From the pages of The Banner

This Week in History

Posted 8/12/17

The following items were compiled by the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library from old issues of the Cleveland Daily Banner and its forerunners, the Cleveland Banner, the Journal, and the Journal …

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From the pages of The Banner

This Week in History

Posted

The following items were compiled by the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library from old issues of the Cleveland Daily Banner and its forerunners, the Cleveland Banner, the Journal, and the Journal and Banner.

1926

The unusual sight of four women being arrested and tried on a peace warrant was witnessed before Esquire Whitener’s court Tuesday in a trial which at times reached the dimensions of high comedy.

A big crowd of spectators, drawn to the unusual scene from the community, affected and augmented by others attracted by the gathering, occasionally roared with laughter at the answers to some of the questions. A still more unusual and pitiful feature of the “trial” was the presence as one of the defendants of a feeble mother and grandmother 73 years of age leaning on a staff as she hobbled into the courtroom and took her place on their side of the bar.

This aged respondent to the behest of the law was Mrs. Martha Davis, who testified she was born and reared in Bradley County, had lived within a few hundred yards of the place where she now lives the whole 73 years of her life and had never before been served with a warrant.

The other three defendants were Mrs. Clarence Caywood, Mrs. John Miller and Mrs. R.E. Daughterty.

The prosecutor of the case was Mrs. Metta King, wife of Lonnie King. Mrs. King, before her marriage, was Miss Metta Wrinkle, daughter of a former well-known resident of the community. Mrs. King was joined in the proceedings by her husband, who holds a position in Birmingham, Ala., but who had come to attend the trial and scotch for his wife.

It appeared that with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. King’s relatives the whole community was arrayed on the side of the defense, and that they had all come into town to hear the case. It appears that Mrs. King, until a few months ago, resided with her husband in Birmingham, but purchased a farm from her brother, Lester Wrinkle, and moved to the community to engage in farming and dairying.

Apparently the trouble over which the trial resulted grew out of a rural partnership telephone line. The evidence disclosed the alleged fact that other patrons and partners on the line were continually annoyed by interference from the King box when they attempted to use the line. In case of sickness they could not get a message through to the doctor.

In case they wanted to talk with each other, as neighbors sometimes want to do on the country lines, they were not permitted to do so, according to their story.

Finally the matter became so aggravated and so aggravating, according to evidence of the defense, that in self-defense some unknown person cut the branch leading to Mrs. King’s box and thus messages were put through. This happened three or four times, and finally the stockholders had a meeting and voted Mrs. King off the line.

Thereupon Mrs. King took the four ladies above mentioned with peace warrants, alleging that they had threatened her. In behalf of her side of the case, Mrs. King took the stand and between sobs told her story of persecution. She was supported by her brother, Lester Wrinkle; by a sister, a brother-in-law and her little daughter.

Another brother-in-law introduced for the prosecution, proved to be an unprofitable witness. He denied any personal knowledge of the alleged threats, and when asked by Howard Haven, attorney for the defense, if he had not stated to two witnesses that Mrs. King was the meanest woman that ever lived, pleaded lack of memory. His predicament as a witness was the occasion for a hearty laugh or two from the big crowd.

Attorney for the defense suggested that there was no need to put his witnesses on, as the prosecution had failed to make any case. The witnesses were called for, however, by the court, and their testimony was frequently punctuated by loud peals of soft laughter.

Mrs. Caywood stated that the only threat she had ever heard over the phone was that of Mrs. King, who had called her and told her she would blow her brains out. Asked by Attorney James Corn if the whole community was not trying to get rid of Mrs. King, she intimated that while the community was not especially trying to get rid of her, that such a result would be a happy termination of troubles that had existed since she moved in.

Another star witness was the aged Mrs. Davis, who admitted that she and her family had long-standing troubles and difficulties with the Wrinkle family, which dated back to a row over a line fence. Mrs. Davis swore that she had never threatened Mrs. King, nor cursed and abused her, as alleged in the charge, and she added that Mrs. King need fear no harm from her, since, even if she wanted to harm her it would be first necessary for her to secure someone to help her get to Mrs. King.

As to the charge of cursing and abusing anyone, Mrs. Davis said she had never cursed an oath in her life.

Other defendants denied emphatically the charge of threats and also those of abuse. Having heard the evidence, the court, who was joined in sitting by Esquire Wallace Parks, discharged the defendants, taxing Mrs. King with the costs of the case.

In delivering his decision, Esquire Whitener stated that he thought he understood the law on the subject, and that from experience he had found that action for maintaining peace was about the most difficult of any to sustain, and that he thought there was not sufficient cause in this case to place the defendants under bond.

In the same connection a separate case against Van Davis, charged with public profanity, was dismissed, the court holding that the evidence did not sustain the charge.

———

Application has been made for a charter incorporating the Cherokee Hotel company of Cleveland, and prospects now seem very bright for a modern hotel for this city.

The movement was in its inception, but had not developed sufficiently to be outlined in these columns. If the enterprise succeeds, as it seems probably now that it will, it will be due largely to the determination of T.L. Rogers, veteran Realtor of this city, who has taken a very prominent part in the activity for the hotel and for the location that has been decided upon.

Mr. Rogers has been ably seconded by others who will make up the list of incorporators. Among these are C.S. Mayfield, W.J. Hargis, Theo Stivers, C.L. Hardwick, George L. Hardwick Jr., and others.

When the charter has been arranged, subscriptions for stock will be taken and it is hoped to sell the entire amount decided on locally. It is the opinion of the incorporators that the entire issue can be disposed of both from the standpoint of civic pride and from that of the soundness of the investment.

Of course plans are yet in the incipient stage, but the probabilities favor a hotel of around 100 rooms, built flush with the street at least on one side with store rooms on part of the ground floor. The location, the Hoyle corner, is ideal for a hotel, with park-like surroundings, as there is fine shade and lawn.

However, the tendency of modern construction is to sacrifice resort and park features to the utility plan of supplementing the hotel income with rentals of choice store rooms.

A modern hotel is one of the things Cleveland has been crying for for some years, and the prospects for its realization now seem better than at any former time.

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