Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1
Testimony of George Christ, 1886 Aug. 10.

Volume N, 223-227, 5 p.
Christ, George.
Involved in the mercantile trade.

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 223).

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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 George Christ.

Q Where do you live?

A Des Moines, Iowa.

Q How long have you lived in Des Moines?

A 21 years.

Q What is your business there?

A I am now in business in Mexico, now, at present.

Q What has been your business at Des Moines?

A I was in the mercantile trade--and at one time was city marshal, during the years '76 and '77.

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

A I did.

Q Did you know his reputation for truth and veracity among his associates while he lived 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.


Q How long since you lived at Des Moines?

A Lived there right along--my family are there.

Q You do business in New Mexico now?

A In old Mexico.

Q How did you know Gilmer, as a member of the detective or police force?

A I was city marshal during the years 1876

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and 1877, and I had some business with Mr.Gilmer during 1876, I think.

Q That is the last year you were marshal?

A No sir, the first year.

Q 1876 and 1977?

A yes sir.

Q Was he there during the year 1877?

A I think he was.

Q Did you have any business with him whatever?

A I think not.

Q The business you had with him when you were city marshal, was it in the nature of detective business or special detail?

A I don't remember the kind of work I employed him to do. I have an idea it was a collection of tax, dog tax.

Q He was a collector of the dog tax?

A yes sir.

Q He was a holy terror to dogs?

A I think he was.

Q What else did Mr.Gilmer do except to collect the dog tax?

A I don't remember. I had Mr.Gilmer employed several times--I don't remember what it was.

Q What did you have him employed for besides the collection of the dog tax?

A I don't think I remember.

Q Wasn't it something of the detective character?

A No I think not.

Q Was he ever a police officer?

A I don't know that he was.

Q You were marshal--you say you don't know that he was

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ever a police officer or on the police force?

A I don't know that he was.

Q You know Ed. Mason?

A I do.

Q You heard him testify this morning?

A I could not hear his testimony, I was in the back part of the house.

Q What was your business before you were marshal in 1876 and 1877?

A I had been in the mercantile trade, in the grocery trade.

Q You would have probably known it if Gilmer had been connected with the police force prior to the time you were marshal?

A I don't think I would.

Q You cannot give the business transactions you had with Mr.Gilmer?

A I don't think I could.

Q Except the collection of the dog tax?

A I think I remember that he was one of the men that I appointed to collect that tax.

Q That is they went around to look for dogs that were not registered, did they?

A We had no registered dogs at that time.

Q Was there any tab or numbers put on the collar of the dog whose tax was paid?

A Not at that time.

Q What were his particular duties?

A We had a blank receipt stub, and every man that paid his tax was given his receipt for the amount of his tax, whatever it was--that is about all there was of it.

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Q A dollar apiece?

A Two dollars, I think.

Q Two dollars a head and you kept an account when Mr.Gilmer received this tax, you of course kept an account of the number of receipts you received?

A The collectors made their returns to me.

Q You knew how many receipts you gave him?

A Yes sir.

Q And then the stubs had to tally with the money?

A Yes sir.

Q So there was no chance for him to slip a dollar?

Objected to.

Q He performed that duty all right, did he?

A I think he did.

Q Did you ever visit in his family?

A I did not.

Q Did he ever visit in yours?

A He did not.

Q You never took the collector of the dog tax and introduced him to the members of your family?

A I did not.

Q Nor associated with him?

A I hadn't any occasion to.

Q Do you know who he did associate with?

A I do not.

Q And who he use to spin his yarns with?

A I do not.

Q All you know is that he was there? That you employed him and that he returned the blank receipts, the stubs and the money and reported to you?

A He did his work satisfactorily and honestly--that is all I required of him.

Q He had no chance to do it otherwise?

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Objected to.

Q You don't know what he was doing for the last ten years? do you?

A No, I do not.

Q You did not assciate with him as an associate, as a boon companion or anything of the kind?

A I did not.

Q And never did?

A Did not.

Q And no members of your family?

A No sir.

Q And you did not associate with his associates that you know of?

A Personally I didn't know anything about that.

Q You never heard any question as to whether he was a truthful or not a truthful man?

A I had no occasion to.

Q All you know is you were Ciy marshal and you employed him to collect the dog tax, and he returned the stubs and money back to you for the dogs?

A yes sir.

MR. FOSTER: That is all.

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