Sangamon County Crime News

Murders in Springfield
Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois) May 22 1856
George Anderson, a well-known and highly respectable citizen of Springfield, was found dead in the back yard attached to his house, on Thursday night of last week, about 11 o’clock. The Register of the 17th inst., says: “On examination it was found that the back part of his skull had been beaten in by some blunt instrument – a hammer, colt, or something of the sort. The body was nearly cold when found. A coroner’s inquest was held, and it was ascertained that his family missed him from the house and on looking for him found him as stated. Verdict – death by the hands of some person or persons unknown.
Theodore Anderson, his nephew, who came to this city about two months ago, was arrested for the deed on suspicion. He denies any knowledge of the act. Touching the ground of suspicion, there are numberless reports which do not agree with one another. As delicate domestic affairs are mingled up with this lamentable tragedy, we shall forbear to give further particulars until legal investigation has been had.
The accused is a stranger here, and we are glad to see that our citizens evince a disposition to give him a fair trial. Mr. George Anderson, the deceased was not known to have had an enemy in the world – on the contrary he numbered as many friends as any among us.”
The wife of the deceased was also arrested but the examination, which was still in progress up to yesterday had failed to elicit evidence sufficient to convict the parties, though we learn that the citizens of that city have no doubts as to their guilt.

From the Crawford County "Robinson Argus", quoted in the Jasper County "Newton Press" on October 8, 1874 - Sheriff Houston reports that the man Banks, whom he took to the penitentiary last week, was recognized as a former convict who had served out a sentence of 4 years from Sangamon County, under the name of Brookbank. [Submitted by KT]

Another Murder
Mr. B. F. Dychus, a plasterer, and formerly a resident of this city, was killed the first of this week, by a man named Johnson. The facts of the case as near as we can learn are these: the parties were quarreling, when Johnson struck Dychus, with a billet of wood, causing immediate death.
[Submitted by N. Piper]

In the Sangamon Circuit Court, on Wednesday, John Hibbs, on change of venue from Logan county, was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced for two years.
[Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois) March 27 1856 - Submitted by N. Piper]

A Gang of Thieves Broken Up
We learn from the Springfield Ill. Journal, that considerable excitement was created yesterday morning, throughout that city, by the arrest of officers Hopkins, Dunning and May of a number of men in the employment of the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Railroad Company, charged with sealing goods and merchandise from the cars and warehouses of that road. The names of the persons thus far committed to jail are Robt. Stall and wife, Joseph Miller and also Daniel Hatfield, Jas. Kearns, William Ashton and Amos Shaw. It is probable that others will yet be arrested. An examination of the premises of the suspected parties developed a large amount of stolen goods marked for various persons at different points along the road. The evidence is clear.
[Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois), September 17, 1857 - NP - Sub by FoFG]

Duel Near Springfield
We learn from Captain Field, of the steamer Glaucus, that a duel was fought near Springfield, our state capital, on Tuesday last, in which one of the parties named Shaw, was killed.  The only additional particulars we could learn are these:  A challenge passed between two men, of whom Dr. Merriman was the second of one, and Mr. Shaw of the other.  Arriving on the ground, Shaw's principle did not appear, and Shaw was of course obliged to take his place.  At the first fire he was shot through the head and died instantly.  The assassins fled to Beardstown, whence he took passage in a boat down the river before the news of the affair arrived.  - Peoria Register. [Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL) – Friday, May 28, 1841]
We learn that a duel was fought last Friday, (says the Gazette) at Springfield Ills., which resulted in the death of one of the seconds.  We could not learn the names of the parties who are directly engaged in it.  One of the principals backed out, and his second having taken his place was shot through the head, which caused his death in a few hours.  - St. Louis Bulletin. [Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL) – Friday, May 28, 1841]

Pays Crime’s Penalty By Disgraceful Death
Highly Educated Illinois Boy Hanged at Toronto for Murder
Toronto, July 18 –
Fred Lee Rice was hanged here today for the murder of William Boyd, a constable, in June, 1901. Rice, together with Frank Rutledge and Thomas Jones, were on trial for robbing a postoffice. While being conveyed from the court house to the jail, Rice got a revolver and shot Boyd. Jones was shot by another officer and died. Rice and Rutledge were sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty-one years. Rutledge committed suicide by hurling himself from a balcony in the jail to a stone floor. A charge of murder then laid against Rice.
Rice came from Champaign, Ill., where his people are highly respected. Every effort was made to have the death sentence commuted to life imprisonment, but without avail.
Rice was dressed in a neat fitting suit and wore a rose in his coat. He went to the gallows calmly as if he were going to an evening party. When he awoke this morning he received his spiritual adviser and spent a quarter of an hour in silent prayer.
When the hangman entered the cell he was received smilingly by the condemned man. Rice mounted the steps of the gallows without a tremor. His body was handed over to his mother,
[The Guthrie Daily Leader; Guthrie, OK; July 18, 1902 -- Transcribed as Written by D. Donlon]

Extradite for Kidnapping
Mrs. Langley St. Clair Whitley, a prominent woman of Springfield and wife of ex-Representative Whitley, has been brought from Windsor, Ont., where she was arrested on a charge of kidnapping, and indictment being brought against her on that charge by the Sangamon County grand jury. She is a sister of John N. Watts, Jr., who gave bonds of $1,000 on the same charges of kidnapping Mr. Watts' little daughter, custody of whom was awarded Mrs. John N. Watts, Jr. Mrs. Whitley gave $1,000 bond. The child has not yet been found. [Algonquin Herald (Algonquin, IL) March 13, 1902, page 3]

Judge Treat has quashed the indictment in the case of
Erastus Wright, at Springfield. [Illinois State Chronicle (Decatur, Illinois) March 27 1856 - Submitted by N. Piper]


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