Engel in the Toils—His Character and Rough Eloquence—Facing his Accusers—Waller’s Confession—The Work of the Lehr und Wehr Verein—A Dangerous Organization—The Romance of Conspiracy—Organization of the Armed Sections—Plans and Purposes—Rifles Bought in St. Louis—The Picnics at Sheffield—A Dynamite Drill—The Attack on McCormick’s—A Frightened Anarchist—Lehman in the Calaboose—Information from many Quarters—The Cost of Revolvers—Lorenz Hermann’s Story—Some Expert Lying.
ENOUGH was at this time known to make George Engel a mark for speedy police attention. It had been established beyond a doubt that he was one of the central figures in the conspiracy, and it was not long before a warrant was secured charging him with murder. I detailed Officers Stift and Whalen to serve the document, and they found him at his home, No. 286 Milwaukee Avenue. He was a man about fifty years old, stoutly built, round-shouldered, weighing about 170 pounds, and about five feet eight inches in height. He was married and had a daughter about sixteen years of age. He was by trade a painter, but he and his wife conducted a toy-store at the place where they lived. In addition to toys, they sold cigars and tobacco. The building he lived in was a two-story frame, and his support came principally from his business. He always claimed to be a very good friend of policemen, many of whom he said he knew, and they all, he claimed, liked him. He was very radical in his ideas, however, and at all times took an active interest in Anarchist meetings. In fact, he was one of the most rabid of them all. He was a successful organizer and a hard, persistent worker for the cause. He was one of the most positive, determined speakers in the German language in Chicago. He could hold a house all night, and his auditors were always charmed with his ingenious argument, his powerful invective and his captivating sophistry. He was well read on all topics bearing upon Anarchy, had a wonderful memory, and he could always promptly give a plausible “reason for the faith that was in him.” His speeches were always plain, and, although he talked rapidly, he spoke with a directness and force that took complete possession of the illiterate and unthinking rabble. He could work up his auditors to the point of desperation, and with a word he could have sent them out to pillage and murder. It was his brain alone that evolved the gigantic plan of murdering hundreds of people and laying waste thousands of dollars’ worth of property in Chicago, and the fact that he found so many willing to execute his purpose fully proved his power and influence over his Anarchist followers. Like all rabid Anarchists, he had no use for clergymen or the church, Sisters of Charity or anything else that had a tinge of religion in it. He called them all hypocrites and frauds. He was a great admirer of Louise Michel, theFrench Anarchist, because of her fearlessness and courage, and he never failed to bestow words of praise on Most, whose work he fairly worshiped. The organs of the Anarchists in Chicago he did not think radical enough, and so he ventured to publish a paper of his own called the Anarchist, which, however, did not survive long. He was known as an honest man in all his dealings with his fellow-men, earnest in his convictions, but withal a most dangerous leader and most unrelenting in his hatred of existing society, and thoroughly unscrupulous in the methods to be used to bring about a change.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
Engel was always cool and collected, rarely exhibiting signs of excitement. This fact was brought out most strikingly when the officers found him at his home, on the 18th of May, at five o’clock, and informed him that they had a warrant for his arrest on the charge of murder. He was painting in his house at the time, and, turning to the officers with a smile on his face, he nonchalantly remarked:
“Well, this is very strange.”
The officers then told him that I desired to see him immediately, and he responded that if that was the case he supposed he must go with them.
When he arrived at the station he was informed again of the nature of the charge against him, and the floor, so to speak, was accorded him for any explanations he might desire to make.
“I am the most innocent man in the world,” he began, in a slow, deliberate voice. “I could not hurt a child or see any one hurt.”
Engel was then subjected to some close questioning, and all he could be made to say was this:
“On Monday, May 3, I was working for a friend of mine named Koch. I was doing some painting for him that evening between the hours of eight and nine o’clock. I then went to a meeting at Greif’s Hall, 54 West Lake Street. The meeting was held in the basement. I don’t know Mr. Waller. I do not belong to the Northwest Side group. I don’t belong to any armed men. I don’t know of any plan or conspiracy. I did not give any plan at that meeting. I was there at the meeting only a little while. I did not speak there, nor had I anything to say to any one. I did not, and was not authorized by any one to give a plan.”
He thus flatly contradicted every charge and seemed determined to put a bold front upon the situation. Confronted by the facts, he never winced, but kept up a bold exterior. He was then locked up at the station. Subsequently his wife called and met him in my office.
“Papa, see what trouble you have got yourself into,” she sadly remarked.
“Mamma,” he responded, “I cannot help it. What is in me must come out.”
“Why,” I interposed, “don’t you stop that nonsense?”
MISS MARY ENGEL.
From a Photograph.
“I know,” replied Engel, “I have promised my wife so many times that I would stop it. But I cannot do it. I cannot help it that I am possessed of some eloquence and enthusiasm. It is a curse to some people to be possessed of this knowledge. I cannot help it that I am gifted in that way. I am not the first man that has been locked up for this cause, but I will bear it like a man. Louise Michel is a great woman. She has been locked up and suffered for principle. I am willing to do the same.”
When Engel was asked where he had been on Tuesday evening, May 4, he responded: “At home all night, lying on a lounge.”
Two days after Engel’s arrest I secured a statement—in addition to that of Hubner—from Gottfried Waller, implicating the nervy Anarchist in the conspiracy in connection with “the plan.”
I therefore thought it best to have Engel face his accuser, Waller, and, on the evening of May 24, at 9:30 o’clock, the two men were brought together in my office. Mr. Furthmann, who was present, with the officers, asked Engel, the moment he was brought in, if he knew the party before him. Engel, without the slightest hesitancy or tremor, answered in the negative. He was next asked if he had not attended the meeting at No. 54 West Lake Street, and Engel stated that he had come in late during the proceedings.
Waller then reiterated his charge, that Engel was not only a speaker on that occasion, but the man who had submitted a plan for murder and destruction.
“In fact,” said Waller, “you were the only man who urged a revolution and spoke about your plan.”
When questioned as to what he had to say to this, Engel retorted that “it was not true,” as he had not been authorized by any one to propose a plan. Inasmuch as the accusation of Waller failed to make any perceptible impression on Engel’s mind, I decided to see how the presence of another accuser would affect his deportment and answers. Accordingly Ernst Hubner was asked if he would face Engel, and, an answer being given firmly in the affirmative, Engel was again brought back into the office. There were present at this, as well as at the former interview, Furthmann, Whalen, Stift, Schuettler, Hoffman, Loewenstein and Rehm. The moment Engel was brought up by an officer, Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann asked Hubner if he was acquainted with Engel. Hubner replied, “Yes, I know him.”
Addressing Engel, I said:
“This is Ernst Hubner. He says that he knows you, and he also has made a statement against you.”
Engel replied that he did not know the man, whereupon Hubner reiterated his acquaintanceship, and added:
“Your name is Engel, and you keep a toy-store on Milwaukee Avenue. You made speeches at 58 Clybourn Avenue. I saw and heard you several times. I saw you in a meeting May 3, 9 P.M., at 54 West Lake Street.”
“Engel,” I interrupted, “listen, and I will read you what Hubner said about you.”
Engel assented, and the statement of Hubner, as already given, was read.
“It is false,” replied Engel; “but if that good man says I did say so, then you can believe him. I do not care.”
“Where did you see Engel last?” inquired Furthmann of Hubner.
“I saw him at the meeting held at Greif’s Hall, 54 West Lake Street, where I heard him speak about the revenge circular and his plan, which he said had been adopted by the Northwest Side group. He spoke of the plan as I have heretofore explained in my affidavit to the officers.”
“You still say that that affidavit is true in every respect?”
“I do,” emphatically replied Hubner.
“It is not so, and it is not true,” stoutly replied Engel.
“Well,” said I, “there are other people, and we will have more, who will prove that you did make a revolutionary speech and submitted a plan calling on your people to get ready with their arms and do violence. If other witnesses are produced, will you still have the same answer to give?”
“It would not be true; it is not so,” reiterated Engel.
