DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 1872-1881.
John A. Campbell, a son of William Pitt Campbell, wrote a letter March 25, 1963, to Judge Doyle E. White of Cowley County, Kansas, giving him information on his father.
“William P. Campbell was born in Stanford, Kentucky, February 13th, 1845. He enlisted in the First Kentucky Cavalry as a musician in 1861 at the age of sixteen; re-enlisted as a private in 1862 in the Sixth Kentucky Cavalry; was a prisoner of war for six months in Belle Isle, Virginia. At the close of the civil war he was mustered out as a Sergeant Major, the highest ranking noncommissioned officer.
“He was admitted to the bar in Pulaski County, Kentucky, October 10, 1866. In 1869 he married Mary Katharine Barnes, daughter of a distinguished Kentucky lawyer, Colonel Sidney M. Barnes. The same year, he and his young wife arrived in El Dorado, Kansas. Ten children (four boys and six girls) were born to this union.
“The young lawyer rented an office built of cottonwood boards, size 14 by 16, from old Doc White, the town druggist and father of William Allen White. Doc White’s greeting was ‘Young man, if you can live on sowbelly, drink creek water, and will leave whiskey alone, I think you can make it!’ He obtained his first case three days after he set up his office, and his fee was a pony. Money was scarce in those days. It was said that they sent O. L. McCabe to the legislature because he was the only man in the county with a cloth coat.
“Young Campbell was first appointed County Attorney of Butler County by Governor Harvey, and later was elected to the legislature but declined to serve. El Dorado soon became a thriving community and politics became important. There (These) were the stormy days of El Dorado’s fight for the County seat. It was during this fray that Bill Campbell earned his title of ‘Tiger Bill,’ for his fiery conduct when hecklers tried to break up one of the county meetings.
“He was appointed Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District by Governor Harvey in 1872 at the age of 27 years, was elected for two four-year terms and served to 1881. There were six counties; Sedgwick, Sumner, Cowley, Butler, Howard, and Greenwood. Judge Campbell covered the territory by pony or horse and buggy to hold court in the county seats. Many important and famous cases were decided during his nine-year tenure on the bench. He served in his profession when a man’s character was tested to the limit. He chose the hard way, the way of the builder and the creator.
“Judge Campbell moved to Wichita in 1874 with his family. He became active in the civic and cultural life of the community. After he retired from the bench, he was appointed City Attorney of Wichita. He was one of the founders of the City Library and Garfield University (now Friends University), and afterward was Department Commander of the G. A. R. of Kansas (1894). There were 20,000 Union Soldiers living in the state at that time. In 1895, he was appointed Asst. Attorney General to enforce the prohibitory law of Kansas and closed up the ‘blind tigers’ in Wichita. His title of ‘Tiger Bill’ was revived because of his vigorous fight on the violators of the law. He was a talented amateur singer and actor, with a good baritone voice and a flair for the dramatic. He played the title role of the ‘Union Spy’ in 28 performances at the Turner Opera House, and sang in numerous musicals—including the Mikado, Balshazzer, The Persian King, and others.
“At the turn of the century, he moved to Howell County, Missouri, where he ran a fruit farm and continued his law practice in Willow Springs and West Plains. He returned to Wichita in 1910 and resumed his law practice. In 1920, at the age of 75, when most men have retired, he was elected Judge of the City Court and served for one term. This is now Common Pleas Court. He was honored by his fellow lawyers by being chosen president of the Wichita Bar. He had retired to his books and flowers after his long and eventful life. He was again honored by the bar with a banquet at the Wichita Club to celebrate his 90th birthday anniversary on February 18, 1935. He held their rapt attention for an hour recounting his experiences in the legal profession and on the bench. He fell and broke his hip January 3, 1935, and passed away ten weeks later, March 12, 1938, at the age of 91 years and 22 days.”
Involvement in Political Schemes. [County-line and County-Seat Controversies.]
Our first introduction to W. P. Campbell occurs in 1870.
Walnut Valley Times, Friday, April 8, 1870. “Card. W. P. Campbell, Attorney at law, Eldorado, Kansas. Will practice in the counties of Butler, Sedgwick, and Cowley.
“NOTICE is hereby given, that the partnership heretofore existing between the undersigned and the law firm of Ruggles & Plumb has been dissolved. W. P. CAMPBELL. April 5, 1870.”
Walnut Valley Times, April 22, 1870. “We the undersigned, voters of Butler county, Kansas, hereby express our willingness to aid all in our power in the formation of a new county out of the territory now composing the counties of Butler and Cowley; and to that end we will vote to spare from the county of Butler a fair, equal, and just proportion of our territory to form said new county, taking into consideration the arable land in the county.
“Allen White, Wm. D. Show, J. P. Gordon, W. R. Lambdin, Henry Small, Madison Nelson, W. P. Campbell, I. S. Sine, S. D. Lyon, F. A. Price, Squire Stewart, George M. Bowman, J. W. Crocker, R. M. Lambdin, N. F. Frazier, John W. Gilmor, J. H. Betts, R. Whelpley, S. P. Barnes, Wm. Crane, G. W. Tolle, J. L. Cupples, Isaac Mooney, W. N. Clifton, C. M. Foulks, Wm. Crimble, J. C. Lambdin, Edwin Cowles, J. S. Danford, M. K. Ferguson, S. H. Rodgers, Benj. Thomas, J. B. King, S. F. Hyde, J. E. Anderson, E. S. Lower, D. O. Markham, W. K. Robson, W. Shore, John Friend, John Strickland, E. S. Gordon, Henry Martin, Samuel McFeeley, C. C. Bowers, E. Howe, H. H. Gardner, Francis Brown, James Thomas, E. Grant, Joseph Potter, D. H. Sleeth, N. Allspach, A. Stine, P. B. Warner, T. G. Boswell, J. Gibson, L. P. Friend, J. A. McKinsey, S. F. C. Garrison, John Green, T. B. Murdock. Eldorado, Kansas, April 22nd, 1870.”
Walnut Valley Times, September 30, 1870. In answer to inquiries from different portions of the country, I will not be a candidate for County Attorney at the coming November election. W. P. CAMPBELL.
Walnut Valley Times, March 3, 1871. The apportionment bill passed by the Legislature, on Wednesday, gives Butler County one Representative, and places Butler, Cowley, Sedgwick, and Howard in one Senatorial District.
The June 23, 1871, issue of the Walnut Valley Times told of a terrible storm that demolished over 100 houses, causing $150,000 worth of property destroyed in El Dorado. W. P. Campbell was severely injured. It took several weeks for him to recover.
Walnut Valley Times, August 25, 1871. Mr. E. C. Manning bought the Censor office about two weeks ago, and placed it in the hands of Mr. Webb to manage it, while he (Manning) will do the editing under the cover of Webb's name. Arkansas Traveler.
Of which, we most blandly say, it is a base falsehood, and our neighbor knew it before it published what it thought would work down deep in the minds of the people, and have a tendency to injure the reputation of the Censor, which it is striving to establish among its many patrons. Kowley Kounty Censor.
Walnut Valley Times, August 25, 1871. Winfield holds the County Seat in Cowley County by 150 majority.
Walnut Valley Times, September 1, 1871. THE NEW COUNTY MOVEMENT.
It is generally known throughout this County that a movement is on foot to form a third County out of the territory now comprising the Counties of Butler and Cowley. The people residing in the southern portion of this County demand a fair and equal division of territory, so that a new county can be formed from the two Counties named. No lines have, as yet, been designated; but from all that we can learn, Butler County is expected to give a strip ten or fifteen miles wide to form this new County.
Citizens residing in various portions of the County are favorable to this proposition, believing it is the only way to put a stop to our local quarrels. Others are bitterly opposed to the movement on the ground that Butler County is not large enough to divide. In order to settle the question, it will have to be brought fairly before the people. From every indication some of the people of the Southern portion of the County will make it an issue this fall. We have such assurances from many of the leading men who are interested in this matter.
We will keep the readers of the TIMES posted on this movement, and will be prepared, when the proper time comes, to take sides on the question.
Walnut Valley Times, September 1, 1871. Winfield received 247 majority for the county-seat at the recent election.
Walnut Valley Times, September 8, 1871. The citizens of the southern part of this County held a meeting in Douglass, at which a large number of the citizens of Cowley were present, and nominated W. P. Campbell of Eldorado as a candidate for Representative. They also resolved to make a united effort to secure the formation of a new county out of Butler and Cowley. This meeting presents to the people of Butler County a most important and well defined issue this fall, and the subject deserves the candid consideration of all our people. The proceedings of the meeting are published in full in this issue.
Walnut Valley Times, September 8, 1871. MEETING AT DOUGLASS.
At a meeting of the friends of a new county held at Douglass, Butler County, September 2nd, 1871, S. W. Taylor, Esq., was called to the chair and W. H. Huffman appointed Secretary.
The Chairman proceeded to call the House to order, and explain to a large assembly of citizens of Butler and Cowley counties the object of the meeting.
On motion of C. A. Stine, it was agreed that we invite all good citizens of Butler and Cowley counties to cooperate with us, and help us to organize a new county.
It was moved and seconded that the Chairman appoint a committee of three to draft Resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. G. D. Prindle, M. W. Brown, and D. P. Warrenburg were appointed on said committee, who after considering, presented the following preamble and resolutions.
WHEREAS, The counties of Butler and Cowley comprise an extent of territory thirty-three miles in breadth and 76 miles in length, containing almost three thousand square miles, being larger in extent than some of the eastern states, and whereas the people of this section of country have to travel, some as far as thirty-five miles, to get to a county seat, at a very great expense, besides having to submit to other innumerable inconveniences; Now therefore be it
Resolved, 1st. That the formation of a new county out of the southern part of Butler, and northern part of Cowley counties, is indispensable to the future prosperity and well being of the people of this part of the valley.
Resolved, 2nd. That the question of a new county is paramount to all other issues, but at the same time we are willing to harmonize with the Herd Law element in the county of Butler.
Resolved, 3rd. That our demand for a new county is reasonable and nothing more than jus-tice will warrant and that we will not relax our effort until the aforesaid new county is established.
Resolved, 4th. That we regard W. P. Campbell of Eldorado as being the most available man to represent the people of Butler County in the next Legislature of the State.
Resolved, 5th. That we will support no aspirant for any office either county or state at the ensuing election, or at any subsequent election, who opposed the formation of a new county, but will vote our united strength against any and all such aspirants for office.
Resolved, 6th. That all the people of the aforesaid counties of Butler and Cowley admit that the said counties are inconveniently large, and that in time a third county must be formed, therefore we believe that while the counties are unincumbered by any public debt, now is the best time to establish permanent county lines, so that each county may assume and pay the public debt that must of necessity be created in the future.
Which resolutions were read and adopted without a single dissenting voice.
At the suggestion of A. J. Uhl, it was agreed that we meet Tuesday evening the 12th of Sept. for the purpose of considering whether we will run a candidate for the office of County Treasurer.
On motion the meeting adjourned. S. W. TAYLOR, Chairman. W. H. HUFFMAN, Secretary.
Walnut Valley Times, October 20, 1871. Elsewhere in this paper will be found the announcement of William P. Campbell, of Eldorado, as a candidate for Representative from the 74th (Butler County) District.
For the last four years the people of this county have been continually agitating the question of a change of County lines of Butler County. From the fact that many schemes are on foot to form new counties, we conclude that the people of the county are dissatisfied with its present proportions. It is needless to say that the people of the southern portion of this County are the only ones demanding a change—we hear of it everywhere—have heard it for the last three or four years. The only question with us to determine is, what will be for the best interest of the majority of the people of this County. So far as we are personally concerned, we would prefer to have the county lines remain as they are. But that is not the question. Owing to the geographical situation of the County, and to the diversity of interest of those who reside in it, can we succeed in putting an end to the continual local quarrels that are forever going on in this County? We think not.
Not only do we hear of the proposition to form a third county out of the territory now comprising the counties of Butler and Cowley, but we hear of movements on foot to cut this County in two in the middle, making two counties of it. The people will never consent to have it cut in two. The proposition before the people of this County then is, shall we consent to give sufficient territory off the south of Butler County to form a new county out of the territory now comprising the counties of Butler and Cowley. This County is 33 miles wide, by 42 miles long. Cowley is 33 miles wide, by 36 miles long. Should we consent to the above proposition and give our proportionate share of territory, Butler County would still be one of the largest and best counties in the State.
The people of the southern portion of this County demand a new county. They have some rights that we are bound to respect. All the settlers in the northern portion of Cowley County want the third county. Shall we give it to them, or shall we go on as heretofore and expend thousands of dollars every year to keep up our County seat and County-line fights?
W. P. Campbell, who is announced as a candidate for the State Legislature, is thoroughly committed in favor of the third county. He was brought out by the people in the Southern portion of the County and proposes to make the fight on the third county issue. Should he be elected, he will endeavor to secure the formation of the new county; so voters who support him, cannot be deceived on this question.
Mr. Campbell is the choice of the people of this town for Representative and will be supported by them almost unanimously; as also will this third county movement. Prominent men from every portion of Butler County are in favor of making the issue on county lines this fall, and they have signified their willingness to support Mr. Campbell. We are satisfied that he will be elected to the Legislature by a round majority.
Should Mr. Campbell be elected on this issue, we are of the opinion that he will succeed in securing the new county. Therefore, those who vote for Mr. Campbell, vote for the third county, and also for the settlement forever of all our local difficulties. Those who vote against him, vote for a continuation of an endless fight in the County. Of the two propositions, we shall certainly do what we can to secure the election of Mr. Campbell to the Legislature.
Walnut Valley Times, October 27, 1871. DIVISION. The citizens of Augusta propose to join with Eldorado to cut the County in a novel shape. They propose to commence on the fifth standard parallel on the west line of the county; thence running east 12 miles; thence south six miles; thence east nine miles; thence south six miles; thence east to the east line of the county. By looking at the map it will be seen that this gives Towanda, the lower part of Whitewater, the whole of Hickory Creek, and the lower part of Little Walnut, to the lower County.
Augusta would expect to be the county seat of this new county. They urge that the direction of the streams and the topography of the country, point this out as the only fair and practicable division. It may be, but the State has generally adopted the square form, in the formation of counties, and we would prefer it. Taking into consideration the flint hills on the east lines of the county, we think that three counties can be formed out of Butler and Cowley and each of them be of convenient size, and about square so far as the population is concerned.
Of course, no division can be made that will suit everybody, but it seems to us that the last mentioned plan would suit the greatest number. We regard division in some shape as inevitable, and believe that the sooner it can be accomplished, the better. We believe that Mr. Campbell, if elected Representative, will make as fair a division, and one as advantageous to Butler County, as any man we could send to the Legislature. We, therefore, hope that the people will elect him, and give an opportunity to settle this vexed question forever. Many think that it will be impossible for him to get a new county without the consent of Cowley. Perhaps so. Let us give him a trial, and if he fail, no harm will be done those who oppose division. If he fails, that may settle the question. If the people in the southern part of Butler and northern part of Cowley really desire a new county now, we are willing they should have it, so they do not spoil our county. This is the sentiment of a majority of our disinterested citizens. Mr. Campbell is a young man, with a reputation for honesty and fidelity to pledges to build up; he has never, to our knowledge, shown a disposition to deceive the people of the County; we believe him to be a man who will not betray a trust confided to him. From all that we have heard we believe that he will be elected by a handsome majority. This is at least our sincere wish.
