The Difficulties of Detection—Moving on the Enemy—A Hebrew Anarchist—Oppenheimer’s Story—Dancing over Dynamite—Twenty-Five Dollars’ Worth of Practical Socialism—A Woman’s Work—How Mrs. Seliger Saved the North Side—A Well-merited Tribute—Seliger Saved by his Wife—The Shadow of the Hangman’s Rope—A Hunt for a Witness—Shadowing a Hack—The Commune Celebration—Fixing Lingg’s Guilt—Preparing the Infernal Machines—A Boy Conspirator—Lingg’s Youthful Friend—Anarchy in the Blood—How John Thielen was Taken into Camp—His Curious Confession—Other Arrests.
THE preceding pages will have given to the reader facts enough to show the difficulty of the task assumed, as well as the manner in which we went about the work. One of the greatest of the obstacles to be overcome arose from the character and habits of thought of the Anarchists themselves. They heartily hated all law, and despised its constituted representatives. The conspiracy was well disciplined in itself, and it had been specially organized with a view to guarding its secrets from the outside world and protecting its members from the consequences of their crimes. Thus I soon found that it would require peculiar address, patience, secretiveness and diligent work to lay bare the great plot to the world.
I can find no better place than this to testify to the help given me throughout the case by Assistant State’s Attorney Furthmann, whose work was a most important feature of the result finally brought before the Criminal Court.
The protection of society is an interest so momentous that it would be a false modesty in me to refuse, for fear that I should be charged with egotism, to analyze the processes by which the conviction of the confederates in the Haymarket murder conspiracy was bought about, and accordingly I will now say, once for all, that I believe that careful, systematic detective inquiry, conducted with some brains and a good deal of grit, can unravel any plot which the enemies of law and order and our American institutions are apt to hatch. It will require tact. It will require intelligence. It may require the hardest and most persistent work that men may do—but about the result there can be no doubt. Our government and our methods are strong enough for the protection of the people and the maintenance of law and order, no matter how dangerous may seem the forces arrayed against it.
The various steps taken may be gathered best from the memoranda made upon the arrest of each Anarchist who had been conspicuous in his order and who was supposed to know the secret workings of the “armed sections;” and, in reading the particulars, the general conclusion will become irresistible that the men who posed as the bloodthirsty bandits of Chicago became arrant, cringing cowards when they found themselveswithin the clutches of the law. In the galaxy of trembling “cranks” there were a few exceptions, notably George Engel and Louis Lingg, but the demeanor of the common herd under arrest proved that their vaunted bravery had been simply so much talk “full of sound and fury.”
JULIUS OPPENHEIMER’S “DOUBLE.”
From a Photograph.
One of the first arrests which I made was that of Julius Oppenheimer, alias Julius Frey. This man was a peculiar genius and was possessed by an unbounded admiration for Anarchists and all their methods. He had come to America five years before and had been brought up an Anarchist. He was a Hebrew of a very pronounced type, twenty-five years of age, a butcher by occupation, but an Anarchist in and out of season. Whenever he succeeded in securing employment he was sure speedily to lose it by his persistent teaching of Anarchy, and in some places people even went so far as to drive him out of town. If fortunate enough to get work in an adjoining town, he would tell his fellow workmen of his prior experience and curse what he termed his persecution for conscience’s sake. Whenever his Anarchist beliefs had been expounded, he was promptly dismissed, and in one town he was politely informed that unless he got out in short order he was liable to find himself hanging to a tree. This sort of thing embittered him still more against society, and finally he abandoned all attempts to find work. He resolved himself into a tramp, and, in traveling from place to place, he sought to convert every other tramp he met to his revolutionary ideas.
He soon learned that Chicago was regarded all over the country as the home of Socialism, its stronghold and citadel, and he made haste to reach it so that he too could become an agitator, with nothing to do and plenty to eat and drink. He had been in the city only a few days when he learned of the Socialistic haunt at No. 58 Clybourn Avenue, and there he soonmade the acquaintance of Lingg and other, lesser lights, whose principal aim seemed to be to loaf around the saloons, guzzle beer and talk dynamite. This pleased Oppenheimer. He had traveled many weary days, but at last he had found what he had so long sought. He was received cautiously at first, but finally with open arms. One night he attended a meeting at the number given above and heard Engel speak about killing all the police in Chicago. Oppenheimer was delighted, and on the adjournment of the meeting he grew very enthusiastic, threatening to visit dire punishment on both the police and the rich. He stepped out on the sidewalk, and, just then encountering a policeman, he ejaculated:
“You old loafer, you won’t live much longer!”
The words had hardly been uttered when Oppenheimer found himself prostrate in the gutter. The policeman passed on, and not one of Oppenheimer’s comrades dared to come to the Anarchist’s assistance or proffer sympathy. This was a treatment he had not expected, but he smothered his wrath and continued to attend all the meetings of the “revolutionary groups.” He grew stronger every day in the good graces of his comrades, and at one of their meetings he was asked, along with others, to secure some of the “good stuff” and bombs. He responded and secured a substantial outfit. When the 4th of May came he happened for some reason to be some eighteen miles out of the city, but the moment he heard of the explosion he hastened back at once and hunted up his old friends to help them destroy the town.
On the evening of May 7 he was encountered by Officer Loewenstein at 58 Clybourn Avenue, in Neff’s Hall, and taken to the Larrabee Street Station. He was put into a cell and kept locked up for about a week. Gradually it began to dawn upon his mind that he was in trouble, that possibly the police had secured evidence against him, and so at last he sent for me.
“I see,” he said, “that it is foolish to fight against law and order, but you must excuse me for my actions. I read so much of that Most trash and other books that I was really crazy. I lost my reason and did not know what I was doing. Now I will tell all I know, but I will not testify against any of these people.”
He was given no special assurances, but he unbosomed himself fully and became extremely useful in giving needed information. One day he said that if I would take him out in a carriage he would show where he had a lot of dynamite bombs planted, and added:
“Before going after the stuff, I will show you some of the worst Anarchists in the city, but in doing so I will tell you candidly my life is in danger. If these men see me they will shoot me on the spot.”
He was assured that he would be fixed in such a disguise that no one would recognize him, and, consenting to go under such conditions, Oppenheimer was rigged out like a veritable darkey. Officers Schuettler and Loewenstein were detailed to accompany him, and together they visited Sullivan, Connor, Hoyne, Mohawk and Hurlbut Streets, where many Anarchists then lived, and where Oppenheimer pointed out the houses of many notable conspirators.
Unfortunately, in one of the localities visited, colored people were very scarce, and it did not take the boys long to discover the sham, when they at once began shouting, “Here is a lost, crazy nigger,” and they followed him, throwing bricks and stones. At other times the officers were obliged to hustle away with their “Hebrew negro,” as they called him, as soon as possible. They got back to the station about eleven o’clock that evening, and, entering my office, Oppenheimer was permitted to view his ebony countenance in a mirror. He was startled by his make-up and declared that it was most artistically done.
“Mein Gott, if I was asleep,” he exclaimed, “and wake up, and looked in the glass, I’d think I was a real nigger.”
On the next day he was taken by the officers, in a carriage, to Lake View, about three miles from the city limits, to locate the bombs. It was a rainy day, and it was no easy matter for Oppenheimer to determine the right spot, although he kept a sharp look-out. He had planted them during the night, and that added to the difficulty. Finally he directed the driver to a grove used as picnic grounds, and they soon reached the spot. It now rained hard, and lightning and thunder filled the air with light and noise. Oppenheimer hesitated about alighting from the carriage.
