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Out of the Ditch.
A True Story of an Ex-Slave:

Electronic Edition.

Lewis, J. Vance

Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities
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First edition, 2000
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Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

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Source Description:
(title page) Out of the Ditch; A True Story of an Ex-Slave
J. Vance Lewis
154 p., ill.
Houston, Texas
Rein & Sons Co., Printers

Call number 923.473 (Perkins Library, Duke University)

        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

Languages Used:

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Revision History:


[Cover Image]


419 1/2 Milam Street, Houston, Texas.
[Frontispiece Image]


[Title Page Image]


[Title Page Verso Image]




Rein & Sons Co., Printers

Page verso

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1910, by
in the office of the Librarian of Congress,
at Washington, D.C.


Mrs. J. Vance Lewis.
[Second Frontispiece Image]

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         The readers of this book may think it strange that we call it "Out of the Ditch," but it is a description of actual scenes and occurrences. Under slave conditions the author would have lived and died, both figuratively and actually, "in the ditch." Under condition of emancipation there was a chance to climb out and fight for life and liberty. This book contains a picture of slavery on a gigantic scale. There were many slave owners who were as thoughtful and as sympathetic as Mr. Cage and his son. There were some who were not and this difference in temperament as well as the difference of wealth and blood, led to the paradoxical views which the world held of slavery. I have written this little book not because I felt that there was serious need of another book, nor because I wish to boast of my own personal achievement, but because I felt that my struggles might inspire other boys to pursue their highest aspirations and be proof against discouragement. The stumbling blocks placed in my pathway may be layed in yours and if this book helps you to avoid them it will have accomplished its mission. I felt that "Out of the Ditch" might shed new light upon some of the difficult phases of the Negro problem, and might be the means of helping to change certain adverse conditions for the better. You will find some mistakes in the book, you may intice its leteran merits, but I am sure you will approve of its sincerity. Naturally in a work of this kind I have employed a good bit of ego, but I saw no way to avoid it in a simple relation of facts. Beseeching you to read carefully, and ponder thoughtfully every phase of the author's struggles and the causes therefor, whether of prejudice, jealousy, envy or conspiracy, we send this book into the world. Deal with it charitably and try to see the good rather than the bad it may contain. Into the warp and woof of every book the author weaves much that even the subtlest readers cannot fathom, far less understand. To such it is but a cross and a tangle of threads, but there is a golden thread running through the whole. Follow it and you will enter the spirit of "Out of the Ditch."


Page 6


         "The government of a nation itself is usually found to be but the reflex of the individuals composing it. The government that is ahead of its people will inevitably be dragged down to their level, as the government that is behind them will in the long run be dragged up. In the order of nature the collective character of a nation will as surely find its befitting results in its law and government as water finds its own level. The noble people will be nobly ruled, and the ignorant and corrupt ignobly. Indeed all experience serves to prove that the worth and strength of a state depend far less upon the form of its institutions than upon the character of its men. For the nation is only an aggregate of individual conditions and civilization itself is but a question of the personal improvement of the men, women and children of whom society is composed."

--Samuel Smiles.



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         Have you ever visited a plantation with its long shady lane, hedged with evergreens and cedar trees, its flower gardens of holly-hocks and dahlias, princess-feathers and honey-suckle, its green lawn, neat, sweet and hospitable, partaking of and foretelling the spirit of the grand old mansion or "big house" which they so gloriously decorate? Did you ever sit upon the wide veranda over which trailed the yellow jessamine, scenting the air for miles around with its prodigious fragrance, and where the mistress sits and reads or knits and embroiders? Did you observe at the rear, across the clean-swept yard, stretching in orderly lines the cabins of the slaves, before the doors of which dance and sing numerous dark nymphs clad in one-piece suits and decorated with wreaths and garlands of wild flowers? To the right and left and in every direction stretch vast acres of farm land, black and fertile, but clothed with verdure rich and tall and magnificent.

         It is a sugar plantation and the tall red stalks waved their leafy hands in a perfect rythm as the noisy slaves chant their numerous field songs. If you have seen such a place, then you

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know where I was born. It was down in Louisiana, and the plantation was owned by Colonel D.S. Cage, Sr. Whether the date of my birth interests you or not, I know that it was not passed by unheeded by my former master, for recorded upon the leaves of the family Bible, I find the following record: "Born of Doc and Rosa Lewis, on December the 25th, 18 . . ., a son, whose name is Joe, and whose birth has increased my personal property one thousand dollars."

         So that I was a Christmas present to my master; but being born on a great day has its disadvantages, for one is in danger of being overshadowed or lost in oblivion because of the prominence given greater characters of events, and so this was a forecast of my future career, a struggle against Fate and Fortune to the great OUT OF THE DITCH. As a bare-foot boy, my stay upon the farm had been pleasant. I played among the wild flowers and wandered, in high glee, over hill and hollow, enchanted with the beauty of nature, and knew not that I was a slave, the son of slaves. Nor did I know that I was born at the moment where every note in the affairs of the government was one of discord that reconciliation was futile and that disruption and secession hung like a cloud over the nation.

         Life to me had been a June day, filled with butterflies and mocking-birds. The serenity of my skies had never been obscured by a cloud, save those natural to childhood; but when about ten years old, I realized that I was not in accord with the older people; that they were not satisfied with conditions; that their skies were sad and gray. With them there was a longing for a mysterious something called freedom. I did not know what it was, and I do not think they full understood. I know

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they underrated its responsibilities. I observed them getting together in chimney corners and in other secret places whispering and talking earnestly and praying such prayers as I have never heard before, or since. My father and mother were among them and one day I heard my mother say over and over again: "Thank God, we are all free and God has at last answered the prayer of those who trust in Him."

         This was "all Greek" to me and I asked what she meant. With a low whisper and with a quiver in her lovely voice she said, "Son, we have been slaves all of our lives, and now Mr. Abe Lincoln done set us free, and say we can go anywhere we please in this country without getting a pass from Marse Cage like we used to have to do."

         My master had a son about my age who bore his father's name, and as he had always been a friend, companion and confident, I went to the big house and asked young Marse Duncan if he knew what it meant. I asked him why the big bell did not ring that morning and why the farm hands were standing around like it was Sunday, all talking about being free. He told me he did not know, but he would ask his father. I did not have long to wait for soon young Cage returned and said, "Joe, I will be dog-gone if Old Abe ain't turned them a-loose sure enough."

         I shall never forget the feeling of sickness which swept over me. I saw no reason for rejoicing as others were doing. It was my opinion that we were being driven from our homes and set adrift to wander, I knew not where. I did not relish the idea of parting with my young master who was as true a friend as I ever had. There was also a very difficult problem for us

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to solve--we had three coon dogs which we jointly owned, and I did not see how to divide the dogs without hurting his feelings, my feelings or the dogs' feelings, without relinquishing my claims, which I was loathe to do. But, as we shall see later on, the matter adjusted itself.

         The Negroes as a whole, though, were overjoyed and from everywhere on the plantation there arose slave songs. Now we heard the words, "Oh, shout, you children, shout, you are free; God knows we are happy, for the Lord has gin us liberty." And from a crowd of young fellows already misinterpreting their freedom, the following chorus--

                         "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
                         And go home to my Father and be saved."

         Then a bold miscreant would sing, in a rich baritone voice the words of the verses--

                         (I) "Weeping Mary, Weeping Mary, Weeping Mary,
                         Weep no more, Weep no more, Weep no more."


                         "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
                         And go home to my Father and be saved."

                         (2) ["]Doubting Thomas, Doubting Thomas, Doubting Thomas,
                         Doubt no more, Doubt no more, Doubt no more."


                         "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
                         And go home to my Father and be saved."

                         (3) "Great Jehovah, Great Jehovah, Great Jehovah,
                         Over all, Over all, Over all."

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                         "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
                         And go home to my Father and be saved."

                         (4) "Holy Bible, Holy Bible, Holy Bible,
                         Book Divine, Book Divine, Book Divine."


                         "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
                         And go home to my Father and be saved."

                         "For who can always act? But he,
                         To whom a thousand memories call,
                         No being less, but more than all,
                         The gentleness he seemed to be.

                         But seemed the thing he was and join'd,
                         Each office of the social hour
                         To noble manners, as the flowers
                         And nature growth of noble mind;
                         And thus he bore without abuse
                         The grand old name of gentleman."


                         "The wise and active conquer difficulties,
                         By daring to attempt them; sloth and folly
                         Shiver and shrink at sight of tail and danger,
                         And make the impossibility they fear."


                         "Though losses and crosses
                         Be lessons right severe,
                         There is wit there you'll get there
                         You'll find no otherwhere."


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         There was much commotion in the quarters that Saturday afternoon. The overseer had spread the report that the master desired to meet every man, woman and child on the plantation at the big gate on the following morning, which was Sunday. So songs were hushed, and about nine o'clock, with bated breath and inexpressible anxiety, all of the slaves waited for the coming of "Mars Dunc." We knew not what he would say.

         We had not long to wait. The master had breakfasted, and being assured that we were all ready, undertook the task which so many men shifted to overseer and subordinates--that of informing the slaves of their freedom. I shall never forget how he looked on that day. His matchless figure seemed more superb, if possible, than usual, and the long, gray Prince Albert coat he wore added dignity to grace. He wore a black string tie and a white waistcoat, and altogether I had seldom seen "Mars Dunc" so handsomely dressed. He walked with a sprightly step and his head was held erect and his countenance looked clear and contented.

         He began his address in a calm, fatherly voice, as follows: "I have called you together to impart to you, officially, a piece of news that I myself do not regret that you receive. Three days ago Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, issued a proclamation whereby you are made free men and women. Some of you have been with me all of your lives, and some of you I have bought from other owners, but you have all been well fed and clothed and have received good treatment.

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But now you are free to go anywhere you please. I shall not drive any one away. I shall need somebody to do my work still and every one of you who wants a job shall have employment. You may remain right here on the farm. You will be treated as hired servants. You will be paid for what you do and you will have to pay for what you get. The war has embarrassed me considerably and freeing you makes me a poorer man than I have ever been before, but it does not make me a pauper, and so I have decided to divide what I have with you. I shall not turn you a-loose in the world with nothing. I am going to give you a little start in life. I have made arrangements for every man and woman to receive ten dollars a piece and every child two dollars. I have also ordered that each family be issued enough food to last them a month. I hope you will be honest and industrious and not bring disgrace upon those who have brought you up. Behave yourselves, work hard and trust in God, and you will get along all right. I will not hire anybody today, but tomorrow all who want to go to work will be ready when the bell rings."

         It was a pathetic scene and there was hardly a dry eye amongst us. We had watched the master so closely that I had not seen young Mars Dunc in the crowd and was surprised when he cried out, "Say, Joe, dog-gone it, I told you you would not have to go away. Come on, and let us get our dogs and make Mollie Cottontail cut a jig from the cane patch to the woods." And off to the woods we went in a jiffy.

         All told, perhaps there were two hundred Negroes upon the plantation and when the big bell rang they all reported for duty. Mr. Cage, Sr., assigned Isham Stewart over the plow

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gang; Jeff Thomas over the hoe gang; Doc Lewis, my father, superintendent of the ditch gang--these being considered his most trustworthy men. Mansfield Williams was retained as family coachman, and the author of this book was given to understand that all time not spent in the ditch was to be at the disposal of D.S. Cage, Jr., and of his two brothers, Hugh and Albert. I ran errands and attended them when they were at school to look after the horses.

         The devotion of these slaves would make a chapter of itself, but it is sufficient to say that at the writing of this book, Isham Stewart and Jeff Thomas remain upon the plantation, and but for the sarcasm of a schoolmate the author might be there, too. But that is another story and will be related in another place.

         It was good to listen to the old plantation melodies when the slaves were so happy. They sang, "My good Lord done been here, Done blessed my soul and gone away."

                         "My good Lord done been here,
                         Done blessed my soul and gone away--
                         My good Lord done been here,
                         Done blessed my soul and gone away--
                         My good Lord done been here,
                         Done bless my soul and gone away."

         Another bright old song was--

                         "Oh rise, shine, the light is coming,
                         Rise and shine the light is coming,
                         Rise and shine the light is coming,
                         My Lord says He's coming bye and bye;


"Joe, Let's Make Molly Cottontail Cut a Jig From the Cane Patch
to the Big Woods."

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                         When I get on the mountain top,
                         My Lord says He's coming bye and bye;
                         Going to shout and shout and never stop--
                         My Lord says He's coming bye and bye."


                         "Oh rise, shine, the light is a-coming,
                         Oh rise and shine, the light is a-coming,
                         Oh rise and shine, the light is a-coming,
                         The light is coming bye and bye.
                         If you get there before I do,
                         My Lord says He's coming bye and bye--
                         Tell all my friends I'm a-coming too,
                         My Lord says He's coming bye and bye."


                         "Careless seems the great avenger,
                         History's lessons but record
                         One death grapple in the darkness
                         'Twixt old systems and the word;
                         Truth forever on the scaffold,
                         Wrong forever on the throne,
                         Yet that scaffold sways the future,
                         And behind the dim unknown
                         Stands God within the shadow,
                         Keeping watch above his own."


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         It was next to impossible to run a large plantation like ours without help, and Mr. Cage employed a man to take direct charge of the farm. He was time-keeper and general business manager. It was a custom, borrowed from slavery, to call such men overseers, and even now upon the large sugar plantations, in Louisiana, the custom prevails. It happened that the overseer, who styled himself Jimmie Welch, was born in Ireland. It was no fault of his that he was born an Irishman, but very inconvenient. He had many peculiar characteristics, and the Negroes who have a saying that "An Irishman is only a Negro turned inside out" disliked him almost to the extent of hatred. Mr. Welch was as quick-witted as other members of his race and tactful, too. Mr. Cage had always trusted most of his slaves, and Mr. Welch saw that to maintain his position he must win the good will of the slaves. This he did in the following manner: We always quit work at 12 o'clock on Saturdays, and on one Saturday he announced that he would deliver an Irish oration on freedom, after which each of us would be presented with a handsome gift. It was something entirely new and out of the ordinary and it appealed to the curiosity of us all. We were all anxious to learn everything we could about freedom, whether it was Irish freedom or Negro freedom mattered very little, for the colored people believed it would be the same thing anyway if it could be turned inside out.

         Saturday afternoon and night was the only time which was allotted to the colored for doing their washing and sewing, and in which to perform their ablutions, but an extraordinary occasion

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like this was not to be missed, whatever else went undone. If you had been there on the plantation that day, you would have done just what the others did. You would have allowed your individual work to take care of itself till the oration was heard. Mr. Welch was no mean orator, and the words he had used to fire his comrades on the "Emerald Isle" were very much appreciated by those who heard them. The author was filled with a burning desire to be able to coin phrases that had proven to make the audience laugh or cry as the speaker willed. He was humorous, he was pathetic, he was dramatic, and no wonder the simple-minded folks were led captive. Mr. Cage had been apprised of the scheme, and as was usual in matters that worked for the welfare of all concerned, entered heartily into it. When Mr. Welch had concluded his address, he said: "It now becomes my very pleasant duty to bestow upon you certain gifts, as evidence of the appreciation of your excellent service. To every married man, by the authority vested in me by Mr. Cage, I give a pig, which you may go to the hog lot and select for yourself; to every woman, who will come to the commissary, I will give a head handkerchief and a pair of stockings; to every boy and every girl I will give a half gallon of molasses and a ginger cake; to every grandparent a cob pipe and a sack of tobacco."

         The effect of this was electrical. Everybody said he had never heard of an overseer doing such a thing, and Mr. Welch had pretty smooth sailing from that time on. He had achieved by strategy what he could not accomplish by force.

         It is a strange thing that humanity is continually hungering and thirsting after something for nothing. You can easily

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cheat a man out of a dollar if he thinks you are giving him a nickle. Thus we all rejoiced in our something-for-nothing gifts of pigs, head handkerchiefs and stockings, molasses and ginger cakes, pipes and tobacco. All were exceedingly happy save one and he was filled with the gravest of apprehensions, for if Mr. Welch's troubles ended here those of Rev[.] Frank Benjamin began.

         You remember that Mr. Welch instructed the men to get a pig and he meant a pig, but the parson was near-sighted and killed the biggest hog in the pen. Mr. Welch was angered about it and charged Benjamin with hog theft.

         Mr. Cage did not know the particulars and was sorry to hear the charge, but in order to teach his servants just how they would be treated by the civil authorities, organized the most sensible of the Negroes into judge and jury to try the case.

         My father, "Doc" Lewis, was selected as judge because he bore the name of being the most level-headed Negro on the place, and it is well that he was so, for as matters terminated, few judges ever have to pass upon harder cases. The whole thing resolved itself into the question, "When does a pig become a hog?"

         Witness after witness testified that it was a full grown hog that the parson took, and not a pig at all, as he had been allowed, but none of them when asked the conundrum as to when it became a hog could answer. They were fixed in their opinion that it was a hog. When asked, "Well, how do you know?" they would reply, "Case, I jis' knows a hog when I sees him," or "Because I seed him with these eyes," or as others said, "I know 'twas a hog 'cause I 'members when that pig was born."

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         The evidence was varied and vague and to judge Lewis' way of looking at things, unsatisfactory and irrelevant to the case, which centered as we have said upon when the pig became a hog. No one proved that the pig was a hog. He was in the pen with the pigs, which raised some doubt as to his proper classification. If he was a pig the prisoner was innocent; if he was a hog, the prisoner was guilty of hog theft.

         The prisoner had thus far said nothing since his declaration of "Not guilty." It was now his time to speak. There were no witnesses to testify in his favor and guilty or not guilty it was evident that he was scared almost to death. He sat with his head down. It was an awful thing for the parson who had exhorted his fellows to honesty and right living to be charged with dishonesty and unrighteousness. It was a pitiful sight to see one who had lived all of his days honorably go down in disgrace at the time when his gray hairs ought to have been an honor to him.

         Rev. Benjamin was now called to the stand and made a few stammering statements, which did him no good with the jury. They seemed to prove his guilt. Some who had been in doubt lost hope. But just then there was a change. The Judge began to cross-examine him, and it matters not how he turned the questions around and changed them, the answer to the questions upon which the others hesitated were always prompt, clear, and the same.

         He always spoke as follows: "The shoat that I killed was sucking its mammy, and if it had not been sucking its mammy I would not have killed it." Nothing could shake him from this

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answer. It was enough--the jury saw the point, the judge saw it, the audience saw it and cheered him.

         In delivering the charge to the jury, the judge said, "As long as a pig sucks his mammy, irrespective of size or age, it is not a hog."

         Without retiring from their seats the jury returned a unanimous verdict of "Not guilty."

         Frank Benjamin preached such a sermon the next day as he had never preached before. His text was: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." He began the service with--

                         "Give me that Old Time Religion,
                         Give me that Old Time Religion,
                         Give me that Old Time Religion,
                         Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

                         It is good for the Hebrew Children,
                         It is good for the Hebrew Children,
                         It is good for the Hebrew Children,
                         Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

                         It was good for Paul and Silas,
                         It was good for Paul and Silas,
                         It was good for Paul and Silas,
                         Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

                         It was good for my Old Mother,
                         It was good for my Old Mother,
                         It was good for my Old Mother,
                         Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.



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                         It is good when you are in trouble,
                         It is good when you are in trouble,
                         It is good when you are in trouble,
                         Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me."

         I cannot recall all of the verses that were sung, but I know that the people believed in the parson's religion as they never had before, and showed it by shouting and "Amens." It was an instance where good came of evil.

         No one came in for more praise than "Doc," who Mr. Cage said was a born lawyer. I did not then know just what that meant, but I knew it was something big and something good from the way Colonel Cage put it and the gracious manner in which my father received it. So that a short time after this when the white boys were all talking about what they were going to be, I announced that I was going to be a lawyer. It sounded funny and they laughed at the thought of Joe becoming a lawyer. But I had been their page boy and had learned much from them that they had learned at school, and I did not see why I should not be able some day to apply what I had learned as well as they.

         It was as Whittier beautifully said:--

                         "Oh, black boy of Atlanta!
                         But half was spoken;
                         The slave's chains and the master's
                         Alike are broken;
                         The one curse of the races
                         Held both in tether;
                         They are arising--all are arising--
                         The black and white together."

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                         "Still sits the school house by the road,
                         A ragged beggar sunning:
                         Around it still the sumachs grow
                         And blackberry vines are running

                         Within, the master's desk is seen,
                         Deep scars by raps official;
                         The warping floor, the battered seats,
                         The jack-knife's carved initial."

         In those days there were no public schools for Negroes and even the white children had to pay tuition. Mr. Welch proved a hard taskmaster, but a true friend. There were about two hundred children all told upon the plantation, or at least it seemed that many to me, and Mr. Welch advised the colored people to get a teacher and open a school. As good fortune would have it, Mr. Cage had heard of a West Indian who had recently made his appearance in our vicinity, and he was employed to organize a school for the children from Woodlawn and Ashland plantations.

         It was my father who selected the location for the school house, and I regarded it ever afterwards as his monument, for soon after this he was called to "Come Up, Higher," and receive his reward. How well I remember how we cut the logs, and dragged them with ox-teams to that spot midway between the two centers of the population. It was, in fact, about a mile from any house, but at that time it was "just a little piece down the

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road." We had no shingles and the clap-boards with which we covered the house had to be drawn out of blocks by hand. If I should look upon that house today, I could not say that it is beautiful, but to my youthful eyes it was the handsomest building I knew, not because of any architectural excellence, for it was a plain log house which knew not paint nor finish, but rather because I had helped to build it. And even now "when fond recollection presents it to view" there is a feeling within me that says it is the dearest spot on earth. I do not remember about the "sumach trees," but I could pilot you to the place where "blackberry vines are running."

         One fine day, to our exquisite pleasure, the school house was finished and the teacher came. Prof. H. C. Hardy was his name. He had been educated in English on the Island of Jamaica, and his peculiar accent as well as his bearing was decidedly English. I fancy now that our flat, clumsy, broken talk must have seemed as peculiar to him as his polished language and queer accent did to us.

         Can your imagination for a moment conjure up a picture of two hundred under-sized, over-sized and all-sized pupils all in the first grade? Such was the old plantation school. Prof. Hardy believed in doing things orderly, and the first thing he did was to make a rule about passing. He said, "Now, children," and you never got too big nor too old for him to call you that, "you must be governed by the taps of the bell: the first tap will mean get ready for class; the second tap to stand, and the third to line up in your classes."

