- About Us
- Tours and Events
- Cemetery Map
- Interment Index
- Archive Finding Aid
Newspaper Clips (1880-1889)
Jan. 19, 1880: Locals
May 30, 1880: The Red Man's Tribute
July 18, 1885: The Silent City of the Dead by the Eastern Branch
July 25, 1885: Congressional Cemetery
Dec. 21, 1889: Dead Bodies in a Buggy
Dec. 23, 1889: The Body of Mrs. Cheek
Dec. 24, 1889: Who Are the Grave Robbers?
The Evening Star, January 19, 1880
At 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, Officers Fowler and Edelin found two horses near the old burned bridge in the rear of Congressional Cemetery which had been stolen from H.W. Claggett of Upper Marlboro, Md. On the 17th of this month.
The Washington Post, May 30, 1880
The Red Man's Tribute
Decorating the Last Resting Places of Cherokee Chiefs
Yesterday Col. W.P. Adair, assistant principal chief; Col. John L. Adair, R.M. Wolf and R. Burch, Cherokee delegation; Gen. P. Porter and Col. D.M. Hodge, Creek delegation; Gov. P.P. Pitchlynn, Choctaw delegate, in company with Hon. John Q. Tufts, United States Indian agent for Union agency;Hon. T.M. Gunter, member of Congress from Arkansas; Dr. T.A. Bland of this city, and Hon. W.O. Tuggle, of Georgia, proceeded to the Congressional cemetery to decorate the graves of the following-named distinguished Indian chiefs who have died in this city while in the discharge of the public service of their respective nations: Gen. Push-ma-ta-hah, chief of the Choctaw nation; Capt. John Rogers, chief of Cherokees; Capt. John Looney, chief of Cherokees; Hon. W.S. Coody, Cherokee delegate; Hon. Bluford West, Cherokee delegate; Hon Ezekiel Starr, Cherokee delegate; Capt. Thomas Pegg, Cherokee delegate; Capt. James McDaniel, Cherokee delegate; Judge Richard Fields, Cherokee delegate; and Col. Daniel B. Asbury, chief of Creek nation.
Push-ma-ta-hah was a brigadier-general under Gen. Jackson during the Creek war, and was a great favorite and admirer of Jackson. When on his death-bed, in this city, he said to President Jackson, who frequently visited him: "My friend, you have been kind to me and to my people, for which my heart feels thankful. I am sorry to leave you, but the Great Spirit has called me to the spirit land to join my people, who have sought refuge in that last home of the red man, and I will soon bid you good-bye forever. The tidings of my death will strike my ill-fated people as the thunder of a great tree that has fallen in the stillness of the forest. I ask you to be a father to them, and when I am gone, let the big guns be fired over me."
According to his request, a salue was fired as a part of his funeral ceremonies, and upon his monument are inscrited the words: "When I am gone, let the big guns be fired over me."
Captains John Rogers and John Looney were educated half-breeds, and served also in the Creek war under Jackson, and were much esteemed by him, and were among the first pioneers of Indian civilization that went west of the Mississippi river. W.S. Coody was a finely educated half-breed, a thorough statesman, and ranked among the best orators of his day. He was a nephew of the celebrated Cherokee chief, John Ross, and a brother-in-law of Gen. Rucker. Bluford West and Ezekiel Starr were half breeds, with excellent educations, and discharged valuable service to their nation. Thomas Pegg and James McDaniel were intelligent full-bloods, and were captains in the Federal army during the War of the Rebellion, and served with distinction. Richard Fields was a half-breed of finished English attainments, and was the father-in-law of Gen. Sackett. Col. Daniel B. Asbury was a thoroughly educated half-breed, and served his nation faithfully in several offices, being as stated, one of the chiefs of his nation at the time of his death.
