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The St. Louis Republic. (St. Louis, Mo.) 1888-1919, October 25, 1903, PART I, Image 1

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1903-10-25/ed-1/seq-1/

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Is Printed In Sue Parti t
Four News Sections. Comfc
jl- r-ivjrJZjO.
Section an Magazine.
K3 -JL
Collapse Comes After Replying to Question About Reports That He Is Shielding Another
Brands as Falsehoods Statements That He Embezzled Funds From Phila
delphia Bankers and the Blow Estate of St Louis.
James L. Blair collapsed at his country home
"Airdrie," near Kirkwood, yesterday evening, after
making a lengthy and emphatic denial of the accu
sations against him in the statement of James T.
ttobrrls. who was before the Cm ml Jury for five anil one-half hours Fri
day, charged Hint Mr. Blair, while representing Pick Hrus. A: Co., lawyers
anil liaukiTs- f New York awl Phlhnlflphia. bail, in the courr-e of j-cvcral
iir" dealing-, mis-appropriated SH'Vuh). by (Virgins deeds of trust, using
falsi- notarial seals and manipulating legitimate rertlllcatos of title.
RoJierts alM charged tliat Mr. iI.iir. n -otrustev of the estate of Henry
T. Mow- if St. I.011N, had. by similar methods, misappropriated StEtflOO.
UetHirtt. cmiueetlng Mr. BhtirV name with dealings of this kind have
lioen circulated Industriously throughout the eity for several weeks, and
among a dozen or more persons details liave been stated with persistency.
Koberts was at one lime employed lu -Mr. Blair's office. Fifteen years
ise. awordlnx to Mr. Blair, he was discharged. At various times since then
"5e had access to Mr. HIalr's oilice and. by his owu statement, or confession,
removed from Mr. Blair's safe papers which he afterwards used in attempt
ing to substantiate the charges against Mr. Itinir.
It was ltoberts who claims to have llnst learned of the Irregularities alleged.
It was he who went to Philadelphia to report his discoveries to Dick Bros.
.V ('. lie asked :i fee" for his services, ami I said to have leen reim
bursed to some extent.
It was l!iilcrts who told Kdwnrd S. UolxTt. cotrustee with Mr. Blair of
Hie Blow estate, that the upKsod real estate securities were in reality
forgerii-s. In this Instance he was aecomiiaiiied by a young attorney. James
l. Simms, and in this Instance, also, Huberts is said to hae demanded a.
fee for his information, or service.
Although, according to Mr. Blair, the latter liad frequently befriended
ltoberts; had helped to lift a mortgage on his home; had gone on his iwud
when ltoberts wan arrested for killing Boy Simpson, a dancing teacher sev
eral years ago: had loaned him money and in other ways gone to his as
sistance, ltoberts sought an opportunity to bring against his benefactor
barges of forgery and emlx-zzlemcnt.
V Huberts offered to j-ell his charges to the public through the dally press
nfior to his appearance before the Grand Jury. His attorney also Informed
The Hepublic that he had "the whole story" and it could lo verified. The
Kcpnblic was cognizant of the information In his possession information
Imsc-d on authority as reliable as that of Roberts and hib attorney. who told
the story that his. client also prepared for sale. Roberts finally succeeded In
drhiiig & hargaiu. and yesterday, following his appearance before the
ttraud Jury, his "whole story" was printed.
Dick Bros. & Go. are reticent aliout their transactions with Mr. Blair.
They do not accuse him. Neither do they commend Rolierts for his work in
the case.
Mr. Robert, cotrustee with Mr. Blair in the Blow estate, says that he
first heard of the charges on September 2, 11XW. Ills information was only
hearsay. At any rate, the deeds in his and Mr. Blair's trust were In a safe
ile;osit 1kx for the last five years, and if any crime was committed it was
Kit-nil by the statute of limitations. He had no reason to question Mr.
