Testimony of R. W. Glass (February 15, 1884)

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In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, given on February 15, 1884, R. W. Glass explains his role in the so-called Danville Riot of November 3, 1883, which left at least five people dead. The questioners are Zebulon Vance, a Democrat of North Carolina; and Elbridge G. Lapham, a Republican from New York. The following transcript contains racial epithets.

Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States (1884)

R. W. Glass sworn and examined.

By Mr. Lapham:

Question. Where were you on the day of this disturbance?—Answer.
I was in the town of Danville.

Q. Do you live there?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where were you at the time the disturbance commenced?—A. I was at Mayor Johnson’s, just above the post-office.

Q. Now, go on and state just what occurred in your own way, without me asking questions, as far as you saw.—A. Well, sir, I really do not feel safe in telling what I do know about it.

Q. Why not?—A. I live in Danville, and have got to go back there, and am afeard.

Q. Oh, I guess you will be taken care of; why are you afraid? what is the reason for it?—A. Well, I have heard it said that any nigger that testifies in behalf of these things—

Mr. Vance objected to hearsay.

By Mr. Lapham:

Q. Do you speak now of threats made before or since that happened?— A. Since.

Q. Did not you hear any before?—A. No, sir; I never heard any before.

Q. Did not you hear any that day, before the firing?—A. I heard it off and on. This firing was expected to be.

Q. Well, tell us now what occurred. You heard the first shot, you say; did you go down there?—A. Yes, sir; I was at Mayor Johnson’s, coming out at the gate of his boarding place. Mrs. Lawson’s. I heard a pistol fired. I run down as quick as I could get down there to see what it was, as colored people always do when they see a gathering. When I got down there[,] there was a large crowd there.

Q. How many should you judge, when you first got there?—A. Well, it seemed to be about seventy-five or a hundred colored, and I reckon twenty-five or thirty whites standing there.

Q. Now, what did you see after you got there?—A. I heard white men telling negroes to leave here; said, “You all leave here; if you do not you are going to get hurt.” The negroes were saying, “We are not doing anything but standing here looking, and we do not intend to leave.” I heard a policeman tell them to leave; I heard some of the colored people say, “Why don’t you tell these white men to leave! We are not doing anything but looking; they are kicking up all the fuss; why don’t you tell them to leave! We are not doing anything but looking, and don’t intend to leave.” A very short time after that remark I heard Mr. [E. M.] Hatcher say that “this is a white man’s town, and white men are going to rule it;” and “I will be damned if you niggers don’t leave

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here we are going to kill you.” And a short time after that they drew pistols out of their pockets and began to wave them round.

Q. Who drew pistols?—A. The white men.

Q. How many did you see draw them?—A. I saw four draw pistols that I know. That man over there [pointing], Mr. Freeman, was trying to get them to leave, saying “You all must leave here;” saying, “somebody is going to get hurt if you don’t leave.” The colored people says, “Well, make the white people leave; we don’t intend to leave; we have not done anything; we don’t intend to leave.”

Q. Do you mean that was repeated?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Said it more than once?—A. A very short time after that Mr. Hatcher, Mr. [George A.] Lea, Mr. Covington, and Joel Oliver came to the front with their pistols, and Mr. Lea says, “Fire,” and they did fire, and after they fired a great many more fell in and fired, and they continued to fire for three or four minutes. I reckon before they got through there was thirty or forty fired. Then people were coming from every direction. The colored people were leaving and white people were coming.

Q. Did the white people come out of the opera house?—A. Yes, sir; pouring out just as fast as they could get there; running to different stores getting pistols.

Q. How many did you see come from the opera house?—A. It looked like three or four hundred coming from every direction.

Q. Do you know they got pistols, any of them?—A. Yes, sir; I saw them go in stores and come out with pistols in their hands.

Q. What stores did you see them come out of?—A. I saw them go. in Mr. Graves’s store; I saw them going in Mr. Tyack & Doe’s store, hardware store, and come out with pistols; and after the shooting 40 or 50 of them going out in the street shooting. I got afeared and run up the street and down. I steps right behind the white people where they were shooting; I gets right between them and this little office they speak of, Woolfolk & Blair’s. I looks in there and saw pistols in there, and saw men going in there to get pistols. I saw a bag of cartridges sitting in there.

