KERRVILLE: 1930 A Day in a Courtroom With Big Thicket Editor tArcher Fullingim, editor, reporter, advertising manager, circulation manager, receptionist, p u b l i c relations counsel, typographer, proofreader, makeup man, folder, and chief of the complaint desk of the Kountze News, offered up, in his Christmas day issue. the following report on East Texas, Texas, frontier j ust “McDonald and Wren Trials Continued in Justice Court” It was justice of the peace court day last Thursday, and as it turned out it was Henry Allen Coe day in justice court. But the scores of spectators on hand when Judge Berniece Seale opened her court at 10 a.m. thought it was going to be a grand slam because two famous cases were to be tried. In these two cases, Ernest ElliWren were the defendants. As it turned out neither went on trail. But literally scads of people had taken off last Thursday in order to attend these two trials. It was hard to tell which trial would be the most fascinating. In one, the McDonald case, the defendant was charged with exceeding the speed limit south on Highway 69. He was arrested months ago by State Highway Patrolman Sherrell of Silsbee. It was reported that “Goat,” a notoriously slow driver, had 42 witnesses on hand to testify that if he drove 65 miles on hour he was ready to be corninitted to Rusk; 13 witnesses were said to be from Saratoga. As it turned out, half of the jury panel that had been summoned were also ready to testify for Mr. McDonald, who is a barber. Also on hand in the courtroom were seven State Highway Patrolmen from all over with armloads of records. In the other case, Mr. Wren, the No. 1 practical joker of Kountze, was on hand to defend himself against charges by the Texas Forest Service that he “willfully” set the woods on fire and burned a quarter acre of timber near the Southern Pacific tracks near the school. Mr. Wren was beady-eyed but not nervous, but he had walked a lot of it off walking up and down the stairs. For Mr. Wren was buzzing and he had a right to be. His lawyers from Beaumont, Keith, Mahaffey, et al, lawyers for the S.P. for which Mr. Wren has been section foreman about 30 years, had not showed HUNT’S ‘MISTAKEN’ DALLAS The following letter recently appeared in the letters to the editor of the Dallas Times Herald: FANTASTIC THOUGHT To the Times Herald: The thought that a display of patriotism is controversial is so fantastic as to be breathtaking, except for the fact that we have already accepted the idea. The Mistaken, numbering less than 2 percent, have corralled a n d regimented our population who would otherwise he enjoying pride in country, patriotic songs, speeches and action, except for the skillful management of the minus 2 per cent. The lane is long, someone has said, which never turns again and fate, though fickle, often gives another chance to man. H. L. HUNT Mercantile Bank Bldg., Dallas. up. It Nv as harrowing to watch. But all felt that pretty soon here would come old Max Mahaffey to defend Mr. Wren against the Texas Forest Service and its charge of “willful burning.” But the Wren lawyers never did show upbut that’s another story. Now back to Goat. Judge Seale called her docket, and Stover answered “we’re ready your honor” on every case. Judge Seale first postponed the trial of Val Hickman of Village Mills, who said that he would waive a jury and tell his story and leave it up to the court. Val’s case was continued and he went back to his seat. It was odd to see Val there who is quiet and modest and sincere and a person one would think would always be in the right. All this time Henry Alleri Coe, who rides broncs and reminds one of Alan Ladd, was sitting over there quiet and taciturn. He was representing McDonald. Then the judge called the McDonald case for trial and Stover said he was ready and Henry Allen said he was too, and he had a flash in his eyes as he said it, and a tingle went through the courtroom. Then the jury panel was found to be present. Then all at once Judge Seale beckons to Stover and they converse in low tones, and Smokey looks puzzled, but he beckons at Henry Allen and they converse in low tones in a corner. And then it is announced that the case of the State of Texas against Ernest Ellison McDonald would be continued. Judge Seale, who is now serving her last month as justice of the peace, said that she did not want to try the case, that personalities were involved, referring no doubt to McDonald’s arrest by Patrolman Sherrell and all the talking that has gone on since then. By that time, the next case was ready for trial, that of T. H. Wren, but Mr. Wren’s la’wyers had not arrived, but they had got in touch with Henry Allen Coe and had asked him, to represent Wren. So on behalf of . Wren, Henry Allen, just as Perry Mason would have, approached the bench, with the charge