He Killed His Father and Began a Partial Life of Crime – Jackson Wonderly
By Pamela Pattison Lash
Here are the newspaper snippets:
Defiance Democrat, 20 July 1876, p3 c5
Mrs. Elizabeth Wonderly was indicted for murder with a bail of $2500. Her trial will be in September. Jackson Wonderly was indicted for murder of his father with a bail of $2,000.
Defiance Democrat, 20 July 1876, p3 c1
The trial of Jack Wonderly attracted more ladies than any other trial in the county. One lady gave him a gold ring. Jackson was 17 years old; he shot his father to death in a domestic quarrel last November. The trial was from July 5-15 with many witnesses. He was given seven years of hard labor for manslaughter instead of the original charge of first degree murder.
Defiance County Express, 7 March 1878, p3 c7
Under application of Seneca Wonderly and others to the Governor of Ohio on 2 April 1878 there was a plea for pardon for Jackson W. Wonderly, convicted of manslaughter at the May Term 1876 in Defiance County, OH. His sentence was seven years.
Defiance County Express, 24 October 1879, p5 c4
Jack Wonderly returned from the penitentiary, having served 3Y 11M out of seven years.
Defiance County Express, 5 January 1882, p5 c4
Jack Wonderly was locked up in Hicksville jail for cattle stealing and forgery.
Defiance County Express, 12 January 1882, p6 c4
Jack Wonderly probably would have added a second murder to his list of crimes if allowed to run at large.
Defiance County Express, 19 January 1882, p6 c3 and 5
There is much sympathy for Jack Wonderly that was wasted a few years ago when he was on trial for killing his father. He was arrested along with John Wonderly and George Sewell for cattle stealing.
Bryan Press, 26 January 1882, p5 c2
Jack Wonderly stole cattle and plead guilty at Defiance; he was same youth who was tried a few years ago for killing his father.
Defiance County Express, 26 July 1882, p6 c 3 and 5
Four men were taken to the penitentiary by Sheriff Foust and Coroner Aldrich. Jack Wonderly was one of them. He had changed his plea to guilty.
Defiance County Express, 26 November 1885, p6 c4
Sheriff Wonderly and Marshall Hepler took Jack Wonderly who was convicted of grand larceny to Columbus; he was sentenced to four years.
Defiance County Express, 10 December 1885, p3 c3
Abner Coy of Mark Twp. lost two valuable colts as friends of Jack Wonderly may have had something to do with this. Abner’s evidence had sent Jack to the pen again.
Defiance Daily News, 8 July 1898, p4 c3
Jack Wonderly and his wife of Cygnet came here for funeral of his mother, Mrs. Lemon.
Defiance Daily News, 27 December 1899, p5 c2
At Mark Center Jack Wonderly came to spend Christmas with his relatives.
By now the reader has a fair idea of the criminal activities of Jackson Wonderly, but who was he?
The following is what I have been able to piece together for Jack and his family:
Jackson Wonderly was born in May 1859 in Loudon Twp., Seneca Co, OH, but grew up in Mark Center, Defiance Co, OH, the son of Civil War Veteran, Joseph W Wonderly, and beloved mother Elizabeth Thom. The parents were married on 15 December 1853, Seneca Co, OH. They would have a large family of children – Seneca, Melissa J, Jackson, Peleg, Emma, John Madison, Chauncey, and Marietta.
Joseph, the father, was a carpenter who enlisted on 30 August 1862 – 30 June 1865, in Co K 101st Ohio Infantry. Elizabeth, the mother, would also be indicted for her husband’s murder, but it does not appear that she was sent to jail. She applied for and received a pension through her husband’s service on 28 June 1880. Sometime between 1884-1887 Elizabeth married Samuel Chambers Lemmon, a hotel clerk from Garrett, DeKalb Co, IN; Samuel was also a Civil War Veteran, a musician with the WVA 1st Cavalry. Elizabeth died July 1898 and was buried in the Forest Home Cemetery, Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH.
At some point when Jackson was no longer in prison he married Bardie Gansley, 24 November 1894, Miami Co, OH. The couple had a daughter, Ladonna Wonderly, who would later marry Welcome Dalrymple. Bardie died in April 1928 and later Jackson would pass away in 1932; they are buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Shiloh, Montgomery Co, OH.
Aside from the newspaper articles, other sources were employed to provide data for this tale.
1860 Loudon Twp, Seneca Co, OH
1870 Milford Twp, Defiance Co, OH
1880 Mark Center, Defiance Co, OH
Miami County, OH Marriages (1885-1895), p458
1900 Sidney, Shelby Co, OH
1910 Dayton, Montgomery Co, OH
1920 Dayton, Montgomery Co, OH
1930 Dayton, Montgomery Co, OH