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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
GEORGE S. GRAHAM, Pennsylvania, Chairman.
ROBERT Y. THOMAS, JR., Kentucky.
HATTON W. SUMNERS, Texas.
JAMES W. WISE, Georgia.
JOHN N. TILLMAN, Arkansas.
FRED H. DOMINICK, South Carolina.
SAMUEL C. MAJOR, Missouri.
ROYAL H. WELLER, New York,
PATRICK B. O'SULLIVAN, Connecticut.
GUILDFORD S. JAMESON, Clerk.
SUBCOMMITTEE No. I.
ANDREW J. MONTAGUE.
ISRAEL M. FOSTER.
GRANTING A PENSION TO THE UNITED STATES DEPUTY
MARSHALS OF THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN
SUBCOMMITTEE No. I OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Monday, February 25, 1924.
A hearing was had on this or similar legislation on April 11, 1922.
The difficulty which the committee has encountered in this legislation has been the danger that it might establish a precedent for civil pensions.
In other words, in the view of the committee heretofore, this service can not be considered as military service. Therefore, to grant pensions would be setting a precedent that we feared would lead to disastrous results.
We have one of the old veterans here this morning. We want to hear him and see if he can submit reasons or arguments to us that will justify us in changing the opinion which the committee has heretofore held.
I will ask Judge Tillman to make a statement to the committee touching these bills, if he cares to.
Mr. TILLMAN. I have myself introduced a bill similar to the one introduced by my other colleagues, mentioned by the chairman.
My district adjoins Mr. Hastings' district and Mr. Howards district in the State of Oklahoma. Judge Parker for many years was judge of the Federal court at Fort Smith, in the western district of Arkansas, including the Indian Territory.
At that time the Indian Territory was the rendezvous of more thieves and more criminals than any spot of the same size, perhaps, in the world.
Judge Parker held the biggest criminal court that was ever held in the world. There were something like 80 different people executed at Fort Smith, after they had been found guilty by juries, and sentenced by him to be hanged.
These veterans performed their services as deputy marshals just after the close of the war between the States. They worked for a pittance, and they did more, perhaps, than any other class of men of their number to rid that country of lawlessness, to enforce the law, and see that peace was maintained between the peaceable elements and the warring elements in that section of the country.
Many of them performed real military service and perhaps did more to reduce that wild country to something like a condition of peace than any other men. They took their lives in their own hands, because this country was infested with the most dangerous criminals, perhaps, that ever operated in America.
Many of them were killed. They got very small pay and took desperate chances.
I recall as a boy that some of them—I do not know whether the old gentleman here was one of the members of that group or notbrought in a desperado named Ned Christy, and I saw him in his coffin. He had killed a great many men, and it took 15 or 20 of these deputy marshals to surprise him in his stronghold and bring him in.
They got a small reward. I do not know how much it was. Most of these deputy marshals are very old. Three of them live in my county. Perhaps they are the only three who live in my district.
They are poor. One of them, Ed Sharpe, a Confederate soldier who served for a number of years as deputy marshal, is now blind, and is absolutely poverty stricken.
Mr. Foster. About how old is he, Judge? Mr. TILLMAN. He is 75 years old or more. His brother Jim was a soldier and also served for many years as deputy marshal. He is poverty stricken, with an imbecile or a foolish chid on his hands to support. He is without any means of support. John Hulls, another one, is a farmer, but he is poverty stricken, also.
I believe that inasmuch as these people did a unique service for society, for law enforcement, and inasmuch as they performed military duty and without exception are poor now, they ought to be pensioned by the Federal Government.
I remember Charlie Copeland, who was one of these deputy marshals, a brilliant, dashing, brave fellow, as brave a man as I ever saw or knew in my life. He served for a good many years.
He lived in my district.
At that time he was a vigorous fellow. He would take his life in his own hands. He was one of the posse that killed Ned Christy, who had killed a half a dozen men or more. He died a few days ago in abject poverty, over in Oklahoma, without a neighbor to look after him, unknown. It was only because of the fact that he had served in a brilliant way as a deputy marshal under Judge Parker that the news of his death was printed in the newspapers, which mentioned the condition in which he was at the time of his death.
