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Full text of "Danville riot"

ANVILLE RIOT 



NOVEMBER 3, 



REPORT 



OF 



COMMITTEE OF 'FORTY 



WITH 



SWORN TESTIMONY 



OF 



\ V" 



THIRTY-SEVEN WITNESSES, &C. 



RICHMOND: 

JOHNS & GOOLSBY, BOOK AND JOB PRINTERS. 
1883. - 



DANVILLE RIOT 



NOVEMBER 3, 1883. 



y 










REPOET 







OF 



v 






COMMITTEE OF FORTY 



SWORN TESTIMONY 



OF 



THIRTY-SEVEN WITNESSES, &C. 



RICHMOND: 

JOHNS & GOOLSBY, BOOK AND JOB PRINTERS. 

1883. 






if fin 
4 0'02 



REPORT OF COMMITTEE OF FORTY. 



To the Citizens of Danville, Va.: 

The Committee of Forty, charged, by your resolution hereto 
subjoined, " with the duty of thoroughly inquiring into all the 
facts, and preparing for publication a true and full statement of 
the causes and circumstances which led to the riot " in your town 
on 3d November, 1883, "and also a statement of the conduct of 
the people during the period from the occurrence of the riot to the 
closing of the polls on the 6th day of November," respectfully and 
unanimously reports that on Monday, 12th November, 1883, the 
committee organized and appointed proper sub-committees, and by 
publication in the Daily Register requested all persons having in- 
formation of the matters to be investigated to appear before the 
sub-committee for taking testimony at the office of F. F. Bowen, 
notary public, and testify as to such matters. 

That said sub-committee for taking testimony attended regularly 
at the office of F. F. Bowen, from Tuesday morning, the 13th 
November, till Wednesday, the 21st of November, inclusive, dur- 
ing which time thirty-seven witnesses, after having been first duly 
sworn by F. F. Bowen, notary public, deposed before said sub- 
committee. The witnesses so deposing were, for the most part, 
known to the committee personally, and represented all classes 
and avocations among our citizens, including two policemen, one 
white and one colored, who were present at the riot, and exerting 
themselves to quell the same. 

All of these witnesses, whose names are signed to their deposi- 
tions herewith submitted, as a part of this report, are known to 
the citizens of Danville, and will be recognized as intelligent and 
thoroughly reliable. 



lated except by the wounding of one of the special police while on 
duty Saturday night, by a shot fired from behind the house of a 
negro man. 

(3). That from within one-half hour after the commencement of 
the riot the town was completely under the control of the Sergeant 
and his police force, and that no further disturbance of its peace 
and good order, except the shooting of the special policeman, as 
stated above, occurred, and that such peace and good order contin- 
ued to prevail up to and including the day of election ; that sundry 
prominent citizens prepared and caused to be printed and circula- 
ted, on the day preceding the electiofi, a circular, signed by them- 
selves and by the Superintendents of both political parties, guar- 
anteeing to each and every citizen, without regard to color or party, 
the free and undisturbed right of voting ; that no violence, threats, 
or intimidation whatever was shown towards negro or Coalition 
voters, but, on the contrary, such voters were repeatedly assured 
by citizens, policemen, and military officers sent to Danville by the 
Governor of the State, that they would be protected in their rights 
to vote as they chose; that the election day was quiet and without 
any disturbance or difficulty at any precinct or elsewhere in the 
town, and the election itself honestly conducted, and free and fair 
in all respects ; and that the negroes as a body refrained from 
voting under the advice and command of their party leaders, while 
others voted the Coalition ticket without hindrance from any quar- 
ter. 

Your committee has thus confined itself to the investigation of 
the facts and preparation of the statement required by your reso- 
lution, and herewith submit the evidence as a full and complete 
vindication of our town and people from " the gross misstatements 
which have been circulated through a portion of the press of the 
country." 

W. T. SUTHERLIN, Chairman. 

L. C. BERKELEY, Jr. 

W. P. BETHELL. 

BERRYMAN GREEN. 

H. J. MILLER. 



H. H. HURT. 
T. L. SYDNOR. 
W. H. WHITE. 
J. T. AVERETT. 
R. W. PEATROSS. 
R. V. BARKSDALE. 
ABNER ANDERSON. 
JNO. M. JOHNSTON. 
E. H. MILLER. 
8. I. ROBERTS. 
ROBERT BRYDON. 
FLETCHER TURNER. 
R. F. JENNINGS. 
SAMUEL S. BERGER. 
E. B. WITHERS. 
H. HIRSH. 
W. S. WILKINSON. 
R. C. HERNDON. 
THOMAS D. STOKES. 
JONAS KAUFMAN. 
CHARLES ORCHARD. 
J. R. PERKINSON. 
T. B. FITZGERALD. 
WM. C. GRASTY. 
H. F. VASS. 
JNO. G. FRIEND. 
JNO. R. PACE. 
P. W. FERRELL. 
J. L. TYACK. 
T. R. SCLATER. 
GEORGE C. AYRES. 
J. M. NEAL. 
JNO. F. RISON. 
W. H. TROWBRIDGE. 
JAMES FRICKER. 



EXHIBIT .A.. 



Meeting of Citizens. 

A large meeting of citizens was held at the Opera House this 
morning in response to the following circular: 

MEETING OF CITIZENS. 

The citizens of Danville are requested to meet in the Opera 
House at 9 o'clock to-morrow (Saturday) morning, to consider the 
propriety of adopting resolutions returning thanks to our fellow- 
citizens in other localities who have expressed their sympathy and 
their willingness to aid us, if necessary, during the recent riot in 
Danville, and also to appoint a committee who shall prepare and 
publish a full account of the affair and the causes that produced it. 

MANY CITIZENS. 

At this meeting Colonel E. B. Withers was requested to pro- 
cure an organization, and on his motion, Dr. H. W. Cole was 
elected chairman. 

Messrs. J. T. Averett, P. Bouldin and Abner Anderson, mem- 
ber of the press, were appointed secretaries. 

After some preliminary remarks suitable to the occasion, Major 
W. T. Sutherlin offered a series of resolutions which, with some 
slight modifications, proposed by General H. H. Hurt and Judge 
Berryman Green, were as follows : 

Resolved, That we the white people of Danville, in mass 
meeting assembled, do return our heartfelt thanks to our fellow- 
citizens of other cities and towns of Virginia, North Carolina and 
Maryland, as well as friends in various sections of the country, 
who in public meeting and otherwise expressed sympathy for us 



in the riot which occurred in our streets on the 3d day of Novem- 
ber, and who generally proffered us their aid if needed on that 
occasion. 

Resolved, That in view of the gross misstatements concerning 
that riot which are being circulated through a portion of the press 
of the country, misleading the public mind as to the facts of the 
same, this meeting do hereby appoint through its chairman a com- 
mittee of forty, who shall be charged with the duty of thoroughly 
enquiring into all the facts and preparing for publication a true 
and full statement of the causes and circumstances which led to 
it, and also a statement of the conduct of our people during the 
period from the occurrence of the riot to the closing of the polls 
on the 6th day of November. 

The resolutions having been unanimously adopted, Judge 
Green suggested that editors and correspondents of newspapers 
ascertain and publish to the world the name, position and character 
of " C. M.," the correspondent of the Whig, who has published 
through that paper such grossly false statements of the occur- 
rences on Saturday evening last, and this proposition was received 
with applause. 

The chairman appointed the following as the committee under 
the resolutions, and in appointing them was careful to select a 
number of citizens of Northern birth : 

W. T. Sutherlin (chairman), L. C. Berkeley, W. T. Bethell, 
Berryman Green, H. J. Miller, H. H. Hurt, James Fricker, T. 
L. Sydnor, W. H. White, J. T. Averett, R. W. Peatross,! R. V. 
Barksdale, Abner Anderson, J. M. Johnston, E. H. Miller, S. F. 
Roberts, Robert Brydon, Fletcher Turner, R. F. Jennings, S. S. 
Berger, E. B. Withers, H. Hirsh, W. S. Wilkinson, R. C. 
Herndon, T. D. Stokes, J. Kaufman, Charles Orchard, J. R. Per- 
kinson, T. B. Fitzgerald, William C. Grasty, H. F. Vass, J. G. 
Friend, J. R. Pace, P. W. Ferrell, J. L. Tyack, T. R. Sclater, 
George C. Ayers, J. M. Neal, J. F. Rison, W. H. Trowbridge. 

On motion, the meeting adjourned. 

H. W. COLE, Chairman. 

J. T. Averett, ^ 

P. Bouldin, > Secretaries. 

Abner Anderson, J 



10 

The deposition of W. J. Dance and others, taken before F. F. 
Bowen, a notary public in and for the corporation of Danville, 
Va., on the 13th day of November, 1883, to be used as evi- 
dence by a committee appointed by the citizens of Danville under 
the foregoing resolutions of said citizens in meeting assembled — 
Exhibit A : 

W. J. Dance, being duly~sworn, deposes and says : 

I am 21 years old, reside in Danville, and live with Ruffin, 
Woolfolk & Blair. The difficulty between Noel and Dense Law- 
son, when I first saw them was at the lower window of my office. 
My attention was attracted by hearing a white man say, "Stand 
back." I went to the door and saw Sense Lawson, and a white 
man on each side of him. Neither Noel or Lawson had any 
weapon that I could see; I know neither of them had anything 
in their hands, in sight. Besides myself, when I first got there, 
there were only two white men present; there were about 125 or 
150 negroes present. I locked up the back door, and then picked 
up a gun which had been left there that day, and went to the front 
door. Each of the two white men there besides Noel had pistols 
in their hands, and ordered the crowd of negroes not to interfere 
in the fight between Noel and Lawson ; that they were having a 
fair fight. "When I first got to the door I saw about five or six 
negroes, with drawn pistols. Afterward Mr. Lea said, " He 
(Noel) has beat him (Lawsou) enough," and told the policeman to 
take the negro away; and Bob Taylor tx>k Noel away from the 
negro, and Noel went away up the street to wash the blood from 
his hands. After the negro had gotten off", they (the white men 
and negro police) tried to disperse the crowd of negroes, but they 
refused to go, and said that they had as well have it out right 
there. In the meantime a message had been sent down to the 
Opera House, where the white men were holding a meeting, to come 
up — that there was going to be a difficulty. Some 10 or 15 white 
men had come up before the firing commenced. My office is on 
the north side of Main street. The white men were in front of 
my office and the office of J. E. Catlin, on the pavement and in 
the gutter. The negroes were in the street in front of them from 
the middle of Catlin's office down to the front of Henry Vass' 
store. The white men, after seeing that they could not disperse 
them, said, " We are ready for you — if you won't disperse, we'll 
settle it." A negro jumped up in the crowd, and held up a pistol, 



11 

and said, "Damn you, come on." Then the firing commenced* 
I don't know who fired first. When the firing commenced, I saw 
thirty or forty pistols in the hands of the negroes. I don't remem- 
ber seeing any white man, of the ten or fifteen who were there, who 
did not have a pistol. Between six and ten shots were fired by the 
colored men, so far as I could see, in front of my office. The ne- 
groes ran when the firing commenced, and soon I could not see 
any. There were about three shots fired by the negroes, as they 
ran from Jere Nicholas' store-corner. At the time of the com- 
mencement of the firing there were present about 350 or 375 ne- 
groes and about 15 or 20 whites. I did not see the scuffle between 
Geo. Lea and the negro, but the negroes rushed up and wanted to 
know what " damned scoundrel fired that pistol." Some of them 
pointed to Bob Taylor and said, "There is the damned scoundrel;" 
and some to Geo. Lea and said, " There is the damned scoundrel." 
Geo. Lea said, " Yes, I am the man." Then they said that they 
had to have the thing out, and just as well have it out there. 
And further this deponent saith not. 

