Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Extortion Trial of 1861; Sex, Lies & Money: Part 3

The first post introduced us to Captain Shaw and his family.  Post two was jury selection and the beginning of many questions about the veracity of the Captain's wife.

Today is the first full day of the extortion trial as it was reported in the Memphis Daily Appeal, August 10, 1861.

Dr. Gilbert's Testimony!
Peculiar Developments!

Second Day's Proceedings
The trial of Charles N. Martin, charged with "wilfully and maliciously extorting from Dr. Samuel gilbert five promissory notes, to the amount of ten thousand dollars, and his signature to a deed of trust upon real estate, to secure the same--by means of verbal threats upon his life," was resumed in the criminal court, before Judge Swayne, yesterday morning.  On the previous day a severance was granted, by which Martin obtained a trial separately from Ellen, wife of A.B. Shaw, originally put on trial with him on the same charge.  The selection of a jury was proceeded with, eight having been chosen the preeding day.  The jury when made up was composed of the following gentlemen:  Asa Shelton, Moses Stout, M. Mulholland, J.F. Green, D.C. Trader, F.B. Henry, A.L. Goff, J.N. Jones, Joseph Bruce, A. Coranne, F.M. Cash, J.B. Oliver. 

The first witness called was Dr. Gilbert, who deposed: I know Chas. N. Martin; the first time I ever saw him he and Mrs. Shaw came to my house; she introduced him to me; I have often seen him since, and almost always in company with Mrs. Shaw.  They were usually riding together when I saw them out.  I seldom went to Capt. Shaw's without seeing Martin; he was said to board there; he has often been to my house within the last few weeks back; I think on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week was the last time; he called the Sunday before that, and said Mrs. Shaw wanted very particularly to see me; I was not well, and did not want to go.  I went, I think, on Tuesday or Wednesday, to Capt. Shaw's house; I went into the parlor and was invited to see Captain Shaw; after doing so, I came down stairs; as I got down I was asked by Mrs. Shaw to speak with her on business; I was introduced into the parlor, I saw nothing of Martin; she spoke of money matters, said I was the best friend they had on the bluff, and said they wanted more money; I said I had but little.  Martin came in; she said "Charley, I want no company here, go and get the horses shod;" and he went out.  I wanted to go away, she objected and said: "I must talk with you, I am nearly in desperation and must have money, or our property will be taken by the sheriff."  She spoke then of her limbs and person as perishing away from trouble, and began to handle her arms; she said she had once very pretty legs, but they had perished away; I said if you had as fleshy legs as I have you would not complain; she wanted to see my legs; I foolishly pulled up my pantaloons leg and my drawers and showed her my leg; this is the only thing in the matter I am ashamed of; she then spoke of my looking at her leg; she said I could not see it without her consent; I said I respected her too much to desire her to do so; if she showed me her leg she pleased herself; she must herself remove her dress if I saw it; she said that was not for her to do; I did slightly lift her dress.  Martin at that moment sprung in; he said, "You G-d d--d scoundrel, I have you now where I wanted you, you old hypocrite.  I have long suspected you." I asked to explain, but was not permitted; I said I would go; Martin said if I left I was stronger than he, and he would shoot the top of my head off; I saw a trap was set for me and wanted to settle the matter in Capt. Shaw's room; Mrs. Shaw said if I went there I should be murdered; she pretended to cry, and said she was ruined; I saw no tears.  I said I was willing to settle it, and asked what they wanted; I was in fear of my life; Martin used threats; he said I had made a proposition, and he would answer it; that I was a G-d d--d scoundrel and had been ruining Shaw with my usury; that he would take $10,000 for Mrs. Shaw, and say no more about it.  I said I had not the money; he said if I would pay that amount nothing should be said of what happened to Mrs. Shaw; I said it could not be kept silent; he said he would blow my d--d head off if I did not settle the matter; she came and whispered to me to pay and have done with it:  I told them to draw the notes for the $10,000--I was too much agitated to write them.  Martin drew them up and I signed them; he then said, your notes are not worth a d--n; you must secure them by mortgage; I declined, but he would have it so.  I was in fear of my life; she said "Trust him, Charley, he is a man of his word."  I wanted to go up town to make out the deed; he would not consent, but sent to Mr. Massey's office for a blank; then he wanted a clerk to fill it out.  I was too much agitated and alarmed to know very well what I did.  The clerk was sent for and came; I did not know him; the doors were kept shut; the clerk drew up the deed and I signed it; I went to the clerk's office and ackowledged it; Martin went along; he told me in the street that if I said a word of the matter he would kill me; he has done this until within the last few days again and again.

