Illinois Genealogy Trails

Franklin County, Illinois
Crime News


THE KU-KLUX
The news from Springfield, in regard to the Franklin County troubles, bear a very monotonous complexion. The Governor and State's Attorney Barr were "in consultation" for days, but no intimation of the conclusion arrived at were allowed to leak out. Gov. Beveridge had also sent for J. P. Van Dorsten, United States district attorney; these two were also in consultation, Judge Treat of the United States court, and other officials participated in their deliberations and it was finally concluded that it was best not to take to Springfield any of the persons who might be arrested under the Kuklux law, as the expense of transporting the accused and the many witnesses would be very great. It was decided to take the accused before Hon. A. P. Curlee, of Tamaroa or Hon. Isaac Clements of Carbondale, both of these being United States commissioners. Mr. Van Dorsten on his departure from Springfield took with him the warrants for the arrest of a number of persons in Franklin and other counties.
[Source: Tuesday, 24 Aug 1875, The Cairo Daily Bulletin, transcribed by Darrel Dexter.]

THE FRANKLIN COUNTY WAR BOILED DOWN.
The newspaper reports of the Franklin County war are greatly exaggerated. There have only been three captures, Neal, Cantrell and Duckworth. Cantrell who is peppered with birdshot is under guard in the hotel at Benton. He is allowed the freedom of the house and spends the most of his time on the porch, where he converses freely on the situation. Duckworth, wounded in three places, lies in a room in the hotel. The wounds are not dangerous and he will recover, unless a change for the worse takes place. He had a bullet behind his right ear, one penetrated the right side of his neck, and one went through his right arm. He confesses to being a Ku-klux, but says the penalty for revelation is death. His membership of the band dated back only about one month. Duckworth claims that he fired no shots, being too badly scared to use his pistol. He fell from his horse with the full uniform of the Kuklux on. Neal asserts that he was not with the party. Neal is the son of a minister who formerly preached in Benton. The general supposition is that he is the leader of the band. He is forty-three years of age. Cantrell is thirty-eight and Duckworth twenty-one.
[Source: Tuesday, 24 Aug 1875, The Cairo Daily Bulletin, transcribed by Darrel Dexter.]

Sunday, 5 Sep 1875:
THE KU-KLUX
William Boyd, arrested at Mount Vernon as a Ku-Klux, is in Tamaroa, in charge of Capt. Hogan. Henry Johnson, another of the gang was arrested at Ashley. Sheriff Frank Mason, of Franklin County, is also at Tamaroa, with James Lawnins, who was unable to give bonds. Commissioner Curtice is reported unwell, which may cause postponement of further trials. The dispatches say that startling developments may be expected.
[Source: The Cairo Daily Bulletin, 05 Sept 1875; transcribed by Darrel Dexter.]

Sunday, 5 Sep 1875:
FIRST GUN FROM THE BUSH.
In Franklin County, on the 2d inst., a Ku-klux fired through a window, with a rifle, at Bill Dungee. Bill is the good citizen who received the bundle of hickory withes, with note attached, etc., and instead of following the advice given, hunted up a supposed Ku-Klux and gave him a sound drubbing. A rifle ball comes back in return, and now Bill Dungee must commence a vendetta and go gunning as they do in Williamson County. [Source: The Cairo Daily Bulletin, 05 Sept 1875; transcribed by Darrel Dexter.]

Sunday, 5 Sep 1875:
Beveridge sent guns and accoutrements to Williamson County for Sheriff Norris' use. Norris felt grateful, but did not consider that the governor had done the full thing in the way of military supplies, and sent on a requisition to Springfield for one hundred horses. One hundred Williamson County men on horseback, armed with pistols and rifles and a little "suthla" under their beltsand we would have news from that county of a lively nature. Beveridge may be incompetent and a howling Methodist, and a penurious fellow, but he couldn't see the necessity of sending one hundred horses down to Williamson. [Source: The Cairo Daily Bulletin, 05 Sept 1875; transcribed by Darrel Dexter.]


