Jail records going back to 1859 for Minnesota's Goodhue County Sheriff's Department show clear differences in the law and law enforcement, but they also show that the good old days weren't all good.
One entry showed a guy got off the hook for a "bastardly" charge by marrying a girl. Others facing charges for fornicating were asked to get married before being released from the county jail. [...]
The old jail records reveal something interesting about the area: More people appear to have been murdered per capita during those times than now, Albers said.
Often it is the crimes that to us seem quaint which people discuss when they talk about crime in the old days.
I also wonder how many people would be shocked to learn that their ancestors married to get out of jail. But of course in the good old days people never hooked up.