JULY 2020

JULY   2020
Everything Old Is New Again!


Friday, July 10, 2015


I am writing this on yet another oppressive August afternoon. It is baseball weather, when all Americans should be surrounded by the comradely of strangers in shirtsleeves, with a penciled box score in hand and green pastures before them, a land upon which time dare not intrude. Baseball in August is an endless limitless existence,  from which other realities retreat, and which may be savored patiently until the final out is called.  And on such afternoons my mind floats back to one particular afternoon, almost a century before this August, the hot and humid afternoon of August 16, 1920. In my mind's heart I am at the Polo Grounds, a bathtub shaped ballpark along the Harlem River, at the very northern tip of Manhattan. It is home to the National League New York Giants, but since 1913 the American League Yankees have also leased time on the field. And as fans gather in the Coogans Bluff stands beyond right center field, we are witness to a battle of the two best teams in the league. For the Yankees are hosting the powerful Cleveland Indians. And time is about to pause, to catch its breath, to teeter, balanced for a micro-second between one era and another. And as the fifth inning begins, this is the instant of transition.
The Yankees are using their best pitcher, the crafty right hander Carl Mays. He once praised another pitcher, saying, “That fellow has no friends and doesn’t want any. That’s why he’s a great pitcher.” The friendless Carl Mays may be the greatest pitcher in baseball at this moment. He was part of the Boston Red Sox dynasty that dominated baseball in the first two decades of the 20th century. But in 1919 he demanded to be traded. The Yankees paid $40,000 and gave up two players to be named later to put Carl in Yankee pinstripes. They wanted his “submarine” (underhanded) pitch, his blazing sidearm delivery, his un-hitable spitball, and his reputation for brushing back batters who crowded the plate. He was on his way to a 26 win -11 loss record with six shutouts in 1920. Today, August 16th,  he is pitching out of rotation because the game is so important and because Carl Mays is going for his 100th major league win.
The batter is the top of Cleveland's order, the veteran Indian speedster, short stop Ray Chapman. The cheerful songster is fondly known around the league as “Chappie”. After nine seasons in the majors he is at the very top of his game. So far this season he is batting .303, and he has a lifetime 93 runs scored and 671 runs batted in. Chappie also has 233 stolen bases and he wields one of the finest defensive gloves in the league. But he made his reputation laying down the bunt. He crouches down, huntched over the plate, at the very back of the batter's box, thus leaving the pitcher with almost no strike zone to aim for. It is this stance, and his blazing speed to first base - he once rounded the all four bases in 14 seconds - that have given Chappie an impressive on-base average of .358. But only a few close friends know that Chappie is planning on getting out while he is on top. He was married the year before, and has made plans to go into business with his new father-in-law. And some World Series earnings would certainly smooth his way to retirement.
As Chappie steps to the plate at the top of the fifth inning, it is a humid 82 degrees under a cloudless blue sky. The 24,000 fans lean forward in their seats. When Chapman is at the plate, things happen. In the first inning Chapman had laid down his 34th successful bunt of the season. Thanks in part to Ray's speed on the base path, Cleveland is now leading the game, 3 – 0. In the third inning Chapman had popped up. And now, as the fifth inning begins, Ray steps into the batters’ box and digs in.
On his very first pitch Carl Mays delivers a winding, rising, side armed fast ball bullet. With extraordinary velocity the spinning ball hurtles toward the plate, almost faster then the eye can register it. And in that second of time, between the ball leaving Carl's fingertips and it's arrival at the plate, baseball changes forever -  an era ends and an era begins - what might have been becomes what once was, what used to be. It is the blink of an eye. It is the passing of a shadow through a life. 
There is a loud ringing thud. As Mays steps out of his delivery he sees the ball is rolling quickly back toward the mound. Thinking Chapman has hit it with the handle of his bat, Mays adroitly retrieves the ball and throws a peg down the line to first base. And only then does Carl Mays realize that Ray Chapman is crumpled on the ground. 
