The Core of the Conspiracy—Search of the Arbeiter-ZeitungOffice—The Captured Manuscript—Jealousies in the Police Department—The Case Threatened with Failure—Stupidity at the Central Office—Fischer Brought In—Rotten Detective Work—The Arrest of Spies—His Egregious Vanity—An Anarchist “Ladies’ Man”—Wine Suppers with the Actresses—Nina Van Zandt’s Antecedents—Her Romantic Connection with the Case—Fashionable Toilets—Did Spies Really Love Her?—His Curious Conduct—The Proxy Marriage—The End of the Romance—The Other Conspirators—Mrs. Parsons’ Origin—The Bomb-Thrower in Custody—The Assassin Kicked Out of the Chief’s Office—Schnaubelt and the Detectives—Suspicious Conduct at Headquarters—Schnaubelt Ordered to Keep Away From the City Hall—An Amazing Incident—A Friendly Tip to a Murderer—My Impressions of the Schnaubelt Episode—Balthasar Rau and Mr. Furthmann—Phantom Shackles in a Pullman—Experiments with Dynamite—An Explosive Dangerous to Friend and Foe—Testing the Bombs—Fielden and the Chief.
IT was not difficult to locate the moral responsibility for the bold and bloody attack on law and authority. The seditious utterances of such men as Spies, Parsons, Fielden, Schwab and other leaders at public gatherings for weeks and months preceding the eight-hour strike, and the defiant declarations of such papers as the Arbeiter-Zeitung and the Alarm, clearly pointed to the sources from which came the inspiration for the crowning crime of Anarchy. It was likewise a strongly settled conviction that the thrower of the bomb was not simply a Guiteau-like crank, but that there must have been a deliberate, organized conspiracy, of which he was a duly constituted agent. In the work, therefore, of getting at the inside facts, the points sought were: What was the exact nature of that conspiracy, and who constituted the chief conspirators? The possession of every detail in connection with these two points was absolutely necessary in order to fix the criminal responsibility, and to the solution of this problem the officers bent all their energies.
The detectives were well aware that the office of the Arbeiter-Zeitung had been the headquarters for the central, controlling body of the Anarchist organizations in Chicago, and on the morning following the explosion Inspector Bonfield determined to raid the establishment and bring in such of the leaders as might be found there. Several detectives were assigned to this duty, and they soon returned, having under arrest August Spies, his brother Chris, Michael Schwab and Adolph Fischer. These were locked up at the Central Station. Shortly thereafter fifteen or sixteen compositors of the paper were arrested and brought to the same place. They were a meek-looking set, and were visibly moved with fear.
Immediately after 12 o’clock, State’s Attorney Grinnell, Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann, Lieut. Joseph Kipley, Lieut. John D. Shea, Detectives James Bonfield, Slayton, Baer, Palmer, Thehorn and several other officers repaired to the Arbeiter-Zeitung building and made a most thorough search of every room in the premises. A lot of manuscript was found on hooks attached to the printers’ cases, and this was carefully wrapped up and taken away. The files of the Arbeiter-Zeitungand Alarm were also piled into a wagon and carted to the Central Station.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
Subsequent investigation by Mr. Furthmann of all the scraps of paper brought over by the police revealed Spies’ manuscript with the signal word “Ruhe,” the manuscript of the “Revenge Circular,” issued on the afternoon of May 4, the manuscript for the “Y, come Monday night” notice, Spies’ copy of the article headed “Blood,” published in the Arbeiter-Zeitung of May 4, and a number of other documents damaging in their character. This discovery was regarded as highly important, and in the trial it proved extremely serviceable to the State. It likewise served, as will be shown, in furnishing a point by which, when I came to take up the case I was enabled to finally lay bare the whole conspiracy from its inception to its conclusion.
With the clues obtained from the Arbeiter-Zeitung office, the officers were enabled to put some pointed questions to the prisoners, but they failed to properly utilize even the meager information they had managed to extract. At this time the Police Department, from the Chief to the detective branch, was rent with rivalries, dissensions and jealousies, and it did not require much frowning or many innuendoes from the one to destroy in the other any special interest in pursuing a clue to its legitimate results. At the start all the officers were on a keen scent, and while outwardly all seemed working like Trojans in order to meet public expectations, which was keyed up to its highest pitch, not alone in Chicago but throughout the country, still the fear that one might get the credit for the work done by another operated to destroy discipline and deaden personal enthusiasm. Outside events alone prevented a complete failure in the prosecution.
The arrested Anarchists, however, knew nothing of these dissensions. All they knew was that public indignation was strong against them, and they realized that they were in a very embarrassing situation.
THE FISCHER FAMILY. From a Photograph.
Fischer seemed to feel his position at the station more keenly than the others. On his arrest he was found to have in his possession a 44-caliber revolver, a file sharpened so as to make it serviceable as a dagger, and a detonation cap, and, as he was the foreman of the compositors in the office, his trepidation may have been caused by a suspicion that possibly the officers took him to be the leader of an armed gang among them. Before the raid on the office it appears that he had endeavored to hide these weapons, but he had been unable to unload himself, as the others in the office would not consent to concealment in their vicinity, lest discovery in the event of an investigation might criminate them in the conspiracy. Fischer was on his way down stairs to find a hiding-place for his weapons at the very moment when he was overtaken by the police and relieved of all further trouble. The dagger was a peculiar instrument, and it was the general opinion of those who examined it that it had been dipped in some deadly poison from which, through a slight scratch or through a deep plunge of the weapon, death would be speedy.
Fischer always seemed thoroughly unscrupulous as to the means to be used to bring about the death of capitalists, and he never tired of uttering dire threats against the foes of Socialism. He was a tall, lithe and muscular-looking man, and, with a resolute purpose, he impressed his comrades as one who would not easily be balked. It is difficult to determine just how Fischer came to imbibe his bloodthirsty principles, as little is known of his antecedents. At the time of his arrest he was twenty-seven years old and married. He had been in the United States thirteen or fourteen years. He had learned the printer’s trade in Nashville, Tenn., working for a brother who conducted there a German paper. Subsequently he acquired an interest in a German publication at Little Rock, Ark., and in 1881 he moved to St. Louis, where he worked at the case and where he became known for his extreme ideas on Socialism. He soon found his way to Chicago, where he felt satisfied he would find more congenial spirits in the work upon which he had set his heart. Here he became associated with Engel and Fehling in the publication of a German paper, the Anarchist, but as this did not live long, he became a compositor on the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Wherever he was, he always talked Anarchy and showed a most implacable hatred of existing society.
When brought to the station, Fischer weakened perceptibly, but afterwards braced up and yielded no information except as to his whereabouts for several days prior to the Haymarket meeting. He had no love for the police, and he did everything in his power to trip us up in our subsequent investigations. From the moment of his arrest to the day of his execution he adopted a most secretive policy.
