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Athens County Ohio


Crime News


These are generally in alpha order by the first surname mentioned in the story and/or the perpetrator

James Burke, burglary, charged with having entered the residence of General Grosvenor in the "night season" and stealing certain articles of wearing apparel therefrom. [The Athens Messenger, Jan. 11, 1883]

A Smoke-house Robbed
Some parties broke into the smokehouse of John
Brown, in Ames township, on Sunday night, March 12th, and robbed the same of eleven pieces of meat. A slight fall of snow on Sunday night enabled those in pursuit to track two horses from Mr. Brown's to Tablertown, in Rome township. A warrant to search for the missing meat was issued by Esq. Thomas Stewart and given to Constable C.G. Tucker who made diligent search from Tuesdy until Friday, when he was rewarded for his persistent effort by finding eight pieces of the meat and a number of articles, such as pants, dress coats, hats, one pair of boots, muslin, prints and tobaco concealed in a vacant house in Tablertown. It is no easy task to enter this Sodom and enforce the law. Mr. Tucker deserves praise for the manner in which he conducted the search. [THE ATHENS MESSENGER, Thursday, March 23, 1876]

Mary Canby
, the inevitable Mary, was again indicted for violation of the liquor law. The locality of Mary's persistent operations in the "crooked" is Millfield. [The Athens Messenger, Jan. 11, 1883]

The Columbus Journal of Saturday contains nearly a half column account of how an unsophisticated young Athenian, named Samuel Carsey, enroute home on a visit from Indiana, was swindled in that city on Friday, out of twenty-four dollars - his last cent - by a sharper "who knew his folks in Athens" and was on his way there, too, and who just borrowed the money to pay an express bill till they returned to the depot. We join the Journal in the suggestion, that had Mr. Samuel Carsey permitted his mind for a reasonable portion of his leisure to run in the channel of newspaper reading he would have hardly been caught up by that stale confidence dodge. [The Athens Messenger, Jan. 6, 1881]

CHRISTOPHER C. DAVIS LYNCHED
Christopher W. Davis, a mulatto, was lynched at Athens, Ohio, on the night of November 21.  The circumstances leading to this summary vengeance are as follows:  Mrs. Lucinda Luckey, a widow lady aged fifty-nine years, lives alone near Albany, in Athens County.  On the evening of October 31, last, Davis called at her house and asked permission to stop over night.  She refused him.  He went away, but returned again at two o'clock in the morning, and finding her doors securely locked, forced an entrance by battering the door in.  Once inside, he assaulted the helpless old woman and fiendishly outraged her.  Fearing that she would cause his arrest, to complete his work and cover his crime, he beat her about the head with an ax, fracturing her skull and leaving her for dead.  She recovered consciousness by morning and managed to crawl to the house of a neighbor, to whom she told the horrible story.  Davis was captured and lodged in the Athens jail, but threats of lynching him were so loud that for safety he was removed to Chillicothe.  Subsequently, when it was felt that the indignation had partially subsided, he was returned to Athens to be arraigned before the grand Jury.  No outward manifestation was made by the citizens of Albany, and no thought of violence was entertained by the Athens authorities.  On the night of November 21, however, a number of masked men hailing from Albany rode into Athens, and after stationing guards at the residence of the Deputy Sheriff and the Town Marshal, marched on to the jail.  Three of them applied to Sheriff Wardan for admission, one of the number assuming the role of a captured horse-thief, and the Sheriff, in his ignorance, opened the door.  No sooner was the door opened than these three determined men downed the unsuspecting jailor and secured him.  However, they failed to find any keys on him, and getting a sledge hammer, they proceeded to break the lock of the cell in which Davis was confined.  Only a few moments was occupied in this, and with a rope thrown about the culprit's neck, he was led trembling from the jail.  Every avenue of approach to the jail had been well guarded, so to prevent any outside interference that might be attempted, but he work was so quietly and quickly done that no trouble was encountered.  David was led a distance of four blocks to the bridge of the Hocking valley River, and while one end of the rope was being tied to the bridge and others were engaged pinioning his ams and legs he was commanded to confess his guilt.  He begged for his life and asked them if they would spare him if he confessed.  He was told that if he confessed he would be returned to the jail and given a fair trial.  He then confessed the horrible crime.  Immediately a shout went up. "Hang the dog!  Hang him!"  "We give you three minutes to say your prayers, " said the leader, but the frightened fellow did not try to pray.  At the end of the three minutes he was pitched headlong from the bridge, falling a distance of nine feet, the fall breaking his neck.  The mob then dispersed.  A number of them were recognized, and it is stated that arrests will follow.
[Richwood Gazette (Richwood, Ohio) December 1, 1881 - tr. by Sandra Cummins]