         When the first bell rang, everybody stood, and it looked as if the thing could not have been improved if we had

Page 24

practiced it a hundred times, but when the third tap came it was different. There was commotion, there was a mad struggle, there was denunciation, there was declaration, there came near being a fight, and all because everybody wanted to be head. The pupils at each end of the line claimed that their end was head. The principal disputants were Warner Wright and myself, since we held the extremes. Prof. Hardy had us to do the thing over again and to proceed orderly throughout, the head this first day falling to the one who naturally would occupy the position from the situation of his seat. I lost the place, and I should not have minded except that Warner, or "Dick" as we called him, won. We were good friends but rivals, and many were the contests we had. He was a smart boy, and if my experience as a page, where I had learned much from my young master, had not served me well, I might have been worsted many times, but as it was I had a little advantage over him. Prof. Hardy remained with us only three years, and then his successor came. He was a Mr. H. C. Sidney, a keen little man from New Orleans. He was not so strict a disciplinarian as Prof. Hardy, perhaps, but thoroughly in sympathy with his pupils, and they seemed anxious to please him and eager to learn. Many made very rapid progress. Of these no one did so well as Warner. If I had had an advantage over him, he now had double advantage over me. Just about the time when Prof. Sidney made his arrival among us a cloud arose over my horizon which time alone could dispel. My mother joined my father in the gates of the New Jerusalem, and I was left an orphan to fight life's battles. Warner on the other hand was in school every day and had a loving mother to help and encourage him

Page 25

and a father to correct him and support him in whatever he undertook. Prof. Sidney advised his father to send him to college and he sent him to Leland University at New Orleans, La.

         Everybody liked the boy. He was jovial and had good manners, being especially thoughtful of old people. When he got ready to leave the farm, scores of people came to bid him Godsped. "God bless that boy" was heard in the mouths of many that day. Many brought little evidences of their sincerity. I shook hands and hastened away. I could not help but shed tears, not that I was sorry to see him go but because I longed to go with him.

         He went and the time passed rapidly. The term was over before long and the pupils returned to their homes. When it was known that "Dick," or rather Warner, was expected, his many friends were anxious to see him and congratulate him upon his year's work. Nine months is not a long while, but sometimes it is long enough to make a fool out of an otherwise sensible chap. Well, I had heard of Dick's college airs, of how he cut those who met him at the train, of the ridiculous use of big words and so was about the last to call on him. I had known "Dick" too well to believe any of these things. He had been at home a week. I had remembered that it was a Sunday afternoon, a beautiful day, too, it had been. The breeze was balmy and jessamine-scented, and just as the sun was softening into shadows preparatory to bidding goodnight to the world, I emerged from my home and went forth in the spirit of joyous anticipation to greet my dear old friend and rival.

         I saw him before I reached his house. He was standing on the porch over against one of the new posts his father had

Page 26

placed there when he had remodeled his home that spring. He was gazing upon the violets and jonquils and numerous other flowers that looked up to him. As I look back now I think he must have fancied that people were like the flowers and must look up to him.

         I walked across the road and up to the spot where he stood, with a broad smile on my face. I said, "Hello, Dick, how do you do? Gee, but you are looking fine!" and extended my hand. But disappointment awaited me. He did not extend his hand; did not seem especially glad to see me, but drawing back a little way said, in a proud tone, "Pardon me, Joe, but your familiarity meets only the contempt it deserves from me. My name is Mr. Warner Wright. I wish you good evening." For a moment I thought he must be joking, but seeing that he was not, I replied as nicely as I could: "You may be Mr. Wright to others, but to me you are plain 'Dick,' or nothing, see?" and turning on my heels strode proudly away without looking back.

         The last faint rays of the sun were reflected upon the horizon. It was just twilight, the time of thought and meditation, and as I turned the thing over in my mind, I wondered if it were really true or if I were under the spell of some strange hallucination or delusion. One thing is certain and that is that the desire to enter school returned with doubled force, not that I should be like my rival, but that I might excel him and show that education did not necessarily produce a misfit out of a Negro. I had no money and no one to help me, but submitted my case to God and felt that the way would be provided.

         Warner went back to school and no one except immediate relatives went to see him off, and even they looked relieved when


The Trustworthy Old Servant of the Old South.

Page 27

he was gone. I went to work harder and steadier than I had ever worked before. It was a splendid season for crops and labor was in great demand. In order that our hands might not be tempted to go elsewhere their wages were raised. Men were raised from seventy-five cents to one dollar, and women from fifty cents to seventy-five cents, large boys from seventy-five cents to a dollar and children from thirty-five cents to fifty cents. I was classed among those who received a dollar, and during the season managed to save sixty-four dollars. I had bought a nice suit of clothes, and as soon as the Christmas holidays were over made it known that I was going to college. Everybody was surprised and most everybody disgusted. They did all they could to dissuade me, but while I listened patiently and respectfully, all such attempts were as futile as the water which falls on a duck's back. I had decided to go to college and I was going. I knew that it was not the most appropriate time to enter school, but I also knew it was my only chance. When I boarded the train that morning I was the happiest mortal this side of glory.

Page 28



                         "One leaf is for Hope and one is for Faith,
                         And one is for Love, you know;
                         And God put another one in for Luck;
                         If you such reach, you will find where they grow;
                         But you must have Hope and you must have Faith,
                         You must Love and be strong, and so
                         If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
                         Where the four-leaf clovers grow."

         When I arrived at Leland University I was as much surprised and astonished as the queen of Sheba was when she visited the realm of King Solomon, and the magnificance of his surroundings could not have impressed her more than mine did me. From a log cabin to a large four-story brick building, equipped with all modern improvements, is a long leap. When I stepped upon the spacious green campus, I felt out of place, and I was tempted to run away, and really my courage might have failed me if, just then, I had not heard some one call my name. On looking around I beheld Warner Wright coming towards me in a double quick run. His greeting was very cordial, indeed. His voice had the old-time ring to it and so I said, "Dick, I am certainly glad to meet an acquaintance here, and you may be kind enough to show a fellow what he should do first." He carried me to his room and after re-arranging my toilet he took me to the president and told him I was a boy from his home who was very anxious to get an education. He advised me to be perfectly frank with the president, and so I told him my exact condition

Page 29

--that I was an orphan, and had just sixty-four ($64.00) dollars with which to complete my education. I told him I always had worked and was neither afraid nor ashamed of it and that if I could work out a part of my expenses I would appreciate the opportunity. He told me that many boys worked out their entire board and tuition, but that arrangements were always made before hand in such cases. He assured me, however, that he would take my case up with the proper committee and do what he could for me. I was given an opportunity and continued my studies at this institution until I finished the Normal Course. During the whole time that Warner was there he was the best friend I had. He stood by me through thick and thin. Of course I never forgot the treatment I received from him the day I called on him at his home, but he literally overcame evil with good, "and I freely forgave him and rejoiced that he was my friend.["] Some one has said:--

                         "He who has a thousand friends,
                         Has not one to spare:
                         But he who has an enemy,
                         Meets him everywhere."
This may be true, but I have observed a strange thing almost in direct contrast to this, and that is that a man who is too conceited to speak to you at home will oftentimes go out of his way to be cordial and friendly if you chance to meet him in a strange place. Dick's kindness completely healed the breach and we were life-long friends. He was ever plain "Dick," as I had always been "Joe."

         When I finished my course at Leland University I was

Page 30

not quite decided what step to pursue immediately. I knew, of course, what my ultimate plan was. It was to study law, but first I had to get some capital. I had not been educated to teach, in fact had never planned to teach, but learning that Texas was in need of teachers and paid good salaries I went to Beaumont. I met Prof. A. J. Criner over there, who told me that I should first attend a Normal and secure a State certificate, if I desired to teach. I went to the Normal at Orange, Texas. At that time the questions were made out by the conductors of the Normals, and as they bore largely upon the subjects taught, in the manner taught, it was much easier to get a certificate then than now. I left the Normal and went forth in search of a school. If you have ever chased that mirage you know what a fleeting, treacherous undertaking it is. You hear of a school that needs a teacher and run about over the country, sometimes eight or ten miles before you see three trustees, each in person, and then are informed that the place is supplied or that you are too young or your experience is too limited.

         At last one day I found a school. It was in Angeline county and the school was the Cripple Creek school. The trustees said I might have the school if I thought I could handle it. They warned me that there were some very troublesome boys in the school. I heard that they had run one teacher away and that others had not applied for the position after the first year. I began right though and taught two years and might have taught a third if the city school of Lufkin had not called me as principal. At the end of three years, by rigid economy, I had saved a neat little sum and I thought it time to be getting prepared

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for my life's work. I was already beginning to get that feeling of "Once a teacher always a teacher" and so I decided to make the venture with what I had.

         I went to Lincoln University, up in Pennsylvania, and managed to stay two whole terms. I meant to finish my course there, but one day while I was in Buffalo, New York, I visited the courts of that city. It was a grand sight that I saw, but what I heard was unspeakable. A Negro lawyer was pleading for a Negro man's life before a white jury. He swept everything before him. The force of his eloquence was insatiable. When he closed the case I followed him to his office to congratulate him. I asked if he thought a Negro could succeed down South in the practice of law. He said: "The American bar needs able men and our race brilliant lawyers, and if you will equip yourself, the South or any other region will gladly receive you. The best school for you to attend is at Ann Arbor, Michigan. They train the head and the soul, too, for service."

         In the fall I went to Ann Arbor, and after graduation in 1894 was admitted to the Supreme Court of Michigan. But there were some things yet to learn and I took another course still. This time it was at the Chicago College of Law. I graduated here in 1897 and was admitted to all of the courts of Illinois.

         I have necessarily been brief in describing my college experiences. Many incidents of great importance as well as much that is amusing has been left untold. I enclose just here some correspondence I had bearing upon my trip to Washington and my admittance to the Supreme Court of the nation. I made application on November 1st at Washington, D. C., for admission to the United States Supreme Court. Ten days later I

Page 32

received the following notice from the clerk of the United States Supreme Court at Washington, as follows:

"Washington, D. C., October 11, 1897.

J. V. Lewis, Chicago, Ill.

         Dear Sir: Your application for admittance to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, has been duly filed, and you are hereby notified to be present November 22nd, along with other applicants, in the chamber of the Supreme Court at Washington, on the above date. Chief Justice Harlan will administer the oath.

Yours truly,

M. M. GRAY."

         On the 22nd eighteen lawyers of the bar from other states, all being white save myself, were presented before Chief Justice Harlan to have the oath administered to them as members of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

         That grand old learned sage who presided over the last court of resort of the land, remarked to those of us who were about to be sworn in: "Gentlemen, the dignity of the law is the highest calling to which man may aspire and attain; law is the fundamental principle that governs a man and keeps in operation our great civil and political institutions. With power vested in me, as Chief Justice of the United States, I administer the oath to you, citizens of the United States, which will make you members of the bar of this Court. Gentlemen, hold up your right hand."

         When a boy on the farm I was very observant. One day in a drove of blackbirds I saw one with a white spot on him. In vain did I try to kill that bird. He looked so odd among the other jet black birds, but I could never get him. Out of sport

Page 33

my father told me that there was only one way to capture him and that was to sprinkle salt on his tail. I followed that drove of birds but could never get close enough to be sure that I had salted the right one. Well, when I held up my black right hand among all of those other fair hands, I thought of that bird. I am unable even now to express the feeling that came over me as I stood there with uplifted hand promising to protect the sovereignty of a great nation. I wondered what comparison there was between the bird with the white spot and the slave who came "Out of the Ditch."



         Might I give counsel to any young man I would say to him try to frequent the company of your betters. In books and in life, that is the most wholesome society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that note that great men admired; they admired great things; narrow spirits admire basely and worship meanly.--W. M. Thackery.

         When I left Washington I went back to Chicago. I desired to prepare myself thoroughly for my work. I always meant to practice down South, but I felt that I could get the desired equipment, or rather post course, better right there in Chicago than anywhere else in the world, because I had studied there and several of my former instructors were presiding judges. A friend on the bench is invaluable to a young lawyer. Among the the judges who knew me were: Thomas A. Morane, H. M. Shepherd, John Gibbens, E. W. Shope, O. M. Carter and E. W. Burke. I asked permission of each of these gentlemen to visit

Page 34

their courts that I might have an opportunity to hear experienced lawyers plead cases. I told them that while I was doing this as a post course and not yet setting up for regular practice I would appreciate an opportunity to represent any person too poor to employ counsel. They one and all granted me the privilege of visiting their respective courts and said it would really be a pleasure to them to give me a case whenever an opportunity prsented itself. I thanked them and prayed that an opportunity would soon come. Every day thereafter I visited the various courts and gave strict attention to every case tried. There were so many courts in Chicago, the county seat of Cook county, that I soon discovered the necessity of some kind of system about my visits. I made out a slate and called it my circuit.

         The first court in my circuit was the police court at Polk and Dearborn streets, better known as Kangaroo Court. From a long period of actual observation I am prepared to say that to win any kind of case in that court one would have to have strong political pull either with the judges or the political bosses or men "higher up" as they are called. On the other hand, no evidence can convict one who "stands in" with the right parties.

         I remember the trial of a poor unfortunate white woman which I chanced to hear. Her name was Hager Roundtree. At least that was the name that was on the docket. When the prisoner was brought before the bar the judge said, "I understand that you are Miss Hager Roundtree, and from the charge here I see that the police rounded you up somewhere about Twelfth and State streets. You are charged with being out at an unbecoming hour without male company. What is your plea,

Page 35

guilty or not guilty?" The prisoner looked the judge straight in the face and said: "Please, your Honor, Judge, I was out without male company because I am an old maid and prefer not to have men for companions. I am forty-seven years old and I prefer being alone to having some horrid man near me. Sir, I was just returning from a spiritual engagement where we old maids meet and talk with our lost lovers, the only true men that ever lived."

         The judge who had listened patiently picked up his pen in a dignified way and thrust it into the ink well up to his thumb nail. I thought the prisoner's story had struck a tender place in the old judge's heart and that he was deeply moved. He flashed his eyes around the room over the other prisoners and turning in his chair said, "Miss Roundtree, you are the daughter of much misfortune. Your conduct has been fully explained by yourself and needs no corroboration, and so I sentence you to one round year in the county jail, and by that time I hope you will learn to stay off the streets at night with your dead lovers." I felt like remonstrating. I could almost have screamed "heartless wretch" as she did, but another case was called and I was soon interested in it. More interested than in the former case.

         The case was that of Sandy Fewclothes, an old Negro sixty years old. He was charged by the officers with disturbing the peace. The audience was so wrought up over the decision in the former case that they were giving little heed to the old Negro's case, so the judge rapped in a vigorous manner on his desk, threatening to clear the court room if his order were not heeded. When he said "Order in court" he meant it.

         The judge looked over his glasses at poor Uncle Sandy

Page 36

Fewclothes standing there before him, his very attitude one of a suppliant, imploring mercy from those who had power to condemn the innocent and the guilty alike. His hoary hair, withered face and feeble frame told of many a hardship in a long life, the best of which had been spent in slavery. Down South here "Old Uncles" are respected and protected by the better class of white people. They are trusted when their relatives of various kinds are not, and they are trustworthy in the highest degree. These old Negroes take pleasure in serving "folks of quality." But there was no sentiment and no sympathy in this court.

         The judge remarked laughingly to the officer who advanced to be sworn: "Where did you get this great pick up?" The officer replied, "On Armour and Twenty-Third Place, Your Honor." Then turning to the old man, the judge said: "So you have called to see us at last, Uncle Sandy?" To which Uncle Sandy replied, "Yes, boss, 'gainst my will. I never 'spected to come up here and I wouldn't be here now if that police had not brung me."

         "But it is reported that you broke the peace and dignity of the commonwealth of Illinois, by disturbing the peaceful inhabitants of the city of Chicago. Are you guilty or not guilty?" said the judge.

         Uncle Sandy, though bending on a cane, did his best to straighten up to his full height, as if his dignity was wounded by such implications, and said: "Jedge, I ain't break the peace of the city or the nation or nothing, but dey done break mine and my head, too. I was a-singing in the street I admit, but I wasn't botherin' nobody or nothing 'tall. Dis here am the very song that I was singing--


Kangaroo Court in Chicago--Sandy Fewclothes Sentenced to Eight
Months in the County Jail.

Page 37

                         'Steal away, steal away,
                         Steal away to Jesus--
                         Steal away, steal away, home;
                         I ain't got long to stay here.' "

         The judge chimed in as Uncle Sandy finished his verse, "No, you ain't got long to stay here. You are sentenced to eight months in the county jail."

         Uncle Sandy had the last say, though. He said: "If this is the way the white folks up North treat a servant of the Lord, when my time is out on that rock pile, Ise gwine back to Dixie, where the 'taters and the cotton blossoms grow." But he was hurried out and another case called.

         It was now past ten o'clock and I hurried on my circuit. I went next to the County Court. The will of E. Z. Williams, Sr., was being read. Mr. Williams was a colored man who had died in the city of Chicago, leaving his only heir, E. Z. Williams, Jr., $15,000 in cash and $40,000 worth of real estate on Wentworth avenue in Anglewood. The attorney representing Mr. Williams was Mr. W. H. Ward, a very able colored lawyer. I was engrossed in the proceedings and was very much surprised when a messenger boy inquired if J. Vance Lewis was in the room. He brought word that Judge Dunn requested my presence at Criminal Court at 2:30 p.m. As it was then about a quarter of two I arose and went immediately to the Criminal Court on the North Side.

Page 38



         I was a few minutes ahead of the appointed time, but Judge Dunn was in his office, and I informed his clerk that I was at the judge's service whenever he was ready to see me. He sent word for me to come right in, and as I entered he arose from his desk and extended his hand to me in a hearty welcome. I sat down and before I could say a word he began telling me why I had been summoned there by him. It seemed that Judge Dunn was in something of a dilemma about securing efficient counsel in the case of one John Donavan, charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker. He might have chosen any of the dozen lawyers who hung around his court, but they were ungrateful and deficient. He said that while he did not know me personally, that his friend, Judge Thomas A. Moran, dean of the Chicago College of Law, had spoken in very complimentary terms of me, and advised that I be given the appointment to represent the defendant. He told me that if I were in court when the case was called he would take pleasure in giving me the appointment.

         I withdrew at once from the office and going into the court room took a seat in the front row, where the judge would be sure to see me when John Donavan was brought in to trial.

         In a few minutes Judge Dunn entered the court room, and, seating himself in the great chair, with gavel in hand, ordered the sheriff to declare the court open. John Donavan's case was the first on docket and the sheriff brought him in immediately. As he stood before the bar the judge asked him if he had secured counsel for his defense and being answered in the

Page 39

negative explained that it was necessary in such a case for the judge to appoint some one. There were many other lawyers in the court room who were anxiously hoping that they might be given the case, but Judge Dunn whispered to the sheriff to have J. Vance Lewis come forward. The sheriff not seeing me called out, "J. Vance Lewis, Lawyer; J. Vance Lewis." I arose and Judge Dunn seeing me standing said: "Mr. Lewis, you are appointed to defend John Donavan, charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker. The state is now ready; consult with your client and early as you can let the court know your announcement." I thanked the judge for the appointment and walked behind the bar, where my client was seated, drew up a chair and attempted to converse with him about the case. I want the readers of this book to understand that John Donavan was a white man and a very prejudiced one.

         When I came around to speak with him he was so overcome with hatred, astonishment and scorn, that I could get nothing out of him. He said half aloud, "Is this what the State of Illinois gives a man to help break his neck?" The sheriff heard the remark and cried out, "Order there in the court."

         I asked my cilent if he had any witnesses, if he was guilty or not guilty, if he was ready for trial, etc., but he ignored me and refused to answer anything I asked. As I could get no information from my client as to his guilt or innocence, I arose and announced to the court, "The defense is now ready for trial." The court was a little surprised at the dispatch exhibited. He wondered how and what I had learned sufficient for the defense of the man so quickly. I had one thing in my favor. The prisoner had a "still tongue," and we had no witnesses to tell conflicting tales.

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         It was my plan to win by making the best testimony of the State void. A list of the jurors was given me to select the men I desired to go on Donavan's jury. At the other end of the table I saw the District Attorney with his list of jurors. He scratched out several names and once I thought to follow his example, but soon decided not to do so. The clerk said to me, "Have you completed your jury list? If so, let me have it." Whereupon I passed him the list with not a name scratched. The clerk read off the names and asked each juror as his name was called to take his seat in the jury box, twelve being the number to serve. The jury being empaneled, the District Attorney forwith read the indictment charging John Donovan with the murder of Hilliard Baker. At the close of the reading of the indictment by the District Attorney, I pleaded not guilty for Donavan. Then the first witness for the State, A.B. Badger, was called, who testified as follows:

         "I am a resident of the city of Chicago, residing at 1262 Wabash avenue, and have lived in the state all of my life."

         The District Attorney asked Mr. Badger where he was on the night of August 20th, 1897.

         Badger's answer: I was in the city of Chicago on State street, on the night of August 20th.

         District Attorney--Did you, on the night of the 20th, see a man running down State street after you had heard the report of a gun?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         District Attorney--Would you know the man if you should see him?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

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         District Attorney--Do you know the defendant?

         Badger's answer: No, sir.

         District Attorney--Have you seen him at any time before this trial?

         Badger's answer: I think so.

         District Attorney--State to the court and jury if you know of your personal knowledge that a man was killed on the night of August 20th, on State and Twelfth streets.

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir; a man was killed on State and Twelfth streets to my personal knowledge.

         District Attorney--Did you see the deceased that night?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         District Attorney--Did you see the wound that caused his death?

         Badger's answer: I did.

         District Attorney--Will you state where the bullet struck the body of the deceased?

         Badger's answer: The bullet pierced the body of the deceased about half an inch below the left breast nipple.

         District Attorney--What kind of a wound did the bullet make?

         Badger's answer: The hole had a very ragged appearance.

         District Attorney--In what direction did the bullet seem to course after entering into the body?

         The defendant's counsel, Mr. Lewis said: "I object to Mr. Badger's answering this question until he is qualified as a medical expert." Judge Dunn said: "I hereby sustain the objection."

         District Attorney--Do you know whether the bullet wound

Page 42

was the direct cause of the death of Hilliard Baker?

         Defendant's counsel again said: "I still urge my objections upon the ground that the court has ruled that Mr. Badger is not qualified under the law as a medical expert, and because he was not authorized to hold the autopsy and did not participate in the post-mortem examination.["] Judge Dunn said: "The objection is sustained."

         District Attorney--State all you know that happened the night of the murder.

         Badger's answer: On the night of the 20th of August, while walking down State street near Twelfth street, I heard a shot from a pistol or a shotgun, and immediately a man came running southward on State street. He seemed very much excited. Just as the man passed by me, I saw a shining instrument in his hand that I took to be a pistol, and if I judge rightly, the defendant is the man whom I saw that night.

         The District Attorney said: "Mr. Lewis, you may now have the witness."

         The defendant's counsel, J. Vance Lewis, began as follows: Mr. Badger, are you positive that you were in Chicago on August 20th, 1897?

         Badger's answer: I think so.

         The defendant's counsellor--What is your age, Mr. Badger?

         Badger's answer: I am twenty-seven years of age.

         Lewis--At what age did you leave school?

         Badger's answer: I was fifteen.

         Lewis--At what age did you go to work for yourself?

         Badger's answer: I was fifteen.

         Lewis--Who gave you your first employment?

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         Badger's answer: My first employment was as a messenger boy for the Western Union Telegraph company.

         Lewis--How long did you serve in that company?

         Badger's answer--Eight years.

         Lewis--Leaving that company, where did you next find employment?