DOCTOR INDICTED
Is Charged With Murdering Couple For Insurance Money.
Benton, Ills, Dec. 3 - Dr. B. F. Brayfield, of Mulkeytown, Ills. was indicted on charges of murder and forgery growing out of the deaths of his wife and Reuben B. Parrish in that town, and the subsequent efforts of Brayfield and Mr. Parrish to collect life insurance from fraternal orders of which the deceased persons were members. Dr. Brayfield is charged with poisoning Parrish, who was the agent of the Illinois Central railroad at Mulkeytown. On the day that Parrish died, Mrs. Brayfield became ill. She was attended by her husband until March 15, when she died. [The Winchester News. (Winchester, Ky.), 03 Dec. 1908]


Frank McDONALD of Benton and formerly of Terre Haute, Indiana shot and killed John MAROVICH at Keller Mine near Sesser some ten miles northewest of Benton and then shot himself. The men had argued over some furniture Mc Donald had bought at Marovich's store [11-13-1915 Benton Paper]

October 26, 1888 - A tragedy occurred at Thompsonville at the Boarding House of
John MORRIS Wednesday night. Warren JORDAN, post master at Fitt's Mill, and John WILLIAMS of Frankfort were both killed. They and others had been drinking and playing cards when a quarrel arose over 23 cents. WILLIAMS drew a knife and cut JORDAN on his face and arms. JORDAN then drew a pistol and shot WILLIAMS twice. JORDAN then turned and left, going about 100 yards when Charlie WILLIAMS, a brother to John, came up behind him and hit JORDAN in the back of the head with a hatchet, cutting out his brains. JORDAN died about 3 hours later. Charlie WILLIAMS is now in jail. All of the parties are from excellent families and of the first settlers of the county. JORDAN has an excellent family and was himself a noble man of splendid impulses and a generous disposition, though a few times in his life a little wild. WILLIAMS was said to be of a generous nature but addicted to drinking.

WOMAN POLICE CHIEF CAPTURES TWO BANDITS
Organizes Posse and Runs Down Two of Four Men Who Robbed a Crap Game
BENTON, Ill., Feb. 16. -  Miss Lissie Overturff, Chief of Police at Buckner, near here, this afternoon arrested two of four armed bandits who had held up a crap game and obtained $700 after wounded John Hall, a bystander, in the left arm.  Miss Overturff organized a posse that pursued the quarry several miles into the country. Two of the bandits attempted to hide in a field, but the posse surrounded them and Miss Overturn disarmed them and brought them in.
[c. Feb 1921]

Officer Slain in Dance Hall Melee.
Benton, Ill., May 17 1921
John KELLY, constable of Zeigler, a nearby mining town, was shot to death Sunday night after killing two foreigners and wounding four others in a pistol duel in a dance hall where he had gone to quell a disturbance. Many of the dancers were intoxicated, according to the authorities, and the hall was in an uproar. When KELLY attempted to disarm a man who was flourishing a revolver, it was said, he was attacked by several other men and the shooting ensued.
[Fort Worth Star-Telegram May 17 1921 Location: Fort Worth, TX]

Jack Kundrazerwrz, of Hoopeston, Ill., entered a plea of guilty to having illicit liquor in his possession and was fined $250 by Judge English who ordered him to stand committed to jail until fine and costs are paid. He also goes to Danville, as does Mike Shoter, of Sesser, who admitted making and having liquor. Shoter got 60 days and a fine of $400.
[23 Nov 1922, Cook County Herald-Arlington Heights,Illinois]

Convicted for Murder
Wednesday, February 22nd 1922
John Savant, convicted in Franklin county for the murder of a boy and who was sentenced to hang, is to pay that penalty on Friday morning of this week. While Savant is said to have abandoned all hope of being saved, opinion around Benton seems to be divided about equally as to the fatal outcome. Hundreds of people in that county visited the county jail yard in Benton Sunday last in an effort to get a glimpse of the scaffold that has already hanged three men and is about to claim its fourth victim, and which is now in place. The scaffold is built immediately east of the jail and as Savant stands on the trap he will face the east and will go down to his doom about the time the sun casts its first rays of light over the city hall building. The stockade is so constructed that it will be impossible for outsiders to see what is going on within. It was opened to the public for a short time Sunday and hundreds took advantage of the opportunity and saw the scaffold from which Savant will hang. Attorneys for the condemned man are making every effort to have sentence commuted or at least give him a longer lease on life, and it is the belief of many that even if Savant does pay the penalty, it will not be on next Friday. It is said Savant spends much of his time in playing a phonograph in the jail and staying up as late as 2 o'clock in the morning writing letters, most of them to his wife. Harrisburg will send a few citizens over to witness the execution, but just who will constitute the contingent from this city we have not learned as yet.
[Daily Register - Harrisburg, Illinois 1922] [Submitted by: Roni MILLER]

