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Bedford County PA News - Crime

Transcribed by Nancy Piper unless otherwise noted

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

March 10, 1824

Bedford, Pa, March 5


On Saturday night lst, a villain named John Helverson, broke into the store of Mr. Jacob Schell, of Schelisburg, and took therefrom upwards of 400 dollars in cash, and 4 or 5 watches - he then went to the stable of Mr. Henry Horn, from which he took an elegant mare, mounted her, and was not overtaken until he reached Shippensburg, in Cumberland county, a distance of 75 miles, where he was apprehended in bed, in a public house, about 3 o'clock on Monday morning. He was brought back till about two miles west of Loudon, where he escaped from custody, ran up the mountain, and night coming on, could not be overtaken, although so near was Mr. Shugart, that he got the prisoner's hat. The prisoner spent that night, and the greater part of Tuesday, in the mountain, on Tuesday evening he came to the house of a Mr. Merrison, at Dickey's Mill, got his supper, staid all night, procured a hat, took his breakfast next morning, and set out in the direction of Greencastle. Shortly after his departure, a Mr. Williamson came to the mill, who had seen Helverson in Loudon on Monday night when in custody, and as soon as he learned from Mr. Morrison the singular appearance and description of the stranger he had the night before entertained, began to suspect that it might be the robber that so lately escaped from Shugart and Andrews. A party was formed and went in pursuit, which ending in capturing the villain near Irwin's Mill, about 5 miles from Mercersburg, after a considerable chase over fields, fences, &c. &c. and on Thursday evening he was lodged in the Jail of this place.

Much credit is due to Mr. Abraham Andrews, of Schellsburg, and Mr. Shugart, who keeps a public house about two miles west of M'Connellsburg. Mr. Shugart not only furnished Mr. Andrews with a fresh horse, but mounted one himself and jointed the pursuit, which has fortunately terminated in bringing a scoundrel to justice. Helverson had been but a short time in Schellsburg, where he worked as a journeyman carpenter. - True American

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
July 21, 1824

Bedford, Pa., July 16

We have crowded out considerable matter prepared for this week's paper, to make room for the account of the late interesting trial between John Compher of this county, and James M'Cullough, of the city of Baltimore.

M'Cullough had purchased a horse from Compher, and paid him in counterfeit money, for which Compher had him arrested and held to (?), to answer the charge. M'Cullough to screen himself from this base transaction, employed a hack and pursued Compher in the night, came up to Compher's wagon, and secretly deposited therein a tin box, containing counterfeit money, he then attempted to make it appear that Compher was engaged in passing counterfeit money. But we are happy to find the saddle on the right horse, and M'Cullough, who is an old offender, and for a long time been engaged in this business, has received his just reward - a sentence of ten years to the penitentiary. - Amer.

Men Who Robbed Valentine Weirick are Apprehended

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) August 27 1825

Robbers Apprehended

Three persons were apprehended in and about Smythfield, seventy miles from Bedford, in Summerset county, Pa., on Thursday the 4th inst., on suspicion of being the villains that robbed Mr. Valentine Weirick on Cumberland Valley in this county on the night of Monday the 1st of August instant. From every circumstance and sundry articles found upon them, but little doubt remains as to their guilt. They are now safely lodged in the jail of this county. Their names are John Stokes of Cadiz, Ohio, Jacob R. Wagoner, who says his relations reside in Montgomery County in this state, and Patrick Henry who says he learned the painting and glazing business in Pittsburg a few years since. They were apprehended on suspicion of passing counterfeit money but none being found upon them, they would possibly have been liberated but for the timely arrival of the Editor of this paper at Smythfield just at the commencement of their examination before Justice Piper of that place. Having with us a description of the money stolen from Mr. Weirick and that found upon them answering precisely to the description, we had them conveyed to the jail of this county. We are sorry to add that but a small portion of the money stolen has yet been recovered. Too much praise cannot be given to Mr. Thomas Endsly, innkeeper, John and Wm. Piper, merchants and several other gentlemen of Smythfield whose names we do not now recollect, for their vigilance, intrepidity and perseverance in apprehending these midnight depredators. - Bedford T. Amer.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) September 28, 1825

Bedford, Sept. 16


The boot of the United States Mail stage which runs between this place and Chambersburg was robbed on Saturday morning last about four miles east of this place and two trunks taken there from: one the property of Dr. William Addison of Pittsburgh, containing sundry articles of clothing, two hundred and fourt dollars in $20 U.S. notes, payable at Pittsburgh, twenty-two sovereigns, a gold coin worth about $4.50 and an Eagle. A reward of $100 s offered for the trunk and its contents. The other trunk belongs to a Mr. Henry Brawner, who lives as we understand in Prince George's county, Maryland. It contents were principally clothing.

On Sunday last the trunks and greater part of the clothing were found on the loft of a vacant schoolhouse, a few rods to the left of the road which makes it quite probable that the robbery was committed while the stage was ascending the hill immediately beyond the Snake Springs, which place it generally passes a short time before day-light.

As several Spring houses in that neighborhood were plundered shortly before this robbery, it is believed that the villains must have come from a distance for the express purpose. - True American

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) September 14, 1825

Bedford, September 3.

At a court of oyer and Terminer and quarter sessions, held in this town last week, the following offenders were tried, found guilty and severally sentenced: - viz:

Reuben Clark for horse stealing - to undergo a servitude in the Philadelphia penitentiary for the space of two years.

