Testimony Given in "The State of Texas vs. Tom Burge

Testimony Given the in State of Texas vs. Tom Burge

First State witness Will W. Jerome testified as follows:

What is your name?
My name is Will W. Jerome.

Where do you live?
My home has been in the last three years in Dallas. I have been living at West Point one month and with the Stagners two months.

Do you know Will Stagner?
Yes sir.

Is he living or dead?
He is dead.

Where did he die?
He died near the Toledo School house.

What time?
The 2nd day of May. I believe that was the time on Wednesday.

What county and State?
Fayette County, State of Texas.

Were you present?
I was present.

Were you present when he died?
To the best of my knowledge I was present when he died.

State to the court the circumstances to the best of your knowledge concerning this fight.
Bell Whitey, Bunk Stagner, Will Stagner, and my self left Stagnerís about half past eight or nine oíclock to go cow hunting.

Whose cattle were you looking for?
Charlie Stagnerís steer cattle.

State what you did and what each did.
The four of us went through Stagnerís pasture out the backside of his pasture to the creek (Jack Young) near which we separated. Will Stagner and myself going in one direction and Bunk Stagner and Bell Whiley in another.

Who gave the order?
The orders were given by the boss of the day, Bunk Stagner.

State whether or not you had your dinner.
Yes sir we did. Will Stagner had part of it and Mr Stagner put part of it in my saddle wallets also.

Who were you to go with?
Will Stagner.

In what range?
What is called Darby Rough, the Darby land.

Where did the other two go?
They went through down by Jack Young (creek) and hunted back Then north.

State whether or not there were any arrangements to meet.
Yes sir there was.

State where it was?
We were to meet on the big road.

By whom were the arrangements made?
The arrangements ere made between Bunk Stagner and Will Stagner to meet somewhere on the big road. South of the Toledo Church and there eat dinner.

State whether or not you saw Burge at any time.
I saw Burge about 11 oíclock or a little after east of Toledo school house about three hundred yards.

Foot or horse back was he?
He was afoot.

What was said by either of you and by whom?
Will Stagner remarked to me, ďthere was our neighbor BurgeĒ. I remarked, ďI guess he was hunting his oxen.Ē

What did you then do and what direction was he going afterwards?
We were at the time going North at the time of seeing him and he was going east. We went on to the forks of the road 25 or 50 yards then turned and went north.

What happened then?
We had rode about one hundred and twenty-five yards when there was a shot fired.

What did you and Will Stagner then do?
Will started to dismount from his horse and told me to dismount or we would both be killed.

What did he do and what did you both do?
He dismounted after the shot was fired taking his Winchester with him.

Where was his Winchester?
It was across the front of his saddle. Reaching in his saddle wallets he got his sixshooter with his left hand. After he reached in and got his sixshooter he turned and ran towards a tree that was close to the road.

State whether or not any other shot was fired when he was going toward the tree.
There was one more shot fired before he got to the tree.

What did you do?
I dismounted. I turned my horse loose and ran for the same tree.

At the time of the first shot what was the position of Will Stagner?
He was turned in his saddle (this way, leaning over) with his left hand on his saddlehorn, his right hand was resting on the bridle reigns and facing me.

In reference to the report of the shot as to him, whether it was to his rear or not, howwas the report that you heard, whether it was to your front or to your rear?
To his rear the way he was sitting.

Before dismounting state whether or not you were in the road.
We were in the road.

Were you in the road at the time of the first shot?
We were in the road at the fire of the first gun.

How were you riding as relative to each other?
I was on the right hand side, him being on the left, the way we were going.

After reaching this tree were there any more shots fired?
There was.

State whether or not you and Will Stagner fired any shots.
Will fired on reaching the tree.

Whether with a Winchester or a pistol. I could not say which he fired with first.

Did you see Burge immediately before the shooting at the time you heard the first report?
No sir, I didnít see him exactly after the report, when I saw him he was about 65-70 yards away.

State if you know how many shots were fired either by Burge or yourself.
I know only how many I fired.

How many did you fire?
I fired 4 shots with the Winchester.

Do you know how many shots Will fired?
I donít know exactly, but I think he fired four shots.

