"The History of Rock County, Wisconsin"

©1879

 

pp. 576

The duties of the Police Justice, as defined in the Act of Incorporation of the city of Janesville, are as follows:
SECTION 16. The Police Justice shall have and possess all the authority, powers and rights of jurisdiction of a Justice of the Peace in civil proceedings, and shall have sole and exclusive jurisdiction to hear all complaints and conduct all examinations and trials for criminal acts committed within said city, and shall have exclusive jurisdiction in all cases to which said city shall be a party, and shall have the same power and authority in cases of contempt as a court of record.
 
During the nine years Mr. HUDSON was in office, but two murder cases
came before him for examination. One of these was the case of a man named PRATT, a jeweler, doing business in Janesville. PRATT, with his wife and children and his wife's sister, the latter being a lady of considerable beauty, and the entire family of the highest respectability, lived on the West Side, in what was then a very sparsely settled portion of the city. They had formerly lived in Michigan. Soon after their settlement here, a large and very black Negro, also from Michigan, made his appearance. He claimed to be well acquainted with the PRATTS, and especially with the sister. From his conversation and manner, it was evident he possessed a strange infatuation for her. One night, soon after his arrival, he repaired to the PRATT residence, and climbing upon a shed in the rear of the house, after the family had retired, attempted to open a window leading into the room occupied by the young lady. The noise alarmed her, and she arose, and going down stairs informed her brother-in-law that some one was at her window tying to gain an entrance. Mr. PRATT procured a revolver, and crept noiselessly to the scene of alarm. As he entered the room he discovered the Negro in the act of raising the lower sash, evidently not aware that he had been observed. Under the circumstances, Mr. PRATT did exactly what any other man would have done. He fired, and ere the report of the pistol had died away, a heavy thud was heard in the rear of the shed. The Negro had received a fatal shot, and he rolled from the roof of the shed limp and lifeless. Police Justice HUDSON was sent for. He summoned a jury of inquest, and PRATT was placed under arrest, charged with murder. But, after a full examination of the case, the prisoner was discharged on the ground of justifiable homicide.
The second case was that of Dr. DUVAL, claiming to be a specialist from
New York. DUVAL was about fifty years old, and had a young and prepossessing wife. They stopped at the Ford House on the West Side. Two or three days after their arrival in the city, it was reported to Justice HUDSON that the woman had died suddenly. Summoning Dr. Henry PALMER, the Justice repaired to the room occupied by DUVAL, and making himself and the doctor known, asked to be made aware of the circumstances. DUVAL showed a suspicious hesitancy, but finally admitted the visitors, at the same time feigning to be much affected over the sad affair. Dr. PALMER made a slight examination, and Justice HUDSON informed DUVAL that the case demanded an investigation, that it was his duty to hold an inquest, at which three or four of the best physicians in Janesville would be present. DUVAL requested that he be allowed the privilege of inviting an equal number of medical gentlemen, whom he named and claimed to be his friends. The request was granted, and Justice HUDSON and Dr. PALMER politely withdrew, thoroughly convinced, however, that there had been foul play. During the inquest that followed, the evidence became so strong that the woman had come to her death from the effects of poison, that DUVAL was placed under arrest. During his imprisonment and while awaiting the action of the grand jury, DUVAL attempted to divert suspicion from himself by writing letters, but the result was that his own handwriting, had there been nothing more tangible, was sufficient to convict him. He received the extreme penalty - imprisonment for life, and is now serving his sentence at Waupun.
While the brass-buttoned "cop" of Chicago, or the "dandy Broadway M. P."
of Gotham might scorn to acknowledge allegiance to so humble a chief as "Our Russell," we defy either of them to present a nattier appearance, or display a form of more symmetrical proportions or classical mold. True, "Our Russell" has been unfortunate enough to lose an arm, but this does not prevent him from dexterously wielding his new rattan on pleasant afternoons, when the cooling atmospheres of the soda fountain have lost their charm, and the free cologne has vanished.
 
[Transcriber's note: I don't know if the story ends here or not - I don't have the next page.]
 
Courtesy of Carol

©2002 ALHN-Rock County, Wisconsin

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