"STEWART vs. THE SUE"

THE COURT CASE
TESTIMONY OF FAMILY MEMBERS

( From the actual Court records )

( Chief Judge: C. J. Morris )

( Attorneys:

For Libelants: Archiebald Sterling & Alexander Hobbs

For Respondent: John H. Thomas )
 

IN THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT.

MARTHA STEWART, et al   :
Vs.                                          :         Before MORRIS, J.
THE STEAMER SUE.            :
 

Baltimore, M'd. January 29th, 1885

MARTHA STEWART (colored)







sworn and examined

By Mr. STIRLING :

Q. Are you married or single? A. Single.
Q. Where do you live? A. 254 Townsend street.
Q. In Baltimore city? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do you do for a living? A. I am assistant cook at a boarding house.
Q. You are a cook? A. Yes, sir
Q. On the 15th of August, 1884, did you go as a passenger on the steamer Sue? A. I did. I taken a first class ticket.
Q. Did you go on board by yourself, or were there others with you? A. I went with my three sisters and my aunt.
Q. Give their names? A. Lucy Jones, Mary M. Johnson, Winnie Stewart and Pauline Braxton.
Q. Who is Pauline Braxton? A. She is my aunt.
Q. The others are the other three libelants here, are they? A. Yes sir they are my sisters.
Q. Where were you going on that steamer? A. Down to Virginia.
Q. To what landing? A. Kinsale.
Q. On what river? A. The Potomac.
Q. For what purpose were you going to Kinsale landing? A. I was going down there to visit my mother.
Q. Where did your mother live? A. In Westmoreland County, Va.
Q. Just state fully what happened when you went on board the steamer at Baltimore; what tickets you bought, and what took place afterwards, if anything, in regard to your desire for sleeping accommodations.
A. We bought first class tickets and paid three dollars for the round trip. After we settled the fare, I taken the wraps down in the cabin, and taken four bunks; and a short while after I went in the saloon the chambermaid comes up with the wraps and puts them in my lap. I asks her what was that for; we had the first class ticket? She said it was the captains orders; it was his orders for her to go down and bring them wraps up, and not a colored person should stay in the saloon. I says to the chambermaid, "The captain must know very well he cant prevent us from going in that cabin. We got the first class ticket." She says"I cant help it; it's the captains orders, and I'm going to obey the captain's orders." I says "Well, I'll go down and see if that door is locked, and if it isn't locked I'll carry the wraps down again."She says "I've locked the door;" and I went down and rapped three times, and it was locked. And I couldn't get in any more.
Q. About what time in the afternoon or evening was this? A. Near about six o'clock.
Q. What time did the boat leave Baltimore? A. At five o'clock sharp.
Q. Where did you pass the night, in point of fact? A. In the upper saloon.
Q. What was that saloon used for? A. For the ladies to sit in.
Q. For the passengers to sit in? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What part of the vessel was the saloon in as near as you can tell, was it aft or forward?
A. It was the whole deck, up above.
Q. Where are the staterooms on the steamer? A. On each side, up in the saloon.
Q. In the upper saloon? A. Yes sir
Q. Where was the sleeping saloon that you say you went down into? A. You pass right through the dinning-room, in the aft cabin.
Q. You go down where? A. Into the cabin.

By the COURT:
Q. It is on the same deck with the dining saloon? A. No sir; it is down under the dining saloon.

