W. H. COLGATE.
Cowley County Courant, December 1, 1881.
W. H. Colgate and wife, of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, are here visiting friends, and will probably remain all winter. Mrs. Colgate is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. McMullen.
Winfield Courier, December 8, 1881.
Mr. J. B. Colgate, of New York City, a son-in-law of Mr. J. F. McMullen, is visiting here and will probably locate permanently among us.
Winfield Courier, April 13, 1882.
Col. J. C. McMullen entertained his class, with a few others of the Baptist Sabbath school, at his residence on last Thursday evening. His class is principally young ladies and gentlemen; therefore, the party consisted of young folks, with only a sprinkling of older ones—just enough to tone them down and make it very agreeable. The Colonel had a “crow to pick” with Capt. McDermott, the superintendent, on account of his often tapping the bell just as he was explaining to his class the most interesting part of the lesson. So he seized this opportunity of “heaping coals of fire on his head” by calling on McDermott for an address answering the question, “Why should we read the Bible aside from a religious duty? He limited him to five minutes, when all knew that it would take twice that length of time to do the subject justice. Mr. McDermott fully occupied the time and proved conclusively that all should read the Bible because it is a wonderful history, etc. The party were then entertained for a few moments with selected readings from some of our best authors by Mr. William Colgate, son-in-law of J. F. McMullen. He is a fine elocutionist, and his selections were highly appreciated by the guests. After the reading an excellent supper was served by the estimable hostess and her daughter, Nellie, and some splendid music was furnished by Master Ed., and Miss Zulu Farringer. The party was a very enjoyable one, and the guests fully appreciated the hospitable and agreeable manner in which they were entertained.
Winfield Courier, April 20, 1882.
On last Friday evening the residence of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Fuller was the scene of one of the merriest as well as the “toniest” parties ever given in Winfield. Mrs. Fuller has entertained her friends several times this winter without any of the young folks being present, but this time she honored them by giving this party, which was duly appreciated. Everyone invited, with but two exceptions, was present and never were guests more hospitably entertained. The evening was spent in dancing and other amusements, while an elegant collation consisting of cakes and ice cream was served at eleven o’clock. At a late hour the guests dispersed, all thanking their kind host and hostess for the pleasant evening so happily spent. The costumes of the guests were elegant and worthy of mention. We give below a list which we hope will be satisfactory to the ladies mentioned.
Mrs. Fred C. Hunt wore a pale steel blue silk and brocaded satin dress with fine Spanish lace trimmings, white flowers.
Mrs. Colgate, white nuns veiling en train, white satin trimmings.
Mrs. George Robinson, pink brocade satin, underskirt of black silk velvet, point lace.
Mrs. Joe Harter, black silk velvet skirt, pink bunting over dress.
Mrs. W. C. Garvey, of Topeka, white Swiss muslin, red sash and natural flowers.
Mrs. Rhodes, silver gray silk, pink ribbons.
Mrs. Thorpe, very handsome costume of heliotrope silk and silk tissue.
Mrs. Steinberger, black brocade and gros grain silk, red flowers.
Mrs. Dr. Emerson, black satin dress, cashmere bead passementerie, diamond jewelry.
Miss Jennie Hane, fine white polka dot mull trimmed in Spanish lace, pink flowers.
Miss Clara Andrews, pink bunting polonaise, black skirt.
Miss Kelly, handsome black silk.
Miss McCoy, blue silk velvet skirt and blue and old gold brocaded polonaise, Honiton lace and flowers.
Miss Jackson, navy blue silk dress, lace sleeves and fichu.
The Misses Wallis were prettily attired in cream colored mull, Miss Lizzie with pale blue sash and Miss Margie in lavender.
Miss Ama Scothorn, cream colored cheese cloth, Spanish lace trimming.
Miss Alice Dunham, dainty dress of cream bunting.
Miss Julia Smith, beautifully flowered white silk polonaise, black silk velvet skirt, diamond jewelry.
Miss Ellis, elegant gray silk.
Miss Klingman, fine white Swiss, and wine colored silk.
Miss Bryant, brown silk dress, pink ribbons.
Miss Beeny, blue and gold changeable silk fine thread lace fichu, natural flowers.
Miss Cora Berkey, black silk skirt, pink satin pointed bodice.
Miss French, black gros grain silk, very elegant.
Miss Josie Mansfield, black silk and velvet, Spanish lace.
Mrs. Bullock, black silk trimmed in Spanish lace.
Miss Belle Roberts, light silk, with red flowers.
