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Legal Cases Appealed: January 1, 1800-December 31, 1899

OutHistory.org Legal Research Project

Origin date: November 10, 2010. Last revision: June 18, 2013.

OutHistory enlisted a group of Harvard law librarians in a project to copy and place on OutHistory.org the published reports and the original records of all the 19th-century U.S. legal cases (about 150) that include the terms “buggery,” “crime against nature,” or “sodomy.”

The Project was conceived by Jonathan Ned Katz, the Co-Director of OutHistory, who approached William B. Rubenstein, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, for assistance.

Rubenstein enlisted several Harvard law librarians in this ambitious reclamation project. The librarians' recent database searches have already revealed about 45 additional cases mentioning buggery, crime against nature, and sodomy that had not shown up in Katz's earlier research.

Katz believes that "the original legal records in these cases will certainly reveal fascinating new details about U.S. social life and legal history in the 19th Century.”

W. L. Jones V. The State, 1897
An example is the published report, brief and abbreviated, of an 1897 Texas case. It involved a libel charge against the publishers of a newspaper that had alleged discrimination against African American women.

The paper had alleged that Irish conductors employed by a Galveston street car company, who discriminated against “colored ladies,” were “the descendants of Oscar Wilde [meaning that they commit the crime of sodomy].”  The bracketed explanation is in the published report.

The libel was affirmed by the appeals court. The brief published account and other documents relating to this case are reproduced or cited on OutHistory.org at W. L. Jones v. The State (Texas): November 24, 1897.

“That case touched tellingly on race, class, sexuality, and gender as indicated in the brief published report," says Katz, “and the original legal records, and any newspaper accounts and other documents about it will, I’m convinced, provide additional intriguing details about what was going on.”

One startling document referring to this case has already been discovered and is reprinted on OutHistory.org at:William Cowper Brann: "The Complete Works", 1898. It contains extremely derogatory language about, and threats against, the African Americans said to have committed the libel.

The Legal History Project
This OutHistory project involves, first, online research to find and copy the old published reports of these cases. The original publications are in the public domain. An example is the case already cited: W. L. Jones v. The State (Texas): November 24, 1897

Second, the Project involves research in the archives of many states or territories, including: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, and in the archives of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The original legal records in at least some of these 19th century cases do exist," says Katz, as indicated by his earlier success in locating these document in two cases, the earliest, in Maryland in 1810 (Davis v. State), and a case in Texas, in 1867 (State v. Campbell). Katz found those original court records in the Texas State Archives, Austin, and the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis. The original records will be added to OutHistory.org.

Researchers will need to discover which archive holds each state's or territory's legal case appeals records or lower court rulings, send for copies, receive the copy, and upload it to OutHistory.org. In some cases, handwritten early legal records will need to be transcribed. Katz says that OutHistory.org will reimburse the researchers for the cost of copies if necessary.

Third, the Project involves research in old newspapers and secondary sources to see if any relevant additional information about the cases or the accuser, accused, prosecutor, attorneys, or judges can be found. "The public can help with that research," suggested Katz who can be contacted at the OutHistory.org email address: jnk123@mac.com.

A chronological, annotated timeline of all the 19th century cases that mention "buggery," "crime against nature," or "sodomy" appear with the case citations on OutHistory.org at:

Timeline: Published U.S. State Appeals Case Reports, 1800-1899

Timeline: Published U.S. State Appeals Case Reports, 1800-1899

Annotated list of about 150 published case reports including the terms terms "buggery," "crime against nature", and "sodomy". These are cases appealed to and decided during the nineteenth century by the high courts of American states (or districts or territories), or by federal courts, and sumarized in brief, published reports. They are isted here chronologically, from earliest to latest.

