The Columbia Democrat. (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1837-1850, January 27, 1838, Image 2

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    lttsncr, and heard Poke say ho was not
mad at tho time ho struck Dornell. - A-wai
rant had beon issued,- and put ,fnto the1 Son
stable ofTjladison' hands; and l)okY oante
in tho evening to giro himself up to me 'or
tho constable, Poke's acknowledgments
woro mado beforo tho commitment was
. Cross-examined bv Prisoner's fin it faith
, tf - " " . w vw.
I cant iay positively that Poke said he in
tended to kill Dornell. There was a largo
company,. and much excitement. Mv im
pression is that Poke said he hud sthtck
Dornell, but did'nt intend 'to kill him.
7 illiam Aitchen, Esq. stVorn. I had
convorsatioa with Poke in tho jail. He
said it Was a pity it happened; that ho was
not intoxicated when he came from Jersey-
town; that Dornell had camo into tho
kitchen, and that he hads'truck Dornell on
the back with tho side of the axe. lie
said he was not angry at Domoll, but that
Re fell afraid 6f him.
Ci-oss-examined by Prisoner's counsel.
I am keeper of the prison. Dont know
that I ever said that Poko ought to bo hung.
Tho wife of Robert Dornell, son of tho
deceased, is a niece of mine. I have told
the prosecuting attorney what people would
say m the cause.
Jacob Turner, stborn. Poke came to
my house on Tuesday morning about sun
rise, and asked mo to movo up his family
to Plymouth. Wc agreed partly, but not
m lull. lie then told me what had hap
pened between' him and Dornell; that he
had struck Dornell with an axe; that his
wife had dismissed him and his eldest son
the night before; that she called him a mur
derer, and that ho supposed he was n mur
derer. 'Cross-examined by Prisoner's Counsel.
Never knew any of Dornel's family un
til yesterday. I hauled up Poke's family,
and had some angry words when wc got
up to Plymouth.
James Masters, affirmed. Tho morning
after Poke struck Dornsll, Poke came into
the grist-mill wher6 I was between 2 and 3
o'clock. Ho asked 'mo whether I had
heard that he had murdered John Dornell
last night. IsaidI had not. "They say
so," says Poke, "and I struck him with an
axe." I asked him no questions. Ho
said when Dornell came into the house he
askod him how he was, reaching out his
hand at the same time; that Dornell made
no reply, but caught him by the hair and
back of tho neck and pulled him over. In
a fright he said he struck him with the
axe, but did not know what ho had in his
hand. He said ho was not in a passion;
that he had nothing against Dornell. Poke
htd a grist at my mill, and asked mo how
soon it vould be done.
John Armstrong, sworn. In 1834,
Dornell came to me, and employed mo to
help him to make shingles. I went with
him. 1 first saw Poke he raised np while
wo were talking about him, about 20 yards
from tho road, from a white pine log, with
a rifle. He jumped upon the log, with the
rhlo in hands, putting the breach on the
log. Tho first word he said was "Damn
you, John Dornell." "Is that you," says
Dornell, "Yes," says Poke. Poke asked
him how it camo that his boy had taken
things from Mr. Bitman's saw-mill. Dor
nell said because he canght the boy taking
tho board. He said Mr. Bitman had mis
led an iron wedge and chisel, and that
Bitman told him that bethought Poke took
it. They then quarreled, and Poko got
into a' rage & threatened to shoot Dornell,
picking up 1his liflc. but not drawing it
more thdn breast high. John Dornell had
a rifle with him, which lie dreAv up in the
same way, telling Poke to shoot away and
be damn'd, that he had ns good a rifle'aa he
had. They both set down their rifles,
Dornell then Baid "Poke, what about your
daughter X" Poke's wife then raised Up
from the same place that Poke raised, and
commouced a quarrel with them, and he
threatened Domell. They quarrelled, and
afterwards Dornell passed on. After lie
went a rod or two Poke blasphemed highly,
and said sometime or other he would
kill him. Dornell replied, "kill away and
be damned Pokey." I -saw tho boy car
rying -away tho board.
Cross-examined by Prisoner's Oourtsel.
