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History of Cedar
County, Iowa, 1878.

  
 

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Criminal Mention (continued)

Ingham Wife Murder. -- In 1853, a physician named Ingham lived in what was then known as Polk Township, and engaged in the practice of a Botanic Physician.  On Sunday, October 30, of that year, his wife was taken suddenly ill.  She suffered severely for three days when she died.  The circumstances attending her death aroused the suspicions of the neighbors that all was not as it should be, and that some foul play had been used, and they determined to secure a post mortem examination.  Accordingly, Coroner Andrew Ford was notified, and on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 3, an inquest was called and a post mortem examination commenced by Drs. Chambers and Piatt, which was completed on Friday morning, the 4th.  A further history of this case is copied from the Cedar County News Letter, of November 12, 1853:

"The Coroner having summoned three jurors, according to law, the examination proceeded.  From the evidence it appeared that Ingham had frequently ill-treated and abused her; that he had upon one occasion, struck her in anger threatening 'to knock her to Texas;'  that during their stay in Clinton County, he had kicked her from her couch, and that during her entire late sickness, he manifested the greatest neglect and indifference toward her.  On Friday night previous to the Sabbath that she was taken so dangerously ill, a heavy blow and groan were heard in the room they occupied.  The poor woman had been so tyranized over she did not cry out for assistance.  Friday morning an examination by Drs. Chambers and Piatt took place upon the body of Mrs. Ingham.  They found a large bruise or external wound upon her right side;  from the critical situation the woman was in when the blow was inflicted, and from the general appearance of her body, they were of the opinion that death had been caused by the blow that also caused the death of her unborn child.  Puerperal fever had set in, and labor not taking effect she was thrown into convulsions and expired."

"The jurors having inspected the body, and after patiently hearing all the evidence and circumstances, reported in substance nearly as follows:  'That the deceased, Fanny Ingham, came to her death by a blow inflicted upon her body, by her husband, Dr. Ingham, which caused directly or indirectly her death.'  The Coroner arrested the prisoner and placed him in the hands of the Constable.  An examination of the prisoner took place before Justice Sloper.  Messrs. Dillon, Brink and Kent appeared for the State, and Wells Spicer in behalf of the prisoner.  After an examination of twelve hours, in which the gentlemen for the prosecution made a brisk fight, the Justice declared there was no evidence to hold the prisoner and he was discharded."

The Crawford Burglary.--The greatest burglary ever perpetrated in Tipton, was committed on the night of the 23d of April, 1873, by William Crawford and his associates.  Crawford it is believed, came from Little Falls, New York, for the express purpose of robbing the Treasurer's office.  Fortunately for the safety of the people's money, some of the court officers had been detained on their books until so late an hour that Crawford gave up the undertaking.  Not disposed to make the trip for nothing, Crawford turned his attention to Rowell's jewelry store, hoping, no doubt, to find sufficient plunder there to cover the expenses of his trip.  An entrance was effected to the store by breaking out one of the large panes of glass in the front window.  After breaking the glass, the burglar Crawford and his associates, if he had any, remained quiet for a few minutes to learn if the noise created by the crashing of the glass had attracted the attention of the near-by residents.  Nor were they at fault in supposing such a case, as George S. Hicks and his wife, who occupied rooms directly opposite Rowell's store were awakened by the noise, but before Hicks could collect his thoughts sufficiently to determine the source or cause of the noise, Rowell's place was entered and the twenty-five year old safe blown open and its contents abstracted.  Crawford, as soon as this work was accomplished went to his team, which was in convenient waiting, and fled from Tipton.  He secured thirty old watches, some old coins and a few bracelets, the aggregate value of which was less than $500.

As soon as Mr. Hicks and his wife realized that a burglary was being committed, they dressed and started to Rowell's to give him the alarm.  This was but the work of a few minutes, but by the time Rowell was awakened and dressed, and Sheriff Shearer, Deputy Sheriff Maynard, Marshall Sandford and Detective Langham called up, Crawford was several miles away.