Note that Lexis and Westlaw searches in numbers of instances provided different dates for the same cases. When known, state names are added to facilitate searches by state. Cases known to involve "oral-genital" acts are tagged as such to facilitate searches for those cases. One case referring to "colored ladies" (and Irish street car conductors) is tagged as "African American - women".[1]

Listed in descending order, from earliest to latest:


1802, November 16: Charges to Grand Jury, 2 Del.Cas. 168, 1802 WL 321, , Del.Com.Pl., November 16, 1802

...passing or uttering notes of the Bank of North America as checks or orders on the Bank of Dela-ware, bigamy, sodomy, women concealing their bastard children, plundering of wrecks, disturbing religious meetings, voting at the general election not being legally qualified. (Added January 17, 2011)


1810: Davis v. State: 3 Har. & J. 154; 3 MD Rep 154 (1810) (attempted "sodomy;' "buggery," man with male "youth," 19). Maryland.

The original legal records in this case are available in the state's legal archive: see William S. Davis, Court of Appeals (Judgments, Western Shore). William S. Davis v. State of Maryland, 1806-1810, nos. 267 and 268, MdHR 683-122, 1-62-8-32 (19 pages). Maryland State Archives, Annapolis. Also see: William S. Davis. MSA no. C183, Baltimore County Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery (Docket and Minutes), William S. Davis September 22, October 3, October 9, 1810, Minutes, MdHR 16654, 3-29 (4 pages). Copies in the papers of Jonathan Ned Katz, New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.


1812, Jun 16: Commonwealth v. Thomas, 1 VA Cases 307 (Gen. Ct.) (1812, Jun 16) ("buggery," man with mare). Virginia.


1814: Andrews v. Vanduzer, 11 Johns. 38, 1814 WL 1099, , N.Y.Sup., 1814

...that he, the plaintiff, “had had connection with a mare, ” &c. meaning thereby that he had been guilty of the crime against nature with a beast. The defendant pleaded the general issue, with notice that he would give in evidence that the plaintiff, before, &c., committed the detestable crime against nature on a certain beast called a cow; and also that he, afterwards, &c., committed the crime against nature with a certain beast called a mare. At the trial, the defendant offered to prove, that the plaintiff had been ...
...Weight and Sufficiency 237 112(3) k. Justification and Mitigation. If the charge alleged was that plaintiff has committed the crime against nature with a mare, defendant cannot justify by showing that plaintiff committed the crime with a cow. 190 Sudam, for the... (Added January 17, 2011)


1817, Jan: State v. Jernagan, Taylor 44, 4 N.C. 483, 1817 WL 132, , N.C., January Term 1817

...Foster 356. 3. But when the benefit of clergy is taken away from the offence (as in case of murder, buggery, robbery, rape and burglary) a principal in the second degree, being present, aiding and ab-etting the crime, is as well... (Added January 17, 2011)


1817, Jul: State v. Cox, Taylor 165, 4 N.C. 597, 1817 WL 151, , N.C., July Term 1817

...conspirator may be convicted after the other is dead. 2 Str. 1227 Persons have been tried and con-victed of the crime against nature, though the agent was separately charged, and the offence could not have been committed without the concurrence of the patient... (Added January 17, 2011)


1820: Scott v. Com., 1820 WL 1853, 6 Serg. & Rawle 224, , Pa., 1820

...and battery with an intention to commit a capital offence, as rape or murder, or an attempt to com-mit the crime against nature, offences in their nature infamous, would fall within that class of of-fences described by the 4th section of the act... (Added January 17, 2011)


1821, Jun: State v. Buchanan, 5 H. & J. 317, 1821 WL 482, 9 Am.Dec. 534, , Md., June Term 1821

...193, was a case of conspiracy to extort money from Lord Sunderland, by charging him with an attempt to commit sodomy with one of the defendants. It was not charged as a conspiracy to accuse him in a course of justice ...
...a conspiracy to accuse a man of being the father of a bastard child, or of an attempt to commit sodomy, before those who had cognizance of such matters, was not an indictable offence, but be-cause it was, what was not ...
...cards--1 Strange 144. Indictment against Kinnersley and Moore, for a conspiracy to charge Lord Sunderland with endeavouring to commit sodomy with said Moore, in order to extort money from Lord Sunderland. The whole court gave judgment in support of the... (Added January 17, 2011)


1822, Dec: Coburn v. Harwood, 12 Am. Dec. 37; Minor 93 (AL; 1822, Dec) (slander; words charging crime against nature, unspecified). Alabama.


