Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of Charles B. Prouty, 1886 July 30.

Volume K, 653-657, 5 p.
Prouty, Charles B.
Gun store owner.

Direct examination by Mr. Grinnell. Cross-examination by Captain Black.

Testified that Engel and his wife approached him about buying 100-200 revolvers. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): weapons and explosives (vol.K 654), Parsons, Albert (vol.K 653), Engel, George (vol.K 653).

Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents
[Image, Volume K, Page 653]


a witness called and sworn on behalf of the people; was examined in chief by Mr. Grinell, and testified as follows;

Q What is your name?

A Charles B. Prouty.

Q What is your business?

A In the gun business.

Q Where?

A Manager for E. Eaton, 53 State Street,.

Q How long have you ben in that business here in Chicago?

A About seventeen years.

Q You were in that business during the last six months or year?

A Yes sir.

Q Do you know any of the defendants, or have you ever seen any of the defendants?

A Yes sir.

Q Whom of the defendants have you seen or know?

A I have seen Mr. Engle. I think I have seen this gentleman over here-- I believe his name is Parsons (pointing to Parsons).

Q The one immediately back of Captain Black?

A I have been told his name is Parsons.

Q When in reference to the 4th day of May last, prior to that, when did you have any conversation with Mr. Engle?

[Image, Volume K, Page 654]

A Sometime last fall- as near as I can remember.

Q Who was present with Engle?

A Mrs. Engle.

Q Was his daughter present also?

A No sir.

Q State what occurred?

Defendants' counsel objected to the testimony as irrelevant and immaterial. The Court overruled the objection, to which ruling of the Court defendants' counsel then and there excepted.

A Mr. and Mrs. Engle called at the store, and made some inquiries in regard to some large revolvers. They found one there that seemed satisfactory, and obtained the price of it, and wanted to know what they could furnish a quantity for-- they didn't know just how many, possibly a hundred, probably two hundred, and wanted to take that one buy that and pay for it, and take it and present it at some meeting of some society. I didn't ask them who or where. They took the pistol and paid for it Probably in a week or two they returned and said the pistol was satisfactory, and wanted to know if I could get them a lot. I told them I hadn't any in the store-- that was a sample. I told them I knew where there was a lot in the east, and I would write to know if I could get them. I wrote east and found the lot had been disposed of, and was unable to get them. They were somewhat disappointed, and said it didn't make any great difference, for they had found something else for a little less money that would answer the purpose, and with that

[Image, Volume K, Page 655]

they left our store.

Q How late did you see them prior to the first of May?

A Mrs. Engle comes into the store frequently. She has a little store on the West side, and buys fishing tackle of us and other things in reference to our line.

Q In reference to the purchase of fire arms?

A I don't remember only this one.

Q Did you furnish cartridges to them at all?

A Only in a small way as she might want them in her store-- that is all.

Q How much at a time?

A I don't remember.

Q You used the word gun,,-- what kind of gun in your testimony here in your talk about arms-- what were they, pistols?

A Large revolvers, something about seven inch barrell.

Q Any price designated?

A Yes, the price would be $5.50 a piece.

Q What caliber?

A I have forgotten the caliber. I think it was 44 or 45. I would not be positive which.

Q Did you have any talk with them about any profit to be derived from it by themselves?

A Yes, I told them the price. I quoted them was very cheap and they thought to make a nice profit on that. They replied they didn't care to make profits. It was for a society, and they didn't care to make profits on it.

Q Was the name of the socifty mentioned?

A No sir.

[Image, Volume K, Page 656]

Q When have you ever seen Parsons, and what conversation have you ever had with him, and when?

A I am sure I saw Parsons. I didn't know him as Parsons. I know him now when I see him. I remember seeing his face in the store; never had any particular conversation with Parsons. I saw him in the store the same as I see a great many other people come in the store.

Q You remember now having no dealings with him?

A No sir, never had any dealings, simply seen him in there-- that is all.

MR, GRINELL: Take the witness.

Defendants' counsel moved the exclusion of this testimony upon the ground of its irrelevancy-- the irrelevancy of the purchase of a revolver by Mr. and Mrs Engle last fall to the question of who killed Mr. Degan with a bomb in May.

The Court denied the motion; to which ruling of the Court counsel for defendants then and there excepted.

Cross Examination by

Q You understood Mrs Engle kept a store?

A Yes sir.

Q The price you made on that revolver was the price to a dealer?

A Yes sir.

Q Not a retail price?

A No sir, a price to a dealer.

[Image, Volume K, Page 657]

Q You understood when they inquired for a revolver to purchase it, it was with the view, and they made the inquiry also, as to whether you could get a quantity, it was with the view of their being disposed of by them to others?

A Yes sir.

MR. BLACK: That is all.

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