Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of Moritz Neff, 1886 July 23.

Volume J, 272-285, 14 p.
Neff, Moritz.
Saloon keeper, Neff's Hall.

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

Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): weapons and explosives (vol.J 2810, anarchists and/or anarchism (vol.J 280), call for workingmen to arm themselves (vol.J 280), the Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.J 280), Neff's (Thoeringer) Hall (vol.J 272), Lehr und Wehr Verein (vol.J 272), Lingg, Louis (vol.J 273), Engel, George (vol.J 279).

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

By Mr. Grinnell.

Q What is your name?

A Moritz Neef.

Q Where do you live?

A 54 Clybourn Avenue.

Q 58 Clybourn Avenue is also known as Neef's Hall?

A Yes.

Q And it has another name -- Thoeringer Hall?

A Yes.

Q How long have you lived there?

A It will be seven years next Christmas.

Q You keep a saloon there?

A Yes.

Q Back of the saloon is a hall?

A Yes.

Q What group used to meet in that hall?

A The North Side Group.

Q Do you know any of the defendants?

A I know them all.

Q What other organizations used to meet there besides the Northwest Group - the Lehr and Wehr Verein?

A No; there was no Lehr and Wehr Verein meetings there.

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Q Do you remember the night the bomb was thrown -- the 4th of May last?

A Yes.

Q Were you at your saloon that night?

A Yes.

Q Do you know Engel?

A Yes.

Q Do you know Louis Lingg?

A Yes.

Q Do you know Fischer?

A Yes.

Q Fielden?

A Yes.

Q All of them, do you?

A Yes.

Q Did you see Louis Lingg that night?

A Louis Lingg came in that night in company with Seliger and another man, whom I hadn't seen before.

Q Did they have anything with them?

A This stranger to me, he carried a satchel.

Q Who carried the satchel as they came in?

A This fellow that I found out later was Muensenberger.

Q With whom was he?

A With Lingg and Seliger.

Q What did they carry?

A Lingg and Seliger carried nothing, only the man Muensenberger carried a bag.

Q Describe that bag?

A It was a common bag; you can buy them for $2 or $2.50 in any of these trunk stores; it was probably about a foot and a half long and six inches wide.

Q What did he do with it when he brought it in?

A He put it on the counter.

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Q Then what?

A There were several men in his way; they wanted to get to the counter, and he put it on the floor.

Q Where was Seliger and Lingg at that time?

A They were standing there, and Lingg was asking me if some one had been there asking for him.

Q Begin with that bag as they came in the door -- how did Muensenberger carry it?

A He carried it on his shoulder, and he stepped through the door; then he put it on the counter, and from there he placed it on the floor.

Q What did Lingg say?

A Lingg asked me if anybody had been there enquiring for him previously.

Q What did you say?

A I said there was nobody there.

Q What time in the evening do you think it was?

Q This was, as near as I can remember, about ten minutes after eight, or fifteen minutes.

Q What did Lingg do then -- what did Lingg and Seliger and Muensenberger do?

A This Muensenberger he picked up the bag and went out of the side door, followed by Lingg and Seliger.

Q Point out on that map (referring to a diagram of 54 Clybourn Avenue). Here is the front of your saloon (indicating). Did you live over it?

A No.

Q Here is the saloon? (indicating).

A Yes.

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Q Here is the bar (indicating)?

A Yes.

Q There is the hall in the rear (indicating)?

A Yes, and they went through this in the rear of the room.

Q Who went through?

A Lingg, Muensenberger and Seliger.

Q Did they carry the bag with them?


Q Then what did you see next?

A I did not pay any attention to it; I haven't seen the bag since. There was a large meeting of painters in the hall that evening, advertised by hand bill; there were probably 200 people in the hall that night; and consequently I opened this door (indicating) in order to give the people a chance to go through.

Q That is the door that opens into this hall?

A Yes; to go through that door without being compelled to go through the saloon.

Q Where did you see Lingg, Seliger and Muensenberger again?

A I have not seen Muensenberger since.

Q Did you see the other two again that night?

A Lingg and Seliger came in about 11 o'clock in the evening.

Q In the mean time had anybody else been there enquiring for Lingg?

A No, sir.

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Q Do you know Huebner?

A Yes.

Q Was he there that night?

A He was there before Lingg came.

Q Did he inquire for Lingg?

A No, there was nobody inquired for Lingg.

Q Do you know Thielen?