W. J. DANCE, Jr. 



Ro. Lipscomb, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I live in Danville, and am telegraph operator of Western Union 
Telegraph Company. I heard one negro, whose face I know well, 
but do not know his name, say on Monday night that the negroes 
were not going to vote in Danville; that they had been instructed, 
in the meeting, from which he had just returned, not to vote. 

And after this the deponent saith not. 

RO. LIPSCOMB. 



Chas. D. Noell, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

As I was passing down Main street, Saturday, 3d November, 
1883, about half past one, walking rapidly, I passed two negroes 
in front of H. D. Guerrant & Co.'s store, not knowing who they 
were ; and this negro, whom I afterwards learned was Hense Law- 
son, came near knocking my left foot from under me, when I 
turned and asked him what did he do that for. His reply was, in 
a very insolent manner : " I was getting out of the way of a lady, 
and a white lady at that." I replied that that was all right, and 
passed on about three paces, when the negro with him replied that 
it didn't make a " damned bit of difference whether it was all right 



12 

or not ; he can't do anything about it" ; and the negro Hense Law- 
son repeated the same thing. I turned and struck the first speaker, 
when they both struck me and pushed me from the sidewalk. I 
recovered, and beat them back to the store wall. By that time I 
suppose twenty negroes had gathered around, and not a white man 
was present, as they were at dinner. The crowd began to gather 
around, and these two negroes began to draw their pistols — that is, 
made a motion as if they would draw them. I don't remember 
definitively, but I may have put my hand around to see if I had 
my pistol ; but I did not have it. I left the scene and went home 
to dinner, where I expected to have a buggy and horse to meet me 
at two o'clock, to go to the country. The horse and buggy was 
late coming up. I drove down the street and stopped at the Opera 
House, went in and spoke to George Lea. He astced me about 
the difficulty I had had, and wanted to know if I intended to do 
anything further about it. I replied that I thought it would be best 
if I did not, as so many negroes were on the street ; that it would 
be best not to create any excitement; that it would end in something 
serious. I came out in my buggy and drove up in front of the 
Arlington, intending to stop at Steinruck's, when some one, standing 
on the corner, hailed me and said : "By God, here I am." He re- 
peated it three times, and in a very defiant manner. I made no stop, 
but turned short round in the street, and as I passed down the street, 
I glanced back and saw he was gathering up a crowd and coming on 
down Main street on the sidewalk after me. I drove, rapidly 
down to the Opera House, got out and gave the horse to a negro 
boy. I went up in the Opera House and told George Lea that 
that rascal had insulted me again and I wanted him to see that I 
had fair play, when he and Bob Taylor immediately got up and 
followed me. When we got in front of Averett & White's store, 
I noticed that this negro, with fifteen or twenty others, were 
standing in front of Ruffin, Woolfolk & Blair's office; they did 
not stop until they siw us coming. The eyes of most every negro 
in the crowd was directed to me, as I came up, as if they were 
expecting me. I halted in front of the negro Hense Lawson and 
asked him what he meant by calling at me on the street. He said 
he didn't call at me. I told him that he did, and struck him (I 
had told Mr. Lea and Robert Taylor that I would not strike him 
with anything but my fist). The negroes commenced to crowd 
around. Mr. Taylor and George Lea drew their pistols and told 
them to stand back and allow fair play. I had the negro in the 
collar and was pummelling him when I saw the negro, said to be 
Geprge Adams, slip up behind George Lea and tried to wrench 



13 

his pistol from his hand, and in doing so threw hira down. Mr. 
Lea held to the pistol ; the negro fell, I think from a lick from a 
cane by Mr. Taylor, and when he got up Mr. Lea's pistol fired — 
whether accidental or not I don't know. A dozen negroes, I sup- 
pose, said : " It was a fair fight and Mr. Noell whipped him ; now 
you all go off." The crowd began to disperse. I went over to 
Hamlin's store with two friends to wash my hands; they told me I 
had better go, as my being so bloody would create an excitement. 
While I was up stairs in Mr. Hamlin's store washing] the firing 
commenced. I ran down, and as I ran in the door some one ran 
over me and knocked me away, and before I could recover the 
doors were closed. 

And further this deponent saith not. 

CHAS. D. NOELL. 



14th November, 1883. 
The witness, W. G. Lynn, being sworn, deposes and says : 

I started from home, in the northwestern part of the town, on 
Union and Floyd streets, Saturday, 3d November, 1883, about 3 
o'clock, and in coming down — about half the distance — I met 
eight or ten stout negro men going up that way. I soon after re- 
turned home and notified my family of the riot and returned 
again as fast as I could walk, and the same men passed me armed 
with guns, clubs, and pistols ; they were returning to the street. 
When I arrived on <he street everything was quiet. I saw nothing 
or heard "no fuss. These negroes ^passed me again and stopped 
at " Hell's Half Acre." 

And further this deponent saith not. 

WM. G. LYNN. 



P. Bouldin made affidavit that the account of W. E. Sims' 
speech, as reported in his paper, herewith filed and marked " P. 
B.," is correct : 

SIMS' SPEECH— "P. B." 

Friday morning a notice was scattered over town that W. E. 
Sims would k speak in Danville that night, in front of old post-office, 
in answer to the Danville circular. As the Democratic Club was to 
meet in the same building, and suspecting the inflammatory nature 



14 

of the address which was contemplated, the owners of the building 
objected to his speaking there. When the time came, therefore, the 
negroes adjourned to the Courthouse yard. A little before eight 
o'clock, Mr. A. M. Wheeler rose and spoke about ten minutes, 
simply urging his hearers to keep quiet on the day of the election, 
not* to go armed to the polls, nor do anything calculated to produce 
trouble. Having finished his remarks, he left the stand, and, we 
presume, went to his office. 

Squire Taliafeiro then rose and spoke, to kill time until the ora- 
tor of the day arrived. 

When he concluded, Sims arose amidst the shouts of at least five 
hundred negroes. He stood on the steps of the Courthouse with a 
large torch-light before him. The negroes were packed closely 
round him, and only about fifteen white men could be seen on the 
outskirts of the black crowd, and they were Democrats, who went 
to see and hear what was going on. The writer was one of them, 
and, we must say, it was a horrible spectacle — one lone white man 
standing up amidst a vast crowd of Africans, who were yelling and 
whooping at the top of their voices, and at night. 

He rose with the famous Danville circular in his hand, and 
the first thing he did was to read the names of the signers, twenty- 
eight in number, men of highest standing and universally re- 
spected. He commenced by calling them all liars. Th» n he be- 
gan to read the circular by paragraphs, commenting as he went, 
and trying to answer the charges. "Another lie," he would say, 
at the end of each sentence. About every ten minutes, for the 
space of an hour, he pronounced the men who signed the circular 
liars, and every time he did it the negroes applauded. 

His object seemed to be to inflame the minds of the negroes 
against those gentlemen, and to stir up a bad feeling between the 
rich and the poor. He ridiculed most of the signers of the circu- 
lar, as if to set their colored hands against them, and some of them 
he charged with the most rascally conduct. Not satisfied with 
abusing those whose names were on the paper, he went out of his 
w r ay to attack other good and honorable white citizens. He said 
the circular contained forty-five lies, and that the men who en- 
dorsed it knew they were lies. When he finished reading ami 
commenting on the document, he read the names of the twenty- 
eight signers a second time, saying they were all a set of "liars, 
scoundrels and cowards !" 

Just think of it! A speaker denouncing in that style twenty- 
eight of our most respected citizens, and the negroes yelling their 
applause with hellish delight. Can anything be imagined better 



15 

calculated to bring on a row ? And yet those white Democrats 
who heard the diabolical harangue and heard the shouts of the 
negroes stood it ; and they did it for the sake of peace. It was a 
great wonder that some man, inflamed by the insults offered to 
him and his friends, did not offer violence to the speaker. Had he 
done so a bloodier scene would have followed than that which 
was enacted on the following day. 

Thanks to the high sense of duty of our law-abiding citizens 
and their love of peace, they bore it all, and not a hair of Sims' 
head was touched ! Moreover, they permitted him to get in 
a buggy with James Verser and drive out of town the 
next day unmolested. They knew^if any one of them had attacked 
him that it would in all probability have resulted in a general fight 
between the whites and blacks. We are glad it so happened, as 
it places our men in the right. 



The witness, W. P. Graves, being duly sworn, deposes and 

says : 

I was in the club-meeting on night of Friday, November 2d, 
1883, and stayed until it adjourned. L. Stovall and myself came 
out after adjournment, and were waiting for Raine at Wiseman's 
corner, when he proposed to walk around where Sims was speaking 
to hear what was going on. When we got there I suppose there 
were 12 or 15 white men and about 500 negroes present. Sims was 
reading the circular, "Coalition Rule in Danville." He called the 
names of all the signers and denounced them as liars, scoundrels 
and cowards ; these denunciations were repeated throughout his 
speech ; almost every sentence was wound up with " that's a lie, 
and they know it." I never have, in all my life, heard such a 
speech, and I hope to God never to hear another such. It was the 
most incendiary one I ever heard. The negroes were yelling ap- 
plause at every sentence. Johnston, the mayor, came up then and 
told me there was likely to be a riot, and he wanted me to assist 
him in suppressing it — that he would do anything in the world I 
said. He insisted very much that I should go on the stand with 
him, and that he would make Sims apologize. I told him there 
was no danger of any row there. He was very strenuous in in- 
sisting that there would be a row, and I broke loose from him and 
came away, bringing all the white men I saw, to prevent any diffi- 
culty. I think I brought nearly all the white men away who were 
there. Mayor Johnston said he did not approve of Sims' speech at 



16 

all ; and the speech was what he seemed to think would produce 
the riot. The negroes were very much excited. He would read 
such sentences, and comment upon it, and say that is such a one, 
and the negroes would yell ; and by their conduct showed that 
they were very much excited, especially when anything was read 
bearing upon the negroes. It was the vilest speech I have ever 
heard. It seemed that he was trying to get up a row, and I had 
no idea of accommodating him. After we left, I and, so far as I 
know, all the white men, went home. 

