Posts Tagged ‘1881’

Hank Parish: A Royal City Desperado

September 27, 2009
Boarding House - El Dorado Canyon

Boarding House - El Dorado Canyon

Image from Southern Nevada: The Boomtown Years, on the UNLV website, which has quite a  collection of digital images.


Hank [P]Farish and one Taylor, of El Dorado Canyon, had a row over a game of cards. Taylor upset the table and drew a knife. Farish whipped out his revolver and shot Taylor twice, wounding him badly.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Sep 9, 1879


Murderous Desperado at Large in Lincoln County.

A letter from Pioche, under date of March 6, to a prominent gentleman of Eureka, gives the partial particulars of a desperate shooting scrape, which occurred at El Dorado, Lincoln county, in which two men were wounded, one slightly and the other fatally.

The letter reads as follows:

El Dorado has just had an extensive boom. Three days ago Hank Parish and a man styled Ni**er Clark were playing poker in Greenwood’s saloon. The former was drunk and lost $100. The loss incensed him and he pulled his pistol and shot Clark, wounding him, though not very seriously. Parish then opened fire on Greenwood and shot him in the stomach, inflicting a mortal wound. He then left. Shortly after the shooting Andy Fife, the Coroner, appeared on the scene, and was proceeding to take Greenwood’s deposition, when Parish again put in an appearance with a pistol in each hand, and demanded that Fife take $100 from Greenwood’s pocket, which he (Parish) had lost, or he would kill both of them forthwith. Of course Fife was obliged to comply in order to save his life at the hands of such a desperado. Parish defies arrest, and says he will kill the first man who attempts to arrest him. At the latest accounts he was still at large.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 11, 1881


The Pioche Record says that Greenwood, the man shot by Parish, in Lincoln county, is not dead, and is now considered out of danger. Clark, shot at the same time, is recovering, and it is thought that his wound will soon heal.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Mar 26,  1881

Royal City/Jackrabbit (Image from

Royal City/Jackrabbit (Image from


A Drunken Brute’s Bloody Work at Royal City.

The Pioche Record of the 9th inst. says: At Royal City Sunday morning about 4:30 A.M. Hank Parish stabbed and mortally wounded P.G. Thompson, aged 31, a native of New Jersey, and lately from Aspen, Colo. As nearly as we can ascertain, the facts of the cutting are as follows: Bob Martin, H. Hill, P.G. Thompson and a Chinaman were engaged in playing poker at Jimmy Curtis’ saloon on the morning in question. Hank Parish was present, and being intoxicated, persisted in leaning on the shoulder of Thompson, although the latter remonstrated with him, claiming that he could not play poker under the circumstances.

Parish repeated the act a few times and returned to the bar, when the laughter of the poker party attracted his attention.It seems that the players were laughing at the Chinaman for passing out a “club flush,” but Parish seemingly thought that they were laughing at him, and advancing to the table, he addressed some foul language to the party, mainly addressing himself to Thompson, the latter replying that he did not give a d–n for him.

Upon this Parish struck him in the face with his right hand, and upon Thompson rising from the table, Parish struct out with his left hand and stabbed him with a large pocket knife a little above and to the right of the navel. Upon receiving the wound, Thompson cried out that he was hurt, and hurriedly left the saloon. Jimmy Curtis at once secured a team and brought the wounded man to town, arriving at McFadden’s Hotel at 8 A.M., and Dr. Nesbitt was summoned immediately.

Sheriff Turner at once secured a team and repaired to Royal City, where he arrested Parish, unaided, and he lost no time in jailing him on his return to town.

The wounded man did not seem to have a chance for recovery from the start, for previous to his death, Dr. Louder was called in and performed an operation at Thompson’s request, the same having shown an advanced stage of decomposition and that the bowels were badly cut. The deceased died Thursday evening about 9 o’clock, and although a stranger in the community, the citizens mourn him as an old resident, from the fact of his pleasing presence and fortitude under great bodily pain.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Aug 15, 1890



He Dies Protesting His Innocence, But Claims To Have Killed Three Men.

The White Pines News contains the following account of the hanging of Hank Parish at Ely on Friday last:

Hank Parish, for the murder of A.G. Thompson at Royal City last July, was hung in front of the jail yesterday at noon. The death warrant was read by Sheriff Bassett in the jail, and at two minutes to 12 o’clock the solemn procession wended its way from the jail to the scaffold, Parish ascending the steps without the least apparent fear. There were quite a number of spectators within the inclosure, and Parish stepped to the front railing and addressed them. He said:

“I have been charged with a great many crimes; I killed three men, and I was right in doing it. The last man I killed (Thompson), he assisted in stringing me up three times. They say I have a wife and family that I have not treated right. My wife has been dead thirteen years; I have two children in Oregon, well fixed. I am an ignorant man, have always been persecuted, and am innocent of crime. All this will appear in Mr. Murphy’s book of my life, and I want you to believe it.”

These words were spoken calmly and with ordinary coolness. He made no reference whatever to the Unknown Realm into which he was about to be launched, nor expressed any regret for anything he had done.

He then stepped back on the trap door, shook hands with the Sheriff and his attendants, the black cap was pulled over his head, the rope adjusted about his neck — and the News reporter hurriedly walked into the Court House to prevent witnessing the final act in the drama of life and death.