“It is dangerous,” he said, “to go near the place. The bombs I have planted here are all loaded with dynamite, and charged with poisoned iron, and this heavy thunder may explode them and kill us all.”
Officer Schuettler said that he himself was familiar with the properties of dynamite, and assured him that there would not be the slightest danger. Oppenheimer then became somewhat braver. He jumped out and beckoned to his companions to follow. They proceeded to the dancing-platform, in the middle of the grove, and Oppenheimer, having removed some short boards, making an opening large enough for the admission of a man’s body, asked Loewenstein to take hold of his legs, and, when he shouted, to pull him out, adding that when he had been there before he had had a hard time getting out. Oppenheimer then went in. On giving the signal, he was pulled out, with one bomb in each hand. He was thus lowered and pulled out until he had produced thirteen bombs. They were of the heavy gas-pipe make, loaded with dynamite and rusty nails, with cap attachments, and ready for use in four seconds. To show that he had exercised great care to preserve the “stuff” properly, he asked to be lowered again, and this time he brought to the surface an oil-cloth table-cover, which, he explained, he had used for wrapping up the bombs so that “they would not spoil on him.” He also fished out of the place two large navy revolvers fully loaded. Having finished, Oppenheimer gave a sigh of relief and remarked:
“Now I feel relieved. As long as I had these things I always felt that I must do some damage with them. I had them once in the city (May 5), and my mind was made up to throw some in the North Side Post-office. I also had determined to go to the Freie Presse office and blow up that d——d Michaelis, the editor of the paper. And then I was going to kill myself.”
At about this time Oppenheimer possessed two large 44-caliber navy revolvers and seemed withal a desperate fellow. When the parties returned to the station he asked me to keep him there until all trouble was over, and for three months he became quite a character about the establishment. The defense in the Anarchist trial made several attempts to secure his release, but Oppenheimer declined to go. He was taken out frequently for regular exercise by one of the officers, but he always went in disguise.
He proved such a valuable aid to the State that State’s Attorney Grinnell ordered his release, but as he was nervous lest some one should shoot him on regaining his full liberty, he begged me to send him to New York City. He was accordingly furnished with money and clothing and sent away. While he was at the station he gained twenty-seven pounds and declared he had never been so well taken care of in all his life. He bade all the officers who were working up the Anarchist cases good-by and was given safe escort to the depot by Officer Stift. Some time after his arrival in New York he was discovered by an Anarchist, who telegraphed to Capt. Black that he was there if wanted, but the Captain did not seem to specially care for him.
The information he furnished the State was substantially as follows:
“I came to Chicago May 5, 1886, in the morning. I went to Seliger’s house, 442 Sedgwick Street. I know Seliger and his wife and Louis Lingg. I am an Anarchist. I think the workingmen are not treated right in this country. I have always attended Socialistic meetings here. I have attended several meetings where the speakers would call us to arms and to all kinds of weapons, so that when the time came we could secure our rights. It was urged that we should be prepared to fight any one who would obstruct us or oppose our ideas. A meeting was held at Neff’s Hall on or about last February. A man who lives on the West Side, on Milwaukee Avenue, and who keeps a toy store—I do not know his name—was there. He was accompanied by a young lady. Now that you show me this picture [Engel’s] I will say he is the man, and he made a speech at that meeting. He told us to prepare ourselves, and if we were too poor and could not afford to buy arms, he could tell us about a weapon that was cheaper and better in its effect than arms. He then spoke of dynamite, but in his speech he always called it ‘stuff.’ He explained how to make dynamite bombs. He said: ‘Take a gas-pipe, cut it in the length of six inches, put a wooden plug in one end, fill it with dynamite, then plug the other end, and drill a small hole through one of the plugs. In this hole put a cap and fuse.’ Then the bomb was complete. He also told us of a place on the West Side, near a bridge, where we could go and steal all the pipe we wanted. We could then buy the ‘stuff’ and make the bombs ourselves. I bought seven or eight bombs some time ago from a man named Nusser or Nuffer, at 54 West Lake Street. The man used to work for Greif. I paid him twenty-five cents apiece for them. They were dynamite bombs, and I purchased them at night. I had a little book that told all about making and using dynamite bombs. I know something about the armed group. They are not known by their names. They are known by numbers, so that the police cannot find them out in case they have done anything wrong. There never would be any more than three in a job—that is, if there were any persons to be killed. Number one would find the second man, and this second man would find the third. No questions would be asked. The first man and the third man are not supposed to know each other. The first and third would know the middle man, but in case of trouble, and should there be a ‘squeal,’ only two parties could be given away, leaving one to get away and save himself. I have tried some of the dynamite bombs I had, and they worked splendidly. I also have a big navy revolver. Everything attempted hereafter will be done according to the instructions given in a book printed by Herr Most, of New York. Those long gas-pipe shells I see before me are like one that was shown me at Neff’s Hall last winter. A man named Rau had it there and showed it to the boys. I am five years in America, and have always been a Socialist. On Wednesday morning, May 5, when I heard that there had been a bad blunder committed by our boys at the Haymarket, and read an article in the Freie Presse condemning us, I got very mad. I took my five dynamite bombs and started out to get revenge. My first intention was to blow up the North Side Post-office. The next place I decided to go to was the Freie Presse office to blow them up. If I found I was in danger of being captured, I made up my mind to kill myself right there and then. Lingg wanted me to cut a hole in the wall in his room to put away a lot of dynamite bombs and dynamite, but Mrs. Seliger would not let me do so. A man named Bodendick, a good Anarchist, was well known by August Spies, and considered a rank conspirator. This is the man that went to Justice White’s house and demanded $25, threatening that if he did not get it he would blow up his house. White had him arrested and locked up in jail, and for this reason Spies did not want the man known as an Anarchist, but simply as a crazy man. The Socialists or Anarchists do not care much for Spies or Schwab, but we have kept them and looked upon them as a necessary evil. I know a man named Pollinger, a saloon-keeper. He was an agent here at one time to sell arms, but he did not run things right. He was crooked. The understanding we had was that, in case of a riot or revolution, every man should use his own judgment and do as he pleased, that is to say, commit murder, shoot people, burn buildings or do that for which he was best fitted, so long as it was in the interest of the Anarchistic society. The main idea inculcated in the little paper called the Freiheit, which I have read, is that no rights could be secured until capitalists were killed and houses were laid in ashes. If we would not take a chance on our lives, we would be slaves always. I know positively of fifty men, radical Anarchists, who stand ready to commit murder and to destroy the city by fire whenever they are called on. I know Lingg well. He is a Socialist and an Anarchist and a very radical revolutionist. I heard him speak at 58 Clybourn Avenue, and formed my opinion of him. He told me that Seliger was a coward.”
From a Photograph.
MRS. WILLIAM SELIGER.
From a Photograph.
