September 1913]

Springfield, Ill., Oct. 27. ---That boys were beaten with hammers and "squeegees'," clubs and leather straps; that they were placed in solitary confinement for the smallest infraction of rules and given bread and water; that sometimes their thirst drove them to drink the water that was used to flush the lavatory, is the report of the committee appointed by Gov. Dunne to investigate alleged cruelties practiced at the Pontiac reformatory.
This report, which has been given the governor, states that 600 of the boy inmates of the institution were placed in the "screen," which is an isolated cell, 1,732 times, that 3,233 complaints were made against the boys and every one of these complaints sustained by the prison management.
During two months not a boy was found innocent of any charge preferred against him by guards, teachers or employers, and not a boy escaped punishment under the charges.
Cripples were cruelly beaten by men twice their size; a devilish ingenuity in making tortures unique was resorted to. A boyish prank inspired by the exuberancy of youth was regarded as a criminal offense. In the "chair shop, which was presided over by a man named Burrell, boys were kicked; others were felled by blows from Burrell's fist. Each boy was compelled to make five chairs a day and if he did not succeed Burrell administered the punishment his mood dictated regardless of its unnecessary brutality. One little fellow, who was physically unable to cope with the other boys, Burrell smashed over the head with a hammer.
Dr. Marshall, who was institution physician, seemed to be convinced that every boy committed to the reformatory had been guilty of depraved practices, according to the report and asked each boy if' this was true. If the boy replied in the negative, the doctor used his fists or a squeegee and beat the boy.
The report, in speaking of Judge R. A. Russell, who was appointed by Governor Deneen as superintendent of the institution, and who fled the state during the inquiry and is now in Idaho, says:
"There cannot be a shadow of a doubt that the routine of the institution as maintained under the management of Judge Russell was conducive to the breaking down of all moral restraint. Deprived of recreation in any form, forced to labor or attend school eight or nine hours daily, their meal hours so circumscribed that they would not eat properly, thereby suffering from the accumulative effect of toxic poisoning, locked in cells when not employed; every boyish desire, every boyish ideal, was ruthlessly shattered."  When the report was called to the attention of ex-Governor Deneen, he refused to make comment. The Board of Managers appointed by Deneen, presumably responsible to Deneen and to the people for the acts of Supt. Russell and his staff, are: Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows, Charles A. Purdunn, Frank R. Robinson, Chas. H. May and Arthur W. Charles. [The Day Book 27 October 1913]

Pontiac, Ill., -Dr. Jas. A. Marshall, deposed physician Pontiac state reformatory, on trial charged for ten specific accusations of cruelty to boy inmates. [The Day Book, 10 November 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill., Nov. 13.- Dr. Jas. A. Marshall, deposed physician of the Illinois state reformatory here, interrupted his trial before the state civil service commission by springing to his feet and denouncing the charges of cruelty made against him as "faked." Marshall grew angry when Edward Scoval, former inmate of the institution, who is now an officer, refused to answer questions about his former life. "I am asking for fair treatment at the hands of this commission," said Marshall, "and I do not think it right for ex-convicts to withhold their names and characters from this board. If I am not going to get fair treatment I will quit this trial right now." Chaplain E. W. Annable corroborated the testimony of George Wolf, an inmate who swore he was knocked down with a blackjack by Guard Robb in the presence of Marshall, but declared he never heard Marshall use obscene or profane language. The chaplain said that several boys had complained to him of receiving brutal treatment at the hands of Dr. Marshall, and had offered bruised faces and swollen hands as evidence, but that he had no direct knowledge of such cruelty. [The Day Book, 13 November 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill., Sept. 17.- Nearly 40 boy inmates of the state reformatory have appeared before the board of managers to tell stories of alleged cruel treatment at the hands of attendants in the investigation now being carried out. Public opinion is divided concerning the merits of the investigation, many persons believing the boys' stories without question, while others pronounce the inquiry a political move to justify the removal of public officeholders. [The Day Book, 17 September 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