Cross-Examinded by the Prosecution:  No business was mentioned when I was with Captain Shaw in his room.  When I entered the house Mrs. Shaw invited me to go up stairs and see the Captain, and to see her as I came down; she wanted to speak to me very particularly; as I came down I entered the parlor; Mrs. Shaw shut the door and pulled down the front curtain; the other curtains were down; I do not know whether she locked the door.  I sat down on a chair; she sat on another just opposite me.  She spoke of their want of money, and said she and the Captain would have some; I said I was short of money; some time before she had asked me for $100 and said the sheriff was going to take their property; she wept and sobbed, on that occasion, and I borrowed the money for her.  When I was in the parlor with her she asked me to look at her arms and legs--they were so falling off with trouble; I showed her how stout my legs were;  I looked at her legs with her consent; I think I saw her garter; I felt of her leg, as she had suggested; I had not thought of taking improper liberties, no more than of burning the town that day; as I had my hand on her leg Martin burst in; he abused me very much; he said I was a land pirate had robbed Capt. Shaw.  I executed the deeds for $10,000 and the mortgage release for $5,000, under fear of death; I have that fear to the present day.  martin brought the papers ready prepared, and said I had brought them to make Mrs. Shaw sign them, and now I should sign them myself.  I denied that I had brought them, and appealed to Mrs. Shaw; she said, "No, Charley, Mr. Richardson brought them."

Four of the notes were produced, and were identified by the witness, each one was for $1250; witness said a sixth note for $1000 was paid the day after the above occurrences.

The Cross-Examination Proceeded:  No one was present when the notes were given but myself, Martin and Mrs. Shaw; Martin said he had sent a servant to Massey's office for the form of the deed; I think it might be near a quarter or a half an hour before it came; Martin filled it up; I signed it sorely against my will; Mr. Shaw was not present when the signatures were put to the deed; the notes were executed on the same day as the deed, but previously, Martin went with me to acknowledge the deed; on the way he said my life was in his hands if I told about the matter; I ackowledged the deed before the clerk; I said to Mr. Trezevant, the clerk, (I think on the same day,) Mr. Trezevant, I wish you would not record it, he said he must, it was paid for; Martin and Mrs. Shaw insisted on having a thousand dollars next day, they wanted it; it was paid in the Union bank; Martin would not let me go to the bank alone; he said he might have his brains blowed out; he had no confidence in anybody, and would not trust me.  The money was got on a check I had obtained from Jacob Moon for notes I sold him; Martin demanded after the payment of the $1000, $150 for himself; I paid it him under the same threat; he said that was for his services, the other was for Mrs. Shaw; he demanded the $150 near the Union bank. I made at no time improper propositions to Mrs. Shaw, and paid the money for no such conduct, but under threat of my life; Martin demanded the deed, Poston wrote it, and I acknowledged it; Poston, Esquire Waldran and Martin were along; Mr. Poston, and I think Waldran, were trustees; Martin demanded the quit claim deed in the most peremptory manner, with a d--n nearly every word; he did not all the time say, I will shoot your head off, but the word was, "Your life is in your own hands."  I acted under the impulse of these threats.  He very particularly asked me if I had told Mr. Poston what had occurred; I said no; I had not then told Mr. Poston.  I did so afterward; I took him and told him the whole of it.  I did not put my hand above Mrs. Shaw's knees; she partially raised her clothes.

