Posts Tagged ‘Springview NE’

Horse Thief Was a Thief-ette

July 22, 2010

HER SEX REVEALED

WOMAN CONVICT ESCAPES DETECTION ONE YEAR.

SENSATION IN PENITENTIARY

HORSETHIEF PROVES TO BE A YOUNG GIRL.

“Burt” Martin Convicted as a Man Turns Out to Be Lean Martin — Had a Male Cellmate.

For eleven months a woman has been imprisoned in the Nebraska penitentiary garbed as a man. She was tried, convicted and sentenced in Keya Paha county on a charge of horse stealing all the time dressed in man’s garb, and she passed the scrutiny of the guards at the entrance to the prison eleven months ago with the secret of her sex preserved. Now she is once more garbed in woman’s clothing and in this dress, she will spend the remainder of her three year sentence.

Discovery Made.

That such an unusual occurrence could happen considering the gauntlet every person admitted to the penitentiary must run seems incredible. Yet the discovery of the sex was not made till two days ago, by the prison authorities. The woman’s real name is Lena Martin but she has been known as Burt Martin and under this name she has gone for many years. Her father is dead but her mother resides not far from Springview. she was sentenced for rustling horses and when she came down to Lincoln, she had the reputation of being good at “borrowing” animals. The convict Martin was always regarded as of rather delicate constitution. He had small feet and small hands. His face was like that of a young boy as he was only nineteen years old when admitted. He was five feet, eight inches in height and weighed 140 pounds. He was employed in the broom factory and performed his duties well as the ordinary prisoner.

Were the Guards Napping.

When a prisoner is admitted to the penitentiary, he is thoroughly examined for identifying marks and one of the first duties of the guards is to give a bath in a large open bath room where any peculiarity or deformity would be noticed and made note of as a means of identification in case of escape. Nothing is now known of the incidents surrounding the admission of the young woman as this occurred eleven months ago under the previous administration. The guards might have been napping when she entered or the girl may have been more than usually clever at concealment. She was passed through and given a suit of stripes and since that time has not given the authorities any cause for suspicion until recently.

Whispers of a Mystery.

It was whispered about the prison among the convicts that a mystery surrounded the personality of young Martin. Some of the prisoners talked much of Martin’s cell mate and gave a gentle hint to the guards that an investigation would result in a revelation. At this time the prison physician was called upon to tend the cell mate and the secret was revealed by degrees.

As soon as discovered, the young woman wanted to be garbed in woman’s dress but the penitentiary authorities did not have a stock on hand and the steward was compelled to come to Lincoln and get a complete lady’s outfit. So not till yesterday was the lady horsethief once more dressed in woman’s clothes. She took the discovery of her sex without much chagrin and appeared to regard the matter as a rather comical incident.

The prison authorities know little about the history of the case before it came to them. The young woman lived in a county where the stock interests are large and where there are many cases of cattle rustling. When she gave her name to be entered on the records, she told the officers that she was a married man.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 4, 1901

Convict a Woman.

Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 1 — For 11 months the officials at the Nebraska state penitentiary have supposed that a prisoner known as Burt Martin was a man. The discovery that the convict is a woman and that her real name is Lena Martin was made two days ago by the prison physician. She was arrested, tried and convicted at Spring View, Keya Paha county, as a man, a year ago, for horse stealing. She seemed to take it as a joke when the discovery was made. Her mother lives near Springview. She is 20 years of age, large and coarsely built.

Lima Times Democrat ( Lima, Ohio) Oct 4, 1901

WOMAN CONVICTED AS MAN.

Her Sex Discovered Only After She Had Remained in the Penitentiary Eleven Months.

For For 11 months the officials at the Nebraska state penitentiary have supposed that a prisoner known as Burt Martin was a man. The discovery that the convict is a woman and that her real name is Lena Martin was made two days ago by the prison physician. She was arrested, tried and convicted at Spring View, Keya Paha county, as a man, a year ago, for horse stealing. Recently her cell mate intimated to the guards that an investigation would not be barren of developments. This was made when the prison physician was called to attend her.

She has donned woman’s clothes and will serve out the remainder of her three-year sentence. She seemed to take it as a joke when the discovery was made. Her mother lives near Springview. She is 20 years of age, large, and coarsely built for a woman. She comes from a ranch country, and was not known by her nearest neighbors, 20 miles away.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Nov 1, 1901

Governor Savage

PARDONS DISGUISED WOMAN.

OMAHA, Neb., June 23. — Governor Savage has released from the state penitentiary the convict who was sentenced under the name of Bert Martin, but who after a year was found to be a woman named Lena Martin. The woman had masqueraded for years as a man and was convicted of cattle-stealing. Recently her sex was discovered and on the promise that she would return to the home of her mother in Springview, Neb., and live an honest life she was pardoned yesterday.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Jun 23, 1902

LENA IS PARDONED ON PROMISING TO BE GOOD

LINCOLN, Neb., June 24. — Lena Martin, a woman convict in the Nebraska penitentiary, recovered while disguised as a man, was released from prison by Governor Savage on her pledge to reform. Lena carried on a deception for several years in northern Nebraska, but finally was arrested for cattle stealing and was sentenced to the penitentiary for three years. The prosecution was against “Bert” Martin, a man, and to the eye of the laws  he was still a man for a full year after entering the penitentiary for the prison authorities did not until that time discover her sex.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jun 25, 1902

Mrs. Holton Meets an Awful Fate

July 12, 2010

Main St. and Courthouse - Springview, Keyapaha Co., Nebraska

Image from Bad Men and Bad Towns – By Wayne C. Lee

THEY LYNCH A WOMAN.