State Civil Service Commission has finished hearing of case against Dr. J. A. Marshall, suspended physician of Pontiac Reformatory. Will announce decision within few weeks. [The Day Book, 25 November 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Springfield, Ill., Oct. 27:  That boys were beaten with hammers and "squeegees" clubs and leather straps; that they were placed in solitary confinement for the smallest infraction of rules and given bread and water; that sometimes their thirst drove them to drink the water that was used to flush the lavatory, is the report of the committee appointed by Gov. Dunne to investigate alleged cruelties practiced at the Pontiac reformatory. This report, which has been given the governor, states that 600 of the boy inmates of the institution were placed in the "screen," which is an isolated cell, 1,732 times, that 3,233 complaints were made against the boys and every one of these complaints sustained by the prison management. During two months not a boy was found innocent of any charge preferred against him by guards, teachers or employees, and not a boy escaped punishment under the charges. Cripples were cruelly beaten by men twice their size; a devilish ingenuity in making tortures unique was resorted to. A boyish prank inspired by the exuberancy of youth was regarded as a criminal offense. In the chair shop, which was presided over by a man named Burrell, boys were kicked; others were felled by blows from Burrell's fist. Each boy was compelled to make five chairs a day and if he did not succeed Burrell administered the punishment his mood dictated regardless of its unnecessary brutality. One little fellow, who was physically unable to cope with the other boys, Burrell smashed over the head with a hammer. Dr. Marshall, who was institution physician, seemed to be convinced that every boy committed to the reformatory had been guilty of depraved practices, according to the report and asked each boy if this was true. If the boy replied in the negative, the doctor used his fists or a squeegee and beat the boy. The report, in speaking of Judge R. A. Russell, who was appointed by Governor Deneen as superintendent of the institution, and who fled the state during the inquiry and is now in Idaho, says: "There cannot be a shadow of a doubt that the routine of the institution as maintained under the management of Judge Russell was conducive to the breaking down of all moral restraint. Deprived of recreation in any form, forced to labor or attend school eight or nine hours daily, their meal hours so circumscribed that they would not eat properly, thereby suffering from the accumulative effect of toxic poisoning, locked in cells when not employed; every boyish desire, every boyish ideal, was ruthlessly shattered." When the report was called to the attention of ex-Governor Deneen, he refused to make comment. The Board of Managers appointed by Deneen, presumably responsible to Deneen and  to the people for the acts of Supt. Russell and his staff, are: Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows, Charles A. Purdunn, Frank R. Robinson, Chas. H. May and Arthur W. Charles. [The Day Book, 27 October 1913]

Dr. James A. Marshall, for 12 years physician at Pontiac Reformatory, will be tried today by State Civil Service Commission on charge of cruelty to prisoners. [The Day Book, 10 November 1913]

Pontiac, Ill., Nov. 14. The prosecution rested this noon in the trial of Dr. James A. Marshall, deposed physician of the Illinois state reformatory, for alleged cruelty to inmates, and the civil service commission announced that an adjournment would be taken until next Tuesday at 2 p.m., when the defense will offer witnesses, among them several former reformatory officials associated with the accused physician. Lawrence Nathan, 21, an inmate from Chicago, was the only witness today. Nathan swore that when he entered the institution he was suffering from stomach trouble contracted in a Chicago jail. He complained to Dr. Marshall, he said, and the latter accused him of lying. When he insisted upon treatment, he said Dr. Marshall struck him in the stomach, causing him to double up with pain, and then struck him three times in the face, at the same time cursing him. On cross-examination, Nathan admitted that he had talked to Florence E. Sullivan, Gov. Dunne's investigator, two months before the reformatory investigation was started, and that he told Sullivan he would be glad to testify "to get even with Marshall." [The Day Book, 14 November 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

The lesson handed Dr. Marshall, late of Pontiac Reformatory, by the state civil service commission should be a warning to the remaining officials who take advantage of helpless prisoners.
A rebuke to the shoddy administration guided by Former Governor Deneen is given by the decision of the state civil service commission in dismissing Dr. James A. Marshall, former physician at Pontiac. Three charges out of ten against Marshall were sustained. In the language of the commissioners they are "You are charged with beating and abusing boys on their entrance to the reformatory. You are charged with knowingly permitting guards and teachers in this reformatory to beat and abuse boys without reporting the same to this board. You are charged with using profane, obscene and indecent language to boy inmates without cause or reason." A fourth charge was also sustained, but which the commission found some excuse for was: "You are charged with insisting on boy inmates admitting they have been guilty of gross immoralities and nameless crimes and with having beaten and abused them when they denied such charges." The dismissal of Marshall should mean the gradual abolition of cruelty on the part of those in charge of prisons throughout the entire state. [The Day Book, 19 December 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Chas. H. May, Peoria, and Frank Robinson, Oregon, Republican members of board of managers of Pontiac Reformatory, who asked governor to withdraw their names from report of recent investigation, expected to be discharged from board. [The Day Book, 4 November 1913]