Walnut Valley Times, November 3, 1871. The Cowley County Censor, published at Winfield, in answer to our article in the TIMES, of two weeks ago, on the proposition to form a new county out of the territory now comprising the counties of Butler and Cowley says:
We regret exceedingly that the citizens of Eldorado favor a division of that county and this. We cannot agree with the TIMES that all the settlers in the northern portion of this county want a third county, thereby reducing this county. True, there are many near the northern boundary who are anxious for a division, but not all. Again, we think those of both counties who favor this movement ought to consider well the matter before they act. . . .
Nearly all of the counties in Southwestern Kansas must have county buildings which will cost large sums of money. In large counties the tax upon the people for this purpose will be comparatively small. In small counties the same amount of taxes must be paid, as it is all important that every county have good, substantial buildings for county purposes. Take the case in hand for instance. Butler county we are told, has to send her prisoners to Emporia for want of a jail. This county has to do the same thing. Both need court houses and county offices. Both counties are large, and can well afford to erect these buildings—good ones, too, and at once. If the counties are divided, the cost will be much more and the taxes will consequently be much higher. To the people this is an important question. We cannot afford to burden ourselves with taxes merely to gratify some town wanting the county seat, when there are so few to be benefitted, and so many who will be injured.
We hope that Mr. Campbell will be defeated. We are confident that the people of Cowley will oppose any change in county lines.
Bent Murdock, editor of the Walnut Valley Times, commented as follows. “We have every reason to believe that nine-tenths of the settlers residing in the northern portion of Cowley want this new county. The formation of the proposed new county will not affect Butler County in the least. The land in the southern portion of this county has never been taxable and has therefore been of no particular benefit to us. By giving the new county, we would yet have a county larger than three-fourths of the counties in the State. We want peace. The people of Butler County have been in a continual uproar for the last two years on this county-line and county-seat question. We see nothing but trouble in the future. So long as these counties remain as large as they are, we may expect war, unless the people become satisfied that the lines cannot be changed. We have not undertaken any underhanded game to divide Butler County.”
“Mr. Campbell is an open and avowed third county candidate. He was brought out as such and is stumping the county on the third county issue. He has invited the anti-division candidate to meet him at every post-office in the county and discuss the question at issue. We are satisfied that a good majority of the people of this county will favor Mr. Campbell's election to the Legislature, on the third county issue. Let us then as men who desire peace and prosperity, who desire to see the question settled at once and forever, support W. P. Campbell for the Legislature.”
Walnut Valley Times, November 3, 1871. The Meeting at Towanda.
Messrs. Campbell and Mooney, our candidates for Representative, were advertised to speak at Towanda last Friday evening. Quite a number of our citizens attended the meeting as did citizens from Augusta. About fifty persons were in attendance at the meeting, including several ladies.
After Mr. Mooney had spoken, Campbell replied in his usual forcible manner. These gentlemen were followed by Messrs. Herman and Brown, of Augusta. Judge Lauck was then called for. He commenced speaking and after he had occupied the floor several minutes, Mr. Campbell arose to a point of order. He said that the meeting was called by himself and Mr. Mooney and was to be a joint discussion. He further stated that he had no objections to Mr. Lauck speaking if he would be allowed to answer him. Lauck refused to yield and Campbell vigorously claimed his right to speak. Campbell stated that he had arranged for the meeting and would not be brow-beaten by a rabble.
Lauck then said: “Do you call the people of Augusta a rabble?” In the meantime he took up a glass and made a motion as though he was going to throw it at Mr. Campbell.
Campbell made no reply. Lauck again leveled the glass at Campbell and repeated the question, “Do you mean to call the people of Augusta a rabble?”
Campbell took hold of a chair with both hands and exclaimed, “I do.”
Lauck then threw the glass with all his force at Campbell's head.
Campbell, by a dexterous movement, threw up the chair and the glass was dashed to pieces against the leg of the chair.
Campbell immediately recovered himself and “went for that Heathen Chinee” with a desire to set him up in business. He gave him a sounder on the cope with the chair, which most effectually settled the hash of the fighting Judge. After this the meeting adjourned.
Our man Campbell don't propose to be bullied by Augusta or anybody else, and the quicker the people find it out, the better. Hereafter pugnacious gentlemen will better understand the situation.
Messrs. Campbell and Mooney, candidates for Representative, spoke at Augusta last Tuesday evening. We had hoped that Mr. Campbell could speak there without being insulted and abused, and when some expressed fears that he would be maltreated there, we always urged that there was no danger. That the people there had too much sense to permit such a thing to happen. In fact, we didn't believe that they had a rowdy mean and cowardly enough to attempt such a thing, but in the last supposition we were mistaken.
After Mr. Mooney made his speech, Mr. Campbell arose to follow. Before he had spoken a word, a lawyer of Augusta, surrounded by a lot of roughs, arose and asked him if he considered himself as addressing gentlemen or a rabble.
Mr. Campbell answered that he supposed the majority present were gentlemen, but a large portion he believed to be a set of ruffians. He stated that he had not come there to fight nor to quarrel, but to peaceably discuss with Mr. Mooney the local issues of the County. It was their meeting and their town, and if they desired to hear him, he would speak.
Another lawyer sung out in the audience: “God damn it! Go on with your speech!” Mr. Campbell then remarked that he felt himself competent to satisfy any gentlemen that took any exceptions to anything he had said or done, at the proper time. Several threats were made at this time.
Dr. Whitehorn then rose and said that he was sorry to see any disturbance. That he hoped the people of Augusta would not disgrace themselves, but would let Mr. Campbell speak. He stated that he and Col. Baker had attended a meeting at Eldorado on Saturday evening and no man raised so much as his little finger to cast an insinuation or insult, but they were treated as gentlemen in every respect. Mr. James and Col. Davis and others then spoke in favor of permitting Mr. Campbell to speak, and through their influence the effort to get up a row failed and Mr. Campbell was allowed to proceed.
We are glad there is a little manhood and generosity in Augusta, and sorry to know that they have men who make pretensions to a position in society, so mean and contemptible as to try to take advantage of a man in Mr. Campbell's situation last Tuesday night.
Walnut Valley Times, November 10, 1871. The returns from various portions of the county are not yet all in, but enough is known to satisfy us that Isaac Mooney, the Anti-Division candidate, is elected to the Legislature by a small majority. Considering that one year ago there were not three hundred votes in the county for division, we think the friends of the movement did well.
Walnut Valley Times, February 2, 1872. Announcement. I am unexpectedly called away from home and will be gone about three weeks. W. P. Campbell will have editorial management of the TIMES during my absence. (Signed) T. B. MURDOCK.
W. P. Campbell Appointed District Judge by Governor.
Walnut Valley Times, March 22, 1872. Our readers are aware that at the last session of the Legislature, a new Judicial District was formed, composing the counties of Greenwood, Howard, Butler, Cowley, Sedgwick, and Sumner, and called the thirteenth Judicial District. . . .
The friends of various lawyers in the District presented the names of about half a dozen, as suitable candidates for the office of Judge. Greenwood: I. R. Phenis; Cowley: Col. Alexander; Mr. Fairbank. Sumner: Hon. W. P. Hackney. Sumner: Hon. R. C. Sluss and Judge Tucker. Butler: W. P. Campbell.
The friends of W. P. Campbell, and especially the lawyers of this city, were unanimous in their request that he should receive the appointment. Besides receiving the support of his friends here, he was highly recommended by many of the prominent lawyers, Judges, and Legislators, throughout the State. On last Friday, we were happy in receiving the intelligence that W. P. Campbell had received the appointment.
Judge Campbell came to this State from Kentucky over two years ago, and since his location here, has always been considered one of the leading lawyers of Southwestern Kansas; and while here has received the support and patronage of those who desired the services of the best legal talent that could be secured. As a lawyer, he has the friendship and good will of the profession; as a citizen, he is courteous and gentlemanly, and has many warm friends who feel honored in his promotion. As a Judge, we feel assured that he will not only do honor to the bench, but that he will also receive the substantial support and recommendation of the legal profession throughout the entire District. We certainly wish him every success in his new field of labor.
Walnut Valley Times, March 22, 1872. District Court. The first term of the District Court for the new (13th district) Judicial District, will be held in Cowley County commencing on next Wednesday. His Honor, Judge Campbell, will preside.
Walnut Valley Times, March 29, 1872. Down the Valley. Editor Times: In company with E. S. Stephenson, our well known artist, I bid farewell to our thriving little village on Sunday last, and departed for Winfield, the county seat of Cowley County. In passing down the Valley, one cannot but become enthusiastic over the rapid progress and development made by our enterprising and energetic farmers. . . .
We finally beheld Winfield and ere long we alighted at the “Bradish House,” where we found Judge W. P. Campbell and others of the legal fraternity assembled and engaged in interesting conversation. The “Bradish House” is indeed one of the best hotels in the Valley, and travelers will always find an accommodating hostess, and table spread with the best the market affords. . . . Perambulating through Main Street, we finally strolled into the Messenger office, where we found the typos “slinging type with a vengeance.” We had the pleasure of an introduction to the editor, Mr. Kerns, who we found a polite, clever, and affable gentleman.
Hearing the stentorian voice of Mr. Parker, the Sheriff of the county, announcing the District Court in session, we repaired to the Court Room where we found Judge Campbell on the bench presiding with his usual dignity and grace.
We had the pleasure of forming an acquaintance with Col. Alexander, R. B. Saffold, E. S. Torrance, Col. Manning, Judge Johnson, and Capt. Fairbank, all members of the legal fraternity, and composing the Winfield Bar. Judging from conversations with members of the Bar, I should infer that Judge Campbell, by his courteous and affable manner as a citizen, his ability, integrity, and sobriety as a Judge, is gaining many friends, and will no doubt shed luster upon the position he now so ably fills. . . . A.B.
Involvement of Judge Campbell in Butler County Seat Injunction Case.
Walnut Valley Times, June 7, 1872. Injunction Granted. Upon proper application, Judge W. P. Campbell granted a temporary Injunction upon the county commissioners, restraining them from canvassing the vote on the county seat election until a hearing can be had on the legality of the election as called by the county commissioners. The hearing is set for June 17th.
We learn that interested parties will test the validity of the county seat election in the courts. It is high time that something should be done to check the illegal proceedings had at these county seat elections. We hope that a most thorough investigation may be had, and that justice may be done to all parties.
Walnut Valley Times, June 21, 1872. County Seat Injunction Case. This case came up last Monday in the District Court, Judge Campbell presiding, and after argument it was decided that the petition did not show that the plaintiffs were entitled to the relief demanded, and the temporary injunction was denied. The plaintiff presented a bill of exceptions, and the court enjoined the county commissioners from canvassing the vote until the matter can be heard in the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs were required to give bond in the sum of $10,000, and to file their petition in error in the Supreme Court within ten days.
The town [Eldorado] was guarded by about eighty well armed men on Sunday night. Towards morning a good many people living in the country had heard about it and came in well armed, and determined to resist any lawless acts of the Augusta people. Supposing that the only danger was in the night, some of the country people went home at daylight and most of the town people took their arms home and went to work.
Court opened on Monday at 9 o'clock, A. M., and the injunction case was taken up at ten, on the motion of the commissioners to dissolve the injunction, and the case was being argued by one of the Augusta attorneys in support of the motion.
At the hour of eleven, about 125 men from Augusta and vicinity, some on horseback and some in wagons, rode into town and stopped at the courthouse, dismounted, and hitched their horses. Their arms were hidden in the wagons. Of course the matter created some consternation in the court room, which was soon cleared, but the court proceeded with its business. No demonstrations were made, but each side seemed determined. The Augusta people announced that they were going to take the county records—peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must. The Eldorado people quietly told them they had better not, and a fight seemed inevitable.
About 4 in the afternoon Col. Baker made a speech to the mob and persuaded them to go back to Augusta and partake of a supper to be prepared by the ladies, and in the meantime to consult as to their plans in the future. This suggestion was readily accepted and acted upon, and in a few minutes all was quiet. The people saw that they had been duped, and that the reports which inflamed their passions were all ingenious fabrications, and the leaders of the movement are heartily ashamed. They went to Augusta and had a supper prepared for them by the hospitable ladies of that town, and had some speeches and a good time, and all went home happy, resolving to be good, law-abiding citizens in the future, and we sincerely hope they will.
Walnut Valley Times, September 13, 1872. The County Seat Question. The Supreme Court of the State reversed the decision of W. P. Campbell, in the county seat case sent up from this county. The citizens of Eldorado enjoined the County Commissioners from can-assing the vote on the county seat Election. Judge Campbell dissolved the injunction and an appeal was taken. The Supreme Court decided to sustain the injunction and make it perpetual, thus preventing the commissioners from ever canvassing the vote.
All the officers of the county have been enjoined from removing from Eldorado and this case will be tried in the November term of court, at which time the question will be settled, so far as the last election is concerned. The decision of the Supreme Court is in accordance with the position taken by the TIMES when the election was ordered. Let us have peace.
First Election for District Judge: W. P. Campbell Victorious.
The October 18, 1872, issue of the Winfield Messenger gave a report on the proceedings of the District Convention.
Convention temporary chairman, J. W. Custer; Convention temporary secretary, L. J. Webb.
From Cowley County—Credential committee member— John Irwin.
Delegates from Cowley County: John Irwin, C. R. Mitchell, E. C. Manning, R. L. Walker, and L. J. Webb. L. J. Webb was chosen permanent secretary.
On motion of T. B. Murdock, of Butler County, the convention proceeded to an informal ballot for Judge with the following result: S. P. Moore, of Howard Co., 5; J. M. Balderston, of Sedgwick, 5; W. P. Campbell, of Butler, 10; C. Rizer, of Greenwood, 5. Total votes cast: 30. On motion of Col. Manning of Cowley County, the convention decided that it required a majority of all the votes cast to nominate. On motion of Col. Manning, the convention proceeded to a formal ballot, with the following result: Moore, 5; Fairbank, 5; Campbell, 10; Rizer, 5; Balderston, 5. Convention continued to vote until 6 o'clock, when it adjourned for supper without making a nomination. After supper, the balloting continued till ten o'clock when W. P. Campbell, of Butler County, was nominated on the 63rd ballot. The following is the result of the ballot: Campbell 16; Rizer 12. Judge Campbell was then declared nominated, and in a few brief remarks, thanked the convention for the nomination.
Members of Judicial Committee for District: C. R. Mitchell, Cowley County; W. P. Hackney, Sumner County.
Winfield Messenger, Friday, November 1, 1872. Editorial.
Last week we put up the name of J. M. Atwood for judge of this district in preference to W. P. Campbell, the present incumbent and nominee of the Republican party, and should have explained our course but for want of time. This week, however, we will endeavor to explain the matter to the satisfaction of our readers.
