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More in Crime
Not-so-good old days
A judge and jury 100 years ago heard testimony about a case of the alleged abuse of a child. Note, the nature of the abuse - sexual or physical violence - is not made clear.
Norway Advertiser, October 18, 1912.
The case of Fred G. Newton of Dixfield for felonious assault came on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Newton keeps a small variety store in Dixfield and it is alleged that on Aug. 3, 1911, he feloniously assaulted little 10 year-old Hilda Hawkes at his store. Hilda, a pretty little girl dressed in red, testified to being at the store along toward evening and told of the assault and said he told her not to tell his wife or her mother and he would give her a ride in his auto and some ice cream. She returned home soon after seven and her mother noticing something wrong with the child made inquiries.
Mr. Hawkes consulted a lawyer and in the meantime a group of men called at Frank Brown's stable and called Mr. Newton in. Mr. Hawkes asked him if he hadn't been treating his child in way that he wouldn't want his child treated if he had any and it is alleged he replied, "I suppose so," and upon reply received a thumping from Mr. Hawkes.
A little humor was mixed in when the lawyer was trying to prove that Mr. Hawkes had been convicted of crime. When asked he replied, "I suppose that is what you would call it."
"And you paid a fine for beating Mr. Newton?"
"Yes, or rather the citizens of the town chipped in and paid it."
"So you admit you beat him?"
"Yes, and I would do it again."
Among the other witnesses to the affair was Frank Brown, George Dorknum, Arthur Stanley Alonzo, D. Wentworth and Leon M. Small.
The defense was then taken up and George Hutchins of Rumford was the attorney for the defendant. Mr. Newton claims he was in Rumford in the morning and purchased an automobile. In the afternoon he went to the ball game and to supper at the hotel with a friend and returned to the store at about 7 o'clock.
When he came to the store after returning from supper, his wife and Madeline Cummings were at the store. In the meantime Fred W. Smith of Carthage called there to see him about 6:30 and waited until his arrival which was about 7 o'clock. Madeline Cummings testified to being at the store on the day in question and that she did not see the Hawkes girl; that she and Mrs. Newton ate supper at the store and that after the closing of the store at about 10:30 they walked home with her.
Considerable was tried to be brought out concerning the affair on Monday at the Brown stable and the stories of the two sides corresponded to a cretin extent. Mrs. Newton substantiated the story of her husband and that of Madeline Cummings and said she did not see the Hawkes girl on that day.
Fred W. Smith of Carthage testified to his visit to Mr. Newton on Aug. 3, his trip to Rumford and to Weld to the ball game in the afternoon and his visit at the store at about 6:30 and then went home in his auto with Victor Staples.
The jury returned the verdict for the defendant of not guilty.
One wonders if the jury decided the alleged offense actually did not take place, the offense wasn't proven, or simply by the "thumping" he got from the child's father and friends.
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today. Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.