County History

History of Cole County


Original and Subsequent Entries.—
The first entry on record of the circuit court is dated January 15, 1821, when David Todd, judge of the First Judicial Circuit, opened court at the house of John Inglish, with Paul Whitley, sheriff.   Hambleton R. Gamble and Peyton K Hayden were permitted to Bign the attorneys' roll, and the former was appointed circuit attorney.   On January 16 the first grand jury, comprising John Vivion, John Mulkey, James Keuney, Joseph Inglish, Andrew Reed, James Maupin, William Howard, James Moad, Thacker Vivion, Isaiah Vivion, Thomas Maupin, William Toombs, Jason Harrison, James Antrobus, Sol. Allen, James Inglish, Moses Chambers, Joseph Cravens and Ezekiel Hollingsworth, were impaneled.   Samuel Burnsides was indicted for assault and battery, Isaac Eads prosecuting. James S. Conway was appointed clerk of court   In May H. R. Gamble waa commissioned circuit attorney, and Paul Whitley, sheriff, by the governor.

Among new names on the grand jury in May are those of Samuel Parrot, James Fulkerson, James Miller, John Routen, Joel Melton, William Wade and James Durham. At this term Robert A Ewing, John G. Heath, George Tompkins, Abiel Leonard, Dabney Carr and John 8. Bricky were permitted to practice law, and John Shore was fined $1 "for contemptuous behavior in court," and ordered to be held in custody until such fine was paid In September Jason Harrison qualified as clerk, and the term was marked by Dabney Carr presenting a deed of emancipation from Abram Collet to his slave, Joseph. The Blander case, Chambers vs. Howard, and the indictment against Isham Harril for selling liquors without a license, occupied the attention of the court

In April, 1822, Abiel Leonard qualified as deputy circuit attorney, and twenty-two rules governing the court procedure were adopted

In December, 1822, Elijah Cressan and William Wolf were indicted for horse-stealing. During the year 1823 a few trivial cases were before the court In August, 1824, Reuben Hall was indicted for murder, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged September 4, 1824. The execution was postponed, and on December 6 a pardon from the governor saved the criminal's life. John P. Martin succeeded Whitley as sheriff in 1825. In December, 1826, a number of citizens were indicted "for playing a game called faro" Among the unlucky gamesters were Josiah Ramsay, Jefferson Rogers, Hardin Casey, FranciB Buford, Jeremiah Meadows and Alex. Gordon; while William Martin and Stephen Gentry were charged with opening a faro-bank, and betting on the same on the night of December 9, 1826. Ralph D. Briscoe and McDaniel Dorris were indicted for selling liquor without license at Jefferson City. Tho players were fined $5. The trial of such indictments may be said to have occupied the sole attention of the court in April and June, 1827, and, indeed, throughout the year.

Enoch Tobe, who served in Capt William Coughlan's company of the Continental army from 1775 to 1777, until discharged at Valley Forge, applied for a pension, through the circuit court of Cole County, in February, 1828. In June, 1828, John Jami-son was admitted to the bar here, and in October John D. Williams qualified as sheriff.

The first term of court held at Jefferson City was opened by Judge Todd, within the house of John 0. Gordon, February 20, 1829. Robert W. Wells, attorney-general, qualified at this time, and P. H. MoBride was admitted to practice. The cause celebre —John Miller, Governor of Missouri, us. Alfred Bosye and James W. Moss—was decided in favor of the governor, and the suit— "The Town of Jefferson City vs. John C. Gordon and Josiah Ramsay "—begun. In October William Scott was admitted to the bar. The first case of burglary was presented at this term—Nimrod, a slave of D. P. Mahan, being the culprit; but his death in 1830 ended the trial.

In June, 1830, John Wilson was admitted to the bar. In October, 1830, James Simonton was indicted for stealing the slave Nimrod, found guilty, and sentenced to pay $800 and costs; to be disqualified as a voter, witness, juryman or official, and to be held in custody until fine and costs be paid.