Blair's statement that he (Blair) was shlcldiug another, as Mr. Blair had al
ways home a good reputation.
Mr. Blair makes minute denial of Roberts's statements, and makes coun
ter charges against Roberts. The latter is to appear before the Grand Jury
again to-morrow.
Well Informed Lawyers Believe That Illegally Duplicating Docu
ments Pertaining to Transfer of Land Is an Offense That Will
Be Regarded by the Supreme Court on the Same Basis as Sec
ond Degree Murder, So Far a s Punishment Is Concerned.
"Will the Grand Jury. If It finds the
statement? made by Roberts true, re
turn an indictment In the Blair caee?"
was the question heard yesterday from
all sources.
lawyers. In discussing the case, at once
jjRjiave found It a most interesting ques
9 tlon.
Assistant Circuit Attorney Maroner.
nho Is conducting the Grand Jury inves
tigation, said:
"I do not care to dl&cuss this case front
any standpoint. I am simply Joins my
duty as I see it under the oath of ofllce
that I hae taken.
"As to the statute of limitations In this
case. I have nothing to pay. except that
J have looked up the law. but not thoroughly."
An examination of Supreme Court opin
ions and the statutes on the law of limi
tations resulted yesterday In the dis
covery of this statement in the opinion in
the Ellis case In the Seventy-fourth Mis
souri: There Is no limitation to a prosecution
for murder in either of the degrees."
It was also found that the statutes fix
'"0 maximum punishment for either- for
j jt'-ry in the tirst degree or murder lri the
second degrc. The minimum punishment
Is Imprisonment tn the penitentiary for
ten cars for both offenses Forging deeds
of trust or documents pertaining to the
transfer of land, the statutes declare. Is a
first degree offense.
"This." said one lawyer, "puts the two
crimes en an equal basis. If there can be
no limitation to the punishment of murder
In the second degree. It may be found that
this Supreme Court decision applies to
forgery in the firt degree as well. It will
be an Interesting question.
"Without the alleged forged Instruments
it would be hard to prole such a cae.
Witnesses cannot be forcibly brought
from other States to testify tn a criminal
action. In a civil case It would be dif
ferent. In the event of their refusal to
appear In court In another State, deposi
tions might be taken. Then if they de
nied all knowledge of the alleged trans
actions and the instruments could not be
found, supposing, of course, that the
other proof at hand was Insufficient, there
could be but one result to such a case.
"Thero Is an opinion among lawyers
that tho statute of limitations does not
apply where the law does not fix a maxi
mum punishment. The EIUs case was
one of this kind. Tho Supreme Court
held that in tnat case the statute of
limitations did not act as a bar to the
"Whether this opinion would be held as
good law by tho Supremo Court In coses
like this, supposing, of course, that the
statements of Roberts are true, will
make an interesting point to lawyers. If
the case should come before the State's
highest tribunal for settlement
"If It holds good In one case. I do not
see why It should not apply to alt others."
v:4& t
j . .. ,. i. it. . ,t, . ....,.. , ,
a position In the eyes of the public as
Roberts does by his own confeiK.ns- I
know both from Judge SeiMcn and Rlalr
how much Roberts ones to HIalr's char
ity and kindness.
"When I talked with Mr. Blair, I never
saw a, man who seemed more likKgnant.
If he Is guilty all I have to say h that
he Is the liest actor I evtr met. I certainly
will not lielk-t-e that 1h hi guilty until I
have something more tangible than Rob
erts's statements.
"All of his precedence, his family his
tory, the unbound-d confidence which he
has established in this cummunity. gives
the He to these charges. When a man's
lifelong carrer has earned a reputation of
this character, it ought to sKand him in
good stead at a time like thU. Proof of
the mot convincing character should, in
my opinion, be demanded before such con
fidence should be destroyed.
"Inheriting many of the qualities of bis
illustrious father, a natural leader of men,
bold in his defense of the right, the com
mission of such crimes seems inconsistent
with the record of his life."
