Category Archives: Law enforcement

Mumblety-peg slaying, 1889

Theophilus “Moonlight” Waldron was a 15-year-old orphan, living on the streets and by his wits, when he stabbed to death a man over a game of mumblety-peg. Waldron (1874-?) was sentenced to life in prison for murder, a judgement many … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media | 1 Comment

Harry Lane, ‘boss gambler’

Chester M. “Harry” Lane was Springfield’s gambling kingpin at the turn of the 20th century, apparently with the connivance of police, city officials, and the courts. He stepped down in the mid-1900s, after a fatal shooting, the election of a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Three killed in saloon shootout, 1905

A drunken shootout in a Springfield saloon in 1905 left three men dead and two brothers charged with murder. The cause was a previous fistfight, followed by a series of telephoned challenges, newspaper articles reported. Those killed were all from … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Law enforcement | 3 Comments

Theater bombings, 1931-32

Unhappy theater workers were the immediate suspects in 1931, when bombs – both explosives and stink bombs – went off in three local cinemas. A few months later, another bomb wrecked the home of a theater manager. Members of Springfield … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Depression, Labor unions, Law enforcement, Theaters | Leave a comment

New Year’s 1921

What was on the minds of Sangamon County residents for New Year’s 1921? Potholes. For its special New Year’s coverage on Sunday, Jan. 2, 1921, the Illinois State Journal asked 47 “prominent citizens” (not surprisingly for the time, all were … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Celebrations, Journalism, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Social life, Transportation | Leave a comment

Cornfield shootout, 1914

The robbery of a general store near Chatham on Christmas Eve 1914 climaxed in a cornfield shootout that killed one of the bandits and wounded two of his pursuers. Newspaper accounts of the incident read like a movie script, complete … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement | 2 Comments

Killing of police detective, 1938

A work disappointment sent James Young into an emotional crisis on Jan. 11, 1938, culminating in the deaths of both Young and Springfield Police Detective Patrick Gilmore. Florence Young told officers later the incident began that morning, when her husband … Continue reading

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Murder-extortion gang, 1932

A wild shootout in Christian County in 1932 ended the bloody history of a Springfield-based murder and extortion gang. Authorities claimed their followup investigation solved a half-dozen area slayings. But Springfield’s chief of detectives struggled to explain why police hadn’t … Continue reading

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

House of prostitution standoff, 1885

While a crowd gathered outside, a stylish bordello madam held off a Springfield police raid for nine hours in August 1885. Police tried to serve a warrant on Retta Rawlins’ “house of assignation,” which was upstairs in a building on … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement | 3 Comments

First Prohibition bootlegger, 1919

This entry has been updated with the photos above. The 14 gallons of whiskey federal agents seized on May 30, 1919, made Servia Diaz Springfield’s first officially recognized Prohibition bootlegger. Diaz (1897-1975), an immigrant from Spain, claimed he had made … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Law enforcement, Social life | Leave a comment