-'-We nrertho son 200 yards beforo we
came in where Poke was. Dornell aslicd
him where he got' the board. The boy
tsaid he found It by tho dido df the road. I
expect Poke heard what Dornell told the
on. I hare seen Poke and Dornell togeth
er frequently since 1831. I never since
saw tl-om on bad terms. It was tho only
wmo'i cvor seen them quarrelr '
.James Caninbcll. sworn. VftrtUlirt A.Yv.
rel in T831, Poke said if Doniclt came out
tlirough Jus cncldsuro with a IOad of shin
gles, if ho did'nt go back ho would shoot an
arm or log off of him. Novcr made threats
beforo bt after. He said Dornell lmd Insult..
cd him. I have seen them together onco
or twico since ; but words passed between
mem, ami not on very good terms. I saw
them at Millville once at David Evcs's,
ami once at Masters.
James McCam, stvorn. It hoard Poko
make threats against Dornell three year's
ago this last summer. Ho said Dornell had
insulted him twice, and' if ho ever done the
like again, ho would either blow out his
brains or knock them out. Poko and
Dornell have been together since. When
Poke told mo how ho would serve Dornell.
I did'nt think he was in earnest ; for soon
alter ho said he always thought well of Dor
ncll and liked to seo him about his house.
When together since, Poke and Dornell
Have never quarrelled.
T' x - f m Tr
oacou tr. iramer, sworn. I was
searching for Poko on Tuesday morninir
When I met Poke, him and his wife said
that Dornell was a dangerous, man, and that
no ought to have been killed lonir ajro, and
Poke hoped he had gone happy. I went
with him to 'Squire Thomas's, mid from
thence to Danville that night. He expec
ted us to go his bail; and when wo offered
ourselves tho 'Squire refused. I live G
miles from Pokes, on tho road to 'Squire
Cross-examined by prisoners' s Counsel.
Poke was not at homo on Tuesday mor
ning, but he came down the same night,
and his wife and daughter were with him.
I left word at Poke's house what I was af
ter, and that if he would como down we
would go his bail. Ho did not refuse go
ing to 'Sqnirc Thomas's.
' Tuesday, January, 10, 1836.
JoiiS'G. Montcomuky, Esq. one of the
counsel for prisoner opened the defence in
a speech of some leugth, in which he ad
verted to the testimony upon which the
commonwealth rested their case, lie did
not deny that Poko had struck Dornell
with the axo. nor that tho blow caused
Dorncll's death; and he would only claim
for the prisoner a verdict of either excusa
ble or justifiable humicideon account of the
provocation, and the act having been com
mitted on the sudden impulse of passion,
and in self-defence, lie alluded to the
scene in Sproul's kitchen tho testimony
of Stephen Sproul to Poke's fit, and tho
subsequent treatment of Dornell by Poke
and his daughter and to Poke's conduct
previous to his going before 'Squire Thom
as. Ho felt confident that even with no
other evidence than was produced on the
part or the commonwealth, no doubt could
exist of the prisoner's innocence in the
opinion of the jury; but he would now
call witnesses to substantiate all lie had
promised to prove, and after the arguments
of counsel, and the charge of a correct,
intelligent, humane and perfectly qualified
court, ho would be perfectly willinir to rest
tho cause in the hands xt a jury selected
from the citizens tof this county, and per
sonally known to him for their intelligence
and probity of character.
The counsel for the Prisoner then "called
their witnesses, who severally testified as
Dr. Russel Parke. Stophen 'Sproul
was examined at the inquest boforo 'Sauiro
Thomas, but not on oath, wo having refu
sed to, swear him for the same reasons for
which tho court refused him Vostordsy.
He staled pretty much then what ho did
yesterday, excepting as to the blows; then
tliat 1'oke had struck Dornell three differ
ent times on the back, each blow it little
highor than the other. Tho last blow he
doecribed to be about tho top of the shoul
Ttfllium H'olltvcr, sworn, I was on
the inquest at Squiro Thamas's. Stephen
Sproul said Poke had aiven Dornell llireo
strokes, and that the last stroke was be
tween the neck and shoulders. I havo
seen Dornell and Poke foKCthor two or
throe times sinco 1834 and never know they
woro iin friendly towards ono another. I
seen thorn talking together many times,
I went up with tho constable to Pqke'son
Tuesday morning, when the bay olid old
lady 'came out, and told tin that Th'omaS was
not at home. I told them what we caine
for; that Poke had best give himself up,
and aha allowed so too. We then went
off, and that same evening' Poftc, and Ins
wife 'and daughter came udwn )o jSquiro
Thomas's TTho constable was not' at the
office, hut being sent for, soon camo and
took him. 1 told tho wife that if the 'Squire
would take bail ho might havo it.