AND POISONED DAGGERS.
From a Photograph.
Spies also weakened at first when brought into the station, almost trembling with fear, but, after the first flush of excitement had passed, he took on an air of bravado, and exhibited a bold front in spite of the documentary disclosures against him. He became glib of tongue, but stoutly denied any knowledge of a conspiracy to precipitate a riot at the Haymarket. He was savagely denounced by Superintendent Ebersold, but he stood his ground and resolved to act the part of the innocent victim. His active participation in all large demonstrations, notably those at the McCormick factory and the Haymarket, made him a splendid mark for critical examination, but every effort to extract definite information proved futile.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
Spies was a young man of considerable ability, having enjoyed more than a common school education in Germany, and in all his talks he demonstrated that he had been a diligent reader of history and an enthusiastic student of Socialism and Anarchy. With all his reading, however, it was apparent that he had not carefully digested his information. He always acted as if self-conscious of great knowledge. He was a strong and effective speaker, but in all his harangues there seemed to be lacking the element of sincerity. For a long time some of his associates doubted if he really meant what he said, and there are Anarchists to-day who do not believe that he was at any time really in earnest in his public utterances. They think that he exerted himself simply for the purpose of being looked upon as a popular leader and hero, and that he worked for the cause only as a means of obtaining an easy living. He was exceedingly vain and pompous, and courted public notoriety.
Spies had received a very good salary as editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung and enjoyed nothing better than to write a fiery editorial or deliver an incendiary speech. It all served to rivet attention on himself. The more attention, the more it pleased his vanity. His constant desire was to place himself on dress parade, so to speak, and he generally sought out, when he lunched down town at noon, some fashionable or crowded restaurant. He would strut to a table which could only be reached by passing other crowded tables, and enjoy the sotto voce remarks as he passed or as he sat at the table he had selected—“There is Spies, the noted Anarchist.” No common Anarchist, lager-beer-and-pretzel lunch-houses suited him.
It was at a large restaurant, on the 3d of May, at noon, that he met a well-known attorney, to whom he was introduced and with whom he had some conversation of a joking, bantering nature. The attorney testified before the grand jury subsequently as to this conversation, and the substance of it will be found in the chapter devoted to a review of its proceedings. But it transpires that there was some further conversation that does not appear in the report of the grand jury investigation, but which has since been brought out through the recollection of another party, and, which, while it was given in an off-hand way, fully showed that Spies desired to make a great impression on the mind of his casual acquaintance as well as to intimate the existence of some secret understanding for bringing on bloodshed. On that occasion Spies, after being assured that the attorney was not an Anarchist, remarked:
“You had better be one, for in less than twenty-four hours a Socialist, well armed, with a market on his shoulder, will appear out of every door, and whoever has not got the sign or pass-word will be shot down in his tracks. I am about going out now to McCormick’s factory, west of here, for the purpose of addressing a multitude of workingmen, and I will raise h——l before I get through.”
Besides his fancy for popular restaurants, there was another peculiarity about Spies. He frequently attended the German theaters, ostensibly for the recreation he might find in the plays, but the principal motive was the cultivation of the actresses’ acquaintance. Introductions, which he sought eagerly, were followed by invitations to wine suppers. He was good company, and his lady acquaintances were not averse to accepting his invitations even though he was an Anarchist. Possibly they doubted the sincerity of his convictions—although they entertained no question about the reality of his cash. None of them, however, seem to have visited him during his incarceration, save one, a tall woman who now lives on Wells Street near Chicago Avenue.
During his troubles Spies made the acquaintance of a woman in another station of life. It was during his trial that Miss Nina Van Zandt became interested in him and espoused his cause. She had read of his case, and there seemed to be a charm about his conduct as described in the newspapers that prompted her to seek his acquaintance. She was a young girl of rare beauty and considerable mental endowment, and she had moved in the best society, but, notwithstanding her social position and culture, she sought an introduction and soon fell desperately in love with the Anarchist. She was an only child and the petted daughter of parents of high social connections, and her immediate relatives were wealthy people in Pittsburg. Her parents threw no obstacles in the way of her attachment, and she espoused Spies’ cause with her whole impetuous nature, and cast her lot with the conspirator and his rabble of low-browed followers. It may have been love, but it was love which could only have been the product of a disordered mind.
During the later stages of Spies’ trial she was a constant visitor at the County Jail, frequently accompanied by her mother and sometimes by her father, and on each occasion she would bring him some delicacy or token of her esteem. Rare flowers and bouquets she either brought or sent daily, and the affection she evinced seemed a growth of months instead of days. She had great confidence in the jury and implicitly believed that acquittal would result at their hands. Her presence invariably graced the court-room, whenever possible, and the defendants themselves could not have been more eager listeners to the proceedings. When her love for Spies became publicly known, she attracted great attention, but her demeanor would have led one to believe that she was entirely unconscious of the notoriety she had achieved. This was not the case. It rather pleased her, and, to still further intensify public attention and curiosity, she made it a point to display a most varied wardrobe during the progress of the trial. At the forenoon session she would appear in court with one fashionable outfit, and this she would change for an equally stunning attire in the afternoon. She had a striking figure, was stately in appearance, dignified in manner, and with a fine, handsome face, it was no wonder that she became an object of marked attention, in the Court-house as well as upon the streets.
MISS NINA VAN ZANDT.
From a Photograph.
But withal she never lost sight of her lover nor of the court proceedings. Spies was in her mind constantly, and every movement in the trial excited her closest attention. It was indeed a strange infatuation she displayed for the Anarchist, and it was the more strange since Spies seemed indifferent to her attentions. The public gradually began to learn of this state of affairs through rumors and newspaper reports, but the general opinion was that, if such was the case, Spies had accepted her attentions simply as a matter either of expediency or from an innate desire for notoriety on his part. The public was right. Spies was playing for points, as billiardists would say. To be sure, he received her kindly and very courteously, and indulged in the expressions which lovers are wont to exchange, but those who watched him closely and long could never discover that his love came from the heart. He simply saw in her devotion and in her standing in society a possible chance for favorably influencing the minds of the jury, and thus, through her, he hoped to secure a release from the troubles surrounding him. When this failed and death stared him in the face, he still figured that she could prove serviceable to him in influencing her wealthy relatives to aid him financially in further conducting his case, or help him in some manner in effecting a change in public sentiment. Such were undoubtedly his motives—at least close observers of his actions hold that theory. When, later on, things did not move exactly in the line he had hoped for, he willingly assented to a marriage, and entered into the arrangements for its celebration with apparent eagerness.
