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Crime in Allegany County, New York


Read the tragic case of Everett Austin and Gabriel Bishop “A Terrible Calamity”

Circuit Court and Court of Oyer and Terminer held at Angelica last week and this.... the great feature of the Court was the trial of Jerome Curtiss, charged with murdering his wife, by poison.  There was a host of people in attendance during the trial which occupied three days.  Some are anxious that the prisoner should be condemned regardless of evidence; others equally anxious for an opposite result, whether innocent of guilty; while the more considerate and unprejudiced awaited calmly the result of the trial. All the evidence was received that could possibly have a bearing either for or against the prisoner, counsel argued the case fully, and Judge Marvin charged the jury with his usual clearness and impartiality.  The jury composed of intelligent and candid men, retired and considered the evidence for about an hour and a half, when they returned into court with a verdict of "not guilty."  On taking the first vote, after retiring the jury were unanimous.  [Source: VOL IV, NO 34, February [23], 1866


Jail Birds on the Wing. Sheriff Gillies was here yesterday on official business.  About noon he received a dispatch announcing the escape from his Angelica hotel of two borders.  The method of their escape was as follows.  Four prisoners were confined in one cell.  One of them was sick.  Jailer Hunt took some medicine in to him.  Burdette Moses an old offender charged with burglary at Cuba turned the key upon Hunt and with Woodard, brought from Olean two weeks ago, made his escape into the woods south of the county seat.  ’Joe’ says he has never lost a prisoner yet and vows he never will unless they die before he reaches them.  He is confident of promptly re-arresting Moses and Woodard.  Friendship Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 13, May 5, 1880


TRIAL FOR ASSAULT-- A "'Scene' that was "Seen" --The chief excitement in town the past week, has been the trial of two young men charged with making an assault upon two women while waking the street. On Monday one of the young men was tried before Esq. Reynolds and a jury--was brought in guilty and fined. On Tuesday the trial of the other commenced, and after an all day siege the jury failed to agree, three of them being for an acquittal and three for conviction. Wednesday morning a new jury was empanelled, and the trial continued. By this time considerable interest in the case had been excited, and the counsel on both sides left no stone unturned that was likely to prove of benefit to either of the parties interested. Just at night the case was submitted to the jury, which, after the absence of over an hour, brought in a verdict of guilty in the second case.

The prosecution was conducted by Messrs. Armstrong and Swift, both of whom made most excellent pleas, appealing to the jury in the most logical and argumentative language, based on a thorough knowledge of the law. The defence was conducted by Messrs. W. F. Bement and John Spencer. Mr. S. in the examination of witnesses showed marked ability, while Mr. Bement, in summing up the case, although he had already been over the same ground twice before, surpassed both his former efforts, and showed conclusively that as an advocate he is fully up in the first ranks. He spoke for nearly and hour, and although he lost his case, all who heard him acknowledge that it was one of his finest efforts, and evinced a perfect knowledge of law, and legal acumen.

-- While the jury were out, on the third day, in the hall in front of the court room, under the shadow of stern, upright justice, (we quote from a cotemporary) "a 'scene' was to be 'seen' which, for ridiculousness, would baffle the versatile pen of Josh Billings for an appropriate description; but out of respect for the party, we will remain silent upon that subject," &c.

Terrible Tragedy.  A Son Pummels His Father in a Horrible Manner, and then Applies the Torch to His Buildings, after which he Cuts his own Throat from Ear to Ear!

   We lay before our readers to-day a case, the history of which presents the saddest state of things that it has been our lot to chronicle in many weeks.  In the town of New Hudson, in the vicinity of what is known as Swift Hill, near this village, resides Mr. Truman Swift, with whom lived his son Orville and his son's wife.  For some months past bad feelings have existed between the father and his son and his wife, by reason of a dispute between them as to who was the real owner of the premises on which they resided.  It appears form the statement of the father that when the deed of the land was taken, by the order of father the deed was taken in the son's name with the expectation and understanding that the son would deed it to the father at any time when requested so to do.  Everything went on smoothly until last winter, when the son for the first time claimed to own the premises, and all the stock and personal property thereon, which of course was disputed by the father.  And so matters have continued until last Saturday, the father intending all the while to commence an action in the Supreme Court to set aside the conveyance to the son, and secure title to himself, but has neglected to commence the proceedings until now.

