TESTIMONY OF MARY ANN MITCHELL
The testimony of Mary Ann Mitchell was taken at 2:30 p.m. on April 1, 1964, in the office of U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Arvay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Joseph A. Ball, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. BALL - Miss Mitchell, will you stand up, please, and be sworn; hold up your right hand.
Mr. BALL - Do you solemnly swear the testimony you will be giving before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes; I do.
Mr. BALL - Will you state your name, please?
Miss. MITCHELL - Mary Ann Mitchell.
Mr. BALL - What is your occupation?
Miss. MITCHELL - I am a deputy district clerk.
Mr. BALL - For Dallas County?
Miss. MITCHELL - For the county of Dallas.
Mr. BALL - What kind of work is that; do you work in the court?
Miss. MITCHELL - No; I work in the main office of the clerk of the district courts.
Mr. BALL - Tell me something about you background - where were you born, where were you raised, what schools did you go to?
Miss. MITCHELL - I was born in Roanoke, Tex., which is in Denton County, about 30 miles north of here; graduated from high school in Denton in 1942. I went to college for 2 years at Arlington and moved to Dallas and came to work here in June 1944. I have held several secretarial and stenographic type jobs before I went to work for the county of Dallas and that was in 1950 and I have been there since then.
Mr. BALL - Since 1950, you have been with the county with the Clerk of the District Court of Dallas County?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - On the 22nd of November 1963, about noontime, where were you?
Miss. MITCHELL - About noontime?
Mr. BALL - Yes.
Miss. MITCHELL - I was in the office about noon.
Mr. BALL - Working?
Miss. MITCHELL - Working, which is in the basement of the Records Building.
Mr. BALL - Did you leave there some time, leave the office to see the parade that morning?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes, as a matter of fact, I went up to see the parade since we were in the basement.
Mr. BALL - What time did you leave the building?
Miss. MITCHELL - At possibly 12:25 or 12:27, something like that.
Mr. BALL - Whom were you with?
Miss. MITCHELL - I left the office with Jim Crawford.
Mr. BALL - Where did you go?
Miss. MITCHELL - I went out onto the street and down to the corner of the building.
Mr. BALL - That means you would be on what corner of what streets?
Miss. MITCHELL - I went out the Elm Street entrance of the building and I was on the corner of Elm and Record - I'm sorry, Elm and Houston.
Mr. BALL - Which corner?
Miss. MITCHELL - I knew you were going to ask that and I decided it's probably the northwest corner. I am not good at directions.
Mr. BALL - Let's put it this way-
Miss. MITCHELL - It's the corner diagonally across the intersection from the Texas School Book Depository.
Mr. BALL - The Texas School Book Depository is on the northwest corner; that would put you on the southeast corner.
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes, sir; I was thinking about which corner of the building.
Mr. BALL - The northwest corner of the building and the southwest corner of the intersection, is that right?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - Were you near the curb when you were standing?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes; I was on the curb.
Mr. BALL - Did you see the President's car pass?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes; I did.
Mr. BALL - Tell me in your own words what you noticed and what you heard after the President's car passed; what did you see and what did you hear?
Miss MITCHELL - Well, The President's car passed and, of course I watched it as long as I could see it but, as I remember, immediately behind it was a car full of men with the top down and quite a few of them were standing and I assumed they were Secret Service men, so after the car turned the corner and started down the hill, I couldn't see over the heads of the standing men for very long, so then I turned back to watch the other people in the caravan, whatever you call it, and probably about the time the car in which Senator Yarborough was riding had just passed, I heard some reports. The first one - there were three - the second and the third being closer together than the first and second and probably on the first one my thought was that it was a firecracker and I thought on the second one I thought that some police officer was after somebody that wasn't doing right and by the third report Jim Crawford had said the shots came from the building and as I looked up there then we realized that if the sots were coming from that building there was bound to have been somebody shooting at the people in the cars.
Mr. BALL - You heard Jim Crawford say something about if they were shots - what were his words exactly?
Miss MITCHELL - Well, I'm not sure that he said - I think he just said, "Those shots came from that building," just assuming that everybody could have figured out by then that they were shots.
Mr. BALL - Did you look at the building?
Miss MITCHELL - Yes; I did.
Mr. BALL - Did you see anybody in any of the windows?
Miss MITCHELL - I don't remember. I understand there were some porters that were leaning out of the fifth floor windows but I don't remember whether I saw them or not. I know where I thought he was pointing and where I was looking I couldn't see anybody so I never was sure which window he thought he was pointing to.
Mr. BALL - Was he pointing?
Miss. MITCHELL - I am almost sure that he was because I was trying to figure out exactly where he was.
Mr. BALL - What did you do after that, if anything?
Miss. MITCHELL - Well, looked back around at the crowd, I'm sure, because I expected to see the Secret Service men and police escorts just start pouring everywhere when we decided what the shots were and then looking at the people that were falling on the ground and started milling around and then I went back to the office.
Mr. BALL - And you did not come out again?
Miss. MITCHELL - No, I did not come out again.
Mr. BALL - Did you at any time say anything like "oh, no, no" in reply to what Mr. Crawford said?
Miss. MITCHELL - Well, yes, I'm sure I did.
Mr. BALL - In reply to what remark of his?
Miss. MITCHELL - Oh, I don't know. I don't know possibly it was when he was talking about the shots coming from the building but I don't remember if he said anything else.
Mr. BALL - Well, if you excuse me just a minute, let me look in my notes here. These are the notes from which I refresh my memory here.
Miss. MITCHELL - I can remember what I was saying and doing better than I can what other people were.
Mr. BALL - Is there anything else that you remember that you said?
Miss. MITCHELL - Besides when I said something about "oh, no, no" or "oh my goodness" or "oh my God" or whatever I said?
Mr. BALL - Yes; that's right.
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes; I said "This is no place for us, let's get out of here." I thought if we would get out of their way, the police officers could work better.
Mr. BALL - That's when you left?
Miss. MITCHELL - That's when I left and he came with me. I had locked the office and I had the key to the office in my hand so I could get back in very fast.
Mr. BALL - I think that's all. Do you want to look this over and read it and sign it or do you want to waive signature?
Miss. MITCHELL - Either way. We were out of the office such a short time because we had spotters in the building so we would know when the parade was coming and we could run out. We had so many people in the building who worked there upstairs and they called us when it was coming so we could go outside.
Mr. BALL - If you wish, we can waive your signature; the young lady will write it up and send it back to Washington, is that all right with you?
Miss. MITCHELL - Yes; that's fine.
Mr. BALL - I think that's all. Thank you very much for coming up today.