Scott Co, Iowa Crime Files - 1870
Contributed by Cathy Labath
Davenport, Scott, Iowa
Tuesday, November 1, 1870:
Mysterious Disappearance of a Wife and Mother.
For some twenty years past Mr. Folser and Ann his devoted
wife, lived together happily, and in apparent contentment, as becomes the
married state. He was a blacksmith, formerly residing in this city, but for a
long time past has swung his heavy hammer in the quiet village of Blue Grass,
in this county, where he lived some dozen or more years since. About eighteen
years ago, then, and when he had already wrought out full forty-five years of
his existence, he married Ann, then a girl of some nineteen or twenty summers.
But disparity in age created no outward signs of discontent. Children were
born unto them-five or more. They were poor, indeed, but by hard and honest
toil-he at the forge, she at her own housework and that of her neighbors,
obtained a good living .
For some little time past there has been talk among the
neighbors of some discontent on the part of the wife, but not so marked as to
create any fixed impression. She had spoken to some of them about going to
Illinois to visit some relatives, and had quite recently hinted at the gloomy
prospects of the future-her husband being old and no longer able to work, the
entire burden of supporting him and four dependent children, resting upon her
On Sunday evening last, which as will be remembered, was
quite cold and blustering. She put on her shawl and bonnet and remarked to her
family that she was going to run into Mrs. Hogan’s and would return in a
little while. The family waited her coming an unusual time, but she came not;
inquiries were made but now Mrs. H. nor any other person could be found that
had seen her, nor has she been heard of since by any one now known to her
people or neighbors. Surmises are numerous of course, and with some it is
feared that she in that cold night went to the river, four miles away and
buried her weight of trouble far beneath its deep waters, forever. This is
only a surmise and yet she may be heard from elsewhere, as after she had gone
it was found that her clothing had all been packed up and unbeknown to the
family, taken away, undoubtedly before the evening in question. Time will
develop this sad mystery.
Tuesday, November 8, 1870:
For grand larceny, Thos. Grady, B.A. Albright, Chas.
Baker, Chas. Clark, Isaac Henderson James Depro, James Waterford; for robbery,
Wm. Sanders and Pat Stake, and G.T. Cook, for house stealing, Joseph Baker,
burglary, E. Henneway, assault with intent to rob, Thos Tenneally and Chas.
Nugent, for assault with intent to murder; T.W. Jurgen, cheating by false
pretenses, and James Murphy and George Wilson for assault with intent to
Also, three females, Mollie Hill, known as “Dutch
Moll”, Lavina Colliers and her daughter Sarah, are in jail awaiting the
action of the Court. No challenge being made by the prisoners, the Grand Jury
were instructed and retired to their new apartment on the second floor of the
Court House Jr.
Wednesday, November 9, 1870:
The noted slander case of Fejervary vs. Renwick, which
for a year past has attracted so much attention in our social circles has been
finally settled-the defendant confessing judgment and paying the costs, as
will be seen by the more complete report in another column. It is well that it
is settled in this way would have been settled had it so terminated long
since-even without any trial as might have been.
Fluke Trial again.
The tolerably well advertised trial of the county of
Scott vs Thos K Fluke Ex-county Treasurer will be further agitated in the
District Court to-morrow. Little less than one year ago the question of the
indebtedness of Mr. Fluke to the county, on account of certain embezzlements
and shortages that occurred in treasury matters during his term of office, was
by consent of parties referred to Hon. A.H. Bennet for hearing. To this matter
Judge Bennett, the able counsel on either side, and a broad cloud of
witnesses, paid unwearied attention for full forty days, which resulted in the
finding of better than two thousand dollars as due the county from the
defendant, in addition to one thousand dollars already paid over. The finding
of the referee had never been affirmed or reversed by the District Court, as
would be necessarily required. The question comes up to-morrow, we believe,
upon motion of defendant’s counsel to set aside the finding of the referee.
There is room for discussion upon that point, and there is a possibility that
there will be a spirited confab over it.