As soon as Mr. Campbell was nominated, grave charges were made against him, so we concluded to wait awhile and find out if we could if they were true. We waited until last week for Mr. Campbell or his friends to at least deny the charges if not refute them as untrue; but no denial, much less a refutation, was made, either privately or publicly, that we could hear of. We therefore concluded that there must be some foundation for the charge of packing conventions to secure his nomination, and of stuffing the ballot box or of having it stuffed to secure his election. As no person attempted to explain the matter, we could not give Mr. Campbell's name a place on our ticket. We deem it true that a man who will use unfair means to obtain an office will abuse that office to the same extent or more. In other words, a man who will buy his nomination for judge will sell his decision, should he be elected. . . .
Winfield Messenger, Friday, November 1, 1872. Editorial.
WHY IS THIS THUSLY.
We would like to ask some lawyers of this district why it is that they now support Judge Campbell for re-election. Three months ago these same men utterly detested Mr. Campbell, and declared that they would not support him under any circumstances, even though he should be nominated by the Republican party.
We cannot account for Mr. Campbell's nomination with almost the entire bar of the district opposed to him, yet he got it. These men—some of them—are now supporting him. Who then has changed? We can notice no change in the Judge, and are therefore forced to believe that those men (?) have modified their principles to correspond with Mr. Campbell's politics, which, in our opinion, is not of the purest quality.
If Mr. Campbell was wholly unfit to fill the office of District Judge three months ago, he is unfit for the position yet. The nomination of a man for any office does not always signify his ability to fill that office, and if he does not possess the ability previously the nomination does not give it to him.
There are some men in this district who are supporting (?) Judge Campbell, who will not vote for him. They support him, first, because he is the Republican nominee, and second, because they have not got the stamina to come out and assert their principles publicly, for fear it would make them unpopular with the people. . . .
[EDITORIAL PAGE: A CARD FROM W. P. CAMPBELL.]
Winfield Messenger, November 1, 1872.
WINFIELD, NOV. 1st, 1872.
To the Voters of Cowley County:
As friends of my opponent for the office of District Judge are trying to create the impression that I used money to obtain my nomination by the Republican convention, it is due that I should deny the charge. No specific charge of bribery has been made as yet, and we are on the eve of the election. I was in hopes that my enemies would be fair enough to make the charges and bring forward the proof in time to give me an opportunity to disprove them. No man ought to be condemned until he has a hearing.
On the evening of the Winfield convention, during the adjournment for supper, it was currently reported that affidavits would be presented to the convention that a friend of mine had offered Mr. Stout, a delegate from Howard, $100 to vote for me. But no such affidavits were produced. In fact, Mr. Stout stated publicly in the hotel that there was no truth in the report. He, together with the whole Howard delegation, opposed me in the convention, but will now vote for me.
I have only this to say. I have spent no money in the canvass, except traveling expenses and for printing tickets, and have authorized no one to do so for me. I had no money to use for any other purpose. I have made no fight on any of my distinguished opponents, but have treated them as gentlemen, and my friends have done the same. I have gone steadily on and held my courts, believing that the people will recognize my efforts to do my duty. I have slandered no one, but have relied for success on an upright and honest course. For these reasons I shall confidently expect the indorsement of the people. Very respectfully,
W. P. CAMPBELL.
Attending Court in Cowley County in 1872.
In the November 24, 1881, issue of the Cowley County Courant, its publisher, A. B. Steinberger, recalled court days in 1872.
We paid a visit to the District Court Thursday, with a view of taking in the situation so far as possible, and to see if District Court is the same in Cowley County now as it was in 1872, when our city was in embryo, and the brilliant attorneys and learned judges of today occupied about the same positions on the stage of life On entering the room, many familiar faces, and more strange ones, turned toward us as if to say: “Wonder if he expects justice here!”
Richard Lennix, alias George Haywood, was being tried for forgery. Judge Torrance sat in his cushioned chair, with a contented look on his beaming face, which would assure anyone that he was the boss, and proposed to run that shop. Sheriff Shenneman was looking extremely wise, and wore a satisfied smile on account of having two years more to rustle for criminals. Knight was taking down the questions and answers, so as to be able to furnish a transcript for the Supreme Court, and get $75 or $100 from the defendant, who would receive in return about ten years in the penitentiary.
Frank Jennings, who would rather succeed in convicting a man then to go home to his family before ten o’clock at night, was asking all manner of questions of an Arkansas City banker, who was so unfortunate as to pay out $500 last May on a forged draft, and Henry Asp set to his side yelling, “We object,” to every question, and would then turn and look Joe Houston uneasily in the face until the court would remark, “Objection overruled.”
In fact, everything seemed different from the good old days of yore, and we imagined there would have been more merriment in the proceedings had R. B. Saffold and L. J. Webb been there, throwing law books across the room at each other, Judge Campbell leaning back utterly indifferent, gnawing a musty hunk of dried buffalo meat, and Sheriff Parker dodging around under the tables like a cat shot in the eye with a paper wad. In the good old days of these kinds of court proceedings, there were no strings around the lawyers nor rocks suspended to the court’s coat-tail, and everyone seemed to enjoy himself, no matter how many cases he had in court.
Then Torrance, a smooth-faced lad, gave but little thought of anything save the day when he would get sufficient funds to send back east for his first love.
Fairbank’s only pride was to prepare a neat little talk for his Sunday school, held at 9 o’clock every Sabbath morning in the little white church on Ninth Avenue, which now supports a boarding house sign.
Wirt Walton cared only to get on his soldier jacket and talk about the swimming times he would have among the country lassies when elected County surveyor.
Allison kept an eye peeled on his Tisdale girl like a youth who had trusted humanity once too often, and been everlastingly and unanimously left.
Billy Anderson would work hard all day in the lumber yard, and then at dusk, tuck the robes around his sweetness in a four-dollar-a-day buggy, and skip out for Thomasville to a dance.
Judge Campbell would tell a lawyer to sit down, in the middle of a carefully studied and written speech, because the verdict of the court had been rendered before the argument began.
A jury would retire to the rear end of Triplett’s saloon, order a bucket of beer, and return a verdict of “not guilty” by ten o’clock next morning.
Jim Kelly, then editor of the Courier and Clerk of the court, would work in the courtroom all day and then sit up till midnight pouring over his exchanges, trying to get a few pointers from which to write a handsome notice of the birth of a cross-eyed infant.
Father Millington was holding justice court in the front end of Fuller’s little frame bank, and would tax up the cost with as much coolness as he now writes column after column of editorial matter on the grand jury system, five days after it is too late for the article to be of any good.
T. H. Johnson was about the only man in town who was really paying strict attention to business, and the way he would stick to the claim jumper until he got his last nickel as a retainer, would shock the modesty of a more cheeky demagogue than Gov. St. John.
But he is gone as well as many other shining lights of that day, and while only about half of the free and happy boys of then have raised to wealth and prominence, with chubby babies growing up to call them blessed, Winfield has become a live little city indeed, and hundreds of energetic citizens, who can never know the trial and pleasures of the early settlers, have made their homes here, and all join hands in the good work of pushing ahead, until death shall call us to that celestial shore from which no tramp printer returns.
Petition to Hold Election to Make Winfield a Third-Class City.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, March 6, 1873. Notice of Election. In the matter of the application of the majority of the electors of the unincorporated town of Winfield, in the county of Cowley, and state of Kansas, to be incorporated into a city of the third class, under the laws in such case made and provided.
Whereas, a petition to me presented, duly signed by a majority of the electors of said town of Winfield, setting forth:
1. The metes and bounds of said town to be as follows, to-wit: Beginning at a point 80 rods east of the n w corner of the n w qr of sec 23 t 32, south of r 4 east, thence s to the n line of the s w qr of said sec, thence s 1 deg, e 1900 feet, thence e 1309 ft. to the centre line, thence n on said center line 1884 feet to the n e corner of the s w qr of said section, thence e 80 rods, thence n to the n line of said qr, to a point 1 chain and 10-1/2 links e of the n w cor of said qr, thence n 1 deg w 19 chs, thence w 1 ch and 21 links, thence s along the line between s e and s w qr sections of 21, 19 chs to the s e corner of the s e qr of sec 21, thence w 80 rods to the place of beginning.
2. That said town contains a population of about six hundred inhabitants.
3. That said petition contains a prayer to be incorporated as a city of the third class. And, if appearing to my satisfaction that a majority of the taxable inhabitants of said town are in favor of such incorporation, and that the number of the inhabitants of said town exceeds two hundred and fifty, and does not exceed two thousand, therefore:—
I, W. P. Campbell, Judge of the 13th Judicial District of the State of Kansas, being further satisfied that the prayer of the petitioners, in said petition, is reasonable, do hereby order and declare said town incorporated as a City of the Third Class, by the name and style of THE CITY OF WINFIELD, according to the metes and bounds aforesaid, and according to the law in such case made and provided:
And it is by me further ordered that, the first election in said City, for City officers, shall be held at the LAW OFFICE OF SUITS & WOOD, in said City, on the 7th day of March, A. D., 1873. And I hereby designate W. M. Boyer, D. A. Millington, and J. P. Short, to act as judges of said election, and J. W. Curns and J. M. Dever to act as Clerks of said election, and also, A. A. Jackson, A. T. Stewart, and O. F. Boyle to act as a Board of Canvassers.
It is further by me ordered, that the Clerk of the District Court in the county of Cowley, in said Judicial District, shall forthwith enter this order at length on the journal of proceedings of the District Court of said county of Cowley, and shall make publication of the same in some newspaper published in said City, at least one week before the said City election.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand at Eldorado, Kansas, in chambers this 22nd day of February, A. D. 1873. S/ W. P. CAMPBELL, Judge.
HOWARD COUNTY FIGHT OVER COUNTY SEAT.
The Walnut Valley Times issue of January 23, 1874, gave a report from the Elk Falls Journal, dated January 20th concerning the seizure of the books in Howard County. Boston had won the county seat by vote, but Elk Falls or the county officers prevented the removal of the records and offices. County officers gave notice they would continue to do business at Elk Falls..
At half past eleven o'clock this morning [January 20, 1874] while our citizens were pursuing their usual avocations, the town was entered by twenty-four wagons, accompanied by about one hundred and fifty men from Boston and vicinity, armed with guns, sabres, and revolvers, who immediately drove up in front of the various county offices and commenced to load up the books, papers, etc. They were not longer than twenty minutes at the work, when they fell into line, gave three cheers, and departed for Boston.
Deputy County Attorney, Watson, is the only official who left with them. The Treasurer is absent at Topeka, and they forced their way into his office and took the books therefrom.
What the final result will be it is not easy to determine. We are bitterly opposed to acts of violence of whatever nature, and think Boston certainly acted a very unwise part in thus taking the law into her own hands, even though her friends may have deemed that she was entitled to the county seat, and that it was wrongfully kept from her.
It would undoubtedly have been better policy for the friends of Boston to have waited until they could have received a hearing before the courts, when they may have gained the full benefit of the law, without resort to violent measures. As it is at present, Boston, in the end will be the sufferer, in the loss of time and money, trouble, and the good feelings of law-abiding citizens all over the county. Elk Falls Journal, Jan. 20th.
Walnut Valley Times, January 30, 1874.
TROUBLE IN HOWARD COUNTY.
At half past eleven o'clock this morning, while our citizens were pursuing their usual avocations, the town was entered by twenty-four wagons, accompanied by about one hundred and fifty men from Boston and vicinity, armed with guns, sabres, and revolvers, who immediately drove up in front of the various county offices and commenced to load up the books, papers, etc. They were not longer than twenty minutes at the work, when they fell into line, gave three cheers, and departed for Boston.
Deputy County Attorney, Watson, is the only official who left with them. The Treasurer is absent at Topeka, and they forced their way into his offfice and took the books therefrom.
What the final result will be it is not easy to determine. We are bitterly opposed to acts of violence of whatever nature, and think Boston certainly acted a very unwise part in thus taking the law into her own hands, even though her friends may have deemed that she was entitled to the county seat, and that it was wrongfully kept from her.
It would undoubtedly have been better policy in the friends of Boston to have waited until they could have received a hearing before the courts, when they may have gained the full benefit of the law, without resort to violent measures. As it is at present, Boston, in the end will be the sufferer, in the loss of time and money, trouble, and the good feelings of law-abiding citizens all over the county.
We await developments, and will apprise our readers of any interesting (or uninteresting) features which the course of action inaugurated today may bring about.
The undersigned County Officers of Howard County, Kansas, respectfully inform all persons having business in their respective offices, that, although the desks, papers, and furniture have been removed by force to the town of Boston, they are, and will remain, at the town of Elk Falls, the present county seat of Howard County, prepared to do all business pertaining to their respective offices.
GEO. F. GRAHAM, Probate Judge;
DAN. CARR, Clerk, District Court;
FRANK OSBORN, Register of Deeds;
E. D. CUSTER, Treasurer;
By C. W. MOORE, Deputy;
ELI TITUS, Sheriff,
By J. W. VANNOY, Under Sheriff.
—Elk Falls Journal, Jan. 20th.
On a motion to vacate the Injunction restraining the officers of Howard County from moving their offices to Boston, Judge Campbell was like a western Justice, who after hearing argument on both sides, decided the case upon the grounds neither party had touched, and decided ‘the election of the 11th of November uncalled for.’ M. G. Miller, the attorney for Boston, took exceptions; and the Judge promised to send his order immediately to the District Clerk of Howard County. Two weeks have elapsed and no order yet. Either the immaculate Judge Campbell is withholding his order or some wily Elk Falls man has ‘gobbled it up,’ for the purpose of keeping it out of the January term of the Supreme Court. In either case it is calculated to defraud the people of Howard County of their expressed rights! Howard County Messenger.
The Winfield Courier of January 30, 1874, reported that of the citizens of Boston, in Howard County, finding that none of the officers would follow the books, took matters into their own hands. The mob established a criminal court, appointed a judge, jury, etc., and proceeded to try each member (amounting to over a hundred) for riotous conduct, the other members of the mob being the witnesses. Of course, all were acquitted and the costs taxed up to the county.
Gov. Osborn sent A. L. Williams, attorney-general of Kansas, and Chester Thomas, Jr., to settle the Howard County troubles. After some discussion with citizens at Boston, a committee was appointed which went with these two gentlemen to Elk Falls, where it was finally decided that the matter should be arbitrated in the courts, the archives of the county meantime to remain at Elk Falls, the Boston people agreeing to submit to legal process without any resistance of any kind. Osborn and Williams were pleased that the affair was so well settled, but at Ottawa on their return trip they received a telegram from the sheriff of Howard County, informing them the trouble had broken out afresh. He informed them an officer went to Boston to secure the books and records, but after the most diligent search failed to recover them. He attempted to arrest the parties who had removed the books and was met by armed resistance, the parties alleging that they had been tried once and punished for the offense for which their arrest was sought.
Capt. Berry of Howard County was deputized by Gov. Osborn to try to settle the matter. His efforts were as fruitless as those of Williams and Thomas. Capt. Berry had a written agreement drawn up at the instance of the Boston party, which after some demur, was agreed to by the Elk Falls people. This agreement was to the effect that the books and records were to be peaceably given up by the Boston party and that in the suit in the district court, Boston was to be made a party so that their rights might be adjudicated at once.
