White County Illinois
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Crime News

[From the Denver News.]
Sheriff Thomas J. PORTER, of White County, Ill., arrived here Monday evening, having in custody a man named John AIKEN, who is charged with the murder of one Tesh STUART, in While Co., Ills., in 1864. The crime, which was committed so long ago, was one of unusual barbarity; in which this prisoner had as associates two men named Thomas and Andrew GLIDE. The victim was a wealthy farmer, and the killing was prompted by the hope of securing a large amount of money which he was supposed to have in the house. AIKEN confessed his crime, and was to have been executed, but he succeeded in breaking jail before the day arrived for the hanging. Coming at once to Colorado, he has since resided in the Territory and State for some years living in Custer county, where he has a cabin, from 75 to 100 head of cattle, and a family of nine children. The officer and his prisoner left yesterday on the east bound train. Sheriff POTTER thinks there is but a slight chance to escape the gallows, as there are still living two of the murdered man’s children and a hired man who witnessed the shooting.”
This John AIKEN, spoken of above by the Denver News, was well and unfavorably known in Williamson county, and, it is supposed, wrote a few pages of our county’s history in blood. In Erwin’s History we read of AIKEN’s as follows:
“After George AIKEN was frustrated in his efforts to sell out the 128th at Cairo, he went to Missouri and got Allen GLIDE and Charley GLIDE and came back here. These, and his son John, are the ones supposed to compose the “AIKEN gang” This gang flourished here in the spring of 1863, in the north part of the county, during which time several murders were committed, and no less than fifty of our citizens robbed. Dr. BANDY was taken out and whipped unmercifully, and George COX was attacked in his house and fired on several times.”
One by one the outlaws are coming to time, and the law being honored by sacrificing the wretches upon the altar. There are yet others at large who in the fullness of time will receive a “just compense of reward.”
[July 19, 1877 , Volume 4 Number 4 - submitted by Shauna Williams]

Something Concerning the Exercise of Executive Clemency in Illinois.
A List of Pardons Issued to Prisoners Under Sentence for Manslaughter and Murder
Clarissa Baldwin; April 1868; murder; 14 years; White County. Pardoned January 1875, Served 7 years. This pardon was granted on request of the Penitentiary Commissioners upon the certificate of the prison surgeon that she was unable to work because of atrophy of the left arm, caused by injury; and further that she was gradually becoming demented. Her conduct in prison was uniformly good. Longer imprisonment could serve no good purpose. [Inter-Ocean Springfield, January 17 1876, submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer]

The Remarkable Case of the Alleged William Newby Decided.
Springfield, Ill. July 24,- The most remarkable case of fraud and pretended identity in the history of American jurisprudence closed when the jury in the federal district court for the southern district of Illinois pronounced Dan Benton, a Tennessee mountaineer pauper, a fraud and worthy of a long penitentiary sentence. The case has attracted widespread attention because of the question of identity involved. William Newby,a White county, Illinois, farmer, enlisted in the Illinois volunteers in 1861, and was believed to have been killed at the battle of Shiloh. Comrades swear they buried him. The report was received at home and his wife secured a pension. In 1891 the wreck of a man appeared in White county and claimed to be Newby. He was accepted as such by the wife, mother, and others. Some did not believe him. He applied for back pay and board, for according to the records he was never discharged; also a pension, in all amounting to about $24,000. The authorities investigated and decided that he was an impostor declaring that the was Rickety Dan Benton, a convicted horse thief and poorhouse inmate of Tennessee and the jury has decided them right. One hundred and fifty old farmer, neighbors and war comrades positively identified him as Newby, though perhaps fifty did not. The defendant appears to be about 50 years old, while Newby would be 68. Their appearance was much alike and body scars and marks corresponded wonderfully. Expert testimony introduced to show the cause of the defendant’s physical condition differed widely and was of no effect. The defendant will be sentenced this week. Public opinion is widely at variance. A full account of the defendant’s return to White county in 1891 was printed in these dispatches. Source: Rock Island daily Argus (Rock Island, Ill), Date: July 24, 1893, Image: 1, transcribed by: Debbie Oberst

Carmi, Ill - Chas. Bray, who shot and killed John Anselment in trivial quarrel, sentenced to 18 years. [The Day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 17 May 1913

Carmi, Ill - George Creighton, 12, Chicago, and Charles Spooner, 13, Dexter, arrested charged with robbing postoffice at Calvin.  [The day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 23 Aug. 1913]

Carmi: Monday night a freight car standing on the track of the Wabash road at Carmi was broken into and a quantity of new clothing taken therefrom, consisting of two vests, four coats, and a pair of pants. On Tuesday night the yard master of the road at Carmi unexpectedly entered the caboose of a freight train that had just came in and noticed that the conductor and a brakeman on the train, named James McKay and Frank Key, were hastily hiding some new clothing. He had not heard of the burglary then and the actions of McKay and Key did not arouse his suspicions, but news of the crime reached him Wednesday and he at once suspected them as the guilty parties. He came down here and together with several officers made search for the goods which they found in a down town saloon, placed there for safe keeping by the men named, who upon being arrested yesterday, were found to have checks for the goods. They deny having taken the goods, Conductor Key claims that the check for the goods was given him for safe keeping by another brakeman under him named Bradford Newlin, who in turn denies all knowledge of the affair. The value of the goods is not large enough to send the prisoners to the penitentiary on a charge of larceny and the charge of burglary can not be brought against them in the courts here because the offense was committed in another county. It is deemed best, therefore to send the prisoners back to White county where the crime was committed. In view of the fact that the Alexander county jail is nearly full of transient criminals and the burden of trying them will be very heavy there ought to be no hesitation about making White county bear the expense of the trial of McKay and Key, more especially since in that county alone the full penalty of the crime can be inflicted. [Source: The daily Cairo bulletin (Cairo, Ill), Date: February 09, 1883, Image: 4 transcribed by: Debbie Oberst]