“But,” I added, “suppose I produce twenty more men who will accuse you the same as Waller and Hubner have accused you, what then would you have to say?”
“My answer,” responded Engel, “would be that I have never spoken as charged against me. It is not true.”
Engel had evidently made up his mind to deny everything, and, knowing his character for stubbornness, I made no further efforts to secure a statement from him. A man who could originate such a cold-blooded scheme as he had proposed—and part of it was actually carried out in bloodshed—was evidently not the kind to yield, and I allowed him to ruminate over his predicament in a cell below until the 27th of May, when he was sent to the County Jail. As will subsequently appear, he never showed signs of weakness during his incarceration from the time he was taken from his house that night until he dropped from the gallows, dying the hardest of them all. A half dozen such men at a critical time could upset a whole city, and it was fortunate for Chicago that there were not more like him during the troublous days of 1886.
From a Photograph.
Some two days before Engel was brought in, Gottfried Waller was arrested by Officer Whalen. It appeared that he had been selling revolvers to workingmen, and after being taken to the station, on the 14th of May, he was released on bail. His importance then as a conspicuous figure in the Monday night meeting, when the murderous “plan” was adopted, was not clearly apparent, but he was kept under surveillance and his antecedents carefully inquired into. Thielen, in his confession on the very day Waller was arrested, referred to him as having presided at that meeting, and, in describing a man who called at Lingg’s room on Tuesday afternoon, May 4, said he “believed he worked at Brunswick & Balke’s factory.” Hubner, in his affidavit on the 18th of May, stated that Waller had presided on the occasion referred to, and had even urged them to go ahead and do their work, and he would be with them—meaning their work of destruction. On these and other facts a warrant was secured for his arrest for murder, and on the 20th of May he was again taken into custody by Officers Whalen and Stift. He was a Swiss by birth, a cabinet-maker by occupation, and worked at the Brunswick, Balke & Collender billiard factory. His age at the time of his arrest was thirty-six years, and he was a married man with one child. At the time of his first arrest he was living at No. 590 Milwaukee Avenue, and at his second arrest he was found at No. 105 North Wells Street. He had been only three years in America, and had scarcely settled in Chicago before he began attending the Anarchist meetings. He always frequented the gatherings where Swiss people assembled, and on a search being made of their meeting-place, 105 North Wells Street, on the 7th of May, the police found twelve guns. It had been the headquarters for the most dangerous element in the order, and on Waller’s visiting the place after the trial of the Anarchists a serious attempt was made on his life. He was called a spy, and was pursued until he found safety under the shadow of the Chicago Avenue Station. Several parties were afterwards arrested for this assault. They subsequently threw a piece of iron through the window of the house where Waller was stopping, but this was the last futile exhibition of their rage.
In view of his testimony, which appears further on in the review of the trial, Waller was given an unconditional release, and he has since conducted himself as a peaceable citizen.
After his confession bearing directly on the principal parties in the conspiracy, Waller wrote out his experience with the Lehr und Wehr Verein in particular and his connection with Anarchy in general. His story is as follows:
“On the 25th of January, 1884, I arrived in Chicago from Easton, Pa. I lived sixteen months on Grove Avenue, Humboldt. I was never a Socialist or Anarchist. I understood very little of the former and nothing at all of the latter. After residing for a while at the place mentioned, I moved to Milwaukee Avenue, near No. 636, Thalia Hall, on that street. Here I noticed people uniformed and armed about twice a week. They would enter this hall, and, by making inquiries, I was informed that these people belonged to the second company of the Lehr und Wehr Verein and that they were a sort of ‘Schuetzen Verein,’ which practiced twice a week in the North Chicago Schuetzen Park (Sharpshooters’ Park). Their principles were kept secret. As I was an expert sharpshooter and had a passion for military exercises, I accepted an invitation from their commander to participate in their practices. We met on the following Sunday at Thalia Hall, at five o’clock in the morning, and continued for some time. We dispersed by each going in different directions toward the park, so as not to arouse any suspicion. On account of cold weather only fourteen of us came together. It was no fun to walk knee-deep in the snow; still we were feeling good since we were going to practice shooting. After several rounds of drinks, which were called for in payment of the stand we used on such occasions, we erected two targets and commenced practicing. I soon noticed that the company consisted of good marksmen, and that day I was pronounced the best marksman among them. After that I wanted to become a member of the Verein, as I had been asked several times by some of them to join.
UNDERGROUND RIFLE PRACTICE.
A Meeting of the Lehr und Wehr Verein.
I called at Thalia Hall one Monday evening and was taken to the cellar, which I entered through a secret door by means of a ladder. Here I saw thirty to thirty-five men practicing shooting at a target. The cellar was not well lighted except at the north end, where the targets stood. The people and all the surroundings looked quite adventurous to me. One of the members then approached me and asked if I was a Socialist. I answered, ‘Yes,’ in an off-hand way. The first sergeant of the company, August Krueger, told me beforehand to do this. I paid my initiation fee, got a red card numbered 19, by which number I was afterwards known, and I was then a member. All the members were very cautious before me on account of my not being well known to them. We practiced every Monday and Wednesday, drilling and shooting. I paid a great deal of attention to these exercises. I never missed a meeting, and consequently I soon gained the confidence of all the members.
From Lehr und Wehr Verein Rifles.
From a Photograph.
“At the first general meeting, which was held every last Tuesday of each month, at No. 54 West Lake Street, I was enlightened, and how I was enlightened will appear as I proceed with my statement. I now desire first to speak of the Lehr und Wehr Verein. This society consists of four companies from various parts of the city, and forms a revolutionary military organization. The first company belongs to the North Side; second company, the Northwest Side; third company, the Southwest Side; and the fourth company was formed by the commander at Pullman. The first company was the strongest and consisted of about one hundred and twenty members. The second consisted of thirty-five members; the third about eighty; and the fourth, forty members. Consequently the battalion consisted of two hundred and seventy-five members. You could rely upon one hundred and eighty men; the others were more or less indifferent and passive. All the members were armed with Springfield rifles, 48-caliber, and with Remington revolvers, 44-caliber. Every member was well supplied with ammunition at his house, which was always purchased by the quartermaster of the company. The uniform consisted of a blouse, with white buttons, and with shoulder-straps for the officers, black leather belts with brass buckles inscribed L. W. V., dark pantaloons and black slouch hats. Every company had a captain, lieutenant and first sergeant. Besides these the company had the following officers: A corresponding secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, quartermaster, and a Lehr und Wehr auditor. The commander received a monthly salary of $15.00, and the financial secretary $4.00. The commander was Gustav Breitenfeld. Captain of the first company, Abraham Hermann; second company, Bernhard Schrader; third company, H. Betzel, and fourth company, Paul Pull. Under command of these people, the companies were drilled and instructed. The corresponding secretary attended to all the correspondence, domestic and foreign, which was not a very easy job, because we corresponded with the Internationale of the whole country. The financial secretary collected the dues, and turned them all over to myself as treasurer. The quartermaster, A. Hermann, had to supply arms and ammunition. The Lehr und Wehr auditor had to investigate all complaints and to impose all fines and collect the same. The meeting-place of the first company was at Mueller’s Hall, on North Avenue and Sedgwick Street, in basement; of the second company, at Thalia Hall, on Milwaukee Avenue; of the third company, at Vorwaerts Turn Hall, on West Twelfth Street, and of the fourth company, at Rosenheim, in Pullman. Another curiously mixed company also belonged to the Verein. It was commanded by Captain Betzel, of the third company, and it had nothing to do with us in a business way.
“The whole battalion assembled once every month on pleasant days on the prairie behind the ice-houses of Schofield & Co., on the West Side, and practiced skirmish drills. The commands were given in English, and no one knew the members by name—only by numbers.