The Polo Grounds gasp as if a single soul. The umpire, Tommy Connolly, sees blood coming out of Chapman’s right ear and nose. He asks Ray if he is alright. Receiving no reply he calls into the crowd for a doctor. At that shout, Ray opens his eyes and staggers to his feet. A few people in the crowd began to applaud. But after taking only a few steps down the first base line, Ray Chapman collapses again, in a broken heap. His teammates carry Ray into the club house where he mumbles a request for his wedding ring, which he’d given to a trainer for safe keeping. Feeling the ring in his hand seems to comfort Ray.
Meanwhile, on the field and with a new ball, the game resumes. Mays retires the next nine batters in a row and the Yankees fight back to tie the game at 3 - 3. It is a Yankee relief pitcher who gives up the winning Cleveland run; 4 – 3. Called in Cleveland, Ray’s wife, Katie, boards the next train for New York City.
Hospital X-rays show Chapman has a depressed fracture of his skull. The doctors operate and remove a 3 ½” section of Ray's cranium to lessen the pressure on his brain. The surgeon tells the Cleveland manager that not only is the right side of Ray's brain lacerated from the impact with the ball, but so is the left side, where it  bounced off the other side of his skull.  At 4:40 the next morning Ray Chapman is declared dead, the only person to ever die while playing a Major League Baseball game. A family friend met Katie’s train from Cleveland at 10:00 am that morning. But she does not tell the young woman of her husband’s death until they got to the hotel. Once behind closed doors, and told the horrible news, Katie collapses in a faint.
That one pitch can stand as the unofficial end of the "Dead Ball Era", when the game was hit and run, steal and bunt, when the leather was mightier than the wood. It was a time when the game was more strategy than brute force, more brains than brawn, more spunk and more a team sport than it is today. It was a time when  baseballs' greatest slugger was Cliford "Cactus" Gravath,  who in 1915 hit a record 24 home runs, 11 more than his closest rival.  It was not unusual for a league batting champion to have fewer than 10 home runs in a single season. It was a  time when Owen "Chief" Wilson, playing for Pittsburgh, set a record of 35 triples in a single season  - a record which still stands today, a century later.
And then, in 1920 the New York Yankees decided that their new $100,000 acquisition, Babe Ruth, who had earned fame as a pitcher, should stick to batting. In 1920, his first year as a Yankee, "The Sultan of Swat" hits a record 54 home runs, more than all but one of the other entire teams in baseball combined.  He also batted for a .376 average, and his .847 slugging average (total bases earned divided by total at bats) was a Major League record until 2001. The game had changed in a fundamental way after 1920, and the tipping point had come at the moment between Carl Mays releasing the ball, and it impacting Ray Chapman's skull.
Wearing black arm bands in Chappies’ honor, The Cleveland Indians beat out the New York Yankees for the pennant that year, and went on to win the World Series. The Yankees finished a distant third. The Cleveland team voted Katie Chapman a full share of the winners’ purse, about $4,000 (worth $45,000 today). Six months after Chappie's death, Katie gave birth to his daughter and named her Rae. A few years later Katie remarried, to businessman J.F. McMahon and he moved them to California. But she still mourned Chappie. In 1926 Katie committed suicide by drinking cleaning fluid. Three years later little Rae contracted German measles and died as well. Both bodies were brought back to Cleveland,  to be buried in Calvary Cemetery under the name “Chapman”. Ray is buried alone about five miles away in Lake View Cemetery, where fans still leave baseballs, bats and memorabilia against his tombstone. If you have a chance, you should do the same.
Carl Mays played for the Yankees for only one more season. In 1921 he won 27 games and lost only 9. And he  batted .343, unheard of for a pitcher in any era of the game. Despite that achievement, part way through the 1922 season he was traded to the National League Cincinnati Reds, where he went 20 and 9, making him the first pitcher to win 20 games in both leagues.
Carl Mays spent 15 years in the majors, earning 208 wins and 31 saves against a mere 126 losses, with an amazing 862 strikeouts in 490 games. His lifetime batting average of .268 makes him one of the best hitting pitchers of all time. And yet, despite what are clearly Hall Of Fame statistics Carl Mays has received only 8 votes for that honor. Some may believe in the absurd story that he fixed a World Series game in 1922. But the facts deny that. No, what haunted Carl Mays until his death in 1971,  what kept him out of the Hall of Fame, was that one pitch out of the thousands of pitches he threw over his career, the one pitch he threw in the August heat of the 1920 pennant race. It is something to ponder, as the dog days of summer approach once again, and the finality of September hints at the winter which shall soon to envelope us all. 