Walnut Valley Times, February 13, 1874. Latest reports from Howard County say that the Boston people have concluded to return the books and papers, and await the course of the law. Meanwhile, more complications have arisen. The county safe was by some parties injured so that it cannot be opened. The deputy treasurer swears that there are $8,000 in school bonds, warrants, and cash in the office at Elk Falls, and that all of it was taken by the Boston men. This affair will cost Howard County many thousand dollars, and all because a few individuals have town lots to sell. Eureka Herald.
The Boston people backed out on the agreement they had signed with Capt. Berry.
Sheriff Titus of Howard County went by train to Leavenworth to inform the governor and attorney general on the state of affairs and requested the aid of the State Militia to enable him to execute the laws of Howard County. He informed the Governor that some of the Boston people had made loud threats as to what they would do in case the militia was called out and that Boston had been thoroughly fortified—three hundred armed men guarding the county records. Before the Governor could respond to Sheriff Titus, the matter was settled by Judge Campbell.
Walnut Valley Times, February 20, 1874.
The bill to change the boundaries of Howard County, and to create the county of Elk, passed the House by a vote of 72 to 37, with an amendment to the effect that the Governor shall select a temporary county seat for Howard County. An amendment requiring the matters embraced in the bill to be submitted to a vote of the people of Howard County, was voted down. This bill was defeated in the Senate.
Winfield Courier, February 20, 1874.
The war in our sister county has been at last amicably settled. To the sagacity, firmness, and inflexible integrity of the Hon. W. P. Campbell, Judge of the District, the people of Howard are indebted for their salvation; and the world from witnessing the mournful spectacle of a disgraceful civil war. Below we give our readers Judge Campbell's letter to the people of Howard. The manly and dignified stand taken by his Honor, is well worthy of imitation.
TO THE PEOPLE OF HOWARD COUNTY. Every court is vested with the power to enforce obedience to its process and respect for its authority. It has become my duty as Judge of your District Court, in view of the unfortunate state of your public affairs, and the recent alleged unlawful interference by certain persons with the due administration of the law by said court, to resort to the time honored process of attachment for contempt. This is not a rash unpremeditated move, but the result of an honest desire, and a firm purpose to perform a sworn duty.
Sufficient has been made to appear, to induce the belief that certain proceedings and orders of the court over which I have the honor to preside, have been set at defiance by the open and forcible resistance of some of the citizens of Howard county. If such a circumstance should pass unnoticed, the people might well doubt the stability, and lose confidence in the efficiency of the courts. In such a case, there remains but one course for me, as a public officer resting under the obligations of an oath, to pursue, and that is, to bring the strong arm of the court to bear in its own protection, and to enforce its lawful authority by all the means known to the law. This duty will be resolutely performed. I am actuated by no hostile feeling. The notorious fact that for two months the authority of the court has been openly defied, without proceedings being taken to enforce submission, shows no less than a proper spirit of forbearance. It has now become a matter of importance to the people generally, that the county records and files shall be preserved in their proper places of deposit, in the custody of the legally constituted authorities. Compared with this, the particular location of the county seat is of minor importance. The pending questions affecting the location of the county seat, are matters of law and fact, which will in due time, be settled by the courts.
In the meantime, it is the duty of all good citizens to let the law take its course.
Personally, I have no interest in your local controversies, only desiring, when required to decide upon them judicially, that they shall be decided according to the law and the fact. I have no feeling against any locality in your county, only desiring that when the will of the people has been expressed in a lawful manner, the same shall be enforced. I have no apology to offer for any of my judicial determinations affecting your local affairs. They speak for themselves. I care nothing for idle and groundless stories affecting my integrity, circulated in your midst, trusting implicitly in the ultimate good sense and justice of an intelligent people for a complete vindication. I try to act in a manner which will gain your confidence, for no court can expect to fulfil its mission perfectly without being sustained and confided in by an enlightened public sentiment. But most of all, I desire to faithfully discharge the varied and responsible duties of the exalted position to which I have been elevated by a magnanimous people, and leave the bench with a pure and unspotted record, so that the state will have been none the worse off because I have occupied it.
Attachments have been issued for the arrest of certain persons charged to have been engaged in removing the county records in violation of an order of the court, and for the seizure of the records and their restoration to proper custody, directed to the sheriff. The sheriff and his deputies are bound to serve the process, and are vested with authority to call to their assistance all the forces necessary to execute the writs, and all citizens of the county are bound to obey their orders in that behalf. We desire your sympathy, your confidence, and your assistance in restoring order, and upholding the majesty of the law.
I know not who are the guilty parties—that is to be hereafter determined—after due investigation. If any sincere and honest men have been led into an unlawful interference with the court, by deception, misrepresentation, or under excitement and passion, they owe it to themselves, their families, and their country, to abandon their vain attempt, as they would flee from a pestilence, and hasten to restore the county records to their proper custodians, and otherwise as much as lies in their power atone to an outraged law.
It is for the people to say whether by sustaining the courts and the officers, they will have peace, order, and protection, or by a contrary course produce disorder, crime, and ruin.
It may cost something to restore order in your county, but it will be money well spent. It is the purchase of immunity to a more or less extent, from crime and violence in the future. The law must govern.
Respectfully, your obedient servant, S / W. P. CAMPBELL, Judge. March 13th, 1874.
Winfield Courier, March 27, 1874. Howard County Records. We learn from Mr. Lippmann of Dexter that the stolen records of Howard County were secreted during the county seat trouble, in a ravine three miles from Dexter in this county. They were kept concealed in three wagons under the guardianship of a young lawyer of the town of Boston, who with the others of his party pretended to be hunting claims until word was sent from Boston that the difficulty had been settled and for the books to be returned, when they informed one of the citizens of Dexter what they had in their wagons. The citizens of that town say that if they had only known what those wagons contained in time, they would have captured the books and proclaimed Dexter the county seat of Howard County.
Court Matters Handled by Judge Campbell in Cowley County.
Winfield Courier, March 27, 1874. D. A. Millington, Esq., was examined by lawyers McDermott, Mitchell, and Adams, and admitted to the bar by Judge Campbell at this term of Court.
Winfield Courier, April 24, 1874. Quite a novel lawsuit is pending before 'Squire Boyer, between Geo. Miller and a prominent lawyer in this city. The case is as follows. Just before court adjourned at the last term, T. H. Suits, Esq., arose and addressed the Court in a little short facetious speech and informed his honor, Judge Campbell, that as it has been the custom from time immemorial for the members of the bar, on the occasion of the departure of anyone of their number from their midst, to meet and jollify in some way, pass resolutions of respect, etc. And now it was generally understood that one of them was about to depart a life of single cussedness, and submit his neck to the benedictine yoke. Therefore, the speaker moved that said candidate for matrimonial honors be notified that the Court and bar expected him to set up the oysters.
The Court entering at once into the spirit of the joke, appointed T. H. Suits, R. B. Saffold, and E. S. Torrance to carry out the programme. This was faithfully attended to by the committee and about 9 o'clock p.m., of that day, the Court, members of the bar, clerks, and sheriff's, sat down to a splendid supper at the St. Nicholas, kept by Geo. Miller, who is noted the country over for serving his guests with the best the market affords. A jollier time was never seen in Winfield. The lawyer seemed to enjoy the good things set before him as much as the worst gourmand there; perhaps in anticipation of the way he was going to fool that court and bar, or perhaps he liked the tone of the speeches, or the sentiment of the toasts, or the sparkle of the wine, or, perhaps it was because he was hungry, he, perhaps not having eaten a good square meal for some days previous, or it may have been all combined; certain it is that he seemed well pleased with the entertainment.
After allowing a reasonable time to elapse, Mr. Miller sent his bill to the victim, who refused to come down with the scads, greenbacks, dingbats (or whatever those things are called which you swap for oyster suppers). The other members of the bar learning that the ‘little bill’ had gone to protest, magnanimously agreed each to pay for his own. And now our friend is sued for the quantity of oysters and wine he was supposed to have stowed away under his vest, on that, to the other starvlings, very pleasant occasion, amounting in the aggregate to the sum of one dollar and seventy cents.
And now the case is set for hearing next Monday. How it is likely to turn out, we, of course, don't pretend to say, nor is this article written to bias public opinion, to suborn witnesses, or to assist the average Kansas juror to form an opinion; no, none of these; but it is written for the purpose of insisting that the public suspend their opinion and never condemn a man unheard, no matter how guilty or deserving of the gallows you may know the man to be. Let justice be done though the oysters be never paid for. George has retained all the lawyers in town, and if he don't win, it will be because he has ‘too many cooks.’
More Problems in Howard County.
Winfield Courier, Friday, May 22, 1874. The people of Howard county are in mourning. Their county treasurer has pocketed the funds of his office and ‘lit out.’ The Longton Ledger tells it this way.
It will be remembered that in the county seat difficulty last winter, the books and records were carried away from Elk Falls, and for some time concealed. A short time since all were returned except the tax roll for the year 1873. The Boston people claimed they did not take it. Lately a warrant of arrest was issued against the treasurer and several other parties, for keeping this tax roll. Judge Campbell held the parties to bail, each in the sum of $2,000. Upon the return day, Custer asked for a delay of a day or so, on account of absent witnesses.
On Friday last, the final day for trial, Mr. Custer was not on hand, having left during the night previous. It is not known how much he is short as the books are in confusion and the tax roll of 1873, upon which most of the money has been collected, is not yet produced. It is thought the county will lose about $15,000.
This is the second time Howard county has lost money through default of her county treasurer. [Note: Howard County, created in 1875, was later that year divided into Elk County and Chautauqua County. RKW]
Judge Campbell Fends Off Charges Against Him.
Winfield Courier, October 26, 1876. We publish in another column Judge Campbell's replication to the foul charges of the Augusta Gazette. His prompt, bold, and manly reply to the charges touching his judicial honor can but emanate from an innocent, though grossly outraged man. After reading the article referred to, his most bitter and violent personal enemies will be compelled to admit that the refutation is complete, thorough, and satisfactory. Judge Campbell may be considered at times an immoral man, but no man can say that he is dishonest. If a man whose whole life had been as pure as that of an angel should consent to run on the Republican ticket in this district for an office, some half-starved, brainless idiot would at once prefer a series of charges against him, and compel him to establish his innocence. Judge Campbell ‘takes the bull by the horns’ and squarely meets his calumniators before their words are fairly cold. Read his reply and be convinced.
WICHITA, KAN., Oct. 14th, 1876.
ED. GAZETTE: I have read with no little surprise and mortification your article in the issue of this date in which you make a number of “charges” against me, and demand that I shall “disprove” them within one week.
You are very peremptory, and give me very little time. Most of the “charges” are not susceptible of disproof, and do not need it. My time is too valuable, and the people do not require that I shall notice the thousand and one scandalous stories which my unprincipled opponent, Amos Harris, has raked up and is peddling over the district, as his only stock in trade. I could better afford to admit them then to be drawn into controversy concerning them.
I will take great pleasure in answering any accusations of official misconduct against me, and invite the closest scrutiny. For, while in a few isolated instances in my daily walk, I may have slightly deviated from the “straight and narrow path,” it is my pride and glory, that in my official conduct I have been scrupulously straight.
Amos Harris came from Iowa to Wichita about two years ago, and commenced to practice law. Not succeeding very well as a lawyer, he secured the agency for Corbin Banking Company of New York, and loaned their money to the poor settlers of Sedgwick and Sumner counties, receiving from borrowers the usual stipend for his valuable services in procuring the loans.
After an exhibition by him of the most deplorable mendicancy, he was grudgingly given a nomination for Judge of this district, by the Democrats, after the same had been offered to several very worthy gentlemen, who declined. Since his nomination he has been sneaking around over the country, raking up and collating every idle rumor detrimental to me and has been using them as a means to lift his ungainly carcass into the Judgeship. Your article seems to be the sum of all the villainies, which he has succeeded in collecting against me.
1. You charge that in May, 1876, I adjourned court in Wichita, to take part in the “dedica-tion” of Charlie Chatner's saloon. This every lawyer in Wichita knows to be false. I do not remember the circumstances of the dedication, and am sure I was not there. Mr. Chatner’s books show that he opened on the night of July 17th, 1875. Court was not then in session, neither was there any court in Wichita in the months of June, July, and August.
2. Your charge that I decided the county seat cause between Eldorado and Augusta, in favor of the latter place, in pursuance of an agreement made at a meeting in Eldorado, on the night before the case was heard. This is absurd. I never heard of such a meeting It was generally understood that it made no difference how I decided that case, as it would go to the Supreme Court in any event. I was desirous of making a decision that would be affirmed by the Supreme Court. That was all. There was nothing to prevent the people from holding another election while the case was pending in the Supreme Court, had they taken legal steps to do so.
3. You charge me with complicity in the election frauds at Eldorado in the fall of 1870. The old settlers of Butler County know this to be false. It was well known at the time that I knew nothing of it until about two hours before the polls were opened, and then learned of it by accident. That I protested against it and went home, and refused to work at the polls as I had intended to do. Ottentot did not charge me with it in his confession. I was not a candidate for county attorney at that election. The people who voted for me did so without my solicitation, and after I had publicly declined to be a candidate. As soon as my successor was elected, he qualified and took possession of the office, which he had a right to do as I had merely been appointed to fill a vacancy.
4. Your next charge that I connived at the escape of a man convicted of crime and purposely failed to sentence him, and immediately afterwards received a deed to his farm. This is a very serious charge and if true, subjects me not only to impeachment and removal from office, but to a prosecution for felony. I will meet it squarely.
At the Spring term of the district court of Howard County, in the year of 1873, Aaron Wells was tried before me upon the charge of an assault with intent to kill. He was convicted of a simple assault, and was granted a new trial on the grounds of newly discovered testimony. At the succeeding term he was re-tried, and again convicted of a simple assault. As usual, judgment was deferred until a motion for a new trial was made and overruled. When the county attorney moved for judgment, Wells was absent. His attorney stated that he had been called away by sickness, and would be present the next day. It was ascertained that he had absconded. His bond was forfeited and an alias warrant issued. At the next term, May 1874, he was produced by his bail, and sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred dollars and stand committed, until the fine and costs were paid. He paid the fine to the clerk but could not or would not pay the costs. The Sheriff took him into custody, and obtained an order to take him to the jail of Allen County for safekeeping.
Wells’ wife had mortgaged her farm for money to pay the expenses of his defense, but refused to mortgage it for money to pay the costs assessed against him. I never spoke to Mrs. Wells in my life.
On the Sunday following, after Wells was sentenced, I was spending the day with Henry Welty, Esq., whose farm joined the Wells' place. During the day, he suggested that there was a good farm that could be bought cheap, as Wells and his wife both were anxious to sell and leave the country, and Welty urged me to buy it. Through friends in the county who were anxious that I should own property there, I bought the place, and the character of the transaction is set forth in the following correspondence.
