SPAINHOWER, Jacob - charged - Fountain County INGenWeb Project

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SPAINHOWER, Jacob - charged

Source: Crawfordsville Weekly Journal Friday, 30 April 1897

The Attica News contains the following concerning a minister well known here:

“Covington was thrown into an uproar—and when Covington gets in that condition it’s a tough case—yesterday by the arrest of Rev. Jacob R. Spainhower on a bench warrant issued by Judge Rabb. The charge is criminal libel and the complainant is Debbie Scutt. The preacher immediately gave bond in the sum of $100, J. L. Allen becoming security.
The complainant charges the defendant with having written and dropped in public places two letters intended to defame the character of the complainant. One of these letters was picked up on the stairway leading to John P. Martin’s law office on the 24th of last March. Mr. Martin put the letter in his safe and sent for Miss Scutt to call and get it. She at once declared she had never seen the letter before and that it was not hers.

This letter read:
“Darling sweet one.” (Here appears a lot of stuff unfit for publication) “Darling, you said for me to be ready by the first of May so we could run off. Darling I will be ready by that time for I will have the undertaking business learned so with what money you say you have we can start nicely. But pet be careful. For if Ady was to find out she would kill us both. And Mont would turn me off before I was ready. Oh Darling I can hardly wait for the time to come. Watch for me and let me in the window. From one who loves you with all his heart.            L. E.”

The letter is evidently a forgery and the initials were meant to implicate Lindsay Ellis, an exemplary young man in the employ of Mont Boord, the furniture dealer.

“About a week later another letter addressed to Debbie Scutt was picked up on the sidewalk in front of Buckner’s drug store. It was of the same tenor. This letter is reported to have been found by three women and turned over to Rev. Spainhower, who showed it to a number of his congregation and then sent it, so he says, to the general post office inspector at Washington.

All the parties are members of the Baptist Church, of which Rev. Spainhower is pastor, and the matter was taken up by the church. On last Thursday night all the implicated parties were present at a business meeting of the church, when the preacher, with one hand on the Bible and the other uplifted, declared that he was innocent of the charge of writing the letters, that he was probably injudicious in showing the letter and for that would ask forgiveness. He then called on his accuser to make a public statement, but she refused to do so, referring him to her lawyers. He announced that it would be better for church to have the matter settled in the church but that if it must go to the court he was ready to meet it there at once. The deacons, who had the matter in charge, were not ready to the report and so the case dragged along until Monday when the arrest followed.

The theory of the prosecution is that the preacher wrote and had the letters dropped as though it was an accident on her part, and they contended that this attempt to blacken her character was on account of some financial troubles, added to later on by church difficulties.

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