Primary Resource

Testimony of Hense Lawson (February 18, 1884)

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, given on February 18, 1884, Henderson "Hense" Lawson explains his role in the so-called Danville Riot of November 3, 1883, which left at least five people dead. The questioners are the committee's chairman, John Sherman, a Republican from Ohio, and Zebulon Vance, a Democrat of North Carolina. The following transcript contains racial epithets.

Transcription from Original

Washington, D. C., February 18, 1884.

Hense Lawson (colored) sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:

Question. Where do you live?—Answer. My home has been in Danville, but I came from Boston here.

Q. How long did you live in Danville prior to November?—A. About eighteen or nineteen years.

Q. How old are you?—A. Twenty-nine.

Q. Have you a family-?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did you live in Danville in November last?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. State whether you had any controversy with Charles Noel on the 3d day of November.—A. Yes, sir.

Q. When did you see Noel on that day?—A. It was in the morning. I was coming down town and met him. I stepped one side to get out of the way of some ladies, and him and me run together, and I said, "Excuse me," and he said, "What in the hell do you say?"

Q. Repeat that remark again, and commence again and speak more clearly. You say you met him?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where?—Coming down Main street, in Danville.

Q. Well.—A. And I run up against Noel. Me and him both run together.

Q. Were you going in opposite directions?—A. I was going down and he was going up, and we run together. I told him "Excuse me," and he said "What in the hell do you mean, you damned black nigger," or something of that kind.

Q. What about meeting a lady there?—A. I was getting out of the way of the lady.

Q. Well, what about the lady?—A. I was getting out of the way of the lady.

Q. Very well.—A. And me and Mr. Noel run together, and I told him "Excuse me."

Q. Who was the lady, do you know?—A. I don't know.

Q. Was she white or black?—A. She was white. There were three of them coming out of the store together.

Q. And you were getting out of their way, and in that way run against Noel? ——A. Me and Noel went up together.

Q. What did you say?—A. I say as I was going down Main street—

Q. I know, but what did you say when you first encountered him?—A. I told him to excuse me.

Q. And what did he say?—A. He asked me, "You damned nigger, what do you mean running against"­ 

Q. Repeat that and speak louder.—A. He say, "You damned nigger, what do you mean be running up against me?" and that time Lewellyn and he—

Q. Repeat what he said and there stop.—A. When I first run against him?

Q. Yes.—A. I told him to excuse me, and he called me a damned nigger, and asked me what did I mean.

Q. Then what did he do?—A. I went on, and Davis said to me "Go on," and he hit Davis, and Davis knocked him out in the gutter twice.

Q. Who is that?—A. Davis Lewellyn.

Q. He hit Davis?—A. And Davis knocked him out in the gutter twice.

— page 144 —

Q. Did you pass on?—A. I went on, and that evening he w[as?] down the street—

Q. Just wait a moment. Where did you go from there?—A. on from there about 50 yards, I guess.

Q. Did Lewellyn join you again?—A. Yes; me, and him went [to] town.

Q. When next did you see Noel that day?—A. I saw him go street in a buggy, I think it was Mr. Holland's buggy, and he [obscured] ing back, and I told Lewellyn to watch out, "That fellow is [obscured] to tackle you."

Q. You speak too fast. What did you say to Lewellyn !— [I told] him to watch out, that fellow was going to tackle him that [obscured] in the morning, and then this fellow run up and hit me two [obscured] pair of knucks.

Q. Was he in a wagon?—A. No, sir; he got down from the in front of the opera house.

Q. Was that the time that he met you in the wagon?—A. [obscured] say wagon, I said buggy.

Q. Did he get out the buggy?—A. He got out at the ope[ra house] and I told Lewellyn to look out.

Q. Well, what occurred in the street when you met him in the [obscured] A. He kept looking back, and I spoke to Lewellyn and said, "T[hat] feller is coming back to tackle you about what happened this [obscured]

Q. Where did you and Lewellyn go, then?—A. He went in[side?] the opera house where speaking was.

Q. Where did he leave his buggy?—A. He left it there.

Q. How soon after that did he come back?—A. About three [obscured] didn't have far to go; right down street about eight doors.