I paid Mrs. Wells five hundred dollars down, giving her a check on the First National Bank of Wichita for that amount, paid the costs in the Wells case, amounting to one hundred and sixty dollars, paid J. D. McCue for Wells, eighty dollars, gave my two notes for $500 each, and took the land subject to the mortgage to Turner for $650. Cummings afterwards purchased the land from me, and paid the balance of the purchase money. The fine I assessed against Wells was considered sufficiently severe, and was more than it would have been had he submitted to his sentence at the term at which he was convicted.
I was induced to write the letter which appears below, by being informed about the first of last of June, that Amos Harris, and the editor of the Beacon were intending to charge me with corruption in this matter just before the election. The following is the correspondence.
WICHITA, June 9, 1876.
Hon. E. S. Cummings, Elk Falls, Kansas. My Dear Sir: Some of my political enemies are secretly circulating the report that I received a farm in Elk County as a bribe. Will you be kind enough to append to this letter a statement of the circumstances of my purchase of the Wells place, and also of my trade with you, and get some of your prominent citizens, who are conversant with the facts, to sign it with you. Yours Truly, W. P. Campbell.
I received the following answer:
Elk Falls, June 11th, 1876.
Hon. W. P. Campbell.
Dear Sir: Yours of the 9th inst. is received and contents noted. In reply, I will say that it affords me pleasure to correct any false impressions or rumors that may have grown out of the purchase by you of what is known as the Wells' farm, in Elk County, Kansas. The circumstances are briefly these: On the 11th day of May, 1874, you bought of Mary C. Wells, 200 acres of land for the sum of $2,400. You paid Mrs. Wells $500 in cash, assumed the payment of the court costs in the case of the State vs. Aaron Wells, computed at $250. You also assumed the payment of one promissory note for $650, given by Mary C. Wells to the order of L. L. Turner, dated May 4th, 1874. You also gave your notes, one for $500 due four months from date, and one for $500 due one year from date, all secured by mortgage on the property purchased. When I purchased the Wells' farm from you, I assumed payment of the three last notes, which I now have in my possession. I also gave you in part payment eighty acres of land in Elk Falls Township, Elk County, Kansas.
I believe this is all the land you own now, or ever did own in Elk County, or the old county of Howard. Hoping that this statement may be satisfactory to all persons, I remain, Yours Truly,
E. S. CUMMINGS.
The above is correct and true.
We have carefully read the foregoing statement, made by Mr. Cummings, and know the entire statement to be true.
R. H. NICHOLS,
F. A. STODDARD,
Mr. Cummings is an old resident of Elk Falls, of wealth and position, and has been a member of the Legislature of this state. Mr. Nichols is a lawyer and has been a member of the Legislature, and is at present the Republican nominee for senator. Mr. Stoddard is a lawyer. Mr. Carr was the District Clerk of Howard County, where Wells was tried and sentenced. Mr. Welty has for several terms been Justice of the Peace, for Elk Falls Township. They are all men of well known integrity and of unimpeachable character.
Amos Harris has been exceedingly active in ferreting out this matter, and is as well acquainted with the transaction as anybody; and when he procured you to publish the above charge, he promulgated what he knew to be an infamous lie.
I have now answered as fairly as I can all your charges against my integrity as a judge or a man. Instigated, I have no doubt, by the devil’s image of a man who is permitted by some inscrutable dispensation of Providence, to outrage all delicacy and honor, and give off his slime and filth, in order that by breaking me down he can foist himself into a high and important office for which he is notoriously incompetent, in order that he may serve his masters who entertain designs upon the honest people of this district, which they have been unable to accomplish through me.
As to the other charges, I ask you in all candor, would you under similar circumstances, by denying them, become involved in a fruitless effort to explain them, and thus subject yourself to the ridicule of all sensible people?
I apprehend that but few will believe them, and fewer still will be moved by them except in derision for the mendicant officer hunter, who has so little of his own merit to recommend him, that he must resort to the use of such base measures to accomplish his selfish purposes.
In conclusion, I want to say in justice to the intelligent people of this district, that I am of the opinion that before the above named “cracked bell” can be elected judge of this district, he must develop a higher order of talent than that of a common slanderer and wrecker of reputations.
The ides of November will demonstrate that the pursuit of this garrulous old gossiper after political honors, will be as vain as the attack of that famous knight of fiction upon the wind mills.
W. P. CAMPBELL.
Winfield Courier, November 9, 1876.
District Court Judge W. P. Campbell Re-elected.
Court News from Winfield.
Judge W. P. Campbell is re-elected by over 1,000 majority. He wasn't even Harr(i)sed by his opponent.
Arkansas City Traveler, September 5, 1877.
“Communication from ‘Little Dutch,’ Winfield.”
I thought a line from the hub would not be amiss. Court is now in fair running order. Judge, lawyers, clerks, sheriff, and reporters all had a good time on Monday night, drinking the health of C. C. Black, admitted to the bar that day, and at night invited others to a much more acceptable bar.
I notice a number of foreign gentlemen present in court this term—Adams of Wichita, Redden of Eldorado, Christian, Mitchell, and Kager of the Sand Hills, George and Willsey of Sumner, and perhaps others that I did not know. Our own lawyers were out in force, and I believe we have nineteen or twenty of them, and five more admitted this term—Charley Black and Charley Eagin on examination, and O. Coldwell, N. C. Coldwell, and John T. Mackey on certificate. If Cowley is not well regulated, it will not be for the want of lawyers. We have one to every 35 persons in the county—not a bad showing.
Well, Judge Campbell is shoving things right along. Two horse thieves already provided with a home on the Big Muddy. . . .
Our town is still going ahead. Several new buildings going up: candidates as thick as ever. Shenneman is the best looking man on the track . . . . LITTLE DUTCH.
Charles H. Payson, Winfield Attorney. Court Cases.
Winfield Courier, May 15, 1879. “C. H. Payson is the ‘boss’ newspaper reporter of the court proceedings.”
Winfield Courier, June 5, 1879. “The meeting to devise ways and means for celebrating the ‘Glorious Fourth,’ met at the office of Chas. Payson and organized by electing J. Conklin, chairman, and E. P. Greer, secretary. The following committees were appointed.
Arrangements: Messrs. Rogers, Manning, and Wm. Robinson.
Programme: Messrs. Kinne, Troup, and Jennings.
Invitations: Messrs. Allison, Conklin, and Millington.
Music: Messrs. Buckman, Crippen, and Wilkinson.
“Let the different committees go to work and let us have a grand, old-fashioned time.”
Winfield Courier, December 11, 1879. “The prosecution against Charles H. Payson has excited deep interest among his many friends. Some assert that Mr. Payson is the victim of a malicious persecution, while others are of the opinion that he is himself to blame for the whole trouble.”
Winfield Courier, December 18, 1879. “On Saturday evening the trial of Charles H. Payson was concluded and the court issued an order of disbarment against him.” [Note: The Courier did not specify the reason for trial. RKW]
The Winfield Courier of January 8, 1880, listed cases that were scheduled for trial at the adjourned December, 1879 term of the district court, beginning on Monday, January 15, 1880. On the “Criminal Docket” was the case of “State vs. Charles H. Payson.”
Winfield Courier, January 15, 1880. The District Court convened on Tuesday. Judge Campbell was detained at Wichita to finish up a criminal case on trial in that city, and had not arrived, therefore, the members of the bar elected J. Wade McDonald, Judge pro tem., who proceeded to try the case of the State vs. Isaac J. Henry, known as the North End Meat Market case. Torrance appeared for the prosecution and C. H. Payson for the defense. The case was ably conducted and resulted in the acquittal of the defendant. Mr. Payson's plea before the jury is spoken of as a very able argument and one of the finest oratorical efforts that have been presented in our courts.
Winfield Courier, February 5, 1880. Two railroaders, James Moore and Michael Reynolds, were arrested last week and brought before Justice Buckman on complaint of Dennis Murphy, charged with robbing him of $110.00. Henry E. Asp conducted the case for the State, and Charles H. Payson appeared for the defense. From the testimony of Dennis Murphy, he had got into a “bad crowd” as he furnished all the whiskey and his friends showed their appreciation of his generosity by robbing him of his money.
Last Thursday a couple of fellows confined in the jail came near making their escape. They had obtained a saw and sawed off the wooden window frames of the cell and with the piece were knocking a hole through the brick work. They had almost accomplished their purpose when they were detected. One of the fellows is John McMahon, lately brought from Arkansas City, and the other is Dick Rhonimus, the cattle thief.
Winfield Courier, February 12, 1880. Wyland J. Keffer (everybody knows Jake) was arrested last Tuesday on the complaint of one Joseph Morain, for assault with a double-barreled shot-gun, on the person of the subscriber, Joseph. Mr. Keffer gave a bond in the sum of $200 for his appearance on the 19th.
Since County Attorney Torrance left for the east, Henry Asp has had his hands full. He has prosecuted six cases, with more criminals “panting for justice,” and has been successful in every case but one. Henry is making a reputation about as rapidly as any young lawyer we know of.
A man by the name of Snow, a painter, who worked here some time ago, was killed in Elk City by Jesse McFadden, a son of a lady who keeps a hotel at that place. As usual, there was “a woman in the case.” Young McFadden was a nephew and former partner of Rhonimus, the cattle thief who escaped from our jail last week.
Old Mrs. Clarke, who lives on Posy creek in Pleasant Valley township, was arrested last Saturday on complaint of Chas. H. Payson, charged with having committed adultery with a man named McCrate. The case was tried before ‘Squire Boyer, and was the most disgusting affair that ever encumbered the docket of a criminal court. If one-half the facts that come to our ears are true (and the neighbors seem to think they are), this Clarke outfit ought to be drummed out of the community.
Winfield Courier, February 19, 1880. Old Mrs. Clarke, who lives on Posey Creek, in Pleasant Valley township, was arrested last Saturday on complaint of Charles H. Payson, charged with having committed adultery with a man named McCrate. The case was tried before ‘Squire Boyer, and was the most disgusting affair that ever encumbered the docket of a criminal court. If one-half the facts that come to our ears are true (and the neighbors seem to think they are), this Clarke outfit ought to be drummed out of the community.
The above is a sample of the fairness of the COURIER. Here is a woman who trusted all the money she had to Payson, and he converted it to his own use, and because she prosecuted and had him disbarred for it, he got up this charge against her. She was tried before a jury of twelve men, good men, everyone of them, and they found her not guilty, and that the complaint was malicious. Why is it that the COURIER is ever defending such men as Payson, and assaulting poor, ignorant, and defenseless people like this unfortunate woman? It can only be accounted for upon the theory, that ‘birds of a feather flock together.’ If this poor woman is to be drummed out of the community for merely being charged with the crime of adultery, what shall be done with the man who robs her? The COURIER is quick to assault Mrs. Clarke, but its columns are closed to anything reflecting upon Payson, who took advantage of her. Monitor.
Reply by Courier: “The idea that the above item was calculated to ‘defend Payson,’ is simply absurd, and will not receive a second thought at the hands of sensible men. If he has defrauded this woman out of her money, he is no less guilty than if he had stolen from respectable people. Of the Clarke outfit, we have but few words to say. From the admission of parties, this man McCrate was once the husband of Mrs. Clarke, and is the father of several of her children. He still lives with them, apparently master of the premises, although he is passed off as a brother-in-law. Mr. Clarke is a decrepit old man, nearly deaf, and easily imposed upon. These simple facts, even if they were not backed up by evidence of a nature too revolting to appear in print, would be enough to brand them as the lowest of the low. Numbers of the best citizens of Pleasant Valley township have, during the past three weeks, complained to us of the Clarke's; but we have refrained from speaking of the matter until convinced that the community would be better off without them. Brother Conklin is in poor business when he puts this outfit up as a picture of ‘injured innocence,’ and installs himself as their champion. If he needs must have some subject at which to direct the effervescence of a too fertile brain, we would humbly suggest that he give us a few ‘grammatical criticisms.’ They would at most be harmless and equally as foolish.”
The following cases were scheduled to stand for trial on the “Criminal Docket,” at the adjourned December, A. D. 1879, term of the district court of Cowley County, beginning on the 4th Monday, February 23, 1880.
State vs. Charles H. Payson [2 cases].
State vs. Richard Rhonimous [2 cases].
Judge Campbell Plays Lead in the “Union Spy.”
Winfield Courier, January 15, 1880. “St. John's Battery is making large preparations to celebrate Washington's birthday. They propose to give a grand entertainment in the opera house, at which will be rendered the military drama of the ‘Union Spy,’ followed by a banquet and ball. The company will spare no expense to make the occasion one of the biggest Winfield has yet seen. The committees have been appointed and the preparations are being rapidly completed. One of the chief attractions will be a grand military drill and parade in which the Winfield Rifles will take part.”
Winfield Courier, January 29, 1880.
“The Winfield Rifles have chartered a passenger engine and two coaches, and will run an excursion train to Wichita this evening to attend the drama of the ‘Union Spy,’ now being played by the Wichita Guards. The fare to Wichita and return is $1.50.”
Winfield Courier, February 5, 1880.
“The excursion to Wichita by the Winfield Rifles last Thursday evening passed off very pleasantly, barring a few hard characters, not belonging to the company, who got too much liquor aboard. The two coaches chartered by the company were comfortably filled by about 100 ladies and gentlemen. At the Wichita depot the Rifles were met by the Wichita Guards and were escorted to their armory where they stacked arms and dispersed to the various hotels for supper. The Tremont House seemed to be the favorite with the boys, and A. N. Deming was compelled to enlarge his culinary department to accommodate them.
“After supper, in company with Frank Smith, of the Beacon, we took in the town, visiting the principal business houses, and finally bringing up at the Opera House, the pride and glory of Wichita, which is truly a magnificent building. The building is one-story, with very high ceilings, and will seat about 1,000 people. It has a gallery running about half-way around the building, and a large vestibule with box offices and waiting rooms complete. Last but not least is the stage, which is 40 x 60, and has been furnished regardless of cost. The scenery and fixtures will compare favorably with that of any theatre west of the Mississippi.
“The drama of the ‘Union Spy,’ by the Wichita Guards, was simply immense. We had heard the piece spoken of highly by those who had seen it, but our anticipations were surpassed by the reality of the play. Judge Campbell as ‘Albert Morton,’ in Andersonville prison, brought tears to the eyes of most of the audience, and even Krets, of the Telegram, was suspiciously handy with his pocket-handerchief.
“One of the Winfield boys, who had been through Libby prison, excused this unmanly condition by saying: ‘If you-you'd a b-b-been there like I was, y-y-you'd a cri-cried, too.’ At half-past twelve the train started homeward, and the time was passed very pleasantly in the ladies’ car, with music and singing. Special credit is due Conductor Siverd, of the A. T. & S. F., for his accommodating manners and gentlemanly conduct during the trip, and also the Southwestern Stage Co., which furnished free transportation to and from the depot.”
Winfield Courier, February 12, 1880. “Editorial Correspondence by Millington. At Wichita we called on Judge Campbell. The judge had gone to Newton with the Wichita troupe to play the ‘Union Spy’ in the evening.”