Stay of Execution
Thursday, February 23rd 1922 -- John Savant, who was to have hanged in Benton tomorrow morning about sunup, has been granted a stay of execution by Governor Small. Sheriff R. S. Watkins of Franklin county received a telegram this morning from the governor, telling him that Savant had been granted a stay of execution until Friday, April 21st 1922. Up until the telegram from the governor had been received, Sheriff Watkins had been making preparations for the execution. Everything was in readiness. The death watch was placed on Savant yesterday and he was constantly guarded. He had even asked the graphophone which he has been using in his cell be played while he was being put to death and his request had been granted. Harrisburg was going to send a delegation over to the hanging, and all had completed their arrangements to go. In the party would have been State's Attorney Chas. H. Thompson, Deputy Sheriff Hal Bynum, S. B. Bolden, Floyd Lassater, John R. Jackson, Frank Hildebrand, John Williford, Fred Sisk, Ray Overstreet, Geo. W. Russell, with possibly a few others whose names we did not get.
[Daily Register - Harrisburg, Illinois 1922] [Submitted by: Roni MILLER]

Thursday, April 20th 1922 -- John Savant, who was to have been hanged at Benton tomorrow, has been once again saved, this time for final. Governor Small has commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment in the Chester penitentiary.[Daily Register - Harrisburg, Illinois 1922] [Submitted by: Roni MILLER]

Former Bank-President Held in Murder
Sesser, Ill., June 18 1932-
Chas. Gauldonia, 55, former president of the new defunct SESSER State Bank, was held in jail here today charged with the fatal shooting last night of Josep Garbiero, 35, a miner. Gauldonia is an officer of a loan company which recently foreclosed a mortgage on property owned by Garbiero. The former banker, who at one time was one of the wealthiest men in the section, claimed he shot Garbiero in self-defense.
[June 18 1932 Cook County Herald-Arlington Heights,Illinois]

Benton, Ill, June 20 1932-
Charles Gauldonia, former Sesser banker and real estate man, was at liberty today under $10000 bond while the grand jury investigated the slaying of Joesph Garbiero, Sesser, last friday. Gauldonia was ordered held by the coroner after testimony before a coroner's jury revealed a quarrel between the two. Gauldonia said Garbiero attacked him with a screwdriver. [June 20 1932, Cook County Herald-Arlington Heights,Illinois]

Sam Hicks and his son, George Hicks, Lyle Finey and Raymond Meadows were held in jail at Benton in default of $1,000 bond each on charges of operating a still and possession of untaxed liquor. The four men were arrested on the Hicks farm near Mulkeytown by federal and county officers. (Jonesboro Gazette, Jonesboro, Illinois, Friday, 11 Dec 1936; transcribed and submitted by Darrel Dexter.)

TWO WOUNDED IN GUN BATTLE EARLY SUNDAY

The home of
"Mother" Lee on South McLeansboro road near the Hart-Williams mine was the scene of some real gun play about 1 o'clock Sunday morning, some twenty shots being fired, according to the best information available.
When the smoke of battle had cleared away,
Gordon Bennett was found to be in a very serious condition having been shot four times twice from the back and twice from the front, all of the bullet holes indicating that Bennett was in the act of turning as each shot was fired.
Many rumors are current as to the cause of the affairs but it is most generally believed that several youths from Frankfort Heights and in the vicinity of Mine No 18 went to the Lee house with the intention of having trouble. These included
Bill Rotramel, Clarence Smothers, Roy McClintock, Bill Wall, Enrich Burk, Jewel Hungate and another names Foster.
It is said that
McClintock opened the affair by saying something to one of the girl's which was displeasing to Bennett. McClintock is alleged to have then drew his gun and Bennett did likewise and ordered McClintock to hand him the gun. At that moment Smothers, who was at the rear of Bennett, drew his gun and fired, and as Bennett turned to face Smothers, McClintock drew his gun and fired at Bennett. One of the men used a 45 Colts and the other a 22 Smith Wessen. Bennett fired his gun twice.
The gang then left the house
Smothers jumping into his Ford and headed toward Mine 18 and as he neared that place is said to have run into a ditch, upset his car and received six broken ribs. Upon being examined by physicians it was found that he had been shot twice, one bullet grazing his stomach and the other had entered an arm. The physicians say it will be some time before he is able to be brought to jail here and he is now being guarded by Tobe Hungate.
In making his getaway from the Lee house,
McClintock jumped into the car of "Peck" Hill, a local jitney driver, and ordered Hill at the point of a gun to drive as fast as he could also in the direction of Mine 18. The manner of escape of the others is unknown.
Bennett was brought to Dr Moore's hospital where Drs Sidney Moore, Edgar Austin and H A Vise operated upon him.
It is found that
Bennett was shot once through the right leg, twice through the back and once through the side, one of the bullets penetrating the lungs and his intentines were cut in seven places.
He is in a very serious condition and his relatives and friends have little hopes of his recovery.
Bennett is a son of
Mr and Mrs George W Bennett of this city. He is 30 years of age and was practically raised on the Bennett farm in the vicinity of Parrish.
The other members of the gang are also said to have been raised in the vicinity of Parrish.
Smothers is eighteen years of age and is a son of Harmon Smothers who resides just over the line in Cave township.
Some are inclined to believe that the shooting of
Bennett was the aftermath of trouble in which Bennett and the others had been involved in since the days when they attended school together.
(Benton newspaper--no date) [Submitted by: Sheila Cadwalader]