Pontiac, Ill: J. W. Ralston and Mrs. W. W. Wright of "Christian Army" arrested, charged with soliciting funds for religious work not carried on. [The Day Book 9 September 1913; sub. by Pam Geyer]

Negro Man Knocks Deputy Down Steps.
Pontiac, May 12:  Jim Robertson, a negro, said to live in St.  Louis, attacked Deputy Sheriff Ives of this city; when the latter was unlocking the jail door. He knocked Ives down a flight of steps, breaking his leg, then with the deputy's own revolver beat him over the head. The man was overpowered by bystanders. [Urbana Daily Courier 12 May 1913, sub. by Pam Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill.:  Judge R. A. Russell relinquished position as supt. of Illinois state reformatory. Charges of cruelty. [The Day Book, 10 September 1913; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

"Con" Man Gets Prison Term.
Pontiac,  Ill.,  Jan. 29.-- Samuel Somerville, who was indicted on five different charges of running a confidence game and obtaining money under false pretenses, yesterday pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the Joliet penitentiary for an indefinite term. Somerville secured many fake subscriptions to the newspapers. [The Rock Island Argus 29 January 1913; Sub. by Pam Geyer; Sub. by Pam Geyer]


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]

Wm. Wagler, Fairbury, ILL., filed complaint against Dr. Wells & Co., 424 S. State St.   Alleges to have been swindled of $50.  [The Day Book, Volume 3, Number 89, 13 January 1914]

Pontiac, Feb. 21---Charles Blevins of Fairbury, on trial here on the charge of arson, surprised his attorneys and the court when he was about to take the witness stand on his own behalf by deciding to withdraw his plea of not guilty and pleading guilty. Blevins, who is the owner of the Illinois hotel at Fairbury, was arrested some time ago charged with having set fire to it on Saturday night, November 29, last. He had hired Thomas Hornsby to assist. Hornsby turned state's evidence when arrested. Both have been sentenced to the Joliet penitentiary on indeterminate sentences, one to twenty years. A number of occupants of the hotel narrowly escaped death when the hotel was set afire. [Urbana Daily Courier, 21 February 1914; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill., Ex-Judge Fred G. White, under indictment for alleged forgery of name of  D. S. Myers, reported under arrest at Spokane, Wash. [The Day Book, 21 January 1914 Edition 02; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Ex-Judge White Arrested
Pontiac, Jan. 22 -- Ex-Judge Fred G. White of this city, who was indicted by the recent grand jury here on the charge of forgery and uttering forgery after he had sold a note to a Fairbury bank, and to which he is alleged to have forged the name of David S. Myers, head banker, of the Modern Woodmen of America, was arrested at Spokane, Wash. Sheriff  W. A. Patterson left for there with requisition papers to bring White back to this city. White will fight extradition. White left here on Friday of last week preceding the returning of the indictment against him. He has been for years one of the leading attorneys of this city, and was also prominent for years in  Modern Woodmen circles.  [Urbana Daily Courier, 22 January 1914; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill.,-Fred G. White, former judge of Livingston county, sentenced to 1 to 14 years in Joliet for forging checks. [The Day Book, 23 March 1914]

Joliet, Ill., Ex-Judge Fred C. White, Pontiac, who had started serving a year sentence in Illinois state prison following conviction on charge of forgery, released on writ of supersedeas. [The Day Book, 28 March 1914; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Peoria, Ill., April 22 -- A jury in the federal court today acquitted Fred G. White, former county judge of Livingston county, on a charge of impersonating a United States officer. [Urbana Daily Courier, 22 April 1915; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Anna Reeder, 17, arrested in Dwight, Ill. Got $125 gown at store. Used friend's credit. [The Day Book, 1 June 1915; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