“This brings me to the first general meeting of the Verein at No. 54 West Lake Street that I attended. Before the opening of the meeting, every one who entered the hall was examined so that none but members might get in. The meetings would be called to order by the secretary, and then a chairman and a doorkeeper would be chosen. August Krause, of the second company, was generally called upon to officiate as chairman. First of all the correspondence would be read, and at one meeting a letter was read from Most, of New York, which pertained to arms. In the first meeting Commander Breitenfeld was ordered to proceed to Pullman every Sunday to work for the cause, and for his services he received a remuneration of $3 for each trip. The new company in that town finally reported a large increase of fine material with strong Anarchistic doctrines. The quartermaster, who then was Lehnert, was ordered to purchase forty rifles and four boxes of ammunition, each containing 4,000 rounds. The treasurer delivered to him $250, and afterwards we duly received the rifles from a firm in St. Louis. After all business had been transacted one of the eager members delivered a speech touching the best means of bringing on the social revolution. He proved very violent in his sentiments, and all present agreed with him that this revolution could only be accomplished with fire, powder, lead and dynamite. For a public attack on the streets of Chicago the speaker considered us too weak. As to the ‘property beasts,’ as he called the small owners of buildings, he regarded them as our biggest enemies, as they would attack us from their windows and defeat us, and consequently our only hope for a victory lay in the torch and dynamite. When Chicago would be surrounded by fire and destroyed, these ‘beasts,’ he said, would be obliged to take refuge on the prairies, and there it would be very easy for us to master them by our unmerciful proceedings. If this was done, other cities, like New York, St. Louis, Pittsburg, etc., would follow our example. Then all eyes would be centered on the Anarchists of Chicago, and therefore we would proclaim the Commune.
“All these utterances were accepted with great applause, and every one wanted to commence immediately. I thought differently. I remembered the revolution of 1848 in Germany and that of 1871 in Paris and its consequences.
“Krause, after this speech, took the floor and spoke in favor of the revolution. He stated that they ought to invite the Anarchists of other cities to join them here, and then we could commence the work of destruction. Then other members gave their views, and the meeting adjourned with an injunction that every one should be silent with reference to our proceedings.
“This brings me to the revolutionary party. This organization consists of the following sections and groups: The Lehr und Wehr Verein, commander Breitenfeld; Northwest Side group, commanders Engel, Fischer and Grumm; North Side group, commanders Neebe, Lingg and Hermann; American group, commanders Spies, Parsons and Fielden; Karl Marx Group, commander Schilling; the Freiheit group; the armed sections of the International Carpenters’ Union and the Metal-workers’ Union. The whole party is under the leadership of a general committee. This committee is composed of Spies, Schwab, Parsons, Neebe, Rau, Hirschberger, Deusch and Belz. The committee held their meetings in one of the rooms of the Arbeiter-Zeitung and received weekly reports from the delegates of the various groups. A part of the monthly dues was delivered to the general committee, and all expenses for traveling at the instance of the agitation committee (Parsons and Schwab) and for arms were paid by the quartermaster.
“On one occasion I attended a general meeting of the revolutionary party at No. 54 West Lake Street, at which the whole party of armed sections were represented. After all precautions had been taken as to safety, August Spies took the chair and Neebe acted as secretary. We had to produce our cards of membership on entering, and every group was called by name, and each representative had to rise in his seat for close inspection. The first business was a complaint from the Northwest group and the Lehr und Wehr Verein that the funds had been mismanaged and thrown away. Both organizations declared that they would withdraw their delegates and, after that, act independently. Spies became as furious as a snake when trodden upon, and he got up and told them that they might leave immediately. This started a war of words. Some retorted that the Arbeiter-Zeitung was not radical enough, and it must be made different from that moment. The members of the general committee were called impostors and loafers. The Lehr und Wehr Verein had paid some $75 for the purchase of arms, but they had neither seen the arms nor the money. Engel and the Northwest Side group were brought into the wrangle, and he was called a traitor. They said that Engel would bring the whole party to ruin, likewise the Arbeiter-Zeitung, but they (Engel and the paper) did not care so long as it enriched themselves. Finally the Northwest group withdrew, and some of the members of the Lehr und Wehr Verein shortly afterwards followed suit. From this time on there were constant disputes.
“Engel and Grunewald collected money for a new paper and started the Anarchist, a paper like Most’s Freiheit in New York. Shortly after these societies had left the hall, the fight was taken up again by some of the females who were present,—Mrs. Parsons, Mrs. Bolling, Mrs. Schwab and Mrs. Holmes,—and it was continued until Spies was declared out of order. Hirschberger then reported the result of the sale of revolutionary literature, such as the works of Louise Michel, Most’s ‘Revolutionary Warfare,’ etc., and he stated that it had exceeded his expectations. After this they discussed picnics, and a number desired them to be held outside of the city. Sheffield was suggested, because by going there they would bring in more money, and when there they could speak more freely their Anarchist sentiments. It was finally decided to hold a meeting of the workingmen on Market Square on Thanksgiving day, and Parsons was ordered to make the necessary arrangements. Spies called attention to the importance of every one attending that meeting, and urged that they should not come without a bomb or a revolver. The bombs, he said, they could purchase at the Arbeiter-Zeitungoffice, four for $1. The time was near, he said, when the long-looked-for revolution would take place, and so they should avail themselves of every opportunity. He wanted all Anarchists to work against the eight-hour movement, because if it should prove successful our movement would receive a set-back for several years. Our cause would not be hastened by it. He complained about our small gain in numbers and attributed it to the poor agitation of some of the members. After this I left the hall.
“On the day before Thanksgiving we drilled in Thalia Hall. At the end of the exercise we were all requested to attend the meeting the following day, and Lehnert distributed some bombs in the shape of gas-pipe. He stated that he could only get four, but that on the next day at one o’clock every member could have one by calling at the hall. The next day most of the members put in an appearance. Members of the Northwest Side group also called. Adolph Fischer was there with a basketful of bombs like the one I saw the day before, which was the first time I had ever seen a bomb, and he told us distinctly to use them in case the Market Square meeting was dispersed. He cut a piece of fuse about the length of one on a bomb, put it on the table and lighted it with a cigar. He showed the way it worked and posted us as to the time it would have to burn before a bomb to which it might be attached should be thrown. He also showed us the way we should throw a bomb, and after this exhibition we all proceeded to the meeting.
“On arriving at Market Square, I noticed a stage made out of barrels, with a red flag attached to it, and this was our meeting-place. Parsons mounted the platform and addressed the assemblage, which consisted of about a thousand people. It was a fortunate thing that the crowd was no larger, else the bloody bath of May 4 would have taken place that day, in view of all the preparations and the hostile feeling among us. The Northwest Side group was fully armed, and the preparations were alike complete among all the the other sections. Schwab, Fielden and Neebe were present, but none of them spoke. After they had waved the red flag the meeting adjourned. Bad, cold weather contributed to the small attendance.
“After reading in the newspapers that on a certain Monday some of McCormick’s strikers would resume work, the armed groups were called to a meeting at Goercke’s Hall, on Twentieth Street and Blue Island Avenue. Reinhold Krueger and Tannenberg represented the second company of the Lehr und Wehr Verein, and I joined them on the way to the place of meeting. Arriving there, I found most of the different sections represented, and the meeting opened. Gustav Belz, of the Metal-workers’ Union, and employed at McCormick’s, was chairman, and after some discussion we concluded to stop the reopening of the factory by force. On account of the short time for a proper notification to our members, we decided to have our well-known signal, ‘Y, come Monday’ (which would mean that all was ripe for action, and our men should came to our regular meeting place, 54 West Lake Street), in the ‘Briefkasten’ of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, and it was accordingly done. We also at the meeting conferred with respect to having some of our men mix up with the ‘scabs’ by going to work with them in the factory, and then, when the moment for action arrived, they should set the factory on fire in several places. Those who were to do this were not to act, however, until they learned the result of the meeting that was to be held under the call of our signal, ‘Y.’ During the same day, after the meeting, Belz and Tannenberg carried several bombs out to the Black Road. What happened the following Monday at the factory everybody knows. Strikers and others assembled by thousands. The great bell at the factory rang, and the ‘scabs’ went to work. During the day disturbances followed and many arrests were made of people who were found to have concealed weapons, and who were afterwards fined $10 in the Police Court.
