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Richard 'Dick' Arthur - scoundrel

ARTHUR, HAWKINS, SAWYER, RUSH, MALONE, STUART, BEAMER, LEWIS, MCGLATHERY, SESSIONS, MILLS, RICHARDSON, CRAWFORD, WILLIAMS, DORLAND, SEIBERTS, HINKLEY, GRANGER, AINSWORTH, STONEMAN, BERKEY, THOMPSON, SERVISS, CHAPMAN, WELSH, SEIBERTZ

Posted By: S. Ferrall - IAGenWeb volunteer
Date: 9/20/2014 at 01:30:23

Richard 'Dick' Arthur
compiled by Sharyl Ferrall for Fayette co. IAGenWeb

I have been spending some time researching people who given pardons by Iowa governors in the late 1870ís. The following is a compilation of newspaper articles telling the story of Richard D. Arthur ...... starting with his 1877 pardon from Gov. Samuel J. Kirkwood. You will see that things weren't quite as they appeared to the Governor.....

Richard D. Arthur
Pardoned by Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood, January 4, 1877.
Committed to the Penitentiary, December 2, 1872, from Fayette county, for the term of ten years, for larceny. His pardon is asked by over one hundred citizens of the county, some of whom are personally known to me. His mother is old and poor, and is charged with the care of an invalid daughter, the prisoner's sister. Notice was given by the publication of the application for pardon, and no remonstrance has come from any quarter. The prisoner is more than usually intelligent and capable. If he has reformed, as is hoped, the public welfare is better served by having him free. If he has not reformed, he can be returned to prison and compelled to serve out his time. His pardon is strictly conditioned on his good behavior.

~Special Message of the Governor of Iowa, to the Seventeenth General Assembly, Communicating Report of Pardons and Remissions; January 13, 1878; Des Moines: R.P. Clarkson, State Printer, 1878; pg 10-11. (transcribed from the book, digitalized by Google, http://books.google.com/)

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Dick Arthur arrived in Iowa in 1857 or 1858 with his mother, Minerva Arthur and younger sister Louisa Arthur. They settled in West Union. The 'Fayette County Pioneer' ran the following advertisement in various issues of the paper during 1858 and 1859:

STUART HOUSE
Vine Street South of the Court House
West Union, Fayette county, Iowa
R.G. Arthur & Co., Proprietors.

New Arrangements.
The Undersigned, having charge of the above named House, respectfully solicit the patronage of all those who are fond of the Comforts of Home.
The House has been thoroughly renovated and no pains or expense will be spared to make Guests comfortable while sojourning there. The Table will at all times be supplied with the very best the market affords.
R.G. Arthur & Co.

The family was enumerated on the 1860 U.S. census, West Union:

R.D. Arthur, head of household, age 28, born New York, occupation hotel keeper
Minerva Arthur, age 45, born New York
Louisa Arthur, age 23, born New York

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Mr. Arthur appears, on the surface at least, to have been a good citizen. By late 1861 he was serving as a Deputy Sheriff of Fayette county; was on a committee making arrangements for a 4th of July, 1861 county celebration; and he regularly appeared on 1862 County expense lists, being paid as a Baliff of the District Court. This was about to end. Local and vicinity newspapers for the next 40 years recorded the life of Richard D. 'Dick' Arthur as something very much the opposite of a good neighbor and civic-minded citizen .....

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Criminal Arrest
On the evening before Christmas it was discovered that counterfeit checks were in circulation to a large extent, both of those issued by persons at this place and at McGregor. Checks that have been sent to McGregor by our merchants for redemption were returned because they were not genuine.

On Christmas, a search warrant was issued by Justice Hawkins, and Sheriff Sawyer and Deputy Rush, accompanied by Samuel Malone, proceeded to and searched a room in the Stuart House, occupied by R.D. Arthur, and found four half dollars, having the resemblance and similitude of silver, and two quarters of the same character, together with keys and other burglarious instruments, among which was a pair of forceps or pliers peculiarly made, so as to take hold of a key that is left in the lock after locking a door from the inside, which answers the purpose for which it was made, admirably, as shown by actual trial after the seizure.