Sheriff Bassett sprung the trap; the fall was a little over six feet, and the doomed man’s neck was broken. There was not a move or a quiver of the body, and as soon as Dr. Campbell could get to feel the pulse he pronounced life extinct. The whole time occupied in the execution was but 12 minutes. Parish went on the scaffold at 2 minutes to 12 and was cut down at 10 minutes past 12.

Dr. Campbell examined his pulse before he left the jail. It was beating at 99. When the black cap was pulled over his head it ran up to 142. That Parish was a bad man, and met the fate he deserved, is the general sentiment of this community.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Dec 16, 1890


The News says:

Lincoln county has responded to White Pine’s call to the tune of $588 on account of the little job it did for that county, namely: the hanging of Hank Parish.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 25, 1891



Colorado Difficulties — The Nevada Big Mine — Aligold – Bryonic.

While Mr. (D.) Turner was sheriff he proved himself of such nerve that desperadoes did not care to face him. In 1890 it became necessary to arrest a fellow named Hank Parish, who had 17 notches on his gunstock. He had left a bloody trail all the way between Arizona and the coast and made brags that he was good for a few more. The record of the murderer was so bad and he was known to be so quick with his gun (in fact, shooting was a pastime with him) that no officer would accompany the sheriff to make the arrest. Hence he went to the cabin of the murderer alone, and getting the drop on him, arrested his man, who in due time was hanged.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Oct 12, 1896


You can read about Hank Parish’s ghost in the following book on Google:

Haunted Nevada By Janice Oberding (page 104)

More on Hank Parish HERE

A Comstock Miner Murdered in Bodie

September 21, 2009
BODIE, CA pre 1932

BODIE, CA pre 1932

Image from, where there are lots of nice photos, although most are more current, they still give you a good idea of what the town looked like.

A Comstock Miner Murdered in Bodie

The Murderer Escapes.

BODIE, Jan. 14.

About 2 o’clock this morning Thos. Treloar, a mine, was assassinated by a Frenchman named James DeRoche. Treloar’s wife was attending a ball, and he had ordered her not to dance with DeRoche.She did so, however, to his great annoyance. At the hour mentioned the two men met, and DeRoche shot Treloar through the head, the ball entering just below the left ear.

A crowd gathered and the murderer was arrested. At this moment Treloar’s wife came along in company with a gentleman and his wife, when DeRoche shouted: “Mrs. Treloar, I have killed your husband!” He was taken to jail, but, upon pretext that the vigilantes intended to hang him before morning, Deputy Sheriff Joseph Farnsworth took the prisoner to his boarding house handcuffed. Durning the night DeRoche mysteriously disappeared while Farnsworth was asleep.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 15, 1881



The Hanging of De la Roche by Vigilantes — The Victim Receives the Benefit of an Informal Trial.

Says the Carson Tribune of yesterday: “Word was received here to-day that the Bodie Vigilantes had captured and hung De la Roche, the murderer of Treloar. The particulars, so far as we can learn, are that a pursuing party of the vigilance committee followed a scent to a place called Smith’s Dump, distant about ten miles from Bodie. The vigilantes interviewed two French Canadians residing at the Dump and demanded to know the whereabouts of De la Roche, who denied all knowledge thereof. They were then strung up, and under torture revealed the hiding place of the murderer.

The vigilantes captured their man and the mob clamored for his immediate execution. Pat Reddy, the lawyer, appealed to the mob to let the law take its course and to allow the man to be tried by the courts, assuring his hearers on his honor that he would prosecute him to the bitter end. The mob listened respectfully, but refused the request. The leaders, however, agreed that De la Roche should have an informal trial, and the crowd adjourned to a house, where a court was organized. Twelve of the leading men of Bodie were chosen as a jury. Mr. Reddy conducted the prosecution and Hon. J.R. Kittrell appeared for the defense. We have not learned who acted as Judge. The result of the trial was that the jury found the defendant guilty and he was sentenced to be hung immediately, and the sentence was put into execution at once.

The particulars of the crime for which De la Roche suffered, briefly stated are these: He knew Treloar’s wife in the East, and was criminally intimate with her. Treloar was jealous and forbade his wife to go to a ball with De la Roche. She disobeyed, and at 2 o’clock in the morning, while the ball was still in progress, the two men met and Treloar was killed. De la Roche was arrested and given into the custody of a deputy Sheriff, who handcuffed him and took him to a lodging house, and during the night the prisoner escaped.

Farnsworth, the deputy Sheriff, was threatened with lynching, but escaped to Carson. He was arrested yesterday on a telegram from Bodie, and is now held on parole. He refuses to swear out a writ of habeas corpus, saying he is innocent of criminal intent; that the man escaped while he was asleep, and he is willing to go back to Bodie as soon as the excitement dies out and meet any charges that may be brought against him.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 18, 1881


Mrs. Treloar narrowly escaped being lynched in Bodie with her paramour Da Roche. A noose had been provided for each, but Mrs. Treloar’s life was saved by one dissenting vote in the Vigilance Committee meeting. The woman made all the trouble, and her execution would have excited little pity.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 20, 1881



Particulars of the Hanging of DaRoche by a Vigilante Committee.