"Harvey. I am Innocent of these charges
and when the time comes I will prove It.
"I am the victim of nnother person's
misdeed-, if I am guilty cf anything.
"I shall prosecute any one who Insists
ott traducing my good name."
The foregoing statements were made by
JafcTes U Blair, at tile Itaptlst Sanitarium
last MTCday to Judge Thcmas B. Harvey.
Judge Harvey. In repeating them to The
Rr-puUic last night, said:
Sir Blair, at the time I saw him. last
31 nd-iy afternoon, had partially recovered
from the shock he received at the Four
Courts. He was perfectly calm ami col
lected. Sly belief In his integrity will have
to bo shaken by far stronger statements
than those of a man like James T. Rob
erts, who. by his own confession, robbed
Mr. Blair's safe.
"Mr. Blair at that tune expressed only
one desire, and that was physical strength
to combat his accusers.
"So far as Roberts is concerned. Blair
may be guilty as Roberts charges, but he
can never occupy so base and contemptible
penl-on. Tex.. Oct. M.-A special train
with jellow fever refugees from San An
tonio, passed through Deofoon this after
noon. There were about ) yellow fever
refugees, who reside In St. Louis. Chicago
and other eastern cities.
None of tho crew or passengers left the
train while the latter was pawing through
- .- u niuwHg oi me
cars were tightly closed. A guard ac-
twuiiHmiu me special to see that tjw pas
sengers did not louts their agreement
not to leave the train at any point in
El Paso. Tex.. Oct. M.-The Board of
Health cf EI Paso Invites the yellow
fever refugees of San Antonio and else
where to come to this city, as the. scourge
cannot prevail here because of the alti
tude. It being 4&M feet above the sea. The
procedure is unique, but devoid of any
dangerous consequences.
Dallas'. Tex-, Oct. "t. Dallas City and
county health authorities were again In
Joint session to-day to consider the Saa
Philadelphia. Oct. It Former District
Attorney George tJ. Graham, counsel for
Dick Bros., and mentioned In the Rob
erts story in being a third party to the
conference at which Blair's obligations to
the bankers were revealed and settled,
declined to make a statement regarding
the case to-night.
He gave as his reasons his confidential
relations as counsel and strongly Intimat
ed that Blar was the victim of a plot to
blackmail. From a source familiar with
the casv, this brief statement was ob
tained: These charges have been hawked about
for some time and St. Louis newspaper
men have been here to see Mr. Graham
and tho reprcuentatlvts of Dick Eros.
They were unable to obtain confirmation
of Roberts's allegations It Is not true, as
stated, that Blair at a conference with
Mr. Graham and Evans and Mr. Dick,
confessed to securing JJM.10J from the
bankers on forged orders. There was such
a meeting between Mr. Ulalr. Mr. Dick
and Mr. Graham, as the result of which
settlement was made of certain obliga
tions due the hankers.
"Instead of Mr. Blair being involved, ho
was taking on his own shoulders the
faults of another.
"The gist of the thing Is that he had a
brother who had not done what was
right, and Mr. Blair took up the brother's
"Roberts, there Is good reason to be
lieve, has been cndeavurlns to extort
money from Mr. Blair. Presumably, pro
ceedings before a Grand Jury Is secret,
yet a Bt Louis newspaper publishes what
purports to be Roberts's testimony before
a secret Inquest. There Is only one source
from which such a story could come, and
that Is from Roberts himself unless, of
course, on the Improbable hypothesis of a
leak In the Jury-room. Is it not fair to
presume he had an animus in milking it
Antonio yellow fever and quarantine sit
uation. Instructions were given to offi
cers to watch oil trains ana see that no
one Irom San Antonio or oiner uiccieu
biates cumo to Dallas.
Governor Lanham's State quarantine
nruL-iiimatlon i tM.inp generally observed.
