The following newspaper clippings tell me the story of a court case that never really came to be. And, if it wasn’t for the local reporting on the matter, I never would have known about it at all. (From what I have seen it appears that Joseph Pinkerton might have been the go-to carpenter in Gillett.)
1878-1-26, Saturday, Oconto County Reporter vol. 7, issue 13, page 3, col. 2: It is reported that Jos. Pinkerton has instituted proceedings against Wm. Johns of Gillett for slander, laying his damages at $8,000.
1878-11-02 Saturday, Oconto County Reporter vol. 8, issue 1, page 3, col. 2: The slander libel suit pending between Joseph Pinkerton and F. W. Johns has been amicably settled, and dropped from the court calendar. It would be better if more law suits could be disposed of in the same way.
1878-11-16, Saturday, Oconto County Reporter vol. 8, issue 3; page ? col 2: Court Proceedings. The following is a summary of the court business disposed of since our last report:
J. Pinkerton vs F. W. John, Settled
So it appears that hot tempers cooled and better natures prevailed. Good thing for William, otherwise that would have been an expensive bit of slander if he had lost the case.
While perusing the newspapers of Oconto County, (by the way thanks for the heads up on this Ron), I came across an amusing little story regarding F.W. John I thought I would share:
When Postmaster Frederick William John of Gillett visited Oconto a few weeks ago he was greeted by a bunch of old residents gathered at the Beyer House with:
“Frederick William John, by J____s!”
Many who heard the expression were astonished, but those who were present and who had lived here when Mr. John was a young man knew the full meaning of the greeting.
Mr. John is one of the pioneers of Oconto county, and a great many years ago was prominent among the then young men of the vicinity. He scarcely failed to be drawn on the jury at every term of the circuit court, and one time, as usual, he was summoned to appear at the county seat as a juror. He entered the court room, dressed in the garb of a lumberman, wearing a red sash tied around his waist, which in those days was considered essential to the efficient vocation of a lumberjack. He was in his shirt sleeves and wore high boots, and being tall, broad shouldered and as straight as an arrow, he presented a find specimen of physical manhood. On entering the court room he took a seat at the rear, and soon Richard Hall, who was then clerk of the court, began calling the roll.
Soon the clerk called, “Bill John.”
There was no response. Again the clark called:
And again there was no response. For the third time the clerk called in a loud voice:
Still there was no response, and Judge Cotton, who at that time presided in this circuit, inquired of Clerk Hall whether Bill John was in the court room.
“Yes, your honor,” replied Mr. Hall, “there he sits in the rear of the hall–that big fellow wearing a red sash.”
“Is your name Bill John?’ thundered the judge, pointing straight at him with his finger.
“No, sir,” replied Mr. John indignantly, “my name is not Bill John. My name is Frederick William John, by J___s!”
“Well Mr. Frederick William John by J___s, you will take your seat in front with the rest of the jurors.” commanded the judge, suppressing a smile.
Some of the old residents were reminded of the incident when Mr. John entered the hotel.1
Now if only there were more stories about Johanna that were to be found.
1 The Lena Enterprise, volume1, issue 21, page 1 column 4, 1903-10-30.