Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Testimony of L. L. Leach from Leach vs Leach lawsuit.

The following testimony of L. L. Leach was taken 11 February 1948; this post is the second of eleven. The background (explanation) for this testimony can be found in my post dated 23 July 2014.


Chester F. Leach, Clyde F. Leach, Oscar Leach, Otis Leach, Ersa Leach, and Samuel Leach, Plaintiffs.


S. D. Leach, Defendant.


The deposition of L. L. Leach taken at the same time and place and for the purpose stated in the caption.

Witness being first duly sworn and examined by Otto C. Martin, attorney for defendant, testified as follows:

Q. l   State your name, please sir.
A.   L. L. Leach.

Q. 2  Your age?
A.  I am 70.

Q. 3  Your residence?
A.   Hartford, Kentucky.

Q. 4   You are a merchant, believe?
A.  I have been.

Q. 5  Did you formerly live in the Bald Knob section of this county?
A.  I did.

Q. 6  How long have you been away from that section?
A.   Nearly 28 years.

Q. 7  Do you still own land in that community?
A.  I do.

Q. 8  A farm?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 9   How long did you live in that community?
A.  42 years.

Q. 10   You were born and reared in that section of the county?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 11   Did you operate a general mercantile store in that section of the county?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 12   And engage in farming?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 13   Did you know S. W. Leach?
A.   I did.

Q. 14   Related to him?
A.   He was a first cousin of mine.

Q. 15   Did you know the farm he was living on at the time of his death?
A.   I did.

Q.16   How close was that to where you lived?
A.  Between a half and three quarters of a mile, across the field.

Q. 17  How long, to your knowledge, had S. W. Leach lived where he was living when he died?
A.  He live there when I could first remember; I just don't know how long.

Q. 18   State whether or not he reared his family on this farm?
A.   He did.

Q. 19  Do you know what bui1dings were on the farm when he died in December, 1918?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 20  State what kind of buildings were on it?
A.  There was a good barn on it, and a. fairly good house.

Q. 21  What sort of a house?
A.  A double log house with hall between, and a cook room and back porch, weather-boarded and possibly ceiled on the inside.

Q. 22   Do you know how long that barn had been there when he died?
A.   No sir, I don’t.

Q. 23   A good many years, or a few years?
A.   It had been there 15 or 20 years.

Q. 24   You, of course, have been on the farm?
A.   Yes, I have played all over it.

Q. 25   What character of land is it?
A.   Rolling hill land. It does not lay so bad.

Q. 26   How many acres in the farm? Or do you know?
A.   I did not until I heard it discussed here.

Q. 27   Something over 100 acres?
A.  Yes, more than 100.

Q. 28   How much of that land was cleared at the time Mr. Leach died?
A.  75 acres, I guess .

Q. 29   Of that cleared land, how much of it was productive and suitable for cultivation?
A.   Half of it I would think.

Q. 30   What condition was the remainder in?
A.  Some of it had grown up and some of it badly washed.

Q. 31   Do you know anything about how much timber (was) on the land at the time Mr. S. W. Leach died?
A.   I would not. However, I have been across the woods a number of times.

Q. 32   What character of timber was it?
A.  It was nearly all oak.

Q. 33   What sort of soil was it growing in?
A.  Post Oak grows on gravelly soil.

Q. 34    What about the size of the timber?
A.     Most of it was cross tie timber.

Q. 35   You knew the wife of S. W. Leach, Mrs. Finis Leach?
A.   I did.

Q. 36    Do you know how old she was when he died?
A.   I don't know. I would think about 65 years old.

Q. 37   What was the condition of her health when he died?
A.   It was poor.

Q. 38  You knew, of course, Mr. Leach's children?
A.   I did.

Q. 39    Any of them living at home when he died?
A.   No sir.

Q. 40    Where were they 1iving at that time?
A.    I can't hardly say.  I don't know whether Chester was living on adjoining farm or not.

Q. 41   Did he own a farm adjoining his father's farm?
A.  Yes, he did, but I don't know whether he died before or after Chester left the farm.

Q. 42   Where did he move when he left the farm?
A.   First to Beaver Dam and then to Hartford.

Q. 43   I believe S. W. Leach had four sons?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 44   I believe Oscar is the oldest?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 45   Do you know where he was then living?
A.   No sir, I don't.

Q. 46   Leslie was next, I believe.
A.  I think Leslie was living at Beaver Dam.

Q. 47   To refresh your recollection, I believe it is in evidence that he died about a month before his father’s death?
A.   I guess he did.

Q. 48  You knew his family?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 49   Leslie was living at Beaver Dam when he died?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 50   He left a wife and three children?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 51  Do you know where Clyde was living at that time?
A.   No sir.

Q. 52   Mr. Leach, did you attend the sale there on this farm, when Mrs. Leach sold the personal property?
A. No, I did not.

Q. 53   Did you contemplate buying that farm?
A.  Yes, Jake Leach and me did.

Q. 54   Who is Jake Leach?
A.   A second cousin of mine and a nephew of S. W. Leach.

Q. 55   What experience had Jake had in timber?
A.   He had traded around some in timber.

Q. 56   And you and Jake Leach contemplated buying that farm?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 57   You understood it was for sale?
A.   He said it was.

Q. 58    Was that generally reported there in the community that it was for sale?
A.   Yes, I reckon so. I was operating a store at the time and it was talked. I could not leave the store to go to the sale.

Q. 59    Were there very many sales of farm lands in that community in 1919? Following the first world war?
A.  No, not that I recall

Q. 60   Do you recall Charlie Fulton buying a 50 acre tract of land in that section, adjoining the S. W. Leach farm?
A.   He did sometime, but I don’t know just when it was.

