Peoria Daily Transcript
submitted by Steve Slaughter
"Corporal James Sleeth limped off the train today and before he started by wagon to his wife and 5 children living at Edwards Station, he told of his two captures and as many escapes from the Confederates.
"A member of Company F, 77th regiment under Colonel Grier of Peoria, Sleeth was out with four comrades foraging for food near Arkansas Post, Arkansas, when his party was trapped by guerrillas. There were sent to the prison camp at Jackson, Miss., and on the way Private Art Sparks of Low Pointe tried to escape and was killed by a guard.
"At Jackson the prisoners were closely confined for 5 weeks, receiving rough treatment, usually, Sleeth said. They were furnished corn meal from which they made corn bread, their principal food. Salt was dealt sparingly and the drinking water came from a cistern. There was no meat or vegetables. They slept on a bare floor without blankets.
"Sleeth and his comrades escaped one night by forcing the bars to their windows but were tracked down by blood hounds and recaptured before they had gone far. Then they were sent to Columbia, Tenn., where Sleeth escaped a second time by sliding down from his second story prison on a rope of quilts. He fell and injured his leg but managed to creep four miles before daybreak through swamps and creeks to trick the pursuers bloodhounds. Then he stole a mule and by night riding managed to reach the Union lines safely." [Information on Corp. Sleeth: Joined the Union Army in Rosefield Twp., Mustered in Peoria. At his enlistment, he was 29 yrs of age, stood 5'7 3/4", tall, blue eyes, dark complexion, was married, had a small farm in Rosefield Twp. and originally came from Ireland. Sadly, what the article doesn't say is that he deserted his post on JAN 18, 1863 at NAPOLEON, ARKANSAS. This is according to the official records at the Illinois Sec'try of State office....Steve Slaughter]
August 17, 1877:
"You can never make a man believe that all things happen for the best, if he has the kind of experience which a young friend went through the other morning. He was just turning the corner of Main and Washington Steets in Peoria when he met two young ladies with whom he was slightly acquainted, and at the same instant a bug with exceedingly sharp legs flew into his eye and nestled into one corner. It was a study for an artist to see him lift his hat and smile and to see that smile suddenly fade into the most horrible grimaces, while he bowed as politely as the nature of the case would admit and wished the ladies:
"Good Morning -- gaul dern that bug -- pleasant day -- Jerusalem! Confound that beast!"
And he rolled his eyes like a madman, and then twisted one corner down and the other up, and opened his mouth like a hippopotamus, and worked his jaw around in a circle while he dug his handkerchief into the afflicted eye after that bug; and the ladies looked a moment in speechless astonishment, and hastened away with the impression that the young man always did drink and that they always knew it."
December 29, 1883:
"WANTED: All saloon keepers in Peoria or elsewhere to know that I hereby warn them neither to sell or give, or cause to be sold or given to, any intoxicating liquors, or the money to purchase the same, to Peter McCabe, under penalty of the law. ---- Mrs. Ann McCabe
May 13, 1889:
"At an early hour this morning, Mrs. Caroline Hild, No.810 W. Jefferson St, was awakened by smoke in her room. On investigating she discovered that the house was on fire, but prompt action extinguished the flames. Officer Leonard, who was near, had his attention attracted to the scene and he discovered a man carrying a kerosene can whom he gave chase to but did not capture. It was a plain attempt to cremate the old lady."
May 18, 1889:
"The funeral of Samuel Snyder, an old and respected citizen of Brimfield occurred yesterday afternoon. Mr. Snyder died Wednesday morning. The deceased was born in 1813 and came to Peoria County in 1835. He was a wagon maker by trade and for years followed that calling in Brimfield. He was married in Jubilee in 1839 and was the first white man married within the lines of that township. He was an uncle of Officer William Shane of this city. He was a member of the Old Settlers Union."
June 2, 1889:
"W. G. Harvey of the Palace Clothing Store was called home to Marion, Ohio, by the sad announcement that his father was dead. Note: an item on June 7th said that when Mr. Harvey was ready to leave Ohio, his grandfather died."
July 24, 1895:
"Amos Birchfield and Mrs. Lena Peterson were up before Justice Sucher on the charge of drunkenness and disorderly conduct. The Justice felt rather kindly disposed toward them on account of their gray locks, but thought from the very fact of their having attained their age where they should be governed by ripe experience and discretion, gave them a stiff sentence each, ordering Mrs. Peterson committed to the House of Correction for 60 days and Birchfield for 30 days. Mrs. Peterson had an ugly looking bump on her forehead and appeared knocked-out generally but she pleaded for a light sentence. The Justice, however, thought that 60 days would give her time to get all the whiskey soaked out of her system and time to reflect on the reformation which she solemnly vowed would follow a light sentence."
July 29, 1895:
"Charles Adams was arrested early yesterday afternoon by Officer Donahue for assault and battery. He resides of Hancock St. and he and his wife had been indulging in a "free-for-all fight". He says that she threw a lamp chimney in his face and he showed several cuts as proof of his assertion. It was after this act of affection that he proceeded to administer a chastisement."
December 20, 1895:
"Jerry Mack attended court yesterday afternoon. Jerry is a well-known character about town and is not at all a stranger to the police courts. When Jerry gets on a drunk, and that is no uncommon thing, he is in the best of humor and some of his caperings are rather laughable. Recently he entered a Catholic Church and took a front seat. Finally he became weary and stretched himself full length on the pew. He refused to leave and two policemen had to enter the sanctuary and remove him bodily.
"Yesterday Jerry was feeling in good spirits and made a tour of the Court House. After borrowing ten cents from Recorder Johnson he went to the Branch court room where he made himself at home. He did not doff his cap to the Judge as is customary, but danced a can-can than then accosted Dan Sheen, the temperance apostle, who was addressing a jury. Jerry forgot about Dan being proof against spirits and said, "Hello, Dan; Come and have something." It created a great laugh and Deputy Fisher had to remove him from the room.
"Jerry then went into Judge Worthington's room and took a front seat. He forgot to remove his hat and when he caught the judge's eye, he said, "Hello, Judge, may it please your Honor ......." He did not get any further for he was removed this time by Deputy Kimsey.
"As a last resort, Jerry called at the City Hall late last night and asked for a bunk in Parlor A."
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Updated October 28, 2006