The Bodie Free Press of Jan. 18 contains a long account of the lynching of DaRoche, from which the following particulars are taken. (DaRoche murdered the husband of a woman he had seduced):

“After the adjournment of the Court and DaRoche was taken back to his narrow cell, a mysterious committee was organized, the like of which has existed in many towns on this coast since ’49, and whose work has been quick and thorough. This committee held a long session, and its conclusion resulted in the lynching of DaRoche. Between 1:30 and 2 o’clock Monday morning a long file of masked and unmasked men were seen to file out of a side street into Bonanza avenue. There must have been two hundred of them and as the march progressed to the jail the column increased. In front were the shotguns carried by determined men. They were backed by a company which evidently meant business, and no ordinary force could foil them in their progress. When the jail was reached it was surrounded and the leader made a loud knock at the door. All was dark and quiet within.

The call had the effect of producing a dim light in the office, and amid loud calls of “DaRoche,” “Bring him out,” “Open the door,” etc., Jailer Kingen appeared, and responded by saying: “All right, boys; wait a moment; give me a little time.” In a moment the outside door was opened slowly and four or five men entered. Under instructions the door of the cell in which the condemned prisoner lay was swung open. The poor wretch knew what this untimely visit meant, and prepared for the trying ordeal and his humiliating death.

It was some moments before he was brought out, and the crowd began to grow impatient. With a firm step he descended the steps and came out on the street in a hurried manner, closely guarded by shotguns and revolvers. The order to fall in was given, and all persons not members of the committee were requested to stand back. The march was rapid. Not a word was said by the condemned man, and his gaze was fixed on the ground. When Websr’s blacksmith shop was reached a halt was made. In front of this place was a huge gallows frame, used for raising up wagons, etc., while being repaired. “Move it to the spot where the murder was committed,” was the order, and immediately it was picked up by a dozen men and carried to the corner of Main and Lowe streets.


When the corner was reached the heavy gallows was placed upon the ground, and the prisoner led under it. On each end of the frame were windlasses and large ropes attached. The rope placed around the prisoner’s neck was a small one, and when the knot was made it rested against the left ear. It was at least three minutes before everything was ready. DaRoche was asked by the leader if he had anything to say. He replied: “No; nothing.” IN a moment he was again asked the same question, a French-speaking citizen being requested to receive his answer. The reply this time was: “I have nothing to say, only O God.”

“Pull him,” was the order, and in a twinkling his body rose three feet from the ground. Previous to putting on the rope the overcoat was removed. A second after the body was elevated a sudden twitch of the legs was observed, but, with that exception, not a muscle moved while the body hung to the cross-beam. His death took place without a particle of pain. The face was placid, and the eyes closed and never were re-opened.

Strangulation must have been immediate. While the body swung to and fro, like the pendulum of a clock, the crowd remained perfectly quiet. No one spoke a word, excepting one of the leaders, who constantly requested the crowd “to keep back and give the man all the air possible.” While the body was still hanging a paper was pinned on his breast bearing the inscription:

“All others take warning. Let no one cut him down. Bodie 601.”

At the expiration of twenty minutes the pulse beat rapidly, but at the end of thirty it ceased to move and the man was pronounced dead. However, to be sure of the fact, Dr. Deal was summoned and asked to inspect the body. He felt of his pulse and pronounced life extinct. In another moment H. Ward had the body cut down, placed in a plain box and removed to his undertaking rooms. The mysterious committee had completed its work, and the captain gave out the order “All members of the Bodie 601 will meet at their rendezvous.” In a moment the scene of death was deserted. To use a familiar expression DaRoche died game. He as firm as a rock to the last and passed out into the unknown without a shudder.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 20, 1881


Old Timer Says:

“The Vigilantes over in Bodie were busy. Thomas H. Treloar was shot down by Joseph De Roach on January 11 and buried on the 13th by the fire department and miners’ union. That night the vigilante committee hunted all over Bodie for De Roach. Not finding him they called on Sheriff Farnsworth to produce De Roach or take the consequences. De Roach was captured on the 17th and after a short trial before Judge Lynch was sentenced to be hanged. He was that day.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 9, 1931


You can read more about the Treloar murder in:

Bodie’S Gold: Tall Tales And True History From A California Mining Town
By Marguerite Sprague (pages 110-114)

Also on Google Books:

Violence in America: The history of crime
By Ted Robert Gurr (pages 137-139)

Editor of “Greenback Standard” Murdered

July 6, 2009


Dr. Perry H. Talbott, editor of the Greenback Standard, published at Maryville, Mo., was assassinated last Saturday evening at nine o’clock, while at home surrounded by his family. We have seen no intelligent opinion expressed as to who did the shooting; Talbott before he died said he thought it must have been a paid assassin of the national banks, “some enemy of the great cause which I represent.” We regard this as ridiculous, and regret that a gentleman of the profession should leave such a foolish statement behind him.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Sep 21, 1880


Capt. Lafe Dawson, attorney for the Talbott boys, visited them at St. Joe yesterday. It is understood that he is working up a confession by which they are to be released. The plan is supposed to be to have Wyatt, the alleged insane participant in the murder of Dr. Talbott, confess that he did the shooting. This si expected to procure the release of the Talbott boys, and then Wyatt is to get off on the old insanity dodge.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 2, 1881