The Evening Star, July 18, 1885
The Silent City of the Dead by the Eastern Branch
Distinguished People Both of the Army and Navy and of the Civil Service
Whose Remains are Buried There - A Sketch of the Origin and Growth of the Cemetery
A stranger hearing the name of the Congressional cemetery would naturally think that the place was owned by the government, and it cannot be doubted that a large number of the residents of the District entertain a similar belief. Such is not the fact. This beautiful city of the dead is owned by the parish of Christ Church on the Navy Yard, and is controlled and managed by a committee of the vestry. In fact, the cemetery has no legal right to the name by which it is generally known. It was at first managed by a company of gentlemen and was called Tingey's cemetery from the fact that the first interment was that of the body of Commodore Tingey in 1807. It held that title until these gentlemen presented the cemetery to Christ Church on March 30th, 1812, when the following resolution was passed by the vestry:
"Resolved, That the burial ground presented to the vestry this day be designated by the name and title of the
WASHINGTON PARISH BURIAL GROUND
Even before this date, however, it had acquired the title of Congressional cemetery from the fact that Senators and Representatives who died while in the performance of their duties in this city were buried at this new graveyard. The first who was buried there was Hon. Uriah Tracy, Senator from Connecticut, who died in April 1807. He had been a major general in the revolutionary army, and when he died Congress appropriated money to pace a cenotaph over his remains. This precedent, once established, was continued, and from that time until 1861 a cenotaph was placed in this burial ground in memory of every Senator or Representative who died whether he was buried there or not. These were first made of white sandstone, as that was the only material easily obtainable in this locality, and, in fact, the central portion of the Capitol is of this white sandstone.
The next distinguished burial was that of Edward Darby, a representative from New Jersey, who died July 28th, 1808. Near by his resting place is the lot of the Lear family, who were friends of Washington. Then there is the tomb of Eldridge Gerry, Vice President of the United States, who died on his way to the Capitol to preside over the Senate on November 23, 1814, aged 70 years, "thus fulfilling" according to the inscription, "his own memorable injunction: 'It is the duty of every citizen, though he may have but one day to live, to devote that day to the good of his country.'" The monument was erected by Congress.
Not far off is the grave of Maj. Gen. George Clinton, who was also a vice president, surmounted by a monument, which contains a bas relief portrait of the deceased, which is said to be an excellent likeness.
One of the most interesting monuments is that erected to the celebrated Indian Push-ma-ta-ha, who was a chief of the Choctaw tribe. The inscription says the deceased was a "great friend of Jackson," and that the monument was "erected by his brother chiefs, who were associated with him in a delegation from their nation in 1824 to the general government of the United States." The dead chiefs virtues are described as follows: "Push-ma-ta-ha was a warrior of great distinction. He was wise in council, eloquent in an extraordinary degree, and on al occasions and under all circumstances the white man's friend." He died in Washington on the 24th of December, 1824, of the croup, in the sixtieth year of his age. Among his last words were the following: "When I am gone let the big guns be fired over me."
There are quite a number of Indians buried in this cemetery, but none are marked in so pretentious a style as the celebrated Choctaw chief, Samuel A. Otis, who died April 27, 1814, was a representative of the celebrated Otis family of Massachusetts, of revolutionary fame. Near him is the family lot of the Mays, who were one of the oldest families in the District, and whose male members were known especially for
THEIR FIGHTING QUALITIES
There is a handsome monument which was "erected by order of Frederick William, King of Prussia, to the memory of the resident minister to the United States, Chevalier Frederick Greuhm," who died December 1st, 1825. The grave of Cilley, who was killed in a duel by Graves of Kentucky, on the historical dueling ground at Bladensburg is not far from where the German minister lies.
John Forsyth, who was Secretary of State, Hon. Buckner Thurston, Associate Justice of the District Circuit Court; Judge Beale Bordley Crawford, Philip Pendleton Barbor, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Richard Coxe, an eminent lawyer at the District bar, and the father of the present Judge Coxe; William Elliott, an old surveyor of the District; Oranes Bassmagian, a member of the Turkish Legation; Samuel Nicholas Smallwood, one of the early mayors of this city, are not far from each other in the older portion of the cemetery.
One of the most imposing monuments in the whole cemetery is that erected over the family vault of William Wirt. It is of Italian marble, and carved in exquisite and artistic taste. The inscription states that Mr. Wirt was Attorney General from 1817 to 1829, and it was during his term of office that he conducted the prosecution against Aaron Burr for high treason. His eloquent address on that occasion, in which he portrayed the sinuous and sinister methods by which Burr gained complete ascendancy over the simple-minded Blenerhassett, ranks among the classics of forensic literature.
