1900 - Statement of James F. Williams in regard to Jessie Cobb murder
“I was born in the town of Westport in 1870. When I was two years old my folks removed to Boothbay where my father was interested in the livery business. Here I grew up, and of course became acquainted with every one in that vicinity. “It was only eight miles from Boothbay back to my old home in Westport, and I used to go over there frequently to dances and other amusements.
“My first acquaintance with Jessie Cobb was in Bath in 1893. She was stopping with her married sister, Mrs. French on Beacon street. She bore a good name then, and we took a mutual liking to each other. At that time I was working in Harry Lord's sail loft. I used to go down to see her frequently and always found her very pleasant. We used to go around together a great deal, and it was known to every one that we were keeping company. We finally became engaged to be married.
The marriage was to take place on Christmas in 1895. Very unfortunately, I got into this trouble, and on the 23d day of
November of that year I was arrested for highway robbery and
assault with a dangerous weapon. That was only about a month
before our intended marriage.
“Jessie stuck by me like a true girl. She visited me in Auburn jail when I was there and tried to cheer me up. At that time she was working in the family of a man by the name of Getchell in Minot. She visited me often when I was in the Auburn jail, and she always said that my arrest and imprisonment would make no difference in our relations. She said that when my time was served out I could come and claim her.
“Well. I was sentenced to this prison for fifteen years. That was five years ago. On the 14th day of June, two years ago, she visited me here. It was a pleasant day for me. She promised that she would stick by me no matter what happened. It was a sad hour for me when she left.
“That was the last time that I ever saw Jessie. A short time
afterwards I received a letter from Ivory Cobb, her father. He asked me to release Jessie from our engagement of marriage. I was badly torn up over the matter, but I felt that a man in State prison had no right or claim on a girl if she wanted to be free. I immediately wrote her and consented. Her father had said in his letter that Jessie felt so badly over the matter, that she didn't want to write herself. Then Jessie wrote me a letter and acknowledged that she had asked her father to write me for the release. That seemed to end the matter, so far as our marriage was concerned. I never heard from her again personally.
“Last year my mother and another relative came here to see me. I asked them about Jessie and mother told me that she was keeping company with Fred Brooks. I thought then that it would only be a question of time when she would get into serious trouble. I will say, frankly, that I didn't like Brooks. My parents told me that Jessie was then with my sister, Mrs. Rose Mallet, in Georgetown, which was about three-fourths of a mile from Westport. Of course she could see Brooks frequently then.
During at least one year of our acquaintance Jessie worked in a sardine factory in Boothbay and boarded in my family. We never had any trouble during all of this time. They may say what they please about her in the papers, but I say she was a truthful girl and a good girl too. I never knew her to tell a lie. She was frank and outspoken and honest. A more kindhearted girl never lived..."
Lewiston Saturday Journal
October 20, 1900
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