IT was stated in one of the afternoon’s Greenback speeches that the Democrat and Republican parties were now each represented in attempts at assassination, but that the Greenbacks had escaped the odium. The speaker is evidently not familiar with the assassination of old Dr. Talbott, editor of a Greenback paper at Maryville, by his two sons, who were stalwart Greenbackers.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 16, 1881


A more fiendish murder than that of Dr. Talbott was never perpetrated, yet there is increasing indignation — particularly in the office of the St. Joe Gazette — that his murdering sons will probably hang for the crime.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 18, 1881


The Talbott boys have made another confession, which is to the effect that neither one of them had anything to do with the killing of their father, but that Will Mitchell, Mrs. Talbott’s sister’s husband, is probably the real culprit. A few weeks ago one of them confessed that he did the killing while Dr. Talbott was beating his mother, but as that did not satisfy the Governor, another statement had been made. This is the third story of it they have told, and Governor Crittenden will not be blamed for accepting the verdict of the court in preference to either one of them. They will be hanged at Maryvill to-morrow.

The gist of the confession consists of a conversation that Albert heard between Mitchell and Wyatt, and in which Wyatt tells the manner in which they accomplished the shooting, and the events that follow are given in long detail. There is another conversation given before the date of the murder between Wyatt and Mitchell, in which the latter consents to do the killing for a consideration. Mitchell is considered a leading spirit of the murder, partly out of revenge for the death of his wife who caught cold after having been ordered by Dr. Talbott from his home and died; and, second, because the doctor refused to let him marry his oldest daughter.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 21, 1881


ST. LOUIS, July 22. — The [Post-Dispatch’s] Maryville, Mo., special says: Albert, Rand and Chas. E. Talbott, convicted of murdering their father, Dr. Perry H. Talbott, on the  18th of September last, and respited once, were hanged this afternoon in the presence of from 8,000 to 10,000 people. Up to a late hour last night they expected gubernatorial interference, but at midnight went to bed after a lengthy interview with their mother and sisters, and Miss Lewis, to whom Albert was betrothed. Mrs. Talbott was very bitter against the Governor for not commuting the sentence of her boys.

The prisoners received the last sacraments of the Catholic church this morning. It was an exceedingly affecting scene between the prisoners and their relatives.

About noon, Charles, the youngest one, broke down completely and begged that something might be done. This unnerved the women and made a terrible scene. The women were removed. Mrs. Talbott frantically resisted, but the guards led her away crying, “I hope you will be satisfied when you have killed my boys.” The brothers were taken to the gallows in an omnibus, being strongly shackeled. The women and the crowd followed. The scene when the trap fell was very solemn, the whole crowd uttering groans.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 24, 1881


Although it is notorious that the Talbott boys quarreled incessantly with their father, and finally killed him, one of them said a few hours before the execution that “We will soon be seated with our dear father on the Great White Throne.” It is probable that the old man, when he saw his two sons alight on the Great White Throne beside him, knocked them off with a harp, spades and neck yokes not being used in that country, and therefore not available to throw at members of his family, as was his custom here. Old Dr. Talbott was the Elder Mitchell of Missouri, and his last words were that he had undoubtedly been murdered by National bank presidents, although one story of the murder told by his sons is that when they fired the fatal shot, he had their mother on the floor and was jumping upon her. The idea of such fiends roosting lovingly on the Great White Throne is supremely disgusting.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Aug 9, 1881



A worthless whelp named Birch wanted to marry Anna Lanaham, one of the daughters of an old farmer near Rock Rapids, Iowa. The old man objected, and drove Birch from his house. The consequence was that Birch and Anna, assisted by Maggie, another daughter, and Mrs. Lanaham, wife of the farmer, devised a scheme for getting rid of him. One day, after he had returned from a farmers’ meeting, Maggie slipped up behind him and put a bullet through his brain. Her sister Anna then broke out a window pane, so as to make it appear that he had been fired upon and killed from the outside by some unknown party. The murder was planned some time in November, but it could not be carried out until a few days ago. It was a terrible affair, and every one of the fiends who were engaged in it ought to be hung, but we suppose every exertion will be put forth by maudlin sentimentalists to save them even from the penitentiary.

Old man Lanaham may have been a disagreeable old fellow: he may have bored his family to death by eternally talking about the iron heel of monopoly that was crushing the life out of the farmer; he may, to the neglect of his family, have spent his time in talking over public wrongs; but he had a right to live until he worried himself to death.

The telegraph informs us that he was killed just after returning from a farmers’ meeting.

We infer from this that he was a reformer, like Dr. Talbott — that he was one of those men who try to reform the world before they endeavor to reform their families. Talbott was always hurling thunderbolts at the red-handed monopolists who were choking the life out of the farmer and laboring man, but while he was doing this a plan for his murder was being concocted in his own family.

We do not believe there ever was a kind, indulgent and provident father murdered by his own children. The man who thinks of his family first and the public weal later is in no danger of his life at home.

