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Newspaper Clips (1890-1899)
Jan. 3, 1980: The Grave Robbing Case
Jan. 6, 1890: The Double Grave Robbery
Jan. 9, 1890: Dr. Beall's Sentence
Feb. 12, 1890: The Case of Dr. Beall
July 19, 1890: Congressional Cemetery
Sep. 11, 1891: The Congressional Cementery
Jan. 22, 1895: Congressional Cemetery
Jan. 24, 1895: The Avenues in Congressional Cemetery
Jan. 24, 1896: Precautions Against Grave Robbing
Oct. 27, 1896: Finding Their Graves
Mar. 17, 1987: Graves To Be Marked
Mar. 22, 1898: The Congressional Cemetery Controversy
Oct. 26, 1989: City of the Dead
No Testimony to Connect Him With The Desecration of the Grave of Mrs. Cheek--
The Policeman Testifies Positively That It Was Not Dr. A. Who Jumped From The Buggy
The charge of grave robbing against Dr. A.C. Adams was taken up thos afternoon in the Police Court. Dr. Adams was represented by Henry Wise Garnett and W.A. Cook. The first witness was Thos. B. Cheek, who testified to the grave of Mrs. Cheek having been broken into.
Property Clerk Sylvester's Story
Property Clerk Sylvester was next called and asked about the buggy which had been claimed. He testified that Dr. Adams called on him at his house during the evening of the finding of the buggy and asked in reference to the buggy. Mr. Sylvester asked him if he was willing to take the usual oath about the ownership of the property. The doctor hesitated about the matter and Mr. Sylvester told Dr. Adams to call at the office in the morning. In the morning of December 22 Dr. Adams came to police headquarters and made the usual affidavit as to ownership. "I gave Dr. Adams an order and he gave me a receipt for the property."
Clerk Sylvester Cross-Examined
Henry Wise Garnett cross-examined the witness and brought out the fact that when Dr. Adams called at Mr. Sylvester's house the witness informed the doctor of the obligations which he incurred by making the affidavit after which Dr. Adams refused to make the affidavit; and also that at the first visit Dr. Adams did not claim the ownership of the buggy, but simply that he had come after the property.
The receipt from Dr. Adams for the buggy given on the 22d was read.
The Policeman's Testimony
Officer Clinton of the fifth precinct testified to capturing the buggy at 17th and A streets southeast. There was one man in the buggy at the time whose suspicious actions attracted his attention. The man jumped out of the buggy. In the vehicle were two dead bodies.
The witness was asked if Dr. Adams looked like the man who jumped out, and the officer said no.
The prosecution rested their case here and Mr. Garnett asked that teh case against Dr. Adams be dismissed. In summing up he said nothing has been shown but that Dr. Adams called on Mr. Sylvester one night and refused to say the buggy belonged to him, and came the next day and made affidavit that now it did; and further, that the man who jumped from the buggy bore no resemblance to Dr. Adams.
Dr. Adams Discharged
Judge Miller said that Dr. Adams was charged with the desecration of a grave, and certainly the prosecution was called upon to show what connection the defendant had with the case. Judge Miller said he was unable to hold the defendant on the testimony and therefore discharged Dr. Adams.
The Evening Star, January 6, 1890
The Double Grave Robbery
Testimony Against Dr. W.W. Beall in The Police Court Saturday
The chain of evidence against W.W. Beall in the grave-robbery case was closed by the government before the Police Court adjourned Saturday. The defense will be heard on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. After the recess Saturday there was considerable sparring between the opposing counsel as to whether the two cases for desecration of graves against Dr. Beall should be tied together or separately. Mr. Armes wishes the cases separated, while Mr. W.A. Cook was for consolidation. At length it was decided to try the two desecration cases together.
John M. Mitchell, the undertaker, testified to the two informents of the remains of Mrs. Cheek.
Mr. Cheek, husband of the deceased was called as a witness. He was greatly affected and nearly broke down as he piteously told of opening the grave and finding the little baby thrown back into the grave on its head.
Henry Wallingsford, the driver of the work house ambulance, testified to the identity and burial of the body of Mary Hawkins, the colored woman, in potters field.
