JUDGE J. W. WHITE OF WINFIELD.
[THE JUDGE WHO WENT BLIND.]
[Note from MAW August 5, 2000]
I received a letter from Twila Watts, dated August 2, 2000. Twila became a member of the Arkansas City Historical Society shortly after the last session held by Cowley County history buffs with Dr. Bottorff in the Winfield Public Library at a meeting conducted by Joan Cales, Special Services Librarian at Winfield.
Parts of the letter I found very pertinent with respect to Judge J. W. White of Winfield. When I first got started in looking at the old newspapers, I started with the Arkansas City Traveler mainly in search of the early-day flyers. As a result, I found scattered throughout the papers some very interesting articles. Some of these were about Judge White.
Here is Twila Watts’ letter to me.
"Mary Ann: When I talked to you at the meeting in Winfield this summer, we talked about the Interurban. You may have these pictures. The mule-drawn was from 1887 to 1909 and was motorized in 1909. I was surprised this lasted until 1926. Blast the auto!
"This is meaningful to me because Mom and Dad rode the interurban to Winfield to purchase their marriage license. The Judge, Judge White, who was blind, had completed his work day and came home to A. C. They returned to A. C. and went to his home. They were both 19 yrs. old. This was 1918. This marriage lasted 50 years, 1968. Daddy died February 1969.
"They grew up together through the years, and as I recall their relationship (marriage), I see they were real friends. Daddy was always Mom’s hero and he was her protector.
"I thought that was the way it was. Mom lost both her parents by 5 years. Dad’s parents divorced when he was in the 7th grade. He quit school and went to work at the Harvey House as a shoe shine boy to begin. He helped to support his mother and younger brother. My grandmother didn’t want support. (Pride or ignorance.) We lament over the many broken families today, but families were not always ‘together.’ Death separated many I learned when I studied the background of Mom’s friends."
In checking Dr. Bottorff’s web site, I found that both of the postcards sent to me by Mrs. Watts are indeed already on his web site. The "last trip May 17, 1909" was taken by a photographer called "BRASK."
Below I am printing articles pertaining to Judge White that I found in the newspaper.
[INDIAN MARRIAGE CEREMONY CONDUCTED BY JUDGE J. W. WHITE.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Tuesday, June 28, 1921.
BLIND JUDGE SAYS CEREMONY
Investigation of Wichita Case Involves Judge J. W. White.
Wichita, Kansas, June 28—"I would like to know who performed a marriage ceremony for a child like that," said Mrs. J. A. Stokely, county juvenile officer, regarding with amazement the 14 year old wife, Hazel Irene Youngblood, whose domestic troubles have received much attention in the past two weeks.
The girl could tell her little. A man had married her to Clyde Youngblood one day last May at Winfield, and there has been some argument as to how much he should be paid. But who the man was she did not know.
Mrs. Stokely was determined to learn. She felt that the person who had married the couple after seeing what a child the bride was—the girl does not look more than 12 years old—was guilty of an offense against society.
The mystery was solved Monday. The marriage certificate was obtained and showed the couple had been married May 18 at Winfield by J. W. White, probate judge. And Judge White, according to the juvenile officer, is blind. That, she says, explains it.
A complaint alleging parental neglect has been filed in juvenile court and is scheduled for hearing next Saturday. It was reported that summons was not served on the mother, Mrs. Richard Hayes, or Youngblood, as they could not be found. Cases against the father involving charges resulting from his attempt to get the girl away from the life she hated were continued Monday in city court.
[INDIAN MARRIAGE CEREMONY CONDUCTED BY JUDGE WHITE.]
Arkansas City Traveler, Thursday, June 30, 1921.
JUDGE WHITE EXPLAINS
Explanation and Records Show He Was Not At Fault.
Editor Traveler—The enclosed clipping was taken from your paper, which appeared in the issue of June 28, and which was not commented upon by you, and you knowing me as you do, I am surprised that you would help circulate such a flagrant presumption of one of your own citizens without first consulting the records which might be obtained from your county.
The enclosed clipping was copied by you from that democratic organ, the Wichita Eagle. We have all read articles from this self-same paper from time to time exposing the rottenness of the peace officers of Wichita, Kansas, but I had not supposed it had reached so far as the juvenile court of their city.
The utterances referred to in the clipping coming from Mrs. J. A. Stokely, probation officer, are utterances that sound to me as if made by a fanatic or one who was hysterical. Lord Cook once said that "he who passes judgment without hearing both sides of the question, even though guessing correctly, does not do justice."
The utterances made by Probation Officer Stokely would convince me fully that she would not be competent to fill the office of probation officer in Cowley County, Kansas.
The record in this office shows that on the 18th day of May, 1921, Mrs. Gertrude Hayes of Arkansas City and her daughter, Irene Hayes, accompanied with their stalwart brave, Clyde Youngblood, appeared in my office and requested a marriage license, and the said mother signed the parent’s consent blank and swore upon oath that her daughter was fifteen years of age and would soon be sixteen; and made the statement that Youngblood was a fine man and that her daughter would not have to work anymore and reiterated the statement many times, hence the marriage license was issued and they were married by the court.
My experience has been that a great majority of girls under sixteen years of age who are accompanied by their mother to this court are cases, which upon examination, reveal the fact that the girl would be better off married. These cases are known as "shot gun" cases.
A great many mothers in the vicinity of Arkansas City seem to look upon marriage as a lottery and that an Indian is the capital prize; and if their daughter can only draw the capital prize, they are happy. No doubt money is the incentive.
I make this statement with all due respect to the Indian, but facts are facts, and a divorce suit is very often the result. No do