Some checks, both blank and filled up were found. Mr. Arthur was arrested and put upon examination, which was adjourned, first until Thursday evening, then to Friday morning.

The accused was held to trial by the District Court, in a bond of $2,000. Messrs. George Beamer and Joseph Lewis signed the bond for his appearance.

The case created much excitement and interest in our citizens, and the Judge's room being too small to accommodate the large crowd of spectators, on Friday morning the court room was used. Those who issued the checks that were counterfeited are particularly excited and enraged.

~The Fayette County Pioneer, December 29, 1862

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District Court - On Friday evening the Prosecuting Attorney filed complaint against the Sheriff for neglect of duty, more especially in allowing R.D. Arthur to escape, and moved that the Sheriff be suspended.

~The Fayette County Pioneer, October 19, 1863

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The first session of court in this county over which Judge McGlathery presided, closed on Saturday of last week. A large amount of business was transacted, but we learn that the most important cases were either continued or changes of venue taken to other counties. Several cases pending against R.D. Arthur were taken by change of venue to Chickasaw county, on the grounds that the people of this county were too much prejudiced against them to obtain justice. The grand jury found one indictment against R.D. Arthur, and that was for stealing money at Clermont. Of the two indictments found against Arthur at the last term of court, one for obtaining money under false pretenses, was found imperfect; and the case for horse stealing went by the board for want of proof. The principal witness in this case was a relative of Arthur's, and although under bonds of $500 for his appearance, failed to come to time.

~Fayette County Union, June 13, 1867

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We are told that Dick Arthur declares himself a candidate for the office of sheriff at the coming election, subject, always, to the decision of the republican county convention. There is an old saying, and a very true one in this instance, that ever man was created for some "purpose," so we might infer from this that Dick would make a most suitable candidate of the radical party for office, as we know of no other "purpose" for which he is fitted. We understand that Dick says his experience in life has peculiarly qualified him for the position.

~Fayette County Union, August 8, 1867

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The sudden disappearance of Dick Arthur from town on the morning of his trial, and his continued absence, is the cause of no little comment.

~Fayette County Union, December 12, 1867

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District Court - Judge McGlathery sentenced R.D. Arthur, convicted at the last term, of stealing change from a hotel drawer at Clermont, to three months imprisonment in the county jail, and to pay a fine of three hundred dollars and costs of suit.

~West Union Gazette and Clermont Leader, March 7, 1868

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Dick Arthur is again on the streets. He reports everything lively in New York.

~West Union Republican Gazette, January 30, 1869

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Dick Arthur has come up standing. He was arrested the other day and lodged in the Marshalltown jail, in default of $700 bail. He has been dealing in patent-right notes and assuming the alias "R.A Draper."

~West Union Republican Gazette, July 3, 1869

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The celebrated Dick Arthur, of West Union, notorious for common sense, foolishness, kind-heartedness, general nonsense and imposing on friends in the way of passing counterfeit money, broke jail at Marshalltown, Iowa, and took passage on the Hawk Eye Steamer, for up the river. U.S. Deputy Marshal, Crawford, suspected "Dick" and arrested him. He was recognized on shore, at this place, incarcerated and shipped by the Phil. Sheridan the same day to Dubuque. Arthur called himself "Mr. Hall," but this city was not a good place to prove his non-identity.

~McGregor Times, July 1869

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It is said that Dick Arthur is prowling in this vicinity.

~West Union Republican Gazette, November 13, 1869

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Dick Arthur Redivivus
A few days ago U.S. Deputy Marshal, Fitzroy Sessions, received information that the notorious Dick Arthur, whose exploits in the counterfeiting line are familiar to every man, woman and child in Northern Iowa, who has been arrested on successive indictments, and forfeited his bail times without number, was prowling about in the vicinity of Mason City in company with other suspicious characters. Mr. Sessions at once telegraphed to the proper authorities to arrest the slippery Dick and hold him until he arrived, which was done.

When Mr. Sessions arrived upon the scene he found the prisoner heavily ironed and guarded by four men who it seems were determined that he should not escape this time. When the Marshal appeared, Arthur was overjoyed, and exclaimed, "Fitz, I'm damn'd glad to see you. These fellows here treat a fellow pretty rough, and if you hadn't come just as you did, I should have died, certain." Mr. Sessions at once took him in custody and arrived in Dubuque with his prisoner yesterday morning without accident, and had the satisfaction of seeing him securely lodge in the county jail, where he now reposes with plenty of time to reflect upon the sins of his past career, and form new schemes for deviltry in the future.

Dick Arthur, as he is familiarly known, although he sails under a dozen other names, is emphatically a hard case. He is keen as lightning, a plausible talker, a ready thinker, a good criminal lawyer, and consequently all the more dangerous. Some years ago he was in the brokerage and real estate business at West Union, and was withal a prominent democratic politician. When Mr. Wm. Mills was nominated by the forlorn hope for Congress, and came up through that district making red hot speeches, Dick Arthur made himself quite officious and took the distinguished orator about from place to place, in his own carriage, an act of condescension and courtesy which Mr. Mills doubtless still remembers with feelings of gratitude.

Soon after, Dick got tired of the slow old fashioned way of making money and launched out in the counterfeiting business, being particularly fitted for that method of operations by instinct and education. Give him half an hour and he can [illegible] and produce an exact copy of any writing or draw up the most enticing check or note of hand. At first Dick confined his operations to the unsuspecting countrymen farmers, but in an evil hour he was tempted to swindle a newspaper man, and then retribution swift and terrific followed, as it rightly should.

It seems that he was owing Col. Pat Richardson, of the McGregor Times, two years and a half subscription for that valuable paper, and meeting one day, the Col. reminded Dick of the little obligation, who responded by counting out in the Colonel's outstretched and greedy palm, ten bogus half-dollars, currency pieces. The next morning when the Colonel visited his customary resort, to take his customary stimulant, he tendered in payment one of the fifty cents notes paid over by Dick; and was informed by the polite gentleman in attendance that the same was worthless. "Worthless!" thundered the Colonel, "Then I have got nine more of them." and forthwith he instituted proceedings against our hero for shoving counterfeit money on him.

The case was first taken before a commissioner, and then it was brought to this city, and resulted in the indictment and binding over of Dick in the penal sum of $500. As might have been expected, he forfeited his bonds and commenced operations again. Again he was arrested by P.W. Crawford, at that time U.S. Deputy Marshal, on board a river steamer; was indicted, and again forfeited his bond, fleeing for retreats unknown; where he remained in security until venturing in an unguarded moment to Mason City, where he was captured in the manner we have already described.

Among the effects captured with the prisoner were a large number of letter heads bearing the official title of the Illinois Central R.R. Co., printed at St. Joseph, Mo., and which purported to issue from the Superintendent's office. They were probably employed by Dick in procuring passes, and other little courtesies. In his possession were also found large number of checks and drafts, many of the latter being printed by the American Bank Note Company on genuine note paper, and filled up and signed ready for use as occasion required. Among these drafts we noticed some on the Citizens National Bank and Davenport National Bank, Davenport, Rogers & Co., Bankers, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Sept. 1, 1870 for $500; City National Bank, Chicago, $500; Banking House, J.W. Morris & Co., Leavenworth, Kansas; National Exchange Bank, Tiffin, Ohio; Iowa City National Bank; Merrick & Stickney, St. Louis; besides many others on banks and brokers in all sections of the country.

With the drafts and checks were also found letters, written by Dick to his chosen confederates detailing his plan of operations, and giving instructions. These are written in a plain, bold hand, are grammatical and deal in none of the slang phrases so much in vogue among counterfeiters.

