The Fate of Adam Bollinger

In my previous post I talked about Adam Bollinger a former slave who was arrested for the murder of a fellow slave in 1862.

This was a unique case in Missouri courts as Bollinger offered a brilliant defense stating that if he was considered property in 1862, how could one piece of property murder another piece of property?

I had not found what fate befell Adam Bollinger but thanks to an inquisitive reader we now have the answer!

According to the Case Law Access Project at Harvard Law School:

“The State’s Bight of Appeal in Criminal Cases. Where a motion in arrest of judgment in a criminal case has been sustained, and the prisoner ordered discharged, on the ground that at the time of the commission of the offense the defendant was a slave, and as such not liable to punishment, the State cannot appeal. Her right of appeal.is limited to those cases, where, either on motion to quash, on demurrer or on motion in arrest of judgment, the indictment has been adjudged to b.e insufficient either in form or substance. *578Appeal from, Madison Circuit Court. — Hon. ¥m. N. Nalle, ■Judge. J. L. Smith, Attorney-General, for the State. Duchouquette § Fox for respondent.” State v. Bollinger, 69 Mo. 577 (1879)”

Thank You to our helpful reader!

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A Pre-War Predicament in Post-War Fredericktown

The January 8, 1879 issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat carried a fascinating story which was originally published in the Fredericktown [Missouri] Plaindealer.

The story involves a former slave named Adam Bollinger who murdered another slave named “Jack” (no last name was provided in the report) in 1862.

According to the paper both men had wives and “Jack” had become a little too familiar with Adam’s wife. One day as they were leaving the field at the end of the day Adam Bollinger chased “Jack” who fell trying to escape at which time Adam stabbed “Jack” to death with a butcher knife.

The paper reported that Adam Bollinger had been living in St. Louis, Missouri for nearly 16 years under the name of John Allen and that it was the son of the late “Jack” who had vowed to find Adam and see that he paid for his crime.

In an ironic twist Adam Bollinger brought up the fact that the murder had happened when both he and “Jack” were slaves and since they were both considered “property” at the time asked the question, “Could being property, like a horse, be any more guilty of killing a slave likewise property, than one horse in killing another horse?”

The paper stated that the Supreme Court had never tried such a case. I will be on the “lookout” for what fate befell Adam Bollinger.

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