Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Extortion Trial of 1861, Testimony of Capt. Shaw & Questions about His Wife's Character: Part 5

This is part 5 of a multi-part story.  For previous entries click on the links:
The Extortion Trial of 1861, Introducing the Shaw Family: Part 1
The Extortion Trial of 1861, Jury Selection & Questions about Ellen Shaw: Part 2
The Extortion Trial of 1861, Sex, Lies & Money: Part 3
The Extortion Trial of 1861,Who Was Dr. Gilbert: Part 4

Today's testimony comes from the Memphis Daily Appeal August 11, 1861:

Evidence of Captain Shaw
More of the Parlor Transactions
Third Day's Proceedings

The proceedings against Charles N. Martin charged with extorting notes from Dr. Samuel Gilbert to the amount of $10,000, and a quit claim deed to the amount of $5,000, by threats against his life, was resumed in the criminal court yesterday morning before Judge Swayne.

S.T. Morgan was first examined:  I am agent in this city, by authority of Gen. Polk, to give passports to persons wishing to leave the city; on Monday last R.T. Bowling obtained passports for A.B. Shaw, his wife, children, and a servant, and also one for Martin, all to pass to Iuka, Mississippi.

Frank Sellers:  I am assistant teller in the Union bank: about August first Dr. Gilbert drew a thousand and some odd dollars on Mr. Moon's check.

F.W. Smith:  I am cashier at the Union bank.  Dr. Gilbert called lately, on one or two occasions, to inquire for a note he had on Capt. Shaw; it was the early part of this week; a man was with him; we did not have the note.

Wm. McLaughlin: I know Martin; he was a butcher in market four or five weeks; he quit that business some four months ago; I have seen him most weeks in market, often with a lady in a rockaway; I saw him in market on Saturday or Monday last.  He came to my stall with the lady I have seen him with; he bought some meat and paid for it; he had a roll of bills in his hand; I saw 5's, 10's, and I think a $20 bill. I said,"You must have made a raise," something was said that he was in a better business than butchering.

B.A. Massey:  I am an attorney; Martin never sent to me for a blank deed; the form of deed now in court was not obtained from my office; I never saw it before.

The attorney-general announced that this closed the case for the prosecution.  The defense then entered on the examination of their witnesses:

T.W. Brown: The deed now in court, I think is one I indicated in part by pencil, how it was to be filled up; the date July 31, 1861, seems to be in my handwriting; about the middle of the day I was called upon for the form; I have no personal knowledge of the person who called for the blank, he represented himself as a Mr. Wilson, in Adams Express office;  he received instructions from me as to the proper way of filling up the blanks, and I had from hin the information by which I put in the penciling.

Cross Examined:  I put in the pencilings at Wilson's request, in the office of Finnie & Brown, of which I am a partner; he did not say who were parties to the deed, but indicated that the instrument was not for himself; I think I asked the names of the parties; Wilson asked if it was necessary for me to know them; I said if he did not want me to know the names, I could indicate how the deed should be filled up, and he preferred not to give me the names; Wilson said he could not give me a description of the boundaries of the property; when Wilson first came in he asked for Mr. Finnie, I asked his business, he said he wanted a mortgage written to secure a debt, and so written that, in event of the party not paying the money, the property should at once vest in the creditor; I said I thought such a paper would not be effective, and told him that there were two kinds of mortgages; he asked which was the best for the creditor, I told him, and he said he would have tha kind, and I gave him the blank accordingly; Wilson paid for the blank, I gave a receipt, at the request of Wilson to the name of Martin, I think it was given the day after I filled up the deed; I was not called upon by a servant girl, calling herself Loulea, for the deed.  (Mr. Wilson was called into court and was identified by the witness).

