I never like to attend a church service and hear the minister get up and announce that he is starting a series of messages on one topic. I probably am just crazy. It just feels like a lack of creativity…or something. (I have noticed lately that I am constantly typing those three dots. Perhaps it’s much like my blog rambling…no real explanation. But just stay with me!
I felt a little hypocritical in yesterday’s blog when I mentioned that I would write a follow-up blog. Kinda like a series of two. In reality, yesterday’s blog (HERE) just kept going. One of those that probably caused you to ask, “Is he getting paid by the word?”. Do you know Barney Fife’s middle name? OK, I will stop rambling!
But I have to ask, why would IHOP change their name to IHOB and then say that the “B” stands for burgers? I guess no one else sells burgers? Why not the International House of Bacon. Just sayin’!
Today’s blog is a follow-up from yesterday because I got so engrossed in reading about the trial of Charles Guiteau. After he shot President James A. Garfield, he turned to leave the train station in a cab that was waiting for him. I suppose that today he would just call Uber. But, he collided with a policeman, who was entering the train station after hearing gunfire.
The officer grabbed him and asked, “In God’s name, what did you shoot the president for?”. Guiteau replied, “I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! Arthur is President now!”. I am guessing he had not spoken with his lawyer about his post-shooting statement.
The Stalwarts were a fraction of the Republican Party. The “Arthur” that he was talking about was Chester A. Arthur, the current Vice President who was also known as a Stalwart. In fact, he did become President when Garfield passed away. Unfortunately, historians have dubbed him the “Most Forgotten U.S. President“.
Now, on to the trial because this is where it gets crazy. After Garfield’s death, Charles Guiteau’s trial started about 2 months later. Guiteau wore a white shirt and black suit so as not to offend “the Deity whose servant I was when I sought to remove the late President“.
He was represented by a defense team that included his brother-in-law. During the trial, he would yell insults at his defense team. As the trial began, he jumped up to call them a team of “blunderbuss lawyers“. It infuriated him that they wanted to raise the defense of insanity. (Here is an account of the trial)
One of the experts that the defense called testified that ,”Guiteau is not only now insane, but that he was never anything else.” These were days that people came to the courthouse for entertainment instead of watching television. As such, Guiteau became a media sensation because of his trial bizarre behavior.
He frequently cursed the judge, the witnesses and the prosecution. He quoted poems that he had written during his personal testimony. During the trial, he would regularly solicit legal advice from random spectators in the audience by passing notes to them. He dictated an autobiography to the New York Herald, ending it with a personal ad for “a nice Christian lady under 30 years of age“. He would smile and wave at the court spectators and reporters in and out of the courtroom.
His personal preferred defense was that he had shot the President, but that malpractice ultimately killed him. How could he be responsible for murder? (which actually had some truth to it) He truly believed that he had done God’s work. He continued to actively make plans to start a lecture tour after he was found not guilty. He also was making plans to run for president in 1884.
But, all the fun and attention came to an end when the jury convicted him of the murder. He was found guilty on January 25, 1882.]He appealed, but his appeal was rejected.. Thus, he was hanged on June 30, 1882.
At his execution, he danced his way up to the gallows, turned while on the scaffold and waved to the audience. Then, he shook hands with his executioner and, as a last request, recited a poem that he had written called “I am Going to the Lordy“. He also requested that an orchestra be allowed to play as he sang the poem. That request was denied.
But, this is not the end of his story. Part of Charles Guiteau’s preserved brain is on display at the Mütter Museum, at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Garfield’s backbone and a couple of ribs are kept at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
What else is there to say about that?
One last thing. Barney Fife did have a middle name. In some episodes of The Andy Griffith Show he would say that his name was Milton; in others, Oliver. It became a running joke to the writers, that is now trivia.
And finally, I just felt like our pic o’ day should end with some food thought!