Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sodomy Cases

The term "sodomy" has had many meanings over the centuries all which had something to do with an act of debauchery. Over time it became exclusively known as gay male sex, and eventually anal sex specifically. But originally it could have included bestiality or molestation. Here I'm going to collect criminal cases of "sodomy" and note if they have been confirmed as being between two men (age 14 and older) or if they were of the other types. I will record them in chronological order and show the newspaper that mentioned them.

1790, March 31 - The Times (London, England)
At Bury assizes, the 14 following prisoners were capitally convicted and received sentence of death: John Southwell and John Smith for the detestable crimes of sodomy.

1797, Aug 18 - The Times (London, England)
At the Assizes for the County of Suffolk, which ended last Saturday, four prisoners were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death: one of these was a man of 70, for the detestable and unnatural crime of sodomy; and another, a woman, for horse stealing. John Waiste was convicted of beastiality, and sentenced to two years solitary imprisonment - Joseph Hall, found guilty of manslaughter, was fined 1S, and discharged.

1803, Dec 5 - The Times (London, England)
OLD-BAILY, Dec 3 - sentence of death was passed upon the following malefactors: Methuselah Spalding, for sodomy.

1824, May 26 - The Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio)
At the Rockland county circuit last week - Nicholas Rickhout, for sodomy, State Prison for life.

1853, June 14 - New York Daily Times (New York, NY)
The District Attorney of Hawaii reports 39 cases of Sodomy in 1851, and 19 in 1852, punished by the District Justices; yet Sodomy is an offence entirely beyond the jurisdiction of these officers and can only be tried by a jury! Fifty-eight persons thus are punished for gross offences by officers having no shadow of authority for their action, and yet not an appeal has been taken! Moreover, 41 of these cases have happened in Hilo, the great sea port and centre of civilization for the island, - what must be the ignorance of the Justices who dwell near the circumference! - and 12 of them close by the residence of the Governor!

1854, July 8 - New York Daily Times (New York, NY)
Rev. Dr. Hamilton, for many years the leading Presbyterian pastor and preacher in Mobile, Ala., has been found guilty of sodomy, and been expelled from the ministry. When investigation made his guilt apparent, the indignation of the citizens of Mobile was so great that the reverend gentleman was compelled to flee from the city or risk the chances of life in the hands of an infuriated mob.

1858, Feb. 24 - New York Times (New York, NY)
SENTENCED - Captain Levi F. Dean, convicted last week of sodomy in the King's County of Sessions, was yesterday sentenced to imprisonment in the State Prison at Sing Sing for the term of five years and six months

1858, Feb. 27 - New York Times (New York, New York)
Elisha French, indicted with Levi F. Dean, (who was convicted last week) for sodomy, was permitted to withdraw his former plea of not guilty, and plead guilty. Sentence suspended.

1858, March 10 - New York Times (New York, New York)
In the Kings County Court, yesterday, Elisha French, who pleaded guilty of sodomy, was sentenced to the Penitentiary for sixty ' days. The prisoner is about 18 years of age, and was let off with this comparatively light sentence, as he acted under the direction of another party who has been sentenced to State Prison for five years and six month.

1867, June 5 - New York Times (New York, NY)
John Lyon: sodomy

1868, Feb 4 - New York Times (New York, NY)
G. W. Redeback, sodomy and robbery: pleaded not guilty.

1868, Feb 8 - New York Times (New York, NY)
In the case of German Reidenbach charged with sodomy, evidence was given on the question of the physical incapability of the prisoner. Two doctors were sworn, and their evidence was directly contradictory. Counsel on both sides having summed up, the Judge charged the jury, who, after a short absence, returned into court with a verdict of guilty. The judge sentenced the prisoner to 9 years and 8 months imprisonment.

1873, June 23 - Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, MA)
CONCORD, NH, June 23 - Great excitement exists in Webster and Fisherville over the arrest of Rev. George Woods, on the charge of sodomy. Mr. Woods is an iltnerant? revival preacher, and claims to be a Methodist. He is a young man of good appearance, and has been holding revival meetings in Webster most of the time since last November.

1876, Nov 15 - Galveston Daily News (Galveston, TX)
State vs. Tony Socarro, charged with sodomy.

1880, Feb 12 - New York Times (New York, NY)
John Rielly, sodomy

1880, Mar 4 - The Standard (Albert Lea, MN)
Although the Prioneer-Press has not yet discovered the fact, it is, nevertheless, true that Postmaster Harwood, of Austin, is a defaulter to the tune of about two thousand dollars, twelve hundred of which was sucurred and was known to exist prior to September last, so that this man, at the very time he was howling over this district against Judge Page was a criminal and should have been under arrest for his crimes. Irgens, his coadjutor, was in the same boat, and only escaped arrest for the crime of sodomy through the clemency of the authorities of St. Paul.

1880, Mar 12 - Keystone Courier (Connellsville, PA)
The following is a record of the proceedings of the Criminal Court last week: Com vs Wm. Moon, sodomy, Charles Ritenour prosecutor, ignoramus.

Cases confirmed NOT between two men:

1857, Mar: a Milton, Massachusetts school teacher
1859, Jan: Jas Neary, Albany, NY - bestiality
1860, Feb: John Haskell, age 43. - molestation
1878, Mar: a "Chinamen" in Portland - molestation

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