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Historical Researcher, Librarian

Testimony of Laurel Buck

LAUREL BUCK called as a witness on behalf of the State, having been first duly sworn to testify to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, was examined in chief by Mrs. Van Leuven and testified as follows:

Q State your name.

A Laurel J. Buck.

Q A little louder, please sir. Where do you live?

A 1320 South Peoria, City of Tulsa.

Q How long have you lived in Tulsa?

A Eighteen years.

Q Were you present in the city on the night of the 31st of May and on the day of the 1st of June, Mr. Buck?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q Did you have occasion to observe any of the occurrences during the riot that occurred in this city at that time?

A Yes, ma ‘am.

Q What was the first information you had of the riot?

A I was on Main and Third when there was a rumor that there would be a lynching at the court house, and I left that block and came to the court house, and in the  meantime sent my wife home and came down here. There was quite a crowd gathered, I stood around a few minutes and some armed negroes came in a car at the front steps of the court house. Some of the crowd scattered, myself among them, and afterwards came back.  The negroes kept parading, armed negroes, both walking and in cars, kept parading then for some time till there was a shot fired and then a little interval and some more shots were fired and the crowd ran north on Main. I was on Main myself at the time and some shooting as the crowd was running, at any rate a negro –

Q Where did you go after that shooting, Mr. Buck?

A To the police station.

Q What did you go to the police station for?

A I thought they would deputize men.

MR LEAHY: Wait a minute, Mr. Buck. We object to any purpose in this fellow’s mind as to what he was doing as being immaterial.
THE COURT: Sustained.

Q Did you go to the police station at that night, Mr. Buck?

A Yes , ma’am.

Q, Did you have any conversation with the police authorities at

the police station?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q To whom did you talk?

A I wouldn’t know their names, I talked to several there.

Q Did you offer your services at the police station?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q To help put down that riot?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q Did they give you any authority to help put down that riot?

A They told me to get a gun and get busy and try to get a nigger.

Q What?

A Get a gun and try to get a nigger.

Q Did you get a gun?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q Did you get a negro?

A No, ma’am.

Q What did you understand by that?

MR LEAHY: We object to that, if the Court please, he has no right to tell what was said.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q What did you do following up that suggestion?

MR LEAHY: Object to that as immaterial and incompetent unless it was in the presence of this defendant.

THE COURT: The objection will be overruled.

MR LEAHY: We except.

Q Answer the question.

A I went to the Tulsa Hardware Store and received a gun there.

Q Then where did you go?

A Went to the corner of Third and Boston, waiting there.

Q What did you there do?

A I was watching for negroes passing in cars that were armed.

Q Were negroes passing that corner at that time?

A Not after I got there, none passed.

A The negroes by that time had gone back over?

A Yes.

Q What time did you retire that night, did you go home?

A Yes, I went home about one thirty.

Q What time did you come down the next morning?

A About between seven thirty and eight.

Q Did you have occasion to go over into the negro district the next morning?

A I went as far as I could towards the negro district.

Q What did you observe there?

A Burning of buildings around Cincinnati and Archer and the Frisco depot.

Q Were the buildings burning when you got there?

A The buildings on the east side of Cincinnati were burning, between Cincinnati,– or between Archer and the Frisco track.

Q Now, what was the condition there, did you attempt to go into that district where these buildings were burning?

A I went as far as they would let me go, the Frisco tracks.

Q As far as who would let you go?

A The officers.

Q The officers wouldn’t let you go where the buildings were burning?

A No, ma’am.

Q, Did you see any people in that block over where the buildings were burning?

A Yes, ma’am. Two people.

Q Two people?

A Yes.

Q Were you close enough to tell who those people were?

A They were officers, uniformed police.

Q Uniformed police?

Q What were those two uniformed police doing in that block?

MR MOSS: To which we object as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial, not binding on the defendant.

THE COURT: Overruled.

A They were knocking out the plate glass window of the buildings on the east side of the street and going in them, and after they came out there was fires, smoked rolled out.

Q They knocked out the plate glass windows and then entered the buildings?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q After they came out of the buildings smoke began to come out, is that right?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q, How many buildings did you see those two uniformed officers enter?

A The first building they entered was the first store room of the one story brick buildings, it was the south end. Then they took the buildings right on down, going north to the two story buildings.

Q Were you familiar with the faces of those officers in that you had seen them acting as police officers in the city before that time?

A I have seen them on the police force but I don’t know either of their names.

Q You didn’t know their names?

A No.

Q How long did you stay there?

A About forty minutes.

Q About forty minutes?

A Yes, ma’am.

MRS VAN LEUVEN: That is all; examine the witness—

CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR LEAHY:

Q Where do ·you live. Mr. Buck?

A 1320 South Peoria.

Q What is your occupation?

A Brick layer.

Q You have lived how long in Tulsa?

A Eighteen years.

Q How old are you now?

A Twenty six.

Q How long have you been engaged in the business of brick laying?

A About eight years.

Q That is the only occupation you have, is it?

A Yes. sir.

Q What time was it when you came to the court house on the evening of May 31st?

A About between eight thirty and nine.

Q What did you see when you first arrived here?

A Just a crowd of spectators.

Q About bow many?

A Oh, I should judge upwards of a thousand.

Q White people?

A Yes, sir.

Q, How long after you came was it before negroes commenced coming?

A About twenty or thirty minutes.

Q Where did you see the first negroes that you saw?

A Came in a car right here to the foot of these steps.

Q On Sixth Street?

A Yes, sir.

Q How many were in that oar, about?

A I should judge ten or twelve, maybe fifteen .

Q What did they do?

A They got out of the car and stood around with their guns .

Q Where did they go?

A I don’t know, I left then.

Q You left then?

A Yes, sir.

Q Were you here when the shooting occurred?

A I was at Sixth, at Sixth and Main, just around the corner on Main when the shooting started.

Q How long after you left here was it before the shooting started?

A Oh, it was nearly an hour.

Q You had been gone nearly an hour before the shooting started?

A I had been gone from this corner, I was around on Main street then.

Q, Had you stayed on Main Street all the time?

A Yes, sir.

Q In the vicinity of where you were when you heard the shooting?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did you hear the first shot that was fired?

A Yes, air.

Q Where was it?

A Someplace here on Sixth Street.

Q You didn’t see it?

A No, I just heard it.

Q You don’t know how many squads of negroes came around the court house?

A I don’t know how many came from this direction, there was an armed body of men walked down Sixth Street, across Main and then I saw at different times two or three carloads of armed negroes.

Q Did they turn towards the Court House?

A They would go in, yes, going towards the court house.

Q You saw several cars of armed negroes and one squad of armed negroes that were walking, is that the way it is?

A Yes, sir.

Q You don’t know what took place around the court house at all with reference to those negroes?

A No, sir.

Q Why did you go away from here?

A I thought it was best for me.

Q You thought it was the only safe thing for you to do, did you?

A Yes, sir.

Q Then you went down to the police station and volunteered your services to somebody there at the police station?

A Yes, sir.

Q You didn’t know who that was?

A No, I didn’t know the man’s name.

Q On what floor of the station were you?

A On the ground floor.

Q On the ground floor?

A Yes.

Q Were you inside or outside of the station?

A Inside.

Q Were other men being mustered into the service at that time?

A I didn’t see any.

Q You didn’t see anybody else there?

A Yes, I saw other people there but I didn’t see anybody being mustered into the service.

Q Was there a large crowd there?

A Quite a good many people out in front.

Q Did you see anybody being loaded into automobiles and sent out?

A No, sir.

Q What did you say you done when you offered your services?

A I asked them if they needed any help?

Q You were talking to some police officer downstairs?

A Yes, sir.

Q And he told you to go get a gun and get a nigger?

A Yes.

Q You went and got a gun?

A Yes.

Q, And went to get a negro?

A Tried to.

Q, Why didn’t you?

A I didn’t see any.

Q Didn’t see any; would you have brought a negro in if you had seen him?

A If I had saw him armed.

MRS VAN LEUVEN: Wait a minute. Objected to as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

MR MOSS: A man that would commit unprovoked murder ought not to be believed like any other citizen.

MR FREELING: We ask that the remark be stricken.

MR MOSS: I am addressing myself to the Court

MR FREELING: That is the reason I am asking that it be stricken — there is no proof that this man had any idea of committing unprovoked murder. It ought to be stricken and the jury instructed not to consider it.

MR MOSS: If he had done exactly what he says –

MR FREELING: He asked him if he would have brought in a negro if he had seen him.

THE COURT: The motion to strike the statement will be sustained. You, gentlemen of the jury, will not consider the remark of counsel.

MR MOSS: To the ruling of the court the defendant excepts.

THE COURT: You will not be influenced thereby. The objection to the question will be overruled.

Q Read the question so that the witness will understand it.

(Question read by the Reporter)

A If I had saw one shooting into a crowd of white people I would have tried to have got him, that would have been the only way.

Q What do you mean by getting a negro?

A If I had saw him shooting at white people I would have tried to kill him.

Q If you had seen a negro shooting at white people you would have tried to have killed him?

A Yes, sir.

Q Prevented the killing?

A Yes, sir.

Q That is what you understood you were sent out for, was it?

A Yes, sir.

Q In other words, you were out to protect the lives of white people?

A Yes, sir.

Q Under specific orders from a policeman at the police department?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did you go alone or were you by yourself?

A I was alone.

Q Did you go along with anybody else.

A No, sir.

Q How long did you stay on the street?

A Till about one thirty. I went home at one thirty.

Q Where did you stay during all the time after you got your gun and up to the time you went home?

A I put in most of my time around Third and Boulder and on Third Street.

Q, Did you see any armed negroes around there?

A No, sir.

Q Any armed white people around there?

A Yes. sir.

Q How many?

A The streets were full of them.

Q Hundreds of them?

A Yes, sir

Q, Mr Buck, during the night they were all walking around just like you were, were they?

A Yes, sir.

Q And during that time did you hear any shooting going on in the oity?

A Yes, sir.

Q Where was that?

A There were people shooting out of cars, shooting just to hear the gun go off.

Q Shooting in the air?

A Yes, sir.

Q Where was that shooting?

A On Main Street, as they crossed Third Street two shots was fired out of a car there in the air and then I heard other shots all around town; that is the only ones I saw.

Q Those are the only ones you saw?

A Yes, sir.

Q You heard other shots?

A Yes, sir.

Q Any in the direction of the Frisco depot?

A Yes, I heard shooting in that direction.

Q As the night wore on that shooting grew more frequent and intense, didn’t it?

A No, I didn’t notice any more shooting as long as I was down town.

Q What time did you come back to town in the morning?

A About seven thirty or eight o’clock.

Q Did you have your gun then?

A Yes, sir.

Q And you took your gun with you when you went over in the negro settlement?

A I took it back to the hardware store where I got it.

Q You carried it back to the hardware store where you got it and you went over unarmed?

A I went over to the Frisco tracks.

Q You didn’t have any arms with you then?

A No, sir.

Q You had stopped then the proposition of trying to get anybody?

A Yes , sir.

Q You say you met some officers?

A I saw some officers there at the Frisco tracks, yes, sir.

Q Just at what place?

