Nov 25, 2011

Family Lore


Grand Rapids, Mich
July 9 - 1964
Vern Bradley
Dear Friend
I was up to White Cloud last week saw Bernice Garfield she is having trouble by high blood pressure she said it was hard for her to write.
She said she had a letter from you wanting some information for your son about Sarah Elizabeth Pierce.
I am enclosing a sheet on her families also one on the Purdy Family. I wish your Son has time to check Thomas Purdy and family who came to America in 1836. I think he can get his information in London England.
Hope you and your family are all OK.
From Clarence J Phelps
1727 Silver Ave SE
Grand Rapids 7 Mich

My Grandmother, Gertrude M (Crain) Bradley, was the genealogist in the family and it appears as though she was researching her late Mother-in-law's  family in 1964. Kalamo was a small "close knit" community, so her Father-in-law (Vern Bradley) apparently knew where to find some cousins of his late wife, Myrtle Talbot.

Vernor James Bradley married Myrtle Arvilla Talbot on Christmas Day, 1902. Myrtle was born March 31, 1881 to Othello and Ella (Odell) Talbot in Kalamo, Eaton Co., MI.

Ella (Odell) Talbot was the daughter of Sarah Pierce Strong and Jonah L Odell.

The above letter refers to Bernice Garfield, whose father was Ella Odell's half brother, Charles M Strong. The letter writer, Clarence Phelps, was the grandson of Sarah Pierce's oldest daughter, Ruth Annette Strong Purdy.

They related the following:

Sarah Pierce, was born near Maidstone, Kent, England on May 13, 1825. Her maternal grandparents, who disapproved of their son-in-law's Irish heritage, took her when her mother died young. When Sarah was 7 years old, her father "kidnapped" her from the grandparents and brought her to America. They settled in Elmira, New York where Sarah was educated.

She married Reuben G. Strong in 1848 and they moved to Coldwater Michigan, where they remained until 1851.
  • Sarah and Reuben's oldest daughter was born Aug. 24, 1844 in Michigan so they must have been married and living there earlier than 1848. Some notes sent by Bernice Strong Garfield are typed on lined notebook paper, so that may have been a typo.
  • It looks like Reuben G Strong (born 1819) was a son of Chauncey Strong who came from Sodus, Wayne, NY to Branch Co., MI with his family in 1835. Still trying to figure out when and how Sarah got there.
"In 1851, Mr. Strong and his family started for Oregon by Overland Route with two yoke of oxen and wagons.  When they reached the Mississippi river, they were delayed with other emigrants by high water. Mr Strong left his family in Quest of work and during his absence was attacked by cholera.  His family never seeing him again.  Mrs. Strong disposed of her property .  She left the household goods to be shipped back east and the family returned to Coldwater Mich. but she never received the goods.

On Feb 8, 1852, Sarah L Strong, age 26, was married to Jonah L. O'Dell, age 34 of Ovid Twp. by Rev. Ruben Graham at Coldwater Mich.

In 1855 moved to Kalamo Eaton Twp. Mich. and purchased a farm which Mrs. O'Dell owned at time of death. Mrs. O'dell drove with her five children in a one horse rung, Mr. O'Dell preceding them."

According to an LDS pedigree file, Reuben Strong died July 18, 1851. Reuben, Sarah, 7 year old Ruth A. (called Annette,) 3 year old Charles and little Rosetta, not even a year old, must have packed up and headed west in the late spring/early summer of 1851, starting out on the Chicago Road/Sauk Trail which went right through their town. I found several diaries from families going west from Michigan, and they seemed to cross the Mississippi River at various places from Warsaw IL to Galena IL.

I imagine the Strong family meant to claim 640 acres in Oregon under the "Donation Land Act" and traffic west was low in 1851 due to the outbreak of cholera, which was the leading cause of death on the trail.

What I can't imagine is Sarah heading back alone with 2 yoke of oxen, a couple of wagons and 3 very young children...

Other things I think:
Rev. Reuben Graham was an important person to the Strong family. Reuben Strong is listed as "Reuben C Strong," "Reuben G Strong," and "Reuben J Strong." His children's death records all list him as "Reuben G Strong," with Charles' record listing him as "Graham Strong." If his name was Reuben Graham Strong, I expect the Rev. Reuben Graham may have been an uncle, possibly related to Reuben's mother, Ruth. Also, Ruth Annette Strong was living with the Rev.and his wife Deborah (who had no children) in Branch Co. when she was 16 years old while her family was living in Kalamo, Eaton Co., MI.

