EXCERPTS FROM THE TESTIMONY OF ORY DOBBINS 

Direct examination by Hon. H. G. Bailey

Q    Mr. Dobbins where do you live?

A    Stevenson.

Q    Do you recall the day it is said some negroes were taken off a freight train at Paint Rock, Alabama, along in March.

A    I don't remember the date, but I saw the negroes.

Q    Do you recall the day it is said it happened?

A    Yes sir.

Q    On that day were you up near Stevenson along the line, near the line of the Southern Railroad?

A    Three miles on this side of Stevenson.

Q    Was that anywhere near your home?

A    Yes sir, it went right by my home.

Q    Did you see a freight train along about the middle of the day pass going in the direction of Paint Rock from Stevenson.

A    Yes sir.

Q    Where were you when this freight train passed, with reference to the train?

A    Standing right in front of the house going to the barn.

Q    About how far away were you from the track as the train passed.

A    Forty yards.

Q    Did you see anybody on that train.

A    I saw some negroes and there was two white girls.

Q    Where were they, what part of the train.

A    Back toward the caboose.

Q    What sort of a car were they in?

A    On a gon.

Q    Gondola car?

A    Yes sir.

Q    As the train did you see in that gondola car?

A    Yes sir.

Q    As the train passed did you see in that gondola car?

A    Yes sir.

Q    What did you see happen there between the negroes, among the negroes and anybody else in there?

A    I saw one of the girls setting up on the end of the gon fixing to jump off--

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    I move to strike out what she was fixing to do.

COURT:    State where she was.

Q    You say she was sitting up on the end of the gondola?

A    Yes sir and fixing--

Q    What did you see happen?

A    She was fixing to jump off.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    I move to strike that our.

COURT:    You saw her sitting there.

Q    In what position was she sitting?

A    She was sitting on the end of it.

COURT:    Was she in motion or still?

A    She was fixing to jump--

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    We move to strike that out.

GENERAL KNIGHT:    Did she look like she was going to jump.

COURT:    She was sitting on the side, I believe I will hold him to what she was actually doing, her position.

Q    Did you see her move any while you saw her?

A    They were all moving.

Q    How was she moving, can you describe it to the jury.

A    She was looking--she was fixing to go out over the car.

COURT:    Which way was she looking?

A    She was off of it.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    I move to strike that out.

COURT:    Off the car?

A    Yes sir, looking away from the car.

COURT:    Was there any motion of her body at all?

A    It went by and when it went by I saw this here fellow grab her and throw her down in the car.

Q    You saw a negro grab her?

A    Yes sir a negro

Q    How did he grab her?

A    Around the waist.

Q    With his arms?

A    Yes sir.

Q    What sort of a place were you in when you observed that with reference to the railroad track?

A    Standing there on a little hill out from the railroad.

Q    A hill you say out from the railroad?

A    Yes sir.

Q    Cook you see over into the gondola or any part of it from where you were?

A    No sir.

Q    Do that girl, the woman you saw seated on the gondola car, did she have her back toward-- was she on the side of the car next to you or away from you?

A    She had her back facing the caboose and her head facing the engine.

Q    What end of the gondola car was she seated on, the end next to the caboose or the end next to the engine?

A    The end next to the caboose?

From cross examination by Hon. Samuel S. Leibowitz

Q    I want to ask you took at some pictures, I hand you three pictures and ask if you recognize those (handing pictures to witness).

A    Yes sir.

Q    Are those pictures a true representation of the house and barn.

A    Yes sir.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    I offer them in evidence.

COURT:    That is where you were at the house, Dobbins house?

A    Yes sir.

Q    This picture I show you is a picture of your house and the barn as you look square at it from the other side of the railroad track, across the railroad track looking square at the house.

A    Yes sir.

Q    This picture is looking straight at the house?  Did you ever take pictures yourself?

A    Yes sir.

COURT:    Is that a correct picture?

A    Yes sir.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Q    Now just where were you at the time this train passed.

A    Started to the barn to get my mule to go to plowing.

Q    You mean this little barn here (indicating)?

A    No sir.

Q    The other barn shown in this picture (indicating)?

A    Yes sir.

Q    As indicated you started toward this barn to get your mule?

A    Yes sir, started to the barn to get the mule.

Q    Where had you come out of the house?