Q. 61   And Laban Hines buying the Cicero Taylor tract of land?
A.   Yes, I remember that farm selling.
Q. 62   Now then, Mr. Leach, you say you own a farm close to the S. W. Leach farm?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 63  Your farm was on the main road, known as the Hartford and Morgantown road?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 64   How many acres in that farm?
A.   85.

Q. 65   How does the surface of your 1and compare with the surface of this S. W. Leach farm?
A. Half of mine is creek bottoms. It is a better farm.

Q. 66.   Any bottom land on the S. W.  Leach farm?
A.   About two acres and may be a little on the other end of the farm, maybe three or four acres in all.

Q. 67   Mr. Leach, what, in your opinion, was the reasonable, fair market value of the S. W. Leach farm, including the surface, improvements, and timber in 1919?
A.   Well, Jake Leach and I had decided to go in partners and buy it. He said (it) could be bought for $2,000.00, and he left my store that morning going over there with the intention of buying it. After he left I declared I did not want to buy it, and I wrote a note and gave to a boy to take to Jake at the sale, and told him I did not believe I wanted to be out $1,000.00 for half of it. So, when the sale was over, and he come back, he said Jasper Leach had bought it.

Q. 68   You did not think a one half interest in it was worth that much?
A.   I did not see any chance to make any money out of it.

Q. 69   Did you figure on buying the land in fee or just a life estate?
A.  We thought we would get a guarantee title to it.

Q. 70   Nothing was said  about not getting a general warranty deed?
A.   No sir.

Q. 71   Nothing  was said about getting just her life estate?
A. No sir.

Q. 72    I will get you to state whether or not, in your opinion, $2,000.00 was a good price for that farm getting a fee simple title to it - a good clear title?
A.   It was.  That was all it was worth.

Q. 73   For the land, improvements, timber and all?
A.   Yes, Jake thought we could get $1,000.00 for the timber. I got to studying about it and I could not see any chance for the timber selling as to make a profit of $1,000.00 .

Q. 74  What would you say the farm was worth, surface and improvements, without the timber, at that time?
A.   Anywhere from $800.00 to $1,000.00.   I suppose.  I expect it could have been sold for $1,000 after the timber was cut off.

Q. 75    What about the roads in that section in 1919?
A. You could trave1 them all right, because they used wagons and buggies in those days.

Q. 76   They were not good for automobiles
A.  No sir, but there was quite a good deal of travel at that time.

Q. 77   These were dirt roads?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 78   There were no improved roads in that section of the county in 1919?
A.   No sir.

Q. 79    No automobi1es or trucks?
A.  No.

Q. 80   Do you know what Jake Leach and Jasper Leach got for that timber?
A.   No, I don't know.

Q. 81   From your knowledge of the timber was the timber growing on that land worth more than $1,000.00?
A.  I know nothing about the value of timber.  I was just relying on Jake’s knowledge of it.

Q. 82    He has dealt in timber'?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 83    Very much?
A.  No, just buy a little boundary of timber and work it up into cross ties.

Q. 84  Do you know when that timber was cut off that land?
A.  No, but I think soon after they bought it. It might have been a year or two. I moved away from there soon after that sale, and I don’t think the timber was cut until after I moved away.

Cross examination by Claude E. Smith, Attorney for plaintiffs.

Q. 1  You were relying on Jake's estimate or idea of the value of farm when you were contemplating buying it?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 2   That is the basis of your estimate of the value of it now isn't it?
A.   I did not know the value of the timber but I had a good idea of the value of the land itself.

Q. 3   So, if the timber was sold for $2,000.00, or more, shortly after Jasper Leach bought the farm, the farm and timber was worth more than $2,000.00.
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 4   When did you actually move away from that neighborhood?
A.   In March, 1920.

Q. 5   About a year after Jasper Leach bought the place from Mrs. Leach?
A.   I guess so.

Q. 6   Have you been on or about the place since then?
A.   I haven't been on it.

Q. 7. You don't know anything about its value at the present time?
A.   No sir.

Q. 8   Do you know anything about the condition of the improvements on it?
A.   I can see from the Hartford and Morgantown road that the barn is gone, and the roof has fallen in on the house.

Q. 9   Was there any other buildings on it when he died?
A.   I think there was a meat house with a shed to the side of it, had been in time.

Q. 10   Any fencing on the farm when Mr. Leach died?
A.    Some.

Q. 11   The stock law was in effect and fencing was not required to be kept up like it used to be?
A.   No, not so much.

Q. 12   Did I understand you to say the farm was sold, then they had the sale of the personal property.
A. Yes, sir, the same day.

Q.13   At public auction?
A.  I couldn't say; I was not there.

Q. 14    How soon after S. W. Leach died did they have a sale of the personal property?
A.   I couldn't say, but just a short time .

Q. 15    What relation are you to S. D. Leach?
A.    Third Cousin.

Q. 16   A second cousin to Jasper Leach?
A. Yes sir.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Testimony of Charles Fulton from Leach vs Leach lawsuit.

The following testimony of Charles Fulton was taken 11 February 1948; this post is the first of eleven. The background (explanation) for this testimony can be found in my post dated 23 July 2014.


Chester F. Leach, Clyde F. Leach, Oscar Leach, Otis Leach, Ersa Leach, and Samuel Leach, Plaintiffs.


