Saturday afternoon about half-past 1 o'clock a Iively scrimmage took place in the vicinity of the post office, between two men from the country, named respectively Henry Slaven and James Albert.
It seems that earlier in the day the men had been in an altercation of words about trading horses, and agreed to go outside the city limits to settle their little disagreement in a regular rough and tumble fight, at the same time agreeing to meet in fifteen minutes at a given point and go together to the place designated for the comfort.
Soon after this Slaven went to the alley in the rear of Brenneman's, and as he says sat down on the outside steps of some of the business houses there. Soon Albert came along and the altercation was renewed, when, instead of going outside the city limits, the two men then and there pulled off their coats, and as the boys say, "went in."
After making a few passes at each other they clinched, and after a moment's tustle they fell, Albert underneath. About this time Policeman Wilkinson arrived upon the ground, and seeing that Slaven was getting in the licks upon his antagonist pretty rapidly, he called upon a bystander to take Slaven off.
This order the bystander started to obey, when a man by the name of Whitaker, who it seems was a friend of Slaven, drew his coat and pitched into the man who was trying to separate the belligerents. By Whitaker's interference another fight wns inaugurated, and but for the timely arrival of another officer there is no telling where it might have ended.
All the participants in the melee were then arrested and taken to the office of Justice Hughes, where there was an amusing display of legal knowledge and ability by the parties questioning and cross-questioning each other. City Attorney Buckingham, who had been sent for and was now at his post, had hard work to maintain his gravity on account of the ludicrous manner in which the parties were managing the respective sides of the case.
Finally the case was so explained to the court that his honor had a fair idea of it, and he proceeded to assess a fine of six dollars each upon Slaven and Albert as the principals in the fight, and three dollars upon Whitaker for the part he took in it.
As neither of the parties had any money with which to pay their fines, their incarceration in the calaboose over Sunday for a while seemed inevitable, but finally a gentleman who knew the parties assured the court that the fine would be paid during the coming week if the men could bo allowed to go home. Upon this assurance his honor gave them some good advice, and they were allowed to depart.
Decatur (Illinois) Daily Republican, January 10, 1876.
Copyright © 2006 Larry Slavens. All rights reserved.