         Badger's answer: My next employment was with the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad company. I served in this company as bill clerk for three years.

         Lewis--Leaving that company, where did you next find employment?

         Badger's answer: I left the state and went to Pasadena, California, and remained there three years for my health. While there, I ran a milk dairy.

         Lewis--Where did you go when you left California?

         Badger's answer: I went from California to Tucson, Ariz.

         Lewis--How long did you remain in Arizona?

         Badger's answer: I remained in Arizona five months.

         Lewis--Where did you go when you left Arizona?

         Badger's answer: From Arizona I came directly to Chicago.

         Lewis--What time did you arrive in Chicago?

         Badger's answer: I don't remember.

         Lewis--Was it Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?

         Badger's answer: I think it was the winter season.

         Lewis--How long after your arrival in the city of Chicago was it before the killing?

         Badger's answer: The same evening that I came.

         Lewis--Mr. Badger, you have said that you are twenty-seven years old and that you were fifteen years old when you

Page 44

left school, and that since you left school you had served the following companies: The Western Union Telegraph company, eight years; Milwaukee & St. Paul R. R. company, three years; remained in California three years, and in Arizona five months. Is all this true?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         Lewis--Leaving school at fifteen, serving eight years at one place, three years respectively at another and five months in Arizona, and yet you are twenty-seven years of age?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         Lewis--Isn't it a fact that you are twenty-nine years of age?

         Badger's answer: No, sir, I am not twenty-nine yet.

         Lewis--You stated that you came to Chicago some time during the winter. State the day and date and time of your arrival.

         Badger's answer: I came over the Chicago & Alton from St. Louis, arriving in Chicago the night of the killing of Hilliard Baker, but do not know the month, date nor day.

         Lewis--Do you remember if it was during the winter season?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         Lewis--How long had you been in the city before you saw the man running down the street?

         Badger's answer: Not long.

         Lewis--But how long?

         Badger's answer: About four or five hours.

         Lewis--You stated that you saw the defendant running down State street on the night of the 20th of August. Is that true?

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         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         Lewis--How long had you known him before that night?

         Badger's answer: That was my first time to see him.

         Lewis--When you saw him, was he near the viaduct on Twelfth street?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         Lewis--Was there a light near or about the viaduct?

         Badger's answer: I don't remember.

         Lewis--Was the moon shining?

         Badger's answer--I think so.

         Lewis--Then you recognized the defendant through the moonlight?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir, that is the way I recognized him.

         Lewis--About what speed was the defendant making when you saw him?

         Badger's answer: He was going as fast as his feet could carry him.

         Lewis--How far did you go before you saw the deceased?

         Badger's answer: I went about twenty yards.

         Lewis--Was the moon shining where the deceased was lying?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         Lewis--Could you see the man that ran past you and the deceased at the same time?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir, I could.

         Lewis--Did Donavan begin running before he came to the spot where the deceased was lying?

         Badger's answer: I think he did.

         Lewis--Did you go immediately to the deceased as soon

Page 46

as you saw him on the ground?

         Badger's answer: No, sir.

         Lewis--What did you do?

         Badger's answer: I crossed the street to watch what happened.

         Lewis--State what happened while you wore standing across the street?

         Badge's answer: I saw two men come from under the viaduct and look upon the dead man and rush away.

         Lewis--What did you do next?

         Badger's answer: I returned to my room and retired.

         Lewis--Did you notify anyone that there was a dead man lying on the street?

         Badger's answer: Not then.

         Lewis--When did you?

         Badger's answer: I told the officers about two o'clock that night.

         Lewis--Thought you had retired for that night?

         Badger's answer: I had but had gotten up again.

         Lewis--About what time did you return to the scene of the shooting?

         Badger's answer: About two o'clock.

         Lewis--Was the dead man still lying where you first saw him?

         Badger's answer: He was.

         Lewis--Do you know who killed him?

         Badger's answer: No, sir.

         Lewis--Did John Donavan kill him?

         Badger's answer: I did not see him kill Hilliard Baker.

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         Lewis--Have you told all you know about the case?

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

         T. J. Ball, police officer, testified for the State as follows: I am a police officer, and parole the streets from Polk and State to Twenty-Second and State and thence around Armour avenue, and around about the viaduct to Twelfth and State streets.

         District Attorney--Were you on duty on the night of August 20th? And did you parole your beat as was your usual custom?

         Police--I was on duty and paroled my beat as was my usual custom.

         District Attorney--Was a murder committed on your beat that night?

         Police--Yes, sir.

         District Attorney--Did you make an arrest that night?

         Police--I did.

         District Attorney--Whom did you arrest?

         Police--This man, John Donavan.

         District Attorney--Why did you arrest him?

         Police--Because he was pointed out as the man that did the crime.

         District Attorney--Who pointed him out?

         Police--He was pointed out by the young chap that has just left the stand.

         District Attorney--Did you hear a gun shoot that night?

         Police--I did not.

         District Attorney--What did Donavan have when you arrested him that night?

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         Police--He had a twig of tobacco, one dollar fifty cents and a paper of cigarettes.

         District Attorney--Did you tell him why you arrested him?

         Police--Yes, sir; I told him that he was charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker.

         District Attorney--Did you examine the body after finding it?

         Police--I did.

         District Attorney--What kind of a wound did you find on the body of the deceased?

         Police--I found a very ragged hole under the left breast.

         District Attorney--Who was with you during the examination?

         Police--Edmund Morango, Luyher Jovice, Billy Quinn and the defendant, John Donavan.

         District Attorney--Did all those whom you named examine the body of the deceased?

         Police--They did.

         District Attorney--Mr. Lewis, you may have the witness.

         Mr. Lewis--Mr. Ball, you have testified that you are a police officer, and in actual service. You parole the following streets--Polk, State, Armour avenue out to Twenty-Second, and then back to Twenty-Second and State. Is that true?

         Police--Yes, sir.

         Lewis--On the night of August 20th, 1897, you have stated that a man was killed on your beat. Is that true?

         Police--Yes, sir.

         Lewis--Where were you when the homicide occurred?

         Police--At this time I am unable to tell.

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         Lewis--What time of night did it occur?

         Police--I do not know.

         Lewis--Did you hear a report of a gun that night?

         Police--I did not.

         Lewis--What was your usual time to report to headquarters when you return to Twelfth and State streets?

         Police--I go on duty at seven o'clock, and I begin paroling my beat immediatelly, leaving State street near Twelfth at 7:30 and return again at 9 o'clock, remaining there about fifteen minutes, making the same circuit twice before twelve.

         Lewis--Did you at any time on the night of the 20th of August, between the hours of 7 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., find a man dead on your beat?

         Police--No, Sir.

         Lewis--Was a man found dead on your beat that night?

         Police--Yes, sir.

         Lewis--What time of night was he found?

         Police--Some time after 1 o'clock.

         Lewis--Who was the first to find the deceased?

         Police--Two fellows across the street on State and Twelfth streets reported the death to me.

         Lewis--After being informed that a man was killed and lying in the street, what did you then do?

         Police--I went immediately to the spot where the dead man was lying.

         Lewis--Did you proceed with the examination of the dead man alone?

         Police--No, sir.

         Lewis--Who helped you to examine him?

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         Police--Billy Quinn, Luther Jovice, Edmund Morango and the defendant, John Donavan.

         Lewis--Did you know either of these before that night?

         Police--No, sir.

         Lewis--Whom did you arrest that night?

         Police--John Donavan.

         Lewis--Why did you arrest Donavan?

         Police--Because I was informed that he was the man that was seen running down the streets on that night.

         Lewis--Who gave you the information?

         Police--Mr. Badger.

         Lewis--Is that all you know about the case?

         Police--Yes, sir.

         Space will not permit me to give you the testimony in full of the State witnesses, Badger, Morango, Jovice and Billy Quinn. I've only to say that the testimonies of all were nearly the same.

         The State, through its District Attorney, believing that he had made a complete case under the circumstantial evidence, closed. The defendant, John Donavan, was then called to the stand to testify for himself.

         He testified as follows: I was born in Rotterdam, New York, thirty-nine years ago. I came west fifteen years ago. I lived in Chicago twelve years, and during all this time I have been employed by Armour Packing Company in the scientific department. On the night of August 20th, as had been my custom and pathway twelve years, I crossed the viaduct going and coming from work. I left the stockyard and boarded a Wentworth avenue car and came as far as Twelfth street, and there got off the car. I saw four men huddled together, and another lying on the ground. I thought to watch them and see

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what they were about. I heard one of them say, I think it was the police: "How long do you think he has been dead?" That aroused my curiosity more than ever and so I walked over near by and inquired of them the trouble. They in answer to my question said a man had been killed. By that time I had joined the group of spectators. We examined the man and found that he had been shot in the left breast below the nipple. The police suggested that we stay there until he could call up the dead wagon. The dead wagon soon came and we assisted in putting the man in and just as the wagon was about to leave the officer said to me: "You had better come along as the State will need you. Why were you out so late?" I was locked up that night and have been in jail ever since. So far as I am concerned I am innocent of knowing anything about the death of the man.

         Mr. Lewis--District Attorney, you may have the witness.

         District Attorney--Mr. Donavan, why did you run that night?

         Donavan--I did not run.

         District Attorney--What did you do with that gun you killed that man with?

         Donavan--I own no gun.

         District Attorney--Why were you out so late?

         Donavan--Returning from my work.

         District Attorney--I think that's all; the State will rest.

         Lewis--The defense will also rest.

         Judge Dunn said: "Gentlemen, it is now 8 p.m.; the sheriff will take the prisoner back to jail, and he is further instructed to prepare suitable quarters for the jurors for tonight, and return them to this court room at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning. Gentlemen of the jury, you are also instructed by the court

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that you are not to discuss this case until it is given to you by this court. Mr. Sheriff, you may excuse all witnesses in the Donavan case and declare this court adjourned until tomorrow at 8 o'clock."

         On the next morning court was opened promptly at 8 o'clock. The sheriff brought in John Donavan and announced that the court was now opened. Judge Dunn now being seated in his great revolving chair, turned towards the spectators within the court room, and said: "I would like to confer with the counsels for the defendant and State." He further added: "There are no other cases to be tried here today, gentlemen, and our docket is somewhat crowded and it would please the court if you would limit your addresses to the jury to about two hours each, and by this you will be able to close the case about the noon hour."

         Both counsels, defendant and State, agreed to the time suggested by the court. The opening address was delivered by Mr. H. J. Holland, a young lawyer who had assisted the State in the prosecution of Donavan. He began his address to the jury in the following language: "Gentlemen of the Jury: I am here assisting in the prosecution of the defendant, and pray your consideration of all the facts bearing upon this case, under the circumstantial evidence. It is my opinion that the commonwealth of Illinois has proven beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the defendant." Mr. Holland gave a brief outline of the case and then closed by saying: "I leave it to you, gentlemen, to do your duty. As I see it, it is a verdict of guilty, assessing the punishment of the defendant to that of death or life punishment."

         This being my first case, I did not know the proceedure of

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the court in these matters and therefore I did not know I had to follow Mr. Holland.

         Judge Dunn, after waiting a few moments, said: "Mr. Lewis, it is your time to address the jury." The court room was crowded to its utmost capacity with spectators, and I here confess that I was very much frightened, for I had never addressed a court or jury before. Notwithstanding, I began my address to the jury in the following words: "May it please this court and gentlemen of the jury, I am here today, appointed by the court to defend John Donavan, charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker. I wish first to thank you for the patience that you have shown me during the trial and assure you that I will be brief in presenting this case. It is my opinion that it will not be necessary to go through all of the evidence that the State has produced here, asking men of your ability who are sane men, to convict a man and a citizen of so grave an offense as murder. Every sober man upon this jury will agree with me that the testimony of Mr. Badger so far as the truth goes is as shallow as a goose pond. Mr. Badger has been traced from his infancy to the present time, and we find him unable to be accurate on any one question put to him. It is Mr. Badger's testimony the State relies upon for a conviction, and to convict a man upon such worthless testimony, you will be charged by all citizens of Illinois with hounding down an innocent man and doing an unrighteous act."

         To the best of my ability I presented the case to the jury, and closed with the following remarks: "The court will instruct you, gentlemen, upon the law and the evidence, and will further say that you are the judges of the credibility of the witnesses and weight of the evidence in this case, and by your

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leave ask you gentlemen to deal with John Donavan as you would have some good citizen to deal with you. I submit to you John Donavan's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."

         The closing address of the State was made by District Attorney Deneen. He said: "Gentlemen, the State of Illinois asks you to deal fair with every man. She is not seeking revenge through its agents, but through them for its fair name justice shall ever shine. Why is it the wolf is given such a bad name? Is it because she prowls at midnight, or is it because of the mischief she does after dark? This human wolf the State finds prowling after midnight, seeking, not only seeking, but devouring human life. The law has given us a chain and this chain has been well connected; the circumstances within this chain gives us John Donavan. I ask you, gentlemen, to write a verdict for the commonwealth of Illinois, assessing the punishment of Donavan at that of death or life imprisonment."


         "Gentlemen of the jury: John Donavan, by indictment of the commonwealth of the State of Illinois is charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker, August 20th, 1897. Donavan pleads not guilty, and upon his plea the State of Illinois must prove every allegation of the indictment as charged. The State can prove her cause by prima facie evidence, or by circumstantial evidence, but to convict upon circumstantial evidence every fact so alleged must so couple the defendant with the murder that it will leave you clear without a doubt in your mind that the chain is complete and that he is guilty of the charge made against him. But if the chain has not been so proven, the law especially requires you to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. You have heard the testimony of every witness, and you are

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the judges of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence, and by your judgment you shall find the defendant guilty or not guilty."

         Judge Dunn further said: "Mr. Lovinggood, you are appointed as foreman of this jury, and when you reach a verdict you will make it known to the sheriff in the charge of whom you will be left, and as soon as the information reaches me I will have you brought into court."


         First ballot, ten for acquittal and two for twenty years in penitentiary.

         Second ballot, three for life imprisonment, nine for verdict of not guilty.

         Third ballot, "Not Guilty."


         "We, the members of the jury, find John Donavan not guilty.

H.B. LOVINGGOOD, Foreman."

         I am unable to express the feeling that came over me when the verdict of the jury read, "Not Guilty." It was my first case and I was on trial as much as John Donavan, only I had no charge against me--I was on trial for my professional life, and he for his natural life. We both had won, or rather I had won for us both. It was a double victory and I was intoxicated with my success. I went to the judge and thanked him again for the case, and received a hearty commendation and several valuable suggestions concerning the future cases. I thanked each juror and the sheriff and everybody, but I little thought the fame of the case would be more than local, but as we shall see it attained national importance and had important bearing on my immediate future.

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         I left the court house in high glee. The clouds were high in the skies and so were my spirits. I had won my first victory under adverse circumstances. With an arbitrary, indifferent client as defendant; and shrewd, experienced criminal lawyers as opponents for the prosecution, with no witnesses as opposed to many, with no time to study the case against a well planned scheme, and various unfavorable circumstances, I had triumphed.

         The newspapers spoke of it as a remarkable defense and I was rejoicing that the time had come for me to hang out my shingle. I reasoned that the Donavan case had at least won the confidence of the citizens as to my ability to represent them properly in court; that is, that in employing me they would feel that they were not experimenting with an amateur. I began making arrangements for opening an office. Three different lawyers called to see me and proposed that I join hands with them, but I was not sure just what was the proper step to take. I realized that I was at the "tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to victory," and I knew that a false step might prove disastrous.

         While I was pondering over this question Fate stepped in and decided it in a manner entirely different from anything that I had thought or planned. One morning, a few days after the Donavan trial, I received a letter from New York City. I here enclose the letter which I read and re-read a great many times:

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New York City, . . . . .

Mr. J. Vance Lewis, Attorney-at-Law,
Chicago, Illinois.

         Dear Sir: I chanced to see through the columns of the Chicago Inter-Ocean your able defense of John Donavan, and also the verdict in the case. From what I have heard, I have concluded to ask that you accept the case of my son, who is charged in New York City with the murdering of his wife. If you will accept the case you may write me at once stating your price, and I will forward you my check for two-thirds (2-3) of the amount. My son's name is Henry Windgate. He has been tried twice, both times convicted to the electric chair, and each time the case appealed and reversed. I would be glad to hear from you by return mail.

Yours very truly,


210 W. 150 Street, New York City.

         I was tempted to accept the case, but it seemed almost unwise to break away from a field of labor when I was at the very pinnacle of success, to enter an unknown field among new difficulties and obstacles, just for one case. I turned the affair over very thoroughly in my mind and then wrote the following letter in reply:

Chicago, Ill., Nov. 15, 1897.

Mrs. Sadie Windgate.

         Dear Madam: In answer to your letter a few days ago, I beg to say that I will accept that case; that is, if I am leading counsel in the case. My fee is $2,000.00, and if you will send me the amount stated in your letter, including a statement of facts of one of the previous trials, I will prepare the case and

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be ready on the date of the trial to give you your son, if God be my help.

Yours truly,


         I thought this a nice way to settle the matter without wounding a tender mother's heart by refusing to serve her in distress. Imagine my surprise two days later when I received a letter fulfilling the conditions set forth in my letter. Here is her letter and you will readily see that I now had to accept the case:

New York City, 210 W. 150 St.

Mr. J. V. Lewis.

         Dear Sir: Please find enclosed my check made payable to you--$1,500 for services to be rendered by you in New York City in defense of my son, Henry Windgate. I have also sent to you by Adams Express the statement of facts in the last trial of Henry. I hereby notify you that Henry's case is set for December 6th, 1897.

Yours truly,


         There was no way of escape. I would be subject to suit if I declined, even though I returned the money, and besides I was not anxious to refund $2,000.00[.] I went to the express office, received the package containing the statement of the last trial and began studying the case from A to Z. There was no time for visiting court rooms except to secure a private opinion from a judge upon some ambiguous or intricate passage of law. By December 3rd I was ready. My mind was perfectly clear. I had had nothing to do for a couple of weeks but the Windgate case, and now I had all of the authorities concerning such cases at my tongue's end, and so I decided to stop over at Buffalo and rest up for a day.

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         It was 6:20 p.m. on December 4th that I reached Buffalo. I was acquainted with but one man in Buffalo, and I decided to visit his residence and inquire of him where I might secure a nice lodging place. I gave the cabman his address as 2211 Michigan avenue. Upon reaching the residence I rang the bell. To my very great surprise a young Irish lassie, of about eighteen summers, answered the bell. I was a little abashed but said to her, "Pardon me, lady, I presume that I am at the wrong house. I am looking for Mr. Thomas, who lived here at one time." The girl replied, "He lives here still, sir," and invited me into a beautiful library. She pressed an electric button which notified Mr. Thomas that some one desired to see him. As he came in I arose and said: "Mr. Thomas, no doubt you have forgotten me, but I was here in Buffalo several years ago and asked you if you thought a Southern Negro could succeed in law. Through your advice I went to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and am now practicing law at Chicago, Ill. My name is J. Vance Lewis."

         Mr. Thomas seized my hand and shook it warmly, saying, as if a revelation had come over him, "I do remember you, but never dreamed that it was you of whom I have been reading so much during the last few weeks. Be seated and tell me what brings you to New York. Is it another John Donavan affair?" This he said banteringly. I replied, seriously: "Yes; I am trying to save another human life." I then told him about the case in a general way, and he wished me great success. He insisted that I remain in his home, saying that he appreciated having a man of so great distinction under his roof. He carried me to the guest room and had my baggage carried up and then invited me in to such a supper as a man who has ridden

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for many hours could not help but enjoy. When supper was over he called his chauffeur so that I might see Buffalo by moonlight. I thanked him for such a privilege, but begged him to go slow. We rode through the beautiful streets of Buffalo for three hours, and the cool, refreshing lake breezes kissed us at every turn. Next morning I left for New York. I registered at the Y.M.C.A. building, where I secured a room. On the morning of the trial I went to the Criminal Court building rather early. I had the good fortune to meet up with Mr. Wilcox, a gentleman whom I had known for years. He introduced me to Judge Goff, who presided over the court. Promptly at nine o'clock, the court was called to order by the sheriff. Judge Goff came out of the anteroom; he was a man who was very dignified in his bearing and to me seemed very pleasant. He at once took his seat in the judge's stand and opened a great ledger before him and said: "The first case on call is the State of New York versus Henry Windgate. Mr. Sheriff, bring in the prisoner." The sheriff retired and in a few minutes returned with Windgate. As soon as Windgate was seated, a white lady with gray hair and ready step, rushed up to him, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately, with tears streaming down her cheeks. She cried out, "My boy, my son, my son; trust God, for His mercy endureth forever." This was Windgate's mother.

         Judge Goff said: "What is the announcement of the State?"

         District Attorney Waldo Bellinger said: "The State is ready in the Windgate case, if Your Honor please."

         Judge Goff said: "What is the announcement of the defense?"


Mrs. Sadie Wingate Meeting Her Son in the Court Room in New
York City.

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         In response to this query, I arose and asked that names of the witnesses for the defense be called before I could announce. Whereupon the clerk began to call the names of the witnesses, to-wit: Edgar Thomas, George Nelson, Tom Rodgers, Thelma Dezaro, Reuben Long, Alice Vasmer, Julia Ward, Daisy Decoy and Nathan Rose. "That completes the names of the witnesses for the defense," said the clerk, "and all are present."

         Judge Goff--Let me hear your announcement.

         Lewis--The defense is ready.

         Judge Goff--All special veniremen will please stand and be sworn in.

         The oath of office was administered by the judge in short order.

         District Attorney Bellinger--Mr. Lewis, the custom of New York in selecting jurors in all murder cases, is that each juror may be interrogated publicly, touching his qualification to serve as such. We are now ready to select the jury.

         Lewis--It is a pleasure, sir, to follow the custom of New York.

         Space will not allow me to put into this book the trying ordeal which the jurors were put through, but we managed to get a jury in three days. The jury was sworn in, and the indictment was read to them.

         Judge Goff--Gentlemen, today being Saturday, this case will be continued until Monday morning at 8 o'clock; court will now stand adjourned until that hour.

         Monday morning, December the 10th, the Criminal Court was crowded to overflowing. The sheriff and his force were compelled to clear the aisle so that lawyers and other court attaches

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could reach the judge's stand. Promptly at 8 o'clock, Judge Goff announced as follows: "Gentlemen, you shall proceed with your case."

         District Attorney Bellinger read the indictment to the jury. The indictment charged Henry Windgate with the murder of his wife. To this indictment Windgate entered a plea of not guilty. The State was able to show by its witnesses that Windgate had trouble with his wife at the Stewards Clothing House on Sixth avenue, and that when seen going in his home on Twenty-Ninth and Sixth streets he was still having trouble with her. The State was further able to show that pieces of human flesh were found in a flour sack, which had been found in East river and the string with which the sack was tied was a piece of cloth seeming to match a dress owned by Mrs. Windgate. Medical experts testified that the flesh was human flesh. The State having made a case, rested.

