Weekly Democrat-Times clipping

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W. H. Smith, of this City, and His Pals Caught in Some Smooth Business.

If the House Committee appointed by Speaker Reed to white-wash acts of old Green B. Raum, Pension Commissioner, will summon W. H. Smith, of this city and T. F. Dennis, special claim agent of Vicksburg, they can give them a chapter in Pension business which will make "mighty interesting reading" to a person who favors reducing the surplus. The readers of the TIMES are cognizant of the late arrest and return of one John Estill from St. Louis, who was accused by his brother Ben Estill, of poisoning his mother, Jane Estill, for the purpose of getting pension money which was obtained through fraudulent means. The saddle-colored individual who is the hero of this romance, has his shingle out around on Walnut street as an Attorney, but makes the Pension Claims business of ignorant and designing negroes a specialty. He took the claim some time ago of one old negro woman, Jane Estill, and wrote up a form of what he wanted to prove and asked Mr. D. B. O'Bannon, a Justice of the Peace, to sign it, which that gentleman refused to do. It seems that he had a form which was not objectionable and Mr. O'Bannon signed it, Smith took this and with interlineations made the form read as before. What made this deep laid plan seem more plausible, was the fact that the Circuit Clerk of this county, James G. Marshall, had certified that the party who had signed the paper had "appeared personally before him." The Clerk acknowledged a similar paper for Kitty Sanders, grandmother of John Estill, when it is a notorious fact that she was not able to come to town. At least five of the affidavits were forgeries proving that Jane Estill was the lawful wife of the deceased Chas. Estill.

The whole affair is very shady. Ben Estill, had John, his brother, arrested for poisoning the old woman, who died very suddenly and mysteriously, but as there was no one to make an autopsy or take any special interest in the matter, Attorney Smith with a lot of henchmen proved the prisoner, John Estill, to be an obedient and faithful son, altogether a model young man. Two thirds of the claims granted in the South are frauds and trumped up by sharks like this fellow Smith and his heelers. Gen. Smith and Col. Marshall are very prepossessing specimens for a United States prison, and if they are to be shielded by old Raum and his ilk, our next Grand Jury should place them in a position to do our State some valuable manual labor.





Weekly Democrat-Times, “Weekly Democrat-Times clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed October 3, 2023, https://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/1118.

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