November 1, 1909


At Home of Police Matron Re-
nounces Husband's Religious
creed, Declaring She Will
Live Only for Boy.

Melissa Sharp, the wife of "Adam God," who started the riot December 8, 1908, that resulted in the death of two officers, two members of the "Adam God" flock and a private citizen, as well as injury to others, slept in freedom last night.

For the first time in nearly eleven months this woman yesterday walked in the open and free air; enjoyed the liberty of persons not guilty of crime, and was entitled to do as she chose.

With this liberty, thrust upon her suddenly yesterday morning when the prosecutor's office decided that there was no charge upon which she could be held, Mrs. Sharp was almost as helpless as she had been when confined by prison walls, and when asked the simple question as to what she intended to do said she didn't know.


She had no notion, no plan.

"All I want is rest," she said. "I want to be able to sit down or to lie down and solve this tremendous problem. I want my boy, my 16-year-old son, who is far away. Maybe when I get him I can think of something to do."

When Mrs. Sharp was released from the county jail yesterday morning she did not know which way to turn. She had relatives in Southern Missouri, but she cared not to ask them for aid. Then it was that Mrs. Margaret Simmons, matron of the jail, came to her rescue.

"You come home with me," said Mrs. Simmons. "Come home with me and stay there until you can decide what to do."

And Mrs. Sharp went home with her.

Immediately after the "Adam God" riot the woman was placed in jail. She was transferred from the city holdover to the county jail. Ever since she has remained in prison without trial. What her fate would be she never knew and as the months dragged along she didn't care.


"She was a model prisoner," said Mrs. Simmons. "I don't believe that her mind was unbalanced and regardless of what some people may think I decided to take her into my own home. It is an act of charity and I can conceive of no greater charity than the sheltering of this lonely, lonesome woman."

Mrs. Sharp is 38 years old and she appears to be younger. Her husband is 54 and he is now serving a sentence of twenty-five years in the Missouri penitentiary. While Mrs. Sharp wants to be faithful to him, she doesn't care to discuss the fate of her husband or her relations with him.

She has a son and her whole life now is centered in that boy, who, despite his years, is doing a man's work on a railroad in Montana in an effort to earn his own living.

James Sharp, who is the "Adam God," was not alone old, but he was ugly and repulsive. He was many years older than his wife and why she married him only she herself knows and she won't tell why.


She was the pretty daughter of a farmer, living in Mountain Grove, Mo., and Sharp was working on a neighboring farm. It was after their marriage that the religious frenzy got possession of them. they were not converted by the words of a man. They got the idea of fanatical religion and they got it together.

"I can't explain how I began to believe in the strange creed," said Mrs. Sharp. "It just came on me, and it came on him. I am through with that creed now. I still have the faith. I believe in God' I believe in the Bible. What I want to do now is to go into some church; to hear the reading of the Bible; to listen to the instruction of some good minister. I am through with the other form."

When Mrs. Sharp left the jail she expressed no thought of her son. It was when she reached the home of Mrs. Simmons that the mother love pronounced itself. When the woman entered the matron's home on Troost avenue she little realized the character of the friend who had taken her to her own abode to afford her shelter. Mrs. Simmons's son was at home and when he started to leave it he put his arms affectionately around his mother and kissed her. Mrs. Sharp began to weep. The sign of affection between Mrs. Simmons and her son had awakened her to new ideas.


"O, if I only had my boy," she said. "That's what you want to do," said the matron. "Get your own boy. Let him be with you; let him solace you; let him live for you and you live for him."

This simple statement from a simple woman of culture, the widow of Major Simmons, a confederate officer, a former newspaper man of Kansas City and one of the most revered of the town's early-day inhabitants, afforded consolation to the distressed woman.

"I shall send for my boy," she said.

"He must come to me. I'll try to forget this terrible ordeal through which I've passed. I'll live for that boy."

The woman dried the tears in her eyes and seemed comforted.

In the afternoon she took a long walk along Troost avenue, the first walk in the outdoors in nearly a year. She looked at the people and studied them. She came back to Mrs. Simmons refreshed. She still seemed a bit worried, but she appeared as one who expected happiness. She retired about 9 o'clock after bidding Mrs. Simmons goodby for the night.

"I'm tired," she said, "but I feel so much better. I think I can sleep now."