         The defendant was placed on the stand and testified in his own behalf as follows: "I live in New York City, and have lived here ten years. My wife, who recently disappeared, is the mother of three children. I here admit that we had trouble the evening prior to her disappearance, and the cause of this little trouble was due to the fact that she would not stay at home and care for her children. She is a woman that is hard to manage; she is, indeed, resolute; if she said she was going across the sea, though I should object to her going, she would demur to my objection and go anyway. At the time she left the house I was upstairs in the bathroom dressing one of the boys, and when I came down I found this note addressed to me. The note read: 'Henry--Care for the children, as you have always done.

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I am not fit. I will never see your face again. The Hudson river or the deep blue sea is my future home. Yours, Alma.' This is the last tidings I had of my wife. If she is dead, I do not know it; if she's living, her whereabouts are unknown to me."

         Testimony was offered, showing that Mrs. Windgate was seen leaving home with a sack under her arm after 9 o'clock on the night when the murder is supposed to have occurred. The defense rested.

         We cannot give the whole case, but give a part of the arguments on both sides. Argument in part by counsel:

         Mr. Bellinger--Gentlemen of the Jury: The State of New York by indictment has brought before you Henry Windgate, for the third time, charged with the murder of his wife. The first thing I should ask of you is what else should you expect of him but a plea of "not guilty?" Every criminal in the penitentiary of the United States has made this plea, and will continue making it as long as the door of hope seems open to give the chance of escape. Uncontradictory testimony of the State is a tell story in this case. In the very streets of New York, and in public places, this man fell upon his wife like a hungry lion out of the forest, and she would have been a victim at his hand in the public street if the police had not interrupted. But what did he do? Waited like a spider until she had got into his web, taking her life like a cowardly cur; butchered her and threw her mutilated body into the river. Your verdict, gentlemen, should be death, and any other verdict would be contrary to your oath and obligation to the State of New York. Gentlemen, I submit this case to you.

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         J. V. Lewis, for the defense--Gentlemen, I am not here to hinder New York from getting her just reward, but here to help a citizen of New York to be justly rewarded. Your oath and obligation mean no more to New York than it does to a citizen of New York. The State of New York has charged Windgate of a diabolical murder. The State has committed no wrong in her charge, nor has Windgate committed a wrong when he plead not guilty. There are rights which men are compelled to respect, and the laws say that you must respect the plea of the defendant. That plea is not guilty. Our law says that one is presumed to be innocent until his or her guilt is established beyond a doubt. Who of you say that Mrs. Windgate is dead? And who said that she is far away in parts unknown? If she is dead, where is she? If she is living, in parts unknown, does the State of New York wish that the defendant be her fortune teller; or has she trained him since he has been incarcerated, a human telescope; or is he now New York's ventriloquist throwing his voice to the four corners of the world, on mountain and in valley, saying to his wife "Come from your hiding place and save me from the fate of the unjust judgment of New York laws and her unreasonable jurors." If you demand this of the defendant, the doctrine of reasonable doubt is lost, and life and liberty need never to be regarded the essential essence of human happiness. Much has been said by the District Attorney regarding the string with which the sack was tied. Is it a fact that we must account to the State of New York for every yard of wool, cotton or linen that the manufacturers of this country turn out; or shall we account to the State for the many yards of wool or linen that is sold to private parties

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by retail dealers? If this is required of us, I will now advise my client to withdraw his plea of innocence and enter a plea of guilty. I am told when Wingate married this fair damsel he had millions of money at her disposal. His outstretched arms and his warm bosom were her day and nightly pillow, but the sad hour came when he became insolvent. She was not the dove of his old cooings and wooings. The music that once floated from his lips that was so soft and so sweet to her ear had become heavy as lead. Money! Money is gone, and that love that she had had has flown, all because this poor unfortunate name could not be seen in the booking with Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Russell Sage and Gould. She also lost sight upon her bright-eyed babies. It is not true that the State of New York wishes that you rob these babies and take from them their only protection and with your verdict send ten thousand volts of electricity through an innocent man's heart. In submitting this case to you, I know that I am submitting it to sober-minded and impartial men; men that will not wrong their country for a citizen, or wrong a citizen for their country.

         Judge Goff read his charge to the jury. The jury retired for deliberation, and after about five hours' balloting returned the following verdict: "We, the jury, find the defendant, Henry Windgate, not guilty. J. T. UNDERWOOD, Foreman."

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         The John Donavan case was for a long time a sort of pivot--a hub around which my life revolved. I had many cases offered to me which for various reasons I had to decline, but I wish to tell of one more case which centered around this fulcrum. I mention it for two reasons: First, it was the first trial of a woman in my experience; and second, it was the means of making a life-long friend, and you will agree that--"He who has a thousand friends, has not one to spare; but he who has one enemy, meets him everywhere." I lost the contention for which I pleaded in this case, namely, that Miss Phillips was innocent, but I did get her sentence commuted, and I did form the friendship of stalwart old George Knox, editor of the Indianapolis Freeman, and when he came to New Orleans a few years ago to speak, I made a special trip, during my busy season, to hear him. It was his influence which secured the case of Florida Phillips for me. I guess I really ought to have declined it, but I was anxious to advertise my practice as widely as possible, and so accepted the letter in a spirit of great self-importance. You may read Mr. Knox's letter:

Indianapolis, Ind., December 28, 1897.

Hon. J. Vance Lewis, Chicago, Ill.

         Dear Sir: I have had the good fortune to read your success in the John Donavan case, and your recent legal achievement in the Windgate murder case in New York. The people of Indianapolis would be glad to have you defend Florida Phillips, a woman of our race, charged by indictment of murder.

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If you will accept the case the citizens of Indianapolis will see that Judge Alford of the Criminal Court appoints you. All appointments made by Judge Alford, the State pays the attorney three hundred to five hundred dollars for his services. Let me know if you will accept the case, as it is set for trial January 8th.

Yours truly,


         I replied to him, after turning the matter over in my mind:

Chicago, Ill., Jan. 6, 1898.

Mr. Geo. L. Knox, Indianapolis, Ind.

         Dear Sir: Your letter of December 28th is before me and has been carefully read and considered. I beg to say that if Judge Alford, through the citizens of Indianapolis, should appoint me to defend Florida Phillips, I would gladly accept the case.

Yours truly,


         The appointment was made and I left Chicago for Indianapolis January 6th. I was met by a committee headed by George L. Knox, E. O. Roy, W. L. Knox, J. B. Thurston and H. Skinner. The committee went with me at once to the court house and there I was introduced to Judge Alford. The judge showed me a cordial welcome, as if he was glad that he had made the appointment.

         Florida Phillips stood charged by the State of Indiana for the murder of Morrison Strowder. She stood well in the community in which she lived, and had many friends of both races.

         The next morning I went to the court house with Mrs. Florida Phillips' mother, a Mrs. Rachel Quinn. I found a good opportunity while in her company to make some inquiries of her about the killing. I succeeded in getting enough information from her to enable me to conduct the trial.

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         Court was opened. Mrs. Phillips was brought in by the sheriff, and the announcements by the defendant's and State's counsels were made. We were not long in securing a jury to try the case.

         The State showed conclusively that a life had been taken, in the city of Indianapolis, by Mrs. Florida Phillips, and at the time the killing took place the deceased, Morrison Strowder, was doing nothing to aggravate the defendant. The State put on five witnesses and they all testified to the same thing; the State then rested.

         The defense had no witnesses and was compelled to use the State's witnesses with hope in the cross-examination that some material facts might develop that would be helpful to the defendant. The five witnesses of the State were then placed on the stand, and their testimony, all save one fact brought out that at the time Mrs. Phillips shot Strowder she was not shooting at him, but was shooting to kill one Henry Thompson, who had had a previous difficulty with her and that he, Henry Thompson, had a knife in his hand and was advancing towards Mrs. Phillips with it open, when she began firing at him, and that the ball intended for Thompson hit Strowder in the back, and Strowder lingered from the injury five days when he died, and that he also made a dying statement which the State would not introduce in evidence. The case would have been self-defense if she had killed Thompson; as it was, it was an accident--excusable homicide. The defense introduced the dying statement of Strowder, which is as follows: "I, Morrison Strowder, being of sound mind and discretion, knowing that I am going to die, do make this my statement of my own free will before

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I cross the great beyond: On the day that Mrs. Phillips shot me, she was shooting at Henry Thompson. Thompson was at the time going towards her with a knife in his hand, and that she was not shooting at me at the time I was shot, and that she did not intend shooting me. Yours truly,
Morrison Strowder."

         With this evidence before the jury the defense rested.

         Judge Alford said: "Gentlemen, you may now go to the jury with your case."

         The District Attorney opened and closed the State's side of the case. He made a scholarly presentation of the State's case, and closed by saying: "Men must forget their feelings for tender femininity and judge criminals all alike. You are asked not to hang this woman, but to send her to the penitentiary for such a number of years as you may think proper."


         "Gentlemen of the jury: I shall not ask you to evade your duty as citizens of this country, even though it be a woman in the case. I shall ask only under your wise judgment of right and wrong to be governed solely by the dictates of your own conscience. If Indiana has failed to make a case, you by this time know it. If the defense has committed a wrong, the evidence in this case has disclosed it. The court will define to you murder in the first and second degrees, and also manslaughter. He will further explain to you premeditated murder, justifiable homicide and excusable homicide. I say to you, that if the defendant is guilty of anything it is excusable homicide. Will the evidence justify you with a verdict of murder in the first or second degree? No. It was not murder at all. The dying

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statement admitted in the evidence is conclusive proof to the innocence and I shall ask you gentlemen to deal fairly, justly and prudently with the defendant. I submit this case for your consideration."

         Judge Alford read his charge to the jury, and in his charge he eliminated murder in the first degree, and said if the jury found the defendant guilty of any wrong, their verdict must be manslaughter.

         The jury retired and within two hours returned with the following verdict: "We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of manslaughter, and assess her punishment at two years in the reformatory.

         Governor Altgeld had been nominated by the Democratic party. The Republican party had out a strong ticket. The mayoralty contest in Chicago was at fever heat--Carter Harrison, nominee for mayor, and Capt. Swift led the Republican ticket.

         The Negroes were the balance of power; they could turn the state Democratic or Republican. This being true, both political factions hung out a neat official bait for the colored men's votes. Delegates had been elected to attend the Cook county convention. The white Republicans made overtures to the colored Republicans, agreeing that if they would assist them to elect a governor and mayor they would vote for a colored man for the legislature and for South town clerk. The overtures of the white Republicans were accepted in the county convention. The names of those colored submitted for the legislature were Ex-Commissioner E. H. Wright and W. L. Martin. The ones submitted for South town clerkship were E. L. Roberts and J.

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Vance Lewis. The balloting took place and W. L. Martin was nominated for representative, and E. L. Roberts for the South town clerk. The battle for supremacy was on, and the speakers of both political parties were sent throughout the state.

         The Republican cry was "Down with the Altgeld reign." In Cook county the Democratic cry and motto were "Swift, too swift; Harrison for clean streets and government."

         On election day the people went to the polls like ducks to a clear lake. Altgeld was defeated, and Swift elected mayor of Chicago. During the campaign I had served the State and Republican party faithfully and the political leaders made me Third Assistant District Attorney in Corporation Court. This position I resigned after six months' service. After my resignation I remained and practiced law in Illinois. In 1900 I gave up the practice in Illinois and came to New Orleans and opened an office at 1012 Perdido street. After reaching New Orleans I found that one with a Supreme Court certificate from another state would have to take an examination within that state and that I would have to wait for some time before I could enter into practice, owing to the fact that the Supreme Court was on its vacation and I had to appear before that body for examination.

         While in the metropolis of the South, quaint old New Orleans, whose citizens are of such cosmopolitan nature that there is scarcely a full-blooded Negro family and practically no white families that have not exchanged blood, as they have mingled the language. I was not satisfied here, however, because New Orleans is old and fixed in its way of doing things. I wanted to get into a city that was young, vigorous and enterprising,

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so that I might grow as it expanded and become an integral factor in the development. Houston, Texas, seemed to be such a city and so I hung out my shingle there to go up or down with the drift.


                         Sing the South! Oh, the South! Sing the South! . . . . .
                         With her yellow, red roses, and pink!
                         Where the air is like wine in the mouth,
                         And there's glad, surging life in the drink!
                         Sing the South! Oh, the beautiful South!
                         With her sweep of wide star-blossomed plains--
                         Red-lipped, Oh, the kiss of her mouth
                         Sends the blood rushing swift in the veins!

                         Oh, the South! Oh, the South!
                         Let her glories ring clear,
                         Like the song in the heart
                         Of the lover, when near
                         Where he leans on the bars,
                         Trembling beauty appears,
                         With her eyes like blue stars
                         Smiling glad through her tears.

                         Sing the South! Oh, the South! Oh, the South!
                         Oh, her bayous that sleep in the shade!
                         Oh, the pout of her lily-kissed mouth
                         Whose kiss maketh man unafraid!
                         Oh, the lingering clasp of her arms!
                         Oh, the witcheries sweet of each wile!
                         Oh, her broad fertile prairies and farms!
                         There's a promise of joy in her smile!

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                         Oh, the South! Oh, the South!
                         Let the glories ring clear!
                         And lilt like the kiss
                         Of her own atmosphere!
                         Oh, her sweet blossoms lie
                         Like a kiss on the mouth!
                         There's no love like the South!

--J. M. Lewis.

         South of the South, beyond the hills and the plains, past the grassy meadows and the greasy oil fields, on to the fertile prairies sped the train from New Orleans. Blacker and blacker grew the soil of the farmland, richer and more verdant and taller seemed the sugarcane, wide and wet the rice fields, fairly swarming with song birds and wild ducks, rejoicing in the great crops produced, where until recent years naught had grown before. Greater than all of these and more abundant were the cotton fields, white with the long staple and blooming like a flower garden, the multitudinous stalks lifting their majestic heads as if recognizing their regal position among the vegetable products. In the midst of such a region lies the beautiful city of Houston, Texas, the garden spot of the world, nestled in the meshes of the bayous, whose banks are covered with fragrant mint and decorated with violets and giant magnolias. Nature did its best works here and I felt that I could do mine.

         I early formed partnership with L. W. Greenly, a brilliant young man, and we began the practice of law. Houston was not as large then as now, but we saw the signs of promise, the possibilities of a great metropolis, and we determined to stick

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it out till our people were certain of our ability to convince judge and jury, both of which were composed of white men. Instead of spending our time complaining because of the present system of manipulating the jury so that not more than one Negro may serve on a jury, though they form a large per cent of the population, we spent our time in convincing the men chosen, and white, though not peers of Negro, or at least uuwilling to be classed as peers at any other time and place save the jury, are usually open to reason.

         Our first case of any consequence was that of Max Harris and Jim Riley, charged as accessories to the murder of Henry Jefferson at Hirsch's woodyard in Houston. Will Thompson and George Williams were the other defendants, but they had money and were able to secure white counsel, but Harris and Riley brought their case to us. The four were charged under one indictment, but the attorneys, both white and colored, requested Judge A. C. Allen to grant a severance. Thompson and Williams were tried first, and after five hours of hard pleading the case was submitted to the jury, which rendered a verdict of guilty, giving Thompson ten years and Williams seven.

         The District Attorney said to Attorney Lewis: "You had better plead guilty for these two niggers and the jury will give them short terms, but if you don't I'll see to it that they go to the pen for life." Mr. Lewis replied to him: "I never enter a plea of guilty for my clients when I think them innocent of the charge." To which the attorney replied: "If you clear one of these niggers I will eat my hat and resign the District Attorneyship, and see that you serve the State the balance of my term."


H. H. Letheridge. J. Vance Lewis. Miss Bernice Griggs. L. Franks.

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         The evidence showed that a man had been killed by four Negroes, and it was acknowledged and explained in the testimony of Jim Riley in this way. He said: "It was a custom of the men while playing to flog each other with straps, and at the time the strap was used on the deceased there was no malice against him. There was no intention of whipping him to death or even of injuring him. He was a frail man and often suffered from hemorrhage, and the excitement in the present case was sufficient to bring on hemorrhage which caused his death."

         If the District Attorney failed to carry out his threats it was certainly no fault of his. I have rarely heard a more stirring address to a jury. Every form of invective was used, and he not only prosecuted Max Harris and Jim Riley, but he turned the oil can and set a match to every nigger of the race. He dwelt upon the cruelty and heartlessness of these men until it seemed that torment would be too good a place for them to go. He was eloquent in abuse and employed all of his special negro-hating vocabulary. At one time he exclaimed: "I would rather see a lion just from the jungles turned a-loose in a school yard with a thousand children than to see this big He Negro Devil turned a-loose upon society. To convict him will not wrong him, but to free him will wrong the great State of Texas. I love liberty and free speech. I want to see Texas rid of crime and I have put forth every effort in my power to rid the citizens of the most dangerous criminals in the annals of history. I now submit this case to you, and ask of you that you decide by verdict that Jim Riley and Max Harris do hang by the neck till death."

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         Mr. Lewis made no effort at oratory. He talked to the jury in a calm, sensible, earnest way. He pled for fair play, that was all. His client he said was a man no better and no worse than many others. The attorney was wrong who called him a brute. Men sometimes play too roughly. They are only large boys, after all, and where there is no malice there could be no murder. He is by you as he expects you to be by him; that is, he is wishing a fair deal, and if you will give him what you would that he should give you if he were in your place and you in his, you would write a verdict of "Not guilty."

         When the sheriff brought the jury in after thirty-five minutes of balloting, the verdict read "Not guilty." The news of the verdict spread rapidly throughout Houston--the reason being that a Negro lawyer, the first and only one that had ever appeared before a Harris county bar, had secured a verdict in favor of a Negro client. Max Harris and Jim Riley were again free men.

         From this time on we had many cases, some of which had nothing of interest for you. The case of William Prince, a one-legged man who was a barber at Humble shows how a man may slay another under no provocation. Prince was at his shop one day when John Green entered with a drawn revolver, saying that he would blow Prince's head off. Being handicapped Prince could not retreat and reaching in a drawer for his revolver, he fired, and killed Green. The evidence showed that the pistol held by Green was old and disqualified to shoot, and the prosecution attempted to prove that Prince knew this and took advantage of Green, but we succeeded in showing the jury that it was a case of justifiable homicide.

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         Sometimes the jury does peculiar things. For instance, in the case of John Addison, indicted jointly with his father, John Addison, Sr.; Sam Addison and Joe Addison, his brothers, and James Ransom, his brother-in-law, for the murder of Mrs. Helen P. Addison, the bride of John Addison. The jury released the father and brothers because of insufficient evidence, declared John Addison guilty, and James Ransom not guilty, although the evidence showed all of the defendants connected with the conspiracy, and Ransom at least as guilty as Addison, the testimony being the same in each case.

         I will tell of part of one other murder case. It was that of Mable Jackson, charged with the murder of Hamblin Rogers, a white man. This case I consider of great importance, because it reveals a side of the great Negro problem not dealt with as it should be. There is not much of a problem concerning the social position of white women and Negro men. That is fixed, and contrary to common opinion there is little or no desire on the part of one for the society of the other, but as between white men and Negro women the reverse seems true. The white women in the world have more protection in this country than any other women in the world and the colored women have least.

         Mable Jackson, a colored woman, was charged by the State of Texas with the murder of Hamblin Rogers, a white man. She had no money to employ counsel, but she sent for me to defend her. I went to the jail and found her alone in a cell and weeping bitterly. On entering the cell she wiped away her tears and said: "Mr. Lewis, I am glad to see you; I am a poor unfortunate woman and I need your service and advice. I have killed Hamblin Rogers, a white man, and I know they are going

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to hang me. Before I am sentenced to die I want to ask a favor of you. I have three little girls, penniless, homeless and fatherless, and soon will be motherless. Will you please find homes for them in some Christian family who will rear them up in the fear of God, so that they shall know that character is everything and be willing to die for virtue as their mother did."

         Mr. Lewis said: "Mrs. Jackson, I am told that there is hope between the stirrup and the ground. Remember that you are to be tried by reasonable men, and men that believe virtue, purity, sanctity of home, wife and child shall be exalted, and you can and will go to their hearts and be a free woman. You have said that you have no friends or money. The Bible says, 'Come without money and without price,' and further says that woman's virtue is greater than rubies. If you will accept my services, I will defend you before the court free of any charges."

         Mrs. Jackson replied: "Thank you, Mr. Lewis, I accept whatever you do for me. If you save my life I have no money to pay you in dollars and cents, but I will ask God to bless you."

         The indictment charging her with murder was read to the jury and she entered a plea of not guilty. The State put on six witnesses, all being white, and they testified that Hamblin Rogers was shot once in the stomach and four times in the back. The State rested.

         The first witness for Mrs. Jackson was a police officer. He testified that Mrs. Jackson had been to the police station and complained of Rogers, saying that he assaulted her, and asked that he be arrested; and he further stated that he failed to make the arrest, and Mrs. Jackson reported Rogers' second assault, and said that if they did not arrest him and should he


"I Have Killed Him"--Because He Would Not Respect the Virtue
of a Woman.

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return and assault her again she would kill him. He said that he tried to arrest Rogers, but that he eluded him every time. He said he was the first one to reach the yard where the deceased was lying dead, and over him stood a woman with a Colt's revolver with every chamber empty.

         He continued: "She said to me: 'Well, Mr. Brown, I have killed him, and if he should rise from the dead I would like to shoot him again, for it is a deserving death.' "

         Mable Jackson testified for herself as follows: "Gentlemen, you can all see that I am a Negro woman, and under your law I cannot marry a white man. Hamblin Rogers desired that I be his mistress. To this I refused and I turned him from my door more than five times. He told me that if I did not agree with him he would kill me. Furthermore, he assaulted me three times and I reported him to the police and begged of them to arrest him, and the police refused to do so. Rogers returned to my house and demanded that I surrender to him. I again refused him and thereupon he rushed upon me in a manner unbecoming a gentleman and for the protection of my daughters and myself I killed him."

         The cross-examination of the District Attorney was rigid and searching, but at the conclusion he found that Mrs. Jackson could not be moved from her original testimony.

         Mr. Lee . . . . . opened and closed the case for the State. He said in his argument in part: "Gentlemen, I am here today in the defense of the great State of Texas. A nigger woman is here charged with the murder of a white man, and many witnesses have testified that they witnessed a part of the tragedy, and this woman now posing like an angel was seen by them

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pouring a volley of shot from a smoking gun into a human heart, and did not stop until every chamber was emptied into Hamblin Rogers. Have you gentlemen considered who Hamblin Rogers is? He is a white man. A kinsman of the Anglo-Saxon nation of the world. It is that kind of blood that has been spilled by a negro wench. Your verdict, gentlemen, should plant her in the blue space with a rope around the neck, betwixt the Heaven and the earth. I further wish to call your attention to the audacity of her negro lawyer in coming to this court, asking a jury of intelligent white men as you are to acquit her. I want a verdict at your hand that will teach every Negro, male and female, what the blood of a white man costs, when taken in a butcher-like manner as Rogers' was. I ask for the extreme penalty of the law; that is a verdict that will cause her to hang by the neck in this county until she is dead. Nothing else will satisfy the people of this community."