Miss Curry, striped silk, beautifully trimmed.
Miss Bee Carruthers, cream nuns veiling, aesthetic style.
Miss Kate Millington, peacock blue silk, Spanish lace sleeves and fichu.
Miss Jessie Millington, black silk velvet and gros grain.
The following gentlemen were in attendance. Their “costumes” were remarkable for subdued elegance and the absence of aesthetic adornment.
Messrs. Steinberger; J. N. Harter; G. A. Rhodes; E. E. Thorpe; George, Will, and Ivan Robinson; Fred and Will Whiting; Mr. Colgate; F. C. Hunt; C. E. Fuller; C. C. Harris; W. H. Smith; Will Smith; W. J. Wilson; Jos. O’Hare; Jas. Lorton; Frank and E. P. Greer; Eugene Wallis; Saml. E. Davis; L. H. Webb; Harry and Chas. F. Bahntge; Chas. Campbell; Ezra Nixon; L. D. Zenor; E. G. Cole; C. H. Connell; Mr. Ed. M. Clark of McPherson; and W. C. Garvey of Topeka.
Cowley County Courant, June 22, 1882.
Among those who especially exerted themselves in the boats and water for the recovery of the body of the drowned boy, Charlie Austin, we noticed Mr. Colgate, Frank Finch, Tom Myers, Charlie Hodges, Capt. Smith, Dr. Wells, Ben Cox, Sydal, Sid Majors, Hank Paris, Bert Freeland, and a number of others who were strangers to us. Those in the river were ably assisted by those on the banks. Horses and teams were freely tendered for conveying imple-ments to be used in the search for the body, everyone seeming desirous of doing their part.
Winfield Courier, July 20, 1882.
W. H. Colgate will read in the Baptist Church on Tuesday, August 1st at 8 o’clock in the evening, under the auspices of the Baptist Sabbath school, THE CAPTAIN’S STORY.. This is a production of the greatest interest and Mr. Colgate reads it with the best effect. A further description of the piece and reading will appear next week.
Winfield Courier, July 27, 1882.
The object of the reading by Mr. Will Colgate at the Baptist Church on next Tuesday evening is to obtain means to buy books for the Sunday school.
Winfield Courier, July 27, 1882.
The music before the reading at the Baptist Church Tuesday evening by Mr. Will Colgate will consist of a greeting glee by choir, solo by Miss Lotta Caton, duet by Messrs. Cairns and Bowles, instrumental overture by Messrs. Leffingwell and Farringer, and will close with a solo and quartette by Mrs. Jewell.
Winfield Courier, August 3, 1882.
The Reading by Mr. Will Colgate Tuesday evening was a success, financially and socially. A large audience was present, the auditorium of the Baptist Church being full. Mr. Colgate reads well, and the story is one of wonderful power and pathos. We hope Mr. Colgate will favor our people with another selection in the near future. The music and singing was very fine and was highly appreciated by the audience.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 16, 1882.
On Sunday morning last at 4 o’clock, Bliss’ mill was almost entirely destroyed by fire. When first discovered the fire was well underway in several places; the safe had been rifled, and it is supposed the mill had been set on fire. The loss will reach about $45,000.
Arkansas City Traveler, September 13, 1882.
The defaulting bookkeeper (Colgate) of Bliss & Wood’s mill at Winfield, which recently burned, has confessed to setting it on fire in the hope that by destroying the books, he would get rid of all evidence as to his financial irregularities.
Winfield Courier, September 14, 1882.
THE MYSTERY SOLVED.
W. H. Colgate Arrested and Confesses to Burning Bliss & Wood’s Mill.
He Does it for “Spite” and to Cover up Peculations.
Our city was thrown into a fever of excitement Friday by the report that W. H. Colgate had made a confession of burning Bliss & Wood’s Mill. The report proved to be true, and Colgate is now in jail in default of $5,000 bail. The arrest was made Saturday morning by Sheriff Shenneman on a warrant sworn out by J. J. Merrick.
W. H. Colgate is a young man, about thirty-two years of age, and the only son of J. B. Colgate, an eminent banker and capitalist of New York, whose wealth is placed at seven millions of dollars. Young Colgate was sent away from home to school at the age of ten and has never returned. He was furnished all the money he wanted, and naturally acquired fast habits and fast companions, and attracted the moths and butterflies of society which so readily flock to the glitter of gold, regardless of surrounding circumstances, and only eager to see who can first get their wings singed. These were ever with him and around him, applauding his follies and flattering his vanity until he became a ruined man, with ideas of life distorted and mind and body rendered totally unfit for a battle with the realities of every day existence.
