While researching 19th century newspapers for certain news items in Ozark County, Missouri, I came across these three small articles. It's sometimes surprising to see what went on in a place I grew-up in. Nevertheless, the dark side of life is still a part of our Ozarks' History.
A KIDNAPER CAPTURED
Jefferson Taylor Found In Hunt County and
Taken Back to Missouri.
Special to the Gazette.
Greenville, Tex. Jan. 27—- Sheriff J. Mason of this county has just returned from a hard ride of sixty miles or more made yesterday and last night during which he effected an important arrest. On yesterday Sheriff Hawkins of Ozark county, Missouri, arrived in Greenville with requisition papers for one Jefferson Taylor, charged with the abduction in the county and state mentioned about the 1st of December, last, from her father, of Eva Taylor a little girl of seven or eight years Sheriff Mason accompanied by the Missouri sheriff proceeded to the south part of the county where twenty-five miles distant in the bottoms of the Sabine in a tie camp they found and arrested Taylor, the abductor. They also found the little girl in question and the officers arrived with both late last night. This is one of number of important cases worked up by our alert and active sheriff. Sheriff Hawkins, with his prisoner and the little girl, left to-day. The prisoner, Jefferson Taylor is related by marriage to the child, Eva Taylor. He was trying to make his way to California with her.
Robbed the Collector.
West Plains, Mo., Oct. 19 —- Frank Gacho and wife have been arrested for robbing W. C. Morrison, collector of Ozark county, of $700. After being arrested the woman managed to secrete the money under u rock, but after some time she weakened and gave the whole thing away. The money was found and the guilty man and woman bound over to the grand jury.
BEATING THE GOVERNMENT.
An Extraordinary Pension Fraud Case
Reported from Missouri.
St. Louis, May 6 —- The principals in an extraordinary pension fraud case were arrested in different parts of the state Friday. Jacob Little, a Union soldier, died in Andersonville prison, and in 1871 his widow was awarded a pension of $36 a month. She married a man named Barnes and died in 1873. Barnes took his wife's pension papers and came to Pettis county, Md., where he married a widow named Rogers. He induced her to impersonate the deceased Mrs. Little, which she did successfully and drew the pension. Barnes died in 1877, and the widow took up with a man named Ritt, who was soon in possession of the pension story. She wanted to quit drawing the money, but Ritt compelled her to continue the fraud until they separated about a year ago.
Then she ceased drawing the money and the government, desiring to know why the money was not drawn, started an investigation. After six months' hard work the conspiracy was unearthed and Mrs. Barnes was arrested Friday at Somerset, Ozark county, and Ritt was taken into custody in this city.
Sources:“A Kidnapper Captured.” Fort Worth Daily Gazette 13.179 (28 Jan., 1888) 6.
“Beating the Government.” The Evening Bulletin, Maysville, Kentucky. 8.140 (6 May, 1889) 4.
“Robbed the Collector.” The Guthrie Daily Leader 1.275 (20 Oct. 1893) 1.