Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers


Frank Ruffner, another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows



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Frank Ruffner, another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

DIRECT EXAMINATION



By Mr. Hall:

Q. Mr. Ruffner, where do you live? Answer – I live at Hoadley, Virginia.

Q. That is near Bristow, isn’t it? Answer – Near Occoquan.

Q. Mr. Ruffner, will you state whether you were a passenger on the train that was wrecked down here sometime last year, in February, 1915? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And where did you live then? Answer – At Brentsville.

Q. And where is Brentsville? Answer – Near Bristow.

Q. Will you state where you were sitting in that train with reference to Mr. Sullivan, the plaintiff here? Answer – I was to the right of Mr. Sullivan on the opposite seat.

Q. On the right hand side of the car you were? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And who was in the seat with you, Mr. Ruffner? Answer – Dr. Wine.

Q. And you were just across the aisle, you say, from Mr. Sullivan? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you tell the jury, now, just what effect, if any, this collision had on you? Answer – It didn’t have any great effect on me, only the glass and the sudden stop.

Q. The glass and the sudden stop. Will you state whether or not you were thrown out of your seat by the shock? Answer – No, sir, I was not.

Q. Will you describe to the jury the extent of the shock that you refer to? Answer – The shock wasn’t so great to me.

Q. It was not so great to you? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What happened after the accident with respect to Mr. Sullivan, - did you see him after the accident? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And how long after the accident did you see him, do you remember seeing him? Answer – I suppose it was a very few minutes.

Q. And where was he when you first remember seeing him? Answer – Standing in the aisle.

Q. Do you remember whether or not he was holding the baby in his arms? Answer – No, sir, I do not.

Q. What did he do next that you remember, what did Mr. Sullivan do? Answer – I don’t remember what he did.

Q. State what, if anything, you did for Mr. Sullivan? Answer – I didn’t do anything for him.

Q. Now, what happened? Where did you go after the accident? I went to Bristow to the station.

Q. You went to the station? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Which way did you go out of the car, the front end or the back end? Answer – The front end.

Q. Do you recollect whether or not you passed Mr. Sullivan in going out? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Where was he when you passed him? Answer – He was on the right hand side in the end of the car on the seat.

Q. On the right hand side in the end of the car on the side seat? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Just opposite the toilet? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you state whether or not there was any wreckage, broken lumber, or anything of that character on the inside of the car after the accident? Answer – I didn’t see any.

Q. State whether or not you noticed the door frame, or any part of it, being broken down on the inside? Answer – No, sir, I don’t remember any.

Q. It is claimed here that there was a piece of lumber from one of those cars across that passenger coach, sticking in one window and out the other, somewhere near where Mr. Sullivan was; will you state whether or not, in passing out of the car you saw any such piece of lumber? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Do you recollect whether that was a steel car or a wooden car? Answer – I couldn’t say.

Q. Do you recollect what was the condition of the front part of that car on the inside/ Answer – There was a dent in it.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Mr. Ruffner, what is your occupation, who do you work for? Answer – I am a farmer.

Q. Now, when you first saw Sullivan he was up at the front on the left hand side of the car, was he not? Answer – Yes, sir, to the left of me.

Q. And after the accident he was over to the right, the same side you were on, immediately after the accident? Answer – He was on the right side when I went out.

Q. And that was immediately after the accident, was it, Mr. Ruffner? Answer – It was a few minutes after.

Q. He was thrown over there, wasn’t he? Answer – I can’t say.

Q. You can’t say that he was not, can you? Answer – No, sir, I cannot.

Q. Now, Mr. Ruffner, Dr. Wine was in your seat and he was precipitated to the floor, landed on the floor in the aisle, didn’t he? Answer – I didn’t notice him go to the floor.

Q. He pitched headlong out of the seat; do you know whether he caught himself or not before he struck the floor? Answer – I think he did.

Q. Did you see Dr. Wine pick up a stick of timber and tell Mr. Sullivan to keep it as a souvenir? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You will not say that he did not, will you, Mr. Ruffner? Answer – I didn’t see him.

Mr. Keith: Did Dr. Wine testify to that?

Mr. Mackey: Yes, Dr. Wine said that he picked up a piece of the door jamb about three or four

feet long and several inches wide and handed it --------



Mr. Keith: No, he didn’t. The father-in-law, Mr. Halterman said something about picking up a

little piece.