The manner of Mr. Lanaham’s taking off probably furnishes a pretty accurate key to his character. By neglect and abuse he inspired hate into the hearts of his wife and children to such an extent that they desired to get rid of him at all hazards. He was doubtless popular with the world, as all men are who devote the greater part of their time to it, and we are not surprised that the community in which he resided is now crying aloud for vengeance.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) > 1882 > February > 17


A private detective named Brighton, who was interested in ferreting out the murderers of Dr. Talbott, the editor of a Greenback paper in Maryville, Mo., has been arrested in Illinois, and brought back to Kansas City to answer a charge of crookedness.

Atchison Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Dec 22, 1882



A St. Joseph Clerk in the Role of Forger and Lover — A Curious Agreement.

ST. JOSEPH, May 3. — The man who was arrested here Wednesday for attempting to obtain money on a forged draft of Heller & Hoffman, of St. Louis, turns out to be Charles E. Norris, formerly in the employ of Heller & Hoffman, and he is wanted by that firm for forgery.

It now transpires that he combined the business of love making with forgery as he had since his arrival in the city formed the acquaintance of Miss Jennie Talbott, daughter of Mrs. Belle Talbott living at 607 South Eleventh street, in this city, and a sister of the Talbott brothers, who were hanged at Maryville for the murder of their father, Dr. Talbott, who had made a written contract with Norris, which was signed by both, dated April 29, agreeing to live together as man and wife.

The Talbott girl had taken several meals with him at the Pacific House and he took her to Bailey’s dry goods store and she bought goods to the amount of $70 and attempted to pay for them with a forged draft, of Hiller & Hoffman, but Bailey being suspicious, took the draft to Hax’s which had been indorsed by Hax’s clerk, who by this time had become frightened, and it was determined to arrest him then, which was accordingly done.

Norris was arraigned before Recorder Oliver, waived examination and was sent back to jail to await the arrival of Heller with a warrant for his arrest.

Atchison Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) May 3, 1884


For more information about Perry Talbott and his family, “Our Family Gallery” has genealogical information, more newspaper accounts and other information about this family. [I am not related or connected to the site, just ran across it looking for information about the Greenback Standard newspaper, edited by Mr. Talbott.]

“Common Scolds” Have Their Days in Court

March 3, 2009


This first account is about some Native American school children who evidently got  tired of their “Yankee” school teacher’s scolding:

THE natural law which writers on jurisprudence recognize seems to be a good deal like old English law in some respects. The penalty of ducking for intolerable scolds, enacted by statute in England, is a part of the natural code among the young savages of America. In Dakota some of the Indian children attend school; the teacher being of the usual Yankee school marm standard; but a more than average hand to scold. For a time the Indian pupils submitted tolerably well to the discipline of the schoolroom, but recently an outbreak came all at once. The Indian pupils made, one afternoon, a dash at the teacher, carried her out of doors to the creek, and there actually ducked her in the water with her head downward! Of course this was rather below the English method, where a ducking stool was used, and the victim went down feet foremost, but it was the best plan that suggested itself to the untutored minds of “the young barbarians all at play.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 27, 1875


In regards to the law:

Counseller Ruddiman has in charge a bill mentioned before — but a propos in this connection, resurrecting a relic of the past in the shape of a whipping post for wife beaters and it is expected that Statesman Law, to be even with his colleague, will shortly rehabilitate the ducking stool as a protection for hen pecked husband.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Mar 16, 1881


THE Philadelphia Press is clamoring for a revival of the old law which punished “common scolds” by public ducking. It says there is increasing frequency of “common scold” cases in the Pennsylvania courts, and suggest that a “gentle dip or two in the Delaware” would be more effective than a “temporary sojourn in the house of correction.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 1, 1882


This “lady” (I use the word loosely) sounds like quite a character:

South Chester Items.

A case was tried at 7 o’clock last evening before Justice Fields. A warrant was placed in the hands of Constable Elliott, on the oath of Margaret Slack, for the arrest of Margaret Reynolds, charging her with malicious mischief in throwing stones at her windows, appearing on the street in a nude condition, and being a common scold. The evidence was corroborated by several of the neighbors. The justice bound her over in the sum of  $200 bail for her appearance at the next court. She could not get bail. Constable Elliott had a serious time in getting her to the lockup. He had to drag her part of the way. She was determined that she would not go to the lockup, but the officer finally succeeded in getting her there.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Aug 19, 1882

Com. vs. Margaret Reynolds. — Assault and battery, common scold, open lewdness, malicious mischief, drunkenness; in fact charged with almost every crime at the tail end of the catalogue of criminal offenses, next engaged the court. Mrs. Slack was the prosecutor. Mr. Slack was her chief witness, and all lived next door to each other. Poor Margaret claimed a good character, told a tale of wondrous good works and got off, never to come back again.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Sep 21, 1882


More on the law…and a warning!

THE law on the statute books of Philadelphia providing for the punishment of women who are common scolds has been revived and a number of scolding women have been arrested and released on giving bond to keep the peace. The penalty for this offense is ducking and the ducking-stool will have to be resorted to should anyone be convicted. As this law applies with equal force to all parts of the State, some of our Indiana people should cut the item out and paste it on the looking glass.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Aug 7, 1889


Now, this one is particularly funny:


A Judicial Lecture to a Common Scold.