“He called me a coward the morning I helped Mrs. Seliger to get the guns out of the house. That morning I was in Lingg’s room when Mrs. Seliger brought in a lot of lead and said to Lingg: ‘Here is your lead.’ Lingg then got mad at her and said: ‘You are crazy.’ He became very much excited, wrapped up his gun, got ready to move, and wanted me to conceal his dynamite bombs in the hall. Mrs. Seliger would not let him do so. Then Lingg was going to carry his bombs out of the house. He finally got into quite a quarrel with her and started out to get a wagon to carry away all his things. I told him to hurry up and get all his dynamite stuff away, also the printed literature he had, as there was danger that the police would be around to search the house. He looked at me and called me ‘a d——d fool and coward.’ Then Lingg asked me to go to the West Side with him, as there was to be a meeting at 71 West Lake Street. Lingg saw my dynamite bombs. I had told him of them. I saw two round lead bombs in his room. I had them in my hands. Lingg told me to be careful and not let them drop, as they were loaded and might go off. They were dangerous, he said. I also saw four gas-pipe bombs in his room. Some of them were not finished. I remember now that Seliger, the Hermanns and Hubner were at the meeting in Neff’s Hall last winter when Engel urged all men who had revolutionary ideas to pay attention and he would explain how to make dynamite bombs. I am glad I am arrested. I now can realize how near I was to ruin through those d——d fellows making revolutionary speeches and exciting the people to commit murder. The books given out by Herr Most are doing more harm among those men than any one can imagine. I have given you facts, and they are true, every one of them. I will swear to them.”
The next arrest was that of William Seliger. When the police had learned that Seliger’s residence had been used as a bomb factory, we wanted him. He was a man about forty-five years of age, a carpenter by occupation, a good mechanic, very quiet and sober, but one of the most rabid of Anarchists. He had filled various positions in the “groups,” and always manifested a deep interest in their meetings. He was popular with his comrades and trusted with all their secrets. He lived at No. 442 Sedgwick Street, in a rear building up-stairs. This was a two-story frame dwelling, and a great resort for Socialists and Anarchists. Officer Whalen had searched the house, finding it a regular dynamite magazine, and, locating his man, telephoned to me that Seliger was working at Meyer’s mill on the North Pier. Officer Stift and Lieut. Larsen were at once detailed, in charge of a patrol wagon, to effect the arrest, and soon the man was produced at the station—May 7. When I confronted him he stubbornly refused, according to the instructions in Most’s book, to answer questions, but when he discovered the evidence I had against him, he broke down and said:
“Captain, I will tell you all, but for Heaven’s sake do not arrest my poor wife. I am to blame for all you found in my house, because I kept that man Lingg in my house against her will—the poor woman! Hang me, but do not trouble her, for she is innocent, and God is her witness.”
Seliger then unbosomed himself, telling of all his connection with the Anarchists since his location in Chicago, and giving valuable information on all the “groups,” their leaders, their places of meeting, their purposes, their mode of operations, the character of the speeches made at meetings, and the manufacture of bombs at his house, giving the names of all calling or taking part in their manufacture. He gave the most important points the State had to work on, and every detail he furnished was fully corroborated by other parties subsequently arrested. He was in the confidence of Lingg, and was also a particeps criminis in the manufacture of the bombs, and gave, therefore, no hearsay statements. What was found in his house and the character of his information are fully shown in his testimony, given in a later chapter, as well as that of the officers during the memorable trial.
After telling what he knew, Seliger was released, on the 28th of May, with instructions to report every day at the Chicago Avenue Station.
Mrs. Seliger was also arrested. She was a small woman about 38 years of age. She was found at No. 32 Sigel Street on the morning of May 10. She readily consented to accompany Officer Schuettler to the station. Mrs. Seliger showed plainly that she had not been in sympathy with her husband in his revolutionary ideas, and proved a prompt and willing witness, demonstrating before she got through that she had done incalculable service to the people of the city.
It was in her house that Lingg made his bombs, and when I questioned her she gave me a great deal of information concerning the man and his methods. All the statements she made and her testimony in court did not vary in the slightest details, even under the most rigid cross-examination. She was found to be a very industrious woman, a neat housekeeper, and she was highly esteemed by all her neighbors. She related how she had lived in misery ever since her husband began to take an active part in the Anarchist meetings, and she stated that after Lingg came to live in the house she had not seen a pleasant hour. She had often remonstrated with her husband and pleaded with him not to attend the meetings, or read any of the Anarchist papers, but to remain at home with her.
Seliger was so completely carried away by the doctrines of Johann Most, Spies and the others that he refused to listen to his wife. The moment he got into trouble, however, he became very penitent and readily accepted her advice in everything.
Mrs. Seliger’s experience on the 4th day of May, when she witnessed the preparation of the bombs, she described as terrible. There she was forced to remain all day, she said, seeing eight men working on the murderous weapons, some making one kind of bombs, some another, others fitting them and loading them with dynamite, and others again putting on the caps and fuse. Throughout the whole operation she was obliged to listen to their bloodthirsty conversation, how they would blow up the police stations, patrol wagons and fire-engine houses, kill all the militia, hurl bombs into private residences, and murder every one who opposed them.
Mrs. Seliger viewed affairs differently and told the conspirators that there were more chains than mad dogs. Another thing they overlooked, she said, was their own families, and should they carry all their threats into execution their families would be made to suffer to the end of their days in misery and want. Remonstrances, however, were useless.
They worked until dark, and then they separated to meet in the evening at No. 58 Clybourn Avenue. Her husband and Lingg ate supper, and then the two put a lot of the bombs into a satchel and started for the designated place. Lingg carried the satchel down stairs and was followed by Seliger.
This was a trying moment, but Mrs. Seliger proved equal to the emergency. Just as Seliger reached the third step, she grasped his arm, threw her arms about his neck, and, like a loving, devoted wife, asked him for God’s sake not to become a murderer.
“If you ever loved me and ever listened to me when I spoke,” she whispered fervently into his ear, “I want you to listen to me now. I don’t ask you to stay at home, but I want you to go with that villain and see that he does not hurt any one. Restrain him from carrying out his murderous ideas. If you do this, I will creep on my knees after you and will be your slave all my life.”
A NOBLE WOMAN’S INFLUENCE. A Kiss that Prevented Bloodshed.
These tender words touched a sympathetic chord in the heart of Seliger, and he promised to do as she had requested, while she sealed the promise with a loving kiss. As subsequent events and his testimony in court proved, he faithfully carried out that promise, and by that injunction of his wife and that fervid kiss of a true woman, hundreds of lives and millions of property were saved.
From the time they left the house until their return, Seliger never left for a moment the side of Lingg. During the evening Lingg was continually prompted by his own treacherous heart to throw bombs, now at a passing patrol wagon, then at some residence or into a police station, and invariably Seliger had some handy reason to proffer why such an attempt would be inopportune at the moment. Lingg finally became suspicious and upbraided Seliger for being a coward. The night passed, and the only harm Lingg did was indirectly in the explosion of one of his bombs at the Haymarket, to the prospective happening of which he frequently alluded during the evening.
It is my deliberate opinion that, had it not been for this intervention of Mrs. Seliger, hundreds of people would have been killed, and probably one-half of the North Side destroyed, that eventful night.
After giving considerable information to the police Mrs. Seliger was released, but kept under strict surveillance.
Seliger faithfully carried out his instructions to report at the station daily for two weeks, and then he suddenly disappeared. Officer Schuettler was detailed to visit his home to ascertain the cause, and was there informed that Seliger had mysteriously left.
“Why,” inquired Mrs. Seliger, “don’t you know where he is; did you not arrest him again?”
On being answered in the negative, she stated that it had been her intention to call on me that afternoon with a view to finding out something about her husband.
It looked like a case of concealment, and Mrs. Seliger was therefore taken to the Larrabee Street Station. She immediately desired to see me, and, when I called, she informed me that three days before her husband had said: “I am going away. Don’t ask me any questions. You will hear from me later,” and then bade her good-by.
She was under the impression that since leaving her he had been at the Chicago Avenue Station. I thought it a ruse and subjected her to a severe examination. I asked her who had been to see them and whether they had not received money from certain lawyers or others. But Mrs. Seliger could tell no different story from that she had already given, and she finally volunteered the guess that possibly her husband had been frightened away.
