A North Henderson Murder
Original Author: Chris Brown, ENG299, FL10
Revision Author:
On December 7, 1882, Ms. Peggy Carey submitted to the Oquawka Spectator the following account of a shooting that had taken place in North Henderson, IL earlier that week. North Henderson is located in Mercer County and is described as the first station north of Alexis on the railroad. The tale begins with two doctors involved in a family feud.
law. Ms. Carey stated that as is typical in family feuds, the two men intensely hated one another. Dr. Stewart had reportedly been talking ill about his brother-in-law around the community. It had been reported to Dr. Brown that he had said some things that were detrimental to the “character and standing” of Dr. Brown as a citizen and a physician. Upon hearing the stories, Dr. Brown went to Dr. Stewart and demanded that he stop talking about him in public he would send him to the penitentiary. An argument ensued and soon both doctors were fighting which Dr. Stewart ended up badly injured. After this altercation, Dr. Stewart left the country and no one had seen him in North Henderson except for one time. Dr. Stewart had been to Monmouth to seek legal advice and to file papers that would require Dr. Brown to keep peace.
During that time, according to Ms. Carey’s account it was a Wednesday about 4 o’clock, Mrs. Stewart, the wife of Dr. Stewart, went to Dr. Brown’s kitchen alone. She knocked on the door and Dr. Brown assuming it was a patient, got up and went to the door. When he saw it was Mrs. Stewart, he said “Come in Lovey”. As he stepped to the table to light a lamp, Mrs. Stewart said “You have brought me to this.” She then drew a 32-calibar revolver and fired it at Dr. Brown shooting him in the back.
As soon as she was finished, Mrs. Stewart left and was tracked in the snow from Dr. Brown’s all the way back to her house. A carriage was waiting for her and her three children and was heading east from North Henderson. Telegrams were sent in all directions for her arrest. Dr. Stewart and his wife were arrested and were put in jail in Aledo, IL.
Works cited:

ILGenWeb Mercer County Illinois web site. 2010.
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Sunday afternoon, August 5, 1877, the quiet little village of Gilson was thrown into considerable excitement by the announcement that the residence of one of its citizens, Woodford Pierce had been burglarizedwhile the family was at church. Upon returning home, Mr. Pierce immediately realized that his home had been burglarized and noted that a coat, a duster, a pair scissors and $75 in cash had been taken. He immediately notified law enforcement whomsuspected that a tramp who had been seen lurking in the area was the culprit. Tracks were discovered in the area and a pursuit soon followed.
In the pursuit through the woods the burglar was seen armed with a shotgun and revolver, and carrying a satchel. He fired several shots and wounded little Willie Welter in the ankle. He was soon chased into a cornfield, where he shot and killed the horse which Charles Maston and Charles Cramer were both riding. Shortly after, he shot and wounded James Pickrel in the knee, and also wounded his horse in the shoulder. At this time Charles Belden came upon the burglar, and called upon him to halt, when he turned upon Belden, saying, "Halt, you s—n of a b—h," and fired, the ball passing through Belden's heart. Belden exclaimed, " I'm killed," and died instantly.
The burglar fled again through the corn. Charles McKown, the post-master of Gilson, followed him on horseback, revolver in hand. Suddenly he came upon the burglar, who whirled, and both shot simultaneously, McKown receiving a very serious, and at the time supposed fatal, wound, through the left lung; but he has since recovered. Care of the dead and wounded necessitated a temporary cessation of pursuit. About 6 o'clock, however, aid from Knoxville, Maquon and elsewhere having been summoned, pursuit in an organized body of several hundred men was resumed, but without avail, and the burglar and murderer made his escape in the darkness.
Just before his death, Belden found a vest that the burglar had thrown away in the pursuit in the cornfield. In this vest, on examination afterwards, was found an express receipt dated at Elmwood, August 3rd and was given to "Frank Rande." This was the first clue as to who the murderer and burglar was, and was the cause of his being arrested in St. Louis.
The excitement over the murder of Belden, or the "Gilson murder," as it subsequently was universally termed, was intense. The entire country for miles around for days was alive with armed persons in pursuit of the escaped murderer, who, going to the timber, shunned the excited populace, to enact another and similar crime within a few days. As an inducement for his capture Governor Cullom offered a reward of $200. In addition Sheriff Berggren, on behalf of the county, offered $600, and Haw Creek township $200. Nothing more was heard of this daring desperado until Friday, November 16, when Sheriff Berggren received the following telegram:
ST. LOUIS, MO., NOV. 10, 1877.A.W. Berggren, Sheriff of Knox Co.:—I have the murderer who killed Belden. He is in hospital, shot by my officers. Bring parties to identify him.
JAMES MCDONOUGH, Chief of Police.
Sheriff Berggren started for St. Louis, leaving Galesburg Friday night. He was accompanied by Charles MeKown for the purpose of identifying the murderer. Sheriff Hitchcock, from the express receipt found in the cornfield, had worked up the case, and tracked Rande to various places until finally he was discovered in St. Louis and arrested in Wright's pawn shop. The $1,000 reward was paid to Sheriff Hitchcock.
The suspected man, after conversation with Mr. McKown, Lilley and others, was positively identified as the perpetrator of the Gilson murder. He was also identified by others as the party who commit ted three murders in precisely a similar manner at St. Elmo, Fayette county, not long after the commission of the Gilson murder.
The desperado was recognized in a pawn shop in St. Louis. Two police officers being summoned, a bloody struggle ensued between him and the officers, Heffernan and White; Rande drew a navy revolver, and in the struggle between him and the officers succeeded in killing Officer White, and was himself wounded by a shot from Pawnbroker Wright, who assisted the officers. In Rande's possession were found two large revolvers, a knife, a billy and a pair of brass knuckles. He gave his name as Frank Rande, and by that name was subsequently known. For the killing of White, Rande could not have been hung by the laws of Missouri, and that being the end desired by the masses, he was delivered up on the requisition of the Governor of Illinois and taken to the scene of his earlier crimes.
Arriving in Galesburg, Wednesday, November 28th, a large crowd had gathered at the depot in anticipation of his arrival. He was marched to the county jail where during his incarceration a constant, string of visitors came to see, according to Sheriff Berggren, “the fiend in human form.”
By appointment of Judge Smith upon the request of State's Attorney Tunnicliff, at 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, Rande was arraigned in the Circuit Court to enable him to plead to the indictment for murder found against him by the special grand jury. As was expected, he pleaded "not guilty." Counsel was secured by his friends, although he had but few such in Knox county or elsewhere. Hon. D. P. Stubbs, of Fairfield, Iowa, C. G. Bradshaw, of Bloomington, and Hon. O. F. Price of Galesburg were retained.
After being arraigned, he was conducted to W. H. Hunt's art gallery, East Main street, where pictures were taken of him in various positions, each exhibiting two large pistols,his " pets," as he often referred to such weapons. Thinking he was eminently popular, he conceived the idea of selling his pictures to assist in defraying the expenses of his defense, and accordingly had about 800 printed upon the back of which he had the following heinous inscription:
Frank Rande,
"The American Brigand,"
The Knox County Desperado, the brilliant and daring
Young Bandit of the Wabash.
Real name, Charles C. Scott; born in Claysville,
Washington Co., Pa., Sept. 33, 18Uy.
38 years of age in 1877.
But before printing the above on the back of the photographs, he sent for W. B. Richards, patent solicitor, of Galesburg, and asked him to secure the copyright to his photographs, which he claimed were unwarrantably issued by photographers in St. Louis. Mr. Richards informed Rande that any copyright issued under an assumed name would be wholly valueless. He then wrotehis true name, "Charles C. Scott, Fairfield, Iowa." Thiswas the first time his name was known. His parents, although hearing of the case, had no knowledge or even an idea that their son was the murderer.
On Wednesday, December 5, after the true name of Rande was divulged, Postmaster Clark E. Carr received from Postmaster W. T. Bergen, of Fairfield, Iowa, the following communication:
"I think there is no doubt of Frank Rande being Charles C. Scott of this place. Some years ago he broke jail at Ottumwa, and was arrested and brought here, but escaped from the sheriff, and has never been heard of since. His parents reside here and are respectable people. His father is an industrious, honorable man. The life of Rande is characteristic of Scott.He seemed to be utterly abandoned and lost to advice."
Tuesday, February 5, 1878, the case was opened, Judge Smith presiding, Court convening in the opera house. The attendance was large, and throughout the 15 days' trial the interest or attendance was not diminished. The masses freely denounced the culprit and almost the universal public verdict was for hanging. The St. Louis Journal contained the following verse on Rande's being brought to this county for trial:
"There is a ruffian Rande
Far, far away,—
Manacles on either hand
By night and day.
Oh, how they'll sweetly sing.
When they to the gallows bring
This rogue to quietly swing,
No more to stay!
At the close State's Attorney Tunniclift's opening argument hesaid:
"Myself and associate counsel do not ask of you any compromise verdict. We demand the infliction of the death penalty as the only atonement he can make. Send him not to be pardoned by some future governor, not to escape from an insane asylum, to fill the land again with mourning; but inflict upon this human butcher of his fellow men the only punishment that can satisfy an outraged people. He has defied God's law and the law of the State, and he must die, die upon the gallows. My duty is fulfilled : yours is yet to be done."
The defense was ably conducted throughout, taking advantage of every circumstance and turn; for with the strong public feeling against their client they alone saved him from hanging. The jury returned with the verdict of "guilty," fixing the penalty at imprisonment for life.Fearing the prisoner might be molested, which interference had been threatened, the sheriff wisely hurried the convicted criminal to the depot and thenonto Joliet.
The verdict was received at an early hour in the morning; and before the people were really aware that the jury had agreed lie was hurried off to Joliet to escape the infuriated populace. The verdict was heard with astonishment and condemnation by many, as contrary to the law and evidence in the case, while by others it was all that was expected, and agreed with their prediction. All however agreed that he should have been hung on general principles; but for the one act for which he was tried many thought that a life sentence was all that was justifiable. Landed safely in the Illinois penitentiary, where he is employed in making saddles, it is hoped that during the remainder of his earth life society need have no apprehension of danger from him, and that his blood-stained hands will be forever restrained from again taking human life.

Work Cited

All material paraphrased and quoted from the following book:
History of Knox County, Illinois. Chicago: Blakely, Brown & Marsh, 1878. 233-37. Print.
Web. 2010