Rockdale Constitutional Corner: Rockdale Crimewave 1870-1872

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By Ruth A. Wilson

Rockdale Clerk of Courts

Rockdale’s very first Sheriff was I. W. Almand. There is a street in Olde Town Conyers named for him. Under his watch, there was a rampant spate of bad guys doing bad stuff. The first Rockdale Clerk of Superior Court was F. J.  Treadwell. Drawn from his records, here are just a few examples of the depravity and debauchery of the time:

  • May 1870, William Murphy was arrested for Larceny. Court costs were $4.10, Constable fee was $2.33 and the Jailor charged $3.30. He was charged with taking two bushels of wheat ($2.00 worth) which had been entrusted to him. The court ordered that an equivalent amount of his property be seized to cover court costs and his bond.
  • March 1871, Frank Lucas was indicted by the Grand Jury with Simple Larceny for intent to steal 600 pounds of cotton. He was ordered confined until his fine of $25 plus court costs were paid.
  • December 1871, Jeff Jones was named in a Bench Warrant for Keeping A Gambling House ( …a common ill-gained and disorderly house to the enjoyment of idle gaming, drinking, lewd behavior, disturbing the neighborhood). He paid a $10 fine and spent 30 days in jail.
  • December 1871, James (Jim) Jones was charged with Bribery and Embracery for jury tampering. The charges were dropped.
  • 1872 Other citizens of Rockdale were charged with being intoxicated while testifying under oath, stealing train rides and other forms of disorderly behavior.

Fast forward to 2018 and we have seen not one case of stealing wheat or cotton. No one has been reported (recently) for keeping a rowdy house or jumping trains. And we don’t tolerate jury tampering around here. Guess crime really is down in Rockdale and we lived to tell the story.

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