“If you will only allow me to go,” she earnestly pleaded, “I will neither eat, drink nor sleep until I find him.”
I was now satisfied that she was in earnest, and, having confidence in her, I ordered her release. But from that moment she was watched night and day, more closely than ever. It was found that she visited many houses in various parts of the city, and when these places were immediately afterwards called upon by the detectives it was ascertained that she had invariably inquired for her husband and urged those who knew him to tell him to come home if they should happen to meet him; that she was weary of life, and if he remained away much longer she would not be responsible for any act of hers on her own life.
After several days’ ineffective search, Mrs. Seliger received a letter from her husband asking her to call and see him. She hastened at once, with a throbbing heart and a light tread, to my office. I asked her if she would work under my instructions, and she promptly consented to do everything in her power to help the police. I had come to the conclusion that it would be no easy matter to find the slippery Seliger, but that, if he was not discovered that day, we might at least get on his track.
Mrs. Seliger was accordingly told to wait in the office a few minutes. Two men were sent for, men whom the woman would not know. I instructed them to slip through a side door and get a good view of her while unobserved. A carriage was then ordered, and the driver directed to take the woman to whatever place she might desire, and remain with her even all day and all night, if required. Mrs. Seliger stepped into the carriage, and the horses were soon in a sharp trot. But the conveyance was not alone. No sooner had it started than the two men I have spoken of jumped into a buggy and followed the carriage south, keeping it in good view all the time.
The first stop made was at a place on West Thirteenth Street. There Mrs. Seliger had to identify herself first, and thence she was directed to a place some four blocks away. Arriving there, she was sent on to Sixteenth Street, and again sent to Twelfth Street, near the limits. She was here subjected to a great many questions, and after she had fully proven her identity she was taken to the next house and led into a dark bed-room, where she found her husband. She remained there about three hours, and then, under direction of her husband’s friends, was told to drive to several other places in order to throw any detectives that might be watching off the scent. She did so, but the two men had kept a close watch and were not to be baffled.
When the carriage had started for home, one of the officers returned to the place where she had tarried so long. He represented to the occupants that he was working for Salomon & Zeisler, attorneys for the imprisoned conspirators, to whom Seliger had written a letter, and that in accordance with the request they had decided to protect him and his friends.
“Seliger,” said the officer, “is here, and I want to talk with him.”
The occupants admitted that he had been there and had had a talk with his wife, but that he was at the time on his way home with her.
Mr. and Mrs. Seliger called at the station the next afternoon (June 8). Both entered smiling, but it was quite apparent that Seliger was very nervous.
“Captain,” said Mrs. Seliger, “we are both here.”
“Yes, madam,” I replied; “I am glad you are both here—on your own account.”
“Captain,” again spoke Mrs. Seliger, “I want my husband to testify in court against that villain Lingg. He ruined my home. He is the cause of the slaughter of all these people. He is the cause of the sufferings of the women and children whose husbands and fathers attended the Anarchist meetings. Now, Captain, you see I have been faithful to my promises. I have done as I agreed. You have my husband; he is in your power. You can do with him as you please, but for God’s sake spare his life.”
Mrs. Seliger had scarcely finished her appeal when she swooned away. She had for days been wrought up with intense excitement and haunted with terrible forebodings. The climax was reached when she had executed her commission, and, trying as had been the situation for nights and days, she had courageously borne up in order that she might atone the wrongs her husband had committed despite her most earnest entreaties, and to help in some way to extricate him, who had so cruelly wronged her, from the meshes into which he had madly and ignorantly rushed. Her keen judgment and innate sense of right had swept aside every consideration of the apparent security his concealment might have given him, and her whole soul was centered in his delivery to the authorities that he might not eventually be found and sent to an ignominious death on the gallows. That was her hope, and, much as she longed for his safety, she had bent her whole energies to seeing him brought out of concealment and placed where there might at least be a chance for his life. The struggle had been intense, and it culminated when she so pathetically asked that her husband’s life might be spared. Her emotions then were at their highest tension, and as she recognized the fact that he was now at the complete mercy of the law, from which he had sought to escape, she could bear up no longer.
A physician was immediately sent for, and after applying restoratives it was found she was quite a sick woman. A carriage was summoned, and she was sent home.
Seliger was detained at the station until after the trial of the conspirators. Mrs. Seliger was a frequent caller after that trying day, and remained with him much of the time, cheering him and seeking in every way to lighten his burden, like a true, devoted and loving wife. In a subsequent conversation the circumstances in connection with her visit to her husband at his place of concealment were learned. It appears that at first he emphatically declined to accompany her, and then gave his reasons. One day, while on his way to report at the station, he was met, he said, by a stranger, and threatened that if he ever went near the station again, or sent word verbally or by note or letter to me, both he and his wife would be murdered in cold blood. The threat made a marked impression on his mind. He returned home, but made no mention of it to Mrs. Seliger. He knew, he said, that the threat was meant, and, thinking to save his wife, he concluded to act on the warning and place himself in concealment without her knowledge. He left, as already stated, and decided to keep under cover to await results.
He called first at the house of a widow named Bertha Neubarth, No. 1109 Nelson Street, Lake View. This was a small cottage, with a basement used as a tailor-shop, and, thinking it a secure place, he remained there a few days. Then he went to the house of a friend, named Gustav Belz, who lived near McCormick’s factory, and remained there several days. His next move was to a house on West Twelfth Street, near the city limits, and there he remained until discovered by his wife. The letter he had sent to her was mailed by a trusted friend named Malinwitz, and the purpose he had in sending it was to ascertain if matters had changed any and if I was angry over his sudden departure. On meeting his wife, the first question he asked was as to whether the police had been watching their house, and, on being answered in the affirmative, and informed that she had even been locked up again, he asked for particulars and the cause for her release.
“Capt. Schaack,” she said, “let me out in order to bring you back.”
“I often felt sorry,” answered the husband, “for going away, but I will never go back.”
His wife insisted that he must go back, and said:
“I told the Captain that I would come and see you. The Captain said that he would give you six hours to return, and that if you did not report to his office within that time, he would surely find you and prosecute you for murder. Your chances for hanging, he said, were very good, and you need look for no mercy at his hands. He also said that he had your picture ready, to send out for your arrest on sight, and that it would be useless for you to hide or run away. I saw the picture myself, and the Captain intends to publish a large reward for your arrest.”
“I believe all you say,” said Seliger, struggling with his feelings, “but what would you prefer, seeing me shot or killed by assassins, or hung by law?”
“All these cowards making threats,” replied the wife, “will be arrested. The station-houses on the North Side are now full of the murderers. I know the Captain will take care of us, and, if you are arrested, you will have no one to help you or do anything for you; then you are sure to hang. You had better come with me to Captain Schaack.”
He consented, and she sent word that they would be at the station the next day. Seliger gave himself up, and Mrs. Seliger redeemed her promise. The sacrifice, in view of the uncertainties of the time, seemed great, but had it not been for the honesty and persistency of that true woman, Seliger to-day would lie in an unhonored grave. Both proved strong witnesses at the trial, and shortly after his release they left the city. Reports from them show that he has been cured of Johann Most’s crazy notions. He now denounces Anarchy both in America and Germany, in which latter country he and his wife were born. He has applied himself to legitimate pursuits as a law-abiding citizen, and is prospering.