1824: Goodrich v. Woolcott, 3 Cow. 231 (NY; 1824, Aug) (slander; words charging "person of unnatural passions" with "crime against nature" (man with sow) (see also Woolcott v. Goodrich). New York State.


1825, Dec: Woolcott v. Goodrich, 5 Cow. 714 (NY; 1825, Dec) (slander; words charging "He has been with a sow"). (See also Goodrich v. Woolcott). New York State.


1832, Mar: United States v. Gallagher, 25 F. Cas. 1241 (1832, Mar) (cites PA law re rape, murder, or attempted "crime against nature"). Pennsylvania.


1846, Jan: Edgar v. McCutchen, 9 Mo. 768 (1846, Jan) (slander, charging man's "carnal knowledge" of mare, using word "fuck"). Missouri.


1847, Dec: Haywood v. Foster, 6 OH 88 (Westlaw; LEXIS 6 OH 98) (1847, Dec) (slander, charging "unchastity and bestiality" [unspecified]). Ohio.


1851, Nov: Harper v. Delp, 3 IN 225 (1851, Nov) (slander, charging "bestiality" and "buggery," man with cow). Indiana.


1856, Dec: Dial v. Holter, 6 OH St. 228 (1856, Dec) (slander, libel; reference to "sodomy," unspecified, as charge involving "great moral turpitude"). Ohio.


1858, Jun 2: Ausman v. Veal, 10 IN 355; 71 Am. Dec. 331 (1858, Jun 2) (slander; charging "bestiality," "crime against nature," woman with dog (a male dog is assumed).


1859: McKean v. Folden, 2 OH Dec. 248 (1859) (slander; words charging "bestiality," "buggery," unspecified). Ohio.


1860 Apr 18: Estes v. Carter, 10 IA 400 (Sup. Ct.) (1860 Apr 18) (slander; words charging "sodomy," unspecified). Iowa.


1860, Dec: State v. Gray, 8 Jones (N.C.) 170 (1860, Dec) (reference to "buggery," unspecified, in case of "carnally knowing and abusing an infant female under the age of ten years"). North Carolina.


1860, Dec 11: Enos v. Sowle, 2 HA 332 (1860, Dec 11) ("sodomy"; man with "boy," youth," age unspecified. Hawaii.


1860, Dec 14: Vieira v. Sowle, 2 HA 346 (1860, Dec 14) ("sodomy"; man with "boy," age unspecified). Hawaii.


1861, May: Lambertson v. People, (Sup. Ct. Gen. T.) 5 Park. Crim. (N.Y.) 200 (1861, May) ("crime against nature," "buggery," "carnal knowledge," man with man). New York State.


1865, Apr 10: Cleveland v. Detweiler, 18 IA 299 (1865, Apr 10) (slander, charging "sodomy;' woman with dog, sex unspecified). Iowa.


1867: State v. Campbell, 29 TX 44; 94 Am. Dec. 251 (1867) ("crime against nature," "sodomy," man with mare). Texas.

Original legal records cited as: Warren Campbell . . . v. Texas. October 19, 1866. Filed November 27, 1866. Texas State Archives, Austin. Copy available in the papers of Jonathan Ned Katz, New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.


1869: Fennel v. State, 32 TX 378 (Sup. Ct.) (1869) ("crime against nature," "sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1869, Oct: Ex parte Smith and Keating, 38 CA 702 (1869, Oct) (reference to laws against "rape," "crime against nature," "prostitution," "abortion"). California.


1870, Oct 24: Haynes v. Ritchey, 30 IA 76; 6 Am. Rep. 642 (1870, Oct 24) (slander, charging "sodomy," "beastility" [sic]). Iowa.


1873: Frazier v. State, 39 TX (Sup. Ct. 1873) (1873) ("crime 'against nature';" unspecified, "sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1873, Jan: Commonwealth v. Snow, 111 MA 411 (1873, Jan) ("sodomy," man with boy [implicitly], age unspecified). Massachusets.