A There was one officer right on the track, they wouldn’t let anybody go any further down Cincinnati, and there were two officers down in the block.

Q They wouldn’t let any unarmed men go down that way?

A No, sir.

Q He let men who were in the service of the city as police to go by, didn’t he?

A I didn’t see any of them try it.

Q How long did you stay there?

A I was there about forty minutes.

Q And where did you go from there?

A I went back up to Young Brothers’ Cigar Store.

Q, The place at which you saw the policeman, what street was that?

A Cincinnati .

Q Cincinnati and the railroad crossing?

A Yes, sir, one police was there.

Q How many policemen were there?

A There was one there stopping the crowd and two others on down in the block.

Q One was stopping the crowd from going over towards the negro settlement?

A Yes, sir.

Q There was a big crowd trying to get over there, was there?

A Probably a hundred or two hundred people when I was there.

Q And he was holding them back from going over there?

A Yes. sir.

Q You went up to Young’s Cigar Store you say?

A When I left there, yes, sir.

Q Then where did you go from there?

A I think I went home from there.

Q While you were at the crossing at Cincinnati and the Frisco station you saw the houses burning?

A Yes, sir.

Q That was when the officer was holding back the white people from going over?

A The fire was on the east side of the street when I first got there, everything was burning there then.

Q Everything was burning when you got there?

A On the east side of the street, yes, sir.

Q Did you see any people other than the two men you described as seeing where the buildings were burning?

A No, sir.

Q That was all you saw?

A Yes, sir.

Q You say they were officers in uniform?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did you know them?

A No, I didn’t know either of their names, I have seen the two of them on the force.

Q You have seen them?

A Yes, sir.

Q Could you point them out now?

A Yes, sir, I believe I could point them out.

Q Are they here in the Court room? All the policemen in the court room stand up. Please, all the men on the police force stand up that are here.

(A number of men in the court room stand up )

A None of them.

Q None of them?

A No.

Q Could you go down to the police station and look over the police station and pick them out?

A I wouldn’t swear I could pick them out.

Q You wouldn’t swear you could pick them out?

A No, sir.

Q How far were you from those two men?

A Possibly half a block, half a block or lees, more or less.

Q What was it you saw them do?

A Take a pool que and break the plate glass windows in the one story buildings on the west side of the street and they entered the buildings and after they came out smoke started in the rooms.

Q How long afterwards?

A A very short time after they left the buildings.

Q After they went in and stayed a while and came out and then the smoke started?

A Then the smoke started, yes.

Q At the time you saw them you were in a crowd of two or three hundred people?

A Yes, sir.

Q And they were in just as good position to see that as you were?

A Yes, sir.

Q And all the men there that were around where the buildings were burning were Just those two policemen?

A Yes, sir.

Q Nobody else there, nobody else in among the burning buildings that were in sight at all?

A No, sir.

MR LEAHY: That is all.

RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MRS VAN LEUVEN:

Q You say that when you went to the police station you offered your services to them. Did you offer your services to them in the capacity of a commissioned officer, ask for a commission?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q Did you get it?

MR LEAHY: Wait a minute, if your Honor please; he has a right to say what he said to the police.

THE COURT: The objection will be sustained. State

MR LEAHY: We ask that the jury be instructed to disregard that.

THE COURT: The answer will be stricken, the jury will not consider it. It is the statement of a conclusion.

Q What did you say to the police down there?

A I asked them if they were deputizing — if they would deputize me as an officer .

Q What did they say to you?

A He told me no, that they could take care of the situation.

Q What else did he say?

A And they told me that I better go out and try to get a gun and get a nigger.

Q You say you went down to a hardware store and you were issued a gun?

A Yes, ma’am.

Q I want to know who issued you the gun?

A I don’t know the man that issued me the gun, but he issued everybody guns as they came in there.

Q What place was that?

A Tulsa Hardware.

Q Did you take it it was some proprietor or clerk in that store?

A Yes, ma’am.

MRS VAN LEUVEN: That is all.

RE-CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR LEAHY:

Q Then when you first told here on the witness stand today what was said when you first got to the police station, you didn’t tell just exactly what it was, did you?

MRS VAN LEUVEN: That is objected to.

Q About what .you said when you went to the police station, when you first told it here on the witness stand you didn’t tell exactly what transpired?

MRS VAN LEUVEN: We object to that, your Honor, he answered a direct question, he answered a question I asked him. I didn’t ask him that.

THE COURT: The objection will be sustained.

MR LEAHY: We except. That is all.

BY THE COURl’:

Q Just a minute. Did you sign a receipt for this gun?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did the other parties who got guns at that time sign receipts for the guns? A Yes, sir.

Q You returned your gun to the place where you got it?

A Yes, sir.

Witness excused.

North Detroit Ave.

I find that I need to note that I have found an analytical issue, and I wanted to share it..  There are some issues regarding  identifying the houses on Detroit.

detroit1915

1915 Sanborn Map, Sheet 4, courtesy of the Tulsa City County Library.

You will notice on this map, dated 1915, there are only a few houses and addresses shown.  One of them is 523, which is Dr. Jackson’s house.    I recently received a more clear version of Beryl Ford collection A2455, thanks to Ian Swart of the Tulsa Historical Society.

A2455

Beryl Ford, A2455. Tulsa Historical Society.

You will notice it depicts the back side of Detroit, and clearly shows the foundations of the houses – including the unfinished foundation that was not burned.

We know that one of the lot borders comes down, just south of center of Easton coming over the hill.  Another is halfway between that and the portion of Easton that runs along the south of the block (at the edge of the photo).

We know this because of this version of the same photograph:

riot165

A slightly different angle from one of the panoramas:

RiotPanorama.jpg

From that we can make some estimates of width of the lots.

newA2455

Which means we can place 503 and 523.

Looking at the Census, the Directories, and the Events of the Tulsa Disaster, we get:

503 N Detroit Wright, Mary Alice Wid: Arthur.  2 story frame with basement
505 N Detroit
507 N Detroit Bridgewater, Robert T. Wife: Mattie M. Physician 103 1/2 N Greenwood  1 frame story with basement
511 N Detroit Bridgewater, T.R.(owner) Smitherman, Andrew J. Wif: Ollie Editor, Tulsa Star 1 frame story with basement
515 N Detroit McKeever, Joseph J. Wife: Myrtle Dentist 1 frame story with basement
521 N Detroit Woods, William H. Wife: Eliza pastor Union Baptist Church 1 frame story with basement
522 N Detroit Digney, Mary A.
523 N Detroit Andrew, Andrew C. Wife: Julia A. Physician 503 N Greenwood. 1 frame story with basement
527 N Detroit Stovall, Jesse Wife: Birdie Janitor
529 N Detroit Magill, Harrison M. Teacher BTW HS 1 frame story with basement
531 N Detroit Woods, Ellis W. Wife: Anna Principal BTW HS 1 frame story with basement
533 N Detroit Stoval, Jesse (See above) 1 frame story with basement
537 N Detroit Gentry, Thomas R. Wife Lottie E. W. Gentry, Neeley & Vaden 1 frame story with basement
541 N Detroit Brown, Curtis D. Wife: Alleze. Porter 1 frame story with basement
602 N Detroit Beard J, L
625 N Detroit Hughes, John W. Wife: Jessie M. Principal, Dunbar Grade School 1 frame story with basement
627 N Detroit Singer, Charles E. Wife Pearl. Blacksmith at Tulsa Boiler & Mach Co. 1 frame story with basement

Taking a look at the aerial drawing (1918) we see:

greenwoodmodified.2jpg

503 is 2 stories.  Unfortunately the drawing has some scale and placement issues, and the buildings are oversized for the block.  But we do see a second 2 story building.

If we look at the satellite map we see:

elgin2.JPG

The shift from Easton west of Detroit to east of Detroit is about hundred feet which means that we have to fit eight addresses in that distance, technically seven since 522 would be on the west side.

So what do we see from the other side?

 

 

 

rough.png

If the 2 story building is 503 then unfinished house must be 505, particularly as there is only one two story house listed in Events of the Tulsa Disaster on the 500 block.  Or if we look at the aerial drawing (1918) then the two story structure might be 523.

I believe this may actually be the case because of this image.

3a34285r.jpg

The two building fronts remain and the gray patch at the bottom of the picture may be Easton.   This means that what I believe we are looking at is this:

elgin2a.jpg

Why is this important? Because previously I had previously placed 523 a bit further north (about a hundred feet further north).

A Simple Experiment regarding fire in a open cockpit aircraft

One of the questions regarding the Riot and the burning is whether burning materials were thrown from the aircraft. This has nothing with any of the other theories about how the aircraft could have been used.

It occurred to me that this is actually easily testable, and testable without access to fancy equipment. And we performed the experiment today. Feel free to reproduce the results if you want.

The aircraft most likely to have been used during the Invasion the morning of June 1, 1921 was the Curtis Jenny, an open cockpit aircraft. The stall speed of the Jenny is about 45 miles an hour. That means the slowest the plane could travel and not fall out of the air.

IMG_0152We chose to reproduce that speed in the back of a pick up truck driving down a road. We elected to see if we could light a match, a lighter, and if using a lit cigar we could light a fuel soaked rag.

Safety precautions were taken, including a fire extinguisher and a bucket full of water to take the burning rag if necessary.


The lighter. We used a Zippo, which was a more advanced lighter than those available in 1921, but based on similar principles. It would not light at speed.
IMG_0163
The matches. We used a cluster of three wooden strike anywhere matches. They lit perfectly and were immediately extinguished in the wind.


Finally, lighting a fuel soaked rag with a cigar. We could not get it to light.

Analysis is that it is unlikely that burning materials could have been lit and thrown. If somehow lit, they would have been extinguished leaving the plane.

Testimony of John A. Oliphant, 2 Attorney General’s Civil Case Files, RG 1-2, A-G Case no. 1062, Box 25 (Oklahoma State Archives)

 

JOHN A. OLIPHANT

called as a witness on behalf of the State, having been first duly sworn to testify to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, was examined in chief by Mr. Freeling and testified as follows:

Q Will you state your name to the Court and jury?

A John A. Oliphant.

Q Where do you live, Mr. Oliphant?

A Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Q What part of the city?

A I live over near Detroit and Easton, in that block.

Q How long have you lived here?

A A little over sixteen years.

Q How old a man are you.

A Seventy three.

Q Were you here on the night of May 31st?

A Yes, sir.

Q That is called the night of the riot, is it not?

A Yes, sir.

Q What was the first you observed concerning it, judge?

A Well, it was early the next morning, June 1st, just a good daylight when I discovered a lot of men coming up on the hill there east of my place.

Q White men or nigger men?

A They were white men.

Q Armed or unarmed?

A They were armed, they were all dressed in khaki clothing, they looked to me to be oversea soldiers.

Q What did they do?

A They were looking east and I got up and came out of my home and I walked rapidly over to Detroit and they were shooting across Detroit over on Elgin and in that locality on the north

of Easton.

Q I will ask you, judge, if during the morning you got in communication with the police station?

A Yes, I phoned and sent for them several times, I phoned to the police station myself.

Q What time did you phone?