Seliger, during his interview with me, recounted his connection with the Anarchists as follows:
“About three years ago I noticed an article in the Arbeiter-Zeitung that the North Side group would give lessons to all who desired, in the English language. I went to Neff’s Hall and I was there told that the school was only for members, and that, if I wanted to join, I could do so. I did, and a year afterwards I was elected financial secretary. In looking over the books, I found that the group had 206 members, the most of them being in arrears, but no one ceased to be a member on account of it. I found also that there was a great deal of wrangling and trouble among the members. One faction claimed to be revolutionary, as they were at war with capital. This contention drew the lines pretty sharply, and the Socialistic movement commenced to take a sharp character. Stellmacher, I believe, was executed in Vienna. It was on Monday, if I am not mistaken, in the month of August, 1884. My group decided to commemorate the event and glorify the man. They had posters printed, and about twenty men went to work to post them, especially in the vicinity of the churches. From that day they began talking force and dynamite. At every meeting, Stellmacher’s name was mentioned and his deeds glorified. Some held that Stellmacher was simply a burglar and murderer, having burglarized the premises of Banker Eifert at Vienna and killed one of his children. Rau and Lange were always quarreling over this question. Lange maintained that it was a shame that any Socialist, Communist or Anarchist should burglarize and murder under a pretext of getting money for the cause. Every member, he said, could get enough money in an honest way to swell the fund for agitation and the destruction of capital. Lange said that he was not opposed to the killing of capitalists in the right way, but he did not want to see children killed. Rau would uphold a contrary view. He held that it was all the same, capitalist or child, and said that the children of the rich would grow up only to learn how to enrich themselves at the expense of the working people. Schnaubelt favored murder and thought that it would be best for the Anarchists to form into groups of four or five with a view to killing any one who would work against the laboring people’s agitation. One or two suddenly removed would not arouse suspicion.
“A cigar-maker named Hoffman became a member of the North Side group, and he was never satisfied with the rules, as he regarded them too lenient. He wanted the whole International Working People’s Association made an armed body, but Schwab and Hermann opposed it, as they said that the Lehr und Wehr Verein filled that part of the bill. Hoffman subsequently withdrew from the group and the military organization. He as well as Polling and Hermann wanted the Anarchists to give a commemorative entertainment on the anniversary of the Paris Commune, in March, 1885, and of the clubbing of the working people of Philadelphia by the police. His idea was that rifles should be discharged, and then a woman personating the goddess of liberty should throw a chain away from her body. In this way the three men believed that the agitation for securing arms could be greatly helped. The committee for the celebration of the Commune opposed this plan, especially Neebe and Rau. Neebe held that the celebration of the Commune as generally planned by the committee was for the express purpose of making money to help agitation, and the other features were not necessary. Hoffman endeavored to carry through his plan, but he was knocked out. After some further wrangling he left the group and permanently kept away. At another meeting Rau said that he desired to bring dynamite into the meetings and show how it was manufactured, but no definite action was taken.
“At the beginning of last year , a man named Deters declared that he was an Anarchist and was very loud in his declarations, but he was afterwards expelled for stealing tickets from the Central Labor Union. Poch always claimed to be a Communist, and he became unpopular on account of a dereliction. Haker was also a Communist, but he was expelled on account of being in arrears $3 as a member of the Southwest group. Then Lingg became a member, and from that time served as president of that group. He was always in hot words with a man named Hartwig. During the beginning of April we got quite a number of new members, and they all became strong agitators in the cause. I knew as members of the armed sections Schlomeker, a carpenter; Stahlbaum, a carpenter, lieutenant of the first company; Petschke, secretary of the same company; Kitgus; the Riemer brothers, one a carpenter and the other a painter; Ted, a carpenter; Rau, Bak, Hirschberger, the Hermann brothers, all members of the Lehr und Wehr Verein; the Hageman brothers; the Lehman brothers; Messenbrink, a carpenter; Stak, a tinsmith; Lauke, Feltes and Kraemer, all carpenters, and Siebach and Niendorf, carpenters, living in Lake View. With these two exceptions and those of Lenhard and Krueger, who belonged to the Northwest group, all I have mentioned lived on the North Side. There were also Classner and Sisterer, who belonged to the Southwest group. I know a great many others who belonged to the armed forces, but I don’t recall their names. They all carried revolvers. All I knew about bombs at that time was what I heard Lingg say, that the Northwest group and the Southwest groups and the Bohemians were well supplied with them. Among the Bohemian Socialists I only know Mikolanda and Hrusha and three more whose names I can’t remember.
“At a meeting last winter  of the North Side group, Neebe stated that it was time that every comrade should supply himself with arms and should lay bombs under his pillow at night and sleep over them. Every one should practice so as to know how to handle them when necessary. Every workingman, he said, who is down on capitalists, should kill every one of them, and they should not neglect the police and the militia, because they were hired and supported by the capitalists. He said that he himself would kill one of these loafers and would not turn an eye on him. One in the audience, a barber, whose name I don’t know, said that there were some among the militia and the police who would join them in case of an uprising and cited as an instance that during the riots of 1877 he had spoken to some of them and they had told him that they would not shoot at the strikers. Neebe declared that it was all the same. ‘A man employed by the capitalists,’ he said, ‘is my enemy, even though he is my brother.’ In case of an uprising, he said, every revolutionist should use force on every corner and on the sidewalks, and should throw dynamite wherever these loafers stood or walked.
“The casting of one bomb Lingg had was made of sheet-iron, and the man who manufactured it was shown to me at the office of the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Then Lingg had another casting made out of iron, which he had made at some iron foundry. I saw him have dynamite twice in a cigar-box. Before this he said to me that he had seen Spies at the Arbeiter-Zeitungoffice, and that Spies had told him that he would give him dynamite. This was about two months before the 4th of May. Friday preceding that day Lingg received a box, 1 × 2½ feet in dimensions, from the West Side, at the hands of a man whom I took to be a Bohemian. Lingg always liked the Bohemians. With a view to learning this man’s address I walked over to the West Side, and I found that he had moved to No. 661 Blue Island Avenue. One evening two others came to see Haker, and Haker told them, as I entered, that I was Seliger. One of them I knew, his name being Kaiser, a carpenter, and the other was a strongly built man of medium height and bow-legged. They were a little embarrassed and said that they did not know what to say under the circumstances. I asked them if they had bombs, and Haker spoke up and said that he would not say anything about it, even to his brother, as he expected a search would be made of his house. But he said they would find nothing, and the other two confirmed his story. It was stated that every one should buy a book, which could be had at cost price, giving directions about the manufacture of dynamite, which could also be purchased very cheap. The North Side group bought one of these books. I was so informed by Thielen, who had seen it.
“A short time after this I was elected a member of the central committee, with four other delegates from the North Side group, who were Neebe, Rau, Hermann and Hubner, and as long as I was a member Neebe and Rau were continued as delegates to that committee. Spies was at the head of it. I attended seven of its meetings, and at one of our sessions, during the West Side street-car drivers’ strike, Spies said that we should take part in that strike. In case the strikers should resort to force against the company and the policemen who protected it, Spies said that he had a few bombs on hand, and he would distribute some of them to people whom he knew. At the same meeting it was proposed that a meeting should be held on the lake front the following Sunday, but there was some opposition to it. Spies, however, declared that the meeting should be held and that every one should be present, well armed. Then, in case the police should interfere to disperse the gathering, they should send them home with bloody heads. The meeting was held, but there was no interference. Spies also proposed that meetings of the committee should be held every evening at the Arbeiter-Zeitung office during the strike, to hear grievances, and that, whenever necessary, special meetings should be held of the various groups. The leaders in the committee were Spies, Rau, Neebe, Hermann, a man named Walter, of the American group, and a small man from the Northwest group with an illuminated nose, who was a very intimate friend of Spies. This man was the founder of the Freiheit group.
