Livingston County, Illinois
Genealogy and History
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Court News


The criminal docket in the Circuit Court of Livingston county will open next week. Among the first cases to be tried will be that of The People against Dr. Romaine Curtiss, of Joliet, and Lawrence Chase, of this county, for producing an abortion on Mrs. Lawrence Chase, also The People against Wm. Karnes, for the murder, at Fairbury, of John McKay in September, 1874. [The Pantagraph, January 21, 1876; sub. by PHG]

Dr. Curtiss, of Joliet, was tried before the circuit court at Pontiac Monday, on a charge of abortion committed in Dwight. The trial was short and resulted in the doctor's complete acquittal. [The Pantagraph, Jan. 27, 1876; sub. by PHG]

Pontiac - The celebrated suit of the heirs of Ben Blue against Charles E. Shelton, was decided by Judge Pillsbury on Tuesday. Shelton is to pay $6500 and interest for two years and turn over 320 acres of land to Mrs. Blue. [The Pantagraph, July, 13, 1877; sub. by PHG]

Pontiac- William Livingstone, and old farmer and doctor, living near Ocoya, is lying very ill at Detroit, and has been sent to the poor farm there. [The Pantagraph, July 12, 1878; sub. by PHG]

-- In the circuit court at Pontiac, Judge Pillsbury presiding, Leonard Gardner and Mollie Stewart, of Fairbury, were tried for abducting Miss Annie Manning, of Wapello, for purposes of prostitution, and were both sentenced to prison for eighteen months. Gardner was also sentenced to the county jail for one year for resisting the officer. [The Cairo Bulletin 10 June 1879; sub. by Pam Geyer]

-- Suit has been commenced by Judge Pillsbury in the Livingston county circuit court against the Chicago & Alton railroad company for $50,000 damages on account of the wound he received while riding upon their cars last summer. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 23 June 1883; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

A ditch case of more than ordinary interest was tried in the circuit court last week. J. W. Nicols sued the highway commissioners of Eppards Point, claiming $2,000 damages for taking water, as he claimed, out of the natural course through a ditch along the highway and discharging it through culverts on to Mr. Nicols’ farm. McIlduff & Torrance prosecuted the case for Mr. Nicols and Strawn & Patton defended the highway commissioners. A large number of witnesses testified in the case. The case was ably contested by the lawyers, but the preponderance of the evidence was in favor of the commissioners establishing the fact that the water naturally flowed over Mr. Nicols’ farm. The case occupied nearly three days and the jury was out only twenty minutes and returned a verdict in favor of the commissioners. The costs in the case will amount to several hundred dollars. Pontiac Free Trader. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Nov. 5, 1886; sub. by PHG]

-- The first case of a miner sueing a Coal Company for damages, for injuries received in a mine, in this section, resulted in a verdict of $50 for the injured miner, at Pontiac the other day. The Pontiac Union Coal Co. was defendant. [The Ottawa Free Trader, 24 November 1888 - Page 8; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Some time last summer, Mrs. Mary Laycock went to the residence of Fred Eisele, in Rooks Creek, early in the morning, when she was attacked and bitten on the hand by the watch dog. She had to have the services of a physician. The wound was not an exceedingly bad one, but Mrs. Laycock sued for $2,000. The case was tried and the jury found a verdict for Mrs. Laycock and assessed the damages at $30. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Feb. 10, 1888; sub. by PHG]

A few days ago an important case was settled in Judge Tifton's court at Pontiac. The case was that of Marshall  vs. the Leslie E. Keeley company, in which $20,000 from the company for alleged results following the treatment of his wife, who is now in the asylum at Elgin for the morphine habit. Dr. Clevenger, of Chicago, and Dr. Lowrey, of Elgin, testified as experts to the harmlessness and efficacy of the Keeley cure, and the jury found for the defendants and exonerated the Keeley company from all responsibility. [True Republican 12 February 1896; sub. by Pam Geyer]

Judge Myers has refused to appoint a receiver for the Pontiac Sentinel as petitioned by H. J. Clark, the owner, who had won a former suit against C. K. Truitt, the present publisher, for specific fulfillment of the contract to sell back to Clark a half interest in the paper. Truitt had appealed when Clark asked for a receiver. Flanagan. [The Weekly Pantagraph, July 1, 1898; sub. by PHG]

Pontiac, Ill., January 20.

