News: Greenwood -
Scandal (20 Sept. 1887)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
----Sources: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 20 Sept. 1887
The Greenwood Scandal
If we are to believe all the stories afloat concerning the confession of Rev. Robert Rayson, of Greenwood, alleging criminal intensely with leading ladies, scattered from Longwood to Christie, then Rayson is the most licentious reprobate that ever disgraced the pulpit.
Rayson has been officiating at the M. E. Church at Greenwood for a year or more. He was not an ordained minister, but filling his two years "on trial." Since early last winter ugly rumors have been afloat concerning his relatives with different female attendants at church, and several times a great social upheaval has been predicted by persons at Greenwood who allege this criminal intimacy on the part of Rayson. Several of the most prominent members of the M. E. Church withdrew on account of Rayson’s conduct, and the matter has been kept at a fever heat until the departure of the Reverend gentleman, which took place week before last. Upon his going away it came out that Rayson had made a confession which implicated some of the first families of Greenwood. Thereupon he was followed and brought back, and when threatened with prosecution for slander, he dared his former associates to go ahead, and he would bring before the court members of the families of whom there had been no suspicion of wrong doing. The prosecution of Rayson was then dropped.
Now, the above is the substance of the stories which have been heard every day for the past week. If they are too believed, Rayson was a wholesale robber of female virtue and a very social hyena in the despoiler of homes. That he was such the Times will not believe on the information now before us. Not but the Rayson, because he wore ministerial cloth, was too good to fall so low, but that we cannot believe that in all the country around about Greenwood there are so many women who were so lost to all shame as to join and continue with him in so monstrous a crime as he alleges himself and co-habitators were guilty of. We have too much respect for the ladies of Greenwood. The social firmament of the village glistens with some of the brightest intellects of which any community can boast; some of the truest wives and mothers - ladies who are cruelly hurt by the broad assertion that in the Rayson scandal the first families of Greenwood are besmirched. If a black hearted Rayson has despoiled any homes, let a mantel of charity cover the wreck and time blot out the memory of the fiend. For Rayson we have no word of sympathy, but hope, if he has committed the crime he claims to have done, the record of it will proceed him wherever he may go, and save females vesture from his blighting touch.
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