Monday, November 16, 2015

Murder of Stepfather by Indolent Novel- Reading Stepson

Ladies:  Don't Forget the Last Lunch and Learn program of the 2015 Series on Wednesday, December 2 at 11:30 in the basement of the Lawrence County Library. Reservations can be made at The Finishing Touch in Lawrenceville, Jane's Beauty Salon in Bridgeport, or by sending a $15 check to PO Box 425, Lawrenceville, Il.  The program will feature the music of Irving Berlin by Rose Robeson and Sue Gerhart.  A delicious meal will be served after the program. 


From the Robinson Constitution-- D. Foote Researcher.
JULY 10, 1889
Virtus Paddick, of Chauncey, Lawrence County, did business in Robinson on last Saturday. He will teach this winter in Southwest Township, at the Triumph School House.

JULY 17, 1889
In the Bro Hunt’s write up of the Fourth at Bridgeport, in his paper, the Local Reporter, we find these good words for one of Robinson's citizens, the orator of the day. "The exercises at the grove opened promptly at 10 o'clock. Dr. G. Walter Barr, chairman, called the vast assembly to order, and after prayers by Rev. L.E. Cole introduced Hon. P.G. Bradberry. who delivered an interesting and thrilling address which was given close attention by the thousands around the speakers' stand. All who heard this oration are emphatic in their praise, and Hon. Bradberry is spoken of upon every head as an eloquent speaker."

JULY 31, 1889
On account of the seventh annual re-union to be held at Birds, on August 22 and 23, the Big Four will sell tickets on those dates at one fair for the round trip.  Local freights, both ways, will carry passengers during the reunion.

AUGUST 21, 1889
Rev. W.G. Hale. of Chauncey, Lawrence County, visited his father P. Hale, in this city a couple days last week.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1889
Miss May Johnson of Pinkstaff visited friends near Heathsville last week.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1889
E.F. Montgomery, from the vicinity of Bird Station was in town last Friday. G.P. Gordon, of Lawrenceville was in the city one day last week. Lawyer, Wm A. Delzell, of Lawrenceville, transacted business in court here Friday.

SEPTEMBER 18, 1889
A.N. Smith, of Allison, Lawrence County, passed through Robinson Monday on his way home from the north.

SEPTEMBER 25, 1889
Miss Nettie Blackburn, of Lawrenceville, visited friends in Robinson several days last week.

NOVEMBER 6, 1889
Our genial young friend, Mr. Orville Mills of LaMotte Township, went to Bond Township, Lawrence County, on Tuesday of last week and was married to Miss Minnie Childress.

DECEMBER 4, 1889
John Wampler, the able democratic supervisor of Bond township, Lawrence County was in the city Thursday.

DECEMBER 11, 1889
S.P. Barton, of Lawrenceville, took in the sights here Friday.
The saw mill of D.F. Johnson and A.L. Maxwell, at Pinkstaff, Lawrence County, was destroyed by fire on last Sunday morn.

BUT BY FAR  the news of the area during this time (July 1889) was the murder of James Shaw who was shot by his stepson Ralph Phelps, a young man about 19 or 20 years of age at the family home in Bird Station about noon on June 29th.

Chicago Tribune June 30 1889 reported:

  "At Birds, a village north of Bridgeport, Ralph Feltz shot his stepfather, James Shaw, because Shaw had told him to either quit reading novels or leave.  Shaw will die.  He was stooping to take up his baby when Feltz fired.  Feltz took to the Embarras Bottoms and is being hunted by a Sheriff’s posse." 

The Robinson Constitution reported on July 2, 1889:

"The weapon used was a revolver, and the ball passed through the body of Shaw and was taken out at his back, just at the side of the backbone. Phelps fled but was arrested at Oaktown, Ind., on the next day and taken to Lawrenceville where he languished in durance vile in the county bastille. Mr. Shaw lingered until Saturday when death came to his relief.  From what we can learn of the affair, it was a case of pure cussedness on the part of shootist, he being of a indolent and wayward disposition, shot and killed his stepfather without cause or provocation."

The next week's paper reported: "In our mention of the killing of Jas Shaw, at Birds, last week, we stated, on what we thought the very best of authority, that the murderer had been arrested and placed in jail at Lawrenceville. Our informant was wide off the mark, as to the hour of going to press the red- eyed law had not got hold of him."

And wouldn't get a hold of him for seven more years.....and the facts might have changed a bit....

The True Republican on Feb 13, 1895 reported:  Ralph Phelps is in jail at Lawrenceville on charge of murder committed seven years ago.  At that time Phelps was at work in a field at Birds Station with his stepfather, whose name was Shaw.  Shaw reproved Phelps, who became angry and shot Shaw.  Phelps fled and was never heard from again until the other day he was discovered and captured in Warren County Ind.  He confessed and said he was glad to be taken back for trial."

Thanks to J King and K Borden for the additional research on the Jas. Shaw murder.