S. D. Leach, Defendant.


The deposition of Charles Fulton, taken at the law office of Otto C. Martin, in the Hartford Deposit Bank Building , in Hartford, Kentucky, on Wednesday, February 11, 1948, pursuant to agreement to be read as evidence on behalf of the defendant on a trial of the above styled notion now pending in the Ohio Circuit Court. Present for the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs, Oscar Leach and Ersa Leach, and Claude E. Smith, attorney for the plaintiffs. Present for the defendant, Otto C. Martin, his attorney. Witness being first duly sworn and examined by Otto C. Martin, attorney for defendant, testified as follows.

Q. l   State you name please sir.
A.  Charles Fulton.

Q. 2   Your age?
A.   51.

Q. 3   Your residence?
A.  Cromwell, Route 1 is my post office.

Q. 4   You live in the Bald Knob section of the county?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 5   How long have you lived in that section?
A.  Since 1919, I have been away awhile, but I moved there in June, 1919.

Q. 6   Did you know Samuel, S. W., Leach during his life time ?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 7   Do you know the farm he lived on when he died?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 8   How near is it to where you live?
A.  Just a road between them.

Q. 9  You have known that farm for more than thirty years?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 10   Have you been on this Leach farm a lot?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 11   Been over it?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 12  Know what improvements there are on it?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 13  What improvements were on that farm when you moved there in that community in 19l9?
A.  A house and barn was about all, nothing fenced on the place that you could turn out stock in.

Q. 14  No fencing?
A.  No sir.

Q. 15  What sort of a house was on this Leach farm?
A.  Two room log house with hall between, weatherboarded with a chimney at each end, with a kitchen.

Q. 16  How many rooms in this house?
A.  Three.

Q. 17  A frame kitchen?
A.  Yes sir, there was an upstairs.

Q. 18  How many rooms upstairs?
A.  Two.

Q. 19  One over each of these log rooms?
A.  (Nod)

Q. 20  Could you give any idea about how old the house was when you first knew it?
A.  No sir, I don’t.

Q. 21  Was it old then?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 22  What kind of a barn did they have?
A.   A frame barn, very poorly braced.

Q. 23   Was it old when you moved up there?
A.   It had been covered the second time.

Q. 24  What other outbui1dings (were) on this farm?
A.  That is about all.

Q. 25  A meat house?
A.   If so, I don’t recall it.

Q. 26   This tract of land Is supposed to contain 112 acres I believe?
A.   I think that is right.

Q. 27  What kind of soil was it when you first knew it?
A.   Very thin, oak ridge land.

Q. 28   Level or hilly?
A.   Medium land, rolling.

Q. 29   About how much of that land was round and suitable for crops?
A.    I don’t imagine over 10 or 12 acres.

Q. 30   What condition was the remainder in?
A.   It was growed up.

Q. 31   Any ditches in it?
A.    Yes sir.

Q. 32   How much timber would you say is on that land?
A.   I couldn't say, a right smart little.

Q. 33   What kind of timber?
A.   Just ordinary, not big timber.

Q. 35  This land where the timber was growing, what sort of land was it?
A.  It was gravelly ridge land. There was a piece cleared up.

Q. 36  You have cultivated that farm?
A.  Some of it.

Q. 37  Since Mr. Leach died?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 38   How many times have you cultivated it?
A.  A part of it twice. Two acres in one piece and 1 ½ or 2 acres in another piece where Jake had built it up for tobacco.

Q. 39  Where he had his tobacco crop?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 4O   You knew Mrs. Leach, the widow of S. W. Leach?
A. Yes sir, when I saw her was about all.

Q. 41   When Mr. Leach died was any of his children living there in the home?
A.  None of them living there, no sir.

Q. 42  You knew his boys, didn't you?
A.  I knew Chester and Clyde. I have seen the other two.

Q. 43   Where did Chester live when his father died?
A.  I can’t say whether he lived on the Dave Taylor place, or Hartford.

Q. 44  Did he not live on his farm?
A.  If so it was close - yes I guess he was out there on his farm then.

Q. 45  That was adjoining his father's place?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 46   Now Mr. Fulton, did you buy the place you moved to out there?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 47   When did you buy it?
A.  In the fall of 1918.

Q. 48   How many acres in that farm?
A.  50 acres.

Q. 49  How much suitable for cultivation?
A.  I guess there was 30 acres.

Q. 50   What kind of improvements on it?
A.   There was a house built in 1917, and a barn built 1n 1916 or 19.

Q. 51  What size dwelling house?
A.  Three rooms, about 14 foot square.

Q. 52   Frame house?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 53  What kind of a barn?
A.  Frame barn 24 by 32.

Q. 54  Any timber on this place?
A.  No sir.

Q. 55  What did you pay for that farm?
A.  $1,200.00.

Q. 56  How did that land compare with the Leach land?
A.  It was not growed up so much.

Q. 57  More of it suitable for cultivation?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 58  Do you know of any other land selling in that community along in 19l8? or in 19l9?
A.  I never paid much attention to it.

Q. 59  You do know what you bought?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 60   I will ask you if there were many transfers or sales of hand in that community about that time?
A.  Norvel Leach bought the Jackson Place, and Laban Hines bought the Cicero Taylor place.

Q. 61  Were there any improved roads in that section of the county at that time?
A.  No sir.  

Q. 62  Any rock roads close?
A.  No, I guess 4 or 4 1/2 miles was the closest rock road. I don't know whether they had rocked the road to Clates Hill then or not.

Q.  63   On the Beaver Dam and Cromwell road?
A.  Yes sir.

Q.  64  That was the closest rock road?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 65   All the roads in that section were dirt roads?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 66   Impassable in the winter time?
A.   Except in a wagon or horse back.