WM. P. GRAVES. 



J. C. Reagen, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I was on Main street Saturday, 3d November, 1883, when the 
riot commenced. I did not see the fight between Noell and Law- 
son; but after it, as I came out of the Opera House, I saw the 
negroes crowded around a few white men in front of Ruffin, Wool- 
foolk & Blair's. One of them pointed to Bob Taylor and said : 
" There's the man who did the shooting, and he's got his pistol 
now." Taylor showed his pistol, and said : " Here it is." Some 
others showed theirs, and the negroes showed theirs likewise; and 
just then one fired (I don't know whether white or black), and the 
firing became general. The negroes had said that they had as well 
have it out there as anywhere. The policeman Withers tried to 
get them to disperse and they would not. After the firing com- 
menced I don't recollect anything else. I suppose^there were 150 
or 200 negroes there and about 15 white men. 

J. C. REAGEN. 



J. E. Perkinson, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I first heard a noise as if parties were in a fight. I started from 
Waddill's store down toward Ruffin, Woolfolk & Blair's, where 
a crowd was collecting to witness the fisticuff between Noell and 
Lawson. I stood there awhile and asked Noell how he was hurt ; 
he was bloody, and I thought he was cut. Noell started back to 
wash his hands; I started after him, but came back in front of 
Chatelain's store, and while I was standing there the crowd of ne- 
groes were pressing around the white men on the pavement. The 
•white men were trying to get them to disperse. One negro said, 
"There is the man who did the shooting." Taylor opened his c< at 



17 

and pulled out his pistol and showed it to thetn. While standing 
there some one said, " Fire." Who it was, whether a white man 
or negro, I know not. I then turned, and as I turned the negroes 
were running up the street, and I saw about five or six of them 
firing, as they ran, at the whites. I then made for Paxton's store, 
and got as far as the door. I was unarmed, and I turned as I got 
to the door, attracted by Walters Holland, as he was carried up 
the street. I followed him until they took him into Guerrant's 
store. I did not see any more of the firiug, as it was about over 
then. I saw white men firing — ten or fifteen ; I don't know who 
they were. I suppose there were from one hundred to two hun- 
dred negroes and not over twenty whites present. 

J. E. PERKINSOX. 



B. F. Williamson, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

When Noell and Lawson first •omrnenced the fight, Geo. Adams, 
a colored man, was standing in our store paying us some money. 
He ran out and across the street to where Geo. Lea was standing 
with a pistol, and slipping behind him he grabbed it, when they 
had a scuffle, each trying to get possession of the pistol. Adams 
got Lea down on the ground, and in the scuffle the pistol went off. 
The negro jumped up and ran off, and in a few minutes he came 
back to the crowd of negroes and tried to urge them on Lea, and 
was cursing, saying " there's the damned scoundrel who had the 
pistol I tried to get, and if I had gotten it I would have shot him." 
He was trying to get the negroes to attack. There wasn't over 
fifteen white men present, and about one hundred and fifty to two 
hundred negroes. Before the fight between Noell and Lawson was 
over there were 500 negroes present. Noell had no stick or 
weapon in the fight. I don't know how the firing commenced, 
but the cursing by Adams was going on when it commenced. I 
saw lots of negroes with arms. 

B. F. WILLIAMSON. 



Frank Corbett (colored), being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I was up town when the fuss commenced. I was with Hense 
Lawson and Davis Lewellin Saturday, 3d November, in the morn- 
ing at about 11 o'clock, and went in the billiard room of Brown 
with Hense Lawson. Mr. Joel Oliver was in there, and he and 
Hense Lawson had some words. I took Hense and carried him 



18 

out into the bar-room. I told him to let Mr. Oliver alone, that 
he would get into some fuss ; he said he did not care if he did, 
that he was ready and had plenty of friends to back him. I talked 
to him awhile and left him. I got down to the store, and soon 
saw him and Davis coming down the street. He met Mr. Noell 
about Ruflin, Woolfolk & Blair's office, and stepped on Mr. 
Noell's foot. Mr. Noell asked him why he did it. Hense said he 
was getting out of the way of a lady, and Mr. Noell said it was all 
right. Davis said, " If it ain't all right, I can make it all right," 
and he and Noell had a fight. They hit about four licks apiece. 
Mr. Noell left and came down the street by Mr. Vass' store. I do 
not know where Lawson and Davis went. I heard it rumored 
around that there would be a fight, for two or three weeks. 

FRANK CORBETT. 



T. E. Gregory, being du^y sworn, deposes and says : 
I was on the street Saturday, 3d November, about three o'clock. 
I came down from the Opera Hall. I saw Jeff* Corbin standing 
out in the street. I saw a negro with a pistol, as I thought, aim- 
ing for Jeff, and I made for him as quick as I could. About that 
time the firing commenced. I think the negro fell over, but he 
got up and started again ; I don't know what became of him after- 
wards. I saw about a dozen pistols in the hands of negroes, and 
I saw several fire them. I saw white men with pistols, too ; but 
I do not know who they were, white or black. There were be- 
tween 250 or 300 negroes present, and very few whites (15 or 20.) 

T. E. GREGORY. 



W. A. Meeks, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 
I had heard that Noell and a negro had a difficulty on the street, 
and had tried to find out about it, but could not. When he 
passed by I aske'd him, and he said, Come on up here; and I went 
up with him to Ruffin's office, and met Hense Lawson, with two 
or three other negroes. I could not hear what he said to Hense. 
Lawson made some answer, and Noell commenced to strike him 
with his fist. A yellow negro was boisterous and commenced hal- 
lowing murder. No one had touched him. I told him to shut 
up, and fye said he would not do it ; afterwards they got quiet for 
five or ten minutes. I heard a pistol go off, and in a few minutes 
after that the firing commenced. I saw a negro in the crowd with 
a pistol above his head. 

W. A. MEEKS. 



19 

15th November, 1883. 

J. G. Miller, Sr., being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

The first I saw or heard of the riot was when the first fight 
commenced with Noell and Lawson, who were engaged at that 
time, and when neither had any appearance of blood or wounds 
inflicted upon them ; who were fighting, each one without any 
weapon of any kind that I could see, in the presence of a few white 
men, not over three or four at that time, and not many colored 
persons. As the fight continued the number of persons (both 
white and colored) present increased, until there were ten or a 
dozen white persons and a hundred or more colored persons, about 
which time the fight between Noell and Lawson was concluded by 
Lawson's hallowing " enough," as I understood it. During the 
fight of Noell and Lawson, from the time that I first saw them, 
three white men, with their pistols drawn, stood very near and 
around Noell and Lawson, who were fighting. A large number of 
colored people were standing immediately in front of them, in the 
street, looking on. After the fight between Noell and Lawson was 
over, a colored man ran forward at one of the white men, who had 
a pistol in his hand, and both fell on the sidewalk together. Im- 
mediately after falling, the colored man jumped up and ran 
back, when a pistol was fired, by whom I do not know. After 
which another white man went into the midst of the crowd of ne- 
goes, who informed me his object was to disperse them, whose 
efforts were unsuccessful. In a short time after which more white 
men came up, and very soon thereafter firing of pistols commenced, 
which was soon over, as the colored people dispersed as rapidly as 
they could until the streets were cleared at that point. I was stand- 
ing about sixty feet from where Noell and Lawson were fighting 
when the firing commenced ; there were one hundred and fifty or 
more negroes present and fifteen or twenty white men. 

J. G. MILLER. 



J. T. Morton, being duly sworn, deposes and says ; 

I was in the Opera House when the riot commenced. I he:ird 
they were fighting, and got down as soon as I could. I started up 
the street and got to the upper corner of Averett's shoe-store ; and 
I saw, I suppose, 10 or 15 shots, some from one side of the street 
and some from the other. One ball from the opposite side from 
Market Square struck Averett's shoe-store about 3 feet above my 



20 

head, and the brick-dust f<;ll down on ray hat. I wont across 
Main street and up to Wiseman's corner ; when I got there, there 
were two shots fired from the direction of down Union street. I 
could not tell where they came from. I think about that time the 
firing ceased. I saw Cabell and Judge Aiken in the street trying 
to stop it. I suppose there were 150 negroes present when the 
firing commenced; there w r erc not more than 25 white men on the 
street. I saw a negro with a pistol in his hand, saying, " It had 
as well come now as Tuesday — let them shoot." The negroes were 
shooting as well as the white men. I saw it was a riot good. 

J. T. MORTON. 



L. L. Bass, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I was in the Opera House when the riot commenced and looked 
out of the window. I saw two negroes shoot towards the white 
men and run, and one of them shot over his shoulder back toward 
them as he ran. I saw only one of them with a pistol. A white 
man came down and went to Jopling's to get arms. This is all I 
could swear to. I heard a man tell a negro he had started the fuss 
and he had better get away. Col. Cabell, I think, told him not to 
hurt the negro. 

L. L. BASS. 



S. F. Terry, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I saw across the street about 10 o'clock Chas. Noell walking off 
and a negro picking up his hat. I did not see any licks passed ; 
about two hours afterwards I saw the fight between Noell and a 
colored man, and saw a negro grasp a white man's wrist and try to 
take a pistol from him; the pistol went off. I saw Mr. Peter Booth 
trying to get the crowd of negroes to disperse, but they seemed de- 
termined and pressed forward. Soon the firing commenced, and 
some of the negroes ran through our store (Hamlin & Hinton's), 
and one ran by me with a knife with which he cut my finger acci- 
dentally. I think that at least 150 negroes were present when the 
firing commenced, and not over 20 white men. I saw no negroes 
with arras save the one with the knife. I saw one white man 
standing in his door with a double-barrelled gun. These are the 
only ones with arms I can swear to. 

S. F. TERRY. 



21 
Chas. Friend, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I went down to the Opera House to open it for Mr. Jamerson* 
The crowd come, and Col. Cabell desired two of us to keep the 
gallery, to keep the colored people out. Geo. Lea, Bob Taylor, and 
myself were the ones to go up there, and just as Mr. Barksdale 
finshed reading the circular on Coalition Rule, I heard a disturbance 
in the street. I went to the window and looked out, and saw a 
crowd of negroes rushing across the street in three or four direc- 
tions towards our office (R. W. & Blair's). I could see, from the 
window, a white man and negro grappling together. I thought 
them boys at first. *I did not leave just then, because I thought it 
would be over in a minute ; but when I did go down, which I did 
in about five minutes, Dance was standing in the office-door with 
a gun, and a crowd of negroes were standing jam up to the side- 
walk. He seemed excited, and told me Chas. Noell had just beaten 
a negro severely, and to go to the Opera House and tell them all 
to come out. I went down, and Col. Cabell seemed anxious to 
keep the crowd together. I hallowed to them that the thing was 
about over. I left the Opera House again with Mr. C. G. Hol- 
land, and going up the street I saw that things were much worse ; 
and when I got between N. & Hessburg^s and Vass', some of the 
darkies in the crowd commenced cursing at me pretty lively, and 
I went into our office and went behind the safe and got an old pis- 
tol, which had been returned to me the day before. I went out 
again, and then I heard a negro holler "damn you, this thing has 
got to be settled, and we had as well settle it now." He was stand- 
ing in the middle of the crowd. A white man, with a large pocket- 
knife, stepped out and hollered, " Here's at you," and then I heard 
a shot, which, in about a second, was followed by a volley from 
both sides. The negroes ran, some of them firing back as they 
run. My pistol could not be cocked on account of rust. I think 
about three hundred negroes were present when the firing com- 
menced, and about twenty whites. 