In May, 1831, John Dougherty applied for discharge as insolvent debtor, but having failed to give the legal notice, the application was denied   In September, 1832, David Coulter qualified as sheriff, and Christopher Casey was coroner.   In 1838 the charge of horse-stealing against John Nidever claimed much attention, and the petition of Reason Sansbury, asking leave to build a mill on the east half of southeast quarter of Section 30, Township 44, Range 11, on Moreau Creek, was submitted to a jury, who decided that the building and dam could not possibly injure property.   In 1884, when the opening of roads was an important question, William Hudson and others were indicted for neglect of duty as overseers.   Benjamin M Lisle was admitted a member of this bar in March, 1835.   Among the first proceedings in chancery is the petition for divorce by Mary Hodges from Peter B. Hodges—the first case of the kind brought before the courts of Cole County; and the first case of declaration to become a citizen was that of David Duaine and Louis White, of Lower Canada, in June, 1835.   In October, 1836, Nicholas Hees, Francis Grammatica and Bernhard Bruns also declared intentions of becoming citizens.   Henry Shurlds was admitted to the bar. Hiram Carmichael, an insolvent, was released from arrest; James Fulkerson presented a deed of emancipation to his slave Cyrus; Abraham M Hanisch, Adolphus Scheuler, Henry Sanfort, C. Klonne, G. B. Freisch, Ferd Clarenbach, Henry Zurmezede, Fred. G. Kook and John J. Aretz, all Prussians, renounced allegiance to their King.   Lewis C. Jenkins and John S. Glazebrook, insolvent debtors, were discharged   In 1836 Judge William Scott presided in the case of Sherrill vs. Martin, with E. L. Edwards, clerk; and in April, 1837, Judge Scott presided as circuit judge.   At this time a number of Prussians and Hanoverians took out first naturalization papers.  The first indictment for bigamy was returned in December, 1837, against Amos Elliott and Nancy Fulcher, but the charge was withdrawn.   Philip B. Hockaday was admitted to the bar in 1838, and in August a large number of subjects of the Queen of Great Britain renounced allegiance to her forever-among others, Richard Gleeson, Richard Burk, John Grant, Elisha Baker, John Callison, Frank Buckle y Miohael Hanlon, Dick Brown, William Querk, Davie Brown, James Ryan, James Bennett, William Olowney, James Hanlon, John N. Gillispie and Robert Ainsworth. In December indictments for betting on roulette and faro were common, and the first action for malicious prosecution was presented. In August, 1839, Henry Lane was obarged with murder, and in September tried for the crime—Nicholas Gray being foreman of the jury— and found guilty. Judge Scott sentenced him to be hanged October 14, 1839.   This sentence was carried into effect.

In March, 1840, Solomon Waggoner was indicted for murder, but the prosecution was withdrawn. Sheriff William M. Milton conveyed several lots in Jefferson Oity to private owners at this time, and a number of Prussian and Hanoverian subjects became citizens. In July, 1841, indictments for murder were returned against William H. Berry, William Rogers and John B. Richards. James W. Morrow succeeded Judge Scott, and presided over the fall term of court, when William H. Berry was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to be hanged December 10, 1841. In February, 1842, William Z. Angney was admitted to the bar, and at the same time E. L. Edwards was authorized to practice here. John B. Richards was tried for murder, and found not guilty, while Rodgera escaped. S. M. Bay, the attorney-general was acting prosecutor at this time. In May Dedimus B. Burr was indicted for the murder of his wife, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged July 8, 1842, by Judge Morrow. In October of this year, Samuel Beatty was indicted for suffering a slave to act as a free person, and fined $20 and costs. Hugh A. Kirtland was indicted as an accessory to the murder of Benjamin Coyle, but the charge was dismissed In 1846 William B. Ragsdale was indicted for permitting his slave to deal as a free person, a number of citizens were charged with riot, and the first indictment for horse-racing on Sunday was presented against John Perry, James Roy, James Thompson and Henry Scruggs. In May, 1848, Judge Morrow Atty.-Gen. Stringfellow, Sheriff William D. Kerr and Clerk G. A. Parsons were the officers of the court, but in November P. T. Oordell was appointed prosecutor (died in August, 1849).   In August, 1849, William A. Davison was indicted for practicing medicine without license, and Peter McClain for assault with intent to kill.   In I860 R. A. Robards was attorney-general and M L. Jefferson, sheriff.   At the spring term Nathan Huffman was charged with murder; McClain was fined $500 and costs; Thomas and Edward Gregory were indicted for manslaughter, and in August the trial of Huffman was changed to Callaway County.   The November term of 1851 was presided over by Judge G. W. Miller, and James Gardenhire, attorney-general  John Usher was indioted for murder.   John S. Pearce was indicted for manslaughter, found guilty, and fined $500, while Jack Sheppard was found guilty of rape, and his punishment assessed at twenty years' imprisonment   The jury in the Usher case failed to agree.   In May, 1852, Johua. Ruth von was indicted for murder, and E. L. Ewing was admitted an attorney-at-law and solioitor-in-chancery; Usher was found guilty of murder in the second degree, and his punishment assessed at ten years'  imprisonment;  some members of the jury were charged with contempt in leaving the jury-room contrary to instructions, and a new trial was granted, to be heard in Osage County.  Ruthven was found "not guilty" in February, 1854, and discharged.