NEW YORK, Feb. 10. — Elizabeth Schultz, the old German woman who made such a nuisance of herself that she fell into the hands of Jersey justice and was convicted of the crime of being a common scold, was before Judge Hudspeth of Jersey City to-day for sentence.

“Madame,” said Judge Hudspeth, as she stood up to receive her sentence, “you occupy a unique position before this court, having had the inestimable distinction of being the second person convicted here of being a common scold. There was a time in the history of this state when such serious and reprehensible offenses as yours were punished by means of a ducking pond. But in this advanced age and more enlightened civilization the laws have been altered, so that it is in the power of the court to inflict a more humane punishment. Madame, apparently you have no control of your tongue at all. You are a nuisance. You have driven people out of the locality in which you live. You have disturbed the peace and comfort of your neighbors. You have made of yourself an unmitigated nuisance. Your offense against the peace of this commonwealth is a very grave one. You must keep quiet and silent. You must understand this. You must keep your tongue silent. The court has considered your case, and has given due weight to the appeals that have been made in your behalf. The sentence of the court is that you pay a fine of $10 and the costs of the prosecution.”

During this speech Mrs. Schultz had remained absolutely silent. When it was finished her lawyer led her to the clerk of the court and she paid the fines and costs, amounting in all to $76. Then she left the courtroom and trudged silently home. It should be added that Mrs. Schultz knows no English, and hence did not understand a word the judge said.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 15, 1893


A Common Scold.

POTTSDOWN, Pa., April 17. — Chief Burgess Evans committed Hannah Fry, a single woman, to prison, charged by Councilman March with being a common scold.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Apr 18, 1893

NOTE: At least two others were tried, Mrs.Hannah Underwood of Hopewood, acquitted in1890, and prior to her, Hannah Young, from Washington Twp., convicted, but found to be insane, so she was confined to an asylum, per an article in The Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) dated June 13, 1890.

Might want to think twice before naming a daughter,  Hannah.


Philadelphia North American:

Ellen Getz, who was sentenced to three months in the county prison yesterday, should have lived in the old Puritan days. Mrs. Getz’s offense was that of being a common scold and of using language that would put the proverbial swearing trooper to blush. Such cases are rare now, in those days, however, common scolds were numerous, and sometimes they were publicly ducked at the town pump; in rare cases publicly whipped; but usually they were bound and gagged and stood on the main street for several hours, bearing on their breasts a placard labeled: “Common Scold.” Mrs. Getz escaped all this, and she was lucky. Let her reflect accordingly. It is hard enough to hear a man swear; but a woman! Let us hope that Mrs. Getz, and all like her, will take Judge Gordon’s advice and put a bridle on their tongues for the future.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 18, 1895


FINALLY! A male scold gets his:

The shoe never appeared so ostentatiously on the other foot as it did the other day in a New York police court when a former subject of the kaiser was arraigned as a common scold and proven guilty on the testimony of the women of the neighborhood, whom he was always trying to drive inside from their doorsteps. He had even turned the hose on them when they stepped out for fresh air after ten o’clock. The court held him in $400 bonds for the future good behavior of his mouth, much to the delight of the neighbors.

“Who ever heard,” exclaimed his irate lawyer, “of a man being a common scold?”

“I did, just now,” his honor replied, “and unless he furnished $400 bail he will take a ride in the wagon outside.”

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 11, 1898


This may have been the first conviction for Fayette County, but Pennsylvania seems to be the most likely state to be charged with being a “common scold.” In fact, the law still may be on the books today, although I haven’t checked. I found an article from 1961 of a woman being charged with the crime. She seemed rather amused by  the whole thing.

For the first time in the history of Fayette county, Pa., a person has been convicted of being a common scold, a verdict having been rendered in the case of Mrs. Carrie Eicher, of near Brownsville. Adam H. Zeigler, a neighbor, made the complaint. Children started the trouble.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Sep 16, 1904

Carrie Eicher, who resides near Brownsville, Pa., in the vicinity of Uniontown, Pa., recently convicted on the charge of being a “common scold,” when she appeared for sentence was allowed to go on the payment of the costs, $35.21. Her attorney explained that she had moved away to Grindstone, and that she could no longer create a disturbance in the place where complaint was made against her.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Sep 28, 1904

For more on Scolds, see my post, “Common Scolds and Ducking Stools.”

Dot Your i’s and Cross Your t’s, Mary!

February 25, 2009


LAZY Mary Ann Dees
Never dotted her i’s nor crossed her t’s,
So the letters resolved they would give her no e’s,
And they fed her on pods without any p’s,
And at last they banished her over the e’s
To the kingdom of fogs that is known as Queen V’s.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Oct 19, 1881

Mine Explosion at Almy, Wyoming, 1881

February 17, 2009
Coal Mines at Almy, 1871

Coal Mines at Almy, 1871

The above picture is from the Wyoming Tales and Trails website. Warning: It has music playing.



SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 4 — A special from Evanston, Wy., to the Tribune says: “The gas in the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron company’s mine No. Two, at Almy station, on the Union Pacific road, exploded at 8.45 last evening, throwing the flames many hundred feet high out of the main slope, carrying away the buildings around the mouth of the shaft, and setting the machinery buildings on fire. About 15 minutes before the explosion from 10 to 30 white men and 50 Chinamen went down to work for the night. At two a.m. 17 Chinamen, more or less seriously injured, had been rescued, many with limbs broken and badly scalded. About 20 dead Chinamen have been discovered, but have not yet been brought up. No white man has yet been found, and there are no hopes that any are alive. The jar of the explosion was plainly felt at Evanston.”

