May 26, 1909


Today the Fanatic Leader Will Take
the Witness Stand and Tell
the Story of His Life.

"He told me that the Almighty created the first man and called him Adam and that, therefore, all men since the first are property named Adam and may call themselves so if they choose.
He said further, that the Almighty, having created Adam, had breathed into him the breath of life and, having made him in His image and endowed him with life, that each man was in a way a god and could properly call himself a god. Combining the two titles he said every man could term himself Adam God. But he said he was not Adam nor God." -- From I. B. Kimbrell's testimony yesterday relating to a talk he had with Sharp.

Adam God, or James Sharp himself, will go on the witness stand today to tell the story of his life and his version of the city hall riot. Also there will testify Mrs. Melissa Sharp, his wife, who frequently was called Eve.

The crowd in the criminal court expected to see Sharp on the stand yesterday, for the number of spectators was greater than it has been at any time since the trial began. Half the space inside the railing was filled by spectators and once Judge Ralph S. Latshaw threatened to clear the court room and lock the doors if better order was not observed.

There were not so many objections yesterday from Sharp as have been on previous days of the trial. It was said that Sharp had been advised to make less commotion and he heeded the admonitions except in three or four instances. Once was when Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, asked a witness if Sharp was a publicity seeker. The defendant jumped up and said:

"I object, if my attorneys won't. I didn't advertise in no paper anywhere."

H. O. Lindsay, a merchant of Lebanon, Mo., however, said that Sharp had no hesitancy in announcing his sermons. On the witness stand Lindsay said that five years ago he heard Sharp preach in Conway, Mo.

"He had his wife and his little son along," said the witness, "and he said he was God himself and that it was the first time the people of that city had ever had a chance to hear God preach. He said also that he was David and Elijah and Adam."


Mr. Lindsay said he believed Sharp was unbalanced, in fact, insane.

Henry D. Hilton, a farmer of Morgan, Laclede county, saw Sharp five years ago and heard him preach twice that day. He testified:

"Sharp told us he was the fifth angel spoken of in Revelations as having the keys to the bottomless pit. He said, too, that it was God talking to us and that the people in that town had never heard God speak to them before. I formed the opinion that he had gone insane over religion."

When Sharp preached at Morgan at the time mentioned above, he stayed at the home of his sister, Mrs. Eliza Price. She testified yesterday that he preached at her house and spoke of being the fifth angel. He told her also, she said, that he was David and Elijah, and she made up her mind that he was insane.

"Did he preach against killing?" asked Mr. Conkling on cross-examination.

"I object to this," said Sharp. "You don't ask the woman if I said it was right to kill if they shot at me first. Ask her that and then let her tell."

"Very well," said the prosecutor. "Did he preach that it was right to kill if he was attacked?"

"No," said the witness.

Clara Price, a daughter of the previous witness, who also had not seen him for five years, said she had made up her mind that he was insane.

Andrew J. Price, an uncle of Clara, said that Sharp, when a boy, could bark like a dog and meouw like a cat more naturally than he had ever heard anyone else do. He was inclined to believe that this showed a rather unbalanced mind on the part of the defendant. Five years ago Price met Sharp in Stoutland, Mo., and asked him:


"Are you still following your same old trade?" I meant," the witness explained, "the trade of gambling, as I had heard he was engaged in this and horse trading. He said:

" 'No, I am a different man now. I am preaching.'

The witness asked Sharp where he lived and says Adam told him:

"I've got no more home than a rabbit. Christ had no home, neither have I. I am the fifth angel."

The witness said he then wanted to "get shed of" Sharp and walked away. He did not attend any preaching that Sharp did.

Price said also that Sharp, when a boy, caught small fish and swallowed them alive.

This same fish story was told also by Eli A. Ellis, cashier of the People's bank of Stoutland, Mo. He and Sharp were boys together.

"I felt uneasy for Sharp and for the fish," said the witness. "When the lad would not stop I thrashed him, me being the larger."

The witness said that Sharp seemed to be a bad boy and didn't seem to care much for work. It was while Mr. Conkling asked this witness whether Sharp was not a publicity seeker that the fanatic shrouded himself with the banner of non-advertiser. Ellis said he thought the man insane. He had not seen Sharp for years.

Rudolph Indermuehle of Morgan had heard Sharp preach and tell people that he was the fifth angel and could not sin.

That was the end of the insanity testimony for the day. There was another witness, however, in the person of Joseph S. Waite, an itinerant furniture mender, who said he lived mostly at 553 Main street. After a grilling cross-examination by Mr. Conkling as to how he came to be a witness, Waite said:


"Well, to tell the truth, I had some curiosity to be a witness here. I volunteered my services to Mr. Martin."

The witness said, on cross-examination, that he had heard Sharp attacking the public school system in a talk at the Workingmen's mission and that he had seen him put Probation Officer Holt out of the building. Further he heard the fanatic say that he would take the children on the street and defend himself and them. Sharp also talked of the authorities, said the witness, but in terms he could not remember.

"The last time I saw Sharp's gun it was by his side," said the witness and then immediately contradicted himself by adding: "I saw Sharp shoot at somebody after the first shots were fired. I couldn't tell who fired the first shot."

At the conclusion of this testimony, court adjourned for the day.