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For the Ford County Record

A look at notable early crimes in Ford County, from 1872 to 1928:

Sept. 29, 1872 — The first recorded inmate was placed in the Ford County jail. His name was Edward Cavangh. He was 25 years old and from St. Louis. He was arrested for drawing his revolver.

Aug. 29, 1879 — Robert Trickle, an 18-year-old gunsmith, was arrested for murder. He was found guilty and given five years at the penitentiary.

Aug. 17, 1880 — A. G. Hendrix, 57, was moved from the McLean County jail to the Ford County jail for his own protection. He was charged with the murders of two men and would stand trial in Paxton. Hendrix claimed it was self-defense and was found not guilty.

Sept. 30, 1883 — James Ryan was charged with murder. He was 26 years old and was sentenced to 33 years in the penitentiary.

Oct. 13, 1892 — Jesse J. Dennis of Sibley was arrested in connection with a drunken brawl in which he killed one person and severely wounded another. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted of murder.

April 19, 1893 — A couple were arrested in Sibley for adultery. They both plead guilty and were fined $50 each.

Dec. 2, 1896 — Fred Gedde was arrested for the murder of his wife, Wiebke Geddes. He was held until Dec. 5, 1896, when he was found not guilty and was discharged.

Dec. 7, 1896 — Frederick Hollman, 38, was arrested for the murder of Wiebke Geddes in Sullivant Township. Hollman was found guilty and was sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead at the jail on May 14, 1897.  He was of the earliest known serial killers in the U.S., killing five other women and charged in the attempted murder of eight others. Some say his spirit still resides at the old Ford County jail today.

Sept. 25, 1899 — Nellie Daragan was arrested for keeping a house of ill fame. She was given 32 days in jail and a fine of $135.

Aug. 23, 1901 — Charles Martin was arrested and held for bastardy.

Feb. 14, 1906 — Two doctors, Dr. Nicholas Kern and Dr. George T. Carson, were charged with murder after the death of a young patient. They were released on bail on

Feb. 17, 1906. Later, they were found not guilty.

Jan. 12, 1911 — Ed Nelson served 60 days for bootlegging (This was the first time the word "bootlegging" was used).

Sept. 17, 1918 — Asa Burger of Piper City was charged with murder. He was found criminally insane and was sent to the Pontiac mental hospital.

Sept. 12, 1919 — Three youths from Gibson City were caught operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. The boys were found guilty and sent to the St. Charles School for Boys.

Oct. 9, 1919 — The first recorded escapee from the Ford County jail was captured in Kankakee.

Jan. 22, 1920 — The word "booze" was used for the first time. The person served two days.

May 5, 1921, to May 18, 1921 — The jail was holding 12 Mexicans for the federal government. The inmates were received from Chicago, heading for deportation to Mexico. On Aug. 25, 1921, Ford County was paid $393 for housing the illegals.

June 3, 1923 — Two runaways from Chicago, ages 15 and 13, were held at the jail for eight days.

Jan. 1, 1924 — The jail’s first bank robber, G. H. Bramer, was arrested.

March 9, 1924 — Lewis Davis, 28, was charged with murder in Champaign County but was moved to the Ford County jail to await trail.

Jan. 14, 1925 — Ethel Browning, a 17-year-old from Gibson City, was called feeble-minded.

Sept. 1, 1926 — The first drunk driving arrest occurred in Ford County, with the offender serving two days.

Dec. 18, 1928 — Gustave Hagner was charged with the first case of kidnapping in Ford County.