William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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In the passages of rights so wise; in
Affection of his country so religious:
In all his services to the State so
Fortunate and exploring, as envy
Itself cannot accuse, or malice vitiate."

Jndge G. W. Wall, at preseni member of
the Appellate Court and its presiding officer,
was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, April 22,
1839; came with his family to Illinois in the
latter part of 183'J and located in Perry Coun-
ty, where he grew to manhood. For a time
was a student at McKendree College, but
graduated at the Michigan University in
1858. He read law with C. I. Simons, in
Cairo, and afterward graduated at the Cin-
cinnati Law School in 1859, and was at once
admitted to the bar. In 1866, he was a
member of the law firm of Mulkey, Wall &
Wheeler, of Cairo, which continued for many
years, and until he was elected Judge of the
Circuit Court. He was attorney for the Illi-
nois Central Railroad, and while thus acting
a good story is told of him. He was called
upon to attend a case at Effingham for the
railroad, which had been sued by a citizen
for the value of stock killed by defendants'
train. The venerable and ever ready O. B.
Ficklin was prosecuting the company, to-
gether with some other attorney whose name
is not now remembered. The evidence was
heard, and counsel went to the jury. The
plaintiff's case was opened by Ficklin's asso-
ciate, who indulged in considerable bunkum
and bombast about giant corporations, etc.
After he clo'^ed. Wall replied for the defense,
and during the course of his remarks com-
pared the gentleman who had preceded him
to Dickens' famous character of " Sergeant
Buzfuz," and, as he thought, completely an-
nihilated the gentleman, and left nothing to
be done but for the jury to retiu-n a verdict
for the defendant, and thus closed his case.
It was now time for Ficklin to make the
closing argument for the plaintiff, and after



speaking to the testimony and the law, he
concluded in the following vein of pathetic
and injured innocence:

"And now, gentlemen of the jury, it be-
comes my painful duty to reply to the malig-
nant and uncalled-for attack uj)on one of the
best men this country ever produced; a man
who has long since slept with his fathers,
and upon whose character no man, until to-
day, has dared to cast the shadow of suspic-
ion. I allude, gentlemen of the jury, to
the attack of my young friend Wall upon the
memory of that good and kind man. Sergeant
Buzfuz. Gentlemen, it was not, perhaps,
yoiu- privilege, as it-was mine, to have known
him personally. I remember him well, in
the early and trying times of this country.
He first assisted to cut out the roads through
this county. He was the early pioneer; who
was ever ready and willing, with honest heart
and active hand, to aid a friend or brother
in distress. In fact, gentlemen of the jury,
there are few men, living or dead, that this
country owes more to than it does to my old
friend Sergeant Buzfiiz. It is true, gentle-
men, that he was somewhat uncouth and
blunt in his way, but his every action, T assure
you, was prompted by a noble and honest
motive. He was not blessed with the brill-
iant and accomplished education of my
young friend. He, gentlemen of the jury,
wore no starched shirt, or' fine neckties; he
was humble and retired. In his leather leg-
gins and hunting shirt he went about the
country, not as a representative of a rich rail-
road monopoly, but as an humble citizen do-
ing good to his fellow-man. His bones have
long since moldered into dust ; the sod gi-ows
green over his grave; his work is done, and
he is gone from among us to return no more
forever; and I was sm-prised to hear his just
and amiable character attacked in the man-
ner it has been upon this occasion; and it is



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



161



impossible for me, his last remaining friend,
to permit it to go by unnoticed. And to you,
sir [turning to Wall, who was by this time
completely dumb-founded], I say, no better
man ever lived than he whom you have so
unjustly abused. Youth, sir, should have
more respect for the men who have made life
pleasant for those who come after them, than
to assail their character in the manner you
have done;" and thus he continued until his
close, with great earnestness and the utmost
apparent sincerity. At its close, the jury
could hardly wait uotil they could write their
verdict for the full amount of damages
claimed by the plaintiff, and, it is said, so
worked up were they that Wall had difficulty
in escaping personal violence.

In 1802, Judge Wall was elected a member
of the Constitutional Convention; in 1864,
he was State's Attorney for the Third Judi-
cial Circuit, and in 1870 was again a member
of the Constitutional Convention.

