|Click on the left image to read the testimony of Barton Simonson (approximately 16,800 words).
Click on the middle image to read the testimony of John Bernett (approximately 2,700 words).
Click on the right image to read the testimony of Lizzie Holmes (approximately 5,900 words).
The defense called Barton Simonson on Monday, August 2, as its second witness, right after Mayor Carter Harrison. Simonson, a twenty-seven-year-old traveling salesman of men's clothing, had worked for several companies. A native Chicagoan, he had dinner at his mother's home the evening of the Haymarket meeting. He says that he went to the meeting out of curiosity. He heard of it by reading a broadside (the version without the line "Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force!") in a saloon, perhaps Greif's Hall. While in the Haymarket area, Simonson spoke briefly with Inspector Bonfield at the Desplaines Street station before the bombing. He states that he was standing by the speaker's wagon at the time the bomb was thrown.
Simonson's value to the defense, among other things, was that he had no apparent personal involvement in the case and thus had no personal motives in offering several points important to their case. Simonson testified that Fielden did not call the police bloodhounds as they approached; that the bomb came from the sidewalk south of Crane's Alley, not, as Harry Gilmer said, from within the alley; that the police initiated the gunfire; and that Bonfield told him that he was eager to get a whole group of anarchists somewhere without their women and children among them so he could "make short work of them." The state pressed Simonson hard during the cross-examination, trying to make him appear as something of a troublemaker, but he continued to stick by his testimony. The byplay between the attorneys during Simonson's interrogation is a further indication of the tension in the courtroom.
The testimony of candymaker John Bernett, who appeared on August 7, is included because he seems to have had the best look at the bomb-thrower, though his vantage was from behind. Different witnesses placed this person at various points along the sidewalk south of Crane's Alley on the east side of Desplaines Street. Several mentioned that he stood behind a pile of boxes on the sidewalk.
Bernett's account is a bit self-contradictory, but he does appear to place the bomb-thrower about forty feet south of the alley. When shown a photograph of Rudolph Schnaubelt, he says that Schnaubelt is not the man who threw the bomb. Bernett, who was wounded by a bullet in the riot, claimed, as did Simonson, to have come to the Haymarket out of curiosity. He admits that he had also heard the anarchists speak previously at the Lake Front. He lived near the Haymarket, a few blocks south on Desplaines Street.
The testimony of Lizzie Holmes, offered during the afternoon of August 6, is significant for many reasons. Holmes was an assistant editor of the Alarm and an active member of the American Group of anarchists. She was with the Parsons family the entire evening of May 4, and it was she who convinced Albert Parsons to leave Chicago, accompanying him to the railroad station for his trip to her and her husband William's home in Geneva, west of Chicago.
In describing her arrest, her ideas and writings, and her other activities, Holmes also reveals the importance and status of women in the movement. Mrs. Holmes, who had also used the name Lizzie Swank, was one of eight women called to give evidence. Hers was the most substantial testimony by a woman on behalf of the defense. Judge Gary upheld the prosecution's objections to allowing Meta Neebe, the wife of Oscar Neebe, to offer evidence. Bertha Seliger joined her husband William in testifying for the state against Louis Lingg.