   On Saturday, the 15th inst., the father was about hitching his horse to his buggy, to go away on business, when the son took hold of the buggy and told the father that he could not use it.  The father remonstrated quietly and calmly, and undertook to use the buggy, when the son struck the father, knocked him down, and kicked and choked and pounded him when he was down, and at the same time swore he would kill him which he might have done had not a neighbor named Dean come to his rescue.  The father was badly pounded and mutilated.

   The next Monday morning the father came to this village and applied to J. C. Spencer, Esq., for proper papers to bring the son to a just punishment. Mr. Spencer issued a supreme writ for the son, and also obtained a warrant from W. F. Bement, Esq., for assault and batter. The papers were placed in the hands of officer Scoutan, who in due time brought the son into Court.  Esq. Bement held him to bail in the sum of $500 for his appearance to Court. Bail being procured the son was released, when a second process in the nature of a peace warrant was issued by Esq. Bement, and served on the son, who being brought before the Court, was held to bail in sum of $1,000, and he was allowed until 8 o'clock Tuesday morning to get his bail and was permitted to go at large for that purpose.

   When Tuesday morning came the father found his barns and everything stowed in them including 70 tons of hay, in ashes!   What the feelings of that poor old man were when he beheld at least five thousand dollars of his hard earnings laid waste, no one can tell.   The origin of this fire is doubted scarcely by no one as will appear from facts gathered by a preliminary examination had before Esq. Bement in the afternoon of Wednesday, for the purpose of obtaining a warrant against Orville Swift, the son, for Arson.

   A Subpoena was issued and several witnesses summoned to give evidence in the matter, and among them was the wife of the son.  She testifies among other things, that they retired on Monday night about 10 o'clock; and that in about one and a half hours after that she heard her husband going out the front door without his boots on; that in about an hour she was awakened by the fire in the barns; she immediately went to work packing up her and her husband's articles, which she carried to the rear of the house far enough to save them from fire, as she expected the house would burn too; that she did not carry out a single article belonging to the father; and that she went down to Mr. Pike's, a distance of about half a mile, and did not, during all this time, give the alarm of fire nor call her husband, or search for him at all; and that she took the trouble to tie her and her husband's things up in a bundle and carry them out.  This is the substance of wife's evidence, and can anyone doubt from this statement who the party is who committed this foul deed?  The husband has not been seen or heard of since the wife heard him leave the house without his boots.  She says that all he wore away was his pants and shirt.  She also states that she found he had taken his razor with him.  It was at first rumored that he had been destroyed by the flames, which would seem almost certain originated from his torch, but there is nothing upon which to predicate such a theory.

   Too much praise cannot be given Mr. Spencer for his promptness in investigating this matter, and he is entitled to unlimited credit for the manner in which he sifted the case and for his energetic action in the business throughout.  Had others properly rebuked the son when arrested on Monday, the barns of the father would still be standing and the culprit would be in jail awaiting the action of the Grand Jury.

LATER. -- Since the above was in type this case has presented a new phase. On Wednesday night the son, Orville Swift, was found by John Pike in his pasture about half a mile from where the fire occurred, with his throat cut from ear to ear.  Mr. Pike immediately sent word to village, and Dr. Reynolds was sent to his aid.  The condition of the man is quite critical, and as to whether he will recover from effects of the cut, is a matter of uncertainty.  His wind-pipe was almost entirely severed, and the wound presented a most ghastly appearance.  He is perfectly rational, and converses quite natural, and seems to have a great deal of strength.  He states that the first he knew anything of himself was on Wednesday morning, when he found himself in condition he was.  He says that he tried to find the instrument with which he committed the deed, but could not tell what the instrument was.  He stated that he walked four miles on Wednesday, and tried to find something with which to complete the job he before failed to accomplish, and begged of Mr. Pike to furnish him with something with which he might destroy himself.  He made other statements, but there was some little discrepancies in them so that it may be improper to publish them at this time. [The Cuba True Patriot, VOL VII, NO 8, FRIDAY AUGUST 21, 1868]

Assaulted a Lady.  On Wednesday last a stranger, giving his name as Anthony, who had been on a spree here for several days was arrested on a warrant issued by Esq. Reynolds for an assault on Miss S. McAllister.  He plead guilty to the charge and was fined $5 and costs.  Not having any money, his fine was paid by two of his personal friends. [CTP, Vol VI, No 21, Nov. 15, 1867]

Rev. Mr. Tinker, or Tinkum, the man who attempted an outrage on the person of Mrs. Southworth, an account of which we published at the time, was sentenced by Judge Marvin last week to confinement in the county jail.  Served him right.  [CTP, Vol V, No. 36, Mar. 8, 1867]