LYNCHED IN OHIO
Davis, the Mulatto Ravisher, is Hanged by a Mob.
ATHENS, O., Nov. 21. - Chris Davis, the mulatto, who was in jail for an outrageous assault upon an elderly woman named Miss Locke, living at Albany, O., was hanged by a mob last night.  The Sheriff was overpowered and held while the mob broke into the cell and took Davis out.  This morning his dead body was found hanging to the bridge over the Hocking river, at the south edge of the town.  The mob was not masked and will be arrested.  When Davis was taken to the bridge with a rope around his neck, he was asked to confess.  He inquired what would be done with him if he confessed.  They told him he would be taken back to the jail to be dealt with by law.  He hesitated and again asked if they would not hang him if he confessed.  Being a second time assured that they would not, he said, "I'm the man."  The other end of the rope was made fast to the bridge.  They gave him three minutes in which to pray but he did not attempt a prayer.  He said he was ready to die.  When the time expired he was hauled off the bridge and his neck was broken by the fall.  The coroner began an inquest, but has not given a verdict.
[The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) December 1, 1881 - tr. by Sandra Cummins]

The lynching of Christopher Davis at Athens on the night of the 21st ult. was discussed at an earnest, well attended meeting of the ladies of Albany, O., Tuesday evening.  As an evidence of the feeling entertained by them, here is one of the resolutions passed, "Resolved, That we pledge ourselves to oppose the prosecution of any one who was engaged in the hanging of Davis."
[The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio), December 22, 1881 - tr. by Sandra Cummins]



Alex Gatrel and Thomas Reynolds - burglary, they being charged with having broke into the blacksmith ship of David Lewis, at Nelsonville, and stealing certain tools. [The Athens Messenger, Jan. 11, 1883]


Major J. M. Goodspeed, recently principal of the public schools at Athens, Ohio, where he married Mrs. Bodley, a wealthy widow, tried to murder his wife in Cincinnati. He immediately gave himself up after the assault, which did not seriously injure her, and is thought to be deranged. [The Wheeling (WV) Register - May 18, 1887]


ATHENS RESTAURANT SCENE OF SLAYING
Athens, O. - John
Gwinn, 30, of near Athens, was shot and killed in a downtown restaurant at the entrance to the Ohio university campus at 2:30 a.m. today after Police Chief J. B. Grogan said he had a quarrel with another man at a night club near this city.  Charles R. Henderson, 24, who also lives near here, was arrested two hours later while walking along route 33 south of Athens, and Grogan said he would be charged with first-degree murder. The police chief said Gwinn and Henderson quarrelled in the night club and that Henderson then went to his home, secured a revolver and upon going to the Spot Resteraunt encountered Gwinn.  The shooting followed. [THE ATHENS MESSENGER, Athens, Ohio, September 17, 1947]