A dispatch from Cheyenne says the night shift consisted of 50 Chinamen and five whites. Two of the whites were brought out in a crippled condition, and 15 Chinamen were rescued through the ventilating shaft, all of whom were more or less injured. It is believed that 35 Chinamen and two white men, are now in the mine which is on fire. The mine is owned by the Central Pacific railway, and was being worked at its full capacity. The accident will cause a suspension of work for a year.

Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York) Mar 5,  1881


Frightful Explosion in a Coal Mine —
Forty Men Killed.

EVANSTON, (Wyoming), Mar. 5.
A fearful explosion took place in mine No. 2 last night. The cause is not definitely known, but it is supposed to be by gas generated by fire in the abandoned mine No. 1, which has been burning for the past six years, and is separated from mine No. 2 by wide walls only. The explosions completely demolished all the buildings over the main stope and, setting fire to these, burned them, together with the engine and other houses adjoining. There were sixty Chinamen and four white men in the mine. Of the latter, Mr. Gillespie, John Barton and Josiah Crosby were taken out dead, and Charles Beverage alive, but very dangerously burned, but may recover. Twenty-five Chinamen have been brought to the surface, all badly scalded and many with broken limbs. The balance are probably dead. The white men were all married and leave large families. The fire in the mine is now out, and everything possible is being done for the recovery of the balance of bodies and for the injured.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Mar 7,  1881

Coughing up a Confederate Ball of Cast-Iron

February 17, 2009
William J. Bolton

William J. Bolton

This first article I found after the one that follows about General Bolton coughing up the Confederate bullet. I found it interesting in that it seems the Democrats used similar campaign tactics in this past current election as were used back in 1880 (finding so-called Republicans who were “in the bag” for their candidate).


Montgomery county is getting a good deal of newspaper notoriety because it is the birthplace of Hancock, and one or two of its leading Republican citizens have declared their intention to vote for the Democratic nominee for President. The West Chester Village Record strikes at the matter in this manner: At the same time that it is ludicrous, and therefore, somewhat entertaining, the persistency of the discouraged Hancock press in trying to find recruits among the Republicans of Montgomery county becomes rather tiresome. The fact that there are not or [of?] any consequence has been perfectly demonstrated for some time, but the Philadelphia Times, after having made several efforts, sent a reporter up to Norristown, a few days ago, to attempt something heroic. He was determined, probably, to bring back a bagful of names, if he had to copy them off tomb-stones. The result was that he came in with four names and lots of padding. Among the four, of course, were Dr. Read and George Bultock, who must be getting somewhat fatigued by this time at their perpetual elevation on Democratic poles, as captives from the Republicans, and the other two were General W.J. Bolton and Mr. B.E. Chain.

Winfield S. Hancock

Winfield S. Hancock

It now proves that General Bolton is not for Hancock after all, and he publishes a vigorous letter saying so; while Mr. Chain, though a loyal man during the war, has always been a Democrat, and his support of Hancock was, of course, to be expected. It must be remarked that the Times, in printing without any revision General Bolton’s earnest letter defining his position, makes a palpable mistake. It looks odd, of course, and so would the letters of most men without revision by the editor and care by the proof reader. But the force and clearness of the missive are not obscured; it is easily understood, and its distinct declaration that the writer is not to be caught in a Democratic trap, even with a Union General as bait, will not be misapprehended. We suggest, with much respect, to our esteemed contemporary, that if General Bolton had written to it, saying that he was for Hancock, pains would have been taken to put his letter in first-rate order for the compositor’s hands, and that such a discrimination tells as much as a whole chapter of confession.

General Bolton had few advantages of education, but he was a brave soldier, and sustained terrible wounds at Antietam; and if he does not write a perfectly-constructed and exactly-punctuated letter, he makes one that goes to the front — as his leadership did in battle eighteen years ago. Had he voted for Hancock, we should not have assailed him; as he votes, however, with the party that sustained the Union armies, we all the more rejoice at his sound sense. But it is not about time to admit that the Hancock recruits in Montgomery county are not forthcoming?

James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield

Even the General’s first cousins, Republicans all their lives, will vote for Garfield, and the county is as unshaken by the Cincinnati nomination as if any other man had been chosen to carry the Solid South’s banner.

The Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) Aug 12, 1880



After Seventeen Years.
[Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette.]

NORRISTOWN, May 22. — General Wm. Bolton was yesterday relieved of a Confederate bullet in his neck, which has been a source of pain for seventeen years past. While Colonel of the Fifty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and awaiting orders on a mound at the time of the famous mine explosion at Petersburg, July 30, 1864, a Confederate canister shell exploded near him and a small bullet entered the lower right jaw at the very point where he had received a bullet wound some years previous at the battle of Antietam. Forty distinct incisions were made a few weeks later, but without success. Since then General Bolton has felt pain and oppression in his neck, especially during damp weather. Yesterday he had occasion to stoop while attending to a customer in his store, and was immediately taken with a violent fit of coughing. Placing his hand instinctively over his mouth, something dropped into his hand. On removing the blood and mucous covering  of the object he found it to be the painful little ball of Confederate cast-iron. It was covered with rust, weighed 273 grains Troy, and the surface was covered with sharp ridges.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 27, 1881

General Bolton of Norristown, carries a novel charm on his watch chain. It is the bullet which he received in the war and which he coughed up a short time ago.

