Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of Johann Gruenberg, 1886 Aug. 6.

Volume M, 250-263, 14 p.
Gruenberg, Johann.
Carpenter; German immigrant.

Direct examination by Mr. Zeisler. Cross-examination by Mr. Ingham. Testified through an interpreter. Testified on behalf of the Defense, Spies, August et al.

Friend of defendant Fischer, was asked by Fischer to pick up circulars at the printers and then to take them back and have new ones printed once August Spies saw the "Workingmen, come armed..." line. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): socialists and/or socialism (vol.M 262), call for workingmen to arm themselves (vol.M 254), "Attention Workingmen" flier (vol.M 253), the Anarchist (vol.M 259), the Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.M 250), International Workingmen's Association (vol.M 258), Carpenters' Union (vol.M 263), Spies, August (vol.M 253), Schwab, Michael (vol.M 253), Fischer, Adolph (vol.M 250).

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2 o'clock P. M.

Court reassembled.


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

(The witness testified through interpreter Gauss.)

Q What is your name?

A Johann Grueneberg.

Q Where do you reside?

A I live at 750 West Superior Street.

Q Do you know the defendant, Fischer?

A Yes, I know him. He is even my intimate friend.

Q Do you remember the 4th of May last?

A Yes, I do remember.

Q Where were you on that day, in the morning, about nine or ten o'clock?

A I was at the Arbeiter Zeitung office.

Q When did you arrive there?

A I got there at that time between nine and ten o'clock.

Q What part of the building did you go in--I mean into what room, what floor did you go into?

A I went into the type setting room, the upper story.

Q Did you have a conversation with the defendant Fischer on that occasion.

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THE COURT: If the conversation itself could not be admitted, then the fact of whether he had any would not be admitted.

MR. BLACK: There is no objection to this question---let him answer yes or no.

THE COURT: I understood it was objected to. What was the time of the conversation and place?

MR. BLACK: Between nine and ten o'clock in the morning.

MR. INGHAM: Then we object to the question.

MR. ZEISLER: We did not go into the conversation.

THE COURT: If the conversation is not admissible in evidence, then whether they had any conversation is not admissible.

MR. BLACK: We do not propose to ask the conversation, because we think the conversation itself might not be competent, but to show the fact that he met the defendant and had the conversation, and that then he went and did something, is proper.

THE COURT: That who did something?

MR. BLACK: That this witness. The bare simple fact did you have a conversation with Fischer---we expect to follow that up with "what did you do, or where did you then go"?

THE COURT: If he did anything in consequence of a conversation with Fischer, and if the fact that he did anything

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in consequence of that conversation is admissible, then the conversation which was an inducement to it is.

MR. BLACK: We expect to prove by this witness that he then met Fischer. We want to show after Mr. Grueneberg had entered the compositor's room that Mr. Fischer asked him to go over to Wehrer & Kline's to call there for the circular calling the hay market meeting---that is all we want to show--the fact that he had the conversation, and the fact that he afterwards went over to the printing establishment of Wehrer & Kline's would probably be sufficient for the jury to infer what the conversation was, although it would not be competent to show what the conversation was.

THE COURT: If you want to show that he went to a printing office where these circulars were striken off, and got them by permission of Fischer, I suppose that is admissible.

MR. BLACK: That is it.

THE COURT: Begin at the other end and identify the circulars and who told him to get them.

MR. ZEISLER: (Q) Did you call for some circulars at the printing establishment at Wehrer & Kline's after that time?

A Yes, I did.

Q Look at the circular which I now show you, and state whether the circulars which you called for at Wehrer & Kline's are similar to the ones in your hand now?

A Yes, they were the same as the one I have in my hand now.

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MR. ZEISLER: (Q) This is the circular with "Workingmen arm yourselves and appear in full force?"

Q By whose direction did you go to Wehrer & Klein's to call for those circulars?

A At Fischer's request.

Q Now, how many of those circulars did you get at Wehrer & Klein's?

A Several thousand---I can't exactly state--two or three thousand.

Q Where did you take them to?

A I took them to the Arbeiter Zeitung's office.

Q What place in the Arbeiter Zeitung's office?

A The composer's room.

Q Then, what did you do?

A I took some down to Spies to show them to him.

Q Now, did you have a conversation with Mr. Spies at that time, yes or no?

A Yes.

Q What did you do after that?

A I got Fischer down from the composer's room.

Q You went up, to the compositor's room, and came down back to the office with Mr. Fischer, is that it?

A Yes.

Q Who else was present at the office at that time?

A I believe three or four were present, but I can't state that precisely, but I do remember that Schwab & Rau were there.

Q Now, did any conversation in reference to that circular take plade at that time?

A Yes.

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Q Who made some remarks about that circular--who took part in the conversation?

A Spies.

Q Then where did you go?

A To Wehrer & Klein's.