CHAS. FRIEND. 



16th November, 1883. 

N. F. Reid, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

The night W. E. Sims was speaking here (the night before the 
riot), I was standing on the outskirts of the crowd and heard C. E. 
Hawkins, colored (on the market), say in a loud voice: "Let them 
pitch in, if they want to; we can give them enough of it." I 



22 

heard a good deal of talking around among them, as if they were 
mad and would like to fight. Sims said he had come there to 
answer the circular composed of " 148 lies." After commenting 
on it very severely, he said the man who wrote it knew he was 
writing a lie, and that it was gotten up by George Cabell and his 
pimps; that it was lies from beginning to end, but Cabell had too 
much sense to sign it. It was the most incendiary speech I ever 
heard. After he read the circular, he read out each name signed 
to it, and commented on each name in rough terms, and said that 
every man that signed that paper, signed it knowing it to be a lie, 
and he was a liar, coward and a scoundrel; and told the colored 
people that they need hot be afraid of them, that they were liars 
and cowards ; and he said it was democratic principles to shoot a 
man in the dark, but if they would come openly to him he wasn't 
afraid of the whole damned set of liars. He would call on the 
negroes and ask them if they didn't know that these were liars ; 
and they said : " Yes, yes." Mayor Johnston and Jim Verser were 
present, and both said they could not endorse such a speech. 
Johnston proposed to Capt. Graves to go up and make Sims apolo- 
gize and modify. Jim Verser said the same. I saw the latter 
part of the riot as I came down from the Opera House, and I saw 
two negroes shoot as they ran off. 

N. T. REID. 

The night that Poindexter, from Louisa, spoke here, about a 
week before Sims' speech, Squire Taliaferro (colored) said in his 
speech that the Virginia gentleman had been talking about negro 
rule, and that, if negro rule would cause Danville to sell a few 
more pounds of tobacco, they were going to have it ; and that, by 
God ! they were going to have half negro rule anyhow, and that 
they did not want any more North Carolina people here anyhow. 

N. T. REID. 



James P. Harrison, being duly sworn, deposes and says : 

About 2 o'clock on Saturday, 3d November, 1883, I went from 
my office to the Opera House, and finding, as I thought, that it 
had not been opened, I started up the street to get the key. As I 
passed Grey's shoe store four young negroes were seated on the 
stone window sill, and one of them said as I passed, " There goes 
old Jim Harrison," adding some very insulting language, which I 
did not listen to and cannot remember; but his tone and manner 
was exceedingly insolent, and calculated to have excited a disturb- 



23 

ance with most men. After this, finding that the Opera House 
was in fact open, I returned and went to the mass meeting. It 
was a very full meeting of white men. In the midst of the busi- 
ness some disturbance on the street caused a rush to the windows, 
and it was reported that a negro had been shot. The chairman 
and prominent men present urged the assembly to keep quiet and 
finish the business before they went on the street, and only a few 
individuals left after this request. A large majority of those pres- 
sent remained until the resolutions were passed, and afterwards 
went upon the stand at the request of the chairman to sign them 
personally. There was no adjournment until the firing had ceased. 
Myself and Colonel Cabell left a majority of the meeting behind 
us when we came out on the street, and when I ran across to get a 
pistol at Jcppling's store the shooting was entirely over and the 
street cleared of negroes. From that time the efforts of all the 
white men seemed to be to preserve the peace and prevent further 
trouble. As soon as I got a pistol I came up in front of the Ar- 
lington Hotel. An excited crowd was there, and in a few minutes, 
under the advice of Col. Cabell and Judge Aiken, the Sergeant 
of the town had ordered out the Danville Grays, who filed out 
from their armcry and were stationed at different points on Main 
street. Very soon the Sergeant commanded the crowd to disperse 
and go home, and the crowd obeyed. 

On Monday afternoon, as I came down town, several negroes ac- 
costed me near Steaufield's store and asked me what would happen 
to them if they went to the polls on Tuesday. I told them that 
they could vote without any trouble; that I and other white men 
were determined that everybody should have a fair showing. One 
of them told me that their leaders had advised them to vote at Wim- 
bish's, but not to vote in Danville. On several other occasions ne- 
groes told me that the colored men had resolved not to vote, and 
were not going to vote in Danville. On Tuesday, finding that the 
negroes were not voting in Danville, and that the Coalition judges 
of election were not serving, I went to A. M. Whpeler's house, he 
being the acting superintendent of the Coalition party in Danville 
and P. M. I asked him why he and the other judges did not 
serve. He told me that from the first he was doubtful whether he 
could serve, and Dr. Green had advised him not to serve because 
of his wife's exceeding nervousness; but that W. P. Robinson and 
"W. H. Graswit, who were Coalition judges of election, had come 
to him to advise with him whether they should serve or not, say- 
ing that they did not see any use in their serving, since their peo- 
ple were not going to vote. He told them that they ought by all 



24 

means to serve, but they persisted in the contrary opinion on the 
grouri i. I also asked him why the negroes were not voting. 

He said he did not know; that thn me to him that morn- 

and he told them to do as they chose, that he did not think 
there would be any trouble. I then told him thf»t we understood 
the i)' . ere advised not to voti 

them ; and then told me that on Sunday he had be for in 

the reveui to confer with his party leaders, and that Pleas- 

ants and Payne advised that they should advise the colored people 
in the town and in the county to stay away from the polls, since 
they could not possibly carry it anyhow. E .. ith them, 

but they insisted. 

JAMES P. HARRISON. 



R. M. Hubbard, being duly sworn, deposes and says: 

I was in the Opera House when the disturbance first occurred 
on the street, and the superintendent persuaded the people to re- 
main until the business was finished. Quiet w; ed there. 
A few moments after, some one at the window said id all 
better get out here, and the crowd made a m in to get out, 
and were quieted a second time, a fi going on; firing 
pretty soon commenced, aud most of them went out, I suppose, 
although I left a majority in the house, and when I got down the 
shooting was about over. I saw negroes with pistols about Market 
street, and a negro was looking back, with a pistol, apparently 
about to fire back. I think I saw ten or twelve negroes with pis- 
tols. The Grays were called out in a few moments, and the crowd 
requested to disperse, which they did. I was put on guard that 
night as special police, and had been riding around town aud be- 
yond the Dry Bridge. Mr. Geo. Coleman, L. Stovall, P. Gravely 
and myself were quietly riding along, when we were fired into 
from the yard of a colored man just beyond the Dry Bridge, and 
I was wounded in the leg, and my horse was inded. I 
suppose twelve or fifteen shots were fired into us. We replied 
after they fired the second time; we stopped after the first fire and 
asked who it was and what it meant, when they replied with an- 
other volley. I returned and came back to Danville, being badly 
wounded. 

R. M. HUBBARD. 



25 

November 17th, 1883. 
James Wood, being duly sworn, deposes anl says: 

I have lived in Danville since 17th July, 1865. I am now Ser- 
geant of Danville, and have been three years or more; was nomi- 
nated on the Coalition ticket and endorsed by the people generally at 
last election; had no opposition. On the 3d November, 1883, 1 was 
sitting in my office and heard several pistol shots in quick suc- 
cession, followed by a volley of shots. I went as fast as I could 
travel to Main street, a distance of one square from my office, 
where I found the citizens, generally, assembled in large numbers 
on Main street. As soon as I could comprehend the situation, I 
called upon the citizens to listen to me, and in the name of the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia, I commanded peace, being sheriff" of the 
town, and immediatly called upon the Danville Grays to parade 
and fall into line and aid me in preserving the peace. After doing 
which I disposed of the men as I thought best, stationing them at 
different cross-streets with orders to disperse all crowds of persons 
assembled on the street. My next action was to close all drinking 
houses in town and to summon a posse of citizens in addition to 
the military force, to perform guard duty and such other duty as 
the exigency might require. The citizens, generally, responded, 
and assembled in the armory of the Grays, where they were or- 
ganized and placed under different squad commanders. I had the 
Grays under my command, and the crowd dispersed within half 
an hour after the riot. The crowd, generally, dispersed upon 
my command to them to do so, some remaining, that were re- 
moved from the streets by the orders of the military. Many of 
the prominent citizens aided me Li restoring order, and but for 
their aid I could not have succeeded as well. The citizens, gene- 
rally, were obedient to my orders, and seemed law-abiding and 
anxious to preserve the peace. 

From this time on until the close of the polls on election day, 
either in command or in conjunction with Mayor Johnston, he and 
I exerted ourselves to insure quiet and peace to the citizens and 
a quiet and peaceable election, and this was secured to all the citi- 
zens of the town, so far as I know. I assured all persons that felt any 
apprehension on that scor?, that there was safety, and that I would 
go with any who were fearful. A more quiet and peaceable 
election I have not seen in Danville. In my opinion, there was 
entire safety to all to go to the polls and vote as tbey desired, 
although I met colored persons who professed that they were 
afrajd to go and vote, and I assured them there was no danger. I 



26 

was at the Courthouse precinct most of the time, and at Wood- 
son's some, and in sight of the other precincts, they being all. I 
saw no one threatened, or any violence at or near the polls, or 
anywhere. I saw no display, at any precinct, of guns or fire- 
arms of any sort. 

On Saturday, about 6 o'clock P. M., I received a telegram from 
Governor Cameron, saying he had heard of trouble in Danville, 
and wished to know the facts. I replied that the town was in 
great excitement, and that four persons (I thought) had been killed, 
but that now the town was under control of the civil authorities 
and quiet. On the same night Governor Cameron telegraphed me 
to advise him of any change, and if any help was needed to let 
him know. 