Ira H. Wilson: I am engaged in the express office as delivering clerk; I board at Capt. Shaw's; I obtained a blank from Mr. Brown about the first of this month; I directed Brown to fill up with pencil; I was desired to get it by Martin who spoke to me in the hall of Capt Shaw's house when I was there for dinner; I proposed the pencil marks on my own responsibility; I declined to give the names for the instrument entirely on my own authority; I gave the instructions according to directions given me by Martin.  I asked for the instrument on my own suggestion, having had in New York State some practical knowledge of such matters.  I think Martin's instructions to me were simply to get a blank deed of trust; I do not recollect him giving me particular instructions; I am sure my instructions to the attorney were my own suggestions; I think Martin did not tell me where to get the deed, I understood I was to go where I pleased.  I only saw members of the family about the house at the time; I was in the dining room, which is separated by folding doors from the parlor; I think I had gone from the dining room to the porch when Martin came to me.  Union street is a very public place and there are hoses about Capt. Shaw's residence; my impression is the blinds in the parlor were closed, except the east window, the blinds of one-half of which were open; the glass of this east window, I think, was also open; I saw a horse and buggy standing nearly opposite the door; I thought I knew where it was but could not positively swear; I heard talking in the parlor, I think from Martin; I did not understand the words; I think he spoke in his usual tone; I listened for a minute but could distinguish nothing; my impression was that the buggy at the door was Dr. Gilbert's' I saw Martin passing backward and forward, I believe before I went for the deed; I think he spoke about the matter with Mrs. Shaw, they standing at the door opening on the back porch, before I went for the deed; the two stood there a minute or two, they talked of Dr. Gilbert being there; I think it was before I went for the deed; in substance they said, as well as I can recollect that Dr. Gilbert had insulted Mrs. Shaw; that here had been a good deal of business between them, and Dr. Gilbert proposed to settle it; that he had offered $10,000 to keep the affair a secret, and that Martin said as far as he was concerned, if the doctor would throw in the claims he held, he did not know but what he would consent, but d--n him, he did not want his money.  I don't know whether Martin or Mrs. Shaw told me this; I understood the thin was for ever to be kept a secret from the public; Martin charged me to keep my mouth closed.  A part, if not all of what I have mentioned of the conversation, took place before I went for the deed; I believe Martin was in shirt and pantaloons and without coat or vest; I saw no weapon of any kind.

Cross-examined:  I came from New York eighteen or nineteen years ago; have lived here twice; Martin has lived ans slept at Shaw's all the time I have been there.  I gave instructions to the lawyer to make a deed that should make the property over, if the money was not paid, without any legal process being necessary.  What I know of the difficulty was from what I heard talked of; Martin mentioned the sum of $10,000; from Martin's conversation with Mrs. Shaw I thought it must be more than that; I knew from their conversation that an insult had been offered Mrs. Shaw.  I did not tell Mr. Brown who the parties to the deed were; I am of impression Martin told me not to mention the names.  I took the deed to Martin; I did not see Dr. Gilbert; I think I met Martin in the hall and there handed him the deed.  I was not in the parlor at all while the matter was going along.  I noticed the blinds of the parlor windows because I did not want Dr. Glbert, who had been a special friend of mine, to know that I had anything to do with the business.  I think Martin said, "d--n him, I don't want his money," but that he expressed himself willing to settle it; I think I had this both from himself and from Mrs. Shaw.  I saw Mrs. Shaw rush out in great excitement; from the appearance of her eyes I judge she had been crying.

