Saturday, August 2, 2014

Testimony of O. D. Miller from Leach vs Leach lawsuit.

The following testimony of O. D. Miller was taken 11 February 1948; this post is the third 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.


Also the deposition of O. D. Miller 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. 1   State your name, please sir.
A.  O. D. Miller.

Q. 2   Your age?
A.    63.

Q. 3   Your residence?
A.   Cromwell, Route 1.

Q. 4   What section of the county do you live in?
A.   Rob Roy section.

Q. 5   How long have you lived in that community?
A.    Since 1902.

Q. 6    Do you own a farm in that section?
A.    Yes sir.

Q. 7    Did you know S. W. Leach during his life time?
A.   Yes sir, part of it.

Q. 8   After you moved into that section?
A. Well, I married a niece of his.

Q. 9   How close did you live to where he lived when he died?
A. Within a half mile.

Q. 10   Did you know the farm on which he lived at the time of his death?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 11    Had you been on that farm?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 12   Over it?
A.   Yes sir, I lived one year almost adjoining it, the first year after I was married.

Q. 13   When did you marry?
A.    In 1906.

Q.14    Whose daughter did you marry?
A. Scott Leach's daughter. Scott and Uncle Sam were brothers.

Q. 15    Did you ever cultivate this land any?
A. No sir.

Q.16  Did you know about the timber on that land when Mr. Leach died?
A. I am no timber man, but I have passed through that timber in going back and forth, but never gave it any thought, how much or what it was worth, not being any timber man.

Q. 17  Do you know how long Sam Leach lived on that place before he died?
A. Not exactly, but several years.

Q. 18   He was living there in 1902 when you moved into that community?
A.  I did not exactly move into that community. I lived about four miles from him in 1902.

Q. 19   Did he live on that place when you first knew him?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 20   Tell the court what kind of buildings were on that farm?
A.   There was a barn, I don't know the dimensions of the barn, but I would call it a small barn. I have been in it a good many times. It was shoddy put up, not properly braced. The house was an old house to my first knowing, and I helped to re-roof that house in the year, 1906. It has been there a long time then, but to state the number of years I can't. That is beyond my knowledge.

Q. 21   What sort of a dwelling house was it?
A.   A two room log house with hall, a back porch and back shed room.

Q. 22   Is there an upstairs?
A. I can't say for sure, but I think I would be safe in saying there was a stairway running from the hall.

Q. 23   Any outbuildings?
A. Nothing to amount to anything, maybe a 1ittle coal house, and smoke house.

Q.24   Was there any fencing on the farm when S. W. Leach died?
A. I never saw any fencing on it.

Q. 25   What about the kind and character of the land - the surface?
A.   A part of the land does fairly well, but most of it was worn out, waste land, grown up in black-berry briers, green briers, sumac bushes and such as that.

Q. 26   How much of it was suitable for cultivation, to grow crops on ?
A. Not over 15 acres on the back of the place.

Q. 27   Any bottom land?
A. No sir.

Q. 28   You say you have been through these woods - what kind of ground was the timber growing in ?
A. Mighty thin soil.

Q. 29   What kind of timber was this?
A.   Mostly post Oak, some red Oak, and some white Oak. Mighty little beech. Beech grows on strong land.

Q. 30   About what size timber was growing on this land?
A.   I can't answer that question. As I said I never paid much attention to it. A lot of it was tie timber as to stating about the log timber, I can't say. Most of it was tie timber I would judge at that time.

Q. 31   Now, what about the condition of the roads in that section of the county in 1918 and 19l9?
A.   Dirt roads and muddy.

Q. 32   Just county roads?
A. Yes sir, the people had to go horse back, on foot or buggies and wagons.

Q. 33   Were there very many sales of land in that section, during those years?
A.   No, it was slow at that time, and land sold cheap then.

Q. 34   Was there much timber sold in that section during that time?
A.   Not like there would be now. Once in awhile a man would come in and buy timber. It was not high then like timber is now.

Q. 35   Mr. Miller, state what in your opinion, knowing that farm as you did, and that section of the county as you did, was the reasonable fair market value of that farm, including the buildings, surface and timber, a good title to be conveyed?
A. As to the value of the farm in 1919?

Q. 36   Yes sir, it was sold in February, 1919.
A. I think it sold for a mighty good price at that time.

Q. 37   Do you know what Mrs. Leach got for it?
A.   I understand she got $2,000.00. That right?

Q. 38   Yes sir, you think that was a good price?
A. Yes that was a good price; if I had had a barrel of money I would not have given that to be honest with you.

Q. 39   What would it have been worth if anyone just bought Mrs. Leach's life estate, and she was 62 years old at that time and in poor health?
A. I would say $1,000.00.

Q. 40   What in your opinion would have been the fair reasonable cash value of that land, surface and improvements, with the timber off of it?
A.   $600 or $800. I would not give over $600 for it myself.

Q. 41   Was there any fencing on that land when Mr. Leach died?
A.   Not very much.

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

Q. 1   Whose farm did you live on in 1906 when you say you lived almost adjoining this Leach farm?
A.  Mack Porter's farm.

Q. 2  Was it the same quality of land, as to productiveness?
A.   At that time it was , since then it has been built up.

Q. 3   What kind of crops did you grow on it?
A.   I did not grow any crops on the Porter place. I lived there but had my crops on my wife's land.

Q. 4   You did not cultivate the Porter land?
A.   Only some truck patches.

Q. 5   What in your opinion was that dwelling house worth on Feb. 15, 1919, situated on this Leach farm?
A.   Mighty little.

Q. 6   How much?
A.  $200.00.

Q. 7   You say it was a log house, weatherboarded?
A.  Yes sir, ceiled inside, I think with poplar ceiling.

Q. 8   Was it papered?
A. I couldn't say.

Q. 9   You don't know if there were any rooms suitable for living in upstairs or not?
A.  I don't know.

Q. 10   The dwelling house has rotted down now?
A. I think so.

Q. 11  What was this barn worth on February 15, 1919?
A. $50.00. Building material was cheap then.

Q. 12  Do you know how long that barn had been built?
A.  No sir.

Q. 13   It was a frame barn?
A.  Yes sir.

Q. 14  Boxed in?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 15   Did it have a board roof?
A. To the best of my recollection it had a board roof.

Q. 16   Were you ever in the barn?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 17   When were you last in that barn?
A.   It was several years back. I could not say exactly how long it has been.

Q. 18  Were you ever in the barn before February 15, 19l9?
A. Yes sir.

Q. 19  When in fact was the last time you were on this S. W. Leach farm?
A. The back part of it last fall. I went through there in going to the cemetery to put up some monuments - just the back part of it.

Q. 20   How far does this farm lay off the Hartford and Morgantown road?
A.  Well, at one point I would judge about a thousand yards.

Q. 21   Where were you living on February 15, 1919? When Mrs. Leach sold this farm to Jasper Leach?
A. On the farm I now own.

Q. 22   How far from the S. W. Leach farm?
A.  Something like 3 1/2 or 4 miles.

Q. 23 Were you ever on the S. W. Leach farm while he was living there?
A.   Yes sir.

Q. 24   Did he produce crops on this land?
A.  Mighty little.

Q. 25   What do you mean by that?
A.   Just a small amount.

Q. 26   What kind of crops?
A.   Corn.

Q. 27   Any meadow?
A.  I never saw any.

Q. 29. Did he keep stock on that farm?
A. A horse or two and a cow or two - mighty little stock.

Q. 30   You don't have any idea what this place is worth now?
A. No, I do not.


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