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Wednesday, July 08, 2015


I would have thought the bubble for the flamboyant General Gustave Toutant Beauregard would have popped just after five, on Sunday morning, 21 July, 1861, when a federal artillery shell smashed into his headquarters, It had been hit 3 days before, by federal guns covering the union retreat from Blackburn's ford, ruining Beauregard's dinner. And now another 12 pound ball crashed his breakfast, almost killing his Spanish valet. This second shot ought to have proved two things to Beauregard – first, that it was past time to move his headquarters, and second, that federal troops were no longer passively waiting for Beauregard's coup de main. But in spite of this second rude warning, the little general retained his surplus of self confidence.
It had been a very busy year for Beauregard. In January, “The Little Napoleon” had been named superintendent of West Point. Five days later,when the appointment was withdrawn, Beauregard took offense, even tho there was never a chance he would stay in the job. He spent the next two years trying to get the government he had just betrayed to reimburse him for the train ticket to New York he had never used. Beauregard was again offended when he was not named commander of his native Louisiana's new Confederate army. In a snit he enlisted as private in “The Orleans Guards”, an aristocratic militia unit. Confederate President Jefferson Davis rescued Beauregard from his own ego, by making him Confederate commander of Charleston, South Carolina.
His many admirers said the 42 year old Beauregard worked so tirelessly to strengthen the harbor defenses that his hair turned white. Others, who knew him well, suggested the hostilities had cut off his supply of hair dye. But in April it was Beauregard who accepted the surrender of Fort Sumter, and he became a hero to the entire Confederacy. July found “Old Borey”, as the 21,000 men under his command called him, doing his very best to live up to his growing reputation for arrogance and to give his savior an ulcer.
Amazingly, after scaring the entire Confederate chain of command with a mere twitch on  18 July, Irwin McDowell's 35,000 man federal army at Centerville went somnambulant for 48 hours, oblivious while trains carrying the lead units of Joe Johnston's 10,000 man army staggered into Manassas Junction. By the morning of Sunday,21 July, 1861, the numerical odds in northeastern Virginia were just about equal. Despite this, Jeff Davis thought Beauregard's planned offensive, little short of insane.
The Little Napoleon intended on throwing half his army (12,000 men) across Bull Run at Union Mill, to drive past McDowell's left, and fall upon Centerville, isolating the federal army, and dictating peace terms from Arlington Heights, overlooking Washington, D.C.. President Davis did not know that McDowell had already dealt with that threat, on 19 July, sending 5.500 men back to Fairfax Court House, where they could easily out flank Beauregard 's out flanking maneuver. But Davis did know the Confederates had just enough ammunition for one big fight, and no logistics to support an advance. Davis tried to discourage Beauregard without offending the famously easily offended creole.  Unfortunately, Beauregard already despised Davis. "The curse of God must have been on our people when we chose him...” Beauregard wrote of his superior and savior. Despite his breakfast clue of a cannon ball, Beauregard still insisted upon launching his assault.
General Richard Ewell got the first of his 5 Virginia regiments across Union ford on the rebel right, as the federal artillery was opening fire. General David Jones was ready to follow with 3 more regiments, and behind him was General Longstreet with 4 more. The Virginians shoved aside the cavalry skirmishers, and pushed north on the empty road. McDowell was duly informed of the assault, and glad to hear of it. By the time Ewell got to the west bound road leading to Centerville, the federal army would be in Manassas Junction. Luckily for Beauregard, orders for Ewell to halt and withdraw arrived within half an hour of his crossing Bull Run. .The only problem was, no correction arrived for General Jones, who kept going and found himself on the north side of Bull Run, advancing all by himself.
