Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of Chester C. Cole, 1886 Aug. 10.

Volume N, 202-210, 9 p.
Cole, Chester C.
Formerly on the bench of the Supreme Court of Iowa

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

Testified as to Harry Gilmer's general reputation for truth and veracity. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): Gilmer, Harry (vol.N 202).

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

Q What is your name?

A Chester C.Cole.

Q Where do you reside?

A Des Moines, lowa.

Q How long have you lived in the State of Iowa?

A About thirty years.

Q How long have you lived in Des Moines?

A About that time.

Q Formerly on the bench of the Supreme Court of that state?

A Yes sir.

Q How many years?

A For twelve or thirteen years.

Q Did you know Harry L.Gilmer when he resided in Des Moines?

A I did.

Q How long did you know him there?

A Five or six or seven years--I can't fix the time definitely.

Q Did you know his reputation among his associates and acquaintances of the city of Des Moines, while he lived there, for truth and veracity?

A I think I did.

Q Was it good or bad?

A It was good.

Q Would you believe him under oath?

A I would.

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by MR. Foster.

Q What year, Judge Cole, did you know Mr. Gilmer?

A From 1871 and '72 up to 1878 and '79.

Q Have you known anything about him since?

A I have not.

Q Do you know whether he has fallen from grace in the meantime?

A I ought to make this exception. I have met him occasionally in this city. I remember one occasion in 1881, I met him at the Palmer House. He called there to see me.

Q There was nothing in meeting him in Chicago upon which you could determine any question of reputation?

A No sir.

Q You just met him and recognized him of course, as a man you had known in Des Moines. There never has been any intimate relationship existing between you and Gilmer, has there?

A No sir.

Q You have lived in Des Moines a great many years, have you not?

A Yes sir, nearly thirty--between twenty-nine and thirty.

Q You have very frequently given public entertainments, and especially in the winter season when the legislature was in session, have you not?

A Yes sir.

Q You have frequently had distinguished citizens of Iowa or other States at your residence, and entertained them there?

A. Yes Sir.

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Q I think you have something of a reputation in that direction perhaps, in Iowa, entertaining your friends--now, I will ask you whether you ever entertained Mr. Harry L. Gilmer at your house?

A He has been at my house, but never as an invited guest at any social entertainment.

Q In getting up these large receptions, which frequently occurred at your house, you never invited Mr. Gilmer?

MR. GRINNELL: I think that question has been answered.

MR. FOSTER: Q. I asked him if he ever invited him?

A No sir.

Q Where did he live?

A For a portion of the time he lived directly west from me on the main street, I living on Fourth Street.

Q He had to go by your house, or at least that was a convenient way in his going down town, by your place?

Q No, I question if that is so--it would be some out of his way. Park Street near where he lived on Tenth terminates at the west side of my premises.

Q You built the house in which you lived, I believe?

A Yes sir.

Q You employed a great many working men for a number of years?

A Yes sir.

Q As a matter of fact one of those workmen was MR. Gilmer? a painter?

A He did some varnishing of wood work in my house. My house was built about nineteen years ago.--I believe it is nineteen years ago this summer.

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Q Gilmer was there part of the time as a workman?

A He was there some years. I would not fix the time, but I should think in 1874 or 1875, was engaged in varnishing the wood work inside.

Q That is what you mean when you say he has been at your house?

A Yes sir.

Q He was there as a workman? as a painter performing the duties of a painter, and for no other purpose and under no other circumstances?

A No sir, only that so far as I remember.

Q You never introduced him to your wife or your daughters socially, did you?

A I have no recollection of doing so.

Q Did you ever visit at his house?

A No sir, not in the sense of visiting socially, never been at his house.

Q Have you been at his house to get him to do work?

A I have no distinct recollection as to that--I would not want to say one way or the other.

Q Did you ever go with Mr. Gilmer or any member of your family go with him to places of amusement? Or associated with him--did you ever meet him socially and associate with him?

A I may have met himn at different social gatherings. I never went with him--he was going one day, I know he went, because I was going--

Q Do you remember meeting him at any social gathering?

A I do not.

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Q That is the theory that you may have done so.

A Yes, I would not want to say I had not.

Q Nor you don't say that you did?

