Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of Reuben Slayton, 1886 July 20.

Volume I, 453-465, 13 p.
Slayton, Reuben.
Police Officer, Chicago Police Department.

Direct examination and re-direct by Mr. Grinnell. Cross-examination by Captain Black. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Police officer who arrested Adolph Fischer and Samuel Fielden. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): items confiscated from the Arbeiter-Zeitung office or the defendants' homes (vol.I 453), Lehr und Wehr Verein (vol.I 465), arrest of Fielden (vol.I 456), Fischer, Adolph (vol.I 4530, arrest of Fischer (vol.I 453).

Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents
[Image, Volume I, Page 453]


a witness for The People, being duly sworn, was examined in chief by Mr. Grinnell, and testified as follows:

Q What is your name?

A Reuben Slayton.

Q You are a policeman?

A Yes.

Q How long have you been on the force?

A All together, fourteen years.

Q You are now detailed at the Central?

A Yes.

Q Where were you specially detailed on the 4th of May? That is were you there then?

A Yes sir.

Q You made the arrest of Fischer in this case?

A I did.

Q State where, when, what occurred, and if on searching him, you found anything?

A I arrested him at the Arbeiter Office, 107 Fifth Avenue, on the 5th, the forenoon, and searched him and found that gun (producing and exhibiting a revolver)

Q It is not loaded, is it?

A Not now. It was when I found it.

Q What is the calibre of it?

A It is 44.

Q Self action?

[Image, Volume I, Page 454]

A Yes. And I found that file. (Producing it)

Q You call it a file?

A Well, it is a file ground sharp.

Q On three edges?

A That is what it is. And that belt and sheath (Producing same)

Q Well, was the belt and sheath on him?

A It was buckled on him; and the file was in the sheath, and this (the revolver) was stuck into that slit in the belt, and he had ten cartridges in his pocket.

Q What time in the morning was that, Mr. Slayton?

Q Well, it was in the fornoon, somewheres, I think about half past ten.

MR. BLACK: We object to all this testimony in behalf of the defendants, except Fischer.

Objection overruled and exception.

MR. GRINNELL: Well, what else did you find?

A I found in his pocket----there were five cartridges in the gun, and I found ten in his pocket, and a fuse cap.

Q Now, let us have that cap (Witness produces the article). That is a fulminating cap?

A Yes.

Q You have had it ever since?

A Yes.

Q What was its appearance when you found it, when you had it in there, as to whether it was brighter or in the condition it is now?

A O, yes, it was brighter. It has laid still among these cartridges you know.

[Image, Volume I, Page 455]

Q This is the identical one that you found in bis pocket?

A That is the identical one that I found.

Q Did you have any conversation with him?

A No more than, in regard to the gun; I asked him what he carried that for. He carried it because he carried money, and going home nights was to protect himself.

MR. INGHAM: By gun, you mean revolver, do you, officer?

A Well, it is this---that is the one (indicating revolver)

MR. GRINNELL: Well, where did you take him?

A Took him to the Central Station.

Q Did you have any other talk with him?

A No not---after that I asked him how long he had worked there, and he said about two years at the Arbeiter.

Q Did he say anything about what his position was there, what he was doing?

A A compositor. He said he was a compositor.

Q Did you have any other talk with him?

A No sir.

Q When you made the arrest of Fischer, what did he do?

A When I made the arrest he was coming down the stairs and he was within a step or two of the bottom of the stairs to the door that goes on to the street. When I met him I was going up into the building, and I felt this gun and I took him back up, and searched him and took these away from him.

Q Well, was anything done by him or you? Did he refuse to be searched or allow these to be taken from him?

[Image, Volume I, Page 456]

A Well, he did not want to be, in the first place but I searched him.

Q How was the pistol in regard to being loaded when you found it on his person?

A There was five chambers that was all loaded; there was five shots.

MR. SALOMON: Did I understand you to say it was all loaded?

A Yes.

MR. GRINNELL: He had a coat on, I suppose?

A Yes.

Q The belt was under his coat?

A Yes.

Q It could not be seen--the pistol and this stuff?

A No sir, you could not see it. The stairs are not very wide there, and when he was going down--my orders was to take all that were there, and of course I caught him going down stairs--why, I stopped him and had him go back; I felt that when we first met right there---I felt that he had a gun.