Dick, as usual, takes matters very cool, as much experience has hardened him to this sort of thing He has been sentenced to the penitentiary three different times by Judge Williams, and once by Judge McGlathery for his villanies, but he always managed to crawl out and make his escape through some legal technicality. He is probably sustained by the same hope now. He says if he is acquitted, he intends to reform and live a virtuous honest life hereafter.

This is all good enough, so far at it goes, but Dick has made so many promises that as Mark Twain made his Nevada Judge remark when a mule came tumbling down the chimney for the twentieth time, "this sort of thing is beginning to grow monstrous," and so with Dick's promises. They have lost now even the appearance of novelty.

~Dubuque Times, October 21, 1870

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Dick Arthur has been sent to the State Penitentiary for safe keeping.

~West Union Republican Gazette, December 16, 1870

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Dick Arthur has been brought back to Dubuque for trial, and it is anticipated will soon be his own man again.

~West Union Republican Gazette, March 24, 1871

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In the U.S. District Court at Dubuque, on Tuesday, Dick Arthur's case came up, and is reported as follows:
United States vs Richard D. Arthur.
An indictment for passing counterfeit money at McGregor, upon one Col. Pat Richardson (who is now dead). The trial took place in the absence of the principal witness, and resulted in the acquittal of the prisoner. There are two more indictments against the prisoner which are continued until the special term of court.

~West Union Republican Gazette, April 28, 1871

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Dick Arthur is in the Mitchell county jail, awaiting his trial in Cerro Gordo county. It is a very good jail, but ........

~West Union Republican Gazette, July 7, 1871

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Dick's Lastest Strategy
One of the sharpest attempts to escape from custody that we have ever heard of came to light Tuesday evening, and is a specimen of Dick Arthur's strategy. Dick, be it known, is held in the Elkader jail awaiting trial or bail, and as he don't want the first and cannot get the other, he conceived a little plan to avoid both, which happily was frustrated by the arrival of the following letter from the jailor, addressed to Sheriff Dorland:

Elkader, Iowa, Sept. 24th, 1872
Henry E. Barker, Esq.
Sir: Your order for the discharge of R.D. Arthur is received by P.W. Seiberts, but Mr. Seiberts has no knowledge that P.L. Hinkley is the man before whom R.D. Arthur was tried or that Hinkley is a justice of the peace. Whenever you send a clerk's certificate that such is the fact, your order will receive attention.
P.W. Seiberts

P.S. - Mr. Dorland, Sheriff, will you please hand this to Mr. Barker, or obtain clerk's certificate and return same to me. I do not wish to go on uncertainties.
P.W. Seiberts

Fearing that by some hocus pocus Mr. Seiberts might become satisfied that the papers were genuine before a letter could reach him, Mr. Dorland started for Elkader at 4 o'clock next morning, arrived in time to effectually check the little game right there and prevent any further possibility of his ever succeeding at any similar scheme. While in Elkader, Mr. Dorland secured all the papers and has permitted us to lay them before our readers. The first step was the two following letters to Dick, which were intended and did pass into the hands of the jailor that he might known that "Henry D. Barker" was in a fair way to get the needed bondsmen. The first written in a scrawling, school-by sort of hand, and is as follows, verbatim:

West Union, Sept. 15, 1872
R.D. Arthur
Sir: I saw Smith he says he will sign bail bond the rest have signed it and it only is waiting for Smith he will be in town in a few days I have secured all them on the 320 and the 160 acres of lands you may expect to be out in short
Respectfully
Henry E. Barker

The next is written by another person, evidently by Dick himself, and is as follows:

West Union, Sept. 23d, 1872
R.D. Arthur, Esq.
Dear Sir: Everything is all O.K. Smith signed bonds, and I just came from the Justices office and got discharge or release papers and will send them to the Sheriff or Jailor today. Come to Union at once as I must go to the farm.
Henry E. Barker

P.S. I have go to go to Decorah tomorrow on business.

