Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thriller Thursday: Researching Sideways Reveals "Burglariously" Charge

A few days after attending Debbie Parker Wayne's FGS talk about tax and land laws, I had a chance to apply her ideas while researching the Steiner family in Upper Sandusky, the county seat of Wynadot County, Ohio.

Visiting the Heritage Room of the Upper Sandusky library, I systematically checked each genealogy book on the shelf for any mention of a Steiner. One book listed names mentioned in early probate entries and court of common pleas law cases. There, to my surprise, I found hubby's great-grand uncle (the brother of his great-grandpa Edward G. Steiner) in an 1870 entry titled: "State of Ohio vs. Samuel D. Steiner."

Hubby scrambled off to the elegant Wyandot County Courthouse a few blocks away and came back with photos of this case's paperwork. It turns out that hubby's great-grandpa Edward G. Steiner was mentioned in the case after all! Most mysterious of all, this was a breaking and entering case, as you can see:
The State of Ohio, Wyandot County

To the keeper of the jail of the county aforesaid, greeting:
  Whereas Samuel D. Steiner late of said county has been arrested on a complaint signed and sworn to by John Price, that Elisha Holmes on the 30th day of October in the year of our Lord 1870, in the night season of the same day, to wit:

  About the hour of 8 o’clock p.m. in the county of Wyandot aforesaid, into a certain store-house of one Matthew Mitchell, is there situate and being, did willfully, maliciously, burglariously, feloniously, break and enter with intent then and there and thereby, feloniously, burglariously, to steal, take, and carry away the personal goods, chattels, and property of value of Matthew Mitchell and John B. Mitchell in the said store-house then and there being.

  And the deponent aforesaid being sworn as aforesaid further says that Samuel D. Steiner, Edward G. Steiner, and John Sheehy, before said felony was committed as aforesaid by the said Elisha Holmes, to wit:   On the 30th day of October in the year of our Lord 1870, in the county of Wyandot aforesaid, did unlawfully, feloniously, purposely, and of deliberate and premeditated purpose aid and abet and procure the aforesaid Elisha Holmes the said felony in manner and form aforesaid to commit.

  And whereas the said Samuel D. Steiner has been brought before me, to answer to said charge, and has by me required to give bail in the sum of $1,000, for his appearance before the court of common pleas in said county of Wyandot on the first day of the next term thereof, which requirement he has failed to comply with.

  I command you to receive the said Samuel D. Steiner into your custody in the jail of the county aforesaid, there to remain until he shall be discharge by due course of law.

  Given under my hand and seal this 9th day of November 1870. – M.W. Welsh, J.P.  
This is still a thriller because I don't yet know what happened--no other paperwork was in the folder or mentioned in the transcribed listing of names in lawsuits. But you know I will be digging deeper to find out. If I hadn't followed up on Samuel's name in the records, I wouldn't have known about Edward's involvement at all.

$1,000 bail was a ginormous amount in 1870. What could great-grand uncle Samuel and great-grandpa Edward have done to be accused of aiding and abetting so feloniously and burglariously a theft??


  1. What a fascinating story, Marian! I thought someone just made up the term "burglariously" and looked it up. In the reference volume of A Law Dictionary: Adapted to the Laws and Constitution of the United States, by John Bouvier and published in 1856, it states that "no other word will answer the same purpose (for a burglary indictment), nor will any other circumlocution be sufficient." How's that for legalese?

  2. Thank you, Linda! I didn't know this was truly a legal term. Have you seen my post on "ex-prohibito" yet? Another legal term that was new to me.