Then came a rupture with the father, whose stern New England character could neither palliate nor defend the excess of his boy, and he was cast off to return no more to the parental roof, and placed on an allowance that while to many would have been princely to him was barely enough to keep the wolf from the door.
Then he drifted to Winfield and kind friends here who thought that, if given a chance, he might yet prove himself a man, secured him a position as bookkeeper in Bliss & Wood’s mill. All went along smoothly, he seemed to take hold with a will, and his employers placed one trust after another in his hands until he had the complete handling of all the funds of the mill. There the trouble appears to have commenced. He began to let his books fall behind, and when the firm demanded a statement of the business and an invoice of stock, he delayed it from time to time, offering as an excuse that he had more than he could do and was unable to catch up. Still the firm had no suspicions of any crookedness.
On Friday before the mill was burned, they put Mr. J. C. Curry in the office to assist Colgate with the books. This seemed to frustrate him somewhat, but things went along pleasantly until Saturday, when a check was found which did not correspond with the stub by $15. The explanation of this was not satisfactory and the firm began to suspect that everything was not right and resolved to investigate the books thoroughly.
Colgate seemed to be aware of this and it worried him. After supper Saturday evening, he went back to the mill alone and worked at the books until eleven o’clock, trying to fix them up in some shape. This he found he could not do, and, putting the books in the safe, he locked it, went out and locked the door and went home—but not to sleep.
The matter weighed on his mind, and as he thought of it from every standpoint and the fear of discovery preyed upon him, a sudden idea seized him and he said to himself, “I’ll burn the thing, and hide all traces of it.” He got up, went to the mill, unlocked the safe, took out the tell-tale books, tore them apart, piled them on the floor, went to the oil tank in the engine room, drew a lot of the oil, and returning with it, poured it over the books on the floor, lit a match, touched it to the pile, went out, locked the door and ran up the hill, the red glare of the burning books in the office lighting his way. Going up the hill, in his hurry and fright, he dropped a package of his own private papers that he had taken from the safe. A gold pen and large inkstand he carried on home with him. Soon the cry of “Fire!” was sounded and he ran down to the mill in his shirt sleeves, and for three long hours watched the demon that he had unchained lick up the property of his employers and benefactors, and the institution that afforded him the first day’s wages he had ever earned, go up in smoke, fired by his own hand.
What his thoughts must have been while he stood there and watched the flames as they crackled and hissed and in demoniac fury seemed to be reaching out toward him as if to point him out to the multitude, is more than we can imagine. The sight was appalling to the stoutest heart, and how much more terrible must it have been to him who had, by betraying a trust, swept away the results of years of toil and care to his employers, brought disgrace upon his family and friends, and dire calamity upon himself.
It is difficult, and indeed impossible, to assign a sensible reason for Colgate destroying the property. He says himself that he had overdrawn perhaps seventy-five dollars. Mr. Wood says this shortage could not have been more than $150. He received from the east $75 per month and earned a salary of $50. While here he did not drink or gamble, and lived within his income. What time he did not spend at the mill was spent at home with his family. The only logical conclusion is that he committed the deed in a fit of frenzy at the possibility of being discharged, and while smarting under an imaginary wrong. Again it is possible that he tried to fix up the small amount which he says he had taken from the firm’s money, and got the books in such bad shape that he had to destroy them to prevent the knowledge that they had been tampered with.
Sunday morning our reporter visited Mr. Colgate in his cell at the jail, and had a long talk with him about the matter. He admitted to the reporter the fact of having been the cause of the fire, but asserted that he had no intention of destroying the mill. He said he felt that Webber, the head miller, and Curry were his bitter enemies, and were doing everything they could to get him discharged; that as soon as the other man was put in with him, he felt that he would be discharged, and in a fit of rage and frenzy made up his mind that no other persons should ever handle those books, went to the mill, took them out, dragged in a large piece of sheet iron, piled them up on it, set fire to the pile, and went home.
During the recital of his story, Colgate seemed much affected, and asked several times what was the least and the greatest penalty that could be inflicted upon him. He said he did not care so much for himself, but it would be a terrible blow to his wife and family. His wife is a daughter of J. F. McMullen and a niece of Col. J. C. McMullen, and he has one child. Col. McMullen was doing all he could for him, and was the means of securing him the position with Messrs. Bliss & Wood. The Colonel’s faith in humanity is sorely shaken by this occurrence.