Thinks It Was Dr. Beall In The Buggy
Officer Clinton told the story so often repeated in The Star of the capture of the buggy with the bodies of the two women in it. Considerable of a sensation followed when the officer said he recognized the voice of the man in the buggy as that of Dr. Beall; that he saw his side face, and to the best of his knowledge and belief the man driving the vehicle containing two bodies was the defendant now present in the court and whom he had known for many years.
Mr. Cook cross-examined the officer at great length, but was unable to shake the testimony.
The Steel Hook
Officer Oliver testified to the finding of the iron hook in the buggy the next morning. Station Keeper Garner of the sixth precinct station told of the delivery of the buggy at the morgue, and Sation Keeper Tayman related how it was turned over to Dr. A.C. Adams.
The steel hook was brought closer to Dr. Beall by the testimony of A.B> Anderson, a blacksmith, who testified to making such a hook for Dr. Beall,a nd who thought, although he could not be sure, that the one found in the buggy was the same.
W.H. Gargus testified to selling Dr. Beall the steel for the hook.
Dr. Adams on the Stand
Then Dr. A.C. Adams was called to the stand. He said he was the demonstrator in anatomy at the national medical school. He testified to recovering Dr. Beall's horse and buggy at his request. When the defendant asked him to get his property he asked no questions but agreed to do it. The witness did not know where the college obtained their subjects.
Mr. Cook objected to this line of questions and switched off by asking the witness point blank if he paid any money, directly or indirectly to the defendant, to which Dr. Adams answered promptly, "No, sire; I never did."
Dr. Beall Seen in the Neighborhood
Charles Johnson testified to seeing a man resembling Dr. Beall walking in front of the jail on the night of the robbery.
Charles White testified to seeing a man, who he thinks was Dr. Beall, on 6th and Pennsylvania avenue walking away from the scene of the capture of the buggy by the officers.
W.H. Berguson positively identified the horse and buggy as being the property of the defendant.
Detective Raff told of the chase and escape of Dr. Beall at Washington Grove.
Said He Assisted Dr. Beall in Getting Bodies
"Brocky" White was the last witness called. He testified to ahving worked for Dr. Beall and having assisted him in getting bodies from potter's field. He said the doctor was a hard worker at his trade, making on an average of three trips a week to the grave yard after subjects. This closed the government's case and the court adjourned.
The Evening Star, January 9, 1890
Dr. Beall's Sentence
Six Months in Jail and $400 Fine for Two Grave Robberies
The Beall grave-robbery case was terminated in the Police Court last night. It is something of an unusual thing for the court to hold an evening session and quite a crowd of people, attracted by this fact and by itnerest in the case itself, gathered by gas light in the court room last evening.
Trying To Prove An Alibi
The young man who has already been referred to in the Star as interesting himself in behalf of Dr. Beall, whose name turns out to be R.J. Ewing of 459 I street, was the first witness for the defense. He said he was a tailor and lived with Dr. Beall and slept in the same room. Dr. Beall, according to the young man, was called out by a patient at about 9:40 the night of the grave robbery and was gone until 10 o'clock, and on his return the doctor talked with witness about "the weather" for several hours.
Mr. Armes' Belief
Mr. Armes remarked that he believed the witness was one of the men walking with the buggy on the commons when it was captured, and young Ewig or Ewing stepped down.
Mr. and Mrs. Marlow (colored) testified to calling of Dr. Beall at their house on the night of the 20th.
This was all the testimony the defense had, and Prosecutor Armes wanted to put Detective Raff on the stand again in rebuttal. Judge Miller did not admit the testimony.
Mr. W.A. Cock and Mr. Armes made closing speeches and Judge Miller summed up the evidence in a clear and concise manner. He characterized the offense as a misdemeanor and said it was strange Dr. Beall did not take the stand. He also commented on the round about way the doctor went about recovering his buggy. The judge in closing imposed a fine of $200 and imprisonment for ninety days in each case--desecrating the grave of Mrs. Cheeks and that of the colored woman--making a total fine of $400 and imprisonment for six months.
The Evening Star, February 12, 1890
The Case of Dr. Beall
The case of Dr. Beall under sentence for removing the bodies of Mrs. Cheek and Mary Hawkins from the Congressional and Poor House Cemeteries was called in the police court this afternoon on a motion for a new trial. Messrs. Cook and Sutherland appeared for Dr. Beall and Mr. Armes represented the government.
