Horse Allen’sFirst Court.—We find the following anecdote of “Horse Allen,” as he is called—the noted character who was run by the “Softs” of Missouri last year for Governor—in the last number of the Reveille. Allen is a horse, and no mistake. Here is the anecdote.

“Judge Allen, or as he is commonly called, “Horse Allen,” soon after his appointment as judge, visited the court seat in Gasconade, Missouri. There had been several violations of the law in that section, and the “Horse” was determined that punishment should be inflicted. Accordingly upon his arrival, after sheriff, jury and witnesses had assembled, the first order of the court was that each and all should “strip” themselves and go to work and raise a suitable tenement in which to hold its meetings—This was the first building erected for such a purpose in the county. Well, after hard work, a number of logs, piled up together, were made to answer the purpose desired. The court had come to order, and was proceeding with its legitimate business, when some evil-disposed person interrupted the proceedings, and insulted “his honor,” by the utterance of some broad and ungentlemanly remarks. The sheriff was going on with his business, calling the names of the jury, when he was interrupted by the judge with an order to “adjourn the court for 15 minutes!” eagerly observing “that he thought it would take about that time to complete the job.” The court adjourned, and the judge descended from the bench, at the same time drawing his bowie knife, and advanced upon the man who had interrupted the business of the law. The judge, however, found that his antagonist was not the man for him, armed as he was, so throwing aside his weapon, he pulled off his coat, and to use is own words, “gave him, prehaps, the d—st licking that he ever had in his life.” Puffing and blowing with the exercise, the judge returned to the bench, at the expiration of the prescribed time, and ordered the sheriff to convene the court again. It was done, whereupon the “Horse” riz :

“People,” said he, “I am here to adjudge the law and administer justice, by thunder! If you care anything about civilization, I’m ready to give you a touch of it by——! As the sheriff and his officers are not enough, here am I—single-handed—and if any one says he ain’t satisfied, I’ll adjourn the court again, and give him a chance!”

It is hardly necessary to say that the etiquette of “Horse Allen’s” court was never infringed after that day.


Source: New York Spirit of the Times 15.21 (19 July 1845): 240. University of Virginia Alderman Library.

Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

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