Q Did you arrest Fielden?

A I did.

Q Where?

A At his house.

Q When?

A The same day, in the morning, 110 West Polk Street.

Q Did you have any talk with Fielden at the arrest, or anywhere on the way home?

A Going over, after we got over there. He wouldn't talk much

[Image, Volume I, Page 457]

coming over there; after we got over I took, him down to lock him up and he took the bandage off his knee and put it on, and I then asked him where he got it dress, and he told me that when he got shot that he came down through the alley and took a car and went to I think he said Twelfth and Canal; had his knee dressed there that night.

Q Where did he say he got hurt, if anywhere?

A Well, he was shot down there at the speaking, down at the meeting.

Q Did he say how or what?

A He did not say how.

Q Did he say anything at the house? Did you have any talk at the house about the meeting with Fielden?

A No. He said he was at the meeting. That is all there was said.

By Mr. Black.

Q Mr. Slayton, you are specially connected with the Detective department of the police, are you not?

A Detailed in that department.

Q Have been there long?

A Since the 19th day of April, this time.

Q Before that how long had you been connected with the detective branch of the police service?

A I guess about six or seven years.

Q You have been connected with the Police Department how long all together?

[Image, Volume I, Page 458]

A About fourteen years.

Q Here in the city?

A Yes.

Q What hour in the day was it that you arrested Fielden?

A Well, I should think it was somewheres about between nine and ten, I should think so.

Q In the morning?

A Yes sir.

Q Was it before or after the arrest of Fischer?

A It was before.

Q Do you remember what hour it was that you arrested Fischer?

A I think it was somewheres between ten and eleven, or about eleven, something like that.

Q After arresting Fielden, where did you take him in the first instance?

A Direct to the Central Station.

Q Mow long were you at the Central Station before you started out on the trip on which you arrested Fischer?

A Just as soon as he was locked up.

Q You then immediately went out and found Fischer?

A Yes.

Q Now, where did you say Fielden's house was?

A 110 West Polk, Street in the rear on the first floor.

Q Before you left his house, you had ascertained from him the fact that he was shot, had you?

A Before we left there, o, yes.

[Image, Volume I, Page 459]

Q Before you left his house?

A O, yes, certainly.

Q Do you remember the route by which you came down town that morning with him?

A We walked down to Van Buren Street and there took, a car and came the rest of the way on the car to the corner of Randolph and Washington--or Randolph and La Salle.

Q You met with no resistance from Mr. Fielden in making that arrest, did you?

A No sir.

Q Now when you arrested Fischer at the Arbeiter Zeitung Office, you say you arrested him on the stairs?

A Yes.

Q As he was coming down?

A Yes.

Q Did you meet with any resistance from him at that time?

A Not at that time.

Q Did you ever receive any resistance at the hand of either Fischer or Fielden?

A Well, but very little. When we got upstairs, I did not take the gun from Fischer on the stairs nor anything until we got to the top of the stairs and into the room. Then he did not---more than he did not know whether he wanted I should search him or not.

Q But there was no resistance?

A O, no.

Q There was simply a sort of demurrer?

A That is all.

[Image, Volume I, Page 460]

Q But no resistance?

A That is all.

Q Was there anyone with you at the time?

A Not right there at the door. There was some of the officers in the building on that floor.

Q But I mean in that room?

A Yes sir.

Q When you made search and took the pistol?

A Yes sir, they were!

Q Was anyone in that room?

A Yes sir.

Q In the room?

A Three or four, I think.

Q In what part of the room were they?

A It was up in the third---up whether they were printing.

Q No; I am not speaking of the building; I am speaking of that room?

A Well, the room is all in one, on one floor.

Q What floor was it?

A It was on the top floor.

Q And how far from where you and Fischer stood at the time you took the pistol from him was it to where these officers were?

A Well, they may have been, some of them in the rear part of the building; some probably in the front part, I don't know exactly where they were. They were on that floor, but where I do not know.

Q You say the pistol was loaded at the time you got it?

[Image, Volume I, Page 461]

A Yes sir.

Q And that Fischer gave you the explanation which you have suggested?

A That is it.

Q That he wore it for his protection?

