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Civil Government and Religion

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    SEVENTEENTH CASE James A. Armstrong, the second time.

    On the 9th of July, 1886, Mr. Armstrong was arrested the second time, by A. M. Dritt, marshal of Springdale, for working on Sunday, June 27, and taken before the mayor, S. L. Staples. When brought before the mayor, Mr. Armstrong called for the affidavit on which the writ was issued. The mayor stated that he himself had seen Mr. Armstrong at work in his garden on Sunday, and that Mr. A. J. Vaughn had called his attention to Armstrong while he was at work, and had said: “Now, see that you do your duty.” This made an affidavit unnecessary. The case was tried while tried before the mayor, acting as Justice of the Peace. A. T. Vaughn was the first witness.CGRSL 134.4

    Justice of the Peace.—“What do you know about Mr. Armstrong’s working on Sunday, June 27?”CGRSL 135.1

    Vaughn.—“I did not see Armstrong at all that day; I only heard he was at work.”CGRSL 135.2

    J. I. Gladden was the next witness called.CGRSL 135.3

    Justice.—“What do you know about Mr. Armstrong’s working on Sunday, June 27?”CGRSL 135.4

    Gladden.—“While at the depot, I saw some one at work hoeing in Mr. Armstong’s garden; but I do not know for certain who it was.”CGRSL 135.5

    Millard Courtney was the next witness called.CGRSL 135.6

    Justice.—“Tell us what you know about Mr. Armstrong’s working on the Sunday in question.”CGRSL 135.7

    Courtney.—“While on the platform of the depot, I saw some one hoeing in Mr. Armstrong’s garden. I am not positive who it was.”CGRSL 135.8

    Having failed to prove anything from the while witnesses regularly summoned, the case was “rested” while the marshal was sent out to find somebody else. He brought in Gideon Bowman, who was then questioned as follows:—CGRSL 135.9

    Justice.—“Do you know anything about Mr. Armstrong’s doing work other than customary household duties of daily necessity, comfort, or charity on the Christian Sabbath, June 27?”CGRSL 135.10

    Bowman.—“I do.”CGRSL 135.11

    J.—“State what you saw.”CGRSL 135.12

    B.—“As I came into town, having been out east, in passing Mr. Armstrong’s house, I saw him hoeing in the garden.”CGRSL 135.13

    J.—“Did you recognize this person to be J. A. Armstrong?”CGRSL 135.14

    B.—“I did.”CGRSL 135.15

    Here the prosecution rested the case, and Eld. J. G. Wood assumed the cross-examination in behalf of the prisoner.CGRSL 136.1

    Wood.—“Mr. Bowman, you say you were coming along the road from the east when you saw Mr. Armstrong at work in his garden?”CGRSL 136.2

    B.—“I did.”CGRSL 136.3

    W.—“Were you coming to town?”CGRSL 136.4

    B.—“I as.”CGRSL 136.5

    W.—“About how long were you in passing Mr. Armstrong’s house? and what was the length of time you saw him at work?”CGRSL 136.6

    B.—“I can’t tell.”CGRSL 136.7

    W.—“Do you think the time to have been two minutes, or more?”CGRSL 136.8

    B.—“Don’t know; can’t tell.”CGRSL 136.9

    W.—“Could it possibly have exceeded one minute?”CGRSL 136.10

    B.—“I don’t know. It makes no difference. I am not here to be pumped.”CGRSL 136.11

    W.—“Mr. Bowman, we are only wanting the facts in the case. Are you sure it was Mr. Armstrong you saw hoeing? Might it not have been some other man?”CGRSL 136.12

    B.—“I am not mistaken. I know it was J. A. Armstrong.”CGRSL 136.13

    W.—“What was he doing?”CGRSL 136.14

    B.—“I told you he was hoeing.”CGRSL 136.15

    W.—“What was he hoeing? Was he hoeing corn, or hoeing out some potatoes for his dinner.”CGRSL 136.16

    B.—“He was hoeing; that is enough.”CGRSL 136.17

    At this point the Justice of the Peace interfered:—CGRSL 136.18

    “It seems, Mr. Wood, that you are trying to make it appear that Mr. Armstrong was only digging a mess of potatoes for his dinner. If that is so, and he was doing a work of comfort, necessity, or charity, he can prove it.”CGRSL 136.19

    W.—”If your honor please, Mr. Armstrong is not here to prove a negative. The law allows him to do such work as is of necessity, comfort, or charity; and until it is clearly proven that he has violated this law, which thus far has not been proven, it is unnecessary for him to offer proof. A man stands innocent until he is proven guilty.”CGRSL 136.20

    Justice.—”We proceed.”CGRSL 137.1

    W.—”Mr. Bowman, you say you were in the road when you saw Mr. Armstrong?”CGRSL 137.2

    B.—”Yes.”CGRSL 137.3

    W.—”Do you remember whether there was a fence between you and Mr. Armstrong?”CGRSL 137.4

    B.—”Yes; there was.”CGRSL 137.5

    W.—”About what is the hight of that fence?”CGRSL 137.6

    B.—”Don’t know.”CGRSL 137.7

    W.—”Was it a board fence five boards high?”CGRSL 137.8

    B.—”Can’t say.”CGRSL 137.9

    W.—”Was there a second fence between the road and the garden, beyond the house and lot?”CGRSL 137.10

    B.—”I think there was.CGRSL 137.11

    W.—”Was that second fence a board fence or a very high picket fence?”CGRSL 137.12

    B.—”I don’t know, not don’t care. It makes no difference.”CGRSL 137.13

    W.—”I understand, then, that you don’t know. Well, Mr. Bowman, what time in the day did you see Mr. Armstrong in the garden?”CGRSL 137.14

    B.—”In the afternoon.”CGRSL 137.15

    W.—”About what time in the afternoon,—was it one or two o’clock, or later?”CGRSL 137.16

    B.—”It makes no difference. I am not here to be pumped. If you want to pump me any more, just come out on the street with me.”CGRSL 137.17

    W.—”Sir, I have no desire to pump anything but truth from you, and only wish to know the facts in this case. Was it about one or two o’clock in the afternoon, or about four or five? Please tell us about the time of day.”CGRSL 137.18

    B.—”It was between twelve noon and sunset. That is near enough.”CGRSL 137.19

    This closed the testimony in the case. Mr. Armstrong was declared guilty, and fine one dollar and costs, the whole amounting to $4.65. In default of the payment of his fine, the mayor, acting as Justice of the Peace, told him he would send him to the country jail, and allow him a dollar a day until the fine and costs were paid.CGRSL 137.20

    The marshal went at once to the livery-stable to get a rig, and within four hours from the time of his arrest, Mr. Armstrong, in charge of the marshal, was on his way to jail at Fayetteville. He was locked up with another prisoner, with nothing but a little straw, and a dirty blanket about thirty inches wide, for a bed for both. The next night, he was allowed to lie in the corridor on the brick floor, with his alpaca coat for a bed, and his Bible for a pillow. The third night, a friend in town furnished him a quilt and a pillow. On the fourth night, his friend brought him another quilt, and thus he was made quite comfortable. On the fifth day, at noon, he was released.CGRSL 138.1

    When Mr. Armstrong returned to Springdale, the mayor notified him that his fine and costs were the satisfied, and that unless they were paid in ten day not execution would be issued, and his property days, an execution would be issued, and his property sold. Mr. Armstrong filed an appeal to the Circuit Court, and the appeal was sustained, and he was released from further penalty.CGRSL 138.2

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