Do you know whether he was shooting with a Winchester or a pistol?
Pistol part of the time and part of the time with the Winchester.

State if he said anything at this tree and when.
At the tree he says ďI am killed, shot through.Ē

Was that before or after he had been shooting?
After he had fired a shot or two.

What did you then do?
I remained behind the tree.

At what time did you get possession of either pistol or Winchester?
At the time Will fired the last shot he ever fired.

Which did you take?
I took the Winchester.

You state that you fired four shots.
Yes I fired four shots.

About how many did Burge fire if you know?
I could not say positively.

Did he fire more than one?
Yes sir more than one.

About how many to the best of your belief?
I would be afraid to state Judge.

Were there several?
There were several shots fired by him.

After the ceasing of the firing what did you do? I ran.

What did Burge do?
He also ran.

Where were the horses when the firing was over?
The horses were north of Toledo Church, the best I can judge a mile from the shooting.

When you got down off of them were they loose or tied?
They were loose.

What did you do after the shooting was over?
After the shooting was over I broke after them (the horses).

About how far do you think you followed them?
I followed them as near as I can say a mile before I caught them.

Did you see anyone?
I saw Bunk Stagner and Bill Whitley.

Where were they?
They were this side of where we found the horses, about two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards.

Where was Mr. Whitley and Stagner going when you saw them?
In what direction? They were coming towards where we were to meet at dinner.

In a road?
Yes sir.

On what road?
In a road called the Lockhart and LaGrange road, I believe, I am not familiar with the country.

Did you say anything to them?
I said something to Mr. Stagner.

What was it you said to Bunk Stagner?
I asked him did he see our horses.

What else did you tell him?
I told him that they were loose and that Will was shot and probably killed.

What did the parties then do?
Mr. Stagner remarked to Bell Whitley, ďLet him (meaning me) have your horse and we will catch the horses.

Did Mr. Whitley dismount?
Yes sir.

Did you take his horse?
I took his horse.

What did Whitley do?
I pointed to the best of my knowledge to the position of the shooting and he struck out on foot.

Where did Stagner go?
He turned and went after the horses. The bridle reins were up over their necks, one being over the saddlehorn.

Any ropes abut them?
No ropes.

Had they any ropes on that day?
Those to moore. Yes Wit: Not after leaving home.

State whether or not you and Bunk succeeded in catching the horses.
We did and then went to where the shooting occurred as quick as we could.

State whether or not when you got there was Stagner dead or alive.
He was dead. He was not living.

Was he breathing?
He was not.

About what time of day do you think it was?
It was about eleven or half past eleven oíclock or between eleven and half past eleven.

Any time with you?
No sir.

You are merely giving your judgment as to time?
Yes sir.

What is your age?
22 years.

State whether or not you armed yourself there and what time with reference to this trouble.
After Will fell over mortally wounded.

That was the first time you had your hands on any gun or pistol after the shooting had taken place?
Yes sir.

What was the condition of the other parties as to having arms or not?
They had none. Bunk Stagner and Bell Whitley had no arms.

How long did any of your party remain at this body? (the dead body)
I remained there longer than any other of the party did after catching the horses.

Did anyone else come there?
Yes sir.

Who were they?
Mr. Byler and a young man by the name of Bowie Gillam, Buster Antley, Mr. Will Taylor, Mr. Chas. Null, and Bell Whitley.

Was the body moved and how?
It was moved in a wagon.

Whose wagon?
Mr. Bylerís wagon.

Who got the wagon?
I suppose Mr. Stagner got it.

How long was it before the wagon came?
It was some little time before the wagon came down after the body.

Who come with it?
Mr. Byler.

Is it the old Byler that lives at the Bylor schoolhouse Tom Byler?
Yes sir I think so.

Cross Examined

Where did you say that you came from?
I came from Dallas.

How long had you been in Dallas?
About two years.

Where did you come from when you got to Dallas?
From Terrell.

How long had you been in Terrell?
I had been there seven or eight years.

Where had you been before you came to Terrell?
I had been in the County of Vanzandt.

Where were you living there?
I was living on a farm.

Whose farm?
It belonged to my father.