A Well, that was between eight and nine o’clock, but I had sent before that a time or two.

Q A time or two?

A Yes, sir. and to the sheriff’s office also.

jackson.jpgQ Were you acquainted with Dr. Jackson?

A Yes, sir.

Q Is he living or dead?

A He is dead.

Q Did you witness his death?

A Yes, sir, I witnessed the shooting which caused his death a few minutes afterwards.

Q About what time in the morning was he shot, judge?

A Right close to eight o’clock, between seven thirty and eight o’clock.

Q Was that before or after you had communicated with the police station?

A The first thing I done I tried to get some policemen. I found there wasn’t any up there and I wanted to get some policemen to help me; I thought I could stop that whole business but I guess I was mistaken.

Q Did you get any help from the police officers?

A No, sir.

Q After you communicated with the police station what did you see with reference to Dr . Jackson?

A I was standing down on Detroit just fronting his house, just right opposite Easton down from where I live. I heard him holler and I looked up and saw him coming about twenty five feet away from me or thirty, with his hands up, and he said “Here am I”, he wanted to go —

MR LEAHY : We object to this statement of what Dr. Jackson said .

THE COURT: The objection will be overruled.

MR LEAHY: We except.

A I said to the fellows, “That is Dr. Jackson, don’t hurt him.”

Q How many were there?  How many men were there there at that time, Judge?

A About thirty or forty or fifty. around there.

Q How many of them were armed?

A Oh, I don’t know, the major portion of them was I presumed armed, they were practically all armed, I think.

Q What did you say Dr. Jackson said?

A He said, “Here am I, I want to go with you”, or something to that effect.

Q Who was he speaking to?

A I don’t know whether he was speaking to me or the other fellows. I was standing immediately in front of him and right on either side of me were three or four or five young fellows, citizens, with guns, and on the other side of the driveway were some more, two or three others.

Q Was Dr. Jackson shot by anybody?

A Yes sir.

Q How many were in the party that shot him?

A Oh, seven or eight.

Q Seven or eight.

A Yes, right in the party, they were all around there then.

Q How many fired?

A Two men fired at him.

Q, Did he fall?

A Yes, he fell at the second shot with the high powered rifle.

Q At the second shot?

A Yes, sir, he fell down.

Q What kind of a looking man was it that shot him?

A A young man with a white shirt and cap on.

Q How long was this after you had communicated with the police station asking for help?

A 0Q, I don’t know, half an hour, maybe an hour, I tried to get them two or three times and got them once or twice.

Q What was done concerning Dr. Jackson after he fell?

A Well, they loaded him in a car and took him away.

Q Who did that?

A The men there, the white men present.

Q Do you know whether they started to a hospital or not?

A That is where they said they was going, to a hospital.

Q These men that put him in a car, were they armed?

A Oh, yes, they were armed.

Q Were they shooting?

A Well, it was occasional shooting because over on — at that time, oh God, no, sir, there wasn’t a nigger man I suppose within a mile of that except one old man that was sick, and Dr. Jackson.

Q The two?

A They all left out before six, or right at six, there wasn’t a negro man in that locality after that time I don’t think.

Q They had gone, had they?

A Yes, sir. they had either come in and given themselves up, or they had run around the hill beyond the school house there and went out of my eight . I seen three or four or five, they wasn’t but a few negro men there. They was shooting close, from the number of shots; they always went over me. I got down on Detroit where — where they were balls from both sides went over me but I was too low down.

Q Judge, I wish you would tell the Court and jury at this time, at the time Dr. Jackson was shot, as to the degree of excitement, if you can.

LEAHY: We object to that as immaterial and incompetent.

THE COURT: Overruled.

LEAHY: We except.

A There was but little excitement then, the fight was all over and had been over for an hour and a half. There was no shooting at that particular time because there was no negroes over there to shoot at.

Q I will ask you, judge, if you saw any houses burned?

A Yes sir.

Q, Did you see any houses set afire?

A Yes, sir.

ellsworth1

N. Detroit home being looted.

Q Just tell how you saw them set afire, whether it was by one man or two or a party of people?

A Two or three or four did the firing of practically all the buildings there.

Q Explain their operation, would they fire one building and go to another?

A Yes, sir, this was away after ten o’clock, the negroes had been gone five hours from there and the excitement was practically all down, when any of those houses north of Easton, those good houses in the residence district were all burned after ten fifteen or ten thirty.

Q Where were the military authorities then?

A They come in at nine o’clock and I seen them parading, 1 expected the militia over there but they were just parading around the city having a promenade. I don’t know just what they were doing.

Q I will ask you, judge, after you phoned the police station for help, i£ you saw the chief of police or any police officer over there?

A Yes, there was four came over there .

Q What did they do?

A They were the chief fellows setting fires.

Q Were they in uniform?

A No, I can’t say —

Q Did they have on stars?

A They had ·stars, they had badges on: just one man, they called him Brown, l believe, a red complected fellow, I knew him as a policeman but the others I only knew from the badges they wore.

Q You say the red complected man you knew as a policeman?

A Yes.

Q Did you know his name?

A I understood they called him Brown.

A Was he with the party that was setting fire to houses?

A Yes, he and Cowboy Long were the chief burners.

Q Brown and Cowboy Long?

A Yes, sir.

Q How many houses did you see them set fire to?

ellsworth2

N. Detroit home being burned after looting.

A I never seen them actually set the fire to but one, they went in and when they came out the houses were burning, you know. I kept begging all the time to spare the houses because my property was just across the street from there, and when they burned them with the wind blowing as it was strongly from the east, it would burn me out. I was chiefly interested in the fire in that particular . But when they had –

Q You say you saw them set fire to one house?

A Yes.

Q How did they do it , tell the jury.

A They threw a lot of gasoline and coal oil back in the butlery at Dr. Jackson’s, that was Dr. Jackson’s house.

Q Was that before or after he was killed?

A That was after he was killed, that was two hours and a half or nearly three hours after he was killed.

Q These four men that you saw in a party, was there anybody else with them or ·were they travelling from place to place themselves?

riot44

N. Detroit homes being looted.

A They were scattered around there, quite a large number of people looting the houses and taking out everything. There wasn’t no excitement particularly. Some were singing, some were playing pianos that were taken out of the buildings, some were running victrolas, some dancing a jig and just having a rolicing easy good time in a business which they thought they were doing that was upright.

Q Aside from these men that you took to be police officers, the one you have called Brown and the one you have called Cowboy Long that party—

A He wasn’t a policeman.

Q I am not saying, judge, that he was, I say, in the party where you saw one man you called Brown, you knew he was a policeman—

A Yes, he had been.

Q —and in the party you saww a fellow by the name of Cowboy Long?

A Yes.

Q Did you see any other party or any other police officers over there that morning?

A There were four police officers there, three with this other one and Brown.

Q What were they doing, the three that were with Brown’?

A They were working in conjunction with that outfit there.

Q Doing what?

A Doing burning and looting or carrying out things and doing that which was as they said they were ordered to destroy— that ain’t the word they used. I don’t remember the word he used but it was to the effect that they was going to make the destruction complete.

Q Did you make any effort to prevent them?

A I did all the time I was— I had really protected the property from three or four crowds of fellows there that morning and this last crowd made an agreement that they would not burn that property because I thought it would burn mine too And I promised that if they wouldn’t, they made the promise if they would leave it I would see that no negroes ever lived in that row of houses any more. I promised all right.

Q You promised all right?

A Yes, sir, I promised, I didn’t know whether I could make good or not but I was going to try it.

Q Did you see any other police officers there that morning?

A No, sir, 6h, no, there wasn’t any others all the morning I seen anywhere.

Q Did you see any taking property out of houses.

A Oceans of it, they absolutely sacked all the houses and took everything out.

Q What was the nature of the property that was taken out?

Q Well, pianos, victrolas, clothing, chairs, musical instruments, clothing or all kinds, men, women and children would go in the house end fill up pillow cases, sheets and clothing and carry them out and carry them away.

Q Judge, how far was Dr. Jackson from you when he was shot?

A About twenty five, between twenty five and thirty feet.

Q How was he walking?

A He was walking right straight towards us, me and the other two fellows that was at my left and the other fellow that was at my right·, he was coming directly to me , I think.

Q Was he making a demonstration with his hands?

A No, he had··his hands that way (indicating). He says “Here am I, take me”, or something to that effect.

Q About what time, judge, did the trouble end, the burning?

A The burning?

Q Yes. sir.

A About ten thirty, a little after, it was all destroyed and the best of those houses were practically burned down all right through there at ten thirty.

Q At ten thirty?

A And at eleven thirty, about eleven o’clock the militia come over, marched over that way

Q And there wasn’t any disturbance after that, was there, along about eleven o’clock?

A No, no.

Q Did you see anybody else shot except Dr. Jackson?

A No, I am not certain that I did.

Q Sir?

A I am not certain that I did . I seen them shooting at each other, some in the windows of the school house I took to be colored men and probably one or two in the Baptist Church there in the window above.

Q Did you see any colored men or negro men shooting from the Baptist Church over there?

A No, I didn’t see them shoot, I heard the reports from that locality and I heard the balls whistle over my head as I passed.

Q About what time was that?

A Oh, this was early in the morning, about — between four thirty and five o’clock or five thirty, just about an hour’s time, right early in the morning.

Q Just about eight or nine o’clock what was the condition, was there a raging battle between a large number of armed people, or was it this looting by individuals?

A There wasn’t anything at all going on but the looting at that time, they were all gone, the niggers run away and give themselves up there in an hour’s time after I was up after the thing begun at four thirty in the morning.

Q Judge, when you phoned the police station what reply did you get?

A He said — somebody in there, I thought I knew the voice but I am not certain, he said “I will do the best I can for you.” I told him who I was, I wanted some policeman, I says, “If you will send me ten policemen I will protect all this property and save a million dollars worth of stuff they were burning down and looting.” I asked the fire department for the fire department to be sent over to help protect my property and they said they couldn’t come, they wouldn’t let them.

Q Did the policemen ever come that you called for?

A Well, I don’t know, those policemen, those four came over, I don’t know whether they came in obedience to my request. If they did I am mighty sorry they came, I wish they hadn’t come.

Q They are the ones you said were looting?

A They were helping burn, they were working in conjunction with the fellows there that were burning.

Q They were helping burn?

A Yes, sir.

Q Did any policemen come in response to your request that assisted in preventing any looting or burning or killing?

A Not one single one, not one. I got no assistance or encouragement from anyone, sheriff’s office or them either.

MR FREELING: I believe that is all.

CROSS EXAMINATION BY MR. LEAHY:

Q, Where do you say you live?

A I live over there on Easton close to Detroit.

Q I don’t know where that is.

A That is right on stand pipe hill, I live there and there is where my property is.

Q You live on stand pipe hill?

A Yes, sir, I have lived there for sixteen years.

Q How far do you live from this district that was burned out?

A My property lies right across the street from that, right up to it, that is, part of it, I have got two houses there.

Q When was it that the shooting first commenced over in that neighborhood.

A Oh, about four thirty, between that, four and five o’clook.

Q Just about daylight?

A Yes, just good daylight, they come up there in uniform, I took them all to be ex-service men.

