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A Death at Crooked CreekThe Case of the Cowboy, the Cigarmaker, and the Love Letter$
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Marianne Wesson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814784563

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814784563.001.0001

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John Hillmon Is Reported to Be Alive as the Arduous Fourth Trial Proceeds

John Hillmon Is Reported to Be Alive as the Arduous Fourth Trial Proceeds


(p.186) 6 John Hillmon Is Reported to Be Alive as the Arduous Fourth Trial Proceeds
A Death at Crooked Creek

Marianne Wesson

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the Supreme Court's retrial of the John Wesley Hillmon case—the fourth trial of the case overall—that lasted from 1893 to 1895, amid reports that Hillmon was alive. The Hillmon case gained even more widespread fame after it had been decided by the Supreme Court in 1892 and sent back for retrial. Delay, expense, and ruin were unavoidable hazards for nineteenth-century litigants, but Sallie Quinn Hillmon kept going despite being compelled to assign nearly all her interest in the lawsuit to her attorneys just to finance the litigation. It is also baffling why supposedly rational business actors like the officers of the three insurance companies would remain so stubborn in their opposition to Sallie's suit. As had been the first three Hillmon case juries, the jury in the retrial was composed of twelve white men. This chapter examines how the politics of populism affected the Hillmon case and concludes with a discussion of the evidence presented at the trial as well as the testimonies of witnesses from both camps.

Keywords:   retrial, Supreme Court, John Wesley Hillmon, Sallie Quinn Hillmon, insurance companies, jury, populism, evidence, testimonies, witnesses

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