A Baptist Minister at the time was a Rev. E. Loomis of the Home Mission Society, who was conducting services in Branch Co. just before Rev. Graham. The Rev. Loomis could have been related to Sarah's second husband, Jonah L O'dell, son of Eli and Abigail (Loomis) O'dell.

Things to do:
Visit the Holbrook Heritage Room at the Coldwater Michigan Library !

Nov 11, 2011

Thank You

Veterans Day, 11-11-2011
3 of my 3rd great Grandfathers

Jacob H Hamma
Co. K 4th N. J.

John B Talbot

Wounded soldiers crossing the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg on a flatboat--After the battle of the Wilderness ( Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA)

Curtis M Leighton
Co H,1st Maine Hvy Art Reg
Missing at the battle at Wilderness
May 6, 1864

Sep 7, 2011

He Wooed her in a Prison - A Mary H. Bradley Brooks Stewart Story, Part 2

Read part one here.

Although, by local accounts, Mary Brooks was accidently not sentenced to solitary confinement, she is listed as having been sentenced to solitary confinement in the "Annual report of the inspectors of the State Prison of the State of Michigan ... By Michigan State Prison, 1862,"

So, Judge Pratt was evidently able to correct his ommision. Mary is the only female listed, and likely the first female ever confined at the Jackson prison since they built the women's ward in 1856. The solitary cells were added in 1857. Since Michigan abolished the death penalty in 1847, the harshest sentence was life in solitary confinement. Also, in the 1862 annual report, the inspectors related their opinion of solitary confinement:

In 1861, the law was modified so that the inspectors could, at their discrecion, release a prisoner from solitary confinement.

It appears that Mary was never actually put in solitary confinement, but assigned to work as a cook in the new women's prison. A prison officer related that they would not have executed the sentence, "that she was too good a woman for such a doom."

Old Jackson State Prison
Photo Credit: Jackson District Library

Mary's first "sweetheart," David Stewart, became a regular visitor to the prison. After several years, he became well known to the other prisoners and staff and became a "local tradition." David started a petition to secure a pardon, but that failed. Feeling hopeless and wishing for David's happiness, Mary implored him to marry another. Before 1860, David married Elizabeth, but continued to visit Mary, apparently with Elizabeth's blessing.

**Note: It seems that some journalists in the 1800's were just as prone to fact altering sensationalism as they are today! Ahh, the good old days! I'm assuming/hoping that the bottom line is true, otherwise, it would not have been a story. I've indicated the nonfactual parts with red text.

The News, Providence R.I. September 21, 1899, pg 6

David Stewart showed up at the secret inquisition, volunteering information that Mary stole his arsenic. He wasn't the only one, though. Apparently, Van Arman thought Mr. Mann's  claim that she stole it from him was more credible. There is no indication that David actually testified. Also, Mary did not "Testify That She Poisoned Her Husband."

Since the death sentence was abolished in Michigan some 9 years prior, the "SENTENCE OF DEATH PRONOUNCE" ... false.

Her sentence was never "Commuted to Life," but it certainly seems true that "Later Stewart Had a Change of Heart!"

     Charlotte, Mich., Sept. 21 - Wedded in the evening of their lives, Mary Brooks and David H. Stewart look back with dim, tranquil eyes to the dark morning time, when she stood in the shadow of the gallows, dragged thither by him, her sweetheart, and accuser. Their hair is white now, and the evening promises fair. 
     They were sweethearts half a century ago. There is not much to tell about that part of it and if one of them had not been faithless there would be nothing at all to tell.
     The faithless one was Mary Bradley --for that was her maiden name. In 1852, when she was 21 years old, her parents persuaded her to jilt David Stewart and marry a crabbed old farmer, whose broad acres made him worthy in their eyes.
     Here too, the story might end like many another, if Simon Brooks had not died, and from poison. That was three years after his marriage, and all the countryside knew that Mary Brooks had not put an end to all fondness for her old sweetheart.
      It was he who fastened the crime of murder upon her. Quite uninvited, he came forward at the inquest and denounced the woman he loved. Pointing his finger at her he exclaimed: 
"She saw a bottle of arsenic in my room and asked me to give it to her. I refused. A little later I missed the bottle. Search the murdered man's house and you will find it!"
     They searched, and the empty bottle was found.