Q. In Woolfolk & Blair’s real estate office?—A. Yes, sir; I saw a bag of cartridges sitting in there. I saw, I reckon, 25 or 30 pistols lying there on the table; saw men go in there and get them coming out and shooting. Finally all the colored people left, pretty much; there was myself and Withers, I think, was about the only colored people there on the street at all, and I was right behind them. They got in the street and hollered, “Hurrah for we Democrats,” just as loud as they could holler. All the negroes was gone.

Q. And they were having a jubilee?—A. I just followed the street right up as they did until I come up to Mr. Paxton’s store. I went in there; they went on up to the Arlington. I went out the back way and come out of an alley between Brown’s bar-room and Moulton’s barber-shop. I came out on Union street and went across to the Arlington, and went on up near the custom-house.

Q. Did you hear anything said about “going for that?”—A. I did not. I did not hear anything said about going for the custom-house at all.

Q. Did you see [Walter] Holland [a white bystander] shot?—A. I did; yes, sir.

Q. Who shot him?—A. I think one of those four first men shot him; one of them.

Q. The four who came to the front, as you said? Why do you think one of these shot him?—A. Well, from the position which they held and

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 Holland held, I think they were compelled to shoot him. In fact, I did not see any shot come from the other way at all.

Q. Did you see any colored men shoot?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did you see any one have pistols?—A. I did not see a one.

Q. Repeat the names of those four men who came to the front and fired.—A. Mr. Hatcher, Mr. Lea, Mr. Oliver, and Mr. Nat. Covington.

Q. Did Holland fall as they fired?—A. When Holland first got shot he threw his hands back of his head and seemed to tumble over.

Q. Were they pointing their pistols in the direction of Holland?—A. Yes, sir. Holland came across to the sidewalk where I was, and when I first got there and he asked me—I don’t know whether he came from the opera house or not, but I don’t think he did; I think he came from up the street above the opera house—he came to me and asked me—

Q. Now the four men who came to the front and fired, were they pointing toward Holland?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. When they fired?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. How soon did you know Holland was hit?—A. Well, soon after they shot I saw Holland fall.

Q. You saw him when he fell then?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know of any other place in the city where there were arms that night other than you have mentioned?—A. No, sir; I don’t know as I do.

Q. How large a bag of cartridges was in this shop?—A. It seemed to be a half-bushel bag; it was nothing like full; I think it was about a half-bushel bag.

Q. What sort of pistols were they?—A. Very large pistols; I do not really know what kind.

Q. Do you know whose manufacture?—A. No, sir; I do not know.

Q. How many balls would they hold?—A. They seemed to be five-shooters.

Q. What length of barrel?—A. I do not really know.

Q. They were large size pistols?—A. They were large size pistols.

Q. And they were breech-loaders; they loaded from the breech with cartridges?—A. Yes, sir; it seemed so. 

Q. Did you hear anything more by way of threat than what you have stated; that afternoon as the whites were coming up street did you hear anything further said?—A. I think I heard some of them holler out and say, “Kill every damn nigger we see,” and some of them seemed to say, “No ; they have run, and it is not worth while to kill them.”

Q. Did you hear that said?’—A. I think I heard Mr. Corbin say they have run, and it ain’t no use to proceed after them.

Q. Now, do you know anything as to whether this preparation to kill the colored people was premeditated; whether it had been planned be. Forehand?—A. I think it was.

Q. What makes you think so?—A. Well, sir, they used to hold meetings in the hall of the Virginia House, called the Grays armory. I live right back of it. I passed there at night and heard them speaking.

Q. What did you hear said?—A. I heard them say, “We intend to carry this election; if we cannot carry it by fair means we intend to carry it by foul.”

Q. Could you tell from within who said that; could you tell from the voice?—A. One man who was speaking was Henry Barksdale; I heard him speaking one night.

Q. How long before this occurrence?—A. I guess it was a week before.

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Q. When did you first see arms in that shop?—A. That was only after I got there.

Q. You had not seen them before?—A. I had not seen them before.

Q. Well, at any other place had you seen them?—A. No, sir.

Q. Were they kept for sale in the hardware stores you have named?— A. Yes, they were kept for sale.

Q. Do you know whether they had any extra number there?—A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Now, I will ask you this general question: Do colored people usually or generally go armed in Danville?—A. No, sir; they don’t generally go armed; very few of them go armed. Some rowdies that go round and drink whisky at night carry pistols.