If J. B. Colgate is the benevolent gentleman he has credit for being, he will refund to Messrs. Bliss & Wood the money they have lost through his son’s depravity. He can do so without feeling it, and he spends more in benevolent and charitable enterprises every year than it would take to make Bliss & Wood whole.
The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, September 14, 1882.
It will be remembered by the COMMERCIAL readers that a few weeks ago we gave an account of the burning of Bliss & Wood’s flouring mill at Winfield, and stated at the time it was supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Well, it seems from a dispatch dated at Winfield last Saturday, that the culprit has been found in the person of W. H. Colgate, formerly bookkeeper at the mill. It seems that Colgate’s books showed a deficiency, and he was discharged, so to seek revenge and cover his fraudulent transactions, he fired the mill, destroying the structure and all the books and papers. Colgate is the only son of Colgate, the fine soap manufacturer of New York, a millionaire and the founder of Colgate Academy of Utica, New York. He has a wife and two children, stood high in the social circles of Winfield, and from all we can learn had no outward bad habits. That is, he didn’t mix in with the boys, swill budge, and openly defy St. John and all the prohibition saints. He couldn’t do it because Winfield is a temperance town and the home of old man Millington, Bill Hackney, and other great prohibitory lights. It grieves us to say from all these facts that whiskey was not the cause of his ruin, because it lays a fearful load upon hereditary and weakens all our reserved arguments in favor of prohibition and its little Topeka Saint.
Winfield Courier, November 9, 1882.
November A. D. 1882 Term, Cowley County Distict Court, to be Begun and holden on and From the 14th Day of November, A. D. 1882.
CRIMINAL DOCKET—FIRST DAY.
325. STATE VS. WILLIAM H. COLGATE.
Winfield Courier, November 23, 1882.
The Colgate case has been up since Monday morning and will probably occupy the whole week. The evidence is very slow and develops but few new points. What it will result in no one can tell. We have long since stopped speculating on the effects of trial by jury. They are too uncertain.
Winfield Courier, November 30, 1882.
A large number of ladies were present at the argument of the Colgate case. Many of them sat through the tedious proceedings during almost the whole case.
Our reporter has attended the Colgate case regularly, and next week (if the case is concluded) will give an extended resume of the testimony and his impressions thereof.
The charge delivered by Judge Torrance to the jury in the Colgate case is the finest legal document ever prepared in this or any other district court. It is a thorough, masterly document, and reflects great credit upon our Judge.
The stoves at the Courthouse smoked terribly Tuesday, so much so as to nearly suffocate the court. The chimneys are built between the combs of the roof in such a manner as to create a downward draft when the wind comes from northwest. Something should be done to make the room tenable when needed.
Winfield Courier, November 30, 1882.
This term of court has been an exceedingly slow one. But little business has been done. The Bassywather, Vanmeter, and Colgate cases have taken up the term so far, with the exception of a few divorce and foreclosure cases. At this rate it will take years to get all the cases now on the docket to trial.
Arkansas City Traveler, December 6, 1882.
Colgate, who was tried for setting fire to Bliss & Wood’s mill, a short time since, was acquitted of the charge, and is now at large. The verdict was a surprise all around, and we hear great dissatisfaction expressed thereat.
Winfield Courier, December 7, 1882.
The victory won by Senator Hackney in the Colgate case, is certainly one of the most remarkable legal garlands ever earned by a Kansas attorney. It was “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.”
Winfield Courier, December 7, 1882.
There are two things that the wisdom of the most learned man cannot determine—which way a singed cat will jump and how a petit jury will give its verdict.
Winfield Courier, December 7, 1882.
The following are the names of the jurymen in the Colgate case: A. B. Tuggle, Jacob Smith, E. A. Hardy, E. M. Freeman, J. W. Hamlin, J. Camp, Wm. Johnson, R. L. Cunning-ham, Woods Retherford, Daniel Moffitt, J. W. Thomas, John Nash.
The legal battle over the Colgate case was magnificently fought. The counsel for the State brought in every particle of evidence which could be adduced to prove a circumstance, and carefully and skillfully built up their case until it seemed practically impossible to over-turn it—and no one on earth could have done it before a Cowley County jury, but W. P. Hackney. His argument to the jury was startling and his theories in direct opposition to those of his colleague, and they won the case in spite of the evidence and the charge of the court. It is a victory which he may well be proud of.
Winfield Courier, December 7, 1882.
