The Wade Trial

12 Years in the Pen

(Note: These testimonies were extracted from the newspaper article collection started in 1879 by Mrs. Nannie Brown of Madison, Missouri. Original source is unknown. LPP) 

This noted trial began on Monday, the 15th inst. The evidence was all in by ten o’clock Saturday night, and the arguments of the attorneys closed at 15 minutes to ten on Monday night. The counsel for the State handled, the case with a good deal of ability throughout, while the attorneys for the defense did all in their power for their client. Judge Brace presided with his usual dignity, and it was a common remark that if ever a man had a fair trial, that man was Wade. The prisoner bore up manfully, as a general thing, but almost (broke) down once or twice, and at (no time) did he act the bravo during (the) trial. He looked considerably (calmed) down at times. His parents, brother and sisters, and wife and children were with him most of the time.  
Judge Bashaw made the opening argument for the State and made a very able speech. Hon. A.M. Alexander made one of the ablest speeches in defense of the prisoner that has ever been delivered in the court house. He thoroughly sifted the evidence, and no doubt his masterly argument had much to do with the light sentence of the prisoner. He spoke for two hours and a half, and had the closest attention during the entire time. We do not think he ever made a better argument in his life. H.H. Rodes made the closing speech and acquitted himself with great credit. It was thought to be the best effort of his life. He thoroughly analyzed the evidence and mad some strong points. After the jury retired, the large crowd waited until near 12 o’clock (when) court was called together and (waited) until after ten, when the jury came and reported that they could not agree. Judge Brace sent them back to their verdict, which was guilty of murder in the second degree, and assessed Wade’s punishment as 12 years in the penitentiary. The prisoner looked haggard and careworn and rather nervous as the Judge read the verdict. When the officer handcuffed him to take him to jail the scene was very affecting, bringing tears to the eyes (of) many in the crowd. His wife (and daughters) clung around his (neck) and their wails and sobs (were) enough to melt the hardest (heart).  
We publish some of the important evidence on each (side) from which our readers can (make) their own conclusions as to (the) justness or unjustness of the (verdict). Here it is, read it: 
(Peter) Bassett, being duly sworn, his oath says: “I am 43 years old. I live in Madison, Mo. I am (a clerk). I saw the commencement (of the) difficulty that resulted in the (death) of Rob’t Cummings. I saw (Cummings) and Bryant come up the (street) east of Todd’s store on a (unknown) and stop at the south door (on) the east side. Bryant got off, he shoved him around in a rough (manner) and by that time (Cummings) had got onto the sidewalk. He slapped Cummings on the (shoulder) with the back of his hand (and) then he slapped him on the (unknown) with his open hand a tolerably (unknown) blow. I heard it across the (unknown), and said Bob you know I (worship) the whole dam Cunnings (family). Cummings says, Clif, I (am not) afraid of you and can whip (you) and you know it, but I won’t (… unable to read) town. About that (… unable to read) Farrell caught Wade (and) pushed him back into Todd’s store. Cummings was walking up the and down the sidewalk. Wade came to the door the second time telling Cummings what he would do. That he could whip him now or any other day. About that time N.B. Farrell cam and took Wade across the street. Wade came back in a moment or two. Cummings was standing at the north door at the east of Todd’s store. Wade came back in a moment or two. Cummings was standing at the north door at the east of Todd’s store at the south door on the east side. Wm. M. Farrell then took Cumming across the street, he remained there a few moments, and came at the same door at the south door that Wade did. The next I saw of either of them Wade was just off the sidewalk in front of Stewart’s store. I saw Wade draw a pistol and fire it. He shot with his left hand. I could not see Cummings when he was shot. I went to where he was shot. After shooting, Wade stepped upon the sidewalk with hi pistol still in his hand and looked down at Cummings with a movement of his pistol ready to shoot again. Wade then walked off west. After Cummings was taken into Ownby & Noel’s store Wade came down the street and said, “I done it, by God, here is the pistol I done it with. But I was forced to do it.” That is all I heard him say. I saw him no more.” 
Dr. F.B. Todd being duly sworn on his oath, says: “I am 47 years old. I live in the town of Madison; my occupation, physician. When I first noticed the parties they were in front of Todd’s drug store; as Cummings passed Wade, Wade said to him, ‘Bob, what do you want out of me?’ Cummings replied, ‘I don’t want anything except for you to let me alone and not bother me (… unknown) continued to walk on, Wade following him. Wade finally made 2 or 3 quick steps toward Cummings and took something out of his pocket and threw at Cummings and hit him on the back of the head, Cummings fell forward and caught on his hands and knees. Wade then ran up and got on to Cummings and seemed to be trying to hold him down. Cummings caught hold of Ownby & Noel’s house and pulled up, they struggled along in front of the house, at the end of Stewart’s platform they got down again, Wade being on top, Cummings kicked Wade off, Wade was then on the ground at the edge of the platform; he drew his revolver and about the time Cummings had straightened up Wade shot him down. I made an examination of Cummings’ wounds. I found a wound on the back of the head 2 or 3 inches in length, the scalp was cut to the bone, it was a contused wound, was done by some blunt instrument, I did not examine closely to see if the skull was fractured, this wound was a little to the right medium or center ine and near the base of the skull and found a pistol shot in the forehead near the center which ranged back through the brain. I probed this wound; it was sufficient to cause death. I was present when Cummings died, he died about 1 o’clock on the morning of the 27th day of May, 1883, in Madison, Monroe county, Mo. We missed a scale weight out of the store on the day of the difficulty. After the difficulty some one brought the weight back next day. This weight belongs to our large scales and weighs one pound and a half. The effect of the blow from the weight would be to stun Cummings and render him unconscious to some degree.  
(… Unable to read first line) on his oath says, ‘I am (57) years old. I lived in Madison. I am a (druggist). The first I knew of the difficulty, Wade and Cummings were quarrelling east of Todd’s store. I did not hear what was said there. Shortly after I looked down in the direction of Todd’s corner from my store door. I saw Wade standing on the corner at Todd’s store. In a short time I saw Cummings turn the corner and walk past Wade. Some words passed between them which I did not understand. Cummings made no halt for several steps, I heard Cummings remark: ‘If you strike me again I will show you what I will do.” Wade started after him hurriedly and struck him on the back of the head. I did not see what he stuck with. Cummings blundered forward and nearly fell, Wade followed him and clinched him in front of Ownby & Noel’s store, I thought Wade was trying to throw Cummings down. They then got to the west side of the store door and against the door casing. In the struggle they got on the outside, west of the door. I found they were coming toward me and I stepped on the sidewalk and into my store door I turned and looked and they had gotten to the corner of my store house. Cummings had his back to Wade and had both hands hold of my folding window shutter, Wade had hold of him by the throat with his left hand and his right arm around Cummings’ body as I thought trying to throw him down. The shutter finally pulled out which broke Cummings’ hold, and Wade then threw him on my platform. Cummings fell on his back and Wade on top of him. Wade struck Cummings twice with his fist in his face. Cummings pushed Wade (… unable to read next lines) and kicked Wade loose (unknown). Wade was then off of the platform and Cummings got to his feet and as he rose to his feet he dropped his right hand into his right pocket. Wade being a few feet in front of Cummings off the sidewalk shot Cummings in the head. Cummings fell and struck the house with his head. Wade jumped on the platform waved his fist over Cummings and told Cummings ‘God dam him he had followed him long enough’ and guessed he would not follow him any more. I took a pistol out of Cummings’ pocket after he had been carried into Ownby & Noel’s store. I found it in his right coat pocket and found it was fast. I drew it out and fond that the lining was fast between the hammer and the cartridge. I raised the hammer and took the pistol out and examined it, it was a 32-100 calibre. I think it was a 5 chambered pistol. I think all the chambers were loaded. I did not hear Cummings say anything after he was first struck by (Wade).” 

