Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of Thomas L. Treharn, 1886 July 23.

Volume J, 239-255, 17 p.
Treharn, Thomas L.
Police Officer, Chicago Police Department.

Direct examination by Mr. Walker. Cross-examination by Mr. Foster. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Police officer at the April 1885 Board of Trade rally. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): weapons and explosives (vol.J 245), plans for warfare against the police and/or capitalists (vol.J 241), call for workingmen to arm themselves (vol.J 241), the Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.J 242), 1885 April 28 Board of Trade protest (vol.J 239), Parsons, Albert (vol.J 239), Fielden, Samuel (vol.J 239).

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produced as a witness on behalf of the People, being first duly sworn, testified as follows:

By Mr. Walker.

Q What is your full name?

A Thomas L. Treharn.

Q What is your business?

A I am a police officer

Q Were you a police officer on the day of the inauguration of the Board of Trade.

A Yes.

Q Where were you upon the night of that day?

A I was detailed to attend a meeting at the Market Square.

Q Whereabouts is that?

A That is between Randolph Street and Madison Street, and the first street east of the river.

Q Did any one accompany you there?

A Officer Sullivan.

Q Did you go there?

A Yes.

Q When you got to the Market Square what did you find?

A I found a large crowd of people assembled around some salt barrels.

Q Were any of the defendants present, if you know?

A Fielden and Parsons.

Q What were they doing?

Objected to; objection overruled; to which ruling defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.

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Q When I first got there there was some speeches made in German, which of course I don't know.

Q Do you know who the speakers were?

A No, sir, I do not.

Q What time did you get there?

A About seven in the evening.

Q What were Fielden and Parsons doing when you saw?

A Parsons made a speech to the crowd.

Q What did Fielden do?

A He afterward made a speech.

Q Tell as near as you can now recollect the speech that Parsons made?

Objected to generally as incompetent, immaterial and irrelevant, and particularly objected to on behalf of the defendants other than Fielden and Parsons. Objection overruled, to which ruling defendants by their counsel then and there duly excepted.

A Parsons was standing on some salt barrels at the edge of the sidewalk, and a crowd were in the street; he was talking about the opening of the Board of Trade; he characterized the Board of Trade as robbers roost and den, that they were revelling in the proceeds of the working men, that every dollar that was put in that building belonged to the working man. He says, "How many of my hearers could afford to give $20 for a supper to-night" The invitations there were $20 I believe. He says "It is no use arguing". He says, "We

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will never gain anything by argument and words. The only way to convince these capitalists and robbers is to use the gun and dynamite", and his speech went on in that manner. Afterwards Fielden got on the barrel and made a speech.

Q Detail all you can remember of Mr. Fielden's speech?

A He got on there and said the Board of Trade was the largest gambling house in the world; that they were dabbling in their money; the proceeds of the working men; that they raised the price of food to such an exhorbitant price that they cannot live, and dictate to them what they shall do, At the close of his argument he says, "I want you all to form in line and march to the Board of Trade; I will head you". He says we will march there and have some of that $20 supper, and we will march to the grand old tune of the Marsellaise, and they all formed in line. Parsons was in line and Fielden.

Q Was anything said in Fielden's speech as to the means to be used, or anything suggested by him; if so, what?

A He said if it was necessary for to force themselves in and demand their rights they had a right to eat of that $20 supper as any man in the building.

Q What was done?

A They formed in line and marched down towards the Board of Trade Building.

Q What did you do?

A I followed them.

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Q In the line of procession or march did you see anyone there that you recognized?

A I saw Fielden and Parsons, and Mrs. Parsons carried the red flag that night.

Q They were in the procession that night?

A Yes.

Q Go on and detail what occurred along the line as you went with them?

A I followed the line down La Salle street to the Board of Trade and around the Board of Trade. I wish to explain that there was a cordon of police placed at each street crossing so that they could not get in the immediate block of the Board of Trade, but the block surrounding the Board of Trade. I followed along the head of the procession along the streets around Van Buren street,, east on Van Buren to Clark until I got in front of the Grand Pacific Hotel; at that time there was a carriage drove out from the Board of Trade and a brick had been thrown in the window and a woman had been terribly cut, and I tried to catch the man that threw it, and I lost track of their movements for a few minutes at that time. They kept on marching down Clark street to Adams and turned off Adams to 5th Avenue and up to their headquarters; so I followed afterwards up to their headquarters.

