1848 — Assyria, Barry county, Michigan
"Assyria had its celebrated case in 1848, when not only the township, but the county, was much agitated over the stealing of the body of Joseph S. Blaisdell from the South Assyria cemetery and the subsequent sensational trial of persons charged with the robbery. Mr. Blaisdell died March 10, 1848, and two days after his burial his grave was found to have been opened and his body stolen. A prompt investigation led to the conclusion that certain medical men of Battle Creek and neighboring places were concerned in the affair, and Mr. Blaisdell's friends accordingly caused the arrest of three persons charged with having participated in the theft.
"The case came on for a preliminary examination before G. W. Knapp, a justice of the peace of Assyria, and so large was the attendance that he adjourned the case to the schoolhouse, and even that building failed to accommodate half the people who came to the trial. Judge Abner Pratt, of Marshall, appeared as attorney for the prosecution, and John Van Arnam for the defense. A host of witnesses was examined, and a remarkably sharp display of legal learning was vouchsafed to the spectators. After two days' proceedings the prosecution, having failed to make a case, retired from the field defeated. The prisoners were set free, and, although continued efforts were put forth in search of the true offenders and of the dead man's remains, nothing further was ever discovered."