David Eves, affirmed. I was at tho in
quest at 'Squire Thomas's; Stephen Sproul
told his story. Ho said there were tlireo
strokes. He never stated that tho last
stroko was on the head. I have often seen
Poko and Dornell together since 1831 and
they always appeared friendly. Poke
brought me a great many shingles. Dornell
has helped him to unload them since 1834
Have seen them talk together in my store
friendly, on other matters than business.
Frciman Poke, sworn. Myself, fathc
and mother,, and a small child, went into a
swamp to gather belcher tea; as wc were
going homo wo seen a board laying by the
side of the road. Father told me to pick
it up it would make a good bottom-board to
our littlo wagon. I done so, after going
some distance tho dog treed something, and
father and mother went to see what it was
Then John Dornell came along in company
with John Armstrong, and accused mo of
stealing the board. My father said "dont
abuse children, but me; I told him to do so."
Dornell said "come on, by Jesus, I'll string
you," and swung his rifle oifhis shoulder.
Father said "you ate a stiinger by trade."
Armstrong said to Dornell. "Como along
John." They went on together father
and mother came on to ino in tho road.
We went homo together. The next time
I saw Dornell and father together they ap
peared to be good friends, which was tho
following winter at Wm. Sproul's, in Mill
ville. 'i'hey drank together in the evening;
and father went to sleep with Dornell, but
camo out again, saying Dorncll's breath
stunk fo of liquor, that he could'n't sleep
with him. Seen them often together after
wards. Every time Do'rricll came to our
house, my father asked him to eat, oi if at
night, to sleep at our house. Jacob Turner
and me had ill-words at Plymouth about a
barrel of salt, and we also quarrelled the
day before, because I would not treat him.
After the quarrel in 1834, between Dornell
and father, I never heard him say any thing
about killing Dornell. He did'nt raise his
gun at Dornsll. I havo seen father and
Dornell frequently together at Millville.
I hever heard cross words between them
since 1831,, when they quarelled.
Tniliam Sproul. I have seen Poke &
Dornell together often since 1834. I nev
er saw them, but when chatting together
and lively. They have been together at
my house since ,1831. They appeared to
beon neighbourly terms sometimes a lit
tle wafmi but riot quarrelling. They argu
ed together.
Betsy Poke, stodm. Thomas Poke and
myself started from home with a load of
shingles, and came to David Evcs's store in
Millville, and from thened to Wm. Sproul's
tavern, whore we met John Dornell, George
Taylor, and Jesse Bobbins. Thomas Poke
stood by the stove, and Joint Dornell sat on
tho bench, and Thomas Poko went and
shoo hands with him and said "How are
you, John ?" Jesse Bobbins called for a
treat and treated Thomas Poke. Then we
went to Jeiseytown, and traded out our
shingles, and bouglit some grain, and then
returned to Millville, where I got out at
Spioul s, and Thomas Poke went on to the
mill. Ho came back, and wont to como in
on tho porch, & as he stepped on the porch
his creature run away with the wagon into
tho barn-yard and upset the wagon. I went
out and helped him to put the creature into
the stable ; and then Stephen Sproul, Thos.
Poke and myself came back to tho house,
and when at the kitchen door, I heard a
great noise in tho bar-ioom. I thought
somebody was quarrelling the noise was
great. Wc then went into tho kitchen, and
set down by tho fire. They had but little
fire, and Thomas Poke told Ihcm to make
moro fire. Stophen Sproul put a picco of
board on. Then Dprnollcame to the kitch
en door, and wanted to get iin It was fas
tcned. Then Dornell says, "by God I will
lick you when I como in," but used no
names, u hen ho camo to the door and
ho said, " by Jesus Christ, I'll be in dead
or alive," and kicked tho door in, When
ho camo in, Thomas "oke reached his hand
and said, "how arc you, John ?" Ho then
clinched him by the hair of tho head, and
jirecd him over, the chair backwards. Then
he let go with his right hand, and clinched
Thomas Poko by tho throat, nd said 'God
damn yon,' and then, "by Josus, I'll fix
you now." Then I went to strike him
with a stick tomakohim leave go of Thos.
