Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of Henry Spies (first appearance), 1886 Aug. 5.

Volume M, 138-156, 19 p.
Spies, Henry.
Cigar-maker; German immigrant.

Direct examination by Captain Black. Cross-examination by Mr. Grinnell. Testified on behalf of the Defense, Spies, August et al.

Brother of August Spies. Attended the Haymarket meeting with his brother and helped him off the wagon when the police arrived. Was shot defending his brother. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): socialists and/or socialism (vol.M 154), McCormick Reaper Works strike, meeting or riot (vol.M 145), Zepf's Hall (vol.M 139), Captain Ward's command to disperse (vol.M 148), Fielden's response to the police advance at Haymarket (vol.M 148), movement, position or tenor of the crowd (vol.M 147), time and place origination of the gunfire (vol.M 151), medical care and wounds (vol.M 151), religion (vol.M 145), Spies, August (vol.M 139), Spies' speech at Haymarket (vol.M 145), Spies' actions at the Haymarket meeting (vol.M 141), Parsons, Albert (vol.M 140), Parsons' speech at Haymarket (vol.M 146), Schwab, Michael (vol.M 140), Fielden, Samuel (vol.M 140), Schnaubelt, Rudolph (vol.M 140).

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a witness called and sworn on behalf of the defendants was examined in chief by Mr. Black, and testified as follows:

Q Your name is Henry Spies?

A. Henry W. Spies.

Q Where do you live?

A. 60 McHenry Street.

Q How long have you lived in Cook County?

A. In Cook County about nine months.

Q What is your business?

A. Cigar manufacturer.

Q Where did you carry on that business?

A. 43 So. Market

Q Are you alone or member of a firm?

A. I have a partner, in the business with me.

Q What is the name of the firm?

A. Vogel & Spies.

Q How long has that firm been in existence?

A. Nine months.

Q Where were you born?

A. In Germany.

Q What is your present age?

A. Twenty-five.

Q How long have you been in this country?

A. Twelve years.

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Q Are you a naturalized citizen?

A. Yes sir.

Q Are you a brother of the defendant August Spies?

A Yes sir.

Q Where were you on the evening of May 4th, 1886?

A Down at the hay-market meeting.

Q What time did you get there?

A. I got there at the time the meeting opened.

Q What was the first that occurred at that meeting that came under your observation?

A. I don't know just exactly.

Q I will change the form of the question. Who were you with there?

A. I was with my brother.

Q Your brother August?

A. Yes.

Q How long were you there before the speaking commenced?

A Oh, five minutes or so.

Q Did any one go to the meeting with you?

A. Yes.

Q Who?

A. My brother August.

Q You and he then went to the meeting together?

A Yes sir.

Q After getting to the meeting and before the speaking commenced, where were you and August.

A. We were at Zepf's hall before the meeting began, and walked down Desplaines out to Randolph looking for Parsons and Fielden. We walked as far as Union Street and could't find them. We walked back to Desplaines Street again, and he climbed up on the wagon and asked for Mr. Parsons.

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Q Where were you at that time?

A. I was right with him along side of the wagon.

Q After he asked for Parsons what occurred?

A. Some one said in the crowd that he was speaking down at Halsted Street.

Q What then happened?

A. Schnaubelt and another party came up to the wagon and told him that Parsons was down on Halsted Street.

Q Told who?

A. August. He stepped off the wagon and went with those parties down near Union Street. I followed him there.

Q Did you observe what direction they went from the wagon?

A Across Desplaines Street.

Q In what direction?

A. They went south west.

Q Did you follow them?

A. Yes.

Q How near to them?

A. Just merely about a step apart.

Q Right behind them in other words?

A. Yes, one of the Legner boys was with me.

Q Who else besides Schnaybelt was with your brother August when they went southwest across Desplaines Street?

A I believe Schnaubelt was the only one.

Q Was Schwab with him?

A. No sir, I didn't see Schwab.

Q Was Schwab on the wagon at that time?

A. No sir.

Q You say he was not with your brother when your brother came back to the wagon after asking "Is Parsons here."

