Stark County Illinois  History and Genealogy
Crime News

 Nathaniel Basham Horse Stolen
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., April 28, 1859
Stolen. - On last Monday night, a horse was stolen from the stable of Nathaniel Basham, one mile west of town. It was a light bay mare, with a star in her forehead - left hind foot white. He offers a reward for the recovery of her.

Robert Marlatt Murdered by Patrick O'Donnell - O'Donnell Breaks Out of Jail - McMahan Arrested for Helping O'Donnell

Stark County News, Toulon Ill., August 4, 1859
Shooting Affair
On Tuesday evening, the 26th ult., an affair occurred, about ten miles from this place, which has caused considerable of excitement and so much talk that it is almost impossible to obtain the principal facts in the case. The story, however as we have it from Sheriff Emry, is as follows.
Patrick O'Donnell was in the employ of one Ryan and was on the premises of the latter when a young man named Robert Marlatt was passing by. A quarrel occurred between them, which resulted in something of a scuffle, when Marlatt succeeded in wrestling a gun from the hands of his antagonist, with which it appears that O'Donnell had menaced him. Marlatt snapped the gun two or three times, to ascertain if it was loaded and having concluded that it was not, handed it to O'Donnell and turned away, when the latter renewed the priming in some way and shot him in the back. The gun was loaded with buck-shot, four of which entered his back, close to the spinal column, one struck a rib and passed around to his side, where it lodged and was extracted; the
other three lodged somewhere near the back bone and still remain there.
O'Donnell was brought to this place and lodged in jail to await examination, which is to be had next Saturday. We shall endeavor in our next, to give a report of the trial, which will bring out the facts in detail. Marlatt is still living, but in a very critical situation.

Stark County News, Toulon Ill., August 11, 1859
The O'Donnell Shooting Affair
Marlatt Dead
We stated last week that an examination of O'Donnell was to be had on Saturday last. At the date of our issue, Marlatt was improving and strong hopes were entertained of his recovery. The news reached this place on Friday that he was up and about his business, but he was suddenly taken down again and on Saturday morning, was a corpse. The examination of O'Donnell was therefore waived, and a Coroner's jury summoned. A post mortem examination developed the fact beyond a doubt that the deceased came to his death by a wound inflicted as described last week, by a charge of large buck-shot from a gun in the hands of Patrick O'Donnell. One shot was found near the spine and the other in the left lobe of the lungs.
There is considerable excitement in the neighborhood of the murder, and as is becoming fashionable in such cases, muttered threat of lynching the murderer, but he is now here in jail, where from present appearance he will remain in a "good state of preservation" until the law has its course.

From the Stark County News, August 11, 1859
From July 14, 1859

Some time ago Mr. J. Winn of this place, left a new pair of boots on the door step of his residence and went into the house; after a short time he returned for them, but they had disappeared, and neither boots nor thief could be found. On Monday a man came before Esquire Brodhead, and made comlaint against a certain party in this vicinity, for stealing a pair of boots, whereupon a writ was inssued and put into an officer's hands to arrest the (--?--) party but at last accounts he was not found.

-Contributed by Karen Seeman

O'Donnell Breaks Out of Jail
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., September 17, 1859
Broke Jail
On last Wednesday night, the prisoner O'Donnell, who was confined in the jail of this County, to await trial for the murder of Marlatt, a few weeks ago, escaped from prison, and is now at large.
The Sheriff had gone to Chicago and left the prisoner in charge of his brothers, David Emry, who, the public voice declares, did a very careless thing. There is no family living in the Jail building, (which is of itself a bad state of affairs,) and when Mr. Emry took the prisoner his supper, the latter wanted a drink of water and Emry went away some distance to get it, leaving the wooden door outside the iron one open, and on returning found the prisoner was missing. O'Donnell had sawn the large bolt of the iron door in two, opened the door and taken his leave, not so much as bidding the Jailor goodbye.

McMahan Arrested for Helping O'Donnell
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., September 24, 1859
On the 17th inst., just as our last weeks paper was in press, we heard that Mr. McMahan - well known in this locality - was arrested on charge of aiding in the escape of O'Donnell, from Stark Co. jail. On examination he was held to bail in the sum of $350. The Grand Jury at the present term of court, found an indictment against him and one Thomas Ryan, each of whom, were placed under $500 bonds, for their appearance at the next term of court. McMahan gave bail, but Ryan, at last account, had not.

Stark County News, Toulon Ill., October 8, 1859
We stated last week that an indictment was found against Thomas Ryan, by the Grand Jury, for assisting in the escape of Pat. O'Donnell, the prisoner who was lately confined in our jail. We have since learned that this is all a mistake - that Thos. Ryan is one of the best and most honorable farmers in the county and is above suspicion. The person referred to, was named Ryan, but we understand no connection to Mr. Thomas Ryan. We are sorry the mistake occurred, and hope a similar one will never occur again, as we would not knowingly injure the reputation of our most bitter enemy and much less that of a man we are entirely unacquainted with.