Among the Congressional Cenotaphs
Are those to Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, and it may not be generally known that both these distinguished statesmen owned lots in the cemetery and have children buried there. There are one hundred and seventy-five of these cenotaphs. The last congressional burial here was Senator Lemuel Bowden of West Virginia. Congress, however, has reserved for its use a space on both sides of Prout avenue twelve burial sites deep, five ranges on Congress and three on Henderson avenue.
Old Family Lots
Nowhere can the old families of the District be traced more intelligently than in this cemetery. Here rest the remains of Peter Lenox, the father of Mayor Lenox; John Stettinius; of Moses Poor, who was the father of Admiral Poor. A story is told that when Mr. Poor kept a store on the avenue some boys one night sawed his sign in the center and then changed the position of the two pieces, so that it read "Poor Moses." Then there are the family lots of the Handys, the Becks, Dr. Lowery, T.B. Cross, the Coyles, Robert Campbell, Henry Lee, sr., Edmund D. Earle, the Barrys, C.B. Church, James Galt, the father of the rpesent jewelers, Peter Brady, John A. Smith, Meehan, William Young, Rev. John C. Smith, Evan Evans, Peter G. Washington, John Sargent, Andrew J. Duvall, the Pendletons, the Griffiths, David A. Hall, Walter Jones, Wm. Benning, for whom Benning's bridge was named, Geoerge. Parker, J.C. Grammer, Chas. L. and R. Coltman, Jas.. Greenleaf, Neuhan, W.E. Gardner, Thos. B. Cross, jr., M.H. Stevens, Col. J.G. Berret, F.J.. Heiberger, Jos. Hall, Geo. C. Henning, Jacob Giddeon, the Prouts, Col. Bowie, Dr. W.E. Poulton, the Clarkes, John Maury, John T. Towers, ex-mayor of Washington; Joshua Gibson, the McKims, Marks, Bishop Johns, Samuel Cross, Zurhorst, Wm. T. Jones, Imbie, James Adams, James Y. Davis, Anthony Buchly, John Hitz, John Bayne, L.A. Wood, Whitford Scaggs, Samuel Little the Duncansons, the Zantzingers, W.H. Campbell, the Rives, the Bealls, Stansburys, Rileys, Casparis, Todds, Gilliss, Z.D. Gillman, Jacob S. Acker, Philip Otterback, Jas. S. Varnum, Francis Mohun, Edward Ingle, Dr. Wm. Gunton, Wm. Bickford Kibbey, and many others. All these lots are occupied by some deceased members of the family, and to their memory headstones or monuments have been placed in many instances of great value and beauty.
Among the Graves of Foreigners
Which may be found is that of Henry Stephen Fox, who was for several years British envoy to the United States. He was a son of Gen. Henry Edward Fox and a nephew of Chas. James Fox, and he died in Washington, October 18, 1848. Then there is Clara Scarselli Brumidi, the first wife of Brumidi, the eminent fresco artist, whose work upon the Capitol will be a lasting monument to him and Frederico Casali and Pietro Shio, who were his assistants. The late B.B. French who was for many years commissioner of public buildings and who was so eminent in Masonic circles, has his grave marked by a handsome monument of highly polished Scottish granite. A marble monument handsomely carved with the emblems and insignia of the order covers the remains of Fred. Stuart, who was the Grand Sire of the Odd Fellows. A handsome monument has been erected over the grave of Joseph Gales, who was one of the editors of the National Intelligencer, by representatives of the press in Philadelphia, New York and Boston, but the resting place of his associate, W.W. Seaton is unmarked.
The Hall lot is always a point of attraction. It is surrounded with a coping of granite rising high at the back, where is carved the word "Welcome." In the center is a kneeling seraph, exquisitely carved. The lot contains but two occupants now, Elizabeth and Katharine A. Hall.
There are a large number of vaults, some arranged so that the catacombs may be seen from the front, and others where the interior is entirely concealed from view. Among the notable of these vaults are those of the Caustens, in which the remains of the widow of President Madison were first placed, but were afterwards removed to Virginia; John Purdy, Wainwright, Ulrich, William Dement, George Page, William R. Maddox, Middleton, William Lambell, William G.W. White, and Adam Rose, which is the finest in the whole cemetery, containing sixteen catacombs, four of which only are occupied.
A fine monument stands over the grave of Dr. John Hall, erected by the Washington City orphan asylum, of which institution he was so great a benefactor during his life.
