Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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May 19

The Verdict Is In - Guilty!

Posted on May 19, 2015 at 6:59 AM by Elise Kelly

**The Following Account is a Historical Narrative - The narrator is fictional, but the crime and events are true**

Continued Story from last week’s Blog Post.

   Washington Galloway (Greene County Surveyor) Diary Entry (Courtesy of Greene County Historical Society)

I would have done anything to sit in on Mr. Richardson’s trial. While court was in session, I sat in class unable to focus on that day’s arithmetic problems. I imagined Mr. Richardson sitting, handcuffed in the courtroom,  listening to his defense lawyers make all sorts of arguments on his behalf. Several townsfolk attended the trial.

             Mr. Galloway noted in his diary how the courtroom
                               was packed with spectators


                            (Courtesy of Greene County Historical Society)
Each day after school some of our neighbors would stop by our house to relay that day's court events to my parents. We learned that Mr. Richardson was indicted for killing and murdering Mr. Fogwell.


Indictment 1 underlined final.jpg
                Common Pleas Court - Greene County State Records

During the trial they expounded on Mr. Fogwell's gun shot wounds.

                          Court Testimony of Gun Shot Wounds
           Common Pleas Court - Greene County State Records

Perhaps this is what the body sketch of where Mr. Fogwell was shot looked like. The prosecution certainly could have used something like this to illustrate to the jury where Mr. Fogwell was shot.

On March 26, 1873 the verdict came back and not surprisingly, Mr. Richardson was found guilty of first degree murder. The jury did not reach a verdict until 10:00 PM that night.
               Common Pleas Court - Greene County State Records

During the month of March 1873, Greene County residents were fixated on this trial.
 Mr. Richardson was to hang! But to everyone's surprise, he was granted a second trial on the basis of - lack of sufficient evidence, misconduct of one of the jurors, and the verdict was contrary to the law. By the summer of 1873, Mr. Richardson was found guilty of first degree murder for a second time. However, his scheming escapades would not end there.

Attempted Jail Break
Mr. Richardson was now spending his days shackled in irons in the County jail. The Xenia Gazette reported of a botched escape carried out by Mr. Richardson.

Working secretly at convenient intervals, he was able to wriggle the irons off. During the evening of August 15th, Deputy Kyle entered Mr. Richardson's cell and unsuspectingly, was hit by an object Mr. Richardson tightly gripped in his hand. Mr. Richardson rushed towards the ajar door but Deputy Kyle caught him.
    "Veave in jail" by Barnellbe - Own work
Both struggled on the floor and using all his efforts, Deputy Kyle subdued his prisoner and slammed the cell door behind him.

A complete search of Mr. Richardson's cell was carried out. Hidden in a crack of the cell wall was a small saw blade.

                   Mr. Richardson's Interview with the Xenia Gazette
                                  Xenia Gazette, August 19, 1873

Behind this bravado, I believe Mr. Richardson knew that he would soon meet his demise. Not wanting to end his life at the hands of his captors, Mr. Richardson began to starve himself. He demanded that the Sheriff give him large quantities of food - indigestible food that would bring about his death.

The Sheriff brought him no such thing. According to the Xenia Gazette, Mr. Richardson angrily began a profanity laced tirade. That evening (Saturday, August 30th), he ripped off the sheet to his cot and twisted it in order to use it as a rope. Wrapping it twice around his neck, Mr. Richardson took his own life. The following day, he was buried on his farm in Beavercreek Township.

Life went back to normal after Mr. Richardson was buried, but every once in a while, I think back to that fateful night of the shooting.

Until Next Time!

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question: Mr. Richardson shot Mr. Fogwell in Beavercreek Township
This Week's Trivia Question: Beavercreek Township is one of the original four townships in Greene County. What were the other three?


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