Kills His Mother - Shoots Father
Aged Couple Victims of Son's Murderous Rage
Athens, Oh.,- Following a dispute over their planting of a field of corn, Ross Howard, 32, an ex-soldier, shot and killed instantly his mother, aged 70, and mortally wounded his father, Lewis Howard, aged 73, early Saturday, according to a report made to local police. The shooting occurred at the family home near Amesville, 15 miles from here. Howard fled and a posse is searching the hills in an effort to apprehend him.
Young Howard and his father had started out for the day's work when the dispute over the proper marking out of a field of corn arose. Becoming angered, the young man returned to the home and secured a revolver with a threat to kill his father. The mother interfered and was shot down. The elder Howard fled after his wife had been murdered, the report said, and Howard pursued him, firing three bullets into the man's back. He then beat him about the head and face with the revolver butt, fracturing his skull and inflicting mortal wounds. The man will die Physicians said.
Lima Daily News, May 29, 1920 - Submitted by Linda Blue Dietz]


On Friday morning Sheriff Warren took Milton R. Kearney and Job Page (colored) convicted at the recent term of court, to the penitentiary. The latter, not previously noticed, was sent for one year, for shooting with intent to wound. [The Athens Messenger, Thursday, April 15, 1875]


MURDER MOST FOUL
John
Lafferty, a saloon keeper at Bessemer this county, was almost instantly killed in his ranch last Thursday night by being struck over the head with a piece of scantling by one of three individuals who had been drinking in his place and whom he had ejected for ruffianly conduct, but who immediately after burst in the door and death the fatal blow or blows which put an abrupt end to the earthly pilgrimage of their victim.  The names of those implicated in the perpetration of this murderous act are John Cusac, Wesley Alman and John Stafford, who following a preliminary hearing before Mayor Buckley, of Nelsonville, on Saturday, were brought to Athens by the Hocking Valley noon train last Monday and lodged in jail to await the action of the Grand Jury. [The Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio, January 27, 1881]


Child, Spouse Pledge Fealty
ATHENS, O., Jan. 7- The 10-year-old bride of Charles
Schall, young coal miner whose four-day marriage has been ordered annulled, bravely declared today she would learn to be a better housekeeper at the Ohio Girls Industrial School in preparation for their remarriage. Schall, taciturn six-footer who is 21, promised from the Nelsonville Jail, where he's starting a one-year term, that he would "wait" for the girl he married Tuesday-the former Mary Alice Limberg.
Schall, Mary Alice and her mother, Mrs. Lydia Hudnall, were sentenced late yesterday on delinquency charges filed by Mrs. Hudnall's husband, Donald, who objected to the marriage. Mary Alice, lodged in the courtly detention home here, looked forward to her transfer to the state school at Delaware for an indeterminate term as an opportunity to learn cooking proficiency. "I can bake good bread now," the brown-eyed girl said proudly, "but I want to learn to make cake and pie." She said she met Schall a year ago in church and that for Christmas he gave her a flashlight, comb and brush, pen and pencil set and a Bible.
"I'm missing him, awfully," she added.
Mrs. Hudnall, sentenced to a year in the Ohio Women's Reformatory at Marysville, expressed concern at Nelsonville Jail over her daughter's happiness and insisted again she saw nothing wrong with the marriage. "She's almost as big as I am", she said earlier of her five-foot-two daughter. Mrs. Hudnall gave her daughter's age as 16 on the marriage license application. Transfer of both Mrs. Hudnall and her daughter was expected tomorrow.
["Arizona Republic", (Phoenix) Monday January 8 1940 - BZ - Sub by FOFG]



We learned that Baldy
Smith, a Doanville saloon keeper, was shot at a few night since in that place by some person unknown and with such accurate aim that one or more bullets ploughed through Smith's hair. [The Athens Messenger, February 3, 1881]