Mr. Mackey: Dr. Wine, on being questioned by me, brought that out.

Mr. Browning: I suggest that the stenographer turn to Dr. Wine’s testimony.

Court: We will not do that now; the jury must remember without turning to the record.

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. You had no particular interest in Mr. Sullivan at that time? Answer – No.

Q. And you were all excited? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And there was lumber piled all around from the C&O freight train? Answer – There was lumber on the outside.

Q. Wasn’t it piled up on both sides of the coach? Answer – I never noticed very much of it.

Q. Mr. Ruffner, if you had seen a piece of board sticking through the car window, are you able to swear now that there was no such thing? Answer – No, sir, I am not; I never noticed any piece.

Q. You will not state here, Mr. Ruffner, that there was not a board sticking through the window? Answer – No, sir, I will not.
Robert O’Neil, another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

DIRECT EXAMINATION



By Mr. Hall:

Q. Mr. O’Neil, where do you live? Answer – 1520 8th street.

Q. Washington? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What is your occupation? Answer – Machinist and Engineer.

Q. By whom are you employed? Answer – Washington Steel and Ordnance Company.

Q. What is your position with the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company? Answer – I am foreman of the shrapnel department.

Q. How long have you been in the service of that company, Mr. O’neil? Answer – Since September last.

Q. Will you state whether or not the plaintiff, William J. Sullivan, here, is known to you? Answer – Yes, sir

Q. Will you state whether or not he was employed in the shop there under you? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was under my supervision from the 6th of December to January 31st.

Court: The 31st of January of this year? Answer – Yes, sir.

By Mr. Hall:

Q. Were you foreman at that time of this gang? Answer – On December 6th

Q. Whose place did you take? Answer – Mr. Pettis.

Q. Mr. William Pettis? Answer – I think his first name is William.

Q. Do you know whether Mr. Pettis was discharged or not? Answer – Not of my positive knowledge, but only hearsay.

Q. We do not want anything but your knowledge? Answer – I did not see his discharge.

Q. I understand from December 6th to January 31st you were Mr. Sullivan’s immediate superior officer; is that correct? Answer – I was gang foreman, yes, sir.

Q. As such foreman, will you state whether you had occasion to know the man, and to know the character of work that he did? Answer – Yes, sir, I know the man as a workman.

Q. Tell the jury what kind of workman he was? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was one of the best workmen in my gang, in my opinion.

Q. On what do you base that? Answer – On the amount of work that he turned out and the quality of work that he turned out.

Q. What kind of work was he doing for you? Answer – Running a drill press, or rather, two presses.

Q. Two presses? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What was he doing with those drill presses? Answer – The blanks for one of our productions are cut from a bar and then rough drilled.

Q. What do you mean by the blanks, blank cartridges? Answer – A blank out of which we produce a shell. They had not been drilled yet.

Q. Will you state whether Mr. Sullivan left the service of your company voluntarily, or whether he was discharged? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was discharged on December 31st from my gang.

Q. Will you tell the jury why he was discharged at that time? Answer – His personal conduct was not considered satisfactory.

Q. You mean January 31st don’t you? Answer – Yes, sir, January 31st

Q. You say his personal conduct was not satisfactory? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Was his condition of health, or did his condition of health have anything to do with his discharge? Answer – No, sir.

Q. State whether or not while he was employed there you ever heard that Mr. Sullivan was in good or bad health?



Mr. Mackey: Objected to because it does not appear that he lived in five miles of Sullivan, or

knew any of Sullivan’s neighbors or associates, so it would not amount to anything if he heard.



Mr. Hall: I do not mean to say what he heard; I want to know what he knew.

Court: I will let him answer that.

Mr. Hall: I simply wanted to know what you knew of Mr. Sullivan from your association with

him? Answer – I never knew Mr. Sullivan to be ill a day during the time he was with me.

Q. State whether or not you knew him to miss any time that you recollect of? Answer – I don’t recollect it.

Q. State whether or not, during that time, you noticed anything peculiar or irrational about his actions? Answer – Nothing peculiar other than I might term a peculiar disposition, a quick temper, I might say.

Q. State whether or not you had any trouble with Mr. Sullivan before his discharge?

Mr. Mackey: I object to that.

Court: He was asked if he had not had some trouble with this gentleman, and he denied it

positively. Let him answer the question.