This course, Spies no doubt supposed, would demonstrate to the unfeeling world that there existed a devout mutual attachment, and his claims for interested consideration at the hands of her relatives would become greatly strengthened. But it only proved his desperate situation. His love had been questioned by the public, and marriage was calculated to settle the doubt. The public did not take kindly to the proposed ceremony. The moment the newspapers had announced such a contemplated step, the utmost indignation was aroused, and protest upon protest poured in upon Sheriff Matson. Mr. Matson promptly declared that no marriage should take place between the two while Spies was in his custody, and thereafter Miss Van Zandt was placed under the strictest surveillance whenever she visited her affianced.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
But all this unexpected interference in what he regarded as his own business only tended to make Spies desperate, and, spurred on by his outside Anarchist friends, who had likewise become indignant over a public intermeddling in a love affair, he dropped his diplomacy and resolved that the wishes of his ardent lady love should not be baffled either by officials or by the public. Miss Nina in her unreasoning infatuation readily acquiesced in the suggestion of a proxy marriage, and Justice Engelhardt was consulted. This gentleman claimed that under the statutes such a marriage would be valid, and he consented to a performance of the ceremony. Accordingly, on the 29th of January, 1887, a proxy marriage was performed between Miss Nina and Chris Spies, a brother of the doomed man. The attorneys of Chicago regarded the ceremony as illegal, but the Anarchists considered it as binding as if directly contracted.
Miss Nina continued her visits to the jail after this mock proceeding, but lynx-eyed officials saw to it that there was no one present during her interviews with Spies to secretly and legally splice them together. She was devoted to him at all times and all the time, and whenever she was not well enough to visit him for some days or was kept away by other circumstances, she would write him tender missives of love and encouragement. She clung to him to the last, and in their final interview, two days preceding his execution, she wept most bitterly.
MISS GRETCHEN SPIES.
From a Photograph.
Her love was remarkable, but throughout it all Spies proved himself wholly unworthy. He was a reprobate cunningly playing upon her feelings, caring very little for her, and he must have known that her station in life at that time made her an unsuitable companion. For him, however, she renounced friends and all. After his death she went into deep mourning, hung a cabinet photograph of him in the parlor window of her father’s fashionable residence on Huron Street, and locked herself in against the outer world for a number of days. She still cherishes Spies’ memory and keeps in her parlor a marble bust of the executed Anarchist. Recently she has been extending her acquaintanceship among Anarchists outside of Chicago, and she has lately visited some of the most rabid and demonstrative Socialists at Ottawa, Illinois.
Spies was born in Friedewald, in the province of Hesse, Germany, in 1855. He came to America in 1872, and one year later arrived in Chicago, where he engaged in various occupations until he relieved Paul Grottkau as editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung in 1876. His identification with Socialism began in Chicago in 1875. He was unmarried and supported his mother and a sister, Miss Gretchen Spies. He has two brothers in Chicago, Chris and Henry.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
Michael Schwab, when confronted by the officers, looked like an exclamation point, and had his long, bushy hairs been porcupine quills, each would have stood straight on end. He was bewildered, dumbfounded, and there was a distant, far-off expression in his eye. He realized that he was in trouble, and to the many questions put to him by the officers he stammered apologetic but non-committal answers. It was clearly to be seen that he had been like clay in the potter’s hand, a mere dupe of his associates. He was far less talented and less active than the other leaders, but still in his own way he had played quite a conspicuous part in the Anarchist drama. He had seen something of the world as a peripatetic book-binder. Through his varied experience, his nature had grown irritable and crusty, and Anarchy seemed the only thing suited to right the wrongs of mankind. He fell in with the ideas of the cranks in Chicago, and soon wormed himself into an assistant editorial position of $18 a week on the Arbeiter-Zeitung. In appearance Schwab was ungainly and ferocious, but when put to the test he was calm and mild as a lamb. The only thing really vicious about him was in his incendiary writings and speeches. He aimed with his limited capacity to be a great leader, but the moment he got into the clutches of the law and found himself in peril of his life he retracted everything which he had so persistently and stubbornly advocated. His new troubles brought out the fact that he had written and spoken simply for the money that was in the business, and not because he sincerely believed in the theories he preached. He was at all times a supple tool in the hands of Spies and Parsons, and during the remainder of his days in the penitentiary he will have ample opportunities to repent of his past misdeeds.
Schwab was born in the village of Kibringen-on-the-Main, near Mannheim, in Bavaria, in 1853, and emigrated to the United States in 1879, reaching Chicago in the year following. He afterwards traveled from point to point in the West, roughed it a little, and three or four years later drifted back to Chicago. He is a brother of the notorious Anarchist of New York, Justus Schwab, and has a wife and two children, who are now being supported by friends.
Albert R. Parsons was another leader wanted by the police, and the search for him was immediately instituted. Officers went to his house only to discover that he had escaped, and for some time it was believed that he was in hiding among his friends in the city. Every effort, however, to find him failed, and there were all sorts of speculations as to his whereabouts.It was found out afterwards that he had become alarmed over the aspect of affairs resulting from the Haymarket meeting, and, thinking “discretion the better part of valor,” he had gathered a few dollars together, boarded an outgoing train, and landed at Geneva, Ill., thoroughly disguised. He sought out the home of a friend named Holmes, who cherished Anarchist sentiments, and remained with him three or four days in concealment. With a dilapidated outfit, he concluded to shift his abiding-place, and accordingly he went to Elgin, Ill., where he was taken care of. From this point, in the course of a few days, he went to Waukesha, Wis., and there hunted around for work as a tramp carpenter. Waukesha is a great resort for Chicago people, but no one recognized him in his changed appearance. He succeeded in finding employment, and for some time worked as a carpenter, unknown and undetected. The labor proving too arduous for his undeveloped muscles and contrary to his principles as an Anarchist, he began to look out for easier work, and this he managed to secure as a painter. For seven weeks he remained at Waukesha, communicating with his wife under an assumed name and through a third party living out of Chicago.
ALBERT R. PARSONS.
From a Photograph.
When the trial opened, the counsel for the Anarchists were confident that the State had not sufficient evidence to convict, and upon assurances from Capt. Black that an acquittal was certain, Parsons decided to surrender himself to the authorities. He boarded a train, reached the city, and, securing a hack, drove to his home, on Milwaukee Avenue, where he met his wife. After remaining there for three or four hours, he got into a hack, in company with Mrs. Parsons, and drove down to the Criminal Court building. It was on the 21st of June, after Judge Gary had overruled a motion for separate trials, that Parsons reached the building. He alighted, tripped up the stairs, and entered the court-room. If a bomb had exploded on the outside, it would scarcely have created a greater surprise than the appearance of Parsons as he stalked in and took his seat with the prisoners.