The Evening Star, July 19, 1890
A Bill Introduced in the House Today for Its Improvement
Mr. Breckinridge of Kentucky has introduced a bill in the House providing that those parts of 18th and 19th streets east, which lie between the north side of G street south and the north side of Water street and also those parts of south G and south H streets which lie between 19th and 20th streets east, being the land which has been enclosed and included within the limits of Washington Cemetery, generally known as the Congressional Cemetery under the act of May 18, 1858, be granted to the vestry of Washington parish, to be disposed of by the vestry for the purpose of improving the cemetery and for no other purpose.
The bill also provides that the vestry be authorized to divide the several parts of the granted streets into suitable burial lots and to sell the same; provided, however, that no part of the avenues now laid out and established upon the streets within the boundaries of the cemetery shall be included in the sale, but shall be preserved and maintained in good order for all time. It is further provided that the proceeds of such sales shall be devoted solely to the improvement and adornment of the cemetery, and that the vestry shall, in consideration of the grant made, care for, protect and preserve in good order that portion of the cemetery in which members of Congress and officers of the government are buried, taking care also of the monuments, grave stones and cenotaphs which have been or may be erected thereon. If the United States should at any time need more grave sites for the interment of its officers or members of Congress it is to have the right to use any of the sites donated by the bill which shall not have been sold.
The Evening Star, September 11, 1891
The Congressional Cemetery
A Trust Recorded to Provide for the Care of the Grounds
The vestry of Washington parish (Christ Church) has placed on record a deed of trust to the National Safe Deposit Company, the object of which is to secure the perpetual care of the Congressional cemetery. The instrument recites a former deed of trust, the trustees thereunder uniting in the present deed, and conveys the cash on hand, real estate, notes and securities amounting to $22,585.95, and stipulates that the interest therefrom shall be added, as also 25 percent of the receipts from the sale of burial lots, etc., (to be paid to the deposit company at the end of each month), until a fund of $50,000 is raised. This sum is to be held perpetually and the income applied to the care and ornamentation of the grounds. This will insure the perpetual care of the grounds after the sale of lots shall have ceased and there will be no further income from this source.
This action is in harmony with the acts of Congress which recognize the cemetery as a permanent city of the dead through which no streets, avenues, railroads, or canals shall ever pass.
The Evening Star, January 22, 1895
A Bill That Has Excited Considerable Opposition to Its Passage
Former Bills of a Similar Character Have Failed of Action-
Some of the Objections Urgedy
An impression has gone abroad that the Senate has passed the House bill granting the Washington parish the right to sell certain burial lots in the Congressional cemetery. The House bill was passed on Friday, and when it reached the Senate it was referred to the District committee. On Friday the Senate District committee reported favorably on an exactly similar bill with an amendment, which went to the calendar. Therefore no action has yet been had that would send the bill to the President, as some people have been led to believe. It is suggested that before the bill is disposed of in the Senate there will be a little more investigation into its merits than has been given up to now. The bill is practically the same as one that was introduced in 1892, which was postponed indefinitely on the strength of an adverse report from the Senate District committee.
A Citizens' Protest
That report was caused largely by a protest that was received in April of that year from certain persons owning lots in the cemetery, who set forth a case as follows: "The occupation of these avenues for burial purposes would, in our opinion, greatly detract from the natural beauty and desirability of the cemetery as a resting place for the dead, and would be an injustice to those who have bought lots therein, under the belief that it would be perpetuated by Congress in its present condition. We believe that there is no necessity for granting these avenues for burial sites as there is a large tract of land adjoining the cemetery which can, no doubt, be obtained for the purpose, and the saving of a few dollars to the parish is a small consideration when compared to the injury that the passage of this bill will do the cemetery.
This protest was signed by W.W. Eldridge, Mary Gunton Temple, H.H. Cortis, Catherine C. Emmerich, H.O. Simons, Mary E. Emmerich, E.F. French, L.G. Meehan, M.E. Twitchell, Isaac H. Entwisle, Eunice E. Pritchard, M.L. Simpson and Stilson Hutchins.
