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Genealogy Trails - Calhoun County, Illinois

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Crime News Gleanings

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Desperados Defying the Law
Clarksville, MO., September 26.- A Shooting affray occurred near Hamburg Bay, in Calhoun county, Illinois, yesterday, in which Sheriff John Lammil was killed by Ed Maxwell and Lou Maxwell, better known as the Williams brothers, who made a reputation in Wisconsin some time since, and John H. Churchman and Frank McNaff, of the Sheriff's posse, were slightly wounded. G. W. Roberts, the Deputy Sheriff of Pike county, and others started to arrest the desperados, but were kept back by their steady firing. Roberts came here and started to Troy to give warning to the Sheriff there to get out a posse of men to keep guard at certain river points.
[Source: The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) September 27, 1881. Transcribed by BW]

Calhoun Conservation - Old Traditions
Hardin, in Calhoun County, Ill., is not far from Spunky Point, which the late John Hay located in Pike County, adjoining Calhoun County on the north. Nobody ever has been able to definitely locate Spunky Point. But the fact that Hay, in his Pike County Ballads, names it as the place where Tilmon Joy defied the "white man's committee" gives it a verisimilitude it lacks in geography. For no negro was allowed to remain in Pike County and when Tilmon Joy, a wounded soldier, home on an invalid furlough, brought with him from Vicksburg, the negro body servant, who had rescued him after he was left for dead on the field, the "white man's committee" visitedd him and warned him to send the negro away, according to the resolutions adopted at a meeting. "You kin resoloot till the cows come home" was the answer of Tilman Joy in the Pike County Ballads, "but if one o' you teches that boy, he'll wrassel his hash tonight in hell, or my name's not Tilman Joy." There was an outcry of clergymen and ladies at the profanity appearing in Hay's ballads in the later 70's. But the poet was only using a poetic license, for the incident narrated actually did occur in Pike County, the name of Tilman Joy being actually D. E. Bates, a Federal Captain, wounded in front of Vicksburg and who, perhaps, was even more profane that the poet tells. At any rate, he was profane enough to keep his servant with him in Pike County. But things do not always fall out so. The other day a steamboat marooned a negro deck hand a few miles from Pike County, in Calhoun County, which maintains the old traditions that no negro shall remain within its boundaries. The marooned deck hand, as soon as discovered, was rowed across the Illinois River to Greene County, which, although heavily democratic, has no traditions of that kind to maintain. Even Pike County has now taken down the bars. But Calhoun County remains true to the holy memories of the past.
[Source: Rock Island Argus., September 12, 1912, Home Edition, Page 4, Image 4
Calhoun Conservation (St. Louis Globe-Democrat) - Transcribed by Koni Proctor]

Large Haul of Burglars
We learned from Mr. F. D. C. Shaw of Calhoun County, that all but one of the burglars engaged in the operations at Carrollton on the 3rd, of which an account was furnished by our correspondent, were arrested on the night of the 7th, near Johnson's Landing, about 20 miles from Hardin, Calhoun Co., by Deputy Sheriff Morrow and a posse of ten men from Greene County, aided by constable Lillard and ten others, residents of Calhoun Co.
The buglars were traced from Carrollton to the Illinois River, where they had taken a skiff and gone down the river. When the Sheriff reached Calhoun Co., the parties afterwards arrested, were pointed out as supsicious characters, and on proceeding to their place of rendevous, at the house of Jack Conklin, the stolen goods were found, and all the money except about $75 in silver, together with a considerable stock of fancy dry goods, such as ribbons, laces, silks and also a splendid roseewood melodeon.
The names of the burglars concerned in the Carrollton robbery are Washington Bennett, John Bennett, Martin Williams, Ben. Williams and Jack Ross, alias Gordon, who have been lodged in the jail of Carrollton. Conklin, his wife and a Miss Lizzie Lawrence, residents of the house at which the burglars were found, were also arrested for receiving stolen goods and were delivered into the custody of the officers of Calhoun County. John Bennett seized the gun of the Sheriff, knocked him down and attempted to escape, but was shot in the leg by Constable Lillard and re-captured.
The greatest villian of the gang, a man named Stewart, alias Clifford, alias Whitfield, was absent at the time of the arrest of the others and is still at large. He is described as a shrewd man who passes himself off as a Methodist clergyman.
[Source: - Alton Weekly Telegraph(Alton, Illinois) 12 April 1855, page 2]

F.G. Greathouse, a lawyer from Calhoun county, arrived today to assist the local attorneys in the defense of the Stiles brothers, held for the murder of Carl Wendt, of Cordova. Source: [Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Ill.), July 03, 1901]

Murder in Calhoun County.
The perpeitrator is arrested and narrowly escapes lynching

