Grafton Riot

The (Grafton) Daily Sentinel
June 30, 1909

Barrett and Handley Held for Their Appearance Before Next Grand Jury

Hearing This Afternoon Before Justice Monroe Attracted a Large Crown of Spectators.

Court Was Held in Old Skating Rink.

James Sheets, The P[r]incipal, Did Not Appear But Left the City This Morning.

There was quite a large crowd at the hearing of Mike Handley and Rich Marrett [sic] this afternoon in the court of Justice Monroe, held on the charge of precipitating the riot on Saturday night last in which James Sheets, or Erie, Pa., was badly beaten up and for a time near death's door, together with a companion, who left the city the night of the disturbance.

The hearing was held in the old skating rink across the river, and it was well crowded with interested spectators, despite the intense heat of the afternoon. Attorneys Charles P. Guard and John H. S. Barlow, appeared for the defendants, and Prosecuting Attorney Gene W. Ford appeared for the state. Following is the evidence of the witnesses as called, the examination being conducted by Mr. Ford:

Will Woodyard.

Mr. Handley, this gentleman here, do you recognize him?

Ans. Yes sir, I have seen him.

Q. He took a hand, and two or three of them jumped on this young fellow?

A. Yes sir, I saw him hit one of the fellows.

Q. Do you know James Sheets?

A. No sir.

Q. You don't know whether either one of these fellows struck James Sheets?

A. He was going through the motions.

Q. I asked you if you knew James Sheets?

A. No sir.

Q. Do you know whether he strick [sic] James Sheets?

A. Well I saw him knock the man down.

Q. Do you know whether the man he struck was Jim Sheets or not?

A. Well, I seen him hit two or three of them.

Q. Two of [sic] three of them were trying to get to him?

A. Yes sir.

Cross Examination

Q. I understood you to say Mr. Woodyard, that Mr. Handley struck someone and that someone struck Barrett and also that two or three of them jumped on Barrett after he struck one of them?

A. Mr. Barrett struck one of them, that is, he struck one of those fellows.

Q. Who struck first.

A. He did.

James Yaste was next called and he testified that he had seen the finish of the fight, and that he [h]ad seen Barrett strike a man. He stated that he didn't see Handley, and that he didn't know the man who was struck.

Then come Mr. Joseph Fletcher.

Q. I believe you are a policeman in this town?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Were you present when this fight took place or part of the time at least?

A. Well, I don't know, I saw the crowd up there. There was a pretty big crowd in the street and I went up there and saw this fellow that is in the hospital lying on the side walk.

Q. What of [or?] who had put him there?

A. I couldn't tell, he was there when I got there.

Q. Did you see either of these defendants there?

A. I seen both of them on Latrobe street.

Q. How close to where the fight took place?

A. I don't know, they wasn't right there where the fellow was.

Q. Were they down there where the fight took place?

A. They were standing about where the fight was supposed to be.

Q. How close were they to where the fellow lay?

A. Right across Latrobe street.

Q. Latrobe street is pretty narrow.

A. It is twenty feet I think between the curbs.

Q. And they were half way across the street?

A. Something like that.

Q. Where was this man laying?

A. Laying right in front of McAvay's saloon door middle way of the side walk.

Q. Then he was laying between McAvay's saloon and where these defendants weer [sic] standing?

A. He was laying on the side walk and these men were out in the street.

Q. Were both of them there together?

A. I seen one there, Mr. Handley, and I did'nt [sic] see nothing of Barrett.

Q. Mr. Handley was there?

A. Mr. Handley was there, but he was'nt [sic] close to this man on the side walk.

Q. Now then what kind of a hat did Mr. Handley have on?

A. I didnt pay any particular attention to that.

Q. Did you at any time in the evening pay any attention to what kind of a hat he had on?

A. No sir.

Q. Did you see his face that evening after the fight?

A. No sir I did'nt [sic].

Q. I believe you were in the crowd when part of the fight was going on?

A. I didn't see no fight, I seen the crowd there like a nest of bees and when I got up there there wasn't any fight at all.

Q. Isn't it a fact that somebody struck over your head at a man in that fight?

A. Somebody did, but I wasn't able to see who it was.

Q. You know where the fight took place from what other people told you and here the men were laying?

A. When I got there there wasn't a man in the crowd that had seen anything at all or would tell me anyt[h]ing, I couldn't find out anything.

Q. While you were there someone struck over your head, did you see Handley or Bartlett there at that time?

A. I seen both of them on Latrobe street.

Q. Have you heard them make any admissions?

A. No sir, I haven't.

Q. You say when you got there this man Sheets was on the side walk and down?

A. There was a man down, they said his name was sheets [sic]?

Q. Tell the court whether you arrested or helped arrest Mr. Bartlett that night?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Find him at home?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Tell the court whether you had a warrant for Mr. Handley?

A. I never seen him, we went to the house and searched the house all through and ris [sic] wife said he hadn't been at home.

Q. Did you locate him at the time?

A. No sir, we didn't locate him at the time, at least I didn't, I didn't know wheer [sic ]he was until he was gotten yesterday.

Q. His wife did[n]'t tell you?

A. No sir, she said he [w]asn't at home.

Q. Did she state to you that he had made arrangements to leave town?

A. No sir.

Mr. Patrick Flannery.

Q. Mr. Flannery, I believe you live on Main street?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Were you down on Latrobe street last Saturday night?

A. I went down there when there was some excitement.

Q. What did you see there?

A. I seen a big mob of people and some scrapping around there.

Q. Tell us some of them that were scrapping?

A. Well I don't know much about the scrap, I saw it going on and the big crowd.

Q. You can tells us some you say in the scrap?

A. I seen one then, a fellow was laying on the street there and he tried to get up and Mr. Handley hauled away at him and then they lit on him and the foot ball game commenced.

State rested.

Defendants moved the court to exclude the state's evidence and dismiss the prisoners. Which motion was argued by council; whereupon the court overruled the motion, and Bartlett and Handley were held under the sum of $500 bond each for their appearance before the next grand jury.


West Virginia Archives and History