Q. Do the whites go armed?—A. A great many of them do.

Q. They generally go armed, do they not?—A. They generally go armed. Most of the colored people generally know it is against the law to carry pistols, and whenever a white man knows a negro carries a pistol they make him pay for it. If they carry them they carry them at night.

Q. Who made this threat you speak of since the riot? You spoke of some threat that put you in fear of telling what you know about this.—A. Well, sir, 1 hear it as a general thing round town that any negro—

Mr. Vance. I do not think that is testimony.

By Mr. Lapham:

Q. Can you name any one?—A. I do not think I can name a particular man, but I do not feel safe in testifying in this thing. I did not feel safe after what I had heard in testifying, and don’t feel safe now.

Q. Well, did you hear it said that night?—A. No, sir; that night the colored people were afraid to come out.

Q. How soon after did you hear any such thing?—A. I heard it on Monday, and I have heard it since. I heard it a week or two afterwards—the time this committee of forty [the city’s investigative committee] was coming around.

Q. Have you named any one who was on the grand jury?—A. No, sir; I do not know who was on the grand jury.

Q. Have you named any one who was on the committee of forty?—A. I do not know who was on it. I was not before the committee of forty.

Q. Where were you on election day [November 6, three days after the violence]?—A. I was at work in the factory,

. Q. Did not you vote!—A. No, sir.

Q. What reason was there why you did not vote? I will ask had you registered?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You intended to vote then?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was there any other reason for your not voting except what occurred in Danville?—A. Well, sir, as for myself I felt safe in going up there myself and voting, but I did not think it would amount to anything by my going to vote, and I thought if the crowd went up there and voted—

A. A crowd of colored people you mean, I suppose?—A. That they were liable to shoot amongst them.

A. What portion of the colored people in your precinct stayed away from the polls that day?—A. What portion?

Q. Yes.—A. Most all of the Readjuster Republicans, or whatever you call them.

Q. Very few of them went to the polls?—A. Yes, sir.

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Q. Do you know how many colored votes were given?—A. No, sir; I do not really know. I know it was very few.

Q. Did anybody advise you to keep away from the polls?—A. No, sir; they advised me to go to the polls.

Q. The colored people were generally urged to go to vote, were they not ?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And were intending to go?—A. And were intending to vote; yes, sir.

Q. Before, this disturbance?—A. Yes, sir. After that they were afraid to go in crowds; get shot amongst them.

Q. Do you know what proportion of the voters there are colored people?—A. Do I know what proportion were colored people?

Q. Yes; how many colored people are there there who are voters in that precinct, I mean?—A. I do not really know the number; I suppose there are between twelve hundred and fifteen hundred.

Q. They outnumbered the whites then?—A. Yes, sir. I do not really know the number.

Q. How many colored people do you know of going to the polls and voting, or don’t you know anything about it?—A. I only heard one man say he voted.

By Mr. Vance:

Q. They all voted up at Wimbersher’s, didn’t they?—A. I do not know; I did not go up there; I heard they did.

Q. You heard they did?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. When you heard the pistol fired, you say you were at Mayor Johnson’s?—A. 1 was at the gate of Mrs. Lawson’s.

Q. How far is that above Woolfolk & Blair’s office?—A. Well, it is about 250 yards, I reckon.

Q. How many blocks?—A. The town aint blocked at all, and it is hard to tell.

Q. Do not the streets cross one another?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And that makes blocks, don’t it?—A. Yes, and this was two doors above the post-office.

Q. About 250 yards?—A. I suppose so.

Q. Did you run or walk down?—A. I walked very fast.

Q. You walked fast?—A. Yes. After I heard the pistol fired, and as I went on, I heard people say they were fighting, and went on to see what they were doing.

Q. Had the general tiring begun, or was that the fist fight between [Hense] Lawson and [Charles D.] Noel ?—A. I suppose it was the fist fight between Hense and Noel. I did not see the fist fight. I was not there when the pistol fired.

Q. Now, was there any more firing until you got down there?—A. No more firing until I got there.

Q. And instead of taking your position with the colored people you went up among the white people?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Got between them and the office?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was there any other colored man there, in the same place?—A. No, sir, I don’t think there was.

