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Caleb Powers.

My own story; an account of the conditions in Kentucky leading to the assassination of William Goebel, who was declared governor of the state, and my indictment and conviction on the charge of complicity in his murder online

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MY OWN STORY

By CALEB POWERS




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



MY OWN STORY



MY OWN STORY



An account of the conditions in Kentucky
leading to the assassination of William
Goebel, who was declared governor of the
State, and my indictment and conviction
on the charge of complicity in his murder



By
CALEB POWERS



Illustrated from Photographs



INDIANAPOLIS

THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY

PUBLISHERS



Copyright 1905
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY



April



PRESS OF

BRAUNWORTH &. CO.

BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS

BROOKLYN, N. Y.



College
Library

P '



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

BOYHOOD IN THE MOUNTAINS

FAGS

My reasons for writing this story My ancestors My
life as a boy in the Kentucky mountains Our re-
moval to Brush Creek I

CHAPTER II

MY FIRST SPEECH

I matriculate at Union College The college debate

My first oratorical effort I teach my first school . 9

CHAPTER III

THE GREAT DEBATE

I argue about the burning question, " Resolved : That

the earth is round" The judgment of my peers . 20

CHAPTER IV

COLLEGE DAYS

My life at the state college I learn to drill I teach
school again Illness My appointment to West
Point 26

CHAPTER V

A NEW OUTLOOK

I journey to West Point A glimpse of the national
capital I prepare for examinations The ordeal
I enter West Point "..'.-. 35



CHAPTER VI

SUMMER CAMP

I spend the summer in camp Hazing I arrest my

superior officer 43



CHAPTER VII

AT LAW SCHOOL

I become a third-classman My eyesight fails and I am
forced to leave the Academy I enter the law school
at Valparaiso, Indiana 48

CHAPTER VIII

MY FIRST POLITICAL CAMPAIGN

I am a candidate for the office of superintendent of
schools of Knox County, Kentucky I make a can-
vass of the mountain districts I take part in joint
debates I am graduated from law school and
elected to office 52

CHAPTER IX

MARRIAGE

Responsibility of office I begin to practise law My

marriage The sudden death of my wife .... 6l

CHAPTER X

AGAINST ODDS

I am again a successful candidate I take a post-
graduate course in law at Center College, Danville
Stump-speaking 66



CHAPTER XI

THE KENTUCKY PROBLEM

PAGE

Affairs in Kentucky in 1899 The Goebel Election Law

Opinion of Henry Watterson The effort of the
Democrats to have the law declared constitutional
The outlook for Democratic success in the campaign

of 1899 71

CHAPTER XII

THE DEMOCRATIC MACHINE

The Democratic state convention at Music Hall, Louis-
ville Many contesting delegations Excitement
over the temporary chairman's decision Bailiffs fail
to preserve order Election of Redwine as perma-
nent chairman Machine work Stone proposes
terms 77

CHAPTER XIII

THE CONVENTION DECIDES

Continuance of Democratic Convention at Music Hall
Despair of delegates Judge Redwine refuses to
entertain a motion to adjourn Goebel is nominated

Democratic ticket Independent Democrats re-
pudiate the ticket of the Music Hall Convention
Objections of Prohibitionists Anti-Goebel move-
ment goes on Denunciation of the Goebel Election
Law 85

CHAPTER XIV

THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

Race for nominations on the Republican ticket State
convention at Lexington I am nominated for Sec-
retary of State 93



CHAPTER XV

MR. BRYAN VISITS KENTUCKY

FAGB

Goebel opens his campaign at Mayfield His reluctance
to mix with people Republican campaign begins at
London Opening of anti-Goebel campaign at Bowl-
ing Green Goebel refuses to take part in joint de-
bate Mr. Bryan on the stump for Goebel Louis-
ville election board removes election officers ... 98