David Green for a rape upon the boy of his own daughter - to undergo an imprisonment at hard labor, in the penitentiary for the space of twelve years. [The rascal ought to be hanged.]

Jacob Stokes, Jacob Waggoner and Patrick Henry for burglary (the robbery of V. Wierick) - to undergo an imprisonment at hard labor in the penitentiary for the space of five years. - Gazette

A Kidnaper Caught

Bedford Gazette (Bedford, Pennsylvania) July 7, 1899

Two years ago a man by the name of Heffleflue, who makes his living by giving exhibitions of stereopticon views in small towns, stopped at Smith's Siding, Franklin county, and while there took a fancy to a bright little fellow named Rhodes. Heffleflue gave the boy some trinkets and persuaded him to accompany him - and for two years he has been helping to haul the hand wagon in which the stereopticon outfit is conveyed from place to place. The effort of the boy's father to locate him and his abductor were in vain until a few days ago when he learned that they were in this part of the country. Constable Barndollar of Everett was notified and on Wednesday he found the man and arrested him. As they were at "The Narrows" on their way to Everett the prisoner attempted to escape and during the scuffle the boy ran off. He got a good start before Heffleflue was subdued. Bicyclists Bowen and Gump of Everett, who were with the constable, started after the runaway and he led them a merry chase all the way to St. Clairsville, where he was captured. Huffleflue and young Rhodes will be taken to Franklin County, where the former will be tried for abducting the boy. The latter is thirteen years old.

A Murderous Assault

The Bedford Gazette, Bedford Pa Friday, June 8 1900

Two Colored Desperadoes Attack a Visitor To Bedford and Attempt to Rob Him.

Friday morning James Powell, of Williamsburg, Blair county, came to Bedford to secure work. During the day he met quite a number of his friends, among whom was John Eddie Johnson (colored.) Johnson suggested to Powell, that as they had not seen each other for a long time, and as he was off duty for the day, they have a good time, taking in the sights in and around Bedford, to which Powell agreed.

They visited several hotels and drinks were ordered, Powell usually paying the bills. Johnson observed the money Powell exposed when paying for the liquor and concluded that he would relieve his companion of some of it. Johnson said to his friend: “Suppose we take a walk around the town.” A bottle of whisky was bought by Powell, and then they started. On their way they met Abraham Hamilton (colored). Johnson introduced Abe to his friend Powell and the trio continued their walk until they reached the corner of John and East streets, which is a very lonely place, only partly opened and having on one side a hedge fence. After going about half way out the street Johnson thought it was time to relive his friend of his cold cash. So he gave Hamilton the signal and both men took hold of Powell, threw him down and beat his head with stones,Johnson in the meantime going through his friend’s pockets. Unable to get any money and seeing the condition that Powell was in, his head cut and covered with blood, Johnson and Hamilton concluded that they had better leave, and they fled.

After Powell regained consciousness he wandered around for a long time before he appeared on any of the streets where he could be seen. He went out Juliana street between four and five o’clock and finally reached the home of O. G. McCoy, where, exhausted from the loss of blood, he fell at the door. Mr. McCoy came at one to Squire Ritchey and notified him. The injured man was brought to Dr. A. C. Wolf’s office, where he received proper attention. The cut in his head was about six inches in length.

Johnson and Hamilton, after hearing that a man was wandering around town covered with blood, decided that they would try to find him; but someone had notified Officer Stiver and before the found their victim he arrested them on suspicion, because he had seen them with Powell during the day. On the way to the lock-up the officer had both hands full and the “coons” tried to break away, but in vain. When the lock-up was reached the prisoners again made several desperate attempts to escape, but Mr. Stiver’s strength and skill were too much for them.

After Powell had his wounds dressed, although very weak, he was taken to the lock-up and recognized his pseudo-friends, Johnson and Hamilton, and said that they were the men who “did him up.” While in the lock-up Hamilton told Officer Stiver that he held the man and that Johnson struck him on the head with a large stone. Johnson said that Hamilton did the hitting while he held the man and went through his pockets. While the policeman was procuring the necessary papers to place his prisoners in jail, Hamilton picked the lock on his cell door with a nail and fled. Mr. Stiver made a thorough search for the fugitive in the rain and at midnight, we to the skin, went home, with as strong a determination as ever to recapture Abraham. At 3:30 a.m., Saturday, Officer Stiver went to Hamilton’s home, where he found the runaway, ready to take his departure, and Abraham now languishes behind the strong bars of the jail.

Officer Stiver deserves a great deal of credit for his cleverness and his fidelity to duty. If the citizens of Bedford support him as they should he will undoubtedly put an end to the lawlessness that has disgraced the fair name of the town.

On Monday Johnson and Hamilton were given a hearing before Squiare Ritchey. The evidence being sufficient to bind them over for September court and being unable to give bail in $1,000 each, they were returned to jail.

-- transcribed by Nancy Piper

Robert Toal Arrested from Conterfeiting

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) March 22, 1826

Bedford, March 10

A fellow calling himself Robert Toal was committed to the jail of this county on Saturday last for passing counterfeit notes. The notes he had passed were on the Philadelphia Banks and so well executed that we are free to confess that we might easily have been induced to take them, although some of our knowing ones pronounced them at once to be gross counterfeits. - Gazette.

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