Where is your father?
My father is dead.

Is your mother dead too?
My mother is not dead.

Where is she?
She is living in Tyler Texas.

How long had you been in West Point?
I worked there just on month.

Who did you work for then?
I went in the employment of Charlie Stagner and two months ago I went in the employment of Stagners.

You say you all were out hunting cattle?
Yes sir.

You say there was four of you in all?
Yes sir.

Who were the four?
Bunk Stagner, Bell Whitley, Will Stagner, and myself.

Bunk Stagner and Bell Whitley went in one direction and you and Will Stagner were going in another direction hunting cattle?
Yes sir.

What kind of cattle were you hunting?
Steers. Will and myself were hunting one steer branded on the side T cross (T) and the other L. Y. on the left hip. A deep red steer.

What were you going to do with them?
We were going to put them in the pasture.

You say you didnít have any ropes?
We had no ropes, Will and myself.

You was about three hundred yards from him when you first saw Burge?
I donít think we was hardly that far, two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards, just eye measure.

In what direction was you and Stagner going?
We were going north. Burge was going east. Did not see him anymore then until a shot was fired. I did not see him at the first shot. The second shot I saw him.

Where was he?
He was kinder behind us directly behind us a little to the left. Directly behind Will Stagner.

What side of Will Stagner ws you on?
I was on the right of Will Stagner.

How far was Burge?
About sixty-five or seventy yards.

How far were you from the tree?
About eight or twelve steps from the tree.

Was there any brush between the tree and the road?
Not between th tree and the road. The tree had brush to the right and to the left of it (the one Stagner was behind) and in front of the tree.

Did you get down after the shot was fired?
Will got down inside of a minute after the first shot was fired. I was on my horse maybe two minutes before I got down. Burge was shooting these two minutes.

How many shots did he fire before Will got to the tree?
He fired tow shots before Will got to the tree.

Was there bushes between you all and Burge?
There was some brush.

Where was Burge?
He came on until he got very near down south of us.

In what direction was he going?
Advancing going the direction we were before dismounted. He advanced until he was opposite us still firing.

How far did he advance?
He advanced until he got behind a tree.

How large was the tree?
I donít know how large it was.

How many shots did Burge fire?
I could not say how many shots Burge fired.

Did you scare him? I didnít scare him.

Did you run?
I had the intention of running but did not carry it out.

When did he tell you to get off of your horse?
As he was getting off of his horse.

What saddle pockets did he have his pistol?
In his left saddle pocket.

In what hand did he have his Winchester?
In his right hand.

That was Will Stagnerís horse that had the reigns over the saddle horn?
Yes sir.

What time did Stagner get to the tree?
He got to the tree just as I got down on the ground.

Did he squat as soon as he got to the tree?
He squatted as he got to the tree.

Did you squat behind the same tree?
Yes sir I got behind him a little to his left. Stagner was a little to the right (of the tree) I was directly behind it. Stagner was out a little to the right.

How many shots did Burge fire after you all got behind the tree?
I canít state. He fired shots.

How many shots did he fire before Will Stagner got to the tree?
Two shots.

Did Will Stagner fire first after getting to the tree or did Burge?
I canít state who fired first after they got the tree.

What was it he said?
He remarked and says, ď I am killed, am shot through.Ē

Did you hear the bullet when it struck him?
I did not.

Did you hear the bullets strike the tree?
I think I heard one or two strike the tree.

Did Stagner bark Burgeís tree?
I could not tell as I did not get out from behind the tree to see if we were barking it.

Did he fire any shots after he made that remark?
He fired two shots after he made that remark.

How did he fall?
He staggered back.

What did you do?
I made a movement as he fell over and received a flesh wound on the hip.

What leg was it?
It was my left leg.

How come you to get it?
I got a little too far to the left of the tree. When Will turned over, I made a movement back and throwed myself a little too far out to the left of the tree.

Then what did you do?
I remained behind the tree, as I did, picking the Winchester up and fired four shots.

How many shots did you say Will fired with the pistol?
About three with the pistol.

How many shots with the Winchester?
I donít know exactly, but after firing two shots with the pistol he fell over.