1873, Jan: People v. Murat, 45 CA 281 (1873, Jan) (reference to "assault" with intent "to commit murder, rape, the infamous crime against nature, mayhem, robbery, or grand larceny"). California.


1875, Dec: Davis v. Brown, 27 OH St. 326 (1875, Dec) (slander, charging "crime against nature," "sodomy," man with unspecified beast). Ohio.


1876, Dec: State v. Grusso, 28 LA Ann. 952 (1876, Dec) ("crime agaInst nature," man with man). Louisiana.


1878, Jan: Territory v. Mahaffey, 3 MT 112 (1878, Jan) ("crime against nature," man with "boy," 14). Montana.


1880, Jan: Melvin v. Weiant, 36 OH St. 184; 38 Am. Rep. 572 (1880, Jan) (slander, charging "sodomy," unspecified). Ohio.


1881 Jul: People v. Williams, 59 CA 397 (Ct. App. 1881) (1881 Jul) ("crime against nature," "sodomy," man wIth man). California.


1882, Jan: State v. Williams, 34 LA Ann. 87 (Sup. Ct. 1882) (1882, Jan) ("crime against nature," unspecified). Louisiana.


1883, Apr 13: Ex parte Bergen, 19 TX App. 52 (1883, Apr 13) (sodomy," "crime against nature," unspecified). Texas.


1884: Collins v. State, 73 GA 76 (1884) ("bestiality," unspecified). Georgia.


1885, Jan 31: Cross v. State, 17 TX App. 476 (1885, Jan 31) ("sodomy," "crime against nature," "carnal connection," man with mare). Texas.


1885, Feb 27: People v. Miller, 66 CA 468; 6 P. 99 (1885, Feb 27) ("crime against nature," man with "boy," 13). California.


1885, Jun 15: Wood et al. v. State, 47 N.J.L. 180 (1885, Jun 15) (cites NJ law re "murder, manslaughter, sodomy [unspecified], rape, arson, burglary, or robbery"). New Jersey.


1886, Apr: Foster et al. v. State, 1 OH C.D.; 1 OH Cir. Ct. R. 467 (1886, Apr) ("sodomy," "carnal copulation against nature," three men with man). Ohio.


1887, Feb 10: Hughes v. Detroit ... Railway Company, 65 MI 10; 31 N.W: 603 (1887, Feb 10) (negligence case, referring to outrage of girls under age seven and to "such crimes against nature"). Michigan.


1887, Jun 23: Lamb v. State, 10 A. 298 (MD; 1887, Jun 23) ("abortion" referred to as a "crime against nature"). Maryland.


1888, Mar 1: Paterson v. State, 50 N.J.L. 421; 14 A. 125 (1888, Mar 1) (cites NJ law referring to "treason, murder, manslaughter, sodomy [unspecified], rape, arson, burglary, robbery, forgery, or larceny," etc.). New Jersey.


1889, Feb 9: Medis v. Hill, 27 TX App. 194; 11 S.W. 112; 11 Am. St. Rep. 192 (1889, Feb 9) ("sodomy," two men with man). Texas.


1889, Apr 16: Green v. Superior Court of San Francisco, 78 CA 556; 21 P. 307 (1889, Apr 16) (extortion case referring to persons convicted of "a capital offense, a crime against nature, or ... forgery, perjury," etc.; on appeal, a dissenting CA Supreme Court judge mentions that "At common law, persons convicted of petty larceny and whipped were held incompetent witnesses because infamous, but no matter how infamous the punishment, unless it was inflicted for, or some other species of crimen falsi, infamy did not attach"). California.


1889, Dec 20: Lefler v. State, 122 Ind. 206; 23 N.E. 154 (1889, Dec 20) ("sodomy," man with man). Indiana


1890, May: Louisiana v. Deschamps, 7 So. 703 (1890, May) (reference to "homicide" committed while engaged in a felony "such as rape or sodomy"). Louisiana.