Q. What occurred then?—A. I had my face towards Lewe[llyn] [obscured] he just run up to me and hit me with a pair of knucks twice.

Mr. Vance. It is not worth while to continue this examinati[on as far] as I am concerned. I can't hear a word. Talk a little louder,

By the Chairman:

Q. When Noel came back after he went to leave his bug[gy] [obscured] opera house, you say he came up; what did he say to you[? A—He] didn't say a word; just hauled off and struck me.

Q. What did you say he struck you with?—A. A pair of k[nucks.]

Q. What do you mean by a "pair of knucks?"—A. Somethi[ng] [obscured] on a man's fingers—go over his fingers.

Q. What were they made of?—A. I couldn't tell; I know [obscured] pair of knucks.

Q. Over his fist?—A. Yes, sir; they may have been made [obscured] couldn't tell.

Q. Where were you standing?—A. I was standing on the [obscured] three of us together.

Q. Who was with you?—A. Davis Lewellyn and James Lo[ve.]

Q. Was it on the street or sidewalk?—A. Right on the [obscured] didn't have my face towards him at all. I had my face towa[rds Davis Lew]ellyn.

Q. But he struck you?—A. Yes, sir; struck me twice.

Q. Who was with Noel?—A. A feller named Lea [George A. Lea]. I know hi[m] [obscured]. Noel had hit me twice—

Q. Hold on, before you say what he did. Who else, if any[one was] with Noel?—A. There were several white gentlemen. I do [not know] how many there was. I didn't know them.

— page 145 —

Q. You don't know who they were?—A. But Lea was closer to Noel than any one else. He came up with a pistol in his hand.

Q. Had Noel any weapon?—A. He didn't have anything but knucks as I know of.

Q. Did you see the pistol?—A. I saw Lea's pistol.

Q. Well, now, what did Lea do?—A. Lea cocked his pistol in my face and says, "Stand back; I will shoot the last one of you damned nigger's heads off."

Q. "Stand back; I will"—what is it?—A. "Shoot the last one of you damned nigger's heads off."

Q. And how many blows did Noel strike you?—A. Noel then struck me three times; struck me right here on the head. [Indicating.] There's the place on my head where he struck me; and I caught him by the neck and I hit him once, and at that time all the whites run up with pistols in their hands, several of them; but I know Lea particularly more than any one else. He had his pistol cocked.

Q. You say you caught him by the neck; what occurred then? Repeat that again—A. Then Lea run up with his pistol cocked right in my face, and several other men came out of the insurance office of Woolfolk & Blair, I think.

Q. There was a man standing at the door of the insurance office with a gun; who was he? —A. I don't know particularly who he was. They were handing out guns right there then.

Q. At that time?—A. They were handing guns out of the office.

Q. Well, after these blows were struck, what did you do; were you separated?—A. I was separated, and these white gentlemen came up the street, and I went in Paxton's jewelry store, between Miller & Brown's, and up that way where hardly anybody went, and I struck Union street and went on down.

Q. And got out of the way?—A. Got out of the way.

Q. To go back a little. Now, when Noel passed you in the buggy, did you say anything to him? —A. I did not; did not open my mouth to him.

Q. Are you certain of that?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Repeat again what he said to you or Lewellyn.—A. When he was going down in the buggy?

Q. Yes.—A. He didn't say a word; kept looking back.

Q. After he passed, did you expect him to return?—A. Well, looking back, of course him and Lewellyn having had a row in the morning, I expected him to come back, and I told Davis at the time to watch out, or something of the kind—to expect him back.

Q. Did you mention that expectation to any on else?—A. None but we three going down the street.

Q. You three?—A. There was no one but we three together there.

Q. There was no one else in the crowd that was with you in any way, or that you had talked with about this fuss?—A. No one but just we three.

Q. But there were other people on the street?—A. Yes, sir; people passing back and forward on the street. They were not thinking anything of the kind, I reckon.

Q. What were they, white or black?—A. White and black.

Q. After you went away from this affray, where did you go?—A. When I went away from the affray, I went to a friend of mine. I went up there, and staid [sic] at the house that night. I was afraid to go down that night. It was close to where I roomed at—right upstairs there.