The new orders had been issued by Joe Johnston (above), who was junior to Beauregard, but twice as smart and half as arrogant. And when he saw reports from Longstreet saying that Federal General Daniel Tyler's division seemed to be getting ready to attack the north side of the stone bridge that carried the Warrenton Turnpike over Bull Run, Johnston had ordered Ewell to get back south of Bull Run, fast. General Beauregard was suspicious at first, but held off countermanding the order until he received an appraisal of Tyler's intentions from the observation post 358 feet up Signal Hill knob. And that delay gave Beauregard enough time to become a military genius.
At about 8:45 that Sunday morning, to the west of Manassas Junction on the rebel right, Captain Edward Porter Alexander (above)  was watching through a spy class Tyler's movements 8 miles to the north, on the rebel left. It was obvious to him that Tyler had no real intention of launching an assault. But before he could tell Beaurgard that,  out the corner of his eye,  Alexander saw a glint of a brass cannon in the sunlight, and the sparkle of thousands of muskets moving toward Sudley Springs, further beyond the rebel left. Alexander sent a flag message to his operator at the Stone Bridge, “Look out for your left, your position is turned." He then followed that up with a note alerting Beauregard: “I see a body of troops crossing Bull Run about two miles above the Stone Bridge...I can see both infantry and artillery.”
Federal muskets were glinting in the sun only because McDowell's army had not yet learned how to march on a battle field. At 2:30 that morning a battalion each under Generals David Hunter and Samuel Heintzelman, 12,000 men in all,  marched south on the Warrenton Pike from Centerville. In the predawn blackness, just after crossing a bridge over Cub Run, they ran into the rear of General Tyler's 8,000 man division, which was stumbling forward to threaten the stone bridge over Bull Run. What followed was an exhausting two hours of standing, marching and counter marching before the flanking battalions could reach the Sudley Springs cross roads, and get clear of the mess. The delay meant Tyler's men were demonstrating for 3 ½ hours in front of the Warrenton Pike stone bridge, before Hunter's division even began crossing Bull Run at Sudley Springs at about 9:30. Which left them out in the open to be seen from Signal Hill by Captain Alexander.
The left flank of the rebel army rested on the stone bridge carrying the Warrenton Turnpike over Bull Run. It consisted of 1,000 men and a battery of artillery, commanded by the hard drinking, knock-kneed General Nathan “Shanks” Evans (above). And after reading Alexander's message, and matching it with his own assessment, Evans acted boldly. 
He left 4 companies to guard the Stone Bridge (above), and led the rest of his brigade on a forced march to the north, first over Henry House Hill and then to Mathew's House hill. As always, Evens was accompanied by an aide, who carried on his back a small barrel of Even's favorite whiskey.
Even also sent word six miles back to Manassas Junction, demanding immediate reinforcement, where it found the rebel brigades from the Shenandoah Valley - the newly arrived 800 South Carolinans under General Bernard Bee, and the 1,000 Georgians under Colonel Francis Bartow. These two brigades began an immediate force march toward the Henry House Hill,  followed by Colonel Thomas Jackson's brigade of Virginians.
It was not yet 10 a.m., Sunday, 21 July, 1861, and the first great battle of the American Civil was about to begin in earnest. And having shown himself to be a delusional commander, Gustave Toutant Beauregard was about to prove to be a great leader.
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Sunday, July 05, 2015


I judge it a victory for the legal process that no one answered the exhausted, exasperated plea of a spectator who responded to the umpteenth outburst by defendant Charles Julius Guiteau (pronounced “Gitto”, above) by begging, “Just shoot him, now.”  There is no doubt Charles was funny in the head. But if he had murdered some random schmuck on the street and been locked safely away in an insane asylum, where he could die quietly of tuberculous like most of the 19th century mentally ill, then with time he would have been considered “ha, ha” funny.  As it was the children who grew up with Charles noted his “offensive egotism”, thirty years before he shot President James Garfield in the back. Because of that murder, Charles was not, as Sarah Vowell suggested, “the funniest man in American History”. But he still comes close.