Thursday, November 10, 1870:
Sharlow vs Lancaster. These two persons live in
Princeton, in this county, are neighbors, fell out by the wayside, fought each
other after the manner of wild beasts, had a law-suit in Justice’s court,
ten dollars and costs; damaged character; damaged countenance; $6000 damages
Sharlow, the plaintiff, in this action has a stone
quarry; Lancaster, the defendant, had a crow bar. It is set up in the
proceedings that defendant lost his crow bar; that he went to plaintiff’s
quarry to find it; did find a bar there, upon the hardened countenance of
which he thought he traced unmistakable traces of ownership so informed
plaintiff. Plaintiff asked defendant if he thought that he (plaintiff) had
stolen his (defendant’s ) crow bar. Defendant answering ,said that he did
not know what he (plaintiff) would do. Indignant at this ironical remark, a
human bear fight originated on the spot, resulting in a complete
disarrangement of defendant’s countenance and in the further result of
prosecuting and fining Mr. Sharlow the sum of $10 and costs.
Still more indignant than before, Sharlow sues Lancaster
for slander-setting forth that on sundry times and often occasions, he
(Lancaster) had accused him (Sharlow), directly and by indirection of stealing
his (Lancaster’s ) tools, and placing the measure of his damages of
character, good name, fame, et cetera, at $6000 in the currency of the realm.
Trial by jury this day. Davison for plaintiff; Hubbell for defendant.
Friday, November 11, 1870:
District Court. November Term.
The hearing of the Sharlow-Lancaster slander case taken
up yesterday morning, was given to the Jury at noon to-day; at 3 o’clock the
jury returned a verdict for the defendant, where upon plaintiff’s counsel
gave notice of motion for a new trial.
About four months ago, thinking
to better his fortune, at least to provide sustenance for himself and two dear
little motherless children, who were as dear to his heart as his won soul,
came to this city one Doctor T.W. Jurgen, from Chicago. he left his children
there in rather dubious circumstances, hoping with a fond father's hope that
in a short time at last, he should be able to make a remittance in their
behalfs. He came to this city as we have said, and commenced practicing the
noble art of healing the sick. He was a follower of Hahnemann, practicing in
the sometimes traduced homeopathic school. About the first patient who applied
for his aid was one Hans Lerch. Hans was the unfortunate proprietor of a sore
toe and would have it cured. The doctor took the case in hand, prescribed,
went to a druggist and procured the necessary medicines and delivered him the
same, charging for the service the enormous sum of sixty five cents! Whether
the patient was cured or not, we can not say, but at all events, he became
immediately dissatisfied at the enormity of the bill charged and paid. He
hunted up the druggist who sold the medicine and found that it cost the doctor
ten cents. Considering the charge of fifty-five cents for advice and going for
drugs, and outrage, he immediately commenced action against the Doctor for
obtaining money under false pretenses. The trial came on, witnesses testified,
lawyers locked horns and Jurgen was bound over to Squire Peters to appear at
the next term of the district Court. Unable to furnish bond, he went to jail
and has been there ever since-until yesterday, when the papers in the case
were brought before the Grand Jury. They were examined; the Grand Jury was
disgusted that a man should be imprisoned on so trivial a matter, and very
properly threw the case out, refusing to find a bill.
Tuesday, November 15, 1870:
Business at Justice Peters’
office is decidedly lively today. No less than three inebriated specimens have
been brought up this morning for the usual intoxication in which they were
found.-The usual fines,&c. were assessed. This is no doubt brought on by
the "unliveable” and thoroughly disagreeable state in which the weather
has kept for the past twenty-four hours. The names of the offenders are
Roderick Roming, Patrick McMahon and John Tobin.
Tichenor vs Tichenor.
Wednesday, November 16, 1870:
Tuesday, November 17, 1870:
Settled. The Tichenor case has
been settled, by selling the Tichenor real estate, in this city, to French and
Davies for $6000-and turning over $2000 of the proceeds to Mr. T., the balance
to be retained by Mrs. T., against whom action was brought for his
[Note that different spellings of surnames occurred
in the above item and were not typos.]