“Just preceding this car strike, Haker, who belonged to Carpenters’ Union No. 1, was a strong advocate of the use of dynamite. At one meeting he told some of the members to wait till after adjournment, as he explained that he desired to show them something very interesting. They remained, and he produced a ball of clay, having two parts joined together and a cavity in the center. He told them that he manufactured them, and if any one desired any they could get them from him at a dollar each. I then left.
“Subsequently I called upon Secretary Lotz and asked for the book of membership of the North Side group. I found that Charles Bock was its financial secretary; Hubner, librarian; and Rau, delegate to the central committee, which position he held almost continuously. Abraham Hermann was also a delegate and agent for the sale of arms to the whole organization. The principal speakers at our meetings were Schwab, Feltes or Veltes, Neebe, Grottkau and (while living in the city) Kraemer. During 1885 an Austrian, whose name I don’t remember, spoke very often, but he is now at the Jefferson Insane Asylum. Fischer is one of the founders of the North Side group and always spoke most strongly in favor of Anarchy. Rau, an employé of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, Lingg, Schnaubelt and Emil Hoffman, the cigar-maker, also spoke frequently. Hoffman claimed that he was a great friend of Most and one of the founders of Freiheit of London. He had lived in London several years and was an active member until he left our organization, as I have already stated. Hermann would sometimes take the places of speakers who might happen to be absent from some of the meetings. Hirschberger, of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, and Menz, a carpenter, born in America, generally participated in some of the discussions.
“A man named Kiesling was a member, and after my liberation from the station I was informed by Haker, Kaiser and another man that he had helped a member to escape arrest. Commes, or Commens, had shot and wounded two Jews, and Kiesling was delegated to take him in an express wagon to Lake View, where he turned him over to some members of the Southwest Side group, who then assisted him in effecting his escape.”
Seliger then gave a number of names of members who belonged to the groups he was most familiar with, as follows:
“North Side Group.—Asher, a mason; Turban, carpenter; Huber, carpenter; Heuman, railroad laborer; Stak, cornice-maker; Reuter; Habitzreiter, of the Arbeiter-Zeitung; Kasbe, shoemaker; Menge, carrier of Arbeiter-Zeitung; Hoelscher, carrier of same paper; Jebolinski, carpenter; Behrens, shoemaker. Members no longer with group: Wichman, a saloon-keeper, expelled from Berlin, Germany; Ammer, book-binder; the Thiesen brothers, one a shoemaker and the other a carpenter, and Polling.
“Northwest Side Group.—Blume, carpenter; Elias, carpenter; Fischer, Engel, Lehnhard, Breitenfeld. Blume and Elias left because they were quarreling all the time with Fischer, and they founded the Karl Marx group.
“Southwest Side Group.—Scholz; Fehling, cigar-maker; Kaiser, carpenter; Haker, carpenter; Schoening.”
The next arrest was that of John Thielen. Thielen was a man about 37 year of age, born near the city of Coblentz, Germany, a carpenter by occupation, and a rabid “red,” living in Chicago at No. 509 North Halsted Street. He had been an Anarchist in the old country, and there had divided his time between talking up the social revolution and running a small grocery store, until business had got so dull that he was obliged to sell out. He then fell back upon his trade for a living. Much as it went against his grain to labor, he had no alternative except to starve. It occurred to him that the stronger a Socialist he became the less hard work he would have to do, and he accordingly availed himself of every opportunity to talk on his pet hobby. At last the officials of Emperor William got after him, and, packing up a few things, he emigrated to America, reaching Chicago about five years before his arrest. He had been here only a short time when he learned that there were a number of men in the city who talked to workingmen about the shortest way to get rich without work, how to have a good time playing cards, drinking beer, attending picnics and balls, wearing good clothes, and smoking good cigars. This struck Thielen’s fancy, and he concluded that at last he had found the place he had longed for during many years. He decided to identify himself with these men, and accordingly made haste to attend all their meetings. It was not long before he proved himself as good an Anarchist as the rest of the leaders. His wife also had become imbued with his doctrines, and had grown indeed more positive than her husband.
From a Photograph.
They had a son, 15 years of age, a tall, slim fellow. Nothing would satisfy the mother except his induction into the order. After the stripling had become a member, she was still unsatisfied; he must join the Sharpshooters. This the boy did, and thus he fell in with the most rabid of the Anarchists—into the very crowd that gathered in secret session at 63 Emma Street on Sunday, May 2, at ten o’clock in the morning, to hear Engel unfold his murderous plan.
The youth was a close listener and an ardent admirer of the leaders. He also attended the Haymarket meeting, and went there for a purpose. It appears that the order had established, in furtherance of this conspiracy, a line of runners, composed of all the young men who were swift and light of foot, the object being to furnish means of rapid communication between a “commander” and his men. For instance, in the execution of Engel’s plan, a number of Anarchists had gone to Wicker Park, some to Humboldt Park, and others to Garfield Park, on the evening of May 4. Their instructions were to stand ready to obey orders, and, on receipt of a signal, to advance into the city and shoot down all who opposed them. The “commander” attended the Haymarket meeting, accompanied by young Thielen, and it was his intention, the moment the proper signal was given, to despatch the boy on his mission. The boy was then to start on a keen run to a certain place, where he was to meet another runner; the second was to take the message to a third, and so on until the men posted at the parks were reached.
Fortunately, however, young Thielen missed his “commander” when the bomb fell and the shooting commenced at the Haymarket. The boy then lost his courage, like his superior, and applied his speed to getting home as fast as possible.
Young Thielen had been selected because of his supposed coolness. He had been a great favorite of Lingg’s, and had been in that worthy’s room on that very afternoon up to 7:30 in the evening. He had even helped to load dynamite bombs there. When the work had been completed, Lingg had distributed a lot of the dynamite left over to his friends present. Three boxes had been given to Thielen and the boy, and the “stuff” was subsequently found buried under their house, together with fire-arms and ammunition.
When trouble finally surrounded the Thielen household, the wife and mother showed true grit. On being shown the evidence of their complicity in a conspiracy, she neither flinched nor quivered.
“Our whole family are Anarchists,” she defiantly remarked, “and what of it? Try your best, you can’t scare me!”
The son was ordered by the officers to come with them to the station, and as they left the house Mrs. Thielen said to him:
“I want you to brace up and be firm, as you have been taught by your comrades. This is for a good cause. Bear it all like a man.”
The boy was taken to the Larrabee Street Station and put under cross-fire. He was decidedly firm at first, but after he had become involved in a number of false statements and shown that the police knew a good deal about him, he looked at every officer in the station and asked:
“If I tell all I know and tell the truth, what will you do with me?”
He was informed that such a course would be the best for him and that it might afford him a chance to get out of his troubles. This satisfied the youth, and he gave a long and strong statement, which others subsequently corroborated. He then explained that he had been misled into reading all sorts of nonsense on Anarchy. He had eagerly studied all books on the question, and, being encouraged by his parents, had taken a deep interest in all the meetings. He worked whenever he could find employment, but at all times his mind was centered in the success of the cause.
He was detained at the station only a few days, and then released on a promise to hold himself subject to the orders of the State and testify when called on. But the State did not need his evidence, and soon thereafter I secured him employment in a factory. He is still at work and is now proving himself an exemplary youth.