The avenues alluded to in this protest are certain streets that now abut the property of the cemetery, which have never been extended to the Eastern branch. The main one of these streets is G, which is quite the thoroughfare of that immediate section. It is extended to the river beyond the cemetery. It is said that the original purchasers of lots in the cemetery were promised that no effort would ever be made to secure the land that would be used in the extension of these streets. The contention of the lot owners who protest is that by increasing the number of lots immediately around theirs, in violation of this agreement, the value of their lots is correspondingly decreased.
There is another objection, however, that is being urged against the bill, based upon the idea that the tendency of today should be to diminish the number and size of cemeteries within the city limits. At present, of course, there is little or no pressure for building sites in the vicinity of the Congressional cemetery, but it is argued that within a few years it will be found desirable to remove the cemetery to a point across the river, or to extend certain of the streets through it. The experience of the District in the condemnation of land necessary for the extension of North Capitol street to the Soldiers' Home is being quoted as a reason why no further obstacles should be laid in the way of these general street extensions. It will be remembered that in the case of North Capitol street there was great difficulty owing to the uncertain nature of the values of the land comprising the German cemetery, through a portion of which the street would pass.
The Evening Star, January 24, 1895
The Avenues in Congressional Cemetery
To the Editor of The Evening Star
Referring to your article in Star Tuesday evening upon the bill before Congress, ceding certain avenues in Congressional cemetery to the Washington parish, for burial sites, you say the avenues are abutting on the cemetery. Let me invite your attention to the bill, which describes the property as 18th and 19th streets east, which lie between the north side of G street south, and the north side of Water street, and also those parts of south G and H streets which lie between 17th and 20th streets east, which have been enclosed and included within the limits of the Washington cemetery, generally known as Congressional cemetery. In 1892, when Senate bill No. 2746 was being considered in committee on District of Columbia, I saw the stakes driven to lay off burial sites close up to the fountain in the main avenue, the promoters of the bill then being so sure of its passage that they had anticipated action necessary by Congress, to get possession of these main avenues. The streets referred to are in the very heart of the cemetery.
The Washington Post, January 24, 1896
Precautious Against Grave Robbing
Charles W. O'Neill, Superintendent of Congressional Cemetery, denies that any bodies have been stolen from that cemetery since December 1889, and that any insinuations to the contrary by the police or others are to the detriment of the place. He says the cemetery is patrolled constantly at night by watchmen armed with shotguns, who are instructed to arrest all persons found trespassing in the cemetery and to shoot without notice any one found desecrating a grave there.
The Evening Star, October 27, 1896
Finding Their Graves
The Grand Army Locating Dead Soldiers in Congressional Cemetery
A committee, of which Dr. J.C. Roob is chairman, has been appointed by the Department of the Potomac, G.A.R., to locate the graves of the dead soldiers and sailors buried in Congressional cemetery and to find out their names and the facts concerning their service in the war and what commands they were attached to. The exact positions of the graves will be placed upon a chart, and it is expected that in the near future they will be marked with appropriate slabs.
There are six or seven hundred soldiers buried in Congressional cemetery, and it is said that one man who formerly worked in the cemetery possessed alone the information regarding their identity, which he charged liberally for when the G.A.R. desired to designate the mounds of their dead comrades for decoration each May 30th. The organization has tired of submitting to these continual demands on the part of the individual alluded to, and has accordingly taken steps to procure the information for itself.
The Evening Star, March 17, 1897
Graves to be Marked
Maltese Crosses to Denote Burial Places of Revolutionary Soldiers
The Society of the Sons of the American Revolution wll address itself during the coming year to the applaudable purpose of marking the graves of all soldiers of the revolution who are buried in the District of Columbia with bronze Maltese crosses. The center of each cross will bear the piture of the minute man taken from the seal of the society, and upon the arms of the emblem wll be the letters "S.A.R." A committee will take charge of the work of locating such graves and any descendants of revolutionary soldiers living in Washington who may know where the graves of their ancestors are located are asked to communicate such intellligence to Dr. Marcus Benjamin, the society historian. A meeting of the society will be held this evening at its hall, corner of 11th and E streets northwest, which will be addressed by President David J. Hill of Rochester. Several interesting papers will be read.