Q. Did you hear the firing?—A. Yes, sir.

— page 146 —

Q. Where were you then?—A. I was out from it about 20 yards, I guess.

Q. Nearby, then?—A. Yes, sir; across the street, close to where the firing was.

Q. How long did you stay in Danville after that?—A. I staid [sic] in Danville about a week after that. I didn't go out in the street. I was in a room all the time. They gave me good advice not to go out.

Q. Why were you in the room? Why didn't you go out?—A. I was scared to go out. The colored fellows there told me they was going to take my life, and all that; different fellows.

Q. You were told you were in danger?—A. Yes, sir; I was. After that I went about 25 miles from Danville, up to my aunt's, and staid there four or five days, and after that I went to Boston, Mass.; telegraphed my mother I was going to Boston, and she sent me money and I went on to Boston.

Q. Then your mother lives there?—A. My mother is in Boston, Mass.

Q. Where have you been ever since?—A. I have been in Boston.

Q. Ever since?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. What have you been doing in Boston?—A. I haven't been doing anything in particular. I have never had any regular job there at all, it has been so poor.

Q. I will ask you whether you said to Mr. Noel, or to any one, "By God, here I am!"—A. I did not.

Q. You are certain you said nothing of that kind?—A. I didn't say anything to Mr. Noel at all.

Q. When Noel came back, didn't he say anything to you?—A. He didn't say anything; just hit me. I had my face turned toward Lewellyn, and he just hit me.

Q. Did you see Lea coming !—A. Yes, sir; and I told Lewellyn to watch out[.]

Q. Did he say nothing to you?—A. Didn't open his mouth.

Q. Are you sure of that?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Didn't he ask you if you were the man who had called out to him?—A. No, sir; he did not.

Q. How did you know he had knuckles on?—A. I saw them on his hand. They were either brass or iron, one; they were colored.

Q. Where did he strike you?—A. He struck me right here. [Indicating.] He didn't give me but three blows.

Q. How much taller is he than you?—A. I don't know exactly how much taller, but he is taller any way.

Q. What is your height?—A. I don't know exactly; I couldn't tell you exactly my height.

Q. Well, I want you to be measured. I want to know your height and weight. Do you know how much you weigh?—A. Not exactly. I couldn't tell exactly how much I weigh now.

Q. Well, I want you to ascertain that.—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were there any marks left upon your face? How much did he hurt you?—A. This eye [indicating] was closed about two days.

Q. The left eye?—A. Yes, sir. Closed about two days.

Q. Did he draw blood anywhere?—A. He bruised my head. I couldn't see the bruises, but other persons saw them.

Q. Did he draw blood?—A. From my head? No, sir.

Q. Did you bleed anywhere?—A. I bled from the corner of my eye and from my nose.

Q. How many blows did you receive from him?—A. I received three.

Q. What blows did you give him in return?—A. I caught hold and

— page 147 —

 grabbed him on the collar and hit him one lick; at that time Lea run up with his pistol.

Q. Did you fight back any more than that?—A. No, sir; I just went over to Paxton's jewelry shop.

Q. What effort was made by the colored policemen there to separate you?—A. Bob Adams run up, a colored police; he said he was on duty, or something of the kind, and I heard the white people cuss him; I turned right off the best way I could.

Q. Did he have a pistol in his hand?—A. I didn't see any pistol in his hand.

Q. But you heard him come up and say something; what did he say when he came up?—A. He come up and spoke to some one, I am not sure; I saw him come up; tried to separate the fuss; asked what had occurred, and these white people said something to him, I don't know exactly what they said; any way, 1 just turned my back to it to leave.

Q. You left as soon as you could?—A. As soon as I could.

Q. Did Lea say anything before you struck Noel?—A. Before I struck Noel? No, sir.

Q. What did he say, then, after you struck Noel? Give his exact words.—A. He just came up with his pistol cocked in his hand and said to stand back.

Q. To stand back?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where was the pistol pointed?—A. The pistol was right up in my face after I grabbed Noel.