CHAPTER XVI

ELECTION DAY IN KENTUCKY IN 1899

Election day "Repeaters' paradise" Assembling of
military Republicans win by a safe plurality
Democrats claim election Election board renders
decision in favor of Republicans 105

CHAPTER XVII

THE REPUBLICANS STAND FIRM

Goebel contests decision of election board Democratic
caucus Evidence of Mr. Harrel Inauguration of
Taylor Rules of Contest Committee . . . . ill



THE SHOOTING OF WILLIAM GOEBEL

Effort of Taylor's attorneys to remove Democratic mem-
bers of contest committees Suit to enjoin Taylor
appointees from taking oath of office Republicans
seek to arouse the people I bring the mountain
people to Frankfort Meeting on the steps of the
Capitol I go to Louisville for more petitioners
Goebel is shot The excitement at Frankfort The
military is called out . 118



CHAPTER XIX

MAKING POLITICAL CAPITAL

PACK

Demand for revenge Governor Taylor convenes the
Legislature at London Democrats declare Goebel
and Beckham elected and later falsify the records of
the general assembly A proclamation Senator
Goebel's death is announced, and Beckham takes the
oath of office as governor 126



CHAPTER XX

AN APPEAL TO THE~COURTS

Sorrow over the death of Senator Goebel Governor
Taylor rejects the Louisville "Peace Agreement"
General assembly reconvenes at Frankfort Two
legislative bodies and two sets of state officials . . 130



CHAPTER XXI

DEMOCRATIC SLEUTHS BEGIN WORK

Decision against Republicans Action of Legislature
final Goebel partizans threaten to take forcible pos-
session of the offices Situation becomes warlike
The Democrats appropriate one hundred thousand
dollars to discover and punish the assassin . . . 137

CHAPTER XXII

MY ARREST

I visit my father and mother Threatened with arrest,
I seek safety in flight, but am taken from a train at
Lexington I pass a gloomy, apprehensive night in
a cell 142



CHAPTER XXIII

FROM LEXINGTON TO LOUISVILLE

PAGE

Nocturnal visit of officers to my cell Handcuffed, I
am taken from jail, driven across country to a rail-
way and hurried to Louisville A defense fund of
ten thousand dollars 150

CHAPTER XXIV

MY PRELIMINARY HEARING

Before Judge Moore The late T. C. Campbell's record
Wharton Golden's testimony Dramatic scene,
pregnant with dire possibilities, that finally passes
away without bloodshed Moments of great peril to
myself I am denied bail and go back to jail . . 155

CHAPTER XXV
THE PROSECUTION'S PLANS

Arrest of Combs, Noakes, Youtsey and others How
Lawyer Campbell and Arthur Goebel secure a " con-
fession " from Youtsey Decision against Taylor
and Marshall Report of the grand jury, indicting
myself and many others Federal supreme court de-
cides against the Republicans Governor Taylor's
flight to Indiana Denunciatory Democratic plat-
form 164

CHAPTER XXVI

REPUBLICANS BARRED

My first trial before Judge Cantrill Selection of a par-
tizan jury Disregard of the law for the purpose of
insuring conviction Campbell's statement in behalf
of the prosecution 176



CHAPTER XXVII

A POLITICAL NECESSITY

PAGE

Trained witness for the Commonwealth George F.
Weaver's sensational statement in regard to the shoot-
ing of Senator Goebel Indictment for perjury, but
no prosecution Finley Anderson's false testimony 183

CHAPTER XXVIII

THE VALUE OF AN OATH

Robert Noakes in the role of a star-witness Later con-
fesses himself to be a perjurer W. H. Culton exon-
erates me after giving sensational testimony F.
Wharton Golden's evidence Prosecution calls the
Goebel press to its rescue 189

CHAPTER XXIX

MY DEFENSE AND MY CONVICTION

Judge Faulkner's statement for the defense My testi-
mony for myself Cross-examination by Lawyer
Campbell Address to the jury Verdict of guilty,
with penalty of life imprisonment Juryman Porter
My card to the public 195