Successful Capture of a Murderer
The standing prediction in local popular utterance that "Tim would get him yet," was fully verified by the arrival here on the early Sunday morning train from Cincinnati of Sheriff Tim B. Warden, having in custody Frank Tolliver, who was indicted by the Grand Jury at the last term of the Athens county common please for murder in the first degree for the homicide of Patrick Carr on the night of the 17th of November last in a saloon at Carbondale, this county.  The particulars of the murder were given at the time in these columns.  Carr, between whom and Tolliver there had existed bad blood, was, without preliminary words, shot and almost instantly killed by the latter, the murdered man being represented as helplessly drunk at the time.  The homicide immediately following the deed, made his escape from the locality and it was not until some weeks after that our vigilant Sheriff succeeded in getting clue to his probable geographical change of base.  This clue was assiduously and intelligently pursued and finally culminated in Tolliver's arrest last Thursday night at a sequestered point in the mountainous regions of Johnson county, Kentucky, near a locality known as Flat Gap, where the fugitive from justice had taken up quarters with an uncle and whose humble and secluded dwelling he had reached some weeks before in a nearly exhausted condition, his feet and ears being partially frozen as the result of his long tramp through the wild regions he had traversed during that severe weather to reach his destination, having walked the entire distance, which is, we are told, about 250 mils from Cincinnati.  The details of Sheriff Warden's adventures in pursuit of the object of his search are very largely invested with the charms of stirring romance, his personal safety and that of Marshall Shipley of Zaleski, by whom he was accompanied, being at particular juncture of the adventure in imminent peril.  One feature of their return trip was a night walk of sixteen miles with the temperature away below zero and during which they were compelled to grope their way with their prisoner in blinding darkness over the trestles of an unfinished railroad, a number of which trestles towered between two and three hundred feet above terra firma. Altogether this adventure was exceedingly well planned and was prosecuted with nerve, determination and rare good judgement and its successful results adds a huge feather to the official cap of our worthy and efficient Sheriff, whose forecast in planning and sagacity in executing the arrest of fugitive criminals we have hitherto had occasion to commend. [THE ATHENS MESSENGER, Athens, Ohio, February 16, 1881]


Miscellaneous Crime News


The prisoners confined in our county jail, 14 in number, made another attempt to tunnel out of Friday. Sheriff Carpenter and Jailor Dean were at the time, out of town on official business. Mrs. D.'s attention being attracted by the faint sounds of their operations, at once took in the situration, and summoned the assistance of officers Root, Port and Davis, who promptly restored subordination on the part of the prisoners by locking them in their cells. When discovered they had but a final tier of brick between them and probable liberty.
[THE ATHENS MESSENGER, Thursday, March 23, 1876]

Coolville -- On description by telegram from the sheriff of Washington county our marshall arrested and held a supposed horse thief last Friday, but while he was the man the sheriff had been following, he did not have the horses and the telegrams from Matamoras proved him all straight. He was released Saturday morning.
[THE ATHENS MESSENGER AND HERALD, Athens, Ohio, September 20, 1894]

Chauncey: While a number of our people were at the fair Thursday some of their homes were entered by tramps and several articles of value taken. At the home of Ellsworth Day living about one mile north of this place, a silver watch was taken, and at the home of Capt. Cornell a number of things were stolen, including a suit of clothes belonging to Ray, a pair of shoes belonging to Mr. Cornell and about seven dollars in money. Not being content with what they had already taken, they proceeded to break a large lamp, a looking glass and other things. We learn that they forced an entrance into other house on the Plains near Salina. This should be probed to the bottom and the guilty parties punished to the full extent to the law. [THE ATHENS MESSENGER AND HERALD, Athens, Ohio, September 20, 1894]

Soldiers Fined and sent to Prison, Athens, Ohio, Dec. 31
ATHENS, OHIO, Dec. 31. - Today seven members of the 14th field battery, United States army, were fined $500 and 30 days in jail for their part in the Athens riot, during the guard maneuvers last summer, when O. H. Ohl, Ohio national guard, lieutenant, was killed. John Lott, found guilty of rioting, will receive his sentence later.
[The Duluth (MN) News Tribune, Jan. 1, 1905]




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