But I was framed….

Years ago, I received a copy of Abram and Joseph Rosa’s pension files regarding their service in the Civil War. I distinctly remember a comment made by the gentleman taking depositions and accumulating evidence to prove service in order for either gentleman to receive any money. He said that, to paraphrase, “the Rosa’s in the past were not well regarded by the community, but in these later years had improved their behavior.”

My eyebrows had raised at reading the comment, but I was not terribly surprised. Jennie Rosa had left her husband, Abram, during the war, with their two daughters. Never to go back to Michigan again. My belief was that she left him because of possible abuse. Of course, it is doubtful we will ever truly know.

Now Joseph is Abram’s older brother, by about only a year or two. He never married dying a bachelor  about 5 years before his brother. But apparently he spent a bit of his life more on the nefarious side, as can be seen from this little tidbit from the May 22, 1867 issue of the Kalamazoo paper:

Found in the In Court section on page 5.

Joseph would have been 35 when this occurred. The Wellington Cross mentioned in the article was his sister Sophia’s 22 year old son, his nephew. I have a hard time believing that Joseph had nothing to do with the larceny, he was much older than his nephew and was probably a very bad influence. Further investigation into Wellington shows him in court over the years for burglary and larceny at various times. It appears he had light fingers. I can find no evidence of Joseph in court again, but that could mean he just wasn’t caught or I don’t have access to all the newspapers.

So now we have a better idea to why the community was leery of the Rosa’s and their kin. Abram was possibly abusive and his nephew and brother were crooks.

Who says genealogy ain’t fun. Now I need to see those court records.

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Martin you naughty, naughty boy…maybe

Well seeing as today is St. Patrick’s day, I have decided to stick to the Irish theme I started last week as regards Martin Cain. So here is a real doozy for you.

On August 31, 1874 after 3:00 in the afternoon the examination of Owen Keogh and Martin Kane was commenced, they were charged with assaulting Charles Tourtellot and Samuel Hicks on the night of August 24th. The room was stuffed to the rafters with excited spectators.

“Tourtellot swore that the two respondents, with one other, came out of Owen’s place and approached himself and Hicks on Plainfield street. They stood on the corner of the streets near Owen’s shop when the three men came out. He and Hicks walked down toward the railroad and the men followed them. Kane has a pistol and fired at the witness, a ball passing through his coat. At the same time his companion, Hicks, was struck with a slung shot, or something similar, which he held in his hand. Hicks was quite badly hurt, went to the Sixth Police Station for help, and returned to Owen’s place, when Kane was arrested. This was the gist of Tourtellot’s testimony, as elicited by State Constable Wilson, who conducted the case for the prosecution. He was closely cross-examined by Mr. Mowry, for the defense.

Samuel Hicks swore that he was with Tourtellot on the night of August 24th; was followed by three men near Owen’s place; heard a pistol fired, and at the same instant fell to the ground hit by a slung-shot; heard someone say, “Keough, you’ve hit him in a good place;” witness thought so, too; saw the flash of a pistol, and thought I was shot when I was struck at first; jumped up in about five seconds and ran to Dr. Eldy’s [sp.?] office; didn’t wait to see who was there when I jumped up; doctor told me it was only a blow from a slung-shot, and I’d better go and put my head in a watering trough.

Officer Bowen testified to arresting Kane in Owen’s shop; was trying to escape by the door through which two or three others had already escaped; Officer Southwick and myself arrested him; Officer Conway, of the Johnston force, came in at the front door afterwards.

Mrs. Mary McLaughlin testified that she heard a noise on the Johnston road, about a quarter past ten; looked out of her window and saw a man lying the road; he got up, and ran away; saw two other men running in the another direction; heard a pistol fired and the cry of “MURDER!”

This closed the evidence for the prosecution. Mr. Mowry observed that his defense was that the respondents were not at the place when the assault is alleged at the time in question, and knew nothing about it.

Martin Kane swore that he was at John Grady’s house, on or near Sampson street; got him to write a letter for him; was there an hour; came out with him; stopped at one or two places; stopped at a tavern; himself, John Grady and Peter Flynn went to Thomas Owen’s place; saw no disturbance; never owned or fired a pistol; never had or owned a slung-shot; never knew Owen Keogh; was arrested at Owen’s place; didn’t know that anyone had been assaulted.

To Mr. Wilson.–Have had no particular reason for keeping the letter a week after it was written before mailing it; got to Mr. Grady’s about half-mast seven; left there about nine; was in Owen’s place about fifteen minutes before the officers came; took his pocketbook out in Owen’ place to hand over the bar, but put it back in his pocket.

Jon Grady swore that Kane, whom he had known twenty-five years, came to his house in the Tenth Ward, Aug. 24th, went to Owen’s place after writing a letter; met Owen Keough there; never saw either Hicks or Tourtellot till after the row; saw no pistol or slung shot that night; told officer Conway they had got the wrong man.

To Mr. Wilson.–Didn’t know there had been a fight; didn’t see any one run from Owen’s place.

 Michael Leonard, Owen’t bartender, swore that Hicks and Tourtellot passed by Owen’s place on the night of Aug. 24, and in a few minuted the city police rushed in, “and tha’t all I know about it.” Owen Keogh was not in the sop that night; the shop is two or three rods from the railroad’ didn’t hear any pistol fired or any cry of murder; was no three men in the saloon at the time; saw no one in the shop but Kane, Grady and Flynn.