The father proved a rather elusive individual after the police began searching for him. But at the time of Mrs. Seliger’s arrest he ventured too near the Chicago Avenue Station. It was on the morning of May 12 that a man was noticed in the company of two women. The man remained on the outside at a good distance, but the women entered the court-room of the station and sat there for some time, watching the prisoners brought before the magistrate. The women asked no questions of any one in the room, and it was soon discovered that they had no business there. Officer Loewenstein approached them and asked if they had come to see Mrs. Seliger. One replied that they did not know her.
“But,” interposed the other, with some hesitancy, “is she here?”
“I can’t tell,” remarked the officer. “I was going to make some inquiries, but as you do not know her, it will save me the trouble.”
“Say, young man,” said one of the women, who was getting interested as well as curious, “what is your business here?”
“Well, madam, I am known here as a ‘straw-bailer.’ I go bail for all people who pay me well, and I am all O. K. with the police. If you want anything done for Mrs. Seliger, you must be very careful here. Don’t let the police know your object. As you are Germans, I will not charge you anything for my trouble, if I can do anything for you.”
“Well, we will talk to you later,” they said. “Can we remain here for awhile?”
“Oh, yes; I will take care of you so that no one will disturb you,” replied the officer, in a patronizing tone of voice. “By the way, when I came to the station this morning, I saw you standing at the corner talking to a gentleman with black whiskers, and he is now standing across the street. If he is a friend of yours, I will call him in here.”
“Oh, yes,” responded the women, “he is our friend and a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Seliger. He is a good man.”
“What is his name? I will call him in at once.”
“His name is John Thielen. He lives at No. 509 North Halsted Street and is all right.”
Officer Stift meantime had kept his eye on the individual across the street, with instructions not to arrest him so long as he hovered about the station, but, in the event of his going away any distance, to take him in charge. The man at no time went far from his post; he was too anxious to hear from the women. The moment Officer Loewenstein had secured the information about his identity, he posted across the street, and, hailing the man, said:
“John, I think you have been ‘ransacking’ around here long enough. Come with me; the boys want to see you.”
“Who are the boys?” inquired Thielen.
“Capt. Schaack,” answered the officer.
“I don’t want to see him or have anything to do with him.” Thielen was surprised as well as indignant.
“Well,” said the officer, “he would like to make your acquaintance.”
“You tell him that he don’t know me and I don’t know him; so what the d——d does he want? Good-day, I am going home.”
“You must come in first and give an account of yourself.”
“I am a good man; I am not afraid.”
He went to the station rather reluctantly, still with an air of innocence and bravery. The moment he stepped inside the office, I said to him:
“John, you are an Anarchist. You are one of the rioters. You were at the Haymarket meeting. You knew about the bombs. You are under arrest.”
“I am no Anarchist,” responded John, rather warmly. “I am a carpenter.”
“Yes,” said I, “you are both, and you live at 509 North Halsted Street. I have no time now to talk to you. Whenever you want to see me send word by the turnkey.”
On the second day, John sent word that he wanted to see me. He was taken up into the office, and there he asked what benefit it would be to him if he told all he knew. He was informed that we would expect him to tell only the truth and not lie about any one or shield any one who was guilty of wrong-doing. If he did all this honestly and conscientiously the State would, no doubt, reward him for his information. Thielen assented to the proposition, but he told very little at this interview. He was brought up again the next day, and from the questions put he soon discovered that some one had been telling the truth about him.
“Now I will tell you all I know,” he said, “and let it fall where it belongs. What I say I will swear to. I see every one is trying to get out. First I will tell you what I did myself, and then what the others did.”
He accordingly made a long statement, but as substantially the same facts were brought out in the trial by other witnesses, he was never called on to testify. Since then Thielen has abandoned Anarchy and is a better man.
The statement Thielen made runs as follows, and it will be noticed by reference to the trial proceedings that, had he been a witness, he would have fully corroborated the testimony given by Seliger and his wife. On being shown, at the station, some round lead bombs, he said:
“I saw Louis Lingg have twenty-two pieces like these in his room. They were not all finished. I saw them when they were being cast. They were in halves and placed in Louis Lingg’s trunk. If that trouble had not occurred at McCormick’s factory that Monday, they would not have been finished yet, but after that trouble with the officers he completed them. That is, he loaded them with dynamite, ready to be used. I never knew of any one or heard of anybody who could make these bombs except Lingg. I had two of these gas-pipe bombs, loaded with dynamite. I got them from Lingg, and I threw them away as soon as I got them. There were only a few left of these long ones. There were seventeen pieces loaded at Seliger’s house. Bonfield had better look out for himself, as these bombs are for the most part made for him, and he will get one yet. He was shooting the people during the West Side car strike and at McCormick’s. I promised to give you the round bombs that I had, but, as I said, I threw them away and out of danger. I will tell you, before all these men, that these two iron shells now lying before me at this table I got from Lingg at his house, No. 442 Sedgwick Street, on May 4, 1886. He gave them to me, and I took them along home. They were loaded, and there was a fuse in each of them. This was Tuesday night, May 4, 8 o’clock. The very same night he also gave me those two cigar-boxes here now before me, filled with dynamite. He wanted me to take them and throw them in the alley. He said they were empty, but I saw that they were filled. They were too heavy to be empty. I took them home myself, together with my boy. We buried them under our house. The last time I saw any bombs was at Florus’ place, where a search was made by the police. I would have given up those bombs to you to-night if you had not found them. In these boxes is finished dynamite ready to be used. I know Seliger had charge of selling arms. We paid $7.00 for a revolver and $10.00 for a gun. I saw Lingg and Seliger at Seliger’s house, Tuesday, May 4, at about 8 P.M., and 9:30 P.M. I saw them together at Larrabee Street. There were twenty-two lead bombs that I saw in Lingg’s room. They were made on a Sunday afternoon. Lingg, Seliger and myself made them. They had been cast about two weeks before Tuesday, May 4. I saw in a satchel in Lingg’s room about fifteen pieces of these long iron shells, on Tuesday, May 4. There were also some round lead bombs, and they were all loaded. The time I was in Lingg’s room, May 4, I saw one man take along with him, when he left, three round lead bombs loaded with dynamite, and Lingg gave those bombs to the man himself. I know the man, and I, John Thielen, will get them from that man and give them to you this evening. After what happened at the Haymarket on that Tuesday evening, May 4, you could not hear of any one having bombs in their possession. I should judge that two men more received from Lingg six round bombs loaded with dynamite. In Greif’s Hall, 54 West Lake Street, on the evening of May 3, at the meeting there, Lingg said to the people present that he would furnish the dynamite bombs if any one would throw them. I told him to throw the bombs himself. Then I said to Lingg that it would cost a man his life to throw them. Lingg replied that no man could see any one throw one of them. He said if necessary he would throw some. He also stated that if any one would come to him he would show him how to make bombs with dynamite. I saw Lingg and Seliger together at Thüringer Hall—Neff’s place—58 Clybourn Avenue, on the evening of May 4. Lingg had a satchel. The satchel was placed near a little passageway leading to the ‘gents’ closet.’ It was a gray canvas-covered satchel about two feet long, one foot wide and one and a half feet high. Seliger, Lingg and myself went away together to Clybourn Avenue. We then went up on Larrabee Street, at 9:30 P.M. I left Lingg and Seliger at the corner of Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street. The satchel was brought by Lingg to Neff’s Hall that night, and any one there could help himself to bombs. Lingg said to some people: ‘There are bombs in that satchel, and now help yourselves.’ These words were spoken in the saloon of Neff’s place to a crowd of armed men.”