Winfield Courier, February 12, 1880. “Col. Temple arrived Monday evening and proceeded to make the casts for the ‘Union Spy,’ to be played under the auspices of the Winfield Rifles and St. John's Battery, commencing on the 23rd inst. This will draw one of the largest houses ever seen in Winfield. Wichita was in a fever of excitement over it.”
Winfield Courier, February 26, 1880. “Judge Campbell sports a handsome gold-headed cane, a gift from the Wichita Guards. It is a valuable present, and one that is highly appreciated by the Judge.”
Arkansas City Traveler, February 25, 1880. “We are informed that the grand military display at Winfield, on Monday last, was rather a slim affair. Gov. St. John failed to put in an appearance, but H. X. Devendorf, private secretary of the Governor, together with Gen. Noble, were in attendance. Extensive preparations were in progress for the play of the ‘Union Spy,’ at the Opera House, which will continue for three nights.”
Winfield Courier, February 26, 1880. “Winfield Rifles and St. John's Battery in Full Uniform.
Headed by Brigadier-General Green and Colonel Noble, Adjutant-General of the State.
“Monday was a gala day for Winfield, and the people of the surrounding country understood the fact, and many of them turned out to see the fun. Some time ago the Guards decided to produce the military drama of the ‘Union Spy’ at this place, and learning that members of the Governor's staff would be present, it was decided to give a grand parade in their honor. At 2 o'clock the companies were formed on the courthouse square, and after receiving the general and staff, they moved out and paraded through the principal streets.
“Gen. Green and staff took a position in front of the Opera House and the companies counter-marched in review. The Rifles looked their best and St. John's Battery shown resplendent in new uniforms with red top-knots. The general and staff were splendidly mounted and uniformed and looked every inch soldiers. This was by far the most imposing affair Winfield has yet seen.”
Winfield Courier, February 26, 1880. “In behalf of the Rifles and Battery, we desire to thank the ladies who so freely gave their time and talents toward making the "Union Spy" a success.
“We would like to speak of each and every one of the characters in the ‘Spy’ could we spare the space, as all deserve mention. Leland J. Webb as ‘Albert Morton,’ D. L. Kretsinger as ‘Charles Morton,’ Bert Covert as ‘Uncle Tom,’ George Buckman as ‘Farmer Morton,’ Master George Black as ‘Little Willie,’ and J. E. Conklin as ‘Col. Orr,’ deserve special mention. Miss Florence Beeny as ‘Mrs. Morton’ did splendidly; Miss Emma Himbaugh as ‘Nelly,’ was a general favorite; and Miss Jennie Hane, as ‘Mrs. Anna Morton’ looked the perfect picture of a brave and loyal farmer's wife.”
“Capt. Chas E. Stueven and Miss Emma Gretsinger were married last Monday at 1 o'clock. It was a complete surprise to most of the members of the Rifles. After the parade the boys assembled in front of the Opera House and gave three cheers for the happy couple.”
“Henry Harold, bugler for the Winfield Rifles, came near losing his fine gold watch while on the parade Monday. A gentleman found it and returned it to him.”
“Messrs. I. H. Bonsall and E. P. Channell came up from Arkansas City Monday to see the parade.”
Winfield Courier, February 26, 1880. “Adjutant-General Noble and H. X. Devendorf, of the executive office, called on us Monday. They came down to attend the military review and witness the drama of the ‘Union Spy.’ Capt. C. M. Scott, of Arkansas City, accompanied them as far as Topeka, on his way to Washington. The Governor was unable to be present, having been called away to the north part of the State on business.
“On the parade Monday Col. Noble was the ‘observed of all observers.’ His fine soldierly appearance and ease of manners made him a favorite with everyone. ‘That bashful young soldier from Topeka’ will furnish an endless theme for gossip among our young ladies for some time to come.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 3, 1880. “Several members of the Winfield Rifles and St. John's Battery were in this city last Friday. The military organizations of Winfield represent some of her most intelligent and enterprising citizens, of which she may well be proud, either as soldier or civilian, or both.”
Arkansas City Traveler, March 3, 1880. “On Saturday night the people of our little city secured a special train and went to Winfield to witness the renowned Military drama, ‘Union Spy,’ under the auspices of the Winfield Military. Although the night was quite cold, some eighty-five citizens gathered at the depot; and boarding the train at 6:20 o'clock, were in Winfield in twenty-four minutes. So far as we have been able to learn, everyone was well pleased with the drama, and we say most emphatically that great credit is due all who participated in the play. The drill of the Winfield Militia was universally applauded and considering the short time this company has mustered, they have reached a higher grade of perfection than many in other parts of the State. The young men who have come upon the stage of action since the close of the rebellion, and consequently could have taken no part in that bloody conflict, should witness the drama of the ‘Union Spy,’ for though a miniature of those awful events it will bring to the thoughtful the power to distinguish who were enemies of the Government. With Parson McCabe to lecture and sing his war songs and the people of Winfield to play the ‘Union Spy,’ we would almost take the contract to beat the Democracy in South Carolina.
“At the closing scene in the drama of the ‘Union Spy’ last Saturday night, Hon. L. J. Webb was made the recipient of a handsome gold headed cane, by the Winfield Militia as a testimonial for the service he rendered in their behalf.”
Winfield Courier, March 4, 1880. “Saturday night, the closing one of the ‘Union Spy,’ drew an immense audience. A special train from Arkansas City came in early in the evening, with a large number of the elite of that city on board. Altogether the ‘Spy’ has been a great success, and has netted the companies over $300. The total receipts were $665.00.
Mrs. McNeil Sues Charles H. Payson.
Winfield Courier, March 4, 1880. “Last Saturday Mrs. McNeil brought suit against Charles H. Payson for obtaining a deed under false pretenses. The case was rather a mixed-up affair, and there is no knowing how it will terminate. Mr. Payson was bound over to the district court in the sum of $2,000, and in default of bail was committed to jail.”
Winfield Courier, March 25, 1880. “A writ of habeas corpus has been asked for by Charles Payson, and the Probate Court will hear the arguments for the same on Thursday. We are told that Mr. Payson and perhaps some others have made statements reflecting upon Mrs. McNeil, the complainant in the case now pending against Mr. Payson. We have this to say: that Mrs. McNeil is a well-educated and intelligent lady of irreproachable character. We have seen letters from eminent physicians, lawyers, mayors, councilmen, school superintendents, and other persons of character and reliability, who have known her from childhood, and all of them are unanimous in their testimony that her character is above reproach.”
Winfield Courier, May 6, 1880. “Mrs. Payson, mother of Chas. H. Payson, arrived from Illinois last week. She will remain during Mr. Payson's trial.
“Court convened in the courthouse Monday at 2 o'clock. The court disposed of many cases which had been agreed upon by the litigants during the recess, and adjourned to meet Tuesday morning at 9 o'clock.”
On the following day the Court decided to let the matter in the case of State vs. Payson go to trial.
Winfield Courier, May 13, 1880. “Probably no case was ever tried in this county which has created so much interest as the trial of C. H. Payson, just terminated with the verdict of guilty in the District Court. After the verdict large squads of men were gathered on each corner discussing it with much warmth, and criticizing scathingly those who took part in the trial either as witnesses, attorneys, jury, or judge. The majority seemed to sympathize strongly with Payson; eulogized his plea in his own defense as one of the best forensic efforts ever heard; thought that though Payson was probably guilty of something bad, he was not guilty of the offense charged in the indictment; and that if he was guilty of another offense, the prosecuting witness was equally guilty of the same offense. They criticize the county attorney for being too zealous in the prosecution; and the judge as acting as prosecuting attorney, and ruling out evidence supposed to be favorable to Payson. The minority seemed to be equally sure that Payson was guilty as charged, and had been given a fair trial; that Torrance had done his whole duty and nothing more; that the judge was fair and impartial; and that the jury could not have done otherwise than it did.
“The new jury of the whole public will probably never be able to agree.”
In separate articles, the same edition of the Courier made the following comments.
“The boys tell us that in the trial of Payson, when the witness Goodrich was on the stand for cross-examination, Judge Campbell took the witness out of the hands of the attorneys and cross-examined him for an hour in an effort to make him contradict himself.
“This reminds us of a case before Judge Davis, of Illinois, in which the attorney for the prosecution demanded that the case proceed to trial at the time set, though the attorney for the defense was absent. Judge Davis said the case could go to trial, but would mention that a similar case happened in La Salle county, and this court looked to the interest of the absent attorney for the defense, and said Judge Davis, ‘You remember that we beat 'em.’
“The argument of E. S. Torrance for the prosecution, and of C. H. Payson for the defense, in the trial of the latter are both spoken of as remarkable for power and brilliancy”
“One of the saddest things happening during the trial of Payson was the effect which the verdict had upon his aged mother, who was present throughout the whole proceedings. As soon as the verdict of guilty was pronounced, her emotion overcame her, and she threw herself in his arms, moaning out in all the bitterness of a broken heart, ‘Oh, Charley! Won't they let me go to prison with you?’ Verily, her gray hairs will be brought down in sorrow to the grave.”
Winfield Courier, May 13, 1880. “The Telegram insinuates that there was a ring of lawyers prosecuting the late case against Payson. It probably had in view the fact that Hackney and McDonald were counsel against Payson in other cases, but we are informed by persons who know that neither Hackney and McDonald nor any other attorney assisted Mr. Torrance in any way in the case just tried.
“County Attorney Torrance has won additional laurels in his successful conduct of the Payson case. Some are inclined to divide the credit equally between the prosecuting attorney and the judge, but we assert, and we will stick to it, that Torrance was the main prosecutor.”
Winfield Courier, May 13, 1880. The trial of Chas. H. Payson, for obtaining property under false pretenses, terminated last Monday by the jury bringing in a verdict of guilty. While this case was pending, we carefully avoided saying anything that would tend to prejudice the minds of our readers for or against the unfortunate victim; but now that the matter has been fully tried, a verdict rendered, and the case no longer before the jury and court, we shall attempt a review of the testimony and facts pertaining to the prosecution and conviction.
“On or about the 26th of January, Mr. Payson filed for record a deed from Lena McNeil to himself, conveying certain real estate known as the ‘Curns property.’ This deed he claimed to have obtained for services rendered in the trial of Dick Rhonimus (a brother of Mrs. McNeil who was then in jail charged with stealing cattle), and for legal services to be rendered during the year. Soon after obtaining the deed, he mortgaged the property to James Jordan for $480, and subsequently sold it to G. H. Buckman, subject to the mortgage, for $200. About this time Rhonimus escaped from jail, and soon after Payson was arrested for obtaining the deed under false pretenses, and after a preliminary examination, was remanded to jail until this term of the district court.
“At this trial the examination was full and searching, every effort being put forward by the prosecution and the defense. Mrs. McNeil, and her daughter, Lena, testified that their intention was to convey the property to Mrs. McNeil, and that Payson produced and read to them a deed making such conveyance; but afterward, while going from Mrs. McNeil's house to the notary public's office, substituted another conveying the property to himself, which was signed and acknowledged by Lena upon his representation.
“These are the facts as gleaned from the evidence; and in our opinion, the jury brought in a verdict in accordance, as they were sworn to do, ‘with the law and evidence in the case,’ but from an outside standpoint, we regard the matter in a very different light, and are free to say that we believe Mrs. McNeil to be as deep in the mud as Payson is in the mire.
“If the information in this case had been quashed, as the court at first intimated it would do, and a strict investigation had been made into the jail delivery business, more light would have been thrown upon a very complicated matter.
“As it is, we are heartily sorry for Charles H. Payson. Had he pursued an honorable, upright course in his everyday life and conduct while practicing here, he would have won fame, honor, and wealth with scarcely an effort, and might have laughed at any prosecution brought against him. Even in this, his darkest hour, he has many friends who believe him innocent, and who will leave no stone unturned to secure his early release.
“It is sad to see a young man, just in the prime of his life, and upon whom nature has lavished her most costly gifts, condemned to a fate which, to a person of spirit, is worse than death. Where he will live on from year to year with all the finer sensibilities and feelings of a man seared and contaminated by constant association with the vilest class of humanity, and to come forth at last with the brand of Cain upon his forehead and the curse of an ex-convict upon his life.”
The Courier edition of May 13, 1880, also listed the cases that the Court had disposed of during the week. Among them was the case of “State vs. Payson: guilty.” The demurrer to the proceedings to set aside the deed made by Lena McNeil to C. H. Payson was overruled, and defendant allowed to file answer.
Winfield Courier, May 20, 1880. “Judge Coldwell succeeded in getting a writ of habeas corpus for Charles H. Payson, with which Payson was met at Lawrence and is now at Topeka, where his trial is in progress before the Supreme Court.”
Winfield Courier, May 20, 1880. “Judge Campbell characterizes the men on the streets on Monday after the Payson verdict as ‘drunken rabble.’ We say it was not a drunken rabble. No one was drunk so far as we observed. The crowds were made up largely of the best and most intelligent men in the county. They were men who could make a clear statement of the case, and certainly made what appeared a good case for Payson. They were as respectable a crowd as we have seen upon our streets, men whose opinions are entitled to as much weight. We were certainly surprised at the fact that so great a majority sympathized with Payson and condemned the court proceedings.”
Winfield Courier, May 20, 1880. “Last Monday morning an attachment for contempt of court was issued by Judge Campbell against W. M. Allison, of the Telegram, and D. A. Millington and Ed. P. Greer, of the COURIER. A fine of two hundred dollars each was assessed against Messrs. Allison and Millington, and one dollar against Mr. Greer, parties to stand committed until paid. A stay of execution, without bond, for ten days was granted to allow the defendants to make a case for the Supreme Court. The alleged contempt was the publication of certain articles relating to a criminal case tried last week.”
Winfield Courier, May 20, 1880 “THAT CONTEMPT OF COURT.
Judge Campbell Sits Down on the COURIER.
“Last Monday morning we were taken completely by surprise by an attachment issued for us by Judge Campbell for contempt of court.
“On examining the complaint, which was written by the judge himself, we found that the contempt consisted in, and was entirely made up of, articles which appeared in last week’s COURIER. . . .” [Pertinent articles were repeated that had appeared in the May 13th issue.]
“The judge considered us guilty of contempt for publishing the above and assessed a fine of $200.
“Now anyone present on the streets last Monday after the verdict was rendered and paying attention to what was going on, knows that the article does not tell the whole truth in regard to the intensity of feeling expressed and numbers of those who sympathized with Payson. It seems to us that any such person can see that we intended to state the facts in a modified way with a view to allay the excitement, instead of attempting to stir it up, as the judge claimed. We did not state our own opinion of the Payson case because we had not attended the trial, and therefore our opinions could not be of value; but we had the idea that Payson had a reasonably fair trial, that the verdict of the jury was just, and that the fact that the judge questioned a witness an hour was not such an offense against law, the witness, and the prisoner as was claimed by the people. Our local attended the trial, and his views, which he expressed in the local columns, were different from ours. We had a clear right to publish that article, and we maintain that had we told the whole truth concerning what was said and done on the streets that day, whatever the effect of such publication, it would not have been a contempt.
