Larceny Trial of George Edwards

Transcribed from original case file and submitted by Rene Williams Larson


3/15/1886 Arraignment

To the Marshal for the Western District of Arkansas, and to the keeper of the United States Jail - - - Greeting: Whereas,. George Edwards has been arrested and this day brought before James Brizzolara, a Commissioner appointed by the District Court of the United States, in and for the Western District of Arkansas, under the laws of the United States, charged with Larceny and there not being sufficient time to hear and decide upon the charge against him on this day he was required to give bail to give bail in a sufficient sum for his appearance before me on such day as the charge against him can be heard and decided upon, which requisition he has failed to comply with. We Therefore command you, the said Marshal, forthwith, to convey the said George Edwards to the United States jail at Fort Smith and him deliver to the keeper thereof, and you the said keeper, are hereby required to receive the said George Edwards into your custody in said jail, and him there safely keep until he shall be discharged by due course of law. Given under my hand this 15th day of March A.D. 1886, in the 110th year of our Independence.
/s/ James Brizzolara, U.S. Commissioner

3/19/1886 Witness Bond

Know All Men by these Presents:
That we William L. Pitts & John C. Pitts acknowledge ourselves severally to owe and be indebted unto the United States of America in the sum of three hundred dollars each, to be levied of our goods and chattels, lands and tenements, to the use and benefit of the said United states of America, if default shall be made in the condition following, to wit:
Whereas George Edwards has been brought before James Brizzolara, a United States Commissioner for the Western District of Arkansas, to answer to the charge of Larceny in Indian Country and upon examination had, it appearing to said Commissioner that the offense with which he was charged had been committed, and there was probable cause to believe him guilty thereof, and whereas said William L. Pitts & John C. Pitts are material witnesses in said cause on the part of the United States of America the said Commissioner ordered said witnesses William L. Pitts & John C. Pitts to give bond in the sum of three hundred dollars each for their appearance at a District Court of the United States for the Western District of Arkansas, to be holden on the 3rd day of May, A.D. 1886, at the U.S. Court Room at Fort Smith, in said District, to testify in said cause, and abide the orders of the Court, and not depart the said Court without leave, then this bond to be void, otherwise to be in full force and virtue.
/s/ William L. Pitts P.O. Garretts Bluff
/s/ John C. Pitts P.O. Honey Grove

5/12/1886 Indictment

United States of America, Western District of Arkansas, In the District Court, May term, A.D. 1886.

Unites States
Versus
George Edwards – Larceny

The Grand Jurors of the United States of America, duly selected, empaneled, sworn and charged, to inquire in and for the body of the Western District of Arkansas, aforesaid, upon their oath present: THAT George Edwards, a white man and not an Indian, on the 30th day of December A.D. 1884 at the Choctaw Nation, in the Indian Country within the Western District of Arkansas, aforesaid, did feloniously steal, take and carry away, of the goods and chattels of William L. Pitts, a white man and not an Indian, one pocket-knife of the value of one dollar, one handkerchief, of the value of one dollar, and fifty pounds of coffee of the value of twenty cents per pound and of the total value of ten dollars; contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the United States of America.

M.H. Sandels,
U.S. District Attorney, Western District of Arkansas

5/14/1886 Application for Witnesses

Barnes & Mellette,
Attorneys at Law,
Fort Smith, Ark.

Now comes the Defendant George Edwards and states to the Court that he cannot safely go to trial under Indictment No. 1379 charging him with Larceny without the testimony of Seaborn Ridgway. Rosa Simmons. William C. Edwards, Nancy J. Thompson William Price & Mary J. Edwards which testimony is material to his defense. Ridgway lives at the mouth of Boggy or Boardark. Edwards Simmons & Thomson at end near New Boggy St. Price lives at Lake Weat. I.T. Mary J. Edwards close to new Depot.

By Ridgeway – Wm. Simmons and Mrs. Thompson Defendant can prove that on the night of the alleged robbery of Pitts store these witnesses were with him the entire night, either all Folks or part of them that he staid at Mrs. Simmons house that night-
By W. C. Edwards defendant can prove that the evening prior to the robbery at night he went to Pitts store to buy coffee he was informed that there was none in the store. Whereas now Pitts claims that he lost fifty pounds of coffee. By Price defendant can prove that he never traded said witness a knife in his life. Where as Pitts swears that he saw a knife in Price’s possession which he learned defendant had traded him. By Mary Edwards defendant can prove that the coffee she let prossecuting witness Shaw’s wife have was not coffee that had been taken from Mr. Pitts store, but some that she had purchased.

Defendant states that these facts are true. That he knows of no other witnesses by whom he can establish them. That he is poor And wholly unable to procure this attendance at his own expense.

Wherefore he prays process of subpoena at the expense of the United States. In good faith and not for delay but that justice may be done.

/s/ Wm. Mellette
/X/ George Edwards (his mark).

5/3/1886 – 5/12/1886 Trial (no testimony available)

Trial Witnesses:

Wm. L. Pitts
John C. Pitts
Wm. A. Shane
George Bumpase
Andy Pace
Seaborn Ridgeway


5/12/1886 Verdict

“We the jury find the Defendant not Guilty as charged In the Indictment.”
Signed by Hiram Smith, Foreman