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If All Else Fails, Try the Jails

By Louise Moxley.  Used with Permission

 

Have you looked everywhere? Don't give up until you check the wanted posters and the county jail rosters!

It was quite by chance that we found such records at our county's Heritage Room of their library. Several very old ledger type books contained jail entries of the county, letters to the Chief of Police and a scrap book of various clippings pertaining to persons wanted.

It is possible that your man took off on his own across country on horseback and met with foul play. During that time, anyone caught riding another man's horse was often shot or hung on the spot. No one would believe that he bought, borrowed or traded for the horse when his own gave out. Some good souls could have buried him without a marker.

Take the case of the father who had a wanted poster put out on his daughter. No, she wasn't a criminal. She just ran away from home and he wanted her back.

In one letter we found to the Chief of Police, a request was made to hold a certain man, provided he could be found, because he was wanted for witnessing a crime. You will be amused and surprised at some of the reasons given for a person's arrest. Some information gave time arrested, name, sex, age, charge, how long a prisoner, meals served, how sentence was served, such as paying fine, working or escaped. One female was released for sickness. Charges include the usual being drunk, gambling, trespassing, disturbing the peace, theft, carrying a pistol, asleep on the sidewalk and riding on the sidewalk.

Even if you don't think you have a horse thief in your family, you may be in for a surprise!


 

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