MAKING WIFE OBEY IS "BUTTING IN." ~ Parole Board Rules She Is "Lord and Master" in Kitchen Affairs.

January 8, 1910

Parole Board Rules She Is
"Lord and Master" in
Kitchen Affairs.

In an effort to make his wife obey, as she had promised to do when he married her nine months ago, J. M. Hall, stock clerk for the Great Western Manufacturing Company, 1221 Union avenue, landed him self into the workhouse on a $300 fine three days after Christmas -- during the most joyous week of last year. The "you must obey your master" stunt took place at the Hall home at St. Clair station, near Mount Washington.

A. B. Coulton, manager of the Great Western Manufacturing Company, appeared before the board of pardons and paroles at the workhouse yesterday and asked for Hall's parole. William Volker, president of the board, then looked over the testimony which was given in the municipal court when Hall was convicted and given the highest fine in the power of the court. It ran something like this:


Charged with disturbing the peace. Wife appeared to prosecute him. She said that ever since their marriage last March he has been dictatorial and domineering and insisted that she obey him as she promised. The day of his arrest he went into the kitchen and, seeing the stove door open, told her to close it. She did not want the door closed and told him so. Then he demanded that she stoop and close the door and she flatly refused.

"Then I'll teach you to obey as you promised," he said. With that Mrs. Hall testified, he grabbed her by the wrist and forced her to her knees demanding that she obey him. Still she refused. Then she was thrown back so as to strike a couch with her back. She did not shut the stove door. Couple have been married since March, 1909. She said she started to leave him several times, but was induced to return.


Hall still thought he "had a right" in his own house to make his wife obey. He was obdurate until he found out that his parole hinged upon his apparent change of heart. Then he asked the board for terms. As Mrs. Hall soon will have to go to a s hospital the board provided that Hall pay over to L. H. Halbert, secretary to the board, $7.50 every Saturday night. That will be given to Mrs. Hall.

"Besides paying the $7.50 weekly," said Mr. Volker, "you absolutely must keep away from your wife. You also must report to the secretary once each week."

Hall, still defiant on the question of "obey," agreed meekly to the terms of parole. His employer, Mr. Coulton, said that a separate check would be made out to Secretary Halbert each week and Hall would be sent to deliver it. Hall will be released today.

"Before we parole anyone," explained President Volker to Hall, "we generally find out if he has any regrets for his actions; if he is sorry for doing the thing that caused his arrest. Are you?"

"I think I did as any husband should," said Hall calmly. "She refused to obey and I tried to make her. That's all."

"I see you have no regrets," said Mr. Volker, much in earnest. "I want you to know that I do not think there is provocation great enough for any man to strike a woman."


"But I did not strike her," insisted Hall. "I just tried to make her apologize and obey as any good wife should. What are you going to do when a woman absolutely refuses to obey?"

"If she refused to shut the stove door and I wanted it shut," said the board president, who is a single man, "I think I would quietly shut it. But if she wanted it left open I would leave it open. A woman knows more about a kitchen in a minute than a man does in a year. That is her domain; she reigns there as an absolute monarchy and a man has got no business going into the kitchen and telling the wife what to do. It's bound to cause trouble. Let her run the whole house. That's her place. You may run the rest of the earth if you choose, but think how puny, how little, how mean it is to force your wife to her knees by twisting her wrist simply because she would not 'obey her lord and master' and shut the stove door in a place where she, and she alone, has full command. I am not a believer in slang but I am forced to say that what you did might well be called 'butting in.' "