Ainít you mistaken?
No sir, I said he picked up the pistol and laid the Winchester down.

Then you say the last weapon he used was his pistol?
To the best of my knowledge the last weapon he used was his sixshooter. I then picked up the Winchester. I fired four shots.

Then did Burge run?
He made a movement to get out from behind the tree, then I fired my last shot when he ran.

How far was he from the tree when you fired your last shot at him?
Probably a foot from the tree when I fired my last shot at him.

When was it?
It was just as he was turning around to run.

Did you fire anymore at him after he started to run?
I did not fire anymore at him after he got good started to running.

Did he fire at you?
There was not firing at me.

In what direction did you go from the tree?
I went right straight to the road from the tree.

Did you go towards Burge?
No sir. I did not go towards Burge when I left the tree. (he here explains how the road run)

Where were the horses when you turned them loose?
The two horses were in the road when we turned them loose.

In what direction did the horses go?
They struck out down the road towards the school house.

Where did you cross the road?
I crossed the road directly opposite our tree and crossed the road again near the school house where the brush is thickest and I stuck out straight for home, the direction the horses went, and then I met Bunk Stagner and Bell Whitley.

When the first shot was fired, Will Stagner remarked and said, ďget down off your horse or we will both be killed,Ē and you followed his advice and got down?
Yes sir.

At what time could you see Burge? I donít think I could as he was crossing between trees.

Was there any brush between you all?
There was brush between us.

Was there any brush between you and the road?
(that is your tree) There was no brush between our tree and the road.

Did the brush come up to his tree?
I donít know whether any brush came up to his tree or not.

Were there any remarks made by either one, you or Stagner?
No sir.

After they got behind the tree and the bullets began to hit it were there any remarks made by Stagner?
No sir he never made any remarks until he remarked that he was shot.

What were the remarks made?
He says, ďI am killed, am shot through,Ē

At the time he made that remark, how many shots had Burge fired?
I could not tell how many shots Burge had fired and donít know how many Will had fired.

Canít tell how many either one fired?
No sir.

That was the first time that you knew that Will was struck, when he told you that he was killed, shot through?
Yes sir.

You had not fired until you were grazed?
That is coarrect.

How many shots had Burge fired before you got off your horse? As near as I could state he had fired two shots.

What was Will Stagner shooting with?
I donít know positively what he was shooting with. Will Stagner had the weapons.

How was he carrying the Winchester?
He was carrying it across the saddle horn. Between his body and the saddle horn.

In what direction was the muzzle?
The muzzle was towards me.

Was Stagner close to the tree?
He was closer to the tree than I was.

Did Will stop as soon as he heard the shot?
Will stopped immediately and grabbed his pistol out of his saddle pockets.

Did he have to unbuckle the saddle pockets?
No sir.

Did you know that Stagner had his pistol with him?
No sir I did not know he had the pistol until he got it our of his saddle pockets.

What was the first thing you said when you met Bunk Stagner?
I told him the horses were loose.

What else?
I told him Will was shot and probably killed.

After you told him the horses were loose then you told him Will was shot?
Yes sir.

Did you ask him anything else?
I asked him did he hear all that shooting.

What did he say?
I donít know what he said whether he made any remark atr all or not. He told Bell Whitley to get down and let me have his horse.

Did he do it?
Yes sir.

And you and Bunk Stagner went to get the horses?
Yes sir.

How far were they from where you met Stagner?
Probably three hundred yards.

Then you took the horses and went on back to where the shooting occurred?
Yes sir.

How many horses were you leading?
Leading two horses.

Who was at the body when you arrived?
No one.

I thought you said Bell Whitley went to the body when he gave you his horse.
He was not at the body when we arrived.

Did you all catch up with Bell Whitley?
I did not see him. He missed his direction in going to where the body was.

Didnít you see anyone after you got back from after the horses?
I saw his wife (Burgeís wife) between the arbor and the Toledo Church.

Did you see Burge at all?
I saw him after I got to the body.

How far was he?
I could not state, probably about 400 hundred yards.

You say that you ran?
Yes sir, I ran.

You was going towards where Bunk Stagner and Whitley were?
I was not hunting them at all. I was going in the direction the horses went.

