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Baltimore Sun

Eagle Archive: In 1879, it didn't take much to get run out of Westminster

Early spring 1879 bore witness to a curious number of low crimes and misdemeanors in Carroll County.

Historian Jay Graybeal brought a number of the stories to life a few years ago in research he conducted for the Historical Society of Carroll County.

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According to Graybeal, the March 23, 1879 edition of the now-defunct Democratic Advocate reported, "On Saturday night last William Taylor and Sebastian Sherman stopped Mrs. Catharine A. Sprinkle on the road."

The gentlemen "unhitched the horse from her wagon, took the gears off the horse, and took off with them, leaving Mrs. Sprinkle and her children in the road with a horse and wagon, minus harness."

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It seems Sprinkle did not think that was particularly funny, and "made complaint before Justice Mikesel, who issued warrants for the arrest of Taylor and Sherman.

"They were before the Justice on Wednesday, admitted the act, and were fined $5 and costs. The harness, or part of it, belonged to one of them, but having proceeded unlawfully to obtain it, (they) had to pay the penalty."

On March 22 that year, the same newspaper reported that Jack Lidy "was before Justice Crapster on Wednesday of last week, on some trivial charge, and the Justice gave him until 4 o'clock the same afternoon to leave the city."

Ahhh, the good old days. Can judges today order folks to leave town?

Seems to me that running certain folks out of town would be the perfect way to solve a few problems.

"Lidy had a coat and vest at the tailoring establishment of John Augustus Kretzer, which had been there for some time because he could not pay charges on them. On the day he was ordered to leave town, under penalty of being sent to the House of Correction, he forged Sheriff Wood's name to an order for the clothes, and obtained them."

When Kretzer discovered the forgery, he had Lidy arrested "on the charge of obtaining goods under false pretenses, and Justice Crapster sent him to jail." So much for leaving town.

On Feb. 22, 1879, it was reported that "Constable Gist" responded to a commotion in Westminster, in the middle of the night. "Going out he found Wm. Green, proprietor of Green's Hotel, and Michael Hines engaged in a fisticuffs, Hines evidently coming out second.

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"The testimony was that Hines had paid for a night's lodging at Green's Hotel. Green says he told him to go to bed... Hines wanted to sleep on a bench in the office, and Green objected. Green blew out the light and Hines lit it again, whereupon Green assaulted him and put him out.

"Hines during the fisticuffs said he would burn Green's house. ... Justice Crapster fined Green $2 and $8 costs, and the State's attorney gave Hines fifteen minutes to leave the city."

Kevin Dayhoff is on his best behavior so he is not run out of town. He may be reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com.


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