Q By whose direction did you go to Wehrer & Klein's?

A Fischer's order.

Q Who did you see there at Wehrer & Klein's?

A I believe it was a member of the firm--I can't state exactly.

Q Now, what did you say to him with reference to that circular.

MR. INGHAM: Who was it he saw at the time?

THE COURT: I suppose what you want is whether he gave any direction to change the form, and then to print others by new forms.

MR. ZEISLER: What was the order you gave them with reference to the circulars?

A I gave the printer the order to omit that in reference to the armed workingmen as well out of the English as the German.

Q Did you tell him anything in regard to the distribution of any circulars containing the words, "Workingmen, arm yourselves," etc.

Objected to.

THE COURT: First, were there any. He says he has carried up several thousand. Were there any left there already printed from that form?

MR. ZEISLER: I don't know whether he knows about that.

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Q Do you know whether any circulars containing the words "Workingmen arm yourselves", were left at the printing establishment of Wehrer & Klein's when you got there the second time?

A I believe that a few remained there, and while I was to the Arbeiter Zeitung some were printed, the printing went on, and those that were there they kept there.

THE COURT: Ask him about what direction he gave about printing any more, or distributing those that had been printed?

MR. ZEISLER: That is what I want to get at--as far as the order is concerned for the future, that he has stated.

Q Did you give any direction in regard to the distribution of those circulars containing the words "Workingmen arm yourselves" that were left there?

A Yes sir, I gave them the order to retain them there.

Q What do you mean by retain them there--an order not to distribute them?

A They should not give them out.

Q You say that you went over to Wehrer & Klein's and ordered out those words "Workingmen arm yourselves" by order of Mr. Fischer? Did Mr. Fischer give you that direction in the presence of Mr. Spies and Mr. Schwab.

A Yes, Fischer gave me the order in the presence of Spies and Schwab.

Q Did you see any of the circulars which did not contain the words "Workingmen arm yourselves" etc.?

A Yes, I took away over twenty thousand from there.

Q Look at the circular which I now show you, marked

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defendant's Exhibit 1, and state whether this is a copy of the circular after the words "Workingmen are yourselves", etc. are taken out?

A Yes, that is the right one.

Q Do you know whether these circulars not containing the words "Workingmen arm yourselves" were in fact distributed?

A Yes, I do know that---I did it myself personally.

Q Now, do you know what became of the circulars containing the words "Workingmen arm yourselves," etc. which you had taken over to the Arbeiter Zeitung office?

A We very likely kept them, because they were not to be given out.

MR. GRINNELL: Then, he don't know anything about it.

MR. FOSTER: We will show you pretty soon where some of them are.

MR. BLACK: Will you produce the package of those circulars that were identified by Lieut. Shea?

THE COURT: If you want this witness' knowledge, ask him where he saw them last.

MR. BLACK: Have you that package?

MR. GRINNELL: Yes, we have it.

MR. BLACK: I wish you would bring it back. I would like to have the witness identify all that he can.

MR. GRINNELL: How can he identify them?

MR. BLACK: We want to know whether it is about the sized pile he got.

MR. GRINNELL: A great many have been distributed--some

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have been carried away as curiosities, and numbers of them have been destroyed, but those we have, we shall have here.

MR. BLACK: I had supposed you had kept the pile in the shape it was. They have been distributed since, you say?

MR. GRINNELL: Since the trial began quite a number were taken out? They were not distributed before the trial at all.

MR. ZEISLER: None before the trial.


MR. ZEISLER: (Q) About how large a package was the circulars you got from Wehrer & Klein's first?

A About a time and a half to twice as large as this one.

Q That is about five inches is it not--about a foot?

A Yes, I can't be sure. It is a long time ago. How can I know it.

Mr. Ingham.

Q How long have you been in this country?

A Four years in this country.

Q Where did you come from before you came here?

A From Germany.

Q What part of Germany--where were you born?

A I was born at Emden, East Friedland.

Q Have you resided in Chicago ever since you came to America?

A No, I only lived two years in Chicago.

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Q Where did you live before coming to Chicago?

A I lived at Iowa.

Q Where in Iowa?

A Parkersburg

Q What is your business here?

A Carpenter.

Q Where do you live?

A 570 West Superior Street.

Q How long have you known Fischer?

A One year and ahalf.

Q Where did you know him?

A In the Northwest Group.

Q How long did you belong to the Northwest Group?

A Just as long as I know Fischer, one year and a half.

Q Do you know Engel?

A Yes sir, I know him.

Q Did you meet him at that group?

A Yes, I met him there several times.

Q Did you use to drill there at Thalia Hall?

A No.

Q Where did you drill?

Objected to; objection sustained.

Q Where did the armed section of the Northwesterm Group drill.

