Clarence Gideon Story
A Wasted Life
The text of Gideons biography, published in Gideons Trumpet, documents a wasted life.
Gideon wrote that he was born in
He wrote, My life was miserable, I was never allow to do the things of a ordinory [sic] boy.
Gideon quit school after eighth grade and ran away from home, living as a railroad vagabond. By age 16 he had begun compiling a petty crime dossier.
He spent a year in a juvenile reformatory for burglary. He found work at a shoe factory after his release but soon was lured back to quick-cash crimes.
At age 18 he was arrested in
He spent most of the next three decades living on the margins and toiling at his four avocations: drinking, gambling, stealing and marrying. As he put it, I done the same as always.
He served additional prison stretches at
Between turns at penitentiaries he managed four marriages. The first three ended quickly, but the fourth lasted perhaps because his wife, Ruth, was also an avid tippler. The couple had three children before welfare authorities took them away.
Ruth and Clarence Gideon settled in
Gideons children were born in 1956, 57 and 59the first two in
Gideon wrote in his biography that he worked as an electrician in
He did not mention his own problem with the bottle. Only in his early 50s, he could have been mistaken for 75. He was thin and white-haired, and his hands and voice trembled.
He had served jail time for drunkenness in
He may not have been proud of his lifes record, but any shame he felt did not salve his indignation about the outcome of his trial.
He wrote Fortas, I always believed that the primarily reason of a trial in a court of law was to reach the truth. My trial was far from the truth.