Saturday, February 12, 2011

1880 Brutal Assault

When I first started doing research for The Fowlerville Chronicles, somehow any articles on the brutality of the times passed me by. The late 1800s almost seemed idyllic -- but, of course, they were not quite what they seemed. Every era has its bullies and in 1880, it was no different. The following article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

A Brutal Assault~~On Thursday evening at about half past nine o'clock as Isaac Simpson was watering his cow, he having been absent from home until late in the evening, two men came along the road past his house -- two miles north and one and a half miles west of this place -- driving a single horse and buggy, and Simpson mistaking one of them for Ruel VanDyke, called him by name and asked him where he was going, and received the reply that, 'it was none of his d------- business,' whereupon he hastened to explain that he had made a mistake in the person. The party in the buggy then replied that, 'he wanted a d-------- good licking, and that he was the man that would give it to him,' when Simpson ran into the barn, closely followed by the other, who proceeded to kick, cuff, and strike Simpson in a lively manner. Simpson did little but yellow and hallow "murder" which brought his wife out of the house, and, picking up a club, started to help her husband, when the other ruffian caught her by the hair of the head and threw her down by a pile of rails. The rascals thinking that by this time their cries must have alarmed the neighbors, got into their buggy and drove rapidly towards Fowlerville. Geo. Horton, a near neighbor, hearing the cries, ran across the road and wakened Nelson Swarthout and both went to Simpsons together. The three then followed the parties to this place, where they learned that the parties who did the pounding were Eugene Mann and his brother Augustua. They were arrested the next day and gave bonds for their appearance before Justice Gould for trial for assault and battery on the person of Mr. Simpson on Monday. On Monday, the boys were tried, found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of $25 each and cost of suit or 90 days at Ionia. The fines and costs together amounted to $86, which they paid. Simpson then intended to take them for personal damages, and also for assult and battery upon Mrs. Simpson. They settled all further suit with Simpson by paying him $100. The boys have always been more or less engaged in fighting scrapes, and we hope this will learn them a lesson, for it has cost them over $200.

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