Will County, Illinois
Illinois Genealogy Trails
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Crime News

Another Horse Thief Caught – the Den Discovered

An interesting trial was held on Saturday before Justices Doolittle and Curtis, which resulted in committing to jail a man by the name of Leonard, for horse-stealing.  It appeared on the trial that a regular den had been prepared on the farm of Dr. Daggett, above Lockport, which was constructed by building a large hay stack, and excavating a horse stable underneath and below the surface of the earth.  The entrance was concealed by covering it with boards and scattering hay on them so as to give it the natural appearance of a hay stack.  How many horses have passed this den to a distant market, is unknown, but when discovered two were in it, which, however, were taken out and disappeared before legal steps were taken. A pile of manure was found in the stable, and a considerable pile several rods from there, thrown into a slough and concealed by high grass.  It had been conveyed there from the stable on a wheel barrow. The evidence was quite satisfactory and the gentleman was committed to a cell quite as far below the surface as was his horse stable – there to await his trial.
The time has arrived for the energetic prosecution of the marauding scoundrels who have lately lit upon the western country for the scene of their outrages.  We understand a man by the name of Wright, suspected of being an accomplice with Leonard, had a hearing before two justices in Lockport, a few days since, but in some way managed to obtain his discharge. – Joliet Signal.  [The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Illinois, October 10, 1845; NP, Sub by FoFG]

On Saturday, the 4th, a man named Walker, was brutally murdered by Al Randall, at Cannahon, Will county, in this State. It seems that Randall had a grudge against Walker from a former fight. Walker had been sick about three weeks and told Randall he did not wish to quarrel with him, but Randall struck him with a slung shot and broke his jaw and smashed one side of his face in. Walker died in ten minutes. It is rumored that Randall has given himself up to the proper authorities. [Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois), July 16, 1857 - NP - Sub by FoFG]

Something Concerning the Exercise of Executive Clemency in Illinois.
A List of Pardons Issued to Prisoners Under Sentence for Manslaughter and Murder.
H. WESTPHAL; March 1873; Will County; manslaughter; one year; pardoned in May 1875.
Judge Josiah McRoberts, who sentenced this man says " There was no malicious intent, and I think it is a case where the exercise of elective clemency would be proper. I think it an act of justice to pardon him" Fourteen Attorneys of the Will County bar, the Sheriff and county officers, and leading citizens sign the petition, and say that the prisoner was set upon by a crowd of persons at a German ball. He was knocked downand beaten. On escaping again, and the crowd about overtaking him he cried; " Stop or I'll shoot." They didn't stop and he fired, He should never have been convicted. [Inter-Ocean Springfield, January 17 1876, submitted by src. #3]

Something Concerning the Exercise of Executive Clemency in Illinois.
A List of Pardons Issued to Prisoners Under Sentence for Manslaughter and Murder.
HENRY WHITE; March 1873; Will County; Manslaughter; one year; pardoned on May 1875. White killed a man named Ford under the most grievous provocation. Ford declared to White that his wife was unchaste, and was constantly upbraiding him with it, and claimed to himself the disgrace of being father in one of White's children. He persisted in these insults until once in public at a store, as they passed near each other. Ford caught hastily at a gun standing in the store, whereon White shot him dead. Nine of the jurors urged his pardon and the other three having left the place. Letters from the county officers, from the lawyers, business men, and one from the late Senator Senter pray for his pardon. He served three years. [Inter-Ocean Springfield, January 17 1876, submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer ]

Joliet, Illinois April 17
Shot to Death In A House Of Ill Fame
Last night Henry Martin, a butcher of this place, shot and very dangerously wounded, in a house of ill-fame, Porter McBean. Both men were under the influence of liquor, and became angry toward each other about a girl who was an inmate of the house. McBean was shot with a revolver, and it is thought that he will die from the effects of the wounds. [Indiana Journal April 18, 1879 - Submitted by Barb Ziegenmeyer]

Joseph ABELE and Peter NELSON, two convicts at Joliet, were recently sent to the insane asylum at Elgin.  ("The Newton Press", Jasper County, IL newspaper, dated July 27, 1887 - K. T.)

Joseph Kling Murdered while Attending a Horse Raffle
At a horse raffle in Will county, just over the line from DuPage, Monday afternoon, Albert Westkoline, a farmer on whose place the raffle occurred, got into a fight with Mart Ayres, the constable of the town. Others soon took a part, and anything that could be got hold of was seized as a weapon. During the melee Lawrence Tyler, from Lemont, struck Joseph Kling, a young man about 20 years old, who was acting as peace-maker over the head with a pitchfork handle, knocking him senseless, in which condition he lingered until midnight, when he died. Medical aid was called, but nothing could be done for the young man. [Batavia Herald, 24 Aug 1893 - Sub. by K. Torp]

Wealthy Girl Gone; Man Missing
Joliet, Feb. 2 -- Disappearing last week from the home of her sister here, seventeen-year-old Alice Rose Mallette, daughter of a wealthy merchant of Lawrence, Mass., is baffling Joliet police. When last seen the girl was talking to a young man in the loop district. The disappearance of the youth two days later adds to the mystery. Friends state he went to Hammond, Ind.

Stabbed in Saloon Row
Joliet, Aug 2 - William Orbutis, said to have resided in Chicago till 3 weeks ago, was stabbed and killed by Steve S. Sorofin in a saloon fight here.  Sorofin was arrested.  [Urbana Daily Courier, 3 August 1910]

Prominent Citizen Accused of Setting Fire to His family.
Joliet, Ill., July 10. -- Great sensation is caused by the arrest of Frank Sheffler, a prominent citizen who is charged with murdering his wife by burning her alive. Two weeks ago the neighbors of Shreffler were aroused by the screams of the woman. Rushing into the house they found Mrs. Shreffler clasping her baby in her arms and enveloped in flames. Heroic efforts were made to save the lives of the mother and child. Doctors were summoned but nothing could be done for the suffering mother whose entire body was burnt to a crisp. She died a few hours later in terrible agony. The child was disfigured for life. Shreffler had the sympathy of the entire community and seemed to be prostrated with grief. His arrest last night charged with the murder of his young wife has stirred the entire city. The sister of the dead woman is making the charges. She claims Shreffler came home late at night and after deliberately saturating his wife's clothes with gasoline applied a match. Shriffler stoutly maintains his innocence. [The Cochise Review Bisbee Arizona July 10, 1900 - Sub. by a Friend of Free Genealogy]

Joliet - John B. WALKER, Joliet town collector, returned $4000 to the county treasurer. Statues limit the commission of the collector to $1,500. Amounts retained by former collectors amount to many thousand dollars, it is said. "Ste. Marie Tribune", Jasper County, IL newspaper, dated Friday, December 19, 1913 (sub. by KT.)

Joliet Ill, July 13 - Robert Torrez, Charles Duchowski, and Walter Staleski were found guilty of killing Peter N Klein,deputy warden of Joliet Penitentiary during an escape attempt. [Litchfield Daily Union, Litchfield, IL, Fri, 15 July 1927 – Submitted by Lynn Reener]


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