AFTER THE VERDICT

I am again taken to the Louisville jail My reflections
on the way I find myself a victim of injustice, with
no prospect of redress Charges and countercharges
preceding the trial of Jim Howard Summary of the
testimony Howard is convicted of shooting Goebel
and is sentenced to death 204



CHAPTER XXXI

TRIAL OF HENRY E. YOUTSEY

FAGS

Campbell's deftly woven statement Hunted look of the
defendant His fierce denunciation of Arthur Goebel
and paroxysmal display of emotion His illness and
his appearance in the court-room Jury returns ver-
dict of guilty, with imprisonment for life . . . 213



CHAPTER XXXII

A REPUBLICAN JUDGE ELECTED

Confessions by Anderson and Noakes, admitting they
were bribed Youtsey signs an affidavit exonerating
me I am encouraged by a change in the political
complexion of the court of appeals 220

CHAPTER XXXIII

A NEW TRIAL GRANTED

Four Republican appellate judges grant Howard and my-
self new trials Colonel W. C. P. Breckinridge's
arraignment of the Democratic judges Continua-
tion of the prosecution's " Hang and damn " policy
Captain Ripley's acquittal Judge Cantrill's famous
charge to the Grand Jury 225

CHAPTER XXXIV

AGAIN BEFORE JUDGE CANTRILL

Governor Durbin declines to honor requisitions for Tay-
lor and Finley My second trial a repetition of the
first Judge Cantrill refuses to vacate the bench
Twelve partizan Goebel Democrats act as jurymen
Am again convicted, and sentenced for life . . . 232



CHAPTER XXXV

YOUTSEY AND THE PROSECUTION

FAG*

J. B. Howard's second trial results in change of sentence
to life imprisonment Berry Howard's acquittal
Attempts to induce Youtsey to make a " new " confes-
sion Torture at last produces a statement that is
satisfactory to the prosecution My own position be-
comes more grave 237

CHAPTER XXXVI
HOWARD'S THIRD TRIAL

Cecil's remarkable testimony Youtsey tells a long story,
but fails to connect me with the so-called conspiracy
to kill Senator Goebel Admits having perjured him-
self, when confronted with affidavits Is again con-
victed and sentenced . 246

CHAPTER XXXVII

MY THIRD TRIAL

Death of my father I am not permitted to attend his
funeral Judge Robbins supplants Judge Cantrill
Another packed jury Youtsey and Cecil testify
against me 253

CHAPTER XXXVIII

CONDEMNED

My closing argument in behalf of myself Crowds listen
to my review of the case, in which I arraign the pros-
ecution Jury, however, finds me guilty, attaches the
death penalty, and I am sentenced to be hanged
Appeal to the higher court 259



CHAPTER XXXIX

WHERE MY CASE RESTS

PAGE

Tragic end of T. C. Campbell and peaceful death of for-
mer Governor Brown Court of appeals for the
third time declares my conviction illegal and unfair
and grants me a new trial I am awaiting the re-
turn of reason and justice 265

CHAPTER XL

CONCLUSION

My story written under difficulties I am surrounded by
criminals of all degrees Noise and impertinent curi-
osity, instead of privacy Five years in prison and
still no final determination of my case An awaken-
ing of the people at hand 271

