14 May 2012

Did James Slocum Die in the Williams County, Ohio Jail? - 1879

By Pamela Pattison Lash

I found this interesting series of old newspaper articles and tried to piece together what happened to James Slocum – did he die in a Williams County jail or was he sent away and died at the Ohio Penitentiary?  I’ve determined he was sent to Columbus but I don’t know if he died there.  It’s interesting how the newspapers zip back and forth with errors – so lesson here is don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper!

Fountain City Argus (Bryan, OH), 6 Mar 1879 p3
James Solcum, who has been confined in the county jail for four or five months, charged with fraudulently obtaining a signature to a note was brought into court last Friday and pleaded guilty.  Slocum has been sick ever since his arrest and is still in poor health.  His Honor, Judge Owen, sentenced him to one year’s imprisonment in the Penitentiary.  This with the time he has served in jail will make his term about eighteen months.

Bryan Democrat, 6 Mar 1879 p5 c2
Probably the End

James C Slocum was arraigned before Judge Owen on Friday last plead guilty to the indictment of obtaining money by false representation and was sentenced to one year’s confinement in the state prison.  Slocum was brought here several months ago from Hannibal, Missouri where he was under arrest for bigamy, having there recently married a widow while having a wife living at Elmira, NY to whom he was married more than twenty years ago in Michigan.  Slocum was once a prominent business and railroad contractor.  He was for a time a division superintendent of the Hannibal and St Joseph Railroad.  In 1865 he was superintendent of the western division of the Erie Railroad.  In 1869 he built a railroad in Michigan, Judge, now ex-Senator Christiancy being his attorney, with whom also he engaged in oil speculations in VA.  In 1872 a company of which he was a member secured the contract for building the Rochester and State Line Railroad.  That almost ruined him. With a hope of retrieving his fortunes he embarked in speculation in Wall Street, but failed to strike any pay dirt.  Some time ago he came to Williams County, and meeting John G Rumsey, of Stryker, whom he had known in his better days, induced him by false representation to endorse a draft, secured the money and skipped.  Subsequently he went further West, married the widow, was arrested and brought back here on a requisition, resulting as above stated.  During nearly the full time of his imprisonment in the county jail Slocum has been quite ill as to necessitate a continuance of his trial and he is now so thoroughly broken down in health that scarcely any one believes he will live through a year of penitentiary life.  Mrs Slocum lives at Elmira, NY and has supported herself and two children for 2-3 years.

Bryan Democrat, 13 Mar 1879, p3 c1
The Unity Eagle got a little mixed last week in its Slocum obituary.

Sheriff Kober turned over J C Slocum to the care of the Ohio Penitentiary officers last Monday.

Fountain City Argus (Bryan, OH), 13 Mar 1879 p3
The West Unity Eagle of last week says that James Slocum died at the county bastille a little over a week ago.  After his reported death Judge Owen sentenced him to the Penitentiary for one year.  He has his name registered at the O P.

Civil and Criminal Court, Roll 34 #648

Bryan Democrat, 18 Mar 1879 p4 c1
Over the Road
Sheriff Kober went to Columbus Monday taking with him James W Slocum, sentenced to the state prison for one. Year.  Jas Low accompanied the party.

James Slocum was born in Vermont c1833; Margaret Augusta Calkins/Gankins/Ganghan was born in Elmira, NY on 20 Aug 1833; according to her death certificate online she was the daughter of John Gankins and *** Tompkins, both natives of NY; she died 26 Dec 1919 in Cygnet, Wood Co, OH and was buried in the Bowling Green Mausoleum.

James Slocum married Margaret Calkins; her maiden name obtained from son, Charles’ death certificate online.
Note – Calkins could be Gankin or Ganghan

1. Georgia A (1864 IL -)
2. James Levi (1868 MI -)
3. Charles Webster (25 Apr 1873 Elmira, Chemung Co, NY – 14 Feb 1941 Wood Co, OH) m Cora B Burford

1870 Elmira Ward 4, Chemung, New York; Roll: M593_914; Page: 237B; Image: 479; Family History Library Film: 552413.
h/h 280/336 Slocum, James 37 railroad contractor VT
Margaret 31 SC
Georgie 6 (f) IL
Levi 2 MI

1879 – arrest of James Slocum

1880 Elmira, Chemung, New York; Roll: 817; Family History Film: 1254817; Page: 257A; Enumeration District: 069; Image: 0093.
h/h 125/134 Slocum, Maggie 37 SC-Ire-Ire married
Georgia A 15 IL-VT-SC
James L 12 IL-VT-SC
Charles W 7 NY-VT-SC
And 7 boarders

1896-1899 (James) Levi Slocum lived in Detroit, MI (city directories)

1900 Detroit Ward 13, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 752; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 144; FHL microfilm: 1240752.
250 McDougall Avenue
h/h 201/220 Slocum, Levy 32 (Jan 1868) single, cabinet maker MI-don’t know-don’t know boarder of Jane Leek

1900 Bloom, Wood, Ohio; Roll: 1333; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 137; FHL microfilm: 1241333.
h/h 146/149 Slocum, Margaret 59 (Aug 1840) widow 6/3 ch NY-Eng-Eng landlady in hotel
Chas son 27 (Apr 1873) NY-VT-NY clerk in hotel
With boarders; also living next door to Cora Burford and her mother

1910 Bloom, Wood, Ohio; Roll: T624_1240; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0178; Image: 279; FHL microfilm: 1375253.
h/h Slocum, Margaret 63 widow 3/3 ch NY-Eng-Eng own income
Charles W 37 son telegrapher NY-VT-NY
Ruff, Elizabeth 60 servant