On Monday last, Mr. John Gresham, a citizen of Pleasant Hill was murdered in a most shocking manner by a man named Bart Barnes. The circumstances connected with the case, so far as we can learn, are substantially as follows: Mr. Gresham had been across the river to Clarksville on business and on returning to this side he was met by Barnes who asked him if he could ride. Gresham told him to get into the wagon, which he did and after riding a short distance, an altercation arose between them which resulted in Barnes throwing Gresham (who was slightly intoxicated) out of the wagon, and jumping on him stamped out his brains and otherwise disfiguring the body. A small boy who had accompanied Gresham gave teh alarm of murder, which was heard by two men who were in a skiff a short way from the shore, who immediately landed and pursued the murderer and captured him after a short chase, and took him to Pleasant Hill, where a preliminary examination was helf, after which the prisoner was taken to Hardin, Calhoun County to await his trial before the Circuit Court of that County. [Source: - Pittsfiled, Il, Democrat, March 8, 1871]

The Calhoun County Murder
Bartholomew Barnes Sentenced to be Hanged at Pittsfiled, Ill., Dec. 29th, 1871, for the murder of John Gresham
Resume of the Evidence and Sentence by Judge C. L. Iligbee
The Pittsfield, Ill papers of last week, give the particulars of the conviction and sentence of Bartholowmew Barnes for the murder of John Gresham, in Calhoun County, on the 27th of February last, the particulars of which were published in the Whig at the time. Barnes was indicted at teh last May term of the Circuit Court of Calhoun County and took a change of venue to Pike County.
Barnes, when brought out ot receive the sentence of the court, strongly protested his innoncence, but no doubt is felt of his guilt, as tehe testimony of one or two witnesses was of the most direct and positive character. Judge C. L. Illigbee, of the Pike County Circuit Court, who pronounced the sentence of death, gave the following resume of the evidence, which will recall the leading incidents of the murder published in the Whig at the time.
From teh evidece, it appears that sometime about the first of February last, for some cause (which is not apparent), you became very much enraged against teh deceased, in the town of Pleasant Hill, and threatened to whip him. When told by the town Constable that that would not be permitted and that he would arrest you if you did not keep (unreadalbe text), you stated that you would see teh deceased at som other time and tear his heart out. On the 27th day of February, teh deceased, his son, some fifteen years of age and yourself, were in Clarksville, MO, and crossed the river on your return in the same boat, the deceased and his son were in a wagon, and after the boat landed, as they were leaving the river for home, you asked the privilege of riding with them, to which the boy objected, his father being quite drunk at the time. You then said to them that if they would let you ride, you would be quiet and peaceable, whereupon the deceased consented and you got into the wagon and seated yourself on a board by the side of the deceased, the boy standing up in front driving.
You had gone but a short distance when some words passed, but no blows or attempt to strike ensued, and the jumped out saying, "damned old son of a bitch". At the time you jumped out, the board on which the deceased was seated tipped up and he fell out on the other side, on his back, near the wagon and near to a fence. You ran to the back of the wagon and to where the deceased lay, and turning your to the fence, you seized the rails with your hands to steady yourself, and with the deceased lying on his back immediately in front of you, with the heel ofyour boot, you stamped the face, and head, and breast of the deceased until you killed him.
The evidence shows that in this brutal manner, and when the deceased was lying on his back perfectly helpless, in the presence of his son and another witness, who was near by, you stamped him from 8 to 12 times, breaking his nose, cheekbone and jaw, and crushihng out one eye, and forced the heel of your boot through the skull and into the brain more than an inch depth, and so crushed and disfigured the face that it could not be recognized by Dr. Thomas, who had lived near his neighbor, the deceased, for twenty years.
While engaged in this work of death, Mr. Oyler, who was a short distance off and saw it all, hallooed and started to run to you. You were pursued and captured in a few minutes, and blood was found all over the heel of your boot, with hair and whickers still adhering to it. Soon after you declared that you had not seen the deceased on that day. In answer to all this proof, you produced a single withness, your brother, who testified that in the fall of 1869, the deceased made some threats against you, which so far as teh evidence shows, he never attempted to execute. Beyond this, you offer no explanation or justification of this dreadful crime.
Upon this proof the jury have found you guilty of murder, and their verdict declares that you shall suffer death by hanging. You have been well defended, by able attorneys - fairly tried - and, as it seems to me, properly convicted, and it only remains now for the Court to pronounce the judgment of the law, which is to deprive you of you life. Unpleasant as this duty is, I am not at liberty to shrink from it. You have deprived John Gresham of his like by a foul and brutal murder and the law demands your life as penatly.
As the time which can be extended to you to prepare to meet this dreadful punishment is limited by law, let me admonish you not to spend it in vain effortss to arrest your doom, but rather devote every moment of the time alloted you to prepare fo rthe final trail, where injustice is never done and where all must answer for every act of this life.
It is the order of this Court, Bartholomew Barnes, that you be taken from hence to the county jail of this county, and there be confined until Friday, the 29th day of December, A.D. 1871, and that between the hours of 10 o'clock a.m. and 3 p.m., of said day, in said jail, and in the presence of the witnesses required by law, you be hanged by the neck until you are dead! [Source: - Alton Weekly Telegraph(Alton, Illinois) 1871

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