Hello Forest County Residents,
This week I have been investigating the Civil Court records from Forest County with the help of some amazing volunteers, that date back to the turn of the 20th century when the county originated. This week’s discovery contains an air of unsolved mystery, a bit of legend, and factual information from historical documentation. This is the story of James Walsh, a prominent attorney, who may have gotten away with murder and more. According to the newspapers in 1905 James Walsh’s wife, Frances, was found dead from a gun shot wound which James claimed was self inflicted. James and another young woman from town were in the house the time of France’s death and James was thought to be guilty of the crime but never convicted because of his powerful role within the town. This week I found a Civil Court case convicting J.A. Walsh for wrongfully committing John Hanson and Mrs. Anna Mc Hugh to the Northern Hospital for the insane and E. Bailey to the Industrial School for Boys. He was also fined for pushing the court cases through to make sure these people were locked away. He had to pay around $60 for his actions. Anna was listed in the 1940 census as still residing in the insane asylum but there were no records of John being committed. Was Anna Mc Hugh the young woman that witnessed the murder? Was he covering his guilt by wrongfully using the law to his advantage? I will have to dig deeper into history to find out the answer. It is rumored that Frances Walsh still haunts her former Crandon residence possibly trying to seek justice for her death.