Just after nine on 2 July, 1881, as he got out of the cab in front of the Baltimore and Potomac railroad station (above), his ex-girl friend, Pauline Smolens, asked, “What are you plotting now, Charles dear?” He was plotting to gun down President Garfield inside the station. But her asking the question raises the question why Miss Smolens got in a carriage with dear Charles after showing the common sense to break up with this lunatic exhibitionist. Fifteen years earlier Charles' long suffering wife Anne Bunn had divorced him only after he re-gifted her the syphilis he had received from one of the prostitutes he frequented. The judge who granted Anne's divorce ordered Charles to never marry again. Legally the judge couldn't do that, but that was the effect Charles Guiteau eventually had on everybody who knew him - they were all driven to extremes.
Having shot the President, Charles was run to a nearby police station by officer Patrick Kearney.  All the way there Charles kept shouting, “I have killed Garfield!...I have a letter that will tell you all about it!” Charles' note read, “I have just shot the President. I shot him several times as I wished him to go as easily as possible...I am a lawyer, theologian, and politician.... Very respectfully, Charles Guiteau” Almost nothing in that note was true.
First, Charles was a no theologian. As a teenager he joined the free love cult of John Humphrey Noyes. But Charles' groundless arrogance offended so many members, he literally couldn't get laid in a free love commune. After five years of celibacy “Charles Git Out”, as his fellow cult members called him, tried suing Noyes, and failing that, then plagiarized two of the leaders' books. Then Charles became an itinerant preacher (above). One newspaper described a typical performance by the self described “Little Giant of the West”, “...The impudent scoundrel talked only 15 minutes.” Charles then ran out the back with the ticket receipts According to one member, the abandoned audience, “had a conference and all came to the conclusion that he was crazy.”
Charles was not really a lawyer. His bar exam was four questions long, and a passing grade was 50% - and he used it to make himself a bill collector, keeping whatever he collected whenever he felt like it.. Oh, and President Garfield was not dead – yet - and would not die easily. And Charles was never respectful of anybody. The only truth in the note was that being an egomaniac Charles did fit the working definition of a politician. He decided Garfield owed him an ambassadorship, and when he did not receive it, Charles bought a gun and began stalking President Garfield.  But that was just the latest in a life time of arrogant fantasies. It seemed as if everybody in Chicago, Boston and New York thought Charles ought be hanged, so he set out to convince everybody in Washington, D.C., as well.   
While James Garfield was slowly dying of septicemia, Charles Guiteau was writing his autobiography and planning his lecture tour. From his prison cell Charles offered the suit he wore while shooting Garfield, for sale, as well as photographs of himself. Again, after only a few weeks, the people in the closest contact with Charles, his jailers, wanted to kill him..
On 11 September, Sargent William Mason, of the 4th Artillery regiment, got fed up with “coming to work every day to protect a dog like Guiteau.”  Mason shoved a pistol through the grate in Charles' cell door and ordered the assassin to “Get up and meet your death like a man.” Instead Charles began screaming and running back and forth in his tiny cell, while Mason kept firing and missing him. In desperation Mason yelled “Stay still, you rotten shit!” just before the gun was knocked from his hand by another guard. Despite widespread public acclaim, and funds raised for his family, Sargent Mason was sentenced to eight years in jail, perhaps because he missed.
After James Garfield finally died on 19 September, 1881, Charles was charged with murder and hate mail began to flood the new jail at 19th and B Streets, SE (above). Typical was the opinion of one writer who called Charles a “dirty, lousy, lying rebel traitor”, adding, “hanging is too good for you, you stinking cuss... You damn old mildewed assassin. You ought to be burned alive and let rot. You savage cannibal dog.”
Perhaps the most inventive suggestion was that Charles be forced to eat two ounces of his own cooked flesh every day, as long as he lasted.. About this time, another guard was driven to attack Charles with a knife. Again, Charles' screams brought help. But none of this seemed to shake Charles' reality. He assured courtroom spectators, “I've had plenty of visitors...everybody was glad to see me...they all expressed the opinion without one dissenting voice that I be acquitted.”
The serialization of Charles' arrogant autobiography in the newspapers would have poisoned the jury pool if those waters were not already putrid with hate. Worse, Charles complained that while a fund had been set up to support the newly widowed Mrs. Garfield, he still needed money for his expected dream team lawyers. 