The Colgate Case.
Last Thursday ended the trial of W. H. Colgate, charged with arson, in the burning of the Winfield mill of Bliss & Wood, with a verdict of acquittal.
The verdict was received in this community with expressions of surprise, astonishment, and indignation. Even the counsel and friends of the defendant seemed to be surprised in common with others. The jury and some of the witnesses were severely criticized and much feeling was manifested.
While we do not know on what theory the jury arrived at their verdict, we are disposed to assume that they did their duty as they understood it; and so far as the witnesses are con-cerned, though there were some glaring discrepancies between statements of different wit-nesses, we conclude that each intended to tell the exact truth, and that amid the various excitements and circumstances around the case, and on viewing things from different stand-points, some facts got misplaced in the minds of some witnesses, or were forgotten by others, which caused the discrepancies, most of which can readily be explained. We have the highest respect for those witnesses and believe their statements were conscientiously made.
We shall therefore content ourselves with giving a short resume of the evidence and general features of the case, ignoring some unpleasant rumors which may be entirely desti-tute of foundation in fact.
The evidence showed that about the first of April last, Bliss & Wood employed the defendant to keep their books in the mill. He had charge of the settlements with and payment of the hands and the payment of wheat purchases. He drew checks for these on the bank and kept all the accounts of the office. He was to make a monthly statement of his accounts for the inspection of Bliss & Wood, the proprietors. He had been in this position four months up to last August and had made no such statement. Wood urged him for a statement, and he excused himself on the ground that he had so much to attend to that he could not get time. Wood employed a Mr. Curry to help Colgate write up and examine the books and make the required statement. Colgate excitedly objected to having Curry’s assistance on the books, but Wood kept him at work. Curry found the books in bad condition, not posted up and with some items on debit side which should have been on credit side and vice versa. On Saturday, August 11th, he discovered a check which had been raised fifteen dollars; or rather, the entry on the books was fifteen dollars less than the face of the check. This Colgate explained in a plausible way, and it was agreed that the next day, Sunday, both Colgate and Curry should work at the books all day and try to straighten them out and make the required statement. That evening three of the hands working at the mill were fishing just below the mill at the race until half past ten when they left for home, and in passing by the office in the north wing of the mill, saw Colgate in there with a light at work at the books.
After midnight or about 2 o’clock of Sunday morning, the 12th, the mill was discovered to be in flames. Those who got to the fire first, saw many things which together went to prove that the fire originated in the office. The office was in the south side of a wing extend-ing east from the main building. Between the office and the main building was the engine room in the wing. The fire appeared to have been kindled on the office floor, burned through two doors into the engine room through an opening into the stairway of the main building, where a great amount of inflammable material and a draft above soon filled the whole inte-rior of the main building with flames.
Soon a considerable crowd of spectators were present and one of them picked up a pocket book belonging to Colgate, about a hundred and fifty yards from the mill in the direction of Colgate’s residence. The book contained mill checks and had been usually kept in a drawer in the office of the mill.
A lawyer or detective by the name of Merrick was employed by Wood two or three days later to help him investigate the case. Bliss returned from an absence two or three days after the mill was destroyed; and Bliss, Wood, and Merrick formed a plan to obtain a confession from Colgate. Bliss was to get Colgate into a room in his house, while Merrick and Spencer Bliss should hear the conversation through a transom into the next room. The plan suc-ceeded. The interview lasted several hours and resulted in a confession, substantially that he, Colgate, was alarmed at the thought that some exposures would result from the examination of the books the next day, returned to the mill on Saturday evening, the 11th, and worked all the evening at the books trying to fix them up; that in his attempts he made some erasures and changes that showed so badly that they would call attention to the falsifications. He left the mill in an agitated state of mind and went home. About midnight he returned and tore out some of the mutilated leaves of the books; he then concluded there was no other way than to destroy the books. He attempted to put them in the stove, but they were too large to go in, so he tore them up more, made a pile of them on the floor, poured kerosene oil on them, set them on fire, and left for home.
There is some discrepancy to whether at this talk or a subsequent one with Bliss, Colgate said he put a sheet iron under the books before firing them and that after the books were burned, he stamped out the fire and threw the sheet iron out of doors, and that he did not intend to burn the mill; but the doubts expressed by Bliss, and the positive testimony of Spencer and Merrick showed conclusively that this was not a part of the first confession, and the outside evidence tends to show that there was no sheet iron about it.