Parsons was born in Montgomery, Ala., June 20, 1848, and after he had reached the age of five, his brother, Gen. W. H. Parsons, of the Confederate army, took his education in charge at the latter’s home in Tyler, Texas. When young Parsons was eleven years of age, he learned the printer’s trade, and finally drifted into the service of the Confederate army. After the “unpleasantness,” he branched out as editor of a paper at Waco, Texas, and then connected himself with the Houston Telegraph. He identified himself about this time with the Republican party, and, taking an active part in politics, he became Secretary of the State Senate under the Federal Government.
MRS. LUCY PARSONS.
From a Photograph.
In 1872 he married a mulatto at Houston, and, being discarded by his brother and friends, he emigrated with her to Chicago in 1873. No sooner had he reached Chicago than he joined the Socialists. He worked for a time as a newspaper compositor, but his radical ideas and obtrusive arguments prevented him from holding any position permanently. He eventually became editor of the Alarm and depended on his Anarchist friends for a livelihood. He was always active at their meetings, both secret and public, and paraded himself as a labor agitator. He managed to become a member of the Knights of Labor, but that body as a whole, after seeing how extremely radical were his theories, repudiated him.
When his troubles overtook him in connection with the trial, Parsons’ brother came to his defense and took a keen interest in his case, working for him until the very last. Mrs. Parsons had early identified herself with her husband’s views, and was one among several others to organize a women’s branch of the Anarchists. She can make an effective address, and she always took a leading part in extending the membership of her union. On the question of her birth, she maintains that she is of Mexican extraction, with no negro blood in her veins, but her swarthy complexion and distinctively negro features do not bear out her assertions. Since her husband’s execution she has appeared on the stump in various parts of the United States, and she is now even more violent than ever.
OSCAR W. NEEBE.
From a Photograph.
Oscar W. Neebe was fortunate in the failure of the prosecution to show his direct complicity in the Haymarket murder. There was no doubt as to his active participation in all the plots of the Anarchist leaders, and, had it not been for the loss of some important papers, he would now be serving a life sentence instead of a fifteen years’ term in the penitentiary. He took an active part in stirring up the members of the Brewers’ Union after the McCormick riot, and he contributed no little towards sending many of those members to the Haymarket meeting, ready for violence and desperate deeds. Immediately following the Haymarket slaughter, he was placed under arrest and taken to the Central Station at the City Hall. He was there questioned in a general way, but the near-sighted officials then in charge of that important department were unable to see any reason for his detention and permitted him to depart with his friend Schnaubelt, who had been gathered in about the same time. This led him to believe that he had friends at the Central Headquarters. His belief in his “influence” was somewhat shaken, however, when I ordered a search of his house on the 8th of May. The officers on that occasion found one Springfield rifle, one Colt’s 38-caliber revolver, one sword and belt of the Lehr und Wehr Verein, a red flag, a transparency, a lot of circulars calling different meetings, including the one calling for “revenge,” and several cards of Anarchist groups, and with all these and other evidence of his connection with the great conspiracy, I went before the grand jury and had him indicted for conspiracy to murder. On the 27th of May, about 6 o’clock, Deputy Sheriff Alexander Reed called at the Chicago Avenue Station and asked me for assistance to arrest Neebe under the indictment. I detailed Officer Whalen for this duty, and the two called at the man’s house, No. 307 Sedgwick Street. The deputy sheriff informed Neebe that he was under arrest, and the officer explained the nature of the charge against him. They told him that they would be obliged to take him to the County Jail.
Neebe smiled when notified of the charge, and remarked in a most careless manner:
“Is that all? That’s nothing. I will get out on bail right away.”
But he did not; he had to linger for a long time.
Neebe was born in the State of New York, in 1850, of German parents, and since his location in Chicago he had succeeded in establishing a prosperous business in the sale of yeast to grocers and traders. He was ambitious to distinguish himself in other directions, however, and he chose Anarchy as a basis for building up a reputation as a leader among men. He achieved considerable notoriety, as he was active, energetic and pushing, and at the time of the Board of Trade demonstration he acted as chief marshal of the procession.
Neebe was in the habit of taking members of the North Side group to Sheffield, Ind., for the purpose of practicing and experimenting with dynamite bombs. It was on one of these experimenting excursions that he lost the joints of all the fingers of his right hand by a premature explosion. When questioned about it, he told all his friends and even his own family that he had lost his fingers in assisting a friend to lift a sharp building-stone on the South Side. His family physician was asked with reference to the matter, and, after some hesitation, finally stated that Neebe had admitted that he had lost his fingers through the explosion of a bomb. In the explanation Neebe gave to his friends he overlooked the fact that if a sharp building-stone had taken off his fingers it would not have taken his thumb, because that member of the hand is never in a position to be crushed when one lifts a heavy stone.
After his trial and conviction, Neebe’s wife and little children often visited him at the jail, and Mrs. Neebe sought as well as she could to raise his drooping spirits. But she subsequently took sick, and after a short illness died. A most demonstrative funeral was arranged by the Anarchists. The hall in which the ceremonies were conducted was profusely decorated with flowers and emblems of mourning. Under most binding pledges on the part of the Anarchists, Sheriff Matson permitted Neebe, under proper official escort, to take a last look at the remains of his wife at the residence, and the scene was a most impressive one. Mrs. Neebe had been a firm believer in the doctrines advocated by her husband, but his friends claimed that the unexpected troubles of the family had precipitated sickness and brought on death. At one time it was thought that some serious disturbance might grow out of the demonstration, and that, with Neebe back at his home, an attempt at his rescue from the hands of the county officials might be made. But the police were present to see that order was maintained. The only thing bordering on disorder was the fiery speeches of the orators at the hall to which the remains were first taken, and from which an immense procession started to the place of burial.
The death of his wife was a severe blow to Neebe. Verily, the way of the transgressor is hard. He was subsequently removed to the penitentiary, and possibly by the time his sentence expires he may be able to see life in a different light than through Anarchist spectacles.
From a photograph.
Rudolph Schnaubelt is indeed a fortunate man, and, wherever he is at present, he must be felicitating himself on his escape from a felon’s death. On the morning of May 5, after all the help in the Arbeiter-Zeitung had been arrested, Schnaubelt was gathered in and taken to the Central Station. He was suspected of complicity in the conspiracy, but there seemed to be so “little against the young man,” that he was promptly released without the slightest pains being taken to inquire into his antecedents. Under the free and easy system then prevailing in the department, there seemed to be no idea that officers were employed for other purposes than simply drawing salaries. I looked carefully into the release of Schnaubelt, and the more I saw of it, the more I was convinced that the examination of this most important prisoner was the same kind of investigation as those one could have seen at some of the primaries three or four years ago, when, if a man happened to be of a certain political faith, he would be passed along with the remark, “He’s all right,” and permitted to vote. Schnaubelt was simply asked two or three questions and then allowed to go. The stupid detectives knew he was a close friend of Spies and Fielden, who were already locked up, and to prove that friendship now that they were in trouble, Schnaubelt frequently dropped in at the City Hall to inquire after them. He continued to hang around under the tolerance of the officials, and I have always believed that the only thing that saved him from being locked up was the fortunate circumstance that no one put a sign on his back reading that he was the bomb-thrower.
