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Researched by Barth Weistart

Thomas Edgar Given Judgement for Talking Machine - Sam Tried to Show That He Was Acting as Agent for Plaintiff, But the Jury Found That Sam Had Ordered the Phonograph For His Own Amusement.

Published in THE MINONK NEWS - January 10, 1907
Some months ago Sam Lee, the Chinese laundryman, had a longing to hear his native language, and there being no countryman in Minonk with whom he could converse in the soft tones of his mother tongue, he had Thomas Edgar, who was in business here until last summer, send him a phonograph and a number of records, most of which were Chinese, from Oelwein, Iowa.

Sam Lee - circa 1910; Photo courtesy of Dean Miles

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Sam appeared to enjoy the talking machine, which relieved the monotony of the music of the washing and ironing boards, until Mr. Edgar some time ago caused discord by writing to Sam for an installment on the outfit. Sam then, it is claimed, set up the plea that the phonograph did not work satisfactorily. Mr. Edgar soon after came to Minonk and had the machine fixed at Van Doran's jewelry store, after which it was delivered to Sam's laundry.

But no pay being forthcoming Mr. Edgar recently sued to recover for the outfit, the value of which was placed at $73.20. The case was tried by a jury in Justice Wickler's court on Saturday and the jury in the afternoon after being out for about ten minutes gave plaintiff a judgement for his claim, with costs.

Mr. Edgar was a witness in his own behalf and testified that Sam had ordered the outfit the same as any other customer and exhibited the letters received from Sam, which were written for defendant by Geo. Eilts. Sam in his own behalf after being sworn in the "Melican" man's way, testified that he was acting as agent for the plaintiff and said he had shipped the machine back to Mr. Edgar. The jury had hard work understanding Sam's broken English, and the results made him feel very sad. He is reported to have said: "Me feel belly bad; no can eat." However, he does not appear to have lost any flesh yet.

Page 3

W. A. Kane was the attorney for the plaintiff, while J. A. Riely appeared for Sam. The attorneys at one stage of the proceedings got into a hot jangle over a certain point of law and called in Judge Kennedy as umpire.

Mr. Edgar evidently regards his judgement as a sort of a white elephant, as he claims Sam mortgaged his laundry two days after suit was begun.

A photo of Sam Lee's City Laundry next to old City Hall on West Fifth Street.