Out of the Ditch by cuiliqing

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									Out of the Ditch.                                           1

                       J. VANCE LEWIS, AUTHOR.
                    419 1/2 Milam Street, Houston, Texas.

                        OUT OF THE DITCH
                       A TRUE STORY OF AN

                           J. VANCE LEWIS
                           HOUSTON, TEXAS
                          Rein Sons Co., Printers
Out of the Ditch.                                                               2

       Page verso

                    Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1910, by
                                       J. VANCE LEWIS,
                           in the office of the Librarian of Congress,
                                       at Washington, D.C.

                                      Mrs. J. Vance Lewis.

       Page 1
Out of the Ditch.                                                                               3

                                         THIS BOOK
                                  IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED
                                           TO MY
                                BELOVED AND FAITHFUL WIFE,
                                      PAULINE R. LEWIS

       Page 3

               Chapter One: Birthplace . . . . .1
               Chapter Two: Life on the Farm . . . . . 12
               Chapter Three: Doc Lewis Becomes Judge Lewis . . . . .16
               Chapter Four: School Days . . . . . 22
               Chapter Five: College Life . . . . . 28
               Chapter Six: In the Courts of Illinois . . . . . 33 Chapter Seven: The Case of
               John Donovan . . . . . 38
               Chapter Eight: Henry Windgate's Murder Case in New York . . . . . 56
               Chapter Nine: Mrs. Florida Philips Tried for Murder in Indianapolis,
               Indiana . . . . . 66
               Chapter Ten: Before the Courts of Harris County, Texas . . . . .72
               Chapter Eleven: A Conspiracy . . . . . 83
               Chapter Twelve: A Trip to Europe . . . . . 86
               Chapter Thirteen: Home Coming . . . . . 91
               Chapter Fourteen: Nineteenth of June at Cameron, Texas . . . . . 100
               Chapter Fifteen: Into the Jaws of Death . . . . . 109
               Chapter Sixteen: Religious Parliament . . . . . 123
               Chapter Seventeen: Conflict With the Doctors . . . . . 137
               Chapter Eighteen: Home and Fireside . . . . . 153

               First Frontispiece: The Author.
               Second Frontispiece: Mrs. Pauline R. Lewis, to Whom the Book Is
               Third Frontispiece: The Big House.
               First Illustration: The Author and His Young Master, facing pp. 14-15.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            4

               Second Illustration: The Trial of Rev. Benjamin by Judge Lewis for Hog
               Theft, facing pp. 20-21.
               Third Illustration: Isaac Carraway, the Trustworthy Old Servant of the
               South, facing pp. 26-27 .
               Fourth Illustration: Henry Windgate Meets His Mother and His Attorney in
               the Courts of New York, facing pp. 60-61.
               Fifth Illustration: H. H. Letheridge, L. Franks, Conferring With J. Vance
               Lewis; Miss Bernice Griggs, Stenographer; facing pp.74-75.
               Sixth Illustration: Mabel Jackson Kills Hamblen Rodgers (White), facing
               pp. 78-79.
               Seventh Illustration: C.E.W. Day, Chief Grand Mentor K. D. of Tabor of
               Texas, facing pp. 84-85.
               Eighth Illustration: The Author in Prison, facing pp. 92-93
               Ninth Illustration: J. B. Brockman, a True Friend to the Author, facing pp.
               Tenth Illustration: Rev. F. L. Lights, Rev. N.P. Pullum and J.B. Bell, Who
               Signed the Author's Bond, facing pp. 100-101.
               Eleventh Illustration: Mob at Liberty, Texas, Escorts the Author to the
               Train, facing pp. 110-111. [Illustration not available.]
               Twelfth Illustration: Biz Watts and Austin Polk, Life-Time Convicts, Reach
               Their Mother at the Depot, Corsicana, Tex., facing pp. 116-117.
               [Illustration not available.]
               Thirteenth Illustration: The Van Court, Residence of the Author, facing pp.
               150-151. [Illustration not available.]
               Illustrated by the Texas Engraving Company,

       Page 5

         The readers of this book may think it strange that we call it "Out of the Ditch,"
       but it is a description of actual scenes and occurrences. Under slave conditions
       the author would have lived and died, both figuratively and actually, "in the
       ditch." Under condition of emancipation there was a chance to climb out and
       fight for life and liberty. This book contains a picture of slavery on a gigantic
       scale. There were many slave owners who were as thoughtful and as
       sympathetic as Mr. Cage and his son. There were some who were not and this
       difference in temperament as well as the difference of wealth and blood, led to
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            5

       the paradoxical views which the world held of slavery. I have written this little
       book not because I felt that there was serious need of another book, nor because
       I wish to boast of my own personal achievement, but because I felt that my
       struggles might inspire other boys to pursue their highest aspirations and be
       proof against discouragement. The stumbling blocks placed in my pathway may
       be layed in yours and if this book helps you to avoid them it will have
       accomplished its mission. I felt that "Out of the Ditch" might shed new light
       upon some of the difficult phases of the Negro problem, and might be the means
       of helping to change certain adverse conditions for the better. You will find
       some mistakes in the book, you may inticeits leteranmerits, but I am sure you
       will approve of its sincerity. Naturally in a work of this kind I have employed a
       good bit of ego, but I saw no way to avoid it in a simple relation of facts.
       Beseeching you to read carefully, and ponder thoughtfully every phase of the
       author's struggles and the causes therefor, whether of prejudice, jealousy, envy
       or conspiracy, we send this book into the world. Deal with it charitably and try
       to see the good rather than the bad it may contain. Into the warp and woof of
       every book the author weaves much that even the subtlest readers cannot
       fathom, far less understand. To such it is but a cross and a tangle of threads, but
       there is a golden thread running through the whole. Follow it and you will enter
       the spirit of "Out of the Ditch."
                                                                      J. VANCE LEWIS

       Page 6

                                 OUT OF THE DITCH.
        "The government of a nation itself is usually found to be but the reflex of the
       individuals composing it. The government that is ahead of its people will
       inevitably be dragged down to their level, as the government that is behind them
       will in the long run be dragged up. In the order of nature the collective character
       of a nation will as surely find its befitting results in its law and government as
       water finds its own level. The noble people will be nobly ruled, and the ignorant
       and corrupt ignobly. Indeed all experience serves to prove that the worth and
       strength of a state depend far less upon the form of its institutions than upon the
       character of its men. For the nation is only an aggregate of individual conditions
       and civilization itself is but a question of the personal improvement of the men,
       women and children of whom society is composed."
Out of the Ditch.                                           6

                                         --Samuel Smiles.

                      "THE BIG HOUSE."

       Page 7

                     OUT OF THE DITCH
                    A TRUE STORY OF AN

                        CHAPTER I.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           7

                    BIRTH PLACE AND LIFE ON THE FARM.
        Have you ever visited a plantation with its long shady lane, hedged with
       evergreens and cedar trees, its flower gardens of holly-hocks and dahlias,
       princess-feathers and honey-suckle, its green lawn, neat, sweet and hospitable,
       partaking of and foretelling the spirit of the grand old mansion or "big house"
       which they so gloriously decorate? Did you ever sit upon the wide veranda over
       which trailed the yellow jessamine, scenting the air for miles around with its
       prodigious fragrance, and where the mistress sits and reads or knits and
       embroiders? Did you observe at the rear, across the clean-swept yard, stretching
       in orderly lines the cabins of the slaves, before the doors of which dance and
       sing numerous dark nymphs clad in one-piece suits and decorated with wreaths
       and garlands of wild flowers? To the right and left and in every direction stretch
       vast acres of farm land, black and fertile, but clothed with verdure rich and tall
       and magnificent.
        It is a sugar plantation and the tall red stalks waved their leafy hands in a
       perfect rythmas the noisy slaves chant their numerous field songs. If you have
       seen such a place, then you

       Page 8
       know where I was born. It was down in Louisiana, and the plantation was
       owned by Colonel D.S. Cage, Sr. Whether the date of my birth interests you or
       not, I know that it was not passed by unheeded by my former master, for
       recorded upon the leaves of the family Bible, I find the following record: "Born
       of Doc and Rosa Lewis, on December the 25th, 18 . . ., a son, whose name is
       Joe, and whose birth has increased my personal property one thousand dollars."
        So that I was a Christmas present to my master; but being born on a great day
       has its disadvantages, for one is in danger of being overshadowed or lost in
       oblivion because of the prominence given greater characters of events, and so
       this was a forecast of my future career, a struggle against Fate and Fortune to
       the great OUT OF THE DITCH. As a bare-foot boy, my stay upon the farm had
       been pleasant. I played among the wild flowers and wandered, in high glee, over
       hill and hollow, enchanted with the beauty of nature, and knew not that I was a
       slave, the son of slaves. Nor did I know that I was born at the moment where
       every note in the affairs of the government was one of discord that
       reconciliation was futile and that disruption and secession hung like a cloud
       over the nation.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          8

        Life to me had been a June day, filled with butterflies and mocking-birds. The
       serenity of my skies had never been obscured by a cloud, save those natural to
       childhood; but when about ten years old, I realized that I was not in accord with
       the older people; that they were not satisfied with conditions; that their skies
       were sad and gray. With them there was a longing for a mysterious something
       called freedom. I did not know what it was, and I do not think they full
       understood. I know

       Page 9
       they underrated its responsibilities. I observed them getting together in chimney
       corners and in other secret places whispering and talking earnestly and praying
       such prayers as I have never heard before, or since. My father and mother were
       among them and one day I heard my mother say over and over again: "Thank
       God, we are all free and God has at last answered the prayer of those who trust
       in Him."
        This was "all Greek" to me and I asked what she meant. With a low whisper
       and with a quiver in her lovely voice she said, "Son, we have been slaves all of
       our lives, and now Mr. Abe Lincoln done set us free, and say we can go
       anywhere we please in this country without getting a pass from Marse Cage like
       we used to have to do."
         My master had a son about my age who bore his father's name, and as he had
       always been a friend, companion and confident, I went to the big house and
       asked young Marse Duncan if he knew what it meant. I asked him why the big
       bell did not ring that morning and why the farm hands were standing around like
       it was Sunday, all talking about being free. He told me he did not know, but he
       would ask his father. I did not have long to wait for soon young Cage returned
       and said, "Joe, I will be dog-gone if Old Abe ain't turned them a-loose sure
        I shall never forget the feeling of sickness which swept over me. I saw no
       reason for rejoicing as others were doing. It was my opinion that we were being
       driven from our homes and set adrift to wander, I knew not where. I did not
       relish the idea of parting with my young master who was as true a friend as I
       ever had. There was also a very difficult problem for us

       Page 10

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            9

       to solve--we had three coon dogs which we jointly owned, and I did not see how
       to divide the dogs without hurting his feelings, my feelings or the dogs' feelings,
       without relinquishing my claims, which I was loathe to do. But, as we shall see
       later on, the matter adjusted itself.
         The Negroes as a whole, though, were overjoyed and from everywhere on the
       plantation there arose slave songs. Now we heard the words, "Oh, shout, you
       children, shout, you are free; God knows we are happy, for the Lord has gin us
       liberty." And from a crowd of young fellows already misinterpreting their
       freedom, the following chorus--

       "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
       And go home to my Father and be saved."
        Then a bold miscreant would sing, in a rich baritone voice the words of the

       (I) "Weeping Mary, Weeping Mary, Weeping Mary,
       Weep no more, Weep no more, Weep no more."


       "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
       And go home to my Father and be saved."

       (2) ["]Doubting Thomas, Doubting Thomas, Doubting Thomas,
       Doubt no more, Doubt no more, Doubt no more."


       "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
       And go home to my Father and be saved."

       (3) "Great Jehovah, Great Jehovah, Great Jehovah,

Out of the Ditch.                                           10

       Over all, Over all, Over all."

       Page 11


       "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
       And go home to my Father and be saved."

       (4) "Holy Bible, Holy Bible, Holy Bible,
       Book Divine, Book Divine, Book Divine."


       "Before I'd be a slave, I'd be buried in my grave,
       And go home to my Father and be saved."

       "For who can always act? But he,
       To whom a thousand memories call,
       No being less, but more than all,
       The gentleness he seemed to be.

       But seemed the thing he was and join'd,
       Each office of the social hour
       To noble manners, as the flowers
       And nature growth of noble mind;
       And thus he bore without abuse
       The grand old name of gentleman."

       "The wise and active conquer difficulties,
       By daring to attempt them; sloth and folly

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           11

       Shiver and shrink at sight of tail and danger,
       And make the impossibility they fear."

       "Though losses and crosses
       Be lessons right severe,
       There is wit there you'll get there
       You'll find no otherwhere."

       Page 12

                                        CHAPTER II.
                                  LIFE ON THE FARM.
        There was much commotion in the quarters that Saturday afternoon. The
       overseer had spread the report that the master desired to meet every man,
       woman and child on the plantation at the big gate on the following morning,
       which was Sunday. So songs were hushed, and about nine o'clock, with bated
       breath and inexpressible anxiety, all of the slaves waited for the coming of
       "Mars Dunc." We knew not what he would say.
         We had not long to wait. The master had breakfasted, and being assured that
       we were all ready, undertook the task which so many men shifted to overseer
       and subordinates--that of informing the slaves of their freedom. I shall never
       forget how he looked on that day. His matchless figure seemed more superb, if
       possible, than usual, and the long, gray Prince Albert coat he wore added
       dignity to grace. He wore a black string tie and a white waistcoat, and altogether
       I had seldom seen "Mars Dunc" so handsomely dressed. He walked with a
       sprightly step and his head was held erect and his countenance looked clear and
        He began his address in a calm, fatherly voice, as follows: "I have called you
       together to impart to you, officially, a piece of news that I myself do not regret
       that you receive. Three days ago Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United
       States, issued a proclamation whereby you are made free men and women.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             12

       Some of you have been with me all of your lives, and some of you I have
       bought from other owners, but you have all been well fed and clothed and have
       received good treatment.

       Page 13
       But now you are free to go anywhere you please. I shall not drive any one away.
       I shall need somebody to do my work still and every one of you who wants a
       job shall have employment. You may remain right here on the farm. You will be
       treated as hired servants. You will be paid for what you do and you will have to
       pay for what you get. The war has embarrassed me considerably and freeing
       you makes me a poorer man than I have ever been before, but it does not make
       me a pauper, and so I have decided to divide what I have with you. I shall not
       turn you a-loose in the world with nothing. I am going to give you a little start in
       life. I have made arrangements for every man and woman to receive ten dollars
       a piece and every child two dollars. I have also ordered that each family be
       issued enough food to last them a month. I hope you will be honest and
       industrious and not bring disgrace upon those who have brought you up. Behave
       yourselves, work hard and trust in God, and you will get along all right. I will
       not hire anybody today, but tomorrow all who want to go to work will be ready
       when the bell rings."
        It was a pathetic scene and there was hardly a dry eye amongst us. We had
       watched the master so closely that I had not seen young Mars Dunc in the crowd
       and was surprised when he cried out, "Say, Joe, dog-gone it, I told you you
       would not have to go away. Come on, and let us get our dogs and make Mollie
       Cottontail cut a jig from the cane patch to the woods." And off to the woods we
       went in a jiffy.
        All told, perhaps there were two hundred Negroes upon the plantation and
       when the big bell rang they all reported for duty. Mr. Cage, Sr., assigned Isham
       Stewart over the plow

       Page 14
       gang; Jeff Thomas over the hoe gang; Doc Lewis, my father, superintendent of
       the ditch gang--these being considered his most trustworthy men. Mansfield
       Williams was retained as family coachman, and the author of this book was
       given to understand that all time not spent in the ditch was to be at the disposal
       of D.S. Cage, Jr., and of his two brothers, Hugh and Albert. I ran errands and
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           13

       attended them when they were at school to look after the horses.
        The devotion of these slaves would make a chapter of itself, but it is sufficient
       to say that at the writing of this book, Isham Stewart and Jeff Thomas remain
       upon the plantation, and but for the sarcasm of a schoolmate the author might be
       there, too. But that is another story and will be related in another place.
        It was good to listen to the old plantation melodies when the slaves were so
       happy. They sang, "My good Lord done been here, Done blessed my soul and
       gone away."

       "My good Lord done been here,
       Done blessed my soul and gone away--
       My good Lord done been here,
       Done blessed my soul and gone away--
       My good Lord done been here,
       Done bless my soul and gone away."
         Another bright old song was--

       "Oh rise, shine, the light is coming,
       Rise and shine the light is coming,
       Rise and shine the light is coming,
       My Lord says He's coming bye and bye;

Out of the Ditch.                                                                     14

                    "Joe, Let's Make Molly Cottontail Cut a Jig From the Cane Patch
                                          to the Big Woods."

       Page 15

       When I get on the mountain top,
       My Lord says He's coming bye and bye;
       Going to shout and shout and never stop--
       My Lord says He's coming bye and bye."


Out of the Ditch.                                                                         15

       "Oh rise, shine, the light is a-coming,
       Oh rise and shine, the light is a-coming,
       Oh rise and shine, the light is a-coming,
       The light is coming bye and bye.
       If you get there before I do,
       My Lord says He's coming bye and bye--
       Tell all my friends I'm a-coming too,
       My Lord says He's coming bye and bye."

                                         CHAPTER III.

       "Careless seems the great avenger,
       History's lessons but record
       One death grapple in the darkness
       'Twixt old systems and the word;
       Truth forever on the scaffold,
       Wrong forever on the throne,
       Yet that scaffold sways the future,
       And behind the dim unknown
       Stands God within the shadow,
       Keeping watch above his own."


       Page 16

                    "DOC" LEWIS BECOMES "JUDGE" LEWIS.
        It was next to impossible to run a large plantation like ours without help, and
       Mr. Cage employed a man to take direct charge of the farm. He was time-keeper
       and general business manager. It was a custom, borrowed from slavery, to call
       such men overseers, and even now upon the large sugar plantations, in
       Louisiana, the custom prevails. It happened that the overseer, who styled
       himself Jimmie Welch, was born in Ireland. It was no fault of his that he was
       born an Irishman, but very inconvenient. He had many peculiar characteristics,
       and the Negroes who have a saying that "An Irishman is only a Negro turned
       inside out" disliked him almost to the extent of hatred. Mr. Welch was as quick-

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           16

       witted as other members of his race and tactful, too. Mr. Cage had always
       trusted most of his slaves, and Mr. Welch saw that to maintain his position he
       must win the good will of the slaves. This he did in the following manner: We
       always quit work at 12 o'clock on Saturdays, and on one Saturday he announced
       that he would deliver an Irish oration on freedom, after which each of us would
       be presented with a handsome gift. It was something entirely new and out of the
       ordinary and it appealed to the curiosity of us all. We were all anxious to learn
       everything we could about freedom, whether it was Irish freedom or Negro
       freedom mattered very little, for the colored people believed it would be the
       same thing anyway if it could be turned inside out.
        Saturday afternoon and night was the only time which was allotted to the
       colored for doing their washing and sewing, and in which to perform their
       ablutions, but an extraordinary occasion

       Page 17
       like this was not to be missed, whatever else went undone. If you had been there
       on the plantation that day, you would have done just what the others did. You
       would have allowed your individual work to take care of itself till the oration
       was heard. Mr. Welch was no mean orator, and the words he had used to fire his
       comrades on the "Emerald Isle" were very much appreciated by those who
       heard them. The author was filled with a burning desire to be able to coin
       phrases that had proven to make the audience laugh or cry as the speaker willed.
       He was humorous, he was pathetic, he was dramatic, and no wonder the simple-
       minded folks were led captive. Mr. Cage had been apprised of the scheme, and
       as was usual in matters that worked for the welfare of all concerned, entered
       heartily into it. When Mr. Welch had concluded his address, he said: "It now
       becomes my very pleasant duty to bestow upon you certain gifts, as evidence of
       the appreciation of your excellent service. To every married man, by the
       authority vested in me by Mr. Cage, I give a pig, which you may go to the hog
       lot and select for yourself; to every woman, who will come to the commissary, I
       will give a head handkerchief and a pair of stockings; to every boy and every
       girl I will give a half gallon of molasses and a ginger cake; to every grandparent
       a cob pipe and a sack of tobacco."
         The effect of this was electrical. Everybody said he had never heard of an
       overseer doing such a thing, and Mr. Welch had pretty smooth sailing from that
       time on. He had achieved by strategy what he could not accomplish by force.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            17

        It is a strange thing that humanity is continually hungering and thirsting after
       something for nothing. You can easily

       Page 18
       cheat a man out of a dollar if he thinks you are giving him a nickle. Thus we all
       rejoiced in our something-for-nothing gifts of pigs, head handkerchiefs and
       stockings, molasses and ginger cakes, pipes and tobacco. All were exceedingly
       happy save one and he was filled with the gravest of apprehensions, for if Mr.
       Welch's troubles ended here those of Rev[.]Frank Benjamin began.
        You remember that Mr. Welch instructed the men to get a pig and he meant a
       pig, but the parson was near-sighted and killed the biggest hog in the pen. Mr.
       Welch was angered about it and charged Benjamin with hog theft.
        Mr. Cage did not know the particulars and was sorry to hear the charge, but in
       order to teach his servants just how they would be treated by the civil
       authorities, organized the most sensible of the Negroes into judge and jury to try
       the case.
        My father, "Doc" Lewis, was selected as judge because he bore the name of
       being the most level-headed Negro on the place, and it is well that he was so,
       for as matters terminated, few judges ever have to pass upon harder cases. The
       whole thing resolved itself into the question, "When does a pig become a hog?"
        Witness after witness testified that it was a full grown hog that the parson took,
       and not a pig at all, as he had been allowed, but none of them when asked the
       conundrum as to when it became a hog could answer. They were fixed in their
       opinion that it was a hog. When asked, "Well, how do you know?" they would
       reply, "Case, I jis' knows a hog when I sees him," or "Because I seed him with
       these eyes," or as others said, "I know 'twas a hog 'cause I 'members when that
       pig was born."

       Page 19
         The evidence was varied and vague and to judge Lewis' way of looking at
       things, unsatisfactory and irrelevant to the case, which centered as we have said
       upon when the pig became a hog. No one proved that the pig was a hog. He was
       in the pen with the pigs, which raised some doubt as to his proper classification.
       If he was a pig the prisoner was innocent; if he was a hog, the prisoner was
       guilty of hog theft.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           18

        The prisoner had thus far said nothing since his declaration of "Not guilty." It
       was now his time to speak. There were no witnesses to testify in his favor and
       guilty or not guilty it was evident that he was scared almost to death. He sat
       with his head down. It was an awful thing for the parson who had exhorted his
       fellows to honesty and right living to be charged with dishonesty and
       unrighteousness. It was a pitiful sight to see one who had lived all of his days
       honorably go down in disgrace at the time when his gray hairs ought to have
       been an honor to him.
        Rev. Benjamin was now called to the stand and made a few stammering
       statements, which did him no good with the jury. They seemed to prove his
       guilt. Some who had been in doubt lost hope. But just then there was a change.
       The Judge began to cross-examine him, and it matters not how he turned the
       questions around and changed them, the answer to the questions upon which the
       others hesitated were always prompt, clear, and the same.
        He always spoke as follows: "The shoat that I killed was sucking its mammy,
       and if it had not been sucking its mammy I would not have killed it." Nothing
       could shake him from this

       Page 20
       answer. It was enough--the jury saw the point, the judge saw it, the audience
       saw it and cheered him.
        In delivering the charge to the jury, the judge said, "As long as a pig sucks his
       mammy, irrespective of size or age, it is not a hog."
        Without retiring from their seats the jury returned a unanimous verdict of "Not
        Frank Benjamin preached such a sermon the next day as he had never preached
       before. His text was: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the
       world." He began the service with--

       "Give me that Old Time Religion,
       Give me that Old Time Religion,
       Give me that Old Time Religion,
       Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

Out of the Ditch.                             19

       It is good for the Hebrew Children,
       It is good for the Hebrew Children,
       It is good for the Hebrew Children,
       Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

       It was good for Paul and Silas,
       It was good for Paul and Silas,
       It was good for Paul and Silas,
       Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

       It was good for my Old Mother,
       It was good for my Old Mother,
       It was good for my Old Mother,
       Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                      20

                                TRIAL OF REV. BENJAMIN.

       Page 21

       It is good when you are in trouble,
       It is good when you are in trouble,
       It is good when you are in trouble,
       Oh, Lordy, it is good enough for me."
        I cannot recall all of the verses that were sung, but I know that the people
       believed in the parson's religion as they never had before, and showed it by
       shouting and "Amens." It was an instance where good came of evil.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                         21

         No one came in for more praise than "Doc," who Mr. Cage said was a born
       lawyer. I did not then know just what that meant, but I knew it was something
       big and something good from the way Colonel Cage put it and the gracious
       manner in which my father received it. So that a short time after this when the
       white boys were all talking about what they were going to be, I announced that I
       was going to be a lawyer. It sounded funny and they laughed at the thought of
       Joe becoming a lawyer. But I had been their page boy and had learned much
       from them that they had learned at school, and I did not see why I should not be
       able some day to apply what I had learned as well as they.
         It was as Whittier beautifully said:--

       "Oh, black boy of Atlanta!
       But half was spoken;
       The slave's chains and the master's
       Alike are broken;
       The one curse of the races
       Held both in tether;
       They are arising--all are arising--
       The black and white together."

       Page 22

                                           CHAPTER IV.
                                         SCHOOL DAYS.

       "Still sits the school house by the road,
       A ragged beggar sunning:
       Around it still the sumachs grow
       And blackberry vines are running

       Within, the master's desk is seen,
       Deep scars by raps official;
       The warping floor, the battered seats,
       The jack-knife's carved initial."