Q In uniform?

A Yes, they had the khaki uniform on. all except two boys that I seen, two or three boys.

Q Were they armed?

A Yes, sir, those boys were armed all right .

Q What kind of guns did they have?

A One of them had a high powered gun.

Q What do you mean by a high powered gun?

A One of these rapid shooters.

Q How is that?

A I call them rapid shooting guns, I thought he had a Henry, it might have been a Winchester. I don’t know, I didn’t take it only just seen it, seen it was a high powered gun.

Q You mean they were rifles?

A Yes, sir.

Q How many of those men did you see first?

A Well, there was about forth or fifty of them there right on the hill when I came out — just coming up on the bill when I came out and came down on the park.

Q Did they appear to be in command of anybody?

A No, I can’t say about that, they all seemed to be looking over there to see somebody shooting out across Detroit.

Q Were this party on the hilltop?

A They were forming along on the east side of the hill, right along the hill, the hill runs clear down to Detroit along back of my houses, they were forming along there, some forty or fifty of them.

Q Do you know whether they were the officers or not?

A No, sir, I don’t know anything about it.

Q Did you see anybody among them that appeared to be an officer?

A No, sir, I didn’t see anybody that appeared to be an officer, I knew some of them.

Q How is that?

A I knew some of them but they were—

Q Who did you know?

A I knew Voorhis.

Q What does he do?

A He was an overseas— I knew him because I know his father well and his father is a friend of mine, his father is dead now.

Q Member o£ the national guard here?

A Yes, he is a member of the national guard because he was a policeman after the war was over, he was in the service then.

Q Wasn’t this bunch of men you saw there members of the national guard?

A Well, I don’t know, they all had on khaki uniforms , I took them to be overseas soldiers and they may have been a part of the national guard, not— those that came from Oklahoma City you mean?

Q I mean the company that lives here.

A Well, some of them were, I think.

Q Did they have a machine gun there with them?

A The machine gun was just down on Detroit just below me there.

Q You know where the machine gun was, do you?

A Yes, sir.

Q How far were they from where the machine gun was?

A Oh, they were a block and a half or two blocks from the machine gun.

Q You say they were shooting from both ways?

A Yes, they— I heard the balls whistle from both ways from over there on the— early when the fighting begun, they was fighting there, shooting and quite a number of shots from each side.

Q You couldn’t say which side— you mean the negroes were firing?

A Yes, sir, across there on Elgin, Elgin and Frankfort, along in there you know they had some high powered guns, and the balls carried clear over to my home pretty near a quarter of a mile away.

Q How frequent was the firing, judge?

A It could be a half a dozen shots, then be intervals and then you know two or three other shots. .

Q How long could the intervals be?

A Two or three shots, sometimes, you know, getting ready— I suppose they were looking to see them appear at the windows in the brick buildings, that is what 1 judged.

Q How frequently was the shooting that came from the negro settlement?

A Well, as I told you, two or three shots, maybe a half a dozen shots, and two or three or four shots; you know, but it soon ended.

Q Probably a few hundred shots in an hour?

A Yes, sir; I should judge that anyhow, I should judge a few hundred shots.

Q These men that were stationed on the hill there, they were answering back the shooting that came from the negroes?

A Yes, they were shooting back at each other all right.

Q You say that was about four thirty in the morning?

A That is when that commenced, yes, sir.

Q How long before it stopped?

A It was all over before five thirty anyhow.

Q You mean the shooting right in that immediate neighborhood?

A Yes, sir.

Q When you say the shooting was over you don’t mean the shooting was over throughout the city at that time?

A I think that is the last place where there was any shooting or any consequence occurred that morning because they had been driven out down below there.

Q How many armed negroes did you see around there that morning?

A I couldn’t tell, I only seen them across there, a black or two you know at the windows two or three times.

Q In your judgment about how many armed negroes did you see over there that morning?

A I seen four or five running around the hill you know, there wasn’t many there that I seen.

Q, How many places did you observe they were shooting from there?

A About three places.

Q How many armed white men did you see over there?

A There were quite — there was a hundred or two or three perhaps.

Q Were they all stationed on the hill?

A Well, they came up on the hill and then went around down north of Fairview and then some of them came down to where I was on Detroit.

Q Those men were shooting back and forth at each other, the negroes and the white people you spoke of, was that the time you phoned to the police station?

A I did before that and since.

Q Did you during the time that shooting was going on?

A No, sir, I couldn’t get away from where 1 was just then, I didn’t go to a phone at that time, I thought I could stop the business when I went down there but I wasn’t able to do it.

Q What time was this that Dr. Jackson was shot?

A Just about eight o’clock, between seven thirty and eight o’clock.

Q These men that were with you at the time the shooting occurred, were they part of the same men that were on the hilltop?

A Well I expect that some of them were but I am not certain whether they were or not.

Q How were they dressed?

A Some of them had on khaki uniforms. some of them in citizens clothes, the two young men that done the shooting of Jackson didn’t have on uniform of any kind.

Q They didn’t have a uniform?

A No.

Q Did you know them?

A No, sir, I did not.

Q Had you ever seen them before?

A I couldn’t say, I don’t know anything about them.

Q Have you’ ever seen them since?

A No, sir.

Q Did you know the men that were in uniform along with the boys that did the shooting?

A No, sir, I didn’t. I probably knew some of them because I am well acquainted here, but I don’t remember, judge, I don’t remember the individual person. The excitement was pretty heavy and I had so many things to think about and try to do that I couldn’t [c]harge.judge. I couldn’t remember just who was in the party.

Q How long had they been with you at that place before they shot Dr. Jackson?

A Well, not very long.

Q Ten minutes?

A I had been right around there for a couple of hours but they hadn’t been there but very few minutes, they just came in a gang.

Q You had talked to them before Dr. Jackson came up there, hadn’t you?

A Sir?

Q You had talked to these boys that were there before Dr. Jackson came up?

A Yes, I kept telling them all the time not to burn the houses there because they would burn me up if they did.

Q About what time in the morning did you say it was Dr. Jackson was shot?

A Right close to eight o’clock, between seven thirty and eight o’clock.

[Page 17 is missing]

part

A Yes, they were only three places, the school house and the Baptist Church and a brick grocery store.

Q What kind of buildings were those, brick buildings?

A Brick buildings.

Q From those buildings they were shooting?

A Yes, sir.

Q And that was about all the brick buildings there were in that section?

A There was a few others, but they were prominent, they were where they could be seen easily.

Q Those were the prominent buildings in the negro section?

A Yes, sir, that part of it, in the residence portion.

Q What did you say to whoever you got in touch with at the police station when you phoned?

A I wanted them to send me up about ten policemen and help me protect that property, judge. I guess I said my property and I said we could care for all that property if I had them, I had watched it for two or three hours.

Q Did you know to whom you talked in the police station?

A No, I am not certain.

Q You didn’t ask any name?

A No, I asked if that was the police office and he said it was. I don’t think it was Mr. Gustafsen, it didn’t talk like him.

Q You don’t think it was Mr. Gustafsen?

A No, I don’t.

Q They did tell you they would try to send you help?

A Yes, sir, they said they would do the best they could to send me somebody to help.

Q, Now after that you phoned again to the police station?

A Yes, sir.

Q, What time?

A That is, there was some fellows came there about nine o’olock and began talking about burning and then I phoned again but didn’t get anybody.

Q You didn’t get anybody?

A I sent two or three fellows over there and to the sheriff’s office to tell them to come over and help me, just to give me ten fellows.

Q You sent some men to come over to the sheriff’s office?

A To the sheriff’s office and to police headquarters.

Q But you didn’t get in touch over the phone any more with the police headquarters?

A No, I don’t think I did, I don’t remember now that I did.

Q These men that came over there about nine o’clock, how many were in that crowd?

A Well, that wasn’t the last crowd, that wasn’t the crowd that done the burning. They came there about ten or ten fifteen, the crowd that done the burning.

Q How many of them were there?

A There was twenty five or thirty in the gang.

Q How many gangs?

A There was only the one gang came then and they had been three a time or two. Some others had talked about burning but these fellows came there—

Q Hadn’t there, judge, early that morning, been hundreds of men over through that section of town?

A They came through, the home guards marched up there at eight o’clock up Detroit in single file at eight o’clock and I thought they was going to help us, I thought that would end the trouble and it would have done if they had stayed there, but they marched up there on the hill, Sunset Hill and stayed up there where they could do no good on earth.

Q That was the national guard that did that?

A Yes.

Q The local company that is located here?

A Yes, sir .

Q Do you know whom they were in charge of?

A No; I did know at the time, sir, but I don’t remember now. They marched in single file with their guns.

Q Do you know Colonel Rooney?

A Oh, yes, I know him very well, I don’t think he was in command, yet he may have been, I know colonel very well. He was over there in that locality before and I think after .

Q He had been over there that morning?

A Yes, sir, and 1 think he rendered good service too.

Q He was the officer that has control of the local company here, isn’t he?

A Yes, he is the officer, I understand so, but I don’t know whether he was in charge of the company at that time.

Q How long did the company stay over there?

A They went up on the hill and I didn’t watch them, I didn’t have time to watch them, I don’t know what became of them.

Q You don’t know how long they stayed there?

A They didn’t come back, I thought they were going to stay there.

Q In addition to that company there were other men went over in uniform?

A Oh, yea, they were gathered around there pretty thick, every once in a while a squad came over.

Q Would it be safe to say, judge, that men were over there that appeared to be officers to the number of one hundred that morning, including the national guard?

A Well, there was a hundred, over a hundred that were in uniform, khaki uniforms: I don’t know whether they pretended to be officers or what office they performed but they were there all right.

Q You say the negroes left that section there near you early that morning?

A Yes, about six o’clock — a little before five or about five or shortly afterwards I saw a negro groceryman over on Elgin, I hollered to him and told him if they didn’t come out of there and get protection they would every one be killed and for him to tell them so and he did so. All up that street then, Professor Hughes and all them folks came out and gave themselves up, to our fellows that were taking— conducted to the—

Q The officers that were over there did take charge practically then of the entire negro population that was in that section?

A The men in khaki uniforms did, yes.

Q Before the negroes had been run off?

A Yes, yes, every one of them, they brought them off and brought them down to Convention Hall.

Q And they were taken charge of by officers that were there?

A Yes, about six o’olock they got hold of them.

Q During ‘the time you say the buildings were burned over there, the negro population had all been removed to Convention Hall?

A Either that or they had left, run east around the hill; there wasn’t any neggers there at all.

4, Did you know any of those persons that did any of the burning?

A I know the faces of some of them but I don’t know of anybody.  I can’t tell of anybody except what I have already testified to.

Q Have you seen any of them since that?

A Not a single one, and not one; I have looked for them too.

Q You haven’t seen any of them?

A No.

Q You don’t know anything about what they were doing there except that they were burning the property?

A No. that is all; they seemed to be having a good time in their proper element. They burned the houses after they were all robbed you know, looted.

Q You say that women and children were looting the houses as well as men?

A Sure.

Q Did you know any of the women and children?

A I knew the faces of some of them but I couldn’t tell the names.

Q You couldn’t tell the names?

