Notes from the past…

Mr Stanley Goes To Washington!

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Well, not the flesh and blood Mr Stanley, but the testimony of my second great-grandfather Miles Francis Stanley did make it all the way to the United States Supreme Court!

As long as I have been doing genealogy, I still get so tickled when I make a new discovery! Such a rush!

I have begun to review my 2GGF Stanley’s file. As I always do when I research a person, I plug that name into Google to see what’s out there. You never know. So this afternoon, I did just that, but didn’t find anything new.

Then I went to Google Books, to see what I could find. My 2GGF was a County Commissioner in Hill County, Texas in the late 1890′s, so as a public person, perhaps I might find mention of him or his political activities in some old book.

Well, guess what I found: Miles F Stanley testified on behalf of a women whose husband, a local physician, was killed in a gunfight in 1905 Texas, for Heaven’s sake!

From Cases and points of the Supreme Court of the United States, printed in 1908:

The good doctor had a $20,000 life insurance policy, which the insurance company refused to honor upon due notification of his death. Apparently this case went all the way from the local Hill County jurisdiction to the Dallas, Texas District Appeals Court and then onto the United States Supreme Court!

Wow, this is great! (Sorry, you gotta hear how my daughter pronounces “great”. More like “gg-rr-aa-tt-e”, spoken in a low, flat, sarcastic voice.)

This article came from the 27 Jun 1905 edition of the Dallas Morning News (via GenealogyBank). I’m trying to read through all of the legalese of the court case, but apparently Dr F B Maner and E E Griffin got into an extended argument, possibly over Dr Maner’s alleged abuse of a woman. The argument escalated to violence and a shoot-out ensued, with Dr Maner being killed by E E Griffin. This occurred in downtown Itasca, Texas in front of numerous witnesses!

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia refused to pay the $20,000, since the death was the result of Dr Maner’s participation in a criminal act (the gunfight).

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905b

Mrs. Maner then took Penn Mutual to court and lost the initial court decisions, as the case was appealed and eventually reached the Supreme Court:

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905d

My 2GGF Stanley testified as to a conversation that he had with Dr Maner over the original incident with the woman in question, apparently as a witness to the doctor’s good character. (Click on each page to read his testimony)

page1 page2

page3 page4

So, what happened with the trial of E E Griffin, accused of murder in the gunfighting death of Dr F B Maner?

The 13 August 2005 edition of the Dallas Morning News:

Dr Maner 27 Jun 1905x

And the law suit? The Supreme Court ruled that the insurance company must pay $5000 plus attorney fees:

Image6

From the 7 May 1908 edition of the Dallas Morning News.

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2 thoughts on “Mr Stanley Goes To Washington!

  1. Oooh, great find. Congratulations!

  2. Congratulations, Ruth. Great find and interesting story!

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