Elit Stockner Found Not Guilty
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., July 28, 1859
Police Court
An interesting skirmish came off a few days since, between the town and Eli Stockner, the latter having been arraigned before the Police Magistrate for selling liquor in violation of a town ordinance. There appeared to be no difficulty in proving that he had sold the liquor, but, to prove the time of the transaction was quite another thing; beer has such a tendency to "drown" the memory &c. There were many points made by the defense and ably contested by the prosecution. We were highly pleased with the straight-forward course pursued by Esquire Brodhead, and if the same fairness is manifested in all his future cases, our citizens never will complain of injustice on his part. Full particulars of the trial would occupy too much space for this week's issue, for that reason we shall not give them. The corporation was beaten and whisky is still at par. The prosecution was conducted by James W. Hewitt Esq. and the defense by Messrs. Shallenberger, Clifford and Blair.

Jeremiah Hayes' Horse Stolen
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., September 3, 1859
Another Horse Stolen
We are called upon to record another act of villainy, in the way of horse theft. Mr. Jeremiah Hayes of Milo in this county, had a horse stolen a the camp meeting held at Center Grove on Sunday night, the 21st inst. He offers $50 reward for the recovery of the horse and the apprehension of the thief, or $10 for the horse alone. - Bureau Co. Democrat.

Attempted Robbery of Mr. Chase's Store
Stark County News, Toulon Ill., November 19 1859
We learn that the store of Mr. Chase, in Wyoming was entered, a few evenings since, and the safe blown open with powder. A family lived upstairs, who were aroused from their slumbers by the explosion, whereupon the man living above hastily started down an outside stairway, across which the burglar had stretched a rope. The man not seeing the rope, was tripped up and precipitated headlong down the stairs to the bottom. Picking himself up and finding that he was but slightly hurt, he proceeded to examine the premises. He found both the doors of the store and the safe open, but nothing missing but the burglars, who made themselves scarce about then.
It seems that thieves have a particular liking to Wyoming, this being the fourth or fifth time we have been called on to record their depredation.

Boys Arrested for Robbing Lowman and Culbertson Stores
Stark County Union, Toulon, Ill., January 1, 1862
Some boys, living we believe south east of Toulon, were examined before Esq. Broadhead, and bound over in the sum of $50, upon the charge of stealing small articles from the stores of Mr. Lowman and Mr. Culbertson. Though they have disgraced themselves and their families by these transactions, we suppress their names for the present, and in the interim of this and their trial would advise them to go to Sunday School, study the Decalogue and resolve to sin no more.

A.B. Morse Accused of Murdering Wife in Nebraska
The Bradford Republican, Thursday, June 25, 1885
Many of our readers were intimately acquainted with A. B. Morse, who formerly owned the livery barn here and carried the mail, first between her and Tiskilwa and afterward from here to Senachwine. It will be recollected that while living her his wife, a sister of Mrs. Joshua Prouty and Mrs. Daniel Drawyer died, and that some few months afterward he was married again to a school teacher many years his junior, by the name of Miss Alice Wilcox. They removed from here about four years ago to Gage County, Nebraska and settled near Beatrice. The news now reaches us that his wife has died suddenly under very suspicious circumstances and that Morse is in jail, charged with having murdered her by poisoning. It is known here that the marriage did not prove a happy one for either of the parties, but we are loath to believe that he has killed his wife. Time will probably develop the truth however.
The Bradford Independent July 2, 1885
A recent Nebraska paper conveys the intelligence that no proof has been found that A. B. Morse is guilty of the death of his wife. It is more than likely, that if poison caused her taking away, they she used it for self-destruction.

A Dash for Liberty.
April 17, 1890
William Coates, confined in the Stark county jail, jumped the confines last Saturday morning.  Jailor H. W. Newland was standing guard while his son Jim was gone after a pail of coal, the prisoner feigning sleep, but in a moment of time, with the agility of a deer, he sprang against Mr. Newland, knocked him over and scud.  Jailor Newland was on his feet in a moment and sent a club after the fleeing prisoner, which took effect but did not retard his progress.  About this time Jim took in the situation, and the race for life began.  At times the prisoner was overhauled, but being large and muscular would get loose, and so over hill and through valley, bush and bramble, a circuit of about three miles was made, when Jim got the advantage and collaring the fugitive gave an exhibition of catch-as-you please that astonished him, and not-withstanding his threats to kill, hung on like a leech, wholly un-armed except with muscle and grit, until help came and the prisoner was secured. --[Toulon Sentinel.]Submitted by Nancy Piper

Arthur Leigh Shoots Son-in-law

Iowa City Press Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa) Record for Iowa City Press Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa)

April 27, 1921

Arthur Leigh, farmer of Toulon, Illinois last night shot and probably fatally wounded his son-in-law Roscoe Fleetwood and then killed himself.

Lloyd Winslow Arrested for Kidnapping Earl Yocum
Chronicle Telegram, The (Elyria, Ohio) November 5, 1930
Kidnaper To Be Returned To Illinois
Detroit, Nov. 5
Having confessed to participating in the recent kidnapping of Earl Yocum, millionaire, Galva, Ills., banker, Lloyd Winslow, 42-year-old Stark County Illinois farmer, today will be returned to the scene of the abduction.
Winslow signed extradition waivers at police headquarters last night shortly after the arrival of Sheriff Charles Nash of Henry county, Illinois. Nash said that eight men are now in custody in connection with the banker's abduction. One man was still sought, he stated.

Back to Stark County Illinois History and Genealogy

Back to Genealogy Trails