And the order for the discharge is in the same handwriting as the last letter, excepting the figures "23" in the date, which were evidently put in after the other was written. This order reads as follows:

The State of Iowa
To the Sheriff of Clayton County
R.D. Arthur who is detained by you on commitment to answer a charge for the offence of Burglary having given sufficient bail to answer the same you are commanded forthwith to discharge him from custody.
West Union, Fayette County, Iowa, Sept. 23d, 1872
P.L. Hinkley
Justice of the Peace

There was also another order, similar to the above, showing that his bond covered the other charge, aiding and secreting stolen property, for which he was committed. There is no such man as Henry E. Barker living in or near West Union. This matter was undoubtledly all arranged before Dick went to Elkader, and these papers left in the hands of some one to be mailed at the proper time. Mr. Hinkley is justly indignant that Dick should thus forge his name, and all are delighted that the thing proved so ignomious a failure.

~The West Union Gazette, Friday, September 27, 1872

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Dick Arthur, who for years has been an eye sore to this community - who has been accused of nearly every species of villainy and convicted of none, has at last reached the end of his string, if not the end of a rope, and met the desert he has undoubtedly merited for years. His history is too well known to most of our readers to need any reference to it here, and no honest man but must rejoice that for ten long years Dick will be able to restrain his evil propensities. Sheriff Dorland started for Ft. Madison yesterday morning with Dick and his comrade Thompson. Good riddance.

(court news column)
The District court convened again last Monday, and went immediately at work. The first important business was the trial of Dick Arthur for burglary. The evidence was not lengthy but convincing. The point made by Richard's attorneys, that his crime was theft only, did not go down much. Tuesday morning the jury received their instructions and before noon returned a verdict of guilty. He was sentenced to ten years in the State Penitentiary. Granger and Ainsworth were for the prosecution, Stoneman and Berkey, for the defense. This winds up Dick for a term of years.

~The West Union Gazette, Friday, December 13, 1872

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Dick and Thompson
This precious pair of villains have at length reached the end of their tether, so far as preying upon the public is concerned, for quite a number of years. At the Fayette county Court, last week, Thompson plead guilty to the charge of burglary, and was sentenced by Judge McGlathery to six years imprisonment in the penitentiary. Dick Arthur stood out to the last. Upon failing to secure a change of venue, or further continuance of his case, he was brought to trial. The jury made brief work of the matter after the evidence was in, and returned with a verdict of guilty of burglary. Judge McGlathery, as promptly as the law allows, sentenced him to the penitentiary for ten long years. The very next morning the sheriff conveyed the culprits to their long home, at Fort Madison.

The first we knew of Dick, was nearly thirteen years ago, when he was a stylish young banker, just about to open an Exchange office in West Union. He was a young man of fine address, excellent business education, and unmistakable business shrewness. He was thought to possess liberal means, and has undoubtedly run through property enough, in his deviltry, to make a printer, at least, rich and happy. He goes to prison, it is said, "dead broke", leaving a mother and sister, who have been dependent upon him, in distressingly straitened circumstances. His propensity to get his dollars without squarely earning them, has brought him to be "Dick the Villian," and to the threshold of a decade in the State's Prison.

~Elkader Journal, December 18, 1872

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Dick!
The irrepressible Dick Arthur, whose sentence to the penitentiary for ten years we so joyfully chronicled last week, is Scot free, or was at last accounts. Dick either didn't like the company he was with, or the prospect ahead, or else he had some old debts to pay that suddenly came to mind, or it may be that he knew where he could make another haul - but, whatever was the reason, he took French leave, as he took a good many other things in his life, without ever saying "by your leave."

The particulars of Dick's escape we glean from a letter written by Sheriff Dorland to Mr. Camp. Mr. Dorland started from here Thursday morning in time to catch the western bound train at Ossian, expecting to make connection at Nora Springs and reach Burlington that night. But the Calmar train was delayed two hours, and arrived at Nora Springs too late. Being assured that he could make the southern train at Mason City, he went on, only to find that he had been deceived, and was compelled to wait there until 2 o'clock Friday morning.