Q. 67   Now, Mr. Fulton, I will ask you if you were acquainted with the fair market value of farm land in that community such as this Leach land and other lands judging from sales made of other lands in that community in 1919, when this farm was sold by Mrs. Leach to Jasper Leach? Basing your answer on what other farms in that community sold for?
A.  I did not pay much attention to such as that. I know what my father paid.

Q. 68   How did your land compare with the Leach land?
A.   It was in better shape. There was some bottom land on our place.

Q. 69   Any bottom land on the Leach place?
A.  2 ½ acres, maybe.

Q. 70   Basing your answer on what this farm your father bought, sold for, what in your opinion was the S. W. Leach farm, including the building’s, surface and everything, worth and what was the fair cash value of it in 1919, when Mrs. Leach sold it to Mr. Jasper Leach?
A. I would not give the farm at home, take the buildings off of it, I would not give the 50 acres for the whole farm.

Q. 71  Taking into consideration the timber on the Leach farm and everything was reasonably worth in 1919, considering its location.
A. I would not have much idea. I started to say $1,500.00 or $2,000.

Q. 72 I will ask you, if, in your opinion, that farm, with the improvements, the kind of buildings, the timber and surface, was worth more than $2,000.00, in 1919?
A. I did not say that did I?

Q. 73. In your opinion, was it worth more than $2,000?
A. I said round $1,500 or $2,000.

Cross-examination by Claude E. Smith, Attorney for plaintiffs.

Q. 1   If, after Mrs. Leach sold that farm to J. N. Leach, they sold the timber off of it for $2,000.00, would you still think the whole thing farm, timber and all's not worth more than $2,000.00?
A.  If they sold the timber for $2,000.00 it might be worth more. I would value the farm, without the timber, and everything, at around $700 or $800.

Q. 2  You know that timber was cut off since Mrs. Leach sold it?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 3   Do you know to whom it was sold?
A.  To Stimson, I think. So far as knowing who got it, I don't.

Otto C. Martin: You mean Stimson at Owensboro?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 4  Don't you know the tie timber was sold to Bond Bros.?
A.  No sir.

Q. 5  You know the tie timber was out off of it?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 6   The timber you think that may be was sold to Stinson, was the timber that would make lumber was it not?
A.  I don't know what Stimson wanted with it. I think it was lumber timber.

Q. 7   He was in the lumber business?
A.  I think so.

Q. 8   He was not in the tie business?
A.  I don't know what he was in to.

Q. 9   There is no timber there now of any value is there?
A.  Some small timber that has growed since then, what it would be worth I don't know.

Q. 10   There is none there now at all, except what has grown up since it was cut over soon after Mrs. Leach sold it?
A.  No, not anything else there now.

Q. 11  Had you been to and inspected the dwelling house on the place, before Mrs. Leach sold it?
A. I have been through there a few times.

Q. 12   Had you inspected the dwelling house to see and ascertain it qualities while she lived there?
A.  We did not live there adjoining it, when she sold the place.

Q. 13   How soon after she sold it and moved away where you there and inspected the house to ascertain its worth and the value of it?
A.  I think Jake Leach moved there in the fall, and we were neighbors, and I was over there. Jake moved there after Uncle Jasper bought it.

Q. 14  The dwelling house was suitable for people to live in ?
A.  They had to re-cover it directly after they moved.

Q. 15  Other than that was it suitable to 1ive in?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 16   What kind of a barn was on the place?
A.  A frame barn.

Q. 17  How large?
A.  I guess about 30 by 40. That is my guess.

Q. 18  It was in pretty good condition when Mrs. Leach sold to Jasper Leach?
A.   It was a reasonably fair barn.

Q. 19  That dwelling house that was on the place at that time is now practically rotted down?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 20  The barn gone?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 21  All other outbuildings, if there were any others at that time, are gone too ?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 22   You say Jake moved on this place shortly after Mrs. Leach sold it, who else lived on the place, if you know, after she sold it?
A.  Kenneth Davis and Oka Daugherty.

Q. 23   How long did they live there?
A.   They just rented it for a year.

Q. 24   What year did they live there, if you know?
A.   They lived there the year the widow died.

Q. 25   She died April 21, 1937, do you think this is about the time?
A.  I know the hearse hung up.

Q. 26  Do you remember that being about the date of her death?
A.   I couldn’t say what date. I don't know the date.

Q. 27   Any way they lived there the year she died, that right?
A.  Yes, that is right.

Q. 28  When did you cultivate some of this land?
A.  Five years ago I cultivated about six acres, I guess, on the place, and three years ago I cultivated about three acres just in patchs.

Q. 29   What was the condition of the land then that you testified about while ago, as to its quality and productiveness?
A.  It was in better shape than it was in 1919. Jake had built this up for tobacco. There was two or three acres that was bottom branch land he had tilled out.

Q. 30  Who did you rent from?
A.  Clay Leach, he was managing it for S. D. Leach.

Re-direct examination by Otto C. Martin.

Q. 1  I understood you say that Jake Leach tilled about three acres of that land?
A. Yes, he dug a ditch and filled it in with logs, and the water drained out through these logs.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Leach Lawsuit and Deposition

Leach Lawsuit and Deposition

     In 1947 or 1948 a lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Ohio County regarding the sale of a farm in 1919. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant’s deceased father used undue influence to get a widow to sell her farm for less than full value.  This lawsuit pitted family members against each other, as the plaintiffs were: Chester Leach, Clyde Leach, Oscar Leach, Otis Leach, Ersa Leach, and Samuel L. Leach (all were represented by Claude E. Smith); and the defendant was S. D. Leach (thought to be Septimus Delimar Leach), who purchased or inherited the farm from Jasper Leach, his father, who had purchased the farm from the Widow Leach in 1919. The defendant was represented by Otto C. Martin.

