WILD AND CRAZY TALE FROM 1895 - Chronicle Editor Helps Capture Fugitive

(08/27/2012)

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 2/19/1895.

This is a wild, wooly and rambling tale by the newspaper editor.

Last Tuesday morning Joe Givens, a farmer residing about one and one half miles from town came in and gave information that on the evening before a man had been at his house and asked for a nights lodging, and on being refused asked permission to stay by the fire until the moon raised, which permission was granted, and while thus waiting he told Mr. Givens that he was a detective and was after a man by the name of Richardson who was wanted in Ohio. 

He also asked particularly if there was anyone at Grantsville who followed arresting men, etc., etc.  No sooner had Mr. Givens given the information than J.T. Waldo, the chief of terrors to violators of law, and ye brave (?) little Editor, who acted as high private in the rear rank, mounted horses and started in the direction the man seemed to be going. 

His trail was first struck at Chapman Johnson's, on Bull river, which was followed to the mouth where he crossed the Little Kanawha river on the ice and proceeded up said river toward the mouth of Steer creek.

  After crossing the river a hot chase of about four miles followed on horses before we came in sight of our man, and when we did see him it was in a bend of the road a distance of three-fourths of a mile, he seeing us about the same time and started on double quick, took to the river where he crossed on the ice, thence through the snow drifts in a field and up a point where it was never supposed anything but a goat could climb. 

Arriving at the point where he took to the river and hills ye scribe dismounted and gave chase on foot, being particularly careful to keep a safe distance behind, and Chief Waldo aided by Jacob Hershman and Jas. Hayhurst, who had joined in the chase by this time flanked him on the right and headed him off.

  The fellow, not realizing our intention to keep a safe distance behind, conceived the idea that by taking off his shoes he would be the better enabled to make his escape, and while pulling off his shoes Chief Waldo got close to him and at once fired two shots from his pistol to give others knowledge of his whereabouts and then the chase began in earnest. 

Our fugitive being in his sock feet, and Waldo fresh only added to the already speedy chase so down over the hill and cliffs they came, sometimes standing on one end and sometimes on the other and at other times laying full length in the snow.

  Richardson fell over a cliff and lost his shoes, likewise Waldo  and lost his hat, but not deterred by this and on to the river they went like mad cattle, where Richardson again crossed on the ice.

  Waldo, realizing that his man was outwinding him and gaining ground, again set up fire with his 44 caliber Colts, which seemed to make no change in Richardson's business except to make him run faster and more determined to escape. 

By this time, however, Jake Hersman had gotten astride of one of the best little saddle animals in all these regions round about, and being in an open field, soon came upon the desperate man where he had fallen in the snow completely exhaused.

  He was helped to his feet and taken to a house near by where his frozen feet were bathed and refreshments served after which he was brought to town and lodged in jail where, at this writing, he is awaiting the arrival of the Sheriff of Athens county, Ohio, who will take him back where he will have to answer for a charge of blackmail, theft, breaking into a car at Torch, Ohio, and for breaking jail, etc.

  Richardson was raised in Gilmer county, and has rather a bad reputation.

  He outran a posse of men and escaped arrest at Kanawha Station last Monday, but we believe he will remember the chase near the mouth of Steer Creek if he should live to be old.

In justice to Richardson we give space to the following which is substantially the statement made by him in reference to the crime for which he is wanted:  "I am a detective belonging to the National Bureau and I had a warrant for the arrest of a young man and so informed Sheriff Riley, who accompanied me and in fact made the arrest, and took what money the young man had and afterwards gave the same to me."

  "I started with the prisoner and about the time the train pulled out he jumped and made his escape, and then swore out a warrant for me. 

"All the Sheriff has in following me is to keep out of trouble himself.  I intended to go back and stand trial as soon as I could go home and make arrangements for some important witnesses.  If I get justice there is nothing against me."

LATER - A thing having more the appearance of a beer bloat than a man, representing himself to be the Sheriff of Athens county, Ohio, arrived Friday evening, and took Richardson away early Saturday morning.

  From his narrow contractedness, we infer that there is no wonder prisoners escape from his custody.  He played the letter G., compass and square for all they were worth.


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