The above confession was given on the 14th of May. On the next day Thielen was brought face to face with Lingg—with what results the next chapter will show. On the 16th of May Thielen supplemented his first statement with additional particulars. He said:
“On Tuesday, May 4, 1886, about 9:30 P.M., myself and old man Lehman were together on the corner of North Avenue and Larrabee Street, near the police station, and afterwards we went back to Neff’s Hall. Three men came into the saloon and said that there had been a terrible explosion on the West Side at the Haymarket meeting and that a great many were killed and wounded; that Fielden had made a speech, and a radical one. The police came, and a shot was fired. Some one in the crowd said: ‘Now, do not spare powder or lead.’ A friend of mine got shot through the cheek. The man works for Mr. Christal, corner of Lake and State Streets, in a basement—a carpenter-shop. That man stated that he was there at the meeting, standing near the speaker, and about fifteen feet away from where the bomb was thrown. The understanding with us when we left Neff’s Hall on that Tuesday night, May 4, was to make a racket that would call out the police. It was a failure because the West Side police did not come out any sooner to interfere with the meeting or the mob. The grudge we had was the score of the police shooting our men at McCormick’s factory. We wanted revenge. The order came from the International armed men or the group. I was at Greif’s Hall, 54 West Lake Street, May 3. I there saw a circular calling for revenge. I was at the meeting Monday night at Zepf’s Hall, and there an order was given for the armed men to go to 54 West Lake Street, in the basement. The pass-word to get into that meeting was ‘Y komme.’ I went there to the meeting. I found George Engel there, and he made a speech. The whole plan was then unfolded by Engel. He said that there would be a meeting held on Tuesday night, May 4, at the Haymarket, and that the North Siders should stay on the North Side, and there they should wait until it had started—meaning the riot on the West Side. Engel said that some of those who had arms should come to the meeting, and those who had no arms should stay away from the meeting at the Haymarket. At the meeting in the basement a man by the name of Waller was chairman. George Engel did the speaking. There were about fifty men present belonging to the armed sections. Engel explained that the plan would have to be worked in this way: As soon as they had commenced on the West Side, then they should commence on the South Side and the North Side. Engel stated that the signal would be a fire which would be set, and seen at Wicker Park, and by the noise of the shooting. That would be the signal for commencing, and they should all attack the police stations; should throw dynamite bombs into the stations, to either kill or keep the officers in the stations, and should shoot the horses on the patrol wagons to prevent the police from helping one another. Engel is the man who proposed this plan. Engel is the only man that gave us any orders. And under the orders Engel gave us that night, May 3, in that basement, 54 West Lake Street, we started out May 4 on the North Side to do harm—that is, to shoot and kill anything that opposed us. The word ‘Ruhe’ in the ‘Briefkasten’ was adopted at our meeting May 3. It was to be used as a signal word. If it should appear the next day in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, then every man was to be ready with his arms or guns; that then the riot would commence, and they should watch for the signal. ‘Right and fest’ were passwords for the armed men should there be any fighting at McCormick’s. With the signal they should all come out with their bombs and arms, no matter whether it happened in the day or in the night. They should attack the armed officers of the law and the State militia. All of us armed men thought at one time that the police would not fight us, because they were all married men, and if they should fight us they would not do it so very hard. The plan was to call out a meeting first and have no speakers there. The police would then come and drive us away. They then should fire on the police. There were a lot of armed people at the meeting, I know. But the police did not interfere, so they got speakers at the meeting. Finally the police came out, and the mob did what they had agreed to do. Afterwards fault was found, and they said the North Siders were cowards. When Spies and others were arrested, the armed men all said that, should anything happen to those men, there would be a riot. In reference to the report about the shooting of six of our men at McCormick’s factory, I will say that what I saw and read in that circular calling for revenge made me mad at the officers. At that meeting Engel called on us to take revenge on the police officers, because they had killed six of our men. There were about seventy-five of us, so far as I know, on the North Side, to do the work on Tuesday night, May 4, and Lingg was mad because there were no more men coming after bombs. At Neff’s Hall Tuesday night, May 4, we all looked to Lingg as a leader of the North Siders. I know of no one else who could make bombs. Some one found fault with Lingg at Neff’s Hall on Tuesday night because he came so late with his bombs. Then Lingg asked why they had not come after the bombs. They all knew, he said, where he lived. Lingg was very angry. Schablinsky lives near me, and he got bombs from him. There were about nineteen men in the vicinity of the Chicago Avenue Station on the night of May 4, to attack the station when the police should come out on the wagons to answer a call from the West Side Haymarket. The men, seeing all this, lost their courage because the police, they said, passed them so quick, and then they said to one another, ‘Why should we attack and lose our own lives for the sake of others?’ When the wagon was gone, they saw lots of officers coming on foot to the station. Then the men went away. The North Siders, the armed men, were to meet in Neff’s Hall May 4, in the afternoon. I was at Thalia Hall, Northwest Side, where the Lehr und Wehr Verein met, on Wednesday, May 5, in the forenoon. I saw Fischer, and he said Spies and others had been arrested. I always knew that Fischer was one of the leaders in this affair—the riot. Fischer said the riot was a failure. It was botched, and nothing could be done any more. On Tuesday afternoon there was a tall young fellow at Lingg’s room about six o’clock. He had a smooth face and was about six feet tall. The tall man and Lingg were working at the bombs and dynamite. The tall man, I think, worked at Brunswick & Balke’s factory.”
The foregoing was read to Thielen and its correctness acknowledged before Mr. Furthmann, the officers and myself, and his signature is affixed to the margin of each sheet of the paper on which it is written. Thielen’s stepson, William Schubert, confirmed the statement of his father with reference to the dynamite bombs and the cigar-boxes filled with dynamite, and added:
“I went under the house and dug a hole in the ground, and father and myself put those things in the hole and then covered them up.”
About the time of Thielen’s arrest Officers Hoffman and Schuettler ran across Franz Lorenz on North Avenue near Sedgwick Street, in the very stronghold of Anarchy, and as the man seemed to be suffering from an over-dose of Anarchy and liquor, they took him to the station. This was on the 10th of May. He was a German, 48 years of age, and lived with a man named Jaeger, at No. 31 Burling Street. He did not seem to be known much in Socialist circles, and no one seemed specially interested in him. He was locked up at the Larrabee Street Station, and for four days he was as stupid as an owl. He would eat and drink very little, but managed to sleep every day. On the sixth day he was taken to the Chicago Avenue Station and remained there two days longer before he recovered his normal condition. When brought into the office, he told me that he had been drinking very hard, and, being asked for the reason, he said that he had attended many Anarchist meetings, had heard all the speeches and had learned that soon they would all have plenty of money. Whenever such assurances were given, it always, he said, made him feel so good that he would go and get one more drink. Between speeches and drinks, he said, he had come near dying. He assured me that if he was released he would go right to work and give Anarchy and all meetings a wide berth. On being questioned as to his acquaintances, he said he knew “all the boys”—the leading Anarchists—and had admired them warmly.
“I heard Lingg speak,” said he, “and he is a good one. I tell you he is a radical.”
“I suppose,” said I, “you took two drinks on his speech?”
“Yes, I took more than that,” replied Lorenz. “The last time I heard Lingg speak in Zepf’s Hall, I went and got drunk. On May 4, I heard all the boys speak on the wagon at the Haymarket, but I did not stay there until it was over. I went into a saloon a block away from there and got drunk in no time, and when I woke up the next morning I was in bed in one of the cheap lodging-houses.”
Not knowing anything definite, he was released by the State’s Attorney, and he has not since been heard from. He has probably retired to some other city to renew his drunks at Anarchist headquarters on the free beer usually provided.