How come you to meet them?
I just met them accidentally.

And then you told them that the horses were loose and that Will was shot and probably killed?
Yes sir.

Where were you all going to meet that day for dinner?
Somewhere on the public road north of the Toledo Church.

Whether you found the steers or not?
Yes sir.

And what were you going to do with the steer then? We were going to take the steer from there to the pasture.

What was Whitley doing?
Whitley was helping hunt the steers.

How far was it from where the shooting took place to Stagnerís house?
As well as I know it was two miles or two miles and one half.

How far was it from Burgeís house?
It was about a mile from Burgeís house.

How long had you been living in that neighborhood?
I have been living in that neighborhood two months.

Who did you say were there after he was dead?
Mr. Will Taylor, C. Null, Bowie Gilham, Buster Antley, and Bell Whitley.

How was Will Stagner lying, on his back, side or face? At what time? Will? When you came back after the firing.
Wit: He was lying kinder on his side. Donít know which side.

Was his hat over his face?
I think his hat was over his face.

Was he clean shaven?
I donít remember. I know he had one leg crossed or one leg under the other.

What did you do with the Winchester after you got through shooting?
I dropped the Winchester after I got through shooting with it.

You ran off and left the Winchester there?
I ran off and left the Winchester there.

Was it empty?
It was not empty.

Why did you stop shooting?
I did not have any further cause to shoot it, the other man run and of course I ran. I could not tell what shot struck me.

How come you to meet Bunk Stagner?
It was by accident that I met Bunk Stagner.

What was the first thing you told him?
I told him when I first saw him that the horses had got loose.

That was the first thing you told him?
I told him when I first saw him that the horses had got loose.

That was the first thing that you told him, was that the horses were loose?
Yes sir.

What did he say?
He asked me which direction when and where the horses got loose and asked me where they were and I could not explain.

What did he then do?
Then he told Bill Whitley to let me have his horse. Whitley let me have his horse. Mr. Stagner and myself went to hunt the horses and found them in a few minutes. Then we went to where the shooting was.

When was the first time that Will Stagner told you that he was hurt or wounded?
After he had been to the tree and fired several shots.

Did he gasp?
No sir I donít think he gasped.

What was his language?
He says, ďI am killed, shot through.Ē

How many times had he fired before he said that?
I canít say how many times he had fired but he had fired shots.

Did Stagner breathe after he fell over?
I did not notice whether he was breathing or not. I moved just as Will fell over and that w as the time I received this shot.

How come you to get that?
I got that by sticking it too far out from the tree.

There was not a word said except what you heard Stagner say?
No sir.

Did Burge say anything?
No sir I never did hear Burge say anything.

When he said I am killed shot through, did he ease back on you?
He did not fall then at tall, he fired two shots and then fell. I did not shoot at all until it grazed me.

How did it feel?
It felt about like a hot branding iron does to a calf, for instance if you stuck your hand to a hot iron, a very hot iron.

When did Whitley get there?
I was not there when Bell Whitley arrived.

Where were you?
I did not want to stand there by myself, as I had seen Burge about four or five hundred yards off from the tree. What did Stagner do after looking at the corpse?
Bunk Stagner turned and went off.

When did Whitley come up there?
Whitley came up there sometime while I was off from the corpse a piece.

Did you see anyone go to it?
I did not see anyone go to it.

Could you have seen anyone go to it from where you were?
Part of t he t ime I could have seen someone go to it. I went back up to the corpse and Whitley was there. I went back to see if the corpse was alright.

What was Whitley doing?
Whitley was sitting down.

Was the corpse moved any?
I donít think it was.

Did Whitley make any remark?
I think he made some remark about someone going after Squire Cole.

Did either one of you go?
Neither one of us went.

Who was the next one come to the corpse then?
Mr. Bylor.

How come him to come?
I suppose Mr. Stagner rode by and told him.

Then who was the next?
I donít remember exactly.

Did Byler bring his wagon?
He did.

When did Mr. Chas. Null get there?
I could not state positively when it was that Mr. Taylor or Chas. Null got there.

Who was with Burge when you saw him?
I did not see anyone with him.

