Case concerned fowl play
Registrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Occasionally, neighborhood spats escalate into public spectacles.
During the summer of 1911, a wandering chicken happily moved between the yards of two Colorado Avenue neighbors, Mrs. Max Schwartzman and Mrs. Thomas Scroggins. Both neighbors seemed to accept the idea of the chicken passing from yard to yard on daily business. However, in August when each woman tried to establish ownership of the chicken, a vicious fight broke out between the two.
This was not a physical fight, but instead a fight in the court of law. So steadfast was each woman that the other had stolen the chicken, that two suits ” Scroggins v. Schwartzman and Schwartzman v. Scroggins ” were filed in District Court about the matter.
Judge Charles White heard “the case of the yellow legged hen” in mid-August. It would take time to gather the facts, so Judge White ordered the chicken confiscated by jailer Bart Hopkins. The absurd case reached new heights when Hopkins noted that the cost of housing his feathered prisoner would be $2.50 per day as prescribed under the “custodian of property in litigation” law. With that, the cases became the topic of discussion and the subject of many jokes.
The hen remained in court custody for two weeks. After hearing the evidence, Judge White took the matter under advisement and on Aug. 29, 1911, said he would render a decision later. Each squabbling woman was ordered to pay the litigation costs, causing the Avalanche Echo newspaper to declare the little hen “the most valuable in the world.”
White’s decision was never published, but perhaps the ridiculous cases reminded Glenwood Springs residents of a greater lesson: Choose your battles wisely.
“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
If you’ve ever cared for someone with a “disability,” you know the outdated label hurts more than your ears. The word ignites the deepest parts of you because it can be the first sign of…