Mrs. Holton Meets an Awful Fate In Keya Paha County.

OUTRAGED BEFORE BEING HANGED.

Her Body Discovered in Her Cabin With a Rope Tied About the Neck — Evidences of a Terrible Struggle — She Was Suspected of Giving Up Secrets of Thieves to the Authorities.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19. — Mrs. W.E. Holton of Keya Paha county was found dead in her home last night by neighbors. She had been lynched. Her body was lying on the floor with a piece of rope, about 10 feet long, and a hatchet and a hammer beside her. The coroner was summoned and an autopsy showed that she had died of strangulation, and had also been assaulted. The woman was living alone, as her husband had been sent to an insane asylum. It is supposed the motive of the lynching was to prevent the woman from giving testimony against the rustlers, as she had been summoned as a witness against a gang of thieves in the county. She had borne a good reputation. It was evident that she had fought a hard fight for her life and her honor, as the bedding and clothing were torn and scattered around the room.

No warrants have yet been made, but a meeting of the best citizens of the neighborhood was held yesterday, and it was decided prompt measures should be taken, and it is expected that another and possibly several hangings will take place before long.

Several Under Suspicion.

Several persons are under suspicion, and these parties will be taken and compelled to confess.

The body of Mrs. Holton was interred at Oakdale cemetery at Doty, this county, yesterday.

The latest report comes that a man named Hunt is implicated in some way with the lynchers, and it is thought he can be forced to a confession. A number of the alleged rustlers were recently arrested and taken to Springview, where they broke jail and escaped to the reservation, where they were afterward recaptured and convicted.

The country where the lynching occurred is in the heart of the cattle rustling district.

Money Found on the Body.

The coroner’s jury after viewing the body delivered a verdict in accordance with the circumstances, that the deceased came to her death by hanging, and that the deed was committed by a person or persons unknown to the jury. A large sum of money was found on the body which had escaped the observation of the lynching party. The house was thoroughly ransacked and several articles of value, including a new Colt’s revolver, were missing.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Mar 19, 1895

TERRIBLE REVENGE

Wreaked Upon a Woman Who Knew Too Much

FOR THE WELLBEING OF HER ENEMIES.

Taken from Her Bed, Cruelly Outraged and Lynched by Cattle Thieves who Feared Her Testimony Before the Vigilants.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19 — News of a terrible tragedy has just reached this place. It occurred last Thursday in Keya Paha county, near Rocksburg. Mrs. W.H. Holton, who was living alone on her farm, was taken from her bed, cruelly outraged and then lynched. A neighbor discovered the deed the next morning when he passed by the home. The woman was found lying on the floor of her dwelling, surrounded by her scattered and torn clothing and the clothing of her bed. Tracks of many men’s feet were found in the yard and in the house.

No warrants have yet been issued, but a meeting of the citizens of the neighborhood was held Sunday, and it was decided that prompt measures should be taken.

The body of Mrs. Holton was interred at Oakdale cemetery at Doty Sunday.

Keya Paha county is noted for its lynchings by vigilants. There is no doubt but that the crime was committed by rustlers, who have been running off horses and cattle from the neighborhood, and who have reason to fear the vigilant committee.

The latest report says that a man named Hunt is implicated in some way with the lynchers, and it is thought he can be forced to confess.

A number of alleged rustlers were recently arrested and taken to Springview, where they broke jail and escaped to the reservation, where they were afterward recaptured and convicted. The proximity of the Indian reservation to the scene of the depredation makes it possible that United States deputy marshals may have to make arrests if warrants are sworn out.

Mrs. Holton is said to have assisted in securing the conviction of the cattle thieves, and this is their revenge.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 19, 1895

MRS. HOLTON’S LYNCHERS.

Possible Clue Being Followed by the Sheriff.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19. — The authorities think they have struck a clue that may lead to the apprehension of the lynchers of Mrs. Holton. Mrs. Holton was a German woman about 50 years old and fairly well to do. Her husband, Theodore Holton, was sent to the hospital for the insane at Norfolk about eighteen months ago. Since that time the wife had lived alone on the ranch, the couple having no children. She looked after the bunch of cattle they owned and managed to prosper much as when her husband lived with her. They had been in this section of the country a number of years and well-known to the cattle men of all descriptions. It is just this acquaintance that undoubtedly brought about the crime. She was the principal witness against a young fellow named Davis, charged with stealing horses. It is believed that he knows of the crime. His whereabouts are now unknown. This led the sheriff in following and he expects results in the near future.

The county in which this crime was committed is far removed from the railroad and telegraph, and there are no towns near from which information could be readily secured. It is thinly settled and of such a character that it is not improbable that this will be only one more added to the list of violent deaths that have occurred in that portion of the state which will never be explained or brought home to any one, though the authorities believe they can locate the criminals.

The Fort Wayne Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Mar 20, 1895