The burglary was committed between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning; but as the entire populace was called up and quickly made acquainted with the facts, an organized pursuit was at once decided, and by the time it was fairly light pursuing parties were ready to start out in every direction.  Among those of the citizens who started out after the burglar were O. W. Porter and Eugene Holtslander.  These men were the first to strike the trail, which led through Louden.  At that place they called Marshal Barney McCabe, an efficient officer, to their assistance, and the three men followed the trail of the fugitive burglar to Bellevue, Jackson County, Iowa, where they arrived about 1 o'clock at night.  They learned from the ferryman there that Crawford had crossed the Mississippi River in the early part of the night.  McCabe, Porter and Holtslander concluded their man was heading for Galena, and lost no time in following in that direction.  The ferryman at once set them over the river and piloted them through about five miles of overflowed bottom lands at the confluence of the Mississippi and Fever Rivers, when he returned to his ferry.  The pursuing parties arrived at Galena about daylight, and after considerable hunting around they found the team Crawford had driven in a livery stable, pretty well used up after its seventy miles' drive.  The aid of City Marshal O'Leary was called and a thorough search of the hotels was commenced which was soon rewarded by finding Crawford snugly in bed, and as fast asleep as if he was th honestest man in the country.  He was awakened and taken into custody and agreed with his captors to accompany them back to Iowa without a requisition from the Governor of Iowa upon the Governor of Illinois, if they would protect him from the Regulators of Cedar County, an agreement to which Porter, Holtslander and McCabe readily assented.  An examination of the room in which he was arrested revelaed a box, in which was found a kit of burglar's tools and all the stolen property, except Rowell's account book, some papers and two of the watches, Crawford said he gave the two watches to his two Tipton assistants, and that he wanted them to take all the watches, as he did not consider them good for anything, but that they would no accept them.  They told him to take them and sell them, and send them their share of the proceeds---at least, so said Crawford.

The prisoner gave the name of William Crawford.  He was brought back to Tipton and arraigned for examination before Justice John S. Tuthill, and was held in $1,200 to await the action of the grand jury, and in default of bail was committed to jail.

At eh May term (1873) of the District Court an indictment was found against him, but his trial did not take place until November following, when he was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in the penitentiary.  At the end of six months of his imprisonment he was pardoned out.  The reasons alleged (?) for his pardon was that he could guide the officers of the law to the hiding places of land pirates who had plundered and robbed a train of cars on the C., R. I. & P. railroad a short time before, and that he had promised to do so.  That the train robbers were never arrested, that no account of his having undertaken to do so was ever made public, it is generally believed that there were other considerations than those above assigned that secured his pardon.

It has been reported that Crawford returned to New York soon after his pardon, and that he is now serving out a sentence in the New York Penitentiary at Auburn.

An incident occurred during Crawford's imprisonment in the county jail, on the night of June 26, 1873, that, had it proved fatal to Jailer Simons, would have rendered powerless all the officers in the bailiwick to save the necks of Crawford and his "pal" Thompson, alias Costillo, from the ropes of the "Regulators."  Thomas G. Thompson, alias Costillo, a young man, was arrested at Mechanicsville, for some petty offense, and committed to jail with Crawford.  During his imprisonment, Thompson entered into an agreement with Crawford to help him escape from prison.  On the night of 3d of July, 1873, five days after the expiration of his term of imprisonment, Thompson entered the office of the Sheriff in the Court House, and secured the duplicate key to the jail, and then went to the jail and passed it in to Crawford.  The noise he made attracted the attention of Jailer Simons, who slept in a room over the jail, and he came down stairs with a loaded shot gun in his hand.  As soon as Thompson saw Simons, he raised a revolver, which he already held in his hand, and discharged it at the jailer.  The ball passed through a glass panel at the side of the door that was between them, and struck Mr. Simons in the breast, inflicting an ugly wound, and one from which he will never entirely recover.  At almost the same instant, Simons raised his gun to his shoulder and fired at Thompson, the charge taking effect in his left arm and shattering it to pieces.  The almost simultaneous reports of the revolver and shot gun aroused the citizens living near the jail, to whcih they hurried as quickly as possible.  As soon as the first ones arrived, Simons, who was nearly exhausted from pain and loss of blood, threw his gun to John Kiser, with orders to shoot the first man who attempted to come out of the prison door, and then groped his way back to his room.  By this time Crawford, who had already unlocked is cell door, and was out in the hall, realized that all hopes and chances of escape were cut off, threw the key down upon the floor and returned to his cell, crying like a great booby.

