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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Living High

The Western Sun, on September 25, 1885, published an article about Tom A. Hall of Lawrenceville, who was charged with robbing the county treasurer, John W. McCleave. Hall had been employed as a clerk by McCleave, and surreptitiously, obtained knowledge of the combination of the safe in the Courthouse. He then, frequently slipped a key from the county clerk’s office that enabled him to enter, while Treasurer McCleave was at dinner; Hall would then steal five or ten dollars at a time. He continued this for a long time, working in a very shrewd manner, but was finally caught by some very clever detective work by Sheriff Ed Ryan and Mr. McCleave, himself.


One of the grand jury members leaked the information before Hall’s arrest and Hall got wind of the matter and vamoosed, according to one newspaper reporter. Deputy Sheriff A. L. Irwin then learned that Hall was in Columbus, Ohio, and telegraphed the chief of police there to arrest and hold him. It was believed that Hall had stolen as much as three hundred dollars. He was said to have had some expensive living habits, and as he was very popular, this was named as the cause of his crookedness.


Tom Hall was well known in Vincennes. He occasionally visited there in the company of Lawrenceville belles, and generally managed to cut a six-foot swath on every appearance. On one of his visits, he even impersonated the treasurer of Lawrence County and collected from a Vincennes lady, an amount just over nine dollars, due on some land owned by her in Lawrence County. The Vincennes newspaper reported on September 25th, that Hall was in the Lawrenceville jail.

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