The Chariton Leader, Chariton, Iowa
Thursday, November 16, 1905
Chariton, Ia., Nov.11 - Special:
A sensational indictment was returned last night by the Grand Jury when PROF. J.M. HANLIN, who was for six years Deputy County Clerk, and previous to that was County Superintendent here, was indicted on the charge of making false entries in the fee book at the Clerk's Office. E.S. WELLS was County Clerk for four years previous to last January, and HANLIN was his Deputy during that time. At the close of WELLS' term he was elected County Attorney, and is now filling that office. His books as Clerk were examined by expert accountants the past summer, and they found that he owed the county about $1,500, which he paid back to the County Treasurer. Sheriff BOSS was also found to be over credited on the books, though he had not drawn his salary to date.
WELLS claimed that the $1,500 deficit to the county was through no fault of his, as he claimed HANLIN, his Deputy, had had charge of the books during his entire four years of office, and it was through WELLS' efforts as County Attorney that HANLIN was indicted yesterday.
PROF. HANLIN has been held as one of the most reliable and honest men of Chariton. He was a soldier in the Civil War and suffered severe wounds, which are now making him practically an invalid. He has not been Deputy Clerk for several months, having resigned the office at the end of the second quarter of this year.
He has employed one of the strongest law firms of the county, and says he will make a fight that will open the eyes of the people of Lucas County. Just what sensation he proposes to spring are not known and will not become public until the January term of Court, when the trial is set. PROFESSOR HANLIN claims that any mistakes were entirely unintentional and were due to the negligence of Clerk WELLS as much as to himself.
His indictment is a great surprise to the people of the county, as it was not known that MR. WELLS was taking this method to get to the bottom of the matter. MR. WELLS has claimed all along that MR. HAMLIN should reimburse him for the $1,500 he repaid to the county, and says that MR. HAMLIN offered to pay half of it, but he refuses to pay all of it. This led to the indictment and the trial that is to come, which will be looked forward to with intense interest.
The above was printed by the Register and Leader last Sunday.
The Leader Editor asked MR. WELLS, Monday, concerning the matter and he replied that the above was a faulty statement in some respects but did not care to go into detail before the trial of the case. MR. WELLS stated that MR. HANLIN had never made an offer to settle half the deficit to his personal knowledge but he understood from others that he was willing to do so. He stated further that when he surrendered the office he paid into the county $210 and suspicioned that the accounts had been juggled by his Deputy and asked the Board for an investigation. When the work of the experts was completed he paid over something like $1,030, and decided then to prosecute, but not to persecute, as some might suppose, and selected F.Q. Stuart, with the Court's approval to present the case to the Grand Jury.
A reporter also called at the HANLIN home. He is in extremely poor health at present, his arm being totally paralyzed, and this indictment has been a severe shock to him. He didn't care to make any statement for publication, deeming it sufficient for the Court to bring out the facts. With regard to the matter of beating half the shortage, he claims that if such suggestion was made it must have been by MR. WELLS, as he was willing to put up in full for all clerical errors made by him (HANLIN) should any come to light. His counselors are Messrs. O.A. Bartholomew & Son, and J.A. Penick. His bond is very moderate, being only $300.
The Leader has no comments to make, not desiring to try the case in advance of the Court and suggests that it would be well for all to discuss the matter temporately while the issues are pending.
(In another column of the same date:)
The indictment by the Grand Jury of PROF. J..M. HANLIN comes as a surprise to the people of Lucas County and his friends everywhere. His guilt is a matter to be determined by judicial investigation. Several months since, after the experts had finished their work in the Clerk's and Sheriff's Office, and found irregularities, the Leader was aware at the time that suspicion rested on MR. HANLIN, former Deputy Clerk, as being the cause of these discrepancies, and, therefore refrained from making any comments concerning the settlement whatever. This paper cared not to reflect on anyone until the judicial investigation established the blame. It was not in a position to make direct charges and was sure that none of the parties would be benefitted by an apologistic explanation or the people wiser by the publication of an immature fact. When the case is fully unraveled it will be given in all its phases.
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
September 10, 2004
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