(as Van Arman said after the trial in part one, they never proved that Mary even had arsenic, let alone stolen arsenic. I would take that to mean that an empty bottle was not found.)

     The trial of Mary Brooks, accused by the man for whom she had stooped to the crime, was the great sensation of the time in that unsettled country. 
     Its effect was intensified by the extraordinary action of her advocate, the brilliant Van Arman, who closed his plea by swallowing two tablets of the same drug that Stewart's bottle had contained in order to convince the jury that it could not have caused to old farmer's death.
     It was done without a moment's warning. The court was a tumult at once. Judge Pratt announced an adjournment and sent for doctors. Van Arnam folded his arms and waved aside those who proffered help.
     He did not die, but the risk he had run was of no avail. Mary Brooks was convicted and sentenced to be hanged.  Because of her sex the sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life, and she was sent to the new prison at Jackson, the first woman to be received there.
    She was resigned, obedient, industrious. When she spoke it was to assert her innocence. The deputy warden of that day now the Hon. William L. Seaton, had a cell built apart for her accommodation since the plan of the prison included no provision for women.
    She was not without friends, and --- marvelous to relate--- the staunchest of these was David Stewart.
     Nobody ever quite understood his motive, but he gave every evidence of sorrow for the part he had taken in his sweetheart's condemnation and sought to atone for it by agitation for her release. His own signature stood as the head of a petition for that end which was circulated throughout the state.

(As noted earlier, although Van Arman was famous for "The Arsenic Incident," it didn't happen in this trial. Also, he was not her advocate, but the prosecuting attorney.)

     It was strange and touching--that second courtship in jail. Imprisonment softened Mary Brook's character, and Stewart fell in love with her all over again.
     The petition was not successful, and these two sweethearts grew old with the walls of a jail dividing them. In course of time the romance ceased to amaze the inhabitants and became merely and existing local tradition.
     That they should ever be united seemed hopeless. Mary Brooks entreated Stewart to marry some other woman. She said that it would make her happy. He did marry, but he did not cease to visit the prisoner in jail.
     Mary Brooks was pardoned twenty years ago. She was faded but still handsome. From her relatives, who were well-to-do, she inherited a home and a comfortable little fortune. Her life after that was a very quiet one, devoted to deeds of kindness.
     She and the Stewart's were neighbors in the little hamlet of Kalamo, Eaton county--neighbors and friends. Mr. Stewart's wife knew all about the old romance, and thought non the worse of her husband for it, or of Mary Brooks. Whoever believed the woman to have been guilty also believed that she had made atonement.
     Stewart's wife died a few years ago. He was an old man then, and Mary Brooks was an old woman. There was a third courtship, this time in an environment of smiling fields and gardens--for each had a beautiful country home.
     The fruit of that autumnal courtship was a quiet wedding Monday at Mrs. Brooks home. She is 68, and her bridegroom three years older. The shadow of the gallows is far behind them.
This article ran in "The News," Providence R.I. on September 21, 1899. A similar article, "Pardoned Murderess Weds, " ran in the New York Times on September 20, 1899, with mostly the same misinformation. My guess is that the story was picked up from a Charlotte newspaper, maybe relating the story upon David's death in 1899.

Mary was pardoned on February 12, 1870.

Interesting that the prosecuting attorney, John Van Arman, recommended the pardon. He previously stated that, had he defended her, she would not have been convicted. Even more interesting... "upon proof tending to show that some person other than the prisoner was the real instigator of the crime committed."  I REALLY wonder who that was! Especially, since it may have been a death bed confession!

Mary is enumerated in the home of her sister's family, LuryAnn and Archelaus Thornton, in the June 1870 Federal Census. Mary's Father, a farmer, died just a year after Mary's conviction. Her Mother, Tirzah, was still living on the farm, along with Tirzah's sister, Hannah Lankton, Mary's brother Truman, his wife, Sarah and several of their children. Her brothers Ira and Joe were also farmers, so between them all, they owned quite a bit of land, but wouldn't necessarily be "well-to-do." Mary probably did not "inherit a small fortune." It is possible that a separate home was built on her sister's land. They were neighbors of David and Elizabeth Stewart.