     The farm in question (the Leach Farm) was located in the Bald Knob area of the county (also referred to as the Rob Roy section), which is East of Hartford a few miles. Bald Knob Road now runs North-Northeast from Hwy 231 (the road from Beaver Dam to Cromwell), crossing under the William H. Natcher Green River Parkway, to a road now known as Sandefur Crossing-Rob Roy-Oak Grove Road (and this road continues on for a mile or two). The farm in question is located on the north side of the road at point “A” on the following map (Point “A” is on the Bald Knob Road).

     The widow, Finis (Swain) Leach (1857-1937), lost her husband, Samuel William Leach (1851-1918), to the flu in December 1918 (she also lost one of her sons to the flu a month earlier).  Mrs. Leach sold the family farm to Jasper Leach in 1919 and moved to Beaver Dam to live out her life.

     Finis (Swain) Leach, and her husband Samuel William Leach, were my paternal great-grandparents. They both died before I was born. One plaintiff, Samuel L. Leach, was my father – he and his twin siblings (also plaintiffs), Otis and Ersa, were the only children of Leslie Leach (my grandfather), who died of the flu before this lawsuit was filed.  The other plaintiffs, Chester, Clyde and Oscar, were my deceased grandfather’s siblings.  In other words, the plaintiffs were the three living children of Samuel William Leach, plus the three children of his deceased child, Leslie.  I have visited this farm twice in the last few years and there is a Leach family cemetery located there.  The home and barns are all gone.

     There was a deposition taken February 11, 1948 of eleven witnesses, all of whom were neighbors or local people that the lawyers thought might have knowledge of property values in 1919, plus specific knowledge of the Leach farm.  The principal issue of the lawsuit was whether or not the Widow Leach, who was deceased when the lawsuit was filed, had received fair value for the farm when she sold it in 1919.  I do not know the outcome of the lawsuit, but the outcome is not the interesting part.

     What should interest you is the testimony of the eleven witnesses. These witnesses are: Charles Fulton, L. L. Leach (Leonard Luther Leach), O. D. Miller (Orvin Dewell Miller), Laban Hines, F. M. Williams (Fielden Malin Williams), Rob Williams, Roy Williams, C. W. Leach (Cecil Wayne Leach), Clay Leach, Martin Porter, and Arthur Haven. The testimony is under oath and each witness reveals a small bit of information about himself.

     Depositions are pre-trial testimony and are usually conducted in a lawyer’s office and the witnesses testify under oath. The reason for taking depositions is to find out what the witnesses will say prior to trial.  Then, at trial, the lawyers will not be surprised and the witnesses cannot change their testimony.  And, if a witness is unavailable to testify at trial, the deposition can be presented as the in-court testimony of the witness.  So, this series of depositions was routine trial preparation for the lawyers.  For the most part I have left the typing errors and spelling errors intact, only changing a few of them to make the testimony easier to understand.

     While many of the questions and answers are repetitive, I think you will find the testimony interesting.  If you are lucky enough to be related to one of the witnesses or to the Leach family, I know you will find it interesting.  It tells quite a bit about the farms in that part of the county; the timber; crops; roads; etc.  Also, I found the colloquialisms used by the witnesses entertaining and interesting.

     Each witness was paid $1.00 for attending the deposition.  The deposition ends with the following legal jargon:

State of Kentucky
County of Ohio

I, Edna Hudson, a Notary Public in and for the county and state aforesaid, do certify that the foregoing depositions of Charles Fulton, L. L. Leach, O. D. Miller, Laban Hines, F. M. Williams, Rob Williams, Roy Williams, C. Wayne Leach, Clay Leach, Martin Porter and Arthur Haven were taken by me at the time and place and for the purpose stated in the caption; that each of said witnesses were first duly sworn by me before giving the same; that said depositions were taken by me in shorthand and afterwards transcribed from my notes, signature and reading of depositions waived; that the foregoing pages contain a transcript of my said notes.

I further certify that the plaintiffs, Oscar Leach and Ersa Leach, were present in person, and that all the plaintiffs were present at said taking by Claude E. Smith, their attorney; that the defendant was not present in person, but by attorney, Otto. C. Martin.

Witness my hand, this March 12, 1948.

My commission expires October 6, 1948.

Signed:  Edna Hudson

     The depositions is more than 60 pages in length.  I plan to post each person’s testimony as an individual post; so, the next eleven posts will be the testimony of these eleven witnesses.  My plan is to post a different section of the deposition (a new person’s testimony) about every three days until the entire deposition has been posted.  So it will take about a month to post the entire deposition.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

George W. Hinman

George W. Hinman was born in Bullitt county, Ky., in April, 1791. When he was 8 years old his father and family removed to Ohio county, Ky. He was married in the year 1815 to Miss Nancy Stewart, of that county. Here 2 children were born to them — Maria and Asahel, the latter the subject of this sketch. In 1819 he moved to Indiana, where 2 more children were born, — Eliza Ann, now deceased, and Phoebe. In 1829 he came to this county, locating on the S. W. J of sec. 14, Griggsville tp. In his house on this land took place the first religious meeting in this part of the county. (Geo. W. Hinman was a man of sterling worth and unblemished honor. He was a man of deep thought, strong religious convictions, undeviating honesty, a fit and honorable representative of his worthy ancestors. Such qualities, together with the experience in pioneer life in Kentucky and Indiana, fitted him to take a prominent part' in the affairs of the county. In 1830 he was elected one of the three County Commissioners. He was appointed with two others, by the Legislature, to expend certain moneys accruing under the internal-improvement act on the roads of the county, and in many other ways serve the public. "Hinman's Chapel" (Methodist) was principally built by him. He and his wife are both buried in the ground attached to the Chapel. He died Dec. 8, 1854.