Objected to as not proper cross examination, not called out by anything on direct. The Court over-ruled the objection, to which ruling of the court counsel for defendants then and there excepted.

A I don't know an armed section of the Northwestern Group.

Q Where did the Northwestern Group drill?

A I said a while ago that I didn't know of a single time that the Northwest Group drilled--they had no drillings at all.

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Q Do you know of a paper called the Anarchist?

A Yes, I know it.

Q Did you ever distribute that paper?


Objected to as immaterial.

THE COURT: Showing the antecedents of the witness, his bias and his sympathies, it is admissible.

MR. BLACK: It occurs to me that is pretty thoroughly shown when he admits that he is a socialist.

MR. ZEISLER: And when he admits voluntarily that he is an intimate friend of Fischers.

THE COURT: They are not limited to dry statements, but they are entitled to details.

Defendant's counsel then and there excepted to the ruling of the court.

MR. INGHAM: (Q) Did you ever distribute that paper?

A Yes sir, I did.

A How many times?

A Three or four times. I can't state that precisely.

Q Did you see Fischer at the Arbeiter Zeitung'Office on Monday or Tuesday the 4th of May?

A Maybe--I can't tell positively.

Q When was it you saw him there in regard to this circular?

A Yes, I was mistaken in the day, I was there that day the same day.

Q What hour in the day?

A Between nine and ten o'clock

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Q When had you seen Fischer last before that?

A Monday.

Q What time Monday?

A Between five and half past five.

Q Did you see him any other time Monday?

A No.

Q Where did you see him between five and six?

A I saw him at the Arbeiter Seitung.

Q Did you see him at any other place on Monday?

A No.

Q Now, between five and six on Monday, you saw Fischer in the Arbeiter Zeitung office?

A Yes.

Q Where in that office?

A In the compositor's room.

Q How long were you in that room.

MR. BLACK: We want it understood that all this matter which is not cross examination, which has no connection with the direct examination, is objected to.

THE COURT: Very well.

MR. INGHAM: (Q) Did you see him on Sunday?

MR. BLACK: We did not inquire of Monday or Tuesday, but limited our inquiries to a specific matter, and this cross examination does not relate to it.

THE WITNESS: Yes sir, I saw him on Sunday.

MR. INGHAM: (Q) Where did you see him Sunday?

A At my house.

Q Where is your house?

A 570 West Superior Street.

Q What time of the day?

A In the afternoon.

Q Did you see him in the morning any place?

A No.

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Q Were you at home all the morning yourself?

Objected to.

Q That is, on Sunday morning?

THE COURT: I think that is admissible.

MR. BLACK: His personal movements, which we have not inquired of at all, and which do not relate to any of the defendants--how far does your honor intend to let the State go in this kind of rambling about, and which relates to something which we have not alluded to in the direct examination of this witness.

THE COURT: You brought the witness on the stand for the purpose---

MR. BLACK: Of examining him as to a certain fact which we confine our examination to, and the rule of law--and there is no better known, is that the cross examination shall be confined to the subject matter of the direct examination.

THE COURT: Except where they show the bias inclination, sympathy and feeling of the witness.

MR. BLACK: That is already shown--there is no question about it--and that cannot be shown by going into a detailed statement as to the whereabouts and conduct of the witness not related to the defendants.

THE COURT: you have put this witness on the stand for the purpose of showing a thing was taken out, a particular

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circular--whether he has told that thing as it occurred depends in some degree upon what his associations, feelings inclinations, biases are in reference to the whole business.

MR. BLACK: Whether he has told the truth in regard to that depends upon his bias and inclinations.

THE COURT: Whether he is to be believed--I don't mean whether he has told the truth.

MR. BLACK: I hope you will state what you do mean, because as to what you say in the presence of the jury I will have to take an exception.

THE COURT: You forced me to give a reason for it. Save the point.

MR. BLACK: I will save the point.

MR. INGHAM: Q. Were you at home on Sunday morning?

A That I cannot say, it is so long ago.

Q Were you at Emma Street on Sunday morning?

A No.

Q How long have you known Spies?

A A year and a half.

Q Where did you know Spies?

A At the Arbeiter Zeitung, and saw him at several meetings.

Q What kind of meetings?

A Socialistic meetings.

Q Of what groups?

A Once at our group--the other I don't remember, it is so long ago.

Q Do you remember Neebe?

A Yes, by sight.

Q How long have you known him by sight?

A For a short time.

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Q How long have you known Schwab?

A As long as Spies.

Q Where did you know him?

A At our group.

Q Did he belong to your group?

A No.

Q How often have you seen him at your group?

A He made a speech to us every few months.

Q Do you know Lingg?

A Yes.

Q How long have you known Lingg?

A Since the first of May.

Q Where did you meet Lingg?

A In the Union, the Carpenter's Union.

Q Did you meet him any other place?

A No.

MR. INGHAM: That is all.

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