Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Examination of J. H. Brayton (first appearance), 1886 July 8.

Volume F, 130-139, 10 p.
Brayton, J. H.

Examination by Mr. Grinnell and Mr. Foster. Accepted as a juror along with three other unnamed jurors (Osborne, Hamilton, Ludwig) in the case of Illinois vs. August Spies et al.

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having been duly sworn to answer questions touching his qualifications as a juror, depeosed and testified as follows:

MR. GRINNELL: What is your name?

A J. H. Brayton.

Q MR. Brayton, where do you live?

A At Englewood.

Q What is your business, Mr. Brayton?

A I am a teacher.

Q Teacher in the public schools?

A Yes sir.

Q At Englewood?

A In the City.

Q What school have you been teacher in?

A I am the principal of the Webster School.

Q Whereabouts is it?

A Thirty third and Wentworth Avenue.

MR. GRINNELL: Well, now, let us settle before we go on any further whether that is an exemption such as he is entitled to lay claim to, or does it disqualify him?

THE COURT: No sir. It is now vacation.

MR. GRINNELL: I know it is vacation and will be until September.

MR. FOSTER: Is that a ground under your statute?

THE COURT: School teachers during the terms of school. There is no term of school now.

A No sir.

Q And won't be until September?

A No sir.

THE COURT: The term of school must be in session at the time that the juror is called in order to make it am excemption.

MR. GRINNELL: How long have you been teaching in the city

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A Three years.

Q Where are you from?

A Born in New York.

Q Whereabouts in New York?

A Lyons.

Q That is near Rochester??

A Yes sir.

Q How old are you, Mr. Brayton?

A Forty.

Q Are you married?

A Yes sir.

Q Where do you live?

A At Englewood.

Q How long have you lived at Englewood?

A Since 1872.

Q Have you any consciencious scruples against the infliction of the death penalty in proper cases?

A It would take very strong circumstantial evidence to make me hang a man.

Q That is hardly a fair answer to the question, Mr. Brayton. The question is, have you conscientious scruples against the infliction of that penalty in proper cases?

A No sir.

Q How long have you lived in Cook County --that is, how long have you been west? How long since you left New York State?

A Over twenty five years.

Q Educated west?

A Partly; partly east.

Q Do you know any of the defendants?

A No sir.

Q Ever seen any of them before?

A Not to my knowledge.

Q Do you know any of the counsel upon the other side?

A No sir.

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Q I suppose you have read about this matter?

A I have.

Q Talked about it?

A Yes sir.

Q Have formed some opinion as to the nature and character of crime perpetrated at the haymarket on the 4th of May?

A Yes sir.

Q Have you formed any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendants of that crime?

A As reported, yes.

Q Simply upon what you have read?

A Yes sir.

Q Have you talked with anybody that professed to know anything about it?

A No sir.

Q What church affiliations have you?

A None at present.

Q What church were you brought up in?

A The Methodist.

Q Have you children did I ask?

A Yes sir.

Q You have?

A Yes sir.

Q If you are taken and sworn as a juror in this case to try the same upon the facts presented to you here in court do you believe that you could determine their guilt or innocence upon the proof alone regardless of what you have read and heard?

A I do.

Q Mr. Brayton, you believe in the maintenance of the laws of the State and the government of the United Stes?

A I do.

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Q Have you any sympathy with any individual or class of individuals who have for their purpose or object the overthrow of that law by force?

A I have not.

Q Have you read or given any attention to socialism and communism, anarchy?

A Yes sir.

Q You have thought about it some?

A Yes sir.

Q Have you formed any prejudices pursuant to your reading and investigations as to those classes? I do not ask you which way, but have you formed any?

A Yes sir.

Q You are not a socialist yourself?

A I am not.

Q Nor a communist?

A I am not.

Q Nor an anarchist?

A I am not.

Q You have no part or parcel with them so far as you know?

A Not that I know of.

Q Have you ever talked with individuals who professed any of the doctrines of those people that you know of? I mean, have you talked about that subject with any of them?

A None who were pronounced as such.

Q Did I ask you if you knew any of the counsel upon this side, Mr. Brayton --- any of the lawyers?

A You did.

Q Do you?

A I do not.

Q You know none of the defendants---never have seen them before to your knowledge?

A I know none of the defendants

Q Have you ever heard them speak, attended any of their meetings, or been present at any of their meetings at which

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any of these individuals have spoken?

A No sir.

Q If you should be taken and sworn as a juror in this case to try the same, do you believe you could determine the guilt or innocence of the defendants upon the proof presented to you in court regardless of everything else, whatever you have read or heard, or the opinion that you have formed--upon the proof presented here in court, under the instructions of the court?

A Do you want a direct answer to that?

A. If you can.

Q If my question if not thoroughly understood I will repeat it.

A I think I understand your question. I should answer yes.

MR. GRINNELL: Mr. Brayton is satisfactory to us.

MR. FOSTER: You came to this State at the age of fifteen, Mr. Brayton, did you?

A Yes, or younger.

Q Did you remove here with your parents?

A I did.