“The second article complained of is a treatment in the same way of the fact that the judge cross-examined a witness for an hour. Those who heard the denunciations, accusations, and threats that were uttered against the judge on this account, will see that our manner of making light of it would tend to relieve the judge rather than to embarrass him. But we had a right to tell the truth about it in any event.
“But that last squib was the feather which broke the camel's back. The judge says that was the meanest thing of all in that it had a political motive. He does not claim that this was in itself a
contempt. Well, when we allowed that to go in (we did not write it), we did observe that it looked like taffy for Torrance and irony for Campbell. It did look as though we were partial to Torrance as against Campbell.
“Notwithstanding the uniform courtesy we have shown him in our canvass against him for District Judge, he seems to have somehow got the idea that we were personally bitter toward him, and just ready to rake up everything that could be said against him and publish it to the country. Under this hallucination, perhaps it is no wonder that he sees concealed in the articles complained of so much that we never dreamed of.
“But we forbear further comment at this time. In our cooler and more dispassionate moments, we may have more to say.”
Winfield Courier, May 20, 1880. “Brother Conklin says his turn will come next to answer for contempt of court. We think he is safe as long as he continues to administer as much taffy as he did to Judge Campbell last week. The Monitor man is among the list of Campbell's champions. Take care, Conklin. Insignificant as you are, you may yet feel the misfortune of Campbell's protection.
“We hear from Topeka that W. F. Campbell was the butt of ridicule among the lawyers attending the courts there when the articles were seen which he held to be a contempt of court. The ha! ha! ha's! at his expense were many and hearty.”
Winfield Courier, May 27, 1880. “It seems to be the unanimous opinion of sensible people here that Campbell had concluded that the COURIER, being opposed to his re-election to the bench of this judicial district would after awhile expose his disgraceful record; and that he determined, before he came here to hold court, to seek a pretext for committing an outrage upon us with the view that when we did expose his record, people could be convinced that we did it in retaliation of his treatment of us and would therefore attach less credit to it. Certain circumstances tend to show that had we not published a word of the articles he made his pretext, it would have made no difference. He had determined to punish us for opposing him and discredit us if he could; and after mature deliberation, he proceeded with such pretext as he could pick up.
“Four years ago we supported Campbell for the office of Judge and socially as well. For this we deserved punishment for our only excuse was that we did not know his real character. We did not know how base, tyrannical, unjust, despicable, and immoral he was. We know more about him now and do not know of a practicing attorney in the district less worthy to be elected judge.
“Wonder if Kirkpatrick of the Wichita Republican is so intimidated that he will not dare to serve Judge Campbell anything but taffy. We understand that the judge told him that he was sorry he did not fine us $500 instead of $200. This seems to have been an intimation of what the price will be in Wichita. Wonder if said judge is liable for contempt for attempting to intimidate the press.”
Winfield Courier, May 27, 1880.
A gentleman in commenting upon the docile manner with which we handled Judge Campbell last week, tells the following story, which is so applicable.
“Some twenty years ago, during the palmy days of old Ben Houston, while Lewis T. Wagfall was U. S. Senator from Texas, a difference sprang up between these two gentlemen, and Houston made up his mind to give Wagfall a drubbing. For this purpose he rose in the Senate one day and began drawing on his gloves, at the same time saying in that drawling tone of voice so peculiar to him: ‘I rise to reply to some remarks made by one Wiggletail—or Wagfall; but before leaving home I promised Mrs. Houston that if I did, I would handle the dirty thing with gloves.”
The gentleman thought the COURIER of last week handled “the dirty thing with gloves.”
Young Greer of the Courier, in the same issue, commented:
“Judge Campbell, in consideration of our being a ‘young man, without experience, and who didn't know any better,’ let us off easy in his contemptuous proceedings last week. The crime of being a young man ‘we shall neither attempt to palliate, or deny.’ Neither shall we answer to the charge of being without experience. But as to his making public the fact of our ‘not knowing any better,’ we must earnestly protest. Might he not have thrown the mantle of charity over us, and at least admitted that we had sense enough to oppose Campbell, or discernment enough to see that the ass on Ninth Avenue brayed at his master's bidding. Had he but made these exceptions, we would have pursued the even tenor of our way, happy only in the thought that we had engaged the attention of the learned judge and accomplished actor for a few brief moments.”
Augusta Gazette, June 3, 1880.
“The people of the Thirteenth Judicial District will be called upon, next fall, to elect a successor to Judge W. P. Campbell. The more prominent candidates thus far mentioned are Mr. Torrance, present County Attorney for Cowley County; Judge M. S. Adams, of Wichita; and W. P. Campbell.
“ Judge Campbell has filled the position for eight years. His decisions have been subjected to much criticism, sometimes warmly approved, other times condemned by many people.
“The bulk of our readers are conversant with his demeanor, both on and off the bench, but the majority of them do not know that he has been ‘stage struck.’ The Wichita Guards, a military organization, prepared a play entitled ‘The Union Spy,’: and Judge Campbell essays the roll of the spy. He appears possessed of considerable dramatic talent and having given excellent satisfaction as an actor, his services appear to be in demand in various parts of the State. During the latter part of March, the play was performed at Emporia, with the Judge as the bright particular star. In order to be present and participate, we are told that he adjourned court in Chautauqua County. Last week the play was performed at Topeka, and large pictures of the Judge’s handsome person were profusely posted, throughout the city. But another difficulty was in the way, Court was in session with a full docket in Cowley County. There was but one way to remove the difficulty—an adjournment. Notwithstanding the presence of the litigants, who were ready for trial, we are told the Judge refused to listen to the appeals of interested parties and adjourned court.
“A few weeks since Court was in session in Sumner County, the Judge’s wife wished to visit her friends in Colorado and New Mexico, and he wanted to accompany her. Notwithstanding the two hundred cases on the docket, and the many pleas for him to continue the court, reporters say he adjourned the same until about the first of June.
“Now the Judge has a perfect right as a man, to develop any dramatic talent he may possess, and no one should say him nay. At the same time the people have a right to demand of the person whom they elect to this responsible position, a prompt, faithful, and efficient discharge of the duties pertaining thereto. Again, there is a certain dignity belonging to the office of Judge, and some queer-minded people might imagine that going about the country playing the buffoon for the amusement of the populace would have a tendency to degrade that office and win the contempt of the people for the occupant.
“We have not, thus far, felt called upon to express any opinion as to which of these three gentlemen should receive the nomination. There is yet ample time for that. But believing it right and proper to inform the people as to the habits and doings of their public servants, as well as those who aspire to positions, we feel that duty demands us to inform our readers of the new trait of character just being developed in the person whom they twice elected to the dignified and responsible position of Judge, and who appears before them the third time, asking their suffrages to re-elect him. Having performed that duty we will defer any further remark for some future issues of the Gazette.”
The June 3, 1880, issue of the Courier also had comments from other newspapers.
Eldorado Press: “It appears that Judge Campbell adjourned court at Winfield to go to Topeka to take part in a play. The papers criticized him for it, thinking that it was not the proper thing to do, to draw a big salary and make a show of himself, and so intimated.
“He caused W. M. Allison, of the Telegram, D. A. Millington and Ed. Greer of the Courier, to be arrested and brought before his honor, for contempt.
“I believe it is not denied that he went to Topeka as charged, the crime is in letting the people know what a fool he made of himself.
“The Judge has good talent as an actor, it runs in the family, some of his relations have acted on the stage. He should be encouraged, he will do less harm on the stage than anywhere else. His salary is the least part of the loss to the country.”
Oxford Reflex: “Judge Campbell’s District Court has been in session at Winfield during the past two weeks. One Payson was arraigned before the jury under the charge of obtaining property under false pretenses, and the court found him guilty and sentenced him to five years imprisonment in the penitentiary. Allison and Millington, in commenting upon the case, implied that Judge Campbell was over-zealous and took a great deal of the County Attorney’s work upon his own hands. The opinions expressed by the people after the trial were also published and Campbell took it as a little ‘game’ to injure his political standing, and on last Monday morning issued an attachment for contempt of court against Allison of the Telegram, and Millington and Greer of the Courier. A fine of $200 each was assessed against Allison and Millington; $1 against Greer.
“A stay of execution for ten days was granted to allow defendants to prepare a case for the Supreme Court. The articles published contain nothing of a libelous character, and are opinions that in this free country would be considered mild. The trouble with Campbell is that he wants to be District Judge again, but is beginning to realize that the people don’t want him any longer; and every little joke, slur, or insinuation cuts him to the quick, hence his action in arraigning the editors for contempt of court. ‘Billy,’ your ‘goose is cooked,’ and you might as well hang up your harp. The people of the 13th judicial district will heap contempt upon you this fall but you won’t be able to fine them for it. You will take your stand among the ‘common horde’ and will not again be allowed to abuse the power placed in your hands.”
Caldwell Commercial: “The newspapers all around are popping at his honor, Judge Campbell. Even papers outside the district condemn his course against the Winfield editors.”
Atchison Champion: “‘If there is any law written or unwritten which allows a Kansas Judge to impose a fine or punishment for such a case, it is a relic of barbarism. Judges are, many of them, altogether too sensitive about criticism of court proceedings.”
Kansas City Journal: “There is a Judge down at Winfield who is so thin skinned that he has fined an editor two hundred dollars for contempt. The editor published a very fair, dispassionate criticism of one of the Judge’s decisions. Judge Campbell, of the Winfield district, has made such a decided hit as an actor, it is suggested that he leave the bench and take to the stage, where he will do less damage.”
The list of newspaper editors heard from criticizing Judge Campbell’s actions grew: Grenola Argus, Newton Republican, Eldorado Times, Manhattan Nationalist, Anthony Journal, etc.
An announcement was made in the June 3, 1880, issue of the Winfield Courier that the contempt cases against Millington, Allison, and Greer had been set for hearing in the Supreme Court on July 6th, the day when the court would next convene.
Winfield Courier, June 3, 1880. “Commonwealth: Hon. Charles C. Black, one of Winfield’s brightest attorneys, has been in the city for two or three days. He is associated with Messrs. Webb and Brush in the Allison-Millington contempt case before the Supreme Court. The Winfield editors seem to be sustained by the Winfield bar in their contest with Judge Campbell.”
Winfield Courier, June 10, 1880. Arkansas City Democrat: “It will be a surprise to our readers to know that Judge Campbell has fined the editors of the ‘Telegram and COURIER’ two hundred dollars each for contempt of court. No one in reading the matter as published probably thought for a moment there was more than an ordinary expression of opinion in reference to a trial of unusual interest, and as a large majority of the public were commenting upon the same matter in terms of unusual severity, they will be greatly surprised at the dose administered to the editors for what they deem some very mild strictures. As the case now stands, it is left for the highest judicial tribunal to decide as to how far the newspaper can proceed in criticism of an interesting trial, and not exceed the limits which hold them to respect the laws of the land, and not bring into contempt the executive of the law. There is a question, we ask? Will not the newspaperman soon need to be a lawyer?”
Winfield Courier, June 10, 1880. “In his letter in his own defense in the Commonwealth, W. P. Campbell makes a point that Millington testified that he believed when he wrote the article complained of that Payson was guilty as charged and had had a fair trial.
“It will be recollected that we testified that we did not attend the trial, and knew nothing of what occurred during the trial, except what we got from the talk on the streets. It is not strange that a person of our age and experience with popular excitements, should tend to be conservative and to suppose that a smart judge would be substantially fair in the trial of such a case. We took it as a matter of course that the trial had been reasonably fair, and that the defendant was probably guilty as charged. We knew that the jury was composed of good men, and we had the fullest confidence in them.
“We still believe the jury decided according to the evidence as placed before them and the law as given by the judge as they were bound to do; but we are now better informed as to the course of the judge, and do not believe that the judge gave Payson a fair and impartial trial.
“We have conversed with many lawyers who were present and watched that trial through, observing the conduct of the judge and others connected with the trial; men of sound sense, high legal attainments, and impartial fairness commanding high respect, who say that Payson did not have a fair and impartial trial, and all agree in the following statement of facts, which are not disputed by the enemies of Payson. or anyone else.
“The prisoner was on trial on the charge of having procured the execution of a deed of valuable real estate from Lena McNeil unto himself, by false representations that the conveyance was to Mrs. McNeil, mother of the grantor. . . . Mrs. McNeil, the prosecuting witness, was on the witness stand several hours and testified to all the circumstances necessary to prove this charge, and also testified that Payson, as her attorney, had procured her signature to a bill of sale of a delivery wagon under the false representation that it was a delivery bond, and had procured her signature to execute a bill of sale of a meat market building and fixtures under the false representation that it was a delivery bond to secure the return of the attached property. . . . Lena McNeil and other witnesses corroborated the testimony of Mrs. McNeil in many respects, and the case as against Payson was completely made out.
“To rebut this evidence the defense placed on the stand the witness, Goodrich, who testified that he took supper with Payson at the house kept by Mrs. McNeil, being the property Lena had deeded to Payson as charged in the information, after that deed was made; that after supper Mrs. McNeil sat with him on the porch in conversation, during which witness said to Mrs. McNeil that ’the porch and view were very fine,’ to which Mrs. McNeil answered that ‘it would be a very pleasant place for Payson and his lady to sit and enjoy the sea breezes,’ and other words tending to indicate that she had voluntarily had the property conveyed to Payson.
“County Attorney Torrance subjected the witness to a rigid cross-examination in the attempt to break the force of his testimony.
“ Judge Campbell then took the witness, with language, air, and manner that said in effect: ‘This witness has lied. Torrance don't know enough to make witness entangle himself and prove that he has lied. I will show these people how to do it.’
“With a wink at the prosecuting witness, Campbell commenced to question the witness, Goodrich, about his whole history and matters and things occurring before and after the time of the conversation he had described, making every effort to lead him to cross himself, for about an hour, asking many questions which were characterized by our informants as outrageous.
“In relation to the two parallel crimes committed by Payson, as established by the evidence already in, the defense brought forward Max Shoeb and two other witnesses, who were ready to swear that ‘they, being about to purchase the delivery wagon and the meat market house and fixtures, had taken the two bills of sale to Mrs. McNeil, explained them to her, and asked her if she had sold the property and had executed the two bills of sale; that she answered that she had sold the property and that the two bills of sale were all right.’
“Judge Campbell ruled that these witnesses should not testify on this matter, and Shoeb with the two other witnesses were dismissed without giving their evidence.
“Campbell gave as his reason that the evidence was not relevant to the charge on which Payson was being tried, and in answer to the plea that the defense ought to be allowed to rebut the testimony already admitted against Payson, answered that he would rule that out.
“But it was in convincing them that Payson had been in the habit of committing such crimes as the one charged (a charge that could not but have its effect on the minds of the jury) that the strong rulings of the Judge against Payson in other respects and in his charge to the jury, brought about the verdict of guilty.
“On the motion for a new trial, Judge Coldwell presented this state of facts to the judge in a forcible though courteous manner, as reason why a new trial should be granted, stating he hoped that Judge Campbell would not, by refusing this motion, put himself on record as asserting the right of a court to take the place of a prosecutor, and cross-examine a witness in that way, hitherto unheard of in the jurisprudence of this county.