The trial began on Monday, 14 November, 1881, in the courtroom of Walter Smith Cox (above), a longtime D.C. attorney, who had only been on the bench for two years. Fearing any verdict might be appealed, Judge Cox allowed Charles to to act as one of his own attorneys. 
“I came here...as an agent of the Deity,” asserted Charles, “and I am going to assert my right in this case.” As a practical matter this meant Charles kept springing up whenever he was inspired to, to argue or spew insults and obscenities on witnesses and his own “blunderbuss lawyers”, ordering his brother-in-law to “Get off the case, you consummate ass!”, telling Judge Cox, “I would rather have some ten-year-old boy try this case than you!”, and often spitting and foaming at the mouth while he did so.
Meanwhile the search for an impartial jury eliminated 175 on grounds they wanted Charles dead. Prospective juror John Lynch suggested that Charles “ought to be hung or burnt”, adding, “I don't think there is any evidence in the United States to convince me any other way”. Potential juror John Judd said Charles ought to be hung – not for murdering Garfield, but because he had cheated Judd out of $50. A writer to the New York Times suggested, “it would be best to execute him first and try the question of his sanity afterward.”  After three days, Charles' great objection to the chosen twelve was that one of them, Ralph Wormley, was black.
On Saturday the doctors offered their account of the President's injuries, introducing a preserved section of Garfield's spine (above).  It was passed among the hushed jury, and was eventually handed to Charles, who looked it over and handed it back without comment. Much to everyone's relief.
According to the papers, that night, “a wild and reckless youth” named Bill Jones - who was actually 29 and had been drinking heavily - rode up next to the carriage returning Charles to jail, and let loose a shot. “The Avenger” then lead police on a high speed (one horsepower) chase, south to the outskirts of Fredricksburg, Virginia, where he was arrested. Worse, in most estimations, was that Jones had missed.
“People will learn after awhile”, said Charles, “ that the Lord is with me and will not allow me to be killed!” The Washington Times labeled young Jones a hero, despite his record for impersonating police officers and threatening strangers with arrest. Several thousand dollars were raised by “The Evening Star” to support Jones' wife and child and hire attorneys while he sat in jail for two years. In 1884, a jury quickly acquitted Bill Jones of the assault, which must have made Sargent Mason feel like a complete fool.
Monday, 21 November – the first court date after the Bill Jones assault - the only actual criminal lawyer working for Charles Guiteau, Mr. Leigh Robinson, resigned from the case. The 49 year old Confederate veteran had only taken the thankless job at the request of Judge Cox. 
But Robinson was now clashing with Charles' brother-in-law, George Scoville (above), whose legal career had focused on property rights. George wanted to plead Charles temporary  insane.
But Charles refused to admit he was insane, shouting at George in open court, “You are no criminal lawyer! I can get two or three first-class criminal lawyers in America to manage this case for me.!” 
Where those lawyers were hiding was unclear, so Judge Cox finally had the lunatic handcuffed in his chair. As the bailiffs struggled with him, Charles kept shouting, “Mind your own business. Mind your own business!” Once restrained, Charles sulked, and Robinson was released from his painful duties.
George Scoville put Charles' older brother John (above left)on the stand, who said of Charles, “His life is a wreck and worthless."   When John wrote to ask when he could expect repayment of a loan, Charles wrote back, “Find $7 enclosed. Stick it up your bung hole and wipe your nose on it...” However there was no money in the letter. Charles' big sister Francis (above, right) testified Charles had “gone daft” without warning and chased her with an ax. And then Charles spent a week on the stand.
Charles insisted medical malpractice had killed Garfield, not him. Besides,  he was not crazy in the moral sense, because “The Deity” had ordered him to kill Garfield, but he was definitely insane in the legal sense, in that the jury should not convict him.  Twenty psychiatrists (called alienists) watched this performance, one telling a newspaper that Charles was the most fascinating psychotic he had ever seen. District Attorney George Corkhill, disagreed, asserting that Charles was “no more insane than I am...he's a cool, calculating blackguard, a polished ruffian... He wanted excitement..and notoriety, and he got it.”