Capt. A.B. Shaw, whose appearance denoted very ill health, was called:  I have known Martin some twenty months, most of which time he has lived with me; he is no relation; he came from Brighton, Massachusetts.  He had an introduction to me from his father; his father and I were boys together and butchers together.  Martin has been attending to my business; I did not make him formally my agent, but told him I wanted him to do.  I have been sick two years and confined at home one year.  Dr. Gilbert called on me on the 21st of July, at twenty minutes past nine in the morning; I had not sent for him on that day, or for three months before.  I know by taking my medicine what time the doctor came.  Mrs. Shaw told me he had come; I was feverish and said, "What do I care?"  He came up and I asked him about Raleigh Springs; he said they would have a good effect upon me; he was with me half and hour.  Mrs. Shaw was also in the the room the whole time; he said to her, "I came to see you before the weather got hot."  When he got up to go he said: "Mrs Shaw I want a little private conversation with you."  He turned to me and said: "Captain Shaw, it is from the purest motives, and I think will be for your food."  The both went down stairs together, the doctor said till tow o'clock; I did not know what took place in the parlor; I heard no vociferation, but I heard Mrs. Shaw scream out, I judge an hour after she had left my room.  I thought my daughter had fallen, probably, and inquired of the servant, who said she had not.  I have known Dr. Gilbert for years; I knew him when I was flatboating here; he was then tailoring; since then he has been curing cancers and sore legs.  I got a passport lately (the witness produced railway tickets to Iuka for himself and servant); Dr. Pitman had advised me to go to the springs; I got nervous about the the time I should have started; Mr. Beach, was the gentleman who went for the passport.  I was going on Tuesday morning and supposed Mrs. Shaw was going too, but she went with Martin to see about a cow that had strayed.  Mary, my adopted daughter, afterward told me they had gone to Iuka.