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           22

         In those days there were no public schools for Negroes and even the white
       children had to pay tuition. Mr. Welch proved a hard taskmaster, but a true
       friend. There were about two hundred children all told upon the plantation, or at
       least it seemed that many to me, and Mr. Welch advised the colored people to
       get a teacher and open a school. As good fortune would have it, Mr. Cage had
       heard of a West Indian who had recently made his appearance in our vicinity,
       and he was employed to organize a school for the children from Woodlawn and
       Ashland plantations.
         It was my father who selected the location for the school house, and I regarded
       it ever afterwards as his monument, for soon after this he was called to "Come
       Up, Higher," and receive his reward. How well I remember how we cut the logs,
       and dragged them with ox-teams to that spot midway between the two centers of
       the population. It was, in fact, about a mile from any house, but at that time it
       was "just a little piece down the

       Page 23
       road." We had no shingles and the clap-boards with which we covered the house
       had to be drawn out of blocks by hand. If I should look upon that house today, I
       could not say that it is beautiful, but to my youthful eyes it was the handsomest
       building I knew, not because of any architectural excellence, for it was a plain
       log house which knew not paint nor finish, but rather because I had helped to
       build it. And even now "when fond recollection presents it to view" there is a
       feeling within me that says it is the dearest spot on earth. I do not remember
       about the "sumach trees," but I could pilot you to the place where "blackberry
       vines are running."
         One fine day, to our exquisite pleasure, the school house was finished and the
       teacher came. Prof. H. C. Hardy was his name. He had been educated in English
       on the Island of Jamaica, and his peculiar accent as well as his bearing was
       decidedly English. I fancy now that our flat, clumsy, broken talk must have
       seemed as peculiar to him as his polished language and queer accent did to us.
        Can your imagination for a moment conjure up a picture of two hundred
       under-sized, over-sized and all-sized pupils all in the first grade? Such was the
       old plantation school. Prof. Hardy believed in doing things orderly, and the first
       thing he did was to make a rule about passing. He said, "Now, children," and
       you never got too big nor too old for him to call you that, "you must be
       governed by the taps of the bell: the first tap will mean get ready for class; the

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             23

       second tap to stand, and the third to line up in your classes."
        When the first bell rang, everybody stood, and it looked as if the thing could
       not have been improved if we had

       Page 24
       practiced it a hundred times, but when the third tap came it was different. There
       was commotion, there was a mad struggle, there was denunciation, there was
       declaration, there came near being a fight, and all because everybody wanted to
       be head. The pupils at each end of the line claimed that their end was head. The
       principal disputants were Warner Wright and myself, since we held the
       extremes. Prof. Hardy had us to do the thing over again and to proceed orderly
       throughout, the head this first day falling to the one who naturally would occupy
       the position from the situation of his seat. I lost the place, and I should not have
       minded except that Warner, or "Dick" as we called him, won. We were good
       friends but rivals, and many were the contests we had. He was a smart boy, and
       if my experience as a page, where I had learned much from my young master,
       had not served me well, I might have been worsted many times, but as it was I
       had a little advantage over him. Prof. Hardy remained with us only three years,
       and then his successor came. He was a Mr. H. C. Sidney, a keen little man from
       New Orleans. He was not so strict a disciplinarian as Prof. Hardy, perhaps, but
       thoroughly in sympathy with his pupils, and they seemed anxious to please him
       and eager to learn. Many made very rapid progress. Of these no one did so well
       as Warner. If I had had an advantage over him, he now had double advantage
       over me. Just about the time when Prof. Sidney made his arrival among us a
       cloud arose over my horizon which time alone could dispel. My mother joined
       my father in the gates of the New Jerusalem, and I was left an orphan to fight
       life's battles. Warner on the other hand was in school every day and had a loving
       mother to help and encourage him

       Page 25
       and a father to correct him and support him in whatever he undertook. Prof.
       Sidney advised his father to send him to college and he sent him to Leland
       University at New Orleans, La.
        Everybody liked the boy. He was jovial and had good manners, being
       especially thoughtful of old people. When he got ready to leave the farm, scores
       of people came to bid him Godsped."God bless that boy" was heard in the
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            24

       mouths of many that day. Many brought little evidences of their sincerity. I
       shook hands and hastened away. I could not help but shed tears, not that I was
       sorry to see him go but because I longed to go with him.
         He went and the time passed rapidly. The term was over before long and the
       pupils returned to their homes. When it was known that "Dick," or rather
       Warner, was expected, his many friends were anxious to see him and
       congratulate him upon his year's work. Nine months is not a long while, but
       sometimes it is long enough to make a fool out of an otherwise sensible chap.
       Well, I had heard of Dick's college airs, of how he cut those who met him at the
       train, of the ridiculous use of big words and so was about the last to call on him.
       I had known "Dick" too well to believe any of these things. He had been at
       home a week. I had remembered that it was a Sunday afternoon, a beautiful day,
       too, it had been. The breeze was balmy and jessamine-scented, and just as the
       sun was softening into shadows preparatory to bidding goodnight to the world, I
       emerged from my home and went forth in the spirit of joyous anticipation to
       greet my dear old friend and rival.
        I saw him before I reached his house. He was standing on the porch over
       against one of the new posts his father had

       Page 26
       placed there when he had remodeled his home that spring. He was gazing upon
       the violets and jonquils and numerous other flowers that looked up to him. As I
       look back now I think he must have fancied that people were like the flowers
       and must look up to him.
         I walked across the road and up to the spot where he stood, with a broad smile
       on my face. I said, "Hello, Dick, how do you do? Gee, but you are looking
       fine!" and extended my hand. But disappointment awaited me. He did not
       extend his hand; did not seem especially glad to see me, but drawing back a
       little way said, in a proud tone, "Pardon me, Joe, but your familiarity meets only
       the contempt it deserves from me. My name is Mr. Warner Wright. I wish you
       good evening." For a moment I thought he must be joking, but seeing that he
       was not, I replied as nicely as I could: "You may be Mr. Wright to others, but to
       me you are plain 'Dick,' or nothing, see?" and turning on my heels strode
       proudly away without looking back.
        The last faint rays of the sun were reflected upon the horizon. It was just
       twilight, the time of thought and meditation, and as I turned the thing over in my
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            25

       mind, I wondered if it were really true or if I were under the spell of some
       strange hallucination or delusion. One thing is certain and that is that the desire
       to enter school returned with doubled force, not that I should be like my rival,
       but that I might excel him and show that education did not necessarily produce a
       misfit out of a Negro. I had no money and no one to help me, but submitted my
       case to God and felt that the way would be provided.
        Warner went back to school and no one except immediate relatives went to see
       him off, and even they looked relieved when

                        The Trustworthy Old Servant of the Old South.

       Page 27

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           26

       he was gone. I went to work harder and steadier than I had ever worked before.
       It was a splendid season for crops and labor was in great demand. In order that
       our hands might not be tempted to go elsewhere their wages were raised. Men
       were raised from seventy-five cents to one dollar, and women from fifty cents to
       seventy-five cents, large boys from seventy-five cents to a dollar and children
       from thirty-five cents to fifty cents. I was classed among those who received a
       dollar, and during the season managed to save sixty-four dollars. I had bought a
       nice suit of clothes, and as soon as the Christmas holidays were over made it
       known that I was going to college. Everybody was surprised and most
       everybody disgusted. They did all they could to dissuade me, but while I
       listened patiently and respectfully, all such attempts were as futile as the water
       which falls on a duck's back. I had decided to go to college and I was going. I
       knew that it was not the most appropriate time to enter school, but I also knew it
       was my only chance. When I boarded the train that morning I was the happiest
       mortal this side of glory.

       Page 28

                                        CHAPTER V.
                                      COLLEGE LIFE.

       "One leaf is for Hope and one is for Faith,
       And one is for Love, you know;
       And God put another one in for Luck;
       If you such reach, you will find where they grow;
       But you must have Hope and you must have Faith,
       You must Love and be strong, and so
       If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
       Where the four-leaf clovers grow."

        When I arrived at Leland University I was as much surprised and astonished as
       the queen of Sheba was when she visited the realm of King Solomon, and the
       magnificanceof his surroundings could not have impressed her more than mine
       did me. From a log cabin to a large four-story brick building, equipped with all
       modern improvements, is a long leap. When I stepped upon the spacious green
       campus, I felt out of place, and I was tempted to run away, and really my
       courage might have failed me if, just then, I had not heard some one call my
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           27

       name. On looking around I beheld Warner Wright coming towards me in a
       double quick run. His greeting was very cordial, indeed. His voice had the old-
       time ring to it and so I said, "Dick, I am certainly glad to meet an acquaintance
       here, and you may be kind enough to show a fellow what he should do first." He
       carried me to his room and after re-arranging my toilet he took me to the
       president and told him I was a boy from his home who was very anxious to get
       an education. He advised me to be perfectly frank with the president, and so I
       told him my exact condition

       Page 29
       --that I was an orphan, and had just sixty-four ($64.00) dollars with which to
       complete my education. I told him I always had worked and was neither afraid
       nor ashamed of it and that if I could work out a part of my expenses I would
       appreciate the opportunity. He told me that many boys worked out their entire
       board and tuition, but that arrangements were always made before hand in such
       cases. He assured me, however, that he would take my case up with the proper
       committee and do what he could for me. I was given an opportunity and
       continued my studies at this institution until I finished the Normal Course.
       During the whole time that Warner was there he was the best friend I had. He
       stood by me through thick and thin. Of course I never forgot the treatment I
       received from him the day I called on him at his home, but he literally overcame
       evil with good, "and I freely forgave him and rejoiced that he was my
       friend.["]Some one has said:--

       "He who has a thousand friends,
       Has not one to spare:
       But he who has an enemy,
       Meets him everywhere."
       This may be true, but I have observed a strange thing almost in direct contrast to
       this, and that is that a man who is too conceited to speak to you at home will
       oftentimes go out of his way to be cordial and friendly if you chance to meet
       him in a strange place. Dick's kindness completely healed the breach and we
       were life-long friends. He was ever plain "Dick," as I had always been "Joe."
         When I finished my course at Leland University I was

       Page 30

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           28

       not quite decided what step to pursue immediately. I knew, of course, what my
       ultimate plan was. It was to study law, but first I had to get some capital. I had
       not been educated to teach, in fact had never planned to teach, but learning that
       Texas was in need of teachers and paid good salaries I went to Beaumont. I met
       Prof. A. J. Criner over there, who told me that I should first attend a Normal and
       secure a State certificate, if I desired to teach. I went to the Normal at Orange,
       Texas. At that time the questions were made out by the conductors of the
       Normals, and as they bore largely upon the subjects taught, in the manner
       taught, it was much easier to get a certificate then than now. I left the Normal
       and went forth in search of a school. If you have ever chased that mirage you
       know what a fleeting, treacherous undertaking it is. You hear of a school that
       needs a teacher and run about over the country, sometimes eight or ten miles
       before you see three trustees, each in person, and then are informed that the
       place is supplied or that you are too young or your experience is too limited.
         At last one day I found a school. It was in Angeline county and the school was
       the Cripple Creek school. The trustees said I might have the school if I thought I
       could handle it. They warned me that there were some very troublesome boys in
       the school. I heard that they had run one teacher away and that others had not
       applied for the position after the first year. I began right though and taught two
       years and might have taught a third if the city school of Lufkin had not called
       me as principal. At the end of three years, by rigid economy, I had saved a neat
       little sum and I thought it time to be getting prepared

       Page 31
       for my life's work. I was already beginning to get that feeling of "Once a teacher
       always a teacher" and so I decided to make the venture with what I had.
        I went to Lincoln University, up in Pennsylvania, and managed to stay two
       whole terms. I meant to finish my course there, but one day while I was in
       Buffalo, New York, I visited the courts of that city. It was a grand sight that I
       saw, but what I heard was unspeakable. A Negro lawyer was pleading for a
       Negro man's life before a white jury. He swept everything before him. The force
       of his eloquence was insatiable. When he closed the case I followed him to his
       office to congratulate him. I asked if he thought a Negro could succeed down
       South in the practice of law. He said: "The American bar needs able men and
       our race brilliant lawyers, and if you will equip yourself, the South or any other
       region will gladly receive you. The best school for you to attend is at Ann
       Arbor, Michigan. They train the head and the soul, too, for service."
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           29

        In the fall I went to Ann Arbor, and after graduation in 1894 was admitted to
       the Supreme Court of Michigan. But there were some things yet to learn and I
       took another course still. This time it was at the Chicago College of Law. I
       graduated here in 1897 and was admitted to all of the courts of Illinois.
        I have necessarily been brief in describing my college experiences. Many
       incidents of great importance as well as much that is amusing has been left
       untold. I enclose just here some correspondence I had bearing upon my trip to
       Washington and my admittance to the Supreme Court of the nation. I made
       application on November 1st at Washington, D. C., for admission to the United
       States Supreme Court. Ten days later I

       Page 32
       received the following notice from the clerk of the United States Supreme Court
       at Washington, as follows:
                                                 "Washington, D. C., October 11, 1897.
       J. V. Lewis, Chicago, Ill.
        Dear Sir: Your application for admittance to the bar of the Supreme Court of
       the United States, has been duly filed, and you are hereby notified to be present
       November 22nd, along with other applicants, in the chamber of the Supreme
       Court at Washington, on the above date. Chief Justice Harlan will administer the
       Yours truly,
                                                                         M. M. GRAY."
        On the 22nd eighteen lawyers of the bar from other states, all being white save
       myself, were presented before Chief Justice Harlan to have the oath
       administered to them as members of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United
         That grand old learned sage who presided over the last court of resort of the
       land, remarked to those of us who were about to be sworn in: "Gentlemen, the
       dignity of the law is the highest calling to which man may aspire and attain; law
       is the fundamental principle that governs a man and keeps in operation our great
       civil and political institutions. With power vested in me, as Chief Justice of the
       United States, I administer the oath to you, citizens of the United States, which
Out of the Ditch.                                                                               30

       will make you members of the bar of this Court. Gentlemen, hold up your right
        When a boy on the farm I was very observant. One day in a drove of
       blackbirds I saw one with a white spot on him. In vain did I try to kill that bird.
       He looked so odd among the other jet black birds, but I could never get him.
       Out of sport

       Page 33
       my father told me that there was only one way to capture him and that was to
       sprinkle salt on his tail. I followed that drove of birds but could never get close
       enough to be sure that I had salted the right one. Well, when I held up my black
       right hand among all of those other fair hands, I thought of that bird. I am
       unable even now to express the feeling that came over me as I stood there with
       uplifted hand promising to protect the sovereignty of a great nation. I wondered
       what comparison there was between the bird with the white spot and the slave
       who came "Out of the Ditch."

                                        CHAPTER VI.
                            IN THE COURTS OF ILLINOIS.
          Might I give counsel to any young man I would say to him try to frequent the
           company of your betters. In books and in life, that is the most wholesome
         society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that note that great
           men admired; they admired great things; narrow spirits admire basely and
                               worship meanly.--W. M. Thackery.
        When I left Washington I went back to Chicago. I desired to prepare myself
       thoroughly for my work. I always meant to practice down South, but I felt that I
       could get the desired equipment, or rather post course, better right there in
       Chicago than anywhere else in the world, because I had studied there and
       several of my former instructors were presiding judges. A friend on the bench is
       invaluable to a young lawyer. Among the thejudges who knew me were:
       Thomas A. Morane, H. M. Shepherd, John Gibbens, E. W. Shope, O. M. Carter
       and E. W. Burke. I asked permission of each of these gentlemen to visit

       Page 34

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             31

       their courts that I might have an opportunity to hear experienced lawyers plead
       cases. I told them that while I was doing this as a post course and not yet setting
       up for regular practice I would appreciate an opportunity to represent any person
       too poor to employ counsel. They one and all granted me the privilege of
       visiting their respective courts and said it would really be a pleasure to them to
       give me a case whenever an opportunity prsenteditself. I thanked them and
       prayed that an opportunity would soon come. Every day thereafter I visited the
       various courts and gave strict attention to every case tried. There were so many
       courts in Chicago, the county seat of Cook county, that I soon discovered the
       necessity of some kind of system about my visits. I made out a slate and called
       it my circuit.
        The first court in my circuit was the police court at Polk and Dearborn streets,
       better known as Kangaroo Court. From a long period of actual observation I am
       prepared to say that to win any kind of case in that court one would have to have
       strong political pull either with the judges or the political bosses or men "higher
       up" as they are called. On the other hand, no evidence can convict one who
       "stands in" with the right parties.
         I remember the trial of a poor unfortunate white woman which I chanced to
       hear. Her name was Hager Roundtree. At least that was the name that was on
       the docket. When the prisoner was brought before the bar the judge said, "I
       understand that you are Miss Hager Roundtree, and from the charge here I see
       that the police rounded you up somewhere about Twelfth and State streets. You
       are charged with being out at an unbecoming hour without male company. What
       is your plea,

       Page 35
       guilty or not guilty?" The prisoner looked the judge straight in the face and said:
       "Please, your Honor, Judge, I was out without male company because I am an
       old maid and prefer not to have men for companions. I am forty-seven years old
       and I prefer being alone to having some horrid man near me. Sir, I was just
       returning from a spiritual engagement where we old maids meet and talk with
       our lost lovers, the only true men that ever lived."
         The judge who had listened patiently picked up his pen in a dignified way and
       thrust it into the ink well up to his thumb nail. I thought the prisoner's story had
       struck a tender place in the old judge's heart and that he was deeply moved. He
       flashed his eyes around the room over the other prisoners and turning in his

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            32

       chair said, "Miss Roundtree, you are the daughter of much misfortune. Your
       conduct has been fully explained by yourself and needs no corroboration, and so
       I sentence you to one round year in the county jail, and by that time I hope you
       will learn to stay off the streets at night with your dead lovers." I felt like
       remonstrating. I could almost have screamed "heartless wretch" as she did, but
       another case was called and I was soon interested in it. More interested than in
       the former case.
        The case was that of Sandy Fewclothes, an old Negro sixty years old. He was
       charged by the officers with disturbing the peace. The audience was so wrought
       up over the decision in the former case that they were giving little heed to the
       old Negro's case, so the judge rapped in a vigorous manner on his desk,
       threatening to clear the court room if his order were not heeded. When he said
       "Order in court" he meant it.
         The judge looked over his glasses at poor Uncle Sandy

       Page 36
       Fewclothes standing there before him, his very attitude one of a suppliant,
       imploring mercy from those who had power to condemn the innocent and the
       guilty alike. His hoary hair, withered face and feeble frame told of many a
       hardship in a long life, the best of which had been spent in slavery. Down South
       here "Old Uncles" are respected and protected by the better class of white
       people. They are trusted when their relatives of various kinds are not, and they
       are trustworthy in the highest degree. These old Negroes take pleasure in
       serving "folks of quality." But there was no sentiment and no sympathy in this
        The judge remarked laughingly to the officer who advanced to be sworn:
       "Where did you get this great pick up?" The officer replied, "On Armour and
       Twenty-Third Place, Your Honor." Then turning to the old man, the judge said:
       "So you have called to see us at last, Uncle Sandy?" To which Uncle Sandy
       replied, "Yes, boss, 'gainst my will. I never 'spected to come up here and I
       wouldn't be here now if that police had not brung me."
        "But it is reported that you broke the peace and dignity of the commonwealth
       of Illinois, by disturbing the peaceful inhabitants of the city of Chicago. Are you
       guilty or not guilty?" said the judge.
         Uncle Sandy, though bending on a cane, did his best to straighten up to his full
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          33

       height, as if his dignity was wounded by such implications, and said: "Jedge, I
       ain't break the peace of the city or the nation or nothing, but dey done break
       mine and my head, too. I was a-singing in the street I admit, but I wasn't
       botherin' nobody or nothing 'tall. Dis here am the very song that I was singing--

                    Kangaroo Court in Chicago--Sandy Fewclothes Sentenced to Eight
                                       Months in the County Jail.

       Page 37

       'Steal away, steal away,
       Steal away to Jesus--
       Steal away, steal away, home;
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           34

       I ain't got long to stay here.' "
        The judge chimed in as Uncle Sandy finished his verse, "No, you ain't got long
       to stay here. You are sentenced to eight months in the county jail."
        Uncle Sandy had the last say, though. He said: "If this is the way the white
       folks up North treat a servant of the Lord, when my time is out on that rock pile,
       Ise gwine back to Dixie, where the 'taters and the cotton blossoms grow." But he
       was hurried out and another case called.
        It was now past ten o'clock and I hurried on my circuit. I went next to the
       County Court. The will of E. Z. Williams, Sr., was being read. Mr. Williams
       was a colored man who had died in the city of Chicago, leaving his only heir, E.
       Z. Williams, Jr., $15,000 in cash and $40,000 worth of real estate on Wentworth
       avenue in Anglewood. The attorney representing Mr. Williams was Mr. W. H.
       Ward, a very able colored lawyer. I was engrossed in the proceedings and was
       very much surprised when a messenger boy inquired if J. Vance Lewis was in
       the room. He brought word that Judge Dunn requested my presence at Criminal
       Court at 2:30 p.m. As it was then about a quarter of two I arose and went
       immediately to the Criminal Court on the North Side.

       Page 38

                                           CHAPTER VII.
                           THE CASE OF JOHN DONAVAN.
        I was a few minutes ahead of the appointed time, but Judge Dunn was in his
       office, and I informed his clerk that I was at the judge's service whenever he
       was ready to see me. He sent word for me to come right in, and as I entered he
       arose from his desk and extended his hand to me in a hearty welcome. I sat
       down and before I could say a word he began telling me why I had been
       summoned there by him. It seemed that Judge Dunn was in something of a
       dilemma about securing efficient counsel in the case of one John Donavan,
       charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker. He might have chosen any of the
       dozen lawyers who hung around his court, but they were ungrateful and
       deficient. He said that while he did not know me personally, that his friend,
       Judge Thomas A. Moran, dean of the Chicago College of Law, had spoken in
       very complimentary terms of me, and advised that I be given the appointment to
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            35

       represent the defendant. He told me that if I were in court when the case was
       called he would take pleasure in giving me the appointment.
        I withdrew at once from the office and going into the court room took a seat in
       the front row, where the judge would be sure to see me when John Donavan was
       brought in to trial.
        In a few minutes Judge Dunn entered the court room, and, seating himself in
       the great chair, with gavel in hand, ordered the sheriff to declare the court open.
       John Donavan's case was the first on docket and the sheriff brought him in
       immediately. As he stood before the bar the judge asked him if he had secured
       counsel for his defense and being answered in the

       Page 39
       negative explained that it was necessary in such a case for the judge to appoint
       some one. There were many other lawyers in the court room who were
       anxiously hoping that they might be given the case, but Judge Dunn whispered
       to the sheriff to have J. Vance Lewis come forward. The sheriff not seeing me
       called out, "J. Vance Lewis, Lawyer; J. Vance Lewis." I arose and Judge Dunn
       seeing me standing said: "Mr. Lewis, you are appointed to defend John
       Donavan, charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker. The state is now ready;
       consult with your client and early as you can let the court know your
       announcement." I thanked the judge for the appointment and walked behind the
       bar, where my client was seated, drew up a chair and attempted to converse with
       him about the case. I want the readers of this book to understand that John
       Donavan was a white man and a very prejudiced one.
        When I came around to speak with him he was so overcome with hatred,
       astonishment and scorn, that I could get nothing out of him. He said half aloud,
       "Is this what the State of Illinois gives a man to help break his neck?" The
       sheriff heard the remark and cried out, "Order there in the court."
         I asked my cilent if he had any witnesses, if he was guilty or not guilty, if he
       was ready for trial, etc., but he ignored me and refused to answer anything I
       asked. As I could get no information from my client as to his guilt or innocence,
       I arose and announced to the court, "The defense is now ready for trial." The
       court was a little surprised at the dispatch exhibited. He wondered how and what
       I had learned sufficient for the defense of the man so quickly. I had one thing in
       my favor. The prisoner had a "still tongue," and we had no witnesses to tell
       conflicting tales.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            36

       Page 40
         It was my plan to win by making the best testimony of the State void. A list of
       the jurors was given me to select the men I desired to go on Donavan's jury. At
       the other end of the table I saw the District Attorney with his list of jurors. He
       scratched out several names and once I thought to follow his example, but soon
       decided not to do so. The clerk said to me, "Have you completed your jury list?
       If so, let me have it." Whereupon I passed him the list with not a name
       scratched. The clerk read off the names and asked each juror as his name was
       called to take his seat in the jury box, twelve being the number to serve. The
       jury being empaneled, the District Attorney forwithread the indictment charging
       John Donovan with the murder of Hilliard Baker. At the close of the reading of
       the indictment by the District Attorney, I pleaded not guilty for Donavan. Then
       the first witness for the State, A.B. Badger, was called, who testified as follows:
        "I am a resident of the city of Chicago, residing at 1262 Wabash avenue, and
       have lived in the state all of my life."
        The District Attorney asked Mr. Badger where he was on the night of August
       20th, 1897.
        Badger's answer: I was in the city of Chicago on State street, on the night of
       August 20th.
        District Attorney--Did you, on the night of the 20th, see a man running down
       State street after you had heard the report of a gun?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
         District Attorney--Would you know the man if you should see him?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.