       Asahel Hinman is the only child of Geo. W. Hinman, now living in Pike county. He was born in Ohio county, Ky., Jan. 19, 1817, and was brought to this county with his parents in 1829. On reaching his majority his father gave him $100, with which he entered 80 acres of land. Dec. 23, 1838, he was married to Sarah McLain, daughter of John and Mary McLain, of Adair county, Ky. In the spring of 1839 he built a hewed-log cabin 18 feet square on his land. It was a story-and-a-half house, and contained two rooms. Here he lived for 28 years. His farm now consists of 600 acres, and is one of the finest improved in the county. He is also the owner of the large flouring-mill at Perry, called "Hinman's Mill," and which is carried on by his sons, George W. and Asahel A., in company with himself. He was one of the original stock holders in organizing the 5th National Bank of Chicago; also the Griggsville National Bank, of which he is a Director. He is also one of the organizers of the Farmers' Insurance Company of Griggsville, and was chosen its President. Mr. and Mrs. H. are now residing in Perry, surrounded by their family, consisting of three children, — George W., Sarah F., and Mary. Asahel, the youngest, is married and living at Perry.  Catharine, the eldest child, married the Rev. Thomas Bonner, and resides in Christian county, Ill. John W. and Nancy J. are deceased.

Source: History of Pike County, Illinois; published 1880, Chapman & Company, Page 483.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stephen Ross Williams

Stephen Ross Williams

The first of this man's ancestors who settled in America came from Wales previous to the Revolution, and settled in Maryland; his name was Edward Williams, and he served under Washington in the war, at the close of which he removed to Ohio county, Kentucky, a section of country then perfectly wild, savage Indians and ferocious beasts holding almost complete sway. He was a farmer by occupation, and died in that county, leaving 8 children, one of whom, Stephen, was the grand father of the subject of this biographical notice. He was a Baptist minister for over 50 years, preaching in Kentucky, Illinois and Iowa. He died in Jefferson county about 1868, leaving also a family of 8 children, the eldest of whom, Isaac, was the father of Stephen R. Issac was born in Ohio County, Kentucky in 1800, and in January, 1819, married Sarah Coleman, a daughter of Henry Coleman, of Ohio county, Ky., whose father was a German and an early settler of Kentucky. Of this marriage were 13 children, of whom 9 are living, the eldest of whom is Stephen R., who was born Nov. 12, 1820, in Ohio county, Ky. His early life was passed on his father's farm in White county, Ill., whither his father had moved when his son was but 2 years of age. Here also he obtained his education in the old-fashioned log school-house, with a window of greased paper where a log had been taken out for the purpose; indeed, Mr. W. never went to school where glass windows were used. June 22, 1837, he married Miss Nancy J. Funkhouser, daughter of Isaac Funkhouser, in White county, Ill., and 3 children were born to them in that county, namely, Sarah, Virgil and William. In 1844 he moved with his family to this county, settling in Pittsfield tp., where he commenced farming. His land title not being perfect, he returned his claim to the seller in 1846, and removed into Derry township, where he rented farms for several years. In 1852 he bought the southeast quarter of Sec. 32, this tp., which place was slightly improved, having on it a log house. The same year he moved his family here. He has since put under fine cultivation about 100 acres at this place. Here he lived about 14 years, when he moved to a farm which he bought, the southwest quarter of sec. 31, this tp., where he is still residing.

     In 1842 Mr. Williams joined the Primitive Baptist Church, of which he has ever since been a member. He is a man of deep convictions, and has believed it his duty to take a public and active part in the cause of the Church. His public efforts caused his brethren to induce him to become a regular preacher, and with some reluctance he complied with their wishes, and was ordained after about two years' preaching. He has now served in that capacity 22 years. He has never preached for a salary. He has preached at the regular annual and monthly meetings in Missouri and Iowa, besides this State.

      At present he owns 515 acres of land in this tp., and 80 acres in tp. 6 s., 6 w. He has 4 children living, 2 boys and 2 girls. Win. D. married Angeline Moore, and lives on one of his father's farms, on sec. 32; Isaac married Eliza Jane Moore, and lives on sec. 30, his father's farm of 200 acres; Sarah married Benj. House and lives in Atlas tp.; Fanny married Charles Drummond, and resides on the home place. He has had 8 other children, who have deceased, namely, Mary, who died after she was a married woman; Henry, who died at the age of 17; Lucy Ann and Martin, who died very young, and 3 others died in infancy. Although Mr. Williams is interested in political matters, he has not taken a very active and prominent part. He is a Democrat, has been Collector, Commissioner, Township Trustee, etc. It is claimed that the first person ever baptized by the Green river (Ky.) wafers was Mrs. Williams' great-grandmother on her mother's side.

NOTE: Mr. Stephen Ross Williams died 26 March 1912 in El Dara, Illinois.

Source: History of Pike County, Illinois; published 1880, Chapman & Company, Page 768.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


CHRISTOPHER J. MASON (father of subject, Lycurgus C. Mason)

In the following biographical review, posterity is tendered the salient events in the life record of the pioneer, patriotic and honored citizen, of Independence, Capt. L. C. Mason. The date of his settlement, the period of his residence and the distinguished character of his citizenship, all conspire to render him a person of renown, and it is these attributes which furnish the inspiration for this article, and the honor of the man which justifies its production.