Cross-Examined:  When Dr. Gilbert called, Mrs. Shaw remarked: "You had better see him."  I told her to have him invited up; when he came up we spoke about the springs, but not about business, except when he went down he said he would make things better for me if he sold his place, he would bring me out of my difficulties; about three weeks before that, he wanted me to put $10,000 or $50,000 worth of property in his hands for $7000; I told him if I died, all my honest debts would be paid; he said he would let me have some money if I accepted his proposition; my indebtedness to him had been reduced to $1500 or $1600; property he wished me to transfer to him lies on Union and Gayoso streets; I refused to do it; Martin is no relation; I knew his father; I invited him to my house; I was then building some houses and I got him to keep the of the men and pay them on Saturday nights, this lasted about fifty days; I quit trying to do business since January by advice; I told Mrs. Shaw to do as well as she could; I told Martin, until he could get a good place to stay at my house, to attend to my negroes and business and I would make it right with him when I got well; he had to collect rents when they could be got, and to pay bills; I have sold no lots since last October two years, nor made purchases in this State, nor authorized any person to sign any deed for me in connection with real estate; the signature to the deed in court of my name is not mine, I never saw it before; I knew nothing of it until the Saturday or Monday afterward; when Dr. Gilbert rose to leave my room he told Mrs. Shaw he wanted a private conversation with her, and turning to me said it was from the most pure motive; they went down and I heard them open the sitting room door; my chamber is the northwest room the sitting room is in the northeast corner; my adopted daughter is fifteen years old, she has been with me seven or eight years; she is included in the passport; I have two other children, one of them two years old, that was the one I spoke of as having fallen; when I heard the scream I asked what was the matter, and my adopted daughter said it was nothing; I have often heard Mrs. Shaw scream that way when the children have fallen; we had a little boy killed two years ago by falling off a balcony and since then Mrs. Shaw screams pretty loud when the children fall; I made no more inquiries when Mary said nothing was the matter; Mr. Beach, who got the passport for me, boarded with me; the cow had run off, she had once before gone to the place she was brought from.  I understood Mrs. Shaw and Martin were gone in search of her; sheriff Smith came to ask for Martin--I told him they had gone for the cow; this was three o'clock; I think about four I learned they had gone to Iuka to get a good room for me; my  wife always staid in my room at nights; my wife had spoken of going to Iuka, and I got a ticket for her.  I have seen the notes now in court (the notes given by Dr. Gilbert) but not till Monday the 5th of August, when Mrs. Shaw said, here are these notes; I told her to put them in the pocket book.  I had heard of them and of the fuss that morning, that they had made it up, Dr. Gilbert and all hands, to keep it from me; no notes or money had before been handed me; Mrs. Shaw was the person who told me all about what had happened; when she first spoke of the notes, she said that they were from Dr. Gilbert on a matter to be kept private; it was to be said the money was for some lands I had been trying to sell, which are in Louisiana, not far from Baton Rouge, and which I bought from Mrs. Johnson; I expect the lands are sold now; it is from six to twelve months since I heard from my agent down there; I suppose they cost me $6000 or $7000; Mrs Shaw said she got the notes from Dr. Gilbert on a private transaction; she said Gilbert wished all in the secret to be of one story; she came up in the morning and told me about it; I was very much astonished that the doctor should do so, and said I would rather have revenge than any amount of money; my wife said the families went to visit as usual, and I must not let Dr. Gilbert know that I knew about matters; she told me that when the difficulty happened, she and the doctor had conversed about business, after which the doctor said he was as hot as a kiln; then he put his hand on her lap; then attempted to put it under clothes, and said if she would not consent he must force her; she said when the doctor tried to put his hand under her clothes, she hollooed and Martin came in; she told me the doctor sat at the window where he could spit out, as he was smoking a cigar; after speaking of business, he got up and said he was hot as a kiln, that she must believe him; she said, "What do you mean, doctor?"  he then put his hand on her lap, then under her clothes, touching her knee, and said if she would not consent he would have to commit a rape, so Mrs. Shaw told me; I believe she said he was sitting when he put his hand upon her, that when she screamed he took his hand away, and Martin came in; she told me this on Monday morning about ten o'clock; that was the first I knew of what was going on; she had  told me that Charles (Martin) and he had a little quarrel between themselves, and some little difficulty with Dr. Gilbert--this was said an hour or less after the scream; she said Martin had spoken to her about selling the property over the street, and she had told him to mind his own business; I saw that she had been crying, I asked why; she said she was in trouble; I had asked why Gilbert staid so long; she said they had been fixing up a trade for money; I have a white servant girl, two black women, and a man, about my house; the dining room is thirty-four feet form the kitchen.  I had Wilson and Beach boarding with me at that time; I don't know that Beach and Martin are to be considered as boarders.  I believe that, in a joke, I once spoke to my daughter about Martin, asking if she knew he was her brother?  It got out that he was my nephew; I don't know that I contradicted it.  Major Penn came to me about the notes, and I told him they were for Louisiana lands; I said so in order that Dr. Gilbert's family might be spared a knowledge of what he had done.  I told A.B. Haynes that I had no money to pay him; this was on Tuesday morning after Maj. Penn was with me.  I do not remember telling him all my matters were now straight; that I had a release from Gilbert; that I had $9000 in good notes and $1000 in cash.  I said if I died I expected I had enough to pay my debts; I told him I had $8000 or $9000 due me in the city, but do not remember saying I had the notes for $9000.  Mrs. Shaw, on Monday, after she told me about the difficulty, said she had sold one of the notes and was about selling another, and I said I would indorse them.  The notes are made payable to me, and I intend they shall be paid now.