A    Come out in the yard and was standing.

Q    Show with your finger where you started-- had you been in the house before this?

A    No sir, I just come out in the yard there.

Q    What yard?

A    Right over here (indicating).

Q    Near the porch?

A    Yes sir, you see this grind stone there (indicating), straight in front of it.

Q    There is the grind stone you say you were just right in front of that going toward the barn?

A    Yes sir.

Q    And your face was in the general direction of Paint Rock?

A    Yes sir.

Q    The train was passing at that time?

A    Yes sir.

Q    About how many minutes had the train been passing while you were in that position?

A    I couldn't hardly tell you how long.

Q    Couple of minutes or so?

A    About a couple.

Q    The fact that a freight train passed, that meant nothing to you, just an ordinary every day occurrence; I mean when you were going toward the barn you were not paying any attention at that time to the train?

A    I always look at them when they pass by if I am standing out there.

Q    You were on your way to the barn?

A    Yes sir.

Q    Your back was toward from where the engine came as it passed you from Stevenson?

A    Yes sir.

Q    And you were in front of that grind stone when the train was passing by, and about two minutes had elapsed from the time the engine passed?

A    Yes sir.

Q    How many cars would you say had passed you as you stood there in front of the grind stone looking down toward Paint Rock?

A    How many?

Q    About how many cars passed you back of the engine?

A    I couldn't tell you how many.

Q    Fifteen or twenty?

A    I wouldn't say for sure, how many passed by.

Q    You had been standing there two minutes watching them pass by?

A    Yes sir.

Q    You are sure about that?

GENERAL KNIGHT:    He told you he wasn't sure.

Q    I asked you if you are sure about it.

A    (no answer)

Q    The train was going out thirty or thirty five miles an hour, forty, something like that?

A    Going about twenty five miles an hour.

Q    Each of these cars is about forty feet long?

A    Yes sir.

Q    How many feet from the first rail were you standing.

A    Forty yards?

Q    One hundred and twenty feet?

A    Yes sir.

Q    This barn here (indicating) sets on the same line with the little barn, the front of this barn is on the same line with the front of that little barn?

A    Yes sir.

Q    If I understand you correctly, this building on the left, and which looks bigger, the front of that is on the same line with the front of the little one, and you were you say one hundred and twenty feet in from the first rail of that road, that is what you said?

A    Yes sir.

Q    The minute any car of that train passed by a point opposite that barn you lose sight of it don't you, the barn shuts it off.

A    Yes.

Q    The barn shuts it off?

A    Yes sir.

Q    You can't see around the barn?

A    You can go through the barn and see around.

Q    You were not in the barn at the time, you were standing one hundred and twenty feet from the track and I asked you if the minute a car passes that barn your view is immediately cut off.

A    Yes sir.

Q    How many feet is it from where you were standing looking toward the barn, how many feet is that from that point to the edge of that barn, let me show you (indicating).

GENERAL KNIGHT:    He didn't say he was looking toward the barn.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    Looking toward Paint Rock?

GENERAL KNIGHT:    He said he was going toward the barn, which meant he was going in the direction of Paint Rock.

Q    You were looking in the general direction of where the barn was?

A    Yes sir.

COURT:    He said he was looking in the general direction of where the barn was.

Q    From where you were standing how many feet is it to the corner of that barn

A    I couldn't tell you.

Q    Let me make that plain--suppose we take Mr. Bailey he represents you, and your barn would be somewhere off here, along off here (indicating), the train is going in this direction (indicating); what I am trying to get at is about how many feet, give us your best judgment is it from where you are standing as represented by Mr. Bailey over to where the corner of this barn is, about how many feet?

A    I couldn't tell how far it was.

Q    About how many feet were you from the barn itself, you were standing there near the grindstone, how many feet away from the barn itself were you, about how many paces, give us some idea; how many feet is it from where you were standing at the grind stone to the barn?

A    I don't know.

Q    Show us in the room, about as far as from here to that wall (indicating) or further?

A    About as far as from here to that door yonder, maybe not as far (indicating).

Q    Would you say about half way to that door?

A    Little further than that.

Q    Little over half way to the door, forty or fifty feet?

A    I don't know how many feet it is.

Q    About ten or fifteen paces?

A    Yes sir.