In May, 1858, Corhin Moore was indicted for manslaughter. In September, 1854, the Bocond petition for divorce was presented, Gertrude vs. Franz Probtz. Enoch Dawson was indicted for murder in February, 1855; a number of indictments were returned for betting on elections; Mary R. Stone asked divorce from William E. Stone, and Mrs. Probtz's petition was granted. In August, 1855, John B. Walters was before the court on the " whisky indictment," also Philip Ott, M Boumberger, William Charnben, William Hiokam, M. Turney and G. F. Weis. In August, 1866, Emila Bebham asked divorce from his wife Kathrina, and his claim was granted. David E. G. Rollins, of Moniteau, charged with murder, asked change of venue to Cole, and Abraham Cullers, charged with murder in the second degree, asked that his trial be transferred from Cole. Robert M Stuart was indicted for accepting a challenge to fight a duel, and B. Gratz Brown for giving the ohallenge; each was sentenced to pay $100 fine.   Capt Frost and one Blackwood were charged with aiding in a duel. Callers' trial was changed to Moniteau, and the petitions of Anderson Pack, asking divorce from Margaret Ann, and Amanda J. Benson from Augustus, were heard. In 1857 Daniel Witt was indicted for murder in the second degree, but the charge was dismissed. Leonard Swett was admitted to the bar.  James J. Porter was the first person found guilty of embezzlement here, and he was sentenced to two years imprisonment

In 1858 W. D. Muir was circuit attorney, and W. W. Bolton, sheriff. James E. Belche was admitted to the bar. In 1858-59 the first indictments for disturbing religious worship were returned. Sebastian Strumph was charged with murder in the second degree, and many indictments were returned against citizens for dealing with slaves. In February, 1860, Strumph was found guilty of manslaughter in the third degree, and sentenced to a tine of 3150. Dennis Keating was indicted in June, 1860, for murder (the charge was dismissed in December), and in August, Parthenia H. Simpson asked legal separation from her husband, Christopher ; Orphana Lawrence from Klias D.; Rebecca Smith from Absalom; Eliza M. Meadows from James; and Therese Chafey from John A. The February term of August, 1861, was mainly devoted to the trial of prisoners who escaped from the jail. Very little business was transacted during the fall term, but there is nothing on record to point out any signs of court disorganization, owing to the war, which struck Missouri in all its fury. E. L. King was then circuit attorney.

In the fall of 1862 William Crisp was indicted for horse-stealing and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment In February, 1868, Meredith T. Moore gave a deed of emancipation to his slave Philip. John G. Schott asked divorce from Magdalena. Indictments for robbery began to pour in in the fall of 1863. The petition of Mary Bridges for divorce from her husband was presented, and one from Mary 0. Radford against John C. Radford. From 1864 to 1870, inclusive, the records are filled with indictments for perjury, grand larceny and a dozen other crimes, many of them growing out of the war, and most of them out of local politics. Numbers of Germans became citizens about this time, and in 1870, when the Drake oath was removed. the court became a tribunal for the trial of breakers of the moral rather than o£ the political laws. In 1835 E. L. Edwards succeeded Jason Harrison as clerk, and is to-day judge of the circuit, being connected with the court for fifty-four years. The three men executed here prior to 1876 were Lane, for the murder of a penitentiary guard, Berry for a similar offense, and Burr for uxoricide.

The State Penitentiary was opened March 1, 1836, and Wilson Eidson (convicted for stealing a watch in Greene County) installed as first prisoner. Three months later St. Louis sent three convicts to keep him company.

Attorneys.—The roll of lawyers of Cole embraces the following names (the date being that of admission to the bar), in addition to those given in the pages deyoted to the transactions of the circuit court:

Benj. Tompkins 1870
W. Wallace Bolton 1870
Humphrey B. Hamilton 1871
J. P. Edwards 1868
W. M. Lumpkin 1867
A. J. Baker 1871
E. C. Swalein 1871
E. N. Judson 1871
Edwin Clark 1867
John M. Williams 1867
James S. Bottsford 1872
Rudolph Hirzel. 1872
A. W. Maupin 1874
Mack J. Learning. 1866
H. B. Branch. 1854
W. S. Pope. 1867
James S. Clarke 1875
A. C. Hickey.. 1865
Edwin Silver 1872
A. M. Hough.. 1876.
M. T. C. Williams 1865
James A. Spurlock 1846
S.H. Walen 1849
Louis C. Krauthoff 1876
E. Y.Mitchell.
Thomas K. O'Day. 1877
Jacob C. Fisher. 1877
B. R Richardson 1871
William L. Davison. 1879
R.F. Walker. l875
Louis Wagner. 1886
A. L. Ross 1883
F. M. Brown. 1883
D. H.McIntyre 1871
Fenton E. Lockett 1886
George H. Wyatt 1886
F. M. Mansfield.
W. S. Lemmon 1887
L. P. Skeen 1888
William A. Davidson 1888
J. W.Zevely 1887
Louis F. Hart 1886

Many of the men named are repeatedly mentioned in the foregoing pages, and some of them in the Appendix. A large number entered the political arena, many of whom will find themselves enrolled on the pages given up to elections.

Source: History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, Miller, Maries, and Osage Counties, Missouri. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing, 1889

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