A That is what he said!

Q Now, did you have any warrant for the arrest of either of these parties at the time of making the respective arrests?

A I didnot.

Q And you had no search warrant for them, either of them, had you?

A I did not.

Counsel for People offer in evidence the revolver, belt and sharpened file produced by the witness.

THE COURT: What is the material of the handle? (Referring to the file).

A It is wood.

MR. BLACK. In taking Fielden down town, Officer Slayton, do you remember whether after coming out of the door going down to Van Buren Strect, as you have explained, you walked one block west with him?

A We walked one block or part of a block, but walked from his house to the corner west to catch a street car; the street cars run on that street; but there didn't any come along and we walked along.

Q Then you walked down to Van Buren?

[Image, Volume I, Page 462]

A Then we walked to Van Buren Street and caught one; we took the first car that we come to.

Q Walked from Polk to Van Buren?

A Yes sir.

Q What officers were with you that morning on the occasion of your visit to Fielden's house?

A There was Officer Costello, Officer Ryan and Officer Linner.

Q There were four of you then altogether?

A Yes.

Q Were you the chief of the party?

A I was no more than any of the rest. We were all officers of the same rank.

Q Did any of those officers to your knowledge have any warrant that morning for the arrest of Fielden, or for the search of his house?

A Not to my knowledge.

Q Now, as a matter of fact tell me whether Mr. Fielden's house was searched while you were there by any of the officers?

A Yes.

Q That was before you took him down town?

A Yes.

Q How long a time was spent in searching the house at that time, if you remember?

A O, well, I cannot tell exactly, probably fifteen minutes.

Q It may have been more?

A Probably---might have been, but not much longer.

[Image, Volume I, Page 463]

Q Where did you find Fielden when you entered the house?

A Right just inside of the door. He opened the door for me, I think; the door was locked and I think that it was him that opened the door.

Q Where was it that Fielden removed the bandages, or adjusted the bandages upon his leg?

A At the Central Station.

Q At the Central Station after he got down there?

A Yes.

Q But you knew in advance from what he said to you that he had been wounded there?

A Yes.

Q Do you remember what conversation occurred between yourself or any of the officers and Mr. Fielden on the way to the cars?

A Well, I remember all the conversation that him and me had, but if he had any with the rest probably might not know what it was because I did not walk direct side of him all the way down.

Q You found no munitions of war in Fielden's house, I suppose?

A No, not any.

Q Of any kind or description?

A No sir.

Q No weapons or anything of that kind?

A No sir.

Q Nor upon his person?

A No sir.

Q Did you personally make any subsequent search of Fielden's house or participate in it?

A Not alone?

[Image, Volume I, Page 464]

Q Well, I say, or participate in it?

A Yes.

Q How many days afterwards was that?

A No, that was the same day that the arrest was made.

Q But later in the day?

A No sir.

Q The same time?

A Yes sir.

Q You made then personally no subsequent seach a few days after that?

A No sir, I never have been there since.

By Mr. Grinnell.

Q You just describe that, (indicating the three cornered file already introduced in evidence). You say that it is a file, an old fashioned three cornered file, isn't it?

A That is an old fashioed three cornered file, ground to a sharp edge; the three corners are round to an edge and sharp on the point.

Q How sharp is it?

A Well, it is sharp enough to cut anyone very easily; it is very sharp; I don't want to cut myself with it.

Q I see a "B" on here. Was that on there or was it put on as your mark?

A It is put on, I think, by the--

[Image, Volume I, Page 465]

Q Put on to identify it, was it, afterwards?

A Yes.

MR. BLACK: In other words, the proper question is, was that on there when you got it?

A I think, not.

Q Other than that letter "B" put on there in ink, is this implement in substantially the same condition as when you got it?

A Yes sir, exactly.

MR. GRINNELL: And this is the belt (indicating) that you found on his person?

A Yes sir.

Q Just describe it. There is a brass buckle.

A It is a Lehr and Wehr buckle.

Q A brass buckle. Describe that buckle?

A It is a buckle for the Lehr and Wehr Verein Society.

Q Give the letters.

A L.W. and V.

MR. ZEISLER: "L. & W.V."

A Well, they are all there.

Return to Top of this Witness
Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents