Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wilbur Wise Marmaduke

I've mentioned the Library of Congress's Chronicling America website before. This site is a jewel mine for family research! Chronicling America provides digital copies of newspapers from all over the country going all the way back to 1836. 

Somehow I ended up searching the newspapers for Wilbur Wise Marmaduke, and he turned out to be more of an interesting character than I originally thought!

Before I share the story, here's a short summary of Wilbur & his family:

Wilbur's father, Milton, was a brother (possibly a 1/2 brother) of my 3rd great-grandfather Berkley Marmaduke. Wilbur was born in Montross, Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1871, and grew up in Washington, DC. He married & had a son, but I do not know much about either of them yet. 

What first interested me about Wilbur was this postcard in my great-grandmother's collection of family postcards (over a thousand postcards!). 
Oddly enough, we have 2 of this postcard from a trip that Viola Marmaduke's sister Bettie took to see him in Miami. I think it's so interesting that Wilbur & his wife would have postcards made of their home. Was that common? The postcard is postmarked 1935 on the back, and is a postcard written from Bettie to Viola. Bettie was suffering from cancer at the time. Here's a copy of what she wrote below: 

More about Bettie & the details surrounding this postcard later... 

Anyway, Wilbur & his 2nd wife Viola (not to be confused with Viola Marmaduke) moved to Florida sometime between 1920 & 1928. He was in his 50s at the time. They moved there as hotel managers, and Wilbur died in 1947 at the age of 76.

So back to Washington, DC in 1898. I found a series of articles in the Washington, DC Times about Wilbur & his father Milton. I'll let the articles tell the story...

It reads: "Institutes Suite for Damages. Jacob Spliedt has entered suit for $5,000 damages against Wilbur W. Marmaduke & Milton M. Marmaduke, alleging that Thursday last the defendants assaulted and violently beat, kicked, bruised and ill-treated him. The plaintiff claims that he has been permanently injured therefrom and is hindered and prevented from pursuing his ordinary avocation. He also says he has had to pay out the sum of $100 for the treatment of his hurts. Messrs. Bierny and Woodward represent the plaintiff."

This one reads:
TICKET BROKERS 'TROUBLE The assault case of Spliedt against the Marmadukes on trial. The case of Wilbur W. Marmaduke and Milton M. Marmaduke, charged with assaulting Jacob Spliedt September 2, was taken up before Judge Scott in the Police Court at 1 o'clock this afternoon. The jury was called during the morning, being made up as follows: J. C. Miles, James H. Tucker, Warren F. Basim, D. E. Kealey, Chas. Barnes, Theodore Heilman, Charles T. Willis, John Y. Yates, Lawrence Cole, Joseph N. Kudd, John II. Baxter and Thomas D. Manning. The defendants have been under $500 bail each, and at the preliminary hearing pleaded not guilty, demanding a jury trial. An interesting incident in the case is the fact that Mr. Spliedt has entered a law suit against the Marmadukes, asking for heavy damages for injuries resulting to him in the alleged assault. The Prosecuting Witness. The first witness heard was Mr. J. Spliedt, who charged that the Marmadukes, father and son, attacked him while on his way down Pennsylvania avenue in front of the National Hotel on the afternoon of September 1 without any provocation. He had his umbrella raised, when suddenly he was attacked by the two men. Mr. Marmaduke, Sr. said to his son: "Now you have got him, do him up good." The younger Marmaduke then, he said, struck him twice on the head and once in the side with a large hammer. Subsequently he went to the office of Dr. D. Percy Hickling, who, upon an examination, found that one of his ribs was broken. Mr. Spliedt was cross-examined at much length by Mr. Tracy L. Jeffords, counsel for the Messrs. Marmaduke, but the direct testimony of the witness was not shaken. Dr. D. P. Hickling testified that on the afternoon of September 1 Mr. Spliedt came to his office to be treated; the latter had two wounds-one on his face and the other on the forehead. The patient also had a rib broken. The injuries could have been inflicted, he said, with a blunt instrument. Mr. Spliedt was sick for some days following the day he received the injuries, which were very recent, not more then two or three hours at the most. Dr. H. F. Price said he saw a scuffle between the Marmadukes and Mr. Spliedt, in which one of the Marmadukes struck Mr. Spliedt in the head with a hammer. Mr. Spliedt was carrying a raised umbrella at the time. Thomas Hill, who described himself as "bootblack and general hustler," said he saw Mr. Spliedt struck by one of the Marmadukes with a hammer, but whether by the father or son he did not know. Defendants Testify. Mr. Wilbur W. Marmaduke, one of the accused, was the first witness for the defense. He said that he and Mr. Spliedt were rivals in business, but denied that he struck the prosecuting witness. His father, he said, struck Mr. Spliedt, but not until after Mr. Spliedt struck the witness. Mr. Melton M. Marmaduke admitted striking Mr. Spliedt, but claimed that the latter struck his son before he did so. Witness said he struck Mr, Spliedt repeatedly. The case was still on trial when this report was closed.


The article says: "Small Fines Imposed. The case of Jacob Spleidt against the Marmadukes. The trial of Wilbur W. Marmaduke & Milton M. Marmaduke, ticket brokers, charged with assaulting Jacob Spleidt, also a ticket broker, in front of the former's place of business, under the National Hotel, on the afternoon of September 1, occurred in Police Court yesterday. The jury was out fifteen minutes and returned a verdict of guilty. In disposing of the case Judge Scott said that there were many things in favor of the defendants, and, therefore, he imposed the lowest possible fine, $15 each. While the jury was considering the case against the Marmadukes the clerk presented a charge of disorderly conduct against Spleidt, preferred by the Marmadukes. Judge Scott heard the same witnesses that had testified in the preceding case and the defendant was dismissed."

WOW. No words! 

More soon,