Sister Grace's Testimony by Linda

Grace waited quietly for her turn to testify on behalf of the men she had met almost three years ago in Apache Springs: the men who had risked their lives to bring Caroline her gold, and the man who had captured her heart before sending her safely home to find her heart's desire. By following Thaddeus's good advice, she had found her heart's desire, she thought, as she look over at her husband, the Reverend John Carpenter, who reached down and squeezed her hand lovingly.

Grace had a good life now, a full life, but she knew she owed that life to the man who called himself Thaddeus Jones, the man she now knew was really the famous outlaw Kid Curry. When she received Sheriff Lom Trevor's telegraph asking for her help, nothing on earth could keep her from coming to testify on Thaddeus and Joshua's behalf.

"Gentlemen . . . Gentlemen," Sheriff Trevor said, trying to quiet the crowd that were now murmuring among themselves about these amazing testimonies. "May I have your attention, please. We have another citizen of impeccable reputation, who has traveled all the way from Boston to testify on behalf of Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. I would now like to present Mrs. Grace Carpenter."

The room quieted as a small, plain woman dressed simply in a black cotton dress with a bright white, stiffly starched collar rose and walked to the dais. The woman was beautiful in her simplicity, the kind of woman who would sit quiet and humble even in her own home.

"My name is Sister Grace," she said softly, her large, dark, timid eyes taking in the room as photographers flashed in her face startling her.

"We can't hear you!" a roughly dressed man shouted rudely from the back of the room.

Nervous and intimidated, Grace's eyes searched the room until she found those of her husband standing proudly against the wall. The Reverend John Carpenter nodded to her encouragingly, giving her the courage she needed.

Grace drew in a deep breath and said with a voice now strong with resolve and determination, "My name is Sister Grace. My husband, the Reverend John Carpenter, and I run an orphanage in Boston. Almost three years ago ago I met Mr. Hannibal Heyes and Mr. Jedediah Curry in a small town called Apache Springs.

"I had left Boston, where I spent my time working in a mission for unfortunate men, trying to bring them a few words of gospel hope. One day a man who heard me preach set up a program for me to bring the people of the West back to Jesus. We got as far as Tucson before I discovered that while I was preaching the word of Jesus on the inside, his men was stealing from the people on the outside. So I left. I was trying to make my way home when I met Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry. I was alone, I was scared, and I had no money. I had only my faith to sustain me. I believed the Lord would provide, and He did by allowing Mr. Curry and Mr. Heyes to cross my path.

"Mr. Curry was very kind to me. He sought me out and asked about my troubles, and then after hearing me preach, Mr. Curry did something very honorable. He told me the truth. He told me I was too gentle for this kind of work. He told me I needed to go home and live a little -- to be a little frivolous before I could decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life." Silently remembering the kiss they shared in her room, Grace continued, "Mr. Curry told me to go home and enjoy life, and then he contributed enough money to my Sunday sermon to see me safely home."

"Stolen money, no doubt!" a gruff looking man in the back of the room shouted at her. At his remark the entire room began to loudly agree. Shouts of "they're criminals!" filled the room.

"No! . . . No! Listen to me!" Sister Grace shouted over the raised voices, pounding her fist on the table determined to make them understand. "Listen to me!"

The crowd quieted, shocked into silence by the strength of this humble woman's voice. "The money was not stolen," Grace continued firmly. "It was earned. Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry risked their lives to earn that money. They were working for Mrs. Caroline Rangeley. Mrs. Rangeley was a widow living alone in Apache Springs. She and her husband Barney had buried gold dust out in the hills, but she couldn't retrieve her gold dust because the Indians had broken out of the reservation - the same Indians who had killed her husband. So she hired Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry to retrieve her gold dust for her.

"Mrs. Rangeley gave Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry a map of where she and her husband Barney had buried their gold dust. Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry did retrieved her gold dust, and they were almost killed doing it. They brought back all the gold dust just as they promised. Now if they were really the criminals you say they are, they would have stolen all the gold dust, but they didn't. It was this money that Mr. Curry used to send me safely home. And when I got home I took Mr. Curry's advice. I attended church socials. I went to dances . . . I was a bit frivolous, and soon I met my husband John Carpenter."

The tall, thin, handsome preacher wearing a dark suit with a white collar made his way through he crowd from the back of the room to join his wife on the dais. They smiled at each other as he put his arm around her.

"We were soon married," Grace continued, her plain face now beautiful as she beamed with joy. "And together we founded an orphanage for poor children. We care for them and bring them the word of Jesus. We do this with the gentleness Mr. Curry pointed out that I had, the kind of gentleness that children need. Thaddeus . . . I mean Mr. Curry was right. I needed to live a little before I could discover what my true calling was," Grace said as she smiled lovingly at her husband before stepping aside to allow him to say a few words on behalf of her friends.

"Gentlemen," Reverend Carpenter said, addressing the crowd. His voice filled with authority of a man of the cloth. "Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry could have taken advantage of Mrs. Rangeley. They could have stolen her gold dust, but they didn't. Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry could have taken advantage of my wife or turned their backs on her, ignoring her plight. How many of you would have helped this poor woman if you found her alone and broke? But they didn't take advantage of either woman. Because of their good deeds in Apache Springs, Grace came home safely to Boston. And because of Mr. Curry's thoughtful advice, we met and were married, and now many orphaned children are being cared for and ministered to by Grace. All of this came to be because two men -- Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry -- saw someone in need and answered that need. Gentlemen, I say to you Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry are not only men of honor as Senor Armendariz has said, they are also men of Faith. For as the Bible says in James 2:20 '. . . . Faith without deeds is useless.' Let the good deeds of these men speak for them.

"Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry have proved they have changed. They have earned redemption, and I say the promise of amnesty that was made to them by the Territory of Wyoming should be kept! Or else it is us . . . Yes, each and every one of us . . . who is without honor, because the government represents us. Let us now follow our conscience and do what is right! May God be with you all."

The room exploded with applause when the Reverend Carpenter finished.

"Thank you, Sister Grace. Thank you, Reverend," Lom Trevors said gratefully as they took their seats next to the other witnesses who had come to speak on the outlaws' behalf.

Lucy Fielding's Testimony