“But a change took place the following Tuesday. In accordance with the signal published in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, about 180 of our people gathered at No. 54 West Lake Street. Most of them carried their arms and some carried bombs. I saw Suess, and some others unknown to me, have bombs of the round pattern. These men even had their rifles with them, and everyone knew what was up. The several sections formed in platoons. Belz was elected chairman, and they consulted as to what should be done. First they regretted that the strikers had not reached McCormick’s that Monday morning, before the arrival of the police, in time to secure possession of the place, and then Betzel of the third company spoke and insisted that they should go around there during the night, secure good positions and then attack the patrol wagons as they passed on the following morning. He said he would give strict instructions to his company to obey his command, and then, when the police came to take their positions, they should be met with a good reception from well-aimed rifles. About fifty members wanted this plan carried out, but I noticed that most of them carried their hearts in their pants, and had very little courage. Excuses after excuses were made. Suess gave his bomb to a comrade and told him that when he thought of his wife and home he had doubts about going into an uncertain adventure. Balthasar Rau also protested against the plan. Some one suggested that they should stay there, in the hall, all night. Belz declared that he was of the same opinion about remaining; but, he said, he had a better plan to reach Mr. McCormick. It was very easy, he said, to attack this money baron in his own house. He described the house and rooms, and the location of the windows, and said that they should throw one of these ‘play balls’ in through the window of the room where McCormick would be sitting, and send him flying to heaven. This course should be taken by some one of those present, of his own accord, so that no second or third party would know the perpetrator. There seemed to be no response to this, and, noticing the want of enthusiasm, he grasped his rifle and made a motion to break it in two, calling them all at the same time cowards. He then left the hall. I was surprised at this, because among those assembled there were some of the worst Anarchists in the city, notably Lingg, Engel, Fischer and Grunewald. McCormick, however, is alive to-day. Rau notified those present that if any one wanted any bombs they should follow him to the Arbeiter-Zeitung office, and he would supply them. The meeting then adjourned.
“After the experience I had thus had with the party, I was sorry that I ever joined. I found that what good humor I had formerly possessed had been completely wiped out by my associations with the revolutionary party. I wanted now to join some good society, and I thought of some good excuse for leaving the party. My opportunity came. My comrades wanted me to buy a supply of ammunition, as the 1st of May was near at hand, but I found that there was not money enough in the treasury. The financial secretary had been very slow in delivering to me all the money he had collected, and I discovered that his love for the shining dollars was so great that he would let some of them fall through his fingers. I found out his dishonesty, and I brought it to light. On this account we became enemies, and sometimes he would rather have seen me dead than McCormick. One evening I stood in front of the bar at Thalia Hall with him just before target practice. I was talking about something not in his favor. We finally came to hot words and then to blows. I let him have a few right-handers, and he drew his revolver and fired one shot, the ball passing close to my right ear and striking the wall. The proprietor of the saloon took the revolver away from him, and he attacked me again with a rawhide [a billy], which he always carried. He struck me over the head, and I grabbed a chair and gave it to him savagely. He skipped out. Shortly after this I sent the money-box with Schrader to the Verein along with my written resignation. In that I explained that I did not want to associate with murderers and manslayers. It was accepted, and I was again a free man, rejecting every inducement except one to join their ranks again. This exception grew out of my own foolishness and happened when I attended the ill-fated meeting of May 2d.
No. 63 Emma Street, where the Conspiracy “Plan”
was first proposed by Engel. From a Photograph.
“This meeting on May 2d was held on Emma Street. During the day, which was a pleasant one, I went out early for a walk. While I was absent some one called at my house and told my wife that I was wanted at No. 63 Emma Street that evening at ten o’clock. I returned home about 10:30 o’clock the same morning, and as I did not know the hall, nor knew the person who had notified my wife, I proceeded to the number given. This visit was a most unfortunate one for me. Entering the hall, I noticed the Northwest Side group and the second company of the Lehr und Wehr Verein. I was just on the point of leaving, when Schrader called me back, and, not liking to act like a coward, I remained. A person named Kistner acted as chairman. They wanted to admit a member who had been proposed by two members as true and faithful, but Engel objected, and the man had to leave the hall. They then proceeded to business, having first ascertained that the twenty or twenty-five persons present were in perfect security. Engel took the floor and sailed into the capitalists and the police. He said that they should, when an opportunity presented itself, imitate the Anarchist leaders when, at the Bohemian Turner Hall masquerade ball, they had thrown pepper in the eyes of policemen who were present to make an attack on the turners, and he explained how that assault on their part had come very near costing him his life. But he had done it for the good of the cause. He then spoke of the labor troubles and said that now was the time to produce the revolution. It was unwise to let it pass. Then he proceeded to outline a plan for it, saying that, if any one had a better one to suggest, to say so.”
Waller gives the details of the plan just as he gave it in court, and continues:
“I could not advise any one to speak against the motion for the adoption of the plan, as he would have been dealt with accordingly. Breitenfeld stated subsequently at Thalia Hall that he would do everything in his power to carry out this plan and that he would not work for the next few days, and that on the day given he would be at No. 54 West Lake Street to make all the arrangements.
“What happened on Monday at McCormick’s is known. Spies hurried to write the ‘Revenge’ circular, stating that six men had been killed, and put it into circulation. That day I was at No. 105 Wells Street, where the workingmen employed in Brunswick & Balke’s factory held their meetings. I got home about six o’clock and had my supper, but I did not know then as to the conflict with the police at McCormick’s. I did not feel like going to the meeting called for that evening at No. 54 West Lake Street. I had hardly been home thirty minutes when Clermont, of the second company, entered my room and asked:
“‘Did you hear the news?’
“‘What?’ I asked.
“‘From McCormick’s,’ he replied.
“‘What then?’ I asked.
“‘Ten men were killed by the police, and more than twenty wounded,’ he said. ‘Now we must commence.’
“I did not believe it at first, but when he showed me the ‘Revenge’ circular my blood shot up into my head and I went with him to the meeting. As we passed Engel’s house we met him and Fischer, and they joined us. On the way to the meeting, Engel said that if any one wanted to see him they should take the rear door and enter, as he thought the detectives were watching his house. Having arrived at the hall, Breitenfeld called the revolutionary men down to the cellar, and to my surprise I was elected chairman.”
Waller then details the business that was there transacted, the story being identical with that he gave on the witness-stand, and alludes to his visit to Engel’s house on his way to the Haymarket meeting on the evening of May 4. He had been previously asked by A. Krueger, Kraemer, and two others, who called at his own house while he was eating his supper, to go with them to Wicker Park, as they wanted to be at their post in response to the signal “Ruhe,” but he declined to go with them. Waller continues:
“I went to Engel’s. He was not at home, and we waited in a room behind the store. There were two others there, one a member of the Northwest Side group, and the other I did not know. The first one went away to get some pepper, as he said, and returned again in a few minutes.... He said he was only waiting for the pills, meaning the bombs. I waited about five minutes, and during the time a young girl about ten or twelve years old put in an appearance, carrying a heavy parcel, which she handed to the man who had gone out for the pepper and who was waiting for ‘pills.’ I took the man to be her father. He disappeared behind a screen, and I walked out.”
Waller next gives the circumstances in connection with the Haymarket meeting precisely as he gave them in court, and reverts back to the meeting of Monday night at No. 54 Lake Street, referring to a speech made on that occasion by Clermont. That man, Waller says, spoke substantially as follows: “I expect to see about 20,000 or 25,000 people at the Haymarket. The speeches should be very threatening and fierce so that the police will be compelled to disperse the meeting. Then, when the police become engaged, we can carry out our purpose.” Before this meeting came to order, Greif, the proprietor of the place, was around lighting the lamps, and while doing so he remarked, says Waller: “This is just the place for you conspirators.”
Among those expecting to do deeds of violence on the night of the Haymarket, at Wicker Park, was “Big” Krueger, and Waller mentions the fact that he met him the next day at noon.
