Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of Max Mitlacher, 1886 Aug. 7.

Volume M, 432-446, 15 p.
Mitlacher, Max.
Merchant tailor; German immigrant.

Direct and re-direct examination by Mr. Foster. Cross-examination by Mr. Grinnell. Testified through an interpreter. Testified on behalf of the Defense, Spies, August et al.

Attended Haymarket and saw Henry Spies help is brother August off the wagon when the police arrived. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): socialists and/or socialism (vol.M 432), the Arbeiter-Zeitung (vol.M 434), Zepf's Hall (vol.M 435), learned about the Haymarket meeting by verbal notice (vol.M 433), Captain Ward's command to disperse (vol.M 436), movement, position or tenor of the crowd (vol.M 440), Spies, August (vol.M 434), Parsons, Albert (vol.M 434), Fielden, Samuel (vol.M 434), Schnaubelt, Rudolph (vol.M 434).

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a witness called on behalf of the defendants, was duly sworn and testified through an interpreter as follows:


Q- What is your full name?

A- Max Mitlacher.

Q- Where do you live?

A- 556 North Franklin Street.

Q- How long have you resided in Chicago?

A- Four years, and nine months.

Q- How long have you lived in this country?

A- Just as long.

Q- Where did you come from?

A- In Germany.

Q- Where were you born and raised?

A- In the Knigdom of Saxony in the province of Zwickau.

Q- What is your business?

A- I am a merchant taylor.

Q- Are you acquainted with any of the defendants by sight or, otherwise?

A- Yes sir, I know some of them.

Q- What ones do you know?

A- Mr. Spies, Mr. neebee, Mr. Parsons Mr. Schwab, Mr. Fielden, and Mr. Fischer.

Q- You are acquainted with all of them then but Mr. Ling and Mr. Engel'

A- Yes sir.

Q- Are you a socialist?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Were you present at the Haymarket meeting on the 4th. of May last?

A- Yes sir.

Q- How did you come to go to the Haymarket meeting?

A- I went away from home about 8 o'clock towards North avenue to take a little fresh air and I met an acquaintance by the name of

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Fritchie and he told me there was to be a meeting at the Haymarket.

Q- Did you go with Mr. Fritchie to the meeting?

A- No, he said there was another meeting at Folz hall, the sewing girls had a meeting there, and I went there; the meeting had not been opened and I went further on to Wells street and took a street car and went down to Fifth Avenue and from there I went west on Randolph street to Desplaines street.

Q- Then you went alone to the meeting?

A- Yes sir, I went alone.

Q- After you got to the meeting did you meet any member of your family or any relative?

A- I met a friend at the corner of Desplaines and Randolph and spoke with him about 10 minutes, and I went on further to the side of the speakers and there I met my brother-in-, law.

Q- What is your brother-in-law's name?

A- Joseph Bach:

Q- How long were you with your brother-in-law there?

A- Until the police came and the bomb exploded.

Q- Whom did you see at that neeting that you now remember, that you knew?

A- MR% Spies, Mr. parsons and Mr. Fielden.

Q- Did you see any one else that you knew there?

A- I saw Spies' brother, the cigar maker.

Q- What is Mr. Spies brother, the cigar makers name?

A- I dont know his name.

Q- How long have you known him?

A- Since spring, I learned to know him at Folz' Turner Hall. I had seen him previous to that

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in the Arbeiter Zeitung office, but I did'nt know that it was Spies' brother.

Q- Where was Spies brother that you saw there that evening when you first saw him?

A- I saw him close to the wagon, at the northeast side of it, near the alley.

Q- Near Crane's alley?

A- I don't know the name, it is the first alley.

Q- How near to the wagon from which they were speaking?

A- About three or four paces different.

Q- Did you see Mr. Spies' brother on the wagon at any time?

A- No, on the sidewalk.

Q- Where was Mr. Spies the defendant, August Spies?

A- Upon the wagon.

Q- Did you see Mr. Parsons and Mr. Fielden also upon the wagon?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Was there any one else upon the wagon besides?

A- I saw but two men more, as much as I know.

Q- Who were they, if you know?

A- Rudolph Schnaubelt.

Q- And who were the other ones?

A- I don't know.

Q- Did you remain in company with your brother-in-law until the police came?

A- Yes sir. I parted with him several times, that is, went away from him several times.

Q- About where were you during the time that you and your brother-in-law were there?

A- I was four or five paces from the alley, at the entrahce to the blacksmith shop, or something like that.