Pokcf mill he knocked tho stick off. That
lodscricd his right hand, but yet he held
him with his loft hand in the hair. Then
Thomas Poko caught the axe out of tho
corner with the wood. I did nt see it be
fore ho had it about half raised to strike
Dornell. He pushed him with tho left and
struck him With tho right hand. That broke
Dornoll's hold of his hair, and as Dornell
fell, I screamed out, ''my God, you have
killed him I" He struck him betwixt tho
shoulders with the broad side of the nxc ;
and when I screamed he went to pick Dor
nell up. Then ho took ono or two stcp3
back and fell down on the floor with a fit;
Ho laid a good bit without stirrings and
then, ho began to grasp with bis hands, and
froth at his mouth, and his eyes turned
hack in his hdad. Then when ho came to,
he set on tho floor, and the first word he
said was "Mam," (that is what ho calls his
wifo.) I asked him what he wanted ? He
mado no answer. Then he asked me to
help him up, and reached his hand out ;
and I helped him up, and ho stood leaning
against tho mantle shelf. He trembled for
a good spell. Then he wanted to help
Dornell in, andll told he could not yet, for
he could'nt walk good. John Dornell sat
right in the door on his hands and feet ; and
then Thomas Poke and mo went to Doincll,
took hold of his arm, and he got up, and
walked in by the fire. Ho sat down beforo
the fire on the floor, and said he wanted to
ay down. Thomas Poke told the children
to get something for him to lay on, and
they got a pillow; a while after William
Sproul came home. When he camo in
there was a little cotton coverlid over Dor
nell. Wm. Sproul gave it a jirk off of Jnos
Dornell, and said, "what's this doing here?"
Then Sproul asked what was tho mattor,
:ind Thomas Poko said ho could not tell
what ; but told him to ask the children.
Then Sarah Ann Sproul and Stephen Sproul
told the story that Thomas Poke had
struck Dornell on the back with the axe
that he had struck him but once. Then
Sproul said ho would go up to David Eves,
and bring him down, and when lie went,
Thomas Poke went along. They returned
back, and Darid Eves, Andrew Eves, and
Joseph Masters wero along. David Eves
allowed it was a hard case. Andrew al
lowed it was drunkenness. Then they
wcnUout, David Eves saying " let us have
a drink," and him and Sproul went into the
ini-room, and Thomas Poke and Andrew
followed. They then came out. David
Eves, Andrew Eves, and Joseph Masters
went off. Thomas Poke and Wm. Sproul
then came iiito the kitchen, and Sproul al-
owed it would bo a hard case. I went to
bed, leaving Thomas Poko and Spioul With
John Dornell. In the night I heard Thos.
Poke going to bed in another room ; but
William Sproul came up and told him to
como down. After being down awhile, ho
came up stairs, and told me to get up for
company for him: I told him my head ach
ed ; but I got up for all and went down, &
set by the fire with John Dornell and Thos
Poke. Dornell puked up liquor, as I tho't,
and Thomas Poke wouid turn him over on
his side, and wiped his mouth oil' with his
hand. Wo remained thero till daylight.
Thdnias Poke asked Dornell if ho was
hungry, and ho answered "yes." He of
fered him some cake ; ho shook hU head as
if he did'nt want it. Thomas Poke then
took a piece and put it into his mouth, arid
he bit somo off. Dornell then asked father
if he was angry at him; and he said "no;"
and then Dornell said "give trie your hand."
They shook hands together several times.
I told Thomas Poko that he bothered him
tod much. Do replied that ho wanted to
make up and bo good friends. In the morn
ing after daylight, Dornell asked for pepper
and whiskey. The tavern keeper1 said ho
gave it to him and that he had puked it up.
Then Thomas Poko having found that the
grist was done, we got it, and wont home.
On Tuesday morning, about an hour 'after
sun rise, Ph. Wolliver, Win. Wcllivcr,
and Lewis Schuylor and Warner camo to
our housci Phineas Wolliver askod moth
er if Thomas Poke was at homo. She an
swered "no." "Arc you surd of it," Bays
ho. " You'd better comd and see," says
she. Aftor a spell Phiiieas Wcllivcr came
into tho house and looked all around for
him ; and he told mother ho thought Thos,
Poko had bettor como and give himself up.
Sho said she would tell him so when ho
camo homo. They wont away, and Thos.