The Evening Star, March 22, 1898, p. 8
The Congressional Cemetery Controversy
To the Editor of The Evening Star:
The Commissioners of the District now have before them for examination House of Representatives bill No. 4101 providing for the ceding to the vestry of Christ Church of the main streets and avenues of Congressional Cemetery, to be used for burial sites. This same matter has been before three previous Congresses, and as often defeated by protests of lot owners. In the Fifty-third Congress the Senate committee on District of Columbia put itself on record as opposed to granting to any private corporation public streets which might hereafter be required to be opened and defeated this bill by a unanimous vote.
The lot owners who have for ten years had to fight this private church corporation-which they claim is getting a large part of its support from profits out of this cemetery-are agitating the question of asking Congress to put the control of the cemetery in the hands of the lot owners, as years ago under similar circumstances. They claim that when this church was given the original control the cemetery was an insignificant affair, but by continued additions by Congress it has grown to proportions which were never contemplated by the original grant. The protestants are strong in their objection to despoiling the cemetery of its main avenues, which are its principal beauty, and it seems that Congress has been of the same opinion by defeating this measure in three previous attempts to pass it.
There is no doubt that the lot owners at large will strongly protest against this desecration of the resting place of their dead when they are cognizant of the full meaning of this bill.
The Commissioners gave both sides a hearing last Wednesday, but they have not yet made a report.
The Evening Star, October 26, 1899
City of the Dead
Historic Spot Known as the Congressional Cemetery
Resting Place of Famous Men
Warriors and Statesmen and Naval Heroes Buried There
Some of the Epitaphs
Comparatively few persons outside of those who go there for the purpose of visiting the graves of their departed loved ones are aware of the fact that Congressional Cemetery contains the remains of memorials of some of the most noted men this country has ever produced.
The cemetery which is beautifully located on the north bank of the Anacostia river, in the southeastern section of the city, was purchased by Washington city (now known as Christ Church) parish, P.E. Church, in 1808. The original purchase was added to at various times, the largest being made in 1848. The area of this city of the dead is extensive. It reaches from 17th street southeast to the city limits.
For many years it was the custom of the authorities to erect in the grounds a cenotaph to the memory of each member of Congress who died in Washington, and whose remains were buried elsewhere; but about twenty-five years ago it was found that there was no longer space to devote to that object, and in 1876 the practice was abandoned.
Below will be found a few of the names of statesmen, warriors, naval officers and others whose bodies respose in the sacred spot.
Graves of Vice Presidents
Scarcely more than 100 feet distant from the entrance to the cemetery by the gate at the side of the superintendent’s office are the graves of two of the earlier Vice Presidents of the United States. These were Elbridge Gerry and George Clinton. Over the remains of each there is a handsome monument. That over Mr. Gerry was erected by the order of Congress in 1823, and bears the following inscription, which was placed upon it by direction of Congress: "The tomb of Elbridge Gerry, Vice President of the United States, who died suddenly in this city on his way to the Capitol; president of the Senate November 23, 1814; aged 70. Thus, fulfilling 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 to Mr. Clinton, who, as governor of his native state, originated some very comprehensive plans to improve the transportation and other business interests, was erected by Mr. Clinton’s children, and the record tells the visitor that "George Clinton was born in the state of New York, 26th of July, 1739, and died at the cit of Washington on the 20th of April, 1811, in his 3d year. He was a soldier and statesman of the revolution, eminent in council; distinguished in war. He filled with unexampled usefulness, purity and ability among the many other high offices, those of governor of his native state and Vice President of the United States. While he lived his virtue, wisdom and valor were the pride, the ornament and security of his country, and when he died he left an illustrious example of a well spent life worthy of all imitation."
Beneath a massive granite tomb lie the remains of Alexander Dallas Bache, for so many years the head of the United States geodetic survey. The inscription upon the shaft reads: "Alexander Dallas Bache, born July 19, 1806; died February 17, 1867. Superintendent U.S. Coast Survey from December 12, 1843 to February 17, 1867. Erected by the officers of the United States Coast Survey."