Officers Palmer and Cosgrove had managed to get a slight clue against this man, and they arrested him again on the 6th of May. They stated their case to Lieut. John D. Shea, and by him the arrest was reported to his superior officer. What was the result? Shea did not care to be bothered with the case. The head of the department likewise did not care to be troubled. They accordingly saved themselves all further annoyance by telling Schnaubelt to go away. The prisoner, with singular stolidity, did not seem to care particularly, and had to be told again that he was at liberty to go where he pleased. It is a wonder that the officials did not offer him a cigar in acknowledgment of their kindly feelings. When Schnaubelt was released, Officer Palmer remonstrated with the Lieutenant, but he was told to let the man alone and not bring him there any more. That ended the matter with the officer. Several other detectives had meanwhile learned of Schnaubelt’s close friendship with Spies and other Anarchists, but when they learned of the instructions Officers Palmer and Cosgrove had received they likewise dropped all investigations when they reached Schnaubelt. The man naturally felt pleased at such friendly favor and remained in the city until about the 13th of May.
It was on the 14th of May that I first received information about the part Schnaubelt had played in all the Anarchist meetings and that I learned something of his special intimacy with Fischer and Balthasar Rau.
“You get him,” said my informant, “and I will tell you something interesting that will surprise everybody.”
At this time the man was called Schnabel, and the information was that he was working in a store on the South Side. I at once sent Officers Whalen and Stift to hunt him up. While engaged in the search they met Officers Palmer and Cosgrove. Whalen explained their mission, and then Palmer asked:
“Are you not afraid to arrest him?”
Whalen wanted to know why there should be any fear in the case, and Palmer remarked:
“Well, you are running a chance of getting yourselves in trouble. We wanted to arrest Schnaubelt in the Arbeiter-Zeitungoffice, and we were not allowed to do so. We found him, Neebe, Fischer, Mrs. Parsons, Mrs. Schwab and Mrs. Holmes in the editor’s room. Shea told us not to arrest him, that he was a ‘big stiff,’ and then and there he told Schnaubelt to get away from there or he would kick him out. All the others were arrested, but he was let go. I was detailed to remain around the building. Schnaubelt came around there again afterwards, and I arrested him and took him to the Central Station. There the man was told to go and get out. On the next day he came around there again. I had in the meantime obtained a little information about him, and I arrested him and took him to the Central Station. I was again asked if I had not been told to let him alone and was curtly informed that I was altogether too officious. Schnaubelt was again released. I explained that he was a partner of Fischer, that he had the big revolver and dagger; but it was no use—he was permitted to leave.”
Officer Whalen replied: “We work for a different man, and I would like to see Schnaubelt if he is in the city.”
Officer Gosgrove remarked that he knew where the man was working, and the two officers proffered their services to pilot Whalen and Stift to the place. They went to No. 224 Washington Street, third floor, but on reaching there they learned that “the bird had flown.” He had not even drawn the wages due him, having sent his sister after the money. It subsequently transpired that Schnaubelt was the very man who had thrown the bomb at the Haymarket, but he had “taken time by the forelock” and skipped for parts unknown. Possibly he had got tired of being kicked out of the office of the Chief of Police and left Chicago in disgust, or possibly his friends at the Central Station may have given him a “tip” to save himself from serious trouble.
Some two weeks thereafter I received information as to where Schnaubelt could be found.
I told Mr. Grinnell what I had learned, and he asked me to send a few men at once and get him. I informed Mr. Grinnell that I could not detail officers outside of the city limits without the consent of the Chief. Mr. Grinnell thought I had better do so anyway. I insisted that I must see the Chief first, and Mr. Grinnell remarked:
“If you do, that will be the end of that matter.”
I went, however, to the Chief’s office, and stated my business. I was there told that they would get the man. The Chief said that he would go out to California and thus head him off. I reported back to Mr. Grinnell the result of my interview, and he remarked:
“Well, that is just what I expected—jealousy, and that is all.”
Schnaubelt thus had a good friend at the City Hall, and he cannot thank the officers there too much for having saved him the painful necessity of going down to death on the 11th of November, 1887, with the other conspirators.
Balthasar Rau was another man who did not tarry in Chicago. He had been a faithful lieutenant of Spies and had earned a living as solicitor for the Arbeiter-Zeitung. He took a keen interest in all of Spies’ plans, and on Saturday afternoon preceding the day of the riot visited the vicinity of McCormick’s factory to secure points about the strike for his friend’s information. He reported that ten thousand striking lumber-shovers had met on that day and had appointed a committee to wait upon the lumber bosses to induce them to inaugurate the eight-hour system in the various yards. Rau had seen the gathering, and, as the committee appointed by it were to report to another meeting the following Monday, he knew that it would bring together just such a throng, if not a larger one than the previous assemblage. He so posted Spies, and in turn was advised by his friend to insert in the Fackel of Sunday, May 2, the notice “Y, come Monday night,” which was the signal for the armed groups to meet that night at No. 54 West Lake Street. The bandits did meet, and matured the conspiracy which was carried out the following night at the Haymarket. On Monday Rau went with Spies to McCormick’s factory, aided in inciting the people to a riot, and then accompanied his friend to the strikers’ headquarters on Lake Street, where they informed the people that ten or twelve of their brother workmen had been brutally shot down by the “bloodhounds”—the police—that afternoon.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
In consequence of his intimacy with Spies, Rau was at once—and the only one at first—suspected of being the thrower of the fatal bomb. He seemed to realize that he was under suspicion, for he speedily left the city after the explosion. Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann learned that he had fled to Omaha and promptly repaired to that city. By instructions, James Bonfield was to secure the necessary requisition papers for Rau’s extradition from the State of Nebraska and was to follow Furthmann to Omaha. The Assistant State’s Attorney found Rau willing to talk, and asked him to write as he had been dictated, to the text of the signal, “Y, come Monday night.” Rau promptly discovered that Furthmann knew some of the inside facts in the conspiracy, and tremblingly asked what he could do to save his neck from the rope. He was informed that nothing short of “unconditional surrender” would help him out of his scrape, and that he must not keep back any information. He then unbosomed himself and told everything he knew.