The Body of Sergeant Cross,
Which was brought back from the frozen north, now rests in the Congressional cemetery, and a monument of black granite has been erected over the grave, which bears the following inscription: "Wm. Cross, born January 20, 1845; perished while exploring the arctic region under Lieut. Greely, January 18, 1884. At rest."
Victims of the Arsenal Explosion
One of the most interesting spots is the grave which contains the bodies of those who were killed at the arsenal twenty-one years ago. That was during the war, when the arsenal was operated to its fullest capacity. The explosion killed twenty-one people, and there was great grief occasioned in the city at the accident. It was considered a public calamity, and the handsome marble monument which marks their graves was furnished by public contributions., The monument is about thirty feet in height, and is surmounted by a statue of grief exquisitely carved. The base is of granite. On two sides are the names of the unfortunate victims, and on the other two are the legends, "Died by an explosion at the U.S. Arsenal, Washington, D.C., July 17 1864. Erected by public contributions by the citizens of Washington, D.C. June 17, 1867."
Two ranges in the western part of the cemetery are occupied by the bodies which were removed from St. John's cemetery. There are also buried here a number of confederate prisoners who died during their confinement in the Old Capitol prison, and whose graves are unmarked. Then there are many confederate soldiers who are distinguished by wooden headboards bearing their names and regiment. These are carefully attended to, and in fact, there is the best evidence of the care bestowed upon every part of the cemetery by the trim and excellent condition of the lots. The grass is all neatly cut, but, of course, the floral ornamentation is the work of the individual lot owners. Many of the lots present a most charming appearance, with flowers of the brightest hues growing luxuriantly.
Killed On The Princeton
A grave that attracts much attention is one that is marked by a handsome marble monument, covering the remains of two distinguished men who were united during life in bonds of the closest friendship and who were both, by a singular fatality, killed at the same time. These two men were Abel Parker Upshur, who had held the positions of Secretary of the Navy, and then Secretary of State, and Commodore Beverly Kennon, of the United States navy. Both were killed by the explosion of the celebrated gun "Peacemaker" on board the Unties States frigate Princeton.
Over the grave of Lieut. Wm. McArthur is a neat monument , the inscription showing that it was erected by his brother officers of the United States Coast survey.
In the center of the Bache family lot lie the bodies of Alexander Dallas Bache, who was superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, and in one corner is a monument covering the remains of his son, George Mifflin Bache, who was a commander in the U.S. Coast Survey, four petty officers and seven seamen, who all perished in a gale off Cape Hatteras, September 8, 1846.
A beautifully veined marble monument, with a granite base, marks the resting place of the late Gen. Rawlins, the friend and confidant of the distinguished soldier whose own sands of life are nearly exhausted. The simple inscription is as follows: "Major General John A. Rawlins, born February 13th, 1834, died September 6th, 1869, Chief of staff to General U.S. Grant from 1861 to 1869. At the time of his death Secretary of War."
Distinguished Army and Navy Officers
Probably no cemetery, not even one of the national cemeteries which are under the control of the general government, contains the remains of so many officers of the army ad navy as the Congressional.
The Evening Star, July 25, 1885
To the Editor of The Evening Star:
I find in your paper of last Saturday, generally so reliable where Washington information is furnished, several errors in an article on the "Congressional Cemetery," and if you do not object would like to correct a few of them. Among the list of "distinguished army and navy officers," and others whose "remains" are said to rest in this cemetery, we find the names of our good friends, Admiral Almy and Gen. Emory, whom we are glad to say still dwell among us. Their family vaults may be there, but not yet "their remains." Then, the "Basche" family, as your correspondent spells the well-known name of "Bache". The late superintendent of the coast survey was one Alexander Dallas Bache, so named for his grandfather, who was in Madison's cabinet, while the monument to his brother, George Mifflin Bache, does not cover George's remains which were swallowed up in the grave of the sea, together with the other brave fellows who perished with him so many years ago. Your paper is so widespread that small things become of importance when circulated by it, and so family love of the dead would ask you to correct these mistakes.