“Campbell answered that it had been practiced by the English judges, to which Judge Coldwell replied, ‘Not for the last 196 years.’
“This in open court was ‘thrust into Campbell's face’ in a more incisive manner than any newspaper could have done it, yet Judge Coldwell was not fined for contempt, and why? Because he was not opposing the re-election of Campbell. The COURIER was, had mentioned that Campbell cross-questioned a witness for about an hour, and insisted that Torrance was the main prosecutor. It was fined for opposing Campbell's re-election and for nothing else.
“Now, we do not care to express an opinion on Payson's guilt or innocence of the crime charged, but what we have to say is that we do not now believe that he had a fair trial; that we are now convinced by the testimony of a great number of intelligent men, who heard the whole trial, that the conduct of Campbell during that trial was greatly unfair and wrong to the extent that probably the verdict of the jury would otherwise have been different.”
Winfield Courier, June 10, 1880. “When W. P. Campbell was informed that Torrance would be a candidate for the office of District Judge, he was angry, used profane language, and said he would ‘sit down on Torrance.’
“When the court convened here at last term, Torrance as County Attorney, presented an information against Payson. Campbell, sitting as Judge, immediately made one of his stump speeches about half an hour long to show that Torrance, his competitor for the office of Judge, did not know enough to draw an information that would stick, and said that he would set aside the information in the morning unless Torrance should show authorities sustaining the sufficiency of the information, which he intimated could not be done. After adjournment that evening a prominent attorney informed us that the judge would be better informed by morning and would sustain the information. We do not charge that the judge had interviews with the prosecuting witness or with anyone else on that subject during the evening; but we were not surprised when on the following morning, the judge turned front and sustained the information. . . .”
Winfield Courier, June 10, 1880. “W. P. Campbell has written to the Commonwealth and through it ‘thrust into the faces’ of the Supreme Court Judges an argument against us in his contempt case against us while the case was pending before them, evidently intended to influence their decision of the case. This according to his own ruling is a clear case of contempt and makes it the duty of that court or its judges to bring Campbell before them and fine him more than two hundred dollars for contempt.
“Aside from its excellent attempt to prejudice the Supreme Court in his favor, his letter is a contemptible whine in which he falsifies the facts in order to make it appear that he had some excuse for his outrages. We shall not follow his example by going to a Topeka paper to answer him.”
Winfield Courier, June 10, 1880. “The Republican papers in the 13th Judicial District refuse to publish any more of ‘Bill’ Campbell's letters, and his only comfort now is in writing long-winded articles to the Commonwealth of Topeka. His last effusion is a defense of himself in the ‘contempt’ suit against Millington and Allison. In the whole 13th District, but two papers support Campbell: The Wichita Eagle, because Campbell is a Wichita man, and the Cowley County Monitor, because its editor is a new-comer and doesn't know any better. ‘Bill,’ like the man about to be drowned, catches at every straw, but he is now so far gone that a stern wheel steamer couldn’t save him. Oxford Reflex.”
Winfield Courier, June 17, 1880. “Last Saturday the primaries were held in Chautauqua County to choose delegates to the county convention, to elect delegates to the judicial, as well as the congressional, convention. Campbell had abandoned his court in Sumner county, where a judge pro tem was appointed to serve in his stead, and had spent the whole week in explaining to the Chautauquans those little charges of libertinism, attempt to outrage, too much whiskey and tyranny in general, which are heard of in that county, and in telling all the fine things he would do for those who support him, but on Saturday he had a big patch over his nose, which kept him busy that day in explaining that he was not drunk when he fell out of his buggy, but that it was a mere accident, etc. But his nose got away with him, and Torrance carried the county. Sedan elected Torrance delegates by a two-thirds majority, and the other towns appear to have gone in the same way. Chautauqua was claimed to be solid for Campbell, and was the only county in the district, except his own, which we thought he could carry. It now begins to look as though he would not get a single vote in the judicial convention. He must now begin to see the ‘hand writing upon the wall.’”
Winfield Courier, June 17, 1880. “In relation to our contempt case, the Arkansas City Traveler says: ‘It may be that the publications in the COURIER referred to by Judge Campbell were calculated to embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice, or to reflect upon the integrity of the court. But few conversant with the facts, however, will look at it in such a light. The friends of Payson were as loud in their denunciations of his prosecutors as they well could be, even before the COURIER was published; and we are inclined to believe with Brother Millington, that if he had published the half that was said on the street, Judge Campbell would have been somewhat puzzled as to what course to take. Mr. Millington was in favor of the law taking its course, and believing the jury had returned an honest verdict, he took the pains to say so in his paper, while at the same time he thought there were some others who were not above reproach.’
“It is possible that on Thursday, when the publication complained of was just issued, Campbell did not know the extent and intensity of the sentiment against him and his court on account of conduct in the Payson trial, but it is not probable even then that he believed the publication had any tendency to aggravate the public excitement against him. But on the following Monday, when he issued the attachment against us, he knew that the excitement against him and others connected with the Payson trial, was at the time of our publication not half told therein, and that what we did say was intended to allay that excitement, by stating that a minority of the people held that the trial had been fair and impartial, by stating that the jury had rendered a verdict in accordance with the law and the evidence, and by turning off with an anecdote and joke his conduct in cross-examining a witness for an hour to entangle him, one of the very things that had raised the popular indignation against him to so high a pitch. He knew then that our publication did have the effect to allay that excitement, and yet in his stump speech against us from the bench, he had the brazen mendacity to say that it did embarrass and hinder the court in the discharge of its duties by stirring up and exciting a drunken rabble against the court. This was the only pretense to hold our language a contempt of court in law. There could have been no other, and W. P. Campbell knew when he uttered it that it was false and a libel on us.
“This contempt case goes to the Supreme Court with none of these surrounding circum-stances, nothing to show the public feeling here, nothing to show whether our statements were false or true, nothing to show that Campbell did question that witness an hour, nothing but the language complained of, our admission as a witness on the case, and Campbell's stump speech against us in which he decided the case; yet, believing that in this unfavorable light our language could not have been construed into a legal offense even if we had started the worst criticisms that were made on him and his court, we feel the utmost confidence in our justification by the highest court.
“There was not a word in that paper that Campbell would have objected to if we had been supporting him for re-election.
“The crime we had committed was opposing his re-election. We had been doing it for some time and there was a little of it in our words he complained of, which he said were meaner than anything else that had been said, even by Allison.”
Winfield Courier, June 17, 1880.
“Judge Campbell fined the editors of the COURIER and Telegram, at Winfield, $200 each for commenting upon a case while the trial was in progress. The editors of those papers carried their case to the Supreme Court, and now Campbell rushes into print and publishes a long letter in the Commonwealth, where his views will likely reach the justices of that court. He is doing exactly what he fined the Winfield men for doing. It would now be in order for those men to each fine him $200, and enforce their judgment by preventing his re-election. Augusta Gazette.”
Winfield Courier, June 17, 1880. “Some of the papers in Judge W. P. Campbell's district are fighting his renomination for the judgeship vigorously. Daily Capital.”
“‘Some of the papers’ sounds well to come from a great daily that should keep better posted upon such matters. Will the Capital please mention a responsible paper in the 13th Judicial District that is working for ‘Bill's’ renomination? We hope the Capital will correct this error, and state that the people of this district are tired of the stage-struck libertine, and propose to give him the grand bounce. They have learned from that expensive instructor, experience, that Campbell is no more fit to occupy the judicial chair than a bright and shining ‘star.’ Give us no more of the ‘hump-back,’ but let us have an honest, upright man, who has been tried in the fire and not found wanting, a man on whom we may depend for good and efficient work, who will reflect credit upon our courts by his fair and impartial verdicts. Give us Hon. M. S. Adams. Oxford Reflex.”
More comments from other state newspapers were given in the June 17th issue.
Sedan Journal: “Many of Judge Campbell's official acts are just now receiving severe criticisms from individuals and the press, both in the district and out of it, and we think the strictures in nearly every case are well merited. The indications are that this year will end his judicial career, and we shall at least indulge the hope that his successor will be of a widely different stamp in many particulars. We shall endeavor hereafter to give the best of reasons why there should be a change—such reasons as we know represent the sentiments of at least three-fourths of the people of the district.”
“Norton Advance: Judge Campbell, of the 13th judicial district, said that the editors on his circuit were all too young to take care of themselves. He fined the Winfield editors for contempt of court because they expressed an opinion of his manner of business, and he gave a stump speech opinion that somebody ought to assassinate the editor of the Howard Courant, and now the way in which the press is warming air about him, will make him wish for a lump of ice next fall.”
Howard Courant: “If the old libertine Campbell could hear the expressions of contempt concerning his brazen audacity of trying to force himself upon the people for another term, he would hang his head in shame, return to the bosom of his family, and resolve to become a better man, and never again tender his services to the public.”
Sedan Times: “Judge W. P. Campbell has been in the county during the past few days fixing up irregularities, in the notions of certain of his brethren, preparatory to the meeting of the primaries, which are to be held on Saturday. The Judge will probably succeed in sweetening things to his taste.”
Winfield Courier, Thursday, June 24, 1880.
Judge W. P. Campbell Announces He Is No Longer a Candidate for Re-election.
“Judge Campbell called at this office last Monday and stated that the inference that he had an interview with the prosecuting witness in the Payson case before sustaining the information is unjust. He says he never met or spoke to that lady; except when on the bench in open court, and one time when passing out of court he met her at the door, touched his hat in sign of recognition, and passed on without speaking. We accept this statement as the fact in the case, not only in justice to him, but to the witness.
“The Judge announces to us that he is no longer a candidate for re-election to the office of Judge of this judicial court.”
Winfield Courier, June 23, 1881.
The Aftermath: W. P. Campbell Returns to Private Practice; Payson Pardoned.
The Wichita Republican says: “Judge Campbell was fined by Squire Thomas Saturday. The wheel rolls round, and round, and a J. P. gets a chance to whack it to the district judge."
Judge Campbell has our warmest sympathies. We know how it is ourself, and volunteer our services in his defense, because he cannot conscientiously defend himself, holding as he does that a court will not fine a man for contempt unless, compelled by imperative duty; while we think that the court might have wanted to “sit down on” Judge Campbell for opposing his re-election or some such offense, and might have seized the first pretext to attempt it, so we should have no conscientious scruples about resisting the fine, and pouring hot shot into Squire Thomas.
Winfield Courier, June 23, 1881.
“Judge Torrance got through the court docket at Wichita last week after a four weeks siege and can now take a rest. His anxiety to make correct and just decisions in every case and to turn off business as rapidly as possible has kept him on a mental steam for a long time. He will now visit the lakes and recuperate.”
Winfield Courier, June 23, 1881.
“Mr. Payson, of Illinois, father of Charles Payson, was here last week to take the initial proceedings to procure the pardon of the latter. Mr. Payson, the elder, is a very agreeable and intelligent gentleman, and goes about his work in the most judicious way.”
[Note: W. P. Campbell was one of the defense attorneys for Frank Manny at his trial held in 1881. Campbell had resumed private practice after losing the nomination for Judge in 1880. See Frank Manny article.]
Winfield Courier, July 7, 1881. “At a temperance meeting in Winfield during the time that the prohibitory amendment was before the people, Judge Campbell made a very effective speech, declaring himself in favor of the amendment and pledging it his support. He was at that time a candidate for District Judge. Since then he has experienced a change of heart. He now esteems this measure so fraught with peril to the liberty of the people that he has become the ‘evangelist’ of the liquor dealers, serving in their cause as attorney ‘without money and without price.’
“Has Judge Campbell become a living illustration in support of his most effective argument when a temperance speaker? He then said, in substance, that the great danger to the country under the then system of managing the liquor business was that it gave the saloon such supreme influence over a large class of citizens and voters, that when a man became a slave to his appetite for liquor he became the toady of the liquor seller, he felt obliged to laugh at all his stale jokes, and do his bidding at the polls, and that the worst calamity that could befall such a man in his own estimation was to offend the power which controlled what was the source of all his happiness on earth. Judge Campbell illustrated and amplified this in a most forcible manner.
“He said in a courtroom recently that he had drank more liquor since May 1st than ever before in his life. Public opinion credits him with having been a perfectly fearless follower of his theory, that the people who use the most liquor are the most capable and efficient, before the first of May. It is possible that Judge Campbell has reached that point in his career as a drinking man when for the sake of making sure of the supply for this growing appetite he becomes the volunteer toady and advocate of the liquor interest? It looks a little as if in his missionary zeal he is about to become a living illustration of the danger resulting from the unrestrained traffic in liquor which he has himself pointed out to the people.”
Arkansas City Traveler, November 30, 1881. “C. H. Payson, an ex-Winfield lawyer, who was recently pardoned out of the penitentiary, is now rusticating in Iowa.”
Arkansas City Traveler, December 7, 1881. “Judge Campbell now presides in the sanctum of the Wichita Daily Times, lately purchased by him. The paper, under his management, cannot fail to become one of the most influential journals of the West.”
Cowley County Censor, December 29, 1881 “Joe Houston, formerly of Arkansas City, has moved to Wichita and formed a law partnership with W. P. Campbell. Mr. Houston is a young man of excellent character and more than ordinary legal ability, and will no doubt, in the connection he has made, rapidly rise in his profession.”
Arkansas City Traveler, January 11, 1882. “Charlie Payson, recently pardoned from the penitentiary, delivered his lecture, ‘Crime and Criminals,’ at Winfield last Monday.”
Winfield Courier, January 11, 1882. “The case of McNeil vs. Buckman, over the possession of the old J. W. Curns house, which got Charlie Payson into his difficulty, has been decided in favor of Buckman. Geo. will take possession of the property and move his family in.”
Winfield Courier, March 16, 1882. “Our former citizen, Chas. H. Payson, whom it was hoped experience would teach a lesson, was recently arrested and lodged in jail at Topeka. His parents sent him $250, which he used to pay back the money he was charged with embezzling, and he is again on the wing. We are afraid Payson is a lost community.”
Winfield Courier, March 23, 1882. “The criminal genius of Charles Payson, is something remarkable, and will lead him either to glory or the grave. His getting the money sent him by his father while he was in jail at Topeka and getting away with it in his possession was an act calculated to call forth admiration for a brilliant criminal exploit if such a thing could be done. This man slides around in society plundering wherever he goes, and escapes from the meshes of the law like an eel through a man's hand. The fact that a man just out of the penitentiary should use his disgraceful punishment as the foundation for a lecture, and travel around as a high toned gentleman, is enough to take a man's breath away to contemplate. Wherever he has gone he has played the dead beat, and at the same time made friends who would be ready to swear to the purity of the man's character, and consider him an unfortunate and much abused gentleman. The man is inherently bad and can no more keep out of the penitentiary than a piece of wood can drift against the current of a river. In some particulars, this man strongly resembles Guiteau. He has an inordinate desire for notoriety or to attract public attention, and he also seems blessed with the idea that he is a highly respectable gentleman and worthy of the unlimited confidence and regard of his fellow men. He is a character worth observing and will never fail of attracting attention. He is a grand blood sucker to be turned loose upon society.”