While these things were taking place the leaders of the Anarchist group in Omaha were collecting money to take Rau away from Mr. Furthmann by habeas corpus proceedings. Rau had meanwhile been locked up in a cell where he could not easily be reached by his friends, and, as he did not like his surroundings, he was anxious to return to Chicago even without extradition papers. It was on a Monday before daylight that he agreed to go, and Mr. Furthmann promptly took him across the river to Council Bluffs, in the State of Iowa, to avoid litigation, as he had learned that the Omaha judge was ready and willing to assist the Anarchists of that section in effecting Rau’s release. At this time the extradition papers had not arrived. On taking up the trip to Chicago Rau became more communicative than ever and entered into details quite interestingly.
Some one in the parlor car which conveyed them to Chicago recognized Mr. Furthmann, and it was whispered around:
“There’s Furthmann with the bomb-thrower!”
A flutter of excitement speedily developed, and soon a demand was made on Furthmann that unless he handcuffed Rau the passengers would object to his sitting in the parlor car, and they certainly would not allow Rau to sleep in the same car unless shackles were placed about his limbs. A great deal of parleying ensued. Finally Mr. Furthmann consented to appease the now thoroughly frightened passengers. Only one condition was imposed by Mr. Furthmann, and that was that the handcuffs and shackles should be furnished, as he had none in his possession. The implements were immediately telegraphed for, and were on hand when Cedar Rapids was reached. But the idea of handcuffing and shackling a man who was willingly returning without extradition papers was repulsive to Mr. Furthmann.
A novel thought flashed through the Assistant State’s Attorney’s mind. He informed Rau of everything that had transpired, and told him that he did not desire to shackle him in any way. But for the purpose of quieting the passengers he would rattle the iron bracelets around in good shape if Rau would give up his coat, vest, pantaloons, shirt, drawers, stockings and shoes and hat during the night. This was done, and the passengers, hearing the rattling of the chains at intervals during the night, rested in the sweet confidence that a violent outburst on the part of a wild Anarchist had been averted.
The prisoner was safely landed in Chicago, and not a handcuff or shackle had been placed about him. He was taken to the Chicago Avenue Station, and there put through an examination by State’s Attorney Grinnell.
In the statement he made to Mr. Grinnell and myself Rau gave his age as thirty, his occupation as that of a printer, and his residence as No. 418 Larrabee Street.
“We had,” he said, “an excursion to Sheffield, Indiana, and there were present August Spies, Schwab, Neebe, Engel and Schnaubelt. Those are the only ones I can now remember. Engel and Schnaubelt were the ones to set dynamite bombs for experiments.”
“Why do you good people use dynamite bombs, and what do you intend to do with them?” asked Mr. Grinnell.
Rau hesitated, but finally replied: “The time we shot off the dynamite bombs at Sheffield, at the time of the explosion there were only a few of us present. They were the parties whose names I have given and a man who came with Engel. We exploded only two bombs, and they were made of iron and were round.”
“What is the meaning and for what purpose does that letter ‘Y’ appear in the Arbeiter-Zeitung?” asked Mr. Furthmann.
“The last time I saw it was on Sunday, May 2, 1886. The Sunday issue of the Arbeiter-Zeitung is called the Fackel. Lorenz Hermann was requested to have the letter ‘Y’ inserted in the paper, and it was printed in the issue mentioned. He brought the notice to the office. We did not charge anything for notices brought in by the members of the armed section. And that letter ‘Y’ was intended to signify that there would be a meeting at No. 54 West Lake Street, May 3, for the armed men. I was at Zepf’s Hall at a meeting held Monday, May 3. I had with me a lot of ‘Revenge’ circulars, calling people to arms. I gave the circulars to the boys who were present at the meeting. It was after nine o’clock. One meeting had been called by the carpenters for that night. August Belz is the man who told me the meaning of the word. He asked me at Greif’s Hall if I knew the meaning of the word ‘Ruhe,’ and if I knew what effect its publication would have. He then told me that they had agreed that the word ‘Ruhe’ should apply to a meeting at the Haymarket. If it appeared in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, he said, then there would be trouble. The trouble would be fighting the police, storming buildings and throwing dynamite bombs. When I saw that word in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, I was working in the office of that paper. I remarked to August Spies that that would make trouble in the city, and his answer was that Fischer did it, meaning that Fischer was responsible for it. Spies, after I had told him what trouble it would make, got excited and called Schnaubelt. Spies asked him, ‘How is this?’ referring to the word ‘Ruhe.’ Schnaubelt replied, ‘Well, they want to throw dynamite bombs.’ He also said that if the police interfered, then there would be trouble at the Haymarket. He further said that the people stationed on the outskirts of the city, east, west, south and north, should be informed as to when the riot commenced and when their time had arrived for storming the city. When Fischer was asked about this word ‘Ruhe’ he was close-mouthed. He would not say anything to us. I heard Spies say in his office, ‘If that word “Ruhe” is in the paper, there will be trouble, and I don’t want that. That will break up our organization.’ Spies said: ‘I will print hand-bills to stop the meeting at the Haymarket May 4.’ He said he would attend to that himself. I said that we had better put up signs on the corners to notify the people that there would be no meeting at the Haymarket that night. Spies said that if there was a meeting, then there would be trouble. Schnaubelt was to go to the North Side that afternoon, May 4, and tell the people that there would be no meeting at the Haymarket that night. On May 4, in the evening, some one called at the office andwanted Spies to speak at the meeting at Deering Station; but he could not be found, and consequently we sent Schwab. Afterwards I went over to the West Side meeting at the Haymarket. I saw Spies standing on a wagon, making a speech to the people present. When he saw me he called me and asked me to go and find Parsons. Spies said, ‘I want help here, and he must help me out.’ I went to look for Parsons, and I found him. Parsons and Fielden were together. I told them what Spies had said and I asked them to go and help him. They did go—I went along. We got there speedily. I asked Fischer for an explanation as to the publication in our paper of the notice calling the people to arms, but he would give me no satisfaction.”
“Why did you not give me this statement first when I asked you for this information?” asked Mr. Grinnell.
“Because I was afraid it would hurt myself, or it might convict me. That is the reason why I did not tell you at first. I saw dynamite in the Arbeiter-Zeitung building. I saw dynamite lying on a shelf in the back room from the office. I know George Engel and Fehling. They printed the Anarchist. It was a small paper. They only published six numbers.”
Edmund Deuss was also sought for with some interest. He had been city editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung under Spies. The first week after the bomb had been thrown the authorities at police headquarters were informed that Paul Grottkau and Deuss, both ex-employés of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, were then living in Milwaukee. Mr. Furthmann thought some points might be gathered from them, and accordingly went to that city. He found them both. Grottkau, who has since tasted the bitterness of prison life for his preachments of violence in the “Cream City,” expressed himself as pleased that Spies had been placed under arrest and charged with responsibility for the murder at the Haymarket.