Wednesday, November 18, 1870:
Monday, November 21, 1870:
Not Heard From.
State vs. James and John Owens.
In this case it is alleged that defendants beat, bruised, and severely
maltreated one Lawrence Kearns, a neighbor with intent to commit great bodily
injury. The parties reside in Blue Grass-they have not been on good terms for
some time-were living a sort of cat and dog life, which resulted in the fight
in April last. Ellis and Foster for State, John Gallagher and Parker and
Twomey for defendants.
Tuesday, November 22, 1870:
State vs. Welker-assault and abuse of his daughter.
Dismissed with costs.
State vs Chas. Depro-larceny. Defendant 11 years old. Has
already been arraigned three times-once for stealing a horse. On application
of his mother, who declares her son incorrigible, an order was issued for
sending him to the State reform school.
State vs Lavina and Sarah Collers-mother and daughter.
Vagrants. The former to be discharged from jail Dec. 1st , the latter 15 days
State vs Watson. The defendant stands accused of the
seduction, under promise of marriage, of a Miss Foster, of Lincoln township.
Trial by Jury this day.
November 23, 1870.
But few cases were before Justice Peters today. James
Miller for being drunk, was fined $5 and costs, and for disturbing the public
peace, $5 and costs. James Kent was arrested for threatening to kill a negro.
November 25, 1870
DISTRICT COURT-NOVEMBER TERM
The seduction case of the State
vs. James Watson, was given to the Jury at midnight on Wednesday. The closing
arguments of J.P. Campbell for the defense, and Lyman A. Ellis for
prosecution, occupied from 8 P.M. until nearly midnight-the former speaking
about an hour and a half, and the latter more than two hours. Both gentlemen
made very able and eloquent addresses to the Jury. Judge Richman delivered his
charge, and the crowd dispersed about fifteen minutes after midnight. The
trial was one of great interest among the neighbors of the family of the
prosecuting witness, Miss Martha Foster, and that of the defendant, who
resided in Lincoln township. A considerable number of people of that place
were present during the entire trial, and many of them remained until the
Court was dismissed, as above stated.
LARCENY OF A TRUNK
WHO STOLE THE HORSE?
SAD- W.H. Jenkins, formerly of Des Moines, and more recently of Moline, attempted to kill his family day before yesterday, while laboring under an attack of temporary insanity. He is now in jail in Rock Island. His trial will take place next week before the Probate Court.
November 26, 1870
The alleged horse stealing case was terminated yesterday evening rather unceremoniously. The testimony having been heard, Prosecuting Attorney Ellis, stated that the State had failed to make a case and that he could ask no verdict of the jury, in behalf thereof. The jury rendered a verdict of "not guilty," and the prisoner was set at liberty. The case is an aggravated one. There was no testimony to show any intention to steal the horse. It was taken to Princeton without the knowledge to the owner, to be sure, but not to do him any injury, and was on his way home again when arrested. The Defendant Cook, not being a man of means or possessed of influential friends, went to jail in September last, and has remained there ever since. During his imprisonment one of his children was taken sick, and died, right here in the city-the father not being permitted to see the little one in sickness, nor could he attend the funeral. It is all legal, we suppose, thus, upon mere suspicion-very unworthy suspicion at that, to take a man from his family and keep him for months in jail without the slightest chance to visit his distressed family; to come to the bedside of a dying child; to pay the last sad offices at the dead darling's grave-it may be glorious law-just such as should be meted out to people who rest under suspicion, but its recital of these aggravated cases would probably cause a full blooded savage to blush for the degeneracy of his thoroughly enlightened liberty loving and oppression defying, white brethren.
THE SEDUCER SENTENCED.
Watson, found guilty of the seduction of Martha Foster, was, this morning, sentenced to thirty days' imprisonment in the county jail, and to pay three hundred dollars fine. In his behalf the Judge tempered his decision with much mercy.- The time of imprisonment will be soon over. Many years of upright life and conduct will it require to wipe out the stain thus fixed upon his character by his own act.
