Prince William County Virginia Clerk’s Loose Papers

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Mr. Patterson: He stated that he heard that there had been a conversation.

Court: Did you hear any conversation after that time between Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Pettis?

Answer Yes, sir, I did.

Q. You can state the conversation you heard between Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Pettis, but not any conversation when Mr. Sullivan was not present. Answer – Mr. Sullivan asked Mr. Pettis if he had told as he requested and he said that he had, and that the representative would call later to see him again.

Mr. Hall: At the time you heard this conversation in which Mr. Sullivan asked Mr. Pettis to tell

the railroad representative that he was rated as helper, getting 20 cents an hour, is it not a fact that Mr. Sullivan was working on piece work and getting more than 20 cents an hour?

Mr. Mackey: I object to that. Mr. Sullivan was working on piece work, and it don’t make any

difference; so what is the relevancy of the testimony?

Court: I think you can state this, at the time Mr. Sullivan had this conversation with Mr. Pettis,

what was he actually receiving, if you know? Answer – He was working on piece work, making an average of $5.00 a day, but his rating was 20 cents so if at any time he did not have piece work he could drop back to his rating but I don’t remember any time Mr. Sullivan had to drop back to his rating.

Mr. Hall: Will you state whether or not you were present at the time Mr. Mr. O’Neil discharged

Mr. Sullivan? Answer – I was. Q. Will you state what you recollect about that discharge, just what happened? Answer – Mr. O’Neil sent for Mr. Sullivan, and I was in the office at the time, and Mr. Sullivan came there and Mr. O’Neil asked him what was the trouble between him and the general foreman, and he said that he was supposed to receive 40 cents an hour for running two drill presses, and the man next to him was receiving 40 cents an hour for running one. Mr. O’Neil asked him who said that was all that he was going to receive, and he said, “I know you are going to fire me, but go ahead and fire me, I will get back”. Mr. O’Neil said, “I didn’t send for you to fire you, but I will fire you now” and he gave him a short time order, and Mr. Sullivan tore the short time order up and threw it on the floor. Q. Will you state whether or not during the entire that you knew Mr. Sullivan when he was employed at the plant, he had any fit or convulsion or anything of that kind of plant?

Mr. Mackey: That does not disprove anything, and therefore I object to it.

Court: Do you know anything about it? Answer – No, I know nothing about Mr. Sullivan having

any convulsions of any kind.

Mr. Hall: Will you state whether or not, if Sullivan had fallen in that shop during that entire

period, you would have been in a position to have heard it?

Mr. Mackey: Objected to as not contradicting any evidence of the plaintiff; the plaintiff don’t

claim that he ever had a fit in the shop.

Court: I think it is proper. Maybe when a man is working he will not have fits. Go ahead.

Mr. Hall: I asked you whether, if Mr. Sullivan had fallen in a fit or convulsion of any kind while

working in the shop would you have been in a position to have heard of it? Answer – I would. Q. How would it have come to your knowledge? Answer – If he had a convulsion and had to lose any time or go off, I would have known it in checking up his time.Q. Now, will you state whether or not you met Mr. Sullivan after he was discharged from the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company at any time? Answer – I met Mr. Sullivan the latter part of March. Q. State where you met him? Answer – On 9th Street, Northwest, in Washington.

Court: That is March, 1916?

Mr. Hall: Yes, sir, March, 1916, on 9th Street. Q. Will you state what, if anything, Mr. Sullivan

told you at that time with respect to money being paid him by the Union? Answer – Mr. Sullivan told me he was receiving $8.00 a week from the Union pending his re-instatement at the steel plant; that is, the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company. Q. During the whole time you knew Mr. Sullivan, what was his physical appearance and his general physical condition? Answer – well, Mr. Sullivan always seemed to be a capable man and good workman, one of the best we had in the shop on that kind of work.

Court: That is not the question you were asked.

Mr. Hall: I asked how he looked, what was his physical condition? Answer – He always looked to

be in health. Q. You say you kept time of all the people in the gang; how did Mr. Sullivan’s earnings compare with the rest of his gang? Answer – On the class of work that he was on Mr. Sullivan was always in the lead.