APPENDICES

APPENDIX A Affidavit of Finley B. Anderson . . . 279

APPENDIX B Affidavit of Robert Noakes 283

APPENDIX C My Address to the Jury During My Third

Trial 295

APPENDIX D Instructions Asked, and Instructions

Given, During My First Trial . . . 469
APPENDIX E Correspondence Between Governors Dur-

bin and Beckham 478



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Caleb Powers Frontispiece

Members of My Family 5

In My Earlier Days 64

William Goebel 72

Goebel's Home in Covington 90

Colonel " Jack " Chinn 100

Goebel and Chinn with Members of the Legislature . . 112

Scenes in Frankfort 124

A Plan of the Capitol Grounds , 134

On the Capitol Grounds 144

The Grand Jury 168

Some of the Others Indicted 186

Robert Franklin 198

The Judges During My Trials 234

My Address to the Jury 260

Scenes in My Quarters in Louisville Jail 272



MY OWN STORY



MY OWN STORY

CHAPTER I

BOYHOOD IN THE MOUNTAINS

My reasons for writing this story My ancestors My life
as a boy in the Kentucky mountains Our removal to
Brush Creek

One of the masters of literature has said that a book
for which the author feels an apology necessary should
never see the light. It is in full agreement with this
sentiment that my present task is begun, admitting,
though, that if there is any book for which the author
is tempted to apologize, it is one of an autobiograph-
ical character. When, however, an autobiography is
written for the purpose of promulgating the truth,
of putting before the public facts which have been
misstated, distorted, misrepresented especially in
a case where life and honor are involved there
should be no hesitation on the part of the writer, even
though the ego is more conspicuous than modesty
might desire. Thoreau says in his W olden: " I would
not talk so much about myself if there were anybody
else whom I knew as well." Let his excuse be mine.
It is impossible to eliminate self from an autobiog-
raphy ; equally impossible to present certain facts and
ideas in other than the first person.

i



2 MY OWN STORY

Realizing all this, and more, I have decided to
put before the reading public, just as though I were
relating it of another, an account of such periods of
my life as seem to be of interest, knowing that what-
ever value it may possess is not intrinsic, but comes
of the unprecedented conditions and circumstances
which have forced me into becoming a somewhat con-
spicuous figure in the criminal and political history of
my state. Feeling that all the environments, ambitions
and circumstances that affected my early life have a
bearing upon my present position, I relate them as they
recur to my memory. The charm of reading consists
in recalling to mind what is already known. Litera-
ture is a confession.

My father, Amos Powers, was born December
seventeenth, 1840, and was reared on Patterson Creek,
Whitley County, Kentucky. About twenty miles dis-
tant, my mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth
Perkins, was born about seven years before, and spent
her childhood and youth. The name of my paternal
grandfather was Jesse Powers; the name of my
mother's father was Thomas Perkins. Both were
originally from Virginia, and on the way to the promis-
ing West, they stopped and cast their lot and fortune
among the people of that slandered region known as
the mountains of Kentucky. My grandfather, Jesse
Powers, was killed during the Civil War, fighting
for the preservation of the Union. My other grand-
father, Thomas Perkins, enlisted in the same cause;
he held no rank in the army, wanted none, and
was always considered a genial comrade and an all-
round good fellow. He was married twice, and had
by his first marriage a large family, consisting of



BOYHOOD IN THE MOUNTAINS 3

three sons, Wiley, Sterling and Peter, and three daugh-
ters, Nancy, Margaret and my mother. There were
no children by the second marriage. Thomas Perkins
was a slaveholder at the beginning of the Civil War,
but liberated his negroes before he became a volunteer
in the Union Army. My uncle Caleb, for whom I was
named, is the only brother my father had ; they had one
sister, Katherine. My uncle Caleb is an unostentatious,
level-headed man, of a cool and calculating disposition.
Neither he nor my father ever sought office. Both my
father's and mother's people have led lives of compara-
tive obscurity, rarely seeking political preferment ; but,
when they sought it, they were generally successful.
A number of them from time to time have been
elected to county and district offices.

In the early days the mountains of Kentucky af-
forded few advantages, and not many of my an-
cestors obtained more than a common-school educa-
tion ; but, with rare exceptions, the kinspeople of my
mother, who were numerous, were men and women
of exceedingly strong character, possessed of fine
native ability, and took an active part in local affairs,
while one of my uncles, Peter Perkins, was, at the time
of his death, a man of considerable means.