Cross-Examined:  In my room I can distinctly hear loud talking in the parlor below, a very little noise disturbs me, and I often have to send down to tell them to be silent.  Mrs. Shaw told me that Martin said to Dr. Gilbert, "If I had a pistol, I would blow your head off," and that Martin started to come up stairs to tell me, but Gilbert put his back to the door and said he would make it up; he told Mrs. Shaw not to cry, for it was he, not she, who had done wrong.  Dr. Gilbert told Martin he would pay for what had been done, and Martin said d--n your money, I don't want it; Gilbert said he would give the notes; they sought for some blanks I had and found one; Mrs. Shaw did not tell me this then, but since: Charles  said to Gilbert that his notes were not worth a d--n unless secured, and the doctor said he would give a deed of trust on the land; a deed of trust was then sent for and filled up, and a man came and took the acknowledgment.  I understood that the thing was hatched up so that the families were to see each other, and it was to be said, the notes were for the Mississippi lands.  Mrs. Shaw told me the doctor said she had acted nothing but the lady, that if his wife knew of what had happened she would ruin both his family and ours; Dr. Gilbert and his family have taken, I suppose, a thousand meals in my house; I do not know I ever took one in his; I was told by Mrs. Shaw that a drover came to see Charley, while the matter was going on, for some money due him, and that the doctor told him not to go out till all was settled and he would pay the money, and that he did so; she said that when she and the doctor went down from my room, the doctor closed the folding doors, though she wished him not, but that the windows were open; I have talked with Mrs. Shaw in general talk about this matter in presence of the family; it may have been Saturday when I learned about it; when I come to think of it, it was on Saturday, not on Monday, when all this was told me; the affair went on three or four days before the doctor made any fuss, so they told me.

The court here adjourned for dinner.


Mary E. Gillen: On the day Dr. Gilbert was at Mr. Shaw's' he came up; Mrs. Shaw was in the room when he came in; I saw Dr. Gilbert came stairs first, and go in the parlor, then Mrs. Shaw went in after him; afterward I heard Mrs. Shaw crying, and the doctor said "Don't cry, Capt. Shaw will hear you." I then went into the dining room.  I heard Dr. Gilbert say, if you don't say anything about it, I will give you a deed of trust, and to Martin, anything he may say; Charley said d--n you and the money too.  The doctor said then, he would give the money to Mrs. Shaw; he also said to Mrs. Shaw is an innocent woman; it is a God-like thing to forgive--forgive me, and I will do anything I can; I heard Dr. Gilbert beg Martin not to go up stairs to captain, it would make him a ruined man, and he asked Charley to have pity on his gray-haired wife; he told Charley to write the notes and he would sign them.  I could hear all at the folding doors, as they were not quite closed.  I was up stairs when I heard Mrs. Shaw crying.  I then came down and went in the dining room, where I heard the conversation.  Martin had no coat or vest on, and I saw no weapons about him.  A man rang the door bell, and inquired of me for Charley, who went out to him; the others went about the house and yard, but the doctor was all the time in the parlor; the window was up and the door ajar.

