Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Making Ends Meet -- Probert Style

Credit: McCord Museum
Thomas was an entrepreneur. In my mind's eye I can see him in a parlor similar to the one pictured trying to figure out a way to increase his income. Never mind if some of his ideas were not quite legal - a small consideration.

It was January, 1862. The Civil War was really gearing up. His income from the "confectioner" shop may have been suffering with so many breadwinners consumed by the war. But Thomas found a way.

A visit to the Kentucky Archives quickly uncovered multiple indictments for Thomas. His home was frequently the venue for illegal card games, gambling, and serving liquor without a license. In the case below, Thomas was indicted for "issuing unlawful money,"

Both Thomas and his wife were cited. The Plaintiff alleged that "through the fraud of the Defendant, he was induced to sign the note." Initially, the Proberts were found guilty. However, on appeal, the original decision was overtuned and the judgment was set aside.

As we will see, this was not the first or the last time that Thomas would find favor from the courts.


  1. Replies
    1. Kristin,
      Kentucky "justice" was entirely corrupt at the time. Dr. James Klopper, "Official Kentucky Historian," explained to me how juries worked. They could not get enough jurors to show up. So potential jurors hung around the court house hoping to serve for $1 a day. Attorneys would come outside and select jurors as needed. Of course, if you want to serve, you know who you're going to have to support. As horrible as that practice was, it was one of many in Kentucky at the time.


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