To Mr. Wilson.–Am sure I can tell the time within three minutes; Kane said then he came in, “We’ve walked all the way from North Providence to have a glass of hop beer.”

Thomas Owen swore that Kane, Grady and Flynn came to his shop between ten and eleven; had been in but a few minutes when the officers came; heard no pistol and knew of no disturbance till the officers rushed in; saw no pistol.

To Mr. Wilson.–Tink it was near eleven when Kane and the others came in; Kane seemed to have a little down, but was not drunk; I can give a pretty food guess about that.

Owen Keogh swore that he was “round Olneyville” on the evening of Aug. 24; was with Michael McDonough all the evening; had no slung shot that evening; never saw Hicks before to-day; was not on the Johnston road that night; didn’t hear any one say “Owen Keough has given Hicks a good one, now give Tourtellott a good one.”

Here the evidence was concluded.

The counsel on both sides spoke with ability, but not at such length as in the previous case, for human nature is not invulnerable, and the appeals of an empty stomach are not to be entirely disregarded. It was after five o’clock, and beads of perspiration stood thickly on the foreheads of the weary group. There remarks of the counsel for the prosecution were commendable for their pointed character and brevity.

The Court found the respondents not probably guilty, and they were discharged.”1

So the question still remains. Was he guilty or not guilty? I’m thinking he and his pals got lucky in court that day.


Crusade Of The State Constables. A Camp Meeting Visited–A Liquor Case in a Johnston; Paper: Providence Evening Press Date: 09-01-1874; Volume: XXXI; Issue: 146; Page: [1]; Location: Providence, Rhode Island  

Those long New England winters…

It is amusing, to me anyway, how when we die we suddenly become saints who led exemplary lives, were the epitome of upright citizenry, god fearing moral examples for all, yadda, yadda, yadda (by the way If anyone ever says that about me, it’s all lies!). The same type of thing happens when genealogist write up family histories about their ancestors.  It’s rare to find a family history that says anything bad about their fore bearers.


That’s why I love to find records like what I am posting today, records that show even our ancestors were only human. I have had this information for a while, but sometimes there is a long wait before I can post anything new, so I like to go through all my old research to find entries of interest that I might have forgotten about.


Jonathan and Lydia Hatch of Barnstable, Barnstable County, Massachusetts are our focus today both of them are ancestors of ours. Read this little tidbit: 

Jonathan Hatch, who eventually married Ann Rowley, was described by the historian Otis as:     … a man of indomitable energy of character – no difficulties discouraged him – no misfortune swayed him from his onward and determined course of life. He was a pioneer in the march of civilization, and the history of his life, if faithfully written, would present many points of romantic interest. (Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families v1:p463).

Well some of that may indeed be true (he certainly focused a lot on the romantic aspect, but not in the way we think), but those New England winters must have gotten quite boring because Jonathan and his sister Lydia seem to have spent a bit of time in court, and not in a good way, as can seen in the following court record entries that I have entered below.

(1) p.152 – …In 1642 Lydia Hatch appeared before the court not only “for suffering Edward Michell to attempt to abuse her body by uncleanness” and not letting it be known, but for “lying in the same bed with her brother Jonathan.” Her brother was not directly accused of incest, although he was in court on other charges. Lydia was publicly whipped for both offenses, no option of a fine being given, and Jonathan was also whipped for vagrancy and “for his misdemeanors.

(2) March 1, 1641/1642 Bradford, G. (PCR 2:35):
Edward Michell, for his lude [and] sodomitacall practives tending to sodomye with Edward Preston, and other lude carryages with Lydia Hatch, is centured to be presently whipt at Plymouth, at the publike place, and once more at Barnestable, kin convenyent tyme, in the presence of Mr. Freeman and the committees of the said towne.

March 1, 1641/1642 Bradford, G. (PCR 2:35):
Lydia Hatch, for suffering Edward Michell to attempt to abuse her body by vncleanesse, [and] did not discouer it, [and] lying the same bed with her brother Jonathan, is censured to be publickly whipt; was accordingly donn.

March 6, 1665/1666 (GC, PCR 4:117):
Wheras Jonathan Hatch hath bine convicted of vnnesesarie frequenting the house of Thomas Crippin, and therby hath giuen occation of suspision of dishonest behauior towards Francis, the wife of the said Crippin, the Court hath admonished him and warned him for the future not to giue such occation of suspision as aforsaid by his soe frequently resorting to the said house or by coming in the companie of the said woman, as hee will anware it att his peril.

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(1)The entries above were found in James and Patricia Scott Deetz, The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in the Plymouth Colony, (New York: W.H. Freeman and Co., 2000), 151-152. With other sources listed, Other information found at the website related to book: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/users/deetz/Plymouth/Lauria2.html

(2) Appendix II: The Court Records  The following descriptions of Court Records provide the date of the record, the Plymouth Colony Record (PCR0 cite, and an indication of the Court at which the action occurred, including the General Court 9GC0, the Court of Assistant (CA), Court of Magistrates (CM) (typically conducted by individual Assistants), and Governor Bradford hearing disputes and claims as an Assistant or Magistrate (Bradford).

References for above court records Bradford, William Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York:Knopf (1952). PCR. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. Ed., by Nathaniel Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York:AMS Press. 12v. in 6.