Q. “State whether or not you had any trouble with Mr. Sullivan before his discharge?” Answer – I never had any trouble with Mr. Sullivan other than occurs between a gang foreman and any workman, little discrepancies here and there over which it is possible a man may be remonstrated with. There was no trouble whatever.

Court: I think that is what this young man said.

Patterson: That is substantially what he said.

Mr. Hall: Will you state, a little bit more in detail, why he was discharged? Answer – Do you

want the details.

Q. Of why he was discharged? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was guilty of conduct which I did not think was exactly right, and I sent for him. He came to the office and in a very few minutes one word brought on another, and it seemed Mr. Sullivan was under the impression that he was called to the office to be discharged, which was not so at that time, and he eventually defied me to discharge him.

Q. What happened then? Answer – I simply discharged him.

Q. State whether or not you handed him what is known as a short time slip? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What did he do with that slip? Answer – Tore it up and threw it in the waste basket.

Q. State what became of Mr. Sullivan then after you had discharged him summarily in that way? Answer – Within a very short time the shop committee came to see me with reference to his discharge. I don’t remember the committeeman’s name now.

Q. Is that a union you have there, or a shop committee? Answer – Some of the men are members of the Union. You understand we are running an open shop, but quite a number of the men are card men.

Q. Describe in a little more detail to the jury the character of work Sullivan was doing, whether it required constant attention, or just about what kind of work he was doing in cutting out these shells? Answer – The work required constant attention in order to get good work. If the machines are not given constant attention by the operator they go, what we term “go”; they drill off center. If the drill gets off center it cuts a hole too large; either tends to make a scrap, a wasted piece of material. If they are not given prompt attention continuously those things occur. Now, in order to keep down the scrap as much as possible, or as small as possible, the machines must have proper attention all the time that they are running.

Q. Was Mr. Sullivan engaged in doing piece work, or on a per hour basis? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was engaged in doing piece work; the guaranteed base rate did not begin until February 1st

Q. Prior to February 1st he was engaged in piece work? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. That is, he was engaged in doing piece work, and paid so much for what he turned out? Answer – Yes, sir. If he got one piece during the eight hours he only got paid for it, or if he did five hundred he got paid for that much.

Q. If he had one man working on one machine next to him, and he was turning out 100 pieces, and Sullivan was at the next machine and was turning out 200 pieces, he got paid for what he produced? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Relatively speaking, how was Sullivan’s production as compared with the other people in the gang? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was the only producer on that turn in my gang.

Q. Something has been said about defective shells or scrap being turned back and the employees charged with them; will you state how Mr. Sullivan’s record stands in that respect, whether the shells turned back on him were more or less than the average? Answer – To the best of my recollection, the shells turned back on Mr. Sullivan were favorable with the others; if anything, a little less. As I just stated, I considered Mr. Sullivan one of my best workmen, and the man who makes scrap is not considered a good workman. While it is possible Mr. Sullivan scrapped, I don’t remember what his scrap amounted to, but it never amounted to a great deal. No one’s scrap amounts to a great deal, or they don’t stay there long enough.

Q. Do you know about how much Mr. Sullivan was making by the month, we will say? Answer – Roughly speaking, I presume Mr. Sullivan was making from $100.00 to $125.00 a month.

CROSS EXAMINATION

By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Where were you from originally? Answer – I was born in Kentucky.

Q. Where did you come from when you came to Washington? Answer – Knoxville, Tennessee.

Q. You came there from Tennessee to Giesboro Point? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What did you do at Knoxville? Answer – Worked for the Fulton people.

Q. What did they do? Answer – Made valves.

Q. You are one of a number of gang foremen at the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company, are you not? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Sullivan was under you from December 6th to January 31st ; that is right, isn’t it? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Do you remember the day that he came to your office when you gave him the slip, the short time slip? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Do you remember your saying if he would give you $50.00 you would keep him on? Answer – No, sir, I don’t remember it.

Q. Did you say “Why did you come to this office without the $50.00 being ready?” Answer – No, sir.

Q. And Sullivan said “I haven’t got it ready, and I expect you will discharge me, because I haven’t got it ready”? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Then, when he laid the short time slip in the waste basket, didn’t he say, “What is the use in keeping this, you are not going to keep me on because I haven’t the $50.00?” Answer – Did I say that he laid the slip in the waste basket?

