[THE JUDGE WHO WENT BLIND.]
[Note from MAW August 5, 2000]
I received a letter from Twila Watts, dated August 2, 2000. Twila became a member of the Arkansas City Historical Society shortly after the last session held by Cowley County history buffs with Dr. Bottorff in the Winfield Public Library at a meeting conducted by Joan Cales, Special Services Librarian at Winfield.
Parts of the letter I found very pertinent with respect to Judge J. W. White of Winfield. When I first got started in looking at the old newspapers, I started with the Arkansas City Traveler mainly in search of the early-day flyers. As a result, I found scattered throughout the papers some very interesting articles. Some of these were about Judge White.
Here is Twila Watts’ letter to me.
“Mary Ann: When I talked to you at the meeting in Winfield this summer, we talked about the Interurban. You may have these pictures. The mule-drawn was from 1887 to 1909 and was motorized in 1909. I was surprised this lasted until 1926. Blast the auto!
“This is meaningful to me because Mom and Dad rode the interurban to Winfield to purchase their marriage license. The Judge, Judge White, who was blind, had completed his work day and came home to A. C. They returned to A. C. and went to his home. They were both 19 yrs. old. This was 1918. This marriage lasted 50 years, 1968. Daddy died February 1969.
“They grew up together through the years, and as I recall their relationship (marriage), I see they were real friends. Daddy was always Mom’s hero and he was her protector.
“I thought that was the way it was. Mom lost both her parents by 5 years. Dad’s parents divorced when he was in the 7th grade. He quit school and went to work at the Harvey House as a shoe shine boy to begin. He helped to support his mother and younger brother. My grandmother didn’t want support. (Pride or ignorance.) We lament over the many broken families today, but families were not always ‘together.’ Death separated many I learned when I studied the background of Mom’s friends.”
In checking Dr. Bottorff’s web site, I found that both of the postcards sent to me by Mrs. Watts are indeed already on his web site. The “last trip May 17, 1909" was taken by a photographer called “BRASK.”
Below I am printing articles pertaining to Judge White that I found in the newspaper.
[INDIAN MARRIAGE CEREMONY CONDUCTED BY JUDGE J. W. WHITE.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, June 28, 1921.
BLIND JUDGE SAYS CEREMONY
Investigation of Wichita Case Involves Judge J. W. White.
Wichita, Kansas, June 28—“I would like to know who performed a marriage ceremony for a child like that,” said Mrs. J. A. Stokely, county juvenile officer, regarding with amazement the 14 year old wife, Hazel Irene Youngblood, whose domestic troubles have received much attention in the past two weeks.
The girl could tell her little. A man had married her to Clyde Youngblood one day last May at Winfield, and there has been some argument as to how much he should be paid. But who the man was she did not know.
Mrs. Stokely was determined to learn. She felt that the person who had married the couple after seeing what a child the bride was—the girl does not look more than 12 years old—was guilty of an offense against society.
The mystery was solved Monday. The marriage certificate was obtained and showed the couple had been married May 18 at Winfield by J. W. White, probate judge. And Judge White, according to the juvenile officer, is blind. That, she says, explains it.
A complaint alleging parental neglect has been filed in juvenile court and is scheduled for hearing next Saturday. It was reported that summons was not served on the mother, Mrs. Richard Hayes, or Youngblood, as they could not be found. Cases against the father involving charges resulting from his attempt to get the girl away from the life she hated were continued Monday in city court.
[INDIAN MARRIAGE CEREMONY CONDUCTED BY JUDGE WHITE.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, June 30, 1921.
JUDGE WHITE EXPLAINS
Explanation and Records Show He Was Not At Fault.
Editor Traveler—The enclosed clipping was taken from your paper, which appeared in the issue of June 28, and which was not commented upon by you, and you knowing me as you do, I am surprised that you would help circulate such a flagrant presumption of one of your own citizens without first consulting the records which might be obtained from your county.