H. J. Clark has won his suit against C. R. Truitt, Judge Patton ruling in the Livingston county circuit court that the defendant must comply with his contract and sell a half interest in the Pontiac Sentinel to the plaintiff. Mr. Truitt has taken the necessary steps for an appeal. [The Weekly Pantagraph, June 3, 1898; sub. by PHG]

The complaint of Mr. Breedlove to the court that the McDowell elevator is a nuisance has been met with a petition signed by a large number of the residents of that vicinity declaring that the elevator is not a nuisance. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Apr. 7, 1899; sub. by PHG]

Haag Sentenced to Prison.
Pontiac, Mar. 23:  Albert Haag, who was found guilty of manslaughter in the circuit court here ten days ago, was sentenced to the Joliet penitentiary by Judge Patton for an indefinite period. Haag, who is but 22 years old, was tried and found guilty of killing his father last July. [Urbana Daily Courier 23 March 1909; Sub. by Pam Geyer, who adds this Note: Albert Haag and his parents are all buried in the family plot at West Lawn Cemetery in Cullom, Illinois]

CHURCH AND HOSPITAL Beneficiaries Under Will of the Late William Swendeman.
Pontiac, ILL., Oct. 29. - The will of the late William Swendeman has been filed for probate in the county court here and among the beneficiaries are the First Presbyterian church of Pontiac, to the extent of $1,000, and St. James hospital, to the extent of $500. The surviving widow is given a life estate in all the property, or as long as she remains his widow, and at her death or marriage the lands are to be sold and divided as directed in the will.  The estate consists of eighty acres of land in Eppards Point, house and lot in Pontiac, besides other personal property. The funds bequeathed to the church and hospital are in trust, the interest only to be used. That for the church is to be known as the William Swendeman fund and the $500 for the hospital is to be used to furnish a room and keep it up, the room to be known as the William Swendeman room. [The Weekly Pantagraph, Nov. 3, 1911; sub. by PHG]

Now They're Ruling For Freedom Of Air; Here's Initial Case
JOLIET, Mar. 23 -- The first court fight for the freedom of the air will take place at the Livingston county court house, at Pontiac, near here, during the April term, it was announced today. Edward McWilliams, wealthy president of the State Bank of Dwight, last November was granted a temporary injunction restraining G.Wylie Berman, 18 years old, amateur wireless operator at Dwight, from using his broadcasting station, because it is alleged to have interfered with the receiving of radio telephone service at the McWilliams home. The eyes of  the radio world will be on the case and men of national note from all sections of the country, including Herbert Hoover, secretary of commerce, Mitchell Lewis, machine gun manufacturer of New York, and Hiram Maxim, president of the American relay league, have signified their intention of attending the hearing. [Daily Illini, 24 March 1923; Sub. by Pam Haag Geyer]

Played the Baby Act.
Among the opinions handed down by the appellate court last week was that of Louis Strawn, appellee, and Nicholas Vipond, appellant started by the latter. The case resulted from a gambling game at Vipond's saloon in Streator. Strawn is a Pontiac attorney and the case dates back to 1899. Vipond held a promissory note given by Strawn dated October 18, 1906 for $100, and interest, with power of attorney to confess judgment attached, and on February 2, 1912, obtained judgment by confession thereon in a justice court for $141.92. Strawn filed a bill in equity to annul the judgment and restrain the collection of the note on the grounds that its only consideration was losses at gambling. The case was referred to the master in chancery of Livingston County to take evidence. He found that the allegation in the bill were true and recommended a decree for Strawn. The testimony showed that Strawn spent the night gambling, and he was without cash, but was given chips. After the game was over he gave his note for the chips handed to him, which he lost during the night. The opinion of the appellate court affirmed the action of the master in chancery who heard the evidence. [The Lacon Home Journal 28 January 1915; Sub. by Pam Geyer]

Violated School Law.
Mrs. J.A. Zehr, of Flanagan, was arraigned before justice John Deyo in this city Saturday afternoon, charged with violation of Section 274 of the Illinois school laws in that she neglected to keep her son in school. She was fine $10 and costs, a total of $23.50, which she paid. [The Pantagraph, Jan. 1, 1924; sub. by PHG]

Indictments Returned by Grand Jury, Pontiac
As follows:
People vs. William Leady, murder.
In this indictment, Leady is charged with the murder of Charles Melbourne by means of a shot gun on the night of December 28 last.
People vs. William Leady, murder.
Leady is charged in this indictment with having shot Mrs. Elmira M. Kemp on the night of December 28 with a shot gun, from which injury she later died. [The Pantagraph, January 7, 1924; sub. by PHG]

Molohan vs. Smith
On the morning of July 20, 1938, the general store of C. E. Carroll in Graymont burned with a loss of $10,000. When the alarm was given John H. Smith and three sons, John, Jr., Honus and Harm, who live near Graymont, got in their car and started to the fire. It is said they did not stop for the hard road. Their car was run into by one driven by Mr. Bert Molohan, who, with three companions, was on his way to Chicago from Peoria. Mr. Smith and two of his sons, John, Jr., and Honas, were killed. Mr. Molohan was badly injured and his car demolished. The Smiths were rushing to the fire after receiving the alarm from the telephone operator to join the fire brigade. They lived a mile south and a half mile east of Graymont, and the accident occurred at the Route 116 intersection. Mr. Molohan is suing Harm Smith to collect damages in the amount of $10,000. The damage suit is being heard this week in Pontiac [The Fairbury Blade, February 9, 1940; sub. by PHG]


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