Convicted. At the Court of Oyer and Terminer, held in Belmont last week, R. Wilmarth, the one-armed soldier, who, it will be remembered, knocked down Dr. Maxon last 4th of July, was convicted of assault and battery and fined $35.  We understand that the fine was promptly paid by contributions from several of our prominent citizens.  General Jackson was once fined and his fine was paid by the people.  [CTP, Vol IV, No 52, June 29, 1866]

Indicted. At the last Court held at Belmont, the Grand Jury found an indictment against R. Adams of this village for an assault with a deadly weapon upon Russell Smith.  His son was also indicted for carrying a slung shot on the same occasion.  They entered bail last week before Judge Hatch for their appearance at Court.  The matter grew out of Russell Smith, one of the Trustees of this village, removing obstructions from the creek in the highway. [CTP, Vol. VII, No. 7, Aug. 14, 1868]



Bolivar, Dec. 12-- The store of S. W. Thomas & Co., located on the corner of Main and Liberty streets was entered by burglars last night and quite a large quantity of goods carried away.  In the rear of the store and fronting on Liberty street, is a store owned by Samuel King, the upper part of which is sued by the Misses Campbell as a millinery shop.  The lower floor is occupied by Mr. King and used as a harness shop.  About one o'clock this morning the milliners heard a noise and gave Mr. King the alarm.  Mr. King got up and looked around but seeing nothing unusual, went back to bed. Not so the ladies. They were positive the store had been broken into.  After watching for an hour, they say (sic) four men emerge from one of the rear windows of the store, heavily loaded with goods.  They once more gave the alarm to Mr. King.  Awakening his workmen and one or two other gentlemen who slept in building, they all started in the direction which the burglars were seen to take, but they had made good their escape and could not be found.  Afterward, Mr. Thomas, one of the firm, took a lantern, as the night was very dark, and going down Liberty street, found scattered along the walk several mittens, gloves, woolen shirts and other articles which the thieves had dropped in their hasty flight.  Similar articles were found north of the depot and this leads to the belief that the burglars made tracks for Richburg.  The police of the latter place were notified but at a late hour this evening no clue had been obtained.  The money drawers were forced open and the small amount of change they contained, about $2, was taken.  No attempt to open the safe was made. eight or ten suits of clothes, several overcoats, silk handkerchiefs and some jewelry were taken, valued at something over $200.  An entrance to the building was affected by first forcing open the board blinds and then by prying open the window which was securely nailed.  The sash was so badly wrenched in the operation that the large window pane was broken.  The Misses Campbell deserve great credit for giving the alarm, and if after the first alarm was given, the matter had been properly investigated, the four rascals might have been caught.  [The Olean Democrat, Dec. 15, 1881, p. 3]

Burglars Caught. Three of the burglars who broke into Swift & Moses' store (an account of which we gave last week) were brought into town by Marshal Bruce and S. Moses, Esq., yesterday afternoon.

They were caught on the railroad track of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad, about twenty miles from Shippen. A considerable quantity of the stolen goods was recovered. A fourth one, belonging to the gang, is still at large, he having left the others to or three days before.

Two of them were arrested without much trouble; but the third one, who was in advance of the others, started on a run for the mountains. Mr. Bruce in attempting to draw his revolver, in order to fire on the fugitive, caught the hammer of the weapon some way, discharging it, the ball passing through Mr. B's hand.-- Without stopping, Mr. Bruce fired at the running man, without however causing him to stop, but some trackmen, who were in the vicinity soon caught the scoundrel.

They are young but hard-looking customers, and give their names as Wm. S. Star, Chas. Jameson and Wm. Green. Two of them claim to be from St. Louis and one from Cincinnati.

We are indebted to Mr. Bruce for the particulars of their arrest, &c.

Later. Escape of the Burglars! They, pry off their Hand-cuffs, get out of the window and take to the woods. -- This morning about 6 o'clock, the prisoners spoken of above, who had been committed for trial last evening, succeeded to making their escape. They had been under the charge of two or three men all night, were kept in a room on the second floor of the Cuba House, and were all three handcuffed together. By some means the rascals got hold of a piece of iron, and with it they wrenched off the irons that confined them, got out of the window, dropping down upon the Hotel kitchen roof, from whence the ground was easily reached. They were seen by several as they were "digging for woods" and an alarm was given. A large posey of men are now in pursuit."

