And now comes an extraordinary disclosure with regard to my imprisonment. A few days after my removal from the dungeon to the old quarters again, the Deputy, in one of his rare periods of what, with him, passed for good humor, informed me that Sarah had been confined, and had given birth to a fine boy; that she was crying for my release; that Lawyer Sitgreave was interceding for me; but that the old man Scheimer was still obstinate and would not let me out. Passing over my feelings with regard to the birth of my son, here was a revelation indeed! It will be remembered that I had only been told that I was under indictment for bigamy. I had never been brought before a justice for a preliminary examination; never bound over for trial; and now it transpired that old Scheimer, a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer, had the power to put me in jail, put me in irons, and subject me to long months, perhaps years of imprisonment. I had something to occupy my thoughts now, and for the remaining period of my jail life.
Next came a new dodge of the Scheimers, the object of which was to show that Sarah’s marriage to me was no marriage at all, thus leaving her free to marry any other man her family might force upon her. When I had been in jail seven months, one day the Deputy came in and said that he was going to take off my irons. I told him I wouldn’t trouble him to do that, for though I had worn them when he and his subordinates were around till the irons had nearly killed me, yet at other times I had been in a habit of taking them off at pleasure; and to prove it, I sat down and in a few minutes handed him the irons. The man was amazed; but saying nothing about the irons, he approached me on another subject. He said he thought if I would sign an acknowledgment that I was a married man when I married Sarah Scheimer, and would leave the State forever, I could get out of jail; would I do it? I told him I would give no answer till I had seen my counsel.
Well, the next day Lawyer Sitgreave came to me and told me I had better do it, and I consented. Shortly afterwards, I was taken to court, for the first time in this whole affair, and was informed by the judge that if I would sign a bond not to go near the Scheimer house or family he would discharge me. I signed such a bond, and the judge then told me I was discharged; but that I ought to have gone to State prison for ten years for destroying the peace and happiness of the Scheimer family. Truly the Scheimer family were a power, indeed, in that part of the country!
My lawyer gave me five dollars and I went to Harmony and staid that night. The next day I went to an old friend of mine, a Methodist minister, and persuaded him to go over and see what Sarah Scheimer’s feelings were towards me, and if she was willing to come to me with our child. He went over there, but the old Scheimers suspected his errand, and watched him closely to see that he held no communication with Sarah. He did, however, have an opportunity to speak to her, and she sent me word that if she could ever get her money and get away from her parents, she would certainly join me in any part of the world. I was warned, at the same time, not to come near the house, for fear that her father or some of her brothers would kill me.