The Hoosier State
Wednesday, March 1, 1882
An Old citizen of Helt Township Murdered In His Hen Roost
Another murder was committed in Helt township. The victim was Evan Thomas, an old man aged 69 years, who resided on the bluff, in a little log cabin, 4 miles S of here. On last Sunday night, after Mr. Thomas and his wife had retired for the night, they heard the chickens making unusual noises. Mr Thomas got his shotgun and went to the hen house to check. His wife heard the sound of two shots, one right after another. Upon investigation, Mrs. Thomas found her husband on the ground, in the throes of death. An inquest was held on his body by Coroner Brindley the next morning, and it was found that over 70 large shot had struck him on the thigh, groin, his privates, and the pit of his stomach. Upon investigation, it was determined that a warrant should be issued for George Whitted, Joseph Hart, and James Riddle. They were found and arrested.
Joseph Hart was raised in Vigo County. At one time he worked for T.J. Stark of this township. About 3 months ago, he came to this county from southern Illinois, where he had been stopping for some time. He is unmarried and claims to be 30 years of age.
James Riddle hails from Kentucky and has only been a resident of this county for a short time. He says that he is only 23 years of age, and unmarried.
George Whitted was born and raised in this county. His parents are still living and reside in Clinton township and are said to be respectable people. Whitted is 28 years of age, has a wife and 4 children who reside in Clinton township.
The three, along with 30 or 40 other men, have been engaged for several weeks getting out ties for Dickerson & English, in Danville, IL. Alcohol played a part in the crime.
The Hoosier State
Wednesday, May 17, 1882
The trial of George Whitted, Joseph Hart, and James Riddle for the murder of Evan Thomas on February 26, 1882, was commenced at that place on May 10. After a jury was impaneled, the two sides argued. After receiving testimony and performing closing argument, the case was closed. After about 17 hours, a verdict was made. George Whitted received 20 years in the State Penitentiary at hard labor. Joseph Hart received 3 years for his role in the murder. James Riddle, having received immunity from all punishment, was discharged.
Wednesday, June 24, 1885
George Whitted, sentenced at April term, 1882, for 20 years for the murder of Evan Thomas, of Helt township, is in the best of health. He is engaged in the making of saddle trees.
George Rogers Whitted, 1854-1929, was the son of Enoch Whitted and Eliza Hise of Clinton Township, Vermillion County, Indiana. He was their oldest child and in 1874 he married Mary Whitson and they had four children between 1875 and 1880: Glennie, Thomas, Bertha and Arthur. Their next child, Edna, was not born until 1893. What seemed to be a large gap between the fourth and fifth children's births was explained with these newspaper articles. It must be that George did not serve all twenty years as he fathered a child before the sentence would have been up.
Helt Township is directly north of Clinton Township where George lived. There is no mention of where the state penitentiary was located. A saddle tree is the main part of a saddle.
The Hoosier State newspaper was printed in Newport, Vermillion County during a few years during the 1880s. The Montezuma Reporter was printed in Montezuma, Parke County, next door to Vermillion County. The extracts on this page are from Newspaper Extracts from "The Hoosier State," Newport, Vermillion County, Indiana, abstracted by Carolyn Schwab, Heritage Books, 2007.
The Whitted family
The children of Enoch Whitted and Eliza Hise