The oracle of fate decreed his nativity a hallowed spot. Born where was nurtured the youth of our martyred President, and where conditions and circumstances justified his suggestive but commonplace title of ''Rail-splitter." Lycurgus C. Mason grew up amid the sacred memories of the President's youth, and came to manhood, strengthened and animated by the success of his public life. A native of Indiana, and of Spencer county, Capt. Mason was born October 1, 1840. His father, Christopher J. Mason, was born in Ohio county, Kentucky, in 1813, and grew up and married, in his native county. Ellen Morgan, and in 1832 crossed the sinuous and watery boundary of the state and settled in Spencer county, Indiana. There the frontier couple established themselves, in the heavy woodland, and began the process of hewing out a home. Like many of the Kentucky pioneers, the Masons were from Virginia, where J. H. Mason, the grandfather of our subject, was born, married Elizabeth Jackson, a cousin of the famous ex-President and expounder of Democratic doctrine, and, about 1800, took his family into the new Commonwealth of Kentucky. Grandfather Mason was born about 1779 and died in Hancock county, Kentucky, in 1863. His children were eight in number, and none, save Christopher J., emigrated from his Kentucky home. They were: James, Joseph, Henry, Christopher J., Mary, Margaret, Jane, and Elvira.

Christopher J. Mason spent sixty-four years near the scene of his Indiana settlement, contributed no little to the material and internal development of his county, and died in October, 1896, forty-nine years after the death of his wife. Their children were: Cordelia J., wife of Dr. J. H. Houghland of Rockport, Indiana; W. T., a banker of the same city; and Capt. Lycurgus of this notice.

Grubbing, sprouting, rail-making, farming and, lastly, attending school, constituted the annual routine of L. C. Mason's early life, with strongly marked emphasis upon the physical occupations. Getting an education was insignificant, in comparison with the physical developer — chopping and grubbing — and if he dug into his books half as much as he dug into the ground, he was sure to become an accomplished scholar. In October, 1801, he enlisted in Company F, Fifty-eighth Indiana Volunteers, Capt. Crow's company, regiment in command of Col. Carr. Mr. Mason was mustered in as a sergeant of his company, and the regiment was ordered to Louisville from Princeton, Indiana, and it became a part of the Army of the Cumberland. After the battles of Stone river, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, our subject was transferred to the engineering corps, with the rank of first lieutenant. His was a company of Pontoniers and aided in bridging every important stream from Chattanooga to Atlanta, from which latter point it went with Sherman's army to the sea. The Captain's company helped bridge all the streams about Savannah, and, after the fall of that city, marched north through the Carolinas with the victorious Federal forces. On to Richmond, building bridges enroute and, finally, to Washington, D. C, where it participated in the band review. At Savannah, our subject received his captain's commission, and was in command of his company from then to the final muster out and discharge, at Indianapolis, in August, 1860.

On resuming civil pursuits, Capt. Mason engaged in the produce and tobacco business, flat-boating on the Ohio river. He engaged in traffic with planters along the lower Mississippi river, and occasionally made trips to New Orleans. For five years — 1866 to 1871— he followed this species of domestic commerce and closed the business with an accumulation of some capital and a roving and wandering habit. His army life, also, contributed to his spirit of unrest, and he came west in response to this peculiar mental bent. He came to Cherryvale, by rail, and staged it across to the new town of Independence, in Montgomery county, Kansas. His first home in the county was the Caldwell House, then kept by Larimer & Allen, and named in honor of U. S. Senator Caldwell, of Kansas. At Humboldt, enroute, he met Lyman U. Humphrey, who induced the Captain to become a citizen of southern Kansas. He spent the first two years as a loan broker and drifted, gradually, into grain, pork and cattle buying, following it till 1876, when he purchased a farm in the Verdigris bottom, just east of the county seat, and entered upon its cultivation and improvement. His farm now embraces seven hundred acres, as valuable an estate as the county affords. He owns much valuable property in Independence, and his homestead on the east bluff, over- looking the valley of the Verdigris, is one of the handsome places in the city. He is a heavy stockholder in the First National Bank and has been vice-president of the institution since 1887.

Captain Mason is well known as a Republican. He was honored by his townsmen, in 1881, to the chief magistry of the city, and was reelected to the office the following year. He has declined other political honors, preferring private life to the encumbrances and annoyance of public office.

After two years spent in Montgomery county, Capt. Mason started, June 1, 1873, on an extended tour of Europe. He left New York and reached Glasgow, Scotland, without important incident. He visited, respectively, Edinburg, Loudon, Amsterdam, up the Rhine to Vienna, where he attended the "World's Fair" two weeks, being honorary commissioner to the celebration from Kansas. He visited, next, Trieste; Venice; Rome; Naples; saw Mt. Vesuvius and the leaning tower of Pisa; was on to St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome; passed through the German Empire and capital; viewed the Swiss mountains and the beautiful city of Geneva; passed through Lyons and spent some time in Paris, France. While in Germany visited Strasburg, and in Berlin saw the great soldier and Emperor Williams I of Prussia. He returned to London from Paris and visited the Parliament House and other noted places, saw the great commercial port of the world, Liverpool, and sailed for America from Glasgow in September, reaching home in October, after an absence of four months.