Q. Up in your face?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did it touch you?—A. No, sir; didn't touch me at all; I got out as soon as I could; I just turned back and went off.

Q. Did you see any one try to get the pistol away from Lea?—A. No, sir, I did not.

Q. You were anxious to get away and got away?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you ever have any difficulty with Noel before?—A. No, sir, I didn't.

Q. Did you know him?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. How did you know him?—A. I just know him by sight.

Q. You had never spoken with him?—A. No, sir.

Q. Had no difficulty with him?—A. No, sir; never did in my life.

Q. Before the meeting on the street that day?—A. No, sir.

Q. Do you know Mr. Taylor?—A. I know some Taylors in town. I don't know which one you speak of.

Q. W. R. Taylor, one of the witnesses here. Do you know him; one of those who were present? Had you ever seen him before?—A. If his home is in Danville, I know him.

Q. Had you any controversy with him at any time before this affair?—A. No, sir.

Q. Never had?—A. No, sir.

Q. Don't you remember meeting Mr. Taylor two days before when he had a gun—carrying a gun—do you remember anything of that kind?—A. I don't.

Q. Did you ever make motions or signs at Mr. Taylor of an insulting character?—A. No, sir.

Q. You had never had any quarrel or controversy with Mr. Taylor?—A. No, sir.

Q: You now know him, do you, so you can identify the man; Mr. William R. Taylor, a tobacconist?—A. I know his face.

Q. But you don't know him further than that?—A. No, sir.

— page 148 —

Q. You never had any colloquy with him or controversy with him, had you?—A. No, sir.

Q. You are certain of that?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. I will ask you whether, after Noel passed you going in a buggy, you collected a crowd around?—A. I did not; just three of us came on down town.

Q. How far were you standing when he came up and struck you, from where he was in the buggy?—A. In the buggy he went to the opera house?

Q. And where were you standing; where had you gone; had you moved?—A. We were walking right on down the street.

Q. Towards the opera house?—A. Yes, sir; we were going on down.

Q. You three?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And he passed you in the buggy and went to the opera house, and then came right back?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You were just passing along the street the same way that he was?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you follow him down?—A. No, sir; he passed me, and I spoke to Lewellyn to watch out for him; Lewellyn had it first; but I said, "Watch out, you are going to get in a fuss," or something of that kind.

Q. You say you had gathered no one or mentioned the subject to no one except you three?—A. No; we three were just walking on down the street. I was not expecting any lick at all.

Q. Had you any arms?—A. No, sir; I hadn't.

Q. No pistol on your person?—A. No, sir.

Q. Had Lewellyn any?—A. Lewellyn didn't have any either.

Q. Do you know that?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Had the third man who was with you any pistol?—A. No, sir; neither of us armed at all.

Q. Were you expecting a controversy or fight that day?—A. No, sir; I was not.

Q. Had any notice been given you of any expectation of a fight?—A. No, sir.

Q. Or a controversy?—A. No, sir; there hadn't.

Q. What was your business there? What were you engaged at before this affair?—A. I was not doing anything particular at that time, but my regular business was bar-keeper. I stay at Nicholas & Hessberg's.

Q. You were not then engaged in anything?—A. Not at that time.

By Mr. Vance:

Q. When you saw Mr. Noel that morning, and ran against him on the street, who was present beside your friend Davis?—A. James Love.

Q. Who is he, a white man or colored man?—A. Colored.

Q. You three were together when he passed?—A. Yes, sir; just we three.

Q. Well, you say that he turned and asked you, "What the hell do you mean, you damned black nigger," or something?—A. Yes, sir; something of that kind.

Q. And then he struck Davis?—A. Struck Davis. Davis told me to go on, and he struck Davis.

Q. What made him strike Davis?—A. Davis says to go on. I asked him to excuse me, and he struck Davis. I didn't strike him at all that morning.

Q. But Davis told you to go on?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Told who to go on?—A. Me.

— page 149 —

Q. And he struck Davis because Davis told you to go on?—A. Yes sir, struck Davis; and Davis knocked him out in the gutter twice, I think. 