The police of Chicago and Evanston are busy searching for Joe and George Lyons, sons of a retired merchant of Pontiac, Ill, who were kidnapped by two women, gowned in black and with faces covered by black veils, and carried away in a large green touring car.  Joe is 10 and George is 8 years old. The boys were on the way from their home in Pontiac to St. Mary's Parochial school. [Chicago Livestock World 11 June 1915; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Chicago police looking for big green auto which kidnapped George and Joseph Lyons, 10 and 8 years old, from their Pontiac home. Mother believed to be trying to get them away from father. [The Day Book, 11 June 1915; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

While John R. Oughton, son of the millionaire head of the Keeley Liquor Cure Institute at Dwight,lays between life and death in the Henrotin Hospital, detectives are watching at his bedside. From him only, it is thought, will tangible clues come which will clear up the affair at the Westminster club, 1221 N. Clark St., (Chicago) which left him with a bullet in his abdomen. [The Day Book, 4 September 1915; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

A traveling man romance of Dwight, Ill., was brought to light in Joliet early this week, when it was learned that Anna Margaret Taylor had been deserted by the man she thought she had married a month ago, but who was discovered living with his wife and child in Cleveland after he had taken $500 of the girl's money while they were in Chicago. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Oct. 1, 1915; sub. by PHG]

"Handsome Jack" Willard held to grand jury on bigamy charge. Anna Taylor, Dwight, Ill., says he married her, took $500 and went back to wife. [The Day Book, 8 October 1915; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Pontiac, May 14.--Rex Wheaton and Otis and Alfred Eldridge, Fairbury youths, who were recently arrested and brought to this city after they had on several occasions, broken into the Perlee Company's warehouse, were given hearings Saturday morning. After hearing all the evidence in the case, Judge B. R. Thompson ordered them committed to the state school for delinquent boys at St. Charles. [The Pantagraph, May 15, 1916; sub. by PHG]

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 Nov 22; Paper: Kansas City Star - Sub by Teri Colglazier]

Pontiac, Ill., -Nov. 16. Every theory advanced to account for the murder of Miss Christine Diemer, 33-year-old daughter of Jacob Diemer, whose body was dragged from the Vermilion river here Nov. 8, halted today over the question of motive. Coroner Myers bent all his efforts to finding a motive for the deed. The father of the girl, her mother and a sister, Magdalene, are bound over to the grand jury on charge of manslaughter, but no reason why the girl's parents should have killed her is advanced. Reports that a heavy club with wisps of hair stuck to it was found, behind a barn near the spot where the body was dragged from the river were officially denied. Adding to the mystery is the theory of suicide, supported by Dr. George Mitchel, alienist, of Peoria, who treated the girl last summer. He said he had expected her to commit suicide at any time. Here again the fact of the girl's broken neck and fractured skull make the suicide theory doubtful. [The Day Book, 16 November 1916; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Ill.,- Nov. 20. Jacob Diemer, his wife and daughter, Magdalene, ordered held to the grand jury on charges of manslaughter, following the death of their daughter, Christine, stand today vindicated in the eyes of their neighbors. Dr. Ludvig Hektoen, pathologist and criminal expert of the University of Chicago, declared after examination that Miss Diemer was drowned, and the theory of suicide strongly upheld by his opinion will cause the manslaughter charge to be dropped it was thought here today. Dr. Hektoen's findings flatly contradicted those of local physicians who conducted the first autopsy. Dr. Hektoen said there was no fractured skull, that there was water, in the girl's lungs and stomach, and that her neck was not broken. Physicians here say they were not permitted to make a thorough examination. [The Day Book,, 20 November 1916; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]



Meet Death By Law For Killing Guard of Pontiac Reformatory of Which He Was An Inmate.
Myron Corbridge, aged 22, was hanged Friday morning last in a dingy auctioneer's tent in the jail yard at Pontiac for the murder of "Sol" Jones, a guard over him at the Illinois State Reformatory there, which occurred six months ago. This "child of the jails" who has spent half the  years of his life in penal institutions stepped out without faltering as he accompanied the priest. On scaffold, borrowed from Cook County, Corbridge read a poem and died denying his guilt. It was the first hanging in Livingston County in 40 years. Corbridge was convicted of mauling the life out of John Sullivan Jones, an Illinois state reformatory guard with three feet of gas pipe. To the last he denied his guilt. Mrs. Laura Elizabeth Corbidge, mother of the condemned man, made a vain appeal to the pardon board for mercy for her son, declaring that he was subject to fits of insanity. She asked a commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment, but strong opposition from local organizations fought the attempt to save Corbridge from the gallows.  Corbridge served time at the Chester penitentiary and the St. Charles School for Boys. [True Republican, 20 December 1922;
; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