In August, 1877, he was elected Jvidge of
the Third Judicial Circuit, which position he
still holds. In September. 1877, he was
assigned to the Appellate Court for the
Fourth District, and has so remained to the
present time. As a -Judge, he is clear, con-
cise and sound, of unimpeachable integrity;
and for ability and legal learning he takes
front rank in the State's judiciary. Yet, it
is said, he has never referred in a disparag
ing manner to any of the early settlers since
he made the acquaintance of Judge Ficklin.

Hon. Thomas S. Casey, one of the Circuit
Judges of this judicial district, and also one
of the Appellate Judges, was born in Jeflfer-
son County, 111., April 6, 1832, and is a son
of Gov. Zadok Casey. He was educated at
McKench-ee College, Lebanon, 111., and after
completing his allotted course of studies and
securing the degree of Master of Arts, he
applied himself to the study of law under



the preceptorship of Hugh B. Montgomery,
with whom he remained as a student for
three years. At the expiration of that time,
he was (in 1854) admitted to .the_bar. In
I860, he was elected State's Attorney for the
Twelfth Judicial District, having, up to this
time, been engaged in the practice of his
profession. In 1864, he was re-elected to the
same position. In 1862, he entered the army
of the United States as Colonel of the One
Hundred and Tenth Regiment of Illinois
Volunteer Infantry, and served during the
succeeding eleven months. He participated
in the battle of Stone River, and took part,
also, in many other minor engagements. On
his return from the field, he resumed his pro-
fessional labors, and until 1868 filled the
position of States Attorney. In 1870, he
was elected to the Lower House of the Leg-
islature, and while a member of that body
delivered a powerful Free-trade speech, which
is noted as being the first speech of its kind
ever delivered in the Legislature of Illinois.
In 1872, he was elected to the State Senate,
and served for four years. In 1879, he was
elected one of the Judges of the , Second
Jud/cial Circuit Court, and immediately
thereafter was, by the Supreme Court, as-
signed to duty as one of the Judges of the
Appellate Court of the Fourth District; which
positions he still holds. In politics, he has
always been an " Ironside Democrat." He
was married, in October, 1861, to Matilda

, S. Moran, of Springfield, 111.

Judge Edwin Beecher, one of the Judges
of thiscircuit, was born in Herkimer County,

i N. Y. , September 11, 1819. He received a
collegiate education, and, in September, 1837,
removed to Licking County, Ohio; and at
Lancaster, Ohio, he i-ead law with the Hon.

j Henry Stansbury. In 1844, he settled in
Fairfield, Wayne Co., 111., and entered at
once upon the duties of his profession. At



168



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



that lime, there was but one lawyer, a Mr.
Ward, in the county, and he died the spring
after Judge Beecher's arrival. J udge Beecher
at once took a front rank in the profession,
and in 1840 was elected Probate Justice of
Wayne County. He was elected Judge of
the Circuit Court for this circuit in 1855,
and held the office for six years. In 1860,
he edited the second edition of Breeze's
Reports, and made the volume more valuable
by additional notes and citations. He was
appointed Paymaster in the United States
Army in November. 1862, aad continued as
such until 1869.

Judge Beecher has always been regarded
as a profound lawyer and a wise counselor;
he made an excellent Judge — and in what-
ever position he has been called, he has dis-
charged the duties required of him faith-
fully and honestly He is still residing at
Fairfield, where he first settled, and although
he is now in his sixty-fourth year, he is
hale and vigorous, and enjoying a lucrative
practice.

Circuit Court. — The first term of Circuit
Court held in this county was convened on
the 8th day of October, A. D. 1819, with
William Wilson as Judge; Joel Pace, Clerk;
Lewis Watkins. Sherifif, and Frederick
Adolphus Hubbard, Prosecuting Attorney.

The grand jury, after a laborious (session
of about two hours in the woods north of the
public square, about where the livery stable
of Walker & Pattison now stands, returned
two indictments, one against William Casey
and one against Lewis Watkina, Sheriif, both
for assault and battery. Watkins confessed
the soft impeachment, and a fine of $2 and
costs was imposed.

May term, 1820, Wilson presided and
Henry Eddy was appointed Prosecuting At ■
torney for the term. Two civil cases appeared
on the docket, both dismissed by plaintift',



six indictments for assault and battery and
five for selling liquors without a license,
from which we gather that the early settlers
came here with the impression that a good
knock-down was a luxury to be sought after
by those who would have distinction linger
around their names. This sentiment, accom-
panied with a bit of the " elixir of life," or
"corn juice," as it may have then been called,
was well calculated to make things interest-
ing and not a few sore heads.