Resurrectionists Surprised by a Policeman Last Night
They Run Off, Leaving Their Ghastly Plunder, The Dead Bodies of Two Women--
The Owner of the Abandoned Buggy May be Able to Throw Some Light on the Transaction
The prisoners in the District jail last night heard, or might have heard, the wheels of a vehicle rattling over the gravel road near that prison. The vehicle was a buggy. There was a guard in advance of it and one in the rear. The driver was a rather good-looking man with whiskers. There was something in the buggy besides the driver, but whatever it was it was concealed from the gaze of the curious by a covering. The buggy and its guards came over the hills from the direction of the poor house. It was then after 9 o'clock, and the driver and guards hardly expected to meet anybody on the lonesome commons such a dark night, but in order to be on the safe side they kept a sharp lookout.
The buggy had not gone far over the hill before it was heard by Policeman Clinton, who was aware that cadavers were often removed from that desolate place known as potters' field and suspected that the vehicle contained a dead body. The officer quietly stepped to the side of the road where he could not easily be seen to await the approach of the buggy. The officer saw the two guards in the positions mentioned above and the driver, looking, he said, like a physician and became satisfied that they were lawbreakers. When the buggy reached a position directly opposite the officer he made a rush for the vehicle. The driver used his whip and the animal started to gallop off. The officer grabbed for and caught hold of one of the reins. The animal became frightened and nearly upset the buggy. While the officer was struggling with the horse the driver jumped from the buggy and escaped. In the meantime the two guards had run off. When the officer examined the buggy he discovered.
The Dead Bodies of Two Women,
one white and the other colored. The bodies were in a kneeling position, and the driver must have sat-in the buggy with a leg on either side of the corpses to keep them from tumbling out. The officer drove the buggy to the morgue and there placed the remains upon cooling boards. The colored body is supposed to be that of Mary E. Hawkins, who was buried in potter's field yesterday. The remains of the white woman had not bee identified this morning. She had a very pleasant face and was evidently a refined woman at some time.
The buggy looks like it may be the property of a physician. The horse is about seven years old. It is a bay, with white spots on its body.
This is the third time within a year that grave robbers have made their escape from within a few feet of the police.
The horse and buggy and the spoke used in opening the grave had not been called for this afternoon.
The horse was seen this morning by a colored man who claimed that he knew the owner of it. He said that it belonged to an East Washington physician.
There were no marks on the bodies to show that hooks had been used in raising them from their graves and for that reason the officers thought that the bodies were obtained in potter's field. They will be reinterred there.
Dr. A.C. Adams Charged with Taking It From Congressional Cemetery
The Remains Fully Identified--The Husband Appeals to the Law
Form of the Warrant Issued For the Arrest
The Jewelry Buried With the Body Missing
The law against the desecration of graves by body snatchers is openly violated in this District night after night, but prosecutions for the ghastly work are few. Potter's field is generally chosen as their scene of operations because they can go ther at any time after dark and drive off with their plunder undisturbed. A carriage resembling that abandoned Friday night with two dead bodies in it, as related in Saturday's Star, has stopped at or near the jail many nights and been left there, it is thought, until its occupant or occupants could go down to the burial place of the poor and carry off a ghastly burden. Friday night when the buggy drove near the jail it was seen by the prisoners and by the guards on duty. The guards were satisfied that there were cadavers in the vehicle, but they did not imagine that any other burial place than potter's field had been visited.
The Bodies of the Two Women
who had been taken from their graves were kept at the morgue Saturday afternoon. The officers there had been informed that both of them had been taken from potter's field, and for that reason no effort was made to have them identified. During the afternoon a young man called at the morgue and asked permission to see the body of the white woman, saying that his sister had been buried in the Congressional cemetery a few days ago. He saw the body and thought it was that of his sister, but when Station Clerk Tayman telephone to the East Washington station he was informed that the bodies had been removed from potter's field. He told this to the young man, but the latter left the station in an uncertain frame of mind.
Mrs. Cheek's Remains Stolen From Congressional Cemetery
Policeman Oliver, who had seen the white woman's body, thought that there was a look of refinement about her that is not often seen about persons who occupy graves in the pauper cemetery, and he was not satisfied with the investigation that had been made. He examined the body and found on an undergarment that was wrapped about it the name "B. Cheek."
The health office records were searched and it was found that Mrs. Alvina Cheek of No. 1015 South Carolina avenue southeast had died on the 14th instant of phthisis pulmonalls and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery last Tuesday.