My mother has been married twice, and by her
first marriage had two children, Uriah and Nancy
Blakeley. After her first husband lost his life
in the Civil War, she lived several years a widow,
and married my father August second, 1867. As
a result of that marriage there are four children, John
Lay, Katherine, Rebecca and myself. I am the oldest,
and was born February first, 1869, in Whitley County,
Kentucky, on the waters of what is known as Patter-



4 MY OWN STORY

son Creek. My brother and sisters were born in
Knox County, Kentucky, where my parents moved
when I was less than a year old. My brother was born
March third, 1871 ; my sisters, Katherine and Rebecca,
March twenty-sixth, 1876, and June eighteenth, 1880,
respectively. Some of my egotistic kinsmen have, upon
a few occasions, stoutly maintained that we are de-
scendants of Hiram Powers, the sculptor, and therefore
related to the wife of President Fillmore, who was a
Miss Abigail Powers, a descendant of Walter Powers.
But as to the fact of these relationships, I am not pre-
pared to speak. Be the relationships as they may, the
chasing of pedigree is a harmless diversion, whether a
man has much or little to chase. I leave mine here.
Yesterday's triumphs belong to yesterday.

My father devoted his life to the farm and the
education of his children. He always regretted that
he did not adopt the law as a profession; conse-
quently it was natural that from my boyhood his am-
bition was that I should be a lawyer. He began to
train me early, and entered me in the public school of
Knox County in my fifth year. Our home was two
or three miles from the school-house, so I traveled
that distance every day, along a country road, down
Poplar Creek Valley to the country school, in search
of some learning and not a little fun.

I remember well the old log house in which my
education was begun. It had one window and one
door ; the logs were hewn oak ; the benches were sap-
lings split in the middle; auger holes were bored
through the ends, into which legs were pushed in
order to hold them up in the form of a bench, and
these benches were placed against the wall, which



BOYHOOD IN THE MOUNTAINS 5

served as a back. Th'e floor was of large, hewn poplar
puncheons. The fireplace had a large open mouth that
could have swallowed half the pupils without difficulty.

I remember taking an active part in the games,
sports and mischief that went on at school. I recall,
particularly, an incident in which I figured a little too
conspicuously for my own peace of mind and body.
After painting my face and hands with pokeberry
juice, I walked into the school-room during study
hours to witness the effect of my appearance upon the
pupils, and forthwith felt the effect upon myself. My
teacher soon persuaded me, with the assistance of a
long beech limb, which he kept near-by, to go to the
mill-pond and wash off the purple dye with which I
had adorned myself. In fact, I was frequently cor-
rected during the early days of my school life, but as I
stood well in my classes, this in a great measure
palliated my wrong-doing; and I escaped the teacher's
correcting rod in many instances where I merited it.

It was during these days, and before I was thir-
teen years of age, that I fell desperately in love at
least, I thought I did, which served the purpose quite
as well. The object of my affection was a sweet, mild-
tempered little girl of about my own age, who brought
me candies and apples, and with whom I walked home
on my way from school. Young though she was, she
never hesitated to declare publicly that she was my
sweetheart, and that we would marry when we were
" big enough." As these assertions reflected my own
sentiments I felt quite gratified at her bravery in so
courageously declaring them. She met me at the gate
of life, and I thought if I could but cling to her skirts,
she would take me to Heaven. It was my firm deter-



6 MY OWN STORY

mination to marry her, and I possibly might have
done so had not my father, with unfeeling disregard
for our romance, moved from that section of the coun-
ty. I did not wish to go away; I preferred to stay
in the old place where I could be near, and occasionally
see, my sweetheart ; but fate was inexorable.