Cross-Examined:  I am in my sixteenth year; I have been seven or eight years with Capt. Shaw, and nine years in this city; I was brought here from Louisiana; I let in Dr. Gilbert myself and put him in the parlor, then up stairs; I asked him up stairs by direction of Mrs. Shaw, who was already there; it was I, not Mrs. Shaw, that asked him up stairs; I went up with him.  Capt. Shaw, Mrs. Shaw and Dr. Gilbert were in the captain's room together; Mrs. Shaw sat at the side of the bed; I attended Capt. Shaw when Mrs. Shaw left him with Dr. Gilbert; did not go down stairs until I heard Mrs. Shaw cry; she did not scream, but cried.  Capt. Shaw asked what it was, I said I did not know; I went down stairs and did not return to tell the captain what it was; the parlor windows were up; one of the blinds of the front window was open.  This was after they came down stairs and Martin was in the room; the middle door was not closed by five or six inches; I sat not far from the opening in the door; I perceived something was going on, and wanted to know what; I did not know that it was Mrs. Shaw who was crying until I got down stairs.  I heard Dr. Gilbert say if Mrs. Shaw would say nothing about it he would give her a clear deed of trust.  They talked in a low, quiet tone; after I heard the crying I went into the dining room; I heard no crying then; the folding doors dividing it from the parlor were then quite closed; I then went down in the garden and gathered some grapes at the arbor; I got back in ten minutes; I was not in the garden half an hour; when I came back to the dining room the folding doors were partly open as I have described, as if left so by some one taking in water; I asked nobody what the crying meant; when the door bell rung for Charley; both he and Mrs. Shaw came to the door, her eyes were red and I saw that it was she who had been crying; she looked distressed and worried; when the door bell was rung I was sitting in the dining room; I went and called, "Charley, somebody wants to see you."  Mrs. Shaw came out with him; she did not speak to me; I again went back to the dining-room; I did not see Mr. Wilson there; I think I was altogether an hour or an hour and a half in the dining-room; I did not see Wilson until Dr. Gilbert had gone away; while I sat at the folding door I did not see the persons in the parlor; I heard some talk on Monday about the cow having run away; we were to have gone to Iuka on Tuesday; I saw Martin all day on Monday, he was there to dinner and supper--is generally about the house; on Tuesday he and Mrs. Shaw went to hunt the cow; I have heard no one speak about this matter, neither Martin nor Captain Shaw; I have heard Mrs. Shaw talk about it since Major Penn was at the house; I have talked in the presence of the lawyers what I was to say here, once or twice; I heard Dr. Gilbert say he would give Mrs. Shaw a clear deed of trust of all be held against her, and Charley as much money as he wanted; Charley said d--n you and your deed of trust and your money, he also said he would jump down the doctor's throat; the doctor sad he was penitent and asked to be forgiven, as it was God-like to forgive, that he was guilty, and Mrs. Shaw was a perfect lady; Mrs. Shaw said not one word that I heard; I did not hear her say to the doctor, "Pay fifty thousand dollars and have done with it," I heard no threats used by Charley or anybody; I saw both Mrs. Shaw and Charley out and about the yard while Dr. Gilbert was in the parlor; I came out of my room as soon as I heard the crying; I could see the parlor door at the top of the stairs, but I did not see Martin rush in at that door; I have never been instructed to say anything about what took place that day, or told that the matter was not to be divulged; I was told that I was listening, and also all I have told now; I was not put at the folding door to listen, nobody told me to do anything of that sort; what I have told here I told that evening to them, but not to the lawyers until after Major Penn had called; when I told them at home about it, I asked what it meant; I know what an insult means; they told me the particulars, what it meant; when Mrs. Shaw went down with Dr. Gilbert, I went to my room and engaged knitting; I did not return to Captain Shaw's room.

The defense announced that they would call no more witnesses.

Mr. Farrington said that this course took the prosecution by surprise, as the defense had applied for a severance, and the severance had been agreed to on ground that Mrs. Shaw was to be introduced as a witness.

Mr. Yerger said the defense had mad no agreement binding them to make Mrs. Shaw a witness.  An affidavit had been made and sworn to, but he had torn it up.

Mr. Sale demanded the restoration of the affidavit, as, if it had not been made, Mrs. Shaw would at this moment be on trial at the bar.  When the affidavit was sworn to it belonged to the court, not to any attorney. The record of the will show that its severance was granted on the ground of the affidavit.

Judge Swayne said he had agreed to a severance on being informed that the parties consented to it.  The entry on his docket was :"Severance by consent."

The prosecution the began to call other witnesses

H.B. Williams; I have lived here a quarter of a century.

The prosecution proceeded to inquire of him.of Mr.s Shaw's character for correctness, morality, and chastity.  Objection was made to this kind of questioning.

Mr. Sale said that the allegation was the Dr. Gilbert undertook to commit a rape on Mrs. Shaw, that was put as the ground why Martin was justified in what he had done.  He was prepared to show that, on the principle on which a woman's character in case of charge of rape inquired into, Mrs. Shaw's character could be investigated: Mrs. Shaw's character is such as to put the idea of Dr. Gilbert having recourse to anything like rape to secure what is alleged to be his design, out of the question.  It was to keep out inquiries on this point that Mrs. Shaw had not been brought into court as a witness.

Legal authorities were acted in support of the position taken by the prosecution, and Judge Swayne withheld a decision until the court meet again at 8 o'clock to-morrow morning.  The court adjourned.

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