A No sir.

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Q After asking "Is Parsons here" and descending from that wagon, state whether or not your brother went in the direction of Crane's alley from the wagon?

A. No sir.

Q Did he go in Crane's alley?

A. No sir.

Q Did he go with Schwab from the wagon in any direction?

A He did not go with Schwab. Schwab wasn't there---I did not see him.

Q He went southwesterly from the wagon, you say?

A. Yes sir.

Q Towards the corner of Desplaines and Randolph, corner of hay-market?

A. Yes sir.

Q You followed right behind him?

A. I followed right behind him.

Q From that corner of the hay-market, Where did August go?

A. He went as far as Union Street and some one came and told us that Parsons was not there, and we returned and then he entered the wagon, and called them up and says, "Come up this way" and opened the meeting.

Q Did August go any further than Union Street on that walk?

A. No sir.

Q You were right behind him, as you say?

A. Yes sir.

Q When he turned back from Union Street and walked easterly, what did you do?

A. I followed him up.

Q Right behind him.

A. Right behind him.

Q At any time of that walk was he out of your sight?

A No sir.

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Q Nor out of hearing from you?

A. No sir.

Q All during that walk you were right behind him?

A Right with him.

Q What route did he take in going back to the wagon, after reaching the corner of the hay-market?

A. The same route we took when we left.

Q Northeast diagonally toward the wagon?

A. Yes.

Q Did he go across the street to the east side of Desplaines Street, and stop alongside of the wall of the building a little south of the alley?

A. No sir.

Q Did your brother August, at that point, that is a point a few feet south of the alley, on the sidewalk, the east sidewalk of Desplaines Street, meet and have anything to do with any person?

A. No sir.

Q Your walk, as I understand you was from the northwest corner of Desplaines and Randolph, that is to say the northeast corner of the hay-market, it was diagonally straight to the wagon?

A. Yes sir.

Q In a northeasterly direction?

A. Yes sir.

Q Did Schwab join your brother or walk with your brother any part of that walk down to Union Street from the wagon to Union Street and back?

A. I did not see Schwab.

Q Schwab was not with him at all?

A. No sir.

Q During any part of the walk?

A. No sir.

Q How long have you known Schwab?

A. I know Schwab for

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four years.

Q How long have you known Rudolph Schnaubelt?

A. I merely know him by sight. I got acquainted with him last winter.

Q Did you hear any conversation between Rudolph Schnaubelt and your brother that night, while they were walking to Union Street and back?

A. No sir, was looking for Parsons and looking for a place to address the meeting.

Q In what language did your brother and Schasubelt talk?

A German.

Q Did you ever hear your brother and Schnaubelt talk in English?

A. No sir, I don't believe Schnaubelt can speak English.

Q Schnaubelt and your brother, whenever they talked together in your hearing always talked German?

A. Yes.

Q In the course of that evening and before the speaking commenced, did you have any talk with August as to the proper place for the speaking?

A. No sir.

Objected to.

Q Now, after getting back to the wagon, being met by somebody at Union Street and told that Parsons was not speaking down below then what took place?

A. As I said my brother come on the wagon and spoke, and he was not speaking very long until Parsons came.

Q Do you remember what your brother said?

A. Yes sir.

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Q Where did you stand while the speaking was going on?

A I was standing right along side of the wagon, on the sidewalk.

Q On the sidewalk between the wagon and Crane's building?

A Yes.

Q The wagon stood about how many feet north of the alley?

A The south end of it, must have stood six, seven or eight feet---I couldn't say.

Q Near what end of the wagon, if you remember did you stand on the sidewalk?

A. I stood pretty near the middle.

Q Near the middle of the wagon?

A. Yes.

Q How long did you stand there?

A. I stood there all during the meeting.

Q Were you there when the bomb exploded?

A. Yes sir.

Q From the time then that the speaking commenced---that is to say from the time August came back to the wagon and got on the wagon and commenced speaking until the bomb exploded, you stood right there in that one position by the wagon?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you see various people about there whose faces you knew?