James RUSSELL and his wife, who live about ten miles from Carmi, have been arrested on the charge of child murder. [Algonquin Herald (Algonquin, IL) March 13, 1902, page 3]

Two men who robbed bank at Springerton, Ill., and escaped from White county Jail last Saturday night, captured. [Source: The Day Book (Chicago,Ill), Date: January 24, 1914, Last Edition, Image: 31, transcribed by: Debbie Oberst]

Carmi, Ill - Four prisoners in White county jail escaped by sawing bars.  [The Day Book. (Chicago, Ill.), 19 Feb. 1913]

White County to Have First Hanging Since Far Back in 1834
White county is soon to have its first hanging since April, 1834. This was made positive when the State Supreme court upheld the decision of the White county circuit court, when it convicted Frank Lowhone of the murder of Max Nottingham, which occurred in April, 1919. Lawhone will be hanged in Carmi on the 15th day of next April.
The decision of the Supreme court was unanimous. Justice Duncan wrote the decision, and it was concurred by all the Judges.
Lowhone's case has been bitterly fought, having been twice before the supreme court. He was tried in the May term of the circuit court In Carmi in May 1919, and was sentenced to be hanged on October of that year. His attorneys, denied a new trial appealed the case, and at the February term, 1920, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower court and ordered that he be tried again. In the second trial, during the May term of the 1920 circuit court of White county, Lowhone was again convicted and sentenced to hang. The above decision wipes all further hope for him and he will be hanged on the 15th of April. Lowhone's execution will be the only one in White county with the exception of that of William B. Ledbetter in April 1834, sent to that county on a change of venue from Gallatin county. Ledbetter was convicted of the murder of his brother. After the adjournment of court for the term, Ledbetter was guarded by an armed guard, because of the high feeling. He was hanged at Carmi near what is now the fair grounds. His execution occurred on the 3th of April, 1834 The was not cut from his neck until after the third attempt had been made to hang him. The body was given over to the widow and son after he had been pronounced dead, and they left for the old home in Hardin county, taking the dead body of their husband and father in a wagon drawn by two oxen. [Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, IL, Friday, February 25,1921, Page 4; Submitted by W. Hinton]

BELLEVILLE, , Feb. 18. -- Frank Lowhone, a prisoner in the county jail here, who was brot to this city from Carmi, Ill., for safe keeping, and who was convicted of murder in White county, May 22, 1919, and sentenced to death, will be hanged on April 15, according to word which reached Sheriff Petri here this morning. Lowhone will be kept here until the day before the date fixed for his execution and will then be taken to Carmi where he will pay the penalty for the murder of Max Nottingham, who was shot and killed on April 4, 1919. The Lowhone case has attracted a great deal of attention in Southern Illinois because It has been in various courts for nearly two years. The case found its way into the Illinois Supreme Court which tribunal reversed the lower court decision and granted Lowhorne a new trial. He was convicted a second time and sentenced to be hanged. The prisoner was brot to the county jail here for safe keeping on May 20, 1920, White county paying St. Clair county for the board of the convicted man. Lowhorne apparently was unmoved when informed by Sheriff Petri that the date for his execution had been set for April 15. [Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, IL, Friday, February 25,1921, p 2; Submitted by W. Hinton]

Sheriff Melvin Thaxton and Deputy S. E. Storme Were Witnesses.
Execution Took Place within a few Yards of Scene of Murder.
Frank Lowhone, murderer of Max Nottingham, died in Carmi on Friday morning, paying the penalty for his crime at the end of the same rope that shuffled Settimi DeSantis into eternity at Marion on February 11. Sheriff Gibbs borrowed the rope from Williamson county when he that hangman's rope cost over $50 plus delivery charges. The execution took place in the jail and court house yard at Carmi and was inside a specially built enclosure. Among the witnesses were Sheriff Melvin Thaxton and Deputy Sheriff S. Storme of Marion. They report that the execution was handled very efficiently by the White county sheriff. The scaffold was built for use in Harrisburg and was erected at Carmi by W. Y. Small, who was the original builder. The platform, instead of having a one-piece drop door as the one used here, had a platform made in two parts, which divided and fell into different directions. Frank Lowhone was hung for the murder of Max Nottingham on April 4, 1919, and the execution was within a few yards of the scene of the murder. He was first sentenced to hang on October 17, 1919, and was then granted a new trial and, was again found guilty and sentenced to hang October 20, 1920, and after a re-hearing by the supreme court the execution date was set for April 15. A final plea before the pardon board was to no avail and Governor Small refused to stop the course of the law. [Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois, Tuesday, April 19,1921, Page 2; Submitted by W. Hinton]

Hemp Rope for Execution of Settimi DeSantis Now in Custody of Sheriff Thaxton.
The hemp rope with the hangman's noose already made has been received by Sheriff Melvin Thaxton for the execution of Settimi DeSantis on February 11. The rope is especially made for such purposes and is very fine and smooth so that it will slip easily. After the execution the rope will be added to the county museum. The construction of the stockade will probably be delayed until a week or less before the date set for the execution. [Marion Semi-Weekly Leader, Marion, Illinois, Friday, January 14,1921, Page 1; Submitted by W. Hinton]


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