As soon as he received the charge from Simons' shot gun, Thompson retreated from the scene of conflict, and thus escaped immediate arrest.  He started in a westerly direction from Tipton, but by the time he reached the residence of William Kettell, about one mile distant, exhaustion from loss of blood compelled him to seek refuge and succor, and he stopped there about 2 o'clock in the morning and aroused Mr. Kettell.  When Kettell approached the door, he was alarmed at the terrible moaning without, and hesitated to open the door, and called to "who was there?"  Thompson replied, and called to him to open the door and "knock him on the head" or take him out of the county, telling him that he had killed Jailer Simons.  Kettell opened the door, and seeing Thompson's condition, told him the best he could or would do dor him was to bring him back to town and give him up to the authorities, and where he could also receive medical attention.  Kettell's little boys, Twine and William, aged about 10 and 12 years, went to the residence of Joseph Fritz, a quarter of a mile distant, and called him up, and in a frightened voice, related the circumstances, and asked him to go over and accompany their father and Thompson to Tipton, a request with which he readily complied.  After Thompson was delivered at the jail, physicians were summoned, and upon examination it was found that amputation of the arm at the shoulder was necessary, and the surgical operation was performed by Drs. Maynard, Chambers, and Focht.

Soon after Crawford was committed to jail, a woman came to Tipton and represented herself as Mrs. Ella Crawford, the wife of the prisoner.  She secured boarding at the house of Deputy Sheriff Maynard, and had frequent access to the jail and her so-called husband.  She was a keen, shrewd, quick-witted woman; wore fine clothes and plenty of paint, and in every sense was considered a very captivating woman.  Immediately upon her arrival, Mrs. Crawford set to work to have Crawford's bonds reduced, and in other ways worked most devotedly in the interest of her husband (so claimed).  Being an inmate of the house of the Deputy Sheriff, and very watchful and observant, she lost no occasion to make herself acquainted with everything that could possibly aid her in her purpose.  It may be remarked here that when she first came to Tipton, Mrs. Crawford took a room and board at the Fleming House, where she remained some time.  This did not suit her purpose, however, and representing that she did not like to be the subject of so much gossip and brazen stares as were bestowed upon her there, she appealed to the sympathies of the Deputy Sheriff and his family, and they gave her a temporary home.  This was one step toward the accomplishment of her purpose, and she improved it.  She visited the jail quite frequently, and lost no opportunity to familiarize herself with all the surroundings and arrangements of the jail.  By a keen observation and a kind of detective ingenuity she learned of the existence of duplicate jail keys, and Thompson was fortunate enough to find them in a drawer in the Sheriff's office, with which he broke into the Court House to ransack, the night he attempted to carry out his part of the plan to release Crawford.  Immediately after the shooting of Simons and the arrest of Thompson, she was also arrested as an accomplice and committed to jail.  She immediately sent for Fred. Richmond, an attorney, of Davenport, who came on and instituted habeas corpus proceedings to secure her release.  At that time court was in session at Marion, Judge McKean presiding.  Accompanied by her attorney, and in custody of Sheriff J. D. Shearer, she was taken there, and the case presented to Judge McKean, who, after hearing all the facts in the case, and the arguments pro and con, granted the application of the writ, and directed to be discharged from custody the dashing Mrs. Crawford, the wife of a burglar husband, an accomplice in an effort to release him from custody---an attempt that came near resulting in the death of two men, one of them a worthy and efficient prison officer.  After her release from custody, Mrs. Crawford returned to Tipton, and again became a boarder at the Fleming House.  She subsequently went to Davenport, since when but little knowledge of her career is known to the people of Tipton or of Cedar County.

Thompson was indicted, tried and convicted, on the charge of attempting to kill Simons, was found guilty, and sentenced to the penitentiary for four years.  At the expiration of two years and six months of his term of imprisonment, Thompson was pardoned out.  It has not yet transpired whether he promised to uncover the train robbers or not, but no doubt some honorable (?) consideration influenced his pardon.