By Mr. Mackey:

Q. You came here voluntarily, you are being paid for coming here, are you not? Answer – No, sir.

Q. When Sullivan asked Mr. Pettis to tell the agent of the Southern Railway that he was getting 20 cents an hour as helper, he was asking him to tell the truth, wasn’t he? Answer – He wasn’t getting 20 cents; his rating was 20 cents, but he was not getting that.

Q. He was getting 20 cents as a helper, and three cents apiece for extra work? Answer – Three cents apiece for his piece work.

Q. He was rated as a helper, and never had any other rating during the time he was at the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company? Answer – That was his rating.

Q. He was rated as a helper at 20 cents during the time that he was there? Answer – No, sir.

Q. And he got three cents extra for piece work? Answer – He got three cents apiece for his extra piece work.

Q. Did you ever have him on your rolls except as a helper rated at 20 cents an hour? Answer – That was his rating.

Q. So he was telling Mr. Pettis to tell the truth to the agent of the Southern Railway? Answer – Not in the way that he was telling it. He told him to tell them he was receiving 20 cents an hour, whereas he was receiving $5.00 a day.

Q. How did you come to take an interest in it? Answer – I didn’t take an interest in it; I was in the office.

Q. When did you first mention it? Answer – I think I mentioned it to Mr. O’Neil when Mr. McNeil first taken charge of the shop.

Q. When did you first mention it to the representative of the Southern Railway? Answer – When he asked me,- the date was the latter part of May.

Q. How did you come to tell the representative of the Southern Railway? Answer – He was asking me about Mr. Sullivan’s rating.

Q. And you did not go there until June, did you? Answer – June 11, 1915

Q. And you were telling the representative of the Southern Railway in May; you just said? Answer – May, 1916

Q. So you did not tell the representative of the Southern Railway about it until eleven months after, did you? Answer – Eleven months is it.

Q. What were you keeping this thing to yourself so long for? Answer – I had no occasion to tell anybody.

Q. You knew O’Neil did not like Sullivan? Answer – I don’t think Mr. O’Neil had anything in the world against Mr. Sullivan.

Q. Did you volunteer that statement to the representative of the Southern Railway that Sullivan had told Pettis this? Answer – It was brought on that the representative was speaking to me about Mr. Sullivan’s rating, and I couldn’t say whether I voluntarily told him, or whether I was asked, but I know I told him he made the statement.

Q. You told him about it to do Sullivan an injury? Answer – No, I never told him to do Sullivan an injury; no.

Q. You never associated with Sullivan after the work was done? Answer – No, I can’t say I did.

Q. You never had any association with Sullivan’s neighbors or family or friends? Answer – No.

Q. You don’t know whether he had fits or not? Answer – I know he didn’t have any fits in the plant.

Q. Did you ever hear anybody say that he did? Answer – No, I never heard anybody say that he did.

Q. So you don’t know how many fits he had outside of the plant on the street or at home, or anywhere else? Answer – No, I don’t know what he had outside of the plant.

Q. You knew that he was working hard to make a living? Answer – Yes.

Q. He didn’t voluntarily give up a job of $100.00 or $125.00 a month, did he? Answer – No, sir, I don’t think he did.

Q. Now, you didn’t even work in the same building with Sullivan? Answer – No, I worked in the same department, but the drill press Mr. Sullivan operated was in the forward part of the machine shop, which come under the shrapnel department in which I was employed.

Q. The only thing you can say about his having fits is you don’t have any record of any? Answer – I have no record. If he had fits at work I would have heard something about it, and would have known it.

Q. If he had a fit that lasted ten minutes would you have put it on the time? Answer – If he had a fit that lasted ten minutes I would have heard of it.

Q. That is the way you know that he did not have any fits in the plant? Answer – Yes, sir; that is, to the best of my knowledge.

Q. How many men’s time did you keep? Answer – I think on an average 45 men.

Q. And Sullivan never, at any time, was in the same building with you, was he? Answer – He was there sometimes.

Q. What you knew about Sullivan was that he would come there and give in his time and go away; that is about all you knew about Sullivan? Answer – That is about all I knew about him.