At the October term, 1820, Hon. Thomas
C. Brown presided. At this term an indict-
ment was returned againsl Ferdinand Herrin
for countorfeiting, and for the first time the
county found itself in need of a jail; but
none was at hand, and the'prisoner was taken
to the White County Jail, from whence he
proceeded to make his escape, but after a
while he was recaptured and lodged in jail
at Old Covington, Washingon County, where
he remained until the June term of the com-t,
1821, Judge Joseph Phillips presiding. On
the 19th day of June, 1821, Herrin was
placed on trial, and as it was the most im-
portant criminal trial that had been called,
considerable interest was manifested, and
after due legal forms, a jury was called and
testimony heard. After due and careful con-
sideration, the jui-y returned a verdict of
guilty, and the court immediately proceeded
to pronounce the following sentence: " It
is therefore considered by the court that
the defendant pay a fine to the people of the
county aforesaid in the sum of $20 and costs
of this prosecuticm, and that he be whipped
thirty-nine stripes on his bare back, which
the Sheriff of the county is ordered to in-
flict at half past 6 o'clock this evening,
and it is further ordered that he be com-
mitted until fine and costs are paid."
Speedy justice, indeed! It was the first time
an opportunity had presented itself to give






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HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



171



to the citizens a practical illustration of the
"terrors of the law," and it could not be Inst.
The whipping part was executed at tlie ap-
pointed hour, and considering the number of
inhabitants in the county at that time, no
larger number of the fair daughters and stal-
wart sons of Jefferson County were ever
gathered together. He was committed under
the order of the court, but wages being low
and payments poor in jail, he did not accu-
mulate very rapidly, and after awhile he
was released and the tine and costs are still
unpaid. .4. little management in the way of
gate fees might have paid it, but it was a
free show.

At the November term, 1822, Hon. Thomas
Reynolds presided and William Wood sued
John M. Pace for false imprisonment. Par-
ties not being ready, the cause was continued
until the May term, 1823, at which term the
Hon. John Reynolds presided. The case of
Woods against Pace was called and tried by
jury, and the following verdict retui-ned:
" We the jury lind damages in favor of
plaintiff $38.37|^ in paper of this State."
Judgment was accordingly rendered.

October term, 1823, Thomas Reynolds
presided and for the first and only time in
the history of the county, the Grand Jury
adjourned without finding any indictments.
Peace and good will seems to have reigned
throughout the entire county.

At the May and October terms, 1824:,
Thomas Reynolds presided. In April,
1825, James Hall was upon the bench; Oc-
tober, 1825, James Wattles wore the title
and James Hall was here again in April and
October, 1826.

March, 1827, court opened with Thomas
Brown on the bench. The grand jury at
this time in hunting for violators of the law,
discovered that Joel Pace, the Clerk of the
court, had been a little pugnacious, and they



returned a bill against him for assault and
battery. Defendant first thought the indict-
ment was bad and entered his motion to
quash. The court, however, was inclined to
be satisfied, and overruled the motion. Defend-
ant b}' this time came to the conclusion that
he was not guilty, and so entered his plea
and called for a jury. A jury came, and
after full investigation of the case, came to
the conclusion that the defendant was again
mistaken in his plea, and returned a verdict
of guilty as charged, whereupon defendant was
required to contribute the sum of $1 to the
school fund and also to pay the costs of the
prosecution.

Judge Brown continued to hold the courts
until the March term, 1835.

In March, 1835, Alex F. Grant came to
the bench.

March and August terms, 1836, Jeptha
Hardin presided. About this time Judge
Hardin's brother-in-law killed a man, and the
Judge resigned his seat to prosecute him,
and in doing so said he would rather be the
owner of a tub mill in Kentucky than a Cir-
cuit Judge in Illinois.

After Hardin came Scates, who held court
from 1837 to 1846.

At the August term, 1838, Downing Baugh
was indicted for retailing clocks without
having first obtained a license therefor.
Defendant entered his plea of not guilty, as
inferred from the following order entered in
the case: " Now on this day came the peo-
ple by Marshall, State's Attorney, and the de-
fendant in his own proper person, and the
said defendant for plea says he is not guilty
and for trial puts himself upon the country
and State's Attorney does the like, whereup-
on let a jury come, and thereupon a jury
came, to wit: James Montgomery. Samuel
Cummins, John R. Allen, Joseph Dorrel,
Granville Jones, James Bennett, John Dod-



172



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY



son, William R. Little and Uriah Wither-
spoon, who beiug elected, tried and sworn,
well and truly to try the issues joined, upon
their oaths do say, we, the jury, find the
defendant guilty. It is considered by the
coui-t that the plaintiff recover of the defend-
ant the sum of $5 and costs of this proceed-
ings."