“I knew long ago,” said Grottkau, “that August Spies would thus end his crazy and ambitious career.”
Grottkau and Spies had not been on very friendly terms since the latter had succeeded in displacing the former from the editorship of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. But, however strong his enmity, Grottkau would not give us any information regarding Spies, or dynamite practices, or anything else that would tend to put a rope around Spies’ neck or hurt any of his companions. He referred Mr. Furthmann to Deuss, who was then depending upon Grottkau for a livelihood and who received a dollar now and then for writing a firebrand article for a paper Grottkau was editing in Milwaukee.
Deuss was found in a neighboring saloon without a cent in his pocket. He stood wistfully eyeing the saloon patrons, hoping to fall in with some one willing to buy him a glass of beer or a cigar. Mr. Furthmann at once opened a conversation about the Chicago Anarchists. Deuss promised to tell everything he knew in regard to the Arbeiter-Zeitung, the dynamite brought there, the men in the building of that paper and the nefarious things practiced by them, on condition that Mr. Furthmann would first buy him a good cigar, several sandwiches and the necessary beer. The conditions were complied with, and Deuss rattled away a long story. He proved to be the first man to inform Mr. Furthmann as to when the dynamite that was afterwards found in the Arbeiter-Zeitunghad been brought there, and where it had been placed. A grease-spot caused by dynamite was afterwards found exactly where Deuss said the explosive material had been placed, which was right next to the desk used by Malkoff, a reporter for the paper and an exiled Russian Anarchist. Rau at that time, it appears, did not know the properties of dynamite, for on one occasion a stray match was thrown upon the dynamite sack in the office and he was nearly frightened out of his wits.
“Don’t you know what you are doing?” he exclaimed.
“You greenhorn,” was the answer, “Malkoff has handled this stuff for years and knows by this time, as you ought to know, that dynamite cannot be exploded by contact with fire in such a form.”
This information, though unimportant on its face, assisted Mr. Furthmann greatly in making Deuss talk, and served also as a straw showing that the man had given up all the information he possessed.
From a Photograph.
So far Mr. Furthmann had managed to secure many valuable clues, and we studied at once the best method of following them up. In running down the pointers, one day Mr. Furthmann sought Dr. Newman, one of the surgeons who had rendered heroic service in attending the wounded on the night after the explosion. The doctor was asked with reference to the metal and pieces of lead which he had taken from the bodies of some of the men wounded at the Haymarket. He informed Mr. Furthmann that a young man named Hahn, a shoemaker on the West Side, had come to the hospital wounded by the explosion, and that upon examination a wound had been found in the fleshy part of his thigh, from which a piece of iron had been removed. This piece was nothing less than the nut which had been used to assist in holding together the two halves of the composition bomb which had been exploded at the Haymarket. This discovery was a most important one. It proved at the trial the best piece of evidence used, by the prosecution, as it demonstrated that the bomb exploded at the Haymarket was one of the bombs manufactured by Louis Lingg, since fifty bolts and nuts of the same size and description were subsequently found in Lingg’s possession.
The metal removed from the person of the wounded officers was placed in the hands of Professors Haines and Delafontaine, expert chemists, for analysis, and they found that it contained the same quantity of lead, zinc, tin and other ingredients, and the same proportion of impurities as the bombs found in Lingg’s possession. Even a trace of the copper discovered in the bomb exploded at the Haymarket was shown to have come from the candlestick used by Lingg. A small fragment was missing from the candlestick, and it was clearly shown that it had found its way into that deadly bomb.
During this period I also learned that Lingg had not been the first and only one to experiment with dynamite in Chicago. I learned that as far back as 1881 there had been some desperate men among the Socialists, but by keeping their secrets to themselves they had managed to keep the general body of the party and the public at large in ignorance of their clandestine operations. They had even experimented with dynamite, hoping to perfect it so that it could be handled with safety; but somehow they had failed to discover means for making its use practicable. They had adopted various expedients to test its strength when confined in a small implement, and in their labors several had received serious injuries. Four or five men are living to-day who were crippled by the rash and ineffectual experiments. One Communist was particularly active in studying the properties of the explosive and devising a plan to make it serviceable in a combat with the police. This man had fled from France after the downfall of the Paris Commune, and thought himself quite capable of getting dynamite down to such a fine point that when his new-found brethren in Anarchy started their revolution they would be more successful than his French associates had been. He finally succeeded in making an explosive similar to dynamite, but which was found very unsafe to handle. After some of the Anarchists had tried it and got hurt, they refrained from further meddling, and dropped both the Frenchman and his explosive. For along time thereafter dynamite was not heard of.
A man living on West Lake Street, however, still entertained hopes, and finally supplied some of the Anarchists with a dynamite prescription by which they could use it with great effect. In imparting his knowledge he told them to keep the “stuff” hermetically sealed, for if the air reached it an explosion would surely follow. Some found this true, to their sorrow.
Then a man residing on West Twelfth Street stepped to the front and supplied what he claimed could be successfully used. One Sunday some half dozen Anarchists went out to Riverside to test the new compound by putting some of it under a lot of stone near the Desplaines River, but, to their surprise and mortification, they found that it was so weak that it scarcely made a noise.
Subsequently the Southwest Side group took up the dynamite problem and experimented with the “stuff.” The members of this group, known at the time familiarly as “the Bridgeport group,” were the craziest lot of Anarchists in the city, and, judging from their talk, were always ready to participate in a riot or a revolution. They were great readers of books on Socialism, Communism, Anarchy and Nihilism, and they had drilled themselves thoroughly in arms for the coming uprising. But they wanted something more potent and effective than simple guns and revolvers, and, as they possessed a work on “The Wonders of Chemistry,” they saw no reason why they could not carry out its instructions with reference to dynamite and find some means for putting them to practical use. They accordingly experimented. They had a friend in a drug-store on State Street, near Van Buren, and from him they obtained their supplies by paying a good round price. This store finally became known to all the Socialists in the city, but, as the owner became frightened at the publicity obtained, he declined to furnish any more material for experiments. The Anarchists, however, had met with some small success, and they were not discouraged. They found another friend on West Twelfth Street, and this party sold them dynamite cartridges such as are used by miners.
There were in the city at the time the Bridgeport group, the Town of Lake group, the South Side group, the Southwest Side group, the Freiheit group, the Northwest Side group, the North Side group, the Karl Marx group, the English group, the Lake View group (near Clybourn Avenue), and another group which existed only a short time, all together having a membership list of about 1,500 men, who hailed with great delight the report that with some further experiments the dynamite cartridges could be made serviceable not only for blowing up buildings, but also for use in a hand-to-hand conflict in a crowd.
