SQUATTERS STAY IN JUNGLE.
Attempt to Oust From Bottoms Re-
sults in Non-Suit.
A patch of jungle 400 feet long by 300 feet deep, near the Star elevator in the East Bottoms, was a matter of dispute between a whole colony of squatters and the Kansas City Southern Railway Company in Judge Thomas's division of the circuit court yesterday. While many settlers of the place were involved, only one, Lewis Warner, was named in the petition. Warner had lived in his lean-to close to the Missouri river bank and on the alleged right-of-way of the railroad for many years.
In answer to the demand of the railroad that he move his effects to other shores, Warner stuck the closer to his home in the tall reeds and willows. He was of the staying kind, and then there were others just as deep in the mud as he was in the mire. He put it up to the road to move the entire colony.
But even the patience of a corporation can become exhausted. Cyrus Crane, lawyer for the Southern, served notice on Warner that he must move or stand trial, and then brought suit to oust him.
When the case was called Warner was there with his witnesses. The latter were mostly neighbors of the defendant and denizens of the tract claimed by the railroad. In the court room yesterday they answered to the names of "Dump Bill," "Silver Bill," "Sleepy Sue," Louis Lombardo and Mrs. Louisa Sarah Koffman.
Lombardo is the janitor at the city hall. He was one of the first witnesses for the company.
"I was once in the vicinity of the patch of ground where Warner lives," said he. "There I saw an old negro man come out of the willows with a basket of vegetables on his arm. I looked at where he came from and saw nothing but bullrushes and willows.
" 'Where did you get those vegetables?' I said to him, and he answered that he got them back in the bushes. I followed the trail he was on and came upon one, two, three houses with truck patches. I felt like Christopher Columbus."
"Did the Kansas City Southern get you your job at the city hall?" was asked of Lombardo by Attorney Crane in direct examination.
"No, I got it by making a speech on a beer keg for the Democratic party," the witness promptly replied, while the whole court room laughed.
Some of the older witnesses said they had been living at their present location since 1890. One of these was Mrs. Koffman, who described the flora of the acreted land in this way:
"It is covered with trees except where there is bushes and willows and that's about all over the place.
"How large are the trees?" was asked.
"Oh, of different sizes. Some of them are as large as a gallon pail, and others no bigger than a pint measure. I don't know how you can't describe them because there are some littler and some bigger than others."
Attorney Crane entered an involuntary non-suit in the case and it was dismissed.