Cross-Examined by the Defense:  I was friendly to Capt. Shaw; my family always objected to go there; I always told my wife I thought Mrs. Shaw an injured woman.  I cannot say I have ever been at enmity with Shaw's family; there was once a lawsuit and some coolness, but not what I would call enmity.  I think it was last Sunday week when I received the message to call at Shaw's; I should have gone there, from the pressing nature of the message, but was sick.  On the Tuesday or Wednesday following, I think it was, I called.  I have filed a bill in the chancery court to enjoin the collection of the notes, and to nullify the quit claim deed.  On the Sunday I received the message to call on Shaw, it was brought by Martin, in the morning; he intimated that I was wanted to raise money for Mrs. Shaw; she had before this asked me to get money for them on another transaction; I said I would if I could, and if my lawyer said it was right.  I did not receive the message as from Capt. Shaw; I am not aware that I have said I did/  I consider a parlor a private room when it is closed and made private; I was with Capt. Shaw but a few minutes; he was weak, and I advised him to go to the Raleigh Springs.  I might have been with him twenty or thirty minutes.  I have no knowledge of Mrs. Shaw being in the room, up stairs, while I conversed with the captain.  I do not remember, nor to the best of my knowledge did I say in the captain's room to Mrs. Shaw, that I wanted a private conversation with her; the invitation for a private conversation came from her.  I got to Shaw's house, I suppose, about 10 or 11 o'clock; the parlor is a double one, with sliding doors; I think the sliding doors were closed; I believe there are three windows in the room and one entrance door; the windows do not extend to the floor; the curtains of two windows were down when I entered the room; she jumped up and pulled down the third; most positively she closed the door and pulled down the blind; I sat down first,  I think om a rocking chair; I was not far from the door; I think she sat down in a rocking chair; my back was toward the east window and toward the fireplace; in a short time she sat down, a little off at first; she began to talk about her sorrows, about money and my friendship for them; that she had me alone to look to to save their negroes from being sold; she said she must come near me for she had important things to say; money must be had next day at all hazards; she spoke of an execution, I think she mentioned no amount; she had often told me she all Capt. Shaw's business to do for him; she had often asked me to lift the mortgage on the house that I held, and make other arrangements to secure me; she wanted the house free for herself and children in case of the captain's death; I agreed, if my lawyer approved, and offered to make a free donation of $400 in doing so; I did this as something had been said in the street about the interest I charged; she said she had been in bad health for some time; I think it was before this she drew up to me; her knees did not touch mine; she did not put her foot on mine, or I mine on hers; I felt her arms--they seemed about as ladies' arms usually are; I do not know whether they were wasted away or not; after I felt her arms, she raised her dress a little above the ankle; I think I saw the ankle; I never told such a lie since I was born as to say to her she was the sweetest creature on earth; my head is too white to be excited by seeing her ankle; I said nothing to her about the disposition of my wife;  Mrs. Shaw observed to me my wife was cold in her disposition; I said she and I are different, but I did not say I was a perfect volcano; I did not put my hand up her dress above the knee; I raised a portion of her dress with her consent; I am certain my hand was not as high as her knee; I did not hold her in the chair with the other hand; she never attempted to rise, or say, "stop that, doctor,: or cried; she cried after Martin came in, but I saw no tears about when she removed her handkerchief; I saw I was in a trap; there were Indian signs about; Martin said when he came in, "G-d d--n you, I have got you where I wanted you, and will have satisfaction; you thought I was seeing about the horse being shod, but I have been watching you."  I made oath to the bill in the chancery court; I believe I did not swear that Martin was armed, but that I believe he was armed; I did not see any arms on him at that time or any other day; he showed me none; I believed he had arms, because he said if I went out of the house it would be with my head blown off; I wanted to go away while the servant was gone, but Martin did not allow me; I smoked a cigar in the meantime; I am certain martin placed his back against the door and said I should not go; when Martin went to the outside of the door to call the servant, Mrs. Shaw stood in the door; repeatedly Martin said if I went it would be with my head shot off; I believed that if I attempted to go, I should be shot down.  