Q Where did the procession stop, if at all?

A At the newspaper office, 107.

Q What newspaper office?

A The Alarm.

Q That is the place where the Arbeiter Zeitung is published?

A Yes.

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Q What occurred when you got there?

A Parsons was making a speech through an open window.

Q Did you hear any of that speech?

A Yes.

Q Where were you?

A I stood in the street.

Q Just detail now all you heard Parsons say from that window?

A He said that the capitalists had their bloodhounds there to prevent them, that the next time they would go they should be prepared and break through, and he characterized the police as in the employ of capitalists and to protect them,--and he went on again about this supper---that it was to proceeds of the working men, and so on, and that it was only a matter of time before the working men would have to assert their rights by dynamite and the pistol.

Q Do you remember of anything being said on the subject as to whether they should go to any of the wholesale or retail houses in this city, if so what?

A Yes. Parsons said that they should sack these wholesale clothing stores, and the whole sale grocers for the provisions and stuff that they would need.

Q Were any stores mentioned?

A Marshall Fields was mentioned. He said that it was not proper that one man should own so much property and so many people be suffering. I cannot detail exactly the language he used, but that is the substance of it.

Q Do you remember whether he said anything or not about the militia in that speech from the window?

A Not at the

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window, but at Market Square he mentioned militia.

Q What was said about the company of militia at Market Square?

A That the capitalists had the militia ready for to annihilate them on the spot, if the occasion required it.

Q Was there a company there then?

A The company had been brought up there, and they were in the habit of drilling on Market Square.

Q This was the same night?

A Yes.

Q Did anyone else speak after Mr. Parsons at the window at 107 Fifth Avenue?

A Fielden spoke there.

Q Detail now as near as you can recollect the substance of his speech?

A Well, it was something similar to Mr. Parsons; it was that the working men had to assert their rights, that the few rich men had everything so that they manipulated everything to their own benefit, and the working men had to work and get nothing? He said "how many of your working men here to-night have proper clothing for your families at home?" He said while these robbers were enjoying themselves at the Board of Trade with a $20 supper, we have not that much to sustain us for a month." I remember his making those remarks.

Q Was there anything said by him about force or arms in that speech from the window?

A He said there was nothing to be gained unless they used dynamite and guns as an argument, that argument had failed.

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Q Were you and Mr. Sullivan dressed in citizens clothes that night?

A Yes.

Q Had you known either Mr. Fielden or Mr. Parsons or Mr. Spies or any of these defendants personally at that time?

A Personally, no.

Q Do you know Williamson the reporter?

A Yes.

Q Did you meet him upon that night?

A Yes.

Q Where?

A In front of the Arbeiter Zeitung.

Q What occurred after your meeting with Mr. Williamson?

A I was standing down at the door, and Williamson came from the office down stairs; he says "there is something of interest for you people up there, you had better go up"; he told us that there was dynamite up there; that it had been shown him.

Q What did you do?

A So accompanied by him we went up stairs.

Q Who accompanied you besiades Williamson if any one?

A Officer Sullivan.

Q What occurred after you got up stairs.

A After we got up in the office the speech making had closed, and they had closed the windows and Spies was up in the office that night; he was standing by the desk; and Williamson asked him to show him that cartridge again and Spies handed the cartridge to Parsons.

Q What did they say it was?

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A It was a package about the size of this newspaper (indicating about 12 inches long and about an inch thick), only considerably larger, with a fuse attached to it, and then I commenced talking with Parsons. I says to him "Why didn't you go to the Board of Trade as you first intended and have some of that supper?" He said, "Oh, the blood hounds were there to prevent us as usual. I says "Why, there were not so many of them, why didn't you break through?" He says "we were not exactly prepared to-night," and he says--holding in his hand "here is a thing I could knock a hundred of them down with like tenpins."

Q Give us a description of the thing there that he alluded to when he said that?

A It was a long package about as large as that newspaper, and looked like a very large firecracker.

Q Did he say what it was?

A He said it was a dynamite cartridge.

Q Did you see Mr.Fielden up there when this thing was exhibited?

A Oh, yes, he was in the office.

Q Name all the people that was there, as near as you can?

