The Charles Guiteau Trial: A Chronology
by L. Renee Faust Rohe (3L)

The Baltimore & Potomac Depot, site of the Garfield assassination, draped with black curtains for Garfield's funeral.
September 8, 1841
Charles Julius Guiteau is born in Freeport, Illinois. He is the 4th of 6 children born to Luther Wilson Guiteau and Jane Howe. 
September 25, 1948
Charles Guiteau's mother, Jane Howe, dies. Charles is subsequently raised by his older sister Frances, "Franky".
1859 Charles receives an inheritance of $1,000 from his maternal grandfather, which provides him the means to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His father, Luther, is very much against sending his son to college and wants his son to join the Oneida Community. 
June, 1860 Charles is unhappy at Ann Arbor and leaves college to join the Oneida Community in New York. 
Charles begins to suspect that his calling is to be a great newspaper editor.
April 3, 1865
Charles believes that he has been chosen by God to spread the word of John Humphrey Noyes, the founder of the Oneida Community. With the permission of the Oneida Community, Charles moves to New Jersey to start a newspaper, entitled "The Daily Theocrat." 
July 20, 1865
Charles applies to reenter the Oneida Community after his failure to get the funding he needed in order to start "The Daily Theocrat" newspaper.
November 1, 1866
Charles runs away from the Oneida Community and begins writing letters for the return of the money he had consigned to the Community when he first entered. 
August 1867
After spending the money the Oneida Community had given him, Charles moves to Chicago to live with his sister, Frances and his brother-in-law, George Scoville.  George Scoville offers Charles a job in his law office in Chicago.
Fall/Winter 1867 After a few months in Chicago Charles grows restless, and he moves to New York hoping to work for Henry Ward Beecher's newspaper, the Independent. However, to Charles' consternation, he is unable to get a job as an editor and instead is left to sell subscriptions to the paper.
Fall/ Winter 1867

Charles previous worship of Noyes turns into bitterness. Wanting revenge against the Oneida community, Charles brings suit against the community for uncompensated work performed while he was a member of the community.  The suit fails, so Charles resorts to blackmail.  Eventually Charles gives up his blackmail attempts after Oneida's lawyers threatened to prosecute Charles for extortion and to use his letters against him.

Early 1868 Desperate for money again, Charles returns to his sister in Chicago and works as a law clerk.  He passes the Illinois Bar and set up his own law practice. His practice consistsd mostly of bill collecting, although he frequently keeps the money for himself and informs the clients that the money was irretrievable. 
1869 Charles Guiteau marries Anne Bunn, a librarian at the YMCA.
Summer 1872
Charles Guiteau decides to support Horace Greeley, the Democratic candidate for President.  Charles writes campaign speeches, attends public meetings, and pesters Greeley's friends and acquaintances for their endorsement of his efforst to obtain an appointment from Greeley as minister to Chile should Greeley obtain the presidency.
Anne Bunn divorces Charles on the ground of adultery. Charles had purposely slept with a prostitute so that his wife might have the requisite legal grounds for a New York divorce.   
Late Spring 1875 After failing to obtain funding for another newspaper venture, Charles moves back in with his sister, Frances.  While at the Scoville home, Charles while chopping wood and upon seeing his sister, raises the axe at her as if to strike her.  Frightened, Frances runs for the local doctor to examine Charles. The physician, Dr. Rice, concludes that Charles is insane and recommends he be placed in an asylum.
1877 Charles begins his unsuccessful career as a religious lecturer.  He travels the country delivering sermons.  Most often, his message is incoherent and consists merely of his repeating John Humphrey Noyes' message and claiming it as his own.   
Luther Guiteau, Charles' father, dies. 
Charles becomes a member of the Republican Party.
August 6, 1880
Charles Guiteau delivers a speech, "Garfield v. Hancock." The speech is written in hopes of getting Ulysses S. Grant elected, but after Garfield gets the nomination, Charles merely replaces the name Grant with Garfield.
November 11, 1880
Garfield writes to the Secretary of State, William Evarts, inquiring whether there would be any new appointments made by Garfield, should he win the election.
1881 After Garfield's election to president, Charles moves to Washington D.C.  Charles Guiteau believes that his speech was the primary cause for Garfield's victory and eagerly anticipates an appointment by the new administration.
January 1881 Charles writes to Garfield, mentioning his impending marriage to a woman of wealth, and his interest in the ministry appointment in Vienna.
May 14, 1881
Charles' repeated attempts to get an appointment as repayment for the contributions he thought he had made to the Garfield election are put to a halt by a heated encounter with Secretary of State, Blaine. Blaine snaps at him, "Never bother me again about the Paris consulship as long as you live."
Mid-May 1881
Charles Guiteau conceives the idea to "remove" the president, concluding that it was a political necessity and is sanctioned by God.
June 8, 1881
Charles Guiteau purchases a .44 revolver and begins practicing in the Potomac's muddy banks.
June 16, 1881
Charles writes his "Address to the American People" and a letter for General William T. Sherman.  Both are to be sent following the assassination of the President
July 1, 1881
Charles writes another letter of explanation for his intended act.
July 2, 1881
A few minutes before 9:30 am, at the Baltimore and Potomac Train Station, Charles Guiteau shoots President Garfield twice.  One bullet inflicts a flesh wound on the President's arm and the other bullet lodges in his back.
July 2, 1881
Guiteau is stopped by Patrick Kearney of the District of Columbia police, the ticket taker and the depot watchman. Officer Kearney escorts Charles Guiteau to the station house but the Police Captain quickly move Guiteau to the District Jail to await a hearing.
July 2, 1881
President Garfield is moved to the White House.  It is presumed that he is dying of internal hemorrhaging and there seems little chance of his survival.
July 7, 1881
The District Attorney, Corkhill, announces that there would be no formal proceedings against Guiteau until the President either recovers or dies.
July 10, 1881
No effort is spared in helping the President fight for his life.  Because of the heat wave in Washington, Navy engineers implement a plan for cooling the air in the President's sickroom. Over a half-million pounds of ice are delivered to the White House.
July 16, 1881
The president sits up and it is reported that his "ultimate recovery was beyond all reasonable doubt."
July 23, 1881
The President's condition suddenly grows worse.
July 26, 1881
Alexander Graham Bell invents the first metal detector in an attempt to find the bullet lodged in President Garfield. The device consists of two electromagnets connected to a telephone receiver. The device is supposed to click when a metal object passes in between the magnetic field.  The metal detector is not able to locate the bullet; possibly because Garfield is on a bed with metal springs or because Bell (like the doctors) searches in the wrong part of Garfield's body. 
Late August 1881
President Garfield has shrunk from 200 to about 120 pounds and appears to be getting worse.
September 6, 1881
The president is moved to his oceanside cottage at Elberon, New Jersey. In an effort to minimize the effects of the trip on the President's deteriorating condition, a few more miles of railroad tracks are laid, reaching almost to the door of the President's cottage.
September 19, 1881 President Garfield dies at 10:35 pm.
September 20, 1881
Chester Arthur, the Vice-President becomes the 21st President.
September 28th, 1881
Corkhill sets in motion the procuring of an indictment and issues subpoenas to witnesses.
October 8th, 1881
The presentment and indictment for the murder of James A. Garfield is filed
October 11th, 1881
The marshall serves a copy of the indictment, list of the jurors, and a list of the witnesses for the United States against the defendant.
October 14, 1881
Charles Guiteau is arraigned
October 26, 1881
Judge Cox appoints Leigh Robinson, a young District of Columbia attorney, to serve with Scoville in representing Charles Guiteau.
November 14, 1881
The trial first day of trial
November 16, 1881
The final juror is chosen.  It has taken three days and 175 potential jurors to complete the jury.  The jury consists of twelve men, including one restaurant keeper, one retired businessman, one machinist, two plasterers, one iron worker, two grocers, a cigar dealer, and three merchants.
November 17, 1881
The prosecution begins its case
November 19, 1881
Bill Jones, a drunken farmer, fires at Guiteau through the bars of the prison wagon. The bullet pierces Guiteau's coat. Bill Jones is quickly apprehended and dubbed a "hero" by the Washington Times.
November 21, 1881
Leigh Robinson is successful in having himself discharged from the case.
November 28, 1881
Charles Guiteau takes the stand on his own behalf.  His direct testimony lasts until December 3, 1881.
December 16, 1881
The prosecution begins its succession of medical experts.  From Friday, December 16th until Wednesday January 4, the government presents experts who deny any possibility that Guiteau might be insane.
December 23, 1881
Charles Reed, a defense witness and former State's Attorney in Illinois, is formally added as one of Guiteau's lawyers
January 4, 1882
Scoville petitions the court to be allowed to introduce new witnesses, but his motion is denied based on a technical objection made by the prosecution.  Scoville requests a recess until Saturday. 
January 7, 1882
The prosecution begins its closing plea to the jury
January 16, 1882
Scoville delivers his address to the jury. It lasts five days and is one of the longest ever delivered in the District's criminal courts.
January 21, 1882
Charles Guiteau speaks to the jury on his own behalf--but his speech had already been printed in the Herald earlier in the week.
January 25, 1882
The jury returns a verdict of guilty as indicted
January 26, 1882
Charles Guiteau's writes an "Appeal to the American People" in which he expresses his disappointment in the jury.
February 3rd, 1882
Scoville argues before Judge Cox a bill of exceptions and a motion for a new trial.  The defense motion is rejected.
February 4, 1882
Guiteau is sentenced to be executed
May 22, 1882
Guiteau's last appeal is denied by the court in banc.  Guiteau's only remaining hope lies with President Arthur.
June 22, 1882
Dr. Godding, Dr. Beard, and Miss A. A. Chevaillier visit President Arthur asking for the appointment of a lunacy commission to review the decision reached in the Guiteau Trial.
June 24, 1882
President Arthur decides not to intervene. 
June 30, 1882
Charles Guiteau is hanged at the District of Columbia jail.

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