We conclude that the proceedings had in
this case did not materially affect the de-
fendant's popularity, because he was after-
ward made Judge of the Circuit Court.

With this one exception, nothing of spe-
cial interest seems to have come before the
coiu-t until the April term, 1S41, when the
first indictment for mui'der was returned
into court against Rollin Bradley, charging
him with killing and murdering one Elijah
P. King. Nothing was done at this term in
the case except to recognize the witnesses
and continue. The witnesses were Robert
A. D. Wilbanks, father of the present Clerk
of the Appellate Court; William H. Short,
John Browning, James W. Garrison. Nathan
Kirk, A. D. W. Williams. Elijah Piper,
George Black, Bershall Black and James A.
Hamilton.

At the special November term, 1841, the
case was called and the trial entered upon.
But in order that the case may be fully un-
derstood, we will give the circTimstances of
the killing as we have gathered them from a
history of the county by Dr. A. Clark John-
son, published in the Free Press a few
years ago:

Elijah P. King, the victim, lived near
the east side of Elk Prairie. Bradley lived
on the west side, was an industrious man,
kept a barrel of whisky, and was gaining
property as rapidly as was common in that
day. He was, however, always a determined
and dangerous man.

King came to Bradley's for some whisky;



before he left a quarrel arose, and King, be-
ing a large, stout man, and rather anxious
for a fight, took a chair, knocked Bradley
down, and gave him a very severe beating,
and, leaving him, got on his horse and went
home. Wesley Hicks came in a few minutes
afterward, and finding Bradley insensible
and the floor all bespattered with blood, pro-
nounced him a murdered man. But by the
help of Hicks' dressing and good attention,
he was able to be up next day and swore he
would kill King on sight.

The next moi'ning King concluded he
would go to Bradley's and make friends with
him and get some more whisky. When he
rode up, Bradley met him with his gun.
King said, " Bradley, you are not going to
shoot me, are you?" Bradley replied,
"Yes, by — , I am." King dismounted on
the opposite side of his horse, exclaiming,
" For God's sake don't shoot me." Bradley
stepped around the horse, placed the gun to
King's side, fired, and King died in a few
minutes. Bradley then fled. Ho was, how-
ever, captiu'ed, indicted, and trial set for the
special November term, 1841, Scates was
on the bench; Willis Allen was Prosecuting
Attorney; Henry Eddy, W. J. Gatewood, S.
G. Hicks and E. Jones represented the de-
fense. After an examination of about fifty
men, a jury was impaneled, consisting of
Coleman Smith, W. M. Fuller, J. H. Wat-
son, S. B. Shelton, B. McConnell. Jesse
Phillips. D. Baugh, John Holt, D. McLaugh-
lin, Joel Smith, Edward Owens and W. Gib-
berson. The examination of witnesses began
on November 30, and December 7, the argu-
ment opened, continuing until December 8,
when the^case went to the jury. In. a short
time, however, the jury retmmed a verdict
of guilty.

Motion for new trial and arrest of judg-
ment being overruled, the court pronounced



HISTORY OF JEFFEKSOX COUNTY.



173



sentence of death on Bradley and fixed the
3d day of January, 1842, between the hoiu's
of 12 and 2 o'clock, for his execution. Judge
Scates is said to have evinced considerable
feeling, but Bradley listened with much in-
diflerence and at the conclusion, got up and
took a di'ink of water as if nothing had hap-
pened.

A gallows was erected somewhere near
where the machine shop now stands, and
every arrangement made for the execution;
but Bradley had friends, and they were not
idle. A petition was at once circulated, ask-
ing for his pardon. Bluford Hayes took it
to Springfield, obtained the pardon and re-
turned just in time to disappoint one of the
largest crowds that ever assembled in the
county, many of them leaving mad and hot
at their disappointment.

Thus we give the history of the first mur-
der ever committed in this count)', and the
only one where the sentence of death was
passed.

