Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1.
Testimony of James L. Fraser, 1886 July 20.

Volume I, 393-398, 6 p.
Fraser, James L.
Employed by S. B. Barker & Co. lumber dealers.

Direct examination by Mr. Grinnell. Cross-examination by Captain Black. Testified on behalf of the Prosecution, People of the State of Illinois.

Present at the meeting of the Lumber Shovers' on the Black Road before the McCormick riot. Testified on various topics (page numbers provide a partial guide): McCormick Reaper Works strike, meeting or riot (vol.I 393), Spies, August (vol.I 393).

Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents
[Image, Volume I, Page 393]


a witness for the people being duly sworn and examined in chief by Mr. GRINNELL, testified as follows:

Q Mr. Fraser, where do you live?

A. 292 Marshfield Avenue.

Q What is your business?

A Working for the firm of S.B.Barker & Co., lumber dealers.

Q Where is their office, place of business?

A Wood street and Blue Island avenue.

Q In reference to McCormick's factory, where is it? Where is your office?

A Our office is just below Blue Island avenue on Wood street.

Q How far from McCormick's?

A I guess about three and a half blocks--three or four blocks.

Q Do you remember the meeting on the 3rd of May, at McCormick's, or what is called the Black Road up there?

A I remember a meeting that was held on Lincoln street, right the other side of Lincoln street.

Q On the afternoon of the 3rd of May?

A. Yes sir.

Q Were you present?

A. Yes sir.

Q Did you see any of the speakers?

A. Yes sir.

Q Who?

A. --Well, I don't know their names.

Q Do you recognize any of the defendants as being there?

A I recognize this first gentleman (indicating).

Q Spies?

A. Yes sir.

Mr. Salomon--We desire to enter a general objection to all this testimony as to what occurred on the 3rd. of May. at McCormick's or in that neighborhood.

[Image, Volume I, Page 394]

Objection overruled, exception by defendants.

Mr. GRINNELL.- August Spies, one of the defendants there?

A Yes sir.

Q You saw him there?

A. Yes sir.

Q Where was he when you saw him?

A On the car.

Q On top of the car?

A. Yes sir.

Q What kind of a car was it, platform or box car?

A Chicago, Burlington & Quincy box car.

Q He was on top of that box car?

A. Yes sir.

Q How many people in that crowd?

A On the car?

Q Yes sir, and the crowd.

A. - Well, there must have been three to five thousand people, I should judge.

Q Who spoke last? Who was speaking when the bell rung?

A I believe this gentleman here was speaking (indicating defendant Spies).

Q And you do not understand German?

A. No sir.

Q What was his manner? What did he do? Was he quiet and calm?

A Well, No.

Q Or was he excited?

A He was very excited?

Q Did he gesture or not?

A -Yes, and he made several gestures and he showed himself to be about the best jumpers I ever saw. He jumped up three or four feet high.

Q At the time that he was speaking, did any one upon that car at the time the bell rung, steop forward on top of the car and utter anything that you heard?

A Yes sir.

Q State who that was if you know?

A Well, I don't know who the gentleman was, but whoever he was

[Image, Volume I, Page 395]

he motioned for the men to go up and kill the scabs at McCormick's.

Q What did he say?

On motion of Counsel for defendants the court excluded that part of the witness' answer stating that "he motioned for the men to go up and kill the scabs at McCormick's."

THE COURT.--What sort of motion did he make?

A Well, he made a motion with his hand up toward McCormick's Reaper works.

Mr. GRINNELL--What did he say?

A Well, he said "Go up and killed the damned scabs that were coming from work."

Q Where was Spies when that was uttered?

A He was making a speech on the car.

Q On the same car that this man was on that spoke?

A Yes sir.

Q Now, what became of the crowd? What did they do then?

A Crowd all run to McCormick's, or the greatest part of them.

Q What became of Spies?

A Well, he did not go with the crowd. He came over toward Blue Island Avenue.

Q And you lost track of him?

A Yes sir, That is all I saw of him.

Q Now, on Blue Island avenue at that locality, what is the communication down town?

A What is the communication with down town?

Q Yes. Is it a street car?

A. Yes,

[Image, Volume I, Page 396]

Q A street car from---

A. On Blue Island avenue.

Q And did he go towards that or from it?

A Towards it.

Defendants counsel moves to exclude the evidence by this witness; motion overruled, and exception by defendant.


Q Mr. FRaser, where was this speaking going on with reference to where you were located?

A It was going on within about a block of where our office is. I was within fifty or seventy-five feet of where the speaking was going on.

Q You were out of your office then? near the car?

A Yes sir.

Q In what language was it that the party that motioned up towards McCormick's spoke?

A. English.

Q In English?

A. Yes; broken English.

Q Do you know who that party was?

A No, sir.

Q Do you know how long Mr. Spies was speaking, the gentleman whom you recognized as here, one of the defendants?

A I do not know how long, but I judge for ten or fifteen minutes

Q Do you know in what language he was speaking?

A German.

Q Do you know what was the nationality of the crowd generally

[Image, Volume I, Page 397]

that was there gathered?

A Well, there were Bohemians and Poles and Germans, and I guess pretty near every nationality mixed together.

Q What proportion of the crowd, if you know, was German?

A Well, I could not tell that. The biggest proportion of them, I guess, were Bohemians.

Q When this party got up and motioned toward the Reaper Works, what part of the car did he speak from?

A Mr. Spies?

Q No sir, the party that motioned toward the Reaper Works.

A He spoke from the other end of the car, from the west end of the car.

Q From the other end of the car from where Spies was speaking?

A Yes sir.

Q Spies was speaking at the time the man jumped up, was he?

A Yes sir.

Q Did he continue to speak?

A. Spies kept on speaking, yes.

Q Kept on speaking?

A yes sir.

Q And part of the crowd staid there until he finished speaking, didn,t they?

A. Yes sir.

Q And part of the crowd went off toward the west upon the instance of this man who spoke from the other end of the car?

A Yes sir.

Q You do not know who that man was who spoke in English?

A No sir; I would not swear to it.

Q Now, can you give us the exact language used by that man?

A To go up to McCormick's.

[Image, Volume I, Page 398]

Q Yes.

A. I guess I can give it to you pretty near.

Q Well, what was the exact language as near as you can remember?

A Just about half past three when the McCormick's bell rung, Mr. Spies was speaking in German, and this gentleman jumped up, this man, whoever he was, and motioned up with his hands to go up and kill the damned scabs that come from McCormick's.

Q Well, what I want is the language as near as you can give it.

A Well, that is just about as near as I can give it to you. It was in broken English.

Q It was in broken English?

A. Yes sir.

Q Was he on the end of the car nearer to you, or was Spies on the end that was nearer to you?

A As near as I can recollect I was standing right between them, about.

Q And in front?

A Yes sir.

Mr. GRINNELL--Had that man previously addressed that same meeting?

Objected to as immaterial.

A Not to my certain knowledge.

Return to Top of this Witness
Go to Next Witness | Return to Previous Witness | Return to Trial TOC | Return to the HADC Table of Contents