Tag Archives: Crimes

Jail Registers of Lawrence County, Ohio

Do you have any ancestors who got involved on the wrong side of the law? Lots of citizens had scuffles with the sheriff and sometimes ended up in the local jail, but those records can be mighty difficult to locate if they even still exist.

My husband’s 3X great grandmother, Rebecca Wooldridge Bandy, is mentioned once in court records. She was actually indicted for burglary in 1844, but was acquitted in Lawrence County, Ohio, where the family had settled around 1830. I’ve never been able to locate further details about the surrounding circumstances, like who made the accusation or what it was she supposedly burgled.

While poking around Lawrence County records in the Family History Library, though, I did come across two record sets pertaining to “correctional institutions” there.

1. Jail register 1867-1923, FHL Film #973,437
2. Prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio from August 1833-September 1905, Martha J. Martin, 977.157 J6

Unfortunately, the jail register isn’t anywhere near early enough for Rebecca’s name to be found and she wasn’t sent to the State Penitentiary, so her name isn’t there, either.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what the jail register looked like. There is actually quite a bit of information on it:

Sample Page from Jail Register

Details include:

No. of Commitment
Prisoner’s Name
Place of Nativity
Offense Charged
Date of Commitment
When Discharged
By What Authority
No. of Days in Jail
No. of Days in Dungeon (!!!)

Then there is a section for Sheriff’s Fees:

Board and Washing
Attending Prisoner Before Court

Finally, there is a section for Remarks.

I find it interesting that the sheriff charged 75 cents to commit a prisoner, but then charged another 75 cents to discharge.

This one page made for very interesting reading. #348, Marion Shockley, was charged with bastardy, but was discharged when he got married. 🙂

#352, Chas. Sesler, was charged with rape. The authority by which he was discharged is “Escaped.”

#373, Russell Johnson, was charged with “shooting to kill” but was acquitted.

I mentioned earlier that finding criminal records can be quite difficult. Have you visited Ron Arons’ website? He has written books about fleshing out the details of your criminal’s past. Ron is a frequent speaker at genealogy conferences, too, so if you have an opportunity to hear him, take it!

Another research tip is to visit the FamilySearch Research Wiki Page.  Enter a location where your ancestor was found and then check for “correctional institutions” records.

If there are surviving newspapers from the time period in which your ancestor committed the crime, you may find articles about the crime, court proceedings and punishment.

Finally, if court proceedings and any subsequent appeals happened in a modern time frame, like in the 20th century, contacting local county clerks might be fruitful.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are any further records about my Rebecca’s burglary and acquittal.


1844 Indictment of Rebecca Wooldridge Bandy for Burglary

Since I have featured the criminal records of several other ancestors this month, I thought I would end April with one more discovery.

Andrew Bandy and wife, Rebecca Wooldridge, emigrated from Botetourt County, Virginia to Lawrence County, Ohio between 1825 and 1830. They were the parents of my husband’s 2x great grandmother, Mary Bandy, who married black sheep Isaac Sturgell.

While researching court records of Lawrence County for Sturgells, I checked for Bandys at the same time. I was quite amazed to come across this one page record in the October 1844 term of the  Court of Common Pleas recording the indictment of Rebecca Bandy for burglary:

The image quality isn’t very good and this film hasn’t been digitized. I think this will go on my “to do” list for Salt Lake City, but I was able to transcribe a lot of it:

Wednesday Morning October 9th 1844 Third Day of the Term
The Court ( ) adjournment present the same Judges as yesterday

The State of Ohio
vs.                                                   No. 1 Indict for Burglary
Rebecca Bandy

This day came Samuel M. Browning who prosecutes on behalf of
The State and the said defendant for her own proper person and (there from?) came a Jury to wit Abraham Smith, Alonzo Tolleday, Robert Hall, James Ralston, ____ of the regular _____ and James Beard, Isaiah Crawford, Abraham (Miller?) John Massie, Peter Jones, Samuel Watters, Sylvester M Cown, Peter W. ( ) Caleb Justice (toles?) men who being duly elected tried ( ) the truth to check
the issue joined upon their oaths do say ( ) the jury finds the defendant not guilty as charged in the indictment as charged against her. It is therefore considered that the said defendant go hence thereof without (delay?)

The State of Ohio
vs.                                                  No. 2 Indictment Burglary
Rebecca Bandy

This day came Samuel M. Browning who prosecutes on behalf of
The State and on his suggestion and the court concurring therein directs that a nolle prosequi be entered upon the indictment herein and the said defendant Rebecca Bandy be discharged and go hence thereof without (delay?)

Nowhere have I found any evidence indicating what she was accused of burglarizing.