Q. Why, didn’t you feel afraid to go up there among these desperate white men?—A. I saw that they were firing pistols out among the negroes, and I thought I would get in a safe place.

Q. You stayed there during all the firing?—A. While all the firing was going on I stayed there.

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Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States (1884)

Q. And did you see who gave the command to fire?—A. Mr. Lea hollered “fire.”

Q. He had his pistol, did he?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who else had a pistol?—A. Mr. Hatcher, Mr. Covington, and Mr. Oliver.

Q. Four men. Are these the only four pistols you saw in the hands of white people?—A. Well, others had pistols, but they didn’t fire at that time.

Q. Now these men that fired at the command of Lea fired in the air did they not?—A. Well, I didn’t see them fire up in the air. They fired up above the heads of the colored people who were in front. I think they raised their pistols a little. I think some of them did, and I think some of them shot right in the crowd. Don’t think all raised their pistols.

Q. Did you see anybody fall the first fire?—A. I saw Mr. Holland.

Q. Holland fell first fire?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. He was on the sidewalk among the white folks, wasn’t he?—A. No, he was going from me towards a policeman. He was on the sidewalk and spoke to me and left, and just before he could get more than 5 or 6 steps this firing commenced.

Q. Well, he was on the sidewalk, wasn’t he?—A. Yes, he was on the sidewalk.

Q. And the colored people were in the street?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And their pistols were pointed towards the colored people or over their heads in the street?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, how could they have shot him?—A. Well, I just want to tell you. Holland started from me towards the sidewalk across the street towards the policeman. He said, “What are these men got these pistols for?” asked me, “What’s all this disturbance?”

Q. He said what are all these pistols here for?—A. Yes; and I told him it was a fight between Lawson and Noel.

Q. Well, he was right by you then, wasn’t he?—A. He was right by me talking to me.

Q. Then you and he were both behind the white people?—A. I didn’t say at that time I was behind them. I may have stepped behind them a short time afterwards; I won’t say particularly. I know I was on the sidewalk.

Q. Well, you were in the rear after the pistols fired?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. The pistols were all pointing the other way; the white folks with pistols?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And Holland was with you?—A. Holland was with me; a short time after I got there he got there. He asked me why all this disturbance was.

Q. He did not go to any of the white people, but went to you, as the general manager of things?—A. He seemed to ask any one he knew.

Q. He did not know any of the white people, did he?—A. I suppose he did.

Q. But he preferred to ask you?—A. I don’t know; but he asked me.

Q. What did you tell him?—A. I told him it was a fight between Lawson and Noel. It seemed everybody got mad about it.

Q. Well, then, when was he shot?—A. He got shot just as he left me; starting across the street towards a policeman.

Q. What policeman?—A. Cook; I think his name is William Cook.

Q. Where was that policeman?—A. He was on the other side of the Street.

Q. Right beyond the colored people over there?—A. Yes, sir.

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Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States (1884)

Q. And he started to go across. How far was he from you?—A. Well, he didn’t get very far. I know he was not very far.

Q. Was he off the sidewalk?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. How far from the sidewalk?—A. Not very far.

Q. Well, that is very indefinite. Was he 1 foot or 10?—A. He may have been 10 feet.

Q. He may have been 1, might he not?—A. He was more.

Q. More than 1 foot and less than 10?—A. I say 10, or more.

Q. Then he was in the crowd of colored people, was he not?—A. He was in the crowd of colored people.

Q. When he fell?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. He got out right in front of the white folks’ pistols and got into the colored folks’ ranks when he was shot?—A. When he was shot he was in the colored people’s ranks.

Q. And more than 10 feet from the sidewalk?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. These white men all knew Mr. Holland, didn’t they; these four that you mentioned?–A. I guess they did.

Q. Well, did you see any pistols in the hands of the colored people?— A. I didn’t see a one. 

Q. Did not see any weapons at all?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did you see any firing in their ranks, smoke or flash or report of pistols?—A. No, sir.

Q. Why did they stand so long? You said awhile ago that the firing lasted three or four minutes before they ran. Why did they stand so long?—A. They didn’t stand so long; as soon as the firing commenced they commenced running.