Wasnít his wife with him? I did not see her if she was.

Didnít you see his wife?
I saw her going on the road, she was going away from Burge, two boys were with her, one was 13 or 14 years old , donít know how old they were exactly.

Didnít you see old man Baker and Joe Taylor?
I did not see Joe Taylor or old man Baker. The only ones that I saw was Mrs. Burge and the two little boys.

What was it he said when he was getting off his horse?
He said get off or both of us would be killed. Wit: He says just as he was getting off his horse: ďGet down or we will both be killed.Ē

Was that open country around where Burge was?
At what time?
The time he was doing that shooting from behind the tree, was there any brush immediately around that tree (Burgeís tree)? What tree?
That tree that he (Burge) moved off from, was there any brush around it? I donít know whether there was any brush around it or not.

Was there any brush around the tree that you all were behind?
It had some brush tolerably close to the right and some to the left.

Was there any brush in front between you all and Burge?
Close to the trees? I think there was.

Jerome, how far were you from that tree when you got off your horses and jumped off and ran to that tree?
We were about 8 to 12 feet, somewhere about that distance.

What kind of a place were you in?
In regard to brush? We were in an open place.

Were there two shots fired before you and Stagner got off of you horses?
No sir.

When was the second shot fired?
Just as I was getting off on to the ground or just before I got on to the ground.

How did they start off?
They started off as a horse will run off.

Did Stagner run on the right hand side of the tree and squat down?
No sir he run straight up to the tree. He was behind the tree a little to the right of the tree.

What weapon did he have in his hand?
I could not state what weapon he had in his hand.

When you did any shooting, were you standing up?
Yes sir.

Are you certain of that?
Yes sir.

You did no shooting squatting down?
No sir, I did not.

Didnít you rest your gun against the tree?
I did not.

Did you shoot without a rest?
Yes sir.

How many shots did Burge fire after you commenced to fire?
I donít know.

Did Stagner shoot from your side of the tree?
He shot from both sides of the tree.

Are you certain of that?
Yes sir, he did not get on my side as I was behind him.

Behind him all the time?
Yes sir, I was straight behind him. I was straight behind the tree. I canít tell whether he fired from the left of the tree or not.

Do you know how may times he fired with the pistol?
I am not positive, but I think he fired three shots with the pistol.

Then did he drop the pistol?
He did not fire three shots straight with the pistol.

Did he fire one shot with one gun and then pick up the other and fire with it?
I could not say whether he fired one gun twice and then picked up the other and fired it twice or not.

Are you positive that he did not fire three shots in succession with the pistol?
Yes sir.

Did you take the Winchester out of his hand when you began to use it?
I didnít, it was on the ground. When I picked up the Winchester it was lying on the ground.

Where was the pistol?
The pistol was somewhere near the tree.

When he would work the Winchester in order to throw out an empty hull would he hold it up against the tree or out from the tree?
I canít tell you.

Was you much excited?
I was very much excited at that part of the fight.

How long was you excited?
When the thickest of the fighting was done until I picked up the Winchester, I was very nervous.

What kind of a condition were you in when Burge ran?
I was in a pretty nervous condition.

Was there a lull in the shooting at any time?
Some time it would seem as two shots were fired at once and then again it would not be so fast.

Do you know why you dropped that gun and ran off without the gun in your hand?
Yes sir.

Because it was too big a load to be three or four miles with.

Are you positive that Stagner did not tell you about this being hurt until after you were both behind that tree, and Burge had been firing at Stagner and Stagner had been firing at him?
I am.

Was Burgeís tree as large as yours?
I could not positively state.

Was Burge standing up or squatting down?
I think he was standing up.

Did he fire from first one side of the tree and then from the other or did he fire from one side constantly?
I could not tell.

How far was it?
I believe it was about sixty-five yards.

Your horses bridle reins were over this neck?
Yes sir.

And Stagnerís was over the horn of his saddle?

About how far from the shooting was it that you met Bunk Stagner and Bell Whitley?
It was some three quarters of a mile, it might have been a mile or it might not have been as far, I could not positively state.

Where were they?
They were some where near the LaGrange and Lockhart road.

