La Salle County IL News
Streator Illinois Crime News From the Past


 Streator Finds Man Killed by Shotgun

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) January 27, 1883

Streator is agitated over the finding of a mysterious corpse, about two miles out of town, on Tuesday night, on the highway. The man had been killed either by the accidental discharge of his shot-gun or had committed suicide. The charge had passed clear through the head, going in at the neck and out at the crown. He has not yet been identified, although hundreds have inspected the remains. He was clad like a farm laborer, had $128 in his pockets and seemed about 30 years of age. He was smooth-shaven and had curly hair. He purchased the gun a few hours before he shot himself and seemed then to be laboring under excitement.

-- Contributed by Nancy Piper

Fred Gleim Robbed in Trick Card Game

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) September 25, 1889

Robbed by Monte Men

An Innocent Old German Farmer Play the Game and Loses $5,000

The old three-card monte game found a new victim in Streator, Illinois. A nice appearing young man, pretending to be anxious to buy a section of land, called upon Fred Gleim, a rich old German farmer, and explained his object. Gleim did not wish to sell, but knew a neighbor who did, and the two started to see Gleim’s friend. On the way they met “a tramp,” who told them a fairy story about being on his way to a sister’s at Utica, Illinois and showed them a roll of bills, which he said had been left to her by a rich relative. Unfortunately he had gambled a little in Chicago, where by the three-card monte snap he had been robbed of one thousand dollars. He then produced the cards to explain how it was and Gleim expressed a willingness to risk a certain amount. The other man also bet some and lose and Gleim won. The rich farmer came to Streator and drew $5,000 out of the bank to buck the game and at the end the land man and the farmer were $20,000 ahead. Finally the tramp wouldn’t play and the land man brought him to Streator to ship him out on the first train, intrusting Gleim with the tin box in which was supposed to be all the cash and promising to come to Gleim’s house in an hour to divide the winning. The old German chuckled, but after three or four hours, the land man not returning , he began to “smell a mouse,” and forcing open the box found his treasure to be nothing but a lot of old scraps of paper. He hastened to town, but could find no trace of his victimizers. Gleim is very wealthy, his estimated wealth being fully $200,000.

Trial of Dr. E. L. Finley for Murder

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) January 24, 1895

Ottawa, Ill., Jan 23 – The trial of Dr. E. L. Finley of Streator, one of the most prominent young physicians of LaSalle county for the alleged murder of Mrs. Clara B. Heath of Farm Ridge was commenced in the circuit court Monday afternoon. The jury was obtained in the case and at the opening of court yesterday morning the opening statements were made and the introduction of testimony commenced. The line of defense will be that Mrs. Heath really caused her own death and that the doctor was not responsible. The case will be finished probably today.

Henry Hill Accused of Murdering Mother

Decatur Evening Herald (Decatur, Illinois) September 4, 1927

Passenger on Ocean Vessel is Hill, Claim

Father of Streator Youth Goes Ahead With Plans For Defense

Expect Surrender

Streator, Sept. 4 – While local police were attempting to verify a report that Harry Hill, 22, who is sought on the charge of murdering his mother, Mrs. Eliza Hill sailed from Key West, Fla., to Havana, Cuba, two days ago, attorneys for Dr. H. C. Hill, father of the accused were proceeding with plans for his defense.

A hint came from them Sunday to the effect that they were satisfied that Harry could not be proved guilty of matricide. LaSalle county authorities believe that as soon as the defense attorneys have completed their plan, they will arrange for the surrender of the boy.

Sure of Identity

William Powers, visiting in Key West, told police there he was certain the youth who sailed for Cuba under the name of Hollie Nollis was Hill. Powers who claimed to know Hill intimately told the officers that when the youth purchased a ticket to Havana he gave his name as Harry Brydges.

The latter name is that of a Chicago friend of Hill, from whose home the latter fled when it became known he was wanted on a murder charge. At a hotel in Key West the youth registered as W. K. McCullough, of Louisville, Ky. Hotel officials said he was well supplied with money and wore good clothes.

Decatur Evening Herald (Decatur, Illinois) September 11 1927

Hill Will Demand Change of Venue

Chicago, Sept. 11 – A change of venue from Streator to Chicago or at least Cook county will be sought for the trial of Harry Hill – 23 year old Streator youth charged with slaying his mother, W. W. O’Brien defense attorney in the case, announced Saturday.

Decatur Evening Herald (Decatur, Illinois) September 12, 1927

Hill, Taken To Cellar Gave and Ordered To Dig, Remains Silent

Spectacular Method To Wring Confession Brings From Youth Only Curses and Refusals To Talk

Streator, Sept. 12

Harry Hill was taken early Monday to the grave in the basement of his home where the body of his murdered mother was found and was forced to go through actions he might have followed if he had committed the crime.

His only emotion was to reassert his innocence and to curse at his captors for bringing him the the house and accusing him.

Hill arrived In Ottawa early Monday morning after a harrowing trip across the continent by train and automobile. Shortly before daylight he was taken from the jail it was learned.

He was accompanied by State’s Attorney Russell O. Hansen, Chief of Police Robb and other officers. They went to the large house on one of the principal residential streets of Streator which had stood deserted since the body was found almost a month ago.