.eary tuO refugees passed through Dallas
last mgni anu to-uay. ini-jr rau ucaeis
to placis in tne North, moat of them going
to me Indian Territory, as Governor Lan
hom proclamation prohibits the sale of
tickets by railroaos at tan Antonio for
any puce In Texas. ......
jrTllr.b. iwVSES REPORTED.
Waanuigton. oct. 21. Thirteen yelkjw
fever casv at San Antonio have been re
ixmed to the luollc Health and Marine
Hospital Service, accorotng to the last
eport. It is believed tne spread of tee
disease can be prevented, and great pre
cautions are being taken. One case is
reported at Castorviile, originating in
ban Antomo.
A dispatch from Eagle Pass says that
MavrilL County has quarantined against
San Antonio on account of three ueatas
trom tne lever at ttan Antonio. The Gov
ernment authorities arc co-operating with
tne local iiany new cases are breaking
at Laredo. October 3) there were thirty
six new cases and two deaths. October 21
thirteen new cases were reported and four
deaths. The work of disinfection is
pusaed energetically.
Medical Stndenta Entertained.
Medical students of the St. Louis Uni
versity were entertained at the Central
Cred and fifty were present. Miss Mybcrg
save a reading and Miss Prlcster played
the piano.
Court Discharges Fuiikliouser
and His Legal Adviser.
Circuit Judge Hough yesterday dis
charged Coroner Funkbouser and his le
gal adviser, George S. Johnson, ot a
charge of contempt of court, because cf
the Coroner's failure to obey the order
ot court In the replevin suit of the Rl
alto Grain and Securities Company for
property belonging to the company which
was seized at the instigation of the Grand
A motion by the Assistant Circuit At
torne to suspend the execution of the
writ of replevin was certified to the Cir
cuit Judges In general term. SheriS Dick
mann being one of the defendants In the
replevin suit, the writ nas given to the
Coroner to serve. He made a return re
citing that the property was In the hands
of the court. The Rlalto Company made
application to have him and his legal ad
viser cited for contempt of court.
Charitable Euchre Party.
A euchre party will bo given for the
benefit of tho Little Sisters, of the Poo?
at Lleblgs Hall, corner of Broadway and
Geyer avenue, on Monday afternoon. Oc
tober i. Play wilt start promptly ax 33,
New York, Oct. 24. "We have on the books of our
firm no account with James I. Blair, nor have we any
account between him and any of our clients, nor do I
recollect that we ever had.
We have had interviews with J. T. Roberts. He tried
to sell us information which he said had been obtained by
picking the locks of Mr. Blair's office and desk. In the
presence of our attorney, Mr. Cardoza, of Cardoza &
Nathan, attorneys of this city, Mr. Roberts tried to bar
gain to that end by making statements concerning a pos
sible loss that my firm would incur, that he should receive
a percentage.
"Certain irregularities in the conduct of business
were discovered and were adjusted, but no agreements
between Roberts and my firm ever existed, and bis actions
have always been treated as dishonorable by me. What
losses through judgment or otherwise my firm may have
incurred were adjusted and wiped off our books practi
cally two years ago.
"From the way Roberts has been hounding Mr. Blair,
it looks to me as if some political or other motive is the
basis of the attacks. Between Blair and my firm there is
nothing that can in any way reflect on our standing in
fact no business exists, nor have any of our clients who
invested money for years through Mr. Blair any claims
direct or indirect on him."
While slanilln? on the south porch of his borne, about 5 o'clock yesterday
afternoon. James L. Ulnir, former peneral counsel of the World's Fair, suf
fered a total collapse and fell headlong down a llight of bis steps.
Ills head struck the stone pavement with tremendous force and Mr.
Blair ivas rendered unconscious. He was quickly removed to the house,
where he remained in a stupor for two hours.
Mr. Blair bad just finished it statement to The Kcpnblic and the reporter
to whom the Interview waa dictated, was the only witness to the accident.