PONTIAC, June 12. --- Horace Leroy Carter and his companion, Livera Wood, both Negroes, were indicted today for the slaying of James D. Churchill, young Fairbury farmer.  Churchill was shot during an argument with Carter over the right to the highway on which Churchill was hauling gravel. Carter was driving an automobile. [Daily Illini,  13 June 1928; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, June 12. -- Charles Liber of Chicago, serving a one to 10 year sentence at the reformatory here, escaped today.  He was employed, as a trusty at the residence of the general superintendent, I. M. Lish, with access to the lawn on the institution.  He entered the reformatory August 6, 1926. A reward of $25 was offered for his capture. [Daily Illini, 13 June 1928; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Sheriff, Deputy Shot
PONTIAC, June 4 -- Sheriff  J.R. Scarratt of Livingston county and his deputy,  A.L. Cruse, were both seriously wounded today by Evert Hillenberg, at Hillenberg's home in Odell.  They had gone to the house to arrest him on his estranged wife's complaint that he had threatened her.  [Daily Illini, 5 June 1930; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


ANCONA, Mar. 13. -- In a house with every door and window locked and a mantle of unmarked snow outside, Charles Ramme, 55, wealthy farmer, was found dead in bed with a fractured spinal column, punctured liver and crushed chest. Tonight, Livingston county authorities postponed indefinitely an inquest in order to investigate the case, which they view as a murder. They held he could not have inflicted the injuries on himself. And under no condition could have crawled into bed without help. But in pursuing a theory of murder, they said they found all windows unopened and most of them covered with dust, while the snow which fell over the week-end, bore the tracks only of those who discovered the body in the lonely farmhouse. Along with the investigation, authorities learned that Ramme, had secretly been wed to a woman known as Anna Arnolds. She produced a marriage certificate from the room where he was found. She, and Ramme's brother Otto, found the body Wednesday night. [Daily Illini, 14 March 1931]

After 24 hours of investigation, Livingston county authorities reported finding no clew to the death of Charles Ramme, fifty-five, wealthy farmer of Ancona, following the disclosure that he had been beaten to death with an instrument. [Farmers' Weekly Review, 1 April 1931]

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]

Found Severely Beaten
BLOOMINGTON, Dec. 19.--- A man identified by cards as Frank F. Gleason of Chicago was near death tonight in a Pontiac hospital from a severe beating early today near Chenoa. Gleason was found unconscious in a roadside ditch.  His skull was fractured, and his condition prevented his being questioned. Death was expected momentarily. [Daily Illini,  20 December 1931; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


PONTIAC, July 27., - Charles Breeze; Waldo township farmer, today was held to the Livingston county grand jury under $5,000 bond for shooting his son-in-law, Fred Carlson, off the top of a ladder.[Daily Illini,  28 July 1933; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

PONTIAC, Mar. 2.--- Investigation into the mysterious death of Miss Aldine Younger, prominent 23-year-old society girl, was virtually at a standstill today. Livingston county authorities, although still holding Asher Earl Bentley, 35, were checking the story he told of a roadhouse party with the girl shortly before her death. Coroner John A. Keeley postponed an inquest pending report on an autopsy.  Miss Younger's body was found on a roadside five miles west of here early yesterday. Bentley, taken into custody after Sheriff John Heckman learned he had been with the girl, said he fell asleep after he had parked his car on the way home from the roadhouse and that when he awoke, Miss Younger was gone. Chicago chemists today were examining organs taken from the dead girl's body and samples of bloodstains found on one fender of Bentley s car.  Dr. William D. McNally of Chicago said the autopsy revealed death was caused by a skull fracture. Funeral services for the girl, who was an orphan, will be held here tomorrow. [Daily Illini, 3 March 1933]