By Mr. STIRLING:
Q. It is directly under the dining saloon, is it? A. Directly under the dining saloon; yes sir.
Q. Describe to the court generally how that sleeping apartment that you went down into, and where the chambermaid said you could not sleep, was furnished with sleeping accommodations, as far as you saw?
A. Very nice bunks; bunks with white sheets; blankets, white spreads, wash-bowl and pitcher, chairs, and everything very nice and clean; glass, water, towels, and nicely carpeted.
Q. How were the bunks arranged? A. There were three above each other.
Q. Had you ever been on this steamer before? A. Yes sir; I travel on it every summer.
Q. On the same trip? A. Yes sir; to Kinsale Landing.
Q. You say you bought a return ticket. Did you return on the same ticket, and if so when?
A. We bought the first class round trip ticket.
Q. You did come back on it, did you? A. Yes sir.
Q. When? A. The 1st of September.
Q. Tell the court what took place then? A. We was all sitting in the saloon up above, and the chambermaid, Lizzie, she walks up and she says it was no use for us to go down in the aft cabin, because it was locked; it was the captains orders for that cabin to be locked, and not to let any colored passengers go down there; and she was there to obey the captains orders and she would obey his orders if God spared her. We didn't take any wraps down then, because we thought it was no use
Q. Where did you spend the night on that trip? A. Up in the same saloon; up above.
Q. Do you know of any other place on that steamer with sleeping accommodations for passengers?
A. There is a second class cabin on there.
Q. Have you been in it and seen it? A. Yes sir; I have.
Q. When? A. Summer before last.
Q. The summer before this trip? A. Yes sir.
Q. Tell the court were that is on the steamer, and what accommodations you saw there?
A. That is in the forward end of the boat.
Q. Where? A. Underneath where all the cattle and horses is tied; right over the cabin. It isn't hardly respectable; it isn't nice enough for a respectable person to go in. One half the time there is no sheets on the bunks. I haven't seen nary blanket down there; I haven't seen any glass, and I haven't seen any wash-bowl and pitcher down there; never no water; and it is kept very dirty, as much as I have seen of it.
Q. Was that place underneath the forward part of the boat, where the cattle were, appropriated to women alone? A. Women and men went down the same flight of steps, and there is only a little partition in between that divides the men's part and the women's. They both goes down the same flight of steps, and there is no key to the door. The door between is thrown open all the time. They talk right out of the window, or the door, into the women's part.
Q. Coming back to the sleeping place that the chambermaid would not let you stay in, will you tell the court how that was fixed as far as men and women are concerned? A. There is no men goes in that part at all; nothing but ladies.
Q. Do the men have to go down the same steps to get into their first class cabin?
A. No sir; they does not.
Q. But to get into the cabin in the fore part of the boat the men and women have to go down the same steps?
A. Yes sir.
Q. And there is only a partition between the place where the bunks are? A. Yes sir.
Q. What is the partition made of? A. Wood.
Q. Where is the door that goes into that place that you say was very often open---are there two doors, one into the men's part and one into the women's part? A. You go down the flight of steps and turn and go into the women's part, and the other part is the men's part, with the partition right between.
Q. Where is the door? A. On the women's part.
Q. Do the men go through the same door? A. They have got another door that leads right into their room.
Q. How near are the two doors together? A. About as far as from here to you.
Q. Why were the doors kept open when you saw them? A. There was no fastening to it.
Q. Do you know that? A. Yes sir; I know that there was no fastening to the door. There was no key to the door
Q. In order to get down to that cabin, where did the steps come from? A. Off the deck.
Q. Do you have to pass by where the horses and cattle are on the forward deck to get down there?
A. Yes sir; we does.
Q. Did you go into this place that you call the second class cabin on this round trip as to which you are sueing; or are you speaking of the summer before? A. The summer before. I didn't go into it at all this summer, because we had the first-class ticket, and they wouldn't allow us in there.

By the COURT:
Q. What reason have you for calling this a second class cabin? A. It is $2.50 for the round trip, and the first class is $3.00.

By Mr. STIRLING:
Q. Did you ever stay in that cabin at any time; at the time you went down and looked at it?

The WITNESS. The second class cabin?
Mr. STIRLING. Yes.

A. I didn't spend the night in there.
Q. How much did you pay at that time? A. I was on a first class ticket then.
Q. You went down there and you wouldn't stay there? A. Well I went down there to see. The chambermaid then ordered me out of the cabin, and the clerk came down and said all the colored people should go out of the cabin. We were in the aft cabin then, and the clerk came in the dining room and said all the colored people should come out of there. My sister was very sick with the neuralgia and after they got Winnie and I out of there I went down into the second class place to see how it was, and to see if Winnie could have a bed down there rather than sit up all night; and it was in such a bad condition I wouldn't let Winnie stay in there; and we went up and sat in the upper saloon all night.
Q. Do you know whether at that time they were issuing second class tickets on the boat?
A. Yes sir; second class tickets and first class tickets the same as before.
Q. What was the price of the second class tickets? A. $2.50.
Q. Did you know of any colored persons on that boat at that time that paid second class fare for that trip?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Where did they go? A. Down in the second class cabin.
Q. In the same cabin you have spoken of in the fore part of the boat? A. Yes sir.
Q. That was the summer before this? A. Yes sir.
Q. The females on that trip that paid second class fare were put down in that cabin?
A. Yes sir; they were.
Q. Is there any other sleeping apartment on that steamer that you were told about and that you saw except the one you were turned out of and that they said you could not stay in. A. No sir; there is no other except the staterooms, and they wouldn't sell a colored person a stateroom for no amount of money.
Q. You did not ask for a stateroom? A. No sir; we didn't ask for no stateroom, because we knowed they wouldn't allow us to have that.