       Page 41
         District Attorney--Do you know the defendant?
         Badger's answer: No, sir.
         District Attorney--Have you seen him at any time before this trial?
         Badger's answer: I think so.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           37

        District Attorney--State to the court and jury if you know of your personal
       knowledge that a man was killed on the night of August 20th, on State and
       Twelfth streets.
        Badger's answer: Yes, sir; a man was killed on State and Twelfth streets to my
       personal knowledge.
         District Attorney--Did you see the deceased that night?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
         District Attorney--Did you see the wound that caused his death?
         Badger's answer: I did.
        District Attorney--Will you state where the bullet struck the body of the
        Badger's answer: The bullet pierced the body of the deceased about half an
       inch below the left breast nipple.
         District Attorney--What kind of a wound did the bullet make?
         Badger's answer: The hole had a very ragged appearance.
        District Attorney--In what direction did the bullet seem to course after entering
       into the body?
        The defendant's counsel, Mr. Lewis said: "I object to Mr. Badger's answering
       this question until he is qualified as a medical expert." Judge Dunn said: "I
       hereby sustain the objection."
         District Attorney--Do you know whether the bullet wound

       Page 42
       was the direct cause of the death of Hilliard Baker?
        Defendant's counsel again said: "I still urge my objections upon the ground
       that the court has ruled that Mr. Badger is not qualified under the law as a
       medical expert, and because he was not authorized to hold the autopsy and did
       not participate in the post-mortem examination.["]Judge Dunn said: "The
       objection is sustained."
         District Attorney--State all you know that happened the night of the murder.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          38

        Badger's answer: On the night of the 20th of August, while walking down
       State street near Twelfth street, I heard a shot from a pistol or a shotgun, and
       immediately a man came running southward on State street. He seemed very
       much excited. Just as the man passed by me, I saw a shining instrument in his
       hand that I took to be a pistol, and if I judge rightly, the defendant is the man
       whom I saw that night.
         The District Attorney said: "Mr. Lewis, you may now have the witness."
        The defendant's counsel, J. Vance Lewis, began as follows: Mr. Badger, are
       you positive that you were in Chicago on August 20th, 1897?
         Badger's answer: I think so.
         The defendant's counsellor--What is your age, Mr. Badger?
         Badger's answer: I am twenty-seven years of age.
         Lewis--At what age did you leave school?
         Badger's answer: I was fifteen.
         Lewis--At what age did you go to work for yourself?
         Badger's answer: I was fifteen.
         Lewis--Who gave you your first employment?

       Page 43
        Badger's answer: My first employment was as a messenger boy for the
       Western Union Telegraph company.
         Lewis--How long did you serve in that company?
         Badger's answer--Eight years.
         Lewis--Leaving that company, where did you next find employment?
        Badger's answer: My next employment was with the Milwaukee St. Paul
       Railroad company. I served in this company as bill clerk for three years.
         Lewis--Leaving that company, where did you next find employment?
         Badger's answer: I left the state and went to Pasadena, California, and
Out of the Ditch.                                                                         39

       remained there three years for my health. While there, I ran a milk dairy.
         Lewis--Where did you go when you left California?
         Badger's answer: I went from California to Tucson, Ariz.
         Lewis--How long did you remain in Arizona?
         Badger's answer: I remained in Arizona five months.
         Lewis--Where did you go when you left Arizona?
         Badger's answer: From Arizona I came directly to Chicago.
         Lewis--What time did you arrive in Chicago?
         Badger's answer: I don't remember.
         Lewis--Was it Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
         Badger's answer: I think it was the winter season.
        Lewis--How long after your arrival in the city of Chicago was it before the
         Badger's answer: The same evening that I came.
        Lewis--Mr. Badger, you have said that you are twenty-seven years old and that
       you were fifteen years old when you

       Page 44
       left school, and that since you left school you had served the following
       companies: The Western Union Telegraph company, eight years; Milwaukee St.
       Paul R. R. company, three years; remained in California three years, and in
       Arizona five months. Is all this true?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
        Lewis--Leaving school at fifteen, serving eight years at one place, three years
       respectively at another and five months in Arizona, and yet you are twenty-
       seven years of age?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
         Lewis--Isn't it a fact that you are twenty-nine years of age?
Out of the Ditch.                                                                       40

         Badger's answer: No, sir, I am not twenty-nine yet.
        Lewis--You stated that you came to Chicago some time during the winter.
       State the day and date and time of your arrival.
        Badger's answer: I came over the Chicago Alton from St. Louis, arriving in
       Chicago the night of the killing of Hilliard Baker, but do not know the month,
       date nor day.
         Lewis--Do you remember if it was during the winter season?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
        Lewis--How long had you been in the city before you saw the man running
       down the street?
         Badger's answer: Not long.
         Lewis--But how long?
         Badger's answer: About four or five hours.
        Lewis--You stated that you saw the defendant running down State street on the
       night of the 20th of August. Is that true?

       Page 45
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
         Lewis--How long had you known him before that night?
         Badger's answer: That was my first time to see him.
         Lewis--When you saw him, was he near the viaduct on Twelfth street?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
         Lewis--Was there a light near or about the viaduct?
         Badger's answer: I don't remember.
         Lewis--Was the moon shining?
         Badger's answer--I think so.
         Lewis--Then you recognized the defendant through the moonlight?
Out of the Ditch.                                                                      41

         Badger's answer: Yes, sir, that is the way I recognized him.
         Lewis--About what speed was the defendant making when you saw him?
         Badger's answer: He was going as fast as his feet could carry him.
         Lewis--How far did you go before you saw the deceased?
         Badger's answer: I went about twenty yards.
         Lewis--Was the moon shining where the deceased was lying?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
         Lewis--Could you see the man that ran past you and the deceased at the same
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir, I could.
        Lewis--Did Donavan begin running before he came to the spot where the
       deceased was lying?
         Badger's answer: I think he did.
         Lewis--Did you go immediately to the deceased as soon

       Page 46
       as you saw him on the ground?
         Badger's answer: No, sir.
         Lewis--What did you do?
         Badger's answer: I crossed the street to watch what happened.
         Lewis--State what happened while you wore standing across the street?
        Badge's answer: I saw two men come from under the viaduct and look upon
       the dead man and rush away.
         Lewis--What did you do next?
         Badger's answer: I returned to my room and retired.
         Lewis--Did you notify anyone that there was a dead man lying on the street?
Out of the Ditch.                                                                                42

         Badger's answer: Not then.
         Lewis--When did you?
         Badger's answer: I told the officers about two o'clock that night.
         Lewis--Thought you had retired for that night?
         Badger's answer: I had but had gotten up again.
         Lewis--About what time did you return to the scene of the shooting?
         Badger's answer: About two o'clock.
         Lewis--Was the dead man still lying where you first saw him?
         Badger's answer: He was.
         Lewis--Do you know who killed him?
         Badger's answer: No, sir.
         Lewis--Did John Donavan kill him?
         Badger's answer: I did not see him kill Hilliard Baker.

       Page 47
         Lewis--Have you told all you know about the case?
         Badger's answer: Yes, sir.
        T. J. Ball, police officer, testified for the State as follows: I am a police officer,
       and parole the streets from Polk and State to Twenty-Second and State and
       thence around Armour avenue, and around about the viaduct to Twelfth and
       State streets.
        District Attorney--Were you on duty on the night of August 20th? And did you
       parole your beat as was your usual custom?
         Police--I was on duty and paroled my beat as was my usual custom.
         District Attorney--Was a murder committed on your beat that night?
         Police--Yes, sir.
         District Attorney--Did you make an arrest that night?
Out of the Ditch.                                                                      43

         Police--I did.
         District Attorney--Whom did you arrest?
         Police--This man, John Donavan.
         District Attorney--Why did you arrest him?
         Police--Because he was pointed out as the man that did the crime.
         District Attorney--Who pointed him out?
         Police--He was pointed out by the young chap that has just left the stand.
         District Attorney--Did you hear a gun shoot that night?
         Police--I did not.
         District Attorney--What did Donavan have when you arrested him that night?

       Page 48
        Police--He had a twig of tobacco, one dollar fifty cents and a paper of
         District Attorney--Did you tell him why you arrested him?
        Police--Yes, sir; I told him that he was charged with the murder of Hilliard
         District Attorney--Did you examine the body after finding it?
         Police--I did.
        District Attorney--What kind of a wound did you find on the body of the
         Police--I found a very ragged hole under the left breast.
         District Attorney--Who was with you during the examination?
        Police--Edmund Morango, Luyher Jovice, Billy Quinn and the defendant, John
        District Attorney--Did all those whom you named examine the body of the
Out of the Ditch.                                                                         44

         Police--They did.
         District Attorney--Mr. Lewis, you may have the witness.
        Mr. Lewis--Mr. Ball, you have testified that you are a police officer, and in
       actual service. You parole the following streets--Polk, State, Armour avenue out
       to Twenty-Second, and then back to Twenty-Second and State. Is that true?
         Police--Yes, sir.
        Lewis--On the night of August 20th, 1897, you have stated that a man was
       killed on your beat. Is that true?
         Police--Yes, sir.
         Lewis--Where were you when the homicide occurred?
         Police--At this time I am unable to tell.

       Page 49
         Lewis--What time of night did it occur?
         Police--I do not know.
         Lewis--Did you hear a report of a gun that night?
         Police--I did not.
        Lewis--What was your usual time to report to headquarters when you return to
       Twelfth and State streets?
        Police--I go on duty at seven o'clock, and I begin paroling my beat
       immediatelly,leaving State street near Twelfth at 7:30 and return again at 9
       o'clock, remaining there about fifteen minutes, making the same circuit twice
       before twelve.
        Lewis--Did you at any time on the night of the 20th of August, between the
       hours of 7 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., find a man dead on your beat?
         Police--No, Sir.
         Lewis--Was a man found dead on your beat that night?
         Police--Yes, sir.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                         45

         Lewis--What time of night was he found?
         Police--Some time after 1 o'clock.
         Lewis--Who was the first to find the deceased?
        Police--Two fellows across the street on State and Twelfth streets reported the
       death to me.
        Lewis--After being informed that a man was killed and lying in the street, what
       did you then do?
         Police--I went immediately to the spot where the dead man was lying.
         Lewis--Did you proceed with the examination of the dead man alone?
         Police--No, sir.
         Lewis--Who helped you to examine him?

       Page 50
        Police--Billy Quinn, Luther Jovice, Edmund Morango and the defendant, John
         Lewis--Did you know either of these before that night?
         Police--No, sir.
         Lewis--Whom did you arrest that night?
         Police--John Donavan.
         Lewis--Why did you arrest Donavan?
        Police--Because I was informed that he was the man that was seen running
       down the streets on that night.
         Lewis--Who gave you the information?
         Police--Mr. Badger.
         Lewis--Is that all you know about the case?
         Police--Yes, sir.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                         46

         Space will not permit me to give you the testimony in full of the State
       witnesses, Badger, Morango, Jovice and Billy Quinn. I've only to say that the
       testimonies of all were nearly the same.
        The State, through its District Attorney, believing that he had made a complete
       case under the circumstantial evidence, closed. The defendant, John Donavan,
       was then called to the stand to testify for himself.
        He testified as follows: I was born in Rotterdam, New York, thirty-nine years
       ago. I came west fifteen years ago. I lived in Chicago twelve years, and during
       all this time I have been employed by Armour Packing Company in the
       scientific department. On the night of August 20th, as had been my custom and
       pathway twelve years, I crossed the viaduct going and coming from work. I left
       the stockyard and boarded a Wentworth avenue car and came as far as Twelfth
       street, and there got off the car. I saw four men huddled together, and another
       lying on the ground. I thought to watch them and see

       Page 51
       what they were about. I heard one of them say, I think it was the police: "How
       long do you think he has been dead?" That aroused my curiosity more than ever
       and so I walked over near by and inquired of them the trouble. They in answer
       to my question said a man had been killed. By that time I had joined the group
       of spectators. We examined the man and found that he had been shot in the left
       breast below the nipple. The police suggested that we stay there until he could
       call up the dead wagon. The dead wagon soon came and we assisted in putting
       the man in and just as the wagon was about to leave the officer said to me: "You
       had better come along as the State will need you. Why were you out so late?" I
       was locked up that night and have been in jail ever since. So far as I am
       concerned I am innocent of knowing anything about the death of the man.
         Mr. Lewis--District Attorney, you may have the witness.
         District Attorney--Mr. Donavan, why did you run that night?
         Donavan--I did not run.
         District Attorney--What did you do with that gun you killed that man with?
         Donavan--I own no gun.
         District Attorney--Why were you out so late?
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             47

         Donavan--Returning from my work.
         District Attorney--I think that's all; the State will rest.
         Lewis--The defense will also rest.
        Judge Dunn said: "Gentlemen, it is now 8 p.m.; the sheriff will take the
       prisoner back to jail, and he is further instructed to prepare suitable quarters for
       the jurors for tonight, and return them to this court room at 8 o'clock tomorrow
       morning. Gentlemen of the jury, you are also instructed by the court

       Page 52
       that you are not to discuss this case until it is given to you by this court. Mr.
       Sheriff, you may excuse all witnesses in the Donavan case and declare this court
       adjourned until tomorrow at 8 o'clock."
        On the next morning court was opened promptly at 8 o'clock. The sheriff
       brought in John Donavan and announced that the court was now opened. Judge
       Dunn now being seated in his great revolving chair, turned towards the
       spectators within the court room, and said: "I would like to confer with the
       counsels for the defendant and State." He further added: "There are no other
       cases to be tried here today, gentlemen, and our docket is somewhat crowded
       and it would please the court if you would limit your addresses to the jury to
       about two hours each, and by this you will be able to close the case about the
       noon hour."
        Both counsels, defendant and State, agreed to the time suggested by the court.
       The opening address was delivered by Mr. H. J. Holland, a young lawyer who
       had assisted the State in the prosecution of Donavan. He began his address to
       the jury in the following language: "Gentlemen of the Jury: I am here assisting
       in the prosecution of the defendant, and pray your consideration of all the facts
       bearing upon this case, under the circumstantial evidence. It is my opinion that
       the commonwealth of Illinois has proven beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of
       the defendant." Mr. Holland gave a brief outline of the case and then closed by
       saying: "I leave it to you, gentlemen, to do your duty. As I see it, it is a verdict
       of guilty, assessing the punishment of the defendant to that of death or life
         This being my first case, I did not know the proceedureof

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             48

       Page 53
       the court in these matters and therefore I did not know I had to follow Mr.
         Judge Dunn, after waiting a few moments, said: "Mr. Lewis, it is your time to
       address the jury." The court room was crowded to its utmost capacity with
       spectators, and I here confess that I was very much frightened, for I had never
       addressed a court or jury before. Notwithstanding, I began my address to the
       jury in the following words: "May it please this court and gentlemen of the jury,
       I am here today, appointed by the court to defend John Donavan, charged with
       the murder of Hilliard Baker. I wish first to thank you for the patience that you
       have shown me during the trial and assure you that I will be brief in presenting
       this case. It is my opinion that it will not be necessary to go through all of the
       evidence that the State has produced here, asking men of your ability who are
       sane men, to convict a man and a citizen of so grave an offense as murder.
       Every sober man upon this jury will agree with me that the testimony of Mr.
       Badger so far as the truth goes is as shallow as a goose pond. Mr. Badger has
       been traced from his infancy to the present time, and we find him unable to be
       accurate on any one question put to him. It is Mr. Badger's testimony the State
       relies upon for a conviction, and to convict a man upon such worthless
       testimony, you will be charged by all citizens of Illinois with hounding down an
       innocent man and doing an unrighteous act."
        To the best of my ability I presented the case to the jury, and closed with the
       following remarks: "The court will instruct you, gentlemen, upon the law and
       the evidence, and will further say that you are the judges of the credibility of the
       witnesses and weight of the evidence in this case, and by your

       Page 54
       leave ask you gentlemen to deal with John Donavan as you would have some
       good citizen to deal with you. I submit to you John Donavan's life, liberty and
       pursuit of happiness."
         The closing address of the State was made by District Attorney Deneen. He
       said: "Gentlemen, the State of Illinois asks you to deal fair with every man. She
       is not seeking revenge through its agents, but through them for its fair name
       justice shall ever shine. Why is it the wolf is given such a bad name? Is it
       because she prowls at midnight, or is it because of the mischief she does after
       dark? This human wolf the State finds prowling after midnight, seeking, not
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           49

       only seeking, but devouring human life. The law has given us a chain and this
       chain has been well connected; the circumstances within this chain gives us
       John Donavan. I ask you, gentlemen, to write a verdict for the commonwealth
       of Illinois, assessing the punishment of Donavan at that of death or life

                         JUDGE'S CHARGE TO THE JURY.
        "Gentlemen of the jury: John Donavan, by indictment of the commonwealth of
       the State of Illinois is charged with the murder of Hilliard Baker, August 20th,
       1897. Donavan pleads not guilty, and upon his plea the State of Illinois must
       prove every allegation of the indictment as charged. The State can prove her
       cause by prima facie evidence, or by circumstantial evidence, but to convict
       upon circumstantial evidence every fact so alleged must so couple the defendant
       with the murder that it will leave you clear without a doubt in your mind that the
       chain is complete and that he is guilty of the charge made against him. But if the
       chain has not been so proven, the law especially requires you to give the
       defendant the benefit of the doubt. You have heard the testimony of every
       witness, and you are

       Page 55
       the judges of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence, and
       by your judgment you shall find the defendant guilty or not guilty."
         Judge Dunn further said: "Mr. Lovinggood, you are appointed as foreman of
       this jury, and when you reach a verdict you will make it known to the sheriff in
       the charge of whom you will be left, and as soon as the information reaches me
       I will have you brought into court."

         First ballot, ten for acquittal and two for twenty years in penitentiary.
         Second ballot, three for life imprisonment, nine for verdict of not guilty.
         Third ballot, "Not Guilty."

                                       JURY'S VERDICT.
         "We, the members of the jury, find John Donavan not guilty.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           50

                                                       H.B. LOVINGGOOD, Foreman."
         I am unable to express the feeling that came over me when the verdict of the
       jury read, "Not Guilty." It was my first case and I was on trial as much as John
       Donavan, only I had no charge against me--I was on trial for my professional
       life, and he for his natural life. We both had won, or rather I had won for us
       both. It was a double victory and I was intoxicated with my success. I went to
       the judge and thanked him again for the case, and received a hearty
       commendation and several valuable suggestions concerning the future cases. I
       thanked each juror and the sheriff and everybody, but I little thought the fame of
       the case would be more than local, but as we shall see it attained national
       importance and had important bearing on my immediate future.

       Page 56

                                     CHAPTER VIII.
                               THE WINDGATE CASE.
         I left the court house in high glee. The clouds were high in the skies and so
       were my spirits. I had won my first victory under adverse circumstances. With
       an arbitrary, indifferent client as defendant; and shrewd, experienced criminal
       lawyers as opponents for the prosecution, with no witnesses as opposed to
       many, with no time to study the case against a well planned scheme, and various
       unfavorable circumstances, I had triumphed.
         The newspapers spoke of it as a remarkable defense and I was rejoicing that
       the time had come for me to hang out my shingle. I reasoned that the Donavan
       case had at least won the confidence of the citizens as to my ability to represent
       them properly in court; that is, that in employing me they would feel that they
       were not experimenting with an amateur. I began making arrangements for
       opening an office. Three different lawyers called to see me and proposed that I
       join hands with them, but I was not sure just what was the proper step to take. I
       realized that I was at the "tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood
       leads on to victory," and I knew that a false step might prove disastrous.
        While I was pondering over this question Fate stepped in and decided it in a
       manner entirely different from anything that I had thought or planned. One
       morning, a few days after the Donavan trial, I received a letter from New York
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             51

       City. I here enclose the letter which I read and re-read a great many times:

       Page 57
                                                                   New York City, . . . . .
       Mr. J. Vance Lewis, Attorney-at-Law,
       Chicago, Illinois.
         Dear Sir: I chanced to see through the columns of the Chicago Inter-Ocean
       your able defense of John Donavan, and also the verdict in the case. From what
       I have heard, I have concluded to ask that you accept the case of my son, who is
       charged in New York City with the murdering of his wife. If you will accept the
       case you may write me at once stating your price, and I will forward you my
       check for two-thirds (2-3) of the amount. My son's name is Henry Windgate. He
       has been tried twice, both times convicted to the electric chair, and each time the
       case appealed and reversed. I would be glad to hear from you by return mail.
       Yours very truly,
                       MRS. SADIE WINDGATE, 210 W. 150 Street, New York City.
         I was tempted to accept the case, but it seemed almost unwise to break away
       from a field of labor when I was at the very pinnacle of success, to enter an
       unknown field among new difficulties and obstacles, just for one case. I turned
       the affair over very thoroughly in my mind and then wrote the following letter
       in reply:
                                                             Chicago, Ill., Nov. 15, 1897.
       Mrs. Sadie Windgate.
        Dear Madam: In answer to your letter a few days ago, I beg to say that I will
       accept that case; that is, if I am leading counsel in the case. My fee is $2,000.00,
       and if you will send me the amount stated in your letter, including a statement of
       facts of one of the previous trials, I will prepare the case and

       Page 58
       be ready on the date of the trial to give you your son, if God be my help.
       Yours truly,

Out of the Ditch.                                                                               52

                                                                              J. V. LEWIS.
         I thought this a nice way to settle the matter without wounding a tender
       mother's heart by refusing to serve her in distress. Imagine my surprise two days
       later when I received a letter fulfilling the conditions set forth in my letter. Here
       is her letter and you will readily see that I now had to accept the case:
                                                           New York City, 210 W. 150 St.
       Mr. J. V. Lewis.
        Dear Sir: Please find enclosed my check made payable to you--$1,500 for
       services to be rendered by you in New York City in defense of my son, Henry
       Windgate. I have also sent to you by Adams Express the statement of facts in
       the last trial of Henry. I hereby notify you that Henry's case is set for December
       6th, 1897.
       Yours truly,
                                                              MRS. SADIE WINDGATE.
        There was no way of escape. I would be subject to suit if I declined, even
       though I returned the money, and besides I was not anxious to refund
       $2,000.00[.]I went to the express office, received the package containing the
       statement of the last trial and began studying the case from A to Z. There was
       no time for visiting court rooms except to secure a private opinion from a judge
       upon some ambiguous or intricate passage of law. By December 3rd I was
       ready. My mind was perfectly clear. I had had nothing to do for a couple of
       weeks but the Windgate case, and now I had all of the authorities concerning
       such cases at my tongue's end, and so I decided to stop over at Buffalo and rest
       up for a day.

       Page 59
        It was 6:20 p.m. on December 4th that I reached Buffalo. I was acquainted
       with but one man in Buffalo, and I decided to visit his residence and inquire of
       him where I might secure a nice lodging place. I gave the cabman his address as
       2211 Michigan avenue. Upon reaching the residence I rang the bell. To my very
       great surprise a young Irish lassie, of about eighteen summers, answered the
       bell. I was a little abashed but said to her, "Pardon me, lady, I presume that I am
       at the wrong house. I am looking for Mr. Thomas, who lived here at one time."
       The girl replied, "He lives here still, sir," and invited me into a beautiful library.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          53

       She pressed an electric button which notified Mr. Thomas that some one desired
       to see him. As he came in I arose and said: "Mr. Thomas, no doubt you have
       forgotten me, but I was here in Buffalo several years ago and asked you if you
       thought a Southern Negro could succeed in law. Through your advice I went to
       Ann Arbor, Michigan, and am now practicing law at Chicago, Ill. My name is J.
       Vance Lewis."
         Mr. Thomas seized my hand and shook it warmly, saying, as if a revelation
       had come over him, "I do remember you, but never dreamed that it was you of
       whom I have been reading so much during the last few weeks. Be seated and
       tell me what brings you to New York. Is it another John Donavan affair?" This
       he said banteringly. I replied, seriously: "Yes; I am trying to save another
       human life." I then told him about the case in a general way, and he wished me
       great success. He insisted that I remain in his home, saying that he appreciated
       having a man of so great distinction under his roof. He carried me to the guest
       room and had my baggage carried up and then invited me in to such a supper as
       a man who has ridden

       Page 60
       for many hours could not help but enjoy. When supper was over he called his
       chauffeur so that I might see Buffalo by moonlight. I thanked him for such a
       privilege, but begged him to go slow. We rode through the beautiful streets of
       Buffalo for three hours, and the cool, refreshing lake breezes kissed us at every
       turn. Next morning I left for New York. I registered at the Y.M.C.A. building,
       where I secured a room. On the morning of the trial I went to the Criminal Court
       building rather early. I had the good fortune to meet up with Mr. Wilcox, a
       gentleman whom I had known for years. He introduced me to Judge Goff, who
       presided over the court. Promptly at nine o'clock, the court was called to order
       by the sheriff. Judge Goff came out of the anteroom; he was a man who was
       very dignified in his bearing and to me seemed very pleasant. He at once took
       his seat in the judge's stand and opened a great ledger before him and said: "The
       first case on call is the State of New York versus Henry Windgate. Mr. Sheriff,
       bring in the prisoner." The sheriff retired and in a few minutes returned with
       Windgate. As soon as Windgate was seated, a white lady with gray hair and
       ready step, rushed up to him, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him
       passionately, with tears streaming down her cheeks. She cried out, "My boy, my
       son, my son; trust God, for His mercy endureth forever." This was Windgate's

Out of the Ditch.                                                                          54

         Judge Goff said: "What is the announcement of the State?"
        District Attorney Waldo Bellinger said: "The State is ready in the Windgate
       case, if Your Honor please."
         Judge Goff said: "What is the announcement of the defense?"

                    Mrs. Sadie Wingate Meeting Her Son in the Court Room in New
                                             York City.