[Source: The Cuba True Patriot, Vol. V, No. --, June 7, 1867]

Frank Kinney was arrested Wednesday for stealing a lap-robe from Capt. Lemen, and on Thursday Justice Olney sent him up for 90 days. He is said to be wanted in Allegany county for hiring a horse at Angelica and offering it for sale in the locality. Nunda News. May 1st. [Friendship Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 13, May 5, 1880, “County Chips”

We learn that it is now known who robbed Mr. Russell Adams of Scio, a short time since, of some $1,000.  The parties were a man by the name of Hathaway, son-in-law of Mr. Adam's housekeeper and a young man, her son.  There is no doubt of the guilt of these men, who, finding they were discovered have eloped.  Efforts are being made for their arrest.  --Free Press. [CTP, Vol V, No 26, Dec. 28, 1866]

At the Circuit Court and Court of Oyer and Terminer, held in Belmont last week, Bartlett Thompson, the man who it will be remembered was arrested in this village by Officer Boss, charged with burglary at Andover, was found guilty, and sentenced to Auburn for two years and three months.  [CTP, Vol V, No. 36, Mar. 8, 1867]

Arrested for Larceny.  A man by the name of John Pickard, who has lately been in the employ of Mr. F. T. Thing, of the Cuba Bakery, was arrested on Tuesday last, charged with taking money from the desk of Mr. T. after an examination before Esq. Tuller, he was held, and on Wednesday had a jury trial.  Although there were many things that looked rather suspicious against the man, the evidence was not considered sufficient to convict him, and he was discharged.  [CTP, Vol VI, No 38, Mar. 13, 1868]


Preston Caught at Last.  A week ago last Monday night, two young men, by the name of Preston, who have been living at Belvidere the past year, ran off with a valuable pair of horses belonging to Mr. J. Hess, but which they had in their possession.  Mr. H. on the next Friday, applied to Deputy Sheriff J. D. Lottridge, of this village, to ferret out the wherabouts of the scoundrels.  After a search of five days, Mr. Lottridge came up with the "birds" in Luzern Co., Pa., and secured them and the team.  The team was valued at $500.  Rogues must look out when "John" gets after them.  [CTP, Vol V, No 14, Oct. 5, 1866]


SENT UP -- Sims, one of the head centres of the gangs of counterfeiters in this State, who was arrested some time since, was found guilty at Canandaigua last week and sentenced to State Prison for ten years and to pay a fine of $5,000. Detective E. S. Bruce, of his village, is entitled to the credit of ferreting out this scoundrel who had so long escaped the meshes of the law. -- Cuba True Patriot, Vol. VI, No. 2, July 5, 1867

The Robinson and Parkers of whom we spoke last week as being parties in the transaction of passing counterfeit money, were taken to Jamestown for examination and were held for trial.  They were sent to Angelica to jail.  One of the young Parkers was examined here and was held to bail in the sum of $1,000.  [CTP, Vol V, No 2, July 13, 1866]


Here is a sad domestic episode.  On the 14th inst., Mr. Lyman E. Rouse of the town of Wirt, this country [sic], abandoned a wife and three children, and left for parts unknown, taking with him the wife of his brother, Mr. F. E. Rouse. No tiding as yet of the fugitive couple. - Reporter


A man named Utter, from Broom[e] county, this state, came into town a short time since and went to work for A.V. Cole, Esq., near this village. -- While there, he made the acquaintance of Miss Banfield, who is said to be a most worthy young lady and after a brief -- too brief-- courtship, married her.  Two days after the ceremony had been performed it came out that he had a wife and child in Chenango, and was accordingly arrested, taken before Justice Bement, where sufficient evidence was adduced to warrant the Justice in committing him for trial.  He was taken to Angelica on Saturday last for lodgement in jail.  That he may get his desserts is the ardent wish of all.  [CTP, Vol IV, No 39, Mar. 30, 1866]
Sent up: At the late Court of Oyer and Terminer, young Utter, who was arrested for bigamy in this village last spring was sentenced to take up his residence in Auburn for a few years, and labor for the State.  One Tuesday last Sheriff Wright, started with him for prison.  [CTP, Vol IV, No 52, Fri. June 29, 1866]


Arrest for an Attempt to Extort Money. On Thursday of this week Benjamin Munger, and Sarah Munger, his wife, of Ischua, Cattaraugus county, were arrested on the complaint of Deacon Lewis A. Hickok, of Friendship, charged with an attempt to extort money from him. The prisoners were duly examined before Esq. Reynolds, and held to bail in the sum of two hundred dollars.  The prisoners were arrested on four different warrants for the same charge, and held on the last.  [CTP, Vol VII, No 1, June 26, 1868]

CTP - Cuba True Patriot

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