Anna Marcet Haldeman to Jane Addams, February 1916 (fragment)


Dearest Auntie --

I have thought of you so often since my beautiful little visit with you, and again and again I have planned to write you -- but life has been rushing me on so fast I have literally scarcely had time to breathe and there is so much I want to talk of with you that I did want to wait until I had an opportunity to take time for a good long chat, but I despair completely of ever being able to have it -- and must content myself, after all with a rather hasty letter.

You remember I told you I had a Pinkerton man down here on a forgery case. Well, when [page 2] I reached home I found he had located the man who had passed both checks (one Orville [Terwillinger], alias Harry Robinson, alias Carl Johnson) -- at a farm near Cedar Point where he had been for two weeks more or less. The Our deputy came sheriff went up to Emporia, to meet him where the Marion County sheriff took him and brought him down here. They arrived ↑the↓ Saturday ↑Friday↓ afternoon (after I saw you). And I went over to the court-house to see him.

I found a tall, strapping very intelligent ↑but sullen↓ looking young fellow of twenty one. He had confessed to Mr. Frost (the detective) that he had cashed both checks at the bank, having just endorsed them. He denied having written them [page 3] and said they had been given to him, but he would not tell the name of the party and said he did not know who he was -- of course this last was hocus-pocus. And Mr. Haney (our attorney) and George Beezley (the district county attorney) both gave him a grilling but they could get nothing out of [him]. He sat with his face set -- like a sphinx. Finally George & Mr. Haney went out on a pretext and left him to me. I said "Orville, I am trying to be direct and square with you. You've got to be direct and square with me. I am being entirely courteous to you and you must try to be courteous to me. If you don't want to answer -- say, I'd rather not [page 4] answer -- but don't sit looking at me as if I weren't here. You do see that I am here and you do hear me don't you?"

There was a long pause & then he said -- "Yes'm" [illegible] very low.

"Why are you stubborn about telling us who gave you the checks."

There was a long, long pause -- and then -- "Because I don't think it would be right for me to." And for the first time his eyes met mine clearly and frankly -- They were clear boyish blue eyes.

I said "Listen, Orville. If this were my own personal [business] -- I would drop the matter right here. But it's not. And you know what a lawless county we have. A [page 5] bank doesn't dare let a matter like this pass. That's all there is to it! You've undoubtedly had your punishment by now -- in all the worry you've had -- and all."

"That damned old deputy was afraid of me --" interrupted me Orville, "kept the handcuffs on all the time. He might of treated me like a man."

"Yes, he might." I agreed. "Well the point is just this -- people have got to learn that other people -- have got to be shown that certain things follow logically. If I let this thing be gotten away with -- [others] might so try the same thing -- you understand that."

He said "Yes'm."

"You see, you got away with it once and you tried the same thing a second time" [page 6] [missing page(s)] bed and I sat on the chair -- and I said quietly "Well Orville?" He said he had thought & thought -- he didn't sleep all night -- he just lay a thinkin but he couldn't tell me who forged them. Mr. Haney -- "It wouldn't be right," he insisted.

Mr. Haney (our attorney) came in & talked to Orville. He made his case clear to him. I asked Orville again -- why he didn't get a lawyer -- and he said "Don't need one. I done it, all but the [illegible] forger & I didn't do that -- and I'm

He had very little to say to him but when he left, he talked to me again. I could feel he wanted me -- personally to know -- why he had helped Dorothy but yet not commit himself. It was a long session -- finally the boy sat with his hands locked. I put my mine on them lightly to [emphasize] some point, and he [page 7] took it firmly in both his and held it against his forehead & said again "I want to tell you everything -- but it wouldn't be right" -- (we had argued out the finer ethics of this before) -- so I said nothing -- just sat quietly while a drain pipe somewhere dripped & dripped and dripped -- and I could feel the pulse in Orvilles forehead beat against my hand. Time dripping away -- the boys life beating away -- it seemed unendurable.

[illegible] Whether he caught the thought from me -- or from the same association of ideas, it is hard to say -- but he asked

"How long'll I get"

"We have the indeterminate sentence in this state -- from 2 to 10 years on each count" Why won't y

"And I've been here 3 days"

"You have it in your own hands -- Orville -- Tell the court & me the truth -- let me put it to the Judge -- Curran -- & it will be a matter of the reform school and let me tell you this, the [page 8] best thing for Dorothy ↑herself↓ is to own up now, -- also other persons want get her notions of right & wrong straightened out."

"If I go to the Penn. I'll kill myself" -- he said slowly.

"If you go to the Penn & behave yourself," I said slowly "you'll undoubtedly be paroled after a couple ↑few↓ of years & then you're going to my farm in Illinois & work till you get on your feet [illegible] & can get a fresh start -- you'll be considerably younger than I am now & life is long ahead of me."

[illegible] At home here, I found Julius and bunch of young people just carrying having a gay time -- Victrola going, pop-corn [popping]. We had a little dance -- & after we were all tired -- we sat around & I read out loud your hearing before the Committee on Military Affairs.

It was a pleasant afternoon -- but it bought a lot of [illegible] rumbling issues. [missing page(s)]