1890 Dec 1: State v. Chandonette, 10 MT 280; 25 P. 438 (1890 Dec 1) ("crime against nature," unspecified). Montana.


1890, Dec 16: Houston v. Commonwealth, 87 VA 257; 12 S.E. 385 (1890, Dec 16) (robbery case referring to threat of "sodomy"). Virginia.


1891, Feb 10: State v. Frank, 103 MO 120; 15 S.W. 330 (1890, Feb) (attempted "sodomy," man with dog). Missouri.


1891, Jun 19: Mascolo v. Montesanto, 61 CT 50; 23 Atl. 714; 29 Am. St. Rep. 170 (1891, Jun 19) (civil suit, completed "buggery"; Mascolo, twelve, by Montesanto, fifteen). Connecticut.


1892, Jan 4: Commonwealth v. Randolph, 146 PA 83; 23 A. 388 (1892, Jan 4) (murder case referring to English decision "that to solicit or make overtures to another to commit sodomy was a crime; but to threaten to accuse another of having made such overtures, was not a threat to charge him with having committed the crime of sodomy"). Pennsylvania.


1892, May 13: People v. Graney, 91 MI 646; 52 N.W. 66 (1892, May 13) ("crime against nature," man with man). Michigan.


1892, Nov 7: Hallinger v. Davis, 146 U.S. 314; 113 S. Ct. 105 (1892, Nov 7) (murder case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court; quotes article of NJ constitution which says that murder "committed in perpetrating or in attempting to perpetrate arson, rape, sodomy, robbery, or burglary, shall be deemed murder in the first degree"). United States. New Jersey.


1892, Dec 3: People v. Hodgkin, 94 MI 27 (1892, Dec 3) (A case involving an alleged act of bestiality [man with a mare] called "sodomy" and "buggery" in the final appeals court report which does not specify the character of the act). Michigan.


1893, Feb 15: Prindle v. State, 31 TX Cr. R. 551; 21 S.W. 360; 37 Am. St. Rep. 833 (1893, Feb 15) ("sodomy," "crime against nature," man in mouth of "child," age unspecified). Texas. Oral-genital.


1893, Feb.18: State v. Place, 5 Wash. 773 (1893, Feb.18) (attempted "crime against nature," "sodomy," man with man). Washington.


1893, Aug 23: People v. Gleason, 99 CA 359; 33 P. 1111 (1893, Aug 23) (incest; refers to "solicitation to commit incest, adultery, or sodomy"). California.


1893, Dec 6: People v. O'Brien, 26 N.Y.S. 812 (1893, Dec 6) ("crime against nature," man with "boy," 11). New York State.


1894, Feb 28: Commonwealth v. Dill, 160 MA 536, 36 N.E. 472 (Sup. Jd. Ct. 1894) (1894, Feb 28) ("sodomy," "crime against nature," "unnatural and lascivious act," unspecified; man with "another person," sex unspecified). Massachusets.


1894, May 5: Strange v. State, 33 Tex. Crim. 315; 26 S.W 406 (1894, May 5) (extortion by threat of criminal prosecution for "crime against nature," "sodomy" with beast, unspecified). Texas.


1894, Jun 4: Hodges v. State, 94 Ga. 593; 19 S.E. 758 (1894, Jun 4) ("sodomy," anal intercourse of "boy," under 14, with "child"). Georgia.


1894, Jun 26: Thibault v. Sessions and Phipps, 101 MI 279; 59 N.W. 624 (1894, Jun 26) (libel/slander; teacher accused of "sodomy" with students, sex, age unspecified; "bestiality" referenced). Michigan.


1894, Aug 9: Bradford v. State, 104 AL 68; 53 Am. St. Rep. 24 (1894, Aug 9) ("crime against nature," man with cow). Alabama.


1894, Aug 11: People v. Moore, 103 Cal. 508; 37 Pac. 510; (1894, Aug 11) ("crime against nature," man with man). California.