Q. Commenced running. That is not what you said awhile ago. Who was it that went in front of them and said, “Don’t shoot them, because they have run?”—A. I think it was Mr. Corbin. I know it was some white man. One says, “Let’s kill all of these damn niggers.”

Q. Yes; kill them all?—A. Another one says, “No; they are running now.”

Q. Let them live awhile longer. Well, the firing stopped then, did it not?—A. I think it did; I think the firing was about over. I think the last man that was killed was near the corner.

Q. What corner was it that the last man was killed?—A. It was Mr. Wiseman’s corner; corner Main and Union streets.

Q. Well, none of these desperate white men interfered with you?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did not say anything to you; you were standing right there at their back?—A. No, sir; none of them didn’t say anything to me.

Q. And you saw a magazine of arms, pistols and cartridges inside of Mr. Woolfolk’s office?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. How many pistols were there?—A. Not less than twenty-five.

Q. Were they all loaded? People went and got pistols, did they?—A. I saw people run in and get pistols and run out and shoot.

Q. Who did you see do it?—A. I saw Ned Jordan go in and get a pistol and come out and shoot.

Q. Who had charge of the arms inside?—A. Some of the young men that staid [sic] in there; some young man that staid in there had a gun in his hand; I forget his name.

Q. Did he do business in the office; live there?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You don’t know his name?—A. I disremember his name; he seemed to be officiating there.

Q. He gave out the pistols when the folks came in?—A. There was no giving out at all, they just came and got them.

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Q. Free lunch; everybody went and helped themselves?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, were they all taken out?—A. I don’t know whether they Were or not.

Q. Well, you staid until it was over, didn’t you?—A. No, I kept backing. You see in three or four minutes after the firing commenced there was about three times more white people there than there were colored, and as they came up the street I backed back and kept going as they were, didn’t get running but I staid right amongst them.

Q. Which way did the white people come that pressed you along?— A. They came up Main street.

Q. Well, going toward where?—A. Going toward the Arlington.

Q. What alley was that you made your exit through?—A. I went in at Mr. Paxton’s jewelry store.

Q. How far up Main street toward the Arlington was that; how far from Woolfolk and Blair’s office?—A. That was I reckon two or three doors. I disremember exactly now. I went in there and went out the back of it.

Q. Why did you do that, did anybody threaten you?—A. No, sir, didn’t threaten me. As I got there[,] there was some gentleman, I disremember who he was, he says “run out the back, run out the back, they won’t kill you,” and I run out the back.

Q. Well, you heard some stump-speaking in the armory hall?—A. I went to all the speaking I could get in.

Q. Did you get into those meetings where you heard these inflammatory speeches?—A. No, sir; they didn’t allow no colored people.

Q. How did you hear; did you take a good position under the eaves of the house?—A. No, I passed there; the windows were up and I could hear.

Q. You stopped to listen, did you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who did you hear?—A. I heard Mr. Barksdale and a great many.

Q. What did Mr. Barksdale have to say about national affairs?— A. There was one thing I heard him say, “We intend to carry this election; if we cannot carry it by fair means we intend to carry it by foul.”

Q. Did he tell you what the foul means were?—A. He said it would be by the point of the gun.

Q. By the point of the gun?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Could you see him to know it was Mr. Barksdale, or did you judge by his voice?—A. I could see him.

Q. Was he an officer of the [Democratic] club, or just a private in the ranks?—A. I don’t know what he was.

Q. Where is he now?—A. He is in Danville, I reckon.

Q. What does he do there?—A. He is a lawyer.

Q. Well, did you hear anything else?—A. In a meeting I went to that was Democratic I heard them say, “We intend to carry this election; do anything to carry it.”

Q. Well, they talked that openly, didn’t they; they didn’t make any concealment of it?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you think this riot was got up in pursuance of that policy, do you ?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did not your colored people know that; did not they all understand that thing, that these threats had been made?—A. I don’t say that all of them did.

Q. But most of them. You told it around, didn’t you?—A. I may have told it to some.

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Q. Well, you thought it of sufficient importance to your party that they should all know it, didn’t you?—A. I may have thought so; yes, sir, I have talked it.

Q. Now how did it come that your folks were so ready for the riot that day, and would not obey the policemen, and would not go away?— A. I suppose the majority of them that was there didn’t have any idea that there was going to be any shooting.

