November 9, 1904: Enough Is Enough: Isaac Lisenbigler Determined an Unstable Threat


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

November 9, 1904: “I will rot in jail before I pay that [fine],” Isaac Lisenbigler, a wealthy farmer in Sassamansville, declared when he was given the choice by the Justice of the Peace after he was found guilty of cruelty to animals. He had shot two valuable hunting dogs of Oscar Bean, killing one and maiming the other, as they crossed a field adjoining his property.

When Bean remonstrated with him, he threatened to shoot him too. Lisenbigler was then taken to the jail at Norristown in default of the payment. After one day of incarceration, Lisenbigler reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a blank check on a Boyertown bank, and asked for pen and ink with which to fill in the amount of the fine. Apparently, he decided that his beautiful farm house was preferable to the current lodging and dry bread and soup.

When he returned home, he seemed to take his nasty experience out on his wife, whom he locked out of their home, and later became violent, throwing chairs, stands, and clothes out of a second story window.

Back to Norristown he went, for a sanity hearing, and he has now been committed to the insane asylum there.

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