Arriving at Marshalltown he was delayed until 7:20 in the evening. All the night before Dorland had been without sleep, and at 9:30, just as the train passed New Sharon, in Mahaska county, sleep overpowered him and for an instant he dozed. Dick was not slow in accepting the right minute, and sprung from the train. The conductor let Dorland off, and he returned to New Sharon in hot haste, raised the town and started files of men in every direction and scoured the country for miles, and has had gangs of men searching night and day; but up to Sunday, the day he wrote, without gaining the least clue.

He had offered $200 reward, and the search was still active. Monday he went to Ft. Madison with Thompson, and on his return expected to learn something that would be more encouraging.

This is the plain, unvarnished statement of the affair. Whether Dick was ironed or not he does not say; neither the whereabouts of his assistant with the other prisoner. There are naturally many vague and unreliable stories afloat, and much censure of Mr. Dorland. But we think it best to with hold complaint until we get a full statement from Mr. Dorland himself. It is an unfortunate event to Sheriff Dorland, and none can realize it with greater force than he does, and when the truth is fully known, we have no doubt he will be more deserving of sympathy than blame.

Later - Caught
Since the above was in type, Wednesday at noon, with the arrival of the train, came the glad news that the bird was in hand again, which was confirmed by the following dispatch to Deputy Sheriff Camp, which at the present writing is all that is known:

Marshalltown, Dec. 17
Sheriff Fayette County
We have captured your man Dick Arthur. He is now in Marshall jail and subject to your order upon payment of reward.
Serviss & Chapman

David Dorland returned yesterday, bringing the information that Dick was captured Tuesday evening. As the train arrived at a station 20 miles below Marshalltown, Dick came up and asked the conductor to give him a ride to Marshall, as he had no money. It so happened that this conductor, Serviss, had charge of the train from which Dick escaped, and recognized him instantly. He was not slow in tendering Dick a free ride, and at Marshall lodged him in jail.

~The West Union Gazette, Friday, December 20, 1872

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It is reported that Dick Arthur has been remanded back to prison.

~The West Union Gazette, Friday, April 13, 1877

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Dick Arthur Again

When Dick Arthur is around there is always an opportunity for a sensation. If Dick has one redeeming quality it lies in the sole pleasure derived by those who are fond of writing and reading criminal literature.

His career has been one of crime and his efforts, legal and pedal, to escape the penalties. So long as he had money to fee lawyers, he could boast with impunity, and threaten to tear the last honest hair from his head, if he thought there was one left.

While in prison in New York, some dozen years ago, he feigned madness so completely that all were deceived, and thus effected a release before the expiration of his sentence. This developed his capabilities and increased his confidence. He returned here to go to greater lengths in crime and deviltry, and even during temporary confinements awaiting trial and release on technicalities, it is currently believed he managed, by the aid of confederates, to continue the business of forgery and keep himself well in funds. But finally he was reduced to common-place stealing and burglary, was reckless enough to be caught at it when his exchequer was law, and he was held in close confinement.

After he had developed a plan for escape from the jail here, which resulted in the burning of the court house, he was conveyed to Elkader for safe keeping, and there organized an attempt to escape that came nearly being successful. He was finally sentenced to the penitentiary for ten years.

He had not forgotten his New York experience, and from the time the walls of Ft. Madison closed around him he became devout. The piety dodge seemed to him to promise greater rewards than insanity, and he became pious. He preached, prayed and sang, and was in every outward respect extremely well behaved. He obeyed implicitly the rules of the prison. After following this course for two years, winning the respect of his keepers, and convincing many a good soul who visited him that he had actually reformed, he began the next step in the program, and soon a petition for pardon was in circulation, his mother appealing for signatures as only a mother can appeal in behalf of a child.