The enclosed clipping was copied by you from that democratic organ, the Wichita Eagle. We have all read articles from this self-same paper from time to time exposing the rottenness of the peace officers of Wichita, Kansas, but I had not supposed it had reached so far as the juvenile court of their city.
The utterances referred to in the clipping coming from Mrs. J. A. Stokely, probation officer, are utterances that sound to me as if made by a fanatic or one who was hysterical. Lord Cook once said that “he who passes judgment without hearing both sides of the question, even though guessing correctly, does not do justice.”
The utterances made by Probation Officer Stokely would convince me fully that she would not be competent to fill the office of probation officer in Cowley County, Kansas.
The record in this office shows that on the 18th day of May, 1921, Mrs. Gertrude Hayes of Arkansas City and her daughter, Irene Hayes, accompanied with their stalwart brave, Clyde Youngblood, appeared in my office and requested a marriage license, and the said mother signed the parent’s consent blank and swore upon oath that her daughter was fifteen years of age and would soon be sixteen; and made the statement that Youngblood was a fine man and that her daughter would not have to work anymore and reiterated the statement many times, hence the marriage license was issued and they were married by the court.
My experience has been that a great majority of girls under sixteen years of age who are accompanied by their mother to this court are cases, which upon examination, reveal the fact that the girl would be better off married. These cases are known as “shot gun” cases.
A great many mothers in the vicinity of Arkansas City seem to look upon marriage as a lottery and that an Indian is the capital prize; and if their daughter can only draw the capital prize, they are happy. No doubt money is the incentive.
I make this statement with all due respect to the Indian, but facts are facts, and a divorce suit is very often the result. No doubt Mrs. Hayes entertained the same idea with respect to her daughter. Very respectfully, J. W. White, probate Judge.
Arkansas City Daily Traveler, Tuesday, November 1, 1921.
BURGLARY CASE CLEARED.
Chief Peek Found Boy Offenders By Finger Print Photos.
Chief C. H. Peek, of the city police force, carried out a very clever piece of detective work yesterday, in connection with the store robbery of the C. C. Scott grocery, located at 512 West Spruce avenue, which occurred last Saturday night. And the work in this line was the real cause of the capture of four boys, all in their teens, who were caught in the act and afterwards confessed that the chief had the real dope on them. At the time the store was broken into and robbed, there were cigars, tobacco, gum, extracts, and some other articles missing. In gaining an entrance to the store, the parties had broken a window pane, and on the glass was pasted a piece of paper and another one on the end of the piece of glass. There was a finger print on the piece of paper and another one on the end of the piece of glass. The glass was found in the alley back of the store. Chief Peek figured out that the thumb print on the glass was put there by a left handed man or boy, and so he went to work on this theory. He gathered in a dozen boys, whom he learned had been out the Saturday night in question, and began the finger print photo method on all of them. Finally he located the one who was the left handed man and who left the print on the glass, and the lad confessed.
Chief Peek says this boy is Ed Rea and the others implicated in the case gave the names of McEtheran, Merriam, and Jim Paline. They were turned over to Probation Officer O. H. Isham and he took the quartet to the county seat this morning, to have them appear before the probate Judge, J. W. White, of Winfield. They probably will be placed on parole, or it is possible that some of them may be given a term in the state reformatory, the chief reported this morning.
[JUDGE WHITE, BLIND.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, February 9, 1922.
The study of law, carried out under the handicap of his blindness, is being successfully carried out by Probate Judge White. Today the judge was proudly exhibiting a sheepskin from LaSalle Extension University, Chicago, conferring on him the degree of Bachelor of Laws.
Judge White spent more than 2,400 hours in this study. He is now studying Kansas reports, having recently acquired a set of Kansas reports. In about a year he expects his law examination, and if he is successful, he can then be admitted to the bar.
Judge White’s text books are read aloud to him and his only notes are mental. In spite of this, he has been very successful so far in his studies.—Free Press.
[KU KLUX KLAN: GEO. A. JACKSON, NEGRO, FEARS BEING WATCHED.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, April 15, 1922.
Geo. A. Jackson, negro porter and day laborer of this city, who has always been a law abiding citizen, so far as his friends and acquaintances know, was adjudged insane by a commission here late yesterday evening, as he is suffering from the hallucination that the Ku Klux Klan is watching him and is going to get him. For some time past Jackson had had the idea that someone is after him and while not violent he has caused his family much trouble in the past several weeks on this account.
He is 35 years of age and has a wife and five children. He is not violent; but when under the impression that the Klan is after him, he says he can see a million autos, each containing seven white robed men, and all looking at him as he goes down the street. The commission which adjudged the negro of unsound mind last evening, the hearing being held in the office of Deputy County Attorney C. H. Quier, in this city, before Probate Judge J. W. White, of Winfield, was composed of Drs. B. C. Geeslin and L. M. Beatson, of this city.
At times, it is said, the negro appeared to be all right mentally, but at other times he seems to be of the opinion that someone is after him and he fears his imaginary enemies will do him bodily harm. At these times, it is said by his relatives, he is hard to manage; and the relatives are of the opinion he may be cured of the hallucination if admitted to the state asylum. He will be admitted to the hospital at Ossawatomie at once, the officers report.
Jackson is a son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Hooker. Hooker and Jackson’s wife were witnesses in the insanity hearing held here yesterday. Jackson was the steward at the Eagles club room here for a number of years and he has also worked for the Santa Fe here at different times. He has been in his present condition for several weeks past, and prior to that time, was a hard working man and a law abiding citizen, the officers say.
[FRANK V. BROWN ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR PROBATE JUDGE.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, June 24, 1922.
RECAP: FRANK V. BROWN, 3RD CANDIDATE FOR PROBATE JUDGE.
OTHER TWO: INCUMBENT, J. W. WHITE; W. T. HAMM, A. C.
Frank V. Brown has lived in Cowley County thirty-nine years, growing to manhood in East Bolton township. He is a graduate of the Winfield high school and also attended Southwestern College for several years. He taught school in Cowley County 14 years, and was clerk of the county for four years. During the war he was clerk of the selective service board. He is a brother of Mrs. E. C. Bossi of East Bolton.
[COWLEY COUNTY PRIMARY: TOTAL VOTE.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Friday, August 4, 1922.
Final figures on the republican county candidates from the primary election of last Tuesday, as given out at Winfield this afternoon, are as follows.
Quier 1862; Howard 1775. White 2122; Ham 948; Brown 722. King 1646; Lee 2036. Webb 1569; Miller 1766. On the democrat ticket L. C. Brown had a nice lead over Alexander, for the nomination of representative.
[MEXICAN COUPLE ELOPE; TRY TO GET MARRIED; GROOM IN JAIL.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, August 5, 1922.
Winfield, Aug. 5.—Detention in jail and separation from his intended bride were awaiting Miguel Gorgas when he applied for a marriage license at the office of Probate Judge White Friday; and the Senorita Marie Garcia is again in the home of her parents, from which place she eloped with Miguel Wednesday, it is said. The girl told the officers she is seventeen; her mother declares she is but thirteen. The mother refuses to consent to the marriage, and whether she is seventeen or younger, the girl cannot marry without the parents’ consent.
The story of the elopement was told in yesterday’s Courier. The girl’s father, Pedro Garcia, works for the Santa Fe and lives in “Little Mexico” on the right of way south of Ninth avenue. Miguel also works for the Santa Fe and boarded with the Garcias. Miguel and Marie eloped to Arkansas City Wednesday. Garcia appealed to the officers to find and return the elopers. No trace of Miguel and his sweetheart was found in Arkansas City. But today they appeared in probate court, asking for a license to wed. They were at once taken up by the sheriff.