         During the time that the District Attorney was making his vulgar argument, Mable Jackson sat with her face in her hands and with the tears streaming down her cheeks. She was heard to say, "What a cruel man. I would to God that I had never been born." Her three little daughters were seated by her, and seeing their mother weeping, looked up in her face and said, "Mamma, mamma, trust God; He will help you."

         The remark of the children, "Mamma, mamma, trust, God, He will help you!" It struck me as a thunderbolt. I could not resist the feeling that came over me, and I began my address to the jury in the following words: "Gentlemen, if men should so far forget themselves and harm by act of omission or commission another human being, there is one thing I am glad to

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know, viz.: That he knows that God knows and sees every action, whether it be good or whether it be evil. I am not here to quelch men and their great minds, but I am here to reason with you upon a matter of much importance. In reading Exodus the 20th chapter, I find the commandment given unto Moses by God, 'Thou shalt not kill,' and, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor' is another. These three commandments are given as a safeguard to human happiness, and to us should be the rock which society is based upon. Mrs. Jackson is charged with having broken one of these commandments. She in her plea of not guilty has tried to show you her justification in breaking the commandment. She has further alleged that to protect one of the golden threads, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' she had to break another of less importance. Mable Jackson has broken one of the commandments, Hamblin has broken one of the commandments, seven witnesses have broken a commandment, three sins have been committed, and who must we punish? One of the greatest religious divines wrote thus: 'Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?' I ask you: 'Must Mable Jackson bear all the guilt alone, and Hamblin Rogers, though guilty, go free?' She is but an unfortunate woman, though unfortunate she is, she is a heroine. When the wolf came, out in sheep's clothing, grinning with teeth gnashing, eyes sparkling, like balls of fire, his claws ready to spring in the bosom of purity, Mable Jackson knew him, and it was her bullet that stopped the midnight prowler in his mad rage to destroy virtue and pure homes. I ask this question of you: 'If a white woman had killed a demon of my race, who was guilty of the same

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act as Rogers, would she be here on trial for her life?' NO! You would build for her a monument and immortalize her while she was living. Now for what Mable has done, she must be censured. Censured because she has sown a seed of pure womanhood that will grow into our young daughter's pure hearts; that will live till the race of the world is no more. It is said in the Bible that 'woman's virtue is greater than pure gold, emeralds, diamonds or rubies,' and Mable Jackson in protecting herself against that brute sought to do what you would have your wife to do. She informed the officers of the law of his brutal and shameful actions, but we find that they did not come to her rescue; thus she was left alone, and unprotected. You men will have to go home to your wives, and they will ask you, 'What was your verdict in the case where a woman had been criminally assaulted?' Would you say to them that 'We found her guilty, and she must die because she protected her virtue, and the sanctity of her home?' If you convict this woman for defending her virtue, even though it resulted in the slaying of the would-be rapist, you will cut the vital cord of your own daughter's protection and damn virtue in your home. I submit the case to your sound judgment."

         Judge A. C. Allen charged the jury upon the law of the case and they retired for further deliberation, and after being out sixty minutes they returned into the court with a verdict. Judge Allen said to the jury: "Gentlemen, have you reached a verdict?" Whereupon they answered, "We have." Mr. Smith read the verdict: "We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty."

         Judge Allen said to Mable Jackson: "Mable, you are again a free woman. You may thank your lawyer for his able defense

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of your case. I further add to you, that I don't believe another lawyer in town could have brought you out of this affair so well. Go home and continue to conduct yourself right and we will see that you are protected."

         Mable sprang to her feet and throwing her arms around the neck of her lawyer she, as well as her children, wept bitterly.



         The attention which we gave to the details of our business ere long began to tell for our success. We were pleased, of course, when we got a case where there was a large fee, but we were industrious where the fees were small, and in fact where there were no fees at all. Pople often asked our advice and received legal instructions without knowing that our services merited more than "Thank you." But we were at all times polite and obliging and never forgot that we were pioneers and must expect some irregularities.

         Our business enlarged its scope with the months. We took land cases and suits and cases of all kinds, both civil and criminal. A suit brought against the International Order of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor at Dallas, Texas, by Miss Lillie Rivers, a popular young lady of Houston, Texas, for $2,500.00 on a policy, was easily won. The letter explaining the case, and the reply, follows:

Dallas, Texas, July . . . . . 1902.

Hon. J. Vance Lewis.

         Dear Sir: I would like to secure your services to represent the International Order of the Knights and Daughters of

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Tabor, an organized, incorporated and chartered institution to do business within the State of Texas. One Miss Lilly Rivers, of your city, brought suit against this institution for $2,500.00 on a policy of a supposed adopted mother of hers, and through the negligence of some of our local agents failing to notify for the date of the trial she has a judgment against us for the sum of $2,500.00. I am told that the judgment was secured in the 55th District Court. Please examine the records and let me know if you will represent us in the settlement of the judgment.

Yours truly,


         We found time for the least cases, and at one time I had as many as one hundred divorce cases on file. Our success was the occasion of much jealousy, and there are no bounds to the depth of infamy into which it may lead one. Its venom is often concealed, but is no less poisonous for that.

         There was a little two-by-four colored lawyer, and one or two low class white ones in Houston, who made a living out of the little cases, especially the divorce cases which were now coming to us. When not drunk they watched our success with ever-increasing envy and finally reported to Judge Chas. E. Ashe and also to Judge W. P. Hamblen that there was some irregularity in the citation of every case that I had on file. Our success had been phenomenal, and I do not wonder that Judge Hamblen believed the statement of this Cateline and his cohorts.

         I was summoned to appear before Judge Hamblen and to show why my license should not be revoked. He made temporary suspension which was to last until forty-eight (48) divorce suits could be investigated. It was on March 16th, 1903, that the case was called. The State was represented by County


C. E. W. DAY
Chief Grand Mentor K. & D. of Tabors of Texas.

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Attorney F. L. Schwander and Judge Kirlicks, as able a pair as the bench affords. Judge Hamblen was in the chair. Forty-eight witnesses in the divorce suits, in which I was charged with forgery, were present, and without exception testified that they had signed the citations sent them by me and that I had not forged. I leave my readers to say what the verdict under the circumstances should have been and relate what actually occurred. This is what the verdict said: "J. Vance Lewis, I don't find the evidence sufficient to convict you on anything, but with power vested in me as judge I shall suspend you from the bar for six (6) months, because of indiscretion in your office." Conspirators had won "by fair or by foul means," they cared not. As Burns aptly says, "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn."

         We had to discontinue a lucrative practice for six long months, and why? Because, forsooth, somebody thought we had been "indiscreet" in our office.

         But adverse circumstances have no power to thwart a man of invincible courage and strong determination. I knew that I could make a success at law, and would do it in spite of everybody, and the only problem that I had to solve was what to do with the immediate future. I needed rest but had not planned to take as much as six months of it; I wanted to travel but had not as yet reached the place where I thought I could spare the money. I longed to learn something of English jurisprudence but had never had time to devote to its study. I now saw how all of these aims might be accomplished. I was short of cash, having invested constantly in real estate, and so I arranged to deliver twenty-eight addresses in Arkansas, Kansas,

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Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. My last address was delivered at the Fifty-Third street Baptist church in New York City, of which Rev. C. T. Walker was pastor. I secured enough money from these addresses to pay my expenses while abroad, and sailed in a vessel called the "Minnehaha."

         We were ten days on the sea, when we encountered a dreadful storm, but when the wrath of the sea-king was appeased, we landed safe at Tilberry, a port twenty miles south from London. When our baggage had been inspected we came ashore and took overland passage to London.

         It was July 4th, and the President of France, Monsieur Luberque, was in the city visiting the late King Edward of England. There was a grand parade and it certainly was a pleasant sight, but nothing in the parade touched or affected me and caused my heart to swell with pride like the passing of Honorable Joseph Choate, the American ambassador, whose carriage was drawn by two prancing American steeds, which were decorated with Old Glory, and behind which a band played "My Country 'Tis of Thee." I've been told since that they were playing "God Save the King," but the tune is one and the same to me.

         After I had been in London three days, I entered London Lane Law School, and studied law there for some time, and at the close of school, Lord Berkeley made a motion in common plea court that I be admitted to the bar to practice law in the United Kingdom. Before practicing law I decided to continue my travels. I purchased a Clark's excursion ticket and left London for Paris, France. From France I visited the following

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places: Venice, Rome, St. Petersburg. Kishnif, through Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and back to London.

         While in London I had the pleasure of representing Sidney Rose and George Frost, two American subjects that had been arrested in Tilberry Park, charged by the police with disturbing the peace. These cases came to trial before the Magistrate Court, and the evidence showed that these men at the time of their arrest had American flags in their hands, singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." The presiding judge was a broad-minded man, and he released the prisoners, and further, said: "I compliment you. A man who fails to sing his national song in any country should be exiled."

         Mr. Hugler, secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association, made an engagement that I deliver an address to the Young Men's Christian Association. He requested that I take as a subject, "The Relations That Exist Between the White and Black Man of America." In truth the English people were very anxious to hear the true status of the Negro's case in America. The night on which the address was to be delivered the doors were open at 6:30 p.m., and by 7 o'clock standing room was at a premium; the receipts showed that sixteen hundred tickets had been sold.

         The author was introduced to the audience by Mr. Merrion Boniparte, a young man who had made the journey with the author while touring the continent. He said in part: "It is an extreme pleasure to introduce to the citizens of Great Britain a citizen of a sister nation, a man of color, belonging to another race, but equal in the sight of God, and entitled to the same

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privileges and consideration as any Anglo-Saxon. Before you now is Barrister J. Vance Lewis."

         The author began his address as follows: "I have longed to see a nation of people who love God and know men; I have longed to see your king and your kingdom. It was told to me before leaving my home, that the gracious spirit and the sympathetic hearts of the English people go far out in love and sympathy for all mankind, be he white or black, and I here appreciate the honor conferred upon me as an American subject to speak to you as citizens of the Old World. I am delighted to see that under the international relationship of nations both England and America are like unto the peaceful bosom of an undisturbed sea, each brooding her young constitutionally, and safe-guarding their interests as an eagle does its young. I love America as you love your kingdom, and I feel that you would deal impartially with your nation as I must with mine. The law under which we are governed cannot be questioned so far as the purport of said laws are concerned, yet in all kingdoms and republics men occasionally break the law, and through the law-breaking their reports are untrue or exaggerated. Circumstances of great events more than forty-five years ago in America caused a boundary line, which is known as the Mason and Dixon line. The Northern section of the United States advocated the freedom of the slaves, and the Southern section maintained that slavery should and ought to exist. The slavery question became a paramount issue, and was brought to fever heat in the two legislative branches of the government. The two contending factions could reach no definite agreement. A tide in the affairs of men and government took a peculiar course, hoping by

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the inactions to settle the difficulty. The South seceded from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was at that time President of the United States. He believed, as all men should, that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, should not and could not be divided. The secession of the South was the direct and the immediate cause of the Negro emancipation. The Emancipation Proclamation put the Negro in America upon his own responsibility. It made him an heir to the religious, political and educational honors that he had been deprived of for more than two hundred years. In truth he was illiterate, but ambitious. He craved for everything that had a tendency to lift the race of mankind upward, and I now say for him, he has within forty years climbed out of the ditch to a place in science, literature and art that bespeaks much for him in the growth of a civilization as great as this. In America he meets many difficulties. Laws are passed with hopes of segregating him. With the Jim Crow laws already passed, and the "grandfather" clauses and rather prohibitory ballot box laws passed by the Southern states, the Negro sees before him the great mountain of prejudice, but he is now hard at work trying to solve the problem as how to cut through, or go around, or to go over the mountain, and still maintain friendship with those who have tried to hinder him. Time will soon tell how well he will act his part, but here say for him, that in every step made by him he is precautious and diplomatic. His conduct will win for him a place among those with whom he lives as well as with those who know him not. The American Negro bids me ask your sympathy and prayers and he will prove to the world, if an opportunity is given him and he is let alone, his posterity will not be ashamed of the record he will leave to them."

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         At the close of this address I was surrounded by many English admirers, who grasped my hand and bade me the divine blessings of God.

         There had been so much of turmoil and strife in my life just preceding, that I may have been a little pessimistic in my views of the South, and I know that I was melancholy, like the dove deprived of its mate. I mourned for a maiden's sweet voice and a sweetheart's smile. All of the wonderful attractions of a London season were insufficient to hold me.

         "Seest thou a man diligent in his business; he shall stand before kings."--Proverbs of Soloman.

         "There is no blessing equal to the possession of a stout heart. Even if a man fail in his effort, it will be a satisfaction to him to enjoy the consciousness of having done his best. In humble life nothing can be more cheering and beautiful than to see a man combating suffering by patience, triumphing in his integrity, and who, when his feet are bleeding and his limbs failing him, still . . . . . upon his courage."--Samuel Miles.

         "The truest wisdom is a resolute determination."--Napoleon.

         "A cover vaillant rien clins possible."--Jacques Coeur.

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                         Ah, distinctly I remember,
                         It was in the bleak December
                         And each separate dying ember
                         Wrought its ghost upon the floor;
                         Eagerly I wished the morrow,
                         Vainly I had sought to borrow
                         From my books surcease of sorrow--
                         Sorrow for the lost Lenore--
                         For the rare and radiant maiden
                         Whom the angels named Lenore--
                         Nameless here forevermore!

--Edgar Allan Poe.

                         He either fears his fate too much,
                         Or his deserts are small,
                         That dares not put it to the touch
                         To gain or lose it all.

--Marquis of Montrose.


         It is strange how easily a fellow becomes homesick when he is separated from a girl he values more than life by such a broad expanse of water as an ocean. I found myself fidgety and irritable, almost unable to wait until the vessel started, but about 9:30 o'clock the gang plank was raised and we began to glide away. The vessel on which I sailed was the Umbra, one of the best ships owned by the Cunard line. We stopped at Queenstown to take up the mail, and after two hours put into deep water and began to plough its azure surface. In about

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six days we put into port at Pier No. 48 in the East River at New York. I was glad when my feet again struck the firm earth. Almost immediately I wired to Miss Pauline Gray, and afterwards to Dr. F. R. Roby, that I was again in the United States and was coming to Texas. Dr. Roby answered my telegram as follows: "Prejudice running high. Will be indicted if you return." I wondered what could be the matter now. I knew that it was the work of the men who had conspired to have me suspended, but what new trick they had up their sleeves I could not fathom. Some men would have waited to get the particulars. I felt that I had been away long enough. Cowards always work better when one is away, and I decided to face them and single-handed to combat any charges against me. Accordingly I bought a ticket for Houston, Texas. When I arrived I found that Dr. Roby had told the simple truth. Colored lawyers and white lawyers, too, got together as soon as they knew I was in town, and I saw them as busy as ants, carrying news to the grand jury.

         Charges were prepared against me by Joe and Maggie Moore, charging me with swindling them out of two lots valued at $1,500. I was arrested and Judge W. C. Mathews fixed the bond at $2,500. While in jail many friends came to see me; they all sympathized with me, some prayed for me, but I felt that a bondsman, be he white or black, would do me more good than prayers or sympathy. The trial was set for ten days later.

         Night came and as the somber shades fell I planned how I would fight off the rats and other jail creatures. I was aroused from my reverie by the keepers turning the lock of my cell and the jailer informed me that my young master, Mr. D. S.


Mr. D. S. Cage and Miss Pauline Gray Visit Lewis at the Harris
County Jail.

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Cage, and Miss Pauline Gray, desired to talk with me. If ever a man was surprised I was. Oh! how glad I was! I said I was glad to see them and apologized because I had to receive them in such a place. Mr. Cage said: "Joe, I am very sorry, indeed, to see you here in this place. I have no land whereupon I can be your bondsman, but something must be done. I can't see you suffer without at least trying to help you. I have a few thousands to my credit which I will put up this night if needed. Say, I am gone, but my head will not touch a pillow nor shall my eyes close in sleep until you are out of this prison." I turned then again to Pauline. I chided her for coming to such a place. I pleaded my unworthiness and begged her to leave until I could come to her with a name and a reputation that would not cast a reflection upon her. But it is as the poet says, "Man's love is of man a thing apart; 'tis woman's whole existence." And the dear girl said "No." If I went down she would go with me. That she would never forgive herself if she deserted me when I most needed her. She felt and heard the vile gossip of the busy-bodies, but heeded them not. I had loved her before, but now I adored her. I had never doubted that my love was returned even before this, but nothing could happen now that would cause me to doubt. I knew my love was an angel. In about thirty minutes, thirty minutes of unalloyed bliss, the telephone rang. Judge Mathews said that Mr. D. S. Cage had assured him that J. Vance Lewis would be present in court on the day set for trial, and ordered the jailer to let me out. Never before did liberty seem so sweet; the gloom of despondency melted away, and I saw the moon at its full shedding all the light it could upon a world which

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otherwise would have been dark. The winds whispered a new song and everything seemed right with the world. The kindness of Mr. Cage was uppermost in my mind, you know, because I have told you in a previous chapter of the friendship that existed between my young master and myself from early childhood. He was never a sentimental kind of man, but the kind who if he likes you will stick to you through thick and thin. The memory of my childhood days came wildly back to me, and I remembered how many times Mr. Cage had befriended me during the toilsome hours in the ditch, and on the farms, and also in the glad, happy hours when we sang and danced before the cabin doors. For a moment I wished those days were here again, but in a moment more I was glad they were not. Emancipation has done so much for the Southland that no man would welcome the return of slavery. My meditations were interrupted and I again gave my attention to the immediate present. Falsehood, false friendship and prejudice had joined hands to make for me a suit of stripes with a number on the back of my shirt. If I had been a woman I might have found relief in tears. As it was, I gritted my teeth and asked God to give me "strength for the fight."

         Ten days of imprisonment is an age, but ten days of freedom is a very short time, and so the time for the trial was soon at hand. The State was represented by Attorney J. V. Lea and Assistant Attorney Richard Lewis. I was represented by the the firm of Brockman & Kahn, the ablest defense I could secure anywhere in the state. I realized that I had a difficult fight, for it is easy in law to prove what manufactured circumstantial evidence seems to indicate.


Attorney for J. Vance Lewis.

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         The first witness called was Joe Moore, who testified as follows: "I employed J. Vance Lewis as attorney for my daughter, Mrs. Mary Chambers, who had cause for a damage suit against the City of Fort Worth Electric Railway Company, because of injuries sustained through negligence of said corporation. We had no money to pay for the services rendered and we gave him a mortgage against our homestead for one hundred and fifty ($150.00) dollars. Eighteen months after the mortgage had been given I was informed that Lewis had filed a deed for my property, and the instrument filed by Lewis, if it is a deed, was intended by us to be a mortgage."

         On cross-examination, Attorney J.B. Brockman said: "Joe Moore, you admit that you employed Lewis to render legal service for you?"

         Moore--Yes, sir.

         Brockman--You further admit that for services rendered you signed an instrument in writing?

         Moore--Yes, sir.

         Producing the deed signed by Maggie and Joe Moore and written by and sworn to before J. Leon Jones, a notary public, Mr. Brockman asked: "Moore, is this your handwriting on this deed?"

         Moore--Yes, sir.

         Brockman--You may stand aside.

         Maggie Moore was then called to the stand. She testified that she had signed the instrument with her husband, but that when she signed it she understood it to be a mortgage. That J. Leon Jones, the notary public, examined her privily and

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away from her husband, and explained the instrument fully to her before she signed it.

         With this testimony the State rested.

         The defense produced only the instrument and the notary public as witnesses. They testimony of the latter follows: "I am a notary public in and for Harris county. Joe Vance Lewis asked me to write a deed conveying two lots in the Holman survey from Joe Moore and Maggie Moore to J. Vance Lewis, the consideration being five hundred ($500.00) dollars. I wrote the deed as he requested, charging him for service rendered one dollar and fifty cents. After the instrument was prepared I notified him that it was ready. Moore came and brought with him his wife, Maggie Moore. I read and explained the deed thoroughly to them. I asked them did they know what they were doing; they said that they were signing a deed of two lots to J. Vance Lewis."

         Both State and defendant rested in the case.


         District Attorney J. V. Lea took the vied in his argument that these were old Negroes, scarcely knowing how to read or write, and being of the same race that J. Vance Lewis is, they placed all confidence in him, and whatever Lewis told them to do they were like sheep led to a slaughter, they did it, be it right or wrong. J. Vance Lewis is a shrewd Negro, and with such argument he persuaded the justice of the Peace to bind him over to the grand jury, and fix his bond at such sum that both he and his friends would have trouble to give.

         Mr. J. B. Brockman, attorney for the author, made a telling

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speech, one long to be remembered. He presented authority after authority in support of his contention that no crime could grow out of the legal transaction, when all parties to the transaction admitted that they signed the instrument and understood it. He proved that Lewis had no interest further than what they willingly gave him. He called attention to the fact that Lewis had no part in the making and the delivering of the instrument; never dictated it. He reminded the justice that the notary public stated that Lewis never saw the instrument and in truth never had anything to do with it until it was delivered to him. At the close of the argument Justice Matthews remarked that he did not believe Lewis was guilty of anything, but he would not be responsible for turning him loose. He would put the responsibility up to the grand jury. He fixed Lewis' bond at two thousand five hundred ($2,500.00) dollars, to appear to the next grand jury. When Judge Matthews stated that the defendant should go to jail to await the action of the grand jury, Mr. Brockman, the author's attorney, became so enraged over the injustice of the case that he in truth used language too warm to be held between the lids of this book. As they were taking me off to jail, he said: "Go on, Lewis; do not get discouraged. When you reach the penitentiary, I will be there with you, and serve your time for you. They cannot succeed at prosecuting and persecution."

         I was turned over to a deputy sheriff, to be carried to the county jail for safe-keeping until the bond could be made. The officer was Mr. John Smith. He said as he approached me: "Lewis, it is a shame to handcuff you, and I will not do so; neither will I take you down in the city patrol wagon. I am

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going to trust you to walk down to the jail with me, and at the same time if you can find any one to sign your bond, I will go with you and do all in my power to help you to get out of jail."