F. R. Rhodes, another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

By Mr. Hall:

Q. Mr. Rhodes, where do you live? Answer – Nokesville; I am not right in the town, but live about a mile southeast.

Q. Were you a passenger on the Southern train that was wrecked near Bristow about a year ago in February? Answer – I was.

Q. Will you say to the jury what car you were riding in on that day? Answer – I was in the front or baggage car, I suppose, the combination smoker and baggage.

Q. Describe to the jury the effect of the collision, whether it was great or slight, and what the shock was to you, if any, and tell the jury what happened, and what you did? Answer – It happened so quick I hardly know what did happen, but it wasn’t much of a shock to me. I was sitting there as unconcerned as I am here. It didn’t throw me out of my seat, or even forward.

Q. What did you do after the collision? Answer – I got out of there pretty quick, and I looked around there possibly five minutes. I walked up to Bristow, and asked the agent there weather 44 would come down and take passengers back to Nokesville, and he said “If you want to go to Nokesville you had better walk on”, and so I did.

Q. You did not stop to look at the train or passengers? Answer – Just a few minutes.

Q. Do you remember examining the passenger coach? Answer – No, sir, I was not in that at all.

Q. You did not go into the passenger coach? Answer – No, sir.
Dr. H. T. A. Lemon, another witness called on behalf of the Southern Railway Company, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

By Mr. Hall:

Q. Dr. Lemon, will you state your residence, please? Answer – Washington, D.C.

Q. Your occupation? Answer – physician

Q. Where did you graduate? Answer – Columbia University.

Q. How long have you been practicing? Answer – Eighteen years.

Q. Do you know the plaintiff, William J. Sullivan, there behind you? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Will you say to the jury whether or not you have examined him, and if so at what time? Answer – I examined Mr. Sullivan on November 5th at the office of Dr. Hooe.

Q. In Washington? Answer – In Washington.

Q. Will you state the result of that examination, and what, if anything, you found the matter with Mr. Sullivan at that time? Answer – I gave Mr. Sullivan a very thorough examination, and I found no objective signs. The jury has been explained what objective signs mean.

Q. Did you find any evidence of trauma or shock? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Will you describe his physical condition to the jury at that time? Answer – Mr. Sullivan, as I remember, was a young man 25 years of age, of florid countenance and of muscular build.

Q. Did you find any flaws or blemishes in his physical condition? Answer – No, sir.

Q. State whether or not you examined his head? Answer – I did.

Q. Did you find any lumps or knots on his head? Answer – No, sir.

Q. State whether or not you found any rigidity of muscles there in the neck? Answer – No, sir.

Q. What about his reflexes? Answer – His reflexes were normal.

Q. What about his blood pressure, did you try that? Answer – Yes, I remember we took his blood pressure.

Q. How was that? Answer – I don’t remember exactly, but I do not believe that it was above normal. We took the systolic blood pressure, but I don’t remember what it was.

Q. Do you know whether any blood tests were made of Mr. Sullivan. Answer – I was informed that there were.

Q. But you did not make them? Answer – No.

Q. And you did not make any spinal fluid tests? Answer – No, sir.

Q. Will you say whether or not seeing a person have one attack of convulsions would be sufficient to diagnose his case as that of epilepsy? Answer – I would not be satisfied with seeing a patient in one attack of epilepsy to say that it was what we generally term epilepsy.

Q. Why? What else might it be, only one attack? Answer – We might find, as in children, one attack as eclampsia; we speak of an infantile eclampsia; we often see a child have one attack of convulsion, and frequently in certain periods of women we find that they have attacks of eclampsia. I recently saw a man have an attack of symptoms pf epilepsy from alcohol. So far as I know, he never had an attack previous or since.

Q. Is hysteria similar to epilepsy? Answer – Yes, sir, but you can easily tell one from the other.

Q. you mean a medical man? Answer – Yes.

Q. Can a layman distinguish hysteria from epilepsy? Answer – I would hardly expect a layman to.

Q. Will you state whether a layman’s account of convulsions in attacks of these sort is entitled to any weight as correctly diagnosing the disease? Answer – Ordinarily speaking, I would think not.