A They got considerable of that property back that they taken over there, I helped to get some of it.

Q You say there was a fellow by the name of Brown?

A That is what they said, I don’t know his name. I know the man all right if I would see him, he was a red complected fellow.

Q Have you seen him around the court house here?

A No, sir, I haven’t seen him here.

Q Have you seen him since that day?

A I haven’t seen him since that day.

Q Have you been to the police station since that?

A No, I haven’t.

Q Will you go there and see if you can find him and report back here?

MR FREELING: To which we object as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q This Cowboy Long, what about him, who was he?

A I only know him by what they said his name was, they threatened that when he come he would fix them houses quick, and he did.

Q Did you ever see him before?

A I think I have seen him before but I don’t know.

Q Have you seen him since?

A I haven’t seen him since.

Q Read about him in the newspapers?

A Yes, sir.

Q For years?

A For years.

Q You have read about him in the newspapers?

Yes, I knew the reputation of the fellow.

Q He is a notorious bootlegger, isn’t he?

A Yes, no question about that; I knew that at that time. When they called his name I feared him because I had heard about him .

Q Did you talk to him over there?

A Yes, and he and Brown were the fellows I made a dicker with to save the houses if they wouldn’t burn them I would prevent any negroes from living in them.

Q  At the time they were burning these houses where was the national guard, still on the hill?

A No. They had gone I guess. You see that was nearly five hours after the fight was over, over there, the real fighting, pretty near five hours.

Q, The national guard had left the place?

A I think so entirely, I don’t think there was any of the national guard there, I don’t remember any of them .

Q There wasn’t anybody in an official capacity there at that time?

A Yes, there was one. This man Voorhis. One fellow threatened me and he said to him– I know hie father, he is a Missourian, so am I, he says, ”If you hurt that man there will be something doing damn quick here”, I heard that. I heard that and walked away.

Q Voorhis is a member of the national guard?

A Yes, sir.

Q And working with the police at that time?

A He was working there and trying to do something He is a good fellow too.

Q He was doing all he could to protect property?

A I don’t know what he was doing really, I knew he protected me all right.

Q He protected you?

A Yes, he did that.

Q He was the only one there at that time, you say?

A There might have been others, judge, but I don’t remember.

Q Do you know when the city was put under martial law?

A I think it was about twelve o’clock, I think, I don’t know—

Q You know it was put under martial law?

A Yes, yes, I know.

Q And that the officers came from the state capitol here?

A Yes, they come but they didn’t come over there.

Q They didn’t come over there?

A No, sir, they got off of the train at nine o’clock, I had sent for· them, I see the train pull in, I said “We are safe now.” An hour and a half after that all those buildings were standing there. I sent for them, I sent for the militia to come, send over fifteen or twenty or them that is all I wanted.

Q Who did you send to?

A I sent to the—directed it to Charlie Barrett and an old friend of mine.

Q Did you get in touch with General Barrett?

A No, I didn’t get— I don’t know whether they did, he said they were coming over.

Q Did you talk with somebody on the phone or did you go to see them?

A I sent a man over, I sent a man to see the mayor and have the soldiers come over there immediately after they arrived, and he told me he would try to have them come.

Q Who was the man ths.t you sent?

A Well, air, I don’t know, I sent several fellows.

Q Did you tell them to go to General Barrett?

A I told them to go over there and have the soldiers come over here at once .

Q You knew General Barrett was there?

A No, I hadn’t seen him, I supposed he would be here but I didn’t see him.

Q You understood he was adjutant general of the state?

A I knew he was.

Q He was an old friend of yours?

A ‘Yes, sir.

Q You wanted him to understand about this matter and you sent to him telling him you were wanting some men to come out and help protect your property and their property?

A Yes, sir, that is a fact.

Q And that train came in at about nine o’clock?

A Yes, sir.

Q How long was it before you saw any of the militia over there?

A About eleven o’clock.

Q About eleven o’clock?

A They came over the hill at eleven o’olock when everything was burned.

Q, Between the time the militia arrived and the time they got over to your place this burning took place?

A Yes, sir.

Q When you spoke of the burning there do you mean the negro district that was burned out was adjacent to you?

A I mean all that good residence district north of Easton and east of Detroit, of course. They had burned down about the main part of the city, they had been burning that before they commenced on this property up there, the good residence portion wasn’t burned until nine or ten fifteen or ten thirty.

Q And that property was burned, notwithstanding there was a lot of militia on hill previous to that?

A They bad been there previously, yes, sir, the militia had, but they wasn’t there then, they had perhaps gone,

Q How many people were engaged in the burning of property there?

A In that property there burning north of—

Q, Yes.

A Oh, there wasn’t over eight or ten or fifteen.

Q Eight or ten or fifteen did all that burning?

A Yes, sir.

Q, Was there any other people there armed?

A Yes, there were, I understood that— I don’t know how armed they were but they were there.

Q How many?

A Say one hundred or two, most of them was carrying away goods, and furniture and so forth.

Q ·Now at ten to ten thirty, the morning of June the lst, how many men would you say there were in your presence or in your neighborhood there that were looting or burning or armed men, people running around there?

A There wasn’t over ten or fifteen or twenty of the men who were armed doing the burning or destroying.

Q, How many were doing the looting?

Q Oh, a hundred or two, they kept coming and going, judge; I couldn’t tell how many there were, both men, women and children, boys and girls carried away things.

Q Where they people that lived in the neighborhood?

A Some of them were, yes, sir.

Q You mean to say you could see the people on stand pipe hill from where you lived?

A From where I lived?

Q Yes.

A I am right there on the hill, right on top of it.

Q This national guard that was up there, how close were they to your house?

A Passed right by my house. part of them come right on the walk there right close there.

Q Did they take a station there somewhere?

A They kept going there and forming along on the east brow of the hill, and that is when— that was early in the morning you know, just daylight.

Q This machine gun, where was it?

A That was down on Detroit.

Q How far from your house?

A Oh, that was three or four blocks from my house, but only about two blocks from where I was when I got over on Easton and Detroit.

Q How many men were there when the machine gun was there?

A I didn’t go to the machine gun. They told me that was a machine gun, I heard it shoot. I knew it was an extraordinary shot but it didn’t shoot very fast.

Q Judge, are you friendly or unfriendly to the present city administration?

A Well, sir, I helped to put them in, I guess I am friendly.

Q You know whether you are or not, don’t you?

A Yes, I know I am so far as— they are my personal friends, all of them. Of course I don’t like the way they done on that day but that don’t knock out our friendship.

Q I don’t mean your personal friendship for the men, you are not friendly to them as officials at this time, are you, judge?

A I can’t say but what I am, sir.

Q How do you feel toward Chief Gustafson?

A I think he didn’t do his duty and of course I am not so very friendly to him as an officer.

Q You are not friendly?

A No, sir, I say that frankly.

Q LEAHY: That is all.

3a34285r

N. Detroit in ruins.

RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. FREELING:

Q Why are you not?

A Because I don’t believe he done his duty there in protecting me and property.

MR MOSS: Comes now the defendant and moves the Court to strike out the answer of the witness on the ground and for the reason that the same in incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR MOSS: Exception.

MR FREELING: That is all.

Witness excused.

Annoying tempting similarities

I’m forwarding this from my other blog.

Website of a Historical Polymath

riot162You know you are spending too much time on a topic when you start seeing things.

This young man kindly took his time out from shooting, looting and burning to have his picture taken in front of the ruins of the Dreamland Theater on Greenwood, late morning of 1 June 1921.

The more I look at him, the more I think he looks like this guy:

Fred-barker1

This would be Fred Barker, youngest son of the Barker Family, one of the founders of the Barker-Karpis gang in the early 1930s.  Fred was 19 and a half in June, 1921.  He and his brothers were members of the Central Park Gang in Tulsa.  He was first imprisoned in 1927 for burglary.  After teaming up with Karpis in 1930, he escalated to bank robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

The annoying part is that Fred was actually in Tulsa during the riot and could well have been involved.

View original post 6 more words

Transcript of T. J. Essley Interview, 1987.

Transcript of T. J. Essley Interview, 1987.
[Late First Sergeant, Company “B”, Third Oklahoma Infantry Regiment,
Oklahoma National Guard (later Company “L”, 180th U.S. Infantry Regiment)]

[Interviewer unidentified relative.]

Interviewer: OK, go ahead.

T.J. Essley: Oh, ah, when the race riots broke out, I was holding non-commissioned officers’ school at the armory, down on East 6th Street. Uhhh, we had just gotten one light Browning Automatic- that was the first one- and I was the only one who had been schooled on it. So, I was holding non-commissioned officers’ school and was, uh, teaching the, uh, uh, two sergeants and, and the corporals about this, uh, Browning light automatic, when the people began to, uh, crowd in there and asking for arms because of a race riot – race riot on.

So, I run out there and closed the door and told them that we was having school here, a-and, when they’re having military school, civilians are not permitted inside; but, if you’ll please step outside, I’ll get an officer over here in a hurry. They was wanting guns, they was wanting ammunition.

Well, uh, Major James A. Bell just lived across the alley and I sent a corporal across the alley after him and he come over there and he looked out there and by that time, the people had stacked up clear across to 6th Street over to, to Central Park, wanting ammunition. So, he promptly called Major L. J. F. Rooney and, Rooney, uh, a major, er, says, er, a colonel. He called Colonel L. J. F. Rooney.

Colonel Rooney said that, a, “Yes, the-the mayor has called me and asked me to call out the Guard. But I can’t call out the Guard. The governor’s the only one who can call out the Guard. And, I advised him to call the governor.”

Well, the governor told him that he couldn’t.call out the Guard until the sheriff of the county and a judge of the county had called him and told him that things were out of control and they needed, uh, (pause, exhalation) they needed, uh, the National Guard.

Well, uh, the-the colonel told the major to tell the sergeant to get his company together and also to get supply company together. Uh, Captain Frank Van Voorhis was a, was the captain of, of the, uh, uh, supply company. I think I was the first first sergeant of Company L, of the 180th infantry, 45th division after we’ve became part of the 45th division. Well, anyhow, I went out on the first patrol that went out. It, it – about 11: 10 at night. Do you really want me to tell about that thing?

Interviewer: Yeah.

T.J. Essley: Well, uh, we had the old depot down there, the Frisco depot- down – it sat across, uh, Boston Avenue, just south of the railroad track. Now, that is not the, uh, uh, last, uh, uh, depot. The last one was that there Union depot. This was the old, original Frisco Depot. And, uh, about- I went out on the first patrol with Major James A. Bell. He took me and five others in a, an old World War I, uh, army truck, a Liberty truck, sol-solid tire. And, we drove down to just south of the depot and the major said, “Sergeant, you’re the ranking non-commissioned officer. You take two men and go out and see what the, what the, uh, situation is.”

Well, at that time there was trains come through to Tulsa, uh, for St. Louis, headed for St., uh, for Oklahoma City and it had, usually had, from 11 to 13 cars and, it was setting on the tracks. And, on the north side, uh, was an old abandoned, uh, uh, uh, wagon yard and it was full of, of high weeds, way above your head, and the blacks were in that and shooting through that train. They were shooting right on through it. So, I decided the thing to do was to find the conductor and I mounted the train and I run the full length of that train. And, people were laying on the floor and everywhere else begging – Why don’t we stop the riot?- Why don’t you get the train out of here?

