The tenth in an occasional series excerpting testimony from the transcript of the trial in J.F. Coley v. Tom Artis, Wayne County Superior Court, November 1908.
W.S. HAGANS recalled by Referee.
I testified that I told Tom that I wouldn’t sell this land to anybody who wouldn’t make the same agreement on which he had been living on the land, that is the promise I made to my father in his presence. I requested Mr. Coley to carry out this agreement. Mr. Coley said he would let the Defendant stay as long as the Defendant could let him. I considered it the same promise I made my father. I told him what rent the old man was paying. He didn’t agree to let him stay for the same rent. Said he would raise it. Said he would let him stay as long as he would protect him, and give him good crops.
The conversation was before the delivery of the deed to Coley. I remember the occasion when Henry Reid and I were together, we talked with Tom about the land. Reid was on my buggy one day, and we met the Defendant. The Defendant wanted me to sell him this 30 acres of land, and I told him that I would prefer selling it all together. He wanted to purchase the property from me in the presence of H.S. Reid. That tract that Coley gave mortgage on was additional security, was worth 4 or $5000. That was the 60 acre tract. (Coley mortgaged.) He gave me notes due for January of next year, and the January following. I have traded those notes. (Plaintiff objects.) Artis stated to me when he came to my house that it would be to my advantage to sell to Mr. Coley, in preference to Mr. Cook, on account of Mr. Coley would not only take the two pieces, the 30 and the 24 acre lot, but would also take the 9 3/4 acre lot, and that he wanted me to let him have it, on the grounds stated yesterday, Mr. Cook being disagreeable etc.
I think I told all these reasons yesterday; I am repeating this because my lawyer asked me. I just didn’t think about the Henry Reid statement. I told my lawyer. I said I would not let anyone have the property, until they had made me the same promise I made my father in presence of Defendant. Mr. Coley also agreed to it. I didn’t say it because I wasn’t asked. I told Mr. Cook that he must let the old man stay there. Mr. Cook said that he had no desire whatever of removing the Defendant. I told Mr. Cook that I heard that he wanted to move his son-in-law up there, and I feared that on that account he would interfere with the Defendant. Mr. Cook said his son-in-law was very well situated on another place, belonging to him, Cook.
What did it take to call a white man “disagreeable” in open court in 1909?