Q. No, but I ask you didn’t he lay the time slip in the waste basket and say, “What is the use in this, as you are not going to keep me on.” Answer – No, sir; he didn’t lay it in the waste basket; he tore it up and threw it towards the waste basket, and I am not in a position to say that it went there.

Q. On one night 60 pieces of scrap were returned to Mr. Sullivan for defective work, were there not? Answer – I don’t know the number.

Q. That would be exceptionally large? Answer – Yes.

Q. Do you say that he did not get back 60 pieces? Answer – Not to my knowledge.

Q. These were automatic drills that run whether the man was there or not? Answer – They were semi-automatic.

Q. You could go to sleep at the foot of the drill and it would run on? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What would stop it? Answer – When it got to the bottom of the hole it would stop.

Q. Then it tripped itself and went back and started over? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What tripped it, what started it over again? Answer – The operator.

Q. The operator had to be there to start it over again? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Now, you said Mr. Sullivan defied you; Mr. Sullivan defied you to discharge him because he would not pay you the $50.00; isn’t that what he defied you for? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Didn’t you keep him three days and then discharge him with another man? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What did you keep him for the three days, he was not discharged until February 3rd ? Answer – He was finally discharged on February 3rd.

Q. What was he doing in the meantime? Answer – On February 2nd and February 3rd as I understand, he worked for the third term foreman.

Q. He worked for the same company? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. What was he discharged for? Answer – At what date are you asking?

Q. February 3rd ? Answer – For the good of the service.

Q. Do you know any reason why he was discharged? Answer – On the night of February 2nd in the wash room, someone said to Mr. Sullivan, ”What in the hell are you doing here, I thought you were discharged”

Q. Were you present? Answer – When?

Q. At what you are talking about now? Answer – How would I know if I was not present.

Q. I didn’t know whether you were telling what you heard? Answer – I am telling what I know. I say on February 2nd Mr. Sullivan was in the wash room with a number of others and myself. Someone asked him what in the hell he was doing here, he thought he was discharged. Mr. Sullivan’s reply was “Yes, he canned me, but I am back”. I took the matter up on the 3rd with Mr. Eldridge, the head of the shrapnel department, and stated that I thought it was time Mr. Sullivan or myself was going. Mr. Eldridge took the matter up with Mr. Scott, as I understood, the first term foreman, and the result was Mr. Sullivan was discharged on the 3rd.

Q. You forgot to state that a moment ago? Answer – I wasn’t asked that question.

Q. He did not give up a position of $135.00 a month? Answer – Not to my knowledge.

Q. And, as far as you know, he needed the money? Answer – I don’t know.

Q. You don’t know what fits he had in the day time? Answer – I didn’t know he had any.

Q. He didn’t work in the day time? Answer – Not with me.

Q. You don’t know his neighbors or associates? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You knew his wife? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Was she present in the office on one or two occasions? Answer – No, sir, not to my knowledge.

Q. You went to his house? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You never went to his house in your life? Answer – I never went to his house in my life.

Q. Now, Sullivan’s business was to take a bar cut in a short piece and bore a hole in it with this semi-automatic drill? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You knew that he was not a machinist? Answer – I didn’t know that he was or was not. Mr. Sullivan told me he was a machinist.

Q. Didn’t you discover that he was not right away? Answer – I had no occasion to discover Mr. Sullivan’s being anything as long as he performed the work required of him on this job.

Q. He was excitable and nervous, was he not? Apparently so.

Q. You don’t know what was the cause of that, do you? Answer – I do not.

Q. You don’t know whether his excitability and nervousness was due to a mental infirmity or a physical infirmity? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You came here voluntarily, did you? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How much do you get for coming here? Answer – I have been assured my expenses.

Q. How much do they amount to? Answer – I don’t know, I was given a pass from the station here.

Q. How much were you promised a day for coming here? Answer – I wasn’t promised anything further than my expenses.

RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION

By. Mr. Hall:

Q. Will you state whether or not Mr. O’Neil, you offered to keep Sullivan if he paid you $50.00? Answer – Positively not.