Q. Why is that? Answer – He would have to have experience in knowing the symptoms of true epilepsy and the signs of an epileptic. Of course, if there is a patient in a house where they have the attacks, it might be different.

Q. Is metabolism a cause of epilepsy, and if so, will you explain to the jury what metabolism is? Answer – Metabolism is simply a change, and we speak of metabolism change, as a change in the food of the body. There are other changes which take place in the body, and we speak of them as metabolism. Sometimes if these changes are not normally done it may produce an attack of epilepsy.

Q. Ordinary metabolism may be produced by an attack of indigestion? Answer – We speak of that as faulty metabolism; faulty metabolism could produce an attack of epilepsy.

Q. Would the congestion of the plaintiff’s face and a nervous condition be sufficient to justify, in your opinion, a diagnosis of epilepsy when accompanied by a history only? Answer – No, sir, not to my satisfaction.

Q. What, if any, other cause may produce congestion of the face except epilepsy? Answer – A congestion of the face may be produced in many ways; by emotion, a man in anger, the face will flush and by metabolism the face will flush; by physical exertion the face will flush, and there are many causes.

Q. On your examination of Mr. Sullivan on November 5th did you notice any congestion of his face? Answer – My explanation would be that of a florid complexion; florid complexion is the way he impressed me.

Q. Will you say whether, in your opinion, if a man should have epileptic seizures at intervals of three to five days for a period of more than one year, I say would, in your opinion, the effect of such seizures be more or less apparent on the patient? Answer – I think it would have a very bad effect upon his mental condition.

Q. There would be some evidence of mental degeneration? Answer – I should think so. That is the usual expectation.

Q. State, dr. Lemon, whether or not, comparatively speaking, cases of epilepsy rarely result from trauma or shock? Answer – It is placed as a relatively rare cause.

Q. Would it be one per cent of the total cases of epilepsy? Answer – I am not prepared to say.

Q. You are not prepared to say whether one per cent, or more? Answer – No, sir.

Q. It is comparatively small? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Have you had any cases of epilepsy in your experience? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. Have you ever had any case of epilepsy caused by a blow to the head? Answer – I cannot recall one; I do not believe I have had one.

Q. Will you say to the jury, if you can, how severe a blow would have to be before it would produce epilepsy? Would there have to be some visible sign left of the blow? Answer – I should expect it.

Q. That would be natural to expect? Answer – I should expect it; in speaking that way, it is relative.

Q. Of course, it might be a medical possibility that such a thing would happen without leaving a trace? Answer - Yes, sir.

Q. But, generally speaking, in order to produce such a result there would be some evidence? Answer – I should think so.

Q. When you examined Mr. Sullivan on November 5th did you find any evidence of epilepsy? Answer – No.

Q. November 5, 1915, when you examined him? Answer – No.

Q. Doctor, assuming that the plaintiff was a passenger on Southern Railway train No. 17 on February 23, 1915, and that he was in the collision, the facts of which you have heard related, and that he was thrown forward from his seat, and that he caught himself on the side of the car, and that something fell on his head, and that he was subsequently examined by Dr. Wine and Dr. Iden and Dr. Merchant, and that no outside evidence was found of any injury except a dislocated shoulder by them, and that subsequently he went to Virginia and stayed for a period of ten or fifteen days, and that he subsequently resumed his work with the Singer Sewing Machine Company and made no complaint of any injury at all to his head; that he continued with his work, and earned as much money, comparatively speaking, while working with the Singer Sewing Machine Company as he did before this accident, and that about May 15th he was employed by the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company, and that from May 15th to July 17th he was employed both by the Singer Company and by the Washington Steel and Ordnance Company, and was doing work for them both day and night, and that he worked continuously during the succeeding months until February 3, 1916. I say upon those facts and upon all the other evidence you have heard in this case, would he, in your opinion, be suffering from epilepsy?