Elizabeth and David never had children and Elizabeth died on May 22, 1877, aged 57 years.

David H. Stewart and Mary H. Bradley Brooks married on August 25th, 1877 by Elder Sloan, witnessed by her brothers-in-law, George Campbell and Archelaus Thornton. Mary was 44 years old, and David was 56.

On August 21, 1899, just 4 days shy of the 22nd anniversary of of their marriage, David H. Stewart, born to Jacob and Phoebe Stewart at Sparta, Livingston, New York about March 20, 1820, died from bronchitis at age 79 years, 5 months and 1  day. 

He was buried at West Carmel Cemetery alongside his first wife, Elizabeth.

In 1900, Mary was back living with her sister, Lury Bradley Thronton, nephew, Gilbert Thornton and his family. Mary died 4 years and 9 months after her husband, on May 13th, 1905, at age 73. She is buried alongside David and Elizabeth at West Carmel Cemetery.

*** Interesting notes: The official reporter on David's death record is Arthur J Day, the son of Lury Woolcutt Day, whom I suspect is Mary's cousin (still trying to prove that though.)

*** There were some land transfers between James D. Bradley and Simeon P Brooks. Also, some land transfers between James D Bradley (Mary's father) and Martin Brackett (Mary's attorney,) possibly for payment?

*** Other than the land transfers, there doesn't seem to be any more information about Simeon Brooks. He is not listed in any Eaton Co., Mi census and I can't find a death or burial record for him or his daughter Edith. The Bradley's were neighbors of a divorced woman, Tina Brooks, but I can't find a connection there. He may have been a relative of Nathan, Aaron or Silas Brooks who were early settlers in Kalamo. Mary's brother, Joseph, was married to Fannie Melissa Brooks, a daughter of Zimri Brooks and Grand-daughter of Silas Brooks.

Just recently, I ran across a note in my Grandmother's stuff, but she didn't seem to pursue the story. I wonder why...

Aug 27, 2011

Murder Trial in Charlotte, Michigan - A Story of Mary H. Bradley Brooks Stewart - (Part 1)

I've been intrigued / obsessed with the story of my 2nd Great Aunt, Mary Bradley, since discovering this post back in 2002. Mary's story was a well-kept family secret. Here's what I have learned so far: Mary H. Bradley was born on April 24th, 18321 at Whitestown, Oneida Co., New York, the 6th child (4th living) of James D. and Tirzah (Lankton) Bradley. Sometime around 1841, when Mary was about 8 years old, the family emigrated to Kalamo, Eaton Co., MI. If Mary attended school, she didn't learn to write well, judging from her letters to her best friend, Watson Woodruff. As a young woman of 17 or 18, Mary intended to marry her "sweetheart," David Harrison Stewart, but gave in to her parents wish to marry Simeon Brooks, a much older wealthy land owner2. They were married on April 1st, 18513.

Mary had a daughter named Edith4. Edith and Simeon both got sick and were attended to by Dr. H.T. Fero, who, although not a "regular physician," attended to the sick. The doctor was also a Baptist minister, as well as the postmaster in Bellevue. The little girl died, followed by her father a few months later. According to Mrs. Lena Bradley Phillips the deaths occurred in September and December 1854. Although I can't find an official record , a news story in the "Eaton County Republican" dated February 14, 1857 reports "on or about the 15th of March last," Which ever the year, they died just a few months apart as Mary said that she was distraught over daughter's recent death.5

Sometime later, after Simeon was buried, Ira Pearl, of Kalamo, made an official complaint, suspecting that he was murdered. Mr. Pearl was a farm hand who lived with various Eaton and Barry County families, and may have been living with Mary and Simeon at the time of his death. He seems to have implicated Mary and/or another, possibly Mary's friend, Watson Woodruff.

Mary was probably questioned about poisoning her husband. Pres Swift (L. Preston Swift,) Justice of the Peace6, stopped in from the fields one evening to tell her that they weren't going to do anything until Simeon's body was exhumed and tested. A panicked Mary wrote to her friend, Watson Woodruff7:

"Watson the county is a going to take Sim up so pres swift told me last night he come from feroes and stoped and told me they aint agoing to do any more about it till he is examined and then they are agoing to take us both up "

Mary was so panicked that she thought the medicine must have been poison.