Q. Well, they saw men with pistols, didn’t they?—A. Certainly.

Q. And they heard them say if you don’t leave you will get hurt?— A. I reckon they did. Like me, I thought it was a violation of law to shoot men for nothing, and they would not do it.

Q. But they did not think it was any violation of the law not to disperse when ordered to by the authorities of the city?—A. They were not doing anything.

Q. Were not doing anything. But the law officers of the city ordered them to leave, and they were playing into the hands of the Democrats who were there to shoot them?—A. I don’t say they were playing into their hands at all.

Q. As it turned out they were, were they not?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Well, they threatened and you said there were twenty-five whites to a hundred blacks—about four to one.—A. I said there was about twenty-five to thirty white men and about seventy-five colored.

Q. After you got there, after the fist fight was over, the white people came up in large numbers, didn’t they ?—A. Yes, sir; directly after the fist fight was over they came up.

Q. Now, when this firing began by these four men, Captain Lea giving the command, how many colored people were then present?—A. Well, there may have been more than I first said; there may have been one hundred and fifty.

Q. Well, give us your best judgment.—A. I reckon there was one hundred and fifty, may be two hundred; the street was full at that time.

Q. How many white men were there when the firing began?—A. They came as fast as they could get there.

Q. I don’t care how they came; when the first pistol was fired ?—A. Soon after the first pistol was fired?

Q. Well, when the first pistol was fired?—A. I reckon seventy-five. When the first pistol was fired they were coming from every direction.

Q. When the first pistol was fired you were at the gate at Johnson’s, 250 yards away?—A. Well, I did not mean that pistol.

Q. The first of the general firing?—A. Yes; that is what I meant.

Q. You say there was seventy-five men there, then?—A. I reckon there were.

Q. Was the fist fight over when you got down there?—A. Oh, yes

Q. You have stated that the colored people there do not go armed, except a few rowdies of a night?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is there any householder among the colored people in that country that has not got a gun?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is it not a general rule that they have all got guns?—A. No, sir; it is not a general rule; some have got guns; men that like to hunt have got guns; I know a great many there that haven’t guns.

Q. In proportion to their number haven’t the colored people as many guns as the white people?—A. I don’t think they have.

Q. You see a great many white people that don’t have guns, don’t you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. A great many white people that don’t hunt, that attend to business all the time?—A. Yes, sir.

— page 83 —
Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States (1884)

Q. Is not it the same with the colored people?—A. A great many have guns and a great many not.

Q. Of both races?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, I ask you in proportion to the number, are there not as many guns owned by the colored people as by the white people, and as many spend their time roaming about with guns among the colored people as among the white people?—A. I reckon there are.

Q. And after the firing was over some fellow hollered “Hurrah for we Democrats?”—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know who it was?—A. I thought it was Mr. Lea.

Q. You thought it was Mr. Lea?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you hear what Mr. Holland said about who shot him?—A. No, sir.

Q. How far were you from him when he fell?—A. I said about 10 feet or more.

Q. No; you said he was 10 feet from the edge of the sidewalk?—A. Well, I couldn’t say precisely where I was; I was on the sidewalk.

Q. Did you help to carry him in or anything?—A. No, sir; I didn’t go to him.

By Mr. Lapham:

Q. Do the white people generally have pistols?—A. Yes, sir; I know some of them had pistols.

Q. Well, do not a large proportion of them have them?—A. It is so supposed down there.

Q. Well, as far as your acquaintance goes?—A. As far as I am acquainted with them I know a great many of them have pistols.

Q. But they don’t many of them have guns, do they?—A. Well, it is a very few that have guns. It is only men who like to hunt have guns, white and colored.

Q. How is it with the colored people; do they have pistols?—A. Well, sir, some colored people have pistols.

Q. Yes; but generally?—A. I think a majority of them are without them.

Q. Well, they hunt, don’t they?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. They have guns for hunting?—A. Yes, sir; a great many of them hunt.

Q. Did you see any guns that night, except this man standing in the door with a double-barrel gun?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You saw another gun besides that?—A. I saw guns.

Q. In the hands of who?—A. I saw Mr. Shadbow come running up the street with his gun; I saw men on horses going up and down with guns; a great many of them run home to get their guns.

Q. What time was this?—A. This was, I reckon, fifteen or twenty minutes after the shooting was over; they had got up round the Arlington, running in every direction getting guns.