PONTIAC, June 12 . —(AP)—A hospital bed instead of a reformatory cell was occupied by William Raleigh, of Chicago tonight as a result of his ill-timed break for freedom today, cut short by a bullet from the revolver of Deputy Sheriff Edward Kammerman. Raleigh was brought down by a shot in the leg. With Henry Kompare, also of Chicago, Raleigh was being removed from the county jail here after Judge Stevens Baker had sentenced them to the reformatory for stealing a tank full of gasoline from the railway section hand worker shed here . [Daily Illini, 13 June 1933; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

PONTIAC, Nov. 21. -- Two persons said they saw an auto veer sharply from its course to run over the body of Aldine Younger, prostrate on State Route 116, as they faced the jury today that is trying Earle Bentley for the girl's murder early March 1. Bentley is the married scion of a wealthy Pontiac family. His wife has attended the trial since its beginning. [Daily Illini,  22 November 1933; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

PONTIAC, Nov. 28. --- The prosecution today came to the defense of Wesley B. Shrigley, its star witness against Asher Earl Bentley, who is on trial for the murder of Miss Aldine Younger, after defense attorneys had attacked his testimony.  As the arguments continued, court attaches said it was possible the case would not reach the jury until late tomorrow. [Daily Illini, 29 November 1933; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Pontiac, Nov. 29 -- In four hours today a circuit court jury returned a verdict convicting Asher Earle Bentley of manslaughter in the death March 1 of Miss Aldine Younger.  Miss Younger's body was found on a state highway and the state contended in the trial that she was run over by Bentley's auto after the two had participated in a roadhouse drinking party.  He was accused of murder.  The Illinois penalty for manslaughter is from one to fourteen years imprisonment.  Attorneys for Bentley indicated they would appeal.  Bentley is the son of a former mayor of Pontiac.  His wife attended all sessions. [Daily Illini, 30 November 1933; Sub by Pam Haag Geyer]


Highway Chief, Wife Charged With Fraud
PONTIAC-- Glen D. Butzer,  Livingston county superintendent of highways, his wife Ada, and three others stood charged today with collusion in connection with the letting of a $39,900 contract for 25 miles of gravel surfacing, following filing of such charges in the county circuit court here yesterday. The charges were filed by a group of Waldo township taxpayers who alleged that the five were in collusion in that the contract was awarded without being advertised, that inferior material was used, as a result of which "the road has gone to pieces" and that the price paid for the work was excessive.[Urbana Daily Courier, 29 March 1935; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Thief Returned Too Often
As is usually the case, the thief who had been making a practice of stealing poultry, gasoline, motor oil and other items from our Service Bureau member, Mrs. Amelia Harter, came back to the source of supply just once too many times. Mrs. Harter is a woman dairy farm operator living northeast of Cullom, Livingston county, Illinois. She lives alone with her ten-year-old daughter, but had occasionally hired Charles Melvin, a young man residing in the neighborhood, to help her with the farm work. On several occasions, Mrs. Harter had missed small lots of chickens. At one time, a $75 diamond ring disappeared from her home. The thefts occurred each time in the daytime, and she began to notice that each time something disappeared she would find tire tread marks of a certain design in her yard. One day she was home alone, working just back of her house, when she heard a car drive in. The driver of the car apparently did not realize she was at home, for he went right into the house. Mrs. Harter did not make her presence known. She soon heard the front door slam as the prowler departed. She then called a neighbor, who came over. The neighbor hadn't much more than arrived when Mrs. Harter heard what she believed to be the same car returning. In the meantime, her little daughter had also returned home. The three of them secreted themselves in the barn, tool shed and henhouse, where they could observe the movements of the returning prowler. He entered the house, but quickly left again on the run. They all got a good look at him and identified him as Charles Melvin, the part-time hired man.
Took Cash From Dresser
Mrs. Harter found the contents of her pocketbook had been taken, as well as a small sum of money which she had placed on a dresser that morning. A report of the matter was made to the sheriff of Livingston county, and Melvin was arrested. He entered a plea of guilty when brought before Judge W.G. Peacock in the county court at Pontiac, Ill.,  where he received his sentence. [Wallace's Farmer, 9 September 1939]

