We're trying something a little different for this month's blog. Rather than focus on a particular family, this post is going to focus on a book. Specifically, a recent find by our researchers at the Reisterstown Library's history room: an old magistrate's ledger kept by Justice of the Peace Nimrod Cromwell Logsdon between 1880 and 1897.
It's an interesting reflection of the times, covering everything from mundane debts to more appalling crimes. We tend to view the past through rose-colored glasses, so some of the events in the ledger could come as a bit of a surprise to some. Certainly, Nimrod Logsdon and his constables and deputies were kept busy over the years.
By far, most of the 573 cases documented in Logsdon's book were debts. Keep in mind that there was no bank in Reisterstown until 1901, and so residents turned to each other for loans. As a sample, here are three typical cases from a ledger page in 1883. The amounts involved may seem small now, but $40 in the 1880s would be about $900 today.
(Also remember, spelling was somewhat creative back then, too.)
However, the ledger's entries contain quite a few crimes of a much more serious nature that were committed in Reisterstown.
State warrent issued to George W. Stocksdale constable June 7th AD 1886, charged with assault and starking Miss Susan Hall with a stone, returned June 10th cipi, committed to the House of Correction for three months
|No. 439 |
States warrent for assault with attempt to commit rape, summons issued to George W. Stocksdale December 27 AD 1889, returned, case settled as per order of partes
|No. 214 |
Case of bastardy examination taken this 13th day of July AD 1886, papers sent to Carroll County
|No. 336 |
Case of bastardy warrent issued to Charles J. Beckley constable August 14th AD 1888, parties appeared, settled by defendent paying Mary E. Bowen sixty dollars and cost of one dollar + seventy cents
|No. 78 |
State warrent issued third August to D.L. Wagner dept. for stealing chickens, returned cipi August 1883, committed for the action of grand jury
|No. 56 |
State warrent issued to Geo. W. Stocksdale January 27th 1883, charged with takeing horse from J.J. Umpries, returned cipi, trial held for the action of the grand jury
|No. 334 |
Arrested by George W. Stocksdale constable for the larceny of mare buggy and harness, committed to Towson jail July 27th AD 1888 for the action of Pennsylvania authorities
|No. 48 |
State vs. unknown
Warrent on suspicion of being implicated in the murder of Wm. A. Russell, warrent issued to D.L. Wagner special constable December 1st 1882
This last entry was a year after Reisterstown's great murder mystery. For more information on William Russell, see our November 2013 blog post.
Then there are the cases which, nowadays, just seem humorous.
|No. 86 |
State warrent issued November 4th 1883 to D.L. Wagner const., charge swering on Rieserstown, trial fine five dollars one dollar and sixty five cents cost, commited to jail in default of fine and cost
|No. 81 |
State warrent issued August 12th 1883 to Geo. W. Stocksdale constable, charge gambling at Asbury Grove Camp, returned cipi, fined five dollars and one dollar and ninty cents cost
Oddly, despite his length of service to the town, Nimrod Lodgsdon isn't even buried here. After his death in 1911, he was interred at the Stone Chapel Cemetery in Pikesville.