Q. Davis knocked him out in the gutter twice?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you tell him when he turned to you to know what you meant, that you were getting out of the way of a lady?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You told him that?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Didn't he then say, "That is all right?"—A. He called me a damned nigger. That is all he called me, and I went on.

Q. I didn't ask of you what he called you. I say didn't he say, "That is all right?"—A. No, sir; he didn't.

Q. Didn't he then start on himself?—A. He stood right in the same place and struck Davis.

Q. Well, let us get along a little slower. After those words about why you run against him, didn't he start on himself?—A. No, sir; he did not. 

Q. And then didn't Davis say something to him?—A. No, sir; Davis spoke to me.

Q. Didn't Davis say, "It aint all right; what the hell are you going to do about it?"—A. No, sir; he didn't.

Q. Do you know any good reason why he didn't strike you, the man who had insulted him, instead of striking Davis?—A. No, sir; I don't.

Q. Is Davis as big a man as you, or bigger?—A. We are both same size, I guess.

Q. Did you strike Mr. Noel then?—A. No, sir; I did not. Me and him didn't have no words in the morning.

Q. Did Love strike Noel?—A. No, sir.

Q. Nobody but Davis, and Davis knocked him back into the gutter twice?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. What did he do then?—A. He went right on down street then.

Q. Noel?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. He went on down street. Now what time was it when Mr. Noel passed you riding in a buggy?—A. I think it was about 4 o'clock as near as I can get at it; don't know the exact time; it was about 4, I guess.

Q. And where were you standing when his buggy passed?—A. I was walking. I was going down street.

Q. How long after the first trouble?—A. It was not many minutes. He just went to the opera house. I was about five or six doors from the opera house then.

Q. I say how long after the first trouble was it, when he passed you going down street?—A. When the first trouble occurred it was about 12 or 1, I guess.

Q. This was some three or four hours afterwards?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you were in the middle of the street, were you, or on the sidewalk?—A. On the sidewalk, walking right down, just us three.

Q. You were on the sidewalk, he was in the street in his buggy?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. How did it come that you spoke to him? Why did you speak to him?—A. I didn't speak to him at all.

Q. Who of your company spoke to him?—A. No one in our crowd. There was just we three. Neither one of us didn't speak to him.

Q. How was his attention attracted to you? You said he looked at you.—A. He was looking back in his buggy.

Q. What made him look back?—A. I told Davis to watch out. I was not studying about his having anything against me.

— page 150 —

Q. Did he stop his buggy at all?—A. No, sir; he just kept on down street and kept looking back.

Q. You told Davis to watch out he was going to fight him, or something of the kind?—A. Yes, sir; from what happened in the morning.

Q. What made you think he was going to do that when he kept driving right on and didn't stop?—A. I saw him looking back.

Q. By his looking back you thought he was going to fight?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. But he kept right on?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, you saw his buggy stop in front of the opera house, didn't you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you kept right on?—A. I didn't go by the opera house.

Q. I didn't ask you whether you went by the opera house, but you kept on walking down the street?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Toward where the buggy had stopped?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you were walking right into what you thought was going to be a fight?—A. No, sir; I didn't think anything of the kind.

Q. Didn't you think there was going to be a fight from his looking back?—A. I told Davis to watch out; I didn't think he was going to fight me at all.

Q. You told Davis?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And when he got out of the buggy you still thought strongly about that, didn't you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You still kept walking down?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Right towards the buggy 3—A. Yes, sir; I was going right on down towards the buggy.

Q. Now how many people followed you as you walked on down the street?—A. Just we three together.

Q. There were some others, were there not?—A. Some passing up and down.

Q. Well, there were some other colored people in the street that followed on down towards the buggy, were there not?—A. No, sir; there wasn't.

Q. No one? How many were on the street when Noel came back with his two friends Taylor, and Lea?—A. Just we three together; just as when we first started.

Q. How many colored people were standing around near you?—A. I don't know exactly; there were about ten, I guess.

Q. About ten; something like that. How many men were with Noel?— A. Noel and several more white fellows came on together.