Close by there is a monument which tells in brief the story of the dreadful hurricane off Hatteras, September 8, 1846, during which George Mifflin Bache, lieutenant commanding the coast survey brig. Washington was lost, the following members of his crew perishing with him: Petty officers John Fishburne, Benjamin Dourpff, James Dorsey and Henry Schroeder; Seamen Thomas Stanford, Peter Hanson, Francis Butler, William Wright, Edward Grennin and Lewis Maynard. The inscription states that "The gulf stream in which they engaged in exploring has received their bodies. The marble is erected to their memories by those who shared their perils, but escaped their fate."
Commander of the Armies
A tall shaft of remarkably unique design is erected over the remains of Alexander Macomb, who, at the time of his death in this city, May 25, 1841, was major general commanding the United States army. The inscription says: "The honors conferred on him by President Madison, received on the field of victory for dashing and gallant conduct in defeating the enemy at Plattsburg, and the thanks of Congress bestowed with a medal commemorative of this triumph of the arms of the republic, at best the high estimate of his gallantry and meritorious service."
Above the grave of Commodore John Rogers and of those of several members of his family is a granite pyramid, on which it is recorded that Commodore Rogers was born in 1772 and died senor officer of the United States navy August 1, 1838, "after forty-one years of brilliant and important service." On the obverse side is the name of Minerva Dennison Rogers who was "the beloved wife of Commodore John Rogers the fond and faithful mother of eleven children." She was born in 1784, married in 1806 and died in 1877.
A tall shaft marks the last residing place of Rear Admiral John J. Almy, who died May 16, 1895, aged eighty years and twenty-one days after sixty-six years in the naval service, twenty eight of which were passed at sea. Not far from this is a beautiful slab erected by Brevet Brig. Gen. I.P. Graham, colonel, U.S.A., to the memory of his brother, Wm. Montrose Graham, lieutenant colonel, 11th U.S. Infantry, who was born in Prince William county, Va., February 12, 1798, and was killed while gallantry leading his regiment to an assault on the enemy’s works at the battle of Molino del Ray, Mexico, the 8th of September, 1847.
The Wainwright vault contains the remains of men whose names are inscribed high on the roll of their country’s honor. These are Brevet Col. Robert Dewar Wainwright, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, born June 14, 1781 and died October 8, 1841; Commander Richard Wainwright, U.S.N., born January 5, 1817, and died August 10, 1862, and Brevet Col. R. Auchmudt Wainwright, born July 19, 1815, and died December 22, 1866. Also of Thomas Harmon Patterson, rear admiral U.S.N., who was born May 10, 1820 and died April 9, 1889.
There are many large blocks of granite in memory respectively of Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Charles Sumner, Preston S. Brooks and hosts of other senators and representatives. The name of Brooks is almost obliterated, and it is impossible to make out from the inscription what year he died.
The student of the history of the United States for the ten years preceding the civil war is, however, very likely to recall that it was Brooks more, perhaps, than any other one man who precipitated the four years of war between the states. It was Preston S. Brooks in 1856, then a member of the House of Representatives, who became incensed at words spoken in the Senate chamber by Charles Sumner, in the course of debate concerning Brooks uncle, Senator Butler of South Carolina. He entered the Senate one day after that body had adjourned and beat Mr. Sumner terribly with a cane. The incident caused a tremendous sensation throughout the entire country, and everywhere, except in the district which he represented, Brooks’ conduct was denounced in unsparing terms. He was speedily expelled from the House, returned to his home in South Carolina and some time later was again elected to the House in which he again took his seat.
Meanwhile he was challenged by Anson Burlingame, a young representative from Massachusetts, to fight a duel because of the Sumner affair. Mr. Burlingame wanted Brooks to meet him at the Clifton House, Canada, near Niagara Falls, to arrange for the duel, but Brooks refused to accept the challenge. He died in about a year after the assault upon Mr. Sumner took place.
The heroic death last year of Zadoc Williams, a member of Chemical Engine Company No. 1, District of Columbia, fire department, is called to mind by a beautiful granite monument. Williams lost his life in the discharge of his duty at a fire in the Blau building December 12, 1898.
A memorial to John Hall, boatswain, U.S.N. was erected by the crew of the United States transport steamer Portsmouth. Hall died February 22, 1880, aged 48 years. Nearby are the graves of Frank Moran, E.W. Conover, H.B. Hunter and William Sadler of the Marine Corps, William Web of the United States ship Tallapoosa, and Alfred Wallace, U.S.N.
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