Category Archives: Law enforcement

Fisher ‘murder’ hysteria, 1841

The case of a “murdered” man who later turned up alive is one of 19th-century Springfield’s best-known legal controversies. That’s mainly because Abraham Lincoln wrote about it, but also because of the roles played by circumstantial evidence, a false confession … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Law enforcement, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

The whipping post, 1828-37

A whipping post stood permanently on the northeast corner of Springfield’s public square from 1828 to 1837. It apparently was used infrequently, but often enough that whippings stuck in the minds of those who saw them. The post – which … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mail robbery, 1923, ‘most daring ever’

Ten men eventually went to prison for a 1923 mail robbery the Illinois State Journal called “the most daring ever staged in this city.” The gang struck at 1:20 a.m. April 1, 1923, at the Chicago & Alton railway station … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Railroads, Transportation | Leave a comment

Poisoning and racial controversy, 1860

The sentencing of three African-American teenagers in 1860 on charges they tried to poison the employers of two of them highlighted differences in how courts and the newspapers treated blacks and whites at the time. Perhaps inevitably, the case also … Continue reading

Posted in Abolitionism, African Americans, Crime and vice, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

‘Madame Brownie’ (bordello operator)

“Madame Brownie” (real name Augusta Kellogg) operated one of Springfield’s best-known houses of prostitution for more than 35 years. She was 80 years old when she died in 1915, possibly following an altercation with an intoxicated customer. Her Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

‘Cocaine Alley’ (1899-1903)

Note: This entry is based on research done by Floyd Mansberger and Christopher Stratton of Fever River Research for the city of Springfield and Federal Railroad Administration in connection with the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. Their full 358-page report, published … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Public health, Race riot of 1908, Social life | Leave a comment

Gambling rivalry, 1931

Threats to bomb one of Springfield’s most visible mansions illuminated the murky connections between city fathers and the local underworld in 1931. Machine-gun toting police officers took up guard posts at 1303 Wiggins Ave. in May 1931, in the midst … Continue reading

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The Lake Club

NOTE: This entry has been edited. See below. The Lake Club, 2840 Fox Road, brought top national performers – Mickey Rooney, the Mills Brothers, Guy Lombardo, Pearl Bailey, Lawrence Welk and many more – to Springfield in the 1940s, ‘50s … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Law enforcement, Prominent figures, Social life | 9 Comments

Last execution in Sangamon County

The last person executed in Sangamon County went to the gallows with a new suit, a plucky attitude and one last request – no women were permitted to witness his hanging. James Hayes (1898?-1927) was put to death shortly after … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Sangamon County | 1 Comment

‘Hunkie John’ Buskiewich murder trial (1926)

“Hunkie John” Buskiewich (1903?-69) was the defendant in 1926 in one of Sangamon County’s most sensational murder trials. “Hunkie,” a slang term for immigrants from Eastern Europe — Buskiewich was of Lithuanian descent – was an expression that could be … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Lithuanians | 2 Comments