On Sunday about 12 o'clock M., Mayor Johnston and I, out of 
abundant caution and to relieve the Grays, who had been on duty 
since Saturday afternoon, telegraphed Governor Cameron to send a 
company of military from Lynchburg before night. He replied 
by asking if there was any new exigency, or if any change had 
taken place. I replied, " No, no new exigency, but out of abun- 
dant caution, and to relieve the company here on duty." These 
telegrams were all on Sunday. Then I received one on the same 
day from Governor Cameron, suggesting a division of my company 
into reliefs, saying that from the tenor of my telegrams he thought 
that a posse of citizens would be more effective than troops, and 
declining to send any unless advised by me of their need, and 
telling me to so advise him at ouca and fully of any change in the 
situation. I had no further communication from or with him un- 
til Monday night between 8 and 9 o'clock, telling me that he had 
sent the troops — a section of artillery and a company of infantry. 
Then, in reply to that, I said to the Governor that the excitement 
had greatly subsided since mine and Johnston's telegram to him 
asking for troops, and that the town was now quiet, and I did not 
deem it necessary that he should send the troops, but that he could 
do as he thought necessary. The troops arrived here early Tues- 
day morning, and I stationed them at the armory of the Danville 
Grays. They remained there, subject to my order, and there being 
no need for them, they were not called upon at all. They re- 
mained here until Wednesday morning, and left about 10 o'clock. 
There was no time between the riot and the end of the election 
that my authority as Sergeant of the town and conservator of the 
peace was suspended or incapable of being enforced. So far as my 
observation extended, I saw no disposition to commit any violence 
or renew the difficulty by any one. Rumors, almost numbeiless, 



/\- 



27 

were constantly coming to rae and others who were engaged in 
preserving the peace of indications of further disturbance, but 
when investigated were found to be groundless, except one case, 
where the special guard was fired upon by some unknown person 
on Saturday night near the Dry Bridge, when Mr. Hubbard, one 
of the guards, was wounded, and also his horse. 

JAMES WOOD, Sergeant. 



H. A. Cobb, being duly sworn, deposes and swears : 

I was up in the Opera House Saturday, 3d November, 1883. 
Some disturbance occurred on the street. I came out before the 
general shooting. When I reached the street I saw a large crowd 
of negroes on the street in front of R. W. & Blair's and a few 
white men on the pavement, when I heard some one, I think a 
negro, as it came from the direction of the crowd of negroes, say, 
" We can shoot as well as they can ;" and almost immediately the 
firing commenced. I can't say which side fired first. There were 
about 200 or 250 negroes and 15 or 20 whites. I saw several pis- 
tols in the hands of negroes and white men also; both parties 
seemed to be ready. I got into the door of the office of R. W. & 
Blair, and remained until the shooting was over, when the colored 
people left the street. 

I was in town from the riot until the close of the polls Tuesday. 
I was a special policeman at the polls that day from sun-up to sun- 
down. On the day previous to election I was asked by several 
colored people if there would be any difficulty about their voting, 
and I told them, No; I would be there, and would guarantee them 
the right to vote any way they wished. 

I saw no fire-arms or guns on that day, save those the policemen 
had. I was on duty at Woodson's, 3d ward. I saw a negro there 
with tickets — Coalition — offering them to any who wished to vote, 
and some few negroes voted. The election was entirely quiet. 

H. A. COBB. 



Mason Arrington (colored), being duly sworn, deposes and says " 

Saturday, 3d November, about half past 12 o'clock, I was in H. 
Jones' barber-shop, when I heard Squire Taliaferro, leader of the 
negroes and a former policeman here, say, " There will be a diffi- 
culty here this evening." While eating dinner at the factory of 



2.S 

Arnett & Wemple, where I work, I heard the hands say that if 
any one had touched Mr. Sims that they would have taken up for 
him and fought tor him. 

I voted on the day of election. It was as quiet as I ever saw. 
No one attempted to interfere with me at all. 

HIS 

MASON j*j ARLINGTON. 

RK. 



November 19th, 1883. 
P. B. Booth, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I heard a portion of W. E. Sims' speech, on Friday night, 2d 
November, 1883. He held up a paper in his hand, and said here 
we would read a parcel of lies gotten up against "you people" — 
against negro rule in Danville. I could not begin to say what he 
did not say. I think it the most outrageous speech I ever heard, 
and calculated to incite a row — to influence the negroes to attack 
the whites. At the close of almost every sentence he denounced 
the white men, and the negroes would yell. 

Late in the evening, about three o'clock, Saturday, 3d Novem- 
ber, 1883, I was in my store, attending to my business as usual. 
From the crowd in the store going to the door, I knew there was 
some excitement on the street. I went to the door and saw on the 
opposite side of the street from the house a white and colored 
man fighting. I immediately went across the street to where it 
was. There were only a few white men present, and at that time 
there were about 100 or 150 negroes crowding on the few. I tried 
to disperse the negroes, and they refused to go. A negro about 
that time grabbed at a pistol in the hands of a white man and 
tried to wrench it from him, and in the scuffle for the pistol the 
pistol was fired. The white men were trying to keep the negroes 
back, so that the white man and negro should have a fair fight, as 
he said. The negroes fell back a little when the pistol was fired, 
but soon crowded up again, and several of them, pointing their 
fingers to the white man, said : " There's the rascal that shot." I 
again urged them to disperse ; they still refused, and one negro 
said, in a loud voice: "Let them come, damn them; we are ready 
for them" — he holding his hand at the same time behind him, 
from which I believed he held a pistol in his hand. About that 
time the firing commenced, both negroes and whites shooting. I 
saw negroes, as they ran, fire back at the whites, and I saw them 
fire before they ran. I suppose between forty and sixty shots were 



29 

fired in all by both sides. Some of the whites fired over the tops 
of the houses as the negroes ran. I was made special policeman 
Monday morning following. Order was restored immediately 
after the riot. There was no further disturbance anywhere. I 
was on duty from Monday to Wednesday morning, and during 
Tuesday I visited all three of the polls. I never saw a more quiet 
election anywhere. Outside of the police I saw no display of fire- 
arms anywhere. I saw a colored man at each precinct with Coali- 
tion tickets, distributing them. I saw J. B. Ralston,: Internal 
revenue collector, get one and vote it. I saw a great many col- 
ored men and told them go and vote, that there was no danger ; 
they said they did not waut to vote. I asked some of them if 
they were afraid to vote, and they said, No. I was unarmed when 
I went across to the fight ; it was about thirty yards from my store. 
I suppose there were present, when the firing commenced, about 
12 or 20 whites, and about 200 or 250 negroes. 

P. B. BOOTH. 



W. J. Moore, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I heard a part of W. E. Sims' speech on Friday, 2d November, 
1883. He held up a paper purporting to be a circular from the 
people of Danville to the Southwest aud Valley, on negro rule in 
Danville. He stated one article after another contained in that 
circular was a pack of lies, and called each name aud firm signed 
thereto, and stated that they would go before the country as per- 
jured men ; that he (Sims) was here to denounce these men as 
" liars, scoundrels and cowards," and urged upon the negroes to go 
to the polls on the day of election prepared to assert their rights 
at all hazards; that the people of Danville were cowards, and 
would not fight. I consider it one of the most incendiary speeches 
I ever listened to, even in the days of Reconstruction, and calcu- 
lated to excite the worst passions of the negroes, and they ap- 
plauded him to the echo. He was heartily endorsed by the negroes. 
From the time of the riot until after the election I saw no attempt 
by anybody to intimidate the colored people. On the contrary, on 
the day of election, I saw a number of negroes go to the polls and 
receive tickets from one of their party, fold them aud place them 
in their pocket, and walk off' and not vote. 

W. J. MOORE. 



30 

Chas. G. Freeman, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I am a member of the regular police of Danville, and have 
been on duty for more than a year. On Saturday, 3d November, 
1883, 1 was on duty on Craghead street, and heard of the fuss on 
Main street ; hastened there and found, I suppose, forty or fifty 
whites and about three hundred negroes. I did all I could to 
disperse the crowd. Mr. Joel Oliver told the negroes if they 
would disperse the whites would. While trying to disperse the 
crowd a negro showed me his pistol, and said they had not been 
treated right, and that they intended to have their rights. In a 
moment the firing commenced, but I know not who fired first. I 
saw negroes and whites both firing. Some negroes would whirl 
and fire as they ran, and whirl and fire and again run. 

I was on duty Saturday night and Sunday morning. Order was 
restored in half an hour after the riot, and the town was in the 
hands of the police-military under the orders of the Sergeant. 
Saturday night was the most quiet one I ever saw in Danville. I 
was at one of the polls election day, and everything was perfectly 
quiet. I distributed circulars issued by Mayor Johnston, urging 
the people to come and vote. — Ex. " C. G. F., 1 " ; also the cir- 
cular Ex. " C. G. F." herewith filed. 

CHAS. G. FREEMAN. 



" Exhibit C. G. F." 
NOTICE. 

We, the undersigned, law-abiding citizens of Danville, deter- 
mined to keep the peace, have met and conferred together, and we 
assure all persons, white and colored, without regard to party, that 
we desire nothing but a fair election on the 6th day of Aovember, 
and we pledge every one our word and faith that we will use all 
of our power and influence to see that every citizen exercises his 
right to vote without being bulldozed or intimidated. 

JNO. D. BLACKWELL, 

GEO. C. CABELL, 

J. II. JOHNSTON (Mayor), 

A. M. AIKEN, 

L, C. BERKELEY, Jr., 

J AS. P. HARRISON, 

BERRYMAN GREEN, 

J. D. BLAIR, 



31 

L. E. HARVIE, 

JAMES WOOD (Sergeant), 

H. W. COLE, (Coroner), 

M. P. JORDAN, 

E. KEEN, Jr., 

R. C. HERNDON, 

J. F. RISON, 

WM. E. BOISSEAU, 

J. J. PRITCHETT, 

JNO. A. SMITH, 

T. L. BROWN, 

P. H. BOISSEAU, 

PHIL. L. GRASTY, 

W. S. WILKINSON, 

T. R. McDEARMAN. 

Representing, under autbortity, our respective political organi- 
zations in Danville, we approve the foregoing spirit and senti- 
ment, and pledge our parties to use every effort to sustain the 
same. 

A. M. WHEELER, City Central Com. 

J. B. RAULSTON, 

GEO. C. CABELL, Chm. Dem. Party. 



" Exhibit C. G. F. 1." 

PROCLAMATION. 

Mayor's Office, 
Danville, Va., Nov. 5th, 1883. 
To the People of Danville : 

All good citizens deprecate the present disturbed condition of 
our town, and earnestly desire the restoration of peace and good 
order. For the promotion of their so proper wishes, I have ap- 
pointed eleven special constables in each ward, who will be under 
the command of chiefs as follows : In the First ward, Capt. Har- 
ry Wooding ; in the Second ward, J. M. Covington ; in the Third 
ward, P. H, Boisseau. The special constables in each ward have 
been appointed upon the recommendation of their respective 
chiefs, and are all reliable men. And I have also called into ser- 
vice the Danville Grays as the military coadjutors of this special 
constabulary. This arrangement will go into effect this day 
(Monday) at 10 o'clock A. M. 