Q- Plumbing shop?

A- A plumber or Blacksmith shop.

Q- Was your brother in-law with you when you were hear the blacksmith shop?

A- Yes sir.

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Q- What were you standing on?

A- It was an iron elevator, a little lower than that first step there. (Indicating about six inches).

Q- At what particular time was the last time that you remember of seeing Schnaubelt on the wagon?

A- When Parsons was speaking.

Q- Did you notice him on the wagon when Fielden was speaking?

A- No sir.

Q- Do you understand English better than you can speak it?

A- yes sir.

Q- Could you understand the speeches or get an idea of what they were talking about?

A- yes sir.

Q- Who was speakig when you first got there?

A- Mr. Parsons.

Q- Did you hear Mr. Spies speak that night at all?

A- No.

Q- How long did Mr. Parsons speak after you got there, according to your best recollection and judgment?

A- I think 20 or 25 minutes.

Q- And then who spoke?

A- Mr. Fielden.

Q- Do you remember about anything being said as to adjourning the meeting to another place?

A- I did'nt understand it well, but my brother-in-law said they were about to go to Zephs' Hall.

Q- When was that?

A- About 5 or 8 minutes before the police came.

Q- When was it your brother-in-law said they were talking about going to Zeph's Hall?

A- The same time.

Q- So, at the time you were standing there on the platform your brother-in-law told you they were talking about going to Zeph's Hall

A- yes sir.

Q- And that was how many minutes before the police came do you think?

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A- I think five or ten minutes, not longer.

Q- Did you see the police coming?

A- Yes sir.

Q- What did you do?

A- I remained standing there.

Q- What did the police do?

A- That I did'nt see, I only looked towards the wagon.

Q- Did the police stop or did they keep on going up the street?

A- That I can't say.

Q- Did you hear any police officer or any one talk to Mr. Fielden or speaking to Mr. Fielden at that time?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Who was that, if you know?

A- I did'nt see the man.

Q- Did you understand what he said or anything that he said at that time?

A- I understood that much, that the meeting was to be dispersed, or was dispersed.

Q- Did you see Mr. Fielden after that time, or Mr. Spies?

A- I saw them stand upon the wagon.

Q- Did you see them get off of the wagon, or either of them?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Which got off first?

A- I think they came down about the same time, Spies, I think, came down first.

Q- Where did they come down?

A- Spies jumped from the east side on to the sidewalk.

Q- And where did Fielden start to come down?

A- On the West side, northwest, I think.

Q- Northwest, whcih end of the wagon?

A- The middle of the wagon.

Q- Fielden--- I am talking about Fielden now.

A- Yes, I mean Fielden.

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Q- You think he came off of the middle of the wagon?

A- Yes sir.

Q- How many men were coming off of the wagon about that time?

A- I don't know exactly, I think one or two jumped down from behind it.

Q- What do you mean by behind, behind you or the orther way?

A- North from the wagon, from them north end of the wagon.

Q- Did you see any one get off of the south end of the wagon?

A- I don't know.

Q- Now, did you see Henry Spies about that time, about the time August got off of the wagon?

A- I could not see the face well at that time, but I had seen Spies previously and knew him by his hat.

Q- What kind of a hat had he on?

A- A black slouch hat.

Q- Did you see a man with a black slouch hat do anything when August Spies got off of the wagon?

A- Yes sir.

Q- What did he do,

A- He reached up to August Spies.

Q- Now, from the hat do you know who that was?

A- My brother-in-law said that he had seen him better because he was taller than I and he said it was Spies.

Q- You don't know then whether it was Spies or not?

A- Well, I do believe it was Spies.

Q- You saw some one reach up and help August down, did you?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Now, state whether or not he had a hat of the same general kind and appearance as the hat which Spies brother wore that night?

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A- Yes sir, it was a black slouch but I don't believe it was as large, I donT think it was as large.

THE COURT; In describing the hat, he described not the hat of Henry but of August, did'nt he?

MR. FOSTER That may be, what I want to know is whether the man who reached up and helped August down had a hat on like the hat that His brother wore there that night?

THE COURT:; Q- What kind of a hat did the man who reached up have on?

Mr. Foster Q- You say you saw Spies brother near the wagon that evening?

A- Yes sir.

Q- What kind of a hat did he have on?

A- Slouch hat.

Q- What color?

A- Black.

Q- Now, did you see the hat that the man had on that helped August Spies from the wagon?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Was or was not the hat of this man like the hat which Spies brother wore that night?

