Testimony of John C. Stonecipher

[Examination of John Stonecipher by Assistant Attorney General Sanford (2/14/1906).]

SANFORD: Were you in business as a contractor?
Q. Mr. Stonecipher, do you know the defendant William Mayes?
A. Yes, sir...
Q. Do you know the defendant Henry Padgett?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know the defendant Frank Ward?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you meet any of these defendants shortly before the lynching of Ed. Johnson?
A. Yes, sir; I met Mayes and Padgett and Ward on the evening before.
Q. Mayes and Padgett and who?
A. Ward.
Q. You met all three of them?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you meet them all together or separately?
A. No, sir; I didn’t meet them together.
Q. Which one or more did you meet first?
A. I met Padgett and Mayes first.
Q. Where did you meet them, and at what time?
A. I met them at the corner of Oak and Lindsey Streets about half-past four in the
Q. What was that; the afternoon before the lynching?
A. Yes, sir; before the lynching.
Q. That is, it was on the same day the lynching occurred, but in the afternoon?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And before the lynching had occurred?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you talk with them at that corner, or go somewhere else and talk with them?
A. I talked there a few minutes, and walked to the court-house with them...
Q. Did you have any conversation with them in reference to a lynching?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Or they with you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Just state what occurred in regard to it.
A. Mr. Padgett asked me if I had heard what the Supreme Court had done in the Johnson case.  I told him I had understood that they had stayed the execution.  He said yes, that is what he had understood, and it was a damned outrage.
Q. Please talk louder, Mr. Stonecipher.  The gentlemen over there want to hear.  You must talk as loud as you can.
A. I am talking as loud as I can.
Q. Go ahead.  What occurred.
A. Then they said they had no business interfering with our business at all.
Q. Go ahead.  Keep right on.  Just tell the conversation.
A. That is about all that Padgett said.  Then Mayes said “we will see to that ourselves”.
Q. Go ahead.  Was that in Padgett’s presence?
A. Yes, sir; they were both together.
Q. Then what occurred?
A. That was about all that was said that evening.
Q. That evening?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you see Ward that evening?
A. Yes, sir; I saw Ward.
Q. Or next day?
A. That evening, the same evening.
Q. How much longer was that---in the first place, when that remark was made about “we will see to that ourselves”, was the man who made it separated from the other man, or was he close up?
A. No, sir; they were both up close together.
Q. Was it so it could be heard?  Were all three of you together?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did you see Ward?
A. I saw him about five o’clock or a little after.
Q. Where did you see Ward?
A. I saw him in front of Mullery’s saloon, on Market street.
Q. Mullery’s saloon?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. On what street is that?
A. Market street.
Q. At about five o’clock?
A. At about five o’clock.
Q. What was said?  Did you have any conversation with him?
A. I stopped on the curb, waiting for a car to go home, and Ward called to me.  He says “ain’t you from Georgia?  I says “I used to live there.”
Q. What is that?
A. I stopped on the curb, and Ward came out of the saloon.  He hollered at me and called me by name.  He said “Ain’t you from Georgia?”  I says “Yes, I used to live in Georgia—mighty near raised there.”  He says “We want you to help us lynch that damn nigger to-night.”
Q. What was that?
A. He says “We want you help us to lynch that damn nigger tonight.”
Q. What did you say?
A. I says “I don’t believe it would pay.  I believe Sheriff Shiup would shoot the red hot stuff out of you.”
Q. What did he say?
A. He says “No, it is all agreed.  There won’t be a sheriff nor a deputy there.”  I said “Ward, I believe you are lying.”  That is just what I told him.
Q. Did you have any further conversation with him that night?
A. No, sir.  Then I just got on the car and went home.  The car came along.
Q. You went on home?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long had you known these men?
A. I have known Padgett and Mayes, I guess, fifteen years.
Q. How had you known them; in what way?  What was there business?
A. I have worked with them on several jobs, on carpenter work.
Q. Were they both carpenters?
A. Both carpenters; yes, sir.
Q. You had worked with them on carpenter jobs?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long had you known Ward?
A. About two years.
Q. What is Ward’s business?
A. Bricklayer.
Q. How often had you seen him?
A. Well, the winter before that I boarded at the same place he did about six months.
Q. You boarded at the same place?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you see either of them any more that evening?
A. No, sir; not that evening.
Q. Did you go home or where did you go?
A. I went home.
Q. Were you out that night at all?
A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know anything of your own personal knowledge about that mob that night?
A. No, sir; not a thing in the world.
Q. Did you see anybody out that night in the mob?
A. No, sir; I didn’t see anybody.
Q. Did you see any of these gentlemen later, after the night of the lynching?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Which one did you see first?
A. I saw Mr. Padgett first.
Q. Before coming to that, was there anything special in the condition of the street between the jail and the bridge, that you know of?
A. Yes, sir; I got to a job that I was doing up there by the court-house and I heard that the nigger was lynched.  I started to go to the bridge, and as I went, I believe between Third and Fourth streets the street is paved with white clay.
Q. White clay?
A. White looking dirt.
Q. You say you saw Padgett the next morning?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where did you see him?
A. I saw him at Ransom’s saloon.
Q. Inside or outside?
A. Inside.
Q. What time of day was it?
A. It was about half-past seven.
Q. What conversation occurred between you at that time?
A. I went in and Padgett had the Morning Times, and the first word he said, he said “this damn paper has printed a lie about this lynching.”  I said “how do you know it is a lie, Henry?”
Q. What did he answer?
A. Well, he told me he was there.
Q. Did anything further occur in that conversation?  What was the condition of his shoes, if you noticed?
A. And just as he said that, Alf Handman come in.
Q. Is he one of the defendants in this case?
A. Yes, sir; I suppose so.
Q. He came in?
A. Yes, sir; and Henry just turned up his shoe this way.  He says “Why, I haven’t got the mud off my shoes yet.”  Alf. says “I cleaned mine before I come.”
Q. Was there anything further said between you at that time?
A. And Henry says “We did the nigger up all right, didn’t we.”  Alf says “You bet we did.”  That was all that was said.
Q. Did you see either of those gentlemen again and have any further conversation with them about this matter—any of those parties, either Padgett or Handman?  Did you have any further conversation with them about that lynching?
A. No, sir; I don’t remember seeing Mr. Handman since.
Q. Have you ever seen Mr. Mayes since and had any conversation with him on the subject, or Mr. Ward?
A. I saw Mr. Mayes about eight o’clock the next morning, I reckon.
Q. You mean the same morning you saw Padgett?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where did you see Mayes?
A. I met him right in front of the Stag Hotel.
Q. Did you have a conversation with him?
A. Yes, sir; he had the left side of his nose skinned up pretty bad, and I says “Hello, Bill, what is the matter with your nose?”  He says “I skinned it last night breaking that damned jail door down in getting the nigger out.”
Q. Did you see Mr. Ward?
A. I saw Mr. Ward that evening.
Q. What conversation did you have with Mr. Ward?
A. He come out of Jack Price’s saloon and was standing in the vestibule, and he says “You are the first damned man from Georgia ever I saw that didn’t have nerve enough to kill a nigger.”  I told him I didn’t have much nerve when I had to buck-up against the Government.

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