Abstract

Abstract:

On April 3, 1855, Charles A. Henry killed George W. Hollister during an argument over a land claim near Bellevue, Nebraska Territory. In the legal proceedings that followed, two successive grand juries acquitted Henry and prevented his case from ever going to trial. This article analyzes the course and context of Territory of Nebraska vs. Charles A. Henry, and argues that extralegal interests subverted the formal legal system in order to secure Henry's freedom. Many of the individuals who participated in Territory of Nebraska vs. Charles A. Henry were connected to claim clubs, which were extralegal organizations ostensibly dedicated to land claim regulation and mutual protection in the absence of a strong governmental presence. Many of these same individuals were also embroiled in a bitter political battle concerning the location of the territorial capital in the months before Hollister's death. Read alongside the court documents, this context exposes the networks of alliances and rivalries that shaped the outcome of the case.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2333-5092
Print ISSN
0275-7664
Pages
pp. 305-324
Launched on MUSE
2021-09-27
Open Access
No
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