Mr. Illalr stood for two hours and dictated, an answer to the charges
made by his accusers liefore the Grand Jury. Ills dramatic collapse occurred
after he had answered an Inquiry made by the reporter relative to the re
port that his alleged misconduct was Uie result of an effort to shield others
who were to blame for wrongs that had been done In the handling of the
Blow estate, as well as the transac-tlons with Dick Bros. & Co., bankers, of
Xcw York.
In answer to this question, Mr. Blair said:
"I will not volunteer any information as to what may hava been done In
this particular. If, in defending myself. It should become necessary for mo
to disclose any such state of facts, that Is a matter that I cannot avoid.
But I wish It to be distinctly understood that I do not now make any such
statement nor will I do so unless It should become absolutely and Impera
tively essentlaL"
-Is that all you have to say to thei public in regard to this report?"
Mr. Blair attempted to answer. He seemed unable to speak. Of a sud
den his face grew jcillid. htf eyes rolled upward, and he uttered a low cry.
Then, In a most startling manner, he waived his arms wildly In the air and
fell over.
Outing the Interview Mr. Blair had stood with the aid of a scratch. Ills
right leg. which he Injured in a fall October 2, was sUU In bandages. The
reporter had sat In a reclining chair about three feet from Mr. Blair. As
the man fell the reporter attempted to catch him, but his efforts were lu
Mr. Blair's body went down with all force. As he lay on tho pavement
he seemed as If dead. Ills face was white, his eyes were closed and bis
lips were sealed. Ills body was limp and those who 'reached him first
thought that life was extinct.
The noise of the fall attracted the attenUon of Percy Blair, Mr. Blair's
son. who quickly ran to his father's assistance. When Percy Blair arrived
on the scene the reporter had placed Mr. Blair in a sitting posture. Two
other reporters who had been sitting on the west porch, ran to the scene, and
with heir assistance the body was carried Into the Irouse.
During the Interview with The Republic reporter. Mrs. Blair had re
mained in her room. Hearing her son run from the bouse, Mrs. Blair ran
downstairs. She met the reporters carrying her husband Just as the party
had reached the lir.t landing of the stairway In the Blair mansion.
Mrs. Blair grew hysterical and the entreaties of her son failed to pacify
"Oh, they will kill him. Uiey will till him." sobbed Mrs. Blair.
Mrs. Blair burled her face in her son's arms and sobbed most pitifully.
"They may kill papa. But I'll live, m live." she cried.
The servants prepared a led for Mr. Blair and he was taken to his
room. Doctor II. G. Wyer of Kirkwood was called, but it was thirty min
utes before he arrived. In the meantime members of the family, the ser
vants and the reporters were making every effort to revive the stricken man.
Mrs. Blair seemed unreconcllable as she bent over her husband and tried
to revive him.
"Speak to me. Larry, speak to me," she said, looking Into the pallid coun
tenance of Mr. Blair.
Jamt. T. Roberts' charges asalut Mr.
Blair, In eubstance, are:
That ttW.OCO waa obtained on forged
deeds and 3ortRa6C3 from Dick BroH. tc.
Co. ot Philadelphia.
That a shortage of J63.C0O existed In the
Dlow estate, which was the result of for
geries. That false seals wero csed.
In both the D'.clc Bros. & Co. and Blow
estate transactions, Roberta declares, rep
oration baa bees de.
In testifying before the Grand Jury
Friday, when he was In the witness chair
Ave hours and thirty minutes, Roberts
told bis story as If be had memorized ev
ery detail. His statement, as published,
was so nearly tho same as that made in
the Grand Jury room that tho Grant
Jurors who read it were astounded.
It was about December 1. I&S. that
Roberts, according to his statement, en
tered James I Blair's offlcr. Roberts hed
Just beta admluei W the bar, d saii
--a 1 1 1 yjiAti ... . ,

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