The Decatur County Journal
August l7, l887
I have to remark that I am neither employed, nor requested to enlighten The Reporter. I am simply a taxpayer and as such deeply interested that all our county business be honestly administered.
Looking back at the history of the republican party and its officers, I can say with some satisfaction, Mr. Reporter, what you may not know, that no officer who has been entrusted with the managment of the county's affairs by the republican party has every been known to fail in honesty and integrity. But that The Reporter shall not think that these introductory remarks required a vast amount of study.
Let us go to the merits in the case. The Reporter says that he simply wanted to give information to a citizen in regard to the management and expenditures of the poor farm. If that was his intention it was his duty to give it fully. I deny that this was his intention, otherwise he had not perverted his examination of the public records to mislead this citizen and the people generally. This is what I call contemptible, and will now prove it.
The Reporter starts out showing that the minute books of the Board, January, l887, show that stock was sold during the year to the amount of $796.54. You say that you found a statement without date and without a signature, but you do not say, Mr. Reporter, to your citizen and the people that the steward of the poor farm keeps a book in which every item, every transaction is put down day by day, and with that book and with those items he settles with the Board at every session, at every settlement, or whenever the member of the Board who has supervision of the poor farm during vacation demands it; that the steward never sells any stock, never employs a hired help, without consulting the supervising member of the Board. Did you tell this to your citizen and to the people, Mr. Reporter?
You maliciously put before the people the cost of the new building $l,929.73, etc. Did the steward sell this amount to the Board? And do you dare to say to the people that the Board of Supervisors was satisfied with this statement of costs without examining the items? Yet, that was the custom in the happy democratic times in which the treasurer, in January and June, stated to the Board the total on hand as so many thousand dollars--putting down to each fund the totals--and the democratic finance committee went down, counted the money and that was all; never asked how and where from received? How much paid out? The democratic Board did not think it necessary.
I state facts, Mr. Reporter. I am in this county thirty-six years. I have seen; I protested against it; but democracy was too mighty to hear a feeble republican voice, and my voice was suppressed. But who gave in the cost of the new building! It was MR. J.F. PENNIWELL. Do you dare, Mr. Reporter, to assail his character and honesty. You better not.
Now come out, Mr. Reporter, as a man, and tell your inquiring citizen that as far as the poor farm is concerned, he as a taxpayer, shall go the auditor himself, examine it himself, he will show him the book by which the Board makes the examination at every session with the steward, rigidly, faithfully and conscientiously. Your citizen will be, I hope, satisfied, as I judge his intention was honest--to get information.
If yours was as honest, and not to poison the minds of the voters, to get at the election day more bread for your paper, why did you not sell the press? The auditor had told you that during the whole year of l886 not a single bill was handed in for provision, etc., bought for the poor farm. All expenses have been defrayed from the income. The steward kept a daily account with J. HOFFHINES, J. HAMILTON, CARMEAN, ALBAUGH, and every one with whom he has had a dealing. There you will find the items day by day. Examine it and acknowledge that the criminal neglect was from your part and not from the part of the Board.
One thing more--in a minute book the items cannot be put down. Look at the U.S. Treasury monthly reports. And still another explanation: When you gave in your paper the items of stock and grain sold in l886, in giving the last item, $l05 for 35 cords of wood to Decatur County, why did you not tell that this $l05 did not go in MR. KETCHAM's pocket, that it was simply given in as income of the poor farm like the live steers sold to MR. GOODMAN, etc. and that every cent of this money for food went to defray the expenses of the poor farm? Did you not try to mislead your citizen and the people generally, Mr. Reporter? This is what I called contemtible.
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
"With permission from the Leon Journal Reporter"
March l5, 200l