Friday, August 8, 2014

Skeletons in the Closet: Rapist & Murderer

NOTE: I spoke too soon! I just received paperwork on these two men. The one who committed murder is actually a brother of my ancestor. But, the one who committed "assault to rape" is NOT her brother. He is about 20 years too young. I guess I should have waited until I had all the facts, but it seemed to fit! It's a good lesson for me.... just because someone has the right name and lives in the right state does NOT mean they are the same person!!!

Two days ago I wrote about my great, great grandmother's brothers who both appear to have served time in the Missouri State Penitentiary in the late 1800's. That evening, I wrote to the Missouri State Archives to see if they had information about one of the brother's pardon. I heard back from them the following morning... incredible! And, the information they sent was incredible, too. But, it is also disturbing information. I've uncovered two of those 'skeletons in the closet' that genealogist sometimes unearth.

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One of Elizabeth Bennett's brothers was pardoned in 1892. (I've decided to withhold the name, but if this is your family please contact me.) I'm still not sure why he was incarcerated at that time. But, it looks like this was his second time in prison. The first time he was sentenced for two years on October 19, 1886 for "assault to rape" in Perry County. Wow. He was released under 3/4 time law on May 15th, 1888. I'm sending away for these records. (Note: This is the man who I discovered is about 20 years too young & so he is NOT the brother of my ancestor.)

Another of her brothers entered the Missouri State Penitentiary on October 20th, 1894 for a ten year sentence, but was released under 3/4 time law on April 15th, 1902. His crime: murder in the 2nd degree in Dallas County. Another 'wow'. I'm also sending away for his records. (I'll be writing more about him as this is a really interesting case. I'll provide a link when it's posted.)

It is disappointing to find these two men committing such horrible crimes. I'm wondering what led them to this type of life? I don't know that I'll ever find the answers, but I'll keep digging.

(Note: It appears that these two men are the brothers of my great, great grandmother (Elizabeth Bennett: 1849-1914), but I do need to do some more research before I can be sure.)

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at

1 comment:

  1. We never know what we will find. I just found a cousin who was murdered on the job as a Marshal in West Virginia in 1951. It certainly makes it interesting. Sometimes sad to be sure.
    Thanks for sharing.


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