1895, Mar 9: Green v. State, 29 S.W: 1072 (TX; 1895, Mar 9) ("sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1895, Apr 1: Bergemann v. Backer, 157 U.S. 655; 15 S. Ct. 727 (U.S. Supreme Court; 1895, Apr 1) (murder; cites section of New Jersey Crimes Act that murder "committed in perpetrating, or attempting to perpetrate, any arson, rape, sodomy, robbery or burglary, shall be deemed murder of the first degree"). United States.


1895, Jun 3: State v. Desforges, 47 LA Ann 1167; 17 S. 811 (1895, Jun 3) (attempting to prevent witness from testifying; court quotes Wharton that solicitations to commit a crime "are indictable . . . when they are . . . offences against public decency, as in the case with solicitations to commit sodomy"). Louisiana.


1895, Sep: Meigs County Court v. Anonymous, 3 OH Dec. 450; 2 OH N.P. 342 (1895, Sep) ("sodomy," man with beast, unspecified). Ohio.


1895, Sep 19: Williams v. Commonwealth, 22 S.E. 859 (VA; 1895, Sep 19) ("buggery," unspecified, by boy, between 10-12). Virginia.


1895, Sep 30: People v. Hickey, 41 P. 1027; 109 CA 275 (1895, Sep 30) ("sodomy," man with person, unspecified; sodomy may also involve a beast, unspecified). California.


1896, Jan 15: Mootry etal. v. State, 41 P. 1027; 109 CA 275 (1896, Jan 15) (murder; cites Medis v. State (see above), in which accused "were jointly tried for sodomy," unspecified here). California.


1896, Jan 22: Wright v. State, 35 TX Crim. 367; 33 S.W. 973 (1896, Jan 22) ("sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1896, Jan 27: Hawaii v. Parsons, 10 HA 601 (1896, Jan 27) ("sexual intercourse," man with female under age fourteen: cites law referring to "Polygamy," "Adultery," "Fornication," "Incest," "Sodomy," unspecified). "C. G. Parsons argues that the statute under which the charge is made is unconstitutional, for technical reason, and that even if it did set forth the full title of the alleged amended act, namely, 'Chapter XIII, it would still be insufficient (for technical reasons).'" Hawaii.


1896, Feb 12: Hall v. State, 34 S.W: 124 (TX; 1896, Feb 12) ("sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1896, Apr 29: Lewis v. State, 36 TX Cr. R. 37; 35 S.W. 372; 61 Am. St. Rep. 831 (1896, Apr 29) ("sodomy," anal intercourse, man with woman; accusation of "copulating in the mouth" with same woman). Texas. Oral-genital.


1896, May 13: Little v. State, 35 S.W. 659 (TX; 1896, May 13) ("sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1896, Jun ([LEXIS]; Nov 17 [WESTLAW]: Singleton v. State, 38 FL 297; 21 So. 21 (1896, Jun ([LEXIS]; Nov 17 [WESTLAW]) (quotes section of FL law "that persons convicted ... of murder, perjury, piracy, forgery, larceny, robbery, arson, sodomy, or buggery shall not be competent witnesses"). Florida.


1896, Sep 21:Benedict v. People, 23 CO 126; 46 P. 637 (1896, Sep 21 [WESTLAW]; Sep [LEXIS]) ("crime against nature," unspecified). Colorado.


1897, Jan 19: State v. Smith, 137 Mo. 25, 38 S.W. 717 (Missouri; 1897, Jan 19) (attempted "sodomy or buggery," man with "boy," age unspecified). Missouri.


1897, Jan 21: Davis v. State, 37 TX Crim. Rep. 47 (1897, Jan 21) (robbery by threatening illegal act; notes: "In England, and perhaps in this country, in the absence of statute, a threatening charge of sodomy [unspecified] is the only threat of prosecution for a crime from which can be inferred the fear necessary to constitute the crime of robbery"). Texas.


1897, Mar 29: People v. Frey, 112 MI 251; 70 N.W. 548 (1897, Mar 29) (extortion; threat to accuse "sodomy," "bestiality"). Michigan.


1897, May 6: People v.Boyle, 48 P 800; 116 CA 658 (1897, May 6) ("crime against nature," man in mouth of "boy," age unspecified). California. Oral-genital.