Q To the County of Cook in the first instance?

A No sir, Kankakee County.

Q How long have you resided in Cook County?

A About twenty years.

Q How long have you been a teacher?

A Over fifteen.

Q In the same building where you are now teaching?

A No sir.

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Q It was in the City schools of Chicago that you have always taught?

A No sir. Up to within three years ago I was principal of the Springer School, corner of Wabash Avenue and Forty First street---there for about ten years.

Q Well, your teaching has been entirely in Cook County in this County?

A Not entirely.

Q Where else have you taught?

A In Will County.

Q Have you ever been engaged in any other business than that of a teacher since you have been a man in years?

A No sir --that is, excepting temporarily perhaps, through vacation, that has been my business.

Q You say you are now forty?

A Yes sir.

Q Did this knowledge which you have obtained upon the question of socialism, anarchism and so-forth, come from an investigation of the subject, or a casual reading of newspapers and periodicals?

A No full investigation. Probably better be attributed to casual reading.

Q Well, my question seems to involve what I intended it should, for the purpose of showing whether it had been newspapers, magazines or books upon the subject?

A Mostly newspapers and magazines.

Q You know something about the subject of societies contending for the principles of communism and socialism, I suppose?

A I think I do.

Q And from reading them you have to some extent prejudice against their views I suppose?

A I formed an opinion

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from my reading.

Q Have you any prejudice against the class to which I have referred, or the classes?

A In that sense, yes, to the etymology of the word.

Q Are you acquainted with any members of the police force of the city?

A I am not.

Q Have you ever communicated with any one that claimed to have been at the haymarket meeting at the time of the occurrence there, the throwing of this bomb?

A I have not.

Q Well, your information then is principally, I presume, from what you have read, more than from what you have heard said?

A It is entirely from what I have read.

Q You gained no information whatever from conversation?

A Except with those who were informed as I am; we have conversed concerning it, but none from anybody who saw anything there.

Q Persons who were no better informed than yourself, and were informed by the same means, from reading the newspapers?

A So far as I know, yes.

Q Have you any feeling against the organization or any prejudice against the organization of laboring men, the establishment of trades unions and labor unions?

A I have not so long they keep within the law.

Q You think they have a right to organize societies for their mutual aid and protection, assistance, education and general advancement, I presume?

A I do.

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Q And you would have no prejudice against any organizazer of such meetings or associations?

A No sir.

Q Now, I understand from your answers to Mr. Grinnell that you say that you believe notwithstanding your opinion or the prejudice which you have against communism and anarchism and so forth, notwithstanding your opinion upon the question of the guilt or the innocence of these defendants, that you could listen to the testimony and decide it upon that alone regardless and entirely outside of any opinion or prejudice which you now have. You believe you can do that?

A I think so.

Q You formed an opinion I presume from what you read in the newspapers upon the question of whether or not a crime had been committed at the haymarket meeting by the throwing of the bomb and the killing of the policemen---you formed an opinion upon that question, I suppose?

A I did.

Q Now, did you further than that form an opinion upon the responsibility of the defendants, or some of them, for the occurrence at the haymarket?

A I did so far as the facts published in the paper would give an opportunity to.

Q Is your mind so constituted, or your experience such that you are in the habit of relying implicitly upon newspaper publications??

A My experience would not warrant that.

Q Within certain prescribed limits, I suppose?

A Yes.

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Q You have some opinion---How long have you been a married man, Mr. Brayton?

A About eight years.

Q I believe you answered that you had children?

A Yes sir.

Q You have never made the acquaintance of any of the higher officers of the police force, Captain Bonfield, Captain Ward or Captain Schaack, or any of the lieutenants of the police, I understand you to say?

A I have not.

Q You were never present at any investigation or examinations by a coroner's jury growing out of the haymarket meeting?

A I was not.

Q You answered that you did not now know any member of the police force? Did you ever know any of the members of the police force, particularly those that were killed or injured at the haymarket meeting?

A I knew none of them, and no member excepting as I have seen them around my school building, merely as officers.

Q On the line of duty upon their beat, I suppose?

A Yes sir.

Q Are you acquainted with Mr. Ingham, attorney?

A By sight.

Q Have now personal acquaintance with him?

A No.

Q Never had any conversation with him?

A I was introduced to him once casually on the street. I believe I have never met him since.

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Q Do you know any of the other counsel representing the prosecution, Mr. Grinnell, or Mr. Furthman or Mr. Walker?

A I do not.

Q Were you educated here in Chicago aside from the education that you received when a small boy in New York?

A No. I returned to New York afterwards and attended Cornell University.

Q Mr. Brayton, where were you summoned as a juror? Where were you?

A At my home.

Q At Englewood?

A Yes sir.

MR. FOSTER: These four jurors might be sworn to try the case, your honor.

MR. BRAYTON: Your Honor, this is my vacation and it is the only time I have to be away. I tried to answer these questions truthfully, but I would ask to be excused.

THE COURT: I cannot discharge you. I am in the same condition.

The last four jurors accepted were then sworn to try the case.

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