Judge Scates was on the bench from 1837
until 1846, when the Hon, William A. Den-
ning was elected, and continued to hold
court until the election of Judge Marshall in
1851, when he resigned, and Downing Baugh
was appointed to fill the vacancy. Edwin
Beecher followed Baugh in 1855, and in
1861 Marshall came back, remained vintil
February, 1865, when he again resigned to
accept a seat in Congress, and James M.
Pollock was elected and served until 1872,
when he was succeded by T. B. Tanner, and
in 187S he gave way to Thomas S. Casey,
the present incumbent. Thus have we given
a brief sketch of the Circuit Coiut.

William Wilson was born in Loudoun
County, Ya., in 1795. At eighteen, be
studied law with Hon. John Cook, a lawyer
of much prominence at the Virginia bar and
who was aftei'ward Minister to the court of



France. In 1817, young Wilson came West
in search of fame and success. He settled
near Carmi, White County. In 1818, he
was a caudidate for Judge of the Supreme
Court before the Legislature, but was de-
feated by six votes; but within less than one
yeai' he was appointed to a vacancy and
served as Justice, when he was made Chief
Justice, then in his twenty-ninth year. He
was not a politician in any sense of the
word; he did that which he conceived to be
his duty regardless of consequences, and
this trait, together with some considera-
ble legal knowledge and ability, kept him on
the Supreme Bench for thirty years. His
composition was clear, distinct and to the
point. He possessed an analytical mind;
his judgment as a lawyer was discriminating
and sound, and upon the bench his learning
and impartiality commanded respect, while
his own dignified deportment inspired decor-
um in others. He was greatly esteemed by
the members of the bar.

In politics, Judge Wilson was a AVhig.
He was an amiable and accomplished gentle-
man in his private life, with manners en-
gaging and friendship strong. His hospi-
tality was of the " Old Virginia " order, and
during his summer vacations he almost al-
ways had many friends and men of distinc-
tion visit him at his home on the banks of
the Little Wabash near Carmi.

With the re-organization of the judicial
system of the State in 1848, Judge Wilson
retired to private life. He died April 29,
1857, at his home near Carmi, in his sixty-
third year, one-half of his life having been
spent upon the bench of the highest court
of his State.

Samuel S. Marshal], a native of Illinois,
has spent his whole life in this State. He
was born in Gallatin County, near Shawnee -
town, on the 12th day of March, 1821, and



174



HISTOKY OF JEFFERSON COUXTY.



there grew to manhood, during which time
he obtained a fair education. He entered the
law office of Henry Eddy, of Shawneetown,
one of the then prominent lawyers of the
State. In 1S44, Judge Marshall was admit-
ted to the bar, and shortly after located at
McLeansboro, where he still presides, and
began the practice of his profession. He
was not long permitted to remain in private
life. He already began to develop traits of
character and ability which pronounced a
leader, and in 1846 he was elected to the
Legislature, where he at once took a front
rank in the councils of the State. Dm-ing
his term as a member of the Legislature, he
was elected by that body Prosecuting Attor-
ney of this judicial circuit, then comprising
the counties of Jefferson, Marion, Hamilton,
Franklin, Williamson, Jackson, Union,
Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Pope, Hardin,
Gallatin and Saline, fourteen in all, extend-
ing from what is now the Ohio & Mississippi
Eailroad to the southern boundary of the
State at Cairo; and from the Ohio River on
the east to the Mississippi on the west. In
those days, it will be remembered that no
railroads were in this county, and the trav-
eling accommodations were not as good as at
present. The court and bar " rode the cir
cuit" from county to county, sometimes in a
stage, sometimes in a wagon, then on horse-
back and again on foot, with a rail on their
shoulder to pry the stage out of the nest mud
hole. Those were trying times on the bar,
and yet many pleasures were had that are
not to-day enjoyed; telling stories and crack-
ing jokes was the pastime on the way. At
court, four or five would be stowed away in
a small room at the best hotel, which was
nothing to speak of. But whisky was cheap,
and the trials were bravely endm^ed. For
two years Judge Marshall " rode the circuit"
in this manner as Prosecuting Attorney, on



a salary of $250 per year, and really though
he was on the road to prosperity. To-day,
each county has a prosecutor, at an average
salary of SI, 000 per year, amounting in the
aggregate to S14,000, for the same territory
in which Judge Marshall received S250. At
the time the Judge was elected Prosecutor,
he had been in court but little, but by a
persistence which is characteristic of him,
he soon learned the harness and taught the
violators of the law that their acts would re-
ceive due and ample consideration. At the
expiration of his term of office, he declined
a re-election and returned to the practice,
but in 1851 he was again called to public
life, and elected Judge of this judicial cir-



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