Thursday, October 12, 2006
Assault, 1891 Style: United States Vs. Martin Goodwin
United States of America
Western District of Arkansas
Before Stephen Wheeler, United States
United States vs. Martin Goodwin
See Complaint and Endorsements Thereon Filed Herewith
On the 3rd day of Dec 1891
came the United States of America, the Plaintiff in this cause, by ……. U.S. Attorney defendant in his own person, in custody of the Marshal and by his Attorney Peal Byers when the following testimony was heard and proceedings had, to-wit:
Robert Barnes being duly sworn deposes and says:
I reside in Paola (?), Indian Territory and know the defendant in this cause…There was a little dance at our house during Cotton picking. DFT(defendant)? & Terry were there. Defendant walked across the room and said he was the best man in the house. Terry rose up and said he was not. I got Terry to sit down and I got things quieted. And afterwards Goodwin came in and repeated the remark. I got things quieted again and got him out of the house and took him into another house. After staying in there a while he got out of the window, and he and Terry got together and had a fight on the porch. After the fight was I saw that Terry had a cut on his hand. I do not know how it was made. I saw no knife during the fight.
I do not know how the fight commenced on the porch or who struck the first lick.
Lafayette Terry, being duly sworn says:
Defendant and I were at the dance at Barnes. Everything went on smoothly until Goodwin got up on the floor and said he was the best God damned man in the house except his friends. I got up on the floor and said it was not so. Bob Barnes told me to not be too fast and I sat down. Goodwin went back and first I know he came back and sat down beside me or near me and said boys why aren’t you dancing. He was asked to go home, but he said he was not ready yet. They asked him what he was waiting on. He said he did not know unless it was Jesus Christ to move the spirit. He sat there a few minutes, then raised up and stamped the floor and said I am the best God damned man in the house except my friends. I saw he had his knife in his hand and I raised up and picked up a chair and and Bob Barnes caught Goodwin and run him out of the door. They kept him out in the hall a while and then I went out on the porch and Barnes told me they they had got him shut up in the other house. Bob Barnes went to get my children so I could go home and while I was waiting for them the window raised and I heard some one say “hello boys” and he came down to within two or three steps of me and said “I am the best God damned man on the hill.” I put my hand out against him and caught him by the shirt bosom, he squatted and struck me on the hip with something, and when he straightened up I hit him with my fist and staggered him back a little and tried to hug me. About that time someone caught me and while I was being held I threw my hand up and Goodwin cut me in the hand. Someone grabbed Goodwin and ran off with him. That ended it. He struck at me several times with his knife during the fight, but only cut me once. He cut the back of my coat with another lick. Defendant and I married sisters and have not been on good terms since he married my sister-in-law. We are both white men. This occurred about the 27th of Oct last.
I have served 2 years in the Columbus Penitentiary for introducing and selling whiskey. Defendant was drinking that night. I had not been drinking. I hit defendant 3 or 4 times during the fight.
Lewis Sherfield, a witness for defendant duly sworn says:
I was at the dance and saw the fight on the porch. Terry struck the first lick. Defendant just came out of the room and said “Hello boys” and walked up to Terry. Terry struck him. I had been there a couple of hours when the difficulty occurred. I saw Goodwin have ? during the difficulty. I had Goodwins knife in my pocket at the time. I did not see any cut on Terry and never heard anything about it until next day. I and Goodwin left immediately. We went right off the porch together and went to our mules and went home.
After the fight was over I did not wait to see if Terry was hurt but left immediately. I would judge the Goodwin was drunk. His mother had got me to see after him as he was drinking.
Nancy Sherfield a witness for defendant:
I was in the house where Goodwin raised up and said he was the best man in the house. Terry raised up with his hand on the back of a chair. Goodwin was rushed out of doors and some one threw a chair at him. I did not see who it was. We came there about an hour before the difficulty. I was out on the porch when the fight occurred out there. When Goodwin came out he said “Hello boys” and Terry said “I’ll make you think hello” and struck Goodwin. I did not see any knife. I heard no objection to Goodwin being there.
The difficulty occurred as late as 11 o’clock or later. My husband and I had been there about an hour when the difficulty occurred. Goodwin came there after we did. He left his wife at home and came over there late at night and got drunk and raised the row that broke up the dance and then went home