In what direction were they going?
They were riding in the direction where we were to meet.

Bell Whitley never spoke at all did he?
Not that I heard.

Stagner never spoke to Burge nor you to Burge?
No sir.

How many shots did Burge fire if you know?
I donít know.

Do you know how many you fired?
Yes sir, I know how many I fired, I fired four shots with the Winchester.

Do you know how many Stagner fired with the Winchester?
I could not state positively, but I think he fired four shots.

Before Stagner got off his horse, he made no complaint about being shot?
He did not.

Did Stagner ever say anything after he said I am killed, shot through?
He did not.

Did you see Stagnerís body after he was dead, that is examine the wounds?
No sir, I did not examine his wounds at all.

Did you see any blood about him?
I saw a bloody spot on his shirt sleeve.

Did you see it before they began to move him?
I could not state whether I saw it before they began to move him or not.

Did he bleed much?
I donít know whether he bled much or not.

Millican Parr: State Witness

Do you know the Stagners?
I know the Stagners.

Mr. Burge, you know him?
Yes sir.

State whether or not you have ever heard him make any threats in regard to the Stagner.
He said that all he wanted to do was to lay eyes on them, that would settle it.

When was the first time you heard him make any of these threats?
The first time I believer was nearly two years ago. He has made threats since then.

When was the last time?
The last time has been since he was out of jail.

What did he say?
He simply said that whenever he met any of the Stagners that would settle the trouble between them.

Did he make this talk on the point of a threat or not?
He said it on the point of a threat. He said that if they ever met they would settle their trouble.

If who ever met?
Any of the Stagners.

When was the first threat?
One was about the 1st of June soon will be two years ago in í92 This coming June. And one was about a week or so later than the first in the same month.

And the third?
That has been since he has been out of jail. This present year.

Millican Parr: State Witness, Cross Examined

Who was present when this last threat was made?
There was not anyone present, just me and him.

Who was present when this second threat was made?
Jimmie Gillespie was present when the second threat was made. There was a whole lot present. They might not have known what Burge was saying.

When and where was this last threat made?
And who was present? This last one just we were present, it was on the road from my house to West Point.

What time of the year?
About two or three weeks ago.

When did you tell the Stagners of this?
I never did tell them until after the killing. I believe this morning was the first time.

Who did you tell first?
I believe , well I told Bunk first.

And second?
That was Mr. Wright Moore.

You did not tell any of the Stagners until after the killing?
I never did tell any of the Stagners until after the killing. The first one I told was Bunk Stagner, and the second was Mr. Wright Moore.

Why had you not told that Stagners of this before now?
I have not seen any of them. I have not seen Will Stagner in two months.

How came them to know that you had heard these threats?
I donít really know how the subject came up. I believe Bunk said here is a witness that will probably do you some good, I donít really know whether it was in that shape exactly, but it was up stairs, donít know whether it was in their office or not.

State Re-examining

Where did this first threat take place?
It taken place at Church? Toledo Church and it was on a Sunday night at that Judge.

Tell us how it was.
I can tell you Judge, I was near. The services were held and nearly broken, and I and my wife, my wife had at that time a child 6 or 8 months old and it got hot and was fretting and crying and we started out from the crowd to the wagon and Burge and Mr. Gillam were talking, and I said to Burge, ďHello Tom, I thought you were in Travis CountyĒ and he said "No, and all I want to do is to just lay eyes on him."

When was that?
That was Sunday night at Church.

And did he have a gun?
Yes sir and a Winchester at that.

Who was it that he wanted to lay eyes on?
On Charlie Stagner.

State Rested

Bunk Stagner, first defense witness, father of the deceased, Will Stagner testified as follows:

Mr. Stagner, you are the father of Will Stagner?
Yes sir.

On the 2nd day of May this year, where did you, Will Stagner, Will Jerome, and Bell Whitley go?
We left my house to go cow hunting and after we got out of my pasture, I told Will to go over east about the Toledo school house and get a steer, and Whitley and myself went north after another steer. I told Will and Jerome to go after one steer over near the Toledo schoolhouse and I and Bell Whitley would go after another.

Will and Jerome were to go over to the schoolhouse?
Yes sir, over in that part of the range.

