Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of Edward R. Mason, 1886 Aug. 10.

Volume N, 210-214, 5 p.
Mason, Edward R.
Clerk of the US Circuit Court at Des Moines

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 210).

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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 Edward R.Mason.

Q You live in Des Moines?

A Des Moines, Iowa.

Q How long have you lived in Iowa--how long have you lived at Des Moines?

A Lived at Des Moines, since 1869.

Q What is your business?

A Clerk in the United States Circuit Court.

Q There at that place?

A At Des Moines, yes sir.

Q Did you know Henry L.Gilmer at Des Moines?

A Yes, I did.

Q Do you know his reputation for truth and veracity among his associates and acquaintances there?

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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Q You have been clerk of the United States Court for a good many years?

A Yes sir.

Q For how many years?

A Clerk and deputy for over sixteen years.

Q Now, you don't live in Des Moines, do you, exactly?

A I live about three quarter of a mile outside of the corporate limits of Des Moines.

Q To the southward?

A No, west.

Q Directly west from your house is the office?

A Yes sir.

Q From the Custom House?

A Yes sir.

Q When was it you knew Mr.Gilmer?

A It was along in 1875 or 1876.

Q For how long did you know him?

A I can't say positively--it was several years I knew him there.

Q It would be about ten years ago, you would say?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you know him for more than one or two years?

A I am not positive about that.

Q Where did he live at that time?

A Somewheres on Ninth or Tenth Street in the northwest part of the city.

Q Did you ever visit him up to his house?

A No sir--I lived at that time on Fifth street in the city.

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Q Now, you never visited him socially I presume?

A No sir.

Q Did he ever visit you socially?

A No sir.

Q You are a married man?

A I was.

Q You were at that time?

A Yes sir.

Q Your wife has since died?

A Yes sir.

Q You never invited him to your house socially?

A No sir.

Q What acquaintance did you have with him?

A It is such an acquaintance as you form with a man in the ordinary walks of life, about the street in ordinary conversation.

Q Did you ever have any business relations with him?

A No business relations.

Q He never worked with you?

A No sir.

Q You never worked for him?

A No sir.

Q Never worked in your office?

A No sir.

Q Never was a bailiff about the court room in any capacity

A No sir.

Q How did you meet him, coming and going?

A Met him as special policeman on police force.

Q He was special policeman in the city of Des Moines?

A He was on the police force several times--whether regularly or special, I don't know.

Q Was he a uniform man?

A No sir, I don't know that

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the police of the city of Des Moines wore a uniform at that time.

Q You say he was connected with the police department of Des Moines?

A yes sir.

Q You knew him in that way by seeing him--you were attracted to him somewhat by his extraordinary height, wasn't you?

A I don't know as I was attracted to him in any particular way, I met him quite frequently.

Q Do you know whether he was married at that time or not?

A Nothing but hearsay.

Q Do you know whether any of his family were living there with him at that time?

A I know nothing about his domestic relations.

Q Did you ever have occasion to inquire as to the character of the man--that is at that time?

A Yes sir.

Q At that time?

A Yes sir.

Q Did you ever go to those that he visited back and forth with and associated with to ascertain his reputation for truth and veracity?

A No sir--well with this qualification. I talked with the Mayor and other members of the police force about him.

Q That was after he was on the police force?

A Yes, at the time he was on the police force.

Q When was he discharged from the police force?

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MR. GRINNEKL: That is an assumption he was discharged.

THE WITNESS: I don't know that he was ever discharged.

MR. FOSTER: Q You know he is not on the police force now?

A I believe not.

Q Did you ever try to talk to men who know about his Chicago experience?

A I know nothing about him.

Q For the last ten years you don't know anything about him, what he has done?

A No sir.

Q Did you ever talk with him in Des Moines?

A Frequently.

Q About any particular subject that you remember?

A No sir.

Q Did you ever hear that before he went to Des Moines, that he was in the detective service at Cedar Rapids, Iowa--and was discharged for burglary?

A No sir.

Q You never heard that?

A I never heard it.

Q And have you read the Cedar Rapids Gazette?

A No sir.

Q You know there is such a paper?

A Yes sir, I have heard of it.

Recess to 2 o'clock P.M.

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