Q    That would be between thirty and forty feet; facing this way at an angle looking toward the barn, that car on which you say you saw this woman didn't come into your view until just about the time it reached where the barn would cut off your view, isn't that so--do you get my point?

A    No sir.

Q    The railroad runs along there where Attorney General Knight is sitting (indicating) in that direction and you are facing the barn?

A    Yes sir.

Q    The train was coming along there at about twenty five or thirty miles an hour?

A    Twenty five miles an hour

Q    What I am getting at is this:  Your view, your line of vision, with reference to the car you told the jury about and which you claim a woman was on and you saw somebody pull her back and knock her down, that car could not have come into your view until it was just about passing the corner of that barn, isn't that so?

GENERAL KNIGHT:    Which barn.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    The big barn.

COURT:    Do you understand the question?

A    No sir.

Q    You stated you were at the grind stone there (indicating)?

A    About half way between the grind stone and this fence there.

Q    I want that understood you were not standing at the grind stone, you were standing half way of the distance of the grind stone and the barn, much closer to the barn that I understood before?

A    Yes sir.

Q    What I am getting at is this; you could see the barn from where you were standing?

A    Yes sir.

Q    Your eye struck the corner of that barn, you could see that, as you are looking toward the corner of the barn, here is the grind stone here (indicating), and you are standing half way between the grind stone and the barn, the table where General Knight is sitting is the barn itself, that is the corner of the barn over there (indicating), the railroad is coming along in from Judge Horton's desk?

A    Yes sir.

Q    You are standing looking that way (indicating) about you say about thirty feet?

COURT:    Forty.

Q    You are looking toward the corner of that barn, what I am asking you is this, as you look in that direction isn't it a fact that the back end of that car you spoke of was almost at the corner of that barn when you first saw it looking in the direction in which you have testified, isn't that so.

GENERAL KNIGHT:    We object to that question.

COURT:    Overrule the objection.

Q    You may answer that, isn't that so.

A    No sir, when the train got there we turned around me and this fellow with me and looked at the train before we went to the barn.

Q    Did you face the train?

A    Yes sir.

Q    Straight at it?

A    Turned around and looked at it.

Q    Look at the engine?

A    Yes sir.

Q    Just standing there looking at the engine and the cars passing by?

A    Yes sir.

Q    You were ot expecting to see anything in particular, you weren't looking for anything?

A    No sir.

Q    Even looking at it from where you were standing with the train going from twenty five to thirty miles an hour.

A    Twenty five miles.

Q    The only view you could get after the car reached you was the distance from a line that would be drawn from you to the track up to where the barn is then your view would be shut off.

A    Yes sir

Q    That is only a few feet, the train would cover the distance of only a very few feet before you would lose sight of it?

A    It has got to go as far as from here to the door yonder before it gets so you just couldn't see it (indicating).

Q    The only view you had of this car was only a few feet?

COURT:    He stated that.

Q    You said before a little way further than half way to the door, that is what you said before?

A    I said how far the barn was, it wasn't hardly as far as from here to the door.

Q    That was the distance you saw the car?

A    If you were looking at it you could see it after it passed from here to the door there and it went into the cut.

Q    They would be about forty or fifty feet?

A    I couldn't tell you how far it was.

COURT:    He said about as far as from here to the door.

Q    How many people were on this car?

A    I wouldn't be for sure.

Q    Just one?

A    No sir, looked like five or six.

Q    All together?

A    Yes sir.

Q    That isn't what you said in the trial at Scottsboro, that isn't what you told Judge Hawkins and the jury down there?

MR. WRIGHT:    He is entitled to see his testimony.

Q    I am reading from page 44 of the Haywood Patterson record, you were asked this question: "Q.   As it passed you all you saw was one colored man and one white boy on it?"  "Yes sir."  That is what you said at Scottsboro?

A    I didn't say it.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    Will it be conceded that the official record of the trial that I have read is correct; that the official record of the trial before Judge Hawkins and the jury at Scottsboro shows that is exactly what he was asked and that is what he said.  Have I read it correctly.

MR. BAILEY:    You read that part of it correctly.

Q    Does Mr. Adams live further down the track than you?

A    No sir, he lives at Stevenson.

Q    You know the gentleman, Mr. Adams, that preceded you on the witness stand?

A    Yes sir.

Q    Do you know where he was that day, was that place pointed out to you?

