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MONROE COUNTY, IL
CIRCUIT COURT RECORDS
1817 - 1848


Excerpts from: "The History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, IL"

On 21 July, 1817, in Harrisonville, the first circuit court was held.
The Hon. Jesse B. THOMAS presided, with Charles MATHENY as prosecuting attorney.
The following men were jurors:
 

William CHAFLIN, Foreman
Alexander McNABB
Daniel HULL
Jacob TROUT
Ebenezer BOURNE
John WORLEY
Jacob CLARK
John SHEHAN
Daniel SHOOK
Jacob CLOVER
Leonard KERR
George RAMEY
Daniel STARR
John ROACH
Joseph A. BEARD
Elijah DAVIS
Daniel LINK
Michael DACE
Solomon SHOOK
Levi PIGGOTT

The indictments of the cases presented are as follows:

Andey KINNEY, assault and battery for severly beating and wounding, at his Harrisonville mill, one William HOGAN, acquited.

John LOCK, larcey. He had stolen a bridle from John JAMES and pleaded guilty. Fined $12.00, plus court costs and returned the bridle

William HOGAN, the man mentioned above, was up on charges of larceny. He had broken the lock of a chest, left in his custody by Joshua CAREY, and stolen the contents worth $11.50.

Other cases include 7 more assault and battery charges, two divorce cases, one for Sarah MILLER and Abraham MILLER. She was awarded the divorce and custody of their only child, Isaac and Joseph and Patsey BAILEY HOGAN in August 1818. He accused her of adulty and presented the following witnesses: Alexander JAMESON, Edward CROUSH and Adam PAYNE. The divorce was granted.

During the next few years, the following men presided:
 
Joseph PHILLIPS 1819 
John REYNOLDS 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822 
Thomas REYNOLDS 1823, 1824 
Samuel McROBERTS 1825, 1826 
T. W. SMITH 1828 

Judge T. W. SMITH heard the following case in March of 1828:

The first murder case: A young man by the name of Jacob GILMON has died on 22 December 1827, under suspicious circumstances and the coroner, William BIGGS, held an inquest. Testimony was given against Jervett VARNUM, stating he had beat the child to death. The physicians attending stated that external examination of the body showed fractures to the head and bones and said the death was caused by violence.

The jury convicted VARNUM who was then committed to jail and on January 31, he was taken to Belleville as Monroe county had no jail. He immediately pentitioned the Judge and was brought before the Edwardsville Court on 5 Feb., 1828. He was allowed bail of $500 with Thomas HAMILTON as security. The case was brought before the grand jury and on March 8, 1828, they indicted him for murder. The case was tried on the 13th of August, 1828 and VARNUM was acquitted of charges.

At the August term in 1828, Justus VARNUM was indicted for challenging Isaac CLARK to a duel. Because of the lawsuit about the right of property, bad blood existed between VARNUM and CLARK. The duel was not fought and the case against VARNUM was dropped in 1829.

Eliza HEAD was put on trial for her life in May of 1831, again before Judge T. W. SMITH. Daniel WINN made an affidavit before Squire Thomas McROBERTS, on the 21st day of April, 1826, stating he had found a female infant dead near the rear of his house and had reason to believe the child had met her death by violence, and further, that he believed Eliza HEAD was the murderess.

The jury consisted of the following persons:

William WRIGHT
James SHEPHARD
James MODGLIN
John WOOTERS
Lynville M. DANIEL
Elijah AXLEY
John MATLOCK
Moses LOCK
John CLARK
Thomas McDANIEL
Thomas STERRILL, Jr.
Thomas MORGAN

The grand jury indicted her and said, after having given birth to a bastard child, she had killed it by filling the mouth and throat with dirt and leaves. The prosecution summoned the following witnesses:

Daniel and Mary WINN, James WELLS, Fielder BURCH, Samuel NEWLIN, J. M. WILSON, Robert MILLER, James MILLER, Robert WILSON, David DITECH and Abigail CONVERSE.

The jury rendered a verdict of not guilty, however, a second indictment, charging that Eliza HEAD concealed the death of a child and the plea was sustained in court.

In April of 1848, Henry APPEL, of St. Clair County, was tried and found guilty. He obtained a new trial when found guilty of manslaughter (victim not listed in the record) and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. Two cases of larceny added fifteen years to his sentence.

Jacob C. JONES was tried for murder in August of 1848 and acquitted.




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