October 23, 1878, Capt. Mason married Mary V. Britton, an Indiana lady and a daughter of Thomas P. Britton, whose ancestors were also Virginians. Thomas P. Britton was married to Miss Evaline Bayless, a native of Tennessee, but of Virginia ancestors, August 21, 1829. Mrs. Mason is proud of the fact that her great-grandfather, Benjamin Bayless, was a revolutionary soldier. She had several uncles who served in the Mexican war and also had a brother in the Mexican war, and one, Frank L., served in the Civil war, 1861-65, and was a prominent man in Texas during the reconstruction period. Gen. Forbes Britton, a graduate of West Point, uncle of Mrs. Mason, was very prominent in the settlement of Texas. Mrs. Mason was born in Spencer county, Indiana, in 1845, and is the mother of Evaline E. and Eugenia Mason, educated and accomplished daughters and the life of the family circle. Capt. Mason is a member of the Masonic fraternity in a dual sense, holds a membership in Fortitude Lodge and his daughters belong to the Eastern Star. Their support in religious matters is given to the Presbyterian church, of which the family are consistent members.

At Page 383

Thursday, July 10, 2014



Ex-County Clerk D. S. James is one of the pioneers of Montgomery county.  July 4, 1870, he settled in Rutland township, where his father, Joseph L. James, took up a claim on the Osage Diminished Reserve, made a farm of it and still resides there. Ohio county, Kentucky, is the native place of our subject and he was born February 4, 1857. His family was one of the old ones, being settlers there in the early years of the nineteenth century and emigrants from the State of Virginia, where Samuel James, the grandfather of Diogenes S. James, was born. The last named was a soldier in the early Indian war, under General William Henry Harrison, and participated in the famous battle of Tippecanoe, in 1811.

Joseph L. James was born in Ohio county, Kentucky, in 1827, grew up on the farm and served in the Kentucky Home Guard. When he emigrated from there, he made the trip to Kansas with three yoke of oxen and began life in Montgomery county in a primitive way. He has conducted himself as a plain honorable farmer here, has taken some interest in local politics and was a Republican till the formation of the Greenback party, when he joined issues with it. For his wife, he chose Martha Shelton, a daughter of a Kentucky farmer. In 1893, Mrs. James died, being the mother of Sylvanus, of Rutland township; Mary, wife of John Sewell, of Bolton; Diogenes S., Harvey K., a teacher of Montgomery county, Kansas; Aurora, who married W. C. Sewell, of Bolton; Sarah, now Mrs. A. J. Puckett, of Woodward county, Oklahoma; Laura, wife of John Findley, of Bartlesville, Indian Territory; Dora, wife of Waltham Hudson, of Montgomery county; Alice, who married C. E. Koberts, of Oklahoma; and Joseph B., of Montgomery county, Kansas.

D. S. James acquired a common school education and, at nineteen years of age, married Martha Hall, a daughter of the venerable Mexican war veteran, Joseph Hall, of Caney township, Montgomery county. Mr. Hall was also a soldier in the Civil war, being a lieutenant of a Kansas regiment. Mr. James engaged in farming in his native county and resumed it in Montgomery county, Kansas, in the sparsely settled region of Rutland township, upon his advent here. He was in uninterrupted and quiet possession of his calling till November, 1897, when he was elected Clerk of Montgomery county, by the Fusion forces of the county. He succeeded John Glass in the Clerk's office and was reelected, in November, 1899, for another two years' term, and when this expired, he inherited the extra year of 1902 — on account of a change in the law of succession — and held, therefore, five full years. He retired from office, in January, 1903, with a record of duty faithfully performed, and, in the spring of the same year, took his family to the Bristow, Creek Nation, his future home.

Mr. and Mrs. James have a family of seven children, as follows: Floyd, who married Carrie Terry; Mittie M.; Etta; Charles; Roy; John; and Forest. Mr. James is an Odd Fellow and a Workman.


At Page 452

Friday, July 4, 2014

Elizabeth James

WILLIAM C. SEWELL and wife, Elizabeth James: An old settler and a man honorably associated with the history of this county, is William C. Sewell, a native of Tennessee, born June 11, 1854. His father, Joseph G. Sewell. a blacksmith and fanner, married Catherine Mayberry, a Tennessee lady, and came to Kansas in 1871, and settled on Union creek, Independence township, where he bought and improved a claim to a well-cultivated farm. In December, 1882, at the age of fifty-three years, the father died, but the mother still survives, and is now sixty-eight years old. Of this marriage, there were four children, three of whom are living, namely: John B., Andrew, and William C.

William C. Sewell came to Kansas, with his parents, in 1871, when he was seventeen years old. His education was received in the common schools of his native state, and his marriage occurred in May, 1876, his wife being Elizabeth James, a native of Ohio county, Kentucky, and a daughter of Joseph L. James, mentioned, liberally, in this work.

Mr. Sewell began life, as a farmer, on rented land, and, after two years, he bought an untamed farm of eighty acres and lived on that, for a short time, when he sold it and became a renter, again, for five years. He bought another eighty-acre tract, the farm where he now resides, five miles northeast of Tyro. This farm he has improved and made one of the finest homes in his township, adding more land, at various times, until he now owns four hundred acres. On this farm, is a handsome residence, built on a high elevation, from which a good view of Independence, fifteen miles away, and all the country round, can be had. He, also, has good out-buildings and a large barn, lighted with natural gas. Gas is used in the house for fuel and lights and for a torch in the front yard.

It was by resistless energy and unity of purpose, that Mr. Sewell has attained this gratifying prosperity. He is township treasurer and has served, as such, several terms, at various times. In politics, he is a Populist.

In Mr. and Mrs. Sewell's family are nine children: Gentry L., Anna B., Walter A., Stella, Harry, Paul, and James. Three of the children are dead: Adolphus, who died at eleven years; Lydia at nine years, and Franklin at ten months. Gentry, the eldest, married Eunice Ellingsworth, but the other children are single and at home.


At Page 622