I said, “I’m hunting the conductor.” And I went the full length of the train and they, uh, porter told me that the conductor was in the depot. And I got out and went into the depot and he wasn’t sitting in the chairs where they mighta, uh,you’d a chance to get hit- he was setting on the floor with his back up against the walls. The walls on that building was about 14 inches thick. I went up to him- I don’t know where I thought I had the authority- but I asked him, uh, “Why don’t you get that train off the track? These people gonna get hurt and killed in there.” And he said, “Sergeant, I can’t; it’s against the, uh, uh, Interstate Commerce Commission’s rules to leave the station ahead of time without orders. I can leave at- if- If I’m late, I can leave without orders, but I can’t leave ahead of time without orders and it’s not time to leave.”

But, I don’t know where I got that authority, but, I told him to get that train over in the West Tulsa yard and keep it there if he had to, until time to go on. But, uh, uh, “get it outta here now!”

He jumped up and said, “Sergeant, I don’t know if I- you have the authority to tell me that or not. But, I’m not doubting your authority. All aboard- all aboard!” And I mean that train really left there faster than any train – it was a downhill grade anyhow – and it really cleared there fast. I went over to the ticket agent and told him that, uh, I believed you’d better turn out the lights or you wouldn’t have any windows, lights in that building. And, it hadn’t been two minutes till lights all up and down there went out. And, I went back and reported to the major and he said, “Sergeant, you done a, uh, uh, masterful job. Now, get in and we’ll go back down to the armory.”

So, well, about daylight, we had about 50 percent of our men present, but the two lieutenants were out of town. And, Captain John W. McCuen said, uh, “Sergeant, I’ll command A platoon and you command B platoon.” And, at daylight, we’re leaving to march up Main Street to, uh … What’s that street up there?

Interviewer: Uh, Archer?

T.J. Essley: Archer, Brady, Cameron, uh … I can’t think of it, then. There’s something in the telephone book, something that gives ….

Interviewer: Never mind, not important, go ahead.

T.J. Essley: Well, let’s see, uh, (blows into microphone) could be King. So, we march up to King Street, then go east and go down off a road where, uh, uh, go do-down off of a hill there to a- there’s a brick plant down below- and, uh, says, we’ll go … The, the orders from the governor was to not shoot the blacks, but to protect them, uh, the best you can and. and keep the whites out of the black, uh, what do they call it? Niggertown, then – but, it, uh, uh, we called it Negros- and uh send the blacks over to what is now, uh, to the old Convention Hall, which is now, uh, uh, the Brady theatre.

There’s been two different kinds on channel 11 of the race riots, but it was both by black people and nothing could be more misleading than what that was. Uh, we were, uh, told to send these people back to the Convention Hall and it was – held around 4,000 people and, uh, we would round up maybe 25 of them and they’d be whites over there by that time and in order to get them out of there, we’d ask them to please take these people over to the Convention Hall for us. And we’d send as many of them as we could with them. And, we didn’t know it, but we’d filled Convention Hall clear full. And, uh, the parties that told about the, uh, uh, riot on the, on the, uh, tv was telling how that they paraded the blacks up and down town on, on, uh, trucks. Well, it wasn’t till after the riot was over that, uh, we found out we filled the Convention Hall clear full and Mr. Cosden sent his trucks from the refinery over there and picked the blacks up, the surplus, and held them down – hauled them south to the First Methodist Church south, which is on the southeast corner, intersection corner of, uh, Boston and, uh, 5th Street. And we filled that place up, too.

And, finally, about three in the afternoon, when we had our last battle, uh, Captain McCuen told us that, uh, he had got orders to, take, er, send the blacks down to McNulty Park, which is on the northeast comer of 11th and Elgin. And that’s where we took ours to, from that last battle.

Well, from the time we left, uh, we’re down over the hill on King Street. We saw many things and, uh, and, uh, we-we were not to shoot at any of the blacks unless they had a gun and, and, and, wouldn’t uh, drop it when we ordered them to drop the gun.

And, we got down to the comer of Latimer and, Latimer and, uhhh, what was it? (break) Well, the comer of Latimer and Lansing where I was ready to, uh, uh, firing there.

The blacks were firing at us. And, we had quite a, a skirmish there. In the old days why, er, – when the oil fields was drilling around here, there was a boiler repair shop there. Joe, Joe Ord, you know, had a boiler repair shop and it was quite a few old, uh, fire boxes and things laying around there and we was hiding behind those for protection. And, just, uh, north of the intersection of, uh, uh, uh, Latimer and, and, uh, King, er, uh, Latimer and, uh . ..

Interviewer: Lansing?

T.J. Essley: Lansing, uh, there was a house there with a basement underneath it. And, uh, the, the entrance on the left side of the house faced the east and it was an outside entrance. And there was a black in there, uh, with a brick knocked out of the foundation and he was knocking off the white people. He, he, uh, had knocked off three that I, uh, saw.

And, then, uh, when we finally got the things quieted at, at the intersection of, uh, uh, uh, Latimer, and uh, a-and, what’s that again?

Interviewer: Lansing?

T.J. Essley: Lansing. Well, then, I took one private and went north to, to this house and, uh, put, put the private in front and said, “I’m going through this house and go back there and, and, uh, stop this man. And, uh, I had to – It was a duplex and I had to search every room before I went down there. I didn’t want them on both sides of me. B-By the time I got to the back of the house, three white people had come up, uh, to, to the, uh, god dang it! I can’t say it again.

Interviewer: Lansing?

T.J. Essley: Lansing. And, uh, told that little pr, er, young fella that I’d left here to get out from under there in front of the house or we’ll kill you, too. And he says, “Well, now my sergeant’s in there. Said he told me to not have anyone shoot in there until he got out.”

He says, “Get out of the way, or we’ll shoot you, too, you nigger-loving son of a bitch.” And boy, he got out of there.

Now, I’d left the company with, uh, with Corporal Lookeville (sp?), and he went, he went down after the corporal. We’ll I finally, I had to knock, on account of those, uh, those houses didn’t have plaster, it was wooden partitions and splinters was flying out of there; uh, some of them six to eight inches long. And I had to get outta there. So, I took my pistol and knocked the window glass out of the window just over where that man was and put my gun on him and told him, “Throw that gun away, or, or, you can’t live any longer. I’ll, I’ll blast you.” And, he threw that gun away and, uh, every one of them we, we was putting them out of commission. It’ll usually break the stocks on it but it will bend the barrel, uh, so it won’t be any good. So, uh, that’s what I done. I-I bent that that gun, ruined the gun.

And then, I run around the corner just as fast as I could so they’d be sure and see me. And they did and took a shot at me and they, uh, and they, what do you call it? Uh, it just skinned my neck; it, uh, it knocked me to the ground. It, uh, it- as hard as you’d hit me with a, with a ball bat and it was just as hot as any poker you ever felt. And, uh, the guy said, “I missed him.” And, uh…

Interviewer: Who was this that shot at you? A white or a black?

T.J. Essley: No, it was a white man.

Interviewer: White man.

T.J. Essley: And, uh, this in not being recorded, is it?

Interviewer: Yeah.

T.J. Essley: Oh, hell, no, you’ve got to get that off…. (break)

Interviewer: This is not going anywhere. I’m not going to publish this, so…

T.J. Essley: Well, uh, anyhow, 1-1 rolled right up on my knees and the guy says, “Well, I missed him.” And he started at me again and I hit him with a .45, .45, uh, uh, automatic with dum dum bullets and stopped him. And, the other two men didn’t shoot. And, that feller had shot at me with a .45-70 Krag-Jorgensen- that’s what knocked me to the ground. And, uh, we went up there and I took, uh, by that time, uh, uh, Corp … , uh, Lookeville (sp?) had got up there with the other men. And, uh, they were about to kill those two men for shooting at me. And, uh, he would if I’d been hit; they’d killed those two men right then and there. And, L we, uh, took their guns away from them and their revolvers. The guns we’d wrap them around that tree that was right there. And the revolvers – we’d take the pin out that the cylinder spin on- throw then gun one way, the cylinder another way, and the pin another way. And, they just hollered their beads off. “Oh, we’ll get killed, oh, we’ 11 get killed with nothing to protect us with.”

I said, They’re all up and down the railroad track with loudspeakers telling you not to come over here. Now, you just get back the way you got over here.” And, uh, then we went on east from there, on Latimer, crossed the Katy track …

And, just as we’s crossed it, er, one of the captain’s boys come a-arunning down to me; we’d got separated. And, uh, he says, uh, “The captain’s pinned down up there just, a, north of Pine Street and just east of Peoria.” Well, uh, I went on over to, uh, east to, uh, uh, to Peoria and there was one store built there and I climbed a shed and I climbed up on it and looked over and you could see it just as plain as could be. From the northeast corner of the intersection of Pine and, uh, and, uh, Peoria, they’s putting on a new addition there and the trees had been pulled over and there was a street just one, one block east of Peoria – was – McCuen was behind those trees and the blacks was be-between that street and the Santa Fe railroad.

Well, if we woulda just went running straight down Peoria, we’d a got there the quickest, but we’d been in plain sight of, of the blacks and they woulda seen what few number I had. I had 22 men and myself. So, there’s a fence on each side of Peoria at that time and Nellie Bullette- I don’t know if you’d ever got acquainted with Nellie Bullette or not- she knew your dad real well and both the girls and John. Uh, she owned 80 acres over there. And, uh, they was a draw that run from there, uh, east and north, and it crossed, uh, Pine Street right at Utica. There’s streets there now and you’d never even notice it. But, uh, I-I told them, “Now, we’ ll climb over the fence and get over there and we’ll run down that thing till we get east of ’em.”

And, we did. When we got about where that, uh, uh, Buddy’s, Buddy’s, uh, Auto Salvage was, we turned north, climbed over the fences on, on Pine Street, turned north and we’d just about where Bill, Bill Bearden’s, uh, present, uh, Auto Salvage is, we went in there about maybe 100 feet and stopped and I said, “Now, we’ll a, we’s east of the Katy track.”

We, we was in a, a, in a cow pasture- what it was. There’s was a dairy there, Willard used to run it. I said, “Men, we’re getting low on ammunition. Let’s don’t do any shooting and give ourselves away. And, uh, let’s, uh, spread out in case we are seen, so they won’t be shooting into, uh, a crowd.” And, we run, bent over, till we get to the, to the, to the …

Interviewer: Katy pass?

T.J. Essley: fence along the track and this time we won’t climb over it. We’ll climb under it, while one of ’em hold’s it up. (break) and uh, (break) I commanded them right away to surrender. I said, uh, “The, uh, governor’s told us to protect you. Now, if you’ll throw your guns down, we’ll protect you, we’ll take you to safety.”

“Now,” I says, “We’ve got a machine gun and if you don’t, uh, if you don’t throw your guns down, you’ll all be dead within a minute.” So, uh, it didn’t all sound like one bullet (machine gun noise).

Interviewer: Uh huh.