The members of the Lehr und Wehr Verein were not then interested in this branch of Socialism. They drilled with arms and believed in meeting the enemy with guns. It was about this time—October, 1883—that the national convention of Socialists was held at Pittsburg to formulate plans and principles, and there was a division of sentiment on the use of dynamite. The radical delegates from Chicago, as stated in a preceding chapter, were numerous, and insisted on employing the most effective weapon they could find to exterminate capitalists. The result of the conflict was that on their return home they made it a point to bring over the members of the Lehr und Wehr Verein, some of whom had opposed them at Pittsburg, to their ideas, and some time thereafter they succeeded in having the superiority of dynamite over guns almost generally conceded. Not only that, but some of the members became enthusiastic in the experiments being made. One member had even reached a point beyond his competitors in making round cast-iron bombs, and succeeded in turning out fifty pieces. A few were tried, with what success is not known, but one night two friends of the man went to him, told him that they had heard of his having bombs and that his arrest would be made the next day. In fact, they assured him that he had been spotted for some time by detectives. This frightened the man, and he begged his friends to assist him in carrying the bombs away and thus help him out of his troubles. The three then went to work, removed the bombs, and, to effectually destroy all evidence, threw them into the lake.
This procedure gave the great man of the Lehr und Wehr Verein a chance to breathe a little easier, the air seemed to be more bracing, and he could look into the eye of a policeman, when he passed one, with more assurance and confidence. But one of those bombs got astray while being removed, just before the others were submerged, and it afterwards came into the possession of the police. It has had its picture taken and looks quite innocent on paper.
An engraving of it is herewith presented. This sort of iron bomb was afterwards adopted as a model, and became quite popular with the brave dynamite experimenters until some one manufactured a smaller one that could be carried handily in a coat pocket.
They next adopted the long iron gas-pipe bomb, six inches in length, which could be carried in the inside vest pocket. Every one fell in love with the new invention, especially Fischer, and he kept a large soap-box full of the bombs at his home, carefully concealed under his bed.
But the Anarchists were bent on still greater improvements. They continued their experiments, and the next new invention was the round lead bomb, called by them the “Czar bomb.” This was the kind brought to August Spies’ office by “the man from Cleveland,” or rather by Louis Lingg. One of these bombs is shown in a full-page engraving presented elsewhere. They had been designated as the “Czar bomb” until bombs began to fill my office, and then they were referred to as “the round lead bombs.” The police knew them as Lingg’s bombs.
Some of Fischer’s bombs were scattered among trusted Anarchists in the Board of Trade procession, and their effectiveness would have been tried on that occasion had it not been for police interference. The character and explosiveness of the “Lingg bomb” are described in the testimony of the officers and expert chemists during the trial.
Samuel Fielden was found at his home during the day of May 5th, and placed under arrest. He accepted the situation calmly, and, without a remonstrance, accompanied the officers to the Central Station. Officer Slayton, who had him in care, introduced him to the Lieutenant in charge of the detective department, and, in view of the conspicuous part the prisoner had played at the Haymarket, one would suppose that he would have been subjected to a very rigorous examination as to his movements for several days preceding the evening of May 4. But nothing of the kind occurred. The Lieutenant proceeded to denounce him in English more vigorous than elegant, and delivered himself of an opinion about the man and the work of the Anarchists at the Haymarket. Fielden stood it all without a murmur, and probably would have said nothing had not the Lieutenant called him a Dutchman. That allusion was the “last straw.” Fielden remonstrated and emphatically declared that he was an Englishman. He was subsequently turned over to Superintendent Ebersold, and, while exhibiting his wound, caused by a shot during the Haymarket riot, he was informed by that officer that it ought to have gone through his head. The observation was a pertinent one at the moment, and possibly the felicity of its expression may have satisfied the official that with it his duty had ended in the case. At any rate, Fielden was not catechized to any material extent by the Chief, and that official, as well as the head of the detective department, was no wiser than before the man’s arrest.
From a Photograph taken by the Police.
The prisoner, who had been shown to have declared at the Haymarket, “Here come the bloodhounds, the police; you do your duty and I’ll do mine,” and to have fired a shot in the direction of the police after dismounting from the speakers’ wagon, was then passed into a cell. His house was searched, but nothing of a criminating character was discovered. He undoubtedly possessed a great deal of information respecting the revolutionary plot. Had it not been for work done outside of the Central Station, Fielden would have been speedily released, and possibly some apology might have been offered him for the inconvenience occasioned by his arrest and the unintentional reflection cast upon the English and German nationalities.
Fielden was kept locked up, indicted, and finally convicted on discoveries made independently of the Chief’s office or the detective department. The education, demeanor and independence of the man were well calculated to deceive the most expert readers of human nature, and his emphatic assertions regarding the want of any knowledge of a conspiracy would have made him a free man to-day had his case rested on the efforts of the Central Station. Fielden was a sort of diamond in the rough. He possessed much native ability, a ruggedness of character which commanded admiration, and a force and volubility of speech which swayed the unlettered masses. Had he passed through either an academic or collegiate training, there is no telling what eminence he might have achieved in the higher walks of life. His rough, uncouth appearance greatly heightened the effect of his utterances, as few looked for eloquence from such a man. He was born in Dodmorden, Lancashire, England, in 1847, and spent a number of his earlier years in a cotton mill. While thus engaged he became a Sunday-school teacher at the age of eighteen, and some time later branched out as an itinerant Methodist exhorter. Some time after (1868) he came to America, settling in New York, and the next year he found his way to Chicago. He went to work at Summit, a hamlet a few miles southwest of town, on the farm of ex-Mayor John Wentworth, but he did not remain there long before he migrated to Arkansas and Louisiana to engage in railroad construction work. In 1871 he returned to Chicago and engaged in manual labor, principally as teamster in handling stone. In 1880 he became a member of the Liberal League, and under the training and guidance of George Schilling he soon became a rabid Socialist. From that the step was only a short one to unbridled Anarchy, and the pupil finally became a teacher to Schilling in advanced theories on the state of society they all sought to inaugurate. Fielden finally became a boon companion of Spies and Parsons, and all the rugged eloquence he could command was given to the cause. He was a more forcible speaker than either of the two just named, and whenever he preached force, as he always did after becoming an Anarchist, his language commanded wider attention and made a deeper impression. Had it not been for his own sincere penitence for his past misdeeds and the intervention of influential friends because of that penitence, he would have died on the gallows. But he recanted at the last moment of hope for clemency, and the Governor commuted his sentence to imprisonment for life. He is a married man with two small children, and the misery he wrought upon them has been beyond expression. Such is the fruit of Anarchy.