A. The only faces I did know was Lechner and my brother, speaking on the wagon, Parsons, Fielden and Schnaubelt.

Q Those are the ones you knew?

A. Yes sir.

Q When did you last see Schnaubelt there at the meeting?

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A I seen him while Parsons was speaking---never paid any more attention to him.

Q Did not see him to notice him after Parsons was speaking?

A. No sir, not that I can remember.

Q Do you remember what August said in his speech that night?

A. Very well, yes.

Q Tell what you remember of his speech?

A. He spoke about this riot that occurred out at McCormick's. He was telling us how he came to speak out there, and then what trouble he had to speak there. He was speaking not to socialists, he was speaking to the church going classes. At first when they heard he was a socialist thay did not want him to speak, but after he had addressed them a few words, they were satisfied, and after a while elected him to a committee as one of a committee. Further he said, that if McCormick said that he caused that trouble, he was a liar. That is what he said; and that is about all that I know he did say.

Q Do you remember when August first opened the speeches, saying anything about the character of the meeting or purpose of the meeting?

A. No, I don't remember.

Q Now, how long did August speak there?

A. Only a few moments, I don't think he spoke more than twelve or fifteen minutes.

Q Then you say that Parsons and Fielden came?

A. Yes.

Q What next happened after they came, after your brother

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got through speaking?

A. Parsons was on the wagon, also Fielden, and my brother introduced Mr. Parsons to the crowd, and Mr. Parsons spoke.

Q How long did Parsons speak that night, if you remember

Q He must have spoken half an hour or three quarters of an hour.

Q Do you remember what Parsons said?

A. He was speaking about the present system, about the monopolists getting 85 cents of the dollar and the working man only receiving 15. I didn't pay strict notice to it.

Q Do you remember any mention during the course of Parsons speech about Jay Gould?

A. Yes sir.

Q What was it in that connection, if you remember?

A When he mentioned him, some of the crowd hollered "Hang him, Hang him." He said it wouldn't do any good. It was the system that he wished to overthrow, and the idea was that if they would hang Jay Gould a hundred would jump up in his place.

Q After Parsons got through speaking, what became of Parsons, if you noticed?

A. His wife was sitting on the wagon facing our wagon.

Q In what direction was that wagon from the wagon on which the speakers were standing?

A. North.

Q Go on?

A. He went up to her and took her over to Zepf's.

Q Went off in that direction?

A. Yes sir.

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Q You didn't see any more of him at the meeting?

A Yes, I seen him, he came back and asked us to go over to Zepf's hall, was kind of getting cloudy and we anticipated rain.

Q That was while Fielden was speaking?

A. Yes sir.

Q Then what became of him after making that suggestion of an adjournment to Zepf's hall.

A. Fielden said he would only speak a few moments more, and it was not necessary, and some one said the wood workers were at the hall, and we could not get it.

Q Parsons disappeared then?

A. Yes sir.

Q Did other persons in the crowd go away at that time?

A A good many.

Q I will ask you whether, while Fielden was speaking, the audience was as large as while Mr. Parsons was speaking?

A No sir.

Q Was any considerable portion of that audience gone away?

A. Yes sir.

Q How much had it decreased?

A. I would say pretty near half.

Q Now during the evening did you observe any disturbance or violence anywhere in the audience?

A. No sir, I did not.

Q Were you there in your place by the wagon when the police came up?

A. Yes sir.

Q Will you tell us just what occurred when the police

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came up so far as you observed?

A. When they came, I heard the words, "In the name of the State of Illinois, we disperse this meeting."

Q. Who said that?

A. I don't know.

Q. Somebody, some policeman?

A Yes sir.

Q. Some officer?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Then what occurred?

A. I heard Fielden say, "This meeting is peaceable," And the man spoke to my brother the same way, told him to come off the wagon.

Q. Where was August at that time?

A. He was on the wagon

Q. Had August come off the wagon, up to that time at any time after he came back?

A. No sir.

Q. He was on the wagon and had been all the time?

A. Yes sir.

Q. After Fielden said that what did Fielden do?

A. I saw him getting off the wagon at the same time.

Q. Whereabouts did he get off?

A. At the back end.

Q. You were standing still by the side of the wagon?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Between the wheels?

