Small group of legal documents regarding the indictment of two men for rape and burglary

Small group of legal documents regarding the indictment of two men for rape and burglary

Switzerland County, Indiana: 1856. Unbound. There are eight documents in this group. Three of the documents are warrants for the arrest of Henry Simpson and Thomas Level for the robbery of Charles Seamback and the rape of Teclaw Smith issued in November of 1855. Three of the documents are apparently later reissues of those warrants in May of 1856. One of the documents is a grand jury indictment of Henry Simpson and Thomas Level for the robbery. One of the documents is a grand jury indictment of Henry Simpson, alone, for the rape. All are in nice shape. Very good. Item #009121

The rape indictment states that Simpson “on the 24th day of September 1855 with force and arms . . . did upon the body of one Teclaw Smith did make an assault and her the said Teclaw Smith did then & there unlawfully & feloniously touch strike beat and wound, and her the said Teclaw Smith, a woman, did then & there Carnally Know unlawfully feloniously forcible and against her will.”

The robbery indictment states that Simpson and Level “on the 24th day of September 1855 with force and arms . . . forcibly and feloniously took one gold Coin commonly called an Eagle the value of ten dollars, the property of Charles Seamback from his, Charles Steamback’s, person and against his will by violence to his person.” Both Smith and Steamback testified before the grand jury against their assailants.

Interestingly, each of the warrants sets bail at $500, which would appear to indicate that the total combined bail for the two men stood at $1,500 or $750 each. This would have been an enormous sum in 1855, equal to over $40,000 or $20,000 each in 2018 dollars. Clearly the county did not want these men out of jail before their trials.

The penalties facing the men were just as severe. At the time in Indiana, robbery was punishable by whipping, fines, and imprisonment for up to thirty years, and the mandated punishment for rape was death. I could not locate any records reporting the outcome of the eventual trials.

Price: $150.00

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