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Public Ledger Newspaper



November Term
Before Judges Burnside, Evans and
Longstreth Norristown, Nov. 24th, 1843

_ Commonwealth vs. Matthias Rusk, Gilbert Freeland and Isaac Abrahams, charged with, first, an affray; second, a riot; third, public fighting and assault and battery; and fourth, a nuisance within the jurisdiction of the court on the 15th day of
April, 1843.
_ Rusk and Freeland were put upon their trial, Abrahams not having been brought into custody of the court. The bill of indictment upon which they were tried was only sent to the Grand Jury on Tuesday, including the name of Abrahams; the previous bill having been laid aside by the Attorney General.
_ Counsel for the Commonwealth, J.Fox and J.R. Fox. Esqs.; for Rusk, R.B. Dobson, Esq., of Philadelphia, and J.b. Steregere, Esq., of Norristown; and for Freeland, Potts and Britenbough, Esq.
_ Dr. James Maso sworn. - I was present a short time, near the close of the fight. It was a large assemblage for that place; most of them had formed a ring; some were not in. Saw six men in the ring; was near enough to see; two were knocking down, and some were picking up. Saw twelve or fifteen rounds while there. It was Moreland Township, Montgomery county. There were two thousand persons, more or less, around the ring; the ring was eight or ten feet deep. heard a noise unusual for the neighborhood. The fight took place about one hundred yards from a public road and a quarter of a mile from a dwelling. Don't know who were making the noise. In the ring there was no noise. Saw Freeland, after the fight, go into a carriage to the public house; he seemed much exhausted; could not tell whether from blows or fatigue.
_ Cross-examined - I could stand and count seven houses, furthest, 1/2 mile off; nearest, 100 rods. I stood by as a spectator; did not interfere or remonstrate; was half way across a ten acre field; I was not afraid.
_ Christian Monier, sworn. - I saw them fight; saw Freeland and Rusk shake hands and then go to fighting; Freeland was first there; they fought and knocked down; lifted up and at it again; I saw Abrahams there; can't say how many were in the ring; know there were four seconds, and many persons standing around; Rusk was there in breeches; I was there about half the time, while 80 rounds were fought; it was afternoon; I was at Willard's tavern before the fight; I think the old gentleman drove them away, and said they should not fight there.
_ Cross-examined - Did not see Abrahams fight; I saw him sitting in the ring, but took no part; I went to see the fight from the York Road; defendants were not angry; they tried to hurt as much as they could.
_ Thomas Barnsley, affirmed. - On Saturday, about 15th of April, I saw these men, Rusk and Freeland, fighting; tthe ring was formed with rope and stakes, to prevent crowding; in the inside a lesser ring, 15 feet in diameter, where combatants and seconds were in; fighting was the principal thing going on; they fought two hours, perhaps more; on a knock down, seconds put up and rested half a minute, then at it again; they were naked to the waist; heard 172 rounds were fought; the result was that Freeland was not able to go out, and his party gave in that he was whipped; one thousand people were present, principally strangers Philadelphian. The fight was in Moreland, a few hundred yards from Huntingdon; don't know Abrahams; each provided refreshments; one of the spectators said Balty Sowers was one of the bottle holders; heard great noise and triumphing when on of the parties got knocked down.
_ Cross-examined. - Huntingdon has about four or five houses, 6 to 10 persons in each house; what is called the village is the store; heard no complaint to justice of the peace; I was one of the crowd; first saw the crowd at 11 o'clock, while on farm, ploughing; heard there was to be a fight, and went over to the hill about 12 o'clock; I had curiosity to see the fight; saw three or four of my neighbors there.
_ John Carwithen, affirmed. - I saw part of the fight; went away before it was over; the people were excited at their coming to fight; there were 1500 or 2000 persons present, but few neighbors; the crowd seemed to be only lookers-on.
W.M. Laning, sworn. - I saw the fight; knew Mr. Rusk and no one else; I was at the edge of the outside ring; saw them strip, shake hands and go at it; I was astonished at the quiet - no loud cheering; Rusk was hurt and bled freely, the other not so; was hurt appartently about the face and bled much; Freeland could not come up; they faught upwards of 100 rounds; saw no lancing of eyes, each had three assistants, two in the ring and one outside; don't know where the people came from; knew but few from Philadelphia; there was no terror nor alarm - about 1000 people present.
_ R.V. Ansyle, sworn. - I saw the fight and knew Rusk; can't say of Freeland he is so much altered; 100 rounds or more were faught; Irish Mike was one of Rusk's seconds; neither saw nor heard of any bets; no noise except at the close.
_ A number of other witnesses testified that they saw the fight; but knew nothing of the defendants, when the prosecution closed.
_ Christian Monier, recalled by defendant's counsel. - I have known Rusk from a boy, he is peaceable and industrious man; has a wife and children; I was brought here by the commonwealth; Irish Mike and English Joe were seconds.
_ Jocob Horn, sworn. - Rusk is quite a peaceable man.
_ After argument by the respective counsel, and a charge from Judge Burnside, the jury retired on Saturday morning about 11 o'clock.
_ The jury, after being out between two and three hours returned a verdict of guilty of riot, and not guilty on the three other charges laid in the indictment, and recommended the defendants to the mercy of the court.
_ Rusk and Freeland the same day were sentenced to pay a fine of $25, and undergo an imprisoment in the county jail for the term of six weeks.

Philadelphia Public Ledger

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