Of course, we cannot give in one newspaper article all the evidence given by fifteen witnesses in eight days, but can only give the general sum of the testimony. We will say here that the prosecution was conducted with consummate skill— that there were no omissions— but every possible scrap of evidence that could be found bearing on the case in any degree was brought out.
It is clear that without the confession there was not evidence enough to convict. It was mainly valuable as tending to confirm the statements of the confession. A considerable portion of the time of the trial was consumed in evidence and arguments as to the admissi-bility of the confession in evidence; but it was admitted by the judge, and the jury was properly instructed thereon, and on other points as follows.
“In order to constitute arson, the act of burning the building must have been actuated by a criminal intent. To use the language of the statute, it must have been done willfully, that is, designedly, and with an evil intent without justifiable cause. It is not necessary however in every case, that the accused should have entertained a specific intent to burn the building for the burning of which he is charged. For instance; if a bookkeeper employed by a firm which is engaged in operating a grist mill, for the purpose of destroying the books of account kept by him for his employers, should willfully set fire to and burn such books of account in the mill, under such circumstances as that the firing and burning of such books would probably result in the burning of the mill, and such a result should follow, he would be guilty of arson in so burning the mill. . . .
“When the verbal admissions of a person charged with crime is offered in evidence, it should be received with great caution. It should be remembered that there is always danger of mistake from the misapprehension of witnesses, the misuse of words, the failure of the party to express his own meaning, and the infirmity of human memory. Deliberate and voluntary confessions of guilt, however, are among the most effectual proofs of the law. Their value, though, depends on the supposition that they are deliberate and voluntary, and on the presumption that a rational being will not make admissions prejudicial to his interest and safety, unless when urged by the promptings of truth and conscience. The jury should, however, in every case scrutinize closely the circumstances under which they were made, in order to ascertain what weight should be given to them.
“Where the verbal admission of a person charged with a criminal offense has been offered in evidence, the whole of the admission should be taken together; as well that part which makes for the accused as that part which makes against him; and if the part of the statement which is in his favor is not disproved and is not apparently improbable or untrue when considered with all the other evidence in the case, then such part of the statement is entitled to as much consideration by the jury as any other part of the statement. But the jury are not obliged to believe all of such statement; they may disregard such portions of it as are inconsistent with other testimony, or which the jury believe, from the facts and circum-stances proved on the trial, are untrue.
“The credit and weight to be given to admissions of guilt depend very much upon what the admissions are. If the crime itself, as charged, is proved by other testimony, and it is also proved by other testimony that the defendant was so situated as to have an opportunity to commit the crime, or that he had a motive for so doing, and his confessions are consistent with such proof and corroborative of it, and the witnesses who testify to the admissions are apparently truthful, honest, and intelligent, these confessions so made, if they appear to have been made freely and voluntarily, and to have been clearly identified by the witnesses, are entitled to great weight with the jury.
“The jury are the exclusive judges of what facts have been proven in the case; of the credibility of the witnesses, and of the weight of the evidence.”
Arkansas City Traveler, December 13, 1882.
From the Courier.
The following are the names of the jurymen in the Colgate case: A. B. Tuggle, Jacob Smith, E. A. Hardy, E. M. Freeman, J. W. Hamlin, J. Camp, Wm. Johnson, R. L. Cunning-ham, Woods Retherford, Daniel Moffitt, J. W. Thomas, and John Nash.
The legal battle over the Colgate case was magnificently fought. The counsel for the State brought in every particle of evidence which could be adduced to prove a circumstance, and carefully and skillfully built up their case until it seemed practically impossible to over-turn it—and no one on earth could have done it before a Cowley County jury, but W. P. Hackney. His argument to the jury was startling, and his theories in direct opposition to those of his colleague, and they won the case in spite of the evidence and the charge of the court. It is a victory which he may well be proud of.
[Note by RKW: “Court Case Number 337.”]
Winfield Courier, December 14, 1882.
The costs in the Colgate case, which come out of the county, amount to $636.00. Witness fees, $296; jury fees, $240; stenographer, $60, and Sheriff and Clerk, $40.
Senator Hackney has been quite ill for the past week with a fever, brought on by the severe mental and physical strain undergone during the last term of court.
Winfield Courier, January 25, 1883. COLGATE TRIAL.
WITNESSES: Charles Clark, E. S. Bliss, Callie Gilliland, B. F. Herrod, J. J. Merrick, C. A. Bliss, A. B. Taylor, C. H. Bosley, B. F. Wood, F. M. Webber, J. S. Moss, Algie Bosley, W. M. Mundy, W. G. Fuller, J. W. Sickles, J. C. Curry, J. J. Merrick
Winfield Courier, February 15, 1883.
