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Way Back When

September 9, 2012

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(September 9, 1896)

Frank and William Dodson Arrested for the Murder of Louis Helman

William and Frank Dodson, the supposed murderers of Louis Helman, were arrested last Saturday morning by S.R. Van Horn, of Brockwayville, Deputy Sherriff McMakin and Chief of Police Robert McFarland, of Ridgeway.

These gentleman, with a number of others, surrounded their residence in Spring Creek, Elk county, on Friday night.

At 11 o'clock one of the Dodson brothers came home, gave three distinct raps on the door and was admitted.

At 5 o'clock in the morning the other brother arrived. McMakin and VanHorn then went to the door and demanded admittance, saying they wanted to see the Dodson brothers. Mrs. Dodson denied their presence, but upon being informed that they had been seen entering the house, and that the house was surrounded, both men came out and revealed themselves.

They were taken to the Ridgeway jail, and H. Shakespeare, who had been telegraphed for, arrived on the next train and identified them as the men who committed the murder. Although they wore different clothes, and one of them had shaved since he saw them at the house of Thomas Hutchinson and afterwards upon the highway when they made the assault, he said he was positive they were the same men, and was willing to be qualified to it.

The prisoners were removed to Brookville jail, and as the offense was committed in this county, will be tried in Brookville.

Reynoldsville had a great day last Thursday, notwithstanding the fact that the Governor did not arrive, which was plainly no fault of theirs.
It was pretty generally considered that Judge Reed made just as good, and perhaps a better speech than the Governor could have made.

But the school house is there to speak for itself, and is a more eloquent testimonial to the patriotism, public spirit and energy of the people of Reynoldsville than any combination of words could be.

Everybody concedes that Reynoldsville has the finest public school building in Western Pennsylvania, and that is enough.

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