A. Yes.

Q. You saw Fielden getting off?

A. Yes sir.

Q. What happened then.

A. Just the time he was getting off and my brother getting off the bomb exploded.

Q You told your brother to get off?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you do in that matter?

A. I reached my hand over to him to help him jump off.

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Q. Did he take your hand?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Did he in fact get off the wagon?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Then and there?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Did he get off the side of the wagon or the end?

A. The side of the wagon.

Q. Towards the front end or rear?

A. Towards the front end, pretty near the middle.

Q. What happened at the time he struck the sidewalk?

A. I asked him what it was when the explosion took place?

Q. Did the explosion take place just at that time?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You asked him what it was?

A. Yes.

Q. What did he say?

A. He said they got a gattling gun down there.

Q. What did he do?

A. He jumped, and at the same time as he jumped, somebody jumped behind him with a weapon, right by his back, and I grabbed it and received my shot.

Q. You were shot then and there in warding off the pistol from your brother?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You don't know who it was that did the shooting?

A. No sir, I don't know.

Q. What became of your brother then?

A. I didn't see him any more until I went home. I went to Zepf's hall though and inquired for him, and met Rau there and asked him whether he seen him.

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Objected to.

Q. Never mind what was said. Did August at any time after he made his speech and after Parsons made his speech leave that wagon and go to the alley about the time that the police came on the ground?

A. No sir, I am positive he did not.

Q. You say you helped him off of the wagon just as the explosion came?

A. Yes sir. Lechner and me helped him off the wagon.

Q. Just as the explosion came?

A. Yes sir.

Q. He was not then at that time or immediately before that at the alley?

A. No sir.

Q. Now, did you hear Fielden or anybody else on the wagon just as the police were coming up, or at any time during that meeting, say in a loud voice, or in any tone of voice, "Here come the blood hounds---men you do your duty and I'll do mine," or anything of that kind?

A. No, I did not.

Q. Did you hear any shot fired by Fielden or anybody else from the wagon before the explosion of the bomb?

A. No sir.

Q. Was there any shot fired before the explosion of the bomb, from the wagon or immediate vicinity?

A. No sir.

Q. Was there any pistol firing there that evening?

A. Yes yes.

Q. When was that pistol firing with reference to the explosion of the bomb?

A. Pretty near the same moment the bomb

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exploded, right in a second or two.

Q. Did you observe where that pistol firing came from or where it occurred?

A. From the middle of the street.

Q. Was there any pistol firing that you observed there that night from the crowd or from the sidewalk towards the center of the street?

A. No sir.

Q. Where did you go after you got August off the wagon and after you were shot?

A. I ran down to Lake street and hid behind the street car, then went into Zepf's hall and inquired about August.

Q. As you were running down there were others running in the same direction?

A. Yes sir.

Q. A large number?

A. Yes sir, a crowd.

Q. As you were running in that way was there any firing in that crowd back towards the police?

A. No sir.

Q. Were you armed that night?

A. No. sir, never armed.

Q. Do you ever carry arms?

A. No sir, I do not.

Q. What physician if any, attended you?

A. Dr. Thile.

Q. When did he first see you?

A. The same night.

Q. Did you recover the pistol-ball?

A. The pistol ball left me.

Q. The pistol ball went through?

A. Went right through, flesh wound.

Q. You don't know who it was that shot you?

A. No sir.

Q. How near to you was the man that shot that shot?

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A. As near as he possibly could be.

Q. Did you have your hand on his revolver?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You struck it down?

A. Struck it down, and throwed it out of his hand.

Q. The revolver was aimed at your brother?

A. Aimed at my brother.

Q. And you knocked it down and received the shot yourself?

A. Yes sir.

Q. What became of that revolver, if you know?

A. I don't know. I threw it down on the sidewalk.

Q. Did you get it out of the hand of the man who was firing

A. Yes sir, the same moment.

Q. Just as it was fired?

A. Just as it was fired.

Q. You caught it and threw it down?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You made an indication. Will you again show about where you were shot--- was it the lower part of the trunk, between the things?

