Testimony of Dr. Howard Jones

[Examination of Dr. Howard Jones by Assistant Attorney General Sanford (2/14/1906).]

SANFORD: Dr. Jones, are you a resident of Chattanooga?
JONES: Yes sir.
Q. Are you a minister of the gospel?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Are you the pastor of a church here?
A. Of the First Baptist Church
Q. Were you in March 1906?
A. Yes sir.
Q. And in all of 1906?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Doctor, do you remember the time of the Ed Johnson lynching?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Do you remember that night?
A. Yes sir.
Q. What had been the state of the public mind just prior to that time?
Mr. PRITCHARD: I object to that, if the court please, upon the ground that he can state facts and not conclusions, and the state of the public mind is not a fact.
The COMMISSIONER: Note the objection.
SANFORD: In the matter of apprehended violence and lynching and the state of the public mind?
A. Do I answer that?
Q. Yes; just answer.
A. I should say the public mind was very much excited.
Q. There was a good deal of tension?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Doctor, did you hear of the mob that night?
A. Yes sir; I did.
Q. What time did you first hear of it?
A. I donít think I can state exactly.  I should say about half past nine, thought I ma not perfectly sure of the hour.
Q. How did you learn of it?
A. My brother-in-law came home and stated that he had just come by the courthouse, and there seemed to be some trouble there.
Q. Did you go out yourself?
A. Yes; I did.  I went down to the jail.
Q. Did you go directly to the jail?
A. I stopped on the way to talk with a policeman.
Q. Did you go to police headquarters?
A. I called up police headquarters on the phone.
Q. Then you stopped and talked to a policeman?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Without going into the details as to what occurred in those conversations, did you secure any police aid in the matter?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you make an effort to do so?
A. I did; yes sir.
Q. And failed?
A. Yes sir.
Q. What did you see when you arrived at the jail?
A. Well, before reaching the jail, when I got to the corner of Walnut Street turning towards the jail, I saw a crowd two blocks away going up the hill.  I did not know who they were, but I took it that I was those who were following the mob.
Q. About two blocks away, going over the hill?
A. Yes sir.
Q. What did you then do?
A. I went down to the jail.
Q. Who did you see?
A. I saw Sheriff Shipp.
Q. Where was he?
A. He was coming out of the jail, down the steps, when I met him.
Q. Was any one with him?
A. I think not.
Q. Was he guarded by anybody?
A. No; not that I know of.
Q. Was he in any restraint whatever of his person?
A. I think not.
Q. Did you have a conversation with him?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. State that conversation.
A. I donít know that I can give the exact words of the conversation.
Q. Give the substance.
A. The substance of it was that he told me that the prisoner had been taken and that he had been seized immediately when he went into the jail, and had been unable to do anything; but I suggested to him that we go and try to identify some of the members of the mob.  He said that would be a very dangerous thing to do, and a very foolish thing to do; that they were very desperate men.  While we were talking a fusilade of shots we heard from the bridge.
Q. You suggested that you follow after them.  Was that your suggestion?
A. That was my suggestion.
Q. He said it would be a dangerous and foolish thing?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you suggest or warn him once only, or more that once?
A. Just once, I think.
Q. Then the fusilade occurred?
A. Yes sir.  Only once I think.
Mr. Sanford: Take the witness.
Mr. Pritchard: The witness may stand aside.

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