“Krueger showed me a revolver,” says Waller, “and I told him that he had better leave it at home. He replied that he would not do it, as he intended to kill every one who came across his path, and he left. A few hours after he shot at a policeman and lost his life.”
Officer Madden was the officer thus assailed, and he immediately turned around and shot the Anarchist down in his tracks.
In concluding his statement Waller refers to his arrest and says:
“On the way to the station I made up my mind not to say a word. Arriving there, Capt. Schaack got to talking to me and put several questions to me in the presence of several detectives. I noticed that telling lies would not do me any good, and the friendly and courteous treatment of the Captain made such an impression on my mind that I told, by and by, everything with a throbbing heart. I promised to repeat my statements before court, and I did so.”
Otto Lehman was well known to the police by reputation through frequent mention of his name by fellow Anarchists, but he managed for some time to keep himself out of the way of a personal acquaintanceship with the force. He never did cherish admiration for policemen, and his dislike grew even more intense after he had learned that he was wanted. The sight of a blue-coat would drive him fairly wild, and the only way he could assuage his wrath was to take to his heels and run until his surcharged feelings had oozed out at the ends of his toes. He was a brave, defiant man in the presence of his comrades, and with his military bearing he seemed the very personification of courage. He had a great penchant for lager beer, and, while emptying glass after glass, he talked Anarchy to the great delight of his hearers. He was an enthusiastic attendant at all meetings of the fraternity, and always wanted the speakers to make their harangues strong and incendiary. If one of them failed to threaten capitalists with dynamite and guns, he lost interest in the proceedings. In that case he would tilt his chair back and take a nap. The moment some one rasped the air with stinging words against capitalists and the police, Lehman would be on his feet and applaud vociferously. He would then adjourn to a saloon, fill himself up with lager and go home to dream of happy days when everybody was to be rich without labor. Some nights he would jump up in bed half asleep,—this is the story of his fellow roomers,—and shout:
From a Photograph.
“Down with them; shoot them! Don’t give them any quarter! The world now is ours.”
His bed-companion, aroused by the demonstration, would take him by the collar and pull him down, after which he would sleep quite contentedly. This sort of exhibition was repeated after every meeting at which some new infernal machine had been spoken of, or some new torture for capitalists suggested. Such speeches made him strong in the faith, and so enthusiastic was he always that he managed to become quite a favorite with his fellows. In return for their admiration, he would spend his last cent in buying beer. His boarding-house was at No. 189 Hudson Avenue.
Although this is only a two-story building, there were living in it at the time no less than eight families. That there were no more is no fault of the house. And such families! Every one of them, from the youngest who could talk, to the oldest who could bear arms, was a turbulent Anarchist. Lehman was always happy in such surroundings. Had he only had his wife and children there, his joy would have been as nearly complete as possible until all capitalists had been exterminated. Unfortunately his family were in Germany. He had left them there three years before. At that time he would have been pleased to bring them along with him had it not been for his haste to get out of Emperor William’s dominions to escape the law of the land.
In his new surroundings in America Lehman only waited for the day when millionaires would either “bite the dust” or capitulate by handing over their wealth to the Anarchists. He never for a moment doubted that that day was almost at hand. Even after the Haymarket riot he had hope, but it vanished completely the moment he was within the grasp of the law. Of course, he did everything to save himself for another revolution by keeping away from the “hated police.” Had it not been for his standing in Germany he would have returned there and waited until the excitement in Chicago had died out, and his comrades had fixed up another plan. He would have even gone to Canada, but he had never heard of it as a refuge for Anarchists. For a time he succeeded remarkably well in dodging us, as we had only a meager description of his appearance; but on the 20th of May he was seen by Officers Schuettler and Hoffman on the North Side. They did not know him at the time. Lehman, however, apèears to have been suspicious of their movements, as there had recently been many inquiries for him in the locality. The moment Hoffman caught a glimpse of the slippery Anarchist, he remarked to his comrade:
“I’ll bet that is one of the cut-throats. We’ll take him in on general principles, and we can soon find out where he belongs.”
The officers gradually approached him, but Lehman, suspecting their intentions, at once started on the run. He had run only half a block when he was captured, put in irons and taken to the station. On his arrival, I asked him his name.
“I’ll tell you my name, and that is all,” replied Lehman, in a surly mood and with an air of bravado. “I am not ashamed of my name, no matter if I am poor. I am as good a man as Grant. Now, don’t trouble me any more. I am closed, and you cannot open me with a crow-bar. Look at me and tell the newspapers you have seen me. I am ready to be locked up.”
“Otto,” said I, “you have a brother named August, and he has a son by the name of Paul. That boy is a very good runner, and at the Haymarket, May 4, he was going to run and carry the news to outside men. The boy did run, but not with news for the waiting men. He kept running until he got out of town, and I know where he is. You will have him with you in a few days. So good-by, Otto; I will see you about the first of June. Officers, lock him up.”
Otto was accordingly escorted down stairs. He had no sooner been placed in a cell than the officers learned the location of his boarding-house at the number given. They at once repaired to the place and gave it a thorough overhauling. They learned that immediately after the Haymarket, and especially since officers had been frequently noticed in the locality, many of the occupants had disappeared in a great hurry, some even forgetting the clean linen that hung in their back yards, and others neglecting to square their board bills.
The officers searched the premises and found several loaded dynamite bombs, some showing conclusively that they had come from Lingg’s factory. It was subsequently learned that Lingg had furnished them to Lehman—one on the evening of May 4, at 58 Clybourn Avenue, and another shortly after, on the same street, near Larrabee. The bombs were all ready for use, and contained Lingg’s extra strong explosive, almost doubly as powerful as the ordinary commercial dynamite.
Two days after his arrest, about eleven o’clock, Lehman was not in a very happy frame of mind. His dreams had not been pleasant, and the possibility of hanging haunted him continually. He told the janitor that he wanted to see the Captain. I sent back word that I could not see him until the next day. Again in the afternoon he sent the janitor to say that he must see me at once, and that he would not speak so defiantly as he had done before. Otto was thereupon brought up. As he came in, he took off his hat and apologized for his rude behavior. After inviting the Anarchist to take a seat, I remarked:
“You know what you are arrested for?”
“Oh, yes,” he replied.
“Have you made up your mind, then, as to what you wish to say?”
He answered in the affirmative.
“Will you tell me all you know of the Anarchists ever since you became one of them?”
Assent being given, I continued: “Now, you must understand I know a great deal of this work myself.”
Otto said he so understood.
“Well, I don’t want you to lie to me, and I don’t want you to lie about anybody else to benefit yourself. All you tell me must be true, and if I find that you conceal anything, I will consider you a liar and have nothing more to do with you.”
“Oh, yes,” meekly and penitently replied Lehman, “I do agree with you on that point, and you will find me right. I will swear to all I say, and if I lie you can hang me in this station. But, Captain, I want something for telling the truth.”
“Well,” I replied, “I will have the State’s Attorney or his representative here, and if he tells you to speak and promises to reward you, you can depend upon his word.”
In the presence of Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann, Otto at once unburdened his mind and related his knowledge of Anarchy in Chicago. He also testified to a fact, made apparent in my interviews with other prisoners, that he, like others, had been carried away by “the d——d Anarchist literature,” as he expressed it, and that he now fully realized the utter folly of his past course. He had been told, he said, just as others had been told, by those who had lived in America for a long time, that this was a free country, and there was no law to stop them. “You can see for yourself,” they used to say to him, “they are all afraid of us. Nobody interferes with us. We have everything all our own way.”
“That sort of talk,” said Lehman, “made me as bad as the rest of them.”
He had fully believed, as his friends had informed him, that it was legal to talk dynamite, and that they could form plans for murder with impunity and without molestation. Mr. Furthmann read and explained the law to him, when he said:
“I am glad now that I have been arrested.”
And he demonstrated the sincerity of his statement by furnishing strong evidence against all the Anarchist leaders that he knew. He was kept in confinement until after the trial and then released by order of the State’s Attorney. He was forty years of age, a carpenter by occupation, and ever since his release he has attended to work and means to live until a good age to make amends for his past life.
