June 20, 1908
"The way of the transgressor is hard." This was the text of a sermon preached by the Rev. C. S. L. Brown at the West Side Christian church, Twentieth street and Pennsylvania avenue, on Sunday night, October 7, 1906. His subject was "Lights and Shadows of Life, or Positive and Negative Teachings."
Since that memorable night when the Rev. Mr. Brown, who six years before had worked as a porter at the Hotel Baltimore, preached before a large congregation, many of whom were his personal friends, glad of his success, he has found out the hard truth of his text -- "The way of the transgressor is hard."
Last night the Rev. Mr. Brown was arrested at Sixth and Walnut streets by Patrolman Harry Arthur. He was locked up for investigation and spent the night in a cell at Central station. When arrested he was in the street. He had thrown away his hat, his coat was off and he had all but stripped the upper portion of his body of clothing.
It was the same Rev. Mr. Brown who a few months ago stood boldly before his congregation at Lee's Summit, Mo., and acknowledged that he had been gambling and drinking. He was drinking last night. When he occupied the pulpit of Rev. W. O. Thomas here in October, 1906, Rev. Mr. Brown then was pastor of a Christian church at Washington, Kas. His mother, a woman of wealth and culture, lives there now. His wife and four small children are with his mother. He is 30 years old.
The minister admitted last night he had been drinking and gambling in Kansas City almost ever since his downfall at Lee's Summit. He said he had passed about $60 worth of worthless checks. He could recall one for $12.50 on C. J. Mees, a saloonkeeper, Sixth and Walnut; one for $15 on James Riddle, saloon, Independence avenue and McGee street, and two at Lee's Summit.
"I can trace my downfall to the love of a woman," he said, with tears in his eyes. "Then the gamblers got hold of me here and what they have left you see now -- a wreck, beaten, down and out. I am willing to take my medicine like a man and serve my five or ten years, but before God I will not divulge the name of the woman. Her name must be protected, as I alone am to blame.
"When I got in my trouble and had to leave my church and Lee's Summit," he continued, "a minister friend down there went to my mother at Washington, Kas., and got $400 to square things. She told him he could have ten times that amount. With part of that I even paid gambling debts to men here who since have refused to give me 10 cents to buy a dish of chile.
"Gambling! Gambling!" he almost shrieked. "Is there much gambling here? Yes. I could lead you to some of the stiffest games you ever saw and they seem to be running with ease. Of course most of them are in hotels and hard to catch. Yes, I have been before the grand jury with it."
The Rev. Mr. Brown refused to divulge the names of the men who had "trimmed" him here. He said "Their time will come later. He said that he went through the Boer war in the service of England. Then he was a soldier of fortune.
"It was there I contracted the drinking and gambling habits," he admitted with bowed head. "I felt the craving for the old habits returning and battled with them as long as I could. At a weak moment, other troubles begetting me, I fell 'as the angels fell from Heaven to the blackest depths of Hell.' Since then the course has been down, down, down with an awful rush."