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Pinckney Street in Madison, 1859

Horse and buggy wagons line Pinckney Street in Madison in 1859. The white building with the word "American" on it is the American House Hotel where the state Legislature first met in Madison.

The following report and letter to the editor ran in the State Journal on June 18, 1859:

In today’s paper we publish a communication from William Fitzpatrick, complaining that City Attorney Baltzell will not enter a complaint against (Police Chief John) Shealy for selling liquor without a license some six months since. Mr. Baltzell has some discretionary powers as an attorney, and may be doing what is best in the case of refusing to enter the complaint, for it is very easy to perceive that Fitzpatrick bears malice against Shealy.

Under the circumstances, we think we should have commenced a suit, for Fitzpatrick avers that he can conclusively prove that the liquor was sold by Shealy without a license. Yet we leave it to our readers to judge for themselves.

Shall Favorites Escape Justice?

Messrs. Editors:

Policeman Shealy has not paid a license for selling liquor for the past 16 months. Thinking it only fair that, as he is so strict in making others pay their license fees, that he should also pay them himself, I applied to City Attorney Baltzell, who refused to take any steps in the matter. ... What am I to do to have Shealy served as he serves others? Shall favorites escape from justice?

— Wm. Fitzpatrick

P.S. I am prepared to take my oath that the above statements are true, and further that I have drank plenty of liquor on Shealy’s premises which he was vending without having a license.

This subsequent report and letter to the editor ran on June 20, 1859:

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MATRIMONY — It is currently reported that Shealy, the independent chief of police, is about to commit matrimony with a certain fair damsel of his native country. To have his mind clear of all subjects, he makes a full confession, relative to selling liquor without a license, in reply to Fitzpatrick’s accusations, which we publish today. Shealy gives Fitzpatrick some “side-winders.” Read the letter.

Shealy Replies

to Fitzpatrick

Mr. Editor:

In answer to Mr. Fitzpatrick’s letter, which appeared in your paper last Saturday, I have simply to say that I have not vended any liquor since I have been chief of police, and when I did so I would have willingly paid my license if I had ever been asked for it by the proper officer.

However, I will admit that, as Mr. Fitzpatrick infers in his letter, he has drank a barrel or so of common whiskey on my premises, for which I can conscientiously aver he has paid but little. In conclusion, I will state that I am determined to do my duty in respect to licenses, unmindful of any malicious onslaught that may be made upon rue by an ungrateful character, who has to ransack the irresponsible past for charges that should belong to the present, and if ex-officers have been remiss, all fair-minded citizens will at once exonerate me from any blame.

John Shealy, Chief of Police

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