THE STATE OF TEXAS} IN JUSTICE COURT
COUNTY OF FANNIN} PRECINCT NO. 1 FANNIN COUNTY
SAID COURT SITTING AS AN EXAMINING COURT IN THE CASE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS vs E. J. DRIGGERS AND W. R. FULFER. CHARGED WITH AN ASSAULT TO MURDER ONE JOE SUDERTH. THE DEFENDANTS HAVING UNDULY NOTIFIED OF THEIR RIGHT TO MAKE A STATEMNET.
DEFENDANTS WAIVE THEIR RIGHT -TO MAKE A STATEMENT.
THE FOLLOWING TESTIMONY WAS INTRODUCED:
Joe Sudderth BEING SWORN SAYS:
My name is Joe Sudderth. INDENTIFIES DEFENDANTS IN OPEN COURT.
The difficulty occurred in Fannin a State of Texas March 17, 1891 We had some words Monday morning (E. J. Driggers and myself). Monday evening he forbid me going out of the gap and said if I did so God save you I'll make you pay
His mother came to him after I pass through the gap and I heard them cursing and saying something about the law. Heard them cursing is loud as I could hear. The next morning, Tuesday I came back to the same gap in my wagon to work got to gap about sun up. I was in a wagon, a donkey Milton Roe and Mollie Roe my little boy and girl were in the wagon with me. My work was over in Mrs. Lynchs field. I had to go through the gap to get to my work. This fence where the gap was was put there about two days before, I went to work about an acre of unused saved land had been fenced. This forced me out from the gap leading into Mrs. Lynch's land-that I was working.
When I got to the gap I found Mrs. Driggers, E. J. Driggers and W. R. Fulfer and Chain Lynch there. Mrs. Driggers is the mother of E. J. Driggers W. R. Fulfer and E. J. Driggers are brother-in -laws. They had a fire built at the gap. When I drove up to the gap, I said Good Morning and asked them how they were. They said they were doing very well. I then asked Mrs. Driggers and asked her what she meant by fencing me out. She said the devil cant I got a right to fence my land. I told her you aught not to fence me out the time of year she did. She said you God dam black son of a bitch you have been trying to run over us for sometime and we have come prepared for you this morning.
This was said in the presence of E. J. Driggers and W. R. Fulfer.
I told them they did not do right in sending me that message. He said that who ever said he send the message told a God damned lie. As Mrs. Driggers said we come prepared for you. She pointed to a tree. E. J. Driggers made a leap for the tree grabbed the shot gun from behind the tree and said I will shoot hell out of you you God damned black son of a bitch.
I said Ed you got the advantage over me I told him you had better make a good shot and he then cut down on me and shot me in the head. Several shots struck me in the head. Shot my hat off
I grabbed my hat with my left hand and got a piece of fence pole in my right hand and crossed over the fence where defendants were. Mrs. Driggers struck at me as I climbed the fence. The smoke of the gun prevented Defendant Driggers from seeing me. I struck Defendant Driggers as he was bringing his gun to his face the second time. I knocked him down as I attempted to strike the second time. Defendant Fulfer run up and shot me in the back with a pistol. I turned and knocked Defendant Fulfer down. Mrs. Driggers was still striking at me with a stick. Defendant Fulfer recovered and come at me a second time. I struck him the second time.
Then the donkey that was with me caught Deft. Driggers as he started toward me second time with his gun. At this time Deft Fulfer shot me again with his pistol striking me in the right arm. I then grabbed for his pistol with my left hand I caught him by the throat. He then shot at me again the ball passing under my chin cutting off a hole throught the lappel of my coat. When he did that I grapped him and shug him aloose and hit him with stick in my left hand twice. The donkey then move in between us. Deft Fulfer then started for Deft Driggers house. All this time the Donkey had been scuffling with Deft Driggers and Mrs. Driggers. When Donkey turned Deft Driggers loose he Driggers grabbed a chopping axe
and struck at me I punched him with a pole as he made his lick the missed me and the axe struck in the ground at my feet I struck him twice and he Driggers started home and I started to my home and I told them God damn him if that was his game I would return here as soon as I could go home and get my winchester. Mrs. Driggers said as Defts were leaving now dam you you have got in your work pull your freight. They Defts then ran across the field. I then got over the fence and started for house and left Mrs. Driggers on the ground.