There never has been a class of brave men who have done more for law enforcement and for bringing about proper conditions in a crime-infested country than these poverty-stricken old deputy marshals. They ought to have this recognition.
Mr. DYER. Judge, the only question I think which has bothered the committee, and of which you can speak as well as I can, is the fact that this was not military service, and that heretofore the Congress had not pensioned anybody who had not had military service. In other words, this would be pensioning people for service other than military. What do you say as to that?
Mr. TILLMAN. I say this: In a sense, it was military service.
Mr. DYER. It was not recognized as such, though, by the Government.
Mr. TILLMAN. The war was over, of course. Peace had been declared. Yet, we were at war with a lawless element, and all good people, both of the Confederate and Federal forces, were interested in enforcing the law and bringing about peace in that crime-infested country
These men, for a mere pittance, took their lives in their hands and worked for almost nothing, for years and years and years, to bring about proper conditions in that part of the country.
Mr. DYER. I do not believe there is any dispute but what they rendered a mighty fine service.
Mr. Howard of Oklahoma. I should like to say something on the question of precedent.
Mr. DYER. We would be glad to hear Mr. Howard of Oklahoma.
Mr. HOWARD of Oklahoma. Mr. Chairman, relative to the question of precedent, I believe that you will find in this case that it was the United States that set the precedent, for the reason that in the Indian Territory, where these marshals operated, we had a condition that has never existed in any other Territory or State.
The Indian Territory was entirely under the supervision and jurisdiction of the United States. It never had a territorial form of government, as did the western side of Oklahoma and other States before they were admitted.
Consequently, these men were employed wholly to enforce the rules and regulations and the laws of the Government of the Unite States.
The Government had peculiar laws relating to the Indian Territory. For instance, they wholly prohibited the introduction of liquors of any kind in order to carry out the policies of the Government in dealing with the population there, who at first were mostly Indians.
I think if the committee will make an examination you will find that the Government had from time to time in other cases pensioned Indians whom they drafted or used as scouts in various Indian wars; not only in Indian wars, but in rounding up Indians and settling the Indian questions.
I have especially in mind in the early seventies, out in the Northwest, in Nebraska and other places, the Government used a lot of Pawnee Indians.
Since I have been in Congress the Pension Department, under an act, the number of which I can not recall now, but which was passed several years ago, allowed pensions for 11 of these old Pawnees, who, under our first pension laws, it would not have been possible to pension. But under subsequent laws they could be pensioned by reason of that service up in the Northwest. They were not regularly, as I understand it, enlisted soldiers of the United States, but were used, as were these men, by reason of their especial adaptability to scout work, to get information for the Army and the Government, to assist the troops of the United States Government. I think the precedent for pensioning these old men, who were in the service of the United States, can be predicated upon the cases of these Pawnees.
Mr. Tillman. This is not a precedent, Mr. Chairman, but this Government actually allows rural letter carriers to retire at 65 years of age, and they are paid quite a competence from that time on.
Railway clerks and Government clerks are permitted to serve where they are never exposed to the slightest danger on earth, get a good salary all the time and are now retired at 65 years of age and allowed to live in comfort for the rest of their lives.
Mr. McKeown. I want to submit one question, Mr. Chairman, which probably has not been considered by the committee before. These marshals were used by the United States in carrying out treaty obligations with the Indians in this way, that under the treaty obligation with the Indians, no white men were permitted to live in that territory except when they obtained permits. The marshals were required to exclude and remove from those Indian lands and territories, the intruders who went in there. They were performing a different service from that of the ordinary United States marshal or ordinary civil officer.
Mr. DYER. I was going to suggest this, if it meets with the approval of you gentlemen. I think this is a matter that really the full committee should be advised of. I think Mr. Wingo and such other of you gentlemen who would be willing to do so, should appear before the full committee and present an argument. This morning, I suggest that for the convenience of Mr. Wallace, we hear him.
Mr. WINGO. That is what I was going to suggest. Mr. Wallace is the head of the United States Marshals' Association, this old group of men, and they have sent him up here to present personally their views and their conditions,