A- Yes sir.

Q- But, from where you stood you could not see his face and tell whether it was Spies' brother or not, if I understand you?

A- No, I could not say.

Q- What did you do after that?

A- At the same moment the noise came and I saw fire.

Q- Then what did you do?

A- I went south to Randolph Street.

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Q- Did you run?

A- As fast as I could.

Q- Did you go with your brother-in-law?

A- No sir.

Q- Where did you lose your brother-in-law?

A- At the same place.

Q- When you ran away you lost sight of your brother-in-law, did you

A- Yes sir.

Q- Did you hear the bomb explode?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Did you see the flash from it?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Now, did you see it before it exploded, did you see it thrown through the air?

A- No sir.

Q- Which way was your face when the officer was talking to Mr. Fielden?

A- Northwest.

Q- Did you see any fire pass through the air or anything like a lighted match or fuse?

A- No.

Q- Did you at any time see August Spies leave the wagon and go to the mouth of the alley just before the police came up?

A- No.

Q- Did you see him go to the mouth of the alley at any time?

A- No.

Q- Did you see him get off of the wagon or did he get off at any time to your knowledge until at the time you have spoken of when he was helped off by the man with a big slouch hat?

A- No sir, I did'nt see him.

Q- How big a crowd was there when you first got there, according to your best judgment?

A- 500 or 600.

Q- What was the effect, if any, on the crowd after the black cloud came up when they were talking about adjourning to the hall?

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A- A great many went off and I was about to, leave too, with my brother-in-law, but he said "It is all over in a few minutes, and then we go together".

Q- What portion of the crowd went away at that time, according to your best judgment?

A- I think that half of them went away.


Q- What group do you belong to?

A- None at all.

Q- Did you ever?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Which one?

A- To the Group Freiheit.

Q- Where did that meet?

A- 54 West Lake Street.

Q- How long have you been a member of the Freiheit, or of that group or of any group?

A- Two years, I think.

Q- When did you cease your connection with the Freiheit?

A- This summer, a year it is.

Q- Do you read the Arbeiter Zeitung?

A- Yes sir

Q- Subscriber for it and take it?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Where do you work?

A- For Conrad Stoffregan.

Q- Where?

A- North Clark Street.

Q- What number?

A- I don't know.

Q- How long have you been there, how long have you been working there?

A- Four months.

Q- Don't know the mumber of the place that you work at?

A- No, I don't know. It is the place where Mr. FUrthman has his work done I don't know the number.

Q- Are you the proprietor of the store?

A- No sir.

Q- You work in the shop there, do you?

A- no sir.

Q- Well, where do you work, that is what I have been asking you?

A- At home.

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Q- You take work from the shop to your house?

A- Yes sir.

Q- How long have you lived at 556 North Franklin?

A- Four months.

Q- Where did you live before that?

A- 564 North Franklin.

Q- How did you know there was a meeting at the Hamarket that night?

A- Mr. Fretchie told me, on North Avenue.

Q- You read the Arbeiter Zeitung? Did you see any account of it in the paper?

A- I did'nt have any time that day.

Q- What was the man's name that told you?

A- Fretchie.

Q- Was it Freckel?

A- No sir, Fretchie.

Q- Where does he live?

A- I don't know where he lives.

Q- Where did you leave him that night?

A- Between Hudson Avenue and Sedgwick Street.

Q- Who got to the meeting first, you or your brothee-in-law Bach?

A- When I got there he was there already.

Q- Where did you see him first?

A- There at the entrance. southeast of the alley.

Q- Entrance to what?

A- The door to that plumbing shop.

Q- Did you stand north or south of that door?

A- I think I must have stood right at the entrance.

Q- Do you remember that other door goes that into the saloon there?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Did you see the railing on the side of that door, iron rail on the sides of the door?

A- yes sir, I sat upon it for a time.

Q- Were you seated there when the bomb went off?

A- I sat

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there the first ten minutes after I got there.

Q- Anybody else sitting on there, on this iron railing?

A- Yes sir

Q- You and your brother-in-law stood up on that platform how long?

A- I think three quarters of an hour.

Q- Well, were you anywheres else except on that platform?

A- I went up and down.

Q- How many times?

A- About twice.

Q- Did you go up to the wagon?

A- Yes sir.

Q- How many times?

A- ONce.

Q- Did your brother-in-law go with you?

A- No sir.

Q- Did you go up there and leave him standing there?

A- He also went away from that spot.

Q- Did he go up to the wagon while he was standing on the platform?