FOR FORT MADISON
The young men, Baker and Albright, found guilty of stealing some dozen dollars, were sentenced to serve on year each ast the State Prison. With this decision it is probable that the past bad record had more to do with the sentence than the mere theft upon which they were arrested.
Isaac Henderson, who stole $250 form a bedfellow at a Danish boarding house on Second street, sentenced one year in States Prison. Upon his first trial he cleared for want of testimony. It was afterwards found that he had money on deposit in a certain alley, was re-arrested and found guilty.
Ed. Hennessy, one of the scamps who played at the delusive tobacco-box game on the ferry boat some weeks since, and robbed a German of about $40, sentenced to six months in State Prison. He is a lad about 12 years old, and has made a big start for the gallows.
Henry Schoening-keeper of a house of ill-fame, fined $250 and costs. The wife is acquitted.
Robt. Stephenson, and A.M. Freeland-true bill on charge of attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Trial next term.
Chas. Nugent, a river roustabout. Assault with intent to murder-indicted. Trial next term.
Wm. C. Koenig, whose two children were found drowned in his house in August last, and who, with his wife, jumped into a well, that they might drown, was examined and acquitted.
The Tichenor Case.
The Tichenor Case.
Tues. , Nov. 29, 1870:
Sad Case. The Argus of last evening says: we reported
last week the case of insanity of Mr. W.H. Jenkins, and also his arrest. He in
now under confinement. It seems that the malady is hereditary, having shown
itself at three different times in his family. He has been afflicted for some
time, but never as badly as at this time. It first made its appearance while
he was at Des Moines, caused by the excitement of reporting for the Iowa
legislature, and publishing his paper there, but no serious result followed.
For two years he has been out of business and this has probably been the cause
of this last attack, at which time he tried to kill his family. He did shoot
twice, but they finally escaped, his wife by flying out of the door with the
children, while one boy jumped out of the window. He is at times perfectly
rational, and when so, no man is a better or more affectionate husband and
father. He will be allowed to make a statement before the jury at the Court
Later we learn that Mr. Jenkins has concluded not to have
any examination, but will go to Batavia in this State, where he will have the
benefit of a private asylum. H will probably leave this evening with proper
attendants, in case he should have another attack.
Nov 30, 1870:
Police Court Two or three benzine cases were up before
Justice Peters to-day. Geo H Price, intoxicated; John Wiley, disturbing the
public peace, and Ed. Boerich, “intox.” They were appropriately fined and
retired into private life.
A Wife Whipper-John Wiley is a wife whipper, and a
wife whipper is a low, detestable brute, whom it were flattery to call a
scoundrel. He has been in the habit, we are informed, of whipping his wife and
children unmercifully. This outrage was proven on him in court today, and
Squire Peters fined him $15 and costs-$21.85; payment secured. The next
offence of this kind will be followed up with more severe punishment.
Monday, Dec 5, 1870:
On Saturday a notorious woman of the town named Sarah
Caullers, with another associate, called Sadie Goesch, were brought in charged
with vagrancy and locked up. This same woman Caullers was released from jail
only a day or two since, and seems anxious for the “business” as she said
she thought it a “nice place to live.” She is the direct cause of more
misery of this character than any other of that ilk in the city; is a noted
procuress, and should be kept in durance vile for the natural term of her
worthless life or until she is brought to some kind of decency. She and her
associate were fined each $10 and costs.
To-day two inebriated specimens named L. Connell and F.L.
Mead were brought up before Justice Peters for “lying around loose" and
fined $1 each and costs. Also Henry Frarik was fined $4 and costs for
disturbing the public peace.
Saturday, Dec 17, 1870:
Saloon Broke Up. The citizens of Dixon took the case of
Henry Weise in hand yesterday, and made it uncomfortable for him. Henry kept a
saloon there and dispensed benzine. They broke up his den, took out a search
warrant, found his liquors and confiscated them, had him bound over in penal
sum of $100 for selling whisky, and he now sojourns in the county jail. Saloon
keeping is at a discount in Dixon.