The front bell was rung while I was waiting; Mrs. Shaw went to the door; she came back and told Martin somebody was come for money fro him; something was said about the man would kill him if he did not pay.  I said they might pay it out of what they were going to have from me next day.  When Martin and I went to my store on main street, half a mile from Shaw's house, my partner, Plummer, was there; Martin had shown no arms, but I feared if I told what was passing my life would be taken, if not then yet at a future time.  I suppose I might have complained and have had Martin put in jail; dozens of people were passing by on Main street; I did not then want to make that complaint, for I did not wish the thing to be made public at that time; I wanted first to reflect about it, and talk to my lawyer; I intended to consult my lawyer before I took any steps.  When I told Mr. Poston about the matter, it was in my store; it was after I had payed the $1,000.  I think I did not see him before I paid the money; I knew when I paired the money the whole thing could be bursted up.  Perhaps I had no opportunity to consult my lawyer before I paid the money; I saw him before executing the deed to the best of my knowledge, I saw him when hunting up the deed on Shaw's property; I said nothing to him about the difficulty then, for I wanted to reflect before consulting anybody.  Martin wrote the notes at his own dictation, not mine; I cannot say whether I began to write the notes; I might say I was too nervous to write them, and also say "Charley you must do it."  Mr. Lake, the clerk, was present when the deed to secure payment, was filed, signed, and acknowledged; they made me pay the fee.  I wish it distinctly understood that I was carrying out what I had been made to agree to in the room by threats; when I acknowledged before the clerk, "this is my act and deed," I did not believe it was legally or morally binding, for I acted under the fear, if I did not do so then, I should afterward be assassinated; I told nothing when I signed and acknowledged, because I meant to get out of the difficulty, as well as I could then and take other steps afterward; I believed Martin was armed, and that my life was in danger; no arms were showed by Martin, but repeatedly, when I wanted to leave the house, be put his back to the door and said he would shoot my head off.  I have no moral conviction on my conscience that I intended violating the chastity of Shaw's wife; I never said I was the guilty party; I never acted form fear of being sent to the penitentiary for what had occurred with Mrs. Shaw; I have no knowledge of of having put my back to the door and begged Charley not to go and tell Mr. Shaw; I wanted to go to him myself; I said I regretted my wife's feelings being hurt as they would be by this occurrence; I never offered $10,000 to Martin to keep silent; I made a proposition to "settle it," and he turned it to money; I said I meant no harm; I did ask to be forgiven; I was detained in the room forcibly and against my will; the outside shutters and inside curtains were down.  The $1000 paid in bank was upon the check of Jacob Moon; I borrowed the money from him by giving my note for it in Mr. Bayliss' office; I think I gave ten percent for the money; Moon bought Greer's notes from me, due at Christmas, drawing interest at ten percent.  Mr. Bayliss, Mr. Moon, Mr. Ray, and another gentleman were present.  I cannot tell which day this was; I did not tell the facts to those gentlemen, because I wished to say nothing until I had time to think; I believe this was the morning after the occurrences at Shaw's house; Martin was not present at this transaction with Massey; I wished to consult my lawyer before telling anybody; I and Martin had some conversation in the bank about Shaw's note; that note has not been found and I know not where it is; Martin went to my house for it and said he would not quit me till I got it; when the quit claim deed was written he was told that was a release; I do not recollect what I told 'Squire Waldran about his signing the deed; I have no knowledge of having authorized Mr. Poston or others to see Martin and compromise these matters; if I did so I do not recollect it, but I would have been willing to do anything in reason to prevent having such a fuss as we have got; if I recollected authorizing any proposition for compromise, I would say so; I never attempted at any time to kiss Mrs. Shaw; I never kissed her at the front door; she never said to me "Doctor, what do you mean?" in consequence of my having kissed her; I never said I would think no more of kissing her than of kissing my daughter; I sometimes went to see Capt. Shaw, and went to see Mrs. Shaw when she sent for me; then she always wanted money.  I was born on the 26th of May, 1802.