A Spies was there, Schwab, Parsons, Mrs. Parsons and this Lizzie Moore, and probably a dozen other people whom I don't know.

Q Did you have any further conversation as to what they intended to do that night, or anything about that?

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A He showed me a coil of fuse. I asked him what it was used for.

Q Who showed you that?

A Parsons showed that to me; it was in under a desk, and Spies reached down under the desk and handed it to Parsons and Parsons showed it to us, and I then asked him about the dynamite, and he says "there is enough there to blow up that building; it is a very small dynamite that would raise that". I says "it would be dangerous; you would be killed in doing it." He says "We have plenty of fuse; a man could be a block off and blow it up." At that time he exhibited this coil of fuse.

Q To what building was reference made, if it was mentioned?

A The Board of Trade.

Q How long were you up there?

A Probably three quarters of an hour.

Defendant counsel moved to exclude the evidence of this witness; motion overruled, to which ruling of the court defendants by their counsel then and there excepted.

Cross Examination by

Q You were with the procession from the time they started to march until they got back to 107 Fifth Avenue?

A With the exception of the time that I tried to catch

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the man that threw the brick through the carriage.

Q That procession in fact didn't stop anywhere, did it?

A No; it kept moving right along.

Q Where did it start from?

A It started from Market Squarem near Randolph street bridge.

Q And went around in the streets next to the Board of Trade building and kept right on and finally landed and disbanded right at 107 Fifth Avenue?

A Yes.

Q And you were with them when they started and with them when they disbanded I suppose?

A Yes.

Q You got up with them again in the meantime having lost the man that threw the brick through the window?

A Yes.

Q You saw him do the act, did you?

A I did not see him, but I heard the glass break and turned right around and got a description of him from a bystander.

Q I suppose that was not one of the defendants now on trial?

A I don't know.

Q You don't claim that that was Spies or Fielden?

A No sir, I did not.

Q And the speeches that you heard from the window were what you have stated? Mr. Spies did not speak from the window?

A I don't believe he did.

Q Just Parsons and Fielden?

A I would not swear positively that he did not, and I will tell you why: There were several fights in that crowd outside, and they had stopped the street cars and in doing police duty I might have missed them.

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Q They did not seem to be unanimous on the street?

A No sir.

Q They had several fights there?

A Yes.

Q I suppose the tenor of their speeches was about the same as they had been down at the market Square?

A Yes.

Q And about the same that they were on Lake Front that you heard there--you have been to Lake front?

A No sir.

Q Never went to the Lake front?

A No sir.

Q Are you a policeman or are you a detective?

A For the last year I have been detailed in citizens clothes; I am a policeman.

Q What you mean by that is doing detective duty?

A Yes.

Q Before that you were a policeman for how many years?

A Altogether I have been in the department for over five years.

Q You never attended any of the meetings at the Lake front?

A No sir.

Q Now after you had been down to the Board of Trade and was talking about this dynamite shell you learned that that shell had not been taken down there for the purpose of use and this fuse and so forth, did you?

A I could not say whether it was down there or not, but at the time I first saw it Spies brought it out of a desk.

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Q Didn't Parsons say "If I had this I could have done so and so"?

A No; he didn't use that expression.

Q You saw no dynamite bomb at all out there in that procession?

A No sir.

Q And you didn't understand from their speeches--they did not say that they were going to use dynamite and demolish the building?

A Not in the speeches they did not.

Q But they simply to the meeting there assembled suggested the monument that had been raised which constituted the biggest gambling house in Chicago or this part of the country--- that it was the result of the extortions from the laboring classes---something to that effect?

A Yes.

Q And they said "Who of us can pay for a $20 supper to-night?"

A Yes.

Q And they enthused some and marched and got back to Io7 Fifth avenue after a while?

A Yes.

Q Then they enthused some more---that is, they had speeched and they had hurrahed some outside?

A Yes.

Q And they talked about Marshall Field and Company and other men being rich, and that it was not right for one man to be so very rich while the others were so very poor--they were opposed to the principle which allowed that thing?

A That was part of the speech.

Q And they all disbanded and went home- scattered?

A The crowd outside did. I did not stay long enough to

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see where the people in the office went.

Q And then you went up with this gentleman, the newspaper man, and inquired for the dynamite shell?

