This article originally appeared in the Phillips community's Alley Newspaper, October 2007.
1902 Murder in San Angelo Kitchen Becomes Hallmark Case of Racial Jurisprudence
Charles Collins was shot and killed by Herbert Gallehugh on March 7, 1902. The shooting took place in the kitchen
of the San Angelo Hotel which was located at 1221 Nicollet Avenue. Collins was employed at the hotel as a chef where
one of his co-workers was Ida Gallehugh, the wife of the man who shot him.
Based on the testimony of those who witnessed the shooting, it should have been an open-and-shut case. Gallehugh had
shot Collins in front of several witnesses who were prepared to refute Gallehugh’s claim that he had killed
Collins in self defense. But it was 1902--the victim was African-American and the man on trial was white, and the
local African-American community was rightly concerned about whether justice would be served. In an unusual move, members
of the African-American community raised funds to hire an attorney to assist the government lawyers who were
prosecuting the case. The trial was, according to the papers, “one of the most interesting ones of the
criminal history of Hennepin county.”
Charles Collins had lived in Minneapolis for sixteen years but had only worked at the hotel for a few months. Before
that he had worked as a chef on the Northern Pacific Railroad. He had recently become engaged to Annie Chambers, and
he was by all accounts an upstanding member of the community.
The defendant, Herbert Gallehugh, was a railroad worker who had fallen on hard times. His wife had gone to work at
the hotel because he was out of work and they were deeply in debt. Other than the fact that his wife worked with
Collins for about a week, Gallehugh had no known connection to Collins. Gallehugh’s lawyers argued that he had
killed Collins in self defense after he had confronted Collins about “insults” that Collins had directed
toward Ida Gallehugh. According to Herbert Gallehugh, Collins walked toward him carrying a knife, so he shot him in
The trial began five weeks after the shooting occurred. Jury selection took five days. It was a long process because
prospective jurors had to demonstrate that they were not racially prejudiced and that they were not opposed to the
death penalty. Although African-Americans had had the legal right to sit on juries in Minneapolis for several
decades, they were rarely selected as jurors in murder cases because many of them were opposed to the death
penalty. When the process was completed, the jury consisted of twelve white men.
The trial took less time than jury selection. Testimony began on April 22nd, and the jury announced its
verdict on April 25th. One juror reported that they had actually reached the verdict on the evening of the 24th, shortly
after the trial closed, but that they did not announce their it then because “they thought it best that they
should not have it appear that they had decided the case without deliberation.” They had taken three votes. The
first was whether Herbert Gallehugh had shot and killed Charles Collins, a fact that was obvious. The second vote
was about whether or not the shooting was premeditated, and only one juror agreed that it was. The third vote, for
second degree murder, was unanimous. On April 25th, Herbert Gallehugh was convicted of second degree murder, and
sentenced to life at hard labor—a grim prospect for Gallehugh, who was only 25 years old at the time.
The murder of Charles Collins, as is true of all murders, was a senseless crime. If it can be said that any good
came out of it, it was that the African-American community received, in some small measure, the justice that they
had sought for a valued member of their community. Charles Collins is buried in the second grave from the northeast
corner of Lot 16, Block i-1 in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery.
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John Smith -- November 2007