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Jury acquits traveling salesman of murder


On this day in 1880, the infamous "Diamond Bessie" case concluded when a Jefferson, Texas, jury acquitted Abraham Rothschild of murder. When a well-dressed man and woman calling themselves "A. Monroe and wife" got off the train and registered at the Brooks House in Jefferson on January 19, 1877, events were set in motion that led to the first big-name trial in Texas. A. Monroe was in reality traveling salesman Abraham Rothschild, the son of Meyer Rothschild, a Cincinnati jeweler, and the woman posing as his wife was a prostitute named Bessie Moore. "Diamond Bessie" was found murdered in the woods near Jefferson several weeks later, and Rothschild was arrested for the crime. After two and a half years and two sensational trials that involved most of the prominent lawyers in East Texas, including future governor Charles A. Culberson and future congressman David B. Culberson, Rothschild was finally acquitted in 1880. Since 1955 a courtroom drama relating the story has been presented each spring as part of the Jefferson Historic Pilgrimage.

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