SKIPPED OUT! Colgate Again Arrested While Trying to Get Away.
For some time past Bliss & Wood have been perfecting the papers upon which to again try Colgate. He seemed to have got wind of it and before daylight Monday morning appeared at New Salem station six miles east of town, where he was observed to get on the train. He seemed tired and heated, and his actions were such that a man at once came down and reported the circumstance. The papers were got up, charging him with arson and grand larceny, and the officers at Ottawa were telegraphed to arrest him, which they did. The case is a continuation of the one on which he was tried before, and a grave doubt exists in the minds of several of our lawyers as to whether it can be made to stick or not.
Bliss & Wood are acting as the agents of the insurance company in bringing the prosecutions.
Winfield Courier, February 15, 1883. Sheriff Gary went east Tuesday morning and brought Colgate in.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 21, 1883. W. H. Colgate, who was tried and acquitted a short time ago, charged with burning Bliss & Wood’s Mill at Winfield, has been again arrested. He is charged this time with embezzlement and destroying the books of the firm. He was captured at Ottawa, leaving the country.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 7, 1883.
COURIER CLIPS. Colgate was brought before Justice Buckman for trial Tuesday, but owing to the absence of several witnesses, the case was continued to next Tuesday and Colgate was remanded to jail.
Winfield Courier, March 22, 1883.
Judge Torrance has not yet rendered his decision in the Colgate case. It ought to be a good one when it comes.
Winfield Courier, April 26, 1883.
Cowley County District Court, May Term, A. D. 1883.
FIRST DAY, TUESDAY, MAY 1ST, 1883—CRIMINAL.
No. 337. State v. W. H. Colgate.
Winfield Courier, May 17, 1883. District Court Notes. State vs. Colgate is on trial.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 23, 1883.
The Colgate case is on trail in the District Court this week.
Winfield Courier, May 24, 1883.
Peter Yount, who is one of the jurors in the Colgate case, has been too ill to sit since last Friday. The defendant by his attorneys offered to waive his right to twelve jurors and go on with the trial with the remaining eleven. The court held that the defendant could not waive that right, and continued the case until next Monday.
Winfield Courier, May 31, 1883.
The Colgate case was taken up again Monday and is now dragging its weary length along without new or interesting developments.
Arkansas City Traveler, June 6, 1883.
Colgate, who has achieved notoriety in connection with the burning of Bliss & Wood’s mill at Winfield was last Monday sentenced by Judge Torrance to three years hard labor. This will put Colgate where we think he will do the most good.
Winfield Courier, June 7, 1883.
The Colgate Case.
After a two weeks’ trial, the Colgate case was submitted to the jury at 10 o’clock last Thursday. After being out two days and a night, a verdict of guilty was returned. On Monday a motion for new trial was argued without avail and Monday evening Judge Torrance pronounced the sentence, which was that he be confined in the penitentiary at hard labor for a term of three years. Both the prosecution and defense were conducted with a care and vigor rarely displayed, and every inch of ground hotly contested.
Winfield Courier, June 7, 1883.
W. H. Colgate was taken to the penitentiary by Sheriff Gary Tuesday.
THE CALDWELL JOURNAL, June 14, 1883. [From Winfield Telegram.]
W. H. Colgate Found Guilty.
Most of our readers are already familiar with the facts connected with the history of this case. On the night of August 12th, Bliss & Wood’s mill was destroyed by fire; September 9th, W. H. Colgate was arrested and confessed to the crime of burning the books of the firm; he had his trial, and by a peculiar freak of the jury, was acquitted. It was generally supposed that this ended the case, although the action of the jury was severely criticized by many. He was, however, re-arrested on a charge of arson in the fourth degree, and for eighteen days occupied the attention of the last term of court. The case was given to the jury, who, after a tussle of thirty-eight hours, brought in a verdict of guilty. Efforts were immediately made by his council, Hackney & Asp, for a new trial, which was denied. The court then ordered the prisoner to stand up. In response to the question whether he had anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon him, he said he had not. He was then sentenced to three years in the penitentiary at hard labor. With the exception of a slight change of color, Colgate gave no sign, no indication of the effect the sentence had upon him. Smith, the horse thief, was also brought into court and sentenced to three years in the penitentiary. They were taken to Leavenworth by Sheriff Gary Tuesday.