Corkhill asked, “Who bought the pistol, the Deity or you?” Charles (above) responded, “The Deity furnished the money...I was the agent.” Corkhill asked directly, “Are you insane at all?” To this, Charles tried a clever answer. “A good many people think I am badly insane”, he told the jury, ”My father thought so, and my relatives thought so and still think so.” And that was when Corhill sprung his  trap. “You told the jury you were not insane,.” he reminded Charles. The madman smirked, certain of his own cleverness. “I am not an expert. Let the experts and the jury decide whether I am insane.” At least half the people in the courtroom, the jury included, were probably willing to lynch him right there, because of that smirk.
One of the few spectators able to hold onto their own sanity in the presence of Charles' pretentious hubris, was Fredrick Douglas. The great man pointed out that if Charles were merely acting crazy, “he is the most consummate actor in the world.” Meanwhile Douglas's old ally, Henry Ward Beecher, announced he believed Guiteau, “sane enough to hang.”
After 100 witnesses and 10 weeks of testimony, the case went to the jury. They came back with a verdict in 20 minutes. Allowing them five minutes to use the toilet, ten minutes to elect John Hamlin as foreman, and count the ballots, and five minutes to reassemble courtroom security: it cannot have been a contentious deliberation. At the reading of the verdict, Charles jumped to his feet, screaming at the jury, “You are all low, consummate jackasses! My blood will be on the heads of that jury!”. A Chicago Tribune headline caught the general public reaction. “The Hyena Hangs!”
Six months later, after his breakfast on Friday, 30 June, 1882, a clean shaven Charles Guiteau asked that the flowers and cards sent by his supporters be delivered to his cell. The warden informed him there were none. Charles then placed an order for his evening meal, which the warden took. Just before noon Charles was led out of his cell by a clergyman, his brother John and a pair of guards. He was led into the rotunda of the jail, where the permanent gallows awaited him. At the foot of the stairs, Charles paused to weep. Then he climbed the 13 steps, and found himself facing a crowd of 250 who had paid up to $300 to watch him die. Hundreds more stood outside the walls, waiting to cheer the event.
Charles could not go without a speech. As his hands were tied behind his back, and his legs were bound together, he recited: “I am now going to read some verses which are intended to indicate my feelings at the moment of leaving this world....I wrote it this morning about ten o'clock.” He than recited in a child like voice, '“I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad, I am going to the Lordy,...”  His poem went on for five stanzas and then Charles bent his head so the genial hangman, “Colonel” Robert Strong, could slip the hangman's noose over his head.
The papers called Strong "the jolliest Jack Ketch in the whole country",   and bestowed on the long time city jail guard the honorary title of “Colonel” (above).  The 56 year old was best known for his genial nature, who once earnestly chided a condemned man, “If you don’t cheer up you’ll never learn how to look on the bright side of life.” Said a fellow guard of Robert Strong's work, “His noose for the neck was simply perfection.” As this noose was tightened on his neck, Charles begged the hangman, “Do not pull it too tight, Mr. Strong”. Robert assured him, “I won't hurt you, Charlie.”
With the hood closed, Strong and the clergyman stepped away, and Charles shouted, “The Angels are coming to me!” He opened his left hand, dropping a square of paper. Before it hit the platform floor, Charles shouted, "Glory, ready, go!” and “Colonel” Strong jerked the lever, opening the trap door. That quick, and almost without a sound, Charles Guiteau dropped six feet and jerked to a stop. A cheer went up from the crowd, inside and outside the jail.
The body hung still for 40 seconds, and then jerked. After three minutes the body was lowered until the feet just touched the ground. The heart kept beating for another 14 minutes. After it stopped, the body was left hanging for another half an hour, and was then lowered into its coffin and cut down. On autopsy Charles Guiteau was found to have died of suffocation. His neck was not broken by Mr. Strong's noose. Charles' brain weighed 49 ½ ounces, and had asymmetry of the hemispheres and signs of Syphlitic paresis, which can produce grandiose delusions. 
Charles has never been buried. His skull (above)  and most of his bones are in the National Museum of Health and Medicine while sections of his brain are in the Mutter Museum, both in Philadelphia. His head, minus his skull, was part of a private collection in Indiana for some years, before it was destroyed in a fire.
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