       Page 61
        In response to this query, I arose and asked that names of the witnesses for the
       defense be called before I could announce. Whereupon the clerk began to call
       the names of the witnesses, to-wit: Edgar Thomas, George Nelson, Tom
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           55

       Rodgers, Thelma Dezaro, Reuben Long, Alice Vasmer, Julia Ward, Daisy
       Decoy and Nathan Rose. "That completes the names of the witnesses for the
       defense," said the clerk, "and all are present."
         Judge Goff--Let me hear your announcement.
         Lewis--The defense is ready.
         Judge Goff--All special veniremen will please stand and be sworn in.
         The oath of office was administered by the judge in short order.
        District Attorney Bellinger--Mr. Lewis, the custom of New York in selecting
       jurors in all murder cases, is that each juror may be interrogated publicly,
       touching his qualification to serve as such. We are now ready to select the jury.
         Lewis--It is a pleasure, sir, to follow the custom of New York.
        Space will not allow me to put into this book the trying ordeal which the jurors
       were put through, but we managed to get a jury in three days. The jury was
       sworn in, and the indictment was read to them.
        Judge Goff--Gentlemen, today being Saturday, this case will be continued until
       Monday morning at 8 o'clock; court will now stand adjourned until that hour.
         Monday morning, December the 10th, the Criminal Court was crowded to
       overflowing. The sheriff and his force were compelled to clear the aisle so that
       lawyers and other court attaches

       Page 62
       could reach the judge's stand. Promptly at 8 o'clock, Judge Goff announced as
       follows: "Gentlemen, you shall proceed with your case."
        District Attorney Bellinger read the indictment to the jury. The indictment
       charged Henry Windgate with the murder of his wife. To this indictment
       Windgate entered a plea of not guilty. The State was able to show by its
       witnesses that Windgate had trouble with his wife at the Stewards Clothing
       House on Sixth avenue, and that when seen going in his home on Twenty-Ninth
       and Sixth streets he was still having trouble with her. The State was further able
       to show that pieces of human flesh were found in a flour sack, which had been
       found in East river and the string with which the sack was tied was a piece of
       cloth seeming to match a dress owned by Mrs. Windgate. Medical experts
Out of the Ditch.                                                                              56

       testified that the flesh was human flesh. The State having made a case, rested.
         The defendant was placed on the stand and testified in his own behalf as
       follows: "I live in New York City, and have lived here ten years. My wife, who
       recently disappeared, is the mother of three children. I here admit that we had
       trouble the evening prior to her disappearance, and the cause of this little trouble
       was due to the fact that she would not stay at home and care for her children.
       She is a woman that is hard to manage; she is, indeed, resolute; if she said she
       was going across the sea, though I should object to her going, she would demur
       to my objection and go anyway. At the time she left the house I was upstairs in
       the bathroom dressing one of the boys, and when I came down I found this note
       addressed to me. The note read: 'Henry--Care for the children, as you have
       always done.

       Page 63
       I am not fit. I will never see your face again. The Hudson river or the deep blue
       sea is my future home. Yours, Alma.' This is the last tidings I had of my wife. If
       she is dead, I do not know it; if she's living, her whereabouts are unknown to
        Testimony was offered, showing that Mrs. Windgate was seen leaving home
       with a sack under her arm after 9 o'clock on the night when the murder is
       supposed to have occurred. The defense rested.
        We cannot give the whole case, but give a part of the arguments on both sides.
       Argument in part by counsel:
         Mr. Bellinger--Gentlemen of the Jury: The State of New York by indictment
       has brought before you Henry Windgate, for the third time, charged with the
       murder of his wife. The first thing I should ask of you is what else should you
       expect of him but a plea of "not guilty?" Every criminal in the penitentiary of
       the United States has made this plea, and will continue making it as long as the
       door of hope seems open to give the chance of escape. Uncontradictory
       testimony of the State is a tell story in this case. In the very streets of New York,
       and in public places, this man fell upon his wife like a hungry lion out of the
       forest, and she would have been a victim at his hand in the public street if the
       police had not interrupted. But what did he do? Waited like a spider until she
       had got into his web, taking her life like a cowardly cur; butchered her and
       threw her mutilated body into the river. Your verdict, gentlemen, should be
       death, and any other verdict would be contrary to your oath and obligation to the
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            57

       State of New York. Gentlemen, I submit this case to you.

       Page 64
         J. V. Lewis, for the defense--Gentlemen, I am not here to hinder New York
       from getting her just reward, but here to help a citizen of New York to be justly
       rewarded. Your oath and obligation mean no more to New York than it does to
       a citizen of New York. The State of New York has charged Windgate of a
       diabolical murder. The State has committed no wrong in her charge, nor has
       Windgate committed a wrong when he plead not guilty. There are rights which
       men are compelled to respect, and the laws say that you must respect the plea of
       the defendant. That plea is not guilty. Our law says that one is presumed to be
       innocent until his or her guilt is established beyond a doubt. Who of you say that
       Mrs. Windgate is dead? And who said that she is far away in parts unknown? If
       she is dead, where is she? If she is living, in parts unknown, does the State of
       New York wish that the defendant be her fortune teller; or has she trained him
       since he has been incarcerated, a human telescope; or is he now New York's
       ventriloquist throwing his voice to the four corners of the world, on mountain
       and in valley, saying to his wife "Come from your hiding place and save me
       from the fate of the unjust judgment of New York laws and her unreasonable
       jurors." If you demand this of the defendant, the doctrine of reasonable doubt is
       lost, and life and liberty need never to be regarded the essential essence of
       human happiness. Much has been said by the District Attorney regarding the
       string with which the sack was tied. Is it a fact that we must account to the State
       of New York for every yard of wool, cotton or linen that the manufacturers of
       this country turn out; or shall we account to the State for the many yards of wool
       or linen that is sold to private parties

       Page 65
       by retail dealers? If this is required of us, I will now advise my client to
       withdraw his plea of innocence and enter a plea of guilty. I am told when
       Wingate married this fair damsel he had millions of money at her disposal. His
       outstretched arms and his warm bosom were her day and nightly pillow, but the
       sad hour came when he became insolvent. She was not the dove of his old
       cooings and wooings. The music that once floated from his lips that was so soft
       and so sweet to her ear had become heavy as lead. Money! Money is gone, and
       that love that she had had has flown, all because this poor unfortunate name
       could not be seen in the booking with Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Russell Sage and

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              58

       Gould. She also lost sight upon her bright-eyed babies. It is not true that the
       State of New York wishes that you rob these babies and take from them their
       only protection and with your verdict send ten thousand volts of electricity
       through an innocent man's heart. In submitting this case to you, I know that I am
       submitting it to sober-minded and impartial men; men that will not wrong their
       country for a citizen, or wrong a citizen for their country.
         Judge Goff read his charge to the jury. The jury retired for deliberation, and
       after about five hours' balloting returned the following verdict: "We, the jury,
       find the defendant, Henry Windgate, not guilty. J. T. UNDERWOOD,

       Page 66

                                       CHAPTER IX.
                                   FLORIDA PHILLIPS.
         The John Donavan case was for a long time a sort of pivot--a hub around
       which my life revolved. I had many cases offered to me which for various
       reasons I had to decline, but I wish to tell of one more case which centered
       around this fulcrum. I mention it for two reasons: First, it was the first trial of a
       woman in my experience; and second, it was the means of making a life-long
       friend, and you will agree that--"He who has a thousand friends, has not one to
       spare; but he who has one enemy, meets him everywhere." I lost the contention
       for which I pleaded in this case, namely, that Miss Phillips was innocent, but I
       did get her sentence commuted, and I did form the friendship of stalwart old
       George Knox, editor of the Indianapolis Freeman, and when he came to New
       Orleans a few years ago to speak, I made a special trip, during my busy season,
       to hear him. It was his influence which secured the case of Florida Phillips for
       me. I guess I really ought to have declined it, but I was anxious to advertise my
       practice as widely as possible, and so accepted the letter in a spirit of great self-
       importance. You may read Mr. Knox's letter:
                                                   Indianapolis, Ind., December 28, 1897.
       Hon. J. Vance Lewis, Chicago, Ill.
         Dear Sir: I have had the good fortune to read your success in the John Donavan

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             59

       case, and your recent legal achievement in the Windgate murder case in New
       York. The people of Indianapolis would be glad to have you defend Florida
       Phillips, a woman of our race, charged by indictment of murder.

       Page 67
       If you will accept the case the citizens of Indianapolis will see that Judge Alford
       of the Criminal Court appoints you. All appointments made by Judge Alford,
       the State pays the attorney three hundred to five hundred dollars for his services.
       Let me know if you will accept the case, as it is set for trial January 8th.
       Yours truly,
                                                                        GEO. L. KNOX.
         I replied to him, after turning the matter over in my mind:
                                                               Chicago, Ill., Jan. 6, 1898.
                                                    Mr. Geo. L. Knox, Indianapolis, Ind.
        Dear Sir: Your letter of December 28th is before me and has been carefully
       read and considered. I beg to say that if Judge Alford, through the citizens of
       Indianapolis, should appoint me to defend Florida Phillips, I would gladly
       accept the case.
       Yours truly,
                                                                            J. V. LEWIS.
        The appointment was made and I left Chicago for Indianapolis January 6th. I
       was met by a committee headed by George L. Knox, E. O. Roy, W. L. Knox, J.
       B. Thurston and H. Skinner. The committee went with me at once to the court
       house and there I was introduced to Judge Alford. The judge showed me a
       cordial welcome, as if he was glad that he had made the appointment.
        Florida Phillips stood charged by the State of Indiana for the murder of
       Morrison Strowder. She stood well in the community in which she lived, and
       had many friends of both races.
        The next morning I went to the court house with Mrs. Florida Phillips' mother,
       a Mrs. Rachel Quinn. I found a good opportunity while in her company to make
       some inquiries of her about the killing. I succeeded in getting enough

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            60

       information from her to enable me to conduct the trial.

       Page 68
        Court was opened. Mrs. Phillips was brought in by the sheriff, and the
       announcements by the defendant's and State's counsels were made. We were not
       long in securing a jury to try the case.
        The State showed conclusively that a life had been taken, in the city of
       Indianapolis, by Mrs. Florida Phillips, and at the time the killing took place the
       deceased, Morrison Strowder, was doing nothing to aggravate the defendant.
       The State put on five witnesses and they all testified to the same thing; the State
       then rested.
         The defense had no witnesses and was compelled to use the State's witnesses
       with hope in the cross-examination that some material facts might develop that
       would be helpful to the defendant. The five witnesses of the State were then
       placed on the stand, and their testimony, all save one fact brought out that at the
       time Mrs. Phillips shot Strowder she was not shooting at him, but was shooting
       to kill one Henry Thompson, who had had a previous difficulty with her and
       that he, Henry Thompson, had a knife in his hand and was advancing towards
       Mrs. Phillips with it open, when she began firing at him, and that the ball
       intended for Thompson hit Strowder in the back, and Strowder lingered from
       the injury five days when he died, and that he also made a dying statement
       which the State would not introduce in evidence. The case would have been
       self-defense if she had killed Thompson; as it was, it was an accident--excusable
       homicide. The defense introduced the dying statement of Strowder, which is as
       follows: "I, Morrison Strowder, being of sound mind and discretion, knowing
       that I am going to die, do make this my statement of my own free will before

       Page 69
       I cross the great beyond: On the day that Mrs. Phillips shot me, she was
       shooting at Henry Thompson. Thompson was at the time going towards her with
       a knife in his hand, and that she was not shooting at me at the time I was shot,
       and that she did not intend shooting me. Yours truly,
       Morrison Strowder."
         With this evidence before the jury the defense rested.
         Judge Alford said: "Gentlemen, you may now go to the jury with your case."
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           61

        The District Attorney opened and closed the State's side of the case. He made a
       scholarly presentation of the State's case, and closed by saying: "Men must
       forget their feelings for tender femininity and judge criminals all alike. You are
       asked not to hang this woman, but to send her to the penitentiary for such a
       number of years as you may think proper."

                     LEWIS' ADDRESS BEFORE THE JURY.
         "Gentlemen of the jury: I shall not ask you to evade your duty as citizens of
       this country, even though it be a woman in the case. I shall ask only under your
       wise judgment of right and wrong to be governed solely by the dictates of your
       own conscience. If Indiana has failed to make a case, you by this time know it.
       If the defense has committed a wrong, the evidence in this case has disclosed it.
       The court will define to you murder in the first and second degrees, and also
       manslaughter. He will further explain to you premeditated murder, justifiable
       homicide and excusable homicide. I say to you, that if the defendant is guilty of
       anything it is excusable homicide. Will the evidence justify you with a verdict
       of murder in the first or second degree? No. It was not murder at all. The dying

       Page 70
       statement admitted in the evidence is conclusive proof to the innocence and I
       shall ask you gentlemen to deal fairly, justly and prudently with the defendant. I
       submit this case for your consideration."
        Judge Alford read his charge to the jury, and in his charge he eliminated
       murder in the first degree, and said if the jury found the defendant guilty of any
       wrong, their verdict must be manslaughter.
        The jury retired and within two hours returned with the following verdict:
       "We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of manslaughter, and assess her
       punishment at two years in the reformatory.
       TOM NEWHOUSE, Foreman."
        Governor Altgeld had been nominated by the Democratic party. The
       Republican party had out a strong ticket. The mayoralty contest in Chicago was
       at fever heat--Carter Harrison, nominee for mayor, and Capt. Swift led the
       Republican ticket.
        The Negroes were the balance of power; they could turn the state Democratic
       or Republican. This being true, both political factions hung out a neat official
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          62

       bait for the colored men's votes. Delegates had been elected to attend the Cook
       county convention. The white Republicans made overtures to the colored
       Republicans, agreeing that if they would assist them to elect a governor and
       mayor they would vote for a colored man for the legislature and for South town
       clerk. The overtures of the white Republicans were accepted in the county
       convention. The names of those colored submitted for the legislature were Ex-
       Commissioner E. H. Wright and W. L. Martin. The ones submitted for South
       town clerkship were E. L. Roberts and J.

       Page 71
       Vance Lewis. The balloting took place and W. L. Martin was nominated for
       representative, and E. L. Roberts for the South town clerk. The battle for
       supremacy was on, and the speakers of both political parties were sent
       throughout the state.
        The Republican cry was "Down with the Altgeld reign." In Cook county the
       Democratic cry and motto were "Swift, too swift; Harrison for clean streets and
        On election day the people went to the polls like ducks to a clear lake. Altgeld
       was defeated, and Swift elected mayor of Chicago. During the campaign I had
       served the State and Republican party faithfully and the political leaders made
       me Third Assistant District Attorney in Corporation Court. This position I
       resigned after six months' service. After my resignation I remained and
       practiced law in Illinois. In 1900 I gave up the practice in Illinois and came to
       New Orleans and opened an office at 1012 Perdido street. After reaching New
       Orleans I found that one with a Supreme Court certificate from another state
       would have to take an examination within that state and that I would have to
       wait for some time before I could enter into practice, owing to the fact that the
       Supreme Court was on its vacation and I had to appear before that body for
        While in the metropolis of the South, quaint old New Orleans, whose citizens
       are of such cosmopolitan nature that there is scarcely a full-blooded Negro
       family and practically no white families that have not exchanged blood, as they
       have mingled the language. I was not satisfied here, however, because New
       Orleans is old and fixed in its way of doing things. I wanted to get into a city
       that was young, vigorous and enterprising,

Out of the Ditch.                                                                   63

       Page 72
       so that I might grow as it expanded and become an integral factor in the
       development. Houston, Texas, seemed to be such a city and so I hung out my
       shingle there to go up or down with the drift.


       Sing the South! Oh, the South! Sing the South! . . . . .
       With her yellow, red roses, and pink!
       Where the air is like wine in the mouth,
       And there's glad, surging life in the drink!
       Sing the South! Oh, the beautiful South!
       With her sweep of wide star-blossomed plains--
       Red-lipped, Oh, the kiss of her mouth
       Sends the blood rushing swift in the veins!

       Oh, the South! Oh, the South!
       Let her glories ring clear,
       Like the song in the heart
       Of the lover, when near
       Where he leans on the bars,
       Trembling beauty appears,
       With her eyes like blue stars
       Smiling glad through her tears.

       Sing the South! Oh, the South! Oh, the South!
       Oh, her bayous that sleep in the shade!
       Oh, the pout of her lily-kissed mouth
       Whose kiss maketh man unafraid!
       Oh, the lingering clasp of her arms!
       Oh, the witcheries sweet of each wile!
       Oh, her broad fertile prairies and farms!
       There's a promise of joy in her smile!

       Page 73

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              64

       Oh, the South! Oh, the South!
       Let the glories ring clear!
       And lilt like the kiss
       Of her own atmosphere!
       Oh, her sweet blossoms lie
       Like a kiss on the mouth!
       There's no love like the South!

                                                                              --J. M. Lewis.

         South of the South, beyond the hills and the plains, past the grassy meadows
       and the greasy oil fields, on to the fertile prairies sped the train from New
       Orleans. Blacker and blacker grew the soil of the farmland, richer and more
       verdant and taller seemed the sugarcane, wide and wet the rice fields, fairly
       swarming with song birds and wild ducks, rejoicing in the great crops produced,
       where until recent years naught had grown before. Greater than all of these and
       more abundant were the cotton fields, white with the long staple and blooming
       like a flower garden, the multitudinous stalks lifting their majestic heads as if
       recognizing their regal position among the vegetable products. In the midst of
       such a region lies the beautiful city of Houston, Texas, the garden spot of the
       world, nestled in the meshes of the bayous, whose banks are covered with
       fragrant mint and decorated with violets and giant magnolias. Nature did its best
       works here and I felt that I could do mine.
        I early formed partnership with L. W. Greenly, a brilliant young man, and we
       began the practice of law. Houston was not as large then as now, but we saw the
       signs of promise, the possibilities of a great metropolis, and we determined to

       Page 74
       it out till our people were certain of our ability to convince judge and jury, both
       of which were composed of white men. Instead of spending our time
       complaining because of the present system of manipulating the jury so that not
       more than one Negro may serve on a jury, though they form a large per cent of
       the population, we spent our time in convincing the men chosen, and white,
       though not peers of Negro, or at least uuwillingto be classed as peers at any
       other time and place save the jury, are usually open to reason.
        Our first case of any consequence was that of Max Harris and Jim Riley,
       charged as accessories to the murder of Henry Jefferson at Hirsch's woodyard in
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             65

       Houston. Will Thompson and George Williams were the other defendants, but
       they had money and were able to secure white counsel, but Harris and Riley
       brought their case to us. The four were charged under one indictment, but the
       attorneys, both white and colored, requested Judge A. C. Allen to grant a
       severance. Thompson and Williams were tried first, and after five hours of hard
       pleading the case was submitted to the jury, which rendered a verdict of guilty,
       giving Thompson ten years and Williams seven.
        The District Attorney said to Attorney Lewis: "You had better plead guilty for
       these two niggers and the jury will give them short terms, but if you don't I'll see
       to it that they go to the pen for life." Mr. Lewis replied to him: "I never enter a
       plea of guilty for my clients when I think them innocent of the charge." To
       which the attorney replied: "If you clear one of these niggers I will eat my hat
       and resign the District Attorneyship, and see that you serve the State the balance
       of my term."

                    H. H. Letheridge. J. Vance Lewis. Miss Bernice Griggs. L. Franks.
                                  LAW OFFICE OF J. VANCE LEWIS.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                                66

       Page 75
        The evidence showed that a man had been killed by four Negroes, and it was
       acknowledged and explained in the testimony of Jim Riley in this way. He said:
       "It was a custom of the men while playing to flog each other with straps, and at
       the time the strap was used on the deceased there was no malice against him.
       There was no intention of whipping him to death or even of injuring him. He
       was a frail man and often suffered from hemorrhage, and the excitement in the
       present case was sufficient to bring on hemorrhage which caused his death."
         If the District Attorney failed to carry out his threats it was certainly no fault of
       his. I have rarely heard a more stirring address to a jury. Every form of invective
       was used, and he not only prosecuted Max Harris and Jim Riley, but he turned
       the oil can and set a match to every nigger of the race. He dwelt upon the
       cruelty and heartlessness of these men until it seemed that torment would be too
       good a place for them to go. He was eloquent in abuse and employed all of his
       special negro-hating vocabulary. At one time he exclaimed: "I would rather see
       a lion just from the jungles turned a-loose in a school yard with a thousand
       children than to see this big He Negro Devil turned a-loose upon society. To
       convict him will not wrong him, but to free him will wrong the great State of
       Texas. I love liberty and free speech. I want to see Texas rid of crime and I have
       put forth every effort in my power to rid the citizens of the most dangerous
       criminals in the annals of history. I now submit this case to you, and ask of you
       that you decide by verdict that Jim Riley and Max Harris do hang by the neck
       till death."

       Page 76
        Mr. Lewis made no effort at oratory. He talked to the jury in a calm, sensible,
       earnest way. He pled for fair play, that was all. His client he said was a man no
       better and no worse than many others. The attorney was wrong who called him
       a brute. Men sometimes play too roughly. They are only large boys, after all,
       and where there is no malice there could be no murder. He is by you as he
       expects you to be by him; that is, he is wishing a fair deal, and if you will give
       him what you would that he should give you if he were in your place and you in
       his, you would write a verdict of "Not guilty."
        When the sheriff brought the jury in after thirty-five minutes of balloting, the
       verdict read "Not guilty." The news of the verdict spread rapidly throughout
       Houston--the reason being that a Negro lawyer, the first and only one that had

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              67

       ever appeared before a Harris county bar, had secured a verdict in favor of a
       Negro client. Max Harris and Jim Riley were again free men.
        From this time on we had many cases, some of which had nothing of interest
       for you. The case of William Prince, a one-legged man who was a barber at
       Humble shows how a man may slay another under no provocation. Prince was
       at his shop one day when John Green entered with a drawn revolver, saying that
       he would blow Prince's head off. Being handicapped Prince could not retreat
       and reaching in a drawer for his revolver, he fired, and killed Green. The
       evidence showed that the pistol held by Green was old and disqualified to shoot,
       and the prosecution attempted to prove that Prince knew this and took advantage
       of Green, but we succeeded in showing the jury that it was a case of justifiable

       Page 77
        Sometimes the jury does peculiar things. For instance, in the case of John
       Addison, indicted jointly with his father, John Addison, Sr.; Sam Addison and
       Joe Addison, his brothers, and James Ransom, his brother-in-law, for the
       murder of Mrs. Helen P. Addison, the bride of John Addison. The jury released
       the father and brothers because of insufficient evidence, declared John Addison
       guilty, and James Ransom not guilty, although the evidence showed all of the
       defendants connected with the conspiracy, and Ransom at least as guilty as
       Addison, the testimony being the same in each case.
        I will tell of part of one other murder case. It was that of Mable Jackson,
       charged with the murder of Hamblin Rogers, a white man. This case I consider
       of great importance, because it reveals a side of the great Negro problem not
       dealt with as it should be. There is not much of a problem concerning the social
       position of white women and Negro men. That is fixed, and contrary to common
       opinion there is little or no desire on the part of one for the society of the other,
       but as between white men and Negro women the reverse seems true. The white
       women in the world have more protection in this country than any other women
       in the world and the colored women have least.
        Mable Jackson, a colored woman, was charged by the State of Texas with the
       murder of Hamblin Rogers, a white man. She had no money to employ counsel,
       but she sent for me to defend her. I went to the jail and found her alone in a cell
       and weeping bitterly. On entering the cell she wiped away her tears and said:
       "Mr. Lewis, I am glad to see you; I am a poor unfortunate woman and I need

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             68

       your service and advice. I have killed Hamblin Rogers, a white man, and I know
       they are going

       Page 78
       to hang me. Before I am sentenced to die I want to ask a favor of you. I have
       three little girls, penniless, homeless and fatherless, and soon will be motherless.
       Will you please find homes for them in some Christian family who will rear
       them up in the fear of God, so that they shall know that character is everything
       and be willing to die for virtue as their mother did."
        Mr. Lewis said: "Mrs. Jackson, I am told that there is hope between the stirrup
       and the ground. Remember that you are to be tried by reasonable men, and men
       that believe virtue, purity, sanctity of home, wife and child shall be exalted, and
       you can and will go to their hearts and be a free woman. You have said that you
       have no friends or money. The Bible says, 'Come without money and without
       price,' and further says that woman's virtue is greater than rubies. If you will
       accept my services, I will defend you before the court free of any charges."
        Mrs. Jackson replied: "Thank you, Mr. Lewis, I accept whatever you do for
       me. If you save my life I have no money to pay you in dollars and cents, but I
       will ask God to bless you."
         The indictment charging her with murder was read to the jury and she entered
       a plea of not guilty. The State put on six witnesses, all being white, and they
       testified that Hamblin Rogers was shot once in the stomach and four times in the
       back. The State rested.
        The first witness for Mrs. Jackson was a police officer. He testified that Mrs.
       Jackson had been to the police station and complained of Rogers, saying that he
       assaulted her, and asked that he be arrested; and he further stated that he failed
       to make the arrest, and Mrs. Jackson reported Rogers' second assault, and said
       that if they did not arrest him and should he

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           69

                    "I Have Killed Him"--Because He Would Not Respect the Virtue
                                            of a Woman.