"i am just as sure that was pison in that medicine as can be and if he is dug up and examined states prison is my doom"

Unfortunately, Mary also asked Watson to dig up and conceal the body...

When Mary told her family about the medicine, they also believed that there wasn't much they could do for her. 

"watson for the land sake if you have got any mercy on me or want to relieve my trouble do dig him up night off to night i told father jo and tru abaout that medicine and they said it would ruen me and send me to states prison in spite of all they could do if he was dug up and examined"

It's not clear whether or not Simeon's body was actually exhumed. In the short history I found, there was no mention of test results proving guilt. 

Judge Abner Pratt appointed John Van Arman as the prosecuting attorney for this case. Van Arman was a popular and well known defense attorney, the most successful of his time. He became famous for the acquittal of a Hillsdale, Michigan woman where he, himself, ingested arsenic in the courtroom and lived, proving that she could not have murdered her husband with arsenic8

 He convened a secret Grand Jury and the testimony led to the indictment of Mary Brooks, accusing her of the murder of her husband by arsenic poisoning, which was allegedly stolen from a neighbor, Mr. Mann. 

Although the court was nearing the end of a session, where most cases would be continued to the next session, Judge Abner Pratt ordered the trial immediately. Mary's family hired Mr. Dave Hughs and Mr. Martin S. Bracket to defend her, and they worked hard to get more time to prepare a defense, but Judge Pratt would not permit a delay. He seemed to believe that Mary was guilty and didn't deserve a defense.

The court room was packed on the 5th and 6th of June, 1856. The windows were removed and wagons set up underneath them for those who couldn't get in.

1845 Eaton County Courthouse
Eaton County Courthouse 1845-1872
Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson

Mary was convicted of murder in two short days, with literally no defense.Judge Pratt asked her to rise, then asked if she had anything to say:

"During the solemn hush caused by the rendering of such a verdict the judge told the defendant to arise, and then asked her if she had anything to say why the judgment of the law should not be pronounced against her. She very naturally supposed this called upon her for a speech. Evidently feeling that she herself must make her only defense, she at once arose and stepped upon the raised platform by the side of the judge's desk to address the audience. As if her proximity to the judicial ermine was contamination, Judge Pratt sternly and harshly ordered her to go down upon the floor, moving his hand as if to push her away.

The scene is yet vivid in my mind. Judge Pratt, with his black bushy hair standing fiercely erect, his black piercing eyes shooting fire from under his shaggy, overhanging eyebrows, appeared the personification of sternness and the power of the law. There was the woman, with her calico sun-bonnet shading her face, shrinking pitifully away, crushed and confused by this unexpected rebuff when called up to speak. She again rallied, but in her confusion she addressed "this congregation," as if it was a church trial. She spoke with much feeling of her recent loss of a young babe, claiming that she had not since been in her right mind in consequence of her great trouble. She did not expressly deny the crime, but conveyed the impression that she did not feel responsible for anything she might have since done. Here was a rich lead for able attorneys, could there have only been time to work it. She spoke but a few moments,—did not ask that court for mercy, and appeared overcome by emotion as she sank into her seat. The judge then again called upon her to stand up, and delivered to her a harsh, angry rebuke for the terrible crime of which she had been found guilty. He appeared to abandon himself to an impetuous determination to be as severe and crushing as possible. He was so vindictive and ferocious that his remarks failed to produce the effect designed. It afforded her a tempest to brace up against. He closed by pronouncing a sentence to hard labor in the State prison at Jackson during life, forgetting, in his virtuous indignation, to include solitary confinement."

After the trial, Judge Pratt spoke of his sentencing address, saying that he forced himself to stop, fearing that he was making a fool of himself. The prosecuting attorney, Mr. VanArman, remarked that there wasn't even enough evidence to convict her of larceny for stealing arsenic, let alone murder.

