GRANTSVILLE 1890'S - About the time of the election, 1892, Mr. Warren Johnson had a steam saw and grist mill burned at Chestnut Grove, this county, the work of fire bugs.

Suspicion rested upon some parties, but at no time a sufficient amount of evidence could be procured to warrant the arrest of the parties suspected.

So matters have drifted along since, until one Daniel Welch was arrested and lodged in jail to await the coming of his Honor, when Daniel will be called to account for the larceny of a jar of snuff, the property of Samuel Ayers.

Now it seems that Daniel, who is 6 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds, was indicted jointly with one John Thomas Richards for the larceny of said jar of snuff, and Welch not wishing to see an innocent man suffer, took upon himself all the sin of stealing and carrying away the same, and the indictment against Richards was, on motion of the prosecuting attorney, nollied.

Welch has been in jail for about a week, and in the goodness of his heart, decided to make another confession.

He confessed to being present at the burning of Mr. Johnsons mill, also implicating Will Richards, Thomas Richards, Wes Knight and others.

Upon the evidence of Daniel, G.W. Ritchea, a Justice of the Peace for Calhoun county, issued a warrant for the arrest of the above named parties and they were arrested and brought to town Wednesday evening, and committed to jail to await a preliminary examination.

Witnesses for the State and defence were procurred and on Thursday at 1 o'clock, Squire Ritchea and Jasper Ball heard the evidence and held the parties to answer an indictment and fixed their bond at $1,000 each.

With little effort a satisfactory bond was procured and the prisoners went on their way rejoicing.

During the trial Daniel, the principal prosecuting witness, was very restless and very much inclined to prosecute the case, asking for several consultations with the prosecuting attorney.

He also changed positions on the floor of the court room several times, finally decided he wanted a high seat in the synagogue; so he took up a chair, carried it up and sat down along side the court, where he sat facing the audience, looking as wise as an owl.

One thing was clearly proven in the trial, and that is that Daniel Welch was there and saw the mill burning. As to the other parties, if guilty, they ought to suffer the penalties of the law, and if not guilty it is to be hoped they will prove themselves innocent.


The jail at this place was the scene of another bloody and maybe fatal conflict last Saturday morning.

One, David Welch, who stands 6 ft. 10 in. tall in his bare feet and Harvey George Sampson got into an altercation over some trifling matter and David decided to knock Sampson out.

So the first round was fought without any special damage to either, but in the second round Sampson got hold of a good sized rock and proceeded to demolish the pimple that surmounts David's body, commonly called his head.

Several bad gashes were cut about his head and face. It is claimed by some that the skull was fractured and that the physician that dressed his wounds had taken out a small piece of the skull.

We are not prepared to say whether the tax payers of the county could afford to pay the funeral expenses if they had killed each other or not, especially if they had to pay for the ground necessary for Welch's grave.

- Excerpted from the Calhoun Chronicle (1890s) by Norma Knotts Shaffer

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