The paper was signed, in many cases by men who ought to have known better, and it went to the Governor in the hands of the mother, whose please were irresistible, and Dick came out on a sort of ticket-of-leave, to be good during good behavior. His mother had been living at Ft. Atkinson, and thither he repaired, continuing his pious streak for quite a time, subsequently taking up law, in which he was well qualified, both from experience and study.

From this he gradually fell back into the old ruts, and the Governor being informed officially that Dick had broken the conditions of his pardon, remanded him to the penitentiary. Finding a judge who construed the law to mean that a pardon conditionally could only be a pardon conclusively, Dick hurried back here to chuckle over his escape; and much as the good people here might regret it, they could only add bolts to their doors, and submit.

But his career in Clayton county was not forgotten, and having been indicted there for the attempted escapade, a warrant was placed in the hands of the sheriff, he was arrested at Waucoma and hurried into durance vile one more. His plea for permission to procure bail was listened to, and with a deputy sheriff he returned here Saturday.

He appeared to have no inclination to escape, and gradually the officer weakened in his watchfulness. Monday afternoon he suddenly disappeared, and a thorough search about town soon made it apparent that the "cuss" had taken leg bail. Sheriff Welsh started on the west road in pursuit, and about four miles out struck his trail, soon overtaking him, returning here before dark.

Dick didn't get his bail, and now will have an opportunity to eat hash at the public expense until the next term of court, in September, in Clayton county. In the meanwhile we confidently expect that the Supreme Court will reverse the decision of Judge Newman, and return Dick to the Penitentiary to serve out the remaining six years of his sentence, in which event he will not be likely to disturb this region for a while.

~The West Union Gazette, June 1, 1877

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1880 U.S. census - Iowa State Penitentiary, Fort Madison
R.D. Arthur, age 38, b. N.Y., father b. England, mother b. Scotland

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Dick Arthur's time in the penitentiary will expire in July next.

~Elkader Register, Friday, April 15, 1881

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Dick Arthur got 6 months in the Dubuque county jail, for his last offence against the government, that of using washed postage stamps.

~Elkader Register, Friday, December 7, 1883

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The 1885 Iowa State census enumerated Arthur in Calmar twp., Winneshiek county. It appears that he married after being released from the penitentiary:

R.D. Arthur, age 51, occupation Lawyer
Mary E. Arthur, age 23, b. Winneshiek co. IA

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The St. Paul papers chronicle the arrest of Dick Arthur for forgery, recently perpetrated in Minneapolis. He was formerly a resident of West Union, Iowa, but was well known at Elkader, where he has been in jail several times. During one of his imprisonments at this place he led a movement to break jail, which was only prevented by the pluck of Mrs. Seibertz, wife of the then jailor. He has served two or three terms in the Iowa penitentiary, and since his last release has been practicing law at Minneapolis, but his old habits were too strong for him and he is again on the road to the penitentiary.

~The Elkader Register, Thursday morning, July 12, 1888

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The June 1895 Minnesota State census enumerated the couple in Minneapolis, Hennepin co., MN. His aged mother is again living with him:

Richard D. Arthur, age 60, married, years in state: 9, years in Minneapolis: 1 year 9 months
Mary E. Arthur, age 34
Minerva Arthur, age 87

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The 1900 U.S. census enumerated Richard Arthur still in Minneapolis, living in a boarding house; occupation Lawyer. Marital status is given as Divorced. His mother likely has died, and there is no sign of Mary E. Arthur.

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Made False Affidavit
Richard D. Arthur, a local notary, charged with certifying falsely to an affidavit in a homestead case, changed his plea this morning in the United States district court to guilty. He was sentenced to a month in the county jail.

~The Minneapolis Journal, March 9, 1903

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The paper trail seems to end in the early 1900's. The Minnesota Death certificates index (online) includes a Richard Arthur, date of death 04/24/1918, in St. Louis co. MN. Unknown if this is the notorius "Dick Arthur"


 

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