A No sir.

Q So then you knew him just as a lawyer and judge might know a man that he employed to do work in his house?

A I don't remember--yes, he did work for me also on my block.

Q As a painter?

A Yes.

Q You hired him by the day and paid him I suppose?

A I suppose he got his pay, yes.

Q And with that your association terminated?

A Substantially so.

Q Did you ever have any occasion to go out among those he did associate with, those whose families he visited socially and those whose families visited him socially, and require of them in regard to the character of the man?

A No, I never made any direct inquiries.

Q All you know is that a number of years ago, nineteen years ago, or something like that he was a painter and performed work for you?

MR. GRINNELL: That is not what he said--'74 or '75 he thought he did some painting for him.

THE WITNESS: And afterwards. I built my house nineteen years ago, and Mr.Gilmer was not there then. Mr.Gilmer was not there in '67.

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MR. FOSTER: Q This varnishing you speak of was subsequent varnishing in the inside work?

A Yes, not in the original construction, He was in my house when my family was living there and when my house was furnished.

Q For the first time?

A Yes sir, and of course my inquiries were not extended. It was sufficiently extended to satisfy me it was safe to have him there.

Q That he would not steal when he members of your family were present?

A My house is a little too large for even my numerous family to be in every room.

Q As a matter of fact was he ever there alone in your home and in the night time or day time?

A I presume not.

Q Wherever the painting was done, the varnishing done, it was done under your direction, or direction of some member of your family,was it not?

A Under my own direction.

Q Would you expect then that the members of your family and yourself knew the particular places at which Mr.Gilmer was expected to work?

A Yes sir.

Q You think from what you knew of the man you could trust him to go there and varnish?

A Yes, I satisfied myself that he was a proper man to be admitted there for that purpose.

Q I suppose you never heard anybody say--did you read a clipping from the Des Moines Register, in regard to Mr.Gilmer Since Gilmer testified?

A I remember seeing the Des

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Moines Register.

Q Do you remember the painter who said--

Objected to.

Q Do you know the gentleman, the panter that was referred to in that article?

A I think I do.

Q What is his name?

A I think it is George Lunn--I am not positive about that, but I think that is the man.

Q I will ask you if you ever heard--

A He is not named as he is in the article, he is not named in the article--that is my recollection, and I inferred it was him.

Q Did you say his name was Lunn?

A Lunn I believe it is.

Q Have you talked with Mr.Lunn in regard to the reputation of Mr.Gilmer?

A No sir. Perhaps that ought to be modified, I had a few words with him in respect to it, but nothing in the way of discussion of it.

Q That was since Mr.Gilmer testified?

A Yes sir.

Q Before Mr.Gilmer testified you never heard any one say anything upon his reputation for truth and veracity, did you?

A I can't identy any person. I only hesitate in my answer because I think I would have inquired under all the circumstances of his working at my house, yet I have no recollection of it.

Q You can't name anybody in Des Moines or elsewhere, that

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you ever asked or ever heard say that his reputation for truth and veracity was good?

A Before this trial?

Q Before this trial?

A No, I have no recollection of any one.

MR. GRINNELL: Q You remember also of recommending Gilmer to Mr.Grinnell of Iowa, to do work on the Illinois Central?

Objected to.

MR. FOSTER: Q. I want to ask you one additional question. Have you ever had any correspondence with Mr.Gilmer since he has resided in Chicago?

A No, except he asked me once for a letter here.

Q But have you this year?

A I have not.

Q I will ask you whether you were in the city of Chicago on the 4th of May or about the 4th of May of this year?

A I was not here on the 4th of May, and I have not now ny definite recollection of being here since the month of March, until after this riot.

Q From the latter part of March until after the explosion of the bomb on the hay-market?

A Yes sir.

Q I will ask you whether you or Gov. Merrill were in the city of Chicago and at the Palmer House on the 4th day of March?

Objected to.

A I was not there.

Q Did you see Ex-Governor Merrill of Iowa, at the Palmer

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A No, I wasn't there.

Q Do you stop at the Palmer House?

A Yes, I have for a good many years.

Q Have you been at the Palmer House this year in company at any time with Ex-Gov. Merrill until the present?

A Not to myknowledge.

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