At the conclusion of this lengthy examination, the court adjourned for dinner.


Mr. J.H. Smith was called:  I am acquainted with Martin; I have seen him at Captain Shaw's; I was called upon to arrest him last Monday; I went to the Charleston railroad; I saw him and Mrs. Shaw half a dozen miles up the road, stepping on the cars; I arrested Martin; Mrs. Shaw said she would come back too; they said they were going to Iuka to prepare a room there for Capt. Shaw, who was coming up next morning; Martin said he had a passport; I warned the that anything said in my presence I might have to report on trial; when I served an injunction upon them on the Saturday before, Mrs. Shaw said she had sold one of the notes, and made preparation for selling another; the two were in a buggy together, at this time; when I arrested Martin last Monday morning he went on to tell me about the notes; he said he had some suspicions when he saw Dr. Gilbert take Mrs. Shaw into the parlor, and went to the front window; that while there he heard Dr. Gilbert insult Mrs. Shaw; that he then went in and told the doctor that if he had a pistol he would shoot him; that Gilbert offered to pay $10,000 to hush it up, if Martin would leave the State and say nothing about it; Gilbert asked him to draw the notes up, as he himself was too much agitated to write them; Martin did not say in what manner the doctor insulted the lady, but merely that he had insulted her grossly; he said he had drawn up the notes as Dr. Gilbert had directed him; Mrs. Shaw gave me up the notes and I gave her my receipt for them; Mr. Shaw would not have the receipt made out to him; he said he had nothing to do with the notes; when I asked at Capt. Shaw's house where Martin was, before I made the arrest, Mr. Shaw said he had gone into the country to get a cow, and Mrs. Shaw was with him; he said nothing about Iuka.

Cross-Examined:  Martin told me he charged the insult upon the doctor, who was much excited.  (A passport from S.T. Morgan was produced, permitting C. Martin to go to I-u-k-a).  I learned that Mrs. Shaw had a passport for the family; Mrs. Shaw told me that Dr. Pitman had advised Captain Shaw to go to I-u-k-a springs; Martin had a tolerably large carpet sack; Mrs. Shaw had a ladies small traveling sack.

B.H. Capers;  I knew Martin at the chancery court office, on Monday morning I met him; he told me Dr. Gilbert came to Shaw's, that everybody knew what he came for, that Captain Shaw owed him money; that on the day in question he saw Dr. Gilbert put his hand under Mrs.Shaw's clothes; he rushed in and charged him with it; the doctor offered to pay $10,000 if he would say nothing; he refused; the doctor then offered to give it to Mrs. Shaw if he, Martin, would leave the State; he agreed; the doctor offered to give notes, said he was too much agitated to write, and asked Martin to write the notes, that he did so, and the doctor signed them; he said nothing of seeing any violence on the part of the doctor, or of hearing any conversation between him and Mrs. Shaw; he mentioned only the act of the doctor in insulting her by putting his hand under her clothing.  Martin was, at a busy time, engaged too weeks in the chancery office.

'Squire Waldren:  I know Dr. Gilbert and A.B. Shaw and his wife; I saw the deed of trust for the first time at its relinquishment; several years ago I was told of it, and that I was put down as trustee; Mrs. Shaw and Martin called to me from a carriage some days ago, and said I was wanted at the doctor's store about the relinquishment of the deed of trust; I agreed to be there at 9 o'clock on Friday morning; when there, the doctor and martin came in--Martin had the papers; the doctor never said a word to me about the matter now before the court; the papers were signed and we went to the clerk's office and acknowledged them.