A Yes.

Q Was he there that night?

A Yes; he hung around there that night; I did not see him inside. I saw him out in front of the saloon on the sidewalk.

Q Were either of the Lehmans there?

A The two of them were there.

Q August and Gustave?

A Yes.

Q What time did you see them there?

A They were there after Lingg left; they were out on the sidewalk; they were not inside.

Q How long did Lingg stay there before he went away?

A The first time probably five or ten minutes.

Q Did he come back into the saloon again after he went out into the hall with the bag?

A Yes, Lingg went through the saloon.

Q Did Seliger and Muensenberger come back with him?

A I did not see Seliger and Muensenberger go through the saloon.

Q They came back again about eleven?

A Yes.

Q Who came back?

A The first man that came back

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was Jake Salig, the cigar maker.

Q The cigar maker?

A Yes.

Q When he came back did anybody come with him?

A No. He came alone.

Q Then who came?

A After that several other people came.

Q Who of those individuals I have mentioned?

A The Hermanns came in, the two Lehmans and the two Hagemanns, and a fellow by the name of Hirshberger.

Q Hirschberger was there too, was he?

A Yes, he came in later, and that is about all I know by name.

Q Did you see Lingg and Seliger there?

A Yes, they dropped in later.

Q Were these men talking together?

A Yes, they were talking together.

Q Did you hear what they said?

A I did not hear very much of it. I was talking to this Seliger.

Q I only want to know what you did hear?

A I heard one of them hallo out very loud "That is all your fault".

Q Was there any response made to that by anybody?

Q They were talking amongst themselves. I did not pay any attention to it, because I did not think the thing was important just at the time.

Q When did you hear about the bomb?

A Yes, just

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at that time when they came in; the Hermanns and Hagemanns were talking about it among themselves.

Q What information did they give you about any bomb having been thrown?

Objected to.

THE COURT: I don't think any conversation is admissible unless one of the defendants were present.

Mr. GRINNELL (Q) Was Lingg there when you heard this?

A Yes, he was.

Q State what was said when Lingg was there about any bomb being thrown?

A Not at that time.

Q When was it? Lingg was there too at that time; this was around eleven o'clock, probably a little later.

Q What did they say?

Objected to.

Q Where was Lingg and what was said while Lingg was there?

A They were all standing in front of the counter in this saloon.

Q Was Lingg among them?

A Lingg was among them and Seliger.

Q Go ahead and state what you heard from that crowd?

A One fellow he halloed out pretty loud "It is all your fault". That was all that I could distinctly understand.

Q At the time they were all standing as you say, did

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you hear anything about a bomb having been thrown?

A Yes

Q What did you hear?

A I heard that the bomb had been thrown among the police and some of them had been killed

Q Who said that?

A They all said it; they all came from the meeting with the exception of Lingg and Seliger. I read that later in the paper, that they were not there.

Q Never mind what you read in the paper -- do you know Engel?

A Yes.

Q Did he address the North Side Group in your hall at any time?

A He was there once.

Q When was that that you have reference to?

A That was last winter, as near as I can recollect in February.

Q What meeting was there there that you heard Engel talk to?

A It was a public meeting open to everybody of the North Side Group, advertised in the Arbeiter Zeitung-- an agitation meeting they called it.

Q What did Engel say?

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

A He came in and addressed the meeting on general principles, and came around and wanted money for a new paper which they started.

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Q What did they call it?

A It is called "The Anarchists"; it is a paper started by the North West Side Group and two of the South Side Group.

Q Go on and state what you heard?

A He came there for the purpose of obtaining money in order to push this paper along.

Q What else did he say?

A He said that the Arbeiter Zeitung was not outspoken enough in those, anarchistic principles; therefore it was necessary to start something else, and for this purpose they started this paper; they distributed some of these papers around here; and after that he sat down. That was one part of his speech.

Q Did you hear any more?

A Later on he spoke again, and he gave a kind of history of revolutions in the old country, and stated that the nobility of France were only forced to give up their privileges by brute force; and then he stated that the slaveholders at the South here only liberated their slaves after being compelled by force by the Northern States, and therefore he said that the present wage slavery would only be done away with by force also; and he advised them to arm themselves, and if guns were too dear for them they should use cheaper means -- dynanite, or any thing they could get hold of to fight the enemy. That is about all he said.

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Q State whether he said anything about how to make bombs?