Q. That was after the colored people had all dispersed?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you hear them make any declaration as they were coming and going with these guns? Did you hear any one make threats?—A. No, sir; I don’t think I did.

Q. Well, up to the time the firing stopped, did you see any guns except the one of the man standing in the door?—A. I did not.

Q. Do you know whether he fired?—A. I think he did.

Q. If I understood you, you saw people come out of that office; go in and grab a pistol, and come out and fire?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. So that the pistols were loaded when they got them?—A. Yes, sir.

— page 84 —
Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States (1884)

Q. You know that, do you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. They had not time to load them?—A. No, sir.

Q. Where were you that day up to the time of this affair?—A. Well, sir, all that day it was supposed that Mr. [W. E.] Sims [county chairman of the Readjuster Party] would get killed or get hurt, and I was standing about on the street looking.

Q. Well, did you have any arms that day?—A. No, sir.

Q. Were these colored people who were there well known to the whites who were there?—A. Yes, sir; the best portion of them.

Q. The most of them were known to the white people?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you know the colored men?—A. I knew a great many.

Q. A great many who were there that day?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And you say you didn’t see one of them have an arm of any kind; didn’t see a pistol or gun?—A. No, sir; I did not see them.

Q. Did they come back at all after they had dispersed?—A. No, sir.

By Mr. Vance:

Q. You say you did not go to work that day?—A. I went to work Monday morning.

Q. On Saturday, I mean; you did not work that day?—A. No, sir; there didn’t any of the factories that day.

Q. It was feared that Mr. Sims was going to be attacked that day?— A. Well, I suppose, they shut up the factories. I expected to go to work Saturday morning, but I went and they shut up the factory.

Q. You were expecting some attack to be made on him that day?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. The colored people were expecting that, too, were they not?—A. Yes, sir; I suppose they were.

Q. Did that account for so many of them being present on the street that day?—A. On Saturday there is always a crowd of colored people on the street.

Q. I know, but they generally work the most of the day, Saturday, don’t they?—A. They generally work, some until 12, some until 4 o’clock; most of them break up about 12.

Q. Don’t you know now that a great many colored people were on the street in order to see if anything was going to be done to Mr. Sims?— A. I do not know that.

Q. Was not that your reason for being on the street?—A. That was my reason. In fact I was not on the street at the time the shooting commenced, but then I went down street that day when Mr. Sims was in his office to see if anybody came out, to see if anybody had come to bother him.

Q. You saw that he got away safely, didn’t you?—A. Yes, sir; I saw him when he left town.

Q. Were the colored people in your town in the habit of carrying razors?—A. None but barbers. I never saw colored men with razors except it is barbers.

Q. Did you see any in the crowd that day with razors?—A. No, sir.

Q. You say Mr. Dance fired his gun?—A. I think he did.

Q. Can’t you be certain of it one way or the other?—A. I am pretty certain. I was close to him and I was pretty certain he fired that gun.

Q. How many times did he fire both barrels?—A. I think he fired once; he may have fired twice; I think he fired once.

By Mr. Lapham:

Q. You did not come out in the street until you heard the pistol fired, did you?—A. No, sir; I went up to Mr. Johnson to pay him some

— page 85 —
Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States (1884)

money, and I was coning away, and I heard a pistol fired. I went down to see what it was.

Q. You had not expected anything until you heard that pistol fired, did you?—A. Well, from what I could see that morning I thought it was liable to be something.

Q. You did not know of it before you came up there?—A. After Mr. Sims left I did not think there would be anything.

Q. How far was your working place from where this disturbance occurred?—A. This disturbance was on Main street, and my working place was—I have forgotten the name of the street.

Q. Well, about how far?—A. I don’t suppose it was over 250 yards.

Q. You went to pay money to Mr. Johnson?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. And while coming from there you heard the pistols?—A. Heard the pistols.

Q. And then you went down and saw what you have described?—A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Vance:

Q. What factory were you working at?—A. A. W. & C. G. Holland.

APA Citation:
U.S. Senate. Testimony of R. W. Glass (February 15, 1884). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
U.S. Senate. "Testimony of R. W. Glass (February 15, 1884)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 12 Apr. 2024
Last updated: 2021, January 28
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