Cross-Examined:  As we went to the clerk's, the doctor made no remark about the circumstances now brought out; I think the doctor paid the fees.

Charles Blum:  I know Martin;  a butcher in Beal street market about three months; sometimes he killed meat himself, sometimes he bought; he has a stall there now, but does not keep it up; sometimes he comes to market in a rockaway with Mrs. Shaw; I saw them at last Saturday evenings market; they bought meat of me; he had right smart of bills; the boys around were joking, and he said something to the amount that he was in a better business than butchering, or something about business; I could not ell how many hundred dollar bills he had--I saw right smart of money in his hand--I saw hundred dollar bills; I took a drink with Martin; he was sober; I do not know whether Mrs. Shaw was sober; I am not a good judge of woman's nature; Martin has, ever since he quit butchering, off and on, bought meat of me, which he said was for Captain Shaw.

W.K. Posten:  Martin and Dr. Gilbert came to my office and asked for the notes and deed of trust; the deed was not in my possession, and they went to seek it and the note;  they came twice afterward; the second time I found the deed; the doctor said he wanted to release it; I executed the relinquishment I now hold in my hand; it was acknowledged the next morning, August 1st; the doctor, Esq. Waldran and Martin, with myself, went to the clerk's office and acknowledged the deed; after our return Martin came in and asked whether he had left an umbrella; he lingered a moment or two, then went away; I had not seen an umbrella in his hand; eventually the doctor left the matter in my hands; and I filed a bill.  When these visits were made I knew nothing of the particulars; I afterward asked Dr. Gilbert how he had settled that business; he said he wanted to see me about it; I went over to his store, and he gave me the particulars; I wrote the bill on Saturday from my recollection of the statements made to me by Dr. Gilbert on Friday; on reading it over to Dr. Gilbert he suggested some changes, which I made; I think I made all the alterations he required; I saw no weapons about Martin, or anything betokening violence.

J.J. Louis:  I know Martin; I am marketmaster; I have seen martin in market selling meat; he did so a month or so; he has not sold meat there for eight or ten months; since that time when I have seen him it has generally been with Mrs. Shaw, both riding in a rockaway.  I do not know what his occupation has been since he left meat selling.

A. Whipple;  I have known Martin by sight a year and a half; I generally saw him at Capt. Shaw's.  I have seen him and Mrs. Shaw driving together in the street. Capt. Shaw has been long sick; I do not think he has been out in the street within a year from last June.

W.H. Lake:  I was at Capt. Shaw's on the 31st of July last; I found Dr. Gilbert, Mrs. Shaw and Martin there.  I was asked to fill up the deed and told them it was not my business; Martin filled it and put A.B. Shaw's name to it; I took Dr. Gilbert's acknowledgement and took the deed away for registration.  I saw no appearance of tears or distress about Mrs. Shaw; many of the blanks in the deed were already filled in pencil; nothing was said about the consideration for which the transaction was done.  Dr. Gilbert seemed to want Waldren to be trustee, but the others appeared to want Martin, whose name was put in; and Dr. Gilbert paid the fees.

Cross-Examined:  I think Martin had no coat on; Dr. Gilbert handed in a piece of paper describing the boundaries of the land; the doctor made no objection to sign or spoke of any difficulty; I think the front windows were open; I saw no signs of agitation, or anything extraordinary, on the part of Dr. Gilbert or others; no impression of anything unusual was made upon me, as I entered, the door was closed before and after I went in; the day was warm.

J.R. Hanie and Capt. James T. Bourne were called, but their testimony was unimportant. 

The court then adjourned until eight o'clock this morning, in the course of which Mrs. Shaw is likely to be called upon to give her testimony.

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