CROSS-EXAMINATION

By Mr. THOMAS:
Q. From whom did you buy your ticket? A. Mr. Casineau the clerk.
Q. What conversation occurred between you and him when you bought it? A. No more than I just paid for the first class ticket. We called for the first class ticket and paid $3.00.
Q. Did he not tell you that that first class ticket would not entitle you to occupy a place in the after cabin?
A. No sir; he did not tell us.
Q. Are you sure of that? A. Yes sir; I am sure of that. He did not tell us.
Q. Was it Lizzie who removed your baggage from the bunk in which you had placed it?
A. Lizzie didn't remove the baggage. Lizzie is the first chambermaid on there. The other chambermaid removed the baggage.
Q. The assistant chambermaid? A. Yes sir.
Q. Is she living or dead? A. I don't know.
Q. What was her name? A. Mollie Towin, she said was her name.
Q. As I understand, she told you that you could not occupy a bunk in that cabin. She did not tell you could not occupy a bunk in any cabin; did she? A. She said it was the captains orders for her to go down and bring the wraps up; that no colored person should go in that cabin; it was his orders to her; and she was there to obey the captains orders.
Q. Did she tell you there was another cabin in which there were bunks. A. No sir; she did not.
Q. You knew that? A. I knew there was none but the two cabins.
Q. I understand you to say it was the assistant chambermaid, Mollie, who removed your baggage from the bunk? A. Yes sir.
Q. She simply told you could not occupy a bunk in that cabin? A. We should not stay down in that cabin.
Q. When you went up, you saw Lizzie the stewardess. What did she say to you?
A. My aunt went to her and asked her what was it for; we had the first class ticket, and why did the captain have the wraps removed. Lizzie says "It was the captains orders, and we must obey his orders and have that cabin locked up, and not let a colored person go in there."
Q. What did she say to you about the other cabin? A. Not a word about that.
Q. She simply told you you could not occupy the after cabin from which your baggage had been removed?
A. She told us we could not go down there; it was the captains orders.
Q. She did not tell you you could not go to the other one? A. She did not say anything about any of them; but we had the first class ticket---
Q. No matter about that. You said before that you had first class tickets. Did you not see the watchman on the boat later that night? A. One of my sisters was right sick, and had just had the malarial fever, and my two sisters and I went down near about bedtime to the clerk who sold us the tickets, to see about it.

By the COURT:
Q. This was after your baggage had been brought up? A. Yes sir.
Q. You say about bedtime you went to see the clerk? A. Yes sir; and the office was shut up, and there was another gentleman steps up and says "what do you want?" Says I "we want to see the clerk who sold us the ticket. We have a first class ticket and has no place to sleep." He says "I am in the clerks place." We says "we have the first class ticket, and we went down in the after cabin and selected bunks and the chambermaid brought our wraps up to us. Won't you please, sir, give us some place to sleep?" He says "you can't go down in that cabin. It is the captains orders. You can go down in the forward cabin."

By Mr. THOMAS:
Q. What kind of accommodations were there in this saloon in which you say you spent the balance of the night? A. There was cushioned chairs; cane-seat chairs; very nicely carpeted; but there wasn't no place there to sleep.
Q. Were there any sofas? A. No sir; there was cushioned chairs.
Q. No lounges? A. No sir; no lounges; just cushioned chairs and cane-seat chairs.
Q. How many bunks were there in the cabin from which your baggage was removed?
A. I couldn't exactly say how many there was down there; but there was only three in the cabin taken when we went down.
Q. Do you know how many there are in the other cabin? A. No sir; I never counted them.
Q. Do you know whether any of them had been taken or not?

The WITNESS. In which cabin?
Mr. THOMAS. The forward cabin?

A. No sir; because I didn't go down there.
Q. You had repeatedly traveled on this steamer on first class tickets before, had you not?
A. Yes sir; I had traveled on first class tickets three years.
Q. Where had you slept before? A. I slept in the ladies cabin; in the aft cabin, once before.
Q. How many times? A. Once before.
Q. Where at other times? A. They drove us out, and we sat up in the saloon all night; the upper saloon.
Q. You had been previously prohibited from occupying the after cabin, had you? They drove you out?
A. Yes sir.

By the COURT:
Q. You had been told the year before that you could not occupy that cabin? A. Yes sir.
Q. And then you went and looked at the other cabin? A. Yes sir; I did.
Q. And refused to take a berth there, and spent the night in the saloon? A. Yes sir.
Q. That was the year before? A. Yes sir; I went down in the forward cabin the year before.

By Mr. STIRLING:
Q. Tell the court whether that upper saloon, where you passed the night, was open or shut during the night. If anybody wanted to stay there all night, is there anything to keep the passengers out and to stop them from walking through? A. We never had the door thrown open on us all night before last summer. We were sitting there all night and the doors were thrown open last summer.
Q. In point of fact, was there access during the night to passengers to walk through that upper saloon?
A. I don't understand you.
Q. Could passengers walk through there at night? A. Yes sir; the doors was thrown open all night.
Q. Did they or not walk through? A. Yes sir.
Q. Who were they; male or female passengers? A. Male passengers, passing through there all night.

EXCERPTS OF OTHER TESTIMONY