Thursday, November 24, 2011

From 1896: For Stealing Aged "Aunt Katie's" Pet Chickens

The following is from about 115 years ago today, it is part of an article on the news in Middletown, published in the Hartford Courant on November 28, 1896.
Two Men Accused of Offering Them for Thanksgiving Dinners
Matthew Murray and James Fitzgerald were arraigned in the city court yesterday, charged with stealing seven chickens from Mrs. Katie Cull, who lives on Railroad avenue. "Aunt Katie," as everyone calls her, is almost 91 years old, and has been in this country about forty years. She said she had never uttered an oath, and begged the police to ask the Judge not to make her swear. These chickens were some that were given to her, and so tame were they that she could pick them up anywhere. Wednesday night she shut them up and fastened the door. Thursday morning the coop door had been found open and the chickens were gone. A little girl found two of them in the weeds by the river with their necks rung. Other neighbors told of men calling at their houses late the night before, offering chickens for sale. Two Polish residents of Buck Hollow, Steve Wikheld and John Robluski, testified that Murray and Fitzgerald called at their place with chickens for sale. They identified the prisoners. The prisoners in their own behalf swore that on the night of the theft they, with Tom Kelley, had stood from 5 til 9 o'clock on the corner of Main and Court streets, and had then gone to Cook's barn, up by the Indian Hill cemetery, to sleep. The cases were continued until next Wednesday. Bonds were fixed at $300 and in default the prisoners were sent to Pameacha jail. Fitzgerald is only 20, but he has served several sentences at Haddam jail, and has been out only a few days.
Note: this is from of a particularly bad digital scan, and some of the words and especially the names may not be correctly transcribed.
Thanks to Izzie Greenberg for the photo (those are turkey feet, much bigger than Aunt Katie's chicken feet).

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