West Branch Times, West Branch, Iowa, Thursday, November 23, 1922
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, July 9, 2018
$40,000 VERDICT IN LOWDEN CASE
After Being Out Four Hours the Jury Finds in Favor of Plaintiff – Trial Last Three Weeks
The “Lowden” case, on trial for twenty-one days at Anamosa, was given to the jury Wednesday about four o’clock. At eight o’clock the jury had arrived at a verdict fixing the recovery of H. W. Mowery, the plaintiff at $40,000. We believe this is the largest amount of damages ever awarded by a jury in the courts of this district. The case is one which has attracted statewide attention. It was started originally in July, 1921. The story of its inception briefly told is as follows:
For a good many years a kreigerfest, a celebration of German origin had been held in Lowden on or about June 19th. During the war this annual celebration was not held. In 1920 it was decided to hold a celebration on June 11th. H. W. Mowry who was mayor of Lowden at the time refused to license a celebration on that date on the ground that an attempt to hold it then would lead to the conclusion outside that an attempt was being made to revive the kreigerfest. This led to a controversy during which it is alleged that 22 defendants in the case and others conspired to injure and destroy the plaintiff in his standing as a citizen and member of the community and cause the withdrawal of the confidence and association of his neighbors, as evidenced by a mass meeting and the passage of certain resolutions which were published.
In his petition the plaintiff asked for damages in the sum of $50,000. Motions to strike, amend demurrers and various legal maneuvers preceded the trial. In Nov. 1921 the defendants asked for a change of venue to Jones county, which was granted. The case was not reached for trial until the present term, being started on Oct. 16th.
It was perhaps the hardest fought trial in the history of the local courts. Both sides were represented by able counsel, the plaintiff’s by J. C. France of Tipton, and E. A. Johnson of Cedar Rapids, and the defendants by C. M. Dutcher of Iowa City, Barnes & Chamberlain and O. L. Schluter of Cedar Rapids. Hon. A. B. Clark was the presiding judge. The jury was composed of nine men and three women. It is reported that the jury voted on the first ballot that the plaintiff had established the charge of conspiracy, and that the only question was as to the amount of his recovery, which was finally fixed as stated.
It is considered certain that the case will be taken to the supreme court for review. –Tipton Advertiser