Crawford was a malignant, malicious character, and, defeated in his attempt to escape from prison, he determined to vent his spleen against Sheriff Shearer, and so brought suit against that officer for cruelty to prisoners.  The case was called and a jury impaneled, but before the trial of the case was concluded, he had the suit withdrawn and the case dismissed.  Having learned the desperateness of his nature, and knowing that he would make every possible effort to escape, the jail was closely guarded for three months.  Sheriff Shearer, Detective Langham, Captain Sanford (then City Marshal), Deputy Sheriff Maynard (now Sheriff) and Rufus Hudelson took turns as jail guards, some one or more of them being at the jail all the time.  But for this precaution, there is no doubt but what Crawford would have made another and probably a successful attempt to escape.

To make as fair a showing for himself as possible, Crawford made a confession in which he implicated Joseph Muzzy and Charles Ridgeway, of Tipton, as accomplices and accessories.  He coupled with his confession the statement that Muzzy had invited him here to burglarize the County Treasury; that on his arrival at Tipton, on the afternoon of the day on the night of which the "job" was to be executed, he met Muzzy and told him that a third man was necessary to the success of the scheme; that they went in search of a reliable third party and found Ridgeway near the steam mill, in Tipton; that they took him into their confidence, unfolded to him their plans, to which he assented; that Ridgeway was then instructed in his role, and all the other preliminary arrangements were then completed for the night's work.  Muzzy and Ridgeway subsequently went on trial under these charges, and after a thorough examination were fully acquitted.

 

CIRCUIT COURT.

The Circuit Court was created by an act of the General Assembly of 1868, and approved April 6, 1868, entitled as follows:  "An act establishing Circuit and General Term Courts, and to define the powers and jurisdiction thereof."  The act defines that the Circuit Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction in all county matters relating to the probate of wills, the appointment of executors, administrators and guardians.  The Circuit Court also had concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court in all civil matters, actions at law, foreclosure of mortgages, etc.  No grand jury is empaneled in this court, nor does it have criminal jurisdiction.

The first term of the Circuit Court of Cedar County commenced on the 1st day of February, 1869, in the court house, in Tipton; Hon. Sylvanus Yates, Judge; William Elliott, Clerk; John D. Shearer, Sheriff.  The first jury was composed of the following named citizens:  Homer Frink, Peter Monk, E. C. Blackmar, Charles Benson, Ira Brink, George A. Guthrie, Jacob King, Thomas Reaves, A. H. Stevens, Wm. Fraseur, Frank Baldwin, E. H. Carl, George H. Wadsworth, Crawford Smith and Thomas W. Fishburne.  Frank Baldwin and Thomas W. Fishburne were discharged for cause.  N. J. Hawley, David Crisman and Wm. Jenney were returned to complete the panel.  A. H. Stevens could not be found by the Sheriff.

The first case of record in the Circuit Court was that of Robert Israel vs. Henry Tillet, on an action at law.  The Court ordered that the case be continued.

The first jury trial, in this court, was the case of C. Brinkman vs. B. Wilhelm, in an action of replevin.  The jury consisted of the following named persons:  Homer Frink, Peter Monk, E. C. Blackmar, Charles Benson, Ira Brink, George A. Guthrie, Thomas Reaves, E. H. Carl, George A. Wadsworth, Crawford Smith, David Crisman and William M. Jenney.  After listening to the evidence of witnesses and arguments of the counsel, the jury retired to consider their verdict, and returned a verdict for the plaintiff.

Judges of Circuit Court.---(Circuit Court organized February, 1869)--Second Circuit of Eighth Judicial District, Hon. Sylvanus Yates first Judge, 1869 to 1873; Eighth Circuit of Iowa, Hon. John McKean, 1873--(present incumbent).

 

District Court.

Judges, 1840 to 1878.---Second Judicial District, Territory of Iowa, Hon. Joseph Williams, 1840 to 1845; Third Judicial District, Territory of Iowa, Hon. Thomas S. Wilson, 1846; Second Judicial District, State of Iowa, Hon. James Grant, 1847 to 1851; Second District, Hon. Thomas S. Wilson, 1852; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. William E. Leffingwell, 1853; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. John B. Booth (appointed), 1854; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. Wm. H. Tuthill, 1855 to 1858; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. William E. Miller, 1859 to 1862; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. Norman W. Isbell, 1863 to December, 1864; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. C. H. Conklin, December, 1864 to December, 1865; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. N. M. Hubbard, December, 1865 to 1866; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. James H. Rothrock, 1867 to 1875; Eighth Judicial District, Hon. John Shane, 1876 to 1878.

 

 
 

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