Q. Did you ever make any effort, or approach Sullivan to get money from him as a condition for keeping him? Answer – No, sir; positively no.
John W. McCullough another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

DIRECT EXAMINATION



By Mr. Hall

Q. Where do you live Mr. McCullough? Answer – 1010 8th Street, Washington, D. C.

Q. By whom are you employed? Answer – Mr. Edward Lycett, Washington Steel and Ordnance Company.

Q. When did you enter the service of the Washington Steel & Ordnance Company? Answer – June 11,1915

Q. Will you state whether or not you know the plaintiff here, William J. Sullivan? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you state whether or not he was employed by the Ordnance Company at the time you went there? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. How were you first employed when you went with the company? Answer – As a helper.

Q. And when were you promoted? Answer – The second week in July.

Q. And what were you appointed then? Answer – Labor foreman.

Q. Can you describe to the jury how your office is located there in the plant, and whether or not the foreman has his office at the same place you do? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Now, tell the jury just about the little office that you occupy? Answer – It is an office just outside of the machine shop with a door and desk on each side. My desk is on the right hand side, and the small desk the foreman occupies is on the left hand side, and the rest of the room is used as a tool room.

Q. What were your duties after you were appointed labor foreman? Answer – To look out for the stock and to take charge of the helpers and keeping the time of the machine operators.

Q. As a part of your duty will you state whether you had to know when the men came in and when they left the shop? Answer – Yes, sir, I had to know when they came in, and when they left, and time that they made.

Q. State how Mr. Sullivan was employed after you became labor foreman? Answer – Mr. Sullivan was employed as drill press operator at the same time I was appointed labor foreman, about the same time.

Q. Who was foreman when you were appointed labor foreman, foreman of the gang? Answer – Mr. Pettis.

Q. Mr. William Pettis? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know whether he has been discharged? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. You don’t know what for, do you? Answer – To the best of my knowledge I think his discharge slip was wrote out for lost time, but I don’t know whether he was fired for that reason or not.

Q. Will you say whether or not you got to know Mr. Sullivan while he was employed down at the shop from July 16th until the time he left? Answer – I got to know Mr. Sullivan by receiving his time and keeping his time and seeing him every night; that is the only way I come to know him.

Q. Do you remember when he left the company, about? Answer – He left under my foreman on the 31st of January.

Q. And when did he leave the company finally? Answer – The 3rd of February, I think.

Q. Who is your foreman now? Answer – Mr. O’Neil

Q. Mr. Robert O’Neil. Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Do you recollect how often Mr. Sullivan was off duty between the 15th of July and the time he left the plant? Answer – That is something I don’t know; I know that he never lost much time only in case of a machine being down or no material to work on.

Q. Well, do you know of any occasions when he lost time when his machines were working? Answer – I believe he lost one time that he went off with a mashed foot, I know that, and he was off there for medical examination.

Q. Will you state about what amount of money Sullivan averaged per day making? Answer – I would say on an average of about $5.00 a day.

Q. Will you state what, if any, conversation you heard between Mr. William Pettis and Mr. Sullivan, sometime during the fall prior to December 6th with respect to a representative of the Southern Railway calling on Mr. Sullivan? Answer - The first part of November, Mr. Sullivan asked Mr. Pettis, who was then foreman, that he expected a representative from the Southern Railway would call on him in regard to the suit which he had been bringing about the Southern Railway, and he asked him, I don’t know whether he asked him as a friend, but he asked him if he would ask in regard to his position to tell him that he was employed as a helper, rated at 20 cents an hour.

Q. What did Mr. Pettis say? Answer – Mr. Pettis said that he would do the same.

Q. Did Mr. Sullivan say anything more? Answer – Not to my knowledge; I wasn’t listening to the conversation, but heard it through accident, being in the office at the time.

Q. You were in the office where you belonged, and Mr. Pettis was in the office where he belonged, and Mr. Sullivan came in the office to talk to Mr. Pettis? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Did you hear any subsequent conversation? Answer – I heard a representative had called on Mr. Pettis, and Mr. Pettis told him-----

OBJECTED TO

Q. What conversation did you hear between Mr. Pettis and Mr. Sullivan about this? Answer – That is as much as I heard.

Q. What was it? Answer – Mr. Sullivan asked Mr. Pettis if the representative called on him to tell him that he was employed as a helper at 20 cents an hour, and Mr. Pettis said that he would do so.

Q. Did you hear any subsequent conversation between them with respect to that, as to whether the man had called? Answer – Latter on I heard that Mr. Pettis -----



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