Poke camo homo about 2 o'clock in tho af
noon. Mother toU him, and said ho must
go a.nd gi ve himself up rightjuuray. Moth
or and I went wlthdnni a$put six milcs..
Wq' woro going' io 'jersey town to the
'Squires.1 Mother stdjfpcdlo light her pipe,
Thomas Poko and ino walked on 2 or 300
ynrds. Then lie sat down to wait for mo
ther. When mother camo up, Warner was
with her, and sho said "hero is a friend in
deed, although a stranger." Warner offer
ed to go Thomas Poke's bail. We went
on together to Millville. Warner stopped
at David Eves', and we walked slowly till "j
he overtook us again, and when opposito
Master's store, John Corson camo to us,
and him and Warner went on before snmn-r 1
times 300 yards ah'oad. They walked so
fast that mother and mo could'nt keep up,
and Thomas Poke staid with us. Warner
stopped at old tiilly Wclliver's; & Thos.
Poke, mother and myself Waited until War
ner and olo Billy came out. Then wo all
Went to Caleb Thomas's. It was about 8
o'clock at night. Warner went for Phincaa
AVcllivcr, tho constable, and he camo thero,
and I can't tell what they talked about. I
heard some ono asking Thomas Poke if he
intended to kill Dornell ; and ho said no.
Then we all started together to Jeremiah
Wollivcr's, in Jerseytown, and got our sup
pers, and mothor and me went home. Wc
did'nt know of Dornoll's death, till told by
those who called at our hoiue. Turner lives
four miles from us. I was in company
with Thomas Poko from Warner's to
Jerseytown, all the time. Never heard
Thomas say that Dornell was a dangerous
man, and ought to have been killed long
ago. arnor was with Thomas l'oke, Jt
mother and myself to Millville, and from
Millville 'John Coraon went with us to
'Squire Thomas's.
Cross-examined by Commonwealth's
Counsth There was only one stroke with
the axe. They say I am a daughter of de
fendant's. Dornel spoke that evening while
Sproul was there. Sproul and him talked
together after ho was struck ; sometimes ho
conversed easily. Sproul camo into tho
kitchen beforo day light. I am certain tho
stroke Was with the axe in one hand, and
that it was on the bauk. Just as father
struck Dornell ho pushed him, and it loos
ened the hold of his bain and as ho pushed
him, it turned his face towards the door.
I think his head fell against the door-check.
Sarah Ann Sproul showed me to bed that
night. The firc-placo is on the left hand
side as wego in. Domoll laid right in tho
door, with his feet in tho house, when ho
fell. The floor of tho porch is made with
pine boards. The porch is not lower than
tho kitchen.
The counsel for prisoner here closed their
testimony for defence, and tho common
wealth's counsel called tho following Wit
nesses. TJ'm. Sproul before sworn. Don't re
member that I was told that evening how
many strokes there were. I am not certain
that I showed Betsy Poke to her room that
night. I think Dornell asked rac in tho
morning for whiskey. I think I gave him
somo whiskey, and its likely I put somo
pepper into in
John Mttori, Esq.hjftrmcd. I know
Detsy Poke, have a little acquaintance; Her
reputation in tlio neighbourhood for truth
is not very favorable. Poke and I had
quarrels some years ago. I never heard or
knew that sho had been sworn as a wit
ness boforc.
Pcler Nephew sworn. I am not much
acquainted with Betsy Pokc. I never heard
the neighbours say any thing about her
character for truth.
Jlndrcw Eves affirmed. I havo seen
Betsy Pokc, and that's all. I cannot say
anything to impeach her character as to'
truth. t , ,
David Eves before sworn. In con
vorsatidn With Freeman Poke, the Monday
after Dornell was hurt, at my store, ho in
quired how Dornell was, and what people"
cnifl nlwtlit If T cnifl T 11 mlnratnmt flint J t I
Sproul's boy reported that ho had struck
him 2 or 3 times with the nxc. Ho replied
that if ho had.bccn in his father's placo, and
had been used so, he would havo givon
him ono stroko which would have hVorf
enough. John Armstrong's character, for
truth is good. I cannot say any. .thing
against Jacob W. Warner's character for
Andrea) Eves. I have never heard . tho
character of John Armstropgor Jacob W.
Warner impoachod for truth.
Here the evidence on tho part of tho pro
secution ended, nnd cou iscl for prisotiot
called the following w.tnewos: