The Twelve Days of Guy Town Christmas, Day Twelve

December 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

On the twelfth day of Christmas (1883): “twelve worthy jurors, eleven half seas over, mud to the 10th power, nine shades of grey, an 8% solution, seven strips of bacon, sharp 6 o’clock Sunday morning, $5 fine with costs, four cut-up caballeros, three maudlin lines of poetry, two fighting drunks … and a pungent suit hanging from the police station clothes tree.”


The case in the district court against Francis Lawrie, Tom Conley, and George Wallace, charged with outraging little Joe Gibson ended this day. Lawrie and Conley were convicted and sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary.

“Served them right. A man low enough to be guilty of such a crime is not fit to be at large in respectable society,” the Statesman scolded.

Wallace had made a statement admitting his guilt, and entered a conditional plea of guilty; if the court of appeals held good the indictment, Wallace would plead guilty.

“This admission of Wallace is of more value than would have been his conviction, establishing, as it does, the truthfulness of the unfortunate boy, who, by the way, has so demeaned himself as to receive the confidence and regard of those who have been brought in contact with him. Our information is said he has shown himself to be, while poor and among strangers, a manly, honest little fellow,” the Statesman said in relative praise of both Wallace and the poor boy.

In mid-October, Wallace, Conners, and Laury committed an “unnatural crime” upon little Joe They caught and thrust him into an empty freight car in Guy Town’s railroad yard, and then all of them, in turn committed, the indecent crime. When they released Joe, he sought the police, and finding Officer Howe, told him his story, and that officer, in company with other policemen, found the men and took them into custody.

“If the story of the boy is true, they ought to be most severely dealt with,” the Statesman pronounced at the time, in effect, placing the burden of proof on little Joe, something unthinkable these days.

And with this story of outrage and indecency, the Twelve Days of Guy Town Christmas end.

But I might just make it a baker’s dozen. Stay tuned tomorrow.


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