         We left Justice Matthews' office for the county jail. We came up Preston to Travis, and turned out Travis and on reaching Travis and Capitol, we ran into several prominent colored men of this city discussing the case. Among them were Rev. N. P. Pullum, Rev. F. L. Lights, Rev. H. R. Johnson, Rev. E. H. Branch, Rev. S. B. Southerner, Prof. P. C. Reed, Prof. B. H. Grimes, Dr. R. F. Ferrell and Dr. F. L. McDavid. As we passed some one said: "I don't believe that man is guilty, and if he is the State has failed to prove the case, and I think as citizens of Houston we should not let him go to jail; we should go to his rescue." I think it was Rev. Pullum who said this: "I'll sign his bond." Dr. Ferrell said: "I'll sign his bond." Rev. Lights said: "I'll sign his bond, too." Prof. Buck Grimes said: "I would sign it a dozen times, but I have nothing but a homestead and that is exempt by law; but suppose we call up J. B. Bell and see if he will sign the bond with Pullum, Ferrell and Lights." I learned afterward that this suggestion was approved and Rev. N. P. Pullum stepped into the Bayou City Drug Store and called up 2605. Rev. Pullum said to Mr. Bell: "Mr. Bell, a committee of gentlemen is waiting here at the drug store on business of very much importance, which must be attended to at once, and we cannot further proceed unless you are present; may I say to the committee that you will come at once?" Mr. Bell said: "Yes, you may say to them that I will be present within the next few minutes." Ten minutes later Mr. Bell arrived, and

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Revs. Lights and N. P. Pullum had a private conference with him about signing the bond. At the end of the conference Mr. Bell and Rev. Lights called on me and said to me: "We will sign your bond on these terms: You will have to report to us once a week, and should you at any time desire to go out of the city, you will first notify us and at the same time give us your contemplated destination, and on arrival drop us a card or a letter." The author at once gladly agreed to do whatever his bondsmen desired him to do. So the deputy sheriff, Mr. John Smith, Rev. Lights, Rev. Pullum and Mr. Bell returned to Sheriff Anderson's office, and in thepresence of the sheriff, Mr. Voss, and Mr. Conway the bond was signed by Rev.F.L.Lights, J.B.Bell and Rev. N. P. Pullum, thus making me a bondman for seven years, during all this time I was stopped from taking criminal cases in the district court of Harris county. I thought at first that this would work a hardship upon me, but after thinking the matter over I made up my mind to make a specialty of divorce cases in the district courts of Harris county, and during my seven years suspension I filed 3820 divorce cases, all of which netted me a neat little fee of $25.00 in each case. The criminal charge was still pending against me and was called for trial more than thirty times and continued by the State. The final result of this case will be treated in another chapter.

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         There is an end to everything but eternity and so when despair was about setting upon me the result in this unequal fight came to an end. Mr. J. B. Brockman still conducted the defense; W. C. Oliver officiated as District Attorney; J. K. P. Gillispie presided as judge. The case was again submitted to the jury and when the evidence was all in the jury voted eleven for acquittal and one for conviction. Mr. Oliver and Mr. Brockman agreed that the case would never again come to trial. As my mind was at rest I consented to deliver the Emancipation address before the citizens of Cameron, Texas.


         I was born a slave as you know and spent many weary hours in the ditch immediately after the Emancipation, but no man has less to complain of than myself. I spent my happiest days in it, and if I did not know its evil consequences both to master and man I would glory in it. I had exceptionally good owners as you will agree, both from their treatment before and since emancipation. They were what my mother used to call "quality."

         The following address contains no malice towards slavery and casts many sidelights upon the present condition and progress of my people:

         "Fellow Citizens of Cameron and Citizens of the United States: To you who are a part and a parcel of this great government, I come to address you regarding your past, present and future relationship to this, our country.

         "The creators, ingenious, liberty-loving and God-fearing


"We Signed His Bond Because We Believed Him to Be Innocent."

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fathers that framed the Constitution of the United States, foresaw possibility for their posterity, politically, religiously, socially, educationally and commercially, that would make for them a place in the world's annals of the great. They did not see before them out on the bosom of the political sea the great storm they would have to encounter before they could write upon an independent banner, 'America's Freedom.' They saw bloodshed and death to reach the goal; they would have to fully decide to brave the deep chasm and build a monument of patriotic bones, quit-claiming to their posterity a free and independent government and forever erasing the jurisdiction of England as sovereign and lord of the land. They saw duty and death and to acquire a place as sovereign power they obeyed duty's call, met death, and left to us as a legacy, a country and government that today demands the respect of the whole world.

         "As I trace backward through the pages of history, and as I again go forward from the dawn to the present, I witness this fact: That two distinct races fought for one principle, one government and for all the people. Just as other nations recognize our declaration of principles as a free and independent government, they foreshadowed us as a coming great power, and being as we are known to be, a government for the people, of the people, and by the people, whose fundamentality is the rock on which we stand and are now building. This people with whom I hold allegiance, marched in battle array and in funeral tread along by the side of his white brother until they together sung the song and battle cry of 'Freedom,' declaring Old Glory ours to live and ours to die.

         "You are found today in a most conspicuous gathering, a

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gathering of men, women and children, to express their unanimous approval of your freedom which is sanctioned by the Constitution, the Constitution being the fundamental law of the land by which we are all governed. This day has its influence upon us as other days have had its influence upon other patriotic white citizens within this great republic, when they are moved by the same spirit that actuated us as a free and independent people. As I look out over this vast audience, I see here and there another race which is identified with the Anglo-Saxon, a people who forty-four years ago could and did exchange human souls for gold at will, who now come to join us to make this a gala day. One hundred and thirty-three years ago this, our country, was but a barren and trackless wildnerness. Great problems were then before the fathers of this land for adjustment, and, indeed, were of vital importance. Men of that day could not afford to move through passion as they are moving now, but before moving, to do or die, it was first after a sound and sober consideration. In 1775 when the destiny of this nation was to survive or perish, men of sound and sober judgment met in old Fanuel Hall, and, with one stroke of the pen created one of the greatest countries and governments the world has ever known, unfurling a parchment that will live until the memory of man is lost.

         "It is true, brave and patriotic men have lost their lives on the field of battle, yet they died because there was a principle involved, and that principle was and is 'liberty.' More than four millions of my race on this glorious day were raised from serfdom to the position of citizenship, and they are now freemen and must progress or retrograde. The past condition

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did not suit us; we were ignorant and did not know how to serve God intelligently. We were told by our emancipators that every religious, commercial and political possibility was now ours, and the only way we could enjoy these privileges was by educating ourselves. For more than two hundred and fifty years we existed and not lived, for no man can live without education, and all the training that we had ever received was a training of humility and servitude, yet while groping in darkness we through prayer had touched God's right hand and were now to be lifted up.

         "The smoke of the war has died away and we gather the relics from daring battlefields where great men of both races had fallen and over yonder graveyards we see monuments erected in honor to their sacred memory for valor and service. Fellow citizens, our race should share alike in this country as other races are now enjoying. I cannot see why or how our Constitution so broad in its foundation and so liberal in its meaning should not be understood by some of the adverse parties and leaders regarding our constitutional rights as citizens of the United States. Tell me the day or the time the Negro has failed to obey his country's call when he was needed in the defense of a just principle, for the maintenance of peace and the integrity of this nation? Not once. See him in the revolutionary war, with Mexico, and in the war of the rebellion, and last but not least when he stood as the granite wall as the breastworks at San Juan Hill for a principle and helped to expand the nation's territory. When this government of ours is at peace with itself and with other nations, the Negro carries within his bosom a spirit of humility and love for all mankind, but when our institutions

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are threatened and the safety of this nation is trembling, he assumes another aspect. I pray thee look upon him now; his eyes take the glow of an eagle and his breast upheaves like a lion; he pricks his ears and listens to his nation's bugle call, on to war to die. After the battle is over and the victory is achieved he returns to his farm, where with his muscle he is ready to again become the productive servant of the world. By the pen of Lincoln the Negroes were turned loose without shelter, home or raiment, to do or perish. He decided to do. He was left alone; he could see nothing before him but a green landscape that had to be felled and cleared and turned into a commercial garden. This, my friend, he did, and today he is styled the backbone of American industry. The Negro took on new responsibilities; he began to realize that he was in need of education. He had learned so late as 1878 that the Blair Educational bill had been killed, and the South had decided to educate her citizens out of her public funds and that the Northern men with money would also help them. The schools of the South were open and the Negro, thirsty for education, went pouring into them like wild ducks to a silvery lake. Charges had been made against him that he could not solve the mystery of the then unknown sciences, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and botany. Did the Negro make good or did he fail? I think he made good. Call, I pray you, to our leading colleges and schools and ask to examine the curriculum of both white and colored colleges, and you will find Negroes who through their science, skill and ability are proving their efficiency by taking off class honors. We have had our Douglass, Revell, Bruce and other men in their time who had honors thrust upon them.

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They were men of the old school, but the men of this day and time will have to make their way in every walk of life through the pathway of education, and you, my friend, will have no easy sailing.

         "You can make men respect you. The man that is a farmer, you continue tilling and fertilizing the soil and reap and harvest your productions, take them to the best market until men learn of you, and they will hunt for your farm, because you give to the market the best grain and vegetables. The world wants the best, and if the best is in you, you will be on the market whether you are white or black. I say to you, my friend, the South is the place for us. Great opportunities confront us here. Continue your good citizenship and the few who now oppress you will soon become your friends, because you have shown to him that you are worthy of his confidence and his friendship.

         "Let us as a race respect our women, and at the same time demand the respect of others. We should stop mourning the death of American citizens when they die for a good cause. Let us mourn the loss of that which is most sacred to our religious and political growth, and that is the virtue of our women, which to us should be and is more sacred than life itself. You are a people of great endurance; you have withstood many things and you will have to stand many more, but never look back; march on and on, on to victory, until men see you as you are, a race of men with unswerving ability. Continue, my fellow citizens, to love and respect your country and its Constitution. The Constitution is a faultless parchment, and if any laws have been passed which are conflicting, segregating us as a race, it is a

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direct violation of the constitutional rights of American citizenship, and the court will correct the evil.

         "Much is being said about the Negro in the South and who is his friend. I bring to you this news: Our friends are many and our enemies are but few, both North and South. I am here to admit that there are a few men in the South who are in position to do us good and not harm themselves if they would just please let the Negro question solve itself. It is true we can see men all over this country who wish to gain a little prestige over a certain class of people for self-aggrandizement from a political standpoint, and the only way this man can see his way up to the public eye he must write something or speak something against the Negro. In truth his heart is not in accord with what he says or does, but the Negro question has had the public eye, and to oppress the Negro he seems to think it will elevate him. If the Creator thought it wise to make me just what He knew would suit Him best, and He made the other race just as He thought best, then why should I take any exceptions to the hand of creation, when He knew what He was doing when He made man? Then I say any other man who is so weak as to go against the Creator of the universe should be forgiven by any civilized people, because he is dangerous to society, and is a menace against public virtue, and is insane.

         "Some of you, my friends, have become discouraged because you are discouraged and disfranchised, and you cannot see a gleam of light, but I pray you give not up. Time is indeed a fleeting shadow, when our God within the shadow will reap for you a harvest in the perfect day. It is charged that our forefathers, who are styled the old Negro, are better citizens

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and neighbors than the young Negroes are of today. This may or may not be true, and I think I can here explain why. In the first place, conditions have greatly changed. Before emancipation white men knew us and knew our thoughts, hence there was a closer affinity then than there is now. The relationship of master and slave then existed, and the Negro was not a thinker and did not think for himself. Thus you can now see the estrangement between a thinker and one thought for. The man who thinks for another becomes wise and must be superior to the one he is responsible to and for. The white man is a thinker, and he is now relieved of the responsibilities to think for the Negro, because the Negro is also a thinker. The Negroes are indeed a sensitive race, and why? For more than two hundred years he has been put on the crucifix and he is fearful of every result, be it good or bad. Let the courts of this country teach such lessons that will say to the Negro that you will get as fair and impartial trial as another, as any other citizen and you will see the Negro in another light.

         "If a Negro wishes to become great, now is the time to begin your greatness. Watch and care for your cradles, for in the cradle is held the destiny of our race. Teach babies to be men and true women. Then the battle is over, the victory is won, because good Christian character is what this government is founded upon, and upon it shall all men become great. I charge you, my friends, that the road to fame and fortune is paved with patience, virtue and perseverence; you will rise and fall as you go upward and onward, but with a fixed purpose in view you will sooner or later reach the goal.

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                         'The heights of great men gained and kept,
                         Were not attained by sudden flight;
                         But they, while their companions slept,
                         Were toiling upward in the night.'

         "Rest your hope in Jehovah's God, as the sun goes marching across the blue sky, leaving a beautiful halo of purple and gray to your sweetest memory, believe me, you will leave to your posterity a name and fame."

                         The black behind the bars did stay,
                         Awaiting the golden hallowed day;
                         Sunshine was his to hope to see--
                         Sweet freedom rings his liberty.

                         The chains about his neck did break,
                         Falling upon the ground,
                         Makes the whole earth quake;
                         Though slumbering over a century or more,
                         Awake! Awake! A golden shore.

                         The dawn had come, the mist rolled away,
                         The dreamer's dream had come aright--
                         The day is here, no more is it night;
                         The wrong is changed--
                         God blessed the right.


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         You are now acquainted with my triumph over the conspirators, but you can never know how glad I was to be re-admitted to the criminal courts. I had lost thousands of dollars and I had no time for malice or retaliation. If I had lost the money, it was a consolation to know that my enemies had gained nothing by it. The practice had gone into other channels and that was enough for me. I cannot describe the many cases which engaged my attention at this time, but there are one or two which I must speak of. Soon after I re-entered the courts there came a celebrated case. There was not much in the case itself, perhaps, but the events attending the prosecution of the case rendered it famous. The trial was at Liberty, Texas, and I was compelled to leave before concluding the argument. I explained why I left in the Houston Chronicle of March the 6th, as follows:

         From J. Vance Lewis; tells of an experience at Liberty:

         The Chronicle: Please allow me to make a statement in defense of myself in the columns of your fair and impartial publication. Professional and legal business required my presence in Liberty, Texas, Thursday of this week. Henry Green, Grant Cole and Will Cherry, under indictment by the grand jury of Liberty county, employed me to defend them. This fact was made known to the court and all concerned quite a fortnight ago, at which time I had all the witnesses in the case summoned, and the date and time for trial agreed to by the county attorney, Hon. H. B. Tucker, and myself.

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         When the case of Will Cherry was called Thursday morning, I served notice upon the court and County Attorney Tucker that I was about to file a motion asking the court to quash the indictment, also the special venire that had been summoned to try Cherry, and gave notice that I would proceed along the lines that no Negro had served on the jury commission, the grand jury that had presented the indictment, and that none had been summoned on the special venire, and that in my opinion the indictment was faulty. Judge Hightower, who was presiding, showed me every courtesy of a well-bred Southern gentleman. He said to me that he would see that my client got justice, and that I would be accorded every privilege that had been accorded any member of the bar. Just as we were about to enter into the case for trial an official beckoned me into an anteroom for a private talk, and on reaching the room he, with hand in pocket, used language, coupled with threats (too warm to print), and he further added that he had a number of men ready to fire upon me at a moment's notice, and that he would give me until the next train arrived to leave the city. I reported these facts to the court and the court again gave me assurance that I would have all the protection which it could give, and told me to proceed with my case. I saw the official above mentioned getting his men together to put into execution his threats. I then called upon Sheriff Cherry for protection and he immediately summoned his deputies and other citizens to his side and at the same time told the "white cappers" that he was ready for the fray, and said, "In duty bound to this office that he was ready to die in his boots in defense of his office." The "white cappers" began to gather fast and thick. The sheriff then advised

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that I leave the city, and he with deputies escorted me to the station while those bent on doing me bodily harm followed on, using threatening remarks. When the train arrived I boarded the train. The sheriff furnished me escot to Dayton. I regret that such an occurrence should take place in dear old Texas, my native home, having during my many years' practice before the courts of this state found the courts and attaches affable and courteous.

Yours truly,


         The Houston Post of March 8th, 1908, contained the following under "News of the City:"

         "J. Vance Lewis, a Negro attorney of Houston, was in Liberty a few days ago to defend several clients who were before judge Hightower's court, but left rather suddenly because of alleged intimidation by a number of persons. Yesterday Sheriff Cherry of Liberty county came to Houston with an order from Judge Hightower directing Lewis to return Monday morning and represent his client in court, promising him that he would be accorded every protection. Sheriff Cherry also assured Lewis that he would have all needed protection of the officers of Liberty county, and the attorney will go there this morning to appear for those who have employed him as counsel."

         I went back to Liberty. I had certain rights as an attorney and I felt that so long as I was exercising these only I should not be molested. I questioned the sheriff, however, very closely, and believed in his sincerity. I went back to Liberty unarmed. I went to plead law. I expected the officers to provide for my safety and gave my entire thought to the defense of my client.

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The affair was written up in the Industrial Era, and you may read what the paper said:


         Be it remembered that the Honorable J. Vance Lewis should be here and after styled the lion of the hour. There is no man who is more worthy of the distinction given than this man. Attorney Lewis was called to Liberty last Thursday, March the 5th, to defend Will Cherry, Henry Green and Grant Cole, charged by indictment by the grand jurors of this county. When Attorney Lewis reached the city he went at once to the court house and proceeded in his usual manner filing necessary papers in the interest of his clients, and at 9:00 o'clock when the court called Will Cherry's case, Attorney Lewis served notice upon the Court and District Attorney that he would file a motion to quash the indictment as well as the special venire who had been summoned to try Cherry for murder, because it was his opinion the indictment found by the grand jury could not and would not stand the constitutional test before the Federal tribune to which it might go, for the reason that it had not been properly drawn; that no Negroes had served on the commission, grand jury or special venire to try the defendant. Just at this juncture an official of Liberty county suddenly beckoned Attorney Lewis off to an anteroom for a private interview, and on entering the room he threatened Attorney Lewis' life and told him at the same time that unless he (Lewis) desisted in the trial of the cases that he had in Liberty county, that he (the officer) had a number of men ready to fire on him at once, if he did not leave the city on the first incoming train. Attorney

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Lewis made this fact known to Judge Hightower and Sheriff Cherry and they at once summoned to their side and the assistance of Attorney Lewis such protection as I was necessary to hold back the angry vengeance seekers. It is true that Lewis did leave the city upon the request of those citizens who wished to do him great bodily harm, but before leaving he said to them: "You will not permit me to remain in Liberty to try my cases, so I will go to Houston, but I will make Liberty and Liberty county come to Houston to the Federal court." After Attorney Lewis had left the city, Judge Hightower delivered a telling address to the would-be mobbers; and in the strongest terms said: "You have done Liberty county more harm by refusing Lewis the legal rights the law has guaranteed him before this bar than a flood would do a growing crop in a year of prosperity." He further added: "I will issue an order to the sheriff to go for Lewis personally to Houston and summon him to make his appearance in this court Monday, the 9th, and you, Mr. Sheriff, must see to it that during his stay that he will not be harmed; give him every assurance of protection that you and your officers know how, and I personally will see to it that his clients get a fair trial, and he will be protected by me while in the court house." Sunday evening, March the 8th, Attorney Lewis was notified by Sheriff Cherry and in answer to the sheriff's notification Mr. Lewis gave the sheriff to understand that Monday morning he would make his appearance in court. This proves that he is a hero and that he would go into the jaws of death for his clients. He wrote a letter to his wife, contemplating death, which is as follows:--

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"Houston, Texas, March 9th, 1908.

         "My Very Dear Pauline: I have been invited to Liberty by the judge of the court, and sheriff of said county brings me the news. I cannot believe that they, as honorable gentlemen, would act as decoys for an angry mob. I am going to Liberty to defend a poor unfortunate of my race, and I feel it my duty to go and represent him. I am of the opinion that my people need able counselors to defend them at the bar of justice in these United States. I have spent fifteen years trying to educate myself so as to be able to do my full duty to my client; I am only happy when I can help a man charged of crime. I want you to know that it is not ambition that causes me to go into the very jaws of death, but duty and the love of my fellow-man. It is no use to try to live in a country where you daily see your own blood spouting from a great human bosom and run down the pathway of idleness, when your race through you can be helped, and the coward within the man fail to render him available. This invitation may not be a decoy, but if it is I will make the best of it. If while in the court house I am unharmed, I will, my love, return to your arms, but should I be killed in doing my duty, I don't want you to weep. I want you to remember that my death may be the salvation of my people in the courts of the South. God bless you, my true girl, and may you live long and be happy. I am, your husband,


"P.S.--You will find my wife at Dayton, Texas. Address Mrs. J. Vance Lewis."

         Lewis while in Liberty proved his efficiency, and never

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before during all the period of the history of Liberty had she and her citizens witnessed a black man addressing the jury, scholarly, rhetorically, and as teeming with eloquence as they found in this man. The court room was crowded from the judge's stand to the door, and in truth, the corridors during a part of Attorney Lewis' exegeiis of the case; there was such emphatic pleading you could see tears stealing down checks of many. At the close of this case, Judge Hightower read his charge to the jury. The jurors did not deliberate long before they returned, making both counselor and client smile--smile with joy.


         Mrs. Adeline Polk and Mrs. Belle Watts, of Corsicana, employed me to apply for a pardon for Biz Watts and Austin Polk, their sons, who had been sent to the penitentiary by a jury of Navarro county for the remainder of their natural lives, for the murder of Rufus Jamison. Biz and Austin had been in the penitentiary for twelve years. I filed the application for pardon, the case came up for trial, and after the evidence and argument, the Board of Pardons recommended that both Austin and Biz be pardoned and restored to full citizenship. On December the 16th 1908, I received the following letter from the private secretary of Gov. Campbell:

Austin, Texas, . . . . . .

Mr. J. Vance Lewis.

         Dear Sir: The governor has this day pardoned Biz Watts and Austin Polk.

Private Secretary for Governor.

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         As soon as I received the governor's telegram I sent the following telegram to the boy' mother:

December 16th, 1908.

Mrs. Adeline Polk and Mrs. Belle Watts,
1016 East Collin St., Corsicana, Texas.

         Governor Campbell has pardoned Biz and Austin; I will bring them from prison cells to your arms.



         As the train came steaming into Corsicana, on December the 25th, 1908, more than 1,000 citizens were at the depot to welcome J. Vance Lewis returning with Austin Polk and Biz Watts, and as they stepped from the coach to the ground, Mrs. Polk and Mrs. Watts were heard shouting, "My son, my long lost and absent boy. Home again and in my arms after fifteen years." When the tears of joy had all been dried, I said to Mrs. Polk and Mrs. Watts, "I am your Santa Claus by law; take your present in God's name."

         I received a great many letters congratulating me upon my success in this case, among them the following are fair samples:

Waco, Texas, Jan. 4th, 1909.

Honorable J. Vance Lewis, Houston, Texas.

         My Dear Sir: It gives me extreme pleasure to read in the Western Star of your career and success in securing the pardon of Biz Watts and Austin Polk. You realize that I am forced to rejoice when my old friend and Lincoln is making such a noble record. You are not only making a record for yourself, but you are doing so much good for the race. We need your

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efforts in our behalf, and ought to give you the support and encouragement you so justly deserve. God grant that your life may be spared and your usefulness enhanced as the days go by is the prayer and sincere wish of your friend and brother,

Pastor Eighth Street Baptist Church.

Chicago, Ill., Jan. 1st, 1909.

J. Vance Lewis, Houston, Texas.

         Dear Sir: I am a reader of the New York World, Philadelphia Ledger and Chicago Record, and I find throughout the columns of these papers in the associate report from Houston, Texas, your name prominently mentioned as a brilliant and successful Negro lawyer, as well as your sincerity to your client. I am a close reader of all the leading newspapers of this country, and when I chance to see through the columns of any paper the good works and achievements of a Negro before the bar, I cannot but see conditions fastly changing for good for all of our race in this country. I would have been glad to have had the honor to have been present in Corsicana to witness the return of Biz Watts and Austin Polk to their mothers' arms. My prayers for you are that you have continued success and through such men as you the race will gain recognition in all lines.