The piece of clothing bearing the name was taken to the house and there it was learned that the name had been written on Mrs. Cheek's undergarment. This left no doubt but that Congressional cemetery had been robbed, although Mr. Cross., the superintendent, said that the graves were all right and had not been disturbed. The identification was complete when
The Heart-Broken Husband
reached the morgue and there saw the remains of his wife lying on the board ready to be placed in the ice box. Mrs. Cheek had been sick for some time and had gradually wasted away until there was hardly any flesh left on her form. Her remains with the body of her infant, which was only a few days old, were interred on a knoll overlooking the Anacostia river and not far from a gate which opens into the rear end of the work house grounds. The graves in the cemetery are not rammed, and for that reason the task of opening the grave was an easy one. The grave had been refilled and the flowers on it placed where they had been left by the bereaved husband. The body was no doubt taken through the gate or over the fence and stripped of clothing. Then it was carried through to potter's field and there kept until the body of Mary E. Hawkins was "lifted."
The Dead Babe
The grave was reopened yesterday and in the broken coffin was found the body of the child that had been buried in the grave with its mother.
Policeman Oliver made a thorough investigation of the buggy and in it were found the grave clothes that had been taken from the body of Mrs. Cheek and a heavy iron hook attached to a long rope which had been used in lifting the body from the grave.
Dr. A.C. Adams Claims The Buggy
No one came to claim the team until about noon, when Dr. A.C. Adams put in a claim. He appeared before Chief Clerk Sylvester of the police department and made affidavit in the usual form, as follows:
"Hdqrs. Of The Metropolitan Police,
Washington, D.C., Dec. 22, 1889
Personally appeared before me, Richard Sylvester, property clerk of the metropolitan police district, A.C. Adams, of Washington, D.C., who, upon his oath, says that he is the owner of one bay horse with white spots on its sides and a top buggy; that the same was estrayed from him on or about the 19th day of December, 1889; and that the same is now in the custody of the property clerk of the police dipartment. Sworn to before me this 22d day of December, 1889.
Chief, also Prop. clk. M.P., D.C."
The receipt for the property was signed a.C. Adams, M.D.
When the doctor went to the sixth precinct station to get the horse and buggy he met Mr. Thos. B. Cheek, the husband of the dead woman. Mr. Cheek, was greatly incensed at what had taken place. He questioned the doctor sharply, but the latter said he did not own the team. The police lieutenant told them not to have any trouble there, and the doctor drove off with the buggy.
Later in the day Mr. Cheek called twice to see the doctor, but did not succeed.
Mrs. Cheek's Jewelry Missing
Before Mrs. Cheek died she requested that her jewelry be buried with her. Her request was complied with, but the jewelry, valued at about $30, cannot now be found.
Mrs. Cheek's remains were placed in a casket yesterday afternoon and again her bereaved friends followed the body to the cemetery. The remains were placed in the receiving vault where they will remain for some days.
A Warrant For Dr. Adams
This morning Mr. Cheek was at the Police Court and swore to a warrant against Dr. Arthur C. Adams unlawfully and wickedly did break and enter a grave, then and there being in Congressioanl cemeteryt, in which grave one Venie Cheek, deceased, had lately before there been interred, and then and there with force and arms unlawfully, wilfully and indecently did open the said grave and take away the body of the said Venie Cheek, to the evil example of all others to the like offending and against the form of the statute," etc.
Dr. A.C. Adams Establishes an Alibi and Says the Team Was Not His
A Reward Offered for the Resurrectionists
Dr. Adams Says Dr. Beall Owned The Buggy
A Statement From Property Clerk Silvester
The trustees of Congressional Cemetery have offered a liberal reward for the apprehension of the person or persons who desecrated the grave of Mrs Thomas B. Cheek last Friday night. Although Mr. Cheek swore out a warrant against Dr. Arthur C. Adams, it is evident that that physician took no part in robbing the grave. The warrant was sworn out, it is said, in order that there might be a legal investigation that would lead to the detection of the grave robbers. Dr. Adams denies that he is or was the owner of the buggy in which the two dead bodies were found, and mentions the name of Dr. Beall as its owner.
