July 5, 1908
Ward Headley, 30 years old, a clerk employed in the Browning King clothing store, was locked in a cell at No. 6 police station last night. A charge of criminal assault probably will be made against him tomorrow. Headley lives at 2921 East Sixteenth street and was married two weeks ago to Mrs. Alice Caton. His wife was not informed last night of the serious nature of the charge against him.
The alleged attack occurred in the home of O. J. Swift, a motorman on the Jackson avenue street car line, 1815 Kansas avenue. In the same house lives Robert Kelso and his family. Headley and the Swifts and Kelsos have been friends for ten years. Headley spent the afternoon with the families yesterday and remained for 5 o'clock dinner.
After dinner, according to Mrs. Kelso, she and her husband went upstairs with Headley. Mr. Kelso fell asleep in the room, and after a few minutes conversation with Headley Mrs. Kelso excused herself and went into the kitchen on the first floor.
About five minutes later she heard her 7-year-old daughter, Ethel, calling to her, but thinking that nothing serious was the matter, waited some time before replying. Within ten minutes, Eunice Swift, 5 years old, came running downstairs to her mother, who was also in the kitchen. She was crying. She said Headley had attacked her.
The two women ran to the room where Headley was sitting and ordered him from the house. He refused to go, saying he had done nothing to warrant their displeasure. The two women caught him by the arms an d head and dragged him out of the room to the head of the steps and pushed him down the stairs.
Mrs. Kelso followed him down the stairs, catching him at the foot of the steps. Mrs. Swift remained in the house to give attention to her child.
When Headley reached the sidewalk Mrs. Kelso caught up with him and began to beat and scratch him. Headley started to run, but he could not get away from the woman. Seeing that he could no shake from her grasp, Headley turned and grappled with her.
Meanwhile several men started on the run to the rescue of the mother. ieutenant William Carroll and Patrolman William Hanlon were passing and seeing the crowd and the commotion, the officers ran to the man and woman. They arrested Headley and hurried him to the corner. By this time the men, fifty or more, were muttering threats of vengeance against Headley. It was some time before the patrol wagon from No. 6 police station, Twenty-first and Flora avenue arrived, and the officers had their hands full. Mrs. Kelso accompanied the officers and their prisoner to the station in the patrol wagon, saying that she "would not leave that man until he was dead or behind bars."
In discussing the affair at their home last night, Mrs. Kelso said: "I prayed God to give me the strength of a man. If ever I had the desire to kill a man it was when I was following Headley down the street, beating and scratching him. It was not a desire for vengeance on my part just at that time. It was just a great mental longing to be able to do something that would pain him, something that a man could have done. I am glad now that I did not have the strength to kill him, for it will be best to let the law take its course.
"I have known Headley for several year, and never before knew him to do an immoral or brutal act. What led him to do it is more than I can explain, unless it was the influence of liquor. But he did not appear to be drunk, and at dinner he talked in a very rational manner."
Mrs. Swift did not have much to say other than a desire to see Headley severely punished. She constantly kept her eye on the child, which was lying asleep on the bed by her side.
Headley refused to discuss the affair with the officers at the police station to any extent. He told Lieutenant Carrol that he held both children on his lap and was merely teasing them.