The statement he gave me was as follows:
“I belong to the armed section of the International Carpenters’ group. Whenever we had a meeting, the armed section remained five minutes later. To my group belonged myself, my brother, William Hageman, who lives on Rees Street, over Lehman’s grocery store, also Hageman’s brother, who was boarding at the same place, Ernst Niendorf, on Groger Street, Waller, William Seliger, John Thielen and Louis Lingg, all of the North Side group; also Abraham Hermann, Lorenz Hermann, Ernst Hubner, Charley Bock and his brother, William Lange, Michael Schwab, Balthasar Rau, Rudolph Schnaubelt, Fischer and Huber. I attended a meeting, May 3, at 71 West Lake Street, at nine o’clock. I heard Louis Lingg speak there, also Schwab. I saw the circular there which called for revenge and to arms. Waller, or Zoller, opened the meeting as chairman. Lingg said at the meeting that they must arm themselves and attend the meeting at the Haymarket to get revenge for those workingmen who were killed at McCormick’s factory that day by the police. I also heard Schwab urge them to arm themselves and seek revenge on the police. I heard one man call out that all armed men present should go to Greif’s Hall, 54 West Lake Street, that a meeting would be held there in the basement. I went there, as also did my brother Gustav, the two Hagemans, Louis Lingg, Schnaubelt, Breitenfeld, John Thielen and Hubner. The meeting occurred at 54 West Lake Street. I was there during the whole session. My brother was on the outside watching. I heard the speaker say that there would be a meeting at the Haymarket and that they expected a big crowd there, which would give them a chance to use their arms. He also said that the police would no doubt come there to disperse them. If they refused to go, the police would shoot, and they would have a good chance to shoot at them. The speakers at that meeting would be Spies, Fielden and Parsons. The North Side armed group would meet at Neff’s Hall, 58 Clybourn Avenue, on Tuesday night, and they were to be ready with their arms and wait for orders. The Northwest Side group would also be ready and wait for orders. As soon as there was trouble at the Haymarket, they would be at Wicker Park ready for action. I heard the word ‘Ruhe’ spoken of at that meeting in the basement. If that word appeared in the paper—the Arbeiter-Zeitung—the next day, it would mean a revolution, and the attack on the police would be made that night. ‘Y, komme,’ was a sign published in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, meaning that there would be a meeting of the armed men. When I saw that revenge circular at No. 71 West Lake Street, it excited me very much and brought me to the meeting at 54 West Lake Street. I saw Adolph Fischer at that meeting. He made an address to us calling us to arms and urged that we should take revenge on the capitalists and the officers who had killed our brother workingmen on that day at McCormick’s. This man Fischer, whose picture has just been shown me by the Captain, is the person who said he would see that circulars were printed for the Haymarket meeting next day. The word ‘Ruhe’ was our signal word, adopted by the meeting that night at 54 West Lake Street, to attack the police. I heard some one say at the meeting that we should also attack the police station-houses and the police who might be within. They should make dynamite bombs and have them ready to throw into the stations. Lingg said: ‘I will have the dynamite and bombs ready to be used when called for.’ I did not hear of any one else saying or offering to furnish dynamite bombs. I was about fifteen feet away from Lingg when he made the remark. Then I left the meeting and the hall. The unanimous understanding among us all was that all who desired bombs must go to Lingg and get them. And we did not look to any one else for them. It was further stated at the meeting that, in case we should see a patrol wagon on the night of the attack, we should destroy the wagon, the horses and the officers, so that they could not render assistance to the officers at the Haymarket. On Tuesday evening, May 4, at nine o’clock, I went to Neff’s Hall, 58 Clybourn Avenue, and there I met both Hermanns, Rau, the Hagemans, Bock, Seliger and Lingg. Lingg gave me some of those long dynamite bombs and said: ‘Here, you take this and use it.’ He then started away. I heard that night—Tuesday—at eleven o’clock, at Ernst Grau’s saloon, that there had been some shooting that night, that a bomb had been thrown and that many were killed and wounded at the Haymarket. A tall man came into Neff’s Hall that night, May 4, at eleven o’clock, and told us about the shooting, the explosion of the bomb and the killing of the people. His clothes were all covered with mud, and he appeared greatly excited. He said: ‘You are having a good time here drinking beer. See how I look. I was over to the Haymarket and lost my revolvers.’ His name is August. He is the man—about thirty years of age, five feet ten inches tall, smooth face or a slight mustache, and is a bricklayer by occupation. [This was August Groge.] The dynamite bomb I had was made with a gas-pipe. My statement I will swear to at any time I am called upon.”
The bomb he speaks of was among those found by Officer Hoffman at No. 189 Hudson Avenue.
Gustav Lehman was arrested on the same day—May 20—with his brother Otto, only a little earlier in the morning. He was working as a carpenter, on a new building at the southwest corner of Sedgwick and Starr Streets, when Officers Schuettler and Hoffman accosted him, and his home at the time was at No. 41 Fremont Street, in the basement of a small building. He had a poor, sickly wife and six children. His wife,—who subsequently died in the County Hospital, in July, 1888,—when she was notified of his arrest, said:
“Well, I am very sorry for my dear husband, but now my words are coming true. He would take the last cent out of the house and run to meetings every night. Instead of leaving the money at home to buy clothing with for the children and medicine for myself, he would spend the last cent in saloons. At times when I heard him and others talk about capitalists, about an equal division of everything, I thought it all very foolish, and I would tell my husband so. The only answer he would give me was:
“‘Oh, you old women don’t know anything. You come to our meetings, and there you will be enlightened and learn how we are going to have things before long.’
From a Photograph.
“I often told him, ‘You will have things so that you all will be locked up and beg for mercy and be glad to go to work and let other people alone.’ One day he didn’t work; he wanted to go to a meeting on the West Side. I reasoned with him and asked him to stay at home. I was afraid they would all be arrested for their foolish undertakings. Gustav got mad at me and said:
“‘Now is our time or never. Before one month is over we will have things our own way. We have already got the capitalists, the militia and the police trembling in their boots. We are prepared, and, as soon as we strike the first blow, they will run away. Those that don’t run we will kill. We don’t expect to give them quarter.’”
The poor woman had clearly foreseen the outcome, and with rare judgment and fine instinct, in spite of her lowly station in life, she had sought early and late to instill into her husband’s mind some practical ideas of life. Within the limited lines of her observation she had grasped the problem of social existence, its struggles, its sufferings and its rewards, and she intuitively knew that such changes as her husband and others of his ilk desired could never be brought about by revolution in a free country. She loved her husband tenderly, and would have made any sacrifice for him. But he, rather than forego attendance at a single meeting, preferred that wife and children should suffer want. He kept his family in constant suspense and ranted like a madman.
Lehman was a man about forty-five years of age, weighed two hundred pounds, and, although he had only the use of one eye, he was a good mechanic.
When he was brought to the station he was asked his name.
“I don’t give any name,” he answered, somewhat indignantly.
“Why not?” asked I, in a pacific tone of voice.
“Because,” was the gruff answer, “I don’t want anything to do with you.”
“Oh, you don’t. I am pleased to make your acquaintance. We don’t find such a great man as you are every day. Officer, take this man to a safe place down stairs and leave him there until we want him again.”
“Well, you don’t scare me any,” thundered the burly Lehman.
“Well, now, we don’t want to scare you,” retorted I pleasantly, “but I thought you needed rest. You won’t feel so tired when you see us again. You will find more of your friends down stairs. If you talk to any one, you will be taken away from here and sent to the Desplaines Street Station.”
At the last remark Lehman winced perceptibly. The name of the Desplaines Street Station grated harshly on his ear, and he evidently felt that I had some surprise in store for him. He could have lightly passed by any other thrusts, but this nettled him. It was made for a purpose. I knew that all Anarchists had an intense hatred for that station, and greater than their hatred of the place was their anger against Bonfield, who had charge of it. They would rather suffer torments anywhere else than be cast into a cell in that place.
