Morris Herald – July 21, 1876

Excerpts from The Morris Herald for July 21, 1876.

Rape and Incest

Morris has within her borders a wretch devoid of all shame and decency, a fiend in human form; one who is not above perpetrating the lowest and most debased crime in the catalogue.  That man is one A. J. Henry, a man over 50 years of age, a well digger by trade, who had he met his just deserts, would long ago have been swallowed up by earth.

This man is the father of four bright and innocent children, and was the husband of a wife too good by far for such as he, who three weeks ago was relieved from further misery by the hand of death, leaving to this inhuman wretch the care of her children.

About one year ago this inhuman wretch through threatenings, accomplished his base desires – the satisfying of his lust-upon his daughter Virginia, only twelve years old.  He was discovered in the act by his wife, and although he made several attempts to defile the person of his daughter thereafter, by the watchful care of the mother the daughter was saved from his effecting his purpose.

Four weeks ago last Monday the mother died, and just two weeks after her death the father again commenced his fiendish abuse of the daughter, but by her cries and resistance the interference of neighbors frustrated his purposes.  On the Thursday following the little girl entered complaint before Justice McBride, charging her father with rape and incest. The man was arrested and committed to jail to a wait examination, which was appointed to take place at 2 o’clock on Friday afternoon.

The news of the arrest and charge against Henry soon spread over the city, and early on Friday morning the prospect of a “lynching party” was very good. Public opinion was so strong against the man that the officers saw that something must be done or the demands of justice would be fulfilled by an outraged public. Accordingly Justices Lott and McBride, the State’s Attorney, Jordan, and the prisoner’s council, Harris, repaired to the Court House about 9 o’clock on Friday morning, and held the examination which resulted in holding the prisoner over to the November term of the Circuit court, under bond of $3,000. He not being able to give bail was sent to jail.

During the trial the brutality of the father was demonstrated. He endeavored, by threats and bullying to terrify his daughter so that she would not testify, and several times he had to be restrained by the Court.  We learn from those who are acquainted with the family that Henry has always abused his family in the most shameful manner, and since the death of the mother, had it not been for assistance rendered by neighbors, the children would have starved. We further learn that the younger girl, but three years old, has had to submit to many indecencies from her father and her age is all that saved her from the fate of the older sister.

The four children-two boys and two girls-were taken charge of by Mr. J. W. Lawrence, Supervisor, who is now looking up homes for them. They are bright, pretty children, and could they be secured good homes would become good and useful citizens instead of like the low debased wretch that their father has made himself.


Boyne – Harris – At the Presbyterian Parsonage, Morris, Ill., July 2nd, 1876, by Rev. A. B. Marshall, Mr. Geo. Boyne and Miss Emma Harris, both of Nettle Creek, Ill.

June – White – At the residence of the bride’s parents July 16th, by Rev. J. A. Montgomery, Mr. John M. June of Wauponsee and Miss Sarah White of Felix.


On Tuesday of last week, Mrs. Jessie Newport died at the residence of her son A. R. Newport, in the town of Mazon. Mrs. Newport was one of the oldest settlers of Grundy county. Thirty-three years ago, she with her husband came to this county and settled upon the farm where she died. She was 84 years of age when she died, and had always been a strong robust woman. Only the Sunday before her death she visited her daughter, Mrs. Gorham, which was the last time she was out of the house. She was buried on Friday.


The Rock Island House, situated near the railroad, caught fire on Monday night last, about 1 o’clock. The fire originated in a bedroom in the third story. From Mrs. Jones, the wife of the proprietor of the house, we learn that the room had not been occupied for several weeks; that there was no fire in any of the stoves about the house at the time.  When the alarm was given by a neighbor, she immediately started through the house, and when she reached this room she found the bed in one corner of the room on fire. The clothing was saturated with coal oil, and the walls covered with oil. She immediately went downstairs again and aroused the boarders in the house who manfully set to work to subdue the flames.  When they threw water upon the walls the flames would spread and run up to the ceiling, so that their efforts were almost futile. In a short time a large number of citizens had congregated around the building and all went to work to clean out the building. With the exception of what was broken in the hurried transportation, the furniture was saved.

By the time the Fire Department got on the ground ready, for action, the whole upper story of the building was in flames and threatened the total destruction of the entire building. Two streams of water were soon under way from the engine and the night being calm, the fire was quickly under control, so that the upper story of the building and the southwest part of the second story are all that are badly burned. Carpenters the next morning expressed the belief that the upper story could be removed, and with little expense make a two story house of the remainder. The loss is estimated at $3,500. There was insurance on the property to the amount of $4,100, divided as follows:  In the Standard of New Jersey, $800, on contents of building; $800 in the Westchester, of New York, on same; $1,000 in Glenn’s Falls, of New York, on furniture; $750 in Ben Franklin, of Pennsylvania; $750 in Farmers’, of Pennsylvania, on building. On Tuesday morning, after the excitement incident to the fire had somewhat subsided, Mr. Jones, proprietor, of the hotel, fainted, and for a time, it was feared that he was dead. He has somewhat recovered from the shock and now bears his misfortune as well as could be expected.


The members of the Hayes and Wheeler Club, of this city, met at the Court House on last Saturday evening for the purpose of permanent organization. A constitution reported by the committee, was adopted.  The committee on Permanent Organization report officers of the club, which report was adopted, as follows: President – L.B. Ray; Vice Presidents – 1st ward, C.G. Griswold; 2nd ward, F.C. Mayo; 3rd ward, Chas. Sparr; 4th ward, Phineas Davis; 5th ward, Wm. Stephen; Recording Secretary, G.J. Nelson; Corresponding Secretary, F.W. Tupper; Treasurer and collector, Wm. Mason. Mr. Ray was escorted to the chair and returned thanks to the club for the honor conferred upon him and pledged himself to work for the best interests of the party. The Chair appointed an executive committee as follows: C.H. Goold, John Schobert, Geo. F. Brown, Henry Fey, John Duckworth. On motion, a committee of one was appointed from each ward to solicit members for the club, as follows: 1st ward, John Schroder; 2d ward, Maurice Steiner; 3rd ward, John Kutz; 4th ward, John Anderson; 5th ward, Henry Werner. The executive committee were authorized to procure and furnish a room for the meetings of the club, and have the same in readiness by time of the next regular meeting of the club, Thursday evening, July 27. Regular meetings of the club will be held hereafter on Thursday evening of every other week.

Sudden Death

On Thursday of last week a little boy, aged 13 months, son of Ike Saskett, colored, of this city, came to his death from drinking lye. The mother had been using a cup for dipping lye out of a kettle, and when she got through with it placed it in the window. That day the mother went out leaving the babe with some older children. During her absence the child got hold of the cup, on which a crystallization of lye had formed, and from it drank water. The particles of lye were dissolved and so impregnated the water as to form lye, which proved strong enough to cause the death of the child. About two hours after the child drank the lye Dr. Smith was summoned, but too late to render any relief to the little sufferer, and he died the next day.


Typed and submitted by Kathleen Berner Groll.

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