agaist Wren in his hand, and Henry Allen quickly discovered that the charge against Wren said “willful burning,” and he addressed the court in words that amounted to this: “Your honor the charge says ‘willful,’ and if it is that, this is a district court case. It should be ‘neglectful’ instead of ‘willful’ in order to be a county court case. A ‘willful’ charge must go before a grand jury. This charge should be dismissed and a new one written.” Then Mr. Stover spoke up and said in effect, let’s change it to “neglect,” but Mr. Coe pointed out that a new charge would have to be written and a whole rigamarole of legal functions and requirements observed. In the end, Mrs. Seale continued the case in favor of Mr. Coe’s arguments, and the county attorney agreed. Will there be a new charge against Mr. Wren claiming neglect? What Mr. Wren was doing the day the adjacent woods to the railroad tracks caught on fire was burning old ties, according to railroad custom. Mr. Wren said there were sparks and he worked just as hard as anybody to put out the fire. If and when the two cases come up for trial in justice court after Dec. 31, W. C. Brewster will be sitting as justice of the peace. Will both cases be dismissed on or before or after Dec. 31? Oh yes. Just one more thing. Coe was representing another client in the court. It was continued t. 00. \(“Another one of those Bode incidental pieces that go nowhere, and which we will gradually print fewer and fewer of until Mr. Bode goes away, or finds something to say.”Ed.’s note, written by Bode. Except that Mr. Bode will probably go away when he finds something to say, as he almost did in the Winter, 1959, Southwest Review.Ed.’s note, They were going to see Arthur at the hospital. His daddy was going to find a place to park the Ford and he drove off. There were cars parked all around the courthouse square and they walked across the street to the hospital. His mother had her coat on and its wool rubbed against his cheek. He had his short blue pants on. His mother’s coat had a fur on the collar. She had her hat on, dipped down in front. They walked up on the sidewalk and then through the low iron gate into the hospital. The sign said “Secor.” The square brown pillars ran along the porch. The iron fence had a hedge along it, and inside, there were square, perfectly green blocks of lawn. The gate had iron points on it, not as high as his chest, and when you shut the gate it clicked in a holder. An old man in a big hat and a handlebar mustache was sitting down at the other end of the porch in a rocking chair. He got up to spit over the edge, and still bending down he sat back down in his chair, looking at them. He held onto the chair arms with his big hands. “Now you be quiet,” his mother said. They went into the lobby past a big screen door that streaked slowly and had something tacked on the middle of it that flapped. He saw an office where bottles stood on a table. Nurses were walking down a hall. A person was rolled by on a table. The person was covered with a sheet and the head was turned the other way. It was a woman. His mother talked to a woman behind the glass who wore glasses, and they walked up the stairs. They came to a landing. It was dark on the stairs. They turned and went up the stairs again, with LEGALS CITATION BY PUBLICATION THE STATE OF TEXAS TO Charles C. Stephens Defendant, in the hereinafter styled and numbered cause: You are hereby commanded to appear before the 126th District Court of Travis County, Texas, to be held at the courthouse of said -county in the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas, at or before 10 o’clock A. M. of the first Monday after the expiration of 42 days from the date of issuance hereof; that is to say, at or before, 10 o’clock A. M. of Monday the 9th day of February, 1959, and answer the petition of plaintiff in Cause Number 112,575, in which Illa Stephens is Plaintiff and Charles C. Stephens is defendant, filed in said Court on the 22nd day of December, 1958, and the nature of which ,aid suit is as follows: Being an action and prayer for judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant for a decree of divorce dissolving the bonds of matrimony heretofore and now existing between said parties; Plaintiff alleges cruel treatment on the part of Defendant towards her of such nature as to render their further living together as husband and wife altogether insupportable; Plaintiff further alleges that one child was born of said union which said child is now 13 years of age; that plaintiff should be awarded the care, custody and control of said child and that defendant should be required to contribute a proper and suitable amount toward the support of said child until it reaches the age of 18 years; plaintiff further alleges that no community property was