But Lehman shortly recovered his equanimity, and, assuming a stolid indifference to his surroundings, remarked:
“If you think you can make me ‘squeal,’ you are badly mistaken.”
“Oh, no; we don’t want you to ‘squeal,’” said I. “We are rather afraid you will beg to be allowed to come here and sit on your knees to tell us all you know about making bombs and dynamite—all about your meetings—how often you have presided at meetings and how much dynamite you got from Lingg; and to tell us all about your brother, and where your son is hiding now, and where you placed the bombs that you carried around in your pocket on May 4; how bad a headache you had after filling the bombs with dynamite at Seliger’s house. You see, August, we simply want to call your attention to all these little things—that’s all.”
This charge proved a little too strong for the doughty Lehman. He had kept up his courage well, but the rapidity of the assault, the dark secrets hinted at and the insinuations made had taxed his powers of resistance almost beyond endurance. His facial muscles twitched, and for a moment he wrestled with himself. He asked for a glass of water, and, quaffing its contents to the last drop, he rallied and straightened himself as if determined to hold out in spite of his nerves. Recovering his breath and struggling with his emotions, he said:
“If you have the power to hang me, do so. I have belonged to the cause so long that I will die before I reveal anything.”
That was sufficient. Lehman was taken down stairs and locked up. The very next morning he sent the janitor to my office with a request to see me. I told the janitor that I was very busy and could not be interrupted unless Lehman had something very important to communicate. To this Lehman replied that he had discovered that there were other men locked up down stairs, and he was satisfied that if they had a chance they would “squeal.” Would I accord him an interview? He was brought up, and, in the presence of Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann and the officers, proceeded to unfold a very remarkable tale. He began very cautiously, evidently following the instructions laid down in John Most’s book for Anarchists in trouble, but, as the questions were plied upon him, he soon discovered that he was in a very “tight box.” He finally asked if there was any prospect of his being hung. He was informed that he must tell all he knew, and all must be true; that we did not want him to try to lie himself out of his trouble or tell a falsehood against an innocent man. Probably he would be called on to testify in court, and, of course, if he was a witness for the State, he would not be hanged.
“I do trust you men,” he said, and revealed all the secrets that he knew, without reserve as to his own deeds and the experiences he had had with the other Anarchists. His statement gave the officers important points.
After the trial, Lehman declared he had no more use for Anarchy. He became a good husband and a kind father. In 1889 he married again, and, strange to say, Officer Nordrum acted as “best man” at the ceremony. The nature of Gustav’s testimony appears in the evidence he gave at the trial.
Abraham Hermann was a man of different temperament; but, after his arrest, he showed a somewhat similar disposition as to secretiveness and stubbornness. He was arrested on the evening of May 10 at eight o’clock. He lived at No. 25 Clybourn Avenue. He was about thirty-four years of age, medium build, and weighed about 185 pounds. He was of dark complexion, wore a full black beard, had sharp, piercing eyes, and from thinking much on Anarchy, had come to present a sickly appearance. He did not look at all vicious, however, and was very quiet in his manner. He was a good machinist and fully conversant with the German language. In conversation he was slow and deliberate, evidently thinking twice before speaking.
At the time Abraham was taken in charge, his brother Lorenz was also arrested. Abraham’s house had been searched a week before, and two rifles had been found and taken to the station. When the officers met the brothers, they were told to come to the station to identify their property, and when they set foot inside my office they were notified that they were under arrest. They manifested no surprise. Abraham was asked if he had anything to say. He wanted to know what about, and when informed that we wanted information about Anarchy, he slowly replied that he “did not know any Anarchists.”
“You can probably tell us something about how to drill Anarchists and how much profit you made on the rifles, or the 44-caliber Remington revolvers; or perhaps tell us how many men you had in your command on the night of the 4th of May around this station, and tell us about the trouble you had with Lingg in Neff’s Hall at eleven o’clock, May 4th, after the explosion of the bomb at the Haymarket.”
ZEPF’S HALL. From a Photograph.
I could have put a few more queries, but I stopped to watch the effect. Abraham’s eyes bulged out for a moment in surprise, but not a word did he have to say. He was at once locked up, and for nearly three days betrayed no signs of weakening. On the third day he showed a little anxiety and expressed a desire to see me. He was brought up, but, getting into a comfortable room, where the light of day made all surroundings cheerful, he became rather buoyant and seemed loth to depress the spirits of others by unfolding harrowing tales of Anarchistic plots. I tried to engage him in conversation, but the answers came in monosyllables and with a sort ofguttural emphasis. The situation was becoming very tiresome. I thought Abraham had suddenly been seized with the lockjaw, but determined to fathom the man’s mind. I urged him not to be guided by Most’s book,—we understood that,—but to speak out if he had any information to give. If he had nothing to impart, to say so. He promptly saw that the situation was growing critical, and that, if he still refrained from speaking, possibly his last chance for saving himself might be gone. He relaxed the muscles of his face, opened his lips and prepared to talk. It was a great effort, but he evidently realized that something must be done.
“Well,” he finally drawled out, “I don’t know what to tell you. It seems to me you people know about everything and have things down as correctly as I can give them to you. And you know all about me, too. I say this for myself: I don’t know anything about the laws of the country. I have been told by people that ought to know better, that for what we were doing there was no law. I now see my mistake.”
Hermann then gave information on himself and others, and stated that he had never liked Lingg. Lingg, he remarked, was the most rabid Anarchist he had ever seen, and he almost believed that the man had a dynamite bomb in his head. He himself had never had anything to say in favor of the use of dynamite. He was a military man, and believed in the use of rifles. He had held that all the Anarchists should be well drilled and that no man should carry arms unless he knew how to use them. He was opposed to throwing stones or fighting in the streets. He believed in swords and good riflemen, and he was one of that class. His idea was never to undertake anything until fully prepared, and when they were prepared to let their work show the result.
During the interview he was very cautious in his statements, but he did not spare the leaders. At the same time he would not implicate any one of no special consequence in the order. His statement, however, was as sweeping as it was surprising. He was implicitly believed by the officers, as candor and earnestness were manifest in his disclosures.
Hermann was indicted by the grand jury, but after he had been in custody for awhile he was released by order of the State’s Attorney. At the beginning of the trial he was brought in again and confined until its termination. He was then given his liberty. He has since become an industrious man, and has only had two or three relapses by attending some of the open, public meetings. He now declares, however, that he is through with Anarchy.
What he had to say to Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann, myself and the officers was this:
“I have belonged to the North Side armed group since 1883. The members of the group are as follows: Schwab, Rau, Huber, Neebe, the two Lehmans, Thielen, Lingg, Hubner, Seliger, Lange, Schnaubelt, Lorenz Hermann, Abraham Hermann, the two Hagemans, Heyman, Niendorf and Charley Bock. We were about forty men strong on the North Side. I do not know anything about the word ‘Ruhe.’ On Monday, May 3, at 9 P.M., I attended a meeting of the metal-workers at Seamen’s Hall, on Randolph, near Jefferson Street. I saw August Spies. He was passing and handing out some of the circulars that called for revenge upon the law and the police. Spies was at the meeting when I got there, and he had a handful of those circulars. I saw Spies busying himself around the meeting talking to the people. The secretary of this meeting was a man named Hahneman. Lange was president. I belong to the North Side branch of the same union. But this was a general meeting. I only knew a few of the members present. The president of the meeting works for a firm on Wabash Avenue—a brass-finisher named Andrew or Andre. When I left this meeting at ten o’clock I went to 54 West Lake Street. As I came into the saloon some one said that there was a meeting down stairs. I went down. Waller was president of that meeting. I also saw Fischer there. I know Schnaubelt. He was there. When the question came up about printing the circulars for the Haymarket meeting, Fischer said that he would see to it. Some one suggested that letters should be sent to the armed people or members in surrounding cities near Chicago, asking them to attend to the police and militia there, so that they could not come to the assistance of the officers or police of this city. On my opposition the proposition was dropped. I saw Hubner and Lingg at that meeting. As I came in some one said, ‘Lingg is going to attend to that.’ I understood it to mean furnishing the dynamite bombs. I saw the meeting was intended for mischief, and I left the place. At a meeting May 4, at 8:30 P.M., in the hall in the rear of Neff’s saloon, 58 Clybourn Avenue, I heard that the plan of operation decided upon was the same as given to the armed men at 54 West Lake Street. So far as I remember the plan, it was something like this: Some of the armed men were to go to the police stations, and, if the police were called out, to throw dynamite bombs among them, set the houses on fire and keep the police on the North Side. As far as I know, the Northwest Side group had a similar plan. Lingg was not there at this time. All members present were anxious to see him come, waiting for bombs. I was in the hall about an hour. I went back again the same evening—May 4—about eleven o’clock. The first I heard of any trouble was about 10:30. A man whose name is Anton Hirschberger came into the saloon and told us that there had been a riot at the Haymarket. At the same time a tall man came in and said he had been at the riot, that a lot of bullets flew around them, a bomb had exploded, and that either some one had stolen his revolver or he had lost it. Then Neff said he was going to close up his place, the hour being eleven o’clock. On Wednesday, May 5, I met Lingg and Seliger at that place. I was surprised at meeting Lingg there, because I thought then that he ought to have been locked up. Lingg spoke to me and said, ‘You are nice cowards.’ I replied that he had better keep his mouth shut, as he was the cause of the whole affair. Hubner and I were there to attend a meeting of our people to be held on the quiet in Lincoln Park. We were to meet at the park because we expected it would not be safe to hold it anywhere else. What led me to think that Lingg ought to have been locked up was because he was always advocating the use of dynamite and bombs. That a bomb had been thrown was a fact, and I thought Lingg ought to have been arrested for it.”