Santa Visits Pontiac ---- So Do Pickpockets
PONTIAC, Ill., Dec . 6 - The next time Santa Claus visits Pontiac he's liable to find all men welcomers holding tight to their billfolds. Not that they distrust old Santa, but they want no repetition of today's experience when pickpockets took about $500 from 3,000 persons gathered to welcome Saint Nick to the city.[Daily Illini, 7 December 1939; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Former Pontiac Cashier Indicted for Embezzling
PONTIAC.  May 6. -- Howard Raboin, 38 year old former cashier of the Farmers State bank at Cullom, Ill.; was indicted today by a Livingston county grand jury on a charge of embezzling $9,616.29 of the bank's funds. Raboin is free under bond on a federal charge of embezzlement of the bank's funds.  No date was set for a hearing on the charge brought today, but Judge Ray Sesler set bond at $5,000. A hearing on the the federal charge is expected to be given at Peoria May 10. The same grand jury also indicted C.C. Ridinger,  Saunemin, on a charge of allegedly leaving the scene of an accident last Feb. 25 in which George E. Messinger, Decatur was fatally injured. Ridinger's bond was set at $500. [Daily Illini, 7 May 1943]


Restaurant Patrons Killed by Gunman
PONTIAC, ILL., July 7 -- Police said two restaurant patrons were shot and killed today by a man who then forced his ex-wife, a waitress, into an automobile and fled. The shooting occurred in a Pontiac restaurant late this afternoon.  Livingston county sheriff officers said the gunman was Richard Cox, 27, a former Pontiac resident. Roadblocks were set up by state police and police officials from surrounding countries in an attempt to halt Cox. [Daily Illini, 8 July 1952; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]


Tear Gas Quells Prison Rioters
PONTIAC, Ill. ---Waves of tear gas quickly quelled a riot of 450 prisoners Wednesday night in the Pontiac Penitentiary, some 80 miles southwest of Chicago. Warden David Bergan said one prisoner was killed during the disturbance. Bergan said the unidentified prisoner had apparently been struck by an iron bar by another convict. Bergan said the riot started at 6:15 p.m. in the west cell house confining 600 prisoners as the men were being returned to their cells from the mess hall. The men started rioting as they filed into the cell black, Bergan said. The last 150 refused to enter the block, Bergan said, and they were taken to another block, and locked up. We notified the rioting prisoners to file out quickly or they would be gassed, Bergan said. We waited a few minutes, and then lobbed in some tear gas shells. Warden Bergan said the prisoners slowly began filing out after the tear gas began taking effect. A few guards later entered the block and escorted the remainder of the prisoners out. Bergan said he believed last night's riot was touched off by a disturbance last night involving three prisoners who were being taken to solitary confinement for defacing prison property. All state police within a 150 mile radius of Pontiac were summoned to the prison in an emergency move. Pontiac penitentiary is the second largest prison in Illinois. Some 1,500 prisoners are confined there. [Daily Illini,  24 June 1954; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]



Killer of Girl Dies in Prison Cell
Harold M. Dalibozak, 15, convicted slayer of 5 year old Betsy Benham, hanged himself last night in his cell in the Illinois State Penitentiary in Pontiac. He had attempted to take his life a year ago. Assistant Warden Haskel Alvey said a guard, Ward Tegedes, found the boy in his cell at 6:20 p.m. The prison nurse was called, but attempts to revive the boy were unsuccessful. Dalibozak had tied a towel around his neck, and attached the other end of it to a light fixture. He had tied his feet to the end of his bed with a pair of socks.
An Average Prisoner
The boy was alone in a cell and other prisoners were unable to see him. He had returned from supper at 4:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. he asked a guard for matches to light a cigarette. Alvey described Dalibozak as an average prisoner. He was a sophomore in the prison school. His first attempt to kill himself was made on Sept. 19, 1961. At, that time he was found standing on his bed with the sheet and some string tied around his neck. He was interviewed by the prison doctor and sociologist but was found to be all right at the time. Dalibozak was 14 when he was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Dec. 17, 1960, for strangling the girl on July 29, 1960, near her Wheeling home. He was 13 at the time of the killing.
Repudiated Confession
He confessed but later repudiated the confession. When he was transferred from Cook County Jail to the prison, he told reporters that he was innocent. He went to Pontiac on Feb. 25, 1961. The crime was committed during 2 1/2 hours of freedom after he escaped from the Wheeling Jail, where he was being questioned about a theft. The 14 year sentence was fixed by a jury, in Criminal court. [Sept. 14, 1962--Chicago Tribune; Sub. by Pam Geyer]



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