32 

So complete and reliable is this arrangement for the preservation 
of peace and the protection of the town, that I feel fully warranted 
y my fellow-citizens that peace and good order will be 
maintained ; and I, therefore, call upon all good citizens to resume 
their usual avocations ; to cease appearing upon the streets armed 
with shot-guns or other weapons, and thus, and by quiet conduct 
and conversation — " the things which make for peace " — aid and 
assist me and the other authorities of the town in restoring peace 
and good order, as all good citizens should do. 

J. H. JOHNSTON, Mayor. 

E. Keen, Jr., being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I was in the Opera House, 3d November, when the firing com- 
menced. I heard ten or twelve shots fired before I got down the 
steps, and when I got down the firing continued, and just as I got 
up to the crowd the negroes scattered. I saw ten or twelve shots 
fired from the midst of the crowd of negroes, by negroes. There 
were about half dozen balls in the walls of the buildings in rear 
of the position the whites occupied, which must have come from 
the negroes who were in front of them. When I got to the corner 
I found about a dozen white men and a street full of negroes. 
Quiet was restored pretty quick after the riot, and order prevailed 
until after the election. I heard of no disturbance except that on 
Saturday night, when Special Policeman Hubbard was shot, while 
on duty, by some unknown person in a colored man's yard near 
Dry Bridge. I visited twe of the polls Tuesday and everything 
was perfectly quiet. I saw no one with arms save policemen. I 
heard Capt. Booth ask four or five negroes if they were afraid to 
vote, and they said, " No." 

E. KEEN, Jr. 



T. B. Fitzgerald, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I am contractor and builder, and one of the proprietors of the 
Riverside Cotton Mills. I live in North Danville, and was not 
present at the riot, and know nothing of it save from hearsay. 
Immediately after the riot I went across the upper bridge, on my 
way home, and met quite a number of colored persons coming to- 
wards town with their guns. 

In North Danville, where I was from the time of the riot until 
Wednesday, it was quiet, and the most quiet election was held I 
ever saw. There was no disorder. Every citizen could have voted 
without hindrance. 

T. B. FITZGKRALD. 



33 

Dr. M. E. Douglass, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I reside in Danville, and am a practicing physician, and was in 
town on the day of the riot, but was not there at the beginning, 
and know not enough of it to make a statement. I do a large 
practice among the negroes, and attended several of the wounded, 
and all the deaths I know of resulting from the riot is four. Tues- 
day, the day of the election, a colored man named Geo. Peters came 
into my office for medicine for his child. I asked him where he 
was the day of the riot. His answer was, " I was in Chatham and 
didn't get home until last night " I then asked him if he was go- 
ing to vote. He answered, " No, sir." I said, " You have been 
told not to, haven't you ?" His answer was, "The first thing I 
heard on stepping from the cars was not to vote." 

I was here on election day riding all over town. I heard no in- 
timidation ; I saw several pistols ; they may have been with 
special police ; I did not know the special police. The election 
was quiet. I take little interest in politics, and never voted but once 
before in my life. I came here from Philadelphia. I have been 
here nearly four years. 

M. E. DOUGLASS, M. D. 



W. R. Taylor, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

On Thursday, the first day of November, 1883, I was coming 
back up the street with a friend, between 7 and 8 o'clock P. M. 
There was such a crowd of negroes on the corner of Main and Union 
streets that we had to pass single through them. I saw a negro 
make a gesture at my friend's back, and when I passed myself I 
looked back over my shoulder to see if it was repeated, and the 
same negro struck at my back. I turned and looked him in the face, 
and he shrunk into the crowd, I said nothing and passed on to 
the "Arlington " corner, when I heard a negro in the crowd call 
out, " What in the hell was he looking back about." I replied that 
was my business, but he could find out if he wished to meddle with 
it. I then saw a negro take a pistol from his hip pocket and place 
it in the side pocket of his overcoat, and start across the street to 
me with his hand still in the pocket with the pistol. Mr. James 
Covington then stepped up and spoke to the negro, saying, " this 
thing has gone far enough," also saying to me, " Bob, control your 
temper ; if we have any difficulty here we want it to be after the 
election." I then told the negro to leave at once, or else I 
3 



34 

would make him ; he then went back to the crowd and I went 
home. This negro I afterwards recognized to be the same one 
with which Charlie Noell had a fight on Saturday, 3d of Novem- 
ber, two days later. 

On Saturday, 3d of November, 1883, 1 went to the Opera House 
at half-past two o'clock P. M., where I saw Chas. Noell, who told 
me and Mr. Geo. Lea, who were alone in the gallery, that a negro, 
on his way to dinner that day, had stepped on his heel on Main 
street, and when asked what he meant by it, replied that he was 
getting out of the way of a white lady. Noell said, " of course 
that's all right," and stepped aside himself. As soon as the lady 
passed another negro standing by, said he u didn't give a damn if 
it was not all right," wdiereupon Noell struck him and ran him off 
the sidewalk ; „then the two negroes together shoved Noell over 
into the gutter, when he recovered and started at them again ; they 
both backed and placed their hands on their hip-pockets. Noell, 
seeing no white men, said he passed on to dinner. We then, Lea 
and myself, asked him if we hadn't better go with him to see those 
youngsters ; he said no, that he wanted things to be quiet until 
after the election, when he intended to flog that negro for insulting 
him. lie then bade us good-bye, saying his buggy was waiting 
for him to go to the country. He had not been out more than five 
minutes, when he came back and told us that this negro, in com- 
pany with several others, had hailed him as he passed the Arling- 
ton corner, and said, "damn it, I am ready for you ; here I am," 
and cursed him again. Noell said that was more than he could 
stand, and that he wished Lea and myself to see that he had fair 
play ; that he wished to give him a good dressing while he was at 
it. We went out with him and met this negro, in company with 
twenty or thirty, half-way between the Opera House and the Ar- 
lington corner. Noell turned to the negro saying, "This is the 
scoundrel who insulted me before dinner, and also hailed and 
cursed me as I was going up the street in my buggy just now." I 
then recognized this negro to be the same one I had seen with a 
pistol and had some words with on Thursday evening at the Ar- 
lington corner, as before related, and I demanded of him what he 
meant by it and related the conversation betweeu him and myself. 
He stated that it was none of my " damned business" ; then Noell 
stepped out in front of him and they struck at each other about 
the same time. After two or three blows being passed they caught 
each other in the collar, when a colored man — I don't know his 
name — took hold of Noell ; I struck him across the arms with a 
cane I had and told him to stand back, that we intended to have a 



35 

fair fight and that no weapons were to be used; whereupon he turned 
and ran down the street some distance, crying " murder " at the top 
of his voice. There was already quite a crowd of negroes, and 
they seemed to be coming from every direction. Not more than 
twelve white men were on the ground at the time. 

In a few seconds one of the negro police, I think Adams, came 
to the spot and said : " My God, gentlemen, what is the matter? " 
I told him to try and keep the crowd back ; that it was a fair fight, 
and no weapons being used. He said he would have to part them. 
I told him, then, to take hold of the negro, and I put my hand on 
Noell's arm and told him that would do. Adams took the negro 
into the barber shop, I think, aud about that time Lea called for 
me. Upon turning, I saw him upon his knees, with both hands 
on his pistol^ and a large negro man, I didn't know who, trying 
to wrench the pistol from Lea's hands. I struck the negro across 
the neck and shoulders with my cane, upon which he broke and 
ran, tripping me as he endeavored to get off, I not knowing whether 
it was accidental or not. That instant Lea's pistol was fired. I 
think the firing was accidental, as it was a double action pistol. 
The two parties engaged in the fight retired from the scene to wash 
themselves. About three minutes afterwards Heuse Lawson, 
which I found afterwards to be the name of the negro engaged in 
the fight with Noell, appeared on the street by my side, when a 
negro in the crowd asked him what was the matter. He said, 
some white man had hit him in the face; he didn't know what his 
name was. In the meantime three policemen, Withers, Adams 
and Freeman, were doing all in their power to disperse the crowd, 
which was every moment increasing and pressing in ; and several 
negroes in the crowd making loud complaints and threats, saying 
that they had been mistreated, and said they intended to have their 
rights, and that was as good a place to settle it as they could get ; 
also exhibiting their pistols. I don't know how many there were, 
but I saw several ; and some one, a colored man, pointed to Lea 
and myself, saying : "There are two of the damned rascals. We 
can shoot as well as they can. Shoot them." In a few seconds 
the firing commenced on both sides. The negroes soon broke and 
ran, but several of them fired as they retreated. I heard several 
Ijalls pass very near to me, discharged by the negroes' pistols, and 
young Holland fell at my side as he turned to step upon the side- 
walk. The ball was bound to have come from the direction in 
which the negroes were when the general firing commenced. When 
I noticed, I suppose there were about 12 or 15 whites present; the 
street seemed to be pretty full of colored people — I suppose 300. 



36 

I was under the charge of Mr. John Lea from Saturday night 
until after the election doing guard duty as special policeman. I 
saw or heard of no violence except when special policeman Hub- 
bard was shot. I visited two of the polls, 1st and 2d ward ; every 
thing was perfectly quiet, and several colored men passing back- 
wards and forwards around and about the polls, but not voting. 

On the day before the election I was ordered by John Lea, chief 
of special policemen, to disperse several crowds of colored people, 
and several colored men said, when requested to go home or to 
their places of business, that they intended to go there and stay all 
next day (election dav). 

W. R. TAYLOR, Jr. 



Walter S. Withers (colored), being duly sworn, deposes and 
says : 

I have been a policeman in Danville about 16 months. I was 
not on duty the day of the riot. As soon as J heard of the diffi- 
culty on the street I went down there. The fight between Noell 
and Lawson was over. There were about 25 whites on the pave- 
ment in front of R. W. & Blair's office, and 75 or 100 negroes in 
the street in front of them ; they were still coming up of both 
colors. I tried to get the crowd to disperse. I went up and down 
in the crowd of colored folks and asked them to disperse, that they 
would create a disturbance. I said, " Why don't you all disperse? 
you will get hurt here." They said, "We don't intend to be run 
over." I told them it would be for their good to leave. I said, 
"Well, if you won't leave, I can't help it; I have done all I can 
do to get you to leave." At that time me and Mr. Jeff Corbin 
were together; he was trying to get them to disperse too, and Mr. 
Peter Booth hallowed to me to make them leave, and I told him I 
was trying to do it. I saw there was no use in trying to get them 
to leave, and stepped on the sidewalk at the lower end of the crowd 
of white people. Some gentleman in the crowd said, "If you all 
don't go away from here you will be hurt." At that time the firing 
commenced. The white people shot up in the air at first as if to 
scare the colored people away ; then the firing seemed to be on both 
sides right at each other, and I stepped into Mr. Blair & Wool- 
folk's office, it was so hot. I staid in there about two minutes un- 
til the firing was over. 