Q. How many?—A. I don't know exactly.

Q. Was there more than Taylor and Lea?—A. Yes, there was.

Q. Who were they?—A. I don't know.

Q. How many do you think there were?—A. I don't know exactly; several men in the street.

Q. Come within one hundred of it, if you can. Was there a dozen with him?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. A dozen with him when he came up?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. They were all armed and flourishing their revolvers, weren't they?—A. I didn't see any one have pistols, except Lea and Hatcher.

Q. Hatcher was there, was he? Did you see Lea with a pistol?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You didn't see Taylor with a pistol, did you?—A. No, sir; I didn't.

Q. Did you see the policeman, Adams, with a pistol?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did Noel say anything to you or to Davis when he came up?—A. No, sir; he just came up and struck me.

— page 151 —

Q. Just came up and struck you !—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Without a word? Why did be strike you instead of Davis?—A. I don't know, sir; him and Davis bad a falling out in the morning, and I wasn't expecting anything of the kind myself.

Q. Did he ask yon why you were hollering to him on the street?—A. No, sir.

Q. And he didn't say one word?—A. No, sir; him and Lea was together.

Q. How long did the fight between you and him last?—A. It was not many minutes.

Q. Give us an idea.—A. It was not more than two minutes, I reckon.

Q. It was not more than about two minutes?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you see a struggle between Adams and some white man, Mr. Lea, for instance?—A. I saw Robert Daniels coming up in the crowd.

Q. Well, about the time the fight was over between you and Noel, did you see Lea and Adams in a struggle?—A. No, sir; I did not. I just turned my back and went up the street.

Q. Did you hear the pistol fired?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where were you then?—A. I was out of the way then.

Q. You were marching off then?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, when Mr. Lea drew his pistol did he tell you to stand back or the crowd to stand back?—A. He pointed the. pistol right in my face.

Q. Oh, well, Noel was between you and him, wasn't he?—A. Yes, sir; but—

Q. Noel stepped in to fight you, and Lea was at his back, wasn't he?— A. That was after Mr. Noel hit me three licks and I hit him once.

Q. That was after he struck you three licks that Lea pointed at you?— A. Yes, sir.

Q. Then Lea came with his pistol in his hand?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And the colored people rushed up?—A. No, sir; the whites made them stand back.

Q. Why did the whites make them stand back if they didn't rush up?—A. They came towards me, and the whites made them stand back.

Q. Now, was not that the way Lea had his pistol when he pointed his pistol; it was at the crowd that was rushing up, wasn't it?—A. Yes; white and black.

Q. Didn't Mr. Lea say there was going to be a fair fight without any weapons, and they had to stand back?—A. No, sir; he didn't make use of any expression of that kind.

Q. Do you swear he didn't?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Or do you swear you didn't hear it, which?—A. I didn't hear it. 

Q. Do you swear that Mr. Lea had knucks on?—A. Mr. Noel; I will swear Noel had knucks.

Q. And that he struck you with brass knucks?—A. Knucks; I don't know whether they were brass or not.

Q. Well, what they call brass knucks—those things fixed on the fingers !—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did he leave any scars on your face?—A. Yes, sir, on my eye here.

Q. Where else did he strike you on the face?—A. He struck me twice on the eye and once on the head.

Q. How long was it that you couldn't see out of your eye?—A. It was about two days, I guess.

Q. There is no scar there now, is there?—A. No, sir, not much; a small place, not much.

Q. Well, brass knucks would leave a pretty big scar about the eye, 

— page 152 —

wouldn't they?—A. I don't know as to that; according to how you hit a man.

Q. Well, Noel was a big, stout, strong-armed man, wasn't he!—A. He was quite a tall man, but not very heavy, 1 guess.

Q. Well, he. could strike a blow hard enough with a pair of brass knucks to make a mark on a man's cheek or eyebrow, couldn't he?—A. He looked like he might do it, according to his size.

Q. Where did you go after that—after you had the fight?—A. I went through an alley to Paxton's jewelry store.

Q. You didn't stay there until the final row took place!—A. No, sir; I didn't stay there at all; I just left.

Q. Whereabouts were you when you first saw Noel pass along in the buggy?—A. When 1 first saw Noel?

Q. Yes; not in the morning, but when he was in his buggy going out of town; where were you when you saw him?—A. He was coming down town to the opera house; he was not going; he stopped his buggy right in front of the opera house.