A- That I can't say.

Q- What were you and your brother-in-law talking about there that night?

A- When there was applause I asked him what the speakers were saying because I could not understand well.

Q- You were talking about the speakers, were you?

A- yes sir.

Q- Talking about the people on the wagon and around the wagon?

A- Yes sir, what was said there,, of course.

Q- When you saw this man with the balck hat your brother-in-law told you right then and there that that was Henry Spies, did'nt he?

A- No.

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Q- How did you know it was Henry Spies then?

A- I knew Spies previous to that.

Q- Well, did you see him?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Then how do you know that it was not he that helped August Spies down from the Wagon?

A- I did'nt say that it was not him.

Q- Well, was it?

A- That I can't tell positively, I only saw the hat.

Q- Your brother-in-law was taller than you and could see easier, could'nt he?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Did'nt he tell you when he was looking that it was Henry and that is the reason you knew it?

A- He told me the next morning when he heqrd that he was shot.

Q- When did you hear that he was shot?

A- The same evening.

Q- Where were you when you heard that Henry Spies was shot?

A- Between Randolph and Clark streets--

Q- Between Randolph and Clark-do you mean on the corner of Randolph and Clark?

A- On Madison street between Randolph and Clark.

Q- Let us get that right?

A- Randolph Street.

Q- Randolph Street?

A- Yes sir.

Q- No, between what streets-- where were you on Randolph street when you haerd that Henry Spies was shot? that night?

A- Near the Court house.

Q- Who told you?

A- I saw him.

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Q- You saw Henry Spies?

A- yes sir.

Q- That night?

A- yes sir.

Q- How long after he was shot?

A- It must have been about an hour or three quarters of an hour.

Q- When?

A- The same evening.

Q- An hour or three quarters of an hour after the shooting?

A- Yes sir.

Q- When you turned the corner of Randolph and Desplaines and went east, did you--- you turned the corner at Randolph and Desplaines and run or walked easT?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Crossed Randolph Street bridge?

A- Yes, sir.

Q- Alone?

A- There was several along.

Q- Any friends of yours along, or simply people walking on the street?

A- Several acquaintances.

Q- You were all walking along together, were you?

A- Yes sir.

Q- And when you got over near Clark you caught up with Henry Spies did you?

A- I went down to Clark street and then I turned around again with the intention of meeting my brother-in-law.

Q- Well, where was it then, with reference to Clark street the corner of Clark and Randolph, that night that you saw Henry Spies?

A- Right opposite the City Hall.

Q- And did you then speak to him about his having been shot that night?

A- No.

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Q- Did he tell you that he had been shot?

A- No.

Q- Now, did'nt you say, in answer to some questions a little while ago from Mr. FOster, that you did'nt know this man's first name?

Objected to.

Q- Did you tell what his first name was?

A- No, that I saw afterwards, I only knew him as the cigar maker, Spies.

Q- Did you speak with him that night when you met him that night opposite the Court House?

A- No one had a hold of each arm of his and I saw that he must have been wounded-- on each side of him one had hold of each one of his arms.

Q- Which way were you going.

A- They went eastward.

Q- You did'nt stop them or speak with them?

A- No sir.

Q- You don't know where they went?

A- They went towards Clark street.

Q That is all you know about it. You don't know where they went on Clark street?

A- No sir.

Q- You went home?

A- I went to Wells street.

Q- Did you find your brother-in-law?

A- No sir.

Q- When did you see your brother-in-law next?

A- The next morning

Q- Did you talk it over the next morning?

A- Yes, we talked about it.

Q- Did you tell your brother that you saw Henry Spies, all about that?

A- I told him that I saw Spies' brother and

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that he must have been wounded for two men had him by the arms.

Q- When was the first time that you told any of the defendants or any of the lawyers for the defendants what you saw and heard that night?

A- I did'nt say anything to the lawyers.

Q- Whom did you say anything to, did, you say anything to any of the defendants?

A- I told my brother-in-law, saying that if there was any use, any need, that I also would be a witness.

Q- When did you tell him that?

A- Immediately afterwards, probably a week afterwards.


Q- You talked with your brother-in-law the next morning about Spies' brother being shot, did you?

A- Yes sir.

Q- Was it then that your brother-in-law told you that he saw him help his brother August off of the Wagon?

A- He said yes, that they must have shot him near the wagon, because he saw him yet when he helped down his brother August from the wagon.

Q- That was the next morning when your brother-in-law told you that?

A- Yes sir.

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