"The injustice in this case was on the part of the court,in forcing the defendant so suddenly to trial without giving her attorneys an opportunity to prepare for such a defense as should have been made in the case. The testimony which led to her indictment had all been taken secretly by Mr Van Arman before the grand jury, while under present improved practice every word of it would been taken publicly before an examining magistrate, reduced to writing, signed by the witnesses, filed in the clerk's office as a public record, and thoroughly understood and sifted by the attorneys on both sides. The more humane tendency now is to give the defendant a full opportunity to confront and hear his accusers, and to have every facility for making his defense." 

1. Death Certificate (Birthdate different from gravestone - which is April 24th 1832)
2. HISTORY OF INGHAM AND EATON COUNTIES MICHIGAN By SAMUEL W. DURANT, pg 362,"Her husband was much older than herself..."
3. Michigan Marriages, 1822-1995
4. The Family Record of the Descendants of JAMES D. and TIRZAH BRADLEY, 1930, Lena M Bradley Phillips
6. Portrait and biographical album of Barry and Eaton counties, Mich., containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county ... [and] the presidents of the United States and governors of the state, Chicago: Chapman bros, 1891,pg 768
7. Eaton County Genealogy Library, Eaton County Republican Newspaper - February. 14, 1857
8.Historical collections, Volume 11 By Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society: The Arsenic Incedent, pg 284

Aug 7, 2011

Vern Bradley and the Walton Grange

I've been going through my Grandmother's stuff again and found this transcription from a Northwest Walton Grange ceremony, where my Great Grandfather, Verner J. Bradley would receive a gold pin. Unfortunately, I don't know who the speaker was, or the date of the event, but I did find a picture!

The speech:

"Vern Bradley was born November 29, 1880.  His father and mother settled on the Bradley homestead.  They lived in a log house until the present one was built.  Vern had two brothers and two sisters.  He was a normal young man, pretty foxy with the girls; as he is today.

He ran away from a couple of girls and went  to Mississippi to work in a lumber camp for a winter, and came back an expert marksman and shot a wild turkey and has bragged a bout it ever since.

He married one of the girls he had run away from and she became his wife, (Myrtle Talbot).  They lived on Five Point Highway -- the Cole place.  They have four children.

Gerald is assistant Superintendent of Schools in Port Huron.  He has four children and six grandchildren.  Burlyn works for the State in Lansing and has three children and four grandchildren.  Maxine, former teacher and now housewife, whose husband, Philip Park is connected with the Besser Block Machinery, has three children.  Betty, also former teacher and now housewife, whose husband is Ralph Vahs, has a Standard Oil Station in Olivet.  They have two Children and two grandchildren.

That’s not bad -- four children, twelve grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.
Several months after the death of his first wife, he married Cora (Palmer) whom we all knew as an active and helpful Granger.

I’ve heard it said he has gained a great knowledge from the Northwest Walton Grange.  He has served in many offices.  He is our only “Charter Member”.
Politically minded over the years, he has been Township Supervisor a number of times.  He also served on the Board of Education.  He would hire teachers, and board them.

He was very sick and not expected to live, but through the efforts of that wonderful Doctor Quick he pulled through.

Another time, he was cutting wood with Werlin and while felling a tree, it kicked back and knocked Vern down, and Werlin loaded him in the trailer and brought him up the road so he could be taken to the hospital.  But, lucky, no bones broken.

Around 1910, he and Billy Harwood, learned to drive their first car.  By the book, of course, and a good thing too, as the first time they got in it, they had a little trouble controlling it and drove through the barn doors.  Another time a friend,  Hayes Horton, took them for a ride in a Stanley Steamer and had to climb under it to light the burner.  He and his brother were the first ones in the neighborhood to get a car.  It was an Oakland.  Gerald took it for a ride and drove it in the creek.  In later years, he has traveled to New York, Chicago, and California.  He gets on the Grand Trunk and goes to Port Huron and watches the boats.  He goes deer hunting and sets in a steam heated shack and lets somebody else get the deer for him.
Vern has lived a full and active life, and I know he’s good for a lot more.

He holds an executive job since his retirement from farming.  It is with his son-in-law, Ralph Vahs, at his Standard Station in Olivet.  He checks out the brooms, pushes them around and keeps the station swept clean.

In recognition of your faithful and untiring efforts in the Grange for the past 62 years, we wish to award you this Gold Pin."

Vern Bradley (Right) receiving his gold pin

Foxy with the girls! I learned more than I knew about him.