Chester Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Jun 20, 1881



Member of Vicksburg and Antietam Battlefield Commissions.

Philadelphia Aug. 2 — Brig Gen William J Bolton died to-day of heart failure, at the age of seventy-four years. Gen Bolton served through the civil war in the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers first as captain of a company and finally as colonel of the regiment, and was brevetted brigadier general. He was wounded at Antietam and at Petersburg. Gen Bolton was a member of the Vicksburg and Antietam battlefield commissions.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Aug 3, 1906

Willard DeWitt: Indiana Pioneer, 1776-1881

February 6, 2009
Dewitt Family 1880 Census

Dewitt Family 1880 Census

The Oldest Man in Steuben County.
Correspondence of the SENTINEL.
CHAMBERLAIN, Oct. 1, 1880.

I have been up in Steuben county visiting Father De Witt, the oldest man in the county. He will be one hundred and six years old next March. When I went there he was out husking corn. He carried the corn in a twelve-quart pail–I helped him pick up four or five bushels. He then told me to go to the house and visit with them, he said that he must husk some more corn. He said that he would come up after while. He has four daughters, the youngest is ten years old. Before I came away I asked him to read to me. He then turned to his wife and asked her what he should read in. The Bible was handed to him, he turned to Romans, the ninth chapter, and read from the first to the twenty-third verses–he read without specs. He was an officer in the M.E. church for about forty years. I believe he is now a member of the Wesleyan Methodist. He resigned his office in the church about nine years ago. Below will be found a piece written by his own hand.

“Whereas has been circulated in the Steuben Republican, and I am informed other papers, that I had been a class leader in the Methodist church; and now, when over one hundred years of age, that I am a Universalist. Let me state a few facts: I feel very much grieved that any one should think that the devil had got me as he had Mother Eve. I have been a member of the M.E. church for forty years, and filled various offices in that society, and exhorted men to flee from the wrath to come. It is true I have been a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church for many years, endorsing its reformatory principles. I am trying to live Godly in Christ Jesus, and only regret whatever I may have fallen short in my efforts so to do. I believe there is a devil to despise and regret. I believe there is a God to love and obey, a hell to shun, a heaven to gain. I am looking earnestly toward the place Jesus is preparing for me, that where he is I may be also, and I would disown the kinsman that would circulate so base a falsehood on an old man whom God has blessed and helped in the world for more than a hundred years. As many papers as have circulated the former, please copy. This is signed with my own hand.”


Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 13, 1880


This is a second  marriage for Willard. Previously, he was married to a woman named Elizabeth Mosier, who died in 1860.

Name:  Willard Dewitt
Spouse Name: Sarah B. Flood
Marriage Date: 26 Mar 1861
Marriage County: Dekalb
Performed By: S. W. Widney
Source Title 2: EARLY MARRIAGE RECORDS 1837 – 1882
Source Title 3: BOOK II
OS Page: 88


From a newspaper clipping (Steuben Republican)–28 Jan., 1881. Sent by Robert & Harriet Hippenhamer.

“Last Friday morning, at a little past midnight, Uncle Willard DeWitt, the oldest surviving soldier of the War of 1812, and the oldest person in this section of the country, closed his eyes on the scenes of this world. According to the best authority obtainable, he was born March 25, 1776, therefore, was about 105 years of age at the time of his death. He served for some time in the War of 1812, being a member of Capt. I. Bartlett’s New York militia. For the past nine years he has received a government pension of $8 per month, obtained for him by Lawrence Gates*. He was married a few years ago to a woman many years his junior. She bore him several children, She still resides with them on their farm in Scott township.”

Posted by an anonymous source on


*CAPT. LAWRENCE GATES, an honored veteran of the Civil war and one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Angola, was born in Germany April 25, 1839, and received his early education thee and then came to America. He arrived at Angola in 1853 and had some further education in the schools at Nevada Mills in Steuben County. He worked as a clerk in Angola until 1862, when he volunteered in Company H of the Seventy-Fourth Indiana Infantry. For his meritorious service he was promoted to first lieutenant and later to captain. and served until May 15, 1865. He was in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and in the Atlanta campaign. Two weeks after the fall of Atlanta he lost a leg during a railroad wreck. After the war Captain Gates engaged in the dry goods business at Angola, and was one of the local business men who organized the First National Bank. He held the post of director as long as he was content to serve. In recent years he has busied himself with a fire insurance agency. He is a Republican and cast a vote in 1860 for Abraham Lincoln and Oliver Morton. He was first city clerk of Angola after the incorporation of the town. He is a past grand patriarch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and his family are members of the Christian Church.

History of northeast Indiana : LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties
Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1920


Lived to be 105 years old. Politically a Whig but subsequently became a Republican and Abolitionist. He was a strong and zealous Methodist class leader.

[Ellis and Owens Families.FTW]

Posted by Harold McClure on