Mr. Mackey: I object to the question because it does not embody one-half of the evidence. In the

first place there is no testimony that anything fell on his head. He said something struck his shoulder and neck a glancing blow. He leaves out a statement of Dr. Hooe that he had a contraction or congestion of the muscles; a statement of Dr. Williams who tested him and pronounced he had a case of epilepsy; a statement of Dr. Davis who said that there was a fracture at the base of the brain causing a disease of the optic nerve, and of Dr. Bacon, his family physician, who said that he had a true case of epilepsy, and saw him in convulsion, and leaves out the fact that the man has not worked since the 3rd of February, 1916, and also includes the statement that he worked in November, which is erroneous. It leaves out practically all the evidence, and expects the doctor to answer a hypothetical question framed up and dressed up and patched up and puttied up, and fixed up to suit the convenience of the railroad.

Mr. Hall: I have a proposition to make Mr. Mackey. I will withdraw that question if he will

withdraw the question that he asked Dr. Hooe. (The question referred to by Mr. Hall is here read)

Court: Didn’t I offer a substitute for that?

Mr. Hall: And that was objected to.

Court: My recollection is that that hypothetical question was asked, and there was objection to it.

I said I would ask one myself, and these gentlemen, when they got through. Said that they would take my question. I will ask Dr. Lemon on a question. Q. You have heard all the evidence in this case up to this time? Answer – Yes, sir. Q. Assuming the evidence given by this young gentleman, all evidence given by the other witnesses, including the doctors, so far as the doctors spoke from their own information, and not from information derived from others, was true, would you say that he was suffering from epilepsy, and if so, whether it was caused by this accident?

Mr. Hall: Before he answers that, may I ask that it be explained that he is not to answer now

anything that is based on the opinion of other doctors?

Court: Yes. Answer – That cuts out so much, if I eliminate the opinions of the other doctors.

Based upon my own information, of course I could not diagnose the case as one of epilepsy.


By Mr. Mackey:

Q. Doctor, how long have you been a railroad surgeon? Answer – Fifteen years.

Q. And you have been continuously a railroad doctor during the past fifteen years? Answer – Yes, sir.

Q. And, like the railroad lawyer, you look out for the railroad? Answer – No, sir.

Q. You never testified in court against your own railroad? Answer – Yes.

Q. How frequently? Answer – As a matter of fact, I have been brought in court more frequently by my own patients suing corporations. I can safely say, than by being brought into court by the corporations I represent.

Q. And the railroad lawyer has used you, their own witness, to break down their own case? Answer – I don’t think the railroad lawyer has used me in any way except in a fair, open way.

Q. You do not mean that the railroad lawyer used you to break down their own case? Answer – I don’t know how the railroad lawyers used me.

Q. I believe you are perfectly honest? Answer – I am as much your witness as I am the railroad witness.

Q. But you are a railroad physician? Answer – Only when called by the railroad to attend a case.

Q. And you get paid so much a case? Answer – Yes, or I would not do it.

Q. And you got paid for examining Mr. Sullivan? Answer – Surely.

Q. You would not claim that you could visit a man once and decide that he was or was not an epileptic? Answer – That is exactly what I answered.

Q. So you could not tell by examining Mr. Sullivan in November 1915, whether he was or was not an epileptic? Answer – That is exactly what I said.

Q. And you would consider Dr. Bacon, his family physician, who saw him in a convulsion and knew his previous history, and had been his family physician for more than a year, in better position than yourself ? Answer – I only passed judgment on what I saw.

Q. He would be in a better position than you? Answer – I don’t know his opportunity.

Q. Do you know Dr. Tom Williams? Answer – Yes.

Q. He is a neurologist? Answer – Yes.

Q. Is there any higher authority in the country than he? Answer – That would be a rather curious question to ask me?

Q. He is a rather high authority on epilepsy? Answer – I don’t know that he is considered so very high. Of course, those are relative things; I don’t like to pass my opinion on his qualifications.

Q. He stands very high as a neurologist? Answer – I don’t say but that he does. I would not want to be put in the position of testifying to another gentleman’s qualifications.

Q. You do not claim to be a neurologist? Answer – No, sir, no more than a great many observing general practitioners are.

Q. You do not claim to be a specialist on epilepsy? Answer – I don’t know that anyone could say that they are a specialist on epilepsy. I don’t know that anyone would specialize on such a restricted subject.

