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.


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