I was on duty from that time until after the election. I did not 
vote, but was not afraid to vote. I was at the polls, and every- 
thing was quiet. I heard of or saw no intimidation. I saw white 



37 

men trying to persuade colored men to go and vote, promising them 
to go with them and see that they should vote as they pleased. I 
saw that prominent citizens of the town tried to calm the crowd 
after the riot. Order was restored immediately, and I saw or heard 
of no disorder afterwards, except I heard that Hubbard was shot 
near Dry Bridge Saturday night. 

W. S. WITHERS. 



The foregoing depositions were taken, subscribed and sworn to 
before me in the day above mentioned. 

F. F. BOWEN, N. P. 



November, 20th 1883. 
Abram Wimbish, being first duly sworn, deposes and says: 

I reside half a mile from the corporate limits of Danville. I 
was in town and attending a meeting of the citizens at the Opera 
House when the riot occurred. When I got down on the street 
the riot was over; I heard one or two shots as I reached the bot- 
tom of the steps. Four-fifths of the crowd was behind me in the 
hall when I came down. The civil authorities got control of the 
town in half an hour and quiet was restored. The white people 
yielded at once and submitted to authority ; the negroes had left 
the street. 

I was one of the judges of election at Wimbish's precinct, 
about three-quarters of a mile from the corporation limits of Dan- 
ville. The election there was perfectly quiet and a full vote polled; 
there were about 62 white votes and about 330 negro votes polled. 
There was no disturbance there of any kind, no fire arms exhibited 
and no sign of intimidation. 

A. WIMBISH. 



Geo. W. Swain, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

Friday night, November 2d, about 7.30 o'clock, while passing 
through Union street, going in the direction of the court house, 
I was overtaken by Mr. Epp Barksdale, and as he passed me the 
large crowd of negroes assembled in front of the court house by 
the speaking of Col. VV. E. Sims, were loudly hurrahing, upon 
which some comment was made by myself to him, in substance 
that they yelled lustily, &c. He replied, " Yes, I'll be damned if 



38 

we havn't got you. We have the white men of the Southwest 
with us and we have got the negroes solid against yon, and I'll be 
damned if we can't turn them loose on you in five seconds." 
With this remark he pressed on and went op in the midst of the 
above mentioned crowd. Mr. Epp Barksdale is an active Coali- 
tionist of Danville. 

I have been voting for the last fifteen years, and have seen no 
quieter election than the one held on the 6th of November, 1883. 
Saw or heard of no intimidation or disorder. The town has been 
under control of the civil authorities from immediately after the 
riot until the present time and law has prevailed. 

GEO. W. SWAIN. 



L. J. Berkeley, Jr., being first duly sworn, deposes and says: 

On Sunday evening, November 4, 1883, the Advisory Com- 
mittee of the Democratic party of Damville, appointed Mr. R. W. 
Peatross, Col. E. B. Withers, myself and I think Mr. J. E. School- 
field, a committee to wait on Col. J. B. Raulston and Maj. A. M. 
Wheeler, the persons recognized by our party as the leaders of 
the Coalition party in Danville, and expressed to them our desire 
and the desire of our party to preserve and enforce the peace of 
the town, and to guarantee to all citizens a fair and quiet election. 

We called on Raulston and Wheeler on Monday morning about 
11 o'clock, at the office of Col. Raulston. Withers being chiefly 
spokesman of our committee, we stated the object of our mission, 
and in the name of ourselves and of our party we invited and 
urged them to co-operate with us in the effort to attain the desired 
end. They both (Wheeler and Raulston) commended our efforts 
aa wise and prudent, and in this connection, Col. Raulston, who 
was then addressing himself to Col. Withers, r marked that the 
colored people seemed disposed not to vote at all on election day 
for the reason that they thought enough colored voters, on account 
of the riot of Saturday evening previous, had left town to cause 
the defeat of the Coalition ticket in Danville, and if the colored 
people voted they would be beaten in Danville at this election and 
at the next election would have to overcome the " prestige" of the 
Democratic victory of the 6th of November, 1883. I was on the 
ground a short time after the riot, and exercised myself to the best 
of my ability, in conjunction with other citizens, to preserve order. 
I never saw people under such excitement more reasonable or 
better disposed to obey the authority of the law. I called the 



39 

meeting of the citizens at the Opera House on November 3d, 1883, 
to order about 3 o'clock P. M., and never saw in Danville a larger, 
more orderly or more representative body of Danville citizens as- 
sembled in the town, and men of all ages and avocations seemed 
intent upon doing all that was fair and right. 

S. C. BERKELEY, Jr. 



J. D. Blair, being first duly sworn, deposes and says : 

I was elected a member of the council of this city at the May 
election, 1882; my term of office to commence 1st July following 
and continuing two years from that date. Said council was com- 
posed of twelve members, a majority of whom were Readjusters 
or C-'iilitionists, four of whom were negroes. At the organization 
of the council, I was elected president of that council. The police 
force, consisting of one chief and nine members for active duty, 
was elected by this body for six months at a time. At the election 
held about this time, for the police force, a white Coalitionist was 
elected chief, and one negro was placed on the regular force. I 
never knew one elected before in this city. The other seven mem- 
bers were white men. I do not now remember distinctly their 
political opinions, but among them* was Mr. R. M. Laurie and B. 
F. Morrisett (Democrats), who had for a number of years been 
efficient policemen. The clerk of the market, elected for one year, 
with powers of policeman on the market, was a negro; and the 
sanitary policeman elected was a negro. At the same election three 
Readjusters were elected aldermen, one of whom was a negro, and 
entered upon their duties at the same time of the council — these 
being all the magistrates the city was entitled to. The chief of 
police resigned in a short time, and a white Coalitionist was elected 
in his stead. At the same election, an independent candidate, en- 
dorsed by the Coalitionists, was elected mayor. These constitute 
the principal officers for the preservation of the peace and for the pro- 
tection of the rights of citizens in this city. I think the election of 
many of these officers, and the course pursued by them while in 
office, had a tendency to make the negroes very self-asserting, and to 
some extent intolerant, in their conduct towards the white people. It 
was a common rumor some time after this period, that the chief of po- 
lice, in discharging his duties, threw as much as possible of the busi- 
ness growing out of the police duty, before the negro magistrates. 
Matters continued about the same as to officers until the 1st July, 
1883, at which time an election was held by the council, in which 



40 

one additional negro was placed upon the police force, which made 
two negroes on the regular police force in addition tj the sanitary 
policeman and clerk of the market. It was a noticable fact that at 
this election, that in selecting members of the police force the prin- 
cipal qualification appeared to me to be their political affiliation, 
without regard to any fitness for the office; indeed, a short time 
afterwards a leading Coalitionist admitted to me that the police 
force was elected for political reasons to contribute to the building 
up of the (t Coalition" and "Liberal party of the State." Law- 
rie and Morrisett, the two most efficient members of the force, 
were defeated for no reason known to me, except their political 
opinions, and such was admitted to me to be the case by one of 
the leading Coalitionists (member of the council) as to Morrisett. 
Believing that this action by a majority of the council would tend 
to make the negroes become still more intolerant, and have less 
regard for the rights of citizens, and would engender a state of 
feeling that would disturb the peace and quietude of the city, and 
I flared it would lead to bad results, as the negroes, in many in- 
stances, seemed to think that nobody except themselves were enti- 
tled to some of the rights of citizenship, I tendered my resignation 
as president of the council, which was accepted at its August 
meeting, 1883, thereby relieving myself of holding an office 
in said council after I had found out that I could exercise no 
influence to stop this state of things, but remained a member 
of said body. Colonel J. B. Raulston, a leading Coalitionist, 
was then elected president of the council, and continued to hold 
said office until afcer the recent election. Added to all these 
things a fierce political contest was commenced about the 1st of 
September last, which contributed very much to make the negroes 
intolerant, insulting, and exceedingly obnoxious iu their manlier 
and ways toward the white people, until on Friday night, 2d of 
November, W. E. Sims, the Coalition candidate for the Senate 
from this senatorial district, made the most inflammatory and 
abusive speech — a part of which I heard — in which he abused 
some of the leading citizens of this city to a very great extent. I 
came on the street next morning early, and it was soon apparent 
that Sims' speech had very much aroused and excited the negroes ; 
that whilst he had abused many of the whites in a very outrageous 
manner, they had acted with great forbearance and did not desire 
to be aggressors as to commence any conflict, but it was decided by 
leading men of the Democratic party that the best thing to be 
done was to quietly hold a meeting at half-past two o'clock that 
evening in the Opera House, and pass resolutions condemning Sims' 



41 

inflammatory and incendiary speech, and to contradict other mis- 
representations. I was in said meeting, which was a very large 
and representative one of the white people of this city. During the 
progress, and before it had adjourned, firing of pistols was heard 
upon the streets, and persons commenced to leave the meeting. I 
came out later and found that a riot had occurred and was about 
ended. I was totally unarmed, having nothing but a small knife 
about me. I heard others say the same. I was in the city until 
after the close of the polls on the day of election. The city was 
policed by a number of our best citizens, under the authority of 
the Mayor, as I understood, with a view to protect the lives and 
property of our citizens, without interfering or molesting anybody 
that was peaceable and quiet. During the early part of Saturday 
night I heard firing from the outskirts of the city, and proceeded 
to the place where I heard it; it was just beyond the corporate 
limits, and ascertained that four of said police force of citizens, 
riding quietly along the public road, were fired into with several 
shots from negroes in ambush, and one of the white men wounded. 
The negroes were behind the house and protected so that they 
could not be hurt. I saw the negro that occupied the house, who 
admitted that the firing was done from his yard by negroes who 
came from a store near by, but claimed not to know who they 
were. A negro was arrested a short time after by the police force 
that I was with and a portion of the military company, armed with 
a pistol, with some of its barrels empty, and placed in jail to await 
civil trial, and I learned he has since been turned loose. On 
election day the city was very quiet; I saw no disposition what- 
ever to interfere with any person qualified to vote from casting his 
ballot as he might elect. At the precinct at which I was most of 
the day, a colored man was there with Coalition tickets, and circu- 
lated around the polls as he chose without any disposition on the 
part of anybody, as far as I could see, or believe, to disturb him. 

J. D. BLAIR. 

On leaving the Opera House and the meeting I proceeded to my 
office on Main street, a short distauce above, and learned that a 
considerable part of the firing and conflict during said riot occurred 
just opposite my office or the office of my firm, Ruffin, Woolfolk & 
Blair. None of the members of the firm were in said office, and 
only one clerk, W.J. Dance. I learned from him that the negroes 
were massed on Main street in front of said office, and that a few 
of the whites were on the sidewalk immediately in front of said 



42 

office. I examined the front wall of the office aud found several 
holes made by bullets, which could only have been shot from the 
negroes. I cannot now state distinctly how many, but am satisfied 
that there are two and probably more of such holes. 