On May 31, Hermann made another statement, as follows:
“I know August Spies. He is the editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung of this city. I knew him to write several articles on revolution. I was elected as an agent at a general meeting to procure and sell arms. This was in October last—1885. Balthasar Rau was chairman of that meeting. We had several men as a committee. They were called the Bureau of Information. It was composed of Parsons, from the English section; Charles Bock, German, also assistant secretary to Rau; Hirschberger, French, and Mikolanda, Bohemian. Every Anarchist looked to that bureau for information. I used to get my guns from New York, from a man named Seeger. He lives on Third Avenue.
No. 703 Milwaukee Avenue. From a Photograph.
He was the middleman between me and the factory where the arms were made. I got twenty-five revolvers last February. They were shipped direct to me at No. 25 Clybourn Avenue. I sold them all at cost price to members. That was $6.50. The last two revolvers I sold May 3, 1886—one to a man named Asher, and the other to August, a bricklayer. Before that I sold one revolver to Schnaubelt, one to Lingg and one to Seliger. It was Schnaubelt who proposed at the meeting held at 54 West Lake Street, May 3, to notify outside cities, but I told him it was all nonsense. About two weeks before this meeting I met Breitenfeld in a saloon, and said that I had often heard this letter ‘Y,’ and I was bound to find out its meaning when it appeared in the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Breitenfeld said that it meant a meeting of the armed men, and told me to wait and he would get me into the meeting. I waited for a long time—about an hour. Then he came out, and I was admitted with him. I was in the meeting with him for an hour, and then it adjourned. I have known Lingg for six months. At the meeting at 54 West Lake Street on the evening of May 3, it was supposed then that the police would interfere at the Haymarket, and then there would be a chance for a riot. Four members of the North Side group were detailed at that meeting as spies. If the riot should be a failure and we should get beaten by the police, our gathering-places after that would be at Center Park, Humboldt Park, St.Michael’s Church, Lincoln Park and Wicker Park. The signal of attack after the riot had commenced was to be an illumination of the heavens by red fires. Some one asked for dynamite, and he was answered that Lingg would furnish the stuff. The different spies detailed at that meeting were to hold a meeting the next day, each division for itself, and afterwards in a body at Zepf’s Hall, to perfect all arrangements for the riot. I accused Lingg of making dynamite bombs, and told him that if any trouble grew out of it, it would be on his account. He called me a coward. I knew that Lingg was in trouble in Philadelphia shortly before he left there.”
Lorenz Hermann was twenty-six years of age, of slim build, with a very sallow face, and apparently a consumptive. His occupation was that of a brass-molder, and he was a good workman. On his arrival at the station he expressed great surprise at the impudence of the officers in compelling him to come against his will. He was asked his name, and he gave it. When requested to spell it, he said he did not know how; all he knew was that it was Lorenz Hermann. Being questioned with reference to Anarchy, he replied that he did not know anything about it, and when accused of having taken part in the revolutionary plot, he said he had not taken as great a part in it as his brother had. He soon discovered that the police had a great deal of information about his brother, and then he changed his tactics by trying to smooth things over for Abraham.
“My brother,” he said, “is married and has a family. I am single. I want to see my brother out of this trouble; no matter about me.”
“Well, then,” I interposed, “why not tell us something?”
“Me?” asked Lorenz. “I don’t know anything to tell.”
He had evidently changed his mind on the spur of the moment, and he grew exceedingly reticent.
“Well,” said I, “I will tell you something then. I will call your attention to May 4, between the hours of 8:30 and 10:30 P.M. You were around this station with about nineteen other men, and among them was your brother. You were to throw bombs into the patrol wagon in case the police were called out to go to the West Side to assist the police at the Haymarket, but you remained a little too long in a saloon on Clark Street. When you came out and reached the corner of Superior Street and La Salle Avenue, you saw three patrol wagons loaded with police going south on LaSalle Avenue, but you were not near enough to throw a bomb. This made you very angry. Then some of you went to Moody’s church and remained there for some time. When you finally saw so many policemen coming to the station you all got scared and went to the hall at 58 Clybourn Avenue. Oh, by the way, which route did you take on leaving the station? Did you go to the Haymarket or to Neff’s Hall?”
“I was at the Haymarket,” replied Lorenz.
“Is it not true—all that I told you about the station?”
“Yes, that is true,” responded Lorenz. “Some one told me about it.”
“Who told you?”
“I don’t know.”
“You lie,” said I. “You must tell us who; that is the man we are after.”
Seeing that he was gradually being cornered by his evasive replies, he put on a bold front to the whole matter and answered:
“Well, I was there myself. I did not stay very long, and from there I went to the Haymarket. I think Hageman and I went together.”
Further questioning only brought out sullen responses, with very meager information, but, after being allowed to think the matter over, he finally concluded to make a clean breast of it. He was kept busy with explanations for some time, and he gave me some very pointed information. He was indicted by the grand jury and afterwards released by order of the State’s Attorney. Lorenz has never been heard of since, but it is supposed he is now leading a quiet life and proving himself a better man.
His statement, among other things corroborative of what others had divulged, contains the following:
“At a meeting held at 58 Clybourn Avenue, I heard Engel say that if they wanted to make bombs they could find plenty of gas-pipe on the West Side, in the city yards, near the Chicago Avenue bridge, and then if they wanted to learn how to make them they could come to him. All that was necessary was to cut the pipes up into lengths of six or eight inches, fill them with dynamite and put a wooden plug at each end. He had with him at the time his daughter, who was about fifteen or sixteen years of age. I saw Hirschberger, Hageman and Charles Bock at eleven o’clock on the evening of Tuesday, May 4, in Neff’s place, at 58 Clybourn Avenue. Hirschberger told those present about the riot on the West Side. I was at the Haymarket meeting in the company of Hageman, the carpenter. Two men stood close together near me, and they looked suspicious. I was there at the time the police came up. I got frightened and ran away. I ran without stopping till I reached Neff’s place, on the North Side. I found my brother there, and I told him about the throwing of the bomb, its explosion and what happened. I did not want to get mixed up in the affair, and that is the reason I declined to speak at first. I belonged to the armed men of the North Side. The revolvers and guns my brother sold he got from a factory in New York. He sold about twelve guns to the Socialists. He sold a box full of revolvers, about twenty in a box, for $6.90 a piece. For seven months my brother acted as agent, under appointment, to procure and sell guns and revolvers.”