A    No sir.

Q    Do you know the place where he was, that was further down the track than where you were?

A    It was back up the track toward Stevenson.

Q    You were standing at the wood pile weren't you?

A    No sir, i wasn't standing at the wood pile, I was standing this side of the wood pile.

Q    I am reading from Page 43, will you please pay attention to this:  Reading from the official minutes of the Scottsboro trial of the Scottsboro trial.  "Q. Where were you standing when the train passed by?" "A. Standing at the wood pile."  Did you say that?

A    Right at the end of the wood pile.

Q    How far is the wood pile form the grind stone?

A    Oh right there together.

Q    That is much further back than the grind stone shown on this picture, from the railroad (indicating) You say you were there (indicating)?

A    The wood pile is there (indicating).

Q    That is further back from the railroad grind stone isn't it?

A    Here is the wood pile up at this tree (indicating).

Q    You were standing at the wood pile you said at Scottsboro?

A    Straight by there and on out here is the wood pile.

Q    How many feet is the wood pile back further than the grind stone, about twenty feet?

A    It is just a big field in there between the barn and house.

Q    You testified here you were forty yards from the railroad didn't you, that is what you said several times in answer to my question.

A    Forty yards is what it is.

GENERAL KNIGHT:    He told him exactly where he was standing.

Q    Let me ask you if you didn't say this at Scottsboro two years ago;  I am reading from the official record taken down by the stenographer, page #43."  "Q.  How far from the track?"   "A.  About one hundred yards."  That is what you said at Scottsboro.  I am reading correctly am I not?

MR. BAILEY:  Yes sir, he testified to that.

A    (no answer)

Q    You said one hundred yards from the track, that is what you swore two years ago instead of forty yards?

COURT:    Did you state that at Scottsboro
 
 A    I won't say, it has been so far back; we measured it and it was forty yards.

MR. LEIBOWITZ:   I object about him measuring it.

COURT:    Do you know whether you said that at Scottsboro, or do you remember that question.

A    I don't remember whether I said it or not, it has been so long.

Q    You only saw one girl?

A    Saw one girl.

Q    Not two girls, just saw one girl you spoke about, that is right, that is all you saw?

A    The one I saw when he grabbed her.

Q    That is all you saw one girl being pulled back in the car as she was fixing to jump off?

A    Yes sir.

Q    At Scottsboro you told a different story, didn't you.  Page #43.  Were you asked this question and did you make this answer?  "Q.  Did you say anybody on that train as it passed?"  "A.  I seen two girls and these colored people and as it gone by one of the colored men grabbed a woman and the train got by the barn."  There you said you saw two girls?

COURT:    Did you state that at Scottsboro, that you saw two girls.

Q    Did you say that, yes or no?

A    It has been so long I won't be sure.

Q    You swear here you saw only one girl, were you telling the truth before Judge Hawkins and the jury at Scottsboro?

COURT:    Asking him if he made that statement.

Q    Did you make that statement, answer yes or no?

A    I don't know whether I did or not.

Q    Is that statement if made true, is that statement true?

A    I couldn't tell you.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Q    You know it was a woman don't you?

A    She had on woman's cloths.

COURT:    She had on women's cloths?

A    She had on women's cloths.

Q    What kind of clothes, overalls?

A    No sir, dress.

Q    Did you notice a hat?

A    I didn't pay any attention to the hat.

Q    You noticed the dress.

A    She had on it looked to me like a brown coat.

Q    With fur on it?

A    Yes sir around the collar.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Q    Where was the white boy on this train, on this car?

A    I don't remember seeing any white boy.

Q    You don't remember seeing a white boy?

A    No sir.

Q    Will you please tell the jury why you told Judge Hawkins and the jury at Scottsboro

MR. WRIGHT:    We object.

Q    Can you reconcile your statement at Scottsboro that you saw a white boy on the train with your statement now you didn't see a white boy on the car, can you match those two answers.

MR. BAILEY:    We object to arguing with the witness.

(No ruling)

Q    Can you?

A    How is that.

Q    Can you match up those two answers and explain them, you said down at Scottsboro, two years ago you saw a white boy on this train and you say here now, you tell these men, you didn't see a white boy on that car?

A    (No answer)

MR. LEIBOWITZ:    Step off please.

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