Bibliography for Top Five Legal Cases in Coles County, 1830-1900
- Booth Library Archives, Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Accession
# 5/0109101. Coles Jail Register vol. 1.
- This source contains some information on William Moore including age
and occupation. One item of interest: under mode of discharge the register
has the words "hung by mob," and the two men listed above Moore
have "escaped with mob" listed as their mode of discharge.
- Chicago Tribune, "Taken From Jail and Lynched," June 27,
- Short article on the lynching of William Moore. The article appears
to be a reprint of an article that may have been published in the Charleston
Tribune. Also, like the Mattoon Journal Gazette, the article
professes the good character of Mary Bumgardner and the questionable character
of William Moore. The views reversed in later papers.
- Ladd, Marta Cates and Constance Schneider Kimball. Coles County History,
1876-1976: Coles County Illinois. The Charleston Mattoon Bicentennial
- Published at the same time that many local histories were, during the
U.S. bicentennial, the work contains information concerning the history
of Coles County agriculture, culture government and politics, education,
geography, and transportation. The book does discuss details of the life
of Nathan Ellington. Also the lynching of Adolphus Monroe is briefly
- Lupton, John. "'In View of the Uncertainty of Life': A Coles County
Lynching." Illinois Historical Journal, v.89 no3 (1996):
- Adolphus Monroe was lynched after he was given a stay of execution following
conviction for the murder of his father-in-law. The town Sheriff took
no extra precautions to protect Monroe, and did very little to try and
stop the mob.
- Mattoon Journal Gazette (MJG)
- MJG "A Terrible Affair!" June 29th, 1888 p. 1.
- This, the first article the Gazette published on the Moore lynching,
takes up almost the entire first page of the paper, and a short description
of the Monroe lynching. Although some views of this article are reversed
in later editions of the Gazette there is still a wealth of useful
information. The article provides a step-by-step account of the lynching
from the time Moore was accused to the time the mob finished their
action. Also, revealed at the end of the article is some animosity
between the towns of Charleston and Mattoon.
- MJG "First Coles County Clerk Murdered; Killer Lynched,"
September 1, 1955, sec.10, p 1.
- MJG "Tombstone has Lengthy Inscription," September
1, 1955, sec.11, p1.
- Both of these articles appear in the Centennial Edition of the Mattoon
Journal Gazette. They cover the lynching of Adolphus Monroe as
well as the life and death of Nathan Ellington.
- MJG July 6th 1888, p1, 4.
- On July 6th, 1888 the MJG published two small articles and
two small blurbs that related to the lynching of William Moore. One
of the articles is from a Shelbyville paper, and defends its citizens
against allegations that members of its community were involved in
the lynching of Monroe. The other article attempts to explain why
the Mattoon paper originally published an article proclaiming the
guilt of Moore. This is published after many people heard of the
questionable character of Moore's accuser.
- MJG "Wm. Moore's Record in Piatt County," July 13,
1888 p. 8.
- This article reproduces a letter written by a W.D. Fairbanks who
employed Moore of five years in Piatt County. Fairbanks testifies
to the good nature of Moore and believes that Moore "would have
harmed a decent girl." Fairbanks also says that Moore came from
Cairo, IL where his reputation was good. This article provides some
evidence that refutes the guilt-slanted article first published in
- Wilson, Charles Edward. History of Coles County Illinois.
Originally part of the Coles County edition of the Cyclopedia of Illinois,
published by Munsell Publishing co., Chicago, 1905.
- Partially reliable book, at one point describes the act of lynching
as "perfect justice!" The book discusses the lynching of Adolphus
Monroe mentioning specific details such as the sobriety of Monroe when
he shot Ellington. Also the author mentions the lynching of William Moore
in 1888, but does not provide much detail.
- Highland v. Crow, File Date March 20th 1865. Booth Library Archives, Illinois
Regional Archives Depository, Box 2/C/1. and Coles
County Legal History Project, Case, no. 634.
- Case number 634 offers insight into the legal history of Coles County
during the Civil War. Highland sued Crow because he claimed that Crow
was in unlawful possession of a promissory note written by John McCoy
to him. Despite the fact that Highland might have owed Crow money he
still sued Crow for withholding the promissory note written by McCoy.
This case raises important questions of possible legal problems faced
by the United States as it instituted conscription for the first time.
- Charleston Plain Dealer, March 31 1864; and Illinois
Copperheads: Analyzing the Documents
compiled by Terry Barnhart
- The source contains excerpts transcribed by Eastern professor Dr. Terry
A. Barnhart. The author of the article sympathizes with the Union soldiers,
the source is valuable because of its description of key events and it
names participants in the "riot." Dr. Barnhart provides some
useful questions that relate to the article, and can move students into
deeper research on the topic.
- Sampson, Robert D. "Pretty Damned Warm Times: The 1864 Charleston
Riot and 'the inalienable right of revolution.'" Illinois Historical
Journal 89 no. 2 (Summer 1996): 99-116.
- The author uses a variety of sources including many depositions taken
after the incident and newspapers that covered the event. Within the
article, many of the participants and their role in the riot are discussed.
Also, the article discusses reasons for tensions between soldiers and
copperheads not only in Charleston, but also in surrounding areas.
- Charles Edward Wilson. History of Coles County, Illinois. Chicago,
- List of Depositions for March 28th, 1864
Charleston Riot, Coles County Courthouse, Charleston.
Lincoln Slave Case
- Benner, Martha L., and Cullom Davis eds. The Law Practice of Abraham
Lincoln [computer file]: Complete Documentary Edition.
- This program is available on CD Rom and contains many of the known legal
cases worked on by Abraham Lincoln. The program is understandable and
gives the user multiple ways to search for information. Also, the program
provides scanned copies of many of the documents that were filed with
any given case.
- In the case Matson for the Use of Coles County, Illinois v. Rutherford,
Robert Matson (Mateson) (plaintiff) sued Hiram Rutherford (defendant)
for harboring five slaves. The court listed the fine for hiring slaves
at $500 per person. Matson retained the services of Lincoln. The court
ended up dismissing the case. The documentation available from this case
is; bond for costs, declaration, two letters, order, and
G. Newman, Lincoln Legal Briefs, July-September 1998, no. 47, Ashmore
for use of Bryant et al. v. Matson (Coles County Circuit Court,
- This site provides summaries of what it believes the top ten Lincoln
legal cases. The case summary listed here is the same case as listed
above on the CD Rom, except the name of the case is given in a different
- Booth Library Archives, Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Coles
County Legal History Project (multiple boxes), case numbers 216, 265,352,1331,
and 1425 (online database).
- Many of the cases contained within the Archives and database involve
Morton in cases of debt. However, Morton is also involved in cases pertaining
to borders, gambling, and robbery. Morton is seen as both a defendant
and a plaintiff within the collection.
- Also, CCLHP, Case No. 14, 1299, 1309, 1331.
- Ladd, Marta Cates, and Constance Schneider Kimball. Coles County History,
1876-1976: Coles County Illinois. The Charleston Mattoon Bicentennial
- Much of the information on this source is mentioned above. However
the work also contains information on Charles H. Morton, including his
early business ventures in Charleston. Most of the information on Charles
H. Morton can be found in page 220.
- History of Coles County 1776-1976. Coles County, Illinois, Dallas,
1976, p. 220f.