A Yes.

Q They did not deny having it of course--they brought it right out?

A yes.

Q And explained the force of it and the theory of it and talked about their fuse and all that sorth of thing?

A Yes.

Q And then you went away soon after that?

A Yes.

Q And reported I presume what you had seen occur?

A Yes.

Q Who did you report to?

A Lieut. Bedell.

Q He was of the detective force, was he not?

A No sir; he is Lieutenant of the Cottage Grove Station. He is the lieutenant that I work under.

Q Do you remember about how long ago this was?

A It was in the month of April; about the spring of the year, in 1885; somewhere about the latter end of April.

Q It will be some 15 months ago, or something in that neighborhood?

A Yes; it was either the 28th or 29th day of April.

Q When you started from the Market Square--when the procession started from Market Square--where did they go first--what street did they go on?

A They went down a square to Madison street.

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Q That is, they went south on Market to Madison?

A They marched down Madison to Fifth avenue and Fifth Avenue to Van Buren?

Q They went down Market to Madison, and which way did they go on Madison?

A They went east on Madison to 5th Avenue, and 5th Avenue to Van Buren.

Q South on 5th Avenue to Van Buren?

A Yes.

Q And east on Van Buren to Clark, north on Clark?

A Yes, I believe to Adams street, that is where the carriage incident occurred, when I got up to them again it was on 5th Avenue.

Q They went north on Clark street to Adams?

A Yes.

Q And then where did they go?

A And they turned west to 5th Avenue and then went back to the office.

Q That was the line of march that they made?

A Yes.

Q When the reference was made to their ideas and principles you did not understand that they were going to start out on a mission that night did you? They did not say that they were?

A From Market Square they intended to force their way into the Board of Trade.

Q Then this mission of helping themselves to clothing and that kind of stuff--

A I understood Fielden to say that he would head them attack any of these places that night if necessary.

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Q Did they start off on an expedition of that kind?

A No sir.

Q But he went on and said I will head you--go with you to make a tour?

A Yes, to sack and plunder any large store.

Q And then he quietly withdrew from the window and staid in the room?

A Yes.

Q And the balance of them I suppose that had heard such speeches many times before they gradually dispersed?

A The crowd did.

Q And when you came down from going up there and pawing over the dynamite and fuse that was spread out before you the crowd had gone principally?

A Yes.

Q Nobody came up stairs to inquire why Fielden did not come on and accept the position of Marshall and march on?

A Not to my knowledge.

Q You did not hear anything of that kind?

A No sir.

Q Fielden did not say anything after you got up stairs about the procession he was going to head to gut these stores?

A I had no talk with Mr. Fielden.

Q He seemed to be more interested in exhibiting the destructice powers of the dynamite?

A He did not exhibit it.

Q He was present?

A Yes.

Q You have heard about this same kind of thing going on for a long time? Where a number of men had tried to scare the capitalists some by the exposure of dynamite?

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A I have read considerable about it.

Q That is a kind of idea and theory that has prevailed in the minds of the people---to try and get up some big scare in the minds of the people and scare the capitalists. How long have you heard about this and read about it?

Objected to.

Q Are these the only speeches that you have heard from the defendants upon the subject?

Objected to.

Q These speeches you say were all made on this one occasion?

A Yes.

Q And that was in the month of April you think, about the 28th of April?

A I am certain it was in the month of April, 1885.

Q You did not attend the Lake front meetings?

A No sir.

THE COURT: What streets are the streets next to the Board of Trade Building?

A On the south is Van Buren street, and on the east is Pacific Avenue and on the north is Jackson street and on the west is Sherman street.

Q How far is it from Pacific avenue to Clark street?

A It is a short block

Q And from Jackson to Adams?

A That is a block.

Q And from Sherman street to 5th avenue?

A That is a short block.

Q And then how far is the south end of the Board of Trade

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building from Van Buren street?

A That is half a block; there was a vacant lot there at that time? Armour's building is there now.

Q I want to know whether the procession at that point of its march was next to the Board of Trade building?

A No sir.

Q The nearest that they marched was when they were on Van Buren street, half a block away?

A Yes; they did not go on Pacific avenue; the police prevented them.

Q Was there anything that impeded the line of march directly on those streets bounding the Board of Trade?

Objected to

Objection sustained.

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