1897, Jun 25: Stewart v. Major, 17 WA 238; 49 E 503 (1897, Jun 25) (libel; quotes section of WA Code referring to "words falsely spoken of any person charging such person with incest or the infamous crime against nature either with mankind or the brute creation"). Washington.


1897, Sep 7: State v. Dolan, 17 WA 499; 50 P. 472 (1897, Sep 7) (murder; citing WA law referring to "assault with intent to commit murder, rape, the infamous crime against nature, mayhem, robbery, or grand larceny"). Washington.


1897, Nov 1: Honselman v. People, 168 IL 173, 48 N.W. 304 (1897, Nov 1) ("crime against nature," penis of accuser, fourteen-and-a-half-years-old, in man's mouth). Illinois. Illinois. Oral-genital.


1897, Nov 24: Jones v. State, 38 TX Crim. 364; 43 S.W: 78 (1897, Nov 24) (libel; Irish men, employed as conductors by the Galveston Railroad, who discriminated against "colored ladies," were called "the descendants of Oscar Wilde [meaning that they commit the crime of sodomy]"; bracketed quote in original report). Texas.Research Request: Original legal records? African American women. The published case report is republished on OutHistory.org. In the same publication also see: W. H. Noble v. The State. No. 1565. Decided November 24, 1897.


1897, Dec 1: Bresnan v. State, 43 S.W. 111 (TX; 1897, Dec 1) ("sodomy" unspecified, man with man). Texas.


1897, Dec 20: People v. Wilson, 51 P. 639, 119 CA 384 (1897, Dec 20) (attempted "crime against nature," man, implicitly with boy, age unspecified). California.


1898, Feb 9: McCray v. State, 8 TX Crim. 609; 44 S.W. 170 (1898, Feb 9) (assault; reference to earlier "sodomy," unspecified, of accused). Texas.


1898, Apr 20: Hawaii v. Luning, 11 HA 390 (1898, Apr 20) (attempted "sodomy," unspecified). Hawaii.


1898, Jun ([LEXIS]; Nov 5 ([WESTLAW]): Roberson v. Florida, 40 FL 509; 24 So. 474 (1898, Jun ([LEXIS]; Nov 5 ([WESTLAW]) (cites FL law that "persons who have been convicted in any court . . . of murder, perjury, piracy, forgery, larceny, robbery, arson, sodomy or buggery shall not be competent witnesses"). Florida.


1898, Jun 8: Red v. State, 39 TX Crim. 414; 46 S.W. 408 (1898, Jun 8) (murder; "Appellant proposed to prove ... that the witness. . .was guilty of incest with his daughter, and was guilty of sodomy [unspecified], and had assaulted the wife of appellant, ... his granddaughter, with intent to rape her"). Texas.


1898 Jul 8 ([LEXIS]; Sep 28 ([WESTLAW]): Roesel v. New Jersey, 62 N.J.L. 216; 41 A. 408 (1898 Jul 8 ([LEXIS]; Sep 28 ([WESTLAW]) (murder; cites NJ law referring to persons "committing or attempting to commit sodomy, rape, arson, robbery or burglary, or any unlawful act against the peace of this state, of which the probable consequence may be bloodshed"). New Jersey.


1898, Nov 4: Hawaii v. Edwards, 11 HA 571 (conviction for attempted "sodomy," man with Hawaiian, "Kui" [no sex specified]). Hawaii.


1898, Nov 30: Darling v. State, 47 S.W 1005 (TX, 1898, Nov 30) ("sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1899, Jan 16: Commonwealth v. J., 21 PA Co. Ct. 625 (1899, Jan 16) (attempted "buggery" with young cow). Pennsylvania.


1899, Mar 6 [WESTLAW]; May 6 [LEXIS]): Brown v. New Jersey, 62 N.J.L. 666; 42 A. 811, 1899, Mar 6 [WESTLAW]; May 6 [LEXIS]) (murder; cites NJ law "that every person indicted for treason, murder or other crimes punishable with death, or for misprision of treason, manslaughter, sodomy, rape, arson, burglary, robbery, or forgery," was allowed to challenge peremptorily twenty jurors). New Jersey.