Given Shovel, Told to Dig

Hill was led down the dark cellar stairs to the place in the corner of the basement where the pavement had been removed and the body of his mother buried. He looked at the shallow hole in the earth silently. Then a deputy handed him a shovel. He was pushed forward and told to “dig in there.”

Hill turned a shovel full of earth reluctantly then put the shovel down.

“Is that the way you did it?” State’s Attorney Hansen asked him, according to members of the party.

“I told you I wouldn’t say anything until the time came.” Hill barked at his accuser.

No Confession Forthcoming

More “prodding” by the officers failed to bring the confession they had hoped might result from the Nocturnal visit.

Finally the youth was taken 20 miles back to the county jail at Ottawa.

Utmost secrecy was used by police to guard Hill’s movements. When he was taken from the jail and when he entered, a man dressed similarly would precede him and go in another direction.

Authorities feared mob violence and possibly abduction by friendly kidnappers.

August 21, 1879
Taken From The Henry Republican, Henry, IL

William Sample  - Charged with a Base Crime, and Shot by an Infuriated Father of an Alleged Victim.

A former citizen of Coal Holler in Whitefield, Wm. Sample by name, has got into trouble at Streator, and came near losing his life by being shot with a revolver. We publish the particulars as we find them in the Streator-Monitor-Index of Friday last. Mr. Sample was favorably known here, and those who know him best will be loth to believe him guilty of the alleged crime brought against him. We copy:

On Tuesday afternoon, considerable excitement was caused upon our usually very quiet appearing streets, by the shooting of William Sample by Dick Evans. The cause and effect may be found in the following: That afternoon William Sample appeared in Esquire Donaghho's court, - charged with abduction for the purpose of prostitution. The grounds for the complaint were that he had induced, at different times during the past four or five weeks, three little girls about 12 years of age, by giving them dandy, raisins, etc., to meet him in the woods, where he is charged with having taken improper liberties with them, inducing them to make improper exposures of their persons, etc.

Last Sunday afternoon two married women residing in the south part of the town (where the offense is alleged to have been committed) claim to have seen tow of the little girls go into the woods. From what they pretended to know of the past, they became suspicious that all was not as it should be, and also went into the woods to see what was going on, and report that they saw Sample lying on the ground with one of the little girls on each side of him, with the clothes of one of them in a not very becoming position. Soon after that Mr. Sample and the little girls were made aware that somebody was watching them, and they at once sought another location, or ran away.

One of the little girls was the daughter of Dick Evans, and what is claimed to have been seen was reported to him. Monday he came to town and took legal advice and on Tuesday suit was instituted as stated above. We are informed that all three of the little girls deny positively that any such intimacy existed between them and Mr. Sample, as does also Mr. Sample. Two married women claim otherwise, and it remains to be seen when the trial is concluded whether there is a "nigger in the fence" or not. Several witnesses had been examined Tuesday afternoon, when the little daughter of Mr. Evans was called. She went into the court room crying bitterly. As she passed by Mr. Sample, to take her seat in the witness's chair, he said to her, "Mary, tell the truth about this matter; tell all you know about it."

The words had scarcely left the lips of Mr. Sample when Richard Evans left his seat, not more than six or eight feet from Sample, stepped toward the latter, and before anybody knew what was to follow, drew his revolver and fired, the ball striking Mr. Sample in the forehead, just above, the left eye, passing to the right, and lodged somewhere about the nose. Evans could not have been more than three or four feet from Sample when he fired, and it is a miracle that the shot did not do its deadly work instantly. Sample fell to the floor immediately, and was thought to be a dead man. Esq. Donaghho picked him up and placed himself between Sample and Evans, and officer Gaut at once seized Evans and disarmed him. J. T. Buckley was sitting on the right of Sample, and if Evans had missed his mark, Mr. Buckley would undoubtedly have been the victim. Those in the room were not long in making their exit, for Constable Gaut made such a command and impressed it upon their minds with a pair of revolvers pointed at them.

Sample was taken to Dr. Taylor's office where a portion of the bullet was removed, and he is now doing well, his life being in no danger from the effects of the wound. Evans was taken to the calabose where he remained a few hours. The same evening he appeared before Esq. Donoghho, charged with attempt to kill, waived an examination and his bail was fixed at $1000. Dr. Evans and Jake Moon became his bondsmen.

Sample's case was continued until Monday next. He gave bonds of $500 for his appearance, with Fred. Eades as bondsman. As the case is not yet decided, we do not feel at liberty to express an opinion. We have given the facts as near as we could obtain them, without favoring either side, and our readers must draw their own conclusions. At best it is a very unfortunate affair for all hands concerned, as both men have always borne excellent reputations, and undoubtedly would never have occurred had it not been for some long tongued women who allowed their imagination to do a great deal for them in laying the case before Mr. Evans. So far as we have been able to learn, Mr. Sample has always been very fond of children and taken great pleasure in giving them apples, candy, etc., but has never before been looked upon as a man who would be guilty of any improper liberties with little girls. -- Contributed by Nancy Piper


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