FRANK G. YOST, 4731 Dearborn St.

New Orleans, La., . . . . .

Mr. J. Vance Lewis, Attorney at Law,
Houston, Texas.

         Dear Sir: I note with pleasure what benefits are being derived for the race by your prominence and energy to the uplift of a down-trodden people. My congratulations for the

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stand you took in freeing those two young men, not exclusively for their benefit, but for the benefit of their sad, stricken mothers as well. I cannot say all I desire in this letter, but do say such men of your type and ability are really needed in service of progress and natural development of the race.

Surveyor of General Office.

Dodge, Texas . . . . .

J. Vance Lewis, Esq., Houston, Texas.

         Dear Sir: Please accept my congratulations for your signal success in securing for Biz Watts and Austin Polk a pardon. I especially compliment you for the bull-dog tenacity with which you have worked, knowing full well that you will be amply paid, not in cents and dollars but in the pleasure obtained in a realization of your fondest professional hope. May you live long and do much good.



         The author wishes his reader to note the fact that the application for a pardon for Biz Watts and Austin Polk was filed for pardon during 1904, while Sayers was governor of the state; it was his board that recommended the pardon; though recommended to him he failed during his administration to grant the pardon. S. W. T. Lanham was thereafter elected governor; Biz Watts and Austin Polk's case was submitted to the governor by the author for pardon; the governor assured the author that during his term of office the prisoners would be pardoned; the governor's term of office expired and nothing was done in the interest of Biz Watts and Austin Polk by the governor. Hon.

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T. M. Campbell was next elected our governor, and the action of the Board of Pardons during the administration of Gov. Sayers was brought to notice of Gov. Campbell by the author, and after a brief review of the case the governor pardoned Biz Watts and Austin Polk and restored them to full citizenship.

         The most voluminous case of all was that against Albert Pollard, an eighteen year old lad charged with the murder of Will Walter, a man of forty. The case was tried in Erath county, where the jury found the defendant guilty. In keeping with my policy of fighting the case was carried to the court of Criminal Appeals. I enclose just that part of the address that was reported by the Dallas Express.

         Attorney J. Vance Lewis' argument in Pollard's case before the Court of Criminal Appeals:

         "May it please this Court, this case, appealed from Erath county, wherein Albert Pollard, March the 8th, 1909, an eighteen-year-old lad, was charged by this State for the murder of Will Walter, a man of forty. We submitted the case in Erath county, upon its merits; the jury found the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree and assessed his punishment at twenty-one years in the penitentiary, and we, not being satisfied with the jury's findings, coupled with many errors in the court's charges to the jury, we have appealed this case to this court, feeling satisfied that the errors of the lower court and the law in the case will be carefully guarded by you. My first exception is to the court's charge to the jury. The charge on second degree murder is predicated entirely on an abstract definition of implied malice, when the issue raised that was sudden killing

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upon an inadequate cause, and that in connection with the communication threat, his being run by deceased, and the sudden meeting as he stepped out of the door, the issue was raised of both adequate and inadequate cause, and the finding of the jury showing that they did not find an adequate cause. Yet if they had been instructed on the law applicable to the facts of an inadequate cause, they probably would have given appellant a lighter penalty; as it was, if the jury found the cause to be inadequate, they were left without any legal yardstick to measure the penalty or degree. And appellant was entitled to a charge on the phase of the case made by evidence. (See ex pare Jones 31; Tex. App. 422; 20 S. W. 983; Reyons vs. State, 32 Tex. App. 121, 22 S. W. 590.)

         "The charge on manslaughter is too restrictive. It limits the adequate cause entirely to matters arising at the time of the homicide, and utterly ignores appellant's testimony that deceased, shortly prior thereto, flourished his razor at him, in connection with threats, as caused such a degree of fear that appellant ran all the way to the hotel, to which he was pursued by the deceased, a larger and stronger and older man. Where there is a prior provocation or circumstance which illustrates the matters transpiring at the time of the homicide, the jury should be instructed to look to that in determining whether in connection with the sudden meeting and demonstration testified about there might be adequate cause. (See Ivory vs. State, 87 S. W. 699; Orman vs. State, 24 Tex. App., 495.)

         "Even a sudden meeting, viewed in the light of the threats might constitute an adequate cause. (Swain vs. State, 86 S. W.

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335; Yancy vs. State, 87 S. W. 693, and Lara vs. State, 89 S. W. 840.) The charge is too restrictive because it ignores the threats in connection with the meeting of parties, and while the jury might have not thought that appellant saw enough demonstration to raise self-defense, it might have caused them to convict of manslaughter. (Examine Swain case, 86 S. W. 335.) Where there are more phases than one of manslaughter the charge is too restrictive, which fail to charge them all and it restricts it to one. (Cooper vs. State, 14 Tex. Court Reporter 94; Cooper vs. State, 85 S. W. 1059; Cooper vs. State, 68 S. W. 785; Ward vs. State, 18 S. W. 793.) The evidence raising the issues the court was not the judge of their probable truth, but should have left them to the jury. (Examine Swain case, 86 S. W. 335.) The charge was too restrictive. It required the jury to find that the defendant was threatened and attacked, or about to be attacked, instead of instructing the jury to view the matter from the standpoint of the defendant. It is the belief of defendant, from his own viewpoint, as to the existence of and not the truth of these facts, which must be submitted to the jury. (See Stacy vs. State, 86 S. W. 327.) The charge on self-defense was too restrictive because it limited the defnse to the jury finding the fact of the attack and was based on an actual instead of an apparent attack. (Read Poole vs. State, 45 Tex. Cr. Rep. 348.) Appellant moved to quash the venire and the indictment because the African race was discriminated against in the selection of the jurors, and grand jurors and commissioners, the evidence that for 26 years no member of that race had been complimented by serving in either of these agencies in the administration

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of justice in Erath county, and though the jury commissioners who drew the venire testified that they had instructions to and did not discriminate, one saying that he only knew two Negroes, one being dead and the other gone, and another stating they had no names among the Negroes who in their judgment were competent to serve. The other saying there was no discrimination, but such men were drawn of their acquaintance and such as were suggested by the commissioners, distributing the list over the county as near as possible. The population of the county was shown to be about 40,000, and the percentage of Negro voters was about one and one-half per cent, which was about the average per cent for a number of years. Their action is unconstitutional. (See Collins vs. State, 177 U. S. 427; Whitney vs. State, 59 S. W. 895; Lewis vs. State, 59 S. W. 1116.) I am indeed at a loss to see and to know that the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States cannot be respected. So far as the Federal Constitution, that speaks in thunderous tone through the Fourteenth Amendment, which is the safe-guard for the Negro race, Mr. Lewis says if the case is affirmed, it will go to the Supreme Court of the United States if a rehearing is denied his client."

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         Men in public life are often called upon to make addresses upon various subjects. The author is no exception, and we are often requested to deliver addresses which business compels us to decline. A letter from Rev. Lorenzo Williams contained a request which we felt constrained to accept. The letter follows:

Corsicana, Texas, October 25th, 1903.

Mr. J. Vance Lewis.

         Dear Sir: The Religious Parliament will convene in this city within a few days, and we would like to secure your services for a few days upon the Advisory Board to help us to adjust some legal matters that will come up; and also we would like to have you to deliver an address upon some subject that will influence our race to a higher life. Yours truly,


Houston, Texas, October 28th, 1903.

Rev. Lorenzo Williams.

         Dear Sir: I accept your invitation and will be present. My subject will be the "Three Struggles of Man."

Yours truly,


         The Religious Parliament convened in Corsicana and ministers of every known denomination were present. Rev. Lorenzo Williams introduced Lawyer Lewis to that great audience, and Mr. Lewis began his address as follows:

         "Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: This day has been set apart by you and your committee, giving the people of Texas

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an opportunity to meet here in this pavilion in a Religious Parliament. We have listened to song and sermons that will be passed down to generations yet unborn, and will be placed to the everlasting credit of those who rendered and delivered them. It affords me no little pleasure to contribute my mite to an already overflowing abundance, with hope that some number of you, however small that number may be, shall be benefited. It has been said by some note writer, 'Religion, Society and Nature are the three struggles of man. They constitute his three needs. He has need of faith, hence the temple; he must create, hence the city; he must live, hence the plow and the ship. The mysterious difficulties result from all three.' My subject, 'The Power of Religious and Society Unity,' has to do with two of the three struggles of man, religion and society. Victor Hugo, the author of the preceding lines, says further, 'These three solutions comprise three perpetual conflicts.' I come today not to present them as conflicting, but as making a power by harmonizing them. Life seems filled with mysterious difficulties as we go groping, doing that we would not, and that we would, doing not. As we go like pilgrims seeking a refuge and like him bearing a burden of sorrows, mistakes, heartache, disappointment, we fain would cry out with Job, 'Oh, that I knew where I might find Him.' Since man was created in the likeness of God and for His glory, there seems to have been some adversary, the Devil, who has been drawing him from the purpose of his creation, and since his first fall, through ages, and all nations, there has been a struggle, whether from fear of punishment or the hope of regaining Eden, a struggle in the human heart to lift itself to its ideal and to give reverence, obedience and worship to some

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power other and higher than itself. This struggle is called religion. The highest possible authority declared, 'It is not good for man to be alone,' so we find men gathered together, either in hamlets or towns, villages or cities. This necessitates codes of law for government, just as the mighty wheels of Nature turn, propelling the world around upon its axis. We find men pondering over organic laws to govern men. Nature has given him its glories, its high mountains abounding in gold and silver, and many other useful minerals, its beautiful plains, covered with herds of cattle, its forests filled with beautiful birds, its oceans and lakes and rivers filled with fishes, and above these beauties He has fixed the sun, moon and stars, to light up His pathway. Man sees the world before him; must take upon himself the responsibility of its custodianship; he must see to it that all classes and kinds are governed under the organic system, and he must rule and keep each within its class. How to bring these two struggles into unity, how to make them a power, how to utilize them as a means of lifting humanity upward, how through them to cause man to perform the purpose of his creation. The glory of God is what we come to consider today. Had I the wisdom of Solomon or the oratorical power of Cicero, Mark Antony, Daniel Webster, Booker T. Washington, with it I would try to sway this nation to couple religion and society in every walk of life. Lacking these, I cannot do better than quote from our blessed Master, who was called on during His ministry here by the scribes, who asked the first commandment. He put it in these words, which comprise the wisdom and eloquence of the above mentioned dignitaries: 'Love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, and with all of thy soul, and with

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all of thy mind, and thy strength.& This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it, namely, this: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' There is none other greater than these, or in other words, be careful of thy religion and thy society. We, as a race, have obeyed the first of these instructions to such an extent until it may be said of us that a larger per cent are professed Christians than any other race in the world. All over this broad country of ours we see great accomplishments by us, showing that the feeling that permeated the bosom of David, that man after God's own heart, is not a stranger to us, and that we, like him, are not contented to dwell in castles while the Lord's tabernacle abides in a tent. We see beautiful temples estimated to be worth millions of dollars that have been erected by this race, since their emancipation. Some of our greatest men have gone by way of the church. This is not only true of our race. Man cannot be truly great without being religious. Christopher Columbus started out to find the East Indies by a shorter route. He ended by finding the great American continent, and on his return to Spain he related a story of how the natives waited for some one to bring them the blessed message of truth. Although history fails to record any voyage that subsequently was made whose end was for the sole purpose of converting these natives, yet who will dare gainsay the fact that the Hand that guided the destiny of many nations did not in its own way cause just this to be done? Most of the first explorers who came to this country came for gold or glory, and although many attempts were made to found colonies, none succeeded well until a little band of people, seeking a place where they might be free to worship God according to the dictates of

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their own conscience, sought a home in the new world. From this beginning has swelled this great republic of ours. A beginning that originated out of a desire of a human heart to worship God freely and without restraint. This, one of the great achievements of religion, closely akin to it may be mentioned our ability to be here assembled in religious parliament. No greater battle was fought for the emancipation of the slaves than that fought by our fathers and mothers, fighting not with cannon, but with an armor of faith and prayers, faith that may have been said of them as of the Centurian who came to Christ to have his servant healed: 'So great a faith I have not found.' Further back than this we find a persecution of the Christians, and hence, a scattering of them throughout the then known world. The natural consequence of this was a broadening of the Christian information. In fact, in all ages religion had performed what was seemingly impossible, and what was not impossible to any thing save religion. It had fed the hungry, healed the sick, and raised the dead. It has bidden men who were down-trodden and heartless to hope again; it has made bondsmen free; it has accomplished more than all other agencies combined, and I am almost tempted to say that without it nothing has been accomplished, even among those whose lot is so unfortunate as not to know the one true and only God. They have some form of religion and this religion, whatever it is, has more influence upon adherents than any other thing. Gurthric gives this definition of religion: 'Religion is the motor that binds society together; the pedestal of liberty; the strong backbone of the social system." Ramsey says of the effect of religion: 'The principles of the Christian religion are beautiful, its consequences natural and its origin

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ancient. It enlightens the mind, comforts the heart, and establishes the welfare of society,' and La Place tells us this nesessity: 'No society can be upheld in happiness and honor, without the sentiment of religion.' If we accept the foregoing quotations as authority, we can already see that society is based on religion. We know that all society is founded on the principle of the ten commandments. God, in His own infinite power, gave to this world a man, and unto man gave he a woman. Hence, society was formed through origin, and for years man was perfect and society was pure. Then religion and society were untainted. Then the birds built their nests and carolled anthems of praise to a Mighty Maker; the beasts of the field dwelt peacefully together in joyful communication; incense was scattered forth by every budding flower; every tree, waving, laughing with its golden fruit; streams flowed between mossy banks with peaceful serenity, symbolic of the peace that prevailed throughout the land. The earth was Eden. But into this Eden crept a serpent, and man through disobedience to God, severed the unity between religion and society, and ever since in proportion as man has obeyed or disobeyed God, his society has been helped or hindered.

         "The association of one man to any number of men temporarily or permanently, for gain, pleasure, or usefulness, is called society.

         "Just as religion has had its achievements, society has had its accomplishments. Whereas, society depends upon religion for its existence, religion has to use society as a means to forward its purpose.

         "Does religion want to sing a praise or preach a sermon? Then society forms a church to forward this purpose. Does religion

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want to pour oil into a brother's wound, or bind it up? Then a benevolent society is formed to carry out just this purpose. Does religion wish to establish good government? Then a society is formed; called the state. Religion wishes the perpetuation of posterity, hence the family circle. For the church, the state, the home is as much a society as the one that meets in some stated hall. From what has been said, it will need no long argument to show you that whatever is the standard of people's religion, is also their standard of their society. In our own country and the greater part of Europe we find the people professed Christians; hence we find society in its highest state of enlightenment. In Asia we find the higher degree of heathenism; hence its civilization above that of Africa. In Africa and the islands thereabout we find heathenism in its lowest form and corresponding degradation in society. We live in a land where each and every one may serve God according to the dictates of his own heart; where every Sabbath morning the bells ring good will to men, and thereby continuing the song started on the first joyous Christmas morning by a multitude of angels and bidding all whose feet might stray, to enter and give humble thanks to a gracious Shepherd who has ept the flock safe in the fold another seven days. Surely, then, the standard of our society must be high. If it is not so, let us be assured that the fault is not in the Christian religion, but in its application. You, who have assembled here in religious parliament, are representing the one religion whose perfect model is our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. A religion founded is the only enduring thing according to St. Paul. The church, the state, the charitable institutions and the family circle are the diversions of society I wish to consider.

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         "How did Christ, our model, deport himself to these phases of social and religious life? We find him rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; by paying the tribute money. We see Him in the synagogue every Sabbath, according to His custom. We find Him healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk. We find Him obedient to His parents until He was thirty years old. Adding one phase more, we see Him worn out with work, weary, turning aside and preaching in the abode of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, thus becoming a welcome guest in the family social circle. His first miracle was performed at a social function, and at a festival a woman anointed His body for burial. Christ, while He dwelt among men, was a good citizen, a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The principle of the Christian is beautiful, because it is the principle of 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do it even so unto them.' Would you have men deal honestly with you? Respect the sacredness of your home? Leave you your life? Envy you not? Tell the truth about you? Misrepresent you not? Then do it even so unto them. 'Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.' This is the second greatest commandment, and the new commandment is: 'Love ye one another as I love you.' Another principle of Christian religion, then, is love. Love that suffereth long and is kind, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemingly, seeketh not its own, it is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but in the truth. If we who bear the name of Christians would but strive to perfect ourselves in love, try to become day by day like our model, the world will soon see the beauty in the Christian religion. Founded upon the law of love, ours is indeed a perfect religion.

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Let us briefly look into the different phases of society as it is constructed by the best writers of this age. 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.'

         "We have said that men will dwell together in towns or cities. Taken together, the towns and cities with the territories between them make up the state; the states make up our country. Let us consider the state and the rights of its citizens. Our laws are founded upon the principle of government by the people, for the people. It also assures us that all men are created free and equal and with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet in the face of this well established doctrine for the protection of men we find them blinding themselves to justice and disrespecting the principle of the constitution of this great nation. In the sunlight of one of the greatest ages we see men greedy for gain, having no respect for the rights of their fellow men, just so they carry their point. Statesmen in our sunny Southland have called and are still calling constitutional conventions for the purpose of amending and reconstructing constitutions and curtail the rights of its citizens, derogatory to the fundamental principles of the law of the land. Some states have adopted a grandfather's clause, others have the educational qualification, others have the Jim Crow car law, while still others are getting the Jim Crow street car. And yet not satisfied with all the gall and indignities heaped upon a defenseless but inoffensive people, they have gone so far as to appeal to congress to repeal the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. Is it not time for the lawmakers, who walk to and fro from the temple of justice, to catch some inspiration from the statue of justice, that adorns the domes of many temples, and

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enable them to hear the cries of men dying through mob violence, and upon the floors of congress pass a law that will prohibit any legislative body in this country from disfranchising any citizen on account of his race or previous condition of servitude, and to pass a law, making any sheriff subject to impeachment, who permits a mob to take from him any prisoner. We, as a race of people, are greatly in need of home training. We are in need of people to train the keepers of the home. We are living too fast. Our boys and girls are becoming men and women too soon. The home is the most important place of society from which we must get the material to make all of the others. Our men should place the highest value on our women. Eve may have brought the first sin into this world, but the men from Adam on down to now has given their full share of effort to keep it here. Longfellow says of women: 'As unto the bow the cord is, so unto man is woman. Though she bends him, she obeys him; though she draws him, yet she follows. Useless each without the other.' So we have only to demand the standard. We want a womanhood to have her obey us. The men of this race should learn to regard their home as sacred, and protect its sacredness with their lives. Thus regarding his own home will cause him to respect that of his neighbors. The church, the school and many other agencies are doing many things toward promoting good in all people, but the home has the power to destroy or aid the good as no thing can have. The preacher expounds the gospel once a week and sometimes to inattentive hearers; the teacher teaches the three 'R's' for five days in the week to such as come; the lecturer comes around once in a while, and a very great while, but the home is like

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the poor--we have it with us all of the time. An ideal home is one where the husband loves his wife--not bitter toward her--and who rejoices in his children. Whose brow, like Longfellow's Village Blacksmith, 'is wet with honest sweat. He earns whate'er he can, and looks the whole world in the face. for he owes not any man.' Wives who love their own husband and children, who keep their houses, looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness, her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Where the children obey the parents because it is right. If every Negro home was an exemplification of this problem it would be the white, red, yellow--any man's problem save the black man's, and they would be trying to solve how they could become like us. Religion is the backbone of the social system. Since man must get together, some to govern, some to be governed, there can be nothing better than a good conscientious current running through every breast. Our love, reverence and obedience to God helps us to obey those who are in authority, and when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice. Every one knows the good effects when some public officer does his righteous duty. A president who believes the 'the door of hope' should be closed against none; a governor who will move with his troops to some given point to quell a mob, though in the jaws of death, he rides in front of his troops to protect the integrity of his great commonwealth; a sheriff who used to turn over a prisoner to an angry mob, who would perpetrate on its victim atrocities that do credit to any tribe of cannibals; a sheriff who would die in his boots to protect the honor of his office because of a conscientiousness of his righteous duty; a jury that would condemn wrong in every perpetrator--

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be he white or black; men in public office who do right because God is right, and who do to others even as they would be done by. Let men who seek public office do so with a desire to be of service rather than the exalting of themselves. Those who style themselves our political, religious, social leaders and desire to be our standard bearers should teach us the lesson that Christ taught the disciples. 'Let him who is greatest among you serve the others.' Let those who wish to become great know that the royal road is by helping others. Every good deed performed for some one else helps the performer. A beautiful story is told of two boys, one older, one younger, who lost their way amid a terrific snow storm. After wandering around for some time the younger one became nearly exhausted and bade his comrade go on and leave him. But he refused, and urged the other on, sometime dragging, at other times nearly carrying him, until at last they reached a place of refuge. When at last they could stop the older boy found out that in saving his friend he had saved himself, for the exertion used in keeping his friend alive had prevented him from being chilled. And since all of the good we do reflects on us, how much better would we all be if we should but spend our lives in trying to help someone else up, thereby lifting ourselves Heavenward. What is true of individuals is true of nations. In our country how much more noble a character of manhood would be found if one-half of the energy, time and newspaper space were given by the stronger race to the uplifting of the weaker, and thereby helping Christ's kingdom come on earth. The conclusion of the matter is this: Every man who fills a public office or assays to be a leader in any way should have the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ in his heart and the world would see a different effect. And what of the church society? This is the pivot

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around which all others should revolve. The Bible speaks of the church as a bird adorned to meet the bridegroom. A man when looking for a wife, though a reprobate himself, looks for his superior to him. Whatever has been his past record, he wishes that the woman he weds to be blameless and pure. The word 'bride' suggests an apparition clad in white, emblematical of purity; wearing orange blossoms, emblematical of worthiness. Then if a sinful man wishes his bride pure and worthy, how much more does Christ wish his church so? And we who make up the church, how ardently should we strive to make it all He would have it, each possessed of a character bespeaking patience, kindness, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, generosity, good temper, guilelessness and sincerity.

         "There is no sadder thing than strife in the church. Most noticeable among these dissentions is the sitting over the young and the old. The old members of the church should not forget that the young members of the church have rights that should be respected; the young members should not forget that in the old members many good wholesome lessons can be learned from them. There is wealth and knowledge obtained in the surest and best of schools, the surest of all teachers--experience--that they can not obtain from any book. In training our children it would be well if we could instill in them the thought as expressed in these words: 'Be good, and let who will be clever, do noble things, not dream them all day long, and so make life, death, and that vast forever one grand sweet song.' The power of religious and social unity is better seen than told. Whether in the political, the business, the home or the technical social life, let us build on no other foundation than that of the Christian religion."