GORDON BENNETT DIES OF GUN WOUNDS
Shot Four Times Early Sunday by Clarence Smothers and Roy McClintock
Smothers Now in Benton Jail
Officers Fail to Locate
McClintock Who Dissappeared Immediately Following Shooting
Gordon Bennett died at 3:48 this morning at the hospital as a result of four gunshot wounds he received early Sunday morning at the hands of Clarence Smothers and Roy McClintock.
He lingered so long and was seemingly improving so much, his relatives and friends had built up hopes for his recovery.
Smothers, who shot him in the back, and who is possibly the one most responsible for his death, was brought up from West Frankfort at noon today and placed in jail. He is suffering from a wound from a shot from Bennett's gun and several broken ribs received when his car turned over near No 18 mine when he was trying to make his escape.
Roy McClintock who also shot Bennett made good his escape the night of the affair and has not yet been apprehended.
Gordon Bennett was born on the Bennett farm in Crawford's Prairie, March 16, 1892 his age, therefore, being thirty years, two months and twenty-four days. His parents are George W and Frances Bennett both surviving. He is also survived by four brothers and two sisters, namely, Commadore, Raybern, Jewell, Ransom, Aileen and Imogene.
Early in life he engaged in teaching then he became restless and decided to see the world with as a result that when he returned with first-hand information _______ (page torn).
On May 20, 1918 he was wedded to
Miss Jewell Secrest of Mt Vernon who passed away June 2, the following year.
Nine days after his marriage, May 29, 1919, he entrained with a contingent of soldiers for Atlanta Ga, being placed in charge of the train when it left Benton. He was attached to Co F, 5th replacement and at Camp Grant, Ill.
Funeral services will probably take place at the Bennett home at the corner of Washington and Commerical streets Saturday afternoon,
Rev John A McClintock officiating, deceased often expressing the desire that when he died he wanted Rev McClintock to preach his funeral inasmuch as he was the one who married him.  Interment will take place at the Masonic and Odd Fellows cemetery.  [Unknown date]

William Hood
, 55, who operates a barber shop in the Heights is in Union Hospital with a fractured skull as a result of being struck by Ralph Rumsey, 24, in the Burpo garage at the Heights yesterday afternoon. Rumsey went to the Burpo store to purchase some stovepipe. Burpo did not have the kind of pipe in the store but had some of his stock stored in the garage building and Bird Lee, a clerk at the store, accompanied Rumsey to the garage to look for the particular pipe he needed. Not finding what they needed, the two men started out of the garage. When he reached the front door of the building, witnesses state that he met Mr. Hood, whose barber shop is just across the street. A witness told authorities that Hood asked Rumsey if he had 50 cents that he didn't need, to which Rumsey replied that he didn't. "When are you going to pay me that half dollar," Mr. Hood is said to have inquired. Witnesses stated Rumsey struck Hood and the Barber fell on the concrete floor of the garage with blood pouring from his left ear. Police went to the home of Rumsey but failed to find him at home. They later found him at the home of his father-in-law, Marshall Willis, who lives on a nearby farm. It was learned that Rumsey had already been to the hospital to learn the condition of Mr. Hood before he was taken in custody. Rumsey told police that Mr. Hood had called him a liar. Mr. Hood is said to be of a quiet type and is reported to have never been involved in any trouble of any nature.
(*NOTE: Rumsey was found Not Guilty at his trial)  [Submitted by: Sheila Cadwalader]
 



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