(?)C. Jacobs being duly sworn on his oath says: “I am 35 years (old). I live in Madison, Mo., occupation, butcher. I heard some quarrelling east of Todd’s store between Wade and Cummings. (Some) time after I was standing (under) the awning I heard Mr. Wade (unknown) Cummings’ name, says ‘Bob Cummings, what do you want out of me?’ Cummings says, ‘If you hit (me I) will show you. Then Wade (said), ‘God dam you how do you (unknown) it? You can get anything (out) of me you want.’ Then Mr. Cummings said, ‘If you hit me I (will get) what I want, and don’t you get it?’ Mr. Cummings started in the direction in which I was, and about the time he got where I was, Mr. Wade made a quick step or two threw something that looked like a weight and struck Cummings when he threw at him. When Cummings was struck he staggered forward but did not quite fall. Mr. Wade rushed onto him and pushed him with one hand and struck him with the other, then grabbed him about the collar. I was afraid of a pistol shot and stepped inside my house and shut the door. I came out again in a few seconds. When I came out they were on Stewart’s sidewalk, just then Cummings fell onn his back Wade on him, they struggled there a few seconds and Mr. Cummings shoved Mr. Wade off with his hands and knees. Wade stepped off the sidewalk Cummings raised to his feet. Mr. Cummings put his right hand in his right coat pocket, as I thought. He was facing Mr. Wade when Wade shot. Cummings had not got fairly straight, when Wade shot. I don’t know which reached in the direction of his pocket first, Wade of Cummings. Mr. Cummings fell at the crack of the pistol, then Mr. Wade stepped upon the platform where Cummings lay, with his pistol in his hand, remarked, ‘You damned son-of-a-bitch you can’t slip up on me that way.’ A few minutes after that he was standing in front of Mefford’s butcher shop he said, ‘H was the best God damned man in Madison and he was not afraid of no damed son-of-a-bitch,’ said ‘If they wanted to arrest him they could do so he wasn’t going to run.” 

Clifton Wade being sworn on his oath said: “I am the defendant in this case. On the 26th of May, 1883, I was buying sheep. I got back about 11 and tried (to) sell (Miller) a horse. Nick Farrell came (… rest of article is missing).