Dr. Adams' Whereabouts Friday Night
Dr. Adams states that he was at the medical college Friday night at the time the body was stolen and is corroborated by the following paper:
"We, the undersigned, most positively assert that Dr. A.C. Adams was at the National medical college on the night of December 20, 1889, between the hours of 8 and 12 p.m., and that we were in his presence, and know that he could not have had anything whatever to do with the outrageous proceedings charged against him in connection with the Congressional cemetery transaction.
Charles St. V. Zimmerman
J.N. Oliver, Jr.
G. Burton Heinecke
Washington, D.C., December 23, 1889"
Daniel Conner, whose signature is attached to the paper, is the janitor at the college and the other signers are students.
Dr. Adams Explains
When seen by a Star reporter this morning Dr. Adams said that the horse and buggy did not belong to him; that he dropped in at police headquarters Sunday morning to see if the owner had recovered his team and learning that he had not, he (Adams) saw Chief Clerk Sylvester. That official, he said, told him that would transfer the property to him if he (Adams) would sign for it, and he was also given to understand that the matter of his signing for it would not be made public. With that understanding he signed for the horse and buggy and the next day he turned it over to Dr. Beall and obtained his receipt, therefore Doctor Adams explained that he only did this as an act of kindness for Dr. Beall. "If I had known that there was going to be so much to do about it," said the doctor, "I would never have troubled myself about the case."
hief Clerk Sylvester Denies
that he promised to withhold the information from the public. He says that Dr. Adams called at his house Saturday evening, and that Sunday morning he called at headquarters by engagement and made oath that the horse and buggy were his property and for that reason he turned over the team to him. The affidavit referred to was printed in yesterday's Star. Mr. Sylvester said that if the property did not belong to Dr. Adams at the time stated in the affidavit he did not intend to let the matter drop.
There is a Law Here to Punish Grave Robbers
It has been stated that there is no law in the District under which resurrectionists can be punished, but such statements are not corroborated by the facts in cases of that kind brought before the courts in recent years. Vigo Janson Ross, or Jansen, the noted resurrectionist spent months in jail for grave robbing. Wm. Bowie, Henry Stephenson and others also served time for a similar offense. In every case of grave robbing brought before the courts, the offenders have been given something like one year in jail. The prosecutions were on informations, and, therefore, not examined by the grand jury.
A Warrant for Dr. Beall
Policeman Charles W. O'Neill, who is also a member of the board of trustees of Congressional cemetery, swore out a warrant at the Police Court this morning against Dr. W.W. Beall, charging him with desecrating Mrs. Cheek's grave. He is the person who, Dr. Adams says, owns the horse and buggy. Dr. Beall formerly kept a barber shop in East Washington, where he also extracted teeth. He afterward received a diploma to practice medicine. He had an office at No. 114 6th street southeast, but when the police inquired for him they learned that he moved from there about two months ago.
Statement of Superintendent Cross
Superintendent Cross of the Congressional cemetery said to a Star reporter that he had frequently seen a horse and buggy similar to the one recovered passing the cemetery going in the direction of potter's field. His daughter has also seen the vehicle. Friday night, when the alleged resurrectionist escaped from the buggy. Policeman Clinton blew his whistle several times hoping to attract the attention of an officer who would capture the escaping lawbreaker. Soon after the whistle blowing was heard a colored man met two of the precinct officers and told them that he saw a man answering Beall's description on Pennsylvania avenue with a carriage whip in his hand.
Uneasiness Among Mourners
The occurrence has caused many persons to suspect that their dead relatives have been removed, and many inquiries to that effect have been made at the cemeteries. One grave in Congressional cemetery was reopened yesterday and the body was found all right.
It was learned that a body was recently taken from another cemetery and traced to a medical college. The work of the resurrectionists was discovered and the body was returned to its grave before the dissecting knife had been used upon it.
Dr. Beall's Arrest Ordered
The police in the various precincts have been notified to arrest Dr. Beall.
The warrant sworn out against Dr. Adams yesterday has not been served. The doctor will not be arrested, but this evening an officer will notify him to appear in the Police Court day after tomorrow.
Mr. Cheek was at police headquarters again today making further inquiries concerning the robbery of his wife's grave. He is very anxious to recover the jewelry that was taken from the body so that he can place it upon the body in accordance with her last wishes.
©2013 Historic Congressional Cemetery