J. D. BLAIR. 



The above testimony was taken, subscribed and sworn to before 
me on the dates above indicated. 

F. F. BOWEN, N. P. 



S. S. Kent, resident of Halifax county, Va., and farmer, being 
first duly sworn, deposes and says: 

On Sunday, November 4, 1883, my son, Dr. S. T. A. Kent, 
heard a negro at Poden's store, in Halifax county, say, in speaking 
of the election in Danville, that he expected to wade up to his neck 
in blood. The negro was a resident of Danville, and was coming 
to Danville the next day to be present and vote on the day of elec- 
tion, November 6, 1883. My son told me the negro's name who 
made the foregoing declaration, but I have forgotten the name. 
He was, however, one of the Barksdale negroes. 

S. S. KENT. 



November, 21st 1883. 

Capt. J. H. Oiiver, being first duly sworn, deposes and says: 

I live in Danville and am captain of the " Danville Grays." I 
was in Danville the day of the riot. I was in the store of Nicholas 
& Hessburg, and some one ran in and remarked that C. P. Noell 
had been cut to pieces by Hense Lawson. Noell being a sergeant 
in my company, and intimate friend, I ran at once to find out the 
nature of his wounds, if there were auy. I found him in front of 
the office of Ruffin, Woolfolk & Blair, two or three doors from 
Nicholas & Hessburg's, surrounded by a few white men and a 
great many negroes. I passed through the crowd as rapidly as 
possible to Mr. Noell. From inquiries from him I found that he 
was not seriously hurt. Walter Withers (colored policeman), with 
my assistance, and I think Walters Holland, insisted on the negroes 
dispersing, who had then assembled in a great mass. In this en- 
deavor we left the sidewalk, on which we had been standing, and 
went into the street, insisting that the crowd should disperse, and 



43 

I told them that if they would disperse I would guarantee the 
whites who were there would leave. Seeing that this effort was 
useless, T returned to about the position I first occupied on the 
sidewalk. As soon as I reached the sidewalk and faced to the 
street, the crowd seemed to have partially divided, the colored 
people in a great mass occupying the street and partially surround- 
ing the position occupied by the white people, who were on the 
sidewalk in front of the office of Ruffin, Woolfolk & Blair, as afore- 
said. About the centre of the circle which had been formed by 
the colored people was standing two large colored men, neither of 
which I knew, who seemed to be the principal actors on behalf of 
the colored people. One of them remarked : " There are the two 
damned scoundrels who instigated this trouble ; " and I understood 
him to say that " we dare them to came out." 

About that time Mr. Taylor, who had been standing in my rear 
Bmong the few white people that had gathered there, as well as I 
recollect, stepped to my right, and Mr. Geo. Lea to my left. I 
knew not at the time why these two gentlemen had been singled 
out, but learned afterwards that it was due to some part they had 
taken in the difficulty between JSoell and Lawson. I understood 
one of these negroes to say that " we had as well end this matter 
here as any where else," and thereupon drew his pistol and after- 
wards the firing commenced. This was in an instant. This was 
the first pistol I saw immediately before the firing commenced. 
There had been pistols drawn bef jre, but it had all quieted down 
during the endeavor of the police to disperse the crowd. A second 
or so after the firing commenced I saw young Holland approach 
the pavement almost in a line with Geo. Lea, and a negro shoot in 
that direction. I saw that Holland was hit. He wheeled about 
half face to the left and fell on the pavement some 10 or 15 feet 
from where I was standing. I believe that the shot was intended 
for Geo. Lea, as he had been invited out and it was made in a line 
with him, I thought. As soon, as Holland fell, with the assistance 
of Mr. John Miller, we carried him into H. D. Guerrant & Co.'s 
store, a few paces above the point at. which he fell. I then went 
as fast as I could to the armory of the " Danville Grays," to await 
any orders that might come from the Mayor or Sergeant to call out 
the company to assist either of them to quell the disturbance. Im- 
mediately I was ordered out by the Sergeant. I gave the alarm 
known to the company, and in a few minutes had in ranks 35 or 
40 men on the streets subject to the orders of the Sheriff. They 
were stationed in squads, under officers of (he company, upon all the 
streets approaching Main, where the difficulty arose, with sentinels 



44 

walking the streets between the posted positions of each squad, 
with orders to disperse all crowds aud not to allow over three men 
to assemble at any one place. By this means all crowds were dis- 
persed and quiet was quickly restored upon the streets. 

The company was on military duty until Monday evening, when 
I was directed by the Sergeant to dismiss my company, as he thought 
that everything was quiet, and that he would have no further use 
for them ; that with the regular police and special police there 
would be no further trouble. Thereupon I dismissed the com- 
pany. A few minutes after the dismissal of the company, I was 
ordered by Mayor Johnston to call out the company in arms and 
hold them in readiness in the armory, subject to his orders, and to 
aid the citizens, who had been appointed special police, in keeping 
the peace and everything quiet, and to send squads or the whole 
to whatever point it might be necessary for this purpose. They 
were sent to different parts of the city, wherever it was deemed 
necessary. The company was on duty until after the election, 
and there being no disturbance of any nature whatever, I there- 
upon dismissed the company by order of Major Carter, who had 
been sent by the Governor, with written orders to me to obey his 
instructions. 

J. H. OLIVER. 



The above testimony of the following witnesses, to wit: 

W. J. Dance, Chas. D. Noel], P. Bouldiu, J. C. Reagen, B. F. 
Williamson, T. E. Gregory, J. G. Miller, Sr., L. L. Bass, Chas. 
Friend, Jas. P. Harrison, James Wood (Sergeant), Mason Arring- 
ton (colored), W. J. Moore, E. Keen, Jr., Dr. M. E. Douglass, Wal- 
ter S. Withers (colored police), Geo. W. Swain, J. D. Blair, Capk 
J. H. Oliver, Ro. Lipscomb, W. G. Lynn, W. P. Graves, J. E. 
Perkinson, Frank Corbett (colored), W. A. Meeks, J. T. Morton, 
S. F. Terry, N. F. Reid, R. M. Hubbard, II. A. Cobbs, P. B. 
Booth, Chas. G. Freeman (police), F. B. Fitzgerald, W. R. Tay- 
lor, Abram Wimbish, L. C. Berkley, Jr., and S. S. Kent, was 
taken, subscribed, and sworn to before me ou the days above indi- 
cated. 

Given under my hand and official seal this 21st day of Novem- 
ber, 1883. 

F. F. BO WEN, N. P. 

[seal.] 



45 



State of Virginia, Town of Danville, to wit: 

I, William Rison, clerk of the Hustings Court of the town of 
Danville, in the State of Virginia, hereby certify that F.F. Bowen 
is a notary public in and for the said town, duly commissioned and 
qualified according to law ; that he was qualified as such in said 
court, on the 4th day of January, 1882, his commission bearing 
date on the 22d day of December, 1881, and continuing for four 
years thereafter. 

In testimony of which I hereto subscribe my name as clerk as 
aforesaid, and affix my seal of office this 20th day of November, 
in the year 1883. 

WILLIAM RISON, 
Clerk of the Hustings Court of Danville, Va. 

[seal.] 



THE RICHMOND MILITARY IN DANVILLE. 



REPORT OF THE OFFICERS IN RELATION TO THE CONDUCT OF 
THE PEOPLE ON ELECTION DAY. 



A few days ago Capt. Andrew Pizzini, of the Richmond Light 
Infantry Blues, received a letter frem Maj. W. T. Sutherlin, chair- 
man of the Committee of Forty, appointed at a meeting of citizens 
of Danville to collect and prepare for publication the causes of the 
recent riot, requesting the officers commanding the military ordered 
to Danville by the Governor to furnish the committee a statement 
containing such facts as they could justify in relation to the con- 
duct of the people of Danville on the d3y of election; and also 
the opportunities afforded for a full vote at the polls, with any 
other facts they had in their possession bearing upon the subject. 

The officers met yesterday for the purpose of taking action on 
the communication, and the following letter was sent to Major 
Sutherlin last evening: 



46 



Richmond, November 16, 1883. 

Major W. T. Sutherlin, Chairman, &c: 

Dear Sir — In response to the request contained in yours of No- 
vember 12th, the undersigned beg leave to state that under orders 
from his Excellency the Governor (see Special Orders No. 14 and 
letter of instructions, as published in Richmond and Danville 
papers November 6th), we arrived in Danville on the 6th instant 
at about 5 A. M. We found the entire town so quiet as to convey 
the impression that all the people were asleep. 

Maj. Carter reported to the City Sergeant as soon as that officer 
could be found. The entire command was then disembarked and 
quartered into barracks of the Danville Grays. It was then so 
apparent that there would be no trouble in the town that Maj. 
Carter relieved the Danville Grays and allowed them to go to their 
homes for rest and refreshment. 

We had ample opportunity during the entire day to observe the 
temper, spirit and conduct of all classes of the people, both at the 
polls and at their places of business and on the streets, and can 
testify that there was Dot the slightest disposition manifested by 
any one to commit any breach of law or order; but, on the other 
hand, it was aparent that all were resolved to avoid any violence of 
act or word. No one was hindered from the free exercise of the 
right of suffrage, but, on the contrary, it was noticeable that there 
was a sincere desire on the part of the whites that a full vote 
should be polled by both political parties. 

In addition to the protection afforded by the general disposition 
of the people, there was present a sufficient military force to ena- 
ble the civil officers to protect and if necessary to enforce the 
rights of all citizens desiring to exercise the right of suffrage, 
and the whole command was ready to execute the orders of the 
commanding officer, who was especially enjoined to see that all 
persons were protected in their life, person, property, and the 
peaceful exercise of their lawful rights. 

Any and every voter might have had complete protection from 
the military by simple request at any time. 



47 

This fact was made known to the voters of all classes and par- 
ties by Major Carter in person, who visited the precincts and made 
public announcement that he was prepared to give immunity from 
violence to all citizens without regard to class or party. 

Crowds of citizens of both races and parties freely commingled 
on the streets in converse with each other and with the troops 
without the slightest apprehension of danger, and prominent men 
of both political parties repeatedly assured the officers and men of 
the military force that there was not the slightest necessity for their 
presence, as, all things considered, there was never a more quiet and 
peaceably disposed community, both parties having united in the 
determination to have complete submission to the law and its offi- 
cers, and to mutually aid in its enforcement. 

HENRY C. CARTER, 

Major, &c, Commanding. 
ANDREW PIZZTNI, Jr., 
Captain Commanding Richmond L. I. Blues. 
BEAUREGARD LORRAINE, 
Lieutenant Commanding Richmond Howitzers. 
E. D. STARKE, 

Captain and Ins. Artillery. 

carlton McCarthy, 

Captain'and Adjutant First Battalion Artillery. 



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