       Page 79
       return and assault her again she would kill him. He said that he tried to arrest
       Rogers, but that he eluded him every time. He said he was the first one to reach
       the yard where the deceased was lying dead, and over him stood a woman with
       a Colt's revolver with every chamber empty.
        He continued: "She said to me: 'Well, Mr. Brown, I have killed him, and if he
       should rise from the dead I would like to shoot him again, for it is a deserving
       death.' "
         Mable Jackson testified for herself as follows: "Gentlemen, you can all see that
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             70

       I am a Negro woman, and under your law I cannot marry a white man. Hamblin
       Rogers desired that I be his mistress. To this I refused and I turned him from my
       door more than five times. He told me that if I did not agree with him he would
       kill me. Furthermore, he assaulted me three times and I reported him to the
       police and begged of them to arrest him, and the police refused to do so. Rogers
       returned to my house and demanded that I surrender to him. I again refused him
       and thereupon he rushed upon me in a manner unbecoming a gentleman and for
       the protection of my daughters and myself I killed him."
         The cross-examination of the District Attorney was rigid and searching, but at
       the conclusion he found that Mrs. Jackson could not be moved from her original
        Mr. Lee . . . . . opened and closed the case for the State. He said in his
       argument in part: "Gentlemen, I am here today in the defense of the great State
       of Texas. A nigger woman is here charged with the murder of a white man, and
       many witnesses have testified that they witnessed a part of the tragedy, and this
       woman now posing like an angel was seen by them

       Page 80
       pouring a volley of shot from a smoking gun into a human heart, and did not
       stop until every chamber was emptied into Hamblin Rogers. Have you
       gentlemen considered who Hamblin Rogers is? He is a white man. A kinsman
       of the Anglo-Saxon nation of the world. It is that kind of blood that has been
       spilled by a negro wench. Your verdict, gentlemen, should plant her in the blue
       space with a rope around the neck, betwixt the Heaven and the earth. I further
       wish to call your attention to the audacity of her negro lawyer in coming to this
       court, asking a jury of intelligent white men as you are to acquit her. I want a
       verdict at your hand that will teach every Negro, male and female, what the
       blood of a white man costs, when taken in a butcher-like manner as Rogers'
       was. I ask for the extreme penalty of the law; that is a verdict that will cause her
       to hang by the neck in this county until she is dead. Nothing else will satisfy the
       people of this community."
        During the time that the District Attorney was making his vulgar argument,
       Mable Jackson sat with her face in her hands and with the tears streaming down
       her cheeks. She was heard to say, "What a cruel man. I would to God that I had
       never been born." Her three little daughters were seated by her, and seeing their
       mother weeping, looked up in her face and said, "Mamma, mamma, trust God;

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           71

       He will help you."
         The remark of the children, "Mamma, mamma, trust, God, He will help you!"
       It struck me as a thunderbolt. I could not resist the feeling that came over me,
       and I began my address to the jury in the following words: "Gentlemen, if men
       should so far forget themselves and harm by act of omission or commission
       another human being, there is one thing I am glad to

       Page 81
       know, viz.: That he knows that God knows and sees every action, whether it be
       good or whether it be evil. I am not here to quelch men and their great minds,
       but I am here to reason with you upon a matter of much importance. In reading
       Exodus the 20th chapter, I find the commandment given unto Moses by God,
       'Thou shalt not kill,' and, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' 'Thou shalt not bear
       false witness against thy neighbor' is another. These three commandments are
       given as a safeguard to human happiness, and to us should be the rock which
       society is based upon. Mrs. Jackson is charged with having broken one of these
       commandments. She in her plea of not guilty has tried to show you her
       justification in breaking the commandment. She has further alleged that to
       protect one of the golden threads, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' she had to
       break another of less importance. Mable Jackson has broken one of the
       commandments, Hamblin has broken one of the commandments, seven
       witnesses have broken a commandment, three sins have been committed, and
       who must we punish? One of the greatest religious divines wrote thus: 'Must
       Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?' I ask you: 'Must Mable
       Jackson bear all the guilt alone, and Hamblin Rogers, though guilty, go free?'
       She is but an unfortunate woman, though unfortunate she is, she is a heroine.
       When the wolf came, out in sheep's clothing, grinning with teeth gnashing, eyes
       sparkling, like balls of fire, his claws ready to spring in the bosom of purity,
       Mable Jackson knew him, and it was her bullet that stopped the midnight
       prowler in his mad rage to destroy virtue and pure homes. I ask this question of
       you: 'If a white woman had killed a demon of my race, who was guilty of the

       Page 82
       act as Rogers, would she be here on trial for her life?' NO! You would build for
       her a monument and immortalize her while she was living. Now for what Mable
       has done, she must be censured. Censured because she has sown a seed of pure
Out of the Ditch.                                                                               72

       womanhood that will grow into our young daughter's pure hearts; that will live
       till the race of the world is no more. It is said in the Bible that 'woman's virtue is
       greater than pure gold, emeralds, diamonds or rubies,' and Mable Jackson in
       protecting herself against that brute sought to do what you would have your
       wife to do. She informed the officers of the law of his brutal and shameful
       actions, but we find that they did not come to her rescue; thus she was left alone,
       and unprotected. You men will have to go home to your wives, and they will
       ask you, 'What was your verdict in the case where a woman had been criminally
       assaulted?' Would you say to them that 'We found her guilty, and she must die
       because she protected her virtue, and the sanctity of her home?' If you convict
       this woman for defending her virtue, even though it resulted in the slaying of the
       would-be rapist, you will cut the vital cord of your own daughter's protection
       and damn virtue in your home. I submit the case to your sound judgment."
        Judge A. C. Allen charged the jury upon the law of the case and they retired
       for further deliberation, and after being out sixty minutes they returned into the
       court with a verdict. Judge Allen said to the jury: "Gentlemen, have you reached
       a verdict?" Whereupon they answered, "We have." Mr. Smith read the verdict:
       "We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty."
        Judge Allen said to Mable Jackson: "Mable, you are again a free woman. You
       may thank your lawyer for his able defense

       Page 83
       of your case. I further add to you, that I don't believe another lawyer in town
       could have brought you out of this affair so well. Go home and continue to
       conduct yourself right and we will see that you are protected."
        Mable sprang to her feet and throwing her arms around the neck of her lawyer
       she, as well as her children, wept bitterly.

                                       CHAPTER XI.
                                     A CONSPIRACY.
         The attention which we gave to the details of our business ere long began to
       tell for our success. We were pleased, of course, when we got a case where
       there was a large fee, but we were industrious where the fees were small, and in
       fact where there were no fees at all. Popleoften asked our advice and received
Out of the Ditch.                                                                              73

       legal instructions without knowing that our services merited more than "Thank
       you." But we were at all times polite and obliging and never forgot that we were
       pioneers and must expect some irregularities.
        Our business enlarged its scope with the months. We took land cases and suits
       and cases of all kinds, both civil and criminal. A suit brought against the
       International Order of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor at Dallas, Texas, by
       Miss Lillie Rivers, a popular young lady of Houston, Texas, for $2,500.00 on a
       policy, was easily won. The letter explaining the case, and the reply, follows:
                                                         Dallas, Texas, July . . . . . 1902.
       Hon. J. Vance Lewis.
        Dear Sir: I would like to secure your services to represent the International
       Order of the Knights and Daughters of

       Page 84
       Tabor, an organized, incorporated and chartered institution to do business within
       the State of Texas. One Miss Lilly Rivers, of your city, brought suit against this
       institution for $2,500.00 on a policy of a supposed adopted mother of hers, and
       through the negligence of some of our local agents failing to notify for the date
       of the trial she has a judgment against us for the sum of $2,500.00. I am told that
       the judgment was secured in the 55th District Court. Please examine the records
       and let me know if you will represent us in the settlement of the judgment.
       Yours truly,
                                                                            C.E.W. DAY.
        We found time for the least cases, and at one time I had as many as one
       hundred divorce cases on file. Our success was the occasion of much jealousy,
       and there are no bounds to the depth of infamy into which it may lead one. Its
       venom is often concealed, but is no less poisonous for that.
        There was a little two-by-four colored lawyer, and one or two low class white
       ones in Houston, who made a living out of the little cases, especially the divorce
       cases which were now coming to us. When not drunk they watched our success
       with ever-increasing envy and finally reported to Judge Chas. E. Ashe and also
       to Judge W. P. Hamblen that there was some irregularity in the citation of every
       case that I had on file. Our success had been phenomenal, and I do not wonder
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          74

       that Judge Hamblen believed the statement of this Cateline and his cohorts.
        I was summoned to appear before Judge Hamblen and to show why my license
       should not be revoked. He made temporary suspension which was to last until
       forty-eight (48) divorce suits could be investigated. It was on March 16th, 1903,
       that the case was called. The State was represented by County

                                      C. E. W. DAY
                        Chief Grand Mentor K. D. of Tabors of Texas.

       Page 85
       Attorney F. L. Schwander and Judge Kirlicks, as able a pair as the bench
       affords. Judge Hamblen was in the chair. Forty-eight witnesses in the divorce
Out of the Ditch.                                                                         75

       suits, in which I was charged with forgery, were present, and without exception
       testified that they had signed the citations sent them by me and that I had not
       forged. I leave my readers to say what the verdict under the circumstances
       should have been and relate what actually occurred. This is what the verdict
       said: "J. Vance Lewis, I don't find the evidence sufficient to convict you on
       anything, but with power vested in me as judge I shall suspend you from the bar
       for six (6) months, because of indiscretion in your office." Conspirators had
       won "by fair or by foul means," they cared not. As Burns aptly says, "Man's
       inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn."
        We had to discontinue a lucrative practice for six long months, and why?
       Because, forsooth, somebody thought we had been "indiscreet" in our office.
         But adverse circumstances have no power to thwart a man of invincible
       courage and strong determination. I knew that I could make a success at law,
       and would do it in spite of everybody, and the only problem that I had to solve
       was what to do with the immediate future. I needed rest but had not planned to
       take as much as six months of it; I wanted to travel but had not as yet reached
       the place where I thought I could spare the money. I longed to learn something
       of English jurisprudence but had never had time to devote to its study. I now
       saw how all of these aims might be accomplished. I was short of cash, having
       invested constantly in real estate, and so I arranged to deliver twenty-eight
       addresses in Arkansas, Kansas,

       Page 86
       Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, New
       Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. My last address was delivered at the Fifty-
       Third street Baptist church in New York City, of which Rev. C. T. Walker was
       pastor. I secured enough money from these addresses to pay my expenses while
       abroad, and sailed in a vessel called the "Minnehaha."
        We were ten days on the sea, when we encountered a dreadful storm, but when
       the wrath of the sea-king was appeased, we landed safe at Tilberry, a port
       twenty miles south from London. When our baggage had been inspected we
       came ashore and took overland passage to London.
        It was July 4th, and the President of France, Monsieur Luberque, was in the
       city visiting the late King Edward of England. There was a grand parade and it
       certainly was a pleasant sight, but nothing in the parade touched or affected me
       and caused my heart to swell with pride like the passing of Honorable Joseph
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             76

       Choate, the American ambassador, whose carriage was drawn by two prancing
       American steeds, which were decorated with Old Glory, and behind which a
       band played "My Country 'Tis of Thee." I've been told since that they were
       playing "God Save the King," but the tune is one and the same to me.
         After I had been in London three days, I entered London Lane Law School,
       and studied law there for some time, and at the close of school, Lord Berkeley
       made a motion in common plea court that I be admitted to the bar to practice
       law in the United Kingdom. Before practicing law I decided to continue my
       travels. I purchased a Clark's excursion ticket and left London for Paris, France.
       From France I visited the following

       Page 87
       places: Venice, Rome, St. Petersburg. Kishnif, through Switzerland, Denmark,
       Germany and back to London.
        While in London I had the pleasure of representing Sidney Rose and George
       Frost, two American subjects that had been arrested in Tilberry Park, charged by
       the police with disturbing the peace. These cases came to trial before the
       Magistrate Court, and the evidence showed that these men at the time of their
       arrest had American flags in their hands, singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."
       The presiding judge was a broad-minded man, and he released the prisoners,
       and further, said: "I compliment you. A man who fails to sing his national song
       in any country should be exiled."
        Mr. Hugler, secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association, made an
       engagement that I deliver an address to the Young Men's Christian Association.
       He requested that I take as a subject, "The Relations That Exist Between the
       White and Black Man of America." In truth the English people were very
       anxious to hear the true status of the Negro's case in America. The night on
       which the address was to be delivered the doors were open at 6:30 p.m., and by
       7 o'clock standing room was at a premium; the receipts showed that sixteen
       hundred tickets had been sold.
        The author was introduced to the audience by Mr. Merrion Boniparte, a young
       man who had made the journey with the author while touring the continent. He
       said in part: "It is an extreme pleasure to introduce to the citizens of Great
       Britain a citizen of a sister nation, a man of color, belonging to another race, but
       equal in the sight of God, and entitled to the same

Out of the Ditch.                                                                          77

       Page 88
       privileges and consideration as any Anglo-Saxon. Before you now is Barrister J.
       Vance Lewis."
         The author began his address as follows: "I have longed to see a nation of
       people who love God and know men; I have longed to see your king and your
       kingdom. It was told to me before leaving my home, that the gracious spirit and
       the sympathetic hearts of the English people go far out in love and sympathy for
       all mankind, be he white or black, and I here appreciate the honor conferred
       upon me as an American subject to speak to you as citizens of the Old World. I
       am delighted to see that under the international relationship of nations both
       England and America are like unto the peaceful bosom of an undisturbed sea,
       each brooding her young constitutionally, and safe-guarding their interests as an
       eagle does its young. I love America as you love your kingdom, and I feel that
       you would deal impartially with your nation as I must with mine. The law under
       which we are governed cannot be questioned so far as the purport of said laws
       are concerned, yet in all kingdoms and republics men occasionally break the
       law, and through the law-breaking their reports are untrue or exaggerated.
       Circumstances of great events more than forty-five years ago in America caused
       a boundary line, which is known as the Mason and Dixon line. The Northern
       section of the United States advocated the freedom of the slaves, and the
       Southern section maintained that slavery should and ought to exist. The slavery
       question became a paramount issue, and was brought to fever heat in the two
       legislative branches of the government. The two contending factions could
       reach no definite agreement. A tide in the affairs of men and government took a
       peculiar course, hoping by

       Page 89
       the inactions to settle the difficulty. The South seceded from the Union.
       Abraham Lincoln was at that time President of the United States. He believed,
       as all men should, that a government of the people, by the people, and for the
       people, should not and could not be divided. The secession of the South was the
       direct and the immediate cause of the Negro emancipation. The Emancipation
       Proclamation put the Negro in America upon his own responsibility. It made
       him an heir to the religious, political and educational honors that he had been
       deprived of for more than two hundred years. In truth he was illiterate, but
       ambitious. He craved for everything that had a tendency to lift the race of
       mankind upward, and I now say for him, he has within forty years climbed out
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             78

       of the ditch to a place in science, literature and art that bespeaks much for him
       in the growth of a civilization as great as this. In America he meets many
       difficulties. Laws are passed with hopes of segregating him. With the Jim Crow
       laws already passed, and the "grandfather" clauses and rather prohibitory ballot
       box laws passed by the Southern states, the Negro sees before him the great
       mountain of prejudice, but he is now hard at work trying to solve the problem as
       how to cut through, or go around, or to go over the mountain, and still maintain
       friendship with those who have tried to hinder him. Time will soon tell how
       well he will act his part, but here say for him, that in every step made by him he
       is precautious and diplomatic. His conduct will win for him a place among those
       with whom he lives as well as with those who know him not. The American
       Negro bids me ask your sympathy and prayers and he will prove to the world, if
       an opportunity is given him and he is let alone, his posterity will not be ashamed
       of the record he will leave to them."

       Page 90
        At the close of this address I was surrounded by many English admirers, who
       grasped my hand and bade me the divine blessings of God.
        There had been so much of turmoil and strife in my life just preceding, that I
       may have been a little pessimistic in my views of the South, and I know that I
       was melancholy, like the dove deprived of its mate. I mourned for a maiden's
       sweet voice and a sweetheart's smile. All of the wonderful attractions of a
       London season were insufficient to hold me.
        "Seest thou a man diligent in his business; he shall stand before kings."--
       Proverbs of Soloman.
        "There is no blessing equal to the possession of a stout heart. Even if a man fail
       in his effort, it will be a satisfaction to him to enjoy the consciousness of having
       done his best. In humble life nothing can be more cheering and beautiful than to
       see a man combating suffering by patience, triumphing in his integrity, and
       who, when his feet are bleeding and his limbs failing him, still . . . . . upon his
       courage."--Samuel Miles.
         "The truest wisdom is a resolute determination."--Napoleon.
         "A cover vaillant rien clins possible."--Jacques Coeur.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            79

       Page 91

                                        CHAPTER XIII.

       Ah, distinctly I remember,
       It was in the bleak December
       And each separate dying ember
       Wrought its ghost upon the floor;
       Eagerly I wished the morrow,
       Vainly I had sought to borrow
       From my books surcease of sorrow--
       Sorrow for the lost Lenore--
       For the rare and radiant maiden
       Whom the angels named Lenore--
       Nameless here forevermore!

                                            --Edgar Allan Poe.

       He either fears his fate too much,
       Or his deserts are small,
       That dares not put it to the touch
       To gain or lose it all.

                                        --Marquis of Montrose.

                                       HOME COMING.
        It is strange how easily a fellow becomes homesick when he is separated from
       a girl he values more than life by such a broad expanse of water as an ocean. I
       found myself fidgety and irritable, almost unable to wait until the vessel started,
       but about 9:30 o'clock the gang plank was raised and we began to glide away.
       The vessel on which I sailed was the Umbra, one of the best ships owned by the
       Cunard line. We stopped at Queenstown to take up the mail, and after two hours
       put into deep water and began to plough its azure surface. In about

       Page 92
       six days we put into port at Pier No. 48 in the East River at New York. I was
       glad when my feet again struck the firm earth. Almost immediately I wired to
Out of the Ditch.                                                                         80

       Miss Pauline Gray, and afterwards to Dr. F. R. Roby, that I was again in the
       United States and was coming to Texas. Dr. Roby answered my telegram as
       follows: "Prejudice running high. Will be indicted if you return." I wondered
       what could be the matter now. I knew that it was the work of the men who had
       conspired to have me suspended, but what new trick they had up their sleeves I
       could not fathom. Some men would have waited to get the particulars. I felt that
       I had been away long enough. Cowards always work better when one is away,
       and I decided to face them and single-handed to combat any charges against me.
       Accordingly I bought a ticket for Houston, Texas. When I arrived I found that
       Dr. Roby had told the simple truth. Colored lawyers and white lawyers, too, got
       together as soon as they knew I was in town, and I saw them as busy as ants,
       carrying news to the grand jury.
        Charges were prepared against me by Joe and Maggie Moore, charging me
       with swindling them out of two lots valued at $1,500. I was arrested and Judge
       W. C. Mathews fixed the bond at $2,500. While in jail many friends came to see
       me; they all sympathized with me, some prayed for me, but I felt that a
       bondsman, be he white or black, would do me more good than prayers or
       sympathy. The trial was set for ten days later.
        Night came and as the somber shades fell I planned how I would fight off the
       rats and other jail creatures. I was aroused from my reverie by the keepers
       turning the lock of my cell and the jailer informed me that my young master,
       Mr. D. S.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            81

                    Mr. D. S. Cage and Miss Pauline Gray Visit Lewis at the Harris
                                            County Jail.

       Page 93
       Cage, and Miss Pauline Gray, desired to talk with me. If ever a man was
       surprised I was. Oh! how glad I was! I said I was glad to see them and
       apologized because I had to receive them in such a place. Mr. Cage said: "Joe, I
       am very sorry, indeed, to see you here in this place. I have no land whereupon I
       can be your bondsman, but something must be done. I can't see you suffer
       without at least trying to help you. I have a few thousands to my credit which I
       will put up this night if needed. Say, I am gone, but my head will not touch a
       pillow nor shall my eyes close in sleep until you are out of this prison." I turned
       then again to Pauline. I chided her for coming to such a place. I pleaded my
Out of the Ditch.                                                                                82

       unworthiness and begged her to leave until I could come to her with a name and
       a reputation that would not cast a reflection upon her. But it is as the poet says,
       "Man's love is of man a thing apart; 'tis woman's whole existence." And the dear
       girl said "No." If I went down she would go with me. That she would never
       forgive herself if she deserted me when I most needed her. She felt and heard
       the vile gossip of the busy-bodies, but heeded them not. I had loved her before,
       but now I adored her. I had never doubted that my love was returned even
       before this, but nothing could happen now that would cause me to doubt. I knew
       my love was an angel. In about thirty minutes, thirty minutes of unalloyed bliss,
       the telephone rang. Judge Mathews said that Mr. D. S. Cage had assured him
       that J. Vance Lewis would be present in court on the day set for trial, and
       ordered the jailer to let me out. Never before did liberty seem so sweet; the
       gloom of despondency melted away, and I saw the moon at its full shedding all
       the light it could upon a world which

       Page 94
       otherwise would have been dark. The winds whispered a new song and
       everything seemed right with the world. The kindness of Mr. Cage was
       uppermost in my mind, you know, because I have told you in a previous chapter
       of the friendship that existed between my young master and myself from early
       childhood. He was never a sentimental kind of man, but the kind who if he likes
       you will stick to you through thick and thin. The memory of my childhood days
       came wildly back to me, and I remembered how many times Mr. Cage had
       befriended me during the toilsome hours in the ditch, and on the farms, and also
       in the glad, happy hours when we sang and danced before the cabin doors. For a
       moment I wished those days were here again, but in a moment more I was glad
       they were not. Emancipation has done so much for the Southland that no man
       would welcome the return of slavery. My meditations were interrupted and I
       again gave my attention to the immediate present. Falsehood, false friendship
       and prejudice had joined hands to make for me a suit of stripes with a number
       on the back of my shirt. If I had been a woman I might have found relief in
       tears. As it was, I gritted my teeth and asked God to give me "strength for the
         Ten days of imprisonment is an age, but ten days of freedom is a very short
       time, and so the time for the trial was soon at hand. The State was represented
       by Attorney J. V. Lea and Assistant Attorney Richard Lewis. I was represented
       by the thefirm of Brockman Kahn, the ablest defense I could secure anywhere in
       the state. I realized that I had a difficult fight, for it is easy in law to prove what
Out of the Ditch.                                                                       83

       manufactured circumstantial evidence seems to indicate.

                                    J. B. BROCKMAN
                                Attorney for J. Vance Lewis.

       Page 95
        The first witness called was Joe Moore, who testified as follows: "I employed
       J. Vance Lewis as attorney for my daughter, Mrs. Mary Chambers, who had
       cause for a damage suit against the City of Fort Worth Electric Railway
       Company, because of injuries sustained through negligence of said corporation.
       We had no money to pay for the services rendered and we gave him a mortgage
       against our homestead for one hundred and fifty ($150.00) dollars. Eighteen
       months after the mortgage had been given I was informed that Lewis had filed a
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           84

       deed for my property, and the instrument filed by Lewis, if it is a deed, was
       intended by us to be a mortgage."
        On cross-examination, Attorney J.B. Brockman said: "Joe Moore, you admit
       that you employed Lewis to render legal service for you?"
         Moore--Yes, sir.
        Brockman--You further admit that for services rendered you signed an
       instrument in writing?
         Moore--Yes, sir.
        Producing the deed signed by Maggie and Joe Moore and written by and sworn
       to before J. Leon Jones, a notary public, Mr. Brockman asked: "Moore, is this
       your handwriting on this deed?"
         Moore--Yes, sir.
         Brockman--You may stand aside.
        Maggie Moore was then called to the stand. She testified that she had signed
       the instrument with her husband, but that when she signed it she understood it to
       be a mortgage. That J. Leon Jones, the notary public, examined her privily and

       Page 96
       away from her husband, and explained the instrument fully to her before she
       signed it.
         With this testimony the State rested.
        The defense produced only the instrument and the notary public as witnesses.
       They testimony of the latter follows: "I am a notary public in and for Harris
       county. Joe Vance Lewis asked me to write a deed conveying two lots in the
       Holman survey from Joe Moore and Maggie Moore to J. Vance Lewis, the
       consideration being five hundred ($500.00) dollars. I wrote the deed as he
       requested, charging him for service rendered one dollar and fifty cents. After the
       instrument was prepared I notified him that it was ready. Moore came and
       brought with him his wife, Maggie Moore. I read and explained the deed
       thoroughly to them. I asked them did they know what they were doing; they said
       that they were signing a deed of two lots to J. Vance Lewis."

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            85

         Both State and defendant rested in the case.

                                   THE ARGUMENT.
        District Attorney J. V. Lea took the vied in his argument that these were old
       Negroes, scarcely knowing how to read or write, and being of the same race that
       J. Vance Lewis is, they placed all confidence in him, and whatever Lewis told
       them to do they were like sheep led to a slaughter, they did it, be it right or
       wrong. J. Vance Lewis is a shrewd Negro, and with such argument he
       persuaded the justice of the Peace to bind him over to the grand jury, and fix his
       bond at such sum that both he and his friends would have trouble to give.
         Mr. J. B. Brockman, attorney for the author, made a telling

       Page 97
       speech, one long to be remembered. He presented authority after authority in
       support of his contention that no crime could grow out of the legal transaction,
       when all parties to the transaction admitted that they signed the instrument and
       understood it. He proved that Lewis had no interest further than what they
       willingly gave him. He called attention to the fact that Lewis had no part in the
       making and the delivering of the instrument; never dictated it. He reminded the
       justice that the notary public stated that Lewis never saw the instrument and in
       truth never had anything to do with it until it was delivered to him. At the close
       of the argument Justice Matthews remarked that he did not believe Lewis was
       guilty of anything, but he would not be responsible for turning him loose. He
       would put the responsibility up to the grand jury. He fixed Lewis' bond at two
       thousand five hundred ($2,500.00) dollars, to appear to the next grand jury.
       When Judge Matthews stated that the defendant should go to jail to await the
       action of the grand jury, Mr. Brockman, the author's attorney, became so
       enraged over the injustice of the case that he in truth used language too warm to
       be held between the lids of this book. As they were taking me off to jail, he said:
       "Go on, Lewis; do not get discouraged. When you reach the penitentiary, I will
       be there with you, and serve your time for you. They cannot succeed at
       prosecuting and persecution."
        I was turned over to a deputy sheriff, to be carried to the county jail for safe-
       keeping until the bond could be made. The officer was Mr. John Smith. He said
       as he approached me: "Lewis, it is a shame to handcuff you, and I will not do
       so; neither will I take you down in the city patrol wagon. I am
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             86

       Page 98
       going to trust you to walk down to the jail with me, and at the same time if you
       can find any one to sign your bond, I will go with you and do all in my power to
       help you to get out of jail."
        We left Justice Matthews' office for the county jail. We came up Preston to
       Travis, and turned out Travis and on reaching Travis and Capitol, we ran into
       several prominent colored men of this city discussing the case. Among them
       were Rev. N. P. Pullum, Rev. F. L. Lights, Rev. H. R. Johnson, Rev. E. H.
       Branch, Rev. S. B. Southerner, Prof. P. C. Reed, Prof. B. H. Grimes, Dr. R. F.
       Ferrell and Dr. F. L. McDavid. As we passed some one said: "I don't believe
       that man is guilty, and if he is the State has failed to prove the case, and I think
       as citizens of Houston we should not let him go to jail; we should go to his
       rescue." I think it was Rev. Pullum who said this: "I'll sign his bond." Dr. Ferrell
       said: "I'll sign his bond." Rev. Lights said: "I'll sign his bond, too." Prof. Buck
       Grimes said: "I would sign it a dozen times, but I have nothing but a homestead
       and that is exempt by law; but suppose we call up J. B. Bell and see if he will
       sign the bond with Pullum, Ferrell and Lights." I learned afterward that this
       suggestion was approved and Rev. N. P. Pullum stepped into the Bayou City
       Drug Store and called up 2605. Rev. Pullum said to Mr. Bell: "Mr. Bell, a
       committee of gentlemen is waiting here at the drug store on business of very
       much importance, which must be attended to at once, and we cannot further
       proceed unless you are present; may I say to the committee that you will come
       at once?" Mr. Bell said: "Yes, you may say to them that I will be present within
       the next few minutes." Ten minutes later Mr. Bell arrived, and

       Page 99
       Revs. Lights and N. P. Pullum had a private conference with him about signing
       the bond. At the end of the conference Mr. Bell and Rev. Lights called on me
       and said to me: "We will sign your bond on these terms: You will have to report
       to us once a week, and should you at any time desire to go out of the city, you
       will first notify us and at the same time give us your contemplated destination,
       and on arrival drop us a card or a letter." The author at once gladly agreed to do
       whatever his bondsmen desired him to do. So the deputy sheriff, Mr. John
       Smith, Rev. Lights, Rev. Pullum and Mr. Bell returned to Sheriff Anderson's
       office, and in thepresenceof the sheriff, Mr. Voss, and Mr. Conway the bond
       was signed by Rev.F.L.Lights,J.B.Belland Rev. N. P. Pullum, thus making me a

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            87

       bondman for seven years, during all this time I was stopped from taking
       criminal cases in the district court of Harris county. I thought at first that this
       would work a hardship upon me, but after thinking the matter over I made up
       my mind to make a specialty of divorce cases in the district courts of Harris
       county, and during my seven years suspension I filed 3820 divorce cases, all of
       which netted me a neat little fee of $25.00 in each case. The criminal charge
       was still pending against me and was called for trial more than thirty times and
       continued by the State. The final result of this case will be treated in another

       Page 100

                                      CHAPTER XIV.
        There is an end to everything but eternity and so when despair was about
       setting upon me the result in this unequal fight came to an end. Mr. J. B.
       Brockman still conducted the defense; W. C. Oliver officiated as District
       Attorney; J. K. P. Gillispie presided as judge. The case was again submitted to
       the jury and when the evidence was all in the jury voted eleven for acquittal and
       one for conviction. Mr. Oliver and Mr. Brockman agreed that the case would
       never again come to trial. As my mind was at rest I consented to deliver the
       Emancipation address before the citizens of Cameron, Texas.