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                         "I've been list'nen to them lawyers
                         In the court house up the street,
                         An' I've come to the conclusion
                         That I'm most completely beat.
                         First, one fellow riz to argy,
                         As he 'dressed the tremlin' prisoner
                         In a coat o' deep-dyed sin.

                         Why, he painted him all over
                         In a hue, blackest crime,
                         An' he sweared his reputation
                         With the thickest kind of grime,
                         Tell I found myself a wondering
                         In a misty way and dim--
                         How the Lord had come to fashion
                         Such an awful man as him.

                         Then the other lawyer started,
                         And, with brimin,' tearful eyes,
                         Said his client was a martyr
                         That was brought to sacrifice.
                         An' he give to that same pris'ner
                         Every blessed human grace,
                         Tell I saw the light o' virtue
                         Fairly shinin' from his face.

                         Then I own 'at I was puzzled
                         How things could rightly be;
                         An' this aggervation question
                         Seems to keep a puzzlin' me.

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                         So, will some one please inform me,
                         An' this mystery unroll--
                         How an angel and a devil
                         Can persess the selfsame soul ?"



         Law sometimes takes an unlooked for course. We do well to fight the battle both on the defensive and offensive and even then we know not what prank fate may play us. So as I lay in jail I prepared myself for the inevitable should it come. My suspension might be confirmed and then I must find a way or make one at something else. Medicine had at one time had its charms for me and I had listened to its siren voice long enough to enable me to satisfy the State Board of Examiners. In fact, at one time I gave myself up to the practice. My knowledge of law, especially of medical jurisprudence, taught me while in college, gave me such foundations that made me feel my efficiency to practice medicine and surgery in the city of Beaumont during the early eighties. Seven years prior to entering the practice of medicine I had lived in the city of Chicago, and during my stay there I read medicine under Drs. Barnes and Morgan, and when they had concluded that I could write up a prescription without injuring myself or patients, they recommended me to the State Medical Board of Illinois for an examination. The State Board of Illinois issued licenses to me to practice medicine. I then came South and began my practice in Beaumont. Of course, I had not informed any of the wise medical doctors of Houston that, that I knew to be my personal

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affair. In 1905 the legislature of Texas passed the law that in their opinion would protect all of the medical doctors within the State, and the certificate issued me by the State Medical Board thereafter would receive recognition under the spirit of reciprocity in other States. The requirement under this law is as follows:

         All persons who entered in the practice of medicine within the State of Texas prior to 1885 are required to send to the State Medical Board their certificates issued to them by the State Medical Board of Examiners or a certified copy of their registration from the county clerk of the county in which they had practiced, or a certified certificate by three persons of whom they had treated prior to 1885, and if the Medical Board approved their application a verification certificate would be issued by the State Medical Board to the applicant. The author of this book sent his certificate to Dr. Foscue, Secretary of the State Medical Board. The following is the certificate sent:

The State of Texas, County of Harris -

         Before me, a notary public in and for said County and State, on this day personally appeared Joseph V. Lewis, who being by me duly sworn, on oath says that he is a physician and surgeon, and that he began the practice of his profession in the State of Texas in the year of 1880, and that he has practiced continually since in various places in the State of Texas.


        Subscribed and sworn to before me by said affiant on this, the sixth day of May, A.D. 1908.

(Signed) E. D. GUY,
(SEAL) Notary Public, Harris County, Texas.

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The State of Texas, County of Harris--

         Know all men by these presents: That I, Sidney Dixon, a bona fide inhabitant of the State of Texas, and a resident citizen of Harris County, Texas, do solemnly swear that I have known Dr. Joseph V. Lewis to be a practicing physician and surgeon in Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas, during the years of 1883 to 1885, inclusive, and that Dr. Lewis attended me during 1884 when my shoulder was dislocated from a fall which I sustained.


Sworn to and subscribed before me this May first, 1908.

(SEAL) Notary Public.

The State of Texas, County of Harris--

         Know all men by these presents: That I, Geo. Lubbock, a bona fide inhabitant of the State of Texas, a resident citizen of Houston, Harris County, do solemnly swear that I have known Dr. Joseph V. Lewis since the year of 1880; that I knew him to be a practicing physician and surgeon in Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, during the years of 1880-81-82-83-84-85; I further state that Dr. Joseph V. Lewis attended me during my sickness with the piles in 1884, and was my family physician in 1884 and 1885, and attended my wife during her confinement with child in 1884.


Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1st day of May, A. D. 1908.

(Signed) L. N. YARBOROUGH,
(SEAL) Notary Public in and for Harris County, Texas.

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The State of Texas, County of Harris--

         Know all men by these presents: That I, Anderson Lee, a bona fide inhabitant of the State of Texas, and a resident citizen of Houston, Harris county, Texas, do solemnly swear that I was living during the years of 1884 and 1885 at Sabine Pass, Jefferson county, Texas, and I knew Dr. Joseph V. Lewis as a practicing physician in Jefferson county during 1883 and 1884. I further state that Dr. Lewis attended me during my illness in 1884 and I know him to have attended others there, that were living at Sabine Pass, Jefferson county, Texas, during the years 1884 and 1885.


Sworn to and subscribed before me this 5th day of May, 1908.

(Signed.) A. G. PANNELL,
(SEAL.) A Notary Public in and for Harris County, Texas.

         The State Medical Board issued verification certificate to me June 9th, 1908, and under the law I had to file that certificate on or before July 8th, 1908. The certificate was properly filed with the district clerk of Harris county, thereby enrolling me with the medical doctors that had been granted licenses under the new law. July 12th the Houston Post published the names of all the medical doctors, and to the surprise of all the doctors of Houston, my name appeared. The next Saturday The Texas Freeman came out in bold type, asking this question: "Who is Doctor J.V. Lewis?" "It is said that Dr. Lewis and Attorney J. V. Lewis is one and the same person." The Freeman went on to say that eleven of the twelve practicing physicians in Houston, namely: Dr. B[.] J. Coverington, Dr. E. B. Ramsey, Dr.

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S. M. Lyons, Dr. R. F. Ferrell, Dr. T. E. Bryant, Dr. T. V. Overton, Dr. R. S. Childs, Dr. E. A. Durham, Dr. J. T. M. Lindsay, Dr. F. L. McDavid and Dr. Charles A. Jackson have petitioned Dr. G. B. Foscue of Waco, secretary and treasurer of the State Medical Board, asking that the certificate issued to one Dr. Joseph Vance Lewis of Houston, alias J. Vance Lewis, be cancelled.

         Said physicians aver that the said Joseph V. Lewis is a fraud and not a regular practicing physician. These learned physicians called on Dr. R. T. Morris (white), president of the Harris County Medical Association, employing his help that they may take J. V. Lewis' certificate from him. They also went to District Attorney W. G. Love and tried to get an indictment against Dr. Lewis, stating that they would like to send him to the state penitentiary. In every issue of the Freeman thereafter one of the wise patent medicine pill bag packers would attack Dr. Lewis through the medium of the paper, questioning his rights to practice medicine in Houston, until at last Dr. Lewis' pen wrote the following words, which silenced these quinine-turpentine prescription writers:

Houston, Texas, March 25th, 1909.

         "Editor of The Texas Freeman: Several articles have appeared in the columns of your paper relative to my practice of medicine in this city, one of which seems to have been inspired by the colored physicians of Houston, a self-constituted board of inquiry, as to my eligibility to practice medicine.

         "I have patiently awaited the report of the self-constituted board, and it has been derelict in reporting its findings to the State Medical Board. I thought I would, through the medium

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of your paper, inform the curious public that not a member of the self-constituted board is a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners, who issued me license to practice medicine in Texas, and really, I am at a loss as to just why I should suspend my practice while awaiting the report of the self-constituted board, or get the sanction or indorsement of Dr. S. M. Lyons, said board's leading member, ere I write a prescription.

         "If this self-constituted board is vested with authority to issue permits in addition to the license issued by the State Board of Medical Examiners, then I will be too glad to call upon them to procure their permit.

         "But for the present I shall continue my lawful and legal practice of medicine, as I have been doing for more than twenty years, unmolested.

         "I will treat every disease known to human science, subjecting myself to the consequences.

"I am yours to serve,


NO. 419 1-2 Milam Street, Houston, Texas.

         Mary Davis Kelsey, a young colored girl, about the age of seventeen, was indicted by the grand jurors of Harris county for the theft of diamonds, about the value of $500. Her bond was fixed at $1500. Being unable to furnish bond, she had to remain in jail until the date of her trial. Prior to her trial, her uncle, J. W. Hicky secured the services of Attorney T. W. Renfro, a white counsellor. Mr. Renfro on the day on which the case was tried submitted the case to the jury as best he could. The district attorney, being a very able lawyer, convinced the jury that the girl was guilty of the charge in the indictment. Judge A. C.

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Allen read his charge to the jury. The jurors retired and, after being out thirty minutes, they returned with the following verdict: "We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of the charge, and assess her punishment for a term of three years in the state penitentiary." When the little girl heard the reading of her verdict, she threw up both hands and cried aloud: "My God! is it possible that I must go to such a place, innocent as I am. Have I no one to help me?" And as the author of this book saw the beautiful brown skinned girl being led out, he remembered the evidence that had been offered and upon which she was found guilty, and he felt that it was his duty, irrespective of the money that would be in the case, and the love for his race that burned in his bosom, he resolved, cost what it may, that he would see to it that she got her freedom. To shed light upon this conviction, the author thinks it wise to relate the circumstances. It appears that Mary Davis Kelsey had been employed as a housemaid for a white lady on Rusk avenue, in Houston. This lady had a great deal of confidence in the girl, and on special occasions when Mary was invited by girls of her race, this white lady would let Mary wear her jewelry consisting of diamonds and other precious stones. On the night of which the theft of these diamonds occurred, Mary again had attended one of her social functions wearing the same jewelry which she was accustomed to. At the close of the social Mary started home accompanied by her sweetheart. Before reaching home this man asked her to let him see the diamonds. This she did without hesitation. On reaching her room she asked for the diamonds which he refused to give up telling her he would return them the next day. The young man left Mary and went straight to a gambling house with his fingers full of sparkling

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gems. The police saw these sparkling gems, and as he knew the man, and noticed that he had never worn them before, arrested him. He was carried to the police station and questioned about the ownership. He told them that Mary Davis Kelsey gave them to him. The above testimony is that on which the girl was convicted. The author got the judgment and sentence, statement of facts, signature of the judge, district attorney and jurors, drew an application for pardon in favor of Mary, and secured the signatures of two hundred citizens. Three days after the conviction the author left Houston for Austin to submit his case to Governor Sayers and the Board of Pardons. The governor and board went carefully over the circumstances of the case and jointly agreed that the conviction was illegal. Governor Sayers, with the power vested in him, at once pardoned Mary Davis Kelsey, and gave to the author a certificate of release to A. R. Anderson, commanding A. R. Anderson to release Mary on the receipt of the certificate. This girl having remained in prison for more than three months, was now given her freedom, and to show her appreciation rendered by the author, she offered him all of the money that she had, which was fifteen cents.

         Richard Carr, who had been very popular in society, was indicted by the grand jury of Harris county for seduction. Mrs. Charlotte Reeves, mother of Miss N. Reeves, complained against Carr, and at the same time commanding that Carr marry her daughter. This Carr refused to do. The case was set down for trial. Ed Jackson, a foster parent, secured the services of a certain white lawyer to represent Carr on the day of trial. The case went on trial and after a hard fight between the state and defendant the case was submitted to the jury. The jury retired for

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deliberation. After being out for a few minutes, they returned with the following verdict: "We, the jurors, find the defendant guilty and assess his punishment at three years in the penitentiary at hard labor." Mrs. Jackson conferred with Carr's lawyer about getting a new trial. Mr. Jackson's lawyer informed him emphatically that Carr would have to stay in the pen three years, and as Carr's lawyer would not attempt to disturb the finding of the jury, Ed Jackson then employed the author to file a motion for a new trial in favor of Carr. The author viewed the evidence of the case after which he had a private conference with Charlotte Reeves and daughter, and the agreement reached was to the effect that if Carr would marry this girl, why he would not be prosecuted any further by them. The author called upon Carr, who was still in jail, and made this fact known to him. He at once agreed and the author went to the county clerk and bought a license, notified the girl to be at the jail at 2 p. m., that the author would have a minister there who would, under the law, make her the wife of Carr. The ceremony was performed and Mrs. Carr returned home, and on that day a motion was filed in the interest of Carr, setting up the fact that the spirit of the law had been kept by Carr and that the prosecutrix was now the wife of Carr, and the motion further prayed that a new trial be granted and the indictment be dismissed. The next day judge Allen heard the motion. The verdict of the jury was set aside and the indictment nolle prossed. Carr was released, and since that day he has lived a model Christian life.

         One of the most sensational cases that ever went to trial in Harris county was called in the district court house, March 8, 1910. Ed Miles, a negro, answered as a defendant charged by

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an indictment of assault to murder on Police Office H. H. Moore and Special Police T. N. Roberts. The state was represented by the district attorney, W. G. Love, and S. B. Arnsworth. The history of the case is as follows: Ed Miles, on the night of December 23rd, was seen on Hill street returning from Shiloh Baptist church, where he had been attending church services. The police testified that they saw a suspicious Negro walking close to the fence on Hill street, and when the Negro recognized them. then the Negro turned to go back, and believing that he was a sneak thief, they called to him to stop. This he did. They asked him his name, and the Negro told them his name was Ed Miles, and they thought that he had told them an untruth. They demanded of him that he tell them the names of persons living in that section of the city before they would let him go. This he did. Special Police Roberts said that he told Mr. Moore to take the Negro down and make him pay a vag fine. It was then that the Negro refused to go, and showed fight. The officers both in answer to the Negro's refusal to go, pulled out guns on the Negro; the negro ran, and they shot at him. Miles fell over a barrel and the officers in pursuit of him also fell over the same barrel. In the chase the officer lost his club, and while prisoner and officer were upon the ground, Roberts, the special officer, took Moore's gun and knocked the Negro three times on the head. Miles saw that his life was in danger and he knocked the gun out of Roberts' hand and became owner of it and in the scuffle for life between officers and prisoner the gun was discharged, Moore losing a finger and Roberts received one bullet in the foot. The case was tried upon its merit and the result was the jury rendered a verdict of not guilty.

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         The above cut is Lula Runnels and her little baby in the Harris county jail. Lula Runnels and John Runnels, the husband, were charged by the State of Texas with the murder of their little five-year-old son, Andrew Runnels, who was found under the Sloan street church in the Fifth Ward, Tuesday morning, January 25, 1910, with its little skull crushed in. He was carried to the colored infirmary on Providence street, at which place he died. The story told by John and Lula Runnels regarding their dead baby was of a pathetic nature. It was as follows: "We have four children--three girls and a boy--and on Monday night, January 24, 1910, we put Andrew and his two little sisters to bed on a mattress near a window, in the room joining our bed room. The next morning about 5:30 o'clock when we awoke we went into the room and found that Andrew was gone. We noticed the window opposite where they were lying had been taken out. We then became alarmed and searched the neighborhood over, going from house to house inquiring for the child, but failed to find him. We then reported the matter to the chief of police, asking him to give us such assistance as was necessary. When the officers arrived we detailed to them all we knew regarding our lost son. By that time the whole community was aroused and was helping us to find the child.

         "About sixty (60) feet from the house in a ditch, some one found blood. The blood was trailed four blocks to the church, and here groans were heard which were recognized as from our baby. The officer then arrested us, charging us with the murder of our own son, of which we are innocent." John Runnels, Jr., employed the services of J. Vance Lewis to represent both John Runnels and Lula Runnels. The preliminary trial was had February 2d

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before Justice McDonald. At the close of the evidence Mr. Lewis contended that neither John nor Lula Runnels were guilty of the murder. Justice McDonald did not view it in the light that Mr. Lewis did, but remanded John Runnels without bail and fixed Lula Runnels at five hundred ($500) dollars bond. Habeas corpus was sued out by Mr. Lewis before judge W. P. Hamblen. The case was resubmitted to Judge Hamblen February 5th, 1910, and after the story was detailed to Judge Hamblen, he said: "I do not believe that this woman knows anything about the death of her child, and I give her her freedom, but as to the man, I will hold him without bail pending future developments." Mr. Lewis, in his argument, said: "The fowls of the air will hover its young; the wild beast of the field will protect the young; the savages of the jungle have love in their bosom, and since all this be true, who, in a civilized age, would believe that a mother and a father would commit such a brutality upon their child?" At the close of Mr. Lewis' address, many were seen shedding tears.


         In August of 1906, Dr. J. M. Blair bought of the city of Houston the city's tax deed to lot ten (10), block twenty-four (24), in Castine Addition, south side of Buffalo Bayou, paying the city one hundred and five dollars for its title. Dr. Blair further paid the taxes due to the county of Harris, same being the sum of three hundred and eighteen dollars; a grand total paid for the property by Dr. Blair to the city of Houston and County of Harris, four hundred and forty dollars. The above named taxes due against the property was from 1878 to 1906. The deed given to Dr. Blair by the city of Houston was promptly

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recorded by him, but the doctor did not attempt to take possession of the property until March 1907. The doctor thought to take possession of the property by putting a fence around it. The day the fence was put around the premises. J. Vance Lewis was out of the city on legal business, but when he returned he was informed that the fence had been put there by Dr. Blair, and without hesitation he went to the premises with an ax in hand and cut the fence loose. The doctor was immediately notified through his agent of Lewis' action, and the manner in which he repossessed the property. The doctor caught a Fifth Ward street car, transferred to San Felipe and swung off on Wilson and Robin streets. The doctor walked into the yard, commanding Lewis to leave the premises. Lewis not being willing to leave, the two began to advance toward each other, each claiming ownership. The doctor then went to the justice court for reimbursement, but that court turned him down; he appealed to the county court and the same fate met him there. The doctor sued Lewis for trespass to try title in the Eleventh district court. The case was set down for trial several times, but the final day came on April 19th, when the merits of the case was looked into by the court. The doctor had employed some very able counsel. In the meantime the doctor tried to acquire Lewis' title of the property by offering him several sums of money, all of which Lewis refused to take. Attorney Lewis answered Dr. Blair's petition filed in court, made a general denial and a plea of not guilty. He also in his cross-bill attacked the right of the city and county of Harris to collect the delinquent taxes further back than four years, and further said that the deed made by the city to Dr. Blair was invalid and barred by the statute of limitation

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so far as the tax title was concerned. The court listened to the evidence until each side had rested. The court then said: "Gentlemen, I will hear your arguments in this case and also I would request that each of you bring in authorities in support of your contention." Shelves of law books were rifled. Authorities after authorities were run down until the desired aim of the attorneys were presumably reached. They came into the court room with these books to support their contentions. The court sat patiently and listened attentively to the reading of the authorities and arguments of counsel. At the conclusion of the case, the court said: "Gentlemen, J. M. Blair has failed absolutely to prove any title to this property, and it is the court's opinion that J. Vance Lewis is the owner of the property under common course of law, and the court further holds that the city can not collect taxes further back than four years. The court will decree a judgment for Dr. Blair for taxes paid by him for 1905-6-7, and the said tax judgment is lien against the property, and the court will further decree that the title of the property is vested in J. Vance Lewis." Thus ended the long contested case which will no doubt help others in gaining their property from the said J.M. Blair.

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         Some time in 1909, at Itasca, Texas, one John Hale, a Negro, and one Mr. Ellison, a white man, had some trouble, both men using a gun at each other. It seems that John Hale, the Negro, got the drop on Mr. Ellison, the rich white man, the banker and lord of many acres of land, who found it prudent after looking down the muzzle of John's gun, to join the rabbit family, and was soon lost to space, and was not any more discovered until he was found standing before the justice of court, ten miles away, making a charge against John Hale, charging him with assault to murder. John Hale was arrested, placed in jail and was unable to give bond for a long time, when two white citizens of Hill county signed his bond. John Hale sought white counsel throughout the country, but every lawyer told Hale that they could not serve him. John Hale left Hillsboro by night, and he was next found in Houston in J. Vance Lewis' office. He secured the service of Lawyer Lewis and at the same time related to him all the circumstances of the trouble. Hale and Lewis arrived in Hillsboro Saturday night, March 26th, and on reaching Hillsboro the news spread like wild fire that a Negro lawyer would be in attendance in court the next day to defend Hale. Monday morning, March 28th, the court was crowded with amazed spectators to witness a Negro lawyer protect and defend his client. In truth, many wild stories had gone out that Lewis would not be permitted to plead the case, and we all feared that some harm would come to him, and we advised him not to go in court, and in answer to pleadings, Mr. Lewis said: "I am going to defend Hale today, because I know that there is just as short a road to hell from Hillsboro as it is from Houston to Heaven."

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I have seen many brave men, but that man is a Christian and a dare-devil. He defended Hale from start to finish, and in his legal discourse before the court, the judge and white lawyers complimented him. Hale was freed. Lewis won a victory for the race as well as for himself. He also delivered an address to the citizens of Hillsboro, using as his subject, "Our Place in History by the Side of Other Races." This address was a masterpiece and long to be remembered by all who heard him.

Yours truly,


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         I began my second battle in life with a determination to profit by my past experience. You have read enough to note the fact that I had been struggling against many disadvantages. These disadvantages did not come only from the Anglo-Saxon race, but plots and conspiracies entered into by the Negro and the white man, who were jealous of the many successes that came to me both in the civil and criminal courts. My practice increased by leaps and bounds and I began to feel that I ought to show more appreciation for my dear little wife, the one who stood by me during the time of all my troubles. Letters began to come to me from all over Texas, calling upon me to defend both civil and criminal cases. To accept all of the cases that did come would take me from my home and fireside.

         I remembered well how Pauline, the dearest woman on earth, had cheered me when despondent, and who was around me when I was cast down; who visited me while in jail; who stood by me when everything was dark and gloomy; who believed in me when they were trying to put convict stripes upon me; who suffered all and gave up all for me, giving up friends, sacrificed position, both social and pecuniary; all of this to become my wife. I find in her all of the qualities that go to make a queen. She is dignified, cultured and refined; she has never stooped but once, that was when she descended her queen-like throne, came down in a gown of beauty, her face looking lovely as an angel's, her hand outstretched, her heart beating with a rapid pulsation, her little mouth made answer to the minister, F. L. Lights, when he said:

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"Miss Pauline R. Gray, will you take this man, J. Vance Lewis, to be your wedded husband, to love and cherish during the balance of your life?" and she answered, "I will," and with a smile upon her face, she turned away and ascended to her throne, carrying with her the prince who is now bathing in the joy and love of her affections at "Van Court," 1218 Wilson street. The Van Court is the modern building which the author built for his queen, and should you ever visit that home you will see a busy little human bee buzzing around the cook pots, or singing and playing upon the piano her favorite song, "Love Me and the World is Mine." In the last few years fortune has smiled upon us and we have acquired considerable property, both in the city and in the county, but it has caused no change in the relationship existing between us and our friends. We indorse the old saying:

                         Old wood to burn,
                         Old wine to drink,
                         Old books to read,
                         Old friends to love.