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
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
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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
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
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.
number of other witnesses testified that they saw the fight; but knew nothing of the defendants, when the prosecution closed.
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
Horn, sworn. - Rusk is quite a peaceable man.
argument by the respective counsel, and a charge from Judge Burnside, the jury retired on Saturday morning about 11 o'clock.
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.
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.