acquired by the parties during their marriage; Plaintiff further prays for relief, general and special. All of which inure fully appears his feet sticking a little to the rubber and the sickly smell in the air. They came to light and turned down the hall with the floor full of black and white checks and everything very quiet. Doors opened on either side of the hall. They walked past a door and a skinny man in a white jacket looked at them as he finished sucking on a piece of glass in a tumbler and put it weakly back on a white roller table. . His mother was taking short steps and looking at the numbers in her coat with the fur and the Winston Bode hat on, and then her eyes lit up and her mouth turned into a smile and she stepped into a room, saying “How are you feeling, Arthur?” HELLO, MAGGIE MAE,” Arthur whispered right away; he seemed all right. He smiled and shook her hand. He was brown and fullfaced and his hair was combed. “Take a chair,” Arthur whispered. “How are you, Carl?” He smiled. “Old man Cottle,” Arthur was saying. “Poor old man ain’t doin’ any good at all. They had a tube in his mouth all day today.” It Was quiet on the other side of the screen where Mr. Cottle was. Arthur’s leg hung in the air. They were talking a little louder. “I ju-st had stepped out of the saddle when that old heifer jerked ad hooked the rope around Blue’s leg. She shied back and knocked me down and then stepped on my leg I guess. The doctor said it was broke in three places.” His father came in looking a little bit dressed up with his tie on and his hat in his hand. His sleeves were rolled up above his brown wrists, which looked like they always did in his work shirts. “Hello, Arthur,” he whispered, extending his hand down and smiling as he watched it that he didn’t jar the bed. “I thought you gave up rodeoin’.” “That’s the trouble Fred, I was out of practice. Take that chair over there.” from Plaintiff’s Original Petition on file in this office and to which reference is here made; If this citation is not served within 90 days after date of its issuance, it shall be returned unserved. WITNESS, 0. T. MARTIN, JR., Clerk of the District Courts of Travis County, Texas. Issued and given under my hand and the seal of said Court at office in the City of Austin, this the 22nd day of December, 1958. 0. T. MARTIN, JR., Clerk of the District Courts, Travis County, Texas By GEO. W. BICKLER, Deputy. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Notice is hereby given that J. E. Miller and Bruce Inman, a partnership, composing the firm of J.. E. Miller Drilling Company, of Abilene, Texas, intends to incorporate such firm without a change of firm name after the expiration of thirty days from this date, save and except, said name shall be J. E. Miller Drilling Co., Inc. Dated this the 8th day of November, 1958. J. E. MILLER DRILLING COMPANY BRYAN BRADBURY CITATION BY PUBLICATION THE STATE OF TEXAS TO Edward George Sullivan Defendant, in the hereinafter styled and numbered cause: You are hereby commanded to appear before the 126th District Court of Travis County, Texas, to be held at the courthouse of said county in the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas, at or before 10 o’clock A. M. of the first Monday after the expiration of 42 days from the date of issuance hereof; that is to say, at or before, 10 o’clock A. M. of Monday the 26th day of January, 1959, and answer the petition of plaintiff in Cause Number 111,669, in which Edna Carl went to the window. There was a soft blue sky. The swallows were dipping and streaking. A white light came up from the street. He could hear the car horns below. He’d never seen the town from the hospital. The air was very warm and soft, and all he could see was the blue sky, the tops of the trees, the top of the courthouse, and the swallows. Mr. Cottle groaned. A nurse in squeaking white rubber shoes came in and looked over the partition, whispered, “Did he wake up?” “I think he’s tryin` to,” said a woman. “He seemed like he wanted some water while ago.” . The nurse smiled ad said in a quick whisper, “I’ll go get his medicine now.” It was getting dark. The air in the hospital seemed sweet and heavy. There was the smell of medicine and the smell of food. The walls seemed thick. Bright bulbs burned in the hall. Carl heard a nurse come on duty and say in a brisk, hard voice, “Have these been checked yet? Why don’t you just leave them there?” Metal pans rang together. The nurse brought a glass of medicine for Mr. Cottle on a tray, and she leaned over him and said, “All right now, I’ve got something here that’ll make you feel a lot better!” Mr Cottle groaned. ” ‘Bout that time again, Mr. Merritt!” Another nurse came in and stood over Arthur, holding a thermometer. “Uh-oh!” said
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