                          THE NEGRO AND THE NATION.
        I was born a slave as you know and spent many weary hours in the ditch
       immediately after the Emancipation, but no man has less to complain of than
       myself. I spent my happiest days in it, and if I did not know its evil
       consequences both to master and man I would glory in it. I had exceptionally
       good owners as you will agree, both from their treatment before and since
       emancipation. They were what my mother used to call "quality."
        The following address contains no malice towards slavery and casts many
       sidelights upon the present condition and progress of my people:
        "Fellow Citizens of Cameron and Citizens of the United States: To you who
       are a part and a parcel of this great government, I come to address you regarding
       your past, present and future relationship to this, our country.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             88

         "The creators, ingenious, liberty-loving and God-fearing

                                          MR. J. B. BELL.
                             REV. F. L. LIGHTS. REV. N. P. PULLUM.
                    "We Signed His Bond Because We Believed Him to Be Innocent."

       Page 101
       fathers that framed the Constitution of the United States, foresaw possibility for
       their posterity, politically, religiously, socially, educationally and commercially,
       that would make for them a place in the world's annals of the great. They did not
       see before them out on the bosom of the political sea the great storm they would
       have to encounter before they could write upon an independent banner,
       'America's Freedom.' They saw bloodshed and death to reach the goal; they
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          89

       would have to fully decide to brave the deep chasm and build a monument of
       patriotic bones, quit-claiming to their posterity a free and independent
       government and forever erasing the jurisdiction of England as sovereign and
       lord of the land. They saw duty and death and to acquire a place as sovereign
       power they obeyed duty's call, met death, and left to us as a legacy, a country
       and government that today demands the respect of the whole world.
         "As I trace backward through the pages of history, and as I again go forward
       from the dawn to the present, I witness this fact: That two distinct races fought
       for one principle, one government and for all the people. Just as other nations
       recognize our declaration of principles as a free and independent government,
       they foreshadowed us as a coming great power, and being as we are known to
       be, a government for the people, of the people, and by the people, whose
       fundamentality is the rock on which we stand and are now building. This people
       with whom I hold allegiance, marched in battle array and in funeral tread along
       by the side of his white brother until they together sung the song and battle cry
       of 'Freedom,' declaring Old Glory ours to live and ours to die.
         "You are found today in a most conspicuous gathering, a

       Page 102
       gathering of men, women and children, to express their unanimous approval of
       your freedom which is sanctioned by the Constitution, the Constitution being
       the fundamental law of the land by which we are all governed. This day has its
       influence upon us as other days have had its influence upon other patriotic white
       citizens within this great republic, when they are moved by the same spirit that
       actuated us as a free and independent people. As I look out over this vast
       audience, I see here and there another race which is identified with the Anglo-
       Saxon, a people who forty-four years ago could and did exchange human souls
       for gold at will, who now come to join us to make this a gala day. One hundred
       and thirty-three years ago this, our country, was but a barren and trackless
       wildnerness.Great problems were then before the fathers of this land for
       adjustment, and, indeed, were of vital importance. Men of that day could not
       afford to move through passion as they are moving now, but before moving, to
       do or die, it was first after a sound and sober consideration. In 1775 when the
       destiny of this nation was to survive or perish, men of sound and sober
       judgment met in old Fanuel Hall, and, with one stroke of the pen created one of
       the greatest countries and governments the world has ever known, unfurling a
       parchment that will live until the memory of man is lost.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                              90

         "It is true, brave and patriotic men have lost their lives on the field of battle,
       yet they died because there was a principle involved, and that principle was and
       is 'liberty.' More than four millions of my race on this glorious day were raised
       from serfdom to the position of citizenship, and they are now freemen and must
       progress or retrograde. The past condition

       Page 103
       did not suit us; we were ignorant and did not know how to serve God
       intelligently. We were told by our emancipators that every religious,
       commercial and political possibility was now ours, and the only way we could
       enjoy these privileges was by educating ourselves. For more than two hundred
       and fifty years we existed and not lived, for no man can live without education,
       and all the training that we had ever received was a training of humility and
       servitude, yet while groping in darkness we through prayer had touched God's
       right hand and were now to be lifted up.
         "The smoke of the war has died away and we gather the relics from daring
       battlefields where great men of both races had fallen and over yonder
       graveyards we see monuments erected in honor to their sacred memory for valor
       and service. Fellow citizens, our race should share alike in this country as other
       races are now enjoying. I cannot see why or how our Constitution so broad in its
       foundation and so liberal in its meaning should not be understood by some of
       the adverse parties and leaders regarding our constitutional rights as citizens of
       the United States. Tell me the day or the time the Negro has failed to obey his
       country's call when he was needed in the defense of a just principle, for the
       maintenance of peace and the integrity of this nation? Not once. See him in the
       revolutionary war, with Mexico, and in the war of the rebellion, and last but not
       least when he stood as the granite wall as the breastworks at San Juan Hill for a
       principle and helped to expand the nation's territory. When this government of
       ours is at peace with itself and with other nations, the Negro carries within his
       bosom a spirit of humility and love for all mankind, but when our institutions

       Page 104
       are threatened and the safety of this nation is trembling, he assumes another
       aspect. I pray thee look upon him now; his eyes take the glow of an eagle and
       his breast upheaves like a lion; he pricks his ears and listens to his nation's bugle
       call, on to war to die. After the battle is over and the victory is achieved he
       returns to his farm, where with his muscle he is ready to again become the
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           91

       productive servant of the world. By the pen of Lincoln the Negroes were turned
       loose without shelter, home or raiment, to do or perish. He decided to do. He
       was left alone; he could see nothing before him but a green landscape that had
       to be felled and cleared and turned into a commercial garden. This, my friend,
       he did, and today he is styled the backbone of American industry. The Negro
       took on new responsibilities; he began to realize that he was in need of
       education. He had learned so late as 1878 that the Blair Educational bill had
       been killed, and the South had decided to educate her citizens out of her public
       funds and that the Northern men with money would also help them. The schools
       of the South were open and the Negro, thirsty for education, went pouring into
       them like wild ducks to a silvery lake. Charges had been made against him that
       he could not solve the mystery of the then unknown sciences, algebra,
       geometry, trigonometry and botany. Did the Negro make good or did he fail? I
       think he made good. Call, I pray you, to our leading colleges and schools and
       ask to examine the curriculum of both white and colored colleges, and you will
       find Negroes who through their science, skill and ability are proving their
       efficiency by taking off class honors. We have had our Douglass, Revell, Bruce
       and other men in their time who had honors thrust upon them.

       Page 105
       They were men of the old school, but the men of this day and time will have to
       make their way in every walk of life through the pathway of education, and you,
       my friend, will have no easy sailing.
        "You can make men respect you. The man that is a farmer, you continue tilling
       and fertilizing the soil and reap and harvest your productions, take them to the
       best market until men learn of you, and they will hunt for your farm, because
       you give to the market the best grain and vegetables. The world wants the best,
       and if the best is in you, you will be on the market whether you are white or
       black. I say to you, my friend, the South is the place for us. Great opportunities
       confront us here. Continue your good citizenship and the few who now oppress
       you will soon become your friends, because you have shown to him that you are
       worthy of his confidence and his friendship.
        "Let us as a race respect our women, and at the same time demand the respect
       of others. We should stop mourning the death of American citizens when they
       die for a good cause. Let us mourn the loss of that which is most sacred to our
       religious and political growth, and that is the virtue of our women, which to us
       should be and is more sacred than life itself. You are a people of great
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           92

       endurance; you have withstood many things and you will have to stand many
       more, but never look back; march on and on, on to victory, until men see you as
       you are, a race of men with unswerving ability. Continue, my fellow citizens, to
       love and respect your country and its Constitution. The Constitution is a
       faultless parchment, and if any laws have been passed which are conflicting,
       segregating us as a race, it is a

       Page 106
       direct violation of the constitutional rights of American citizenship, and the
       court will correct the evil.
        "Much is being said about the Negro in the South and who is his friend. I bring
       to you this news: Our friends are many and our enemies are but few, both North
       and South. I am here to admit that there are a few men in the South who are in
       position to do us good and not harm themselves if they would just please let the
       Negro question solve itself. It is true we can see men all over this country who
       wish to gain a little prestige over a certain class of people for self-
       aggrandizement from a political standpoint, and the only way this man can see
       his way up to the public eye he must write something or speak something
       against the Negro. In truth his heart is not in accord with what he says or does,
       but the Negro question has had the public eye, and to oppress the Negro he
       seems to think it will elevate him. If the Creator thought it wise to make me just
       what He knew would suit Him best, and He made the other race just as He
       thought best, then why should I take any exceptions to the hand of creation,
       when He knew what He was doing when He made man? Then I say any other
       man who is so weak as to go against the Creator of the universe should be
       forgiven by any civilized people, because he is dangerous to society, and is a
       menace against public virtue, and is insane.
        "Some of you, my friends, have become discouraged because you are
       discouraged and disfranchised, and you cannot see a gleam of light, but I pray
       you give not up. Time is indeed a fleeting shadow, when our God within the
       shadow will reap for you a harvest in the perfect day. It is charged that our
       forefathers, who are styled the old Negro, are better citizens

       Page 107
       and neighbors than the young Negroes are of today. This may or may not be
       true, and I think I can here explain why. In the first place, conditions have
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            93

       greatly changed. Before emancipation white men knew us and knew our
       thoughts, hence there was a closer affinity then than there is now. The
       relationship of master and slave then existed, and the Negro was not a thinker
       and did not think for himself. Thus you can now see the estrangement between a
       thinker and one thought for. The man who thinks for another becomes wise and
       must be superior to the one he is responsible to and for. The white man is a
       thinker, and he is now relieved of the responsibilities to think for the Negro,
       because the Negro is also a thinker. The Negroes are indeed a sensitive race,
       and why? For more than two hundred years he has been put on the crucifix and
       he is fearful of every result, be it good or bad. Let the courts of this country
       teach such lessons that will say to the Negro that you will get as fair and
       impartial trial as another, as any other citizen and you will see the Negro in
       another light.
         "If a Negro wishes to become great, now is the time to begin your greatness.
       Watch and care for your cradles, for in the cradle is held the destiny of our race.
       Teach babies to be men and true women. Then the battle is over, the victory is
       won, because good Christian character is what this government is founded upon,
       and upon it shall all men become great. I charge you, my friends, that the road
       to fame and fortune is paved with patience, virtue and perseverence; you will
       rise and fall as you go upward and onward, but with a fixed purpose in view you
       will sooner or later reach the goal.

       Page 108

       'The heights of great men gained and kept,
       Were not attained by sudden flight;
       But they, while their companions slept,
       Were toiling upward in the night.'
        "Rest your hope in Jehovah's God, as the sun goes marching across the blue
       sky, leaving a beautiful halo of purple and gray to your sweetest memory,
       believe me, you will leave to your posterity a name and fame."

       The black behind the bars did stay,
       Awaiting the golden hallowed day;
       Sunshine was his to hope to see--
       Sweet freedom rings his liberty.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            94

       The chains about his neck did break,
       Falling upon the ground,
       Makes the whole earth quake;
       Though slumbering over a century or more,
       Awake! Awake! A golden shore.

       The dawn had come, the mist rolled away,
       The dreamer's dream had come aright--
       The day is here, no more is it night;
       The wrong is changed--
       God blessed the right.
                                       --THE AUTHOR.

       Page 109

                                      CHAPTER XV.
                            INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH.
        You are now acquainted with my triumph over the conspirators, but you can
       never know how glad I was to be re-admitted to the criminal courts. I had lost
       thousands of dollars and I had no time for malice or retaliation. If I had lost the
       money, it was a consolation to know that my enemies had gained nothing by it.
       The practice had gone into other channels and that was enough for me. I cannot
       describe the many cases which engaged my attention at this time, but there are
       one or two which I must speak of. Soon after I re-entered the courts there came
       a celebrated case. There was not much in the case itself, perhaps, but the events
       attending the prosecution of the case rendered it famous. The trial was at
       Liberty, Texas, and I was compelled to leave before concluding the argument. I
       explained why I left in the Houston Chronicle of March the 6th, as follows:
         From J. Vance Lewis; tells of an experience at Liberty:
        The Chronicle: Please allow me to make a statement in defense of myself in
       the columns of your fair and impartial publication. Professional and legal
       business required my presence in Liberty, Texas, Thursday of this week. Henry

Out of the Ditch.                                                                           95

       Green, Grant Cole and Will Cherry, under indictment by the grand jury of
       Liberty county, employed me to defend them. This fact was made known to the
       court and all concerned quite a fortnight ago, at which time I had all the
       witnesses in the case summoned, and the date and time for trial agreed to by the
       county attorney, Hon. H. B. Tucker, and myself.

       Page 110
        When the case of Will Cherry was called Thursday morning, I served notice
       upon the court and County Attorney Tucker that I was about to file a motion
       asking the court to quash the indictment, also the special venire that had been
       summoned to try Cherry, and gave notice that I would proceed along the lines
       that no Negro had served on the jury commission, the grand jury that had
       presented the indictment, and that none had been summoned on the special
       venire, and that in my opinion the indictment was faulty. Judge Hightower, who
       was presiding, showed me every courtesy of a well-bred Southern gentleman.
       He said to me that he would see that my client got justice, and that I would be
       accorded every privilege that had been accorded any member of the bar. Just as
       we were about to enter into the case for trial an official beckoned me into an
       anteroom for a private talk, and on reaching the room he, with hand in pocket,
       used language, coupled with threats (too warm to print), and he further added
       that he had a number of men ready to fire upon me at a moment's notice, and
       that he would give me until the next train arrived to leave the city. I reported
       these facts to the court and the court again gave me assurance that I would have
       all the protection which it could give, and told me to proceed with my case. I
       saw the official above mentioned getting his men together to put into execution
       his threats. I then called upon Sheriff Cherry for protection and he immediately
       summoned his deputies and other citizens to his side and at the same time told
       the "white cappers" that he was ready for the fray, and said, "In duty bound to
       this office that he was ready to die in his boots in defense of his office." The
       "white cappers" began to gather fast and thick. The sheriff then advised

       Page 111
       that I leave the city, and he with deputies escorted me to the station while those
       bent on doing me bodily harm followed on, using threatening remarks. When
       the train arrived I boarded the train. The sheriff furnished me escot to Dayton. I
       regret that such an occurrence should take place in dear old Texas, my native
       home, having during my many years' practice before the courts of this state

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             96

       found the courts and attaches affable and courteous.
       Yours truly,
                                                                      J. VANCE LEWIS.
        The Houston Post of March 8th, 1908, contained the following under "News of
       the City:"
        "J. Vance Lewis, a Negro attorney of Houston, was in Liberty a few days ago
       to defend several clients who were before judge Hightower's court, but left
       rather suddenly because of alleged intimidation by a number of persons.
       Yesterday Sheriff Cherry of Liberty county came to Houston with an order from
       Judge Hightower directing Lewis to return Monday morning and represent his
       client in court, promising him that he would be accorded every protection.
       Sheriff Cherry also assured Lewis that he would have all needed protection of
       the officers of Liberty county, and the attorney will go there this morning to
       appear for those who have employed him as counsel."
        I went back to Liberty. I had certain rights as an attorney and I felt that so long
       as I was exercising these only I should not be molested. I questioned the sheriff,
       however, very closely, and believed in his sincerity. I went back to Liberty
       unarmed. I went to plead law. I expected the officers to provide for my safety
       and gave my entire thought to the defense of my client.

       Page 112
       The affair was written up in the Industrial Era, and you may read what the paper

                    INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH FOR A CLIENT.
        Be it remembered that the Honorable J. Vance Lewis should be here and after
       styled the lion of the hour. There is no man who is more worthy of the
       distinction given than this man. Attorney Lewis was called to Liberty last
       Thursday, March the 5th, to defend Will Cherry, Henry Green and Grant Cole,
       charged by indictment by the grand jurors of this county. When Attorney Lewis
       reached the city he went at once to the court house and proceeded in his usual
       manner filing necessary papers in the interest of his clients, and at 9:00 o'clock
       when the court called Will Cherry's case, Attorney Lewis served notice upon the
       Court and District Attorney that he would file a motion to quash the indictment

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            97

       as well as the special venire who had been summoned to try Cherry for murder,
       because it was his opinion the indictment found by the grand jury could not and
       would not stand the constitutional test before the Federal tribune to which it
       might go, for the reason that it had not been properly drawn; that no Negroes
       had served on the commission, grand jury or special venire to try the defendant.
       Just at this juncture an official of Liberty county suddenly beckoned Attorney
       Lewis off to an anteroom for a private interview, and on entering the room he
       threatened Attorney Lewis' life and told him at the same time that unless he
       (Lewis) desisted in the trial of the cases that he had in Liberty county, that he
       (the officer) had a number of men ready to fire on him at once, if he did not
       leave the city on the first incoming train. Attorney

       Page 113
       Lewis made this fact known to Judge Hightower and Sheriff Cherry and they at
       once summoned to their side and the assistance of Attorney Lewis such
       protection as I was necessary to hold back the angry vengeance seekers. It is
       true that Lewis did leave the city upon the request of those citizens who wished
       to do him great bodily harm, but before leaving he said to them: "You will not
       permit me to remain in Liberty to try my cases, so I will go to Houston, but I
       will make Liberty and Liberty county come to Houston to the Federal court."
       After Attorney Lewis had left the city, Judge Hightower delivered a telling
       address to the would-be mobbers; and in the strongest terms said: "You have
       done Liberty county more harm by refusing Lewis the legal rights the law has
       guaranteed him before this bar than a flood would do a growing crop in a year
       of prosperity." He further added: "I will issue an order to the sheriff to go for
       Lewis personally to Houston and summon him to make his appearance in this
       court Monday, the 9th, and you, Mr. Sheriff, must see to it that during his stay
       that he will not be harmed; give him every assurance of protection that you and
       your officers know how, and I personally will see to it that his clients get a fair
       trial, and he will be protected by me while in the court house." Sunday evening,
       March the 8th, Attorney Lewis was notified by Sheriff Cherry and in answer to
       the sheriff's notification Mr. Lewis gave the sheriff to understand that Monday
       morning he would make his appearance in court. This proves that he is a hero
       and that he would go into the jaws of death for his clients. He wrote a letter to
       his wife, contemplating death, which is as follows:--

       Page 114

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              98

                                                       "Houston, Texas, March 9th, 1908.
        "My Very Dear Pauline: I have been invited to Liberty by the judge of the
       court, and sheriff of said county brings me the news. I cannot believe that they,
       as honorable gentlemen, would act as decoys for an angry mob. I am going to
       Liberty to defend a poor unfortunate of my race, and I feel it my duty to go and
       represent him. I am of the opinion that my people need able counselors to
       defend them at the bar of justice in these United States. I have spent fifteen
       years trying to educate myself so as to be able to do my full duty to my client; I
       am only happy when I can help a man charged of crime. I want you to know
       that it is not ambition that causes me to go into the very jaws of death, but duty
       and the love of my fellow-man. It is no use to try to live in a country where you
       daily see your own blood spouting from a great human bosom and run down the
       pathway of idleness, when your race through you can be helped, and the coward
       within the man fail to render him available. This invitation may not be a decoy,
       but if it is I will make the best of it. If while in the court house I am unharmed, I
       will, my love, return to your arms, but should I be killed in doing my duty, I
       don't want you to weep. I want you to remember that my death may be the
       salvation of my people in the courts of the South. God bless you, my true girl,
       and may you live long and be happy. I am, your husband,
              J. VANCE LEWIS. "P.S.--You will find my wife at Dayton, Texas. Address
                                                               Mrs. J. Vance Lewis."
         Lewis while in Liberty proved his efficiency, and never

       Page 115
       before during all the period of the history of Liberty had she and her citizens
       witnessed a black man addressing the jury, scholarly, rhetorically, and as
       teeming with eloquence as they found in this man. The court room was crowded
       from the judge's stand to the door, and in truth, the corridors during a part of
       Attorney Lewis' exegeiisof the case; there was such emphatic pleading you
       could see tears stealing down checks of many. At the close of this case, Judge
       Hightower read his charge to the jury. The jurors did not deliberate long before
       they returned, making both counselor and client smile--smile with joy.

                           BEFORE THE PARDON BOARD.
        Mrs. Adeline Polk and Mrs. Belle Watts, of Corsicana, employed me to apply
       for a pardon for Biz Watts and Austin Polk, their sons, who had been sent to the
Out of the Ditch.                                                                               99

       penitentiary by a jury of Navarro county for the remainder of their natural lives,
       for the murder of Rufus Jamison. Biz and Austin had been in the penitentiary
       for twelve years. I filed the application for pardon, the case came up for trial,
       and after the evidence and argument, the Board of Pardons recommended that
       both Austin and Biz be pardoned and restored to full citizenship. On December
       the 16th 1908, I received the following letter from the private secretary of Gov.
                                                                   Austin, Texas, . . . . . .
                                                                     Mr. J. Vance Lewis.
         Dear Sir: The governor has this day pardoned Biz Watts and Austin Polk.
                                                                       A. M. BARTON,
                                                         Private Secretary for Governor.

       Page 116
        As soon as I received the governor's telegram I sent the following telegram to
       the boy' mother:
                                                                  December 16th, 1908.
       Mrs. Adeline Polk and Mrs. Belle Watts,
       1016 East Collin St., Corsicana, Texas.
        Governor Campbell has pardoned Biz and Austin; I will bring them from
       prison cells to your arms.
                                                                     J. VANCE LEWIS.

                            MOTHERS AND SONS MEET.
        As the train came steaming into Corsicana, on December the 25th, 1908, more
       than 1,000 citizens were at the depot to welcome J. Vance Lewis returning with
       Austin Polk and Biz Watts, and as they stepped from the coach to the ground,
       Mrs. Polk and Mrs. Watts were heard shouting, "My son, my long lost and
       absent boy. Home again and in my arms after fifteen years." When the tears of
       joy had all been dried, I said to Mrs. Polk and Mrs. Watts, "I am your Santa
       Claus by law; take your present in God's name."
         I received a great many letters congratulating me upon my success in this case,
Out of the Ditch.                                                                              100

       among them the following are fair samples:
                                                            Waco, Texas, Jan. 4th, 1909.
       Honorable J. Vance Lewis, Houston, Texas.
        My Dear Sir: It gives me extreme pleasure to read in the Western Star of your
       career and success in securing the pardon of Biz Watts and Austin Polk. You
       realize that I am forced to rejoice when my old friend and Lincoln is making
       such a noble record. You are not only making a record for yourself, but you are
       doing so much good for the race. We need your

       Page 117
       efforts in our behalf, and ought to give you the support and encouragement you
       so justly deserve. God grant that your life may be spared and your usefulness
       enhanced as the days go by is the prayer and sincere wish of your friend and
                                                                       DAVID J. HULL,
                                                     Pastor Eighth Street Baptist Church.
                                                             Chicago, Ill., Jan. 1st, 1909.
       J. Vance Lewis, Houston, Texas.
        Dear Sir: I am a reader of the New York World, Philadelphia Ledger and
       Chicago Record, and I find throughout the columns of these papers in the
       associate report from Houston, Texas, your name prominently mentioned as a
       brilliant and successful Negro lawyer, as well as your sincerity to your client. I
       am a close reader of all the leading newspapers of this country, and when I
       chance to see through the columns of any paper the good works and
       achievements of a Negro before the bar, I cannot but see conditions fastly
       changing for good for all of our race in this country. I would have been glad to
       have had the honor to have been present in Corsicana to witness the return of
       Biz Watts and Austin Polk to their mothers' arms. My prayers for you are that
       you have continued success and through such men as you the race will gain
       recognition in all lines.
                                                  FRANK G. YOST, 4731 Dearborn St.
                                                                 New Orleans, La., . . . . .