 

1899, Apr 24: Wells v. New England Mutual Life Insurance, 191 PA 207; 43 A. 126 (1899, Apr 24) (abortion; Court quotes its earlier decision that abortion "violates the mysteries of nature in that process by which the human race is propagated. It is a crime against nature which obstructs the fountain of life...."). Pennsylvania.


1899, May 2 [WESTLAW]; Jan Term [case report; LEXIS]: Simmons v. State, 41 FL 316, 25 So. 881 (1899, May 2 [WESTLAW]; Jan Term [case report; LEXIS]) (robbery; cites FL law that "Property obtained by trick or artifice, or by threats of illegal arrest, criminal prosecution, or insinuations against character, except they relate to sodomitical practices, is not taken by 'putting in fear'"). Florida.


1899, May 6: State v. LaForrest, 45 A. 225 (Sup. Ct.); 71 VT 311 (1899, May 6) ("sodomy,"' unspecified). Vermont.


1899, May 31: Hawaii v. Edwards, 2 HA 55 (1899, May 31) ("sodomy," unspecified; argues that 5th and 6th amendments of U.S. Constitution extended to Hawaii at time of Edwards' conviction, August 16,1898, four days after transfer of Hawaiian sovereignty to U.S.). Hawaii.


1899, Jun 15: Bishop v. Florida, 41 FL 522; 26 So. 703 (1899, Jun 15) (cites FL law: "Persons ... convicted in any court in this State of murder, perjury, piracy, forgery, larceny, robbery, arson, sodomy or buggery shall not be competent witnesses"). Florida.


1899, Jun 22: State v. Romans, 57 E 819, 21 WA 284 (1899, Jun 22) (attempted "crime against nature," "buggery," man with man). Washington.


1899, Oct 11: Willson v. State, 53 S.W. 112 (TX; 1899, Oct 11). ("sodomy," unspecified). Texas.


1899, Nov 29: Peak v. State, 53 S.W. 853 (1899, Nov 29) ("sodomy," unspecified). Research Request: state?


1899, Nov 29: Stratham v. State, 53 S.W. 847 (1899, Nov 29) ("sodomy," unspecified). Research Request: state?


1899, Dec 19: Waits v. State, 54 S.W. 1103 (1899, Dec 19) ("sodomy," unspecified). Research Request: state?

Questions

Does the chronological ordering of these cases suggest any insights not revealed by looking at them in some other order?


What in U.S. legal history and social life explains the increasing number of cases at the end of the 19th century?


What does this timeline of "buggery", "crime against nature", and "sodomy" cases reveal about changing meanings of those terms and the acts thought to be included in them?


Are there any other search terms that would reveal other related cases or relevant legal decisions? "Unnatural acts"? "unnatural crime"?


What is the link the cases reveal between human beast intercourse, the anal intercourse of men with men, men with women, and men with children, and oral-genital contacts, and what explains these changing references?


What, if anything, do these cases reveal about the difference between sexual acts and sexual identities?


Do these cases reveal anything about changing ideals of gender (femininity and masculinity)?


What do these case records reveal, if anything, about the difference between forced acts and voluntary acts?


What references exist in these cases to class, ethnicity, and race, and what do they suggest?


Does an examination of each state's or territory's cases reveal any new insights into local or national developments?


Do the original case records in these cases reveal any important new information about U.S. legal history or social history?


Can the names of the persons accused or accusing, or the names of the defense lawyers, prosecutors, or judges in these cases tell us anything more about U.S. legal history or social history?


Are there reports of any of these cases in local newspapers or other published sources?


What other questions might be asked of these documents?


What already published articles or books tell us about these cases, or cases like them?

 Notes

  1.  The original list of 105 cases is reproduced from Jonathan Ned Katz, Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), Chapter 5, "Abominable and Detestable Crimes," pages 402-406. See also 390, 391, 402-406. The chapter contains an analysis of these cases. Subsequent research in expanded databases has increased the numbers of cases found.