Law and Order
Kane County, Illinois
You may want to see who served on the first juries. Click here.
A list of names doesn't tell the story of those first proceedings. SELDEN M. CHURCH was appointed as the first Clerk, but moved to Rockford. Judge FORD appointed Mr. HUBBARD who resigned after the first day, Mark W. FLETCHER replaced him.
Claim jumpers, trespass and house burning arsonists
busied the first court.
1855 - JOHN COLLINS was convicted of murder for killing his wife while drunk. Sheriff SPAULDING was directed to hang him, April 21, 1855.
1868 - Mrs. MARY WIDNER, 2nd wife of ADAM WIDNER was found murdered. She had rented part of their home to JOHN FERRIS and his wife, a dispute and lawsuits followed. FERRIS and his wife were tried in McHenry County for the crime. Mrs. FERRIS was acquitted, but JOHN FERRIS was found quilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
1869 - Rev. ISAAC B. SMITH was charged with murder but acquitted in the drowning death of his wife in a creek near Elgin and Turner Junction (now West Chicago).
1881 - BILLINGS WRIGHT was fataling wounded in Aurora by WILLIAM KIMBALL. With a plea of emotional insanity, KIMBALL was found not quilty.
1883 - WILLIAM SMITH of Elgin was shot and killed by his landlord GEORGE PANTON over a dispute regarding the property. Several noteworthy trials resulted. PANTON became violently insane in prison, was sent to the Elgin asylum and escaped, never to be heard from again.
1884 - Sugar Grove resident, OTTO JOHN HOPE, was killed and EDWARD STEINBURN, his farm hand, seriously wounded over an argument over the feeding of HOPE's cattle. MERRITT W. FLETCHER and his father, OZIAS W. FLETCHER were found quilty of the shootings. The son was sentenced to death and the father to 3 years on Joliet. However, after spending 3 years in prison the son was able to have his sentence commuted -- he served a total of six years.
1897 - Mr.ROMANO was executing for killing a friend. See below issue regarding conflicting information.
Source: History of Kane County by Joslyn & Joslyn 1908
Conflicting information as the following was recently written by Mike Alft in the Elgin Courier: "Early in February 1903 the mutilated body of Nicolo Tomasso was found in an Elgin, Joliet and Eastern box car where he had been living with Antonio Romano at Aurora. Both men were poor Italian immigrants. Romano was arrested and confessed to the crime. Attorney John Powers of Elgin was appointed to defend the accused. The jury returned a guilty verdict, and Judge Henry Willis of Elgin sentenced Romano to death by hanging."
1924 Murders - in Aurora - Warren Lincoln confesses to beheading of his wife, Lina and her brother, Byron Shoup.
Agents dump 3,675 barrels of beer into the river March 1924 (Elgin Courier Link)
Kane County, Illinois Sheriff's Office, 1836-1996. Published: Geneva, Ill. : Kane County Sheriff's Office, c1996. LC Call No.: HV8148.K18K36 1996
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #14 - Kane County Sheriffs Department - History
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Last Updated 29-Sep-1999 KaneCoIL@aol.com