A He stated that in order to make bombs it was not necessary that they should be round; anything that was hollow inside would do -- in the shape of gas pipes, or something like that.

Q What further description did he give of making the bombs?

A This was in the speech that he made; he sat down afterwards. It was customary to have a discussion after the speech was made, and anybody that wanted to ask the speaker a question they did so. That part of the speech I did not hear. I was in the saloon.

Q You were not in there all of the time?

A No, sir.

Q Did you hear him say anything more than you have now said?

A No, sir.

Q Did you subscribe for the Anarchist?

A No, I did not.

Q Did you see a copy there?

A I bought a copy of it for 5 cents that evening.

Q Do you remember the date of the copy you bought?

A This is one of the copies (indicating).

Q That is dated when?

A January 1st, 1886.

Q Here is one dated April 1st?

A These are copies of the papers.

Q Look at this copy of January and see if it is a copy of the paper that you saw distributed here that night of which you bought one, paying five cents?

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A I am positive that it is one of the copies.

Q This was distributed by Engel that night, was it?

A Engel didn't distribute it himself, there were two other gentlemen in company with him.

Same offered in evidence in behalf of the People and marked for identification, People's Exhibit 3 of July 23d, 1886.

THE COURT: Let it be identified now, and when it is translated it may be introduced.

Mr. GRINNELL: I desire to introduce a translation of this, and I will submit the translation as soon as possible.


Q Was your attention especially attracted at the time when Mr. Lingg and Mr. Seliger came there, or have you only a general idea.

A I would not have recollected that because there were so many people only for the reason that Mr. Lingg asked me if there had been anybody there inquiring.

Q Did you look at the clock to see, or do you imagine it was somewhere between eight and half past eight?

A I know by this reason, that the meeting of the painters

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was called precisely at eight o'clock, and they came in five or ten minutes later.

Q So then the painters meeting was at eight o'clock, and Lingg and Seliger came in after that?

A Yes, sir.

Q But you don't know how much exactly afterwards?

A No, sir.

Q Do you mean that the painters actually met at eight o'clock, or that their meeting was called at eight o'clock.

A They met at eight o'clock.

Q That was the call -- to come at eight o'clock?

A Yes, it was the call, and they met too at eight o'clock; they were not all there; there were some of them dropped in after that.

Q After they had gone at 11 o'clock, or in that neighborhood, you say that certain persons came to the saloon and afterwards Lingg came in?

A Yes, sir.

Q Give us the names of the men that came -- of the men that stood along the bar that lingg and Seliger joined?

A They were all strangers to me that evening; it was the first meeting that the painters had.

Q At about eleven o'clock you say that there were some parties came in, and afterwards Lingg came in; tell me who it was that was there?

A The first one that I recognized was Jake Selig; he is a cigar maker.

Q He was the first man?

A Yes.

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Q Who after that, if you remember?

A After that the Hermanns came in and the two Hagemanns came in and the Lehmans came in.

Q Do you know whether they were at the Haymarket meeting or not, or whether they had only heard of the Haymarket meeting and of the bomb?

A Well, this I don't know; they talked about being there and a bomb being thrown, and shots being fired.

Q Did they say they had been there?

A They said so among themselves.

Q Which ones said they had been at the Haymarket meeting?

A All those that I mentioned.

Q The seven that you mentioned you understood from their talk, that they actually had been there at the Haymarket meeting and came from there?

A Yes.

Q Did they say that, or is it only your impression?

A It is my impression for the reason that they were talking about it.

Q They talked about the bomb and they seemed to know when they came to your house at eleven o'clock, or in the neighborhood -- they seemed to know a bomb had been thrown and some policemen had been killed.

A Yes.

Q But whether they had been there themselves, or whether they had heard it on the street you don't pretend to say?

A No, I don't pretend to say anything about that.

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Q Hirschberger was there also?

A He came in later.

Q He came in after they had spoken about the Haymarket bomb?

A Yes.

Q So then he didn't come there with them?

A Some of them were hanging around still when he came in.

Q Had Lingg got there when he came in?

A Lingg was there before.

Q You had an idea that Lingg and Seliger and all these men that you have mentioned had been down to the Haymarket meeting?

A Some of them were there.

Q You thought from their talk they had all been there?

A Yes.

Q That was your idea?

A That was the impression that I got.

Q You got that impression because they knew or said that a bomb had been thrown and some policemen killed?

A Yes.

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