Date Original

1818 July 08


This is an indictment that went before a grand jury to evaluate whether there was evidence that John Riley stole a gray mare.

Biographical/Historical Note

In June of 1818, John Riley was accused of stealing a gray mare valued at $20. Horse stealing was a serious crime during the 19th century because of a horse's usefulness - they were critical components of farming and transportation. Eli Hillhouse, an educated and wealthy community member, served as the foreman of the Grand Jury in this case. They found no evidence to support the indictment, declaring it "not a true bill," which means John Riley did not have to go to trial.


[Territor]y of Missouri
[Coun]ty of Lawrence
In the Circuit Court for said County of Lawrence of
the July term Year of Christ eighteen hundred eight
The Grand Jurors impaneled[sic] charged and sworn to inquire in and for
the body of theCounty of Lawrence aforesaid upon their oaths present and say
that one John Riley late of said county on the first day
of July year of Christ eighteen hundred eighteen with force and arms at
the township of Ch- - - in the county of Lawrence aforesaid
a certain Gray mare branded O
- - - the value and - - - of twenty dollars of the proper goods and chattles of one
- - - then and there found and being feloniously and willfully did
- - - take and carry away contrary to the form of the statute in such case
- - - and - - - and against the peace and difnity of the United State of
[Ameri]ca and of this territory
John Cook - - -
by Rainy his deputy
We the jury
find no bill
Eli Hillhouse
To July 1818
United State
John Riley
not a true bill

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 12.25"


Frontier and pioneer life; Law; Crimes; Juries; Horses; Robberies


Lawrence County Circuit Court

Geographical Area

Lawrence County (Ark.)




MSNE.0070, Box 11, Folder 990

Resource Type



Lawrence County (Ark.) Circuit Court records, MSNE.0070


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

Recommended Citation

Court case, United States v. John Riley regarding horse theft, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan, Arkansas.


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Court case, United States v. John Riley regarding horse theft