A. Right through one of the testicles.

By Mr. Grinnell.

Q. Your name is Henry W. Spies?

A. Yes.

Q. You live at 60 McHenry street?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you live there on the 4th of May?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Did you live there the week following?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You lived there continuously since the 1st of May?

A. Yes sir.

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Q. You have talked with me about this case?

A. I believe Mr. Furthman.

Q. Didn't you talk with me also in the presence of Furthman, down at the central station?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Do you know Officer Lowenstein?

A. Yes sir.

Q. And Whalen?

A. Yes sir.

Q. And Stifft?

A. I know those two gentlemen-- they were down to my house---came down to arrest me.

Q. They were there on the 6th?

A. Yes sir.

Q. That was on the 6th of May, was it not?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Went down there to arrest you and found you sick abed from the effects of your wound?

A. Yes sir.

Q. There is officer Whalen, was he there too?

A. Yes, he was there.

Q. Did he talk with you about what happened at the haymarket square?

A. Yes, they did.

Q. Did you tell them the story you now have told?

A. I did not.

Q. You told them that when the bomb exploded that you were in Zepf's hall and walked out and were shot in the door--- that is true, is it?

A. Yes, that is what I told them.

Q. You told them you were not at the hay-market meeting at all from beginning to end---that is true?

A. Yes.

Q. Was it true when you told it?

A. It was not.

Q. You have told the truth now?

A. Yes, while I was

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under oath.

Q. And lied about it then?

A. Yes.

Q. Afterwards you were brought down to the central station

A. Yes sir.

Q. You there was interrogated by either Furthman or myself in the presence of Lieut. Shea and Lieut. Kipley.

Mr. BLACK: I want to invoke again the rule of the court, that the witness is entitled to be talked to as one gentleman would talk to another gentleman.

Q. Do you remember when that was in reference to May 6th?

A. Yes, I remember when that was. It must have been the 9th or 10th.

Q. After you got away?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You came down there and were asked whether you were a socialist?

A. Yes sir.

Q. You said what?

A. I asked you whether you could tell me what a socialist was.

Q. I asked you if you were asked if you were a socialist-- was that question asked you?

A. I believe so.

Q. Did you then say no?

A. I don't believe I did.

Q. Did you state where you were the night of May 4th?

A. I told you that I was on business which I was.

Q. You were on business at Zepf's saloon?

A. Zepf's saloon.

Q. In the cigar business?

A. Yes sir.

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Q. Did you attend there to collect a bill for cigars?

A. I asked him whether he wanted cigars.

Q. Didn't you say you were down there and you did a large dealing in cigars?

A. Yes sir.

Q. That you were down there for the purpose of collecting a bill?

A. Yes, I was there for that purpose.

Q. Did not you also state at that time and place in the presence of Kipley, Shea, Furthman and myself that you were not at the hay-market meeting from the beginning, but were in Zepf's saloon?

A. I told you that certainly.

Q. You also said that you got shot when you came out of the door at Zepf's --that is true?

A. Yes, I told you that.

Q. You also said at that time that you did not see your brother that evening until he called at the house and asked you if you had a good physician---is that true?

A. That is true.

Q. That is what you said?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Now, you say that what you then said was not the truth?

A. I was not under oath then, and I knew the treatment which my brothers had, what they said about my brothers.

Mr. BLACK: Q. Both of your brothers had been arrested?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Your brother Chris. had been arrested?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Was Chris. at that meeting at all?

No sir.

Q. He had been arrested?

A. Yes, sir.

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Q. You told what you did tell because you trusted it would stop anything else?

A. I heard about the treatment which they got at the central station, and I thought I had better tell them to get out of it, and I had business to attend to---I could not stay in the cell for years.

Mr. Salomon: Q. We will ask that the prosecution produce two witnesses, Ernst Lechner and Mr. Brazelton.

Mr. Grinnell: Q. Mr. Brazelton is a newspaper reporter. The other man I don't know anything about.

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