Q. If a man received a blow to his shoulder of sufficient violence to dislocate it that could cause a wrench in the cranium, couldn’t it? Answer – I think not.

Q. So you do not agree with Dr. Williams on that? Answer – I do not.

Q. There are many transmissions of shock to the brain? Answer – I would not say there are many, but I would say there are some.

Q. Take Dr. Merchant – a man could get an indirect shock to his brain by falling on his feet? Answer – I believe that there are cases so recorded.

Q. You could have a condition there that could produce hemorrhage? Answer – If sufficiently violent.

Q. And result in epilepsy? Answer – Not necessarily.

Q. But possibly? Answer – There is a possibility.

Q. You say you never saw a person suffering from epilepsy from a blow. You do not say that a person falling and receiving a fracture of the skull could not have epilepsy? Answer – I do not quite catch the question.

Q. I say I understand in your own experience you have never seen a case of epilepsy from receiving a blow on the head? Answer – That is true, in my own experience.

Q. As a medical man, you do not dispute that is a condition which exists? Answer – It can exist.

Q. There are a great many cases of epilepsy where children have been dropped by the nurse, or they have fallen from the chair and hurt their head, and became confirmed epileptics? Answer – I think that is a question where we should stop blaming the nurses. Take infantile paralysis, years ago, the history was generally given that the nurse dropped the child. I know many cases where little children have fallen and I had a case not long ago where a child fell over from a chair and fractured its skull; I have treated that child since and there is no evidence of epilepsy.

Q. And another child receiving the same injury might develop epilepsy? Answer – I don’t know.

Q. You know cases of trephining? Answer – Those cases are usually due to some fault in the skull itself, some disortion in the skull/

Q. Now, doctor, if a man falls and receives a blow on the head, and he becomes an epileptic and subsequently his skull is opened and a silver or gold plate is put in there and the man ceases to be an epileptic, that is a matter of medical experience? Answer – That is a very definite thing; that is what I was talking about as a depressed fracture.

Q. A fracture at the base of the brain could cause epilepsy? Answer – By acting as an irritant.

Q. In other words, the same fracture at the base of the brain that would cause inflammation of the optic nerve could cause epilepsy, couldn’t it. Answer – Not necessarily; I don’t think we should trace up inflammation of the optic nerve to epilepsy.

Q. I only say couldn’t it cause it? Answer – Anything that would act as an irritant in the cranium could produce epilepsy.

Q. You do not know the seat of epilepsy? Answer – Epilepsy is the symptom, the spectacular symptom, of something that we cannot always state. If you can indicate by an X-ray examination a depressed fracture, you would know you have a simple case, but there are plenty of cases of epilepsy for which there is no ascertainable cause, and when we do not know the cause, we call it idiopathic.

Q. That is when you do not know that there is a blow you call it idiopathic? Answer – No, there are a great many other things, such as constitutional diseases.

Q. You would not claim to this jury you could tell whether any man was an epileptic by seeing him once, would you? Answer – I don’t think anyone would want to make a diagnosis on that.

Q. An epileptic’s reflexes are the same as a normal man’s sometimes? Answer – Sometimes they are exactly.

Q. So that the reflex, the failure of a man’s reflex to respond, would often be due to some inflammation of the spinal cord, would it not? Answer – Not so much inflammation but an obstruction as the result of the inflammation.

Q. So an epileptic may have as healthy reflexes as any man? Answer – Provided he don’t have a great many seizures.

Q. So the result of it is you don’t know enough about Mr. Sullivan to say that he is not an epileptic; isn’t that so, having only seen him once, in November, 1915? Answer – I cannot say that he is an epileptic.

Q. And you cannot say that he is not? Answer – No, sir.

Q. I thank you, doctor. Answer – I just want to clear up the question that Mr. Mackey asked me. I did not mean to say anything prejudicial in regard to Dr. Williams. I was taken a little off my guard, and I just hesitated to say whether he was a general authority or not.

Q. You do not mean to say that he is not a man of high standing? Answer – I did not mean to say anything about him.


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