I was not expecting any trouble that morning. I had no arms about me, nothing but a pocket knife in my pocket.
I never saw Defts at work at this place before. Dfts live in the southern part of Fannin County, TX about 11 miles south from Bonham. I live about 1 mile west from Defts. I expect to live there this year. Defts never have been out at work when I got there of a morning. Generally get there 20 or 30 minutes after I do. I got my gun and went back to my field I had rented. I went from there up to George Smiths' borrowed a mule and went to Leonard to get the Dr to cut the balls out of me. Never saw Dfts any more until this morning in the court.
The acre of land that Defts had fenced was Mrs. Driggers, It is so known
Mrs. Driggers land extends beyond the west hill of the fence the Defts had put up. I had understood that there was a missunderstand between the Driggers and Mrs. Lynch about the land that I had rented from Mrs. Lynch. On Monday morning I came to the West fence let it down and left it down. At night when I went home I went throught the same gap and left it down again. Defts Driggers and Fulfer had laid the fence (was law)up. When I went out that evening and staked and ridered ? and I laid it down and left it down. There was a road around that I could have come in t the field from the South but would have had a bad mud hole to pass through and it would have beeen a good deal further. On Monday morning when I went to plow Deft Driggers and I were in our field with just a fence between us. I told Deft Driggers that he or some else had stolen my clevice piece.
Deft Driggers cursed me and drew out his knife and said he did not have it and dared me over the fence I got a stick and went over.
If Mrs. Driggers called to us stop that she wanted to talk with me about the matter I did not hear her I aint say that she did not hellow at me. While I was eating dinner in the field I received a note from Mrs. Driggers telling me to please not go through my fence for field with your horses and wagon any more Signed Miss Driggers
When I got to the fence Monday evening he forbid me going through the gap in Mrs. Lynch's fence. When I drove on Tuesday morning Defts Fulfer and Driggers and Mrs Driggers were on the inside the field they appeared to be cleaning out fence now pileing brush clearing. Deft Fulfer had never said a word to me before he shot I went home got my gun and came back for the purposed of shooting them if I could find them.
When I drove up to the fence I saw that Joe Graves brother had sent me a messagein and that Deft Driggers said that if he or anyone else said that hed said such word was a God damned stinking lie. The I told Driggers that he was another Driggers man and got his gun and came back within 20 steps from me and shot me. I stood and looked right straight at him when he first shot me . On the morning of the shooting when I first went up then I did not have the best feelings in the world toward Driggers. The shot that were extracted from me were small shot. This is what the Doctors told me--small shots or slugs.
I had a talk with Billie Driggers (in Bonham) day before yesterday. Did not tell him all of difficulty occurred inside of the field.
Mr. Bille Driggers told me in Bonham that he had tried to keep the boys out of this trouble-and that
everything he was worth if it had not happened. Billie Driggers is a brother to Dft. Driggers.
J. T. Sudderth
I R. C. Bragg a Justice of the Peace in and for Fannin County Texas do hereby certify that the testimony of the foregoing 42 pages was duly and lawfully taken before me at Bonham in said county on the 25 day of March 1891 upon an examination of E. J. Driggers and W. R. Fulfer. Then and there made upon a charge of assault to murder one Joe Suddereth and then before me the testimony of each of the witnesses therein named was here and there by then respectively signed and sworn to.
Given under my hand officially This 10 day of June 1891
R. C. Bragg
Justice of the Peace Fannin County Texas