Did you afterwards wee young Jerome?
Yes sir.

When was it?
I told Will if he did not find the steer to meet me up there on the LaGrange road and we would eat dinner and go on hunting for the steer and I was going to meet Will and this young fellow met me.

What were they to do with the steer in case they found him?
They were going to bring the steer to the pasture.

Were you hunting another steer?
Yes sir, there was two steers over in my part of the range that I wanted to get. The part that I was going to hunt through.

What were you going to do with your steer?
I was going to take mine to the pasture.

In case they found the steer, were they to wait for you at the Toledo schoolhouse?
I told you what they was to do.

They were not to wait then?
They were to take the steer to the pasture and not wait.

Cross-Examined by the State

That was the instructions you gave Will?
Yes sir.

Bell Whitley, second defense witness testified as follows:

On the 2nd day of May this year, Mr. Whitley, were you with the Stagners?
Yes sir.

Where did you go?
We went cow hunting.

What were the arrangements for the day if any?
There were no arrangements we all just struck out cow hunting, just as men do.

Which way did you go?
I went with the crowd.

Where did you go?
I went over there in the woods and got Mr. Cunningham.

What kind of cattle?
There was not any particular cattle that I know of.

Who were you hunting cattle for?
Just hunting cattle for Mr. Stagner.

Where did you go?
Just rode around in the range generally like any man will hunting cattle.

Did you find the cattle?
Yes sir, we found some that he said he wanted.

Dry cows or cows with calves?
There was some cows there with calves, some dry cows and some yearlings. All kinds.

Did you round them up?
No sir we never.

Did you take them to the pasture?
We did not drive any cattle to the pasture that day.

Were you just riding that range to see where the cattle were?
Or did you want to drive them to any particular pasture? Yes sir that was the intention to take the cattle to the pasture. Just round the whole bunch up and take them all in.

Are you certain that you were not hunting some particular described cow?
No sir, I told you we were just hunting generally.

Was Will Stagner and Jerome riding the range together looking for cattle?
I suppose so, we sent them off after as steer.

What were they to do in case they found the steer?
I donít know what they were to do with the cattle.

Didnít you say that they went after a particular steer?
Yes sir, Mr. Stagner had a steer over toward the Toledo school and he sent them after that particular steer.

Were they to meet you all at any time?
They were to meet us.

What did you all do with your bunch?
We had no bunch.

Didnít you just tell us that you all rounded up a bunch to take to the pasture?
The bunch that I told you about we just looked at.

They were to bring that steer back into the range where you gentlemen were?
No they sent him up there after that steer to see where that steer was. We were just to round up this bunch of cattle and hold them until they brought the single animal to the bunch as men will do.

After Will and Jerome would bring this single animal, were you to take those cattle on to the pasture or leave them out there or were you going to leave part of them out there?
No sir, we was going to take the bunch to the pasture. That was the intention when we rounded the bunch up, to take them to the pasture.

About what time as day did you all round up the cattle?
I told you once or twice we did not round any up.

Where were you all to meet at?
We were to meet up there close to the Toledo schoolhouse.

What time were you to meet there?
We were to meet there about one oíclock.

And what were you going to do then?
We were going to round these cattle up and take them in.

Well about what time a day was it you saw Mr. Jerome?
Well I seen him that morning when we started out.

About what time a day was that?
I suppose about 7 or 8 oíclock somewhere along there.

Did you see him again that day?
Yes sir.

There where Mr. Stagner was killed.

Was that the first time that you saw him again?
No sir I seen him one time before that.

Where was that?
It was down near the Toledo schoolhouse.

What was he doing?
Me and Mr. Stagner was coming up that way and he hollowed to us and said that the horses had run off and we went to him.

How far was it from where the killing took place?
It was about a quarter of a mile probably, three or four hundred yards, I could not tell exactly.

He came running towards you all and said the horses got loose?
He said the horses ran off.

Then what did he tell you?
He said that Tom Burge had killed Will. Shot him.

And then what?
He did not tell me anything else, but Bunk told me to jump down and I give Jerome my horse. Bunk told me to go to Will as quick as I could.