Q. Well, you don't know where he started to go, do you?—A. No, sir, I don't.

Q. Whereabouts were you standing when Noel passed you on the street?—A. I wasn't standing; I was walking.

Q. Whereabouts were you walking when Noel passed you on the street?—A. I was walking right down Main street, in Danville.

Q. Whereabouts on Main street, in Danville?—A. I just started, and going right on down.

Q. Where were yon on Main street when Noel passed you in the buggy?—A. When Noel passed me!

Q. Yes.—A. I guess 1 was near about Paxton's silversmith shop.

Q. How far is that from the opera house?—A. It is about eight doors, 1 guess.

Q. That don't give us any idea; how many yards.—A. I couldn't tell you exactly; I don't know that; 1 couldn't tell you how many yards.

Q. Well, you have some idea.

The Chairman. You mean by eight doors, the width of the store, I suppose?—A. I mean the number of doors.

By Mr. Vance:

Q. The number of doors?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Haven't you got this a little mixed up? Didn't you first meet Noel coming in a buggy; and after he passed you didn't he then turn around and go back the other way?—A. No, sir; he did not.

Q. You swear that he did not?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. That he didn't turn the buggy around in the street after he saw you and go back towards the opera hous?—A No, sir.

Q. You are certain of that?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, how far was it? You have said from where he passed you to the opera house was about 50 yards.—A. He was just about 50 yards, I guess, from Paxton's jewelry store.

Q. Now you were walking on the sidewalk, and he was driving in a buggy. How far from where he passed you was it to Woolfolk & Blair's office, where the fight took place?—A. The fight took place, I think, at Woolfolk & Blair's office.

Q. I know; but how far from where he passed you is that?—A. It is about six or seven doors, I guess.

Q. Now he drove on; was he going at a walk or a trot?—A. He was trotting.

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Q. He drove on to the opera house and stopped his buggy in front of the opera house and got out and went upstairs, didn't he?—A. I don't know whether he went upstairs or not.

Q. Well, he got out and went into the house?—A. He got out; I can't tell where he went, and him and Lea came on up together.

Q. Well, he got out and disappeared?—A. 1 might have been looking across the street; I was not thinking where he was until he came right up to me and hit me.

Q. Lea and Taylor were not with him when be was in the buggy, were they?—A. No, sir.

Q. Well, he got out and went somewhere and got Lea and Taylor, didn't he?—A. I suppose so; I don't know.

Q. How did you know that he stopped at the opera house?—A. The buggy stopped there.

Q. Did you see him get out? Didn't you see him go anywhere?—A. 1 didn't see him go anywhere in particular.

Q. Where did you see him go in general?—A. I didn't see him go anywhere in particular.

Q. How long was it after that that you saw him coming up the street with Taylor and Lea?—A. About two to three minutes.

Q. What were you doing at that time?—A. We were walking on down street.

Q. If you were walking down street, could you not have passed the opera house and been gone out of sight before he came with Taylor and Lea?—A. No, sir.

Q. From where he passed you to Woolfolk's office, how far do you say it was?—A. I suppose about six or seven blocks.

Q. Six or seven blocks?—A. 1 didn't say blocks—doors I mean.

Q. How far in feet?—A. 1 don't know exactly.

Q. Well, give us some idea as near as you can.—A. About 40, I guess—something of that kind.

Q. Now, from whore he passed you to the opera house, you say is 50 yards, that is 150 feet, and then from the opera house back to where he met you is about 100 feet, isn't it?—A. 1 don't know exactly; it's not that far, I guess.

Q. Well, is it something like that?—A. Yes; I think it is something like that; 1 don't know exactly.

Q. That will make 250 feet that he moved while you moved only 40 feet?—A. No, sir; I don't think it is that far.

Q. Well, say just as you think then.—A. From where we met?

Q. From where he passed you to the opera house you say was about 50 yards, and from where he passed you to in front of Woolfolk & Blair's office was about 40 feet?—A. Yes, sir; something like that.