Our new home was on a farm of about five hundred
acres, on Brush Creek, Knox County, Kentucky, where
my mother still resides. We had been there nearly
two years before I again saw the object of my ad-
miration. During these two years, I had often thought
of going to see her; but I was too young to think of
going a-courting, and, as I had no business in her lo-
cality, I could only bide my time. Finally, I had an
opportunity to attend the church of her neighborhood.
Arriving there one Sunday, I awaited her coming with
much impatience, but at last my eye fell on her. I
remember that there were five ministers present on that
day ; and, as was the custom in this part of the country
at that time, they all took part in the service, so it can
be readily imagined that the ceremony was not short.
All these preachers were what might perhaps be called
uneducated men, and their discourses were phrased
in homely verbiage, but what they said was neverthe-
less earnest and forceful.

Two of these gentlemen wore jean trousers, cot-
tonade shirts, and brogan shoes. The men of the
congregation, with few exceptions, had on rough,
country apparel ; while the women present wore sun-
bonnets, calico dresses, large aprons and other para-
phernalia to match, or intended to match. As is still
customary in the mountains of Kentucky, nearly the
whole congregation lingered about the church door



BOYHOOD IN THE MOUNTAINS 7.

and in the churchyard, after the services, to exchange
friendly greetings. It was in the churchyard, then,
that I met the sweetheart of my school-days. Surely
this was not the same girl I had loved so devotedly
two years before! I scarcely knew her; she scarcely
knew me. She was changed. She was no longer
trusting and confiding in her manner, but shy and
self-conscious as elusive as the ripples that play
hide-and-seek over the bosom of the placid lake. Her
brown eyes sparkled more brilliantly, her dark hair was
carefully arranged, her face was none the less beauti-
ful, but it was not the face I had known. Lovers dis-
cover subtle changes, while time and distance only
too frequently dissipate love, as the sun dissipates the
morning dew. I suppose I was not prepared to find
her almost grown into womanhood, and was conse-
quently disappointed. She was no longer my ideal. I
no longer loved her.

The crowd soon dispersed up and down the
country road; some went across the paths through
the fields, some on horseback, some on muleback, some
afoot. Some horses carried one person, others two,
and not a few bore even heavier burdens. As the
members of this little congregation departed for their
homes, or the homes of their neighbors, " How is
your crop ? " " Come to see us," and " How are all at
home ? " were remarks frequently heard. Soon all
were gone, and I was left alone in the deserted church-
yard. I felt lonely, for I knew no one very well except
my sweetheart, and I knew her no more.

For a few moments I was left in reverie. The
sluggish waters of Poplar Creek crept by me near
at hand; the shadows from the tall oaks standing in



8 MY OWN STORY

the churchyard protected me from the burning rays
of the sun. Two tall mountain peaks rose on either
side of the creek ; there were corn-fields in the bottom-
lands, corn-fields on the hillsides, but I was thinking
little of stream, or sun, or growing corn. My thoughts
were not of these. It is said that there is something in
the surroundings of the mountaineer, the solitude of
the mountains, the close and constant intercourse with
nature, which causes him, at an earlier age, to take a
more serious view of life than do those who dwell
in less elevated lands. Be that as it may, I question
whether, at any age, my disappointment could be more
acute than on that quiet Sunday as I stood in the
silent churchyard, looking at the past and future.
A boyish dream was then and there left behind, and
though I had perhaps no definite idea or plan for
the future, yet I began to wonder, in a vague way,
what it might bring forth. In this mood, half -melan-
choly, half -retrospective, I mounted my horse and
made my way back to my home.



MY FIRST SPEECH

I matriculate at Union College The college debate My
first oratorical effort I teach ray first school

My father's farm was, and still is, a very good one
for the section of the country in which it lies. He
always kept it in an excellent state of cultivation, re-
taining several tenants on the place. Plowing corn,
chopping weeds, raking hay and doing a thousand
and one chores about the farm, made up my occupa-
tion until the fall school began; and, let me say it in
my own favor, I worked as well, possibly better, when
my father was not looking at me as I did when he
was. In his presence, I made footprints on the sands



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