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              101

       Mr. J. Vance Lewis, Attorney at Law,
       Houston, Texas.
        Dear Sir: I note with pleasure what benefits are being derived for the race by
       your prominence and energy to the uplift of a down-trodden people. My
       congratulations for the

       Page 118
       stand you took in freeing those two young men, not exclusively for their benefit,
       but for the benefit of their sad, stricken mothers as well. I cannot say all I desire
       in this letter, but do say such men of your type and ability are really needed in
       service of progress and natural development of the race.
                                                                    C. C. WILSON, JR.,
                                                              Surveyor of General Office.
                                                                      Dodge, Texas . . . . .
       J. Vance Lewis, Esq., Houston, Texas.
        Dear Sir: Please accept my congratulations for your signal success in securing
       for Biz Watts and Austin Polk a pardon. I especially compliment you for the
       bull-dog tenacity with which you have worked, knowing full well that you will
       be amply paid, not in cents and dollars but in the pleasure obtained in a
       realization of your fondest professional hope. May you live long and do much
                                                                         C. C. SMITHER.
        The author wishes his reader to note the fact that the application for a pardon
       for Biz Watts and Austin Polk was filed for pardon during 1904, while Sayers
       was governor of the state; it was his board that recommended the pardon;
       though recommended to him he failed during his administration to grant the
       pardon. S. W. T. Lanham was thereafter elected governor; Biz Watts and Austin
       Polk's case was submitted to the governor by the author for pardon; the
       governor assured the author that during his term of office the prisoners would be
       pardoned; the governor's term of office expired and nothing was done in the
       interest of Biz Watts and Austin Polk by the governor. Hon.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            102

       Page 119
       T. M. Campbell was next elected our governor, and the action of the Board of
       Pardons during the administration of Gov. Sayers was brought to notice of Gov.
       Campbell by the author, and after a brief review of the case the governor
       pardoned Biz Watts and Austin Polk and restored them to full citizenship.
        The most voluminous case of all was that against Albert Pollard, an eighteen
       year old lad charged with the murder of Will Walter, a man of forty. The case
       was tried in Erath county, where the jury found the defendant guilty. In keeping
       with my policy of fighting the case was carried to the court of Criminal
       Appeals. I enclose just that part of the address that was reported by the Dallas
        Attorney J. Vance Lewis' argument in Pollard's case before the Court of
       Criminal Appeals:
        "May it please this Court, this case, appealed from Erath county, wherein
       Albert Pollard, March the 8th, 1909, an eighteen-year-old lad, was charged by
       this State for the murder of Will Walter, a man of forty. We submitted the case
       in Erath county, upon its merits; the jury found the defendant guilty of murder
       in the second degree and assessed his punishment at twenty-one years in the
       penitentiary, and we, not being satisfied with the jury's findings, coupled with
       many errors in the court's charges to the jury, we have appealed this case to this
       court, feeling satisfied that the errors of the lower court and the law in the case
       will be carefully guarded by you. My first exception is to the court's charge to
       the jury. The charge on second degree murder is predicated entirely on an
       abstract definition of implied malice, when the issue raised that was sudden

       Page 120
       upon an inadequate cause, and that in connection with the communication
       threat, his being run by deceased, and the sudden meeting as he stepped out of
       the door, the issue was raised of both adequate and inadequate cause, and the
       finding of the jury showing that they did not find an adequate cause. Yet if they
       had been instructed on the law applicable to the facts of an inadequate cause,
       they probably would have given appellant a lighter penalty; as it was, if the jury
       found the cause to be inadequate, they were left without any legal yardstick to
       measure the penalty or degree. And appellant was entitled to a charge on the
       phase of the case made by evidence. (See ex pare Jones 31; Tex. App. 422; 20
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            103

       S. W. 983; Reyons vs. State, 32 Tex. App. 121, 22 S. W. 590.)
        "The charge on manslaughter is too restrictive. It limits the adequate cause
       entirely to matters arising at the time of the homicide, and utterly ignores
       appellant's testimony that deceased, shortly prior thereto, flourished his razor at
       him, in connection with threats, as caused such a degree of fear that appellant
       ran all the way to the hotel, to which he was pursued by the deceased, a larger
       and stronger and older man. Where there is a prior provocation or circumstance
       which illustrates the matters transpiring at the time of the homicide, the jury
       should be instructed to look to that in determining whether in connection with
       the sudden meeting and demonstration testified about there might be adequate
       cause. (See Ivory vs. State, 87 S. W. 699; Orman vs. State, 24 Tex. App., 495.)
        "Even a sudden meeting, viewed in the light of the threats might constitute an
       adequate cause. (Swain vs. State, 86 S. W.

       Page 121
       335; Yancy vs. State, 87 S. W. 693, and Lara vs. State, 89 S. W. 840.) The
       charge is too restrictive because it ignores the threats in connection with the
       meeting of parties, and while the jury might have not thought that appellant saw
       enough demonstration to raise self-defense, it might have caused them to
       convict of manslaughter. (Examine Swain case, 86 S. W. 335.) Where there are
       more phases than one of manslaughter the charge is too restrictive, which fail to
       charge them all and it restricts it to one. (Cooper vs. State, 14 Tex. Court
       Reporter 94; Cooper vs. State, 85 S. W. 1059; Cooper vs. State, 68 S. W. 785;
       Ward vs. State, 18 S. W. 793.) The evidence raising the issues the court was not
       the judge of their probable truth, but should have left them to the jury. (Examine
       Swain case, 86 S. W. 335.) The charge was too restrictive. It required the jury to
       find that the defendant was threatened and attacked, or about to be attacked,
       instead of instructing the jury to view the matter from the standpoint of the
       defendant. It is the belief of defendant, from his own viewpoint, as to the
       existence of and not the truth of these facts, which must be submitted to the
       jury. (See Stacy vs. State, 86 S. W. 327.) The charge on self-defense was too
       restrictive because it limited the defnseto the jury finding the fact of the attack
       and was based on an actual instead of an apparent attack. (Read Poole vs. State,
       45 Tex. Cr. Rep. 348.) Appellant moved to quash the venire and the indictment
       because the African race was discriminated against in the selection of the jurors,
       and grand jurors and commissioners, the evidence that for 26 years no member
       of that race had been complimented by serving in either of these agencies in the
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            104


       Page 122
       of justice in Erath county, and though the jury commissioners who drew the
       venire testified that they had instructions to and did not discriminate, one saying
       that he only knew two Negroes, one being dead and the other gone, and another
       stating they had no names among the Negroes who in their judgment were
       competent to serve. The other saying there was no discrimination, but such men
       were drawn of their acquaintance and such as were suggested by the
       commissioners, distributing the list over the county as near as possible. The
       population of the county was shown to be about 40,000, and the percentage of
       Negro voters was about one and one-half per cent, which was about the average
       per cent for a number of years. Their action is unconstitutional. (See Collins vs.
       State, 177 U. S. 427; Whitney vs. State, 59 S. W. 895; Lewis vs. State, 59 S. W.
       1116.) I am indeed at a loss to see and to know that the decision of the Supreme
       Court of the United States cannot be respected. So far as the Federal
       Constitution, that speaks in thunderous tone through the Fourteenth
       Amendment, which is the safe-guard for the Negro race, Mr. Lewis says if the
       case is affirmed, it will go to the Supreme Court of the United States if a
       rehearing is denied his client."

       Page 123

                                     CHAPTER XVI.
                         THE RELIGIOUS PARLIAMENT.
        Men in public life are often called upon to make addresses upon various
       subjects. The author is no exception, and we are often requested to deliver
       addresses which business compels us to decline. A letter from Rev. Lorenzo
       Williams contained a request which we felt constrained to accept. The letter
                                                  Corsicana, Texas, October 25th, 1903.
       Mr. J. Vance Lewis.
         Dear Sir: The Religious Parliament will convene in this city within a few days,
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          105

       and we would like to secure your services for a few days upon the Advisory
       Board to help us to adjust some legal matters that will come up; and also we
       would like to have you to deliver an address upon some subject that will
       influence our race to a higher life. Yours truly,
                                                               LORENZO WILLIAMS.
                                                   Houston, Texas, October 28th, 1903.
       Rev. Lorenzo Williams.
        Dear Sir: I accept your invitation and will be present. My subject will be the
       "Three Struggles of Man."
       Yours truly,
                                                                     J. VANCE LEWIS.
        The Religious Parliament convened in Corsicana and ministers of every known
       denomination were present. Rev. Lorenzo Williams introduced Lawyer Lewis to
       that great audience, and Mr. Lewis began his address as follows:
        "Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: This day has been set apart by you and
       your committee, giving the people of Texas

       Page 124
       an opportunity to meet here in this pavilion in a Religious Parliament. We have
       listened to song and sermons that will be passed down to generations yet
       unborn, and will be placed to the everlasting credit of those who rendered and
       delivered them. It affords me no little pleasure to contribute my mite to an
       already overflowing abundance, with hope that some number of you, however
       small that number may be, shall be benefited. It has been said by some note
       writer, 'Religion, Society and Nature are the three struggles of man. They
       constitute his three needs. He has need of faith, hence the temple; he must
       create, hence the city; he must live, hence the plow and the ship. The mysterious
       difficulties result from all three.' My subject, 'The Power of Religious and
       Society Unity,' has to do with two of the three struggles of man, religion and
       society. Victor Hugo, the author of the preceding lines, says further, 'These
       three solutions comprise three perpetual conflicts.' I come today not to present
       them as conflicting, but as making a power by harmonizing them. Life seems
       filled with mysterious difficulties as we go groping, doing that we would not,
Out of the Ditch.                                                                             106

       and that we would, doing not. As we go like pilgrims seeking a refuge and like
       him bearing a burden of sorrows, mistakes, heartache, disappointment, we fain
       would cry out with Job, 'Oh, that I knew where I might find Him.' Since man
       was created in the likeness of God and for His glory, there seems to have been
       some adversary, the Devil, who has been drawing him from the purpose of his
       creation, and since his first fall, through ages, and all nations, there has been a
       struggle, whether from fear of punishment or the hope of regaining Eden, a
       struggle in the human heart to lift itself to its ideal and to give reverence,
       obedience and worship to some

       Page 125
       power other and higher than itself. This struggle is called religion. The highest
       possible authority declared, 'It is not good for man to be alone,' so we find men
       gathered together, either in hamlets or towns, villages or cities. This necessitates
       codes of law for government, just as the mighty wheels of Nature turn,
       propelling the world around upon its axis. We find men pondering over organic
       laws to govern men. Nature has given him its glories, its high mountains
       abounding in gold and silver, and many other useful minerals, its beautiful
       plains, covered with herds of cattle, its forests filled with beautiful birds, its
       oceans and lakes and rivers filled with fishes, and above these beauties He has
       fixed the sun, moon and stars, to light up His pathway. Man sees the world
       before him; must take upon himself the responsibility of its custodianship; he
       must see to it that all classes and kinds are governed under the organic system,
       and he must rule and keep each within its class. How to bring these two
       struggles into unity, how to make them a power, how to utilize them as a means
       of lifting humanity upward, how through them to cause man to perform the
       purpose of his creation. The glory of God is what we come to consider today.
       Had I the wisdom of Solomon or the oratorical power of Cicero, Mark Antony,
       Daniel Webster, Booker T. Washington, with it I would try to sway this nation
       to couple religion and society in every walk of life. Lacking these, I cannot do
       better than quote from our blessed Master, who was called on during His
       ministry here by the scribes, who asked the first commandment. He put it in
       these words, which comprise the wisdom and eloquence of the above mentioned
       dignitaries: 'Love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, and with all of thy
       soul, and with

       Page 126

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             107

       all of thy mind, and thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the
       second is like unto it, namely, this: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'
       There is none other greater than these, or in other words, be careful of thy
       religion and thy society. We, as a race, have obeyed the first of these
       instructions to such an extent until it may be said of us that a larger per cent are
       professed Christians than any other race in the world. All over this broad
       country of ours we see great accomplishments by us, showing that the feeling
       that permeated the bosom of David, that man after God's own heart, is not a
       stranger to us, and that we, like him, are not contented to dwell in castles while
       the Lord's tabernacle abides in a tent. We see beautiful temples estimated to be
       worth millions of dollars that have been erected by this race, since their
       emancipation. Some of our greatest men have gone by way of the church. This
       is not only true of our race. Man cannot be truly great without being religious.
       Christopher Columbus started out to find the East Indies by a shorter route. He
       ended by finding the great American continent, and on his return to Spain he
       related a story of how the natives waited for some one to bring them the blessed
       message of truth. Although history fails to record any voyage that subsequently
       was made whose end was for the sole purpose of converting these natives, yet
       who will dare gainsay the fact that the Hand that guided the destiny of many
       nations did not in its own way cause just this to be done? Most of the first
       explorers who came to this country came for gold or glory, and although many
       attempts were made to found colonies, none succeeded well until a little band of
       people, seeking a place where they might be free to worship God according to
       the dictates of

       Page 127
       their own conscience, sought a home in the new world. From this beginning has
       swelled this great republic of ours. A beginning that originated out of a desire of
       a human heart to worship God freely and without restraint. This, one of the great
       achievements of religion, closely akin to it may be mentioned our ability to be
       here assembled in religious parliament. No greater battle was fought for the
       emancipation of the slaves than that fought by our fathers and mothers, fighting
       not with cannon, but with an armor of faith and prayers, faith that may have
       been said of them as of the Centurian who came to Christ to have his servant
       healed: 'So great a faith I have not found.' Further back than this we find a
       persecution of the Christians, and hence, a scattering of them throughout the
       then known world. The natural consequence of this was a broadening of the
       Christian information. In fact, in all ages religion had performed what was
Out of the Ditch.                                                                            108

       seemingly impossible, and what was not impossible to any thing save religion. It
       had fed the hungry, healed the sick, and raised the dead. It has bidden men who
       were down-trodden and heartless to hope again; it has made bondsmen free; it
       has accomplished more than all other agencies combined, and I am almost
       tempted to say that without it nothing has been accomplished, even among those
       whose lot is so unfortunate as not to know the one true and only God. They have
       some form of religion and this religion, whatever it is, has more influence upon
       adherents than any other thing. Gurthric gives this definition of religion:
       'Religion is the motor that binds society together; the pedestal of liberty; the
       strong backbone of the social system."Ramsey says of the effect of religion:
       'The principles of the Christian religion are beautiful, its consequences natural
       and its origin

       Page 128
       ancient. It enlightens the mind, comforts the heart, and establishes the welfare of
       society,' and La Place tells us this nesessity: 'No society can be upheld in
       happiness and honor, without the sentiment of religion.' If we accept the
       foregoing quotations as authority, we can already see that society is based on
       religion. We know that all society is founded on the principle of the ten
       commandments. God, in His own infinite power, gave to this world a man, and
       unto man gave he a woman. Hence, society was formed through origin, and for
       years man was perfect and society was pure. Then religion and society were
       untainted. Then the birds built their nests and carolled anthems of praise to a
       Mighty Maker; the beasts of the field dwelt peacefully together in joyful
       communication; incense was scattered forth by every budding flower; every
       tree, waving, laughing with its golden fruit; streams flowed between mossy
       banks with peaceful serenity, symbolic of the peace that prevailed throughout
       the land. The earth was Eden. But into this Eden crept a serpent, and man
       through disobedience to God, severed the unity between religion and society,
       and ever since in proportion as man has obeyed or disobeyed God, his society
       has been helped or hindered.
        "The association of one man to any number of men temporarily or
       permanently, for gain, pleasure, or usefulness, is called society.
        "Just as religion has had its achievements, society has had its
       accomplishments. Whereas, society depends upon religion for its existence,
       religion has to use society as a means to forward its purpose.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              109

        "Does religion want to sing a praise or preach a sermon? Then society forms a
       church to forward this purpose. Does religion

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       want to pour oil into a brother's wound, or bind it up? Then a benevolent society
       is formed to carry out just this purpose. Does religion wish to establish good
       government? Then a society is formed; called the state. Religion wishes the
       perpetuation of posterity, hence the family circle. For the church, the state, the
       home is as much a society as the one that meets in some stated hall. From what
       has been said, it will need no long argument to show you that whatever is the
       standard of people's religion, is also their standard of their society. In our own
       country and the greater part of Europe we find the people professed Christians;
       hence we find society in its highest state of enlightenment. In Asia we find the
       higher degree of heathenism; hence its civilization above that of Africa. In
       Africa and the islands thereabout we find heathenism in its lowest form and
       corresponding degradation in society. We live in a land where each and every
       one may serve God according to the dictates of his own heart; where every
       Sabbath morning the bells ring good will to men, and thereby continuing the
       song started on the first joyous Christmas morning by a multitude of angels and
       bidding all whose feet might stray, to enter and give humble thanks to a
       gracious Shepherd who has eptthe flock safe in the fold another seven days.
       Surely, then, the standard of our society must be high. If it is not so, let us be
       assured that the fault is not in the Christian religion, but in its application. You,
       who have assembled here in religious parliament, are representing the one
       religion whose perfect model is our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. A religion
       founded is the only enduring thing according to St. Paul. The church, the state,
       the charitable institutions and the family circle are the diversions of society I
       wish to consider.

       Page 130
        "How did Christ, our model, deport himself to these phases of social and
       religious life? We find him rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's;
       by paying the tribute money. We see Him in the synagogue every Sabbath,
       according to His custom. We find Him healing the sick, giving sight to the
       blind, causing the lame to walk. We find Him obedient to His parents until He
       was thirty years old. Adding one phase more, we see Him worn out with work,
       weary, turning aside and preaching in the abode of Mary, Martha and Lazarus,

Out of the Ditch.                                                                              110

       thus becoming a welcome guest in the family social circle. His first miracle was
       performed at a social function, and at a festival a woman anointed His body for
       burial. Christ, while He dwelt among men, was a good citizen, a friend that
       sticketh closer than a brother. The principle of the Christian is beautiful, because
       it is the principle of 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do it
       even so unto them.' Would you have men deal honestly with you? Respect the
       sacredness of your home? Leave you your life? Envy you not? Tell the truth
       about you? Misrepresent you not? Then do it even so unto them. 'Thou shall
       love thy neighbor as thyself.' This is the second greatest commandment, and the
       new commandment is: 'Love ye one another as I love you.' Another principle of
       Christian religion, then, is love. Love that suffereth long and is kind, vaunteth
       not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemingly, seeketh not its
       own, it is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but in
       the truth. If we who bear the name of Christians would but strive to perfect
       ourselves in love, try to become day by day like our model, the world will soon
       see the beauty in the Christian religion. Founded upon the law of love, ours is
       indeed a perfect religion.

       Page 131
       Let us briefly look into the different phases of society as it is constructed by the
       best writers of this age. 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.'
        "We have said that men will dwell together in towns or cities. Taken together,
       the towns and cities with the territories between them make up the state; the
       states make up our country. Let us consider the state and the rights of its
       citizens. Our laws are founded upon the principle of government by the people,
       for the people. It also assures us that all men are created free and equal and with
       certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of
       happiness. Yet in the face of this well established doctrine for the protection of
       men we find them blinding themselves to justice and disrespecting the principle
       of the constitution of this great nation. In the sunlight of one of the greatest ages
       we see men greedy for gain, having no respect for the rights of their fellow men,
       just so they carry their point. Statesmen in our sunny Southland have called and
       are still calling constitutional conventions for the purpose of amending and
       reconstructing constitutions and curtail the rights of its citizens, derogatory to
       the fundamental principles of the law of the land. Some states have adopted a
       grandfather's clause, others have the educational qualification, others have the
       Jim Crow car law, while still others are getting the Jim Crow street car. And yet
       not satisfied with all the gall and indignities heaped upon a defenseless but
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           111

       inoffensive people, they have gone so far as to appeal to congress to repeal the
       Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. Is it not time for the lawmakers, who
       walk to and fro from the temple of justice, to catch some inspiration from the
       statue of justice, that adorns the domes of many temples, and

       Page 132
       enable them to hear the cries of men dying through mob violence, and upon the
       floors of congress pass a law that will prohibit any legislative body in this
       country from disfranchising any citizen on account of his race or previous
       condition of servitude, and to pass a law, making any sheriff subject to
       impeachment, who permits a mob to take from him any prisoner. We, as a race
       of people, are greatly in need of home training. We are in need of people to train
       the keepers of the home. We are living too fast. Our boys and girls are
       becoming men and women too soon. The home is the most important place of
       society from which we must get the material to make all of the others. Our men
       should place the highest value on our women. Eve may have brought the first
       sin into this world, but the men from Adam on down to now has given their full
       share of effort to keep it here. Longfellow says of women: 'As unto the bow the
       cord is, so unto man is woman. Though she bends him, she obeys him; though
       she draws him, yet she follows. Useless each without the other.' So we have
       only to demand the standard. We want a womanhood to have her obey us. The
       men of this race should learn to regard their home as sacred, and protect its
       sacredness with their lives. Thus regarding his own home will cause him to
       respect that of his neighbors. The church, the school and many other agencies
       are doing many things toward promoting good in all people, but the home has
       the power to destroy or aid the good as no thing can have. The preacher
       expounds the gospel once a week and sometimes to inattentive hearers; the
       teacher teaches the three 'R's' for five days in the week to such as come; the
       lecturer comes around once in a while, and a very great while, but the home is

       Page 133
       the poor--we have it with us all of the time. An ideal home is one where the
       husband loves his wife--not bitter toward her--and who rejoices in his children.
       Whose brow, like Longfellow's Village Blacksmith, 'is wet with honest sweat.
       He earns whate'er he can, and looks the whole world in the face.for he owes not
       any man.' Wives who love their own husband and children, who keep their

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            112

       houses, looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of
       idleness, her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he
       praiseth her. Where the children obey the parents because it is right. If every
       Negro home was an exemplification of this problem it would be the white, red,
       yellow--any man's problem save the black man's, and they would be trying to
       solve how they could become like us. Religion is the backbone of the social
       system. Since man must get together, some to govern, some to be governed,
       there can be nothing better than a good conscientious current running through
       every breast. Our love, reverence and obedience to God helps us to obey those
       who are in authority, and when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice.
       Every one knows the good effects when some public officer does his righteous
       duty. A president who believes the 'the door of hope' should be closed against
       none; a governor who will move with his troops to some given point to quell a
       mob, though in the jaws of death, he rides in front of his troops to protect the
       integrity of his great commonwealth; a sheriff who used to turn over a prisoner
       to an angry mob, who would perpetrate on its victim atrocities that do credit to
       any tribe of cannibals; a sheriff who would die in his boots to protect the honor
       of his office because of a conscientiousness of his righteous duty; a jury that
       would condemn wrong in every perpetrator--

       Page 134
       be he white or black; men in public office who do right because God is right,
       and who do to others even as they would be done by. Let men who seek public
       office do so with a desire to be of service rather than the exalting of themselves.
       Those who style themselves our political, religious, social leaders and desire to
       be our standard bearers should teach us the lesson that Christ taught the
       disciples. 'Let him who is greatest among you serve the others.' Let those who
       wish to become great know that the royal road is by helping others. Every good
       deed performed for some one else helps the performer. A beautiful story is told
       of two boys, one older, one younger, who lost their way amid a terrific snow
       storm. After wandering around for some time the younger one became nearly
       exhausted and bade his comrade go on and leave him. But he refused, and urged
       the other on, sometime dragging, at other times nearly carrying him, until at last
       they reached a place of refuge. When at last they could stop the older boy found
       out that in saving his friend he had saved himself, for the exertion used in
       keeping his friend alive had prevented him from being chilled. And since all of
       the good we do reflects on us, how much better would we all be if we should
       but spend our lives in trying to help someone else up, thereby lifting ourselves
Out of the Ditch.                                                                               113

       Heavenward. What is true of individuals is true of nations. In our country how
       much more noble a character of manhood would be found if one-half of the
       energy, time and newspaper space were given by the stronger race to the
       uplifting of the weaker, and thereby helping Christ's kingdom come on earth.
       The conclusion of the matter is this: Every man who fills a public office or
       assays to be a leader in any way should have the religion of the Lord Jesus
       Christ in his heart and the world would see a different effect. And what of the
       church society? This is the pivot

       Page 135
       around which all others should revolve. The Bible speaks of the church as a bird
       adorned to meet the bridegroom. A man when looking for a wife, though a
       reprobate himself, looks for his superior to him. Whatever has been his past
       record, he wishes that the woman he weds to be blameless and pure. The word
       'bride' suggests an apparition clad in white, emblematical of purity; wearing
       orange blossoms, emblematical of worthiness. Then if a sinful man wishes his
       bride pure and worthy, how much more does Christ wish his church so? And we
       who make up the church, how ardently should we strive to make it all He would
       have it, each possessed of a character bespeaking patience, kindness, humility,
       courtesy, unselfishness, generosity, good temper, guilelessness and sincerity.
        "There is no sadder thing than strife in the church. Most noticeable among
       these dissentions is the sitting over the young and the old. The old members of
       the church should not forget that the young members of the church have rights
       that should be respected; the young members should not forget that in the old
       members many good wholesome lessons can be learned from them. There is
       wealth and knowledge obtained in the surest and best of schools, the surest of
       all teachers--experience--that they can not obtain from any book. In training our
       children it would be well if we could instill in them the thought as expressed in
       these words: 'Be good, and let who will be clever, do noble things, not dream
       them all day long, and so make life, death, and that vast forever one grand sweet
       song.' The power of religious and social unity is better seen than told. Whether
       in the political, the business, the home or the technical social life, let us build on
       no other foundation than that of the Christian religion."

       Page 136

Out of the Ditch.                                                            114

                                       CHAPTER XVII.