Winfield Courier, June 21, 1883.
Judge Torrance held a short special session of court Monday morning, and a motion in the McCommon assignment case was argued and overruled.
The court also ordered a transcript of the evidence in the Colgate case.
Winfield Courier, July 12, 1883.
State Vs. Wm. H. Colgate.
[Amount Paid...Skipping Amount Asked.]
E. S. Bedilion, clerk’s costs: $30.25.
S. G. Gary, sheriff’s costs: $12.70.
F. P. Pruitt, sheriff’s costs: $2.50.
Witnesses: W. G. Fuller, $24.00; W. M. Mundy, $21.00; E. P. Greer, $1.50; J. J. Merrick, $17.50; E. S. Bliss, $36.00; B. F. Wood, $21.00; J. C. Curry,$21.00; J. S. Mann, $21.00; A. Bosley, $21.00; C. Bosley, $21.00; J. W. Sickles, $21.00; F. M. Webber, $21.00; Daniel Kantz, $3.00; C. W. Roseberry, $3.90; Z. W. Hogue, $5.10; Isaac Darnall, $6.00; David Tonkinson, $2.50; John Bobbitt, $1.50; C. A. Bliss, $.50; B. F. Wood, $.50; E. P. Greer, $.50; Geo. Rembaugh, $.50; Chas. Bosley, $.50; Fred Webber, $.50; Jas. Mann, $.50; Algie Bosley, $.50; W. G. Fuller, $.50; J. W. Sickles, $.50; W. M. Mundy, $1.00; J. C. Curry, $.50.
G. H. Buckman, J. P. costs: $19.95.
S. G. Gary, sheriff’s costs: $51.15.
Thomas Westfall, arresting Wm. Colgate: $15.00.
J. S. HUNT, County Clerk.
Winfield Courier, August 16, 1883.
Stenographer Reynolds has completed his transcript of the evidence in the Colgate case. It makes eighteen hundred folios, one hundred and eighty thousand words, the paper on which it is written weighs ten pounds, and it costs one hundred and eighty dollars. The transcript will be the largest ever filed in the supreme court.
Winfield Courier, September 27, 1883.
Mrs. J. F. McMullen and Mrs. Colgate spent part of last week with Mrs. Kinne in Kansas City and enjoyed the great Fair at that place.
Arkansas City Traveler, October 3, 1883.
Trial Docket for the October Term, 1883.
Cowley County District Court, to be held on and from October 2.
CIVIL DOCKET: FOURTH DAY.
Bliss & Wood vs. William H. Colgate.
Winfield Courier, March 13, 1884.
The conviction of Wm. H. Colgate for arson has just been reversed by the Supreme Court of the State. That court holds that the acquittal of Colgate on the first prosecution is an absolute bar to any further prosecution of the defendant for arson of the mill and its contents. The defendant is now in the city, and his case will proably be disposed of next Monday, when the districxt court holds an adjourned session. The result of this case is due to the legal ability and unwearied labors of W. P. Hackney, defendant’s attorney, who argued his case in the Supreme Court.
Winfield Courier, March 13, 1884.
Wm. H. Colgate came in on Tuesday night’s train, in charge of Charley Shenneman. He gave bail Wednesday and is now enjoying free air once more.
Winfield Courier, March 20, 1884.
An adjourned session of the district court was held on Monday at which Wm. H. Colgate was bound over to the May term, in the sum of one hundred dollars.
Winfield Courier, March 20, 1884.
Wm. H. Colgate has received an offer from the penitentiary officials, at a good salary, to take charge of the books of the Caldwell wagon department there, which position he filled during his confinement. He will probably accept and go on in a few weeks.
Winfield Courier, April 3, 1884.
It is of course no news to any of your readers that the recent decision of the Supreme Court ends forever the further prosecution of Wm. H. Colgate for that arson. I read the opinion with some interest, having studied with care the brief prepared by Joseph F. McMullen, whom I have long known as an able, conscientious, and hard working lawyer. That brief was carefully prepared after dilligent research; and a verification of the authorities therein cited was certain prophecy of what the opinion would be. Mr. McMullen deserves from his client life-long gratitude, and from the profession liberal praise. J. JAY BUCK.
[THIS IMPLIES McMULLEN GOT COLGATE OFF...COURIER GAVE CREDIT FOR THIS TO HACKNEY. COULD BE THIS ARTICLE SETTLES ONCE AND FOR ALL THAT THE NAME IS “COLGATE”...NOT COLEGATE.]