T.J. Essley: It did sound like a machine gun and, uh, it, it took them by surprise and they, they, they throwed down their guns and some of them stood up and held their hands up and others went down praying and I shouted at McCuen to cease fire.

Boy, his head stuck out from behind a stump over there; I never was so relieved in my life. He motioned for his men to come on up. And, I got my men up there then. I said, “Now, keep your guns at ready. We’ll stay here and we’ll watch while McCuen and his men come in.” McCuen disarmed all of them and we moved on up, up the track just a little ways north and he’d send the men through and the women, too; they’ s women with them. And the women shooting just as good as the men was, too. And, uh, they’s standing on that track. They kept looking for that machine gun. (Laughs)

Ah, well, anyhow, finally I-I was talking to Sergeant, uh, Corporal Lookeville and I didn’t see McCuen when he come through the fence; he’s about as close to me as I am to you when I saw him. And, I went up to salute him and he said, “Sergeant,” said, “you pulled a brilliant maneuver.” And I said, “I pulled a Jeb Stuart.”

Conversation continues about General Jeb Stuart, Gettysburge, General George Custer, etc.

 

Just a few notes

Just a few notes

As interest in this blog is slowly growing, I have opted to make a change in formatting, nothing major — the static top page has been changed to a more standard blog format, with the latest entry appearing at the top.

Some may have noticed that the most recent entries have been the official reports from the National Guard and the newspaper interview with T.J. Essley.  This is because I am attempting to just lay the information out as objectively as possible, however, as we move to more of a straight blog, I will be posting other things as well.  Ideally this will still retain the sense of objectivity that has gone before

One of the things that comes up regularly when dealing with the Riot and the aftermath, including the invasion of Greenwood, the looting and burning is that most people have a view, a perspective.  I just finished a talk with some people who are researching the events, and I likened this to the story of the blind men and the elephant.

Essentially this is that there were a group of men blind from birth who had heard that a creature called an elephant had come to town.  They went down to inspect this creature.  One man felt its nose and called it a snake.  One felt an ear and determined the creature was a large soft fan. One experienced the tail and determined it to be a hard whip.  One a the side felt a large rough wall in front of him.  The last felt the tusk and decided it was hard and sharp, like a spear.

Studying history can be very much like this at times.  With the Riot and the events around it, there are a wide array of perspectives, and we are trying to find a sense of the objective truth behind what we are perceiving (at least I am).

Now, I maintain that the essential elements that are inarguable are as follows:

The

  1. The elevator incident between Sara Page and Dick Rowland. Something happened between these two people which was then reported as an attack.
  2. Rowland was arrested and taken in to the Sherriff’s department.
  3. The inflammatory newspaper account was published.
  4. People gathered at the Court House, whites first – almost certainly to lynch Rowland or to watch the lynching.
  5. Armed men came down from Greenwood to help protect Rowland.
  6. An attempt was made to disarm someone and a shot went off.
  7. A riot broke out in which weapons were taken from local sporting goods stores, and people tried to arm themselves from the national guard armory.
  8. The blacks withdrew to set lines along the tracks and side streets.
  9. Skirmish cars were used.
  10. That night fires started.
  11. The local National Guard started to round up people in Greenwood, disarming those with weapons and moving them into custody.
  12. The next morning, an invasion followed into the Greenwood district, with shooting, looting, and burning.
  13. Airplanes were used somehow.
  14. A machine gun was present.
  15. People in numbers greater than 1 were killed. (The minimum number based on the death certificates is in the 30s. The Red Cross, the funeral home reports, the newspaper reports and the anecdotal evidence increase the numbers.)
  16. The Greenwood population was marched through downtown and incarcerated first at the Ball Park.
  17. The Greenwood district was effectively burnt to the ground.
  18. Many people left afterwards.
  19. Greenwood rebuilt.

Pretty much everything else is opinion, politics, or folklore.

I know there will be a disagreement to this, but certainly everything else is argue.

 

Muskogee Phoenix, 2 June 1921

BOY STARTED FIRE TO AVENGE MOTHER SHOT BY NEGROES

GUARDSMEN TELLS SENSATIONALLY GRAPHIC STORY OF ARSON MOBS AND AWFUL TERROR

WOMAN SAW CHURCH IN GREAT EXPLOSION

SNIPING PARTIES ATTACKED WHITES FOLLOWING TROOPS AND SHOOTING BECAME GENERAL IN ‘LITTLE AFRICA’

By Phoenix Staff Correspondent

TULSA, June 1 – Within a few blocks of the business heart of Tulsa, to the northeast just a little ways across the Frisco railroad tracks, a devastated battlefield smoulders and smokes tonight.  Here a small flame still flickers lighting the desolation, there a blackened chimney stands gaunt against the sky. Strewn about in the streets, untouched by the flames, lay shattered bits of furniture.

The desolation is all that remains tonight, save the deserted streets and the military patrols, to remind a visitor in Tulsa of last night’s debauchery of fire and murder.

3,000 Homes Razed

The ruins of today, yesterday were Tulsa’s negro district, ‘Little Africa.’  Three thousand homes are in ashes, many of them splendid residences.  Blocks of the negro business district are smoking piles of wreckage.

Out in that field of horror still remain the bodies of many of Tulsa’s unknown dead, the military authorities believe. Complete search of the ruins have been impossible for they have not yet cooled.

It is for this reason that the death list may never be accurately known.  Tonight it ranges from estimates of 500 given on the streets and little credited, to police estimates of 125.  Among them are blacks and whites, men, women and children, babies murdered in their mothers’ arms, women shot down as they sat in their homes, men killed as they sought to kill.

Burned After Daylight

“Little Africa” was burned this morning in th broad light of day by an infuriate mob of white men, many of them only boys armed, some say, by the police, whose way was unavoidably blazed for them by the local companies of the national guard.

Many stories were being told tonight of deeds of gallantry, of wilful slaughter, [stories … and pathetic].

The Temper of the Mob

The national guard armory, first stormed by a mob in quest of ammunition, tonight in a military camp, this morning was an emergency hospital for the negro wounded.  Three scores were treated and their wounds dressed by white nurses.  There a dozen died.

There this morning lay a negro woman of 92 years, shot three times by white rioters.  There an old man, deaf, dumb, and paralytic died of his wounds. It was the armory that a rioter, a rifle upon his shoulder, came this morning with a market basket in his hand. In the basket, wrapped in an old lace curtain, lay the body of a negro baby, not more than a foot in length.

“I don’t know who its people are.” The rioter told Major Paul R. Brown in charge. “I just found it lying out there in Africa and brought it here.”

“Such”, Major Brown said, “is the temper of the mob, a man, his hands red with murder, rendering a final deed of mercy.”

As the correspondent stood on King’s Hill this evening looking out upon the ruins of Little Africa, Mrs. A. Germine, a white woman, approached.

Saw Church Explode

“I saw them set fire to these homes.” She said.  “And they were pretty houses here along the street.  As the men searched the houses for arms and warned the people left the others, the riff-raff, came along and set them afire.

“I saw that church over there—the negro Methodist church ‘explode.’ It was a big explosion.  It was there they had their ammunition and rifles stored.”

In the ashes tonight lay the charred and burned stocks and barrels of many score of rifles giving the truth of her story.

The early rioting of the night from the time a negro fired point blank into a crowd of unarmed whites, and negroes in motor cars began to run down all the white people on the streets until daylight was bad enough, but the annihilation of “Little Africa” was almost unparalleled.

Let First Sergeant T. J. Esley of Company B tell the story.  Esley was attending a non-commissioned officer’s school at the armory when a crowd of several hundred white men attempted to batter down the doors, clamoring for rifles and ammunition, shouting that a mob of negroes was killing white men and women in front of the courthouse.

It was upon word that came to them in such a dramatic manner that the officers of the Tulsa guard, acting on their own responsibility, began to summon their men.  The mobilization in itself if an interesting story, but it must be passed over.

Shortly before midnight, Sergeant Esley and fifteen or more of the guardsmen who had assembled hurried to police headquarters./

“For blocks around the streets were dammed with people,” the sergeant said. “Everyone was in hysteria.  Motor cars loaded with a dozen or more men, their rifles sticking up in the air, dashed back and forth in and out of the crowds.

“For an hour we attempted to patrol police headquarters. Then a call came that the negroes, who had retreated across the tracks into their own part of town, were firing on the Frisco station.  Captain McCune took a detail of about twelve, of whom I was one, and we went to the station.  We stopped about a block away and marched to the depot.

Just Good Targets

“The negroes were firing all right. The captain sent me with three men around in front to make a report.  The Oklahoma City train was standing there, between the station and the negroes.  The blacks were pouring a regular volley through the train windows.

“Passengers in the train were lying flat on the floor on their faces.  The lights were on in the station, while on the other side it was dark and there were lots of signboards.  We were nothing but good targets, so we went back and I told the captain.  He then decided that we could do nothing until daylight.”

It was after the break of the day that the blackest of the great tragedy was enacted, for it was then that the white mob, their way blazed by the national guardsmen, “mopped” the negro section.

The best of the negro residence section-nestled in a valley at the foot of King’s hill.  Here yesterday stood splendid homes that tonight are smouldering ashes.  It was to this crest of King’s hill that Sergeatn Esley and his company were detailed. Down below, in their homes and in the shelter of their outhouses, the negroes lay entrenched.  From their windows rifles flashed and shots fell as hail upon the white section of the hill above.

Machine Gun In Action

At the break of day the battle opened from the hill, the guardsmen lying on their faces poured volley after volley into thehomes below.  A machine gun was brought into action “but it [?ald] “Now and then you could see and then the shots from negrow town grew fewer and fewer finally giving way altogether. I […] the signal for the […] advance.  Home after home […] sometimes […] found […] back behind […]

Vets Follow Troops

[…] They […] further out- […] came the […] or more […] looted the homes the guardsmen had searched carrying off every article of intrinsic value.

The advance into “Little Africa” had [little more than] begun than the flames [followed in] its wake.  There is no  […] fire to that first […] Esley told. It was a [?] year old boy.”

“The captain went back to remonstrate with him to ask him why.  And the boy told him. His name is Dreary or something like that.” The sergeant said.

“His home stands on the hill overlooking ‘Little Africa.’ His mother was sitting upon the front porch of her home last night, her husband at her side, when a negro slipped up behind her and shot her through the back. She died in her husband’s arms.  It was then that the boy joined the mob.  He saw red, he defied the captain and the whole state miltia.”

The spark had been kindled.  A hundred militiamen might be able to battle an army of negroes at their front but they could not rout two thousand heavily armed white men, their red blood lust aroused at their backs.

As the troops pressed forward every home was fired.  But it was not long before they again met armed resistance.

Let the story again be told as it came tonight from Sergeant Esley’s lips:

“You see,” he said. “We were getting out of the range of our first fire, we had passed the zone we had silenced. They began sniping at us from every house it seemed.

Fired at Negro’s Feet

“After we had gone aways I noticed Bame of the service company and another man trapped a little way off.  They signaled to me and I went with a civilian who had been helping me in searching the houses to help them. They were under a cross fire.  I could see that.