       "I've been list'nen to them lawyers
       In the court house up the street,
       An' I've come to the conclusion
       That I'm most completely beat.
       First, one fellow riz to argy,
       As he 'dressed the tremlin' prisoner
       In a coat o' deep-dyed sin.

       Why, he painted him all over
       In a hue, blackest crime,
       An' he sweared his reputation
       With the thickest kind of grime,
       Tell I found myself a wondering
       In a misty way and dim--
       How the Lord had come to fashion
       Such an awful man as him.

       Then the other lawyer started,
       And, with brimin,' tearful eyes,
       Said his client was a martyr
       That was brought to sacrifice.
       An' he give to that same pris'ner
       Every blessed human grace,
       Tell I saw the light o' virtue
       Fairly shinin' from his face.

       Then I own 'at I was puzzled
       How things could rightly be;
       An' this aggervation question
       Seems to keep a puzzlin' me.

       Page 137

       So, will some one please inform me,
       An' this mystery unroll--
       How an angel and a devil
       Can persess the selfsame soul ?"

                                                   --PAUL LAWRENCE DUNDAR.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           115

                        CONFLICT WITH THE DOCTORS.
         Law sometimes takes an unlooked for course. We do well to fight the battle
       both on the defensive and offensive and even then we know not what prank fate
       may play us. So as I lay in jail I prepared myself for the inevitable should it
       come. My suspension might be confirmed and then I must find a way or make
       one at something else. Medicine had at one time had its charms for me and I had
       listened to its siren voice long enough to enable me to satisfy the State Board of
       Examiners. In fact, at one time I gave myself up to the practice. My knowledge
       of law, especially of medical jurisprudence, taught me while in college, gave me
       such foundations that made me feel my efficiency to practice medicine and
       surgery in the city of Beaumont during the early eighties. Seven years prior to
       entering the practice of medicine I had lived in the city of Chicago, and during
       my stay there I read medicine under Drs. Barnes and Morgan, and when they
       had concluded that I could write up a prescription without injuring myself or
       patients, they recommended me to the State Medical Board of Illinois for an
       examination. The State Board of Illinois issued licenses to me to practice
       medicine. I then came South and began my practice in Beaumont. Of course, I
       had not informed any of the wise medical doctors of Houston that, that I knew
       to be my personal

       Page 138
       affair. In 1905 the legislature of Texas passed the law that in their opinion
       would protect all of the medical doctors within the State, and the certificate
       issued me by the State Medical Board thereafter would receive recognition
       under the spirit of reciprocity in other States. The requirement under this law is
       as follows:
         All persons who entered in the practice of medicine within the State of Texas
       prior to 1885 are required to send to the State Medical Board their certificates
       issued to them by the State Medical Board of Examiners or a certified copy of
       their registration from the county clerk of the county in which they had
       practiced, or a certified certificate by three persons of whom they had treated
       prior to 1885, and if the Medical Board approved their application a verification
       certificate would be issued by the State Medical Board to the applicant. The
       author of this book sent his certificate to Dr. Foscue, Secretary of the State
       Medical Board. The following is the certificate sent:

Out of the Ditch.                                                                         116

       The State of Texas, County of Harris -
        Before me, a notary public in and for said County and State, on this day
       personally appeared Joseph V. Lewis, who being by me duly sworn, on oath
       says that he is a physician and surgeon, and that he began the practice of his
       profession in the State of Texas in the year of 1880, and that he has practiced
       continually since in various places in the State of Texas.
                                                          (Signed) JOSEPH V. LEWIS.
       Subscribed and sworn to before me by said affiant on this, the sixth day of
       May, A.D. 1908.
                                                                 (Signed) E. D. GUY,
                                          (SEAL) Notary Public, Harris County, Texas.

       Page 139
       The State of Texas, County of Harris--
        Know all men by these presents: That I, Sidney Dixon, a bona fide inhabitant
       of the State of Texas, and a resident citizen of Harris County, Texas, do
       solemnly swear that I have known Dr. Joseph V. Lewis to be a practicing
       physician and surgeon in Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas, during the years
       of 1883 to 1885, inclusive, and that Dr. Lewis attended me during 1884 when
       my shoulder was dislocated from a fall which I sustained.
                                                             (Signed) SIDNEY DIXON,
       Sworn to and subscribed before me this May first, 1908.
                                                      (Signed) CHARLES CULMORE,
                                                                (SEAL) Notary Public.
       The State of Texas, County of Harris--
        Know all men by these presents: That I, Geo. Lubbock, a bona fide inhabitant
       of the State of Texas, a resident citizen of Houston, Harris County, do solemnly
       swear that I have known Dr. Joseph V. Lewis since the year of 1880; that I
       knew him to be a practicing physician and surgeon in Beaumont, Jefferson
       county, Texas, during the years of 1880-81-82-83-84-85; I further state that Dr.
       Joseph V. Lewis attended me during my sickness with the piles in 1884, and
       was my family physician in 1884 and 1885, and attended my wife during her
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           117

       confinement with child in 1884.
                                                       (Signed) GEORGE LUBBOCK.
       Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1st day of May, A. D. 1908.
                                                    (Signed) L. N. YARBOROUGH,
                                (SEAL) Notary Public in and for Harris County, Texas.

       Page 140
       The State of Texas, County of Harris--
        Know all men by these presents: That I, Anderson Lee, a bona fide inhabitant
       of the State of Texas, and a resident citizen of Houston, Harris county, Texas,
       do solemnly swear that I was living during the years of 1884 and 1885 at Sabine
       Pass, Jefferson county, Texas, and I knew Dr. Joseph V. Lewis as a practicing
       physician in Jefferson county during 1883 and 1884. I further state that Dr.
       Lewis attended me during my illness in 1884 and I know him to have attended
       others there, that were living at Sabine Pass, Jefferson county, Texas, during the
       years 1884 and 1885.
                                                        (Signed.) ANDERSON X LEE,
       Sworn to and subscribed before me this 5th day of May, 1908.
                                                          (Signed.) A. G. PANNELL,
                             (SEAL.) A Notary Public in and for Harris County, Texas.
        The State Medical Board issued verification certificate to me June 9th, 1908,
       and under the law I had to file that certificate on or before July 8th, 1908. The
       certificate was properly filed with the district clerk of Harris county, thereby
       enrolling me with the medical doctors that had been granted licenses under the
       new law. July 12th the Houston Post published the names of all the medical
       doctors, and to the surprise of all the doctors of Houston, my name appeared.
       The next Saturday The Texas Freeman came out in bold type, asking this
       question: "Who is Doctor J.V. Lewis?" "It is said that Dr. Lewis and Attorney J.
       V. Lewis is one and the same person." The Freeman went on to say that eleven
       of the twelve practicing physicians in Houston, namely: Dr. B[.]J. Coverington,
       Dr. E. B. Ramsey, Dr.

Out of the Ditch.                                                                            118

       Page 141
       S. M. Lyons, Dr. R. F. Ferrell, Dr. T. E. Bryant, Dr. T. V. Overton, Dr. R. S.
       Childs, Dr. E. A. Durham, Dr. J. T. M. Lindsay, Dr. F. L. McDavid and Dr.
       Charles A. Jackson have petitioned Dr. G. B. Foscue of Waco, secretary and
       treasurer of the State Medical Board, asking that the certificate issued to one Dr.
       Joseph Vance Lewis of Houston, alias J. Vance Lewis, be cancelled.
        Said physicians aver that the said Joseph V. Lewis is a fraud and not a regular
       practicing physician. These learned physicians called on Dr. R. T. Morris
       (white), president of the Harris County Medical Association, employing his help
       that they may take J. V. Lewis' certificate from him. They also went to District
       Attorney W. G. Love and tried to get an indictment against Dr. Lewis, stating
       that they would like to send him to the state penitentiary. In every issue of the
       Freeman thereafter one of the wise patent medicine pill bag packers would
       attack Dr. Lewis through the medium of the paper, questioning his rights to
       practice medicine in Houston, until at last Dr. Lewis' pen wrote the following
       words, which silenced these quinine-turpentine prescription writers:
                                                     Houston, Texas, March 25th, 1909.
        "Editor of The Texas Freeman: Several articles have appeared in the columns
       of your paper relative to my practice of medicine in this city, one of which
       seems to have been inspired by the colored physicians of Houston, a self-
       constituted board of inquiry, as to my eligibility to practice medicine.
        "I have patiently awaited the report of the self-constituted board, and it has
       been derelict in reporting its findings to the State Medical Board. I thought I
       would, through the medium

       Page 142
       of your paper, inform the curious public that not a member of the self-
       constituted board is a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners, who
       issued me license to practice medicine in Texas, and really, I am at a loss as to
       just why I should suspend my practice while awaiting the report of the self-
       constituted board, or get the sanction or indorsement of Dr. S. M. Lyons, said
       board's leading member, ere I write a prescription.
        "If this self-constituted board is vested with authority to issue permits in
       addition to the license issued by the State Board of Medical Examiners, then I

Out of the Ditch.                                                                                119

       will be too glad to call upon them to procure their permit.
        "But for the present I shall continue my lawful and legal practice of medicine,
       as I have been doing for more than twenty years, unmolested.
        "I will treat every disease known to human science, subjecting myself to the
       "I am yours to serve,
                    "J. VANCE LEWIS, M.D." NO. 419 1-2 Milam Street, Houston, Texas.
        Mary Davis Kelsey, a young colored girl, about the age of seventeen, was
       indicted by the grand jurors of Harris county for the theft of diamonds, about the
       value of $500. Her bond was fixed at $1500. Being unable to furnish bond, she
       had to remain in jail until the date of her trial. Prior to her trial, her uncle, J. W.
       Hicky secured the services of Attorney T. W. Renfro, a white counsellor. Mr.
       Renfro on the day on which the case was tried submitted the case to the jury as
       best he could. The district attorney, being a very able lawyer, convinced the jury
       that the girl was guilty of the charge in the indictment. Judge A. C.

       Page 143
       Allen read his charge to the jury. The jurors retired and, after being out thirty
       minutes, they returned with the following verdict: "We, the jury, find the
       defendant guilty of the charge, and assess her punishment for a term of three
       years in the state penitentiary." When the little girl heard the reading of her
       verdict, she threw up both hands and cried aloud: "My God! is it possible that I
       must go to such a place, innocent as I am. Have I no one to help me?" And as
       the author of this book saw the beautiful brown skinned girl being led out, he
       remembered the evidence that had been offered and upon which she was found
       guilty, and he felt that it was his duty, irrespective of the money that would be in
       the case, and the love for his race that burned in his bosom, he resolved, cost
       what it may, that he would see to it that she got her freedom. To shed light upon
       this conviction, the author thinks it wise to relate the circumstances. It appears
       that Mary Davis Kelsey had been employed as a housemaid for a white lady on
       Rusk avenue, in Houston. This lady had a great deal of confidence in the girl,
       and on special occasions when Mary was invited by girls of her race, this white
       lady would let Mary wear her jewelry consisting of diamonds and other precious
       stones. On the night of which the theft of these diamonds occurred, Mary again
       had attended one of her social functions wearing the same jewelry which she
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           120

       was accustomed to. At the close of the social Mary started home accompanied
       by her sweetheart. Before reaching home this man asked her to let him see the
       diamonds. This she did without hesitation. On reaching her room she asked for
       the diamonds which he refused to give up telling her he would return them the
       next day. The young man left Mary and went straight to a gambling house with
       his fingers full of sparkling

       Page 144
       gems. The police saw these sparkling gems, and as he knew the man, and
       noticed that he had never worn them before, arrested him. He was carried to the
       police station and questioned about the ownership. He told them that Mary
       Davis Kelsey gave them to him. The above testimony is that on which the girl
       was convicted. The author got the judgment and sentence, statement of facts,
       signature of the judge, district attorney and jurors, drew an application for
       pardon in favor of Mary, and secured the signatures of two hundred citizens.
       Three days after the conviction the author left Houston for Austin to submit his
       case to Governor Sayers and the Board of Pardons. The governor and board
       went carefully over the circumstances of the case and jointly agreed that the
       conviction was illegal. Governor Sayers, with the power vested in him, at once
       pardoned Mary Davis Kelsey, and gave to the author a certificate of release to
       A. R. Anderson, commanding A. R. Anderson to release Mary on the receipt of
       the certificate. This girl having remained in prison for more than three months,
       was now given her freedom, and to show her appreciation rendered by the
       author, she offered him all of the money that she had, which was fifteen cents.
        Richard Carr, who had been very popular in society, was indicted by the grand
       jury of Harris county for seduction. Mrs. Charlotte Reeves, mother of Miss N.
       Reeves, complained against Carr, and at the same time commanding that Carr
       marry her daughter. This Carr refused to do. The case was set down for trial. Ed
       Jackson, a foster parent, secured the services of a certain white lawyer to
       represent Carr on the day of trial. The case went on trial and after a hard fight
       between the state and defendant the case was submitted to the jury. The jury
       retired for

       Page 145
       deliberation. After being out for a few minutes, they returned with the following
       verdict: "We, the jurors, find the defendant guilty and assess his punishment at
       three years in the penitentiary at hard labor." Mrs. Jackson conferred with Carr's
Out of the Ditch.                                                                               121

       lawyer about getting a new trial. Mr. Jackson's lawyer informed him
       emphatically that Carr would have to stay in the pen three years, and as Carr's
       lawyer would not attempt to disturb the finding of the jury, Ed Jackson then
       employed the author to file a motion for a new trial in favor of Carr. The author
       viewed the evidence of the case after which he had a private conference with
       Charlotte Reeves and daughter, and the agreement reached was to the effect that
       if Carr would marry this girl, why he would not be prosecuted any further by
       them. The author called upon Carr, who was still in jail, and made this fact
       known to him. He at once agreed and the author went to the county clerk and
       bought a license, notified the girl to be at the jail at 2 p. m., that the author
       would have a minister there who would, under the law, make her the wife of
       Carr. The ceremony was performed and Mrs. Carr returned home, and on that
       day a motion was filed in the interest of Carr, setting up the fact that the spirit of
       the law had been kept by Carr and that the prosecutrix was now the wife of
       Carr, and the motion further prayed that a new trial be granted and the
       indictment be dismissed. The next day judge Allen heard the motion. The
       verdict of the jury was set aside and the indictment nolle prossed. Carr was
       released, and since that day he has lived a model Christian life.
        One of the most sensational cases that ever went to trial in Harris county was
       called in the district court house, March 8, 1910. Ed Miles, a negro, answered as
       a defendant charged by

       Page 146
       an indictment of assault to murder on Police Office H. H. Moore and Special
       Police T. N. Roberts. The state was represented by the district attorney, W. G.
       Love, and S. B. Arnsworth. The history of the case is as follows: Ed Miles, on
       the night of December 23rd, was seen on Hill street returning from Shiloh
       Baptist church, where he had been attending church services. The police
       testified that they saw a suspicious Negro walking close to the fence on Hill
       street, and when the Negro recognized them.then the Negro turned to go back,
       and believing that he was a sneak thief, they called to him to stop. This he did.
       They asked him his name, and the Negro told them his name was Ed Miles, and
       they thought that he had told them an untruth. They demanded of him that he
       tell them the names of persons living in that section of the city before they
       would let him go. This he did. Special Police Roberts said that he told Mr.
       Moore to take the Negro down and make him pay a vag fine. It was then that the
       Negro refused to go, and showed fight. The officers both in answer to the
       Negro's refusal to go, pulled out guns on the Negro; the negro ran, and they shot
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           122

       at him. Miles fell over a barrel and the officers in pursuit of him also fell over
       the same barrel. In the chase the officer lost his club, and while prisoner and
       officer were upon the ground, Roberts, the special officer, took Moore's gun and
       knocked the Negro three times on the head. Miles saw that his life was in danger
       and he knocked the gun out of Roberts' hand and became owner of it and in the
       scuffle for life between officers and prisoner the gun was discharged, Moore
       losing a finger and Roberts received one bullet in the foot. The case was tried
       upon its merit and the result was the jury rendered a verdict of not guilty.

       Page 147
        The above cut is Lula Runnels and her little baby in the Harris county jail.
       Lula Runnels and John Runnels, the husband, were charged by the State of
       Texas with the murder of their little five-year-old son, Andrew Runnels, who
       was found under the Sloan street church in the Fifth Ward, Tuesday morning,
       January 25, 1910, with its little skull crushed in. He was carried to the colored
       infirmary on Providence street, at which place he died. The story told by John
       and Lula Runnels regarding their dead baby was of a pathetic nature. It was as
       follows: "We have four children--three girls and a boy--and on Monday night,
       January 24, 1910, we put Andrew and his two little sisters to bed on a mattress
       near a window, in the room joining our bed room. The next morning about 5:30
       o'clock when we awoke we went into the room and found that Andrew was
       gone. We noticed the window opposite where they were lying had been taken
       out. We then became alarmed and searched the neighborhood over, going from
       house to house inquiring for the child, but failed to find him. We then reported
       the matter to the chief of police, asking him to give us such assistance as was
       necessary. When the officers arrived we detailed to them all we knew regarding
       our lost son. By that time the whole community was aroused and was helping us
       to find the child.
        "About sixty (60) feet from the house in a ditch, some one found blood. The
       blood was trailed four blocks to the church, and here groans were heard which
       were recognized as from our baby. The officer then arrested us, charging us
       with the murder of our own son, of which we are innocent." John Runnels, Jr.,
       employed the services of J. Vance Lewis to represent both John Runnels and
       Lula Runnels. The preliminary trial was had February 2d

       Page 148
       before Justice McDonald. At the close of the evidence Mr. Lewis contended that
Out of the Ditch.                                                                          123

       neither John nor Lula Runnels were guilty of the murder. Justice McDonald did
       not view it in the light that Mr. Lewis did, but remanded John Runnels without
       bail and fixed Lula Runnels at five hundred ($500) dollars bond. Habeas corpus
       was sued out by Mr. Lewis before judge W. P. Hamblen. The case was
       resubmitted to Judge Hamblen February 5th, 1910, and after the story was
       detailed to Judge Hamblen, he said: "I do not believe that this woman knows
       anything about the death of her child, and I give her her freedom, but as to the
       man, I will hold him without bail pending future developments." Mr. Lewis, in
       his argument, said: "The fowls of the air will hover its young; the wild beast of
       the field will protect the young; the savages of the jungle have love in their
       bosom, and since all this be true, who, in a civilized age, would believe that a
       mother and a father would commit such a brutality upon their child?" At the
       close of Mr. Lewis' address, many were seen shedding tears.

                      THE AUTHOR DEFEATS DR. BLAIR.
        In August of 1906, Dr. J. M. Blair bought of the city of Houston the city's tax
       deed to lot ten (10), block twenty-four (24), in Castine Addition, south side of
       Buffalo Bayou, paying the city one hundred and five dollars for its title. Dr.
       Blair further paid the taxes due to the county of Harris, same being the sum of
       three hundred and eighteen dollars; a grand total paid for the property by Dr.
       Blair to the city of Houston and County of Harris, four hundred and forty
       dollars. The above named taxes due against the property was from 1878 to
       1906. The deed given to Dr. Blair by the city of Houston was promptly

       Page 149
       recorded by him, but the doctor did not attempt to take possession of the
       property until March 1907. The doctor thought to take possession of the
       property by putting a fence around it. The day the fence was put around the
       premises.J. Vance Lewis was out of the city on legal business, but when he
       returned he was informed that the fence had been put there by Dr. Blair, and
       without hesitation he went to the premises with an ax in hand and cut the fence
       loose. The doctor was immediately notified through his agent of Lewis' action,
       and the manner in which he repossessed the property. The doctor caught a Fifth
       Ward street car, transferred to San Felipe and swung off on Wilson and Robin
       streets. The doctor walked into the yard, commanding Lewis to leave the
       premises. Lewis not being willing to leave, the two began to advance toward
       each other, each claiming ownership. The doctor then went to the justice court

Out of the Ditch.                                                                             124

       for reimbursement, but that court turned him down; he appealed to the county
       court and the same fate met him there. The doctor sued Lewis for trespass to try
       title in the Eleventh district court. The case was set down for trial several times,
       but the final day came on April 19th, when the merits of the case was looked
       into by the court. The doctor had employed some very able counsel. In the
       meantime the doctor tried to acquire Lewis' title of the property by offering him
       several sums of money, all of which Lewis refused to take. Attorney Lewis
       answered Dr. Blair's petition filed in court, made a general denial and a plea of
       not guilty. He also in his cross-bill attacked the right of the city and county of
       Harris to collect the delinquent taxes further back than four years, and further
       said that the deed made by the city to Dr. Blair was invalid and barred by the
       statute of limitation

       Page 150
       so far as the tax title was concerned. The court listened to the evidence until
       each side had rested. The court then said: "Gentlemen, I will hear your
       arguments in this case and also I would request that each of you bring in
       authorities in support of your contention." Shelves of law books were rifled.
       Authorities after authorities were run down until the desired aim of the attorneys
       were presumably reached. They came into the court room with these books to
       support their contentions. The court sat patiently and listened attentively to the
       reading of the authorities and arguments of counsel. At the conclusion of the
       case, the court said: "Gentlemen, J. M. Blair has failed absolutely to prove any
       title to this property, and it is the court's opinion that J. Vance Lewis is the
       owner of the property under common course of law, and the court further holds
       that the city can not collect taxes further back than four years. The court will
       decree a judgment for Dr. Blair for taxes paid by him for 1905-6-7, and the said
       tax judgment is lien against the property, and the court will further decree that
       the title of the property is vested in J. Vance Lewis." Thus ended the long
       contested case which will no doubt help others in gaining their property from
       the said J.M. Blair.

       Page 151

                    J. VANCE LEWIS DEFENDS JOHN HALE.
        Some time in 1909, at Itasca, Texas, one John Hale, a Negro, and one Mr.
       Ellison, a white man, had some trouble, both men using a gun at each other. It
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           125

       seems that John Hale, the Negro, got the drop on Mr. Ellison, the rich white
       man, the banker and lord of many acres of land, who found it prudent after
       looking down the muzzle of John's gun, to join the rabbit family, and was soon
       lost to space, and was not any more discovered until he was found standing
       before the justice of court, ten miles away, making a charge against John Hale,
       charging him with assault to murder. John Hale was arrested, placed in jail and
       was unable to give bond for a long time, when two white citizens of Hill county
       signed his bond. John Hale sought white counsel throughout the country, but
       every lawyer told Hale that they could not serve him. John Hale left Hillsboro
       by night, and he was next found in Houston in J. Vance Lewis' office. He
       secured the service of Lawyer Lewis and at the same time related to him all the
       circumstances of the trouble. Hale and Lewis arrived in Hillsboro Saturday
       night, March 26th, and on reaching Hillsboro the news spread like wild fire that
       a Negro lawyer would be in attendance in court the next day to defend Hale.
       Monday morning, March 28th, the court was crowded with amazed spectators to
       witness a Negro lawyer protect and defend his client. In truth, many wild stories
       had gone out that Lewis would not be permitted to plead the case, and we all
       feared that some harm would come to him, and we advised him not to go in
       court, and in answer to pleadings, Mr. Lewis said: "I am going to defend Hale
       today, because I know that there is just as short a road to hell from Hillsboro as
       it is from Houston to Heaven."

       Page 152
       I have seen many brave men, but that man is a Christian and a dare-devil. He
       defended Hale from start to finish, and in his legal discourse before the court,
       the judge and white lawyers complimented him. Hale was freed. Lewis won a
       victory for the race as well as for himself. He also delivered an address to the
       citizens of Hillsboro, using as his subject, "Our Place in History by the Side of
       Other Races." This address was a masterpiece and long to be remembered by all
       who heard him.
       Yours truly,
                                                                        ED McHENRY.

       Page 153

                                    CHAPTER XVIII.
Out of the Ditch.                                                                           126

                                HOME AND FIRESIDE.
        I began my second battle in life with a determination to profit by my past
       experience. You have read enough to note the fact that I had been struggling
       against many disadvantages. These disadvantages did not come only from the
       Anglo-Saxon race, but plots and conspiracies entered into by the Negro and the
       white man, who were jealous of the many successes that came to me both in the
       civil and criminal courts. My practice increased by leaps and bounds and I
       began to feel that I ought to show more appreciation for my dear little wife, the
       one who stood by me during the time of all my troubles. Letters began to come
       to me from all over Texas, calling upon me to defend both civil and criminal
       cases. To accept all of the cases that did come would take me from my home
       and fireside.
        I remembered well how Pauline, the dearest woman on earth, had cheered me
       when despondent, and who was around me when I was cast down; who visited
       me while in jail; who stood by me when everything was dark and gloomy; who
       believed in me when they were trying to put convict stripes upon me; who
       suffered all and gave up all for me, giving up friends, sacrificed position, both
       social and pecuniary; all of this to become my wife. I find in her all of the
       qualities that go to make a queen. She is dignified, cultured and refined; she has
       never stooped but once, that was when she descended her queen-like throne,
       came down in a gown of beauty, her face looking lovely as an angel's, her hand
       outstretched, her heart beating with a rapid pulsation, her little mouth made
       answer to the minister, F. L. Lights, when he said:

       Page 154
       "Miss Pauline R. Gray, will you take this man, J. Vance Lewis, to be your
       wedded husband, to love and cherish during the balance of your life?" and she
       answered, "I will," and with a smile upon her face, she turned away and
       ascended to her throne, carrying with her the prince who is now bathing in the
       joy and love of her affections at "Van Court," 1218 Wilson street. The Van
       Court is the modern building which the author built for his queen, and should
       you ever visit that home you will see a busy little human bee buzzing around the
       cook pots, or singing and playing upon the piano her favorite song, "Love Me
       and the World is Mine." In the last few years fortune has smiled upon us and we
       have acquired considerable property, both in the city and in the county, but it
       has caused no change in the relationship existing between us and our friends.
Out of the Ditch.                              127

       We indorse the old saying:

       Old wood to burn,
       Old wine to drink,
       Old books to read,
       Old friends to love.
                                    THE END.


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