Q. Now he passed that 150 feet and came back about 100 feet more, and you and your friends hadn't moved more than about 40 feet?—A. Yes, sir; something like that.

Q. Now, what were you lounging and leisuring in that way for?—A. In what manner?

Q. Walking so slow.—A. We didn't have a thing to do, just walking along smoking.

Q. Well, an ordinary pace would have taken you away beyond the opera house by that time, wouldn't it?—A. I don't know but that we stopped as we came on; we were going very slow.

Q. Yes, very slow; and you don't know but what you stopped?—A. No, sir.

Q. And you expected from the moment he looked back that there was

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going to be a fight, and yon marched on slowly toward the man who was to fight?—A. I expected him and Lewellyn was going to have a fuss.

Q. That is the reason you walked so slow, wasn't it?—A. No, sir.

Q. That is not the reason you walked in that direction, was it?—A. No, sir.

Q. Where were you going?—A. We was going down town; no particular place myself. 1 was just coming on down with two other young men.

Q. Just idling around?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Had nothing to do?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You were out of employment? Did you have any weapons?—A. No, sir; I didn't.

Q. None at all? Did Lewellyn have one?—A. No, sir; I didn't see any.

Q. How do you know that Lewellyn didn't have any?—A. I say I didn't see any.

Q. Didn't he usually carry a pistol?—A. No, sir.

Q. Didn't you usually carry one there?—A. No, sir.

Q. You didn't usually carry one? Why did you leave town?—A. Why did I leave town?

Q. Yes.—A. I thought my life was in danger and it was best for me to leave.

Q. Why was your life in danger any more than any other colored man in the place?—A. They are all in danger there.

Q. They are all in danger there every minute, aren't they!—A. Yes, I think so; anyway, I left there and don't expect to go back.

Q. Where did you go when you left there?—A. I went to Boston, Mass. The first place I went up to Reedsville, 25 miles, I guess, from Danville.

Q. From there you went to Boston?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you are not going back to Danville any more !—A. I don't think I am.

Q. Now, how did it come that you and Lewellvn kept together all day after the first fuss in the morning?—A. Me and Lewellyn were particular friends and were together all the time.

Q. You were particular friends and were together all the time?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And he staid [sic] with you and you were with him from that morning about twelve, when the first trouble occurred, until the fight? What became of Love?—A. Love was with us. We were all together.

Q. Did he stay with you too?—A. Yes, sir. 

Q. None of you had any weapons !—A. We had not, that I know of. I didn't have any.

Q. But, you did expect there would be a fight!—A. No, sir; I didn't. Alter I saw him coming down street in a buggy I expected he and Davis were going to fight. I didn't expect me and him would have any trouble at all.

Q. I mean you expected a difficulty with your friends?—A. With Lewellyn.

By the Chairman:

Q. Mr. Lawson, you say you felt yourself in danger. Is that the reason why you left?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you see the dead men? Do you know the number that were killed before you left?—A. No, sir; I didn't have many doors before I got to the alley.

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Q. Well, you knew what occurred after this scuffle?—A. Yes, sir.

Q: Did you think that was sufficient reason for fear?—A. Yes, sir.

Q: You say some one advised you to go away; who was that?—A. There were several fellows there, their names I don't know exactly; even the man that I had been working for about 15 years, a white man, advised me to go away.

Q. What is his name?—A. Nicolas. He didn't advise me exactly, but he told some young men to tell me that I had better go off.

Q. Governor Vance wonders that you walked so slowly. Did you have any expectations of a fight?—A. No, sir; we were just walking on down the street slow—didn't have a thing to do—just walking slow.

Q. Smoking and doing nothing?—A. I was not studying about myself. Noel hit me in the eyes. He would never have hit me like he did if I was expecting it.

Q. When Noel passed you and went to the opera house, did you think anything more about his return?—A. I thought he was going to return and hit Davis. I was not thinking anything about his hitting me, and I had my face turned towards the store when he hit me.

Q. You didn't see him; were not looking for him with any expectation he was going to strike you?—A. I was not studying about his hitting me. I thought he was going to hit Davis.