“I could see where the shots were coming from, but I couldn’t see the niggers.  Then I looked under a shack and saw the big feet of one nigger who was doing the shooting.  I shot at those with my .45 and I could tell I hit them by the way he first picked up one then the other.  He started to run and Bame got him.  We ran around the corner of the house and a big nigger, one of these who were in the twenty-fourth infantry, good soldiers, stepped in front of us and shot my companion in the stomach.

When he stepped out Bame could see him and he shot him twice, once in the shoulder, and once in the breast.  You know that nigger just kept on firing.

“I shout and hit him in the stomach and thigh, tearing half of it away and he started to run, shooting backward under his arm as he did it.

“Pretty son he came back from around a nearby house, his hands above his head.  I could see he was staggering.  He came up to us and said, “Well you boys give us more than we got overseas.  I’m from the twenty-fourth.  I just wanted to shake hands with you and tell you you’re there.”

And then, Esley said, “he dropped forty dollars, two tens and a twenty at my feet.  I picked it up and gave it to him. “You better take it, you might need it.”

“’No boys,’” he told me, “I’m afraid I’ll never need this money.” We carried him back and he died just about five minutes after my companion who had been shot in the stomach.

A little further on the sergeant said four negroes were sniping from one house.  They guardsmen fired at the puffs and then rushing the building broke in the door.

While the troopers were inside arresting the negroes, the white mob opened fire on the house, rending its walls with a terrific volley.  Esley jumped through a window pane, sash and all, and escaped with a “scratch” made by a bullet that seared the back of his neck.

Report of Frank Van Voorhis, Capt. Com. Service Co., 3rd Inf. Okla. Natl. Guard

Frank Van Voorhis, Capt.
Ernest V. Wood, 1st Lieut.
Emmett L. Barnes, 1st Lieut.

SERVICE COMPANY THIRD INFANTRY. OKLA. NATL GUARD.

Tulsa, Okla.
July 30, 1921

To: L.J. F. Rooney, Lt. Col. 3rd Inf. Okla. Natl. Gd.

Subject: Detailed report of Negro Uprising for Service Company, 3rd Inf. Okla. Natl Gd.
1. Reported for duty at 9:30P.M., Tuesday night, May 31st, 1921. 2 Officers and 23 enlisted men.
(a)-Condition of armory:
All arms and equipment under double lock and key.
Armorer on duty uniformed and armed. Telephone in order. Plenty of ammunition in vault.
(b) – Number of fire arms:
45 Springfield rifles, cal.. 30 model 1906, 6.45 colts, auto. pistols.
(c)-Ammunition:
1200 cartridges, cal. 30 ball rifle, 1000 cartridges, cal.. 45 auto. pistol, all in my supply room under double lock and key.
(d)-Location of ammunition:
Supply room, Service Co., 3rd Inf. Okla. Natl. Gd., and Supply room in charge of Regt. Supt Sgt. Clyde Smith.

2. No guns or ammunition of any character or description issued to any person other than National Guardsmen. No guns or ammunition were taken by any one, except those issued to National Guardsmen by proper authority.

3. Order for assembly of men: An order was communicated by Maj. James A. Bell, to me for the immediate assembly of the entire Service Company, about 9 :30 o’clock P.M., May 31st, 1921, and I issued a verbal order for the immediate assembly of the Service Company at the armory, and the telephone was used and runners were sent to the homes of various men who did not have telephones, and in this manner two (2) officers and twenty-three (23) enlisted men were assembled at the armory by 10:30 o’clock P.M. and by 7:00 o’clock A.M. June 1st, 1921, I had forty-five (45) men at my command.

4. General statement by the Commanding officer of Service Company: At 9:30 o’clock P.M., May 31, 1921, was at the armory when the call came from parties connected with the Sheriff’s office and also from parties connected with the Police Department, wanting the Guardsman to assist them to stop the rioting. No one left the armory until I received direct orders from Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney about 10:30 P.M. to take my men, numbering two (2) officers and sixteen (16) men to the Police Station, which I promptly complied with, taking Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney, Maj. Byron Kirkpatrick, Maj. Paul R. ·Brown on our truck to Police Headquarters. I left seven (7) men at the armory for guard duty. Regt. Sup. Sgt. Clyde Smith in charge of the supply room.

About 1:15 o’clock A.M., a machine gun was produced and placed in the rear of the truck with three (3) experienced machine gunners, and with Lt. Ernest B. Wood and six (6) enlisted men in the front end of the truck under Lt. Col. Rooney, and thus equipped I was ordered to various parts of the City where there was firing, until about 3:00 o’clock A.M., Wednesday June 1st, I was ordered by Lt. Col. Rooney to proceed with him and the truck, with my detail to Stand Pipe Hill. Upon arriving there the men were deployed along North Detroit Avenue, extending from Stand Pipe Hill to Archer Street, patrolling back and forth, and disarming and arresting negroes and sending them to Convention Hall by Police cars and trucks.

My orders from Lt. Col. Rooney were not to fire unless fired upon. Southeast of Standpipe Hill and on Cameron Street was a large brick negro Church, with belfry on top, and we soon discovered some negro snipers located in the belfry of the Church, who were firing in our direction. Two of my selected men returned the fire and the negro fire immediately ceased from the Church tower. During this time we took a large number of negro prisoners and after disarming them sent them with police patrol cars to the Police Station and Convention Hall.

About 6:30A.M., June 1st, I left Capt. McCuen and 1st Lt. Wood in command of both detachments with orders not to fire until fired upon, then went for some nourishment and then to the armory to get reinforcements, and with six (6) men returned to North Detroit Street and Cameron Avenue.

About 7:30 o’clock A.M. moved to the brick kiln located in the northwest part of the negro settlement. After ordering the men not to fire until ordered to do so, I proceeded East on Cameron Street with a civilian driver in a touring car; had not gone far when I was convinced that the troops under Capt. McCuen and Lt. Wood had not gone that route, so I continued on to Greenwood Avenue, turned north on Greenwood Avenue, and proceeded north three (3) blocks when I discovered negroes fleeing to the northeast. We immediately proceeded to overtake them and when overtaken they were commanded to halt and put up their hands, which orders were promptly complied with. I detailed two (2) men to disarm and guard them until further orders. A few blocks further north I discovered more armed negroes, and having overtaken and disarmed them, sent my men in various directions with orders to search all houses for negroes and fire arms. Had between twenty (20) and thirty (30) negro prisoners under guard when the white civilians on Sun Set Hill opened fire on us and caused us to suspend operations at that point. Ordered men with the prisoners to double time south about one-fourth block and halted them behind a new concrete building for protection. Firing shortly ceased somewhat and we double timed further south on Greenwood Avenue, out of range and waited until police patrol cars arrived. I turned prisoners over to the deputies, about thirty- five or forty (40) in number, with orders to take them to Police headquarters. Then with my six (6) men marched north on Greenwood Avenue three (3) blocks. We then proceeded up Sun Set Hill, and when about two-thirds (2/3) of the way up the hill, the negroes to the north opened fire on us, slightly wounding Sgt. Len Stone and Sgt. Ed. Sanders. We continued our march without returning their fire and upon arriving at the crest of the hill found Service and Co. B, deployed there in a prone position with old machine gun in position. I then called for volunteers to accompany me down the hill when my attention was drawn to the white civilians to the northeast of me who had opened fire again on the negro settlement. Halting my men, I returned to where Capt. McCuen and 1st Lt. Wood were and ordered Capt. McCuen to see that the civilians immediately ceased firing.

After the firing ceased, with my detail, I went down into the negro settlement, about 8:00 o’clock A.M. deployed my men along Davenport Street, with orders to search every house to the right and left for negroes and fire arms. About two (2) blocks from there we established a post (receiving station for prisoners) this was located at the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Davenport Streets, and after taking thirty (30).or forty (40) prisoners, they were placed under guard and marched to Police Headquarters by a detail of my men. I then proceeded with a portion of my detachment north on Greenwood Avenue, taking prisoners all along the street.

Among the first prisoners captured by my men was a negro doctor named Chas. B. Wickham, who proved to be a very valuable aid in having the negroes surrender to me, which they willingly did upon finding out we were there to protect them and to preserve order and after getting together about one hundred fifty (150) negro prisoners, I detailed Sgt. James N. Concannon, with four (4) men to proceed north to the negro park as I had been informed a number of negroes had gathered there, with orders to take all prisoners, disarm and bring them to Convention Hall where prisoners were being held at that time. Sgt. James N. Concannon accounted for one hundred seventy- on.e (171) prisoners, all of whom were turned over to the civil authorities. Then with seven of my men I proceeded with negro prisoners to the number of one hundred and fifty (150) to the Convention Hall by going south to the foot of Sun Set Hill, west to Main Street, south to

Boulder to Convention Hall, to avoid having to pass thru a large number of civilian rioters. After turning over the prisoners to civil authorities at Convention Hall, returned with my men to the negro district, where I took more prisoners and when I got them to Convention Hal l was told that the Convention Hall was full and that I would have to take them on to McNulty Park, which I did. There turned them over to the civil authorities and at about 11:00 o’clock A.M. again returned to the negro district.

On Wednesday afternoon and night, my lieutenants, my men and myself did patrol duty and guard duty in various parts of the city, having different men on different posts at various times and places, which was continued until Thursday night about 9:00 o’clock P.M., at which time I started preparations to leave for the annual National Guard Encampment at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, by order of the Adjutant General, dated May 25, 1921, and on June 3rd, 1921, left Tulsa with fifteen (15) men for Ft. Sill.

I carried fifty (50) rounds of pistol ammunition with me at all times during the Negro Uprising but did not fire a single shot.

Frank Van Voorhis,
Capt. Com. Service Co.,
3rd Inf. Okla. Natl. Gd.


Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.

Report of L.J.F. Rooney

Military Department
State of Oklahoma
Office of the Adjutant General
Oklahoma City

July 29, 1921 .

From: Lt. Col. L.J.F. Rooney, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

To: Gen. Chas. F. Barrett, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Subject: Submitting Reports Race Riot, Tulsa, Oklahoma

  1. In compliance with yours of the 27th in the matter of “conduct of the Tulsa National Guard during Riot at Tulsa”: Herewith I hand you reports of Major Byron Kirkpatrick, Major Chas. W. Daley, Major Paul R. Brown, Major James A. Bell, Capt. Frank VanVoorhis, Capt. John W. McCuen and Capt. Roy R. Dunlap. My personal report I have nearly completed and expect to mail it to you in a few days. I regret that owing to various conditions at my home station I have been unable to submit these reports at an earlier date. More accurate data seemed to develop as time wore on and in consequence I found it necessary to direct the several officers, above mentioned, to add to or change slightly their submitted report. This accounts in a good measure for the delay in forwarding these reports to you. Because of the many developments that may occur in this whole matter in days to come I figured that these reports should be as accurate as the elapsed time could make them.

 

L.J.F. Rooney

Attached copies
Tel. to Gov. fm. Police Dep’t.
Tel. Gen. Barrett calling out Tulsa Gd.
Tel. Gen. Barrett, Special Train of Gd.
Casualties, Maj. Brown.
Machine Gun report.


Extracted from: Halliburton, R. The Tulsa race war of 1921. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1975.