1805 – Trial for 1799 Murder of Thomas Key

[transcribed from documents in Indiana Territory General Court Case Files, Box 8, Folders 543 and 568, Indiana State Archives, Commission on Public Records]

Monday, October 7, 1805

Proceedings at a Circuit Court held at Kaskaskia in and for the County of Randolph on Monday the Seventh Day of October one thousand eight hundred and five.

Present
The honble H. Vanderburgh Judge
Benjn Parke, Atty Genl
John Rice Jones, Clerk pro tem

The Sheriff returned the panel of the grand jury, the following of whom appeared & were sworn, viz
1 Robert Reynolds Esqr forman
2 John Grosvenor Esqr
3 William Chalfin
4 John Worlly
5 John Everitt
6 Stace McDonaugh
7 Joseph Anderson
8 Ephraim Bilderback
9 Miles Hotchkiss
10 William Boon
11 Abijah Lovet
12 Thomas Fulton
13 Francis Gutry
14 Ralph Drury
15 William Goings
16 Roliest Cox
17 John Bilderback

*  *  *

The Chargs having been given to the grand jury they retired from the Bar to consider of their Bills & Indictments.

*  *  *

Joshua Lay sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

Ephraim Carpenter & Jesse Griggs sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

Rebecca Carpenter & Pierre Menard Esqr. sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

George Fisher Esqr. sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

Court adjourned till tomorrow morning at 10 oClock
[signed] H. Vanderburgh

Tuesday, October 8, 1805

On Tuesday 8th October 1805 the Court sat according to adjournment, present as yesterday.

The Grand Jury came into Court and all appeared on being called, except John Grosvenor who made default.

The Grand Jury brought in a Bill of Indictment a true bill agt Michael Squires for the murder of Abraham Stanley.

*  *  *

[Summons] issued for Wm Chribbs to give evidence to the grand jury who appeared & was sworn.

*  *  *

Robert Reynolds foreman of the grand jury was discharged and John Grosvenor appointed foreman in his stead, the atty genl having suggested that he had Indictments to profer to the grand jury agt the said Reynolds.

Henry Loving sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

Clement Drury, John Edgar, and Michel Dany and Robert Morrison sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

The grand jury came into Court and brought in a true bill agt William Chribbs for the murder of one Thomas Key. [Note: A transcription of this indictment has been included at the end of this page.]

On motion of the Attorney General, ordered that a Capias issue agt William Chribbs on the above Indictment.

*  *  *

Elijah Backes, Michael Jones and Peter [Pierre] Menard Esqr sworn to give evidence to the grand jury.

United States
agt                      } on an Indictment for the murder of Thomas Key
William Chribbs

The Prisoner was brought to the bar in custody of the Sheriff, and on being arraigned on the Indictment found agt him at this Court for the murder of Thomas Key, pleaded not guilty &c – and he was thereupon remanded into the custody of the Sheriff.

Court adjourned to half after nine oClock tomorrow morning.
[signed] Henry Vanderburgh

Wednesday, October 9, 1805

On Wednesday the 9th October 1805 the Court was opened according to adjournment, present as yesterday.

*  *  *

United States
agt                    } for the murder of Thomas Key
Chribbs

The Attorney General entered a nolle prosequi herein.

The grand jury came to Court and brought in a Bill of Indictment agt Wm Chribbs for the murder of Thomas Key a true bill. [Note: No copy of this second indictment has been found.]

The Grand Jury having no further business before them were thanked by the Court for their services and discharged.

On motion of the Atty General a Capias ordered agt Wm Chribbs on the last Indt found agt him for the murder of Thomas Key.

Wm Chribbs was brot to Court in custody of the Sheriff on the Capias above issued agt him, whereupon on motion of Mr. Carr of Council for the prisoner, ordered that he have time till tomorrow to plead or demur to the above Indt found agt him. And he is remanded to the custody of the Sheriff and that he be brouht to the barr tomorrow morning.

*  *  *

Adjourned to morrow morning at 9 oClock
[signed] H Vanderburgh

Thursday, October 10, 1805

On Thursday 10th October 1805, the Court was opened according to adjournment, present as yesterday.

US
agt           } 2 [Summons] issued
Chribbs

*  *  *

U States
agt             } on Indt for murder
Chribbs

Motion by Prisoner’s Council for his discharge on the ground that another Indt found agt him at this Court for the same crime & on which a nolle prosequi was entered by the Atty Genl. After argument had, ordered continued for the opinion of the Court.

*  *  *

Friday, October 11, 1805

Friday 11th October 1805
Court opened according to the adjournment of yesterday.

U. States
v.                        } on Indt for murder of T. Key
William Chribbs

On motion to discharge the prisoner on the ground that an other Indictment for the same crime had been found against him and discharged by the entry of a nolle prosequi; motion overruled and the [ ].

*  *  *

United States
agt                    } on Indictment for the murder of Thomas Key
Wm Chribbs

The Prisoner was brought to [ ] in custody of the Sheriff and being arrained on the Indictment found agt him this term pleaded not guilty &c and thereupon came a Jury, to wit
1 Thomas Oliver
2 George Fisher
3 James Gilbreath
4 Pierre Menard
5 James Dunn
6 Jesse Griggs
7 John Kidd
8 Henry Connor
9 John Seely
10 Oliver Rood
11 James Finney
12 William Arundel,
who being electred, tried and sworn on their oath do say, not guilty. And thereupon the prisoner was discharged.

Adjourned fine die.
[signed] Henry Vanderburgh

Initial Indictment
[U.S. Attorney Benjamin Parke entered nolle prosequi on this indictment, and the grand jury returned a second indictment.]

Indiana Territory ss.
In the Circuit Court October 1805
Randolph County, to wit,

The Jurors of the United States for the body of the said County of Randolph on their oath present that William Chribbs late of the Township of Williamsburgh in the aforesaid county, yeoman, not having the fear of God before his eyes but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil on the twenty ninth day of August in the year of our Lord seven hundred and ninety nine with force and arms at the Township aforesaid in the aforesaid county in and upon one Thomas Key in the peace of God and of the United States then and there being, feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault, and that the said William Chribbs a certain rifle gun of the value of five dollars then and there charged with gun powder and one leaden bullet, which said rifle gun he the said William Chribbs in both hands then and there had and held to, against and upon the said Thomas Key then & there of his malice aforethought, feloniously & wilfully did shoot and discharge and that the said William Chribbs with the leaden bullet aforesaid, out of the rifle gun aforesaid then and there by force of the gun powder that and such forth as aforesaid . . . .