Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Friday, June 01, 2007

Criminal Offenses

Earlier this week I visited the Monroe County, Mississippi Circuit Clerk's office. A group of us who were researching families in that county had stumbled across the amazing number of prostitutes enumerated in the 1860 census for the town of Aberdeen. Beside two of those was the notation "now at court". (Thanks to members of the Association of Professional Genealogists for help in deciphering the exact wording since it was rather cramped on the census.) Being the basically curious person that I am, I just had to find the court case for Martha Inman and Lucinda Hill. I was short on time that day, but I went through the criminal docket books for the period and didn't find them listed. I also read through the civil dockets just in case they were there instead of in the criminal dockets. I'll have to pick up that search on another date. Of course, there are other court options to consider as well. I just went to the one that I thought most likely.

However, I really didn't waste my time because if I hadn't gone through those criminal dockets I might have never known that my 2 great-grandfather and great grand-uncle were such scandalous criminals. Okay, that's not exactly the truth. I'd expect just about anything from this family back in the 19th century or even part of the early 20th century. However, I'd never have known about this specific incident. (It's also possible that it is my 3rd great grand-uncle and first cousin 4 times removed; however, it is more likely to be the ones who are closer kin based on what I know about the